The reason why LeBron, Heat will travel to China

799064.jpg

The reason why LeBron, Heat will travel to China

From Comcast SportsNet
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The NBA champion Miami Heat will play two preseason games against the Los Angeles Clippers in China this fall. The teams will meet Oct. 11 at MasterCard Center in Beijing and Oct. 14 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. It's the first time the reigning NBA champions will play in the NBA China Games, which will mark their sixth edition. Eight NBA teams will play in eight international games in October as part of the league's international preseason schedule. The Dallas Mavericks will play games in Barcelona and Berlin and the Boston Celtics will play games in Istanbul and Milan against top Euroleague teams. Toronto and the New York Knicks will play in Montreal and Minnesota and Detroit will play in Winnipeg. In 2004, the NBA became the first American professional sports league to play games in China, with two games between the Houston Rockets and Sacramento.

Quick Links

NBA Playoffs 2017 Wizards at Hawks Game 6: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

NBA Playoffs 2017 Wizards at Hawks Game 6: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap and the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of their first round series in the 2017 NBA Playoffs on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

GAME 6: WASHINGTON WIZARDS at ATLANTA HAWKS

Series: Wizards lead 3-2
Where: Philips Arena
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Chance to clinch

Game 6 was a close one, decided by just four points, and now the Wizards hold a chance to clinch a spot in the second round. They have two opportunities, technically, but would obviously prefer to get this over quickly and move on.

The Wizards haven't been able to win in Atlanta so far this series, as each team has held serve at home. Washington was much better in Game 4 than in Game 3 at Philips Arena, but now they face a team playing to keep their season alive. It won't be easy knocking them out. Atlanta played well when desperate once they went down 0-2 and will hope to catch the Wizards complacent now after taking a series lead.

[RELATED: Hawks' player got away with a blatant travel against Wizards in Game 3]

Can Porter keep it going?

Otto Porter emerged as a much-needed third scorer to help out John Wall and Bradley Beal in Wednesday's Game 5 win for the Wizards. Porter added 17 points and got them the hard way, needing career-highs in both free throw attempts (10) and makes (9). Porter took just four official shots on the night, as Porter made the Hawks pay for their physical approach to guarding him.

The question now is whether Porter can continue making an impact on the offensive end. Consistency has eluded him for months now, but he's hit double figures in two straight games. This is just the second time he's done that since March 18. If the Wizards can get Porter into a rhythm, particularly from three-point range, it will change their outlook dramatically.

[RELATED: Foul trouble continues to haunt Morris vs. Hawks]

Frontcourt depth

Both of the Wizards' backup centers are now banged up with left calf strains. Ian Mahinmi has yet to play in the postseason and is likely to miss Game 6, as well. Head coach Scott Brooks said on Tuesday he doubts Mahinmi will be ready to go Friday night despite Mahinmi saying he plans to return by the end of the series. Mahinmi seems close, he just isn't quite ready yet.

Jason Smith is the other injured big man and as of Thursday morning he was considered a gametime decision. If the Wizards have to go without Smith, they will be in major trouble at the center position with both of their backups out of commission. That would leave Marcin Gortat to play a lot of minutes and hope to stay out of foul trouble. The same applies to Markieff Morris, who would have to play some at center in smallball lineups. It would not be ideal whatsoever and it could force Scott Brooks to turn to undrafted rookie Daniel Ochefu in an emergency scenario.

[RELATED: How does trash talking in the NBA compare to other sports?]

Quick Links

Caps fan and former speech writer laments writing congratulatory speech for the Penguins

Caps fan and former speech writer laments writing congratulatory speech for the Penguins

Being a political speechwriter is a tough job. Essentially you have to trumpet someone else's beliefs whether or not you happen to agree. For Stephen Krupin who served as a speechwriter for former president Barak Obama, he found his morals, his beliefs, his very sense of common decency compromised.

What was the assignment? Writing a congratulatory speech for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

RELATED: Q&A: Getting ready for Caps-Penguins

It is traditional for sports teams who win championships to visit the White House. As the 2016 Stanley Cup champions, the Penguins got their chance to visit with President Obama in October. The president needed a speech for the event and that task fell to Krupin.

What would normally be a fun assignment was more difficult and painful for Krupin who is a lifelong Capitals fan. He wrote about the ordeal for The Washington Post in a column that ran on Thursday.

Said Krupin:

I’m a lifelong Capitals fan, raised on long drives to Landover and long offseasons. I revere Rod Langway, Steve Konowalchuk and Nicklas Backstrom, and believe goalie masks peaked with Donnie Beaupre’s. At the grocery store, I can’t pass the biscuits, peanut butter or face wash without hearing Craig Laughlin’s distinctive voice in my head.

Of course, to love the Caps is to live in a persistent state of anxiety. We know that a three-games-to-one lead in the playoffs is more curse than blessing, and we watch overtime periods through our fingers. No team is more responsible for our inferiority complex than the Pittsburgh Penguins, who’ve had our number eight of the nine times we’ve met them in the postseason. To love the Caps, then, is also to hate the Pens.

Check out the full story here from The Washington Post.

MORE CAPITALS: Holtby jokes that he'd play like Hornqvist if he were a forward

Check out the latest edition of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast and subscribe on Apple podcastsAudioboom and Google Play!