Cleveland Cavaliers 98-129 Golden State Warriors: Twitter erupts as Stephen Curry and Draymond Green showcase their supremacy


The Golden State Warriors made the most of a second-quarter burst to eventually down the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-98. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green made several highlight plays to get the job done for the home side at the Chase Center.The duo didn’t even have to feature in the fourth quarter with six Golden State Warriors scoring in double digits to close out the game with ease. They even restricted the Cleveland Cavaliers well who shot less than 40% from the field.Cleveland Cavaliers get going early but Golden State Warriors eventually take controlIt was a fairly close affair in the first quarter. Stephen Curry stepped up for the Golden State Warriors and scored a quickfire 16 points but the Cleveland Cavaliers responded well. The likes of Collin Sexton and Jarrett Allen kept them in the running.Things changed towards the end of the second quarter where the Golden State Warriors went on a 23-8 lead to finish the first half with a 10-point advantage. The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t recover from there as the Dubs extended their advantage in the third quarter thanks to the playmaking of Draymond Green.The Warriors have held their opponent to 105 points or less, and 40.6% FG shooting or less, in 4 of the last 5 games— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) February 16, 202128 games into the season, the Warriors are the 8th seed in the West with a 15-13 record.Not too bad for the projected 14th seed ahead of the season. pic.twitter.com/GYc8ifhLdt— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) February 16, 2021I’d say it’s not the Cavs night. But not their month might be more accurate— 𝙅𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣 𝙍𝙤𝙬𝙖𝙣 🇨🇦 (@Cavsanada) February 16, 2021

Weird to see the Cavs down 20 against the Warriors. Usually doesn’t happen until June— Rashad (@rashadalaiyan) February 16, 2021Whispers* the nets showed how to stop a lot of the warriors plays….. (continues to whisper) but hopefully the rest of the league didn’t watch— IN THE LAB (@DevInTheLab) February 16, 2021Stephen Curry and Draymond Green too hot to handle for Cleveland Cavaliers The two veterans rose to the occasion again

Stephen Curry continued his tremendous campaign with another outstanding performance. He had 36 points for the Golden State Warriors tonight on 13-of-19 shooting including seven made threes. He’s on course to become only the third player in NBA history to record a 5-40-90 clip in multiple seasons alongside Larry Bird and Steve Nash.Curry was aided in his efforts by Draymond Green who’s been flawless as the primary playmaker for the Golden State Warriors. He’s averaged 11.6 assists per game since the start of February and had 16 dimes against the Cleveland Cavaliers.Steph Curry is averaging 30/6/5 on 50/44/94 splits.He’s carrying a team missing Klay Thompson and ALL 3 big men to a playoff spot in the West. Stop saying he’s in the MVP conversation…he IS the MVP. pic.twitter.com/sXHbJSB6mA— Guru (@DrGuru_) February 16, 2021

Steph Curry and Draymond Green, it turns out, are good basketballers.— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) February 16, 2021Curry is very nearly doing 50 40 90 on 30ppg while teams main goal is to harass him as much as possible since his star teammates are goneThis is going to be funny forever— Dom2K☘🤦🏾‍♂️ (@Dom_2k) February 16, 202110 straight games with 27+ points for Steph Curry is the longest such streak of his career— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) February 16, 2021Draymond’s passing x Steph’s gravity is the most lethal offensive combo in basketball— Antonin (@antonin_org) February 16, 2021

Draymond is avg’ing more assists (8apg) than points (5.2ppg). Who is the last qualified starter to do that?— sam esfandiari (@samesfandiari) February 16, 2021The Golden State Warriors will now take on the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to end their eight-game losing streak against the San Antonio Spurs.Also read: “Do you not think that affects someone mentally?” Draymond Green blasts the NBA for differential treatment of teams and players in trade situations
Published 16 Feb 2021, 12:08 IST

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การพนันกีฬายังคงประสบความสำเร็จอย่างมากในรัฐอินเดียนา


