Bron and Curry hard trap, MJ drives hard right but reverse spins left causing Curry and Bron to smack into each other
Kawhi with his defensive mind set already sees it coming so he tells Harden to get ready to trap MJ on the left baseline… MJ is headed down the baseline as Harden gets ready to take a charge, MJ does a hard cross to the right causing Harden to get back in a defensive stance but as he does MJ immediately does a hard cross to the right causing Harden’s knees to tremble and buckle as he dives head first into the ref and Coach Kerr
Kawhi once again knew this so didn’t even bother doing the trap but he veered back to the middle of the court to converge with Giannis
Kawhi and Giannis’s wingspans seem to cover the whole court and the whole arena begins to stand up and gasp cause they know there’s no way MJ is getting off a shot now
At this point in time, Bron recovers from smacking into Curry and rushes to the other half of the court to help defend
MJ is now being defended by Kawhi, Bron and Giannis, MJ goes into multiple dribble spin moves but he goes nowhere
He’s unfazed though, he’s talking shit the whole time
He sees an opening as Bron’s stance is far to wide and he has a fearful back pedal in his footing, MJ decides to throw the ball between Bron’s legs with the right then back through with the left… Bron does a standing 720 and completely discombobulated
This leaves MJ as the right baseline now but now he’s exactly where he wants to be… As he looks up at the shot clock, Kawhi sees an opening and reaches to steal the ball 😒😒😒 Crucial mistake as MJ reads it with his Ultra Instinct abilities as he crosses Kawhi then giving him a hip bump to leave him behind him just enough
Tongue out with 4.8 left and Giannis in the paint waiting to block any attempt at the rim, MJ takes to long strides and goes up with the left
The whole arena and the other players are looking in slow motion now
MJ and Giannis appear to meet at damn near at the top of the backboard…
Giannis begins to descend (cause he has no hangtime) but has enough reach to make a solid contest… MJ miraculously switches to the right then goes into a one handed windmill motion
💥💥💥💥💥 the Undisputed GOAT jams the rock through the hoop with 00:03 on the clock
Derek Fisher Rule states that they can’t to sh!t about it… MJ 117- GLHSK 116 🚨
By Associated Press and staff reports
BOSTON (AP) — Bill Russell, the NBA great who anchored a Boston Celtics dynasty that won 11 championships in 13 years — the last two as the first Black head coach in any major U.S. sport — and marched for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr., died Sunday. He was 88.
His family posted the news on social media, saying Russell died with his wife, Jeannine, by his side. The statement did not give the cause of death.
“Bill’s wife, Jeannine, and his many friends and family thank you for keeping Bill in your prayers. Perhaps you’ll relive one or two of the golden moments he gave us, or recall his trademark laugh as he delighted in explaining the real story behind how those moments unfolded,” the family statement said. “And we hope each of us can find a new way to act or speak up with Bill’s uncompromising, dignified and always constructive commitment to principle. That would be one last, and lasting, win for our beloved #6.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that Russell was “the greatest champion in all of team sports.”
“Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league. At the height of his athletic career, Bill advocated vigorously for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed down to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps,” Silver said. “Through the taunts, threats and unthinkable adversity, Bill rose above it all and remained true to his belief that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.
A Hall of Famer, five-time Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star, Russell in 1980 was voted the greatest player in the NBA history by basketball writers. He remains the sport’s most prolific winner as a player and an archetype of selflessness who won with defense and rebounding while leaving the scoring to others. Often, that meant Wilt Chamberlain, the only player of the era who was a worthy rival for Russell.
But Russell dominated in the only stat he cared about: 11 championships to two.
The native of Louisiana also left a lasting mark as a Black athlete in a city — and country — where race is often a flash point. He was at the March on Washington in 1963, when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, and he backed Muhammad Ali when the boxer was pilloried for refusing induction into the military draft.
“To be the greatest champion in your sport, to revolutionize the way the game is played, and to be a societal leader all at once seems unthinkable, but that is who Bill Russell was,” the Boston Celtics said in a statement.
In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Russell the Medal of Freedom alongside Congressman John Lewis, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and baseball great Stan Musial.
