Man Utd’s Dean Henderson ‘fumes’ at ‘criminal’ waste of season before Nottingham Forest loan

Manchester United’s Dean Henderson, on loan at Nottingham Forest, has made a scathing assessment of his “criminal” season at Old Trafford last year.

Henderson said he was promised the United No 1 jersey after his club form in 2020/21, which had seen him talked about as unseating Jordan Pickford as England’s first-choice goalkeeper ahead of the European Championships last summer.

However, after returning early from the summer tournament with Covid, the then 24-year-old failed to make a single Premier League appearance for the club under either Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Ralf Rangnick, and has subsequently been usurped in the England squad by Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale. A season on the bench left Henderson about his treatment at Old Trafford, and he said:

“The conversation I had, coming out of the Euro squad, was that you’re coming back here to be the number one goalkeeper. I got Covid – unfortunately, no one followed through with anything they told me. I turned so many good loans down last summer, and they wouldn’t let me go. It was frustrating. To sit there and waste 12 months is criminal really, at my age. I was fuming.” Now on loan at Forest, Henderson looks certain to start their season opener with Newcastle at St James’ Park on Saturday, as the Trees return to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.

On signing for the club last month, the goalkeeper called his discussions with manager Steve Cooper “outstanding” ahead of his decision to move to the City Ground, and told Sky Sports News he felt like a “caged animal” now unleashed ahead of the new season.

He told Sky Sports News: “I can’t wait to get back out there. For me personally, being a caged animal for the last year, to get out there and actually play in front of a full St James’ Park, being the underdogs, is sensational.

“I love playing, the manager has been fantastic with me. I want to play for him. He’s shown some good trust in me and …

Bill Russell, NBA great and Celtics legend, dies at 88

Bill Russell redefined how basketball is played, and then he changed the way sports are viewed in a racially divided country. The most prolific winner in NBA history, Russell marched with Martin Luther King Jr., supported Muhammad Ali and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. The centerpiece of the Boston Celtics dynasty that won 11 championships in 13 years, Russell earned his last two NBA titles as a player-coach — the first Black coach in any major U.S. sport. Russell died on Sunday at the age of 88. His family posted the news on social media, saying his wife, Jeannine, was by his side. The statement did not give the cause of death, but Russell was not well enough to present the NBA Finals MVP trophy in June due to a long illness. “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, …

Draymond Green willing to leave Warriors if he doesn’t get max contract extension

The great era of the last great dynasty in NBA history, the Golden State Warriors, have three key players in each of their championships, they are the “Splash Brothers” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but just as important has been Draymond Green, however, according to press reports about the controversial player, there is a likelihood that this legendary Big 3 is close to disintegrating.

Green is eligible for a contract extension as of August 3, and according to reports by Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson of The Athletic, for the Warriors to keep their locker room leader, the cost is going to be as expensive as one can imagine.

What is Draymond Green’s contract situation?

Currently, Green has one more year on his contract with Golden State worth $25.8 million and has the option to accept one more year after that for $28.5 million, however, if he wanted a max contract extension (for 120% of his current contract) he would then have to decline that option for the 2023-2024 season, according to the same report.

That way, Golden State could pay Green $164 million to keep him for the next five seasons, however, those are Draymond’s claims, according to Slater and Thompson.

Warrriors paid the most expensive luxury tax in history

It is worth remembering that Golden State’s payroll situation is the most expensive in history and that they had to pay the highest luxury tax in NBA history, however, the procedure of this franchise is to pay their stars a year before their contract expires, as they did with Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole.

The report also indicates that if Green does not get the extension he wants, he is willing to seek that money with another team, an issue that would not be to the liking of the “Chef” who would be pressuring the Warriors management not to let Green go.…

Khloé Kardashian expecting a baby via surrogate with Tristan Thompson

According to PageSix, a source close to the Kardashians revealed that the estranged couple are expecting their second child together. “We can confirm True will have a sibling who was conceived in November. Khloé is incredibly grateful to the extraordinary surrogate for such a beautiful blessing,” the source revealed.

