Charles Oakley cleared of MSG assault charges

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Charles Oakley has been cleared of misdemeanor assault charges in a New York court, nearly a year after being cleared in New York's court of public opinion.

A Manhattan judge on Friday dismissed the charges against the former Knicks star in connection with his Feb. 8, 2017, scuffle with two security guards at Madison Square Garden, according to the New York Post.

MORE: Oakley says modern NBA players lack toughness

The dismissal completed a deal Oakley agreed to in August in which the charges would be erased and sealed provided he stayed out of trouble for six months. He did not have to admit guilt. He 夜网论坛was also banned from MSG until August 2018.

“Mr. Oakley has been completely vindicated,” his lawyer, Alex Spiro, told the Post. “The New York legend lives on.”

LEROUX: How the Knicks can break up with Joakim Noah

Witnesses said Oakley sought after unpopular Knicks owner James Dolan during New York's game at MSG against the Clippers. Arena security was called to the area when Oakley began to heckle Dolan. After some pushing and shoving, police handcuffed Oakley and led him out of the building.

Oakley is not finished with the courts, however. He is awaiting the outcome of a defamation lawsuit he filed against Dolan, who suggested at the time that the MSG brawl was a result of Oakley's alcoholism or struggles with mental health. The Post reported in January that the judge in the case told Oakley he would have an "uphill battle." Oakley is also alleging that he was the one assaulted, and that he was falsely imprisoned.


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Kobe Bryant wins Oscar for 'Dear Basketball' short film

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Kobe Bryant won every trophy on offer during his NBA career. Two years after retirement he can add an Oscar to his case.

Bryant and animator Glen Keane picked up Best Animated Short at Sunday's Academy Awards for "Dear Basketball," the s夜网论坛hort film based on the poem Bryant wrote to announce his retirement.

MORE: Looking back at Kobe Bryant's career milestones

Congratulations began pouring in as soon as the win was announced.

Bryant also used his acceptance speech to take a verbal swipe at  Fox News host Laura Ingraham .

"As basketball players we're really supposed to shut up and dribble, but I'm glad we do a little bit more than that," said Bryant.

"Dear Basketball" is just under four minutes long, including an additional minute of credits. You can watch the short film in its entirety below:

Bryant played 20 seasons with the Lakers and won five NBA titles (and one MVP award) before retiring in 2016.


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LeBron James Jr.'s highlights show he can throw pinpoint passes just like his dad

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LeBron James Jr. is also good at basketball? This is a shocking development.

The 13-year-old son of the Cavs superstar recently competed at the John Lucas All-Star Weekend in Houston and showed off his preternatural passing ability. Rockets guard Chris Paul, who is LeBron Jr.'s godfather, was in attendance to watch "Bronny" dominate the competition.

MORE: Why LeBron sign夜网论坛ing with the Sixers is gaining momentum

The scoring, the passing and the emphatic blocks — does that remind you of anyone? No wonder LeBron Jr. already has standing scholarship offers from schools like Duke and Kentucky.

Best of luck to any other seventh graders out there.


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Lance Stephenson headbutts stanchion after massive dunk

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Lance Stephenson threw down a big dunk during the Pacers’ NBA playoff game against the Cavaliers on Sunday.

The 27-year-old was so fired up after the play, he headbutted the stanchion behind the goal.

This series reignites the LeBron James vs. Stephenson matchup four years after the Pacers star blew in James' ear during the 2014 playoffs:


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How 76ers completely blew Game 3 vs. Celtics in five easy steps

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Brett Brown was already walking off. The shot made by Marco Belinelli in the right corner — in front of the Philadelphia bench — to finish regulation had just gone through, and Brown was certain it was a 3-pointer that had given the Sixers a one-point win in a must-have Game 3 at the Wells Fargo Center.

So was the fellow in charge of dropping the confetti that would shower the court to celebrate a Sixers win. Only, it wasn’t a win. Belinelli’s foot was well over the 3-point arc, meaning his shot had tied the game at 89 and given Philadelphia overtime, not a much-needed victory.

Watching strands of glittering multi-colored paper slowly tumble and float downward as though there’d been a tragic explosion in Liberace’s closet, you’d have been excused if you thought that, in the end, this would be the biggest mistake for which Game 3 would be remembered.

You’d be wrong. Because, by the time the final buzzer sounded, there were so many ways the Sixers had flubbed and fumbled this game — their best shot to get back into a series they now would have to make history to win — that the confetti incident was bumped far down on the list of Philly foibles.

The Celtics won in overtime, 101-98, putting Boston on the brink of a second straight Eastern Conference finals despite missing top scorer Kyrie Irving and having been without Jaylen Brown for Game 1.

It was a tough win for Boston, its first on the road of this postseason, and plenty of credit belongs to Jayson Tatum (24 points on 11-for-17 shooting), Terry Rozier (18 points), the clutch play of Al Horford and, most of all, to coach Brad Stevens, who called two critical, well-placed timeouts and drew up two spectacular closing plays, in regulation and overtime.