“Bill Russell, the man, is someone who stood up for the rights and dignity of all men,” Obama said at the ceremony. “He marched with King; he stood by Ali. When a restaurant refused to serve the Black Celtics, he refused to play in the scheduled game. He endured insults and vandalism, but he kept on focusing on making the teammates who he loved better players and made possible the success of so many who would follow.”
Following news of his death, many NBA stars reflected on Russell’s impact and legacy. Michael Jordan described Russell to be “a pioneer – as a player, as a champion, as the NBA’s first Black head coach and as an activist.”
“He paved the way and set an example for every Black player who came into the league after him, including me. The world has lost a legend. My condolences to his family and may he rest in peace.”
Russell said that when he was growing up in the segregated South and later California his parents instilled in him the calm confidence that allowed him to brush off racist taunts.
“Years later, people asked me what I had to go through,” Russell said in 2008. “Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’ve never been through anything. From my first moment of being alive was the notion that my mother and father loved me.” It was Russell’s mother who would tell him to disregard comments from those who might see him playing in the yard.
“Whatever they say, good or bad, they don’t know you,” he recalled her saying. “They’re wrestling with their own demons.”
But it was Jackie Robinson who gave Russell a road map for dealing with racism in his sport: “Jackie was a hero to us. He always conducted himself as a man. He showed me the way to be a man in professional sports.”
The feeling was mutual, Russell learned, when Robinson’s widow, Rachel, called and asked him to be a pallbearer at her husband’s funeral in 1972.
“She hung the phone up and I asked myself, ‘How do you get to be a hero to Jackie Robinson?’” Russell said. “I was so flattered.”
William Felton Russell was born on Feb. 12, 1934, in Monroe, Louisiana. He was a child when his family moved to the West Coast, and he went to high school in Oakland, California, and then the University of San Francisco. He led the Dons to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956 and won a gold medal in 1956 at the Melbourne Olympics in Australia.
Celtics coach and general manager Red Auerbach so coveted Russell that he worked out a trade with the St. Louis Hawks for the second pick in the draft. He promised the Rochester Royals, who owned the No. 1 pick, a lucrative visit by the Ice Capades, which were also run by Celtics owner Walter Brown.
Still, Russell arrived in Boston to complaints that he wasn’t that good. “People said it was a wasted draft choice, wasted money,” he recalled. “They said, ‘He’s no good. All he can do is block shots and rebound.’ And Red said, ‘That’s enough.’”
The Celtics also picked up Tommy Heinsohn and K.C. Jones, Russell’s college teammate, in the same draft. Although Russell joined the team late because he was leading the U.S. to the Olympic gold, Boston finished the regular season with the league’s best record.
The Celtics won the NBA championship — their first of 17 — in a double-overtime seventh game against Bob Pettit’s St. Louis Hawks. Russell won his first MVP award the next season, but the Hawks won the title in a finals rematch. The Celtics won it all again in 1959, starting an unprecedented string of eight consecutive NBA crowns.
A 6-foot-10 center, Russell never averaged more than 18.9 points during his 13 seasons, each year averaging more rebounds per game than points. For 10 seasons he averaged more than 20 rebounds. He once had 51 rebounds in a game; Chamberlain holds the record with 55.
Auerbach retired after winning the 1966 title, and Russell became the player-coach — the first Black head coach in NBA history, and almost a decade before Frank Robinson took over baseball’s Cleveland Indians. Boston finished with the second-best regular-season record in the NBA, and its title streak ended with a loss to Chamberlain and the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Division finals.
Russell led the Celtics back to titles in 1968 and ’69, each time winning seven-game playoff series against Chamberlain. Russell retired after the ’69 finals, returning for a relatively successful — but unfulfilling — four-year stint as coach and GM of the Seattle SuperSonics and a less fruitful half season as coach of the Sacramento Kings.
Russell’s No. 6 jersey was retired by the Celtics in 1972. He earned spots on the NBA’s 25th anniversary all-time team in 1970, 35th anniversary team in 1980 and 75th anniversary team. In 1996, he was hailed as one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players.
