Spurs could pursue Kevin Durant in free agency

May 6, 2016

Spurs wants Kevin Durant

The Kevin Durant sweepstakes understandably haven’t quite cranked up yet, just a few days into May, but they do share one notable trait at this embryonic stage with the rest of the NBA’s 2015-16 season.

The Golden State Warriors, whenever Durant’s future does come up, have been getting most of the attention so far.

When it comes to listing teams capable of stealing Durant away from the franchise he’s helped build into a perennial power — and from the fiercely proud and protective state that treasures him as one of its own — almost every list out there has Warriors at or near the top.

Just be sure to remember the following when you’re watching Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder play host to the San Antonio Spurs this weekend in a pivotal Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Sunday:

The stately Spurs, league sources say, are just as intrigued as Golden State by the thought of making a run at Durant come July 1.

As rough as the regular season was at times for the Thunder, amid a rash of a blown fourth-quarter leads and the tragic circumstances that snatched popular assistant coach Monty Williams from OKC’s bench, ‎Durant largely succeeded in his mission coming into the campaign to hush talk about his looming free agency as much as he could. We’re a mere 55 days away now from one of the game’s consensus top-five players hitting the open market, but the bulk of the discourse to date has focused on the teams planning to chase him as opposed to Durant’s presumed leanings.

Yet OKC suddenly can’t get through a single playoff game without being confronted by a foe playing for more than the mere W. As our own Zach Lowe also warned you in this series set-up piece, when he wrote of the Spurs “quietly discussing what kind of cap gymnastics it would take to get into the Durant derby,” standard postseason pressure is only a fraction of the burden weighing on the Thunder, even after they managed to rebound from a Game 1 no-show in San Antonio by stealing Game 2 on the road.

As well as Durant and his close-knit tandem of representatives, Rich Kleiman and Charlie Bell, have done in terms of keeping their intentions mysterious, there is a working assumption among KD’s would-be suitors that a second-round Thunder exit essentially cinches the notion that he’ll indeed walk away and look for the best external situation that positions him to win that elusive first championship.

The theory (stress: theory) also holds that OKC success in this round against the 67-win Spurs would be enough, no matter what happens in a presumed Western Conference finals showdown with the Warriors, to convince Durant, at the very least, to sign a new two-year deal with Oklahoma City ‎that contains a player option for Year 2. Going that route would thus allow Durant to not only give himself one more chance to win that breakthrough title in Thunder colors but also return to free agency in the summer of 2017 eligible for a contract that could be up to $40 million richer and do so alongside Westbrook, who’ll likewise have the opportunity to be aggressively courted by the masses for the first time after next season.

“That’s probably one of the first times I’ve heard that one,” Durant told us in February when our ESPN Radio team had the chance to sit down with him at All-Star Weekend in Toronto and ask about a short-term deal with the Thunder.

“I haven’t thought about contracts or free agency or none of that stuff at all really. … I haven’t thought about that one. I guess I have to.”

What seems certain, at this juncture, is that the forthcoming salary-cap spike that’s projected to take the cap ceiling beyond the $90 million threshold for 2016-17 and into the unprecedented stratosphere of nine figures for 2017-18 gives elite free agents all kinds of unforeseen options … while hurting the Thunder as much as any team on the map. The spike is going to be so drastic that both the Warriors and the Spurs, if they’re willing to shed key contributors from their respective current cores, have undeniable avenues to manufacture the requisite cap space to try to marry Durant with their existing stars.

In Golden State’s case, of course, rumblings about the Warriors’ intent to pursue that very trail come July 1 have been circulating as far back as November, even without any overt encouragement from Durant. There were whispers, going back to the Warriors’ ridiculous 24-0 start, about the bond Golden State stalwarts Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala formed with KD when all three were teammates on an unproven Team USA squad way back in 2010 that won the FIBA World Championship in Turkey that summer. There’s been a quiet yet unmistakable belief in the Bay Area, all season long, that the combined draw of those relationships and the Warriors’ stunning rise over the past 18 months to become the NBA’s it team would give them a chance — perhaps even the league’s best chance — of luring Durant away from the only franchise he’s ever known. Even if it means parting ways with the promising Harrison Barnes. And presumably more.

