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The man of a thousand wacky jackets should be returning to an NBA sideline near you shortly.

TNT’s Craig Sager has been cleared to return to work, according to his son, Craig Jr. Sager, long known for his outlandish fashion and quick witted humor will make his 2015 debut when Chicago hosts Oklahoma City on March 5.

MORE: Sager takes part in ASG weekend | Walking in my father’s blazer

Sager was diagnosed with leukemia last fall. The long-time sideline reporter returned to TV at the All-Star Game earlier this month to interview Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. 

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Blake Griffin was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He attended Oklahoma Christian before playing two seasons for the Sooners where he was impressive enough to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. 

But don’t think for one second the Clippers power forward has lived a sheltered life. He knows a thing or two about the dope game, which we learned after watching him break down the drug references Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen” in a recent man-on-street interview with Clevver TV. 

MORE: Comedy Central pokes fun at Adam Silver | Russell Westbrook named cover athlete for NBA Live 16 | NBA Finals Game 3 preview

Griffin explained exactly what a “trap queen” is. That might not be too impressive, but he also broke down what a “bando” is when others who were interviewed were utterly befuddled. That’s pretty knowledgeable for a guy we’re pretty sure has never sold drugs a day in his life. But it’s probably nothing you couldn’t find out from listening to a ton of rap music and watching crime dramas. 

You can check out the  interview in its entirety on ClevverTV’s YouTube page, but beware there’s some language not suitable for work and children. 

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The series involving No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Eastern Conference isn’t meriting the same discussion as the one in the West. The Hawks have been counted out in this year’s NBA playoffs before, and their conference finals against the Cavaliers is no different. 

Even after 60 regular-season wins, the Hawks were doubted in the postseason. But now they’re looking to stop LeBron James from making his fifth-straight NBA Finals appearance. 

MORE: Conference finals predictions | Shumpert, Smith thrilled to be ex-Knicks | Budenholzer named Coach of the Year

Here’s everything that you need to know for Game 1:

Who? The Hawks (60-22) increased their win total by 22 in head coach Mike Budenholzer’s second year as head coach, and they host the Cavaliers (53-29) who are back in the playoffs for the first time since James left Cleveland in 2010.

What, when and where? Game 1 of the Eastern Conference best-of-seven series; Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET; at Philips Arena in Atlanta.

Where can I watch? TNT will broadcast the entire series, with Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Chris Webber on the call. 

Key matchup: Young All-Star point guards Jeff Teague and Kyrie Irving will face off to create an exciting matchup in the backcourt. Both players are battling injuries in the playoffs but play huge roles for their teams. Irving is battling tendinitis in his left knee along with a strained foot, but he’s still averaging 19.8 points per game this postseason. Teague is coming off a nice stretch in the Hawks’ last series against the Wizards in which he averaged 20 points on 50 percent shooting in his last three games. Irving is a better 3-point shooter, but Teague is a better penetrator, especially with Irving’s injuries.

Full series schedule (all games at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT) 

Game 1 — Wednesday, May 20, Cleveland at Atlanta 
Game 2 — Friday, May 22, Cleveland at Atlanta 
Game 3 — Sunday, May 24, Atlanta at Cleveland 
Game 4 — Tuesday, May 26, Atlanta at Cleveland
*Game 5 — Thursday, May 28, Cleveland at Atlanta
*Game 6 — Saturday, May 30, Atlanta at Cleveland
*Game 7 — Monday, June 1, Cleveland at Atlanta

That’s awkward: The starting five for the Hawks has combined to appear in seven All-Star games in their NBA careers, with Teague and Kyle Korver both making their debuts in 2015. In his 12 years in the league, James has appeared in 11 games by himself.

X-factor: When the Hawks beat the Cavaliers on March 6 and clinched the season series 3-1, they forced James to turn the ball over nine times. DeMarre Carroll guarded James and was part of the Hawks’ effective game plan that forced the former MVP to miss eight of his 13 shots from the floor. How the Hawks apply defensive pressure might be able to help them keep James in check once again. 

How they got here: The Hawks took their first series against the Nets 4-2, and did the same t[……]

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The Lakers got a steal in free agency last year when they signed forward Ed Davis to a two-year, $2 million contract with a 2015-16 player option. Now after a stellar season, the University of North Carolina product is asking for a raise.