In 2009, the MVP trophy of the NBA Finals was named in his honor — even though Russell never won himself, because it wasn’t awarded for the first time until 1969. Russell, however, traditionally presented the trophy for many years, the last time in 2019 to Kawhi Leonard; Russell was not there in 2020 because of the NBA bubble nor in 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns.
In 2013, a statue was unveiled on Boston’s City Hall Plaza of Russell surrounded by blocks of granite with quotes on leadership and character. Russell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975 but did not attend the ceremony, saying he should not have been the first African American elected. (Chuck Cooper, the NBA’s first Black player, was his choice.)
In 2019, Russell accepted his Hall of Fame ring in a private gathering. “I felt others before me should have had that honor,” he tweeted. “Good to see progress.”
Silver said he “often called (Russell) basketball’s Babe Ruth for how he transcended time.”
“Bill was the ultimate winner and consummate teammate, and his influence on the NBA will be felt forever,” Silver added. “We send our deepest condolences to his wife, Jeannine, his family and his many friends.”
His family said that arrangements for Russell’s memorial service will be announced in the coming days.
By: Shaun Powell
A number of unheralded acquisitions cost little in terms of money and/or assets and have the chance to become massive bargains next season.
There were a handful of bold-faced moves this offseason, headlined by Rudy Gobert being traded from the Utah Jazz to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which has seismic implications for both teams.
And then there were a handful of moves that didn’t resonate on the basketball loudspeaker, yet may result in positive differences for the teams that landed those players.
Therefore, this isn’t about Malcolm Brogdon going to the Boston Celtics, or PJ Tucker to the Philadelphia 76ers, or Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks, or Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks. All of them big transactions, and none of them escaped the spotlight.
But maybe Donte DiVincenzo to the defending-champion Golden State Warriors did. That’s just one example of the under-the-radar moves that cost little in terms of money and/or assets and have the chance to become massive bargains.
And so: Here are the five biggest — so to speak — obscure transactions of the offseason so far:
Before we get into the details of this one, how about some applause for Brad Stevens? Has the man made a single mistake in his short yet productive stint as GM? Since moving from the coaching chair two summers ago, Stevens hired Ime Udoka as coach, then brought back Al Horford, acquired Derrick White and now Brogdon, with none of those moves costing the Celtics an important rotational piece. Getting Gallinari off waivers, from a cost standpoint, is probably even more impressive. He was cast aside by the Spurs after being part of the Murray trade from Atlanta and Stevens swooped in, signing a solid 3-point shooter for a cup of chowdah.
Gallinari hit 38.1% from distance last season in Atlanta and for much of his career he’s been a reliable stretch four. He should work well with Brogdon in the pick and pop, but Gallinari at 6-foot-10 is also a decent post-up player, especially against smaller defenders.
He should fit in a tweaked rotation that’s designed to reduce the load from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who struggled with turnovers in the NBA Finals. Gallinari isn’t in his prime but has some tread left, and all the Celtics need is a decent 15-20 minutes from him nightly. He’s capable of that.
It’s not uncommon for players, once they seize the championship ring, to move elsewhere. Happens every year. Happened to the Warriors this year as the exodus was led by Gary Payton II, who secured the bag in Portland.
But a much less noticeable exit was Porter going to the Raptors, for far, far less than what Payton cost the Blazers. And it’s possible that, contextually, Porter can be a valued addition for Toronto, too.
He’s been one of the league’s better shooters in recent years. The issue with Porter has been with his health. He hasn’t played in more than 70 games since 2017-18 and that’s why he fell off the radar.
But he’s a 39.8% 3-point shooter for his career, good for 53rd in NBA history. And he had a rejuvenation last season, especially in the postseason, where he was impactful for the Warriors. He even started some games in the NBA Finals while hitting 40.4% of his 3-pointers in the 2022 playoffs.
Porter is only 29 and is also a decent defender as well. Toronto grabbed him on a cheap two-year contract — Porter already made his bag years ago when Washington gifted him a max contract — and will gladly take whatever he has left.
He played in the shadows of Ja Morant last season, but folks in Memphis know how helpful Melton was to the cause. And now that he’s in Philly, Melton still must work behind the likes of James Harden in the backcourt — and the Sixers will discover that he’s an unpolished gem.
