The Nuggets are in must-win territory. Plus, could we lose “Inside the NBA”?

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Glen “Big Baby” Davis was sentenced to 40 months in prison for insurance fraud. Naturally, he went on IG Live and said it’s the only one way to stop him from eating hamburgers. I’ve been there, brother.

Outside the NBA (continued)

Andrew Marchand on the future of the NBA with TNT

Yesterday, we hinted at the possibility of TNT losing television rights to the NBA and (most importantly) discussed the potential horror of losing “Inside the NBA” — arguably the biggest staple of NBA broadcasting. The series has featured Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal for a long time, and was great even before Shaq was added to the series in 2011. I decided to reach out to our senior sports media columnist, Andrew Marchand , who wrote about Warner Bros.’ potential bluff. Discovery, to answer three questions about what this could mean for the NBA media landscape.

How much do you think the “Inside the NBA” product means to the NBA itself?

Merchant : That means a lot for NBA culture, but little for the NBA’s future TV rights headquarters. “Inside the NBA” is, in my opinion, the most iconic sports studio show of all time. It has cultural currency, which is a very good thing for the NBA and TNT Sports. However, ultimately the NBA will choose the bidder that makes the most sense in terms of billions per year and will be the best way to reach fans in the future.

Is there any chance this entire show will air in some form on another platform?

Merchant : Never say never, but I think it’s doubtful. Ernie Johnson, who turns 68, is a lifer at TNT Sports and has already said he’s not leaving. The idea of ​​pairing Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith seems possible. This would be an easy, if costly, victory for one of the new platforms or, perhaps even an old one, over ESPN.

If TNT loses the NBA, is it a lock that Charles Barkley ends up with Amazon?

Merchant : No, it’s not a lock. If the three rights holders are ESPN, Amazon and NBC, Barkley would certainly have interest in all three. He’s the greatest sports studio analyst in history, which is why all three should talk to him. He could end up with two of the spots. He’d be in an enviable position – and he could probably try to keep the whole gang together, if he wants to make that attempt.

The latest news from Shams

Suns consider hiring Budenholzer

A day after parting ways with coach Frank Vogel after one season, the Suns have his replacement.

Phoenix plans to hire Mike Budenholzer as its next head coach in a deal expected to approach eight figures per year, league sources tell me. Budenholzer, a native of Holbrook, Arizona, is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year and led the Bucks to the championship in 2021, when they beat the Suns in the NBA Finals. David Fizdale, who was Vogel’s top assistant, is expected to move into a new front office role for Phoenix, these sources said.

Budenholzer and his staff will be tasked with optimizing the Suns’ big three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, who had a rocky first year together that ended with a first-round sweep against the Timberwolves. With Budenholzer on board and the Hornets’ hiring of Celtics assistant Charles Lee on Thursday, the Lakers and Wizards are the two teams on the market still considering a permanent head coach.

Mine to Earn

Match 3 is a must-win for the defending champions

The champions are in difficulty. That’s the only fair way to say it after the Timberwolves won Games 1 and 2 of their semifinal series in Denver. Now the Nuggets head to Minneapolis hoping to do something only five other teams in NBA history have ever done: lose 0-2 in a home playoff series and win the series.

That’s it. Five times. The Nuggets are praying they can reach half a dozen such cases by the end of next week. Let’s go over the others, shall we?

  • 1969: The Warriors led 2-0 over the Lakers in Los Angeles before the Lake Show, carried by Jerry West (29.8 points, 8.8 assists in games 3-6), won in six games.
  • 1994: The Rockets led the Suns 0-2 two games in Houston ahead of Hakeem Olajuwon, leading them to a win in seven games. The Dream have averaged 26.8 points, 12.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 4.2 blocks in the last five matchups in the series. Among these resilient teams, only the Rockets won the championship.
  • 2005: Dallas beat Houston after losing 0-2 in Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry helped the Mavericks win by seven points.
  • 2017: The Celtics lost two to Boston before Isaiah Thomas took them back in six games.
  • 2021: The Clippers were down 0-2 against the Mavericks after two games in Los Angeles, but Kawhi Leonard and Paul George (plus-13.2 net rating over 178 minutes together in Games 3-7) led them in seven games.

