Tristan Thompson calls Derrick Rose's buzzer-beater a 'lucky shot'

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Cavs forward Tristan Thompson took Cleveland's Game 3 loss hard after he played great defense on Derrick Rose's game-winning shot.

Thompson switched on to Rose after Iman Shumpert was screened by Taj Gibson. Rose pulled up a few feet behind the 3-point line to launch a shot over the outstretched right hand of Thompson, and the ball banked in to give the Bulls a 2-1 series lead.

MORE: Gasol out for Game 4? | LeBron says Noah crossed the line | Must-see second-round photos

"I contested," Thompson told Northeast Ohio Media Group. "It wasn't like (Rose) just walked in and took a three. That's all you can really ask for. It was a lucky shot. He hit it off the glass. It's tough."

This wasn't the first time this season a buzzer-beater has been made over Thompson. On Nov. 5, Jazz forward Gordon Hayward hit a jumper as time expired to give Utah a 102-100 victory over the Cavs.

"Same one (as the Utah shot), but obviously it's on a bigger stage," Thompson said. "It's a tough shot (Rose) made. It was the only three he made. The next game, we just have to bounce back."

"When you go out and have a game plan and follow the game plan and they make a shot, you live with it," LeBron James told Northeast Ohio Media Group. "When you make mistakes during the game plan, those are the ones it is tough to live with."

Cleveland will look to rebound and even things up in Game 4 on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

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LaMarcus Aldridge said Spurs' meetings went like Gregg Popovich's TV interviews

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Greg Popovich is nearly universally respected in the sports world and for good reason. The five-time NBA championship coach is a straight shooter. It doesn't matter who you are. He coaches future Hall of Famers such as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili as hard as he does the Spurs' latest draft picks. Anybody can get it.

So, when free agency rolled around and it was the time for Spurs to go after players who could help them march toward another title, don't think Popovich would stoop so low as to kiss up to anybody. "I'm not calling anyone at midnight," Popovich told the San Antonio News-Express. "And if that's the difference in someone coming or not coming then I don't want them." 

MORE: Manu Ginobili through the years | LaMarcus Aldrdige makes his decision 

Even when power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the biggest free agent on the market this offseason, met with the team, Popovich kept it about business and nothing more, and San Antonio eventually landed the only player in the league to average at least 23 points and 10 rebounds the past two seasons. 

Aldridge told Dan McCarney the meetings were only slightly more cordial than Pop's painful (and, might I add, pointless) sideline interviews during nationally televised games. 

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Kobe Bryant 'was by far the toughest,' Grant Hill recalls in Christmas memory

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It was Christmas Day, 2007, and Grant Hill was granted an interesting gift from his coach. Mike D'Antoni told him to defend Kobe Bryant in front of a national TV audience at the Staples Center. Hill was in his first year with the Suns, and he had a decent day, scoring 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting.

Bryant -- then mostly guarded by Raja Bell, with help from Hill -- had 38 points and seven assists.

“In Phoenix, why the hell I was guarding him at 36, 37, I don’t know,” Hill told Sporting News. “It was one of those things where, of all the guys I had to guard at that time, he was by far the toughest.”

MORE: Kobe's final season, in photos | 11 most meaningful road trips on Kobe' tour

For the final time in his 20-year career, Kobe Bryant will be on the floor in a Christmas Day matchup on Friday, with the Lakers facing the Clippers in the day’s nightcap. Hill, who is now an analyst with NBA TV (which is in the midst of showing 13 games in 13 nights running through January 2), said that Bryant’s competitive edge was one of the things that made his the toughest to guard, but said he’s liked that Bryant, since announcing his retirement at the end of November, has eased up a bit.

“I think he’s not only accepting that he has to retire, but he is accepting all of the respect and admiration from the public,” Hill said. “And he’s letting us in a little more. It’s almost jarring. Not long ago, they played Atlanta and I was wo[......]

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Warriors add Cavaliers castaway Anderson Varejao to ranks

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Anderson Varejao just jumped from one NBA title contender to the defending champion gearing up for a repeat.

