NBA players react to Kevin Durant’s epic performance against Milwaukee

The Brooklyn Nets needed Kevin Durant to be extra special and then some on Tuesday night, and he was all of that and maybe a little more.

Without Kyrie Irving and a limited James Harden, Durant put on a performance for the ages. The former MVP had a triple-double with 49 points on 16/23 shooting, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists as the Nets rallied to defeat the Bucks 114-108 at Barclays Center in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.  

Durant, who played all 48 minutes, became the first player in NBA playoff history to have 45-plus points, 15-plus rebounds, and 10-plus assists in a game. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Durant’s 49 points are the second-most in a triple-double game in playoff history.

“I was trying to win each possession,” Durant said after the game. “And I didn’t think of how many points I had or shot attempts, rebounds, assists.”

The Nets have a 3-2 series lead, and Game 6 is on Thursday night in Milwaukee.

The Bucks, who had a 17-point third-quarter lead, will be kicking themselves all summer long if they lose this series. This was a golden opportunity for Milwaukee to put themselves in a position to close out the series in Game 6. Now, they have to win two straight, including one at Barclays Center, to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

Regarding Durant, this might have been his signature moment. The Nets needed every one of his 49 points on Tuesday night. However, with Harden still not looking one-hundred-percent and Irving probably out for the series, Durant might need to have another big performance for Brooklyn to advance.

Don’t bet against the greatness of Durant. He has the potential to do this again, and don’t bet against the Bucks.

This series is not over!

 NBA players from around the league were impressed by Durant’s special performance:

Jokic, Antetokounmpo, Curry, Leonard, Doncic named to First Team All-NBA

League MVP Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, and Luka Doncic were named to the 2020-21 All-NBA First Team, the league announced on Tuesday.

Antetokounmpo was the only player to receive All-NBA First Team votes on all 100 ballots, earning his third consecutive First Team selection and fifth All-NBA Team honor overall. Jokic, the first player to be named the NBA MVP as a member of the Nuggets, received 99 First Team votes to make the First Team for the second time in the last three seasons. Curry, who averaged an NBA-leading 32.0 points this season, received 98 First Team votes in his fourth selection to the First Team and seventh All-NBA Team honor overall.

Leonard was voted to the All-NBA First Team for the third time and earned his fifth All-NBA Team selection. The 22-year-old Doncic has been selected to the All-NBA First Team for the second season in a row. He is the first player to make the All-NBA First Team at least twice in his first three NBA seasons since Tim Duncan (three times from 1997-98 – 1999-2000).

The 2020-21 All-NBA Second Team consists of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle, and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James.

The 2020-21 All-NBA Third Team is composed of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler, Clippers forward Paul George, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving.

James has extended his league record for most All-NBA Team selections to 17, including a record 13 selections to the First Team, three to the Second Team, and one to the Third Team. Paul has been voted to the All-NBA Team for the 10th time, the second-most among active players behind James.

This is the sixth All-NBA Team selection for Lillard and George, the fourth for Gobert and Butler, and the third for Embiid and Irving. Randle and Beal have each been selected to the All-NBA Team for the first time.

Mavs’ Doncic named to All-NBA First Team

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic was named to the 2020-21 All-NBA First Team, marking the second straight year he has garnered All-NBA First Team honors, the NBA announced on Tuesday.

Doncic becomes the youngest player in league history to earn multiple All-NBA First Team selections. He joins Kevin Durant, Rick Barry and Max Zaslofsky as one of four players to garner multiple All-NBA First Team accolades before age 23. The third-year guard also joins George Gervin, David Thompson, Larry Bird, David Robinson, Penny Hardaway and Tim Duncan as one of seven players since the ABA/NBA merger (1976-77) to earn two-or-more All-NBA First Team selections within their first three seasons.

Doncic averaged a team-best 27.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, a team-high 8.6 assists and a team-high 34.3 minutes in 66 games (all starts) this season. He ranked sixth in the NBA in scoring, 21st in rebounding and fifth in assists, finishing in the top 25 for all three categories for the second year in a row.

