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Saturday, January 20, 2018

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Kevin Durant reportedly wins MVP, unseats LeBron James

Kevin DurantKevin Durant has long complained about finishing second, but it looks like he’s finally finishing first in something: MVP voting.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that Durant won the NBA MVP award and the announcement will be made sometime next week. LeBron James had won back-to-back MVPs (as well as consecutive NBA Finals MVPs), so Durant will be breaking James’ streak.

[Related: Kevin Durant: ‘I’ve been second my whole life, I’m done with it’]

Durant is in the middle of his seventh NBA season. He led the league in points per game (32), minutes played and PER (player efficiency rating), while leading his Thunder to a 59-23 record playing several games without Russell Westbrook.

After making the All-Star team five seasons in a row and being named to the first-team All-NBA four seasons in a row, this will be Durant’s most notable individual award since capturing the Rookie of the Year award.

The news conference announcing the award is expected to be on Monday or Tuesday.

Ian Mahinmi has awesome block on Jeff Teague dunk attempt (Video)

Ian Mahinmi blockIan Mahinmi showed the Atlanta Hawks that just because Roy Hibbert is struggling doesn’t mean the Indiana Pacers are weak in the middle.

When Jeff Teague tried streaking down the lane and went up for a big dunk just before halftime of Game 7 between the Pacers and Hawks on Saturday, Mahinmi stood straight up and challenged him at the rim. And Mahinmi won. In a big way.

That was just a sick block, especially when you consider how much momentum Teague had.

Mahinmi doesn’t offer a lot of offense, but at least he can board and block.

Joakim Noah reportedly recruiting Carmelo Anthony to the Bulls

Carmelo Anthony KnicksJoakim Noah is doing it all for the Chicago Bulls franchise. Not only was he named Defensive Player of the Year, but he’s also trying to make the team better by recruiting other star players.

Back in March, a report said Noah spent All-Star Weekend trying to recruit Carmelo Anthony to the Bulls. ‘Melo has a $23.7 million option for next season, but is expected to opt out of his current deal to become a free agent. The Clippers, Rockets and Lakers have also been mentioned as teams interested in pursuing the Knicks forward if he becomes available, but thanks to Noah’s efforts, the Bulls might have the inside track.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley says Noah continued to text with ‘Melo throughout the rest of the season. He says Noah has been in Anthony’s ear as much as possible.

None of this should come as a surprise; we’ve heard for a while that the Bulls were preparing to make a run at Carmelo. The problem for them would be fitting ‘Melo’s salary in with the team. Chicago might want him to take a pay cut in order to surround him with more talent. ‘Melo has said he is willing to take less in order to win, and even Knicks president Phil Jackson wants to hold him to that.

We’ll see if Carmelo puts his money where his mouth is. And Chicago would be a really good spot for him, too. Boy would that make the East interesting.

California Chrome wins Kentucky Derby with ease (Video)

California Chrome won the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby with ease after breaking away from the field on the final stretch at Churchill Downs Saturday.

California Chrome was the favorite in the field at 2:1 odds before the race began. The horse ran a similar race to the Santa Anita Derby where he won by several lengths after breaking away on the final stretch.

California Chrome’s unofficial time was 2:03:66 for the horse and jockey Victor Espinoza. 164,906 people attended the race, which was the second-largest crowd ever.

California Chrome

California Chrome became the first California-bred horse to win the Derby since 1962.

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Johnny Weir’s Kentucky Derby outfit is entirely out of hand

Johnny Weir horse hat

The Kentucky Derby is about the fashion almost as much as the races, and nobody knows that better than Johnny Weir.

Weir, a former US Olympic figure skater, now does broadcasting work for NBC and was part of the pre-race coverage at the Derby along with Tara Lipinski. But Weir certainly outdid Tara — and everyone else — with his bold fashion statement.

I mean would you just look at the guy? Gold jewelry, gold ring, gold bracelets, creepy priest-looking collar and a goodness holy hell what the heck kind of monstrosity is that on his head?

Johnny Weird Kentucky Derby outfit

The best part came right before NBC went to commercial and Weir hit us with the “Blue Steel”:

Johnny Weir Kentucky Derby

Hard. Freaking. Core.

