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Thursday, April 26, 2018

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Thunder take advantage of Rudy Gobert’s foul trouble in comeback win

Rudy Gobert Jazz

Wednesday night’s comeback by the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Utah Jazz was more proof of how impactful Rudy Gobert is on defense.

The Jazz were up by as much as 25 points (71-56) in the third quarter of Game 5 against the Thunder. Just when it looked like Utah would end the series in five games and advance to the second round, everything changed.

The Thunder put up 37 points in the third quarter and tied things up at 78 entering the final period. Most of their comeback was mounted when Gobert was out of the game due to foul trouble.

Utah was up 65-46 when Gobert exited the game after picking up his fourth foul with 9:23 left in the third quarter. He sat for about four minutes and when he re-entered, the score was 73-60. He picked up his fifth foul a little over a minute later. Utah was up 74-64 at that point.

Gobert finally returned with just under eight minutes left in that game, but by that point, the Thunder had claimed an 88-87 lead.

With Gobert spending so much time on the bench due to foul trouble, the Thunder ended up leading the Jazz in points in the paint (44 to 32). Just in case you weren’t convinced about his defensive impact before, you should be now. This is exactly why the NBA’s block leader last year was voted first-team All-Defense.

Thunder not allowed to show Enes Kanter on big board during playoffs

Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter returned to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, but he was not able to get the reception that he may have been hoping for.

Kanter, whose New York Knicks did not make the playoffs, attended Game 5 between the Thunder and the Utah Jazz, coincidentally his two former teams. However, he was upset to learn he could not be shown on the big board during the game due to tampering reasons, per Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript.

Kanter also made clear that he was rooting for the Thunder and not the Jazz.

In addition, he rocked a “Stache Brothers” t-shirt (a nod to the nickname that he and Steven Adams had when they were teammates in OKC) and made sure to tweet a good luck message to the Thunder from the stands before tip-off.

Much to Kanter’s presumed delight, the Thunder defeated the Jazz 107-99 to force a Game 6 in the first-round playoff series. Missing out on a big board shoutout due to tampering concerns seems like a new one though. But you can’t blame Oklahoma City for abiding by it when one of their players was involved in a notable tampering violation just a few months ago.

Victor Oladipo thinks refs missed goaltend: ‘It sucks’

LeBron James Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo was bummed out after his Indiana Pacers lost Game 5 of their playoff series to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, not just because of the defeat, but also because of a controversial call that went against his team.

Oladipo drove to the basket with the game tied at 95 and attempted a layup in the final seconds. LeBron James rejected his shot with a chase-down block that preserved the tie and gave Cleveland the ball back. There were questions about whether or not James goaltended on the play, but it was not reviewed.

Oladipo said after the game that he thought the refs missed the goaltend.

“It sucks. That layup is huge. That 3 was big time but who’s to say they even run THAT play? They missed that one and it sucks,” Oladipo said, via Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor.

I thought the play was too close to overturn, but others felt Oladipo’s ball went off the backboard before James touched it.

Of course, we know how things ended — James drained a 3-pointer to win the game 98-95 and put his Cavs up 3-2 in the series. In the end, most people will just remember the result of the game rather than the potentially missed call.

Baker Mayfield recreates awesome Brett Favre draft photo

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield is getting into the draft mindset.

The former Heisman Trophy winner tweeted a photo on Wednesday that shows him recreating the famous Brett Favre draft photo.

Mayfield went all-out for the photo, almost perfectly replicating the outfit down to the old school phone prop. He also got multiple people to help pose in the background.

Mayfield is in the mix to go No. 1 overall, and he very well could go in the top five. He has drawn comparisons to Favre and even received an endorsement from the legendary QB.

Jose Altuve has great reaction to receiving silent treatment after home run

Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve had a great reaction to receiving the silent treatment after hitting his first home run of the season.

During Wednesday’s game between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels, the reigning American League MVP went deep for the first time in 2018. When Altuve returned to the dugout, his teammates (momentarily) had no reaction to what happened and showed not emotion whatsoever. That didn’t stop Altuve from celebrating.

Here’s a look from another angle.

The silent treatment is of the more entertaining baseball celebrations. Shohei Ohtani received the same treatment earlier this season.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the last man on the bench, a star from Japan, or the reigning MVP, anyone can be subjected to it. It’s pretty awesome Altuve had fun with it the way he did.

Mike Budenholzer out as Atlanta Hawks coach

Mike Budenholzer

Mike Budenholzer is out as the head basketball coach of the Atlanta Hawks.

The two sides decided to part ways, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

The news should come as no surprise considering Budenholzer met with the Phoenix Suns about their head coaching vacancy and interviewed for the New York Knicks job.

It seems like Budenholzer does not want to be a part of the Hawks’ rebuilding process.

The 48-year-old head coach led the Hawks to the playoffs in his first four seasons, including a trip to the conference finals in 2015. The team went 24-58 this season with a stripped-down roster.

Twitter reacts to LeBron James winning Game 5 for Cavs

LeBron James winner

They are going to put what LeBron James did against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday on his all-time highlight reel.

First LeBron blocked a Victor Oladipo shot near the basket to preserve a 95-95 tie with three seconds left in the game. Then he drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a 98-95 win and 3-2 lead in their playoff series.

Here are videos of the two plays that won the game for Cleveland:

Here’s a look at the Twitter reaction to the impressive sequence by The King. Odell Beckham sent him quite the tribute.

(more…)

Deontay Wilder offers Anthony Joshua $50 million for fight

Deontay Wilder

Deontay Wilder has put the ball in Anthony Joshua’s court, and it’s a very, very lucrative ball.

Wilder and his team offered Joshua a $50 million minimum guarantee for the two to meet in the boxing ring later this year. The Los Angeles Times’ Lance Pugmire and Sky Sports confirm the offer is for the two heavyweights to meet between September and December later this year. Wilder would like the fight to be in the US, but his promoter told Sky Sports that is not a deal-breaking point.

The $50 million offer to Joshua is a minimum amount as he would receive the greater of 50 percent of the revenue of the fight or $50 million.

The two fighters are extremely dangerous in the ring. Wilder, 32, is 40-0 with 39 knockouts. Joshua, 28, is 21-0 in his career with 20 knockouts.

The big knock against Wilder has been questions about the level of competition he has faced. Taking on Joshua would put all that aside.

Here is a video The Bronze Bomber released about him seeking a fight with Joshua:

Joshua said after his last fight that Wilder did not want to fight. Clearly he was wrong about that.

Watch: Jeff Green completely misses basket on buzzer-beater attempt

Jeff Green shot

Jeff Green attempted a buzzer-beater on Wednesday and it did not go well.

Just before the end of the first quarter of Game 5 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers, Green attempted a 3-pointer and missed the entire basket.

That was Green’s first shot of the game, so maybe he just wasn’t warmed up. He later made a shot in the second quarter to redeem himself.

Matt Harvey curses at reporter after bullpen question

Matt harvey

Matt Harvey is having a rough go of it.

The New York Mets pitcher did not talk with the media on Tuesday after his first bullpen appearance of the season. On Wednesday, he declined to speak with reporters again and even threw in a curse word for good measure.

Harvey has always had a bit of an edge (and an affinity for the middle finger), so this sort of unprofessional behavior is not surprising. The 29-year-old pitcher is set to be a free agent after the season. He’s not exactly giving suitors reassurance about his ability to handle adversity.

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