The Slovenian led the NBA in 30-point, five-rebound, five-assist games (22) and 25-5-5 efforts (38). He led Dallas in points, rebounds and assists in the same game 22 times (including ties), the second-most times a player led his team in all three categories in 2020-21 (behind the 28 times the league MVP Nikola Jokić led Denver in all three this season).

Doncic climbed into 11th place on the NBA’s all-time triple-doubles list in 2020-21 (36) and is eight triple-doubles shy of passing Fat Lever (43) for 10th place all-time. He scored 25-plus points in a career-high 14 straight games (1/22-2/14), setting a new franchise record for most consecutive 25-point efforts. He also hit two game-winning 3-pointers with under a second remaining (2/23 vs. BOS; 4/14 at MEM).

The 22-year-old started his second straight All-Star Game in 2020-21, becoming the sixth player in NBA history to start multiple All-Star games before their 23rd birthday (LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Isiah Thomas, Barry). He was also named the Western Conference Player of the Week three times (1/4-1/10; 3/29-4/4; 4/19-4/25), joining Dirk Nowitzki (four times, 2009-10) as the only players in franchise history to garner the award three-or-more times in a single season.

In the postseason, Doncic increased his scoring average to a league-best 35.7 points to go along with 7.9 rebounds and a team-high 10.3 assists while logging a team-high 40.2 minutes in seven first round games against the L.A. Clippers. He joined Russell Westbrook (37.4 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 10.8 apg, 5 first round games vs. HOU, 2017) as the only players in NBA history to average at least 35-7-10 in a playoff series.

Doncic is now averaging 33.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 9.5 assists through 13 career playoff games. Not only is he the sole player in NBA history with career playoff averages of at least 30.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game, but he has now surpassed Michael Jordan (33.4 ppg) for the highest career scoring average in postseason history (min. 10 games).

The 76ers may regret their Game 4 loss to Atlanta

The fewer games you play in the postseason, the better off you will be. As the playoffs continue for the Philadelphia 76ers, they might regret what transpired on Monday night in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Atlanta Hawks. 

Philadelphia led by as many as 18 points against the Hawks in the first half, but Joel Embiid would struggle in the second half, and Atlanta would rally and win Game 4 at home 103-100 to even this best-of-seven series at 2.  

Game 5 is Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

Embiid, who was 0-12 from the field in the second half, was 4-20 from the field and finished with 17 points and 21 rebounds. However, he was clearly limited by the right meniscus tear he suffered in the first round against Washington. At one point in Game 4, Embiid had to go back to the locker room to deal with the knee.

“I thought in the beginning of the game when I went back to the locker room, I just felt like I didn’t have it tonight,” Embiid said.

As bad as he played in this game, Embiid, who was averaging 30.8 points and 13.o rebounds per game in the first four games of this series, had an opportunity to give the 76ers a lead late in the game but missed a layup with 16.6 seconds left. According to Embiid, he did have enough lift to finish.

“Great look. Great look. I just didn’t have the lift,” Embiid said. “Thought I got fouled too. But usually, I would go up, especially for a bucket like that, try to dunk it.”

Philly is the better team in this series, which makes this loss even harder to stomach for them. Who knows how many games Embiid’s knee has left in the playoffs?

The 76ers will still win this series, probably in six, but winning in five games would have been better because Embiid could use the rest. 

The 76ers have championship aspirations, and when you are going for a championship, you don’t want to play extra games. So now, unfortunately for Philadelphia, they have to play at least one additional game in this series, and if they are not careful, it could be two.

Teofimo Lopez tests positive for COVID-19, fight with Kambosos rescheduled for August 14

Undisputed Lightweight World Champion, Teofimo Lopez has tested positive for symptomatic COVID-19 and his highly anticipated defense against Mandatory Challenger George Kambosos has been rescheduled for August 14, 2021 at a location to be determined. Presented by Triller Fight Club, the boxing and music pay-per-view extravaganza was set to emanate this Saturday, June 19 from loanDepot park, home of the Miami Marlins.