But there were five plays — some just poorly thought out, some plain dumb — that defined the inability of the Sixers to close this game...

1. With just over 24 seconds to play in regulation and the score tied at 87, Brown declined to call a timeout to set up a play. Instead, he called out a play at halfcourt that had JJ Redick in the high left wing looking to make a pass. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons collided just under the 3-point line, and Simmons kept moving toward the basket.

But Redick was just then dropping a bounce pass to Simmons out at the top of the key. Simmons was not looking for it, and it was scooped up by Rozier, who fed Brown for a layup and an 89-87 lead.


NBA Draft lottery winners and losers: Suns, Kings smiling; Mavs, Pistons lacking luck

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The 2018 NBA Draft lottery provided plenty of excitement on Tuesday night as the ping pong balls delivered a shakeup to the draft order. Both the Kings and Hawks bounded into the top three while the Grizzlies and Mavericks suffered a slide.

All told, here’s what the lottery will look like on draft night absent any trades:

NBA Draft order1. Phoenix Suns (21-61)2. Sacramento Kings (27-55)3. Atlanta Hawks (24-58)4. Memphis Grizzlies (22-60)5. Dallas Mavericks (24-58)6. Orlando Magic (25-57)7. Chicago Bulls (27-55)8. Cleveland Cavaliers (28-54)9. New York Knicks (29-53)10. Philadelphia 76ers (35-47)11. Charlotte Hornets (36-46)12. L.A. Clippers (42-40)13. L.A. Clippers (42-40)14. Denver Nuggets (46-36)

With plenty of potential pick swaps on the line and the aforementioned shakeups, lottery night went better for some than others.

Here’s a look at some of the winners and losers from the event in Chicago...

NBA Draft lottery winners

De’Aaron Fox’s smile proves lucky for the Kings

When lottery representative De’Aaron Fox told everyone watching he skipped on the lucky charms because his smile was lucky enough, he wasn’t lying. The Kings vaulted from No. 7 in the projected order to No. 2 in the actual order on Tuesday night. Sacramento’s basketball franchise is a frequent punching bag of national media and NBA fans alike, so it’s nice that the evening panned out for a team badly in need of some good news.

The Kings figure to be the beneficiary of the Suns’ non-choice at No. 1, whether it be Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic or Arizona’s Deandre Ayton. Both Duke’s Marvin Bagley III and Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. could also be in play.

Given the bevy of young bigs already on Sacramento’s roster, landing Doncic would be the ultimate prize. Not only is the Slovenian wunderkind ranked as the top prospect on our board, he would also fit well next to Fox thanks to his playmaking ability and shooting potential.

The Suns hold onto No. 1

In the 50-year existence of the franchise, Phoenix has made 302 selections in the NBA Draft, per Basketball-Reference. Never has the Suns' selection been No. 1 overall. That’s set to change on June 21.

The Suns entered Tuesday night’s lottery with a 25.0 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick. It was more likely than not they’d have to wait for someone else on draft night, but things held to form, and[......]

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Nick Young credits Dennis Rodman's appearance in a dream for defensive resurgence

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The Warriors probably did not expect Nick Young to play meaningful minutes in important playoff games this year, but Andre Iguodala's injury has forced the team's hand.

For his part, the 33-year-old has been productive when his number has been called. He's shooting 40 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3-point range.

SN LIVE BLOG: Warriors' second-half rally forces Game 7 in Houston

Young has even put in work on the other end of the floor, making timely defensive stops. After the Warriors' 115-86 Game 6 victory over the Rockets, the 10-year veteran talked about how this newfound defensive prowess came to be. Of course, he did it in typical Swaggy P fashion.

While both players made their marks in different eras, and at different positions, they aren't dissimilar. Their eccentric personalities and off-the-court issues often overshadow their production on the court.

Young isn't exactly putting on wedding dresses and dyeing his hair different colors, but ask yourself this: Do you associate No. 6 on the Warriors with Nick Young, or Swaggy P?

Regardless, as long as the dream-based advice remains about Rodman's defensive abilities and nothing else, Golden State fans surely will welcome the two-time Defensive Player of the Year's presence in Young's mind with open arms.


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LeBron James' final stand keeps Cavs atop East — and forewarns inevitable change

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BOSTON — This was a last gasp. This was Joe Louis fighting Cesar Brion, Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks. This was Willie Mays with the Mets, the Rolling Stones recording "Dirty Work," Orson Welles doing "Transformers" movies. This was a team with a great legacy just managing to survive.

What the Cavaliers did against the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals was take an 87-79 win, a critical game in terms of how the world will remember this NBA season — not with a stunning upset by a group of mostly hitherto overlooked young Celtics, but with more of the same.

