LeBron deals with cramping, lifts Heat in Game 4

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LeBron deals with cramping, lifts Heat in Game 4

From Comcast SportsNet
MIAMI (AP) -- A limping, grimacing LeBron James shook off the pain of leg cramps to hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer and the Miami Heat held on to edge the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-98 on Tuesday, taking a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals. No team has ever blown a 3-1 lead in the finals, so James' resilient basket with 2:51 remaining looks likely to be the moment that clinches the title for the Heat. "He was hurting," teammate Dwyane Wade said. "But that's what it's about this time of the year. It would hurt more if we lose the ballgame, so it feels a little better if you can win it." Imagine how good it will feel if the Heat get one more victory. Better get well fast, LeBron -- you're one win from the biggest party of your life. Game 5 is Thursday and James will have a chance to finish a nine-year chase that started in Cleveland before he left for South Florida before last season. "Of course it's there to think about," said James, making it clear he plans to play. "I'll be ready for Game 5." With James watching the final moments, Mario Chalmers finished off a stellar 25-point effort that matched Wade. James had 26 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds, missing a shot at a triple-double only because he was on the bench at the end with the thigh cramps. The Heat needed all James could give and more to hold off Russell Westbrook. He scored 43 points for the Thunder, who wasted an early 17-point lead but were never out of the game because of their sensational point guard. Kevin Durant had 28 points but James Harden threw in another clunker, finishing with eight points on 2-of-10 shooting. Westbrook and Durant were the only Thunder players to score in the last 16:46. "Shots were falling," said Westbrook, who was 20 of 32. "It really doesn't mean nothing. We didn't come out with the win." James stumbled to the court on a drive midway through the fourth quarter, staying on the offensive end of the floor as the Heat regained possession on a blocked shot, and he made a short jumper that made it 92-90. After Westbrook missed a jumper, the Heat called timeout as James gingerly went to the court. Unable to walk off, he was carried to the sideline. He returned to a huge roar with a little over 4 minutes left and the Heat down two, and after Chris Bosh tied it, James slowly walked into a pull-up 3-point attempt -- perhaps doing so knowing he couldn't drive by anyone -- and drilled it. "That 3 was just sheer will and competitiveness, to contribute in some way," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. That made it 97-94, and when Wade followed with a layup with 2:19 left, the Heat finally had enough room to withstand Westbrook, who kept coming all night. "I was just trying to make a play," James said. "If I was out on the floor, I wanted to try to make a play with the limited mobility I had at that time, and I was happy I was able to come through." Chalmers, the player who was struggling so badly that the Thunder put Durant on him in hopes of avoiding further foul trouble, made 9 of 15 shots, scoring more points than he had in the previous three games. "LeBron James is one of the most dominant players in the game, and he explodes many nights scoring-wise," said Wade. "But we've always got his back, and certain nights like tonight when he wasn't feeling his greatest, you have guys like Mario Chalmers step up, big plays, big moments. "That's what this team is built on, and that's the reason we're playing together." The Heat led 2-1 in the finals last year but James' struggles were their biggest problem as they lost the next three to Dallas. He tried to play through the pain, but the Heat had to call another timeout and remove him for good shortly after his go-ahead basket, and Spoelstra said Miami couldn't keep playing four against five. Bosh finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for the Heat, who quickly climbed out of the 17-point hole by scoring 16 straight points, with Chalmers and backup Norris Cole helping steady them until James and Wade got going. "We're going to keep fighting," Durant said. "It's just frustrating, but we're going to keep fighting. That's how we've been since I got here." In foul trouble the last two games, Durant began the game covering Chalmers, an adjustment that freed him from the burden of defending James. It kept Durant safe from fouls -- but the Thunder probably didn't count on the scoring explosion from Chalmers after he totaled just five points over the previous two games. "I took that as a little sign of disrespect," Chalmers said.

