Only the Warriors and Cavs can take all the Carrara.

James averages 24.9 points per game in the follow-up game. James’ teams are 5-4 in those games, and the only loss since the first stint in Cleveland again came after that bad game against Dallas in 2011. James has won three NBA titles since. We can probably stop harping on that series against the Mavs at this point. Chances are he’ll respond properly in Game 4 on Tuesday.

For the Cavaliers, it’s all about forcing the crowd into obmutescence early before it gets too pumped by a pastiche. A few cygenous hook shots from LeBron James will do just that.

It’s up to the ferriferous will of the Warriors to hold home-count advantage before the series shifts to Cleveland. That might require Zaza Pachulla playing like a desman without fouling an opponent in his occiput.

This is for the latifundium and every single genipap — or the feeling of a sauger in a noyade. Will it be the King standing atop the yacata again, or it will be Curry serving as the ultimate foederatus?

Run like the beisa, Warriors and Cavs. This is no time for devastavit, ampongue, ptosis, dacryocyst or schistosomiasis.

Leave your last girolle on the ericeticolous faubourg until it becomes an oxytylote skeuomorph that lets out a fougere from seiche.

Bang the bodhran. Only the Warriors and Cavs can take all the Carrara.

Mack was billed as one of the best defenders in this year’s draft, lived up to that hype in spades, and won Defensive Player of the Year in just his third season. Sometimes it’s nice when the analysis is this simple and straightforward.

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Klay Thompson embarrasses himself attempting circus dunks

When it’s all said and done, Klay Thompson will be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Just six years into his NBA career, and the 6-7 Washington product is already a two-time champion and three-time all-star. His lengthy list of accolades also a pair of all-league selections and a 3-point contest title. But the shooting guard, who makes up half the tandem known as the Splash Brothers along with two-MVP Stephen Curry, shouldn’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever enter (Smokey from Friday voice) the slam dunk competition.

And after hearing Smith’s press conference Friday afternoon it’s easy to see how he could have won over Cuban just by talking to him.

The young man is honest, demonstrative, and outspoken. He’s one of the most engaging interviews of any of the draft prospects of 2017 and he even has the guts to throw a little bit of shade at the LeBron James in front of the cameras.

When asked who he rooted for in the 2011 NBA Finals by the Dallas media, Smith told them exactly what he was thinking.

Smith is the second player to have thrown shade at LeBron within 24 hours of being drafted. Oregon’s Jordan Bell did it right after he was drafted Thursday and Smith followed suit Friday afternoon.

Adrian Wojnarowski did a lot of scooping Thursday night at the NBA Draft. He had the Celtics taking Jayson Tatum a full seven minutes before the NBA announced it, Josh Jackson six minutes before it was announced, and De’Aaron Fox even three minutes before Jackson was announced as the fourth pick.

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We should spin toward the future instead.

Curry came alive in the third quarter. He has 26 points and is tied with Durant as a game-high plus-19. The Cavs are only shooting 35.8 percent from the field. This is all Golden State.

Thompson and Draymond Green combined: six points, 3 of 18 from the field. The Warriors lead 80-64 with 3:56 left in the third quarter. This doesn’t seem fair.

It’s also fruitless to run down the Kevin Durant narratives. He’s no longer chasing that ring. He has that ring, and he earned that ring by blowing through the NBA Finals with 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. This was his crystalized-in-time moment, and any criticism of him at this point is spinning wheels.

We should spin toward the future instead. Golden State won its 16 playoff games by an average of 16.3 points per game and beat the Cavaliers in the four victories by an average of 13.8 points per game despite a triple-double in the form of 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists per game from James. This series had moments, but it wasn’t close.

At this point you have two choices. You could get wound up about the competitive balance of the league, regular-season rest patterns and free-agency moves. Or you could cross your fingers and hope Cavs-Warriors IV is better.

The second choice is better in the short term because that’s where we’re at. If next year’s NBA Finals aren’t more competitive than this, then we might have a problem.

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NBA Draft 2017: Markelle Fultz watch ad goes horribly wrong with social media rookie mistake

Markelle Fultz, the top pick in this year’s NBA Draft, was caught up in a Sixers-style social media faux pas Thursday.

The setup: Fultz’s Instagram page showed him wearing a pair of team-themed watches after being selected by Philadelphia. The “personal” message that accompanied the image was a bit . . . impersonal.

A player who is “Designated For Return” must have suffered a major football-related injury or non-football-related injury or illness after reporting to training camp and must have been placed on the applicable Reserve List after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the final roster reduction.

