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The Whiteboard is The Step Back’s daily basketball newsletter, covering the NBA, WNBA and more. Subscribe here to get it delivered to you via email each morning. If you are the kind of perverse sports fan who enjoys extreme blowouts, Thursday night must have been an absolute delight. The Grizzlies beat the Thunder 152-79 (a 73-point
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Ty Jerome, Oklahoma City Thunder, Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies. (Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports) Watch: Notre Dame football players react to Marcus Freeman being named Fighting Irish head coach by John Buhler Memphis Grizzlies fans chanting “DE-FENSE” when up 78 points on the Oklahoma City Thunder is the type of inherent pettiness all NBA fans’
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7:12 PM ET Jamal Collier Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss Saturday’s game against the Miami Heat with right calf soreness, coach Mike Budenholzer announced before the game. It’s the second straight game Antetokounmpo has been sidelined because of the injury, which kept him out of the second half of a back-to-back on Thursday
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Dec 3, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) directs teammates during a break in the action against the Phoenix Suns in the second quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports Bellator 272: Sergio Pettis pulls off unreal comeback KO of Kyoji Horiguchi to retain title
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9:57 AM ET ESPN News Services The Charlotte Hornets have had four players — LaMelo Ball, Jalen McDaniels, Mason Plumlee and Terry Rozier — enter into the NBA’s health and safety protocols, it was announced Saturday. The Hornets have sent players and staff home from their practice facility as there’s concern of possible positive COVID-19
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Neil Olshey, Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) When is the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Game? by Patrick Schmidt Portland Trail Blazers fans are over the moon about former general manager Neil Olshey getting fired. While an inevitable rebuild is coming to the Pacific Northwest, Portland Trail Blazers fans rejoiced over
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Ben Simmons has been excused for mental health-related reasons, but the team is now fining him if he does not cooperate with team doctors.  The Ben Simmons saga rages on in Philadelphia, as the 76ers have once again begun to fine the once-successful 76er. According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the 76ers fined the All-Star
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12:14 PM ET The Portland Trail Blazers have fired general manager and president of basketball operations Neil Olshey following an investigation into workplace misconduct, the team announced Friday. “Following the conclusion of the independent review of concerns and complaints around our workplace environment at the practice facility, the Portland Trail Blazers organization has decided to
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Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Virginia football: 5 replacements for Bronco Mendenhall after surprise resignation by Cody Williams LeBron James tested positive for COVID on Tuesday but the
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Dec 2, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Ty Jerome (16) goes to the basket against Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane (22) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports MLB trade grades: Who won Hunter Renfroe-Jackie Bradley Jr. swap? by Scott Rogust The Oklahoma City Thunder were humbled
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Former Celtics and Grizzlies guard Tony Allen. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Watch: Tommy Rees’ speech to Notre Dame players about staying was utterly awesome by Alicia de Artola Former Celtics and Grizzlies guard Tony Allen was arrested and charged with domestic assault after an altercation with his wife near Memphis. Tony Allen’s retirement really isn’t going
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New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas and Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry now share a fascinating statistic unique only to them.  What does towering Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas have in common with prolific Warriors shooter Steph Curry? It’s certainly not height. Curry is listed at 6-foot-2, while Valanciunas is oversized at 6-foot-11. It’s
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The NBA will make the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls forfeit second-round draft picks as penalty for tampering in Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry deals. The long-awaited verdict for the tampering trade charges involving Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry has finally been released. After a four-month investigation, the NBA has determined that the offending
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In a new interview, Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl Anthony-Towns shared a sweet memento he still keeps from his mom, who passed away from COVID in 2020. The focus of The Undefeated’s recent profile on Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns fixates on how the game is coming together for the 26-year-old. “There’s just way more joy in his
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2:52 PM ET Tim BontempsESPN New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters Monday afternoon that he is removing guard Kemba Walker from not only the team’s starting lineup but also the rotation as a whole, beginning with Tuesday’s showdown with the crosstown-rival Nets in Brooklyn. “It’s a tough decision to make, but you always
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4:45 PM ET The Milwaukee Bucks are signing four-time All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, sources told ESPN on Sunday. Cousins, 31, will sign a non-guaranteed deal to join the defending NBA champions, sources said. Teams must guarantee contracts for the balance of the season by January 7. The Bucks have been without center Brook Lopez with