Orioles fall to Mookie Betts' three homers and Red Sox

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Orioles fall to Mookie Betts' three homers and Red Sox

BALTIMORE—The Orioles have lost seven of nine, and it didn’t help that Mookie Betts had the best night of his career on Tuesday night.

The Boston Red Sox right fielder slugged three home runs, driving in five runs as Boston beat the Orioles 6-2 before 17,664 at Oriole Park. 

Boston (32-20) has won the first two games of the four-game series and leads the Orioles (28-22) by three in the AL East. 

It was the first three home run night of Betts’ career, and the first time an opponent had hit three in Baltimore since Ryan Zimmerman did it on May 29, 2013. 

Betts, who now has 12 home runs this season, hit two off Kevin Gausman and the third off Dylan Bundy. 

Gausman (0-3) allowed home runs to the first two Boston batters, Betts and Dustin Pedroia. 

It was the first time an Orioles pitcher had allowed two home runs to start a game since June 14, 2006 when Rodrigo Lopez did it in Toronto, and it hadn’t been done at home in 20 years. 

Betts hit a three-run home run in the second inning, and Gausman was abruptly behind 5-0. 

“It's frustrating definitely. You just try to take it pitch by pitch after that. The biggest thing is just trying to stay in there as long as you can and give your team a chance to win. Just take it pitch by pitch, 
try to get groundballs and quick outs,” Gausman said. 

Eduardo Rodriguez, who the Orioles traded for Andrew Miller in July 2014, started his first game of 2016. 

Rodriguez (1-0), who had been out with a knee injury, gave up a run on a single to Joey Rickard in the third and a two-out double by Nolan Reimold. 

Manny Machado nearly drove in Reimold, but his long fly ball to deep center was caught by Boston center fielder Chris Young, whose leap robbed Machado of at least a double—and maybe more. 

Paul Janish led off the fifth with a double to right and scored on Adam Jones’ single to cut Boston’s lead to 5-2. 

Gausman threw 113 pitches, the most he’s thrown in his career, and managed to make it through six innings. He didn’t allow a hit in his final 3 1/3 innings. 

Bundy came on to start the seventh, and with one out, Betts hit his third home run.

The Red Sox had some help. Janish was robbed of a hit to end the seventh when Betts dove in to snatch the ball. 

“I’m thinking to myself, ‘Mookie is having a pretty good night. I can do without him adding to it with that catch, right?’ He’s one of the better young players in the game obviously. At this juncture in time, I could use the hit,” Janish said. 

Janish says there’s no easy explanation for the Orioles’ rough patch.

“It’s one of those where I don’t think there’s anything in particular to pinpoint. As quickly as the game goes the other way, it can go our way, too, and that’s we’re waiting for, and we look forward to that happening sooner or later,” Janish said. 

Chris Davis, who hasn’t hit a home run since May 20, thought he hit a two-run shot in the eighth that would have cut the deficit from four runs to two. 

First base umpire Doug Eddings called the ball foul. First base coach Wayne Kirby immediately signaled it was a home run, but after a review, the call stood.

“Chris hits a home run and we can’t get a camera angle that will show it. We finally got one that showed it was fair,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

“So those are some of those things that you present for yourself that matter a lot when you get into some deficits early. You’ve got to stay away from that kind of, I don’t want to say that ‘here we go again’ mentality, but certainly that something where you follow a pattern for a few games early in the game and it challenges you.”

The Orioles need to win Wednesday and Thursday to salvage a split. 

“It's pretty obvious that we're struggling right now, but hopefully we can turn around and even this series up. They're the best team in baseball right now, so you have to be on your game. If you're not, it's tough against this team, against this lineup, against their bullpen. Their starters are pitching well too right now, so it kind of seems like everything's clicking for them right now,” Gausman said. 

NOTES: Yovani Gallardo will start the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader at Frederick. Game time is 5 p.m. … Joe Kelly (2-0, 6.30) faces Mike Wright (2-3, 5.05) on Wednesday night.  