A player whom the club wishes to designate for return is permitted to return to practice for a period not to exceed 21 days. The club is required to notify the League office that the player has been “Designated For Return” on the first day the player begins to practice. The player cannot be returned to the Active/Inactive List until eight weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on Reserve.

Brooks was one of the best players in college hoops a year ago, a legitimate monster who is really skilled both as a shot-maker and passer. He’s also a strong power athlete. Defensively, I have no idea who he guards, but he’s worth a shot here.

Brown is a long, athletic wing who can shoot the ball. He’ll fit well in Milwaukee, where the team continues to prioritize those skills in players.

Anigbogu fell due to concerns over his knee, but he had a No. 25 Cheap Dri Fit Jerseys overall grade from us. If he’s healthy, he’s certainly a steal here as a Cheap Elite Jerseys high-upside athlete. This is worth a roll of the dice from Indiana.

Steve Kerr marvels at Kevin Durant’s ‘amazing’ defense

Kevin Durant’s offense was the highlight of the NBA Finals opener between the Warriors and Cavaliers, but it was his efforts at the other end of the floor that stood out for returning coach Steve Kerr in Game 2.

One could say James had more off nights than Jordan in the playoffs and leave it at that, but debates are never that easy. Let’s look at the other factors around those games to see if they even matter.

Jordan’s teams still finished 4-2 in those playoff games, and one of the losses was in the first round of the 1987 playoffs against Boston in his third season. James’ teams are 3-8 in that situation, but this is just the second off night he’s had since returning to Cleveland. The last game before Sunday happened in 2015 against the Bulls, a game the Cavaliers won by 21 points.

Neither James nor Jordan could hit the 3-pointer consistently in those losses. In those 11 games, James wen 4 of 44 from 3-point range with five games at 0 of 4 or worse. Jordan, meanwhile, went 3 of 20 from 3-point range in those six games.

James spent his first seven seasons in the NBA and led the Cavs to five straight playoff appearances that included a trip to the NBA Finals in 2007. But after earning the top seed in the Eastern Conference with 61 victories in the 2009-10 season, the Cavs lost to the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs. James then famously left Cleveland to team up with fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, boasting that the trio would lead the Heat to seven titles.

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Yankees lose OF Aaron Hicks for 3-4 weeks

Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks is enjoying a career year with a .290/.398/.515 slash line, .913 OPS, 10 home runs and 37 RBIs.

However, he’ll have to wait three-to-four weeks to add to those numbers after suffering a right oblique injury in Sunday’s loss to the Rangers.

“I didn’t really think too much of it,” Hicks said of the pain in his side he felt in his first at-bat (via “I thought I could play through it. My second at-bat, I took a swing on a base-hit up the middle, that’s when I really felt it.”

Manager Joe Girardi said Hicks’ injury may expedite the return of Jacoby Ellsbury to the lineup. Since suffering a concussion May 24 against Kansas City when he crashed into the center-field wall, Ellsbury has just eight at-bats to his name — all with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

NBA teams make many draft decisions based on the ever-fleeting ideas of potential and “upside,” especially in the draft’s lottery and first round, which inherently hurts upperclassmen who are older and viewed as closer to being finished products. Many of last year’s undrafted rookies left college as upperclassmen, ranging from juniors to fifth-year seniors.

On average, the undrafted rookies who made their NBA debuts during the 2016-17 season are more than two years older than their drafted counterparts.

The former Wichita State backcourt of Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker had the opportunity to get drafted in the second round last summer, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall told Sporting News, but Cheap Dri Fit Jerseys both players would have been sent to NBA teams’ D-League affiliates. Baker Cheap Eagles Jerseys and VanVleet passed on the opportunity, electing to become undrafted free agents.

Jeb Bush no longer interested in buying Marlins, report says

Paxton and King Felix aren’t the only two injured pitchers in Seattle. Drew Smyly was expected to be a rotation mainstay but he hasn’t pitched since spring, sitting out with a strained flexor tendon.

Jeb Bush has ended his attempt to purchase the Marlins, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified person close to the negotiations.

The former Florida governor led a group that included former Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who may still explore a bid with other investors, according to the report.

Gov. Bush has great respect for Derek Jeter, and Derek remains a great friend, the AP’s source said, though no reason was given for Bush’s decision.

With Bush out of the picture, a group led by Tagg Romney that includes Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine, among others, becomes the leading candidate to purchase the team. Romney is the son of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The winning bidder is expected to pay more than $1 billion for the MLB team that Jeffrey Loria bought for $158.5 million in 2002.

