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Seriously, never fall asleep during a Warriors game

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

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The NBA came back, and it aged us all 10 years in six hours.

First, an hour before tip-off, news broke that in an altercation during Bulls practice, Bobby Portis broke Nikola Mirotic's nose, leading the latter to suffer a concussion and be hospitalized. Mirotic is expected to miss a couple of weeks, and Portis is expected to be suspended at least a few games.

Then six minutes into a pitched Celtics visit to Cleveland, Gordon Hayward snapped his ankle in a horrific injury. You do not want to see the video clip. Time stopped as players (including Dwyane Wade) reacted to the injury. LeBron James visited Hayward in the locker room as doctors prepared him for travel back to Boston. Isaiah Thomas, injured himself and Hayward's Boston recruiter, stayed with the new Celtic backstage. The entire internet sports world shared sympathy with Hayward ... including the Utah Jazz.

Eventually, the Cavaliers went up by 20, the Celtics fought back hard, and Kyrie Irving's game-tying attempt fell short while being defended by James. King James and the whole Cavs team dapped up Irving after the game, like he'd never left.

Then the Warriors received their beautiful championship rings, they and Rockets had a long, late Western shootout and ... Houston won? Houston won! Seriously, never fall asleep during a Warriors game. Kevin Durant hit a game-winner at the buzzer, but it was literally at the buzzer and didn't count.

A Bull punched out a teammate, the top free agent who changed teams this summer lasted six minutes, and the Warriors lost. We are off to a frightening start, ladies and gentlemen.


BOS 99, CLE 102

HOU 122, GSW 121


I have 99 predictions for this NBA season, from award winners to all-star drama to the depths of the Warriors' future dominance. One quick note: I inadvertently left Giannis Antetokounmpo off of All-NBA. This was foolish. I made an edit to that effect.

Paul Flannery ran down the 12 biggest MVP contenders for this week's List.

Huge GQ story and spread on James. The cover photo is James wearing a golden laurel. The kicker is that James declares he owes nothing to anyone.

From Zito Madu: Hayward's injury is a chilling reminder of our fragility.

Jeff Stotts on the possibilities around Hayward's ankle.

Her majesty Jackie MacMullan explains how the Rockets landed Chris Paul.

100 events that led to the Cavaliers' opening night.

How well do rappers represent their hometown NBA squads?

Eric Gordon got skinny and now he's dunking over everyone!

Marc Spears talked to Muslim NBA players past and present on what it's like to practice their religion in the league.

Tim Cato on how the Rockets are trying to beat the Warriors at their own game. It worked for one night at least ...

Ben Falk on whether the whole "only one ball" thing is real and matters for Houston or Oklahoma City.

The first half of Nick Young's Warriors career was pure glory.

Joel Embiid is not pleased with his minutes restriction.

The "motivation note" on John Wall's iPhone is really something.

You know those local companies who will send a Disney princess to your daughter or son's birthday party, only the company is in no way sanctioned by Disney, and the actor always looks very unlike the Disney princess in at least one very obvious way? That is what this Klay Thompson look-alike fan reminded me of.

Kevin Durant says Giannis can become the greatest player ever.

Everything Kyrie said about Cleveland after being traded to Boston. Fake Deep Kyrie is honestly my favorite edition, much moreso than Spiteful Kyrie and definitely ahead of Flat Earther Kyrie.

Charlotte Wilder previews Russell Westbrook's fashion season.

Rude! The Thunder gave Durant's old jersey number to an undrafted rookie.

Another Nike jersey ripped, only this time it was on national TV and it was James! The construction of these ultra-light jerseys is leading to more rips and lots (and lots) of untucking.

Danny Ainge decided to respond to Thomas' angry comments published by SI last week. Ainge basically said he didn't owe Thomas anything. Actually ...

Old friends Nathaniel Friedman and Eric Freeman connect to preview what should be a bizarre season.

How the Warriors reveal the limits of James. Except, maybe James has no limits: unsatisfied with his conditioning after missing preseason, James jumped on the VersaClimber after playing 41 minutes.


We have 11 games on Wednesday. ESPN's double-header features the Sixers at the Wizards at 7 p.m. ET and the Timberwolves at the Spurs at 9:30 p.m. ET. Other intriguing games include the Bucks at the Celtics (7:30), the Pelicans at the Grizzlies (8), and the Nuggets at the Jazz (9). Full schedule here.

Be excellent to each other.