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5:56 PM ET Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid returned for Saturday’s home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves after a nine-game absence due to health and safety protocols. Tobias Harris also returned to the starting lineup after missing the last two games with a hip injury. The shorthanded Sixers went 2-7 without Embiid, who is
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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 24: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on November 24, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of
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Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson believes 15-2 record is a “great indicator” of Warriors winning championship.  Klay Thompson has been the ultimate Warriors hype man all season. From the sidelines, Thompson has been cheering his teammates on as he rehabilitates his right Achilles tendon. He may not play until Christmastime, but Klay is
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Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports Though the 2021-22 NBA season is still in its infancy, the early results already beckon for some franchises to swing a big trade. What’s the best part about the NBA? Trading, of course! The season is about a fifth of the way finished and a handful of teams already ride
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Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears. (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Aoriqileng responds to ‘disgusting’ racist comment made by Cody Durden by Amy Kaplan During the Chicago Bulls’ blowout loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, fans were chanting “Fire Nagy” inside the United Center. The Chicago Bears faithful have just about had it with
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Apr 8, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Cory Joseph (18) celebrates as a time out is called against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports Raiders prove completely fraudulent in putrid loss to Bengals by Byron Smith Tiger Woods offers auspicious message,
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 30: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts to a call on the court in the first quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center on October 30, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Nuggets defeated the Timberwolves 93-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
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8:16 PM ET Jamal Collier MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said the organization would “continue to fight for better” in the aftermath of a jury’s verdict Friday that Kyle Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two men and wounded another during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year, was acquitted of all charges. The Bucks performed
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Though not known as a basketball fan, Taylor Swift has had a long-running relationship with the NBA that predates her recording career and continues today. On Friday, Taylor Swift released Red (Taylor’s Version), the second installment in her ongoing quest to re-record each of her first six albums. Red remains her best record as well
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1:57 PM ET The NBA has suspended New Orleans Pelicans guard Didi Louzada 25 games without pay for violating the NBA/NBPA’s anti-drug program. Louzada tested positive for drostanolone and testosterone. In a statement to ESPN, Louzada, 22, described the source of unknowingly ingesting the banned substances as an offseason trip back to his Brazilian home
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The championship-or-bust Lakers currently sit well outside the championship picture. How much should we be worried about L.A.’s slow start? The Lakers introduced significant downside risk to their season the moment they traded for Russell Westbrook, but it was hard to see things going this poorly this fast. We knew it would be difficult for
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NBA and NFL athletes used their platform to pressure Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt to commute the sentence of Julius Jones hours before his execution. Athlete activism has seen an uptick in recent years, with countless athletes sharing their perspectives directly with fans. Professional athletes possess unparalleled platforms, as heroes to millions of adoring sports fans
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8:48 AM ET Adrian Wojnarowski Close Senior NBA Insider Host of The Woj Pod Joined ESPN in 2017 Ramona Shelburne Close ESPN Senior Writer Senior writer for ESPN.com Spent seven years at the Los Angeles Daily News NBA general managers are working to finalize the formation of a professional association that would collectively support executives
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12:54 PM ET Associated Press WASHINGTON — Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard has received a contract extension amid Washington’s fast start to the season. Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced Wednesday that Sheppard and Sashi Brown signed multiyear extensions and received promotions. Sheppard now becomes president and GM of the Wizards. Brown, who has served as
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Nov 10, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges (0) dribbles as Memphis Grizzles guard Dillon Brooks (24) defends during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports Twitter has a meltdown when Jorge Masvidal pulls out of Leon Edwards fight by Curtis Calhoun Hornets play-by-play announcer Eric Collins went
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12:04 PM ET There’s growing optimism that Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James — who has been out two weeks with an abdominal strain — could make his return against the Boston Celtics on Friday, sources told ESPN. James has been making good progress, and Friday’s meeting with the Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) looms
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Washington Wizards small forward Kyle Kuzma finally answered the viral Cleveland news station who said Kuzma won an NBA Championship “thanks to LeBron.” The Wizards defeated the Cavaliers last Wednesday, but Kyle Kuzma and the city of Cleveland have been taking shots ever since. It all started on Wednesday, when Kuzma was in Rocket Mortgage
