The NBA Finals kicked off last night and I’m already jonesing for Game 2.
• Al Horford turns 36-years-old today, and with two days off before the NBA Finals get going again on Sunday evening, I’m sure the veteran big man will be enjoying his birthday after his night to remember in San Francisco last night. It took Horford 15 seasons and 141 playoff games to reach the NBA Finals, but he made his Finals debut matter in a big way for Boston. Horford scored 26 points (with a team-high 11 in the fourth quarter) and drilled a career-high six threes on eight attempts while shooting 75 percent from the floor as the Celtics stole Game 1 from the Warriors in Golden State.
Al was on target 🎯 pic.twitter.com/A84aUar44T
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 3, 2022
• Horford became the second-oldest player in NBA history to score 25 or more points in his NBA Finals debut last night. After the game, Horford had this to say: “I felt like the guys kept finding me time after time,” said Horford. “It was just get the looks, knock them down. That’s that.” Horford shot 33.6 percent from three-point range during the regular season but has upped his output and accuracy from deep in the playoffs shooting 43.2 percent entering play last night.
• Horford fittingly put the finishing touches on Game 1, following an and-1 hoop with a flex for the stunned Chase Center crowd with 48.3 seconds left. Jaylen Brown, who scored 10 of his 24 points in the Celtics’ massive fourth quarter, said that Boston encouraged Horford to keep taking his shot down the stretch: “Al had a bunch of great looks. We encouraged him to keep taking them. He came out [in] his first Finals game and played amazing. He carried us and led us to a victory.”
• The Celtics now have an early one-game advantage over the Warriors in the NBA Finals after handing Golden State their first home loss of these playoffs last night. You can read more about Boston’s Game 1 victory here:
— Patrick K. Flowers (@PatrickKFlowers) June 3, 2022
• According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Nike founder Phil Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Alan Smolinisky delivered a written offer of more than $2 billion to purchase the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday afternoon and “plan to remain aggressive in acquiring the team.”
• There has been a long-running belief that Jody Allen, the sister of the late Paul Allen, will eventually sell her late brother’s Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks. On Thursday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had this to say ahead of his NBA Finals media availability: “I don’t know all the specifics of Paul Allen’s trust. What I understand is that Jody Allen, who is Paul Allen’s sister, is the trustee of the estate and that at some point, the team will be sold,” Silver said. “I don’t have any sense of the precise timing. I read that same statement today in which she or someone on behalf of the estate said the team is not currently for sale. But at some point, it will be for sale. This is a hugely complex estate, and although it’s been several years, these things take time.”
ESPN story on Nike founder Phil Knight and Dodgers part-owner Alan Smolinisky engaged in serious talks to purchase the Portland Trail Blazers for more than $2 billion: https://t.co/YM3DaSkCrB
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2022
• However, the Trail Blazers released a statement on Thursday stating despite the offer being made by Phil Knight, the team “remains not for sale.”
Blazers statement: An offer was made by Phil Knight. The team remains not for sale.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2022
• I wouldn’t put too much stock into the Blazers, saying that the team is not for sale. As Adam Silver said on Thursday afternoon, the team will be for sale at some point. The Blazers are ranked as the NBA’s 13th most valuable franchise. If the Blazers are looking for a place to start regarding the sale pricing, the Minnesota Timberwolves recently sold for $1.6 billion and have a comparable media market size to Portland.
• The Bulls’ social accounts went orange today in observance of National Gun Violence Awareness Day. The Bulls tweeted that they’re wearing orange today in remembrance of Hadiya Pendelton. Pendelton was tragically killed due to gun violence in 2013. We’re just a week removed from the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that saw 19 children and two teachers tragically murdered by an 18-year-old gunman. You can learn more about the efforts at wearorange.com.
Today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
We #WearOrange to remember Hadiya Pendleton, who was tragically killed due to gun violence in 2013, and to honor the thousands of others who are killed with guns each year.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) June 3, 2022
• DeMar DeRozan took a break from his offseason boot camp to take his daughters to see the Los Angeles Sparks play on Tuesday at Crypto.com Arena. DeRozan called the experience an inspiration for his daughters Diar and Mari. “Having my daughters be able to witness it, you know, see women’s play, I know they get tired of seeing me play, and so, just bringing them out, have them see inspiration in them come out here and play is a cool thing,” DeRozan told reporters (via WNBA).
DeRozan inspired his daughters by taking them to a WNBA game to see women play ball 🏀 https://t.co/Kd0eTMErRR
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) June 2, 2022
• ICYMI, we had another entry into the “Obsessive Zach LaVine Watch” chronicles on Thursday. This time, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that he doesn’t believe that LaVine wants to leave Chicago on the latest episode of The Hoop Collective Podcast.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) June 2, 2022
• The Chicago Blackhawks have some huge questions to answer at center, including what the future of former third-overall pick Kirby Dach looks like. Tab unpacks the big decisions that lie ahead for the Blackhawks:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) June 2, 2022
• Ryan Fitzpatrick appears to have retired from the NFL, but he reportedly won’t be away from your TVs for long:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) June 2, 2022
• That’s it for today!