The 6-10 big man is seeking a two- or three-year deal worth $7 million to $8 million a year, or a one-year deal worth $9 million to $10 million, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

MORE: Towns won’t work out for Lakers | Heat to offer tragic more than $80 million

Davis stepped up for the Lakers (21-61) despite their poor season, posting career highs in scoring (8.3 ppg), field-goal percentage (60.1), rebounding (7.6), blocked shots (1.2) and assists (1.2).

The Lakers will likely end up with big man Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns in the upcoming NBA Draft to strengthen their frontcourt along with Julius Randle and Jordan Hill. Still, Davis would like to remain part of that group in L.A.

“I definitely want to be back,” Davis told the Daily News. “With everything being equal, I’m 100 percent going back there. Hopefully that’s the case. But with free agency and all the stuff going on with the draft, you never know how things are going to go.”

 

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Shocking news: Twitter can be a terrible place. Sky forward Elena Delle Donne learned that lesson the hard way.

Delle Donne scored a career-high 45 points against the Dream on Wednesday, so the SportsCenter Twitter account showed her some love. Unfortunately, the replies were not nearly as kind.

MORE: Photos of the week | Isiah Thomas blocked from owning Liberty | Why Maya Moore went to China

Elena Delle Donne reads “Mean Tweets” following her 45-point performance

Posted by Official Chicago Sky on Thursday, June 25, 2015

Most of the comments are stupid, sexist or both, but hey, at least that one guy said she could play for the Sixers! That’s not quite as rude as saying you would rather watch someone mow their lawn.

Also to the gentleman who said the game was “witnessed by dozens,” you are technically correct. There were 9,893 people in attendance, which is approximately 824 groups of 12.

Despite all of these terrible comments, Delle Donne appreciates all the genuine support she receives on social media.

Source: SB Nation

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The Pistons will hire one of the top NBA agents, Arn Tellem, to help run their franchise.

Yahoo first reported the news, and the Detroit Free Press got a hold of the news release, which is expected to go out Friday. Tellem will join Palace Sports & Entertainment as the organization’s vice chairman, leaving his job at Wasserman Media Group.

MORE: Pelicans hire Gentry | Best all-time Pistons | Skiles tabbed to lead Magic

“Arn is one of the most accomplished and respected sports executives in the world,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in the statement.. “He has great passion, integrity and honesty, and he shares my belief that sports can be a catalyst for change in the community. He is an outstanding addition to our leadership team who will help us make a real difference in Detroit.”

According to the Free Press, Tellem will report directly to Gores and be in charge of Palace business strategies. Yahoo says coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Jeff Bower will run the Pistons’ front office and basketball operations. Tellem will act as the owner day-to-day, with Gores spending most of his time with another company.

FINALS: LeBron’s best still not enough | Must-see photos

Tellem is ranked as the No. 1 agent by HoopsHype.com. According to the website, he accounts for 42 NBA players, 12 of which are All-Stars and six who have max contracts. Some of the bigger names he represents include Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and Derrick Rose.

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D’Angelo Russell is 19. He ain’t 30. 

That’s what the former Ohio State point guard, likely to be among the first five players chosen in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, reminded ESPN’s “His and Hers” hosts Michael Smith and Jemele Hill of when they were shocked he’d never seen the video for soul singer D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” in its entirety. If you’re not 19 and not 30, you may not have either. But the song and the video, which features the artist’s then-chiseled body sans clothing, was all the rage when it dropped way, way back in 2000. 

MORE: Common-sense 2015 NBA Mock Draft | R.J. Hunter is this draft’s misunderstood coach’s son | Photos: NBA Rookies of the Year 

During the interview, which also included Duke product and Chicago native Jahlil Okafor, Russell revealed his mom named him after the neo-soul crooner, who returned to the game last year with his critically-acclaimed “Black Messiah” after a 13-year hiatus.

“But I never did the research on it,” Russell said. “I seen that video of him naked. I don’t want nothing to do with that. I stayed away from that.” 

There’s a slight chance D’Angelo’s brand of sensual R&B could’ve aided in Russell’s conception. The title single from D’Angelo’s debut album “Brown Sugar” was released May 2, 1995. Russell was born nine months and 21 days later on Feb. 23, 1996. 

The 6-5, 180-pound Russell, who averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and five assists, could be taken third overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. If he is, there will be more than enough time for the Louisville, Ky., native to step up his music game in a city that has produced the likes Boyz II Men and The Roots.

He’s probably never heard of them either.

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Although the Cavaliers are just days away from their second-ever NBA Finals appearance, there is still a lot of talk about next season. Most of it centers around Kevin Love, the Cavs’ injured power forward.

