NBA

NBA Slideshow

76ers Gaming Club announce team name, logo for NBA 2K League

The 76ers became the latest NBA team to get in on the esports world and will compete in the NBA 2K League. By Ryan Bright

76ers Gaming Club announce team name, logo for NBA 2K League

The 76ers became the latest NBA team to get in on the esports world and will compete in the NBA 2K League. By Ryan Bright

Have the Cavaliers Set a Date for Isaiah Thomas’ Return? Former Celtics Star Should Play an NBA Game Again Soon

NBA: Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls

Dec 13, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (44) dribbles the ball as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) defends during the first half at the United Center. Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers

Dec 13, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) takes a shot against Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young (21) during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers

Dec 13, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) takes a shot against Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young (21) during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Houston Rockets

Dec 13, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) reacts after a three-pointer during the fourth quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Toyota Center. Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Houston Rockets

Dec 13, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard (12) dunks as Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13), center Clint Capela (15), and guard Chris Paul (3) look on during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics

Dec 13, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) shoots over Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) during the second half of Boston's 124-118 win at TD Garden. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Washington Wizards

Dec 13, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) shoots the ball over Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) in the fourth quarter at Capital One Arena. The Wizards won 93-87. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Washington Wizards

Dec 13, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) shoots the ball as Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) defends in the third quarter at Capital One Arena. The Wizards won 93-87. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Miami Heat

Dec 13, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum (3) shoots the ball as Miami Heat center Kelly Olynyk (9) and guard Goran Dragic (7) defend during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Houston Rockets

Dec 13, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) goes up for a shot ahead of Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers

Dec 13, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) knocks the ball away from Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) during the 4th quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Miami Heat

Dec 13, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum (3) shoots the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls

Dec 13, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (44) reacts after scoring against the Utah Jazz during the first half at the United Center. Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Washington Wizards

Dec 13, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Andrew Harrison (5) drives to the basket as Washington Wizards forward Mike Scott (30) defends in the first quarter at Capital One Arena. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics

Dec 13, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) looks for an opening during the second half of their 124-118 win over the Denver Nuggets at TD Garden. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans

Dec 13, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins (0) reacts after a score by teammate guard E'Twaun Moore (not pictured) during the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans defeated the Bucks 115-108. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers

Dec 13, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) dribbles the ball as Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison (2) defends during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Miami Heat

Dec 13, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles the ball as Miami Heat guard Wayne Ellington (2) defends during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans

Dec 13, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins (0) shoots between Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and center Thon Maker (7) during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans defeated the Bucks 115-108. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Top 10: Dec. 13th

Check out all the best plays from Wednesday night in the NBA with the Top 10.

Top 10: Dec. 13th

Check out all the best plays from Wednesday night in the NBA with the Top 10.

Top 10: Dec. 13th

Check out all the best plays from Wednesday night in the NBA with the Top 10.

Top 10: Dec. 13th

Check out all the best plays from Wednesday night in the NBA with the Top 10.

Paul George has helped Oklahoma City Thunder to a 109-95 NBA win over the Indiana Pacers.

Paul George has helped Oklahoma City Thunder to a 109-95 NBA win over the Indiana Pacers.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) goes up for a dunk in front of Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan questions a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) is fouled by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Alex Abrines (8) as he shoots during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. The Thunder defeated the Pacers 100-95. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) comes from behind to block the shot of Indiana Pacers center Domantas Sabonis (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives on Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) shoots between Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) and forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. The Thunder defeated the Pacers 100-95. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) drives on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. The Thunder defeated the Pacers 100-95. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) gets a basket on a dunk in front of Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Celtics Notes: Kyrie Irving Continues To Prove He’s Difference-Maker For Boston

Star players make a difference in the NBA, and if you need proof of that, all you need to do... Read More »

ESPN President John Skipper Discusses Social Media Policy, Priorities at 'Talent Gathering 2017'

The message delivered by ESPN president John Skipper on Wednesday afternoon to nearly 500 analysts, commentators, play-by-play voices, reporters and writers was clear:

ESPN remains the No. 1 brand in sports media.

In what the network tabbed as “Talent Gathering 2017,” Skipper and a host of ESPN senior management addressed the company’s front-facing talent (meaning those who present themselves to the public via audio, digital or television) at the company’s Bristol headquarters. The topics at the presentation included ESPN’s current priorities, the recent changes to the company’s social media policy, how political and social issues should be handled by editorial staffers, how the company approaches sexual harassment allegations and upcoming initiatives. Staffers sat on folding chairs at the ESPN KidsCenter, which serves as a daycare center when not hosting talent gatherings.

“Skipper’s message was we need to control the sky-is-falling narrative better since that’s just not the case,” said one staffer in attendance. “I would say the first hour was rally the troops, a big-time pep rally: here’s our great data, look at our great numbers. The next time someone is telling you we are losing steam, it just isn’t the case.”

“The two tent poles were confidence and pride,” said another ESPN staffer.

Skipper cited the company’s NBA deal—ESPN has committed $12.6 billion for the rights to the NBA through 2025, a dollar figure that has been criticized in some circles—as a good one for ESPN. He cited the increased viewership numbers for the NBA this year (over 20%) and told staffers that the NBA was “an ascendant league” and “I challenge vigorously” anyone who said ESPN overpaid.

