The NBA season is over ... (no, really!)

January, 20, 2017
Jan 20
5:14
PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh and Luke Knox
ESPN.com

Hooray! Now that the NBA season is halfway through, it's time to grab the popcorn, pull up a seat and watch the dramatic playoff races unfold, right? Um, not so much. Unlike the NFL, MLB and NHL, where playoff races are as exciting as the playoffs, all the jockeying for seeds in the NBA is pretty much done by the halfway point of the season. Since 1984, when the playoff field moved to 16 teams, 80 percent of the variability in the final standings can be explained purely by the standings today, on Jan. 20, (around the halfway mark of the season). Don't believe us? Let's roll out the data!

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Big Number: Rajon Rondo's incredible free-throw drought

January, 20, 2017
Jan 20
5:04
PM ET
By ESPN.com
ESPN.com

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Tom Haberstroh goes inside the numbers to reveal the most impressive streak Bulls guard Rajon Rondo is currently on.

Kevin Pelton, Tom Haberstroh, BIG Wos, Justin Verrier, Kaileigh Brandt and Zach Harper answer listener questions on Twitter. #askWos

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TrueHoop Pod: Conversations with George Karl

January, 19, 2017
Jan 19
7:10
PM ET
By ESPN.com
ESPN.com

Kevin Arnovitz and David Thorpe welcome former NBA coach George Karl to talk about his new book "Furious George," PEDs, mental health and coaching.

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TrueHoop Pod: Buying and selling in Portlandia

January, 19, 2017
Jan 19
6:22
PM ET
By ESPN.com
ESPN.com

Kevin Arnovitz, Andrew Han and Kevin Pelton ask if the Blazers should buy or sell at the trade deadline, whether "Lillard or McCollum" is a real topic and how much of Portland is like Portlandia.

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Crash Brothers? Steph and KD, finding their way

January, 19, 2017
Jan 19
6:19
PM ET
Strauss By Ethan Sherwood Strauss
ESPN.com
Archive

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IN THE AFTERMATH of Golden State's Monday rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Steve Kerr said, "I thought Steph [Curry] was great. His energy was great, and he set the tone. I love that he took 20 shots." Then, the money phrase: "When he's aggressive, we go."

As Kerr spoke, Klay Thompson leaned against the wall of the crowded media room, dressed in cat-burglar black, hidden between media members, fidgeting and fiddling with his phone. It wasn't clear whether Klay, who makes occasional trips to Klay World, was paying any attention at all. But after he took the stage, he was strictly on message. "I love that he took 20 shots," Thompson said of Curry. "When he's aggressive, we go."

When he's aggressive, we go.

Maybe that's the new mantra, or maybe it's just how the Warriors have learned to discuss an uncomfortable truth -- that today's Steph just isn't as dynamic as last year's Steph.

Curry has produced one signature moment this season when he set the record for 3-pointers in a game, sinking 13 against the New Orleans Pelicans. It was the exception that proved the rule, an evocation of how he used to thrill on a regular basis last season. And in February, following the hype of last season's All-Star weekend, Curry obliterated a tough, six-game road trip in what was essentially his opus: scoring 229 points in 205 minutes, sinking an unfathomable 43 3-pointers. He averaged 43.8 points over the final four of those games, a stretch that included yet another half-court shot in Orlando and culminated in a 46-point (including 12 mostly impossible 3-pointers) performance in Oklahoma City. That game ended with an iconic game winner, casually slung from a spot parallel to the lip of the Thunder logo at half court.

Nobody else was trying this stuff, let alone in the highest-leverage moments, let alone actually succeeding at it.

Just last winter he was redefining everything. His pregame rituals were events, in part because they seemed like windows into a laboratory for a wholly new way of doing basketball. "He's this generation's Jordan," said Jason Kidd. "We all wanted to be like Mike, and children today will grow up seeing Steph." Kevin Garnett declared, "Like Michael Jordan was a whole other thing, this guy is his own thing. It's beautiful for basketball."

Coming off an embarrassing NBA Finals collapse, but with Kevin Durant in tow, the Warriors remained as talked-about as ever, just not because of the guy who drove 90 percent of the interest in their ascent. A man who drew Jordan comparisons from future Hall of Famers suddenly found himself in the backseat of a car he built.