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10:26 PM ET In initial remarks made to Phoenix Suns employees Monday, lawyers from the New York-based Wachtell Lipton firm that’s investigating the team and majority owner Robert Sarver addressed concerns about retaliation, confidentiality and a timeline for completion, league sources told ESPN. Two attorneys from the firm — David Anders and Sarah Eddy —
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Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers, Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz. (Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) ONE: NEXTGEN II official live results and highlights by Amy Kaplan Tensions were high in Salt Lake City on Thursday night, as Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert got into a backcourt kerfuffle in the final minutes of
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8:00 AM ET The NBA’s last remaining one-loss team suffered its second defeat Sunday when the Golden State Warriors fell to the Charlotte Hornets. Stephen Curry kicked off the week with a 50-point performance against the Atlanta Hawks — and dropped 40 against the Chicago Bulls on Friday — but was 7-of-22 from the field
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6:05 PM ET Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Denver Nuggets with lower abdominal pain. Lillard has struggled to start the season, shooting below 40% from the field and below 30% from 3-point range. The Blazers officially ruled Lillard out with “lower abdominal tendinopathy.” He had
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Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was accused of racist, misogynistic behavior in a toxic workplace and now his wife has sent messages to former employees. While Phoenix Suns fans await any resolution to the bombshell report that alleged team owner Robert Sarver created a toxic workplace environment with rampant racism and misogyny from the executive,
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The Whiteboard is The Step Back’s daily basketball newsletter, covering the NBA, WNBA and more. Subscribe here to get it delivered to you via email each morning. Evan Mobley’s incredibly advanced defense has gotten plenty of attention in the early part of this season, including a detailed breakdown from Ben Ladner in last week’s installment of
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8:07 PM ET The NBA’s probe into possible pre-free agency tampering centered on the sign-and-trade acquisitions of Chicago’s Lonzo Ball and Miami’s Kyle Lowry appears to have reached the advanced stages, sources told ESPN on Friday. The NBA has conducted numerous interviews with team executives and player agents and have gathered electronic messaging of front
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LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 17: LeBron James (L) and Odell Beckham Jr. attend as Remy Martin presents Beats Party on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Remy Martin) Rams Roster: Rams wide receivers depth chart after signing Odell Beckham Jr. by Byron Smith When news broke that
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Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo joked around about one day running for U.S. president while celebrating his championship at the White House. The celebration for winning the 2020-21 NBA Championship continues, as the Milwaukee Bucks visited the White House on Nov. 8 to celebrate their momentous achievement. But being in the political atmosphere got Giannis Antetokounmpo thinking:
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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has added a new trick to his bag this season, and the Hawks’ offense has struggled to get off the ground. Much of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s career has unfolded in relative obscurity, but the absence of a spotlight has done nothing to stall his growth as a player. The 23-year-old made steady, substantive improvement
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3:52 PM ET LOS ANGELES — Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had no interest in rehashing Monday’s on-court incident involving his team and the Denver Nuggets, or the subsequent penalties handed down by the NBA on Tuesday. “I’m done talking about it,” Spoelstra said Wednesday after his team’s shootaround in advance of Miami’s game against
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4:49 PM ET Three former Phoenix Suns employees have received messages from Penny Sarver, the wife of Robert Sarver, who is the team’s majority owner. Two messages came from the @pennsar Instagram account and another was a text message from a number that belongs to Penny Sarver. These former employees say they consider the messages
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12:41 AM ET SAN FRANCISCO — Warriors star guard Stephen Curry scored an NBA-season-high 50 points in Golden State’s 127-113 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. Curry finished the night 14-for-28 from the field, 9-for-19 from 3-point range and 13-for-13 from the free throw line, while chipping in 10 assists and seven rebounds
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6:13 PM ET After initial resistance, Philadelphia 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons met with a team-recommended medical specialist to discuss his mental health on Monday, sources told ESPN. It is unclear what Monday’s meeting means for the Sixers’ ultimate hopes of a Simmons return to play, but it was a change of direction for Simmons
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Portland Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey looks on during warm ups before the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports Aaron Rodgers loses endorsement deal after admitting he didn’t get COVID vaccine by Patrick Schmidt Shailene Woodley responds to haters blaming her for Aaron Rodgers vaccination drama
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1:59 PM ET Associated Press MIAMI — The NBA told its players, coaches and referees Sunday that they should receive booster shots against the coronavirus, with particular urgency for those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The league and the National Basketball Players Association — working jointly based on guidance from the league’s
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Oct 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Zach Calzada injured: Who is Texas A&M backup quarterback Blake Bost? by Alicia de Artola Is Jac Collinsworth related to Cris Collinsworth? by Cody Williams Michael Porter Jr.