Hoosiers ชอบบาสเก็ตบอลของพวกเขา ถามใครก็ได้ในอินเดียนาพวกเขาจะบอกคุณว่าบาสเก็ตบอลไม่ใช่แค่กีฬา มันเป็นศาสนา โปรแกรมบาสเก็ตบอลของ Indiana University Hoosiers เป็นหนึ่งในโปรแกรมที่ดีที่สุดในสหรัฐอเมริกาและ NCAA Hall of Champions ตั้งอยู่ในอินเดียแนโพลิสเพื่อเป็นเครื่องพิสูจน์ถึงความสนใจของรัฐต่อบาสเก็ตบอล ในระดับ NBA Indiana Pacers มีผู้ติดตามจำนวนมากทั่วทั้งรัฐและความสนใจทั้งหมดที่มอบให้กับห่วงนั้นได้รับการตอบแทนอย่างมาก อินเดียนายังคงสร้างสถิติใหม่ด้วยตลาดการพนันกีฬาซึ่งส่วนใหญ่มาจากบาสเก็ตบอลในเดือนกุมภาพันธ์ปีที่แล้ว Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) รายงานว่ามีมูลค่า 187 ล้านดอลลาร์เพิ่มขึ้น 10% จากเดือนมกราคม นั่นไม่น่าแปลกใจเมื่อได้รับการแข่งขัน NFL Super Bowl; อย่างไรก็ตามสมมติว่าเงินไปค้าแข้งจะผิดพลาด The Big Game ได้รับเงินเดิมพัน 11.6 ล้านเหรียญในขณะที่นักบาสเก็ตบอลระดับวิทยาลัยและมืออาชีพคิดเป็นมูลค่ากว่า 90 ล้านเหรียญ อินเดียนายังคงเพิ่มขีดความสามารถในอุตสาหกรรมการพนันกีฬาเมื่อหนังสือกีฬาของรัฐมีรายรับ 251.4 ล้านดอลลาร์ในเดือนพฤศจิกายนปีที่แล้วเพิ่มขึ้น 20 ล้านดอลลาร์จากการกระทำของเดือนก่อน ส่วนใหญ่ถูกกำหนดไว้สำหรับฟุตบอลเนื่องจาก NFL และเกมในวิทยาลัยกำลังร้อนแรงขึ้น แต่หากมีข้อสงสัยเกี่ยวกับความสำคัญของบาสเก็ตบอลในรัฐอินเดียนาตัวเลขล่าสุดจะผลักดันทั้งหมดออกไป IGC เพิ่งเปิดตัวตัวเลขล่าสุดเกี่ยวกับการพนันกีฬาและเดือนมกราคมเป็นอีกหนึ่งเดือนที่สร้างสถิติสูงสุดซึ่งเป็นเดือนที่ห้าติดต่อกันของการทำลายสถิติ มีการเดิมพัน 348.2 ล้านดอลลาร์ในเดือนที่แล้วเพิ่มขึ้น 11.2% ในเดือนธันวาคมและมากกว่า 100% ในเดือนมกราคม 2020 ในจำนวนนั้น 133.2 ล้านดอลลาร์เข้าสู่ห่วงซึ่งทำให้เป็นเงินมากที่สุดที่เคยใช้ไปกับกีฬาประเภทหนึ่งในรัฐ ฟุตบอลมีรายรับเพียง 77.6 ล้านดอลลาร์จากการแข่งขัน นั่นไม่เพียง แต่เป็นข่าวดีสำหรับหนังสือกีฬาที่ดำเนินงานในรัฐเท่านั้น แต่ยังเป็นข่าวดีสำหรับงบประมาณของรัฐด้วย ด้วยภาษี 9.5% ในเดือนมกราคมทำให้รัฐบาลของรัฐอินเดียนามีรายได้จากภาษีเกือบ 2.8 ล้านดอลลาร์และในช่วง 12 เดือนที่ผ่านมารัฐได้รับเงินกว่า 20 ล้านดอลลาร์ นั่นไม่ได้เลวร้ายเกินไปสำหรับอุตสาหกรรมในท้องถิ่นที่มีมาตั้งแต่เดือนกันยายน 2019 Indiana สามารถขอบคุณเพื่อนบ้านสำหรับความมั่งคั่งเพิ่มเติมบางส่วน รัฐเคนตักกี้และโอไฮโอยังไม่มีการพนันกีฬาแม้ว่าจะมีกฎหมายบังคับใช้อยู่ก็ตามดังนั้นนักพนันในทั้งสองรัฐจึงมักจะกระโดดข้ามพรมแดนเพื่อวางเดิมพัน รัฐอิลลินอยส์มีตลาดการพนันกีฬาที่แข็งแกร่งและอยู่ในอันดับที่สี่ในแง่ของการจัดการระหว่างรัฐตามกฎหมาย แต่ไม่อนุญาตให้เล่นการพนันในเกมในวิทยาลัยในรัฐ เป็นผลให้มันสูญเสียการกระทำบางอย่างที่อาจได้รับและอาจทำให้โอ้อวดได้ว่าเป็นอันดับหนึ่งหรือสองในการจัดอันดับการพนันกีฬา

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LA Lakers 105-122 Denver Nuggets: 5 hits and flops as Nikola Jokic’s latest triple-double trumps LeBron James and co. 



