May 26

WATCH: LeBron James Ends the Celtics’ Season

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Watch the video above to see James lead the Cavs to a completely dominant Game 5 win in Boston.

Related
Kyrie Irving on LeBron Passing MJ: ‘It’s Nothing Short of Legendary’

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May 26

Charles Barkley Still Has LeBron Outside His All-Time Top 5 And Wants The Jordan Debate To Stop

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LeBron James surpassed Michael Jordan on Thursday night to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in playoff history. James did so in a dominant 35-point performance (on 72 percent shooting) against the Celtics in Game 5 to close out the Eastern Conference Finals and advance to a third straight Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors – and his seventh consecutive Finals appearance overall.

James’ performance in these playoffs and the fact that he’s beginning to creep up on or outright eclipse some of Jordan’s career records has reignited the debate about whether James is indeed the greatest basketball player of all-time. Most are still not willing to cede that title to James yet, usually noting Jordan’s six rings as the primary reason, but James is still only 32 and has plenty of time to build his resume. A win in this year’s NBA Finals over this Warriors team would be an extremely meaningful step in reeling in Jordan as the GOAT, and, for some, it would be enough to pass him.

Charles Barkley is not among those people that think like that. After Game 5, Barkley plead for the debate between LeBron and Jordan to stop, noting that, for him, a Finals win this year would still not move LeBron into his all-time top five, but would simply move him ahead of Kobe Bryant for sixth.

It doesn’t come as much surprise that Barkley – who reveres Jordan as much if not more than any player that played in the Jordan era and also considers him a close friend – would feel this way about the Jordan-James debate, but LeBron’s standing in his all-time list still raises eyebrows. In particular, LeBron’s place behind Kobe Bryant makes for interesting fodder.

Barkley’s top nine all-time looks like this:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Oscar Robertson
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
4. Wilt Chamberlain
5. Bill Russell
6. Kobe Bryant
7. LeBron James
8. Jerry West
9. Elgin Baylor

Curiously missing from Barkley’s list – and one of the few that tends to make it onto all-time lists ahead of James – is Magic Johnson. Earlier on Thursday, Tracy McGrady shocked Paul Pierce by putting James ahead of Magic in a pretty hilarious segment on ESPN’s The Jump.

Barkley’s reasoning for this list and his placement of James at this point in his career is more solid than some of his other opinions – like Klay Thompson being better than Steph Curry, for example. He offered the stipulations for moving James ahead of Bryant, but I’d be curious to know what it would take for LeBron to climb into the top five (and how high he can get) on Chuck’s list. My guess is that he believes Jordan is unimpeachable at the top spot, but could he ever put LeBron ahead of the Big O if James continues for four or five more seasons at this rate and climbs near the top of most significant statistical categories.

May 25

Ex-Lakers Coach Byron Scott ‘Betrayed, Deceived’ by Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak

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Scott still has a sour taste in his mouth from the way that former Lakers executive Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss cut ties with him.

Scott says he “felt betrayed, lied to and deceived” by the Lakers front office.

From the Orange County Register:

Scott said he “felt betrayed, lied to and deceived” by former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and former executive Jim Buss.

 

Though he had only two guaranteed years on his four-year contract, Scott contends that Kupchak and Jim Buss previously promised him they would exercise the team option for his third year.

 

Scott also believes the Lakers used him to manage Bryant during his final seasons and farewell tour before making the coach a scapegoat for the franchise’s struggles.

Kupchak and Buss were ousted in February and were replaced by Magic Johnson and Rob Polinka.

RELATED:
Jeanie Buss Apologizes for Taking ‘Too Long’ to Fire Jim Buss

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May 25

Richard Jefferson Had A Perfectly Good Explanation For LeBron James’ Game 3 Performance

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Richard Jefferson says he knows exactly what was wrong with LeBron James in Game 3. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward claimed recently that what happened to the Cavaliers star has a lot to do with Deron Williams.

Jefferson said on Fox Sports Ohio on Thursday that James’ disappointing Game 3 performance on Sunday night wasn’t just about him having an off night.