The Spurs, though, are said to have harbored similar fantasies for months in their famously stealthy manner. As with Golden State, San Antonio won’t have close to max cap room to spend without a willingness to lose multiple members from its Boris Diaw/Danny Green/Patty Mills supporting cast. Yet you’ll recall how swiftly the Spurs jettisoned Tiago Splitter last summer when the opportunity arose to sign LaMarcus Aldridge.

Is it fair to describe the Warriors or the Spurs as likely destinations for the game’s most feared pure scorer?

Is Durant truly prepared to be branded as the biggest bandwagon-hopper of all time by ‎bolting the Thunder for an established championship outfit that, in either case, would make LeBron James’ formation of a superteam on South Beach in the summer of 2010 seem almost modest by comparison?

Only KD and his closest confidants know.

The sure thing, at this stage, is that the Spurs — like the Warriors — are primed for the chase. Like Pat Riley and the Miami Heat last summer with Aldridge, San Antonio wants to book the face-to-face chance to pitch Durant in early July 1 … and then worry about where the cap space comes from.

These are, after all, the new Spurs. After shunning big-ticket free agency for more than a decade in the wake of their unsuccessful run at Jason Kidd in the summer of 2003, Gregg Popovich was positively Riley-esque last summer in his pursuit of Aldridge to partner with Kawhi Leonard and set them up as co-heirs to the two decades of elite basketball sustained with Tim Duncan as the Spurs’ focal point.

It would be premature to suggest that any team apart from the Thunder is in the Durant lead at the minute. Nor is anyone claiming that the Warriors and Spurs are the only two threats to OKC.

All signs continue to point to Washington, Miami, Boston, Houston, New York and naturally both of the L.A. teams doing everything they can to romance Durant as if he were coming out of Montrose Christian School in Maryland all over again.

You can likewise rest assured more known threats will emerge as free-agent season draws closer.

The lure of a move to the more forgiving Eastern Conference, as well as the very real prospect of Durant ultimately deciding on his own that the Warriors or Spurs are simply too good without him to attach himself now, serve as realistic counters to the idea that the two clubs immediately in Oklahoma City’s postseason path should be the Thunder’s two biggest concerns.

The Thunder could also complicate things in a thoroughly beneficial manner to their own cause by beating San Antonio three more times, ensuring themselves a follow-up shot to then stun Golden State in the next round, which would only give No. 35 tons more to think about. With Durant serving as a true pioneer in planting big-time pro sports in the region, Oklahoma City sports a winning percentage of .616 since KD and Russ first joined forces in the 2008-09, bettered only by San Antonio (.714) and Miami (.623) in the NBA and, purely for discussion purposes, matched by not a single team in Major League Baseball in the same span.

Just consider much of the above another one of those not-so-gentle Don’t Sleep On The Spurs reminders that are still strangely necessary in Year 19 of the Pop-&-Timmy Show.

And if you think it would somehow scare them to try to find room in the same offense for Durant, Leonard and the increasingly dominant Aldridge …

Don’t bother.

As one rival GM half-jokingly told me this week, immediately haunted by picturing what those three could be capable of in the midst of the NBA’s small ball revolution: “Because they’d win every game.”

Credit ESPN

Video: Sports Illustrated

Shane Bacon golf mailbag: Business is picking up

Shane Bacon golf mailbag: The post-Masters "everyone take a few weeks off to hit the beach" vacation is over, and the PGA Tour is back. Sports News.
May 6, 2016

Shane Bacon golf mailbag

It’s official, the post-Masters “everyone take a few weeks off to hit the beach” vacation is over, and the PGA Tour is back to the grind, with some huge events upcoming as we sneak closer and closer to Oakmont.

Wells Fargo boasts a field of Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, while the Players Championship will, as they proudly advertise, present us with the best field in golf. This 2016 season has already been nuts and we haven’t gotten to the busy part of the season.

Yep, that’s right, this stuff is about to get busy, and the players know it. San Antonio is behind us. New Orleans sidestepped Mother Nature as best they could to get 54 holes in, and now it’s time to get back into the season and see who will emerge as the ’16 version of Jordan Spieth (if someone can do that).