The Denver Nuggets routed the LA Lakers 122-105 to record their third straight victory in surprisingly easy fashion. The Sunday night affair was a marquee matchup that featured two title contenders who met in the Western Conference Finals last season. It was Nuggets star Nikola Jokic who came out on top as he outplayed fellow All-Star LeBron James.Anthony Davis left the game in the first half and never returned after a collision with Jokic aggravated an Achilles injury.Check out our 5 hits and flops from the LA Lakers-Denver Nuggets game:Hit: Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)At the half, Nikola Jokic had 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and he continued to dominate the LA Lakers without scoring a single point in the second half. He had a triple-double by the end of the third quarter for the Denver Nuggets, who repeatedly found themselves open for 3-pointers thanks to Jokic’s presence on the floor.The big man orchestrated the Nuggets offense to perfection as his pinpoint passing found cutters and shooters all night long. Jokic’s board work was exceptional as well, as he grabbed 16 rebounds to go along with 10 assists.Flop: LeBron James (LA Lakers)

LeBron James had 19 points at halftime and looked like he was on his way to a big game considering the absence of Anthony Davis. Instead, James had a poor showing in the second half, finishing the game with only 22 points despite registering a near-triple-double with 10 rebounds and nine assists.He was passive offensively in the third quarter when the Denver Nuggets were slowly pulling away. The LA Lakers needed James to be superhuman in this game but he was a mere mortal in the last two quarters.Hit: Facundo Campazzo and Zeke Nnaji (Denver Nuggets)Facundo Campazzo and Zeke Nnaji did an incredible job taking advantage of their opportunity to play against the defending champion LA Lakers. Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone boosted the rookies’ confidence by inserting them in opportune moments, and the two responded accordingly.Campazzo had 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, with three of those coming from beyond the arc. Nnaji had 16 points on a red-hot 4-of-5 shooting from three and 5-of-7 overall.Flop: Montrezl Harrell (LA Lakers)

There was a lack of passion and aggression on the part of Montrezl Harrell in this game. Last year’s Sixth Man of the Year could only muster four points and six rebounds in a lackluster 24 minutes of play.LA Lakers coach Frank Vogel could also be blamed for Harrell’s performance because of how late he inserted his big man in the third quarter. However, Harrell was ultimately the one on the floor and he has to own up to his shortcomings.Hit: Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets)Much has been said about Jamal Murray’s inconsistency this season, but he showed his good side on Sunday night. Murray scored 25 points and made 4-of-10 from 3-point range to help the Denver Nuggets cruise to the win. Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets warms up prior to the game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 27, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)The LA Lakers didn’t seem ready for how aggressive he was as Murray attacked the defense inside and out. He also tallied six rebounds and four assists.Also Read: NBA Trade Rumors: 3 teams that should target John Collins
Published 15 Feb 2021, 12:01 IST

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Illinois Fighting Illini vs Northwestern Wildcats Prediction & Match Preview- February 15, 2021 | NCAA Men’s Basketball



Wooden Award 2020-21 nominee Ayo Dosunmu scored 31 points to give Illinois Fighter Illini (14-5, 10-3 Big 10) the win against Nebraska on Saturday. With that, the team is now on a 5-game winning streak and places No. 2 in Big 10 standings.Illinois will look to continue their dominant season in their fight against the Northwestern Wildcats (6-12, 3-11 Big 10) on Monday.Northwestern will look for an upset win when they step on the court to face one of the best teams in the nation. Meanwhile, Coach Chris Collins’ team dropped their 11th straight game on Saturday, suffering a heart-wrenching 64-50 loss against Rutgers.Northwestern Wildcats PreviewNorthwestern will need to be on their A-game when they face an Illinois team that beat them comprehensively the last time the two teams played this year.Their 81-56 loss to Illinois on Jan. 7 showed the team had no answer on how to stop them.Northwestern ranks second-to-last in Big 10 standings, sitting just above Nebraska by one game. The team holds a conference record of 3-11, and they will really need to toughen up when they play arguably the best team in the conference.Key Player – Chase Audige

Audige serves as the team’s leading scorer, averaging 12.8 points for the season. The sophomore guard only scored 11 points in the team’s loss to the Rutgers, but put up 19 points against Indiana and 18 against No. 24 Purdue.If Northwestern wants to keep up with Illinois, Audige must step up offensively, and defensively, when he matches up against Ayo Dosunmu on Monday.Illinois Fighting Illini PreviewThe team just continues to amaze us throughout the season. Just when we thought the team had been in a slump at one point, Illinois squashed those notions, immediately.Illinois is led by tandem Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, both Wooden Award Candidates, as the two have been outstanding for the team all season. Cockburn dominated against Northwestern in their last meeting, as the center scored 18 points and snatched 12 boards for a double-double. He also had 21 points in the game against Nebraska.