The longtime Cleveland Cavaliers big man has signed with the Golden State Warriors. Terms of the contract were not immediately disclosed.

MORE: Who won the trade deadline? | Gary Payton says the NBA is 'soft'

Varejao confirmed the deal late Sunday in a message to Cleveland.com.

"Although it was hard to be traded I have no hard feelings," he said — his first remarks since being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers at last week's deadline. "I'm grateful to Dan Gilbert and the Cavs organization for 12 amazing years. I know I'm very fortunate.

"I'm leaving one great team and joining another. I can't wait to put on my new Warrior jersey."

Varejeo, 33, spent 11 1/2 seasons as a member of the Cavaliers, helping the team reach the NBA Finals in 2007 and 2014. He was traded to the Trail Blazers along with a conditional-first round pick on Thursday as part of a deal that netted Cleveland Channing Frye from Orlando. 

Varejeo was cut immediately and cleared waivers Sunday morning.

The 6-11 forward joins a Warriors team that has wo[......]

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Knicks considering David Blatt for coaching job, report says

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David Blatt could be in the running for a job in the Big Apple.

As the Knicks continue their head coaching search, the former Cavaliers coach is considered a potential candidate, ESPN.com reported Monday. According to the report, Knicks president Phil Jackson considers interim head coach Kurt Rambis a front-runner for the job, but "views Blatt favorably."

MORE: Latest NBA Draft 2016 prospect rankings

Blatt was fired by the Cavs in January after a 30-11 start to the season and promptly replaced by assistant coach Tyronn Lue. Blatt went 83-40 in the regular season and 14-6 in the playoffs during his short tenure of just two seasons while also helping Cleveland reach the NBA Finals in 2015.

The Knicks then sacked coach Derek Fisher on Feb. 8.

MORE: Jackson, Carmelo's disagreement is Knicks' biggest problem

The Knicks have failed to make the playoffs for three straight seasons. If they fall to the Pacers on Tuesday, the team will finish its second consecutive season with at least 50 losses under Jackson since he took over as team president in 2014.

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NBA Draft Combine player list: Ben Simmons isn't going, and Yogi Ferrell wasn't invited

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Despite being a projected top-two selection in June's draft, LSU's Ben Simmons won't be attending next week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.  

Not because he didn't get invited like Indiana's Yogi Ferrell, but rather because Simmons has chosen not to attend. Simmons is represented by Klutch Sports, run by LeBron James' longtime friend Rich Paul. Fellow Klutch draft prospect Dejounte Murray, a point guard from Washington, also is not attending the combine, nor is Gonzaga big man Domantas Sabonis.

MORE: NBA Draft prospect rankings: Simmons or Ingram?

Simmons is the big name, though. The 6-10 forward finished his freshman season at LSU after the school declined an invitation to the NIT. A native of Australia, the 19-year-old averaged a double-double — 19.2 points and 11.8 rebounds — but has been criticized for his occasionally indifferent play. 

Instead of focusing on the Combine, Simmons is hoping to finalize a footwear endorsement deal before the NBA Draft lottery on May 17, according to The Vertical. Simmons said last month he would not represent Australia in the Summer Olympics to focus on NBA activities, but that apparently does not include the Combine. 

MORE: Latest NBA Mock Draft: Who will get picked third?

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Stephen A. Smith rekindles Kevin Durant feud, criticizes 'weak' move joining Warriors

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Stephen A. Smith is no stranger to controversial takes. The boisterous, perpetually angry NBA analyst has an opinion on just about everything, so when Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors on Monday, he had some choice words for the 2013-14 NBA MVP.

MORE: NBA free agency tracker: Where have they lande夜网论坛d? 

The Smith-Durant rivalry isn't anything new. The feud has been bubbling back to October, when Stephen A. said, "(Durant) doesn't want to make an enemy of me" on a "First Take" segment.