“We’d like to ask for kindness and privacy so that Khloe can focus on her family.”

Multiple sources add that the baby was conceived via surrogate before it was revealed that Tristan, 31, was having a baby with someone else.

“Khloé and Tristan already had the baby in the works when the scandal hit. By then, Khloé was just like, ‘I’m going to be doing it by myself,’” PageSix revealed.

Tristan and Khloe already a have four-year-old daughter.

It would be recalled that Tristan welcomed a baby with fitness expert, Maralee Nichols.

Nicole has already filed for child support from the rich NBA star before giving birth to the child.

Tristan later admitted to fathering the child after he was dragged by the fitness expert.

“Today, paternity test results reveal that I fathered a child with Maralee Nichols. I take full responsibility for my actions. Now that paternity has been established I look forward to amicably raising our son,” he wrote.

He went on to apologize to his former girlfriend and baby mama, Khloe Kardashian.

“Khloé, you don’t deserve this. You don’t deserve the heartache and humiliation I have caused you. You don’t deserve the way I have treated you over the years,” he added.

Trade grades: Jazz net huge haul for Rudy Gobert; Wolves must contend for title to justify paying steep price

The Utah Jazz are trading Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a six-player deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Minnesota is sending Utah Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Walker Kessler, Leandro Bolmaro, Jarred Vanderbilt and four first-round picks for the All-Star center. Those picks are unprotected first-rounders in 2023, 2025, and 2027, an unprotected swap in 2026 and a top-five protected pick in 2029.

Gobert is a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and is widely considered the league’s best rim protector. In Minnesota, he will link up with Karl-Anthony Towns, who is one of the NBA’s better offensive big men, to form one of the NBA’s best frontcourts.

Minnesota finished a surprising 13th in defense last season with an aggressive trapping scheme, but Gobert takes them to an entirely different level. The Wolves will have to change their style, but no Gobert defense has finished below 13th in the past seven seasons. Utah, meanwhile, officially ends one of the more successful runs in franchise history. The Jazz have been a consistent playoff team with Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, but after a first-round flameout against the Dallas Mavericks, it became clear that change was needed. With head coach Quin Snyder also out, the Jazz will enter the 2022-23 season with a completely different looking team.

Now the question is whether or not Mitchell will be the next Utah star out the door. Rumors have linked him to the New York Knicks for years, and the Miami Heat also appear to be on the prowl looking for star talent. If they could get four first-rounders for Gobert, they’d likely be able to fetch even more for the younger Mitchell, and moving him now would have the added benefit of positioning the Jazz to potentially land one of the top picks in the loaded 2023 NBA Draft. Headlining that class is another French center, Victor Wembanyama, who has been compared to Gobert defensively, but has a much more diverse game offensively.

For most of Utah’s time in the playoffs, Minnesota has been …

Spurs, Hawks Agree To Trade Involving Dejounte Murray

The San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks have agreed to a trade centered around Dejounte Murray. There was significant talk in recent NBA trade rumors surrounding a possible trade involving the Spurs and Hawks, but now, there is finally an agreement in place on a deal.

According to ESPN, the Spurs are trading Murray to the Hawks in exchange for Danilo Gallinari and three first-round picks and a future first-round pick swap. There were reports of the asking price being a “Jrue Holiday-type return” and this deal satisfies that asking price.

The specific draft picks the Spurs are receiving from the Hawks include a 2025 first round pick (ATL) , 2027 first round pick (ATL), 2026 swap (ATL) and 2023 protected first round pick (CHA).

Murray, 25, is coming off his first All-Star season and was among the top honorable mentions for one of the guard spots in All-Defensive Team voting. He averaged 21.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 2.0 steals in what became a breakout campaign. With Murray set to earn just $16.6 million during the 2022-23 season and signed only through the 2023-24 campaign, this offseason could be an ideal time to capitalize on his trade value. The Spurs would have been capped to offering just a starting salary on a contract extension up to 120 percent of his 2023-24 salary ($17.7 million).