Kofi Cockburn ranks second in the NCAA with 14 double-doubles this season, behind only Austin Peay’s Terry Taylor with 15. Cockburn has posted double-doubles in 11 of 13 Big Ten games. https://t.co/wHwBd3mmNT— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) February 13, 2021Brad Underwood’s team is one of the top teams in college basketball and will continue their Big 10 surge when they look to dominate against Northwestern.Key Player – Ayo DosunmuDosunmu dominated the team’s recent win against Nebraska. The junior guard is averaging 21.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists for the season.He is elite when he gets in rhythm and utilizes his all-around game on the offensive end. The guard came up big in the overtime win against Nebraska, scoring 22 points in the second half, 10 points in regulation, and the first 5 points in overtime.Illinois vs Northwestern PredictionExpect this game to end in a blow-out win for Illinois. With the way Illinois’ entire starting line-up and reserves have progressed, Northwestern might have to brace themselves for the worst.When Illinois defeated Northwestern on Jan. 7, the team was at their breaking point in winning six of their last 8 before that. But now that this team has reached their breaking point, Illinois could see their dominance against Northwestern as soon as the game tips off.Where to watch the game ?The game will be broadcast on the Big 10 Network.
Published 15 Feb 2021, 05:45 IST

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Kyrie Irving is having the best season of his career and it shut up his critics


Kyrie IrvingPhoto: Getty ImagesMaybe, just maybe. Some of them were “pawns.”That’s what Kyrie Irving called “the media” before the season started, as he was coming off a failed attempt to not speak to reporters this season. Irving would eventually apologize for referring to professionals as the weakest piece on a chessboard, but feelings were hurt.But, on some level, did Irving have a point? Because all the drama — I’ll get to that in a second — and noise that once smothered Irving suddenly disappeared when he got back on the court. Taking shots at someone when they’re down and then going silent when they’re up is a pawn-like move. Keep that same energy for the good and the bad. The naysayers were quiet again last night, as the Nets defeated the Warriors 134-117 as Irving led Brooklyn with 23 points in Kevin Durant’s first game back in Oakland.This season has been a rollercoaster for Irving, as he’s only played 19 games so far. There was the “pawn” thing, others thought he should have been traded for James Harden, he took personal time away from the team without explaining why, then he was at his sister’s birthday party without a mask, he showed up on a Zoom call for Manhattan District Attorney candidate Tahanie Aboushi, and then we found out that Jackie MacMullan thinks he and other players are “property” of NBA teams. It got so ridiculous at one point that Stephen A. Smith said Irving should retire. G/O Media may get a commissionBut then, Irving started hoopin’. It’s like everyone had forgotten that he’s one of the best basketball players on Earth. 26.37.25.25.18.30.29.37.38.28.16.26.25.26.39.15.27.35.23.Those are Irving’s scoring numbers for every game he’s played this season in Brooklyn, making him the Nets’ second-leading scorer. Irving is in the midst of the best statistical season of his career. His 27.6 points per game are a career-high. He’s shooting 95.1 percent from the free-throw line, 52.5 percent from the field, and 40.9 percent from deep. His assists and rebounds have taken a dip, but that could be due to a position change on his part.As the NBA is still trying to force its players into playing what will be remembered as the worst and most lethargic All-Star Game of all time, Irving is still projected to be named a starter as the second round of fan votes have come in. Fans still find joy in watching the enigmatic star do his thing.Kyrie Irving has always been “different.” It’s just who he is. And while at some point there will be more controversy due to something he did or said, it’s always funny to see how quickly the noise around him lessens as soon as he starts dribbling a basketball. Whenever drama vanishes that quickly, it usually means it was never anything to begin with. .

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North Carolina Tar Heels vs Virginia Cavaliers Prediction & Match Preview – Feburary 13, 2021 | NCAA Men’s Basketball



The 9th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers will play host to their ACC conference rival North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday. The Cavaliers currently hold the top spot in the ACC standings, most recently defeating Georgia Tech to earn their 10th conference victory. The North Carolina Tar Heels have had an up-and-down season, but they enter this matchup in 5th place in the ACC.Match DetailsFixture: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Virginia Cavaliers – NCAA Men’s BasketballDate & Time: Saturday, February 13th, 2021, 6 PM ETVenue: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Virginia_________________________________________________________________North Carolina Tar Heels Preview Notre Dame v North CarolinaThe North Carolina Tar Heels are fighting to stay in the mix after a tough start to their season. Victorious in seven of their last nine games, North Carolina is looking like the perrenial contender they are.North Carolina Tar Heels is coached by the legendary Roy Williams, now in his 18th season with the program. Williams has accumulated a lifetime record of 479-158 while at North Carolina, including 9 Final Four appearances. While this Tar Heels team looked to be having an off year, they seem to have revived and can keep their momentum rolling with an upset on Saturday.

