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Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is undeterred after Game 6 loss: ‘I don’t know how … but we are going to go up there and get it done’ – Basketball Insiders



The Heat were 0.1 seconds away from their second trip to the NBA Finals in the past four campaigns, as they were all left in shock after Celtics guard Derrick White put on his Superman cape to tip in a heroic layup to steal the victory 104-103 this Saturday night in the Kaseya Center. 

The Eastern Conference finals will now have a final Game 7 chapter in Massachusetts this Monday, as Boston are convinced they will become the first franchise in NBA history to ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the playoff series.

Even though they’ve let the Celtics tie the contest, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra and his players seem to be undeterred despite the setbacks and firmly believe they are the stronger team of the two who deserve the last ticket to the NBA Finals.

The Heat trainer started by saying that the final play from Derrick White was a “shame”, but he assured to the press that he has “no regrets,” as the squad has done everything to the best of their abilities.

Check out his complete postgame interview after Game 6’s shocking result:

“This is the way this season has been,” Spoelstra recalled. “This is one hell of a series. At this time right now, I don’t know how we are going to get this done, but we are going up there and get it done. And that’s what the next 48 hours is about.”

Jimmy Butler shared a very similar sentiment with his coach, as he remains confident that Miami will find a way to earn a victory in Game 7 even though they’ve lost the last three matches.

“[That’s] basketball for you, basketball at its finest — very, very, very entertaining,” Butler said, even after scoring three-clutch free throws in the last seconds. “But that’s good basketball. I think, I believe, as we all do, like you’re going to get the same test until you pass it, I swear. We were in this same position last year.

“We can do it. I know that we will do it. We’ve got to go on the road and win in a very, very, very tough environment.”

In spite of their confidence ahead of Game 7, the Heat players couldn’t hide their frustration after losing three contests in a row

Even though the Miami star assures his team hasn’t lost the inspiration, he also acknowledged the frustration. Butler, who dropped only 5-for-21 in Game 6, regrets not being in a better position to have avoided losing to a buzzer-beater.

“Everything that happened tonight, if I don’t go 5-for-21 and turn the ball over and all of this good stuff, it’s a different story,” he expressed after the game. “I’ve got on a different hat up here and we’re getting ready to go to the Finals.”

His teammate Game Vincent, romanticized the loss on Saturday, pretty much admitting that it felt like destiny as there was not much to be done. “It’s almost storybook,” he said. “It’s almost like it’s supposed to be this way. But you know, go to Boston and get a win.”

By the end of the postmatch interview, Spoelstra’s head was already focused in Game 7. “There’s been nothing easy about this season for our group,” he assured. “And so we just have to do it the hard way. That’s just the way it’s got to be for our group.”

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Is Haley Van Lith Dating Jalen Suggs? LSU Star Not With Boyfriend




LSU guard Hailey Van Lith, 22, is rumored to still be dating Orlando Magic star Jalen Suggs, also 22. But is it true? When the couple first began dating in 2021, Suggs played for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

The Magic guard revealed their relationship via an X post at the time. Considering the X and Instagram posts have since been deleted, a number of fans are speculating that they’re no longer together.

In March 2021, Van Lith (696K followers, $965K) and Suggs (325K followers, $495K) were among the top five most-followed athletes with top NIL earning power on Elite Eight teams, per Front Office Sports. 

Suggs was also a McDonald’s All-American in high school in 2020 and a consensus second-team All-American as a Gonzaga freshman in 2021. Orlando selected him fifth overall in the 2021 NBA Draft.

In July 2021, Suggs wrote “Hey wife” as a response to Van Lith’s Instagram photo of her sporting Los Angeles Lakers shorts.

Van Lith played basketball at the late Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, where she spent time with the Lakers legend and his late daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant.

Regarding Van Lith’s personal dating life, she hasn’t responded to any rumors pertaining to her relationship status with Jalen Suggs. Therefore, is Van Lith still dating the Magic guard?