The Spurs would have risked Murray entering unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2024 with the possibility of losing him for nothing. By trading him away now, it’s clear they are now on the fast track to sinking toward the bottom of the NBA standings ahead of a loaded 2023 draft class. With skepticism around the league about San Antonio having a franchise player, a rebuild could address that.

The Hawks have sought to add a secondary ball handler since their rough first-round exit caused by the Miami Heat. Trae Young had an abysmal performance with averages of just 15.4 points while averaging more turnovers (6.2) than assists (6.0) in addition to shooting …

Knicks trading Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel to Pistons to clear cap space for pursuit of Jalen Brunson, per report

Last week, on draft night, the New York Knicks traded Kemba Walker and the No. 13 overall pick (Jalen Duren) to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for a future first-round pick. Now, just a few days later, the two sides have come together to make another deal.

This time, the Knicks will send Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, two future second-round picks and $6 million in cash to the Pistons in order to clear more cap space for their pursuit of Jalen Brunson, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The Pistons will not be sending any players back to the Knicks in the deal.

By moving Burks and Noel, the Knicks will be able to clear an additional $19 million from their books. Combined with the money shed by trading Walker, they now have around $30 million in cap space this summer, which will be more than enough for them to offer Brunson a deal worth $100 million over four years.

Early on Tuesday, multiple reports suggested that the Knicks are now the favorites to sign Brunson. They’ve hired his dad as an assistant coach, worked to clear cap space and will now be able to make a competitive offer when free agency opens at 6 p.m. ET on June 30. While the Mavericks are better set up for immediate success, Brunson will get to take on a new challenge in New York and also have a bigger role on offense.

It’s also worth noting that because the Knicks now have the cap space to sign Brunson, the Mavericks’ chances of salvaging the situation by working out a sign-and-trade have been greatly reduced. As it stands, the Mavs are likely to lose Brunson for nothing, which will be a huge blow to their hopes of making another run in the playoffs next season.

As for the Pistons, this deal also impacts their summer plans. While reports after their successful draft suggested they would no longer pursue Deandre Ayton, there was still a chance they could go that route. Now, they are …

NBA Draft 2022: Magic taking Paolo Banchero at No. 1 fooled the league and gives us chaos for years to come

Remember how this was supposed to go?

1. Jabari Smith Jr.
2. Chet Holmgren
3. Paolo Banchero
4. Jaden Ivey

That’s what most mocks were telling you as of early Thursday evening, mere minutes before the 2022 NBA Draft got underway. Despite the fact that — as we previously laid out right here — the debate over who should go No. 1 was as compelling as we’d seen in years. That concept wound up proving true. Somehow.

Orlando, what have you done?

Made claim to one of the boldest 11th hour, 59th minute gambits in NBA Draft history, that’s what.

Ever since the night of the lottery, May 17, it seemed all the momentum was behind the idea that the Magic were going to go with convention and take Smith at No. 1. Oklahoma City was correspondingly rumored from the jump to be enamored with Holmgren. That, naturally, would leave Houston with the obvious choice of taking who was left of the big three — selecting Banchero third.

The Kings, who are undergoing the worst playoff drought of any pro sports franchise, surely would have to take the best player available at No. 4, right? Ivey. It would have to be him.

Then the betting markets went wild earlier in the week. Banchero moved from +1400 all the way to +175 (still behind Smith) to go No. 1. Subsequent reporting tried to extinguish that rumor.

Then, shortly before 8 p.m. ET on Thursday night, it all got blown to shreds. Chaos. The forecast was not reality. This is reality.

Banchero first to the Magic.

Holmgren second to the Thunder.

Smith — somehow! — goes third to the Rockets.

Keegan Murray — hello! — fourth to the Kings.

And then Ivey, who may well prove to be the best player in this draft 10 years from now, Ivey fell into the lap of the Detroit Pistons.

In what could prove to be one of the most talented drafts in recent history, Orlando and Sacramento — two franchises that …

2022 NBA Mock Draft: Final projections for all 58 picks with Jabari Smith slotted No. 1 to the Orlando Magic

The NBA draft is Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET, and the first round is starting to take shape.

