Last season, the Phoenix Suns acquired Kevin Durant before the trade deadline. After that deal, the Suns were considered by many to be the favorites to win an NBA title. However, Durant injured his ankle following the trade, which impacted Phoenix’s ability to gel before the playoffs.
Ultimately, the Suns would lose to the world-champion Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs. After the season, the Suns fired head coach Monty Williams and replaced him with Frank Vogel.
Now, they’ve added another enormous piece that could put them over the top.
According to multiple reports, the Wizards are sending Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, a few second-round picks, and multiple pick swaps. More players could reportedly be added to this deal.
Paul could be on the move again as he reportedly could be dealt to the Clippers.
No matter what happens, at this point, the Suns could be the favorites in the West and win a championship. The Suns added Beal, and now, it’s championship or bust.
Phoenix has a Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Beal. In addition, they have Deandre Ayton, but you wonder if he could be on the move to help fill out Phoenix’s roster and add depth.
Beal, 29, signed a five-year, $251 million last summer, which had a no-trade clause, so in essence, he had all the power. The Wizards could have reportedly got better deals elsewhere for Beal, but he wanted to go to Phoenix.
Last summer, the 11-year veteran, who spent his whole career in Washington, battled injuries and played 50 games in 2022-23. He averaged 23.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest.
Regarding the Wizards, they are rebuilding, and that starts now.
Credit to the Suns. They got Beal and did not have to give up much to get him.
The Cavaliers returned home for the second half of a back-to-back on Sunday as they battled the Wizards in the home opener at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Cleveland(2-1) had a lead late but allowed the Wizards(2-1) to tie the game in regulation and send it to overtime. In OT, the Cavs outscored the Wizards 14-4 to win 117-107.
Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Wizards.
Donovan Mitchell: The three-time All-Star had another 30-plus point game as he had 37 points(5/12 3pt FG), five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. In OT, with the Cavs down one, Mitchell made a layup plus the foul, and on the next possession, he had a big steal that set up Cedi Osman for a layup plus the foul. According to Elias Sports, Mitchell is just the third player in NBA history to score 30-plus points in each of his first three games with a franchise.
Jarrett Allen: He was tough and gritty on Sunday. He recorded his second double-double in three games with 15 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks. Allen punctuated the game with a big dunk over Kristaps Porzingis in OT.
Cedi Osman: The Cavs got off to a slow start in the first quarter, and Osman checked in and immediately sparked the Cavs. He scored 10 of his 16 points in the first quarter. The Cavs bench outscored the starters in the first half, and Osman was a big reason that happened.
Defense: Cleveland forced 20 Wizards turnovers, which led to 28 points. In addition, they had 10 steals and five blocked shots. Washington had no field goals in the final 3:19 of the game.
Not So Great:
Donovan Mitchell: With less than a minute left in regulation, and the Cavs up four, Mitchell got a little sloppy with the ball. He was stripped by Bradley Beal, who got fouled and made two free throws. The next possession, he got stripped by Will Barton, which ended in a Barton dunk, and after Mitchell missed a jumper on the final possession, the game went to overtime. Not a great sequence for Mitchell.
The energy at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse was terrific, and Mitchell gave them a lot to cheer about. He’s been as advertised and then some. Mitchell can get anywhere he wants on the court and score the ball at a high level. In addition, Cleveland continues to get great play from its bench, especially Osman, who has been outstanding in the first three games. Still early, but the Cavs may have something with this roster.
Cleveland has a few days off before they battle the Orlando Magic at home on Wednesday night.
Best of the Rest:
The Cavs had six players in double figures for the second game in a row. Dean Wade had 12 points off the bench; Evan Mobley and Caris LeVert had 10 points apiece.
Beal’s 27 points led Washington; Porzingis had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Rui Hachimura chipped in with 16 points off the bench.
The Cavaliers began life without backup point guard Ricky Rubio against the Wizards Thursday night. Rubio will miss the rest of the season after tearing his left ACL Tuesday against the Pelicans.
Cleveland was still without Darius Garland and Cedi Osman due to health and safety protocols, and they were without Jarrett Allen(Return To Competition Reconditioning). However, they did get Lamar Stevens and Dylan Windler back after being away from the team because of health and safety protocols.