While Smith didn't expand on his thoughts via Twitter, he did take the opportunity to mention he'll be on Facebook Live at 4 p.m. ET to further discuss Golden State's signing of Durant, and his likely criticisms therein.

WATCH: Thunder fans burn their Kevin Durant jerseys 

Durant joined the Warriors on Monday on a two-year deal after being eliminated in this year's Western Conference finals by Golden State. Durant's Thunder squandered a 3-1 series lead, eventually losing in seven to defending NBA champs. Golden State then lost in seven to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals after taking a 3-1 series lead.

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NBA free agency: Dwyane Wade really leaves Heat, will sign with Bulls

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Dwyane Wade and the Heat really are divorcing.

Wade has spurned Miami and will join to his hometown Bulls, The Vertical first reported Wednesday night. 

MORE: Wade among Heat's all-timers | Free agent tracker

Chicago was willing to give Wade the money ($47.5 million over two years, according to The Vertical) the Heat reportedly weren't willing to spend. The Bulls were working Wednesday night to create enough cap space to sign the free-agent shooting guard by trading Mike Dunleavy and Jose Calderon. ESPN reported Chicago is working on a deal to send Dunleavy to the Cavaliers, while The Vertical reported Calderon was going to the Lakers.

No deals — trades or new contracts — can be completed until Thursday, when the NBA's moratorium on transactions is lifted.

Wade, 34, has been with the Heat since Miami drafted him No. 5 overall out of Marquette in 2003. He has been a part of all three of the Heat's NBA titles and holds franchise records in games played, points, assists and a host of other categories.

MORE: Others value Wade more than Heat do

Wade released a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday night thanking Heat fans and the city of Miami:

"I look back with pride and amazement at all we have accomplished together.  . . . From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Miami community and especially #HEATNATION f[......]

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Smash Mouth trolls Draymond Green on Twitter

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Despite their irrelevance, Smash Mouth wants everyone to know it thinks Draymond Green is anything but an "All Star."

The band was not pleased when Green yelled at Kevin Durant during the Warriors' collapse against the Grizzlies on Friday night and took to Twitter to air its dirty laundry.

MORE: Green actually "happy" Warriors blew lead vs. Grizzlies

Smash Mouth, which is based in San Jose and has publicly bashed other Bay Area sports teams in the past, denounced Green after he scolded Durant for a late isolation and missed three-pointer in multiple since-deleted tweets.

@Money23Green We already have coaches dude! Shut the F up! Not your job to yell at other players especially ones BETTER than you! @warriors

— Smash Mouth (@smashmouth) January 7, 2017

@Money23Green Dude if you want to run a team go sign with the @Lakers First @SteveKerr now you're yelling at @KDTrey5 ? Might be time to go!

— Smash Mouth (@smashmouth) January 7, 2017

@Money23Green Check yourself dude! That was embarrassing! Someone needs to knock your ass out on the[......]

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Four reasons why Mavericks find themselves in thick of West playoff race

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Through the first quarter of the 2018-19 NBA season, the best team in Texas is not the Rockets (11-11), the only contender that truly challenged the Warriors during their most recent title run. It is not the Spurs (11-12), a winning machine that has reached the playoffs for 21 straight seasons.  

No, the best team in the Lone Star State is the Mavericks (11-10), one of the biggest early surprises as the calendar flips into December. Dallas is nearly halfway to last season's win total (24-58 overall in 2017-18) and currently sitting at No. 8 in a highly competitive Western Conference.

POWER RANKINGS: Defense pushes Mavs into top 15

There is obviously a lot of noise with numbers around the 20-game mark, but the quick turnaround from finishing as one of the worst teams in the league to battling for a playoff spot is incredible to see. Can the Mavericks sustain this level of success?

Let's examine the four big reasons why the Mavs are rolling and determine what they could mean for the rest of the season...

Luka Doncic isn't just the future — he's the present.

The Slovenian wunderkind is blowing away expectations and looking like the Rookie of the Year favorite. He is averaging a team-high 18.5 points per game to go with 6[......]

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