The Sixers had won 17 straight games going into Monday’s Game 2 against the Heat, and had a blow-out victory in the series premiere. The Sixers were officially back and ready to make a deep run in the East. The champagne was already flowing in Philadelphia.
In Game 2, Dwyane Wade stuck a cork back in the bottle. He put a cork in the Philly crowd’s collective mouth, too.
Wade dropped 28 points in the Heat win to even the series, including a dagger to put the Heat up eight with 47 seconds to go. The Sixers crowd was boisterous and empassioned all night ... until Wade invariably silenced them. He took particular glee in shutting up Philadelphian and prominent Sixers fan Kevin Hart, who was courtside with Allen Iverson. We’ll leave you with Wade’s podium comments about his throwback performance.
”It’s a great feeling when you get into that bag, especially when you’re on the road, when you have, like, Kevin Hart talking on the sideline, when you have the crowd going through, saying all the things they’re saying. I heard a lot of things tonight and it’s all just used as motivation. And to be able to hush a whole crowd ... that’s a great feeling.”
The good news is that we’ll definitely get to experience the Philly crowd at least one more time in Game 5. No brooms here.
Wizards at Raptors, 7 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Toronto leads 1-0
Bucks at Celtics, 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Boston leads 1-0
Pelicans at Blazers, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
New Orleans leads 1-0
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The Spurs actually hung with the Warriors for three quarters, and LaMarcus Aldridge was fantastic, but San Antonio just does not have a chance in this series without Kawhi Leonard. Just no chance. One sign of the times: only six minutes for Tony Parker. Unlike his fellow legends of the Aughts, I don’t think he’s going to finish his career in San Antonio. He’s a free agent this summer.
Speaking of the Spurs, I wrote about Kawhi Leonard and the player-team relationship’s mutually assured destruction. There was a bit more fuel for this after San Antonio’s loss. In praising Aldridge, Gregg Popovich said: “He’s led our team on both ends of the floor. He doesn’t complain about a darn thing out on the court. He just plays through everything. I can’t imagine being more proud of a player as far as playing through adversity and being there for his teammates night after night after night. He’s been fantastic.” Shots fired?
Cool videos watching WNBA draftees view congratulatory messages from people close to them and admirers from afar ... like uh Kevin Durant. (Azurá Stevens’ reaction: “Holy crap. That was Kevin Durant.”) The Victoria Vivians one from her high school coach is probably my favorite, but they’re all good.
Joel Embiid was furious on social media after the Sixers’ loss. Why? He thinks he should be back on the court. He exited the concussion protocol on Sunday but the Sixers front office held him back one more day.
A bit of a red alert: after that legendary performance, Dwyane Wade was talking about retirement with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. He does confirm that he won’t leave the Heat for another team again.
In appreciation of Josh Richardson. This is an offensive league now, but there are so many fun defense-first guys like Richardson, Robert Covington, and others.
Mike Prada breaks down Victor Oladipo’s incredible closing speed. Caitlin Cooper analyzes all the various ways Oladipo cooked up the Cavaliers in Game 1. I can’t believe we have to wait another night for the rematch!
Chris Paul was bad in Game 1 for the Rockets. What does that mean?
It’s a huge problem that Karl-Anthony Towns only had eight points in his playoff debut on Sunday. The question is what the Wolves are going to do about it.
An argument that the benches will decide Raptors vs. Wizards. I think that is an optimistic perspective for D.C. fans, to be honest. The Toronto starting unit is much more consistent than Washington’s, too.
Luka Doncic is preparing to lead Real Madrid into the Euroleague playoffs. Emmet Ryan describes what we could learn about Wonder Boy as he faces this new test.
Jerry Stackhouse is the hottest coaching prospect of the offseason.
The Sixers are so next level they have a 4-point line.
Alright, let’s talk about this Rick Maese piece in the Washington Post about a select few Spurs fans who have abandoned the team in some measure this season, citing Popovich’s open and highly quotable distaste for President Donald Trump. I’m absolutely flummoxed that no mention whatsoever was made of the fact that the Spurs’ franchise owner Julianna Holt is a major Trump donor. How about asking if any Spurs fans have invested less energy and money in the team because of her support for the administration? How about asking Bexar County residents if they are comfortable with public money helping fund the private business enterprise (through arena bonds) of someone who helped finance Trump’s rise to power? If you’re going to spill ink on a collection of anecdotes suggesting Popovich is hurting the Spurs’ bottom line — which is patently absurd when you consider how freaking good Pop is at his job, the best NBA coach ever — you should at least look at the full scope of the situation.
Be excellent to each other.