NBA

THE WORD |Dwyane Wade Final Career Game

Dwyane Wade went out in legendary fashion. The Heat star recorded a triple-double during his final career game against the Nets on Wednesday night. Wade finished with 25 points (10/28 FG, 3/13 3PT), 10 assists and 11 rebounds.

"This is an Oscar-worthy script for my last game in my last season," Wade said during a postgame interview.

Wade, who made his second start of the season, played a season-high 36 minutes. He did so in front of his friends and fellow NBA stars LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.

"Listen, we couldn't miss D-Wade's last game. This is the last time he's going to be on an NBA floor wearing that Miami Heat uniform, that No. 3. So we're happy to be here supporting him." - LeBron James, LA LAKERS

James added: "He's given so much to this game. [He's] one of the best players we've ever seen in this game from as soon as he came out of Marquette. It's an honor for me to be alongside him for four years and to also be his brother for the last 16 years of my career."

THE WORD | Toronto Rapters Rename Practice Facility After Drake’s OVO Brand

Toronto native Drake continued to show love for his hometown on Wednesday night as the Raptors' training facility was renamed after his record label OVO. What was formerly the BioSteel Centre in Toronto is now named the OVO Athletics Training Centre. Drake reportedly has a key to Toronto's practice facility, and he has a stall in the Raptors' locker room at Scotiabank Arena.

Ray Allen officially retires from the NBA at age 41

Two-time NBA champion and 10 time All Star Ray Allen announced his retirement Tuesday after playing 18 seasons. Allen hasn’t played since the 2013-14 season but said this summer he was gauging interest for a potential return from possible contenders.

“I write this to you today as a 41-year-old man who is retiring from the game,” Allen wrote in a piece for the Players’ Tribune. “I write to you as a man who is completely at peace with himself.”

He spent his first 11 seasons with Milwaukee and Seattle before joining the Boston Celtics in 2007. Along with the other two members of Boston’s “Big Three” — Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — Allen led the Celtics to a championship that season, after defeating the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals.

In 2012, he landed with the Miami Heat and helped another “Big Three” — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — win an NBA title, nailing a key three-pointer against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2013 NBA Finals.

Allen has made more three-pointers (2,973) and three-point attempts (7,429) than anyone in NBA history.

 

Anthem singer at NBA game kneels during performance

  (Photo Cred: Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

Denasia Lawrence kneels while singing the national anthem before the Heat-76ers preseason game on Friday night, revealing a shirt with the phrase "Black Lives Matter."

Lawrence, called the Black Lives Matter movement a "rallying cry" while explaining her decision to kneel in a Facebook post early Saturday.

"We're being unjustly killed and overly criminalized," Lawrence wrote. "I took the opportunity to sing and kneel to show that we belong in this country and that we have the right to respectfully protest injustices against us."

Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich Says he Agrees with Colin Kaepernick's Protest

Long time head coach Gregg Popovich has never been one to hold back on game plans, certainly when the media is present. However, few discuss serious matters, especially the issue of Colin Kaepernicks protest of the national anthem.

When asked about his views on racial matters faced in today’s current state preferably surrounding the police involved shooting of two black men as it is connected to Colin Kaepernicks protest. He had this to say,  “I absolutely understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, and I respect their courage for what they’ve done. The question is whether it’ll do any good or not, because change really seems to happen through political pressure.”

The Spur coach went on to say he understands the significance of why Kapernick and other players from NFL to NBA players are keeping the conversation going and if dealt with the issue of a protest, he encourages his players do what they feel is important even if it means taking risks “I’m not going to tell anyone ahead of time, if they don’t do A, B and C, they’re going to be gone, or traded.

Durant with the Warriors: How good will they be really?

So. Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard about Kevin Durant going to the Warriors during free agency. With his signing, the Warriors are now a stacked team. Well even more of a stacked team than they have been previously. Needless to say, fans all over are outraged that Durant left a title contender for another title contender. They’re mad because he “took the easy way” to a ring and that he’s “basically guaranteed a ring now”. They want him to fail.

    Honestly speaking however, fans may actual get their wish. Superteams like the Warriors have a history of underperforming. The question remains however; will the Kevin Durant era be different? This roster could actually be THE most stacked roster in the history of the league. At least that’s what it says on paper. I sincerely doubt that the Warriors will match their own record next season even with the added bolster of Durant. Last season the Warriors barely clung to their 83-9 record and a lot of things had to go right for them to win their ring. Then in the playoffs, the finals especially, the Warriors collapsed in a way that no one has ever seen before.

