NBA

Bryan Colangelo resigns from Philadelphia 76ers after his wife admits to operating Twitter burner accounts

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Bryan Colangelo has resigned from his role with the 76ers.

Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations and general manager Bryan Colangelo resigned on Thursday after his wife admitted to operating Twitter burner accounts that were uncovered more than a week ago in a report by The Ringer.

The five Twitter accounts were used by Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, to defend him, while also criticising team members and releasing sensitive, team-related information.

Bottini admitted to operating the accounts, which was corroborated, along with Colangelo being the source of the information, through the findings of the investigation by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

“When interviewed, Ms. Bottini admitted establishing and operating the accounts. Forensic evidence corroborates her admissions,” the law firm said in a statement.

“Our investigation revealed substantial evidence that Mr. Colangelo was the source of sensitive, non-public, club-related information contained in certain posts to the Twitter accounts. We believe that Mr. Colangelo was careless and in some instances reckless in failing to properly safeguard sensitive, non-public, club-related information in communications with individuals outside the 76ers organisation.”

Colangelo refuted the information came from him, though he did call into question his wife’s actions.

“I vigorously dispute the allegation that my conduct was in any way reckless” Colangelo said in a statement. “At no point did I ever purposefully or directly share any sensitive, non-public, club-related information with her.

“Her actions were a seriously misguided effort to publicly defend and support me, and while I recognise how inappropriate these actions were, she acted independently and without my knowledge or consent. Further, the content she shared was filled with inaccuracies and conjecture which in no way represent my own views or opinions. While this was obviously a mistake, we are a family and we will work through this together.

“Although I am not directly responsible for the actions, I regret this incident occurred and understand that it has become a distraction for the team. Therefore, the organisation and I have mutually agreed to part ways.”

The 76ers accepted Colangelo’s resignation, saying in a statement it had “become clear Bryan’s relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised”.

Sixers coach Brett Brown will now handle basketball operations on an interim basis.

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NBA

Kevin Durant eviscerates Cleveland Cavaliers to give Golden State Warriors complete control of NBA Finals

Jay Asser 7/06/2018
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Kevin Durant hit another clutch 3-pointer in the final minute of the NBA Finals.

Kevin Durant delivered two daggers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, both piercing the Cleveland Cavaliers’ hearts – his deep 3-pointer in the final minute to seal a win and his performance as a whole to effectively end the series.

This was the type of game the Cavaliers needed to get back on track at home. Their role players stepped up, they killed the Warriors on the glass, Klay Thompson was a non-factor and, perhaps most importantly, Stephen Curry had one of the worst shooting nights of his career.

And yet none of it mattered in the end because Durant’s transcendent performance washed over everything like a tidal wave engulfing everything in its path.

As the best player on the floor in Game 3, Durant scored a career playoff-high 43 points on 15-of-23 shooting, while adding 13 rebounds and seven assists to take complete control of the Finals.

His unstoppable nature was on full display throughout as he rose over defenders from beyond the arc and in the mid-range to score effortless bucket after effortless bucket.

All of that culminated in Durant’s 3-pointer with 49.8 seconds left to give the Warriors a six-point lead.

It was nearly the same shot – from almost the same spot on the floor – that Durant hit in Game 3 of last year’s Finals, which also helped give Golden State a 3-0 lead.

This one, however, was even deeper and came from 33 feet out, making it one of four triples Durant hit in the game that were from 30-plus feet. He had previously made only one shot from that distance in any single game, regular season or playoffs, in his career.

The Cavaliers simply had no answer for Durant. LeBron James defended him for stretches and took on the responsibility at the end of the game, but the Warriors threw off the match-up by setting a screen and forcing a switch. Thanks to his combination of length and shooting, Durant is ungradable as it is, but when he’s firing on all cylinders like he was in Game 3, no defence can slow him down in a one-on-one setting.

Durant has been the Warriors’ fail-safe since he joined in the summer of 2016 and while a high volume of shots by him doesn’t usually translate to the offence playing their preferred brand, he significantly raises their floor as a security blanket on nights when Curry and Thompson are misfiring.

Game 3 was one of those nights and in the pre-Durant days, it would have almost certainly been a loss against a LeBron-led team. But against this version of Golden State, you need all three of their offensive stars to have an off game to ensure victory. They can each cover for one another – something James doesn’t have the luxury of anymore with Kyrie Irving on longer around.

James could have used one of those sidekick-becomes-the-hero performances Irving used to provide so often in Game 3. Even though he had a triple-double with 33 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, it wasn’t a great game by James’ standards.