Is LSU star Hailey Van Lith still dating Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs? Van Lith is reportedly not back together with ex-boyfriend Suggs as of September 2023

Although they never publicly acknowledged their relationship, the couple is still spotted hanging out together to this very day, igniting more dating rumors. Nonetheless, perhaps they’re just friends.

For a reminder, Van Lith and Suggs are no longer following one another on social media. Until they do, fans can only speculate. According to her Instagram profile, she currently appears to be single.

Van Lith established herself as a star last season when she helped Louisville reach the Elite Eight. In 37 starts, she averaged career highs of 19.7 points, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals, and 36.9 minutes per game.

The 5-foot-7 guard received her second first-team All-ACC selection after leading the conference in points (729), free throw percentage (87.4%), and minutes played (1,364). She had three incredible seasons (2020-23) with Louisville.

However, the Washington native surprised fans in April when she announced her transfer to LSU, following the Tigers’ national championship win over Iowa in Dallas, Texas.

In August, she reported to the LSU campus. During the early stages of the offseason, Hailey Van Lith was the top prospect of The Athletic’s transfer portal tracker. She has two seasons left of collegiate eligibility.

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Luka Doncic launches new Luka 2 ‘Lake Bled’ Jordan Brand shoes




Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic celebrated the official launch of his new Luka 2 “Lake Bled” shoes from Jordan Brand on Saturday by hosting a 3-on-3 tournament on Lake Bled in Slovenia. Grosbasket Basketball Shop and Jordan Brand co-hosted the event.

Doncic, 24, started his partnership with Jordan Brand after signing a multi-year endorsement deal in December 2019. After signing his latest contract extension, he’s locked in until 2029. Grosbasket released this statement:

“We’re delighted to have partnered with Jordan Brand to bring this event to life in celebration of Luka Doncic and his signature footwear Luka 2 Lake Bled. Luka’s had an incredible impact in Slovenia and we’re thrilled that his latest game shoe is inspired by the country itself.”

Per multiple NBA betting sites, Luka Doncic holds second-best odds behind Nikola Jokic to win MVP next season. Sportsbooks are still showing great odds for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Jayson Tatum.

Luka Doncic celebrates launch of new Luka 2 'Lake Bled' Jordan Brand shoes during 3-on-3 tournament on floating court in Slovenia


Jordan Brand and Luka Doncic first introduced the Jordan Luka 2s earlier this summer. Prior to the upcoming 2023-24 NBA season, a new all-blue palette color pays tribute to Slovenia’s Lake Bled.

According to the Nike website, sizes are available from 3.5 to 18. “Slovenia — Luka’s home country — is the first nation to be declared a ‘Green Destination of the World’ in its entirety,” the product description reads.

“Celebrate its status with this special-edition Luka 2. The colorway is inspired by picturesque Lake Bled, a famed example of Slovenia’s natural beauty. And the shoe’s mindful construction (each pair is made with at least 20% recycled material) honors the country’s ongoing dedication to sustainability.”

Of course, the 360-degree connected support should help the feet “stay securely contained.” The precise style is DX9013-400.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic launches new Luka 2 “Lake Bled” Jordan Brand shoes during 3-on-3 tournament on floating court on Lake Bled in Slovenia

More importantly, the shoes were designed to enhance athleticism and are cushioned for impact. “When you’re shifting side to side, you need support that’s firm—but not rigid. A wedge of cushioning in the midsole butts up against the medial sidewall so you can bank like a champ, and a thick, molded insole helps you stay grounded.”

The shoes were also made to improve lateral support. “To help your quick stops feel secure, we added a strong, flexible plate that runs up the lateral sidewall, complimented by a firm foam carrier and Formula 23 foam in the midsole.”

Furthermore, the “Lake Bled” edition comes in a polar, bright crimson, psychic blue, diffused blue, university blue, and blue tint color scheme. The shoe’s upper was made with engineered mesh.