You got questions, I’ve got answers, as we dive into another mailbag. If you have questions, send them via Twitter right here https://twitter.com/shanebacon, or write us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/shanebacongolf if they won’t fit in 140 characters.

Credit Fox Sports

Cavaliers continue perfect postseason, shoot their way into history

Cavaliers continue perfect postseason: Cleveland Cavaliers splashed 25 of them in their 123-98 romp over the Atlanta Hawks.. Sports News
May 5, 2016

Cavaliers continue perfect postseason

Before you read any further, please look up “Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, 1979” on Google Images. While you have the window open, next search for “Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, 2016.”

See the difference? That is the physical manifestation of how long it has been since the NBA adopted the 3-point shot in 1979-80 before Bird and Johnson began their rookie seasons.

In the 36 years that have passed and thousands upon thousands of games that have been played since then, no team had ever made more than 23 3-pointers in an NBA game — playoff or regular-season — until the Cleveland Cavaliers splashed 25 of them in their 123-98 romp over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday to go up 2-0 on the Eastern Conference semifinals.

There have been many remarkable numbers to consider with the Cavs’ 6-0 start to the postseason — such as the fact that Kevin Love has had a double-double in every game; or the fact that the only game Kyrie Irving didn’t score 20 was Wednesday (he had “only” 19 points on nine shots in 23 minutes because of the blowout); or the fact that LeBron James is 6-of-10 from 3 against the Hawks after shooting just 4-of-19 from deep in the first round against the Detroit Pistons — but none of them compare to the 3s Cleveland made in Game 2.

Cavaliers continue perfect postseason: Cleveland Cavaliers splashed 25 of them in their 123-98 romp over the Atlanta Hawks.. Sports News

It’s hard to appreciate the significance of the barrage of triples the Cavs hit without simply listing all that went into those 25. So, take it away, ESPN Stats & Information:

Cleveland hit 18 3s in the first half. The previous record for 3s in a half was 12, set by the Golden State Warriors this season. There are six franchises that have never hit 18 3s in an entire game — playoff or regular-season — let alone in a half (76ers, Grizzlies, Jazz, Kings, Pelicans, Pistons).

The Cavs have played four home playoff games this spring. They’ve hit 20-plus 3s in two of them. In Game 2 against Detroit they hit 20, tying a playoff record for 3s in a game at the time. Shortly thereafter, Golden State set a new playoff record with 21 3s in Game 4 of its first-round series with Houston. That record lasted all of 11 days until Wednesday.

Of Cleveland’s 25 makes from deep, only one hit multiple parts of the rim before going in. The other 24 were either swishes or hit the bottom of the back rim.

While the Cavs cooled in the fourth quarter, going 3-of-11 from 3 in the final stanza, they started 22-for-34 (64.7 percent). And for the game, they shot 9-of-13 (69.2 percent) on 3s that came after three passes or more.

Ten different players hit a 3 for Cleveland.

The quotes coming from the Cavs were also too copious not to list:

“They know our schemes, they match up well, play great set of defense throughout so to get 25, that’s tough to put into words,” said Love after Cleveland shot 55.6 percent from 3 against an Atlanta team that led the league in defensive field goal percentage during the regular season. “Tonight was one of those nights where you just kind of sit back and shake your head.”

“Tonight was a special night for our organization,” said James, who normally shrugs off accomplishments when they happen so as not to get sidetracked. “For all those that played in the game, the fans, to be able to set an all-time record in NBA history. This league has seen so many great teams, so many great players, so many great shooters and things of that nature. For us, today to be able to set an all-time record, it’s special. It’s truly special.”

“I hope we can continue to do that,” said Cavs coach Ty Lue when asked if Cleveland can keep it up from the outside. “We’re making the right play. Kevin posts up, they double-team, we make the right pass out of the double team: swing [pass], swing [pass], shot. Or they double-team LeBron in the post. Or we drive the basketball in transition, LeBron’s driving seams, Kyrie’s driving seams and guys are open. If we’re open we want to shoot those shots.”

And then, of course, there’s the guy who wants to shoot whether he is open or not, J.R. Smith, who was the grand marshal of the 3-point parade Wednesday by going 7-for-13 from downtown while racking up a plus-29 in 29 minutes.

