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Basketball

🏀NBA Conference Finals: Warriors top Mavs

May 27, 2022
SOURCE: EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: The NBA Finals matchup is halfway set after the No. 3 Golden State Warriors eliminated the No. 4 Dallas Mavericks last night. And the Warriors’ opponent could be decided tonight. Jackson, Tyson, Jordan, Game 6.

Western Conference: Golden State secured their sixth Western Conference title in the last eight years (show offs) by thumping the Mavs 120–110 last night. Dallas’ Luka Dončić (28 points) gave it his best all series long, but the Warriors’ Klay Thompson (37 points) and Steph Curry (35 points) proved too much to handle. The Splash Brothers are officially back.

Eastern Conference: Though Wednesday’s Game 5 started close, the No. 2 Boston Celtics ran away with a 93–80 victory over the No. 1 Miami Heat and earned a 3-2 series lead. Now Boston is one win away from its first NBA Finals appearance since 2010, and they can clinch it on their home court, tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET.

  • That said, you better believe Heat star Jimmy “Barista” Butler has a comeback brewin’, especially after a dismal performance on Wednesday.

🏀NBA Conference Finals: Mavs avoid sweep

May 25, 2022
SOURCE: TOM PENNINGTON/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: TOM PENNINGTON/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: Put those brooms away — the No. 4 Dallas Mavericks avoided what would've been an embarrassing series sweep last night, ensuring there’ll be (at least) a Game 5 in each Conference Finals battle. Lucky us.

Western Conference: Led by 30 points from superstar Luka Doncic and cheered on by their hometown crowd, the Mavs defeated the No. 3 Golden State Warriors 119–109 to avoid elimination and bring the series to 3-1.

  • But it’ll be tough to fend off Steph Curry and the Warriors for long — no team has rallied from a 3-0 deficit in NBA playoff history and the series is heading to San Francisco for tomorrow’s 9 p.m. ET Game 5. Eat your Lucky Charms, Dallas fans.

Eastern Conference: In another bizarre result from this now tied series of unfortunate events, the No. 2 Boston Celtics routed the No. 1 Miami Heat 102–82 in Monday’s Game 4. How peculiar was it? The Heat had one point through the first eight minutes, the fewest points through the first eight minutes of a playoff game in the last 25 years.

  • Now the series shifts back to Miami for tonight’s crucial 8:30 p.m. ET matchup, where injuries could once again be a major factor.
  • Five Heat players (including stars Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro) are questionable to play tonight while the Celtics could be without starters Marcus Smart and Rob Williams III. Ugh.

🏀WNBA: Banking on digital coin

May 23, 2022
M. ANTHONY NESMITH/ICON SPORTSWIRE VIA GETTY IMAGES
M. ANTHONY NESMITH/ICON SPORTSWIRE VIA GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: Coinbase is doubling down on the WNBA. On Thursday, the crypto exchange platform announced a new wave of partnerships with various league stakeholders, after the brand became a partner with the W in October. The move solidifies Coinbase’s bet on basketball and furthers the WNBA’s presence in the world of blockchain.

The context: Coinbase initially became the first crypto partner of the WNBA and NBA in the fall. Through that original deal, the platform became the W’s exclusive crypto platform, and the first presenting partner of the Commissioner’s Cup.

  • Those weren’t the only agreements Coinbase made in Q4. The company also became the presenting partner of USA Basketball’s women’s and men’s national team exhibition tours.

The new deals: The platform will now sponsor the Players Association (WNBPA), the New York Liberty, the Seattle Storm, and Storm troopers players Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd. The WNBPA partnership will provide perks for all players: Coinbase will set up accounts — with free crypto — for all 144 ballers.

  • Players will also have access to crypto education from Coinbase experts, with the rookies getting a head start — this year’s first-round draft picks learned about digital currency and NFTs at orientation.

Zooming out: Along with its NWSL equivalent, the WNBPA is unique among player unions in that it books commercial partners independent of its league. Given that ability, the WNBPA has specifically chosen to be a major player in the blockchain space — especially when it comes to NFTs.

  • One red flag? Earlier this month, cryptocurrencies lost more than $300 billion in value over the course of a week. Yikes. Only time will tell how, or if, that will impact the women’s sports sphere.

🏀NBA Conference Finals: This is what you came for

May 23, 2022
TOM PENNINGTON/GETTY IMAGES
TOM PENNINGTON/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: Forget Kourtney and Travis’ wedding, the NBA Conference Finals pulled out all of the stops with some epic Game 3 clashes over the weekend. Game 4s, incoming.

Western Conference: The No. 3 Golden State Warriors (up 3-0) are just one win away from returning to the Finals for the sixth time in eight years after defeating the No. 4 Dallas Mavericks 109–100 last night. Warriors star Steph Curry had a monster double-double and his teammate Andrew Wiggins threw down a dunk that felt like a series changer.

  • Keep your brooms nearby — the Warriors will go for the series sweep tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET.

Eastern Conference: The No. 1 Miami Heat (up 2-1) overcame the second half absence of superstar Jimmy Butler (right knee inflammation) to hang on for a 109–103 road victory over the No. 2 Boston Celtics in Saturday’s Game 3. Heat center Bam Adebayo stepped up to fill Butler’s void, notching a double-double. Bam, indeed.

  • The story of tonight’s 8:30 p.m. ET Game 4 could still be the injury report, though. While Kyle Lowry returned (in a big way) in Game 3 and Butler is expected to play tonight, Miami sharpshooter Tyler Herro is questionable with a groin injury.
  • As for Boston, starters Marcus Smart (who miraculously returned to Game 3 despite a scary ankle injury) and Robert Williams III (knee) are also questionable for tonight’s tilt. No more injuries, please.

🏀NBA Conference Finals: Celtics even up the series

May 20, 2022
SOURCE: MICHAEL REAVES/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: MICHAEL REAVES/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: With the Eastern Conference through two games and the Western Conference preparing for its second, the NBA Conference Finals are just heating up.

Eastern Conference: After a turnover-heavy performance in Game 1, the No. 2 Boston Celtics channeled their inner Big Sean last night, bouncing back with a stunning 127–102 victory over the No. 1 Miami Heat, their first home loss of the playoffs.

  • The series next ships up to Boston for tomorrow’s 8:30 p.m. ET Game 3, where Celtics role player Derrick White is already waiting after missing Game 2 for the birth of his first child. Talk about a whirlwind.

Western Conference: With seven (!!!) players scoring in double digits in Wednesday’s Game 1, the No. 3 Golden State Warriors jumped out to an early and convincing series lead, routing the No. 4 Dallas Mavericks 112–87.

  • The Warriors also clamped it down on defense, holding Dallas superstar Luka Doncic to just 20 points. Expect blood, sweat and — if Golden State wins again tonight at 9 p.m. ET — tears from Mavs fans.