The two faces of J.R. Smith
Maybe Smith's suspension was a blessing for the Cavs. Before the discipline, Smith averaged 9.8 points on 36.6 percent shooting. Since, he's pouring in 15.8 points per game and shooting a blistering 51.3 percent -- on 3-pointers, that is. (Via Dave McMenamin)
Kobe's final season with Lakers?
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says he hasn't had discussions with Kobe Bryant about playing with L.A. beyond this season, which is the last on his contract. Bryant will be 37 when the season begins and played just 35 games last season. Kobe's uncertain future
Hawks try to avoid Harden's cursed fate
Rapper Lil B might not be a household name at the level of Jay Z or Kanye West, but the Bay Area-born man also known as The Based God carries much power in NBA circles with his now-legendary curses. 'Got love' for Atlanta
Lakers cap situation is wide open
The Lakers have a projected $23M in cap space this summer. If it is indeed Kobe Bryant's last season and with the salary cap projected to spike to $89M in the summer of 2016, the Lakers have just one player on a guaranteed contract for the '16-17 season (Nick Young at $5.4M).
Lakers ready to 'turn the page'
Los Angeles might be ready to move on, but would Kobe Bryant consider playing elsewhere? Baxter Holmes can't imagine it: "He can't envision playing with any other team, wearing any other jersey than the purple and gold."
SportsCenter Not Top 10
Happy birthday, Novak Djokovic. Your gift? An appearance on this week's worst plays.
Joakim Noah @stickity13
Til next season...
Ethan Strauss @SherwoodStrauss
No practice today for the Warriors. A long plane delayed killed it. They'll be getting into Houston late tonight
Warriors, Rockets planes grounded
A computer glitch grounded both team planes this morning and it's unclear how long the delay will last. The teams were scheduled to fly out of Oakland today, in advance of Game 3 in Houston on Saturday.
Kerr, Blatt on rare collision course
Golden State's Steve Kerr and Cleveland's David Blatt could become the 1st rookie head coaches to meet in the NBA Finals since Eddie Gottlieb (Philadelphia Warriors) and Harold Olsen (Chicago Stags) in 1946-47 (via Elias).
Little Cavs fan big on introductions
It started with a viewing of a phone video. OK, a lot of viewings. Then 4-year-old Anthony Kocmit did his own rendition of the Cavaliers pregame show and it reached Facebook, Browns CB Joe Haden and, eventually, LeBron James.
Harden a good-luck charm?
Excluding Houston this year, 66 teams have fallen behind 2-0 in the conference (or division) finals and only 4 have come from behind to win the series. The last to do so was Oklahoma City in 2011-12 -- a team where James Harden was a key member.
Kobe Bryant's career longevity
Next season will be his 20th, which will move him past John Stockton for the most with a single franchise in NBA history. Bryant will also become the 5th player to play 20+ seasons, joining Robert Parish (21), Kevin Willis (21), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (20) and Kevin Garnett (20).
Kobe, Lakers ready to pass torch?
Ramona Shelburne on free-agent targets: "You want to know if the Lakers will be your team one day. ... That was one of the main issues when Dwight Howard was here. He essentially said to the Lakers, 'When is the transfer of power going to happen?'"
Former Globetrotters star dies
Marques Haynes, often called the greatest dribbler in basketball history, died today at 89. The Basketball Hall of Famer had two stints with the Harlem Globetrotters in his decorated career. 'Iconic' basketball figure
Harden, Howard not on same page
MVP runner-up James Harden has thrown an average of 48.4 passes per game in the playoffs. But only 4.1 of those are going to Dwight Howard. That has to change if Houston is to dig out of its 2-0 series hole vs. the Warriors.