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1:29 PM ET Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey is under an independent investigation commissioned by the team into allegations of workplace misconduct, a source confirmed to ESPN on Saturday. In a statement, the team acknowledged an investigation but did not name Olshey, saying the Blazers were “recently notified of concerns around
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8:19 PM ET DETROIT — Mayor-elect Eric Adams said Friday night that New York City will not change its COVID-19 vaccination mandate that currently prevents Kyrie Irving from playing in games there. Adams, who won the city’s mayoral election Tuesday, put the onus on the NBA and Irving to find a resolution. The current mandate
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12:36 PM ET The Philadelphia 76ers fined All-Star guard Ben Simmons his $360,000 game salary for missing Thursday night’s victory over the Detroit Pistons and plan to continue fining him until he cooperates with team physicians on his mental health and fulfills other basketball-related obligations, sources told ESPN on Friday. The Sixers will again place
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2:46 PM ET LOS ANGELES — Lakers superstar LeBron James has been ruled out of Thursday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder because of an abdominal strain, the team announced. While no timeline for his return has been provided by the Lakers, a source familiar with the injury told ESPN that the team’s medical staff
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Portland Trail Blazer point guard Damian Lillard makes a throwback Millennial reference by suggesting an Instagram tweak inspired by MySpace.  Generation Z kids remember the days before TikTok and Instagram, but before there was Twitter or even Facebook, there was the predecessor for all major social media: MySpace. At least, that’s the case for Millennials,
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1:26 PM ET Associated Press CLEVELAND — Cavaliers forward Lauri Markkanen has joined teammate Kevin Love and entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The team said Markkanen will miss Wednesday’s game against Portland and his status will be updated “at the appropriate time.” The 7-foot Markkanen is in his first season with Cleveland after
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Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s vice president of referee development and training, said Tuesday afternoon that he’s pleased with the league’s progress toward eliminating foul calls on non-basketball moves. He added that his officials are still working to strike the right balance between not calling those non-basketball moves and missing some defensive fouls, and that the
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Oct 14, 2021; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey (3) runs down the court against the Denver Nuggets during the first quarter at BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports 49ers fan goes viral, dressed for football weather (Photo) by Cody Williams Colts offense getting more help from refs than Carson
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Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images ESPN reveals College GameDay Week 9 location by Ethan Lee As the Oklahoma City Thunder lost their third straight game, one Thunder fan walked out of Paycom Center with $20K in a halfcourt heave contest. The halfcourt heave contest is like a carnival game for NBA fans: there’s a tantalizing
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Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook terrified announcers on Halloween with a missed shot that’s reminiscent of his “Westbrick” nickname.  Russell Westbrook hasn’t been himself since he’s been traded to the Lakers — or, maybe, he’s been more of himself, but in the worst way. Westbrook took a mid-range jump shot against Houston Rockets
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5:13 PM ET Ramona Shelburne Close ESPN Senior Writer Senior writer for ESPN.com Spent seven years at the Los Angeles Daily News Adrian Wojnarowski Close Senior NBA Insider Host of The Woj Pod Joined ESPN in 2017 The Philadelphia 76ers are increasingly frustrated with Ben Simmons‘ refusal to accept organizational assistance to address his mental
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Oct 24, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) looking to pass against Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) during the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports Michael Vick congratulates Braves on reaching World Series by Scott Rogust NFL Twitter wants Jimmy Garoppolo benched after
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12:47 PM ET Tim BontempsESPN The Milwaukee Bucks are scheduled to make a trip to the White House to celebrate winning the 2021 NBA title on Nov. 8, sources told ESPN. The Bucks will be the first NBA team to visit the White House since the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers visited former President Barack Obama. Milwaukee
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Russell Westbrook had a quadruple-double for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Oklahoma City Thunder but that isn’t a good thing. Under normal circumstances, an NBA star putting up a quadruple-double would be an awesome achievement. What Russell Westbrook did on Wednesday night against the Thunder proved that’s not always the case. The Lakers guard
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New York Knicks have two words to symbolize their early-season success. It’s simple. It’s catchy. It’s…big bong. The catch phrase has gone viral on NBA Twitter, and every win brings with it more bings, and more bongs. Just one week into the season, the Knicks were first in the Eastern Conference. It all started on
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5:33 PM ET Eric WoodyardESPN DETROIT, Mich. — The wait is over. A new era of Detroit Pistons basketball is officially underway as No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham will make his debut on Saturday against the Orlando Magic, coach Dwane Casey announced ahead of the 7 p.m. ET tipoff. Cunningham missed the entire preseason and
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