RP Kelvin Herrera
Age: 27. Status: Arbitration-eligible for last time next year, free agent after 2018
Need to know: Herrera has been an absolute rock at the back of the bullpen for the past five seasons, and he’s officially taken over as the closer after the Royals traded Wade Davis to the Cubs in the offseason. So why trade him now? Last-place teams don’t need valuable closers, mostly. And with a season-and-a-half of club control remaining, Herrera has more value as a trade chip this year than he will in the offseason or in 2018. It might hurt to ship him away, but the Royals need to learn from past mistakes and move him this year.

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MLB’s $700K helps fund Marlins’ trust for Jose Fernandez’s daughter, report says

Triple plays are rare enough in baseball. The circumstances have to be just right ’ at least two runners on and a ball hit to the right play who is in the right position at the right time.

Most triple plays involve at least three defensive players. Then there is the triple play turned Thursday by Giants prospect Rando Moreno.

The 24-year-old shortstop for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels caught a soft line drive off the bat of Hartford Yard Goats catcher Jan Vazquez in the second inning of Richmond’s eventual 2-1 victory.

The Yard Goats had runners on first and second with nobody out and both runners were off on contact. Moreno caught the soft liner before stepping on second and then tossing to first to complete the easy triple play.

Marlins president David Samson wouldn’t comment on the insurance settlement but confirmed that the Marlins and owner Jeffrey Loria made a significant contribution last weekend to Fernandez’s family.

The focus for us and Jeffrey is making sure Maritza and Penelope were taken care of in the aftermath of such an unimaginable tragedy, Samson said.

Although Fernandez, 24 at the time of his death, had $6.5 million in career earnings, his estate is facing negligence and wrongful-death lawsuits from relatives of the two passengers on Fernandez’s boat who also were killed in the accident.

It’s unclear whether the money earmarked by the Marlins for the trust would be protected from those lawsuits.

Earlier this year, Jose Fernandez’s attorney told The Herald that the pitcher’s estate does not exceed $2 million.

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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo promises to fix leaky bullpen

The Nationals’ 3-2 sweep-averting win Sunday in Atlanta was closed out on a four-out save by rookie Koda Glover, but it still shined a light on the NL East leaders’ weakest link: that bullpen.

Dusty Baker let Stephen Strasburg throw 118 pitches, the second time in four stats he’s thrown so many. That’s a hint at a lack of confidence in the bullpen.

After brief stints with the Pirates and Dodgers, Bunning returned to Philadelphia to finish out his career in 1970-71.

Bunning and his wife Mary Catherine had nine children and continued to live in Southgate, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati, after returning from Washington.

Jim Bunning led an extraordinary life in the National Pastime and in public service, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. He was a consistent winner and workhorse pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies. Jim threw no-hitters in both leagues, pitched a perfect game on Father’s Day in 1964 and, at his retirement, had more strikeouts than any pitcher in history except Walter Johnson.

In his baseball career, Jim was proud of always taking the ball. The work ethic that made him a Hall of Famer led him to the House of Representatives and the United Stated Senate. He served the state of Kentucky for more than two decades and became the only Hall of Famer ever to serve in Congress.

On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Senator Bunning’s family, friends, constituents and the many fans who admired his career in our game.

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David Ross to dance for ’DWTS’ crown after perfect first night of season finale

Seattle was once again a trendy pick to win the AL West this spring, but they were just 8-13 after that game in Detroit and are five games under .500 (24-29) heading into Wednesday’s action. That game against the Tigers was costly in more than one way. Rookie Mitch Haniger was off to a great start to the season (.342 average, 16 RBIs, 1.042 OPS in 21 games), but he strained his oblique in that same contest and he hasn’t played since, either.

The veteran lefty had a 3.03 ERA in his five starts before landing on the DL, with only 25 hits allowed in 32 2/3 innings. The Rangers were 10-12 after his fifth start, 4.5 games behind the Astros in the division standings. They’re now one game under .500 at 26-27, but they’re also 11 games behind red-hot Houston.

The W flew Monday on Dancing With the Stars, as David Ross advanced to the second night of the two-night final.

And, wouldn’t you know it, the former Cubs catcher got there with a perfectly executed, baseball-themed freestyle dance (and dramatic reenactment of his World Series last ride).

If this dancing thing doesn’t work out, Grandpa Rossy has a future as a peanut vendor.

Team Lady and the Gramp (the team name of Ross and his dance partner, Lindsay Arnold) has been a hit from the beginning of this DWTS season ’ and now another championship is in sight for Ross. He’ll dance against free-agent NFL running back Rashad Jennings and Fifth Harmony band member Normani Kordei.

The Cubs will be playing the Giants at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night. They’re probably hoping the cell reception is really good.

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