Plus, the blue shade is visible throughout both sides of the shoes. Not to mention, crimson accents are featured on the laces, Luka-branded tongues, Jumpman logo, and insoles.

For comfort and sustainability, the Formula 23 foam and Cushlon 3.0 wedge foam on the medial side were added. A Jordan Brand spokesman called it “the best improvement overall.” The white midsole and blue outsole were constructed to complete the bluish appearance.

Additionally, Luka Doncic’s shoes were designed out of “recycled materials from post-consumer and/or post-manufactured waste.” Zero carbon and zero waste was the goal during manufacturing.

“By reusing existing plastics, yarns, and textiles, we significantly reduce our emissions. Our goal is to use as much recycled materials as possible without compromising on performance, durability and style.”

However, the environment-friendly sneakers are expensive. The new Luka 2 “Lake Bled” shoes are now available to purchase at select retailers and online at Nike for $140.

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How much will players receive?




The 2023 WNBA playoffs’ $500,000 prize pool has been leaked. For the league’s 27th postseason, each WNBA player, who is listed on a team roster on the last day of the regular season, will receive a bonus. Teams eliminated in the first round will receive $1,616 per player.

Next, teams eliminated in the second round are expected to receive $3,123 per player. Of course, runner-up players of the WNBA Finals will each be awarded $7,746. Lastly, each WNBA champ will earn $20,825.

WNBA Playoffs Round

Prize Money

First Round $1,616 per player
Second Round $3,123 per player
WNBA Finals (runners-up) $7,746 per player
WNBA Finals (champions) $20,825 per player

Based on the aforementioned criteria, the prize pool totals $500,000. This is the second straight year the league is using the above structure. The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) went into effect prior to the 2020 season, and the contract offered $11,356 per player on the championship-winning team.

However, the prize money was negotiated to $20,825 per player, the highest bonus the WNBA can offer each champion. For a reminder, the league MVP receives $15,450, the second-highest bonus.

Ahead of the 2023 WNBA season, the regular season was expanded to 40 games per team, becoming the most games scheduled in a single season. Last season, the schedule increased to 36 games.

In the 2022 season, the league also boasted a 27% increase in viewers and a 16% increase in attendance. This year, the W had its most-watched regular season in 21 years and its highest average attendance since 2018.

2203 WNBA Playoffs’ $500K Prize Pool: How much will each player make in bonuses? Teams eliminated in second round: $3,123 per player; runner-up players of WNBA Finals: $7,746; WNBA champs: $20,825

Moreover, viewership was up 21% over 2022 across its national television partners. Additionally, the league’s average attendance of 6,615 fans was the WNBA’s highest since the 2018 season. The expanded schedule helped the league gain its highest total attendance in 13 years at 1,587,488.

“The significant rise in key business metrics is a testament to the captivating games being played and the WNBA’s expanding appeal,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “This surge in interest not only showcases the immense talent and athleticism on the court but also highlights the compelling narratives that continue to emerge about the players and the league.”

This postseason will also be the second straight year that the playoffs will be an all-series format after returning to it in 2022. The first round will use a 2-1 format, and the higher seed is set to host the first two games. Plus, the semifinals and the WNBA Finals will remain a best-of-five series.

Furthermore, the biggest change this season was the enforcement of the “prioritization clause” in the CBA. For this season, players with more than two WNBA seasons of experience who did not report to their teams by the designated start of training camp or May 1, faced mandatory fines.

Those who missed the start of the regular season were suspended for the season. Players who miss the start of training camp will be suspended for the season.

The first round of the 2023 WNBA playoffs began last Wednesday night. On Tuesday, the New York Liberty (1-0) host Game 2 against the Washington Mystics (0-1) at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the Atlanta Dream (1-0) taking on the Dallas Wings (1-0) in the second matchup at 9 p.m.

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