Washington had some health and safety protocols issues themselves, including starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Cavaliers trailed 31-30 after the first quarter, but things fell apart at the end of the second quarter and the third as Washington routed Cleveland 110-93 at Capital One Arena.
Cleveland(20-15) has lost two straight, while Washington(18-17) snapped their two-game losing streak.
Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to Washington:
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Rookie Evan Mobley scored 14(highest scoring first quarter of his career) of his 21 points in the first quarter to go along with five rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Mobley had his second straight 20-plus point game.
-Kevin Love returned to the starting lineup and had his third straight 20-plus point game. He had 11 of his season-high tying 24 points in the first quarter, including three threes(finished 4/10 3PT FG). Love also added 11 rebounds to record his fifth double-double of the season. Love and Mobley scored 25 of Cleveland’s 30 first-quarter points.
The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
Three-point Shooting: Cleveland was 4/9 from downtown in the first quarter, but they were 4/19 the rest of the way from three-point range Thursday night. In the last two games, both losses, the Cavaliers shot a combined 9/48(19%) from three after the first quarter.
Defense: The Cavaliers struggled on the defensive end. Washington shot 50% from the floor, including 68 points in the paint.
End of the Second Quarter: With just under four minutes left in the first half, the game was tied at 46, but Washington finished the half on a 12-5 run to take a 58-51 lead at the break, and the Wizards took that momentum into the third.
Third Quarter: Washington dominated the third as they shot (14/22)64% from the floor. The Wizards led by as many as 2o points in the quarter, and Cleveland never threatened from there as the Wizards outscored the Cavaliers 33-21 in the third.
-Kevin Pangos got his first NBA start Thursday, and he wasn’t very good. Pangos had two points as he shot 1/8 from the field, including 0/3 from downtown. He did have six assists, but he struggled against the Wizards.
Without Garland and Rubio, Cleveland did not get much from the point guard position and did not get much out of any player not named Love or Mobley, but help could be on the way for the Cavs. According to reports, Cleveland is close to acquiring two-time NBA champion and four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo from the Lakers. While Rondo is not Rubio at this point, the 35-year-old is better than what they have at the backup point guard spot.
Cleveland begins a three-game homestand Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks.
Best of the Rest:
-After missing three games due to health and safety protocols, Bradley Beal returned and led the Wizards with a game-high 29 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds; Kyle Kuzma had 25 points and 10 rebounds.
-Lauri Markkanen had 11 points, eight rebounds, and four assists; Isaac Okoro added 11 points for the Cavs.
It appeared on Wednesday night that the Cleveland Cavaliers(7-5) were going to get their fifth straight win as they had a 10-point lead with just under 11 minutes left against the visiting Washington Wizards(8-5).
Cleveland would take a nine-point lead with just over six minutes to go. However, Washington would close the game on a 19-7 run and took the lead for good when Kyle Kuzma hit a corner three with 11.4 seconds. Washington would hold on to defeat the Cavs 97-94 to snap Cleveland’s four-game winning streak.
Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of Cleveland’s loss to Washington:
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Ricky Rubio led the way for Cleveland with 20 points, five assists, five rebounds, and two steals in 28 minutes off the bench. This is the second straight game where Rubio, who was getting serenaded with MVP chants, led the team in points and assists.
-Evan Mobley continues to pile up the numbers. He had 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and a block. After 12 games, Mobley is second among rookies in points(15.3), rebounds(7.9), and first in blocks(1.3) per contest.
-Darius Garland had 19 points and four assists. He also made a team-high three three-point shots on Wednesday night.
Not so Great for the Cavaliers:
Fourth Quarter: Cleveland had a six-point lead entering the fourth, but Washington would outscore the Cavs 29-20 in the final period. Cleveland shot 1/10 three-point range in the quarter. In addition, Washington shot 57% from the field, including 5/11 from three-point range.
Leaving Kuzma open for three: Kuzma, who scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth, was hot as he was 4/5 from three-point range in the quarter, and with the Cavs leading 93-89 with 30.4 seconds, Kuzma hit a three to cut it to one.
Rubio would make one of two free throws to give Cleveland a 94-92 lead. With the Wizards trailing by two, Kuzma would get open and knocked down a three in the corner. Cleveland, who had a foul to give, tried to foul Bradley Beal, but the officials did not call it, and Kuzma was able to get free.