“J.R., he’s the only one on the team that has the ultra-green light,” James said. “It’s like fluorescent. Coach says, ‘Hey, J.R., shoot! Shoot, shoot it, shoot it, shoot it.’ ”

Said Smith: “Whenever I shoot the ball, I have the confidence that it’s going to go in.”

It’s a confidence shared by the entire Cavs team these days, now only 10 wins from the title. Cleveland is certainly getting hot at the right time.

“If they shoot the ball like that,” Atlanta’s Kyle Korver said, “I don’t know if anyone can beat them, to be honest.”

Credit ESPN

Vikings German rookie wants to be the ‘Dirk Nowitzki of the NFL’

Vikings German rookie: The Vikings took a flier in the sixth round by drafting the super-athletic wide receiver from Germany, Moritz Boehringer. NFL News.
May 3, 2016

Vikings German rookie

The Minnesota Vikings took a flier in the sixth round by drafting the super-athletic wide receiver from Germany, Moritz Boehringer. In doing so, he became the first player drafted out of Europe in NFL history. On Monday, the rookie wasted no time signing his first contract — the first player in the class to do so — and he had a good reason for it.

Because he’s from Germany, he has to apply for a P-1 Visa, which may take some time to get. And in order to be granted one, you have to have a job. So, he’s got that covered now with a four-year $2.49 million contract, including a $150,000 signing bonus.

The contract, of course, doesn’t guarantee him a roster spot. He’ll have to earn that in training camp. If he plays to the level of his athleticism, he’ll be just fine. And he may even make good on his goal down the road.

There’s no doubting his physical abilities. At his pro day, which caught the attention of scouts around the NFL, he ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash with a vertical of 39 inches. His 10-foot-11 broad jump was exceptional, as well.

Boehringer will be an easy rookie to cheer for this offseason.

Credit Fox Sports

Ducks fire coach Bruce Boudreau after Pacific Division title, playoff loss

Ducks fire coach Bruce Boudreau: Anaheim Ducks fired coach Bruce Boudreau two days after their disappointing first-round exit from the playoffs. Sports News
April 29, 2016

Ducks fire coach Bruce Boudreau

The Anaheim Ducks fired coach Bruce Boudreau on Friday, two days after their disappointing first-round exit from the playoffs.

Ducks general manager Bob Murray announced the decision to fire Boudreau, who hasn’t been able to pair postseason success with steady excellence in his two NHL coaching jobs in Anaheim and Washington. The Ducks have lost a Game 7 on home ice in four consecutive playoff years, culminating in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Nashville in the first round.

“This was a very difficult decision to make,” Murray said in a statement. “Bruce is a good coach and character person, and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”

Boudreau had spectacular regular-season success with the Ducks, leading them to four consecutive Pacific Division titles while going 208-104-40 in nearly five seasons in charge.

But the Ducks’ last four seasons have ended in pain. Anaheim blew a 3-2 series lead in each of those seasons, including the loss to the Predators.

Anaheim was eliminated Wednesday night in a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Nashville in Game 7 of the first round. Anaheim outshot the Predators 28-10 over the final two periods, but couldn’t overcome two early goals.

Anaheim reached the Western Conference finals last season, losing in seven games to Chicago. That was the second straight year the Ducks were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champions, following their 2014 loss to Los Angeles in the second round.

The Ducks won three playoff rounds in four seasons under Boudreau, but couldn’t reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Boudreau is the second coach to fail to coax postseason poise out of Anaheim teams led by Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the two fixtures on Anaheim’s roster since its only Stanley Cup title run in 2007. Perry didn’t score a goal in the entire seven-game series against Nashville, while Getzlaf failed to inspire his teammates to success as their captain.

Randy Carlyle, who led the Ducks to the title, was fired by Murray in November 2011. Boudreau took over and immediately sparked the franchise.

Boudreau then won the next four division titles, and this season was perhaps his most impressive. Anaheim got off to a 1-7-2 start and struggled all the way to Christmas, but responded with a 34-10-5 performance after the Christmas break to steal the division title on the final day of the season.

Murray showed patience with Boudreau and the Ducks during the start of the year. When it wasn’t rewarded with postseason success, he fired Boudreau.