Tony Danza going to Kentucky Derby to root on horse ‘Danza’

Tony DanzaActor Tony Danza will be at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday to cheer on the horse named after him.

One of the favorites to win the race is a 3-year-old colt named “Danza.” Danza was sired by Street Boss, so the owners wanted a name that would follow a similar theme. They tried the name “Who’s the Boss?” but that, as well as the name of Danza’s character in the ’80s show, Tony Micelli, were rejected. They eventually settled on Danza.

“Everybody loves Tony Danza. He’s an icon in American culture,” the horse’s owner, Aron Wellman, told ABC. “It’s been a lot of fun and thankfully the horse has been a very good horse and has done the name proud.”

Tony found out about the horse named after him after the colt won the Arkansas Derby in April. He got in touch with the horse’s owners and decided to head out to Louisville for the race:

Referees allowed Spurs to have six men on the court (Video)

The Dallas Mavericks forced Game 7 by defeating the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. A No. 8 seed pushing a No. 1 seed to seven games is impressive enough without having to defend six men for a crucial play.

With 1.3 seconds left and Dallas leading 113-111, the Spurs inbounded a ball with five men on the court. Those five men did not include Boris Diaw, who was inbounding the ball. He was the sixth man. Somehow, the referees failed to notice.

Spurs-six-men

Monta Ellis was able to tip the full court heave away, leaving just 0.4 seconds on the clock. Kawhi Leonard scampered off to the bench after Ellis ran around yelling while holding six fingers up, and the Spurs were unable to get a shot off on their second inbound attempt. Fortunately for the officials and the NBA, the oversight did not prove to be costly.

Screenshot via Pro Basketball Talk

LeBron James’ high school career set to become a movie

lebron-james-chosen1LeBron James was given nicknames like “King James” and “The Chosen One” before he even had a driver’s license. Most sports fans had already heard of LeBron while he was playing at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. If you’re unfamiliar with LeBron’s high school story, you may be able to see it on the big screen in the near future.

According to Variety, Universal Pictures is closing in on a deal to acquire the rights to a feature project that is based on James’ high school career. Several studios have reportedly been battling for the rights to the script.

LeBron and his manager and childhood friend Maverick Carter are expected to produce the film along with “Dallas Buyers Club” producer Rachel Winter.

Some of LeBron’s high school games had to be played at the University of Akron’s arena, which held nearly 6,000 people, so the demand for tickets could be met. He appeared in publications like SLAM Magazine from a young age and some of his games senior year were nationally televised on ESPN. There was also controversy surrounding LeBron when he turned 18 after his mother gave him an H2 for his birthday and used his future earning power to obtain the loan.

Whether you like LeBron or not, a movie about his early years should make for great viewing.

Damian Lillard makes sick series-ending buzzer-beater (Video)

Damian Lillard knocked the Houston Rockets out of the playoffs with an incredible buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Game 6 on Friday night to help the Portland Trail Blazers advance in the postseason for the first time since 2000.

Houston took a 98-96 lead with 0.9 seconds left on a layup by Chandler Parsons following a loose ball. Portland had a timeout and advanced the ball up the court to set up for a final shot. They gave it to Lillard, who got the ball off in less than 0.4 seconds:

Damian Lillard 3-pointer

Dame went 6-of-10 and finished with 25 points in the win. That was a tremendous series capped by a fantastic finish.

Oh, and I totally missed this until our friend Jimmy Traina pointed it out, Parsons actually sat down on the scorer’s table after the shot. What else could he do?

Image via @Jose3030

LSU OF Jared Foster makes incredible Superman game-saving catch (Video)

Jared Foster catchIn the pantheon of web gems, this has to be as high up as any other play, not just because of how awesome it was, but also because of the situation.

LSU and Texas A&M were tied at two in the bottom of the 9th of their series-opening game on Friday. The Aggies had the bases loaded with two outs and a 1-0 count when Blake Allemand sliced a fly ball towards the left field line.

Foster raced over to the ball — which looked like it would surely fall for a walk-off hit for the Aggies — and he laid out Superman-style for an incredible game-saving catch.

After the momentum thanks to that great grab, LSU scored in the top of the 10th and won 5-4.

What an effing play.

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