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Stephen A. Smith says his beef with Kyrie is on a ‘personal level’

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ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith is known for his outrageous takes and can entertain almost anyone who listens. Smith has been in the business for a while and he knows how to manufacture headlines from thin air. However, his beef with Kyrie Irving is on a ‘personal level’ and Smith gave some insight on why that might be. He claims that Irving’s ‘daddy knows why’ when referring the feud between the two.

Not too long ago there was an incident between Stephen A and fellow ESPN analyst Jay Williams when discussing Irving. There’s always two sides playfully debating back and forth, but Smith was clearly taking it too far and was letting his personal emotions take the best of him.

Sparks were flying between Williams and Smith and it was all due to Mavericks SG Kyrie Irving. Stephen A. recently spoke on a podcast and gave a bit of insight on what the feud is between the Irving’s and himself.

What makes the beef between the Irving’s and Smith so personal?

In a podcast with Mike Missanelli, Smith admitted to the ‘personal’ beef with Kyrie Irving. He declined to get into the specifics of the situation, but had this to say.

“Kyrie and I have our differences on a personal level, which is none of anybody’s business, and I’ll never tell why,”… “He knows why, okay? And his daddy knows why. They know how I feel about how they’ve acted towards me, and they know how I feel about them, and I know how they feel about me.” – Stephen A. Smith

There had always been a striking suspicion that Smith did not like Irving and his quote above solidified that. Smith owes his co-host Jay Williams an apology for attacking him so harshly when discussing Irving. Stephen A took it to a level that it did not need to go to.

People love to tune in to see Smith debate sports every day, but we’ve seen him take some personal rivalries too far over they years. He’s called out players like LeBron James in the past as well.





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NBA Clutch Player of the Year: Can Anyone Stop Curry in Clutch Time?

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In the high-stakes world of the NBA, where every second on the clock can be the difference between glory and defeat, the concept of “clutch” carries a weight that can define a player’s career. It’s the final moments of a closely contested game that separate the good from the great—the true clutch performers—capable of seizing victory from the jaws of anxious suspense.

The KIA Clutch Player of the Year award, a highlight of the 2022-23 season, shone a spotlight on such transcendent moments, crowning Sacramento Kings’ sensation De’Aaron Fox as its very first recipient. His electrifying performances in the waning minutes of tight contests not only led the Kings to their first playoff appearance in over a decade but also established him as the league’s preeminent clutch scorer.

The NBA’s thrilling definition of “clutch”—the adrenaline-pumping final five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, with the score teetering within a five-point margin—became Fox’s stage for heroics. While he managed to etch his name into the annals of NBA history, the future of the award remains wide open.

With the 2023-24 NBA season looming, one question captivates the minds of fans and analysts alike: Will this year’s Clutch Player of the Year be the one who racks up the most points in the final countdown, or will it be a virtuoso of game-altering plays who clinches the title?

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

If the essence of a clutch player is etched in the capacity to turn the tide in the blink of an eye, then Stephen Curry’s credentials are indeed impeccable. His exploits this season have elicited awe, manifesting not just in the realm of impressive statistics—5.1 points per game in clutch situations—but also in tangible displays of poise and influence under pressure.

What elevates Curry’s standing further is not merely his accumulating 160 points in such critical junctures, approaching the bar set by De’Aaron Fox, but his penchant for crafting moments that resonate beyond mere numbers. His remarkable shot in the anxiety-laced finale against the Phoenix Suns stands as a testament to his extraordinary ability to grasp victory at the precipice of defeat.

Yet, the journey through the remaining season is fraught with opportunities for rivals to rise; will Curry’s current trajectory sustain him as the unequivocal Clutch Player, or will the final chapters of the season script an unexpected twist in this narrative?

Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks

Damian Lillard is a personification of clutch that transcends numerical comparisons. His reputation for rising to the occasion is solidified in the collective memory of the NBA audience, evidenced by his 100 clutch points for the season with the Milwaukee Bucks. Lillard’s ability to hit a three-pointer as a buzzer-beater with his team behind—a feat no other player has accomplished this season—exemplifies his fearless nature and remarkable precision when the stakes are highest.

The spectacle against the Kings, where he drained an astonishing three-pointer in overtime, amplifies his penchant for pivotal moments. Moreover, his pivotal role in orchestrating the two monumental comeback victories of the 2023-24 season cements his status as a clutch connoisseur. Against the Mavericks, he obliterated a 25-point deficit with unerring accuracy from beyond the arc, and against his former team, he persevered against rigorous physical defense, sinking crucial free throws to secure a victory.

In a league where being clutch is as much an art as a statistical achievement, Lillard’s performances are masterpieces that continue to dazzle and elevate his clutch credentials.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

As the NBA’s Clutch Player of the Year discussion intensifies, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder enters the conversation with an understated yet powerful claim. Although lacking the same voluminous clutch metrics as Curry and Lillard, Gilgeous-Alexander has been instrumental in the Thunder’s extraordinary tally of comeback victories. Despite not having a signature buzzer-beater to bolster his case, the Thunder’s ascent to the Western Conference’s upper echelons can be heavily attributed to his performances.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s scoring prowess, averaging 31.1 points per game, the second-highest in the league, is a testament to his impact. His success in the clutch may not always translate into the flashiest highlight reels, but the Thunder’s ability to consistently overturn double-digit deficits is something that cannot be overlooked. While his clutch narrative may currently lean heavily on the Thunder’s team achievements, the spotlight is on him to intertwine his rising stardom with individual clutch moments in the latter half of the season, should he hope to overtake the likes of Curry and Lillard.

Final Thoughts

In the echelons of professional basketball, the title of Clutch Player of the Year carries a symbolic significance that transcends statistical prowess. It signifies an athlete’s mental fortitude, their innate ability to rise above the pressure-cooker atmosphere of dwindling game clocks and razor-thin point margins. As anointed guardians of their teams’ aspirations, clutch players like Curry, Lillard, and Gilgeous-Alexander are not merely contributors but architects of victory. They construct legacies one clutch shot at a time.

The 2023-24 NBA season has been a resplendent showcase of such talent, testifying to the relentless spirit and skill that defines the very heart of basketball. As we inch closer to the playoffs and the NBA final odds take shape, the anticipation builds: Who will engrave their name next in the annals of clutch lore? The answer lies in the coming games—a thrilling prospect for every follower of the sport.



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Damian Lillard joins Michael Jordan for an All-Star Weekend record

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Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard joined Michael Jordan as the only NBA players to win either the 3-point contest or Slam Dunk contest and be named MVP in the same All-Star Weekend.

Lillard won the 3-point contest on Saturday, edging Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Atlanta’s Trae Young in the final round. In 1988, Jordan won his second career Slam Dunk Contest and first All-Star Game MVP award.

“Anytime you’re mentioned in the same category as Mike, it’s an honor, it’s a major accomplishment, even if it’s All-Star Weekend,” Lillard said during his postgame interview next to the Kobe Bryant MVP trophy on the table. “Because if it was that simple, more people would have done it.”

Lillard won his second straight 3-point contest title on Saturday. He notched a score of 26 points in both the opening round as well as the final round of the competition.

Lillard, 32, became the first player to win back-to-back 3-point contests since former Toronto Raptors forward Jason Kapono in 2007 and 2008. He also made his eighth All-Star appearance and first-ever start on Sunday.

The 12-year veteran scored 39 points to lead the Eastern Conference to a 211-186 win over the West in the highest-scoring All-Star Game in league history.

Lillard received seven out of 12 votes for the MVP award, and Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton garnered the other five after finishing with 32 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Haliburton outscored the West 15-14 to start the game.