    In the 2012-2013 season, the Los Angeles Lakers built another super team. They had superstars like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Dwight Howard. That team was slated to run right through the season to a championship but things derailed quickly and the Laker dreams were quickly dashed. The Warriors may or may not have a similar fate awaiting them.

    All concerns aside however, all the numbers point to the Warriors being one of the most talented teams in NBA history. They could very well be champions next season, to the dismay of fans all over the world. Only time will tell if this team, teeming with superstar talent, can lift themselves up to a ring. If not however, Durant’s image is sure to take a further dive.  

Ray Allen eyeing NBA return: Looking at Warriors

Ray Allen is no doubt one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. According to league sources, he is considering making an NBA return. The future Hall of Famer’s representatives recently reached out to the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors are unsure whether they want to pursue Allen.

    Ray Allen is going to turn 41 later this month. He is well past his prime and is unsure if he wants to return after sitting out the past two seasons. He is however, excited at the chance to play for another championship. It was reported that he would also consider playing for the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers.

    During Allen’s 18-year playing career, he was known as one of the league’s best shooters. Not only that, but he kept himself in good fitness and took care of his body. On top of that, the increased value of the three-point shot has led to him being pursued by several teams over the past few seasons.

    Ray averaged 9.6 points for the Miami Heat in their 2013-14 campaign, his final season. He has averaged a respectable 18.9 points over his career and shot 40 percent from the three-point line. The ten-time All-Star has won championships with Boston in 2008 as well as Miami in 2013. In his final season, Allen kept championship hopes alive for LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and the Heat by hitting the game-tying three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in regulation to force overtime against the Spurs in Game six of the Finals. Miami went on to win the title in seven games.

    Though diminished somewhat from his earlier years in the league, Ray Allen has shown that he still has some bounce left in his game. However, he has sat out the past two seasons so only time will tell what sort of condition Allen is in and if his body can take another season of basketball at the highest level.

Chicago Bulls Trades Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks

The Knicks and Bulls have agreed to a deal that will send point guard Derrick Rose to New York, sources told ESPN.

The Knicks are sending Robin Lopez, Jose Calderonand Jerian Grant to the Bulls, who are shipping Justin Holiday, Rose and a 2017 second-round pick back to New York, sources said.

The Chicago Tribune first reported the deal.

Picture from The Bleacher Report

Picture from The Bleacher Report

Cavaliers win NBA championship, shatter records

After a hard-fought and grueling 7 game series, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally brought greatness back to a place that had all but forgotten what winning felt like. Led by the boy from Akron, the Cavaliers made history today by becoming the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit.

    Though he has won rings with fellow stars Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade (present in the stands last night) in Miami, this particular win no doubt was close to “The King’s” heart. After a four-year stint with the Heat, LeBron returned to his hometown in search of the ring to end the town’s championship draught. Last night all of the hard work he put in was validated as the Cavaliers completed the upset to defeat the Golden State Warriors 4-3 in a series that honestly should have been put to rest several games ago.

    Sunday night fellow teammate Kyrie Irving called LeBron “the best player on the planet”, saying that the title they earned was rightfully deserved. However, analysts and fans alike agreed that in order for Cleveland to win the title, all of the players would need to show up. After clutches performances from Kyrie, Kevin Love, and Iman Shumpert among others, the Cavaliers won the hearts of the NBA community. After the game, veteran player, Richard Jefferson immediately retired.

    On the other hand, the Golden State Warriors played their absolute best last night, the polar opposite of how they played the previous three games and still unable to edge out their opponents. Draymond Green showed up in a big way for his team, hitting a barrage of threes, he inspired amazing performances from Curry, Klay, and big man Festus Ezeli. After the game Coach Steve Kerr was quoted as saying the loss “left the team stunned.” Regular season MVP, Stephen Curry said that this loss “will haunt me for a long time.”

    The continuous losses came as a major shock for the team that one upped the famed Bulls team of the Jordan era. Amounting to a staggering 73 wins, the Warriors were fully expected to oust the Cavs. Instead, the losses and off court drama surrounding Ayesha Curry dominated much of the media’s attention. Fans will wonder if LeBron truly deserved the MVP award since it was actually Kyrie that exploded in the later part of the series. Last year Andre Iguodala earned himself the finals MVP honors due to his clutch play in the finals. He was given the award despite averaging under 18 points. So this year could a case be made for Kyrie? The answer, most fans would say is no. Though he played a pivotal role in a few games during the series, most notably his 40-point outburst the previous game, and clutch three pointer last night, the team was still down 1-3. If Kyrie had played at the level expected of him the entire series, then perhaps he would have been a viable candidate to win the Finals MVP award.