Love says that, as of now, he plans on being back in Cleveland to start next season. 

MORE: Worst NBA Finals matchup ever? | Predictions: Warriors or Cavs?  | ECF photos

“I haven’t thought about it, but as I mentioned, I expect to be suiting up by Game 1 of next, year,” Love told reporters after practice on Sunday.

When asked if he meant with the Cavs, his answer was brief.

“Yes, sir,” he said.

Love has missed the majority of the team’s NBA Finals run after he separated his shoulder in a collision with the Kelly Olynyk in the Cavs’ series-clinching win over the Celtics.

But even before Love’s injury, there were many questions as to whether he and the Cavs were a fit for each other. His numbers took a dip, his coach criticized him and he and LeBron James never seemed to have gotten off on the right foot.

Love averaged 16.4 points (down from 26.1 the previous season) and 9.7 rebounds (down from 12.5) for the Cavs in 2014-15. Cleveland has gone 8-2 without Love in the postseason. 

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As if players’ pregame arena entrances weren’t already gaudy and ridiculous enough, here is J.R. Smith entering Quicken Loans Arena on a PhunkeeDuck — which is basically a no-hands Segway or front facing hoverboard— prior to Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Seriously. J.R. Smith is riding around on a hoverboard.

MORE: Photo timeline of LeBron’s receeding hairline | Wale crosses up fan at Game 4

 

And here he is entering the arena set to Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty.”

 

Never change, J.R. Smith.

Never change.

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Not only will the Rockets live to fight another day, they’ll also have their man in the middle.

Houston center Dwight Howard will not be suspended for Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Warriors, the NBA announced Tuesday.

MORE: Must-see Western Conference finals photosA tale of two flagrants | How did Curry avoid a concussion?

There had been discussions to whether the league would suspended Howard for hitting Andrew Bogut during his team’s 128-115 Game 4 win on Monday.

“Howard was trying to extricate himself from Bogut and recklessly hit him in the face with an open hand,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said in a release. “The contact was unnecessary but not deemed excessive by the officials working the game with the aid of the replay center. And we don’t see a reason to modify that call.” 

Not everyone, including the man who used to have Thorn’s job, agrees. 

The foul was ruled a Flagrant 1 on the court. Had the league upgraded it to a Flagrant 2, Howard would have been suspended for Wednesday’s game in Oakland. 

The Rockets trail the Warriors 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. 

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Chicago Bulls’ forward Taj Gibson is the latest player to send Tom Thibodeau a heartfelt goodbye.

Pau Gasol spoke his peace on his blog earlier in the week, but Gibson choose to say his thanks to his former coach on social media. 

MORE: Hoiberg once clowned Noah’s jumper | Jeff Van Gundy rips Bulls for classless Thibodeau firing

Thanks for everything Thibs. Taught me how to be a pro and how to be a better person. #thibs #respect

A photo posted by Taj Gibson (@tajgibson22) on Jun 2, 2015 at 9:05am PDT

Thibodeau was fired last week after five seasons with the Bulls. Fred Hoiberg, most recently of Iowa State, is set to replace Thibodeau on the bench.

A recent report said Bulls’ players ripped their former coach during exit interviews. Since Thibodeau received his pink slip, it seems he has picked up a few supporters, too.

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R.J. Hunter is known best for making an improbable 3-pointer that lifted No. 14 seed Georgia State past third-seeded Baylor in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The shot sent his father, Georgia State coach Ron Hunter, tumbling from the stool he was coaching from because he already had an injured Achilles tendon, leaving the most lasting and indelible image of the tournament.

But let’s clear up some misconceptions. First, R.J. Hunter said, his dad was just as likely preparing to yell at him as cheer with him when he made his tumble. “He fell, right?” Hunter said. “Everybody knows that. But look, if I would have missed it, he still would have fell. It wouldn’t have mattered. That is just how he is. He is so animated and he was just ready to be like, ‘What are you doing?’ He was like, ‘No!’ but it went in and it shocked him.”

MORE: Latest NBA Mock DraftAnthony Mason’s son uses late dad’s tough love

The second misconception is that the Baylor shot, combined with the Panthers’ run to the Sun Belt title, propelled Hunter into the consciousness of NBA scouts and executives.

Hunter had been considered a first rounder with low-lottery potential after his sophomore year, and if anything, this junior season knocked his stock down a bit before the late run bolstered it again. As a sophomore, Hunter averaged 18.3 points and shot 39.5 percent from the 3-point line, taking a hefty average of 7.7 3s per game. His skill as a shooter had him lined up to be a potential small-school steal in this year’s draft.