Auburn’s Jabari Smith is projected to go No. 1 to the Orlando Magic (over Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero), and there are rumblings multiple teams are interested in trading up to No. 4 in pursuit of Purdue guard Jaden Ivey.

Wake Forest wing Jake LaRavia and Arizona guard Dalen Terry are late first-round risers. It will be interesting to see what Oklahoma City does with the No. 2 pick and if the Thunder keep the pick at No. 12 or try to package it with future picks and trade up.

1. Orlando Magic: F Jabari Smith

Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 220 pounds | Class: Freshman | Auburn: 16.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg

Smith might be the youngest of the top three prospects, but he brings a wide variety of offensive skills that can be plugged into this Magic team right away. He has the length and athleticism to defend positions 1-4 and is the best shooting big in this draft class, averaging 42% from 3-point range, something the Magic desperately need some help with after shooting 33% from deep last season.

The Magic brought in Holmgren for one of their last workouts (Smith worked out for the team June 9), but there is so much to like about what Smith brings to the table right away with his elite shooting and defensive versatility.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder: C Chet Holmgren

Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 196 pounds | Class: Freshman | Gonzaga: 14.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 3.7 bpg

Sam Presti is patiently building something in Oklahoma City, and Holmgren might be the superstar prospect who starts to bring it all together. Yes, there are concerns about his slight frame at under 200 pounds, but what Holmgren brings to a team and what he can do on the court is remarkable with his elite ball-handling and footwork in the paint. Defensively, he’s a tremendous shot blocker and has the length to defend the perimeter and challenge …

Warriors close out Celtics in Game 6 to win fourth NBA championship in eight years

The Golden State Warriors delivered a masterclass in closing out an NBA Finals on the road.

After a slow start in which the Boston Celtics opened a 12-point lead, the Warriors took control with an offensive outburst and defensive clinic that staggered the Celtics and silenced the crowed at TD Garden.

Golden State handled Boston 103-90 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, claiming its fourth title in eight seasons and first since 2018.

Steph Curry, who demoralized Boston with his shooting in the series, crushed the Celtics with one 3-pointer after another. He had 34 points on 12-for-21 shooting, including 6-for-11 on 3s. It was Curry’s fourth 30-point game of the Finals, and he earned earning his first Finals MVP.

It was a brutal way for the Celtics to learn a lesson. They led 14-2, and a Game 7 seemed possible.

But the Warriors’ championship pedigree flattened Boston. Golden State went on a 35-8 run, built a 54-33 lead just before halftime and never let Boston make it a game in the second half.

Here are four key takeaways from Golden State’s title-clinching win:

Golden State 3s

From the team that revolutionized 3-point shooting in the NBA, it’s not a surprise the Warriors put on a shooting display from that distance.

Late in the third quarter, the Warriors had made 16 3s on 53.3% shooting.

While Curry led the charge, every Warriors starter, including Draymond Green, made at least two 3-pointers. Andrew Wiggins made four 3s, and Jordan Poole had three off the bench.

Boston turnovers problematic again

Celtics coach Ime Udoka bemoaned his team’s turnovers throughout the playoffs. It became a familiar refrain after almost every Celtics loss.

In Game 6, Boston committed a series-high 23 turnovers, leading to 20 Warriors points. That followed 18 turnovers in Game 5, 16 in Game 4 and 19 in Game 2.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had five each. In the fourth quarter, when the Celtics had a mini-run, they still had five turnovers — possessions that could’ve had an impact …

Celtics beat Warriors 116-100, take 2-1 lead in NBA Finals

Throughout the postseason, the Boston Celtics had played their best basketball away from home.

Not anymore.

Jaylen Brown scored 27 points, Jayson Tatum added 26 and the Celtics rode the energy of a raucous TD Garden crowd to beat back another third-quarter onslaught by Golden State in a 116-100 victory Wednesday night that gave them a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Marcus Smart added 24 points and helped fuel a defensive effort that held the Warriors to 11 points in the fourth quarter — third-fewest in a finals game in the shot clock era.