Early in the season, the Warriors obsessed over making Durant comfortable. Curry participated in that project, starting with the free-agency recruitment meeting, after which Curry texted Durant that he couldn't care less who was the face of the franchise, who got the most recognition or who sold the most shoes.

By his own admission, Curry tried to defer from the first moments of training camp. For Durant, it was a process that went about as seamlessly as his "I DO ME, AND I CHILL" Twitter bio would indicate. From the beginning, Warriors KD looked pretty much exactly like Thunder KD. He glided into his shots with customary command, scoring with ease from every angle. He was virtuosic from Day 1, filling in whatever voids Golden State might have on a given night. Whether it was passing, rim protection or fast breaks that end in the meanest Euro-step this side of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Durant excelled at every skill, literally all of them. Well, maybe not literally all of them (more on that later).

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Rachel Nichols, Ethan Strauss, Tom Haberstroh, Zach Harper and BIG Wos on the Steph-KD dynamic on the court, Chris Paul's injury affecting the Clippers' hopes and the Knicks drama.

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Amin Elhassan, BIG Wos and Kevin Pelton welcome back Power star Jerry Ferrara to talk about the Knicks, Melo, Rose, Porzingis, Phil, 90's Knicks and, of course, Power Season 4.

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Tom Haberstroh, Brian Windhorst, David Thorpe, Tim MacMahon and Tim Bontemps on the Cavs-Warriors game from Monday night, the importance of rest, All-Stars, Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid.

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videoSee all the things that were going on around Steph Curry when he beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer at the end of the first half against the Cavs.

Doc Rivers on MLK's vision: 'We're not there yet'

January, 16, 2017
Jan 16
5:54
PM ET
MacMullan By Jackie MacMullan
ESPN.com
Archive

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LOS ANGELES -- SIX-AND-A-HALF-YEAR-OLD Glenn Rivers sensed something was amiss the moment he skipped into his grandmother's house.

It was suppertime, and his father, Grady Rivers, a longtime Chicago police officer, was there. The father, who was scheduled to be on duty, who patrolled the night shift, never missed a day of work. Yet there he was, slumped in a chair in full uniform, huddled around the small black-and-white television set with Glenn's aunts and uncles.

As Rivers inched closer, he saw his father was sobbing.

"I had never seen my dad cry before," Rivers says. "My grandfather, who was tougher than my dad, was crying too."

The bewildered first-grader tried to piece together what had left his family so broken. Someone, he was told, had been killed. Panicked, he began counting heads in his grandmother's den. Was it a member of the family? A friend up the street?

Grady took his young son by the hand and drove him home in his patrol car.

"And that's when he told me all about this Dr. King guy they were all talking about," Rivers says. "It was the first time I had ever heard of Martin Luther King."

On that day, April 4, 1968, Grady Rivers tried to articulate to his son what Martin Luther King had done to advance civil rights, to fight for racial equality, to use words, not violence, to bring about change.

And now he was dead in a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 39.

From that day forward, Dr. King became a Rivers family companion, his words echoing the teachable moments Glenn's father imparted to him. Grady Rivers played King's speeches on the family record player over and over again, his booming voice literally weaving itself into the family narrative.

"Naturally, as a young kid you are curious," Rivers says. "Dr. King became an extremely important part of my life. He became our Gandhi, in many ways."

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Amin Elhassan and BIG Wos welcome in Clinton Yates to talk about Obama's best moments, Rip Hamilton's Rose comments, Whiteside vs. Embiid. Black Tray and Mariano join the show.

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TrueHoop Pod: Conversations with Karl-Anthony Towns

January, 16, 2017
Jan 16
5:42
PM ET
By ESPN.com
ESPN.com

The Timberwolves young superstar speaks to Marc Stein about the growing pains of losing, playoff expectations, shooting threes, Tom Thibodeau, baseball dreams and more.

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TrueHoop Pod: The Friday Mailbag - Relax Man

January, 13, 2017
Jan 13
7:30
PM ET
By ESPN.com
ESPN.com

Tom Haberstroh, Kevin Pelton, Justin Verrier, BIG Wos, Kaileigh Brandt and Zach Harper answer listener questions from Twitter.

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What you missed when Steph and Klay broke the Pistons

January, 13, 2017
Jan 13
7:28
PM ET
By ESPN.com
ESPN.com

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See all the things that were going on around Klay Thompson and Steph Curry during a beautiful fast break Thursday night at Oracle.

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