 

Crowdfunding account created for purpose of bringing Durant to DC

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Crowdfunding account created for purpose of bringing Durant to DC

Whenever Kevin Durant signs his next contract, whether to stay with Oklahoma City or perhaps join an NBA team in the general area of his childhood, there will be two commas in the yearly salary and the first number will be a two. 

Some fans of the Wizards are hoping to defray the cost should the four-time scoring champion pick Washington by starting a crowd fundraising campaign on the website GoFundMe.com.

Yes, fans are so dedicated to the idea of bringing one of the game's best players to the Wizards they in theory want to help an ownership group wealthy enough to in fact own the team (and lots more) to pay an athlete who has already banked around $90 million in salary alone. Adorable and probably not at all kosher, but admirable, kinda sorta in a (crazy) sports fan way.

RELATED: REPORT: AGENT SPOKE WITH CELTICS ABOUT PLAYERS DURANT WOULD WANT BROUGHT IN

Let's let the fans explain their motives:

We love KD, we've seen him since his days as a high schooler in the DMV at Montrosse Christian. Now, our guy is an NBA superstar, possibly one of the greatest players on the planet. 

He loves DC, he named his shoes after PG County, he loves spending time here in the offseason and listening to GOGO. He wants to Come back to DC but he cant unless we show that we love him!

Imagine having KD, John Wall, Bradley Beal, and a new coach next season! The Wizards are on the way! 

Once we reach our goal we will either donate the 20 million to the Wizards to get the Durantula or we will donate it to Kevin Durant's favorite charity since he loves our community so much!

He needs us! Please donate now and share with a friend!

Clearly they're jacked with the idea of Durant coming home. The charity angle works so that's cool. Anyway, we may not know anything about Durant's plans until sometime after the NBA's fiscal calendar starts anew on July 1. That leaves plenty of time for donations or life ponderng. As an aside, I know a local sports reporter in need of a new living room set if you're open to spending money on random things.

MORE WIZARDS: KEVIN DURANT APPEARS HEADED DOWN SAME PATH AS DIRK NOWITZKI

Report: Agent spoke with Celtics about players Durant would want brought in

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Report: Agent spoke with Celtics about players Durant would want brought in

If the Washington Wizards still plan to pursue hometown hero Kevin Durant, they will have some competition. One team that appears to be in on the Durant sweepstakes appears to be the Boston Celtics. In fact, Boston may already be having preliminary talks with Durant's agent.

Butch Stears of WEEI had this to say on The Dennis & Callahan Morning Show on Monday:

I have this on pretty good authority. The Celtics have sat with his agent and other representatives of Durant. The Celtics do know, I don’t know who it is, but they do know who he would prefer to be brought here in a LeBron-Chris Bosh–Dwyane Wade-like way. Because that’s how it works in the NBA. You need to know who the guy or guys that that guy wants, which would be a factor. Now, I don’t know if Durant’s told them that. But the Celtics know. They know. They’ve been told what group of guys he would want to come here.

Following Oklahoma City's Game 7 loss to Golden State on Tuesday, Durant told reporters that he had not thought about free agency yet. If this report proves true, it would seem that Durant has at least considered Boston as a possible destination. There would be no reason for his agent to declare who Durant would like to play with if the Celtics were not a possibility.

Have the Wizards gotten a similar wish list?

Of course there is a potential problem with all this, namely that Durant is still under contract with Oklahoma City and his agent shouldn't be having this kind of discussion with other teams. If this report is indeed true, Oklahoma City could potentially file a complaint to with the league for tampering which could result in suspensions and fines up to $50,000, per the CBA.

So while the Celtics may have gotten a jump on the compeitions, it coudl potentially cost them.

RELATED: KEVIN DURANT APPEARS HEADED DOWN SAME PATH AS DIRK NOWITZKI