“Game 2, they brought the heat to us,” Smart said. “For us, that left a bad taste in our mouth because what we hang our hat on is effort on the defensive end and being a physical team. It definitely woke us up a little bit.”

Tatum said the fact the Celtics didn’t hang their heads after the Warriors’ third-quarter flourish is something they didn’t always do in the regular season. “I think that’s when we are at our best when we respond to tough situations. We respond to teams going on runs and things like that,” he said. “I think we did that several times tonight.”

Boston improved to 6-4 at home, compared to 8-3 on the road this postseason. The Celtics haven’t lost two straight games since the end of March.

Stephen Curry led Golden State with 31 points and six 3-pointers. He had 15 points in a 33-25 third quarter by the Warriors but was hurt late in the fourth after Al Horford rolled into his leg on a loose ball. Curry said it was similar to a play during the regular season in which Smart dove into Curry’s legs while chasing a loose ball but “not as bad.”

“I got caught — obviously in some pain, but I’ll be all right,” Curry said. “See how it feels tomorrow and get ready for Friday.” Klay Thompson broke out of a finals slump and finished with 25 points and five 3s. But the …

Steph Curry, Warriors use gigantic 3rd quarter to blowout Celtics, even series

Stephen Curry didn’t play in the fourth quarter – and didn’t need to.

The Golden State Warriors routed the Boston Celtics 107-88 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals to even the series 1-1. Curry had 29 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals to help Golden State bounce back from a Game 1 loss and take the even series back to the East Coast.

“They said we needed to play with desperation, that’s what we did. Good feeling to get back on track and now we got to take it on the road,” Curry told ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the game.

The Warriors used a 35-point third quarter to seal Game 2. Golden State ended the quarter on a 16-2 run in the final 4:17.

Jordan Poole would nail a 39-foot three-pointer to put Golden State up 87-64 heading into the fourth and it was more than the Warriors could’ve asked for.

Curry said their third quarter in Game 2 was just like in Game 1, they just played better defensively. He said making it difficult for guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown “carries over to the rest of the game.”

“Our third quarter was great. We got enough separation… the fourth quarter was a little bit easier tonight.”

Boston was 4-for-17 from the field and only scored 14 points in the third.

Tatum and Brown were the only two Boston starters who finished in double figures in scoring. Tatum had 28 points and Brown had 17 points. Derrick White was the only other player to have double digits in scoring, finishing with 12 points.

Curry got scoring help from Poole, who had 17 off the bench. Kevon Looney added 12 points and seven rebounds. Andrew Wiggins had 11 points and six rebounds.

Draymond Green had nine points, seven assists and five rebounds. Curry praised Green for his presence on the defensive side of the floor.

“He was just being himself. Finding different ways to impact the game on both sides of the floor,” Curry said. “Sometimes …

Boston Celtics survive wild Miami Heat comeback to win Game 7, advance to NBA Finals

The Boston Celtics held on for dear life against the relentless Miami Heat in Game 7 and survived.

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart — the core of a team that had lost two previous chances together to win the Eastern Conference finals — combined for 74 points in a 100-96 victory to advance to the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. Boston won for the third time in four games in Miami.

“The road that we took to get here, not a lot of people believed in us,” Tatum said on the court after slaying Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Miami in successive rounds. “We took the toughest route, and it worked out.”

Tatum won the NBA’s first-ever Larry Bird Eastern Conference Finals MVP award after scoring 26 points in Sunday’s win-or-go-home game. Brown and Smart each added 24. The trio also combined for 25 rebounds and 17 assists. Al Horford grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked a pair of shots in a dominant defensive effort.

“We stayed with it. We believed in each other. We made a commitment on the defensive end,” Horford, who reached the Finals for the first time in 141 playoff games, said as he accepted his team’s trophy. “That was the biggest thing, defending, and that was going to be our identity — and that’s what’s carried us this far.”

Jimmy Butler scored 35 points, playing all 48 minutes for the Heat in defeat. Bam Adebayo added 25 points. Miami’s two bright stars shot 56% from the field. Their teammates had 36 points on 28% shooting.

