• A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.

    C: The Cauldron. Jared Dubin talked to a bunch of players and coaches about the importance of communication in developing great NBA defenses. Not surprisingly, they seemed pretty eager to talk about talking.

    PF: ESPN Insider ($). Tom Haberstroh makes a compelling argument that this version of Kawhi Leonard — the one that not only locks down as the Defensive Player of the Year, but also serves as the San Antonio Spurs' No. 1 offensive option and produces at an elite level with increased touches — merits a place "in the discussion of the NBA's best player."

    SF: Mavs Outsider Report. Bobby Karalla takes a look at the work Al-Farouq Aminu did in limiting James Harden's open looks in Game 4, helping the Dallas Mavericks stay alive and take the first step toward clawing back into

    Read More »from The 10-man rotation, starring the importance of talking on defense
  • On Monday, we learned that Kevin Love would "be unavailable for" the entire Eastern Conference semifinals after suffering a dislocated left shoulder midway through the first quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers' series-clinching Game 4 win over the Boston Celtics. On Tuesday, Cavs general manager David Griffin told reporters he expected the three-time All-Star power forward to be sidelined for a lot longer than that:

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    That timeline for Love's recovery from his shoulder injury — in medical parlance, an "acute anterior inferior glenohumeral dislocation with the

    Read More »from Cavs GM: Kevin Love 'highly unlikely' to return during playoffs
  • The U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in June near Tacoma, Wash., is going to be a unique test. 

    For one, it's the first time it's hosted a major championship. Despite hosting the 2010 U.S. Amateur, almost the entire field will have never seen the course before playing practice rounds. (Jordan Spieth's caddie, Michael Greller, used to loop there. So, there's another Spieth edge.)

    The Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course is a links-inspired track that can play firm and fast on a normal day, much less without tricking up by the USGA in an effort to protect par. It's also very quirky, requiring players to gather as much local knowledge as they can so that they can make good decisions during the tournament.

    In fact, local knowledge is so critical that USGA executive director Mike Davis strongly encouraged players to get in as many practice rounds as possible ahead of the National Open.

    "I would contend that there is no way a player will have success here at Chambers Bay unless he really studies

    Read More »from USGA will offer sidehill, downhill tee boxes at U.S. Open
  • The PGA Tour changed the format for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship, going from a knockout-style bracket from the outset to starting with 16 groups of four players competing in round-robin pool play.

    The change guarantees that every player will get at least three matches and won't be sent packing on Day 1. Officials hope it will keep fans interested further along during tournament week, while also allowing top players more of a chance to rise to the top of their group. 

    The obvious benefit here is that fans get a chance to see more matches through group play. The blind draw to create the groups has led to some fascinating matches over the first three days of the competition. Here are our five favorite matches:

    5. Group 12: J.B. Holmes vs. Brooks Koepka (Friday) -- This is a match of bombers, with both players already winners this year. Koepka has moved back to the mean of late, but he should give Holmes a great challenge.

    4. Group 4: Bubba Watson vs. Miguel Angel Jimenez

    Read More »from The five most interesting WGC Match Play round-robin matchups
  • It's time to showdown. The WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship begins Wednesday with a new format, date and venue.

    The 64 players in the field, including almost the entire top 50 in the world, have been divided into 16 groups for round-robin play during the first three days of the event. The winner of each group will then move into a knockout phase, played out in four rounds over Saturday and Sunday. 

    The winner will play in seven matches, likely needing to win at least six to run the gauntlet. 

    However, the format makes our traditional method of ranking players irrelevant. We want to identify winners of each group, then see how they show down in the bracket phase of the tournament. So this week, we'll give you our predicted winners for each group, then leave the rest to you.

    Group 1: Rory McIlroy (1), Billy Horschel (18), Brandt Snedeker (35), Jason Dufner (53)

    It's hard to look past Rory McIlroy in this group, particularly with how he thrashed Rickie Fowler at last year's Ryder Cup.

    Read More »from Power rankings: WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship
  • Fans hoping to get a group selfie with the famous Wimbledon grass courts behind them will have to get creative this year.

    Rory McIlroy uses a selfie stick to take a photo with many of the 54 golfers at the Junior Invitational golf tournament, after speaking to them following the second round at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C., on Friday, April 24, 2015. (Jon-Michael-Sullivan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP)Rory McIlroy uses a selfie stick to take a photo with many of the 54 golfers at the Junior Invitational golf tournament, after speaking to them following the second round at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C., on Friday, April 24, 2015. (Jon-Michael-Sullivan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP)Wimbledon, the notoriously strict tournament, announced that selfie sticks – expandable poles that hold a cell phone, allowing you to fit more people and scenery in the frame – will not be permitted on the grounds. This comes a few months after the Australian Open committee asked fans to only take selfies in designated "selfie zones." 