Key Player – Caleb LoveFollowing a breakout performance against Duke earlier this week, Caleb Love will be the key to victory for the Tar Heels on the road. The star freshman exploded for a season-high 25 points to lift his team to a 4-point victory.Caleb Love had averaged just over 10 points per game prior to this outburst, but perhaps he has found his stroke at the right time. The Virginia Cavaliers will need to keep a close eye on Love, as he may bring the hot hand with him on the road.North Carolina Tar Heels Predicted LineupF Garrison Brooks, F Armando Bacot, G Leaky Black, G Caleb Love, G Kerwin Walton_________________________________________________________________Virginia Cavaliers Preview

The Virginia Cavaliers carry a 14-3 overall recordThe Virginia Cavaliers outlasted the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a defensive battle in their last matchup. While they were held to a season-low 57 points of offense, the Cavaliers’ defense allowed just 49 points, their lowest in conference play.With a commanding lead in the ACC standings, the Virginia Cavaliers can enter this matchup under no pressure. The North Carolina Tar Heels have been heating up lately, but the Cavaliers are playing their best basketball.Key Player – Sam HauserVirginia Cavaliers’ star forward Sam Hauser could make a huge impact in Saturday’s matchup with North Carolina. The 6’8″ senior is leading the Cavaliers’ offense in scoring, averaging just under 15 points per game. Hauser tallied just 8 points in Virginia’s latest win, but did his work on the boards with 10 rebounds.With a dangerous North Carolina Tar Heels team coming to town, Sam Hauser will need to display his leadership and control the paint all night. The senior will be matched up with Armando Bacot, providing a tough challenge on the glass for the talented Hauser.

Virginia Cavaliers Predicted LineupF Sam Hauser, F Jay Huff, G Kihei Clark, G Trey Murphy III, G Reece Beekman_________________________________________________________________North Carolina vs. Virginia PredictionNorth Carolina Tar Heels has a very balanced offense, with three starters averaging double digits in scoring and a team field goal percentage of 44%. The Tar Heels will certainly put up a good fight and could possibly complete the upset with another breakout performance from Caleb Love.However, the Virginia Cavaliers have denied many attempts at an upset, proving to be the top competitor in the ACC. I give the Cavaliers a slight advantage in this matchup due to their recent defensive efforts.Where to watch North Carolina vs. VirginiaThe game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Published 13 Feb 2021, 06:18 IST

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Half the Team Had the Coronavirus. The Wizards Are Still Recovering.


Bertans had finally been freed from isolation while his teammates were gone, returning home to his wife and daughter. His first practice was an ordeal — “I could definitely tell that I hadn’t done anything for almost two weeks,” he said — and then he missed all seven of his shots in a 16-point loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 29.“The feel for the game was the biggest struggle,” he said.Smith was having his own problems. The league uses something called cycle threshold, a measure of the amount of virus in the body, to help determine whether a player can be cleared to return. Generally, that number needs to be at least 30, with higher numbers implying less of the virus. A week after first testing positive, Smith was registering cycle threshold values of only 28, he said.Smith would run up the stairs of his home to gauge his fitness.“Everybody is different, and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a situation where I couldn’t breathe,” Smith said.His teammates and coaches were rooting for him from afar.“It reminded me of the Winter Olympics,” Sheppard said. “Americans don’t know anything about these sports, but within two days we’re all experts. It was the same thing with Ish: ‘Come on, Ish! You’ve got to get above 30!’”Smith knew he was fortunate, he said. He had medical supervision. He was undergoing daily testing. His symptoms were never serious. He thought of his siblings, who are teachers, and countless others living through the pandemic without that type of support.“I’ve got no complaints,” he said. “You just have to pick it up and keep it moving.”Smith returned on Jan. 31, scoring 13 points in a dramatic win over the Nets. Brooks celebrated with a can of White Claw.The Wizards have had more lows than highs, going 3-8 since their patchwork season resumed. Practice time has come at a premium. There is no playbook for a pandemic, Brooks said, and he can only hope that his players have endured the worst of it, and that they can build some chemistry. But there are no guarantees, not this season.

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In the N.B.A., Money Speaks Louder Than Stars