Once the Celtics took a 98-85 lead with 3:35 remaining, the Heat rallied on an 11-0 run, and Butler saw a wide-open transition 3-point attempt that would have given them their first lead with 16 seconds left, but he fired it off the front rim. Smart connected on a pair of free throws on the other end to prevent a collapse.

The Celtics pushed the pace in the first quarter and played lockdown defense, taking a 32-17 advantage with …

Golden State Warriors advance to their 6th NBA Finals in 8 years with a win against the Dallas Mavericks

Klay Thompson shimmied his way to 32 points, and the Golden State Warriors advanced to their sixth NBA Finals in eight seasons by beating the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night.

Thompson scored 19 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer that he punctuated with teammate Stephen Curry’s signature shake as the Warriors raced out to a 17-point halftime lead and coasted the rest of the way.

Andrew Wiggins added 18 points and 10 rebounds, Draymond Green scored 17 points and Curry had 15 points and nine assists for the Warriors.

Luka Doncic overcame a slow start to score 28 points for the Mavericks. Spencer Dinwiddie added 26.

After missing the playoffs in 2020 and ‘21 in back-to back injury-plagued seasons, the Warriors are returning to a familiar stage. They are the first team to make six finals appearances in an eight-year span since the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls had a pair of three-peats from 1991-93 and 1996-98.

The Warriors will host the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat on June 2 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Celtics hold a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 at home Friday.

The Warriors followed their pattern from the first two rounds by bouncing back after squandering a chance to end a series on the road by winning at home. The Warriors are 9-0 at the Chase Center this postseason, tying the 2017 team for the the most consecutive home wins in a single postseason in NBA history.

The star this game was Thompson, who sat out the last two seasons with injuries but showed flashes of his old self in this clincher.

After making just seven 3-pointers in the first four games of the series, Thompson had eight. He gave the Warriors a 13-point lead in the first half when he hit one from the corner before dancing and added two early in the third quarter for a 23-point lead.

The Mavericks cut a …

Jaylen Brown leads Celtics’ second-half turnaround as Boston beats Miami Heat

The Celtics found themselves trailing the Heat by five, on the road, at halftime of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night.

And yet, the Celtics felt just fine. They couldn’t have played much worse in the first half, committing 10 turnovers and giving up nine offensive rebounds to Miami — which allowed the Heat to take 14 extra shots.

“We weren’t playing our best, in a lot of ways,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “Sometimes, all it takes is one guy getting back to his average game.”

No one was playing worse than Jaylen Brown. He went 2-for-7 from the field and committed four turnovers — all in the first quarter. Then the second half started. And as it played out, Brown wound up being the face of the team’s turnaround.

Brown’s 19-point, 0-turnover second half — coupled with an 18-point second half from Jayson Tatum — allowed Boston to finally break open what was a rock fight in the first half, as the Celtics went on to win 93-80 over the Heat, moving Boston to within one victory of its first trip to the NBA Finals in 12 years.

“Same player,” Brown said from the first half to the second. “Just had to get settled in. That’s it. As the game wears on, some of that energy, some of that intensity starts to wear off, so the game opens up a little bit. The game opened up for me in the second half.

“I didn’t want to get down. I didn’t want to look into the past, think that this game was over. My team needed me to come out and respond.

“First half was s—. Threw it away. [Just] come out, play basketball in the second half.”

It was unclear whether Boston was going to be able to follow through on Brown’s instructions after yet another ugly stretch of basketball in this series for the Celtics in the first half of Game 5. The difference from the other periods when Boston has gone off the …

Luka Doncic leads Dallas Mavericks to victory against Golden State Warriors to avoid WCF sweep

The Dallas Mavericks staved off elimination and avoided a series sweep in the Western Conference Finals, as Luka Doncic led his team to a 119-109 win over the Golden State Warriors.