“We would like to express our appreciation to Bruce and his wife Crystal for their commitment to our community,” Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli said. “Bruce led us to four division titles with tremendous passion and pride, and we will always be grateful for his contributions both on and off the ice.”

Credit ESPN

Video: Sports Illustrated

Lakers Interview Luke Walton, GS gives the Ok.

Lakers Interview Luke Walton: The Los Angeles Lakers have requested and received permission to speak with Golden State assistant Luke Walton. Sports Online.
April 29, 2016

Lakers Interview Luke Walton

The Los Angeles Lakers have requested and received permission to speak with Golden State assistant Luke Walton about their head-coaching position, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday. Kerr added that Walton will speak with the Lakers once the team completes its first-round series with the Houston Rockets.

Walton is in his second season as an assistant with the Warriors and filled in for Kerr through the first 43 games this season, leading the team 39 victories. Kerr received Coach of the Year honors on Tuesday after leading Golden State to an NBA-record 73-9 mark, but general manager Bob Myers took time to acknowledge Walton’s contributions during the news conference.
“This guy deserves a lot of credit,” Myers said, then asked Kerr, “Can you give him, like, a shoe from the trophy, or something?”

Kerr’s complications from offseason back surgery thrust Walton into an unexpected role, coming off the Warriors’ first championship in 40 years. With Alvin Gentry leaving for New Orleans, Walton moved one seat over to become lead assistant. During a coaching retreat that Kerr planned but was unable to attend because of his health, Myers said he teamed up with Walton for a croquet match to pass along the news. “I said, ‘Hey man, you might be coaching this team.’ I remember [having] a little bit of trepidation about it. And I know Luke had a some, but [he] did an unbelievable job.”

Walton’s success in leading the Warriors to a record 24-0 start immediately made him one of the hottest, young head coaching candidates. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak’s interest in Walton was expected, given Walton’s ties with the organization. Walton played with the Lakers for nine of his 10 seasons in the NBA, winning two championships as a key reserve.
Walton is the frontrunner to start the search, and Kupchak is working off a list of 10 preliminary candidates, including former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie and San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, sources told The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Credit Yahoo Sports

Video: Sports Illustrated

Marlins Dee Gordon suspended 80 games after PEDs violation

Marlins Dee Gordon suspended: Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon has been suspended 80 games without pay, effective immediately. Sports Live.
April 29, 2016

Marlins Dee Gordon suspended

Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon has been suspended 80 games without pay, effective immediately, for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy, the league said early Friday.

The speedy second baseman tested positive for the performance-enhancing substances exogenous testosterone and clostebol, MLB said. A league source told ESPN’s Jayson Stark that Gordon tested positive during spring training.

In a statement Friday, Gordon said he did not knowingly take PEDs but was accepting the suspension.

“Though I did not do so knowingly, I have been informed that test results showed I ingested something that contained prohibited substances. The hardest part about this is feeling that I have let down my teammates, the organization and the fans,” Gordon said. “I have been careful to avoid products that could contain something banned by MLB and the 20+ tests that I have taken and passed throughout my career prove this. I made a mistake and I accept the consequences.”

The league source told Stark that Gordon initially fought the suspension but dropped an appeal after Thursday’s win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gordon, 28, is in his sixth season in the majors. He will lose about $1.65 million in salary during the suspension and is ineligible for the postseason.

The suspension comes for Gordon after he won the NL batting title in 2015, when he hit .333 with 58 steals and 88 runs scored for the Marlins. He was given a diamond-filled pendant by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria on April 19 to honor last season’s batting title.

It also comes in the first season of Barry Bonds’ tenure as Marlins hitting coach. Bonds’ legacy has been tainted by questions of PED use as a player.

The news was announced soon after the Marlins wrapped up a 5-3 road victory, which completed a four-game sweep of the Dodgers. Gordon had a key hit from the leadoff spot and went 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

Despite the sweep, the Marlins’ clubhouse was masked by hushed tones.

Third baseman Martin Prado said the Marlins would continue to play at a high level.

“I really have nothing else to say,” Prado said, according to the Miami Herald. “We had a great series, and we played good baseball, the whole team. We have to continue to do that. We have a game tomorrow, and we’re going to play good baseball against a pretty good team, and we want to keep that streak going.”