“I know he won’t talk about it, so I’ll give my big guy a shout: Deron Williams missed shootaround this morning because he had like a little bug, really lethargic, had no energy. And I think that’s what ‘Bron had. And sometimes these little bugs can go around. And he’s like, dude when Deron didn’t show up to shoot around, it kind of started clicking in his head.”

Jefferson explained why it wasn’t something LeBron told anyone else: he didn’t realize it until afterwards, when the bug spread a bit further.

“Because for him it was like, ‘I don’t know why I was so lethargic, why I had no energy, I had nothing.’ And so, these little things happen. It was no panic. Look, he was lethargic—they hit a bunch of tough shots. If Marcus Smart doesn’t go 7-for-10 from three, then we’re not even talking about it.”

Whatever bug the Cavaliers are going through, it didn’t matter on Tuesday night. James bounced back from an 11-point Game 3 showing, and Kyrie Irving lowered the boom on the Celtics to make it a 3-1 series lead for Cleveland.

May 24

WATCH: Kyrie Irving Goes Off For 21 Points in Third Quarter

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To top things off, Kyrie did most of his damage after spraining his left ankle with 1:47 left in the quarter.

The Cavs went from trailing by 10 as they began the second half to leading by 9 heading in to the fourth quarter.

Kyrie would finish with a game-high 42 points.

RELATED:
Mike Krzyzewski Told Kyrie Irving ‘You’ll Be One of The Best of Your Generation’

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May 24

No One Can Actually Believe That LeBron Spectacularly Blew A Wide Open Dunk

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We’ve seen this play out a few times this postseason. Someone on the team the Cleveland Cavaliers are going up against misses a jumper. The second this happens and LeBron James sees Kevin Love is in position to grab the rebound, he breaks to the opposite rim. Love grabs the board, looks up, sees LeBron is behind the defense, and drops a full-court dime into King James. LeBron then gets a wide open dunk in transition and either ignites the crowd in Cleveland or silences the fans on the road.

It looked like we were going to get this again during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals between Cleveland and Boston. Love did his part – he was hounded by Al Horford threw maybe his most impressive outlet pass of the postseason to LeBron. Shockingly, the best basketball player on earth didn’t follow up on his end of the bargain. Instead, this happened.

LeBron James does not do this, especially when the crowd is on the verge of becoming unglued and he is so wide open. So as you can guess, everyone on the internet reacted with disbelief.

The most logical theory for why LeBron missed came from the folks over at SB Nation, who thought LeBron was just blown away by that pass.

One person even made the joke that this alone proves that Boston had a great year.

It’s still a close game between the two sides, and either team can end up winning at this point. If Cleveland loses by one point, or if this one goes to overtime and the Cavs fall, you can bet that people will remember this moment. Even if neither of those things happen, this is the kind of thing that’s so rare that you’ll remember it for a while.

May 23

Post Up: Three In A Row

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Behind 29 points from Kevin Durant and 36 points from Stephen Curry, the Warriors defeated the Spurs 129-115 to complete the four-game sweep. Without Kawhi Leonard for the third-straight game, the Spurs had little chance and fell behind 31-19 after the first quarter. San Antonio would never come close to taking the lead.

For Manu Ginobili, the game may have been his final in the NBA. Throughout the ESPN broadcast, Mark Jackson, Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy talked as if Ginobili was planning to retire if the Spurs were to lose the game. In what may have been a hint of Manu’s impending retirement, Gregg Popovich gave the legend a rare playoff start. Ginobili left the floor to a standing ovation and “Manu” chants from the crowd:

As of press time, Ginobili has not said if this will be his last season. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Stephen Curry passed Kobe Bryant for fifth all time on the NBA Playoffs three-pointers made list. He has hit 293 and needs to make 22 more to pass LeBron James.

Golden State awaits the winner of the Cavaliers-Celtics series. The Cavs hold a 2-1 lead and if they hold on, will face the Warriors in the Finals for the third-straight year–which would be a first in NBA history.

Related
WATCH: Kevin Durant Blocks Dejounte Murray’s Shot Twice

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May 23

Spurs Fans Gave Manu Ginobili A Massive Ovation As He Checked Out For Maybe The Last Time

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It seems like we do this every year, but this might finally be the end of the road for Spurs guard Manu Ginobili. One of the greatest international basketball players to ever live, Ginobili will turn 40 this summer and has shown signs of slowing down over the last few years.