But when the season got underway, Hunter struggled. He went through a 13-game stretch from late November through late January in which he made just 18 of the 91 (19.8 percent) 3-pointers he attempted. The word was out among opponents: Focus your defense on Hunter. As his numbers sunk, so did his draft stock.

Hunter has seen his stock fluctuate from the late lottery — the Thunder have interest at No. 14 — into the 20s, which could make for a harrowing night Thursday.

“A lot of it was my fault,” said Hunter, who finished the season averaging 19.7 points a game on 30.5 percent 3-point shooting. “I rushed a lot of shots, wasn’t getting open on a lot of shots. I took a lot of bad shots, too, my shot selection was down. This year, I matured, I did a lot of things other than shooting this year that I wouldn’t have done last year. I definitely didn’t have the best shooting year, but I think if I get more space and more looks, I will be more efficient.”

FATHERS AND SONS: College basketball’s most famous pairings

That’s another misconception Hunter has been fighting — shooting is not his only strength. He’s worke[……]

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Despite a lineup change by their opponents that may have shaken up the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers have no plans to change their starting five.

“We’re going to play our game,” LeBron James told reporters before Saturday’s practice. “We’ve gotten to this point by playing the way we play, and we’re not going to change. We’ll make adjustments throughout the game, but we won’t change our starting lineup.”

MORE: LeBron’s greatest Finals games ever | Must-see photos from the NBA Finals

That means James will be joined by guards Matthew Dellavadova and J.R. Smith, forward Tristan Thompson and center Timofey Mozgov as the team heads into a pivotal Game 5 against the Warriors. 

Golden State shook things up in Game 4, starting Andre Iguodala over Andrew Bogut. It paid off immediately as Iguodala scored 22 points to help his team to a 21-point victory that tied the series at two games each. 

Depth has been an issue for Cleveland in the playoffs. The Cavaliers lost both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving to season-ending injuries. Blatt has largely been relegated to a seven-man lineup with Iman Shumpert and James Jones as his primary players off the bench. Cavs coach David Blatt also expressed confidence in his starting five. 

“We’ve got a lot of experienced players on our roster, and a lot of guys have been through these battles before,” Blatt said. “Some of the guys have not played a whole lot. Our results have been pretty good as we’ve been playing, but, again, I believe in those guys and their ability to step in, if necessary, and do what needs to be done.”

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Game 5 of the Western Conference finals between the Rockets and Warriors was not without more head trauma.

During the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ series-clinching victory, Klay Thompson was drilled in the side of the head by an errant knee from Trevor Ariza. Thompson was cleared to play but stayed out of the game. He later dealt with concussion symptoms, the Warriors said.

MORE: Contusion vs. concussion | Curry answers doubters

Thompson was quickly escorted to the locker room for further evaluation, but ESPN’s Doris Burke reported that Thompson was not put through NBA concussion protocol testing. Several minutes later, he returned to the court with what was described as an ear laceration. That didn’t last very long as blood started to leak from inside his ear canal.

Warriors’ disputed Burke’s report saying Thompson was given a concussion evaulation test immediately after suffering the head injury, in a statement released by the team. The team also said that he developed concussion-like symptoms after the game and will be monitored. 

Not being able to hear may be a sign that something isn’t right.

Luckily for the Warriors, they will have nearly a week to heal up before the take on the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Note: A previous version of this story’s headline was unclear on Thompson’s activity after the injury. He was cleared to play but never entered the game.

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Rapper Lil B wants to make sure the curse he imposed on Rockets’ guard James Harden remains strong.

You may remember the California-based rapper, upset that Harden was using his signature dance, placed a curse on the Houston star.

MORE: Lil B interview | Lil B warns Cleveland

Lil B was in attendance at Oracle Arena for Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, and reminded the fans in attendance and the viewers at home just whose “cooking dance” it is.

A Warriors’ victory would eliminate the Rockets from the postseason, meaning we would never have to speak of this stupid feud ever again.

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With six days until the NBA Finals begin, players on both the Cavs and Warriors will have to endure an exorbitant amount of pre-series interviews. 

With all the downtime, there’s bound to be some comedy amid all the chatter about history, legacy and matchups. Warriors forward Andre Iguodala provided some laughter when a reporter asked him what winning a title would mean for him. 