Ahead of Game 4, a moment of silence was held for “those who lost their lives in multiple tragedies in our home state,” referencing a fatal accident from Sunday and Tuesday’s shooting of an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
On Tuesday, a gunman clad in body armor rushed his way into the school and opened fire on classrooms of young children, killing 19 students and two adults, officials said.
After a somber and moving pregame, the importance of basketball seemed significantly diminished — indeed, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr refused to speak about basketball at all in his pregame press conference — but these two teams had to play regardless.
Doncic had a somewhat inefficient shooting night — shooting 38% from the floor and 27% from three-point range — but led the Mavericks with 30 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, as well as registering two steals and two blocks.
After Doncic’s fellow starters offered no support whatsoever in the Game 3 defeat, Dorian Finney-Smith came up big in Game 4 with 23 points on 69% shooting, while Reggie Bullock and Jalen Brunson scored 18 and 15 respectively.
The win cuts Golden State’s series lead to 3-1, but no team in the NBA’s 75-year history has come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs in 146 attempts. “Our defense was amazing today,” Doncic told reporters. “That’s how we’ve got to play; when we play like this, we’re a dangerous team.
“You never know,” he added when asked if Dallas could still win the series. “We’re going to stick together. As I said, we’re going to believe.
“This is one and, straight away, we’ve got to think of the next one. It’s going to be really tough with Golden State, we know that, but we have to stay together.”
Dallas’ defense really hindered the Warriors’ shooting ability, with Steph

Boston Celtics’ ‘sense of urgency’ from start to finish propels Game 4 blowout of Miami Heat to even East finals

When things have gone poorly for the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, it has been when they’ve lost focus and allowed Miami to speed them up and turn them over, leading to fast-break points — the one consistent way the Heat have scored in this series.

That was the formula Miami used to fuel its victories in Games 1 and 3. And so, heading into Game 4, Boston knew that in order to even this series at two wins apiece, it would have to avoid falling into those same bad habits once again. Mission accomplished.

The Celtics were utterly dominant at both ends from start to finish on Monday night. Boston scored the first eight points and never looked back, cruising to a wire-to-wire 102-82 victory in front of a sellout crowd at TD Garden to send this series back to the shores of Biscayne Bay for Game 5 on Wednesday, with both teams two wins away from a trip to the NBA Finals.

“Urgency,” said Jayson Tatum, who led all scorers with 31 points, when asked to describe Boston’s mindset entering Game 4. “That was a focal point coming into this game, to just have a sense of urgency on both ends of the floor, from start to finish. Really starting the game better, obviously, than we did last game. That’s something that we talked about and something that we executed tonight.”

In a series that has seen each game swing wildly from one direction to the other, it took about 10 seconds to realize Game 4 would follow a similar pattern. Boston immediately jumped out to an 8-0 lead before Miami scored a single point; and the Celtics eventually took an 18-1 lead before the Heat finally made their first field goal with 3:22 remaining in the first quarter when Victor Oladipo buried a 3-pointer.

By then, Miami had missed 14 consecutive shots to open the game, setting a tone for all that was to come over the final 40 minutes. The Heat simply never got …

Celtics dominate Heat in Game 2 to tie series

It shouldn’t come as shocking, but the return of Marcus Smart and Al Horford paid dividends for the Celtics. Both players missed Game 1 of the series, with Smart dealing with a foot sprain and Horford in protocols. Their presence in this game was felt immediately, and they both made a big impact in the box score. Smart played 40 minutes, finishing with 24 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists, three steals, one block, and five triples. He started off slow with his shooting, but he was able to shoot 6-for-11 in the second half, including four of his triples. Smart’s control of the game helped Boston lower their turnovers from 16 in Game 1 to just nine in Game 2. Obviously the Defensive Player of the Year’s impact doesn’t always show up in the stat sheet (though it did in this game). He made even more plays that made a huge difference in the game that won’t appear in a box score. Horford has been a steady veteran for the Celtics all year, and that proved to be a factor in this game. He didn’t shine with his numbers (10/3/3/1/1 line on 4-for-4 FGs), but Horford did play a critical role in this game on both ends. We’ve seen him fill it up throughout the postseason, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see bigger numbers from him as the series progresses.