Damian Lillard is the first NBA player to win 3-point contest, All-Star Game MVP in the same year

Milwaukee’s star amassed three rebounds, six assists, and one steal while shooting 14-of-26 (53.8%) from the floor and 11-of-23 (47.8%) from 3-point range.

With 11 3-pointers Sunday night, Lillard (42) joined Stephen Curry (51) and LeBron James (41) as the only players with over 40 career 3s in the All-Star Game.

Moreover, Lillard is the first player in NBA history to win the 3-point contest and All-Star Game MVP in the same year. He joins Glen Rice, Larry Bird, Curry, and Kyrie Irving as the only players to win both honors over the course of their careers.

Although Lillard played lights out during All-Star Weekend, he is still having a down year in his 12th season. The seven-time All-NBA member is averaging 24.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 6.7 assists through 51 games.

He is shooting 42.3% from the field, his lowest mark in a season with 50 or more appearances since 2016, and 34% from 3-point range — the worst of his career outside of a 29-game season in 2021-22.

Lillard averaged a career-high 32.2 points in 58 games with the Portland Trail Blazers last season.

Following the All-Star break, the Bucks are at Minnesota this Friday, Feb. 23.





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Nets fire coach Jacque Vaughn after 21-33 record at All-Star break

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The Brooklyn Nets fired head coach Jacque Vaughn on Monday morning after going 21-33 and sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference at the NBA All-Star break.

Brooklyn suffered its second-worst loss in franchise history last Thursday, losing 136-86 to the Boston Celtics. The Nets trailed by as many as 56 points in the fourth quarter. It was their worst loss since moving to Brooklyn in 2012.

“To Joe Tsai, Clara Wu-Tsai, Ollie Weisberg, Sam Zussman, Sean Marks and front office, Nets coaches, staff, players, BSE family and the entire Brooklyn borough: It was a pleasure being your Head Coach,” Vaughn said in a statement issued to ESPN.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Nets hold 11th-best odds in the East to make the playoffs. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls.

“I hope each individual I interacted with felt respected and valued. Just know I gave you everything I had every single day. Onto the next chapter. Amor Fati.”

Vaughn, 49, finished 71-68 in the regular season and 0-8 in the playoffs as Brooklyn’s coach.

He replaced Steve Nash a season ago after starting 2-5 before going 43-32 and getting swept in the first round of the 2023 Eastern Conference playoffs.

Vaughn is 129-226 as an NBA head coach. The California native is officially the second head coach fired this season, joining ex-Milwaukee Bucks coach Adrian Griffin.

Of course, Doc Rivers replaced Grifin on Jan. 24.

Jacque Vaughn led Brooklyn Nets to a 12-1 record in December 2022, the club’s winningest month in franchise history

“This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we feel is in the best interest of the team going forward,” said Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement.

“Jacque has represented this organization with exemplary character and class for the past eight years. The consistent positivity and passion he poured into our team daily will remain with the players and staff he interacted with throughout his tenure.

“We thank Jacque for all he has done for the Nets and the borough of Brooklyn, and wish him, Laura and their family nothing but the best in the future.”

In December 2022, Brooklyn posted a record of 12-1 under Vaughn, the winningest month in franchise history. Vaughn went on to win his first Coach of the Month honor of his coaching career.

He joined Jason Kidd as the only two Nets players-turned-coaches to garner Coach of the Month honors as the franchise’s head coach, and he became just the sixth coach in Nets history to receive Coach of the Month honors.

Brooklyn went 43-32 the rest of the season, making the playoffs despite trading Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns and Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks.

Vaughn was also an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs from 2010 to 2012.

On July 28, 2012, Vaughn was named the new head coach of the Orlando Magic.

However, he was fired by the Magic on Feb. 5, 2015, after going 58-158 in his first head-coaching stint. Vaughn then spent the 2015-16 season working as a professional scout for the Spurs.

The Kansas alum was hired as an assistant coach for the Nets prior to the 2016-17 season.





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