    A Wimbledon spokesperson told CNN that the sticks have too much "nuisance value."

    There was no formal announcement; the news broke when tournament organizers released the 2015 ticket-holder guidelines. 

    The guide's page for "prohibited items" shows a photo of a selfie stick and states, "In common with many other major sports and entertainment events and cultural attractions, The Championships will not allow 'selfie sticks' into the grounds."

    Selfie sticks appear alongside knives, flares, and klaxons. 

    The big question is, what will

    Read More »from Going to Wimbledon? Leave your selfie sticks at home
  • We'll be the first to admit that we don't watch a lot of blind soccer, but we're starting to think that's a huge mistake after seeing an incredible goal by France's Yvan Wouandji. In a match against Germany, Wouandji dribbles around three defenders before firing home a rocket across the face of the goal. Just to reinforce how awesome this goal run was, we have to point out that even if you're not completely blind in blind soccer, you're required to wear a blindfold to even the playing field. So Wouandji saw absolutely nothing and still weaved his way through the defense before a shot that would be the envy of any goal scorer. To top things off, he celebrated what amounted to the winning goal in a 1-0 match with a perfect dive into the arms of coaches and teammates on the other side of the field. We seriously need to get this sport on our cable package. 

    Ever since Andrew McCutchen and Jerry Mejia cut off their long locks earlier this season, we've

    Read More »from Mad Dash: Blind soccer player scores amazing goal
  • CHICAGO – The Milwaukee Bucks would seem to be playing with figurative house money, leaping from the worst record in the NBA to a playoff berth within a year, working with what used to a be a 3-0 playoff deficit in the team’s first round series against the Bulls, free and easy and bereft of complication.

    Not so, according to Bucks coach Jason Kidd. Milwaukee pulled closer to Chicago with a 94-88 win on Monday evening, setting the series at 3-2 as it heads back to Milwaukee. According to the first-year Bucks coach, his team is hardly playing as if little matters in its showdown with Chicago’s championship contender.

    “We’re not playing for the people,” Kidd reminded after Game 5, “we’re playing for each other.”

    Slightly annoyed by the insinuation that his team has little to lose in its surprise first round showing, Kidd reminded the press that the Milwaukee Bucks “have everything to lose.”

    They’re certainly playing like it.

    The Bucks’ length harassed the Bulls into a miserable shooting

    Read More »from Milwaukee's long arms overcome long odds to take Game 5 against Chicago
  • BROOKLYN, NJ - APRIL 27: Deron Williams #8 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts after a three point basket in the second half against the Atlanta Hawks during game four in the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 27, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)BROOKLYN, NJ - APRIL 27: Deron Williams #8 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts after a three point basket in the second half against the Atlanta Hawks during game four in the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 27, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams came into Game 4 of his team's first-round series with the Atlanta Hawks as one of the great disappoinments of the 2015 postseason. Once considered one of the three best point guards in the NBA, Willliams scuffled to two points (and and several game-deciding mistakes) in a Game 2 loss and just three points (plus a benching over the game-deciding final 16 minutes) in Brooklyn's otherwise impressive Game 3 victory. Monday's contest at the Barclays Center loomed as not just a chance for the Nets to even the series at 2-2, but a pivotal game in the three-time All-Star and max-contract player's career.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Williams answered the call on Monday with one of his finest games in recent memory, putting up a game-high 35 points (13-of-25 FG, 7-of-11 3FG), seven assists, and three steals to lead the Nets to a series-tying 120-115 win in overtime. Williams missed a potential winner on

    Read More »from Deron Williams comes back to life with 35, Nets even series with Hawks
  • Now that the dust's settled, we can start picking through the fallout from Sunday's wild Game 4 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics, which sent the C's home for the summer and will send the Cavs into the second round without two-fifths of the starting lineup that torched the league over the last three months of the regular season.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    The Cavaliers announced Monday that power forward Kevin Love "will be unavailable for" the entire Eastern Conference semifinals after suffering a dislocated left shoulder midway through the first quarter of Game 4, and that an update on his status beyond that — provided the Cavs make it beyond that, that is — "will be determined over the next several days."

    The NBA later announced that Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith has been suspended for two games for striking Boston's Jae Crowder in the face during the third quarter of Game 4; that the Celtics' Kelly Olynyk has been

    Read More »from Love to miss Round 2, J.R. and Olynyk suspended in Cavs-Celtics aftermath

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