Derrick White missed this game due to the birth of his child (big congrats!), but Boston’s bench didn’t miss a beat. Grant Williams returned to a bench role, which didn’t slow his production in the slightest. He finished with 19 points on 5-for-7 shooting with two triples and four rebounds. He also finished as a +37, which was second on the team to Payton Pritchard, who finished as a +39. Pritchard finished with 10 points and two triples in 23 minutes.

Boston’s pair of star wings didn’t disappoint. Jayson Tatum finished with a 27/5/5 line with four triples, while shooting 8-for-13 from the floor. After turning it over seven …

Golden State Warriors Sail Past the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals

The Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks kicked off their Western Conference Finals series in San Francisco for Game 1 on Wednesday night and after a slow start, the Warriors were definitely the better team on the night.

The Warriors were not one of the favorites to come out of the West at the beginning of the season, but a hot start to their 2021-22 campaign ensured they returned to their status as one of the most feared teams as Steph Curry also found some of his MVP form.

Curry did not have his best shooting night against the Mavs, but finished with 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds as the Dubs cruised to a 112-97 win to take a 1-0 lead.

The Mavericks learned pretty quickly in this game that they will need to learn to defend space better as the Warriors are a much better 3-point shooting team than the Phoenix Suns.

Luka Doncic, who has almost single-handedly willed his team to this stage of the playoffs, had an off-night, ending Game 1 with 20 points (6-of-18 from the field) and seven rebounds. The Warriors held him to just 16.7 percent shooting on contested field-goal attempts – a career playoff low for the Slovenian.

Only one game separated the teams in the regular season, and it’s because of the Warriors’ 53-52 edge in wins — rather than the Mavericks’ 3-1 triumph in the season series — that Golden State has earned the home-court advantage in this best-of-seven series.

Mavs’ coach Jason Kidd will have a couple of days to figure out what adjustments he needs to make to get Doncic back in his groove, and to help his team (hopefully) steal a win at Golden State before heading back to Dallas.

The Sporting News tracked all of the action from Game 1.

Warriors vs. Mavericks score

Game 1 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Warriors 28 26 34 24 112
Mavericks 18 27 24 18 87

Warriors vs. Mavericks series schedule

Here is the full schedule for the …

Jimmy Butler scores 41 as Miami Heat take Game 1 from short-handed Boston Celtics

Jimmy Butler scored 41 points, and the Miami Heat turned things around with a huge third quarter on the way to beating the short-handed Boston Celtics 118-107 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night.

Tyler Herro scored 18 and Gabe Vincent added 17 for the Heat, who outscored Boston 39-14 in the third quarter. Butler had 17 alone in the third, outscoring the Celtics by himself over those 12 minutes.

Max Strus scored 11 and Bam Adebayo added 10 for Miami.

Jayson Tatum scored 29 for the Celtics, who were without starters Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (health and safety protocols). Jaylen Brown added 24 for Boston, which got 18 apiece from Robert Williams III and former Oregon Ducks star Payton Pritchard.

Game 2 is Thursday.

Boston led by 13 in the first half and took a 62-54 lead into halftime. Whatever Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said during intermission clearly worked.

A 22-2 run was how Miami started the second half, the run punctuated by steals that led to baskets on three consecutive possessions. Strus had one, the next two by Butler pushed the lead out to 76-64, and the Heat were off and running.

The lead reached 96-76 when Herro was fouled on a three-point try and made all three free throws early in the fourth.

Boston had a run left; a 10-0 spurt cut the deficit in half, and a three-pointer from Tatum made it a nine-point game — outcome still very much in doubt — with 7:35 left.

But the Heat had a response. PJ Tucker answered Tatum’s three with one of his own. Brown then connected from deep to get Boston within single digits again, only to have that one answered by a three from Strus.

Some of the plans that both sides had for Game 1 were thrown away about 3½ hours before game time, when the Celtics revealed that Smart and Horford wouldn’t be playing. Smart’s absence was somewhat expected because of a mid-foot sprain he suffered in Game …