Marlins manager Don Mattingly managed Gordon during his first three big league seasons in Los Angeles before he was traded to Miami in a seven-player deal in December 2014. Mattingly took over as Marlins manager prior to this season.

“These guys love Dee, and we’re going to support him,” Mattingly said. “I feel like Dee’s one of my kids, to be honest with you, because I’ve known him so long. So we’re going to love him, and then we’re going to support him. He’s been a big part of the success that we’ve had.”

Gordon signed a five-year, $50 million deal with Miami in January. The son of former major league pitcher Tom Gordon, he has made two All-Star teams and won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards at second base last year. He is batting .266 with six stolen bases this season.

“Dee Gordon is a very important part of our team, and we all love him and support him,” Marlins president David Samson said. “That said, I don’t like or condone what he did. He is an important member of this organization and will be for many years to come. It’s a huge, huge disappointment to the kids, to our fans, to his teammates and to everyone in our organization every single day.

“He will be back 80 games from now, and he will be welcomed back to this organization. But in the interim period, we expect him and we are positive that he will do everything that’s necessary to make it up to his fans, to his teammates and to this organization.”

Though the sequence of events surrounding the suspension were uncertain, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander was quick to react via Twitter and say that if players test positive for PEDs, they shouldn’t play.

“You shouldn’t be allowed to [affect] games while appealing,” Verlander said.

Credit ESPN

NBA says Dwyane Wade not fouled on Heat’s final play in Game 5

NBA says Dwyane Wade not fouled: The NBA said Dwyane Wade was not fouled on Miami's final offensive play of the Heat's loss. Sports News.
April 29, 2016

NBA says Dwyane Wade not fouled

The NBA said Dwyane Wade was not fouled on Miami’s final offensive play of the Heat’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets in Game 5 of the teams’ Eastern Conference first-round series.

Wade thought he was fouled with 2.6 seconds left, as he tried to tie the score while being defended by the Hornets’ Cody Zeller and Courtney Lee. No call came, and the Heat lost 90-88.

Miami trails the series 3-2 going into Game 6 on Friday at Charlotte.

“Look, it never is decided by those plays, but from my vantage point, Dwyane certainly looked like he got fouled,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game.

Asked if he had seen a replay, Spoelstra said, “I don’t need to. He got fouled.”

Wade was even more succinct.

“There’s no reason for me to look at it,” he said. “It ain’t going to change anything. I thought I did [get fouled]. It wasn’t called.”

The league’s review of events in the final two minutes of play states that the Heat did not foul Zeller on an inbounds play in the final seconds, another call Miami wanted before time expired.

“I don’t know if Cody got fouled or not,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said after the game, “but it works for me.”

Since March 2015, the NBA has reviewed officiating in the final two minutes of close games. The league’s “Last Two Minute Report” has provided a public report card of sorts on everything that happens in the final two minutes of games within five points.

The NBA said it releases the reports in an effort to be transparent and because it received inquiries from teams and media about certain calls in close games.

“It’s important that we’re completely transparent and we get the information out there and people understand that we’re upfront about it and we admit mistakes,” Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, said Thursday. “But also, it’s important not only for the referees but for the teams and everybody else that we also talk about the ones we got right.”

The league reviewed 26 events down the stretch of the Miami-Charlotte game Wednesday. In addition to the no-calls on Wade and Zeller, Lee argued he had a shot goaltended by Wade with a minute left.

In all three of those instances, the NBA said it got the calls correct. The NBA said Lee made “minor contact” with Wade’s arm but not enough to merit a foul.

“To be honest, I don’t even look at them,” Spoelstra said Thursday, a few hours before the league’s review was released. “That doesn’t help if they disagree and say it should have been a foul. What’s that do? You just become frustrated. Or if they disagree with you, you can go down that rabbit hole of ‘How do you not see it that way?'”

Credit ESPN

Suspect Indicted In Will Smith Murder Case

The main suspect behind the death of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith has now been indicted.
28 April 2016

Will Smith Murder

The main suspect behind the death of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith has now been indicted.