“We had a foul to give, and we fouled Bradley Beal, and they missed the call,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame. “We have to learn in this situation; the three is what kills you.”
–Darius Garland’s final shot: Cleveland had one last chance to win, and with the Cavs trailing by one, Garland launched a 25-foot three with 04.3 seconds. It was not a bad shot, but the third-year guard should have worked to get a better shot.
“When it left my hands, I thought it was good,” Garland said. “All my shots were like that. But that one felt really good, just didn’t go in.”
This was a game the Cavaliers should have won, but the Wizards were able to execute better down the stretch. Washington is the more experienced team, and it showed in this one. Cleveland is without many of their key pieces(Sexton, Love, and Markkanen), but they continue to battle to their credit.
Cleveland continues their four-game homestand on Friday against the Pistons.
Best of the Rest:
-Montrezl Harrell led Washington with 24 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Cleveland did a decent job on Wizards star Bradley Beal, who had only 13 points on 4/19 shooting from the field.
-Cavs Jarrett Allen had his fifth consecutive double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Wizards G Bradley Beal, who was placed under USA Basketball’s health and safety protocols Wednesday, will remain in health and safety protocols and will be unable to participate in the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Olympic Games, USA Basketball announced on Thursday.
According to USA Basketball, a roster replacement will be named at a later time.
Also, on Thursday, it was announced that Detroit’s Jerami Grant had been placed under USA Basketball’s health and safety protocols. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Grant has not tested positive for coronavirus.
Team USA, who is 1-2 in exhibition play, will continue their exhibition games on Friday when they battle Australia.
Beal was named to the U.S. Olympic Men’ Basketball Team on June 28 and participated in the USA Basketball National Team’s training camp and exhibition games in Las Vegas. Starting in the USA’s first three USA exhibition games, Beal averaged 10.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while playing 29.0 minutes a game.
On Tuesday, we saw what we thought we would see out of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team.
Behind Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal’s 17 points apiece, Team USA defeated Argentina 108-80 at Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
After losing their first two exhibition games to Nigeria and Australia, Team USA was limping into this game against Argentina. However, they got off to a quick start and led by 14 after one quarter and 16 points at halftime. They would cruise the rest of the way.
Zach LaVine had 15, Damian Lillard added 13, and Bam Adebayo finished with 12 points. Argentina was led by 41-year-old Luis Scola’s 16 points and five rebounds.
Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich was happy with his team’s efforts from start to finish.
“I thought we sustained it pretty well in our game against Australia, and we competed well, rebounded, played defense, ran the floor, and had good pace for one half, but then it dissipated through the second half,” Popovich said. “Tonight, I thought we maintained (effort) pretty much throughout the game, so hopefully, that’s a sign that we are in a little better condition.”
The international game is different than the NBA. It’s less time(40 minutes), and it’s more physical, which Beal discussed after the game.
“The biggest thing we have to realize is that it’s not the NBA, and coach Pop keeps reemphasizing that to us every single day,” Beal said. “It’s more physical. These guys have been playing together for five, 10-plus years, so they have this experience and chemistry. We’re trying to develop that in a short period of time.”
The game’s highlight came in the fourth when LaVine threw down a poster dunk and was fouled by Juan Pablo Vaulet. It was a great moment for Team USA, and it cemented the victory.
Team USA will have a few days off before getting back at it on Friday in a rematch against Australia.
Team USA was without Jayson Tatum, who missed Tuesday’s game due to a sore knee.
Photo: Team USA
The Washington Wizards kept their season alive on Monday night when they defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 4 of their first-round series 122-114 at Capital One Arena.
Game 5 will be Wednesday night in Philadelphia as the 76ers lead the series 3-1.
The Wizards caught a little break on Monday night when 76ers star center Joel Embiid left the game after the first quarter due to knee soreness, which happened when Embiid lost his balance after getting his shot blocked by Robin Lopez. Embiid stayed in the game and completed the first quarter before leaving and heading back to the locker room. Embiid is scheduled to get an MRI on Tuesday.