David Stern was in his final full season as the N.B.A. commissioner in 2012-13 when LeBron James won his fourth and most recent Most Valuable Player Award. Eight years later, James is in his 18th season and a leading candidate in the race to receive the Maurice Podoloff trophy from Commissioner Adam Silver.James can still do many things in his supposed twilight years with the Los Angeles Lakers. He remains the game’s most high-profile figure and, by playing at an M.V.P. level at age 36, is constantly reminding us that basketball has its own answer to the N.F.L.’s time-defying Tom Brady.It would appear not even James, though, can stop the N.B.A. from staging an All-Star Game next month in Atlanta.He couldn’t have come out much stronger against the concept than he did late last week, blasting the N.B.A.’s plans to stuff three days’ worth of All-Star events into a one-shot Turner Sports extravaganza on March 7. League and players’ union officials are nonetheless expected to soon announce that those plans have been locked in.It is reminiscent of how the season started — and another illustration of the louder-than-ever say held by the N.B.A.’s broadcast partners at such challenging financial times for the sport’s various stakeholders.Players largely left the summer bubble expecting the 2020-21 season to be contested exclusively in 2021, starting no earlier than January and perhaps as late as March. Opening night was then suddenly moved up to Dec. 22 at the strong urging of the league’s two national broadcast partners, who wanted to preserve two valuable television properties: Disney’s five-game Christmas slate on ESPN and ABC, and Turner’s traditional Tuesday night doubleheader to start the season.As James said in a postgame session with reporters on Thursday, many players assumed there would not be an All-Star Game during the extended break scheduled from March 5 to 10. Those players were surprised when it emerged in late January that the league and the union were working on a one-night-only window for All-Star festivities that would enable TNT to air the event, the jewel of its annual N.B.A. coverage.The 2020 All-Star Game in Chicago, for example, attracted 7.3 million viewers for TNT. That was better than the viewing figures for any of the Christmas games on Disney-owned channels.The big difference between December and now is that no one has pinpointed the financial impact of a modified All-Star program. League officials maintain that it’s difficult to project figures for All-Star festivities in terms of basketball-related income, which owners and players split nearly 50/50. The New York Times was among the news outlets to report in December that starting the season before Christmas, rather than in mid-January, was expected to generate at least $500 million more in revenue.Two estimates I was provided by industry insiders pegged the value of Turner’s All-Star coverage at $30 million to $60 million — money that the N.B.A. would have to make up to Turner later if the game was not played. You can safely assume that the overall potential loss (with B.R.I. added) would be much higher, given the way players of considerable stature, such as Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers, have talked about what’s motivating the league to take the health risk of bringing together the top players during the coronavirus pandemic.“It is what it is at this point,” Leonard said. “We all know why we’re playing it — there’s money on the line.”Leonard seemed to grasp better than most that, 11 months into the N.B.A.’s new reality (and the world’s), trade-offs for the big picture are a constant.Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Nets’ James Harden are among the marquee players who have joined James in publicly questioning the All-Star plans, contributing to an uncharacteristic swirl of pushback for Silver from the league’s stars. Phoenix’s Chris Paul, the players’ association president, said in response that “guys are entitled to their feelings” — but Paul insisted that “decisions are being made” with “the full body of players in mind.”Translation: More than 400 players who won’t be invited to participate in the resuscitated All-Star gathering are counting on those who do take part to ensure TNT can proceed with its usual showcase event and insulate them from a costly financial hit.The league’s deals with Disney and TNT, worth $24 billion over nine years, do not expire until after the 2024-25 season, but it is never too soon in coronavirus times to re-establish oneself as an exemplary partner. The N.B.A., for all the criticism it has absorbed in recent days, is certainly on a winning streak there, from conceiving a bubble to safely usher the 2019-20 season to a conclusion … to engineering that bubble at Walt Disney World as opposed to Las Vegas or any other interested city … to this All-Star save.I’m told Phoenix was proposed as a potential venue for March 7. Holding it in Atlanta instead would put the game in TNT’s backyard, eliminating travel for its coverage crews.Yet it’s the opposite for the participants, and that’s the unsettling part — even after the N.B.A. announced zero positives in leaguewide coronavirus testing last week. The All-Stars face extra travel to a function steeped in fraternization between players at a time when teams, in their day-to-day existence, are strongly discouraged from postgame interactions of any kind. There’s seemingly no way to avoid describing this game — an exhibition — as risky.The All-Star Game “has been an important tradition throughout the history of the league and remains one of our top events for global fan interest and engagement,” Mike Bass, an N.B.A. spokesman, said in a statement to The Times last week. “The health and safety of everyone involved is at the forefront of our discussions with the players’ association.”The league and the union have been adamant that the game will feature a significant philanthropic component to benefit historically Black colleges and universities as well as Covid-19 relief efforts. The broadcast itself is certain to amplify a league campaign that urges fans to take the coronavirus vaccine as it becomes available and features Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Gregg Popovich in commercial spots.Murmurs persist that some All-Stars will seek to opt out of playing what has been a mandatory assignment for those selected, according to the league’s bylaws, but all signs indicate the game will go ahead.James surely knows it, too. Don’t forget that, dismayed as he was about a game that “I don’t even understand” and a trip that will take 24 All-Stars “into one city that’s open,” he also said he would be there if selected.Even for the face of the N.B.A.’s player empowerment era, even when he’s playing Brady-esque ball, there are limits.You ask; I answer. Every week in this space, I’ll field three questions posed via email at marcstein-newsletter@nytimes.