Lopez’s diagnosis was confirmed this morning.

“We send our best to Teofimo and his family and hope they get well soon, and look forward to seeing this epic battle on August 14, 2021,” said Triller Fight Club co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh. Additional information on the rescheduled date including all musical acts and ticketing will be announced shortly.

Fury: ‘For the last 18 months, I’ve been living rent free in (Deontay)Wilder’s head’

Two heavyweight kings are set for a third world title showdown as undefeated WBC world champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury puts his title on the line against former longtime heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder Saturday, July 24 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The resumption of one of the great heavyweight feuds, Fury vs. Wilder III will be broadcast live on pay-per-view.

“I’m excited to once again be fighting in Las Vegas, the home of The Gypsy King,” Fury said. “For the last 18 months, I’ve been living rent free in Wilder’s head. He got smashed to pieces in our last fight, and for some reason, he wants it again. Let’s go. The Big Dosser is getting knocked spark out.”

Wilder said, “Nothing has changed. It’s still one face, one name, one champion – Deontay Wilder. I’m in the best shape of my life. July 24, I’m going to show the people why I’m still the baddest man on the planet.”

Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), from Manchester, England, has held the lineal heavyweight crown since dethroning Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. His comeback from substance abuse and mental health issues inspired millions, and it was the two fights against Wilder that propelled him back to the top of the heavyweight heap. Their December 2018 draw — with Fury rising off the deck in the climactic 12th round — elevated both men to the forefront of the boxing world. Fury knocked out Wilder in the seventh round of their one-sided February 2020 rematch; however, Wilder wanted an immediate third crack at his 6’9, 270-pound adversary.

Wilder (42-1, 41 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, won the heavyweight title in January 2015 and re-energized the heavyweight division, captivating fans with his electrifying power and charisma. Wilder held the WBC heavyweight world title for more than five years, notching 10 consecutive successful defenses, more than all-time greats Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier and Lennox Lewis, while earning a reputation as one of the most devastating punchers in boxing history. Nine of his 10 title defenses ended via knockout, including a pair of come-from-behind victories over Cuban star Luis Ortiz and a one-punch, first-round demolition over 2012 U.S. Olympian Dominic Breazeale. Wilder’s knockout ratio of more than 93 percent still stands as the highest for any heavyweight champion, past or present.

Vikings sign DT Sheldon Richardson

The Minnesota Vikings have signed DT Sheldon Richardson, the team announced on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Richardson returns to Minnesota after spending two seasons with the Browns. In 2020, Richardson started all 16 games for Cleveland and had 62 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

During his two seasons with the Browns, Richardson started 31 of the 32 games he appeared in and compiled 126 total tackles (78 solo), 16 quarterback hits, nine tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, seven passes defensed, and four forced fumbles.

Richardson originally signed with the Vikings prior to the 2018 season and started all 16 games for the team, grabbing 49 tackles (26 solo), six tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits, and 4.5 sacks.

The nine-year veteran started 118 of 121 career contests and collected 461 career tackles (273 solo), 31.0 sacks, 92 quarterback hits, 58 tackles for loss, 14 passes defensed, and one interception while causing 10 fumbles and recovering five.

Also, the Vikings announced that they had released rookie P Zach Von Rosenberg.

Jags’ Shaquill Griffin is impressed by Trevor Lawrence

The Jacksonville Jaguars begin mandatory minicamp with a lot of hope. They have a new coach in Urban Meyer and a new quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, but with any rookie quarterback, there will be growing pains. However, for Lawrence, those pains are in his hamstring.

The number one overall pick in this year’s draft has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury that has limited him during minicamp, but according to Meyer, if this were a real game, Lawrence would be a go. 

