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Clippers Advance to Second Round, Nuggets Force Game 7

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Coming off of a historic work stoppage where NBA players took a stand in wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting, the NBA resumed its games this weekend.

What We Know:

  • The most anticipated matchups of the weekend took place on Sunday evening where the Los Angeles Clippers took on the Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets played the Utah Jazz. Both were crucial elimination games full of drama and excitement.
  • Coming into Game 6 of Clippers-Mavericks, the series had been extremely physical and chippy. Kristaps Porzingis had already been ejected in Game 1 for a physical altercation and Montrezl Harrell stirred up some controversy when he was seen on camera saying some nasty words to Luka Doncic. Furthermore, there was tension brewing between Doncic and Marcus Morris after Morris repeatedly stepped on Luka’s injured ankle. Nevertheless, it has been one of the most exciting series of the playoffs with some dazzling play from Kawhi Leonard and Luka Doncic’s unforgettable Game 4 buzzer-beater.
  • The Clippers entered the game with a 3-2 series lead looking to close out the Mavericks. The game started off with some drama when Marcus Morris was ejected in the first quarter for a flagrant 2 foul on Luka Doncic. The Clippers took control in the second half with a 23-point lead that looked insurmountable, but Doncic got the Mavs back into the game during the fourth quarter. Doncic led a Mavericks run which cut the Clippers lead to 6, but Kawhi Leonard took over in the clutch and put Dallas away for good.
  • Luka Doncic finished the game with 38 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists and Kawhi Leonard ended with 33 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 steals. The Clippers will advance to the second round and play the winner of the Denver Nuggets-Utah Jazz series.
  • The final game of the night was an intense Game 6 between the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets. The series initially looked like it would be over quick when the Jazz took a 3-1 lead, but it has surprisingly turned into the most exciting first round playoff series. Nuggets guard Jamal Murray has been on a tear the last three games of the series and has brought the Nuggets back to even the series at 3-3. Murray took over in this game scoring 50 points to defeat the Jazz 119-107 and force a win-or-go-home Game 7. Murray gave an emotional and powerful postgame interview discussing what the past days have been like for NBA players.

  • The Nuggets-Jazz series has boiled down to the showdown between Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray. Both guards have put on a show in each game trading 40-point and 50-point performances. In Game 1, Mitchell tallied the third highest scoring performance in a playoff game with 57 points. Murray has scored at least 40 points in the last three games, making him the first player to do so in a playoff series since Allen Iverson in 2001. Both guards have scored 50 points twice in this series, joining Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan as the only players with multiple 50-point games in a playoff series. This is also the first time two opposing players in a series have scored 50 points in multiple games. The tremendous scoring of Murray and Mitchell and the close games have made this one of the most intense first round playoff series in recent memory.

The Jazz and Nuggets will play Game 7 on Tuesday night. If the Nuggets win, they could become one of the few teams in NBA history to complete a 3-1 series comeback.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

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ESPN Cancels Rachel Nichols Show After Racist Comments About Maria Taylor

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In addition to cancelling The Jump, ESPN also removed Rachel Nichols from NBA coverage.

What We Know:

  • The network confirmed Nichols’ departure on Thursday. ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Production David Roberts declared in a statement that Nichols and ESPN mutually agreed that ending her time with the channel was the best approach for NBA coverage. Roberts went on to call Nichols “an excellent reporter, host, and journalist;” he also thanked her for her contributions to NBA content.
  • Nichols confirmed her time with the sports network ended on Twitter. On social media, she thanked The Jump’s production crew for assisting her for the past five years and declared there was “more to come.”

  • Nichols’ deadline with ESPN comes after The New York Times released a recording of her bashing coworker Maria Taylor. In a conversation with Lebron James’ adviser Adam Mendelsohn and agent Rich Paul, Nichols implied ESPN only selected Taylor to host  NBA Countdown during the NBA finals because of her skin color. Nichols stated the channel would not take her “thing” away because officials felt pressure about their “crappy longtime record on diversity.”
  • After her comments became public, ESPN removed Nichols from her NBA Finals assignment. She also apologized for her statements on The Jump. Nichols affirmed she respected her colleagues and apologized for disappointing anyone she hurt, especially Taylor.
  • Despite the apologies, Taylor quickly left the channel. After she and ESPN could not reach an agreement on her salary, Taylor proceeded to host the 2021 Tokyo Olympics with NBC Sports. Taylor will also cover Football Night in America, the Super Bowl, and Prime Plus with Mike Trico.

ESPN will continue producing episodes of The Jump without Nichols for the next few weeks. After its run, ESPN will replace it with a new afternoon NBA show.

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Michael B. Jordan Launches Basketball Showcase for HBCU Athletes

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The “Hoop Dreams Classic,” a one-night event in Newark, New Jersey, will feature the nation’s top Division 1 HBCU men’s and women’s basketball teams.

What We Know:

  • HBCU Gameday reported that Hoop Dreams Classic would include two games featuring the teams with the biggest HBCU basketball rivalries. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will play against Howard University, and North Carolina Central University will go against Hampton University.
  • The showcase will also celebrate HBCU culture and tradition through live musical performances, a Battle of the Bands competition, and film festivals. It will also provide educational resources for students to learn more about opportunities for college and career advancement.
  • Actor Michael B. Jordan first announced the basketball showcase in December 2020. The Black Panther actor stated he felt inspired to put on the event following the increased global awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, especially after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, among others. In a statement, Jordan wrote 2020 was a “tipping point” for many, including himself, who is “revving up support” for the Black community. He further said as a Newark native, he feels committed to bring change to the community and will do so with the Hoop Dreams Classic.

“Through our shared love of basketball, I look forward to bringing the communal spirit of HBCUs to the city that helped shape me into the man I am today,” said Jordan.

  • In addition to the event, Jordan amplifies Black voices and stories through his #ChangeHollywood initiative. This movement aims to hold Hollywood accountable for showcasing Black stories and hiring Black creators.

The Hoop Dreams Classic will take place at Newark’s Prudential Center on December 18, 2021. In addition, a percentage of the proceeds will go to organizations working to advance HBCUs in the area.

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Olympics: Simone Biles out of team gymnastics final ‘due to medical issue,’ officials say

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((BREAKING NEWS))

Biles withdrew due to a medical issue, according to a statement from USA Gymnastics.

“She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions,” officials said in the statement.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist competed in Team USA’s first rotation on vault Tuesday, bailing out of her Amanar and only completing a 1.5 twist on a 2.5-twisting Yurchenko, then taking a big stumble backward on the landing.

She scored a 13.766 and was seen walking off the floor with her bag and a trainer.

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