Manu Ginobili unleashes furious dunk against Rockets

At age 39, Manu Ginobili is one of the oldest players left in the NBA playoffs. But he can still elevate better than many younger foes.

The Spurs guard proved this Tuesday night against the Rockets when he sent in a slam over Houston’s Ryan Anderson in the second quarter.

Ginobili is no stranger to reminding people of his athleticism during the playoffs; his most notable example was in Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals against the Heat.

Though he vowed to play in Game 6, Leonard officially is listed as questionable as he deals with the sprained left ankle he suffered midway through the third quarter of Tuesday’s Game 5 victory.

The Cavs broke out the showtime early — really early — in their NBA playoff series vs. the Raptors.

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James combined for the type of dunk that’s usually reserved for the fourth quarter of blowouts, not the opening minutes of the first quarter in Game 1.

If those two were trying to tell Toronto the defending champs aren’t messing around, then message delivered. But, geez, guys, maybe wait until the W is secure.

This is what happens when you come to the restaurant, you’re trying to get a free dessert. You lie, tell ’em it’s your wife’s birthday. Haha, woo! Happy birthday, sugar! You got free dessert babe!

Westbrook’s wife, Nina, was actually born in January. Let the record show that Westbrook is padding birthday stats. Typical.

This makes us wonder what else Westbrook has lied about.

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Allen Iverson fires back at Tim Hardaway’s criticism of his signature crossover

Hall of Famer Allen Iverson heard Tim Hardaway’s analysis of his classic crossover move, and he had a little something to say about it.

Hardaway, who played more than a decade in the league and starred at point guard for the Warriors and Heat throughout the 1990s, refused to let Iverson take credit for popularizing the killer crossover. In his mind, the only thing Iverson did was break the rules.

We’re playing for pride now, Teague said after the game. We’re all competitors in here and we all believe in one another. We ain’t getting swept. We got pride and we ain’t getting swept so we’re going to move on and come out ready to play.

Coach Nate McMillan shared a similar sentiment in his postgame news conference.

We’re going into that game not to give them a ‘W’ on Sunday. We’re going in there and trying to extend this and it will show if you’re not playing with that mindset. I expect us to play with that mindset, he said.

Coming back to Teague, not getting swept is important to him from a personal standpoint, because LeBron James has been his kryptonite. Teague came to Indiana this year after playing for the Hawks in his first seven seasons, and those Hawks teams were eliminated by James’ Cavs the last two years.

Not only were they eliminated, but they were swept. That means Teague has lost 11 straight postseason games to James and the Cavs, and he’ll fight hard to make sure that streak doesn’t extend to 12. That will be easier said than done.

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Bulls’ Dwyane Wade forgot to play defense against Celtics

Just ask Harden, who had some of his worst games this season against the Warriors.

Lillard has had some success against the Warriors in the past, though, like when he scored 51 points against them with nine 3-pointers during the 2015-16 season. He followed it up by dropping 40 points against them in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals, although he struggled in the four games the Blazers lost. If Jusuf Nurkic can return to the lineup at full health and be the sort of inside presence the Warriors have had issues against in the past, he could help create the space Lillard and McCollum desperately need to get going from 3-point range.

It might not be enough to upset the Warriors either way, but it could make for a more competitive series.

Dwyane Wade was really not feeling it on the defensive end in the Chicago Bulls’ playoff game against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

Isaiah Thomas swung the ball out to Kelly Olynyk on the 3-point arc and there was absolutely nobody in sight of the center. That was largely because Wade just stared at him from a distance.

If that wasn’t enough, Olynyk missed the shot and Avery Bradley put the ball back with one hand for the score. Wade was still watching.

That’s not going to get the job done in this series. Then again, did we think the Bulls would even make it this far?

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Rockets advance while Spurs, Jazz take 3-2 leads

Russell Westbrook did not go gentle into that good night, and try as he might to rage against the dying of the light, the Rockets took flight and ended his fight.

Now that we’ve tipped our caps to Dylan Thomas, let’s get back to the NBA playoffs. James Harden and the Rockets kicked off Tuesday night’s slate of games by eliminating the Thunder in a 105-99 win. (Thanks to Russ for making the 2016-17 season a ton of fun.) As for the other series, the Spurs and Jazz both gained 3-2 leads in key Game 5 matchups. The Jazz will travel back home to Utah for Game 6 while the Spurs head to Memphis in the hopes of closing things out and meeting Houston in the second round.

Had Pacers coach Nate McMillan not called a timeout and allowed the Cavs defense to reset at the end of Game 1, maybe George would have found his own Iso Joe moment, both clutch and correct in the context of the game. But given the information presented to him, he kicked it over to Miles, and the veteran shooting guard got off a decent attempt, not unlike Young’s play above. If he passes back to George, then it’s one-on-one against James out near half court with less than five seconds to go.

The most clutch players in league history needed help to ultimately win it all. James inbounded the ball to Kyrie Irving before Irving drilled a 3-pointer in Game 7 last year to help bring Cleveland a title. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal both missed before the ball landed in the hands of Robert Horry for the game-winner in the 2002 Western Conference finals. Even Michael Jordan found an open Steve Kerr in the 1997 NBA Finals when John Stockton decided to double him.

