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76ers investigation: Bryan Colangelo’s wife admitted to operating burner Twitter accounts, but he was ‘careless’ and ‘reckless’

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Bryan Colangelo resigned as 76ers president today.

Will he admit to knowing of, let alone operating, the burner Twitter accounts at the heart of this scandal? He hasn’t, and at this point, there’s little reason to believe he will.

His wife, Barbara Bottini, apparently took the blame.

John Schumann of NBA.com:

If it were all truly Bottini without Colangelo’s knowledge, that opens a bunch of thorny issues. What leeway should someone have to discuss stressful work issues with a spouse? Is it fair to punish Colangelo for his wife’s actions? Did the views expressed in the tweets – sharply critical of many, including current 76ers Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz – reflect Colangelo’s views?

Here’s what I can’t get past: At least two days after the story broke, Colangelo was still denying any knowledge of who was behind the Twitter accounts. His wife didn’t inform him, in the midst of a career-defining scandal, it was her? Maybe that’s a marital issue not appropriate to be discussed here. Or maybe it speaks to Colangelo’s lack of trustworthiness – which, save anything else, probably did him in.

Report: Bryan Colangelo out as 76ers president

AP Photo/Matt Rourke
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The 76ers reportedly believed team president Bryan Colangelo’s denials of any knowledge about multiple burner Twitter accounts linked to him – accounts that praised him and sharply criticized many others, including Philadelphia players like Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, while conveying inside information.

That won’t save Colangelo’s job, though.

Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

Colangelo’s tenure was poorly received from the jump by Philadelphia fans loyal to Sam Hinkie and his Process. Colangelo was viewed as a product of nepotism, as his father, Jerry Colangelo, oversaw the hiring process.

Bryan’s signature move will be trading up for the No. 1 pick last year to get Markelle Fultz, who suffered through a disappointing rookie year. The 76ers dealt the Celtics the No. 3 pick, which Boston used on Jayson Tatum, who looks like a future star.

Of course, the Twitter accounts – above else – will be Colangelo’s legacy, fairly or not. There’s still so much we don’t know about them, and maybe we’ll get answers later today.

Brett Brown is fine as an interim front-office head. The coach knows basketball. But both jobs are usually too much for one person, and Philadelphia shouldn’t let Brown’s proximity vault him into permanent power amid crisis. That interim title should stay interim.

Those Twitter accounts put the 76ers in a mess. This is only one step, though the biggest, of escaping it.

LeBron James feeling stress of facing mighty Warriors again

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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CLEVELAND – Kevin Durant hit a dagger pull-up 3-pointer from the left wing in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals in Cleveland. Kevin Durant hit a dagger pull-up 3-pointer from the left wing in Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals in Cleveland.

“Nah, that wasn’t the same shot,” LeBron James said. “The one he made tonight was about four or five feet behind the one he made last year.”

LeBron has shown off his memory throughout these playoffs, but he wasn’t flaunting here. He wanted everyone else to remember just how good these Warriors are. Don’t treat what they do as routine, because it is not.

Since adding Durant, Golden State has put itself in discussion as the greatest team of all-time. Stephen Curry can shoot 3-for-16, including 1-for-10 on 3-pointers, on a Klay Thompson off night, and the Warriors can still in because of Durant. Golden State’s talent – don’t forget about the other star, Draymond Green – is perhaps unrivaled.

LeBron was asked to expound on the difference between the 2015-2016 Warriors, whom the Cavs faced in the Finals both years, and the 2017-2018 Warriors with Durant

“You guys asked me this last year, what was the difference between the Warriors the previous year and this year, and what was my answer?” LeBron said.

The question wasn’t rhetorical. LeBron stared at the questioner until someone else in the room yelled out “Kevin Durant.”

“Alright,” LeBron said. “There it is.

“Kevin Durant was my answer. He’s one of the best players that I’ve ever played against that this league has ever seen. His ability to handle the ball, shoot the ball, make plays at his length, his size, his speed. So, there it is.”

Remember, the Warriors won the title in 2015 and a record 73 regular-season games and three Finals games in 2016. They were already elite without Durant.

Now?

“It adds a level of stress,” LeBron said. “Because you know that you can never relax. You know if you relax, they make you pay, and making you pay could cost you a game.”

The Cavaliers could realistically be up 2-1 in these Finals. They blew a chance to win Game 1 on J.R. Smith‘s late boneheaded play, and they led Game 3 with three minutes left.

Instead the Warriors are up 3-0 with a chance to sweep Friday. Give them an inch, and they take a mile.

Dating back to Kyrie Irving‘s trade request, the Cavs have given many feet. That leads to questions about whether LeBron will use his player option to leave Cleveland this summer.

But even if the Cavaliers led the Finals 2-1, Golden State would still be favored in the series. The heavy speculation about LeBron’s future might be delayed in that scenario, but it’d still be coming. It’s as inevitable as these Warriors.

