NBA

NBA

The thing about winning a playoff game on the road is that it’s never one thing. On Saturday night, when the Celtics beat the Sixers 101-98 in Philadelphia, there were clutch shots and inexplicable turnovers, brilliant defensive stands and lots and lots of confetti.

In the end there was Al Horford, sealing Robert Covington in the post after a perfect lob pass via Marcus Morris from one of the toughest places to throw a perfect lob pass to the post. The finish wasn’t easy either. Horford contorted his body from one side of the rim to the other, but after his shot rattled around it dropped through as clear as day.

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NBA

The Warriors needed a bounce back game in Game 4 against the Pelicans and that’s exactly what they got. The Pelicans forced the Warriors to start a new lineup they had never started in a game. It’s a lineup that Twitter refers to as the “death lineup” but we learned today that the Warriors refer to themselves at the “Hampton 5”. It’s the lineup of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. It’s a lineup that the Warriors have used many times in games. Today was the first time we ever saw them as starting unit.

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NBA

One of the many, many incredible facets of LeBron James’ excellence is that there are so many damn facets of his excellence. It isn’t that LeBron can beat you in so many different ways: it’s that he will beat you any which way circumstances require.

This has been one of the revelations of his second Cavaliers run, which of course came with the crowning achievement of the 2016 NBA championship (and Finals MVP). The most famous LeBron play from that title run wasn’t a game-winning shot: it was The Block, a magical chasedown rejection of Andre Iguodala burned into our minds and the Warriors’ souls.

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NBA

You know when the Golden State Warriors really care. It’s not that they usually screw around — though that has been known to happen, too — but you can always tell when the Warriors flip the switch to their highest level of play. In Game 4’s 118-92 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, it clearly happened.

The easiest way to tell is how much Golden State uses the Death Lineup. For the first time in the team’s history, the Warriors started those five players — Andre Iguodala joining the Warriors’ Big Four. It was a clear sign: “We’re not playing games anymore.” Boy, they weren’t joking.

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