Melton is quick, smart and productive off the bench. That’s exactly what the Sixers want from him, along with defense. Last season he shot 37.4% from deep, averaged 10.8 points and was a stabilizing force when Morant missed a chunk of games with injury.
The best part is Melton is just 24 and therefore hasn’t reached his prime yet.
You can count on one hand how many players in the 2020 bubble were heads and shoulders above Warren, then with the Pacers. He was that good, averaging 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds in 10 games and making a name for himself.
Problem: Because of injuries, he hasn’t been heard from since. And that’s why the Nets were able to snag him. Nobody’s quite sure what Warren is capable of doing after missing virtually the last two seasons with a series of left foot injuries that required surgery.
If not for those injuries, maybe the Nets — hampered by the salary cap — wouldn’t have been in the mix for the free agent. So they landed him cheap, and in a best-case scenario, Warren will return to that 2020 level, or close enough, and the Nets will have yet another weapon next to Kevin Durant (assuming he sticks around) and Kyrie Irving (ditto).
Warren is a mid-range specialist who can create his own shot, and again, if his body is right, the Nets will look wise for taking the small risk.
In the Nikola Jokic era, all the Nuggets are missing is a trip to the NBA Finals. By acquiring KCP in a trade with Washington (they also got Ish Smith in the deal), they at least have someone who has been there and done that — and delivered some big shots for the Lakers in the 2020 Finals to secure it.
Caldwell-Pope is an energy guy who can shoot and play defense. He’s not a volume scorer but the Nuggets, with Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray set to return following their injuries, don’t need that from him. They’re hoping that his production off the bench, his calm under pressure and his championship experience will help build a team built for deep postseason runs.
Essentially, the choice was between keeping Will Barton and Monte Morris or getting KCP. Denver feels the former Laker will be worth the gamble, and he’s only 29.
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1. Magic draft Paolo Banchero (Duke)
2. Thunder draft Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)
3. Rockets draft Jabari Smith (Auburn)
4. Kings draft Keegan Murray (Iowa)
5. Pistons draft Jaden Ivey (Purdue)
6. Pacers draft Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)
7. Blazers draft Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky)
8. Pelicans draft Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite)
9. Spurs draft Jeremy Sochan (Baylor)
10. Wizards draft Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)
12. Thunder draft Jalen Williams (Santa Clara)
14. Cavaliers draft Ochai Agbaji (Kansas)
15. Hornets draft Mark Williams (Duke)
16. Hawks draft A.J. Griffin (Duke)
17. Rockets draft Tari Eason (LSU)
18. Bulls draft Dalen Terry (Arizona)
20. Spurs draft Malaki Branham (Ohio State)
21. Nuggets draft Christian Braun (Kansas)
24. Bucks draft MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite)
25. Spurs draft Blake Wesley (Notre Dame)
27. Heat draft Nikola Jovic (Mega Mozzart)
28. Warriors draft Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee)
31. Pacers draft Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga)
32. Magic draft Caleb Houstan (Michigan)
33. Raptors draft Christian Koloko (Arizona)
34. Thunder draft Jaylin Williams (Arkansas)
35. Lakers draft Max Christie (Michigan State)
39. Cavaliers draft Khalifa Diop (Gran Canaria)
41. Pelicans draft EJ Liddell (Ohio State)
42. Knicks draft Trevor Keels (Duke)
43. Clippers draft Moussa Diabate (Michigan)
47. Grizzlies draft Vince Williams Jr. (VCU)
49. Cavaliers draft Isaiah Mobley (USC)
50. Timberwolves draft Matteo Spagnolo (Vanoli Cremona)
52. Pelicans draft Karlo Matković (Mega Mozzart)
53. Celtics draft JD Davison (Alabama)
— Milwaukee (forfeited)
— Miami (forfeited)
54. Wizards draft Yannick Nzosa (Unicaja Malaga)
55. Warriors draft Gui Santos (Minas)
56. Cavaliers draft Luke Travers (Perth)
57. Blazers draft Jabari Walker (Colorado)