Cardell Hayes has been formally indicted on four charges including second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, aggravated criminal damage and aggravated criminal assault with a firearm. Prosecutors announced these details at a preliminary hearing.

Will Smith Murder

However, Hayes’ attorneys, most notably John Fuller, insists that the public does not know the full story behind what happened.

“We have reason to believe that a bystander recorded the events immediately prior to gunshots being fired, and that that footage was turned over to New Orleans police on the night that Mr. Smith died,” Fuller said. “We want that video. … It’s going to show that my client is legally not guilty.”

Currently, Hayes and his lawyers are looking to find the unidentified witness who claims to have seen more happen prior to the shooting between Hayes and Smith. Meanwhile, the impact of Smith’s shooting continues to affect the city of New Orleans on its high rate of violence.

“We are a city, we are a country, that is drunk on violence and we need to wake up to that fact,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

The hearing on the Will Smith murder continues. His wife Racquel was also shot and injured the night of the murder.


Photo Credit: CNN

Hornets stun Heat with 90-88 win, take 3-2 series lead

Hornets stun Heat: Courtney Lee was steaming after missing a layup that would have given Charlotte the lead heading into the final minute. Sports.
April 28, 2016

Hornets stun Heat

Courtney Lee was steaming after missing a layup that would have given Charlotte the lead heading into the final minute.

His anger didn’t last long.

Miami’s will last for a while.

Lee’s 3-pointer with 25.2 seconds left – just his second make in nine tries from the floor – put the Hornets ahead to stay, and Charlotte beat the Heat 90-88 in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first-round series Wednesday night.

The Hornets have won three straight in the series to take a 3-2 lead into a potential Game 6 clincher on Friday night.

”I felt I couldn’t make a shot,” Lee said, ”but the biggest one went in.”

Miami thought Dwyane Wade was fouled after he got the rebound of a miss by Goran Dragic with 2.6 seconds left, and the Heat believed Luol Deng fouled Cody Zeller in an effort to send him to the line as time was running out.

Neither call came, and the Heat are on the brink of elimination.

”Look, it never is decided by those plays, but from my vantage point Dwyane certainly looked like he got fouled,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Asked if he had seen a replay, Spoelstra said, ”I don’t need to. He got fouled.”

Wade was even more succinct.

”There’s no reason for me to look at it,” Wade said. ”It ain’t going to change anything. I thought I did. It wasn’t called.”

Marvin Williams led the Hornets with 17 points, while Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker each had 14 for Charlotte – which got its first road playoff win in 14 years. Jeremy Lin added 11.

”We’ve got to play with that same edge, that same mentality,” Williams said.

Wade scored 25 for Miami, while Deng had 15, Joe Johnson added 13 and Hassan Whiteside finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Lee missed a layup with about a minute left, arguing it should have been a goaltending call against Wade. The Heat came up empty on the ensuing possession, rookie Josh Richardson trying a 30-footer with about 3 seconds left on the shot clock that was an airball, and Lee got an offensive rebound and eventually hit the 3 on Charlotte’s next trip.

Lee also got a key offensive rebound late in Charlotte’s Game 4 win.

”The biggest offensive rebounds of both games,” Spoelstra said.

That capped the scoring, as Miami left stunned. The night’s final inbounds pass went to Zeller with about 2 seconds left, and time expired with no foul called.

”I don’t know if Cody got fouled or not,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said, ”but it works for me.”

Miami started the game by running out to a 14-6 lead, before the Hornets answered with a 14-0 run – featuring four 3-pointers from four different players. The Hornets led by 12 midway through the second half, before Wade got going.

He scored 10 of his 14 first-half points in the final 5:49 before intermission, sparking a 17-7 Miami burst to get within 49-47. Everything in his bag of tricks was working; in that stretch alone he hit a short bank shot, a midrange jumper, a layup, a finger roll off a Eurostep move, and a dunk in traffic.

Charlotte shot just 26 percent in the third, and Miami – becoming the first team to engineer a second-half lead change in the series – got the lead out to 71-65 going into the fourth. But Miami went cold, shooting 32 percent the rest of the way.

”Welcome to the playoffs,” Spoelstra said. ”The playoffs just started now.”

Credit Yahoo Sports