Cleveland will play in the NBA Finals, salvaging a year in which so little went right, getting back to the same stage to which they’ve ascended for, now, four straight years. The Cavs gave themselves one last chance at the NBA’s big prize.

They did so because of LeBron James and, with due respect to the 19 points from Jeff Green, LeBron James alone. James had 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, making 12 of his 24 shots. This followed his 46 points in the Game 6 win, and his 44 in Game 4.

“He’s had a lot of gaudy games,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “But I just think, Game 7 in Boston, all the circumstances that surround Boston, the history behind Boston, playing a team that’s very well-coached, a good, young team that’s undefeated in the playoffs at home. To come on the road where all the games have been lopsided, in a hostile environment, Game 7, Eastern Conference finals, this Game 7 and Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2016. Right there.”

It was a good night for that kind of nostalgia. James, in the 2016 Finals, was something to behold. He was the same on this night. At the same time, his chat with reporters after the game provided a good reminder of just how strange a season this has been for James, who had called it five different seasons rolled in one, but added on Sunday, “It’s now six seasons in one.”

James played all 48 minutes, and as the games of this series ramped up in importance, the team’s focus on James has gotten more intense. In the Cavs’ last four games, James has been on the floor 91.3 percent of the time. To state the obvious, he has been needed.

“It was asked of me to play the whole game,” James said. “I was just trying to figure out how I was going to get through, in timeouts, catch my breath. At halftime, I didn’t come out and warm up. I spent my time trying to recalibrate, catch my wind again. That’s what’s been asked of me by this ball club.”

That’s just the issue. There was little coming out of the result[......]

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NBA Finals 2018: Three things to watch in Game 3 of Cavs vs. Warriors

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The Warriors are headed to Cleveland in a familiar position — up 2-0 with the momentum of the NBA Finals clearly in their favor.

In 2016, the Cavaliers split their games at home before completing the unlikeliest of comebacks. In 2017, they lost Game 3 and bounced back in Game 4 with a historic offensive showing, only to then lose Game 5 in Golden State despite a 41-point performance from LeBron James. Will history repeat itself, or are the Cavaliers destined to be swept?

Here are three things to watch for in a must-win Game 3 for the Cavaliers...

Stephen Curry's 3-point shooting

When Curry shoots the way he did in Game 2, there's almost nothing that can be done to stop the Warriors. Of the nine 3-pointers he made on Sunday, six came off the dribble. Some of those were even several feet beyond the line, such as this one at the end of the first half:

As well as this one over Kevin Love in the fourth quarter that put the nail in the coffin:

The Cavaliers d夜网论坛on't have many players who can switch onto Curry and keep him in front of them on an island. The problem is they don't have the rim protection to run him off the line either, especially when he's sharing the court with Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston. The Warriors made 20 of their 25 attempts in the restricted area in Game 2, the bulk of which weren't heavily contested.

The Warriors know how to play off Curry's hot hand, too, by rolling hard to the basket to make the defense pay for doubling him in pick-and-rolls or slipping off-ball screens to beat the inevitable switch. The former is how JaVale McGee, who started Game 2 and finished with 12 points on 6-for-6 shooting in 17 minutes, ended up with a dunk on the opening possession of the first quarter.

If Curry continues to play at this rate, there's a good chance he'll be named Finals MVP for the first time in his career.

Kevin Durant's willingness to pass

When Steve Kerr told Durant a story about Michael Jordan in the middle of Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals — a game in which it took the Warriors star an uncharacteristic 22 shots to score 29 points — his message was clear: Trust your teammates, and it'll make the game easier for you.

Game 2 of the NBA Finals was a perfect example of that. Whereas Durant finished a hard-fought Game 1 with six assists and eight potential assists, he finished Game 2 with seven assists and 15 potential assists. He struck the perfect balance between looking for his own shot when he had a mismatch and using the threat of his scoring to c[......]

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Kyrie Irving's season mixtape features magnificent moves, fantastic finishes

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Kyrie Irving underwent knee surgery in April, forcing him to watch the entirety of the Celtics' playoff run. But the five-time All-Star still managed to give fans plenty of highlights during the regular season. 

After being traded from Cleveland to Boston last summer, Irving found success as the Celtics' No. 1 option, averaging 24.4 points and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 49.1 percent 夜网论坛from the field and 40.8 percent from 3-point range. He scored 30 or more points 18 times, getting buckets in typical "Uncle Drew" style.

MORE: Irving on knee recovery: "A long, long f—ing two months"

The NBA recently released a mixtape full of Irving's best highlights from the 2017-18 campaign, and it's safe to say these plays will bring back bad memories for a few helpless defenders.

Irving won Handle of the Year for his spin and floater against the Bucks, but he just as easily could have been nominated for his ridiculous hesitation dribble against the Warriors. Who thinks of this move?

(Side note: Keep an eye on the referee along the sideline. Even he takes a step the other way as he's watching the play develop.)


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