    All we understand is that the NBA Finals are over and that amidst the sorrowful GSW fans, a king finally made good to his homeland. Cleveland, which had not won a major sports event since 1964, became the NBA Champions.     

Durant becomes unrestricted free agent

With the Thunder’s undeniable collapse in Monday’s  game seven loss to the Golden State Warriors, they became only the 10th team to get eliminated after taking a 3-1 series lead. A series that should have been wrapped up was allowed to stretch out far longer than it should have as reigning MVP, Steph Curry, led his triumphant team to the NBA finals for the second straight season.

    However, that is not the concerning factor. Durant was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in 2007 and Russell Westbrook was drafted a year later for the same club. After amazing breakout seasons, the team looked on the verge of a championship. However, that was not in the cards as repeated eliminations and injuries have dogged the team for the past few years. And now, to add to their troubles, Kevin Durant will be an unrestricted free agent.

    “We wanted the whole thing,” Durant said. “There’s no moral victories in our locker room after the game. We were all upset. We wanted a chance to play for a championship in the finals, so that hurts.” (NBA)

    Having been a powerhouse in their own right all season, the Thunder-Warriors matchup was expected to be a thriller. It proved to be nothing less. Though the Thunder will no doubt be remembered for their shocking collapse. Only time will tell if Durant will choose to remain with the Thunder or whether he will leave. One thing is for certain however, whatever he chooses to do will impact the league to its very foundations.

    Teammate Russell Westbrook will be a free agent in 2017 as well.

Different Worlds, Same Mindset: Messi Speaks About Curry

Last night most fans expected the Golden State Warriors to rally together after their loss the previous game. They expected the Warriors to come storming back under Stephen Curry and play their hearts out to level the series score at an even 2-2. No one expected the Thunder to pick right back up where they stopped the previous game and continue dismantling the Warriors all night long.

Not only did the Warriors suffer another anti-climactic loss, but the reigning MVP Steph was nowhere to be seen. He followed a dismal game with another horrid performance. Klay Thompson tried his absolute hardest to bring the team back but the other Splashbrother was unable to make up for his team’s lack of defense and lack-luster offensive plays.

In the wake of the loss, fans have something to look forward to this summer. For the competition of Copa America, soccer star Lionel Messi will be coming to the US to compete. The two, who have already once exchanged signed jerseys, are no doubt looking forward to playing for their respective countries in August for the Summer Olympics in Rio.

Though the two play completely different sports, the 5-time Ballon d’Or (player of the year) winner said that he sees striking similarities in their play styles. He was quoted as saying,

“If you watch Curry play—or, just as revealing, warm-up before the game—you notice his relationship with the ball. It’s like his body and mind are always on the same wavelength as el balon. I try to have that connection in my sport too.”

It is clear that the two share a mutual respect for each other and ecstatic fans are no doubt highly anticipating Messi’s visit to the US. August cannot come soon enough. To see two top players in their sport will be truly magical.

The Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City ThunderA Thriller or a Dud?

The Golden State Warriors have been the team on everyone’s lips ever since the last season. Last year it really was no surprise to see the Warriors snag the title, especially since the Cleveland Cavaliers were missing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. However, no one expected the Warriors to light up the court like they did this season. They made believers out of those basketball fans that didn’t believe that a repeat was possible. As soon as the Warriors reached the 73-win mark, fans everywhere were ecstatic. It seemed that no one could stop their train all the way to the finals.

People knew that the Thunder were a good team but no one had seen Durant and Westbrook in the playoffs together at full strength however. No one knew exactly what to expect. Now the series is in the favor of the Thunder 2-1 and game three was no joke. The Thunder crushed Stephen Curry and the Warriors 133-105 in a game that was less than a challenge for the winning team.

According to NBA.com, Coach Steve Kerr was quoted as saying, “We got what we deserved.” Last game, Durant went for 10-15 and Westbrook shot a blistering 10-19. In fact, this was the first time this postseason that the two of them shot better than 50 percent.

Klay Thomson was quoted as saying, “We’re not going to get it that way, one of those guys got to have an off night.” The Warriors, who sent a new record for 73 wins, trailed by 41 points, their largest deficit this season.

On the other side, the Thunder had an excellent game. The polar opposite of what happened in game two. The Warriors routed the Thunder 118-91. Russell Westbrook said, “That’s one thing we slipped up on in game 2, and I think tonight we did a good job getting the loose balls and finding ways to the 50/50 balls and give ourselves extra possessions.” (NBA)

With game two looming tomorrow, both teams will go in with a different mindset. It will no doubt be a thriller as one team attempts to close the door while the other fights to even to score and get another chance to snag the lead. Either way, this is a game not be missed.