Social media was a major topic of discussion, especially given the many times ESPN has found itself in the news in this area. That part of the presentation was handled by vice president Kevin Merida, the editor in chief of The Undefeated and a former managing editor of The Washington Post. Merida emphasized not to enter into political areas, though made clear that if a politician waded into the sports sphere, commentators could comment. SportsCenter host Scott Van Pelt introduced Merida and was self-deprecating about how little value there was in engaging in back and forth with people on Twitter.

Merida pointed out to the group that there was a clause in the social media policy where management reserved the right to take action if staffers violated it. “He was very measured and I thought appealed to the people with reason in the room,” said one ESPN staffer. Merida told the audience that he had spoken to ESPN on-air staffers who are active on Twitter—including Pablo Torre, Sarah Spain and Van Pelt—to get feedback on their social media experience.

Barry Blyn, a vice president of consumer insights, was charged with letting staffers know about ESPN’s social media numbers and also hyped the growth of First Take—a show that once threatened Warriors star Kevin Durant on-air—since moving from ESPN2 to ESPN. Executive vice-president Connor Schell showed a sizzle reel of the best of ESPN Films including its 30 for 30 documentary series and pushed how committed ESPN is to storytelling.

At the two hour mark, Skipper asked for questions from the audience. One source said there were just a handful questions for the ESPN president. “The smart people in the room, I’m not sure they would choose that forum to raise their concerns to John,” said another ESPN staffer.

Skipper was asked about the reported Fox-Disney deal (he didn’t say much) and another question from a football analyst centered around what talent could do if a politician made a comment about sports? There was also a question about how ESPN handles sexual harassment. Staffers in attendance said Skipper reiterated that ESPN has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment. (No doubt ESPN talent is well aware of Jami Cantor, a former wardrobe stylist for the NFL Network, filing an amended complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court against NFL Enterprises. In it, she named NFL Network producers and on-air talent as subjecting her to unlawful discrimination and retaliation.) A source said Skipper told the crowd he did not believe sexual harassment was a major issue at ESPN and reiterated in strong terms that he encouraged all staffers to send him emails or set up a meeting with him if they believed any HR violations existed.

After the presentation ended, staffers were treated to sliders, sushi, parfait and coffee among other food. ESPN Front Row, a website run by ESPN PR, offered its recap here of the events here.

Best of NBA: Thunder carry George to win in Indiana return

Paul George struggled in his return to Indiana, but the Thunder still walked away with a 100-95 win over the Pacers. That and more from Wednesday's top NBA action.

Paul George Gets Revenge, but Thunder Continue to Frustrate

Oklahoma City exited Indiana with a win and a whimper Wednesday, avenging Paul George in a 100–95 victory that did little to inspire confidence in the team’s long-term outlook. George was playing his first game back in Indy since forcing his way out this summer, and his night will not be remembered as one of the NBA’s classic revenge performances. George scored 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting, with five assists and four turnovers. PG was a minus-3 in his time on the court—and it was no fluke, as the Thunder bench (shockingly) did much of the heavy lifting.

OKC still doesn’t make much sense, and their All-Star trio hardly looked in sync Wednesday. Westbrook recorded a triple-double of 10 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists that was offset by his hideous 3-of-17 shooting. Carmelo Anthony wasn’t much better, connecting on only 4-of-14 from the field. Altogether, the Thunder’s big three scored 34 points on 10-of-45 shooting, though George and Westbrook at least made a couple winning plays down the stretch—a welcome departure from meltdowns past.

Watching the Thunder remains a frustrating experience. Melo isn’t spotting up as much as he should. George needs to be initiating more offense. And Westbrook’s shot selection leaves much to be desired. In most situations, the team struggles with Westbrook on the bench, but it still seems it would make more sense for Thunder coach Billy Donovan to stagger his stars’ time on the court.

It‘s been especially hard to watch George this season. He once credibly went toe-to-toe with LeBron James in the playoffs. Now, he’s stuck in a bland offense with two stars who don’t have a history of making their teammates better. George would not have been better off staying with the Pacers, but it’s incredibly difficult to say that OKC is the right place for him long term. If he left next summer, the way things are going right now, could you blame him? George is an in-his-prime, top-15 player in the NBA, and he has no business wasting his career in a place that can’t figure out how to maximize his talents.

Nothing about the Thunder, Wednesday or recently, would suggest they’ve turned the corner. OKC is 5–5 since its big win over the maybe-motivated Warriors. The Thunder looked primed to let the Pacers steal a win Wednesday until Indy out-mistaked them at the end.

OKC has a long way to go to prove it's a contender. The Thunder have done nothing to earn anyone’s trust, and the clock is ticking on them to figure out how to make their pieces fit. Even before Wednesday’s win, George was justified in leaving the Pacers—regardless of their surprising success or Victor Oladipo’s stunning transformation into an All-Star. If OKC can’t figure out how to use this win, or any win, as a springboard to sustained success, George will be justified if he wants to leave again.

NBA Official Scoring: H2H PTS

Ryan Knaus examines the NBA's official scoring system - H2H points with weekly lineups - and how values change from 9-cat to points leagues

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