LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — His teammates call him “Smooth.” Markieff Morris is “Smooth” because of his low-pitched baritone that soft until the moment he needs to start talking tough on the court. “Smooth” wears blue Crocs after games — prioritizing comfort over fashion — and when he walks he takes slow, gliding strides. Most…Markieff Morris breaks out for Lakers in Game 2 win — Daily News
The NBA fined Clippers guard Patrick Beverley $25,000 for “verbal abuse of a game official,” the league announced Monday in a statement from Kiki VanDeWeghe, executive vice president of basketball operations. The fine stems from an incident with 1:04 left in the Clippers’ 110-101 loss Saturday, when Beverley was assessed two consecutive technical fouls and…NBA fines Patrick Beverley $25,000 for “verbal abuse” of official — Daily News
The Milwaukee Bucks avoided a sweep by beating the Miami Heat 118-115 in overtime of Game 4.No Giannis, no problem: Bucks top Heat in OT, force Game 5 — The Florida Daily Post
Giannis Antetokounmpo was waiting in the locker room for his teammates Sunday, standing on his bad right ankle to greet every one of them.
His day ended early.
His season isn’t over yet.
Khris Middleton scored 36 points, including a big 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left in overtime, and the Milwaukee Bucks avoided a sweep by beating the Miami Heat 118-115 in overtime of Game 4 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Heat still lead 3-1, but the Bucks — the best team in the regular season — are still alive, even after Antetokounmpo left early in the second quarter with an aggravation of his sprained right ankle.
“Khris is very unique,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He’s got a way about him. He wanted to play. He asked to stay in the game.”
As if there was any other option. Middleton’s season-high before Sunday was 40 minutes; he logged 48 in Game 4, taking over with Antetokounmpo watching from the locker room.
“Just keep fighting,” said Middleton, who also had eight rebounds and eight assists. “That’s all my teammates did.”
Bam Adebayo had 26 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists for Miami. Duncan Robinson scored 20 points, Jae Crowder had 18, and Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler each finished with 17 for the Heat.
“We didn’t deserve to win that game,” Butler said.
Miami had an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter, promptly allowed the Bucks to score the next 12, and now needs to come back Tuesday in an effort to finish the series off.
“At the end of the day, we should have played like we did in Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3,” Adebayo said.
Antetokounmpo scored 19 points for the Bucks in only 11 minutes, while Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe each had 14 for Milwaukee. George Hill added 12 for the Bucks.
Miami managed only two points in the first 4:30 of overtime, got within one on a 3-pointer from Tyler Herro, but Middleton delivered the biggest shot of the night to make it 116-112.
Herro made another 3-pointer with 3.0 seconds left, but Middleton sealed it with a pair of free throws — and Miami coach Erik Spoelstra lauded Milwaukee’s effort afterward.
“The reality is, they deserved to win the game,” Spoelstra said. “They were doing things with more force, more consistency.”
Antetokounmpo had 19 of Milwaukee’s first 30 points, shooting 8-for-10 from the floor. But in an instant, everything changed for the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo aggravated his sprained right ankle with 10:18 left in the second quarter, rolling it inward — just as he did in Game 3 on Friday — as he tried to drive past Miami’s Andre Iguodala. He tumbled to the court, grabbing the ankle and screaming in pain.
He took the free throws; without doing that, he would not have been permitted to return. But at halftime, the Bucks delivered the word that he would not be back.
So, his game was over.
The Bucks’ season wasn’t. Milwaukee said Antetokounmpo would get plenty of treatment Sunday night and Monday before a decision is made about his availability for Tuesday.
“He’s going to be back,” Bledsoe said.
Middleton did all he could to keep the Bucks afloat, scoring 21 points in the third quarter — the highest-scoring quarter of his career — on 6 for 9 shooting from the field and 7 for 7 from the foul line. His previous quarter-best was 20, on Nov. 1, 2017, against Charlotte.
He set the tone, and the Bucks’ season is still alive.
“We’ve got to fight every night to keep on playing,” Middleton said.
Bucks: Milwaukee missed 19 consecutive 3-pointers — its last 12 of Game 3 and first seven of Game 4 — before Antetokounmpo connected late in the first quarter. … Milwaukee won despite getting outscored 51-33 on 3-pointers.
Heat: Miami was looking to become the first No. 5 seed in NBA history to go 8-0 in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Heat were the last unbeaten team in this year’s playoffs. … The Heat lost for only the fourth time in their last 17 series-closeout opportunities.
The Bucks avoided becoming the first overall No. 1 seed to get swept from the playoffs since 2001 when the Los Angeles Lakers did it to top-seeded San Antonio in the Western Conference finals. Budenholzer was a Spurs assistant at that time.
Middleton wasn’t the only Milwaukee player to log big minutes. Lopez played 42, Bledsoe 40, and Hill 37. “We’re absolutely a family. We always have each other’s backs,” Lopez said.
Game 5 is Tuesday.
Now that he has a new multiyear contract, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says his top priority is working out a long-term deal for manager Dave Martinez.Nationals GM Rizzo says new deal for Martinez is ‘priority one’ — MLB | NBC Sports
Nationals GM Rizzo says new deal for Martinez is ‘priority one’
ATLANTA — Now that he has a new multiyear contract, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says his top priority is working out a long-term deal for manager Dave Martinez.
The Nationals have a club option for Martinez for 2021. Rizzo said Sunday his preference is “just to disregard that” club option and instead work out a new contract for the manager.
“That’s priority one to get Davey taken care of,” Rizzo said. “My plan is and my preference is to not pick up the option and go well beyond that.”
Rizzo’s multiyear extension was announced by the team on Saturday.
Martinez said Saturday he wants to remain in Washington.
“Mike’s is done. Mine should be coming around the corner pretty soon,” Martinez said when asked about his contract status. “We’ll see what happens.”
Rizzo and Martinez led the Nationals to the 2019 World Series title. This year, Washington is in last place in the NL East.
“Going through what we’re going on the field, it’s kind of hard to celebrate a personal achievement,” Rizzo said, referring to his new contract.
Rizzo said negotiations on his deal began about one week ago.
Asked if he became frustrated the extension did not come sooner, Rizzo said the deal allows those who work around him to relax.
“People run into a little bit of anxiety as you get closer to the end of the season,” he said. “It feels good for everyone around us. Now we can do what we need to do and take care of what we need to for the rest of the season and the offseason.”
Rizzo said he didn’t let his uncertain status affect his work.
“I was never going to mention it to the ownership and never did,” he said. “… They knew I wanted to be here and also knew this negotiation wouldn’t take long once we got into it.”
Negotiations with shortstop Trea Turner may be another priority for Rizzo, who said there were discussions of an extension in spring training.
Los Angeles Lakers’ Rajon Rondo (9) scores a three-point basket against Houston Rockets’ Austin Rivers (25) during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Lakers’ Rajon Rondo (9) celebrates with LeBron James (23) after scoring a…Lakers race by Rockets as Anthony Davis, LeBron James overpower on offense — Daily News
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Lakers-Rockets series might have four of the NBA’s players who are next to impossible to imitate. That doesn’t stop coaches from trying. Both the Lakers and Rockets have used scout teams to prepare their strategies for the series, using end-of-the-bench players to replicate All-Star counterparts. Houston coach Mike D’Antoni…Lakers, Rockets rely on scout teams to plot out series adjustments — Press Telegram