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as the city you’re writing in from, and make sure “Corner Three” is in the subject line.(Responses may be lightly edited or condensed for clarity.)Q: Who you got? Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant? Or LeBron James and Anthony Davis? I know you’ve covered both duos. I bet you go with Kobe and Shaq. — Chris Williams (Laguna Beach, Calif.)Stein: We’ve seen James and Davis together for less than a season and a half. As fearsome as they look as a tag team, even after winning a championship on their first try and quickly establishing the Lakers as this season’s title favorites, I can’t put them ahead of the twosome at the center of the N.B.A.’s last three-peat.Not yet.But I reserve the right to change this vote down the road.For all their success together, O’Neal and Bryant had to settle for three titles in eight seasons. They dominated every aspect of the league for nearly a decade, with their drama as much as with the on-court havoc they caused, but the partnership was dissolved in acrimony when the Lakers decided it was untenable to keep orbiting the team around O’Neal and traded him to Miami in July 2004. There will always be a sense that these two divorced prematurely and could have won more together.James and Davis so far have a harmony that O’Neal and Bryant scarcely achieved. It’s still the honeymoon phase, with no guarantee things stay this way, but the Lakers also have their two biggest stars under contract together through 2022-23. The outlook is rather rosy — as long as they stay healthy. (Davis, as we speak, is nursing some nagging discomfort in his right leg and foot.)It’s important to remember the circumstances when making your assessments. O’Neal hadn’t won an N.B.A. championship and was still reasonably young himself, at 24, when he was paired with Bryant, then the most ambitious teenager in basketball history. James and Davis not only have games that mesh together beautifully, as offensive fulcrum and defensive anchor, but they came together when they were clearly ready to team up.James is in the later stages of his career and, with his legacy secure, has willingly ceded a chunk of the spotlight to Davis that might have been much harder to share in his 20s. Davis couldn’t carry New Orleans to glory as the face of that franchise and has clearly reveled in the boost he gets from James’s presence to unlock his full potential.Q: Why did the Nets feel compelled to give away so much in the James Harden trade? Couldn’t this transaction have gone forward without including Cleveland and Jarrett Allen? — Tom Cartelli (Milford, N.J.)Stein: No chance.The three future first-round draft picks that the Nets parted with were the headliner trade assets they used to win the Harden sweepstakes, but they were not going to have any shot at constructing a workable deal without including both Caris LeVert and Allen. Rather than keep Allen, Houston routed him to the Cavaliers for another first-round pick (Milwaukee’s 2021 first-rounder) and to reduce the Rockets’ luxury-tax bill.Harden’s incoming $41,254,920 salary required the Nets to send out a minimum of $32,923,936 to make the salary-cap math work. Allen’s $3,909,902 salary didn’t make much of a dent into that figure, but combining him with another blossoming talent in LeVert at $16,203,704, those three first-round picks and the rights for Houston to swap first-rounders in four additional drafts enabled the Nets to outbid Philadelphia and Boston.Q: Given the potential voter fatigue with the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo this season and Luka Doncic’s Mavericks off to a slow start, could we see someone in his 30s win the Most Valuable Player Award for the first time in 15 years? Steve Nash was the last to win the award in his 30s in 2006. — David Anderson (Raleigh, N.C.)Stein: You’re onto something for sure. Denver’s Nikola Jokic (26 on Feb. 19) and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (27 in March) are at the forefront of the M.V.P. race with roughly one-third of the regular season complete, but there are more 30-somethings in the conversation than players in their 20s.The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (36), Golden State’s Stephen Curry (33 in March) and the Nets’ Kevin Durant (32) would be in my top five with Jokic and Embiid if voting ended today.The duel between Curry (57 points) and Doncic (42 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds) Saturday night in a 134-132 victory for Dallas was one of the games of the season so far — and reminded you that Curry is back to his best after missing almost all of last season with a broken hand.(The Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard, in case you’re wondering, turns 30 in June.)17The Western Conference-leading Utah Jazz (20-5) are making 17 3-pointers per game — which puts them on pace for a league record. The 2018-19 Houston Rockets made 16.1 3s per game to set the record, according to Stathead.70.2For all the justified praised we heaped on the Lakers’ Anthony Davis last week for how perfectly he complemented LeBron James, there’s no avoiding one prime area of slippage in his game this season: Davis is shooting a career-worst 70.2 percent from the free-throw line. He shot a career-best 84.6 percent last season.2Jeremy Lin of the Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State’s affiliate) and Nik Stauskas of the Raptors 905 (Toronto’s affiliate) were the only two N.B.A. veterans allocated to the G League team of their choosing via the N.B.A. developmental league’s new veteran selection rule — which is also known unofficially as “the Jeremy Lin rule.” The G League’s 20th season opens Wednesday with 18 teams playing in a restricted-access zone at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., similar to last summer’s N.B.A. bubble.5We’re down to just five teams that have not faced a game postponement through the season’s opening seven weeks. That group includes both New York teams (Knicks and Nets), both Los Angeles teams (Lakers and Clippers) and Toronto (which is playing its home games in Tampa, Fla.).3Atlanta appears poised host to the All-Star Game for the third time. It was the host city in 1978 (when my beloved Randy Smith of the Buffalo Braves won most valuable player honors) and in 2003.Hit me up anytime on Twitter (@TheSteinLine) or Facebook (@MarcSteinNBA) or Instagram (@thesteinline). Send any other feedback to marcstein-newsletter@nytimes.com.

