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Never turn your back on the Raptors

Good morning. We have that and more in Wednesday's NBA newsletter.

Good morning. Let's basketball.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Blake Griffin is out for the rest of the playoffs. Chris Paul had hand surgery on Tuesday. Weep for the Clippers. Limited Upside podcast on the matter.

WINTER IS COMING: The Raptors were getting smoked by the Pacers at home ... until Toronto went on a 24-2 run starting at the end of the third quarter. Solomon Hill hit a three to tie the game ... but review proved he released the ball a smidge too late. What a win for Toronto and an utterly crushing loss for Indiana. It's worth noting that Paul George (who was phenomenal) sat for most of the Raptors' big run. The Pacers were +15 in his 41 minutes and -18 in his seven minutes on the bench. And then Drake put a tear on him on Instagram. After mock clapping behind a Pacer's head after a turnover. You're doing too much, Aubrey ...

TRAP GAME: After two emotional wins at home, Boston looked flat and Atlanta dominated. Brad Stevens left starters in despite a 30-point deficit late; Isaiah Thomas ended up tweaking his ankle, though he says he'll be ready for Game 5. Not a good night for the Celtics.

DIRK'S LONELY JOURNEY: Brilliant Tim Cato assessment of Dirk Nowitzki's five years since the championship, where the promised help never arrived.

NEED A CHEER-ME-UP? Shaq invented a new dance and it looked so fun that Charles Barkley joined in.


IND 99, TOR 102 (Raptors lead 3-2)
BOS 83, ATL 110 (Hawks lead 3-2)


Hornets at Heat, 8 p.m. ET, TNT, Series tied 2-2
Blazers at Clippers, 10 p.m., NBA TV, Series tied 2-2
Rockets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m., TNT, GSW leads 3-1

COACH OF THE SEMESTER: Steve Kerr won Coach of the Year by a huge margin. He won 34 games this season, just one more than did George Karl. (I'm being cheeky: cheers to Kerr, who deserves any award you can conjure up.)

YES PLEASE: Lee Jenkins cover story on Craig Sager. It includes incredible retro shade from David Stern, the story of the time Sager stopped Dennis Rodman from committing suicide on the second floor of a Detroit strip club called The Landing Strip and, of course, the phenomenal hell he is living right now in terms of treatment for his leukemia, including multiple transfusions a week.

CHECK-UP: Ken Berger makes the case that the Clippers don't need to blow up the team necessarily, but that it is time to re-evaluate the roster.

SUPER OFFICIAL: The Kings unveiled their new logos in glorious full color. And on Wednesday fans can get a free tattoo of one of the logos courtesy of the team. That's one way to build brand loyalty, and to in the future demarcate folks who are definitely not bandwagon-jumpers.

PERSPECTIVE: Steph Curry is indeed making Under Armour tons of money on his signature shoe line, but the haul still pales in comparison to what Jordan, Kobe and LeBron generate for Nike. Via REDEF.

HATE PART I: I wrote about the Thunder allowing the hate to flow through them.

HATE PART II: I wrote about Mark Cuban's hateriffic assessment of Russell Westbrook and Cuban's ahistoric view of his own team.

AWESOME: Scott Van Pelt's tribute to the Grizzlies.

MR. WORLDWIDE: Darius Soriano on the potential of Ettore Messina as coach of the Lakers.

OH BOY: Chandler Parsons is apparently recruiting Dwight Howard to the Mavericks.

THE LONG WALK: Nice Jason Quick piece on Terry Stotts' post-practice walks and his philosophy.

BAD: Minority coaches struggle to land opportunities in college basketball.

I MEAN ... U.S. Senator Ted Cruz called a basketball rim a "basketball ring" and as such can never be trusted.

Happy Wednesday. See you next time.


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