Otherwise, teams down 0-2 in a series typically win it only 7.3 percent of the time (33-421). This is the challenge that awaits Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray and company. Here’s what Denver can try to do to win Game 3 in Minneapolis:

Squeeze the basket: The Nuggets averaged 29 shots in the restricted area in the first round against the Lakers, making 66.9 percent of them. They’re down to just 27.5 attempts per game in the first two games against the Wolves, but that efficiency has dropped to just 54.5 percent. They need to score at the rim against this defense.

Cast Jamal Murray: The Nuggets guard is banged up and playing horribly. He scored 25 points on 32 shots in Games 1 and 2. His biggest highlight is throwing a heating pad on the court. In losses this season (including the playoffs), Murray is shooting under 40 percent, compared to over 50 percent in wins.

Force turnovers and score: They lost the first game but scored 26 points off 14 Wolves turnovers. It’s the good idea. You know what’s not? Forcing 12 turnovers and scoring just two points, like the Nuggets did in the Game 2 blowout loss. That’s it – two.

About last night

Cavs, Mavs decided to change some narratives

Two road teams in the semifinals were eliminated in embarrassing fashion in their respective Game 1s. One has apparently been disbarred and the other is said to be in serious trouble. After last night, these two road teams stole Game 2 and opened their eyes. Let’s go back to last night:

Cavaliers 118, Celtics 94 (series tied 1-1)

  • What was the key? The Cavs outshot the Celtics from 3, making 46.4 percent of their attempts compared to 22.9 percent for the Celtics. They outscored them by 15 points beyond the arc and 60-44 in the paint. And yes, every Celtics playoff loss comes with a faint light from Jaylen Brown’s left hand.
  • Who shone for the Cavs? Donovan Mitchell continued his great play with 29 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and a turnover, and Evan Mobley was ridiculous with 21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and perfect defense.
  • Is this a Heat-esque situation for the Celtics? I need to see this at least one more time before I believe the Celtics are in trouble.
  • Let’s overreact: I wondered if the Celtics would lose two more games in the East, then they would lose the next one. Let’s move on to the Celtics in six.

Mavericks 119, Thunder 110 (series tied 1-1)

  • What was the key? It simply came down to the game being even in all areas except 3-point shooting. Dallas made eight more 3s than OKC, which was enough of a difference.
  • Who shone for the Mavs? Luka Dončić had a big bounce-back game going 29-10-7 to make up for Kyrie Irving’s off night. Additionally, PJ Washington scored a career-high 29 points in the playoffs after scoring a combined 26 points in his previous three games.
  • What has changed for the Thunder? They were terrible with Josh Giddey on the floor. The Thunder also couldn’t force turnovers and turn them into points like they did in the first game.
  • Let’s overreact: Previously, I went from Thunder in six to Thunder in five. Now let’s move on to Thunder in seven!

Right on target 🎯

This evening @kroger Game Help. #OneForDallas #MFFL

— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) May 10, 2024

Bouncing passes

We won’t see OG Anunoby on the court in the Knicks’ third game.

Patrick Beverley was suspended for four games due to clownish behavior.

In “Pablo Torre Discovers Out,” I discussed the Wolves’ ownership situation.

Screenplay (all times Eastern)

  • Do or die: Nuggets-Wolves (9:30 p.m. ESPN). Even Denver and Jokić can’t risk a deep hole in the series against the Wolves.
  • Also do or die: Knicks-Pacers (7 p.m. ESPN). Anunoby’s injury leaves the door open for the Pacers, who also can’t afford to lose 0-3. Full program here.

(Top photo: Bart Young / Getty Images )

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