So, what will LeBron do about them? At this point, it’s a question for the offseason, primarily – though not completely yet.

“Friday morning when I wake up,” LeBron said, “I’ll be locked in and ready for Game 4.”

Donovan Mitchell awarded top rookie by players, James Harden takes their MVP

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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Taking a page from the Nuggets, the National Basketball Players Association finished announcing its Players’ Voice Awards during Game 3 of the NBA Finals last night.

The main winners:

    • James Harden — The NBPA MVP Award
    • LeBron James — The NBPA People’s Champ Award ([best uses his platform to positively impact society])
    • Vince Carter — The NBPA Most Respected Award (influential veteran)
    • Russell Westbrook — The NBPA Best Side Hustle Award (best off-court endeavors, in fashion, tech, media, art, etc.)
    • Damian Lillard — The NBPA Mr. Clutch Award (most clutch)
    • PJ Tucker — The NBPA Sneaker Champ Award (best shoe game)
    • Donovan Mitchell — The NBPA Leader of the New School Award(best rookie)
    • Rudy Gobert — The NBPA Locksmith Award (best defender)
    • Russell Westbrook — The NBPA Freshest Award (best style/fashion on and off the court)
    • James Harden — The NBPA Toughest To Guard Award
    • Lou Williams — The NBPA X-Factor Award (best off the bench)

The players chose chalk in the main categories except their version of Rookie of the Year, which went to Donovan Mitchell over Ben Simmons. That’s a contentious debate, though I expect Simmons to win the real award (and expected Mitchell, a higher scorer, to win this one).

The union also named “The NBPA Backbone Award for best team leader” on all 30 teams. The winners:

Yup, the Bulls’ “best team leader” was the guy who punched a teammate during practice, breaking his face and concussing him.

Kevin Durant rewards Stephen Curry’s ‘childlike approach to the game’

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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CLEVELAND – Then the reigning back-to-back MVP, Stephen Curry texted Kevin Durant nearly two years ago. Curry told Durant he didn’t care who’d be the face of the Warriors, who’d receive more recognition, who’d sell more shoes. Curry said he just wanted to win titles and that Durant would help.

That’s why after shooting 3-for-16 from the field and 1-for-10 on 3-pointers – his worst field-goal field-goal percentage (19%) and 3-point percentage (10%) in a playoff game – Curry said, “This moment is great.”

It was great because Durant posted 43 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists – a trio of marks nobody had ever hit in an NBA Finals game during the modern-postseason era (since the NBA adopted a 16-team playoff in 1984).

It was great because Golden State beat the Cavaliers 110-102 in Game 3.

And it was great because the victory put the Warriors up 3-0 and on the cusp of their second straight title.

“We all have an opportunity to do what we do and do it well and put ourselves in position to win championships,” Curry said. “…Tonight was not my night offensively. It was his night.

“You encourage each other along the way, and we appreciate what we bring out of each other. We could talk about him all night. He was amazing.”

Curry showed his amazement after Durant scored in the first quarter, skipping and air-kicking along the sideline:

And again in the fourth quarter, howling in Durant’s face after he made the dagger 3-pointer:

“A lot of yelling, unnecessarily, Curry said. “Just enjoying the moment. He was so stone-faced that somebody had to yell and show some emotion.”

Said Durant: “We all just support each other with a real childlike approach to the game.”

Of course, there’s nothing childlike about the Warriors’ production. LeBron James called Durant an “assassin” – for good reason. Durant shot 15-for-23, including 6-for-9 on 3-pointers, carry Golden State on off nights by Curry and Klay Thompson (4-for-11).

“Holding Steph to 11 points and Klay to 10, you would think you would win that game,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.

Even Curry’s high-volume, low-efficiency game alone would sink most teams.

Other teams are 0-15 in the NBA Finals with a player who shot 20% or worse on at least 14 field-goal attempts in the modern-postseason era. The Warriors with Durant are 2-0.

Thanks to Durant scoring 38, Golden State also beat Cleveland in Game 1 last year despite Klay Thompson shooting 3-for-16.

“This is the beauty of this team and the luxury that we have,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

Durant didn’t come to Golden State just to soak up the positivity. He has ingrained himself in the Warriors’ culture and become an active participant.

Curry didn’t make a 3-pointer until late in the fourth quarter, and though Durant received far more praise for his clutch 3-pointer, he called Curry’s the biggest shot of the game:

It certainly mattered to Curry, who fell even deeper into a mindset of a more innocent time.

“Me and my brother, we always – growing up shooting and playing, we always said you’ve got to make your last shot before you leave the gym,” Curry said. “Got it done tonight.”

Then, Curry smiled slightly. It didn’t matter that was his only make on 10 3-point attempts. He was satisfied.