“Yeah, if we had to go, he could’ve went,” Meyer said on Monday. “Our trainers and Shad [Khan] are being a little cautious because right now, when you’re a month out if you yank a hamstring now, you’re going to miss the early part of training camp. So, we’re just being cautious. That’s that one muscle that—you guys have all seen it like I have, [if] you pull a hamstring at this point, you’re going to miss all your summer conditioning, so we’re being somewhat conservative on it. But he actually could play a game if we had to.”

Lawrence added: “I’m just trying to work it back to full capacity. It’s a little frustrating just not being able to go full speed, but I’m feeling good. [I’m] just trying to not have any more setbacks, so [I’m] taking it slow, got some good reps today, just starting to get more and more each day this week and just kind of work back into it. But it’s doing great, trying to work it back.”

Regarding Lawerence’s ability to execute the team’s offense, Meyer thinks it’s been a mixed bag.

“His retention and carry over has been very good,” Meyer said. “Execution at times, like you would imagine, has been up and down, especially when they start changing the looks up on defense—which obviously is going to happen a ton. But we’re very pleased with where he is. The summer is going to be great, and training camp is going to be great.”

One guy who has been impressed by Lawrence is the newest Jaguars CB Shaquill Griffin. 

“I feel like the main thing is he is very exposed, so when the ball is out, it’s out. I can tell when you see him throw, so even if I’m out on the sideline, I’m watching him throw to different receivers,” Griffin said. “The rotation of the ball, the timing, the way he’s putting it there, away from everybody, it’s just insane to see that so early in a quarterback. You’re talking about coming in the league with so much high hopes, and he’s proving it. That’s why I’m so excited for him.”

It’s one day at a time for Lawrence, and hopefully, for the Jaguars, he can grow into the franchise quarterback this team desperately needs.

Gobert, Simmons lead the way on NBA All-Defensive First Team

NBA Defensive Player of the Year Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons lead the 2020-21 NBA All-Defensive First Team, the NBA announced on Monday.  

Joining Gobert and Simmons on the NBA All-Defensive First Team are Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, has been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the fifth season in a row. This marks the second straight First Team selection for Simmons, the runner-up for NBA Defensive Player of the Year this season.  

Green has been selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the fourth time to go with two Second Team honors. Holiday is a First Team honoree for the second time. Antetokounmpo, the 2019-20 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, has earned his third consecutive NBA All-Defensive First Team selection.

The 2020-21 NBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo and guard Jimmy Butler, 76ers center Joel Embiid  and guard Matisse Thybulle , and LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard has been named to the NBA All-Defensive Team (First Team and Second Team) for the seventh time. This is the fifth NBA All-Defensive Team selection for Butler, the third for Embiid, and the second for Adebayo. Thybulle is making his All-Defensive Team debut in his second NBA season.

Miguel Flores returns on June 19

Texas native Miguel “El Michoacano” Flores will highlight the non-televised undercard lineup in a featherweight attraction on Saturday, June 19 as the former world title challenger enters the ring for an eight-round bout from Toyota Center in Houston in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

Unbeaten WBC Middleweight World Champion Jermall Charlo will headline the night in a title defense against hard-hitting Juan Macias Montiel live on SHOWTIME on a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast that begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

The non-televised undercard will also see Mexico’s Alexis Salazar (23-3, 9 KOs) take on Argentina’s Jairo Rayman (16-1-1, 7 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight clash, 22-year-old prospect Desmond Lyons (6-2, 2 KOs) entering the ring for a six-round lightweight bout, welterweight Willie Jones (7-2, 4 KOs) competing in a six-round attraction and New Orleans-native Michael Angeletti (2-0, 1 KO) fighting in a four-round super bantamweight affair.

Flores (24-4, 12 KOs) will look to bounce back from a pair of defeats against top tier fighters when he steps into the ring on June 19. The 28-year-old from Spring, Texas most recently dropped a December 2020 contest to Eduardo Ramirez after going the distance with four-division champion Leo Santa Cruz in a November 2019 super featherweight title bout. Flores turned pro in 2009 at just 17-years-old and was victorious in his first 22 bouts.