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Craig Sager posthumously awarded first Sports Emmy

The stars came out for Game 6 of the Hawks-Wizards series. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was seated courtside next to Atlanta icons Quavo of the rap trio Migos and Gucci Mane.

In the heat of battle, they dished some friendly trash talk Wall’s way. He was more than willing to engage, serving up his best game of the playoffs as as he scored 42 points and ushered in the Hawks’ offseason. After the game, Sporting News’ Nubyjas Wilborn asked Wall what exactly he said to his famous friends. Wall and Beal took a not-so-subtle dig with a reference to Migos’ latest album.

Death did not stop the accolades coming for Craig Sager.

The late TNT sideline reporter was awarded his first Sports Emmy Tuesday as television sports reporter of the year.

Sager was first nominated for outstanding sports reporter in 2011, but lost out to NBC’s Michelle Tafoya. Sager, who died Dec. 15, 2016, following a lengthy battle with cancer, was also the 2017 recipient of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Curt Gowdy Media Award, given to outstanding basketball writers and broadcasters.

Sager was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame just two days before his death at the age of 65.

TNT posted a video tribute to Sager, who began working for Turner Sports in 1980, shortly after his passing.

Sager’s Emmy on Tuesday was the first of three on the night for Turner Sports, which also saw NBA analyst Charles Barkley win for best studio analyst and NCAA basketball analyst Bill Raftery win best sports event analyst.

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Kevin Durant still questionable for Game 3

Kevin Durant doesn’t have to play in the Warriors Game 3 matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night. The Warriors are up 2-0 as the series shifts to Portland and are 1-0 without Durant in the lineup so far this series.

However, the question remains, when will Durant be back?

This is where Lue sees Smith potentially making a difference as the Cavs, despite their somewhat uninspiring start in this series, push for a 3-0 lead.

Defensively, just challenge Paul George, make his offensive life miserable, just make his offensive life hard and compete, Lue said. He’s going to make some shots — and some tough shots, at that. But just make him work. For everything he gets, no easy baskets, not falling asleep and losing him in transition and just bringing that defensive intensity and tenacity that he brought in Game 1.

Smith will be appearing in his 93rd career playoff game. He has been part of Cavaliers teams that reached the past two NBA Finals and won the championship in 2016. Lue said he had not yet been informed whether Smith will have any minutes restriction for this game.

Turning point: The fourth-quarter eruptions by Millsap and Schroder stand out, especially the big 3-pointers Schroder drilled when his primary defender dared him to shoot by going under ball screens. But it was what the Hawks did when Schroder was out that allowed him to play the part of the hero later in the game.

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Buyer beware: No refunds on Lonzo Ball’s $495 ZO2 sneakers

He meant that with every fiber in his being.

Randolph’s checkered past is well-documented as is his transformation into the face of the Grizzlies’ franchise, and he’s embracing his status as one of the game’s true OG’s. Peep the way he laughed it off and gave baby-faced Devin Booker a pat on the back after the second-year pro pushed him over this season.

Randolph wouldn’t have given Blake Griffin, Lou Amundson, DeMarcus Cousins or Steven Adams a pass like that.

But like Reggie Miller said on the broadcast, You gotta know you personnel. That’s one guy you really don’t want to mess with.

Big Baller Brand is aiming for Lonzos signature sneaker to tap into a new market above the athletic performance kicks from the likes of Nike, Jordan, adidas and Under Armour, but below the high-end designer shoes of Gucci, Prada or Louis Vuitton, according to SLAM.

And, get this Ball will have another and more expensive shoe, the ZO2 WET Autographs edition, that will cost $995.

Want a pair of these pricey sneakers? They are both available for pre-order at bigballerbrand.com.

Buyer beware, though the BBB website says it offers no refunds or exchanges.

What happened: The Spurs found their Spursiness again. Kawhi Leonard had another standard game of hyper-efficient scoring, putting up 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting after largely existing as a facilitator in the first half while facing constant double-teams.

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Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki confirms he’ll be back for 20th season

The Lakers have always had a superstar, Johnson told AM 570 LA Sports with Roggin and Rodney. That is what we are going to try to bring in here.

And who might that superstar be? Johnson pretty much admitted he’ll be going after Paul George on Jimmy Kimmel Live! when he was asked what he would do if he saw George on vacation.

No, we gonna say ‘hi’ because we know each other, Johnson said. You just can’t say, ‘Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,’ even though I’ll be wink winking like, ‘you know what that means right?’

A day after his 19th NBA season ended, the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki put a quick end to speculation over whether there would be a 20th.

I’m definitely playing next season, he told reporters.

At the end of the day, I can’t imagine myself in another uniform, he said (via The Dallas Morning News).

Nowitzki, 38, is coming off a Mavs season torpedoed by a 4-17 start in which they missed the playoffs for only the second time in 17 seasons.

In an injury-marred campaign in which he played only 54 games, Nowitzki averaged 14.2 points per game, his lowest average since his rookie year in 1998-99.

His career totals: 1,394 games (1,363 starts), 30,260 points, 10,894 rebounds, 3,496 assists, 1,218 blocks and 1,158 steals.

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