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Liberty Trade Top Scorer but Add the All-Star Natasha Howard


The Liberty traded away the top pick in this year’s draft and Kia Nurse, their top scorer last season, as part of a flurry of deals across the W.N.B.A. on Wednesday that also brought the All-Star Natasha Howard to New York.The Liberty acquired Howard as part of a three-team deal with the Seattle Storm and the Phoenix Mercury. Howard, a three-time W.N.B.A. champion, provides a solid interior player for the Liberty to pair with last season’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Sabrina Ionescu. As a designated core player for Seattle, Howard had to approve the trade.The Liberty also sent the No. 1 pick in the draft this year and the Mercury’s 2022 first-round pick to the Storm. The Liberty acquired that pick from Phoenix by sending Nurse and Megan Walker to the Mercury for the sixth pick this year and their first-round choice next year.The No. 1 pick didn’t stay in Seattle long, as the Storm traded it to Dallas for Katie Lou Samuelson and the Wings’ second-round pick in 2022. The Wings become the first team in W.N.B.A. history to hold the first and second overall picks in the same draft. In addition, Dallas also holds the fifth, seventh and 13th selections in 2021.“The opportunity to acquire the top pick in a draft does not present itself very often,” said Greg Bibb, the Wings’ president and chief executive. “By securing this pick, we will ensure our ability to draft the player at the top of our draft list while having additional draft assets at our disposal to further improve our team.”It’s only the third time in the league’s history that the top pick in the draft has been traded. On draft night in 2007, Phoenix traded the No. 1 pick to the Minnesota Lynx. Three years later, the Lynx sent the top pick to Connecticut in a deal for Lindsay Whalen, who is from Minnesota.There is a lot of uncertainty about who will be available to be picked in this year’s draft. The N.C.A.A. granted every player an extra year of eligibility, meaning top seniors like Dana Evans of Louisville and Michaela Onyenwere of U.C.L.A. could return to college next year.Also on Wednesday, in a separate trade with Seattle, the Liberty got guard Sami Whitcomb for the rights to Stephanie Talbot.“We have the privilege of welcoming multiple-time W.N.B.A. champions Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb to Brooklyn,” Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb said. “The magnitude of Natasha choosing to be in New York cannot be overstated. She is an All-W.N.B.A. talent who has worked for and earned everything that she has achieved, who has contributed to championship runs on multiple teams, and who will fit seamlessly into Walt Hopkins’ system.”Howard won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019. The 29-year-old forward won one title in Minnesota, in 2017, and two titles in Seattle, in 2018 and last season.“I am very excited to be a part of the New York Liberty organization,” Howard said. “I’m also excited to meet my new teammates and the fans. I’m so pumped about the 2021 season.”Howard averaged 9.5 points and 7.1 rebounds last season while shooting 53 percent from the field.Whitcomb was a key member of the Storm’s franchise the last few years. The 32-year-old is a solid 3-pointer shooter.Nurse, the Liberty’s 10th overall selection in the 2018 draft, averaged 11.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2 assists per game over 89 contests (59 starts) during her three-year tenure. She led the team in scoring last season with 12.2 points per game.The Liberty drafted Walker ninth overall last season, and she averaged 3.3 points and 1.5 rebounds while playing in 18 games.“I would like to thank Kia Nurse and Megan Walker for their contributions to our organization,” Kolb added. “The unfortunate part of transactions such as these is that you have to say goodbye to people who have contributed to the team in so many ways. ”Finally, the Lynx traded forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan to the Storm for the 2022 first-round pick they had acquired from Phoenix through the Liberty.

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NBA Says Teams Must Play the National Anthem


The N.B.A. announced on Wednesday that it would again require all teams to play the national anthem before games “in keeping with longstanding league policy,” after the Dallas Mavericks had stopped playing the anthem through their first 13 preseason and regular-season home games.“With N.B.A. teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” said Mike Bass, an N.B.A. spokesman.The league office abruptly changed its stance on the matter after giving Mark Cuban, the Mavericks’ franchise owner, permission going into the season to stop playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before home games. A league spokesman said Tuesday that teams were permitted “to run their pregame operations as they see fit” because of “the unique circumstances of this season,” in which nearly two-thirds of the 30-team N.B.A. are still playing home games without fans.Cuban told The New York Times on Wednesday that the Mavericks would follow the policy immediately and play the anthem before Wednesday night’s home game against the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Center.“We are good with it,” Cuban said.Most players and coaches regularly knelt during the national anthem to protest social injustice while the league played at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., last summer.Later, in a statement, Cuban said: “We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them. We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard, because they have not been.“Going forward, our hope is that people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently from them.”

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