No Embiid opened many things up for the Wizards, especially in the third quarter, where Washington outscored Philadelphia 32-19. Washington led by as many as 14 near the end of the frame and took a 92-80 lead into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Philadelphia would get back into the game, and took a lead with under three minutes to go. Washington would use the hack-a-Ben Simmons strategy down the stretch, which Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said was a possibility in pregame. The strategy worked. Simmons was 4-8 from the free-throw line in the fourth, and with Washington leading 115-112, Rui Hachimura hit a dagger three to put the game away with 45.2 seconds left.
“We played with more spunk, a little bit more attitude, and then some excitement,” Bradley Beal said after the game. “It just felt like we enjoyed being out there on the floor, we enjoyed playing defense, we enjoyed getting out and running in transition. These are [the things] that make us really good; this is what gave us success at the end of the year.”
Washington got its usual production from Beal, who led all scorers with 27 points, and of course, Westbrook had a triple-double with 19 points, 21 rebounds, and 14 assists, which was his second straight triple-double.
However, the role players stepped up for the Wizards, including Hachimura, who recorded his first career playoff double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds, Lopez had 16 points off the bench, and Davis Bertans added 15.
The Wizards had seven players in double figures.
At this point, this series could come down to the health of Embiid. Philadelphia is clearly a different team without the MVP finalist. However, Philly still has the advantage and still has enough talent without Embiid to get by the Wizards, but anything is possible.
-Westbrook’s 21 rebounds marked a career postseason high and were the most by a Washington player since Elvin Hayes had 22 on 5/13/79 against San Antonio. Westbrook became just the fourth player since 2000 to record a triple-double with at least 20 rebounds in the playoffs (Tim Duncan-twice, Kevin Garnett, Nikola Jokic).
-Daniel Gafford, who started on Monday night for the first time in this series, finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and five blocks, becoming the fifth player in franchise history to have 5+ blocks in a game and the first to do so since Marcin Gortat on 4/19/17 vs. Atlanta.
–According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Bertans, who left the game in the third quarter and did not return due to a calf injury, had an MRI on Tuesday, which revealed a grade 2 calf strain. He will need 4-6 weeks for recovery, according to Wojnarowski.
-Tobias Harris led Philadelphia with 24 points(8/24 from field). Philadelphia had six players in double figures on Monday night.
The Washington Wizards had no answer for Joel Embiid in Game 3 of their first-round series on Saturday night; the MVP finalist shot 14/18 from the field, including 3/4 from three-point range to score a playoff career-high 36 points in 28 minutes of action as the 76ers defeated Washington 132-103 on Saturday night at Capital One Arena.
With the victory, Philadelphia takes a commanding 3-0 lead with a chance to sweep the series on Monday night. Every player in Philly’s starting lineup scored in double figures. Tobias Harris had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Danny Green added 15 points, including five threes.
Philadelphia shot 58% from the field on Saturday night and shot 51% from three-point range(17/33).
Washington cannot do anything to slow Embiid down. The four-time All-star is averaging 29.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in this series. There was a big crowd at Capital One Arena for the first time this season, and at times, you could hear “MVP’ chants for Embiid in D.C.
“I can’t imagine anybody playing better than him,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said about Embiid. “That was MVP-level tonight. Tried different things on him tonight. Good player. He’s definitely a handful.”
Bradley Beal, who had 25 points in Game 3, talked about the greatness of Embiid.
“He’s a special talent,” Beal said. “You gotta respect him and tip your cap to him. Our whole game plan is basically centered around him. He’s a three-level scorer. He can score from outside on the three. He’s not like most bigs in the league; he can put the ball on the floor, shoot 3s, plays like a guard. It’s kind of crazy.”
Russell Westbrook(ankle) was a game-time decision, and to no one’s surprise, the former MVP played in Game 3 and had a triple-double with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.
“I kind of knew after last game he was going to play,” Beal said. “Even if it was for two minutes, he was going to play.”
Now, the Wizards try to avoid the sweep on Monday night, which won’t be easy. Washington has many questions but little to no answers for what Philly is throwing at them. They tried to insert Davis Bertans in the lineup to get more size and shooting, but that did not work as the team shot 8/35 from three-point range.
Philly is just a bad matchup for Washington. Including the regular season, the 76ers are 6-0 against the Wizards. Even a 60-point outburst from Beal in the regular season was not enough to beat Philadelphia, so it’s going to take an extraordinary performance from a few different players for Washington to get a game in this series.