He appeared dead set on getting his teammates involved from the jump as he turned the corner on drives with the intent of finding open shooters. The strategy worked initially as Cleveland’s role players found a bit of rhythm, but by the end when shots weren’t falling, James hadn’t established enough of a scoring rhythm himself and couldn’t get a bucket at will like he could in the series opener. He also settled for 3-pointers far too often on a night his jumper wasn’t falling, going 1-of-6 from beyond the arc.

For the Cavaliers to have any chance of beating the Warriors, James has to bring his A-game every night. The key difference between the teams is that Golden State can get away with only one of Durant, Curry or Thompson bringing theirs.

It’s a trap

Speaking of Curry, it would be easy to say from looking at his stat line – 11 points on 3-of-16 shooting and 1-of-10 from deep – that Cleveland figured out how to shut him down by employing an aggressive trapping scheme.

The reality, however, is that the Cavaliers’ use of the trap benefitted them only in one way and that was getting the ball out of Curry’s hands more. His rough shooting night was more a result of him missing shots he normally drains and at times pressing the issue whenever he encountered single coverage.

The trade-off for that was countless easy dunks and layups for the Warriors in 4-on-3 situations. With Durant or Thompson spotting up near the corners and Curry handling the ball, that allowed one of Golden State’s non-shooters to set a screen and the other to be Curry’s outlet at the top of the key – usually Draymond Green – after getting trapped. The result was Green getting a pass in open space and playing 2-on-1 with his defender, who was stuck in the middle between him and the screen-setting roll man. With the Cavaliers hugging up on Durant and Thompson, there were no help defenders to deter easy dives to the rim.

The screens set were more touch-and-go leading to slips, which got the Warriors attacking downhill quicker and left the two Cleveland defenders trapping on Curry with an impossible foot race to win to get back in the play.

There are no right answers for the Cavaliers on how to defend the Warriors. Either they trap and get sliced up like they did in Game 3, or switch everything and leave someone like Kevin Love on an island with Curry.

Cleveland don’t have the versatile and switchable personnel Houston do, so they can’t come close to fielding the ideal defence required to consistently bother Golden State.

Sometimes, the other team is just that much better and there’s nothing you can do.

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NBA

Andre Iguodala's return set to make life even more difficult for Cleveland Cavaliers in NBA Finals

Jay Asser 7/06/2018
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Andre Iguodala has missed the past six games with a bruised left knee.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are back to enjoying the comforts of home, but their uphill climb against the Golden State Warriors is about to get steeper with Andre Iguodala’s return.

Though Iguodala is officially listed as a game-time decision for Game 3 at Quicken Loans Arena, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was forthcoming on Wednesday to say there is a “good chance” the forward will play.

After suffering a bruised left knee in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, Iguodala has been sidelined for the past six games.

While he may not play his usual minutes immediately as Kerr eases him back, Iguodala will immediately give a boost to Golden State on both sides of the ball.

Defensively, he gives the Warriors another body to throw on LeBron James, whether it’s full-time or sparingly. Iguodala has a history of at least bothering James, which includes him picking up Finals MVP honours in 2015 for “limiting” LeBron to 35.8 points per game on 39.8 per cent shooting.

Him being back in the lineup also allows Golden State to be more comfortable switching everything when they roll out the ‘Hamptons 5’.

So far in the series, the Warriors have mostly trotted out either Kevon Looney, JaVale McGee or Jordan Bell alongside their All-Star foursome, with varying degrees of success – the Looney lineup has an offensive rating of 114.1 and a defensive rating of 108.9 in 23 minutes; the McGee lineup has an offensive rating of 136.4 and a defensive rating of 122.8 in 19 minutes; and the Bell lineup has an offensive rating of 138.9 and a defensive rating of 138.6 in 10 minutes.

When Iguodala has been healthy in these playoffs, the Hamptons 5 have an offensive rating of 123.9 and a defensive rating of 101.1 in 110 minutes. They’ve not collectively faced LeBron yet but that lineup is a step above any other combination of players Golden State can throw on the court.

Offensively, Iguodala adds more spacing, even if Cleveland will live with him launching from the perimeter. Looney, McGee and Bell have served as capable roll men after setting screens, but Iguodala will allow the Warriors to play five-out, affording Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant more room to work with off the dribble.

But even more than the spacing boost he brings, Iguodala’s playmaking skills have been severely missed. Draymond Green does well as the trigger man at the top of the key, but Iguodala is a secondary point guard who allows Curry and Durant to operate more without the ball, which is when Golden State are at their deadliest.

Just what LeBron and the Cavaliers needed – another weapon for the Warriors to wield.

Watch now: Injured basketball player documents his road back to fitness

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