Ginobili hasn’t explicitly said he’s going to retire, but he has told the media that he plans on figuring out what he wants to do once the season ends. Unfortunately for Spurs fans (and, really, basketball fans), his season came to an end on Monday night at the hands of the Warriors, meaning he suddenly has to make a huge decision about his future.

If this is indeed the end of the road, Spurs fans let him know how much they appreciate him. Over the final few minutes that he was in during San Antonio’s Game 4 loss to Golden State, Spurs fans showered him with love.

As he checked out for what could be the last time, the roar from the Spurs faithful was deafening.

It wasn’t just the Spurs’ fans, players, and coaches who showed their respect for one of the most unique players in league history. The Warriors decided to get in on the fun as well.

But the best moment came after Ginobili checked out. There were just over two minutes remaining, and as the applause rained down upon him from all over the arena, Gregg Popovich turned to Ginobili and asked if he wanted to check back in. Because even in the most emotional moments, Pop can find a way to lovingly bust a player’s chops.

Selfishly, I really hope the end of the line for Ginobili doesn’t come after San Antonio gets swept in the Western Conference Finals. He made basketball more fun every time he stepped onto the floor, and it will be bizarre to watch the Spurs play next season without the crafty lefty from Argentina coming off the bench.

But if this really is it, Ginobili got the ovation he deserved from San Antonio fans. He dedicated his NBA career to the franchise, and it was so cool to watch as the Spurs faithful let him know how much they love him for perhaps the last time.

May 22

Tony Parker In and Out Crossover Pull Up

The reason this is called the Tony Parker move is because he is one of the players that has given this move notoriety, but it is used by a lot of different players. This move is really good for smaller players that need to create some space to be able to get their shot off.

The goal of this move is to sell that you are attacking with the in and out move, but then as soon as the defense shifts their weight to cut that move off, you snap the crossover back using the cross to also create more space from the defender so you can get right into your shot.

The more you can sell your move and then use the crossover to create space with, the more time you will have on your shot. Checkout more great moves like this in our basketball training groups app.

 

 

Drill Name: Tony Parker In and Out Crossover Pull Up

Similar Drills: How to Do a Euro StepHow to Do a Rondo FakeHow to Do a Pro Hop

Drill Goal: Work on coming off of a ball screen and holding the defender off to open up space and time to finish.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball and a dummy defender (optional).

Tips: You are not stopping on the in and out move, you need to be attacking forward. Really use the crossover to create space into your shot. Sell the move with your eyes, face, and body positioning. Really make the transition from your in and out to crossover really quick.

Directions: The player is going to start at top of the key 4-5 feet off of the 3 point line with the ball. They will begin to attack down hill towards the dummy defender (if you have one). At about the free throw line they will make an in and out move selling that they are attacking one way, but then they will immediately cross the ball over the other way leading themselves into their shot.

 

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May 22

Walking Behind the Back Crossover Dribbling Drill

If you ever really study the best ball handlers in the game you will see that they are not only able to control the ball and put it where they want it to go, they are also really good at changing up speeds and selling their moves.

The more you can; freeze a defender, sell a move, and then read them, the more you will be able to do whatever you want and go wherever you want with the dribble. This ball handling drill is going to work on the behind the back crossover move, but it is really going to emphasize all of those keys as well.

 

 

Drill Name: Walking Behind the Back Crossover Dribbling Drill

Similar Drills: Walking Between the Legs Crossover Dribbling Drill

Drill Goal: Work on selling the behind the back crossover move and really changing up speeds.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball.

Tips: Stay low in a low athletic stance the whole time. Don’t be a robot with your movements, really look to pause, sell your move, and change up speeds as you go through the drill. Keep your eyes up as you do the drill and also use your eyes to sell the move.

Directions: The player is going to start on the baseline with a basketball. The player will take a stationary dribble (the only one during the drill), pause, and then make an explosive behind the back crossover move leading themselves forward with the move. Without taking any stationary dribbles in between, the player is going to pause again and then execute the same move. Continue this pattern all the way to the free throw line and then retreat dribble back to the baseline. Repeat the same action, but this time starting with your other hand.

 

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