MORE: Agent says Klay Thompson has concussion | Warriors or Cavaliers? | Riley Curry once again start of Warriors’ postgame news conference

A 10-year veteran, the 6-6, 215-pound Iguodala had started every game he’d played in during his career prior to the start of this season, Steve Kerr’s first ever as a head coach. 

Iguodala was selected fourth overall in the 2004 NBA Draft. He once averaged nearly 20 points per game as a member of the 76ers but has humbly accepted his role as a reserve, averaging 7.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and three assists while playing 26.9 minutes per game — all career-lows, all while backing up starting small forward Harrison Barnes. 

Kerr had better make taking a backseat worth Iguodala’s while…or else. 

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Kyrie Irving’s first NBA Finals game ended prematurely. The Cavaliers point guard limped off the court with less than two minutes to play in Cleveland’s 108-100 overtime loss to the Warriors.

Irving, who has been battling tendinitis in his left knee, landed awkwardly on his left leg while competing for the ball toward the end of overtime. He walked gingerly to the locker room, throwing his towel to the ground in frustration as he exited and later said he would need an MRI, though he hopes it is only an aggravation.

MORE: Must-see Finals photosIrving blocks Curry | LeBron needed more helpIguodala plays big role

As media filtered into the Cleveland locker room after the game, Irving sat perched at his stall with a towel covering his head an an ice pack over his left knee.

“Obviously you can see in the tone of my voice, I am a little worried,” Irving told reporters.  

Irving missed two games against the Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals and most of Game 6 against the Bulls in the conference semifinals with the knee and foot ailments.

“This one felt a little different,” Irving said. “I just felt something a little different in my knee. This time it was all my weight falling down on it. I don’t know exactly what happened.”

When asked if he thinks he’ll be ready to play in Game 2, Irving said, “I’m not sure at this point.”

Irving left the locker room on crutches.

The three-time All-Star was a big reason the Cavs made it to overtime to open the series. He had 23 points (on 10-for-22 shooting) and six assists in 43:37 of playing time. He also had a potential game-saving block on Warriors star Stephen Curry in the final seconds of regulation. 

By most accounts, Irving was back to playing at his highest level. So should his latest injury linger into Game 2 and beyond, Cleveland’s chances of a championship would be greatly reduced.

Backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova would likely take Irving’s place in the starting lineup.

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Lance Stephenson knows he needs to work on his outside shot, and that’s what he’s doing.

Of course, he’s doing it the Lance Stephenson way.

MORE: Solving the Hornets’ Lance problem  | Self-slapping

The Hornets guard posted a video of him draining a 3-pointer from a chair on the sidelines.

— Lance Stephenson (@StephensonLance) June 10, 2015

Safe to say, the Hornets are hoping he can do that all season after his shooting percentage dropped off horribly in his first season with the team. Stephenson shot just 17 percent from the 3-point line in 2015 after shooting better than 35 percent from long range with the Pacers the previous season. 

Stephenson’s numbers took a dive all-around in Charlotte, as his scoring dipped from 13.2 to 8.2. His minutes per game, rebounds, and assists all plummeted as well. 

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In case you’re unaware, there will be a leap second Tuesday night at 11:59:60 Universal Time (the official time that international timekeepers use) or 7:59:60 p.m. ET. This happens to keep atomic clocks in sync. 

In short, we get an extra second.

MORE: 17 things we’ll never forget about 2014-15 season | Free free agency advice

And that extra second is something the Wizards could have used in this year’s playoff series against the Hawks.

All they needed was one more second.

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J.R. Smith left a less-than-desirable situation with the Knicks halfway through the NBA season and finished the year in the NBA Finals with the Cavaliers. 

And after Cleveland’s Game 6 loss, Smith said he may be on the move again as he “probably” plans to opt out of the final year of his contract, according to ESPN.

MORE: Smith unimpressed with Blatt’s halftime speechLeBron takes loss hard | Thompson takes jab at King James

Although the final year on his deal is worth more than $6 million, Smith clearly hopes his scoring ability attracts a larger number from another team. If Cleveland wants to keep Smith, it will have to match Smith’s highest offer. Smith told Cleveland.com he “absolutely” plans to be a Cavalier next season.

Smith, 29, averaged 12.8 points per game in the postseason but didn’t have a noticeable impact on the NBA Finals until the final quarter of Game 6 with the game out of reach. The most lasting memory of Smith from this postseason ultimately will be his PhunkeeDuck rides.

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