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Joel Embiid Stopped His Presser To Marvel At Kawhi Leonard’s Monster Dunk On Derrick Favors

After dropping the first two games in Utah, the Clippers asserted their presence in the series with a blowout win on Saturday night in Game 3, following the lead of their two stars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to make clear that the series would not be that easy for the Jazz to take.

The first half of Game 4 went an awful lot like Game 3, as the Clippers continue to shoot the ball well, the Jazz’s offense is stuck in the mud, and L,A.’s top stars are controlling the action on both ends. L.A.’s commitment to small-ball has paid off in a big way against the Jazz’s big lineups, getting Utah into rotation and opening up great looks from the outside. Late in the first half of Game 4, with the Clippers already in control and up 22 points, Kawhi put the exclamation point on the half with a monstrous dunk on Derrick Favors.

This photo from the Clippers photographer really does the dunk justice as a poster dunk, with Donovan Mitchell’s face offering a perfect encapsulation of how everyone felt when Kawhi suddenly rose up for the jam.

The dunk was so good that Joel Embiid, fresh off a disappointing loss to the Hawks in Game 4 in Atlanta, was watching the game while doing his presser and had to stop, mid-answer, to react to Kawhi’s massive dunk.

It was the dunk of the playoffs to this point, and as often happens when Kawhi rises up, it felt so out of nowhere that it made the genuine surprise of it all even more exciting, even for Joel Embiid dealing with the physical pain of his knee and the emotional pain of seeing the Hawks erase an 18-point deficit.

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The Hawks Overcame An 18-Point Deficit In Game 4 To Tie The Series Against The Sixers

The Atlanta Hawks and the Philadelphia 76ers battled in Game 4 of a second round series on Monday evening. For much of the night, it appeared as if Philadelphia was on track to take a commanding 3-1 advantage, but Atlanta came back from an 18-point first half deficit and held on for the home win, 103-100, evening the series as it returns to Philly.

Out of the gate, the play was ugly on both sides, but the Hawks took a 10-4 advantage. That edge lasted only a brief time, however, with the 76ers answering quickly to take the lead.

Overall, Philadelphia used a 20-4 run to take control as the Hawks struggled mightily to score. Atlanta trailed by as many as 10 points in the opening period, with the home team shooting just 7-of-28 from the floor.

In addition to Philadelphia taking control on the scoreboard, Atlanta also faced potential issues with Trae Young’s health. In the first quarter, Young missed a pair of free throws and, while he stayed in the game, he was sporting a significant wrap while on the bench.

Young returned relatively quickly, but he wasn’t the only prominent injury concern. Joel Embiid left the floor and went to the locker room, missing almost six minutes of game time, but he also returned to action. In fact, Embiid made his usual impact, as his presence helped to stop a mini-run from the Hawks. Philadelphia then scored 12 straight points to take their largest lead of the evening at 55-38 with three minutes remaining in the first half and would get it to 60-42 at one point.

The Hawks did close on a higher note with five points from the Kevin Huerter in the final 35 seconds. Still, Atlanta trailed by 13 points at the break, failing to take advantage of good looks offensively and yielding approximately 1.2 points per possession to the visiting Sixers.

Following a miserable offensive half by any description, Atlanta picked things up early in the third quarter. In short order, that translated into the margin being slashed to just eight points after a three-pointer from Huerter.

Atlanta’s John Collins also came alive in the third quarter, throwing down a trio of highlight-worthy dunks to help the Hawks continue their comeback bid. His energy and production helped to key a 10-2 run that brought the home team within 77-75 in the final minutes of the third quarter.

For an extended stretch, the theme was back-and-forth basketball. Embiid struggled for the Sixers and, as such, Philadelphia’s offense sputtered. At the same time, Collins made a considerable impact and Young controlled the action with his passing, finding Clint Capela for a dunk to take the lead with fewer than six minutes remaining.

All told, the Sixers didn’t score a single point for more than five minutes, but the Hawks weren’t able to run away. Embiid made a pair of free throws at the 3:23 mark, giving Philadelphia the lead, and the Sixers led by as many as four points down the stretch. However, Atlanta kept coming, with Collins generating an offensive rebound and, on the same possession, hitting an enormous three (off a pass from Young) to cut the margin to one.

In the final minute, the Hawks led by one point, with the ball, and they had an opportunity to extend the margin. However, Atlanta turned the ball over with 16.6 seconds remaining, giving the Sixers an opportunity to escape with a win. That opportunity went begging, though, when Embiid missed a point-blank attempt and Ben Simmons was unable to corral the rebound.

Following two free throws by Young, the Sixers had one more chance to tie the game. Despite relatively bizarre defensive resistance, Philadelphia’s Shake Milton elected to swing the ball to Seth Curry and, when his shot drew rim, the Hawks managed to knot the series at 2-2.

It was a gutty performance from the Hawks, overcoming an 18-point deficit. Young scratched and clawed to 25 points despite uneven shooting, and he left his mark with a whopping 18 assists. Collins also changed the energy for the Hawks after halftime, finishing the night 14 points and 12 rebounds.

On the Philadelphia side, Embiid was unable to dominate in the fashion that he did in the first three games. He did secure 21 rebounds, but the All-NBA center missed all 12 of his shot attempts in the second half, finishing 4-of-20 on the night. Curry and Tobias Harris combined for 37 points, but it wasn’t enough.

The series now shifts back to Philadelphia for Game 5 on Wednesday. While the top-seeded Sixers will likely enter that game as betting favorites, all eyes will be on Embiid to see how he responds physically, and the Hawks could garner momentum after a memorable comeback.

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Blackpink Teased A New Project ‘4 +1’ To Celebrate Their Upcoming Fifth Anniversary

There are few acts in pop music right now more exciting than Blackpink. With the rise in popularity of K-Pop in America over the last few years, Blackpink have quickly become beloved, both for their early singles like “Whistle” and for last year’s full-length project, The Album. That swaggering, campy collection of songs nailed down just why the group has become some popular, but for newer fans who might not know just how long the has been around, their upcoming project release honors their legacy.

Sharing the news of a celebration of their five year anniversary (!) on Twitter tonight, the group is clearly planning something big. “#BLACKPINK 5th ANNIVERSARY [4+1 PROJECT],” they posted. “More info @ http://5th.blackpinkofficial.com #BLACKPINK #블랙핑크 #5thANNIVERSARY #4PLUS1_PROJECT #YG” The site that was linked is a placeholder sharing the same information as the tweet, doubling down on the four members becoming one, and the addition of the two numbers as a play on their five years together.

If whatever the K-pop quartet has up their sleeve is anywhere near as epic as their recent livestream event, “The Show,” then fans will be in for a real treat. Keep an eye out for more details on the release of their new project coming very soon. And for a reminder of just how these girls can be, revisit the “How You Like That” video above.

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Ariana Grande Is Releasing A New Perfume, This One Named After ‘God Is A Woman’

Fresh off her secret at-home wedding, Ariana Grande is getting right back to work with a new beauty collaboration. Though Grande has released several perfumes over the course of her career — “Ari,” “Frankie,” “Sweet Like Candy,” “Moonlight,” “Cloud,” “Thank U, Next” and “R.E.M.” to name a few— it was 2019’s Cloud that ranked up accolades, including a sweet spot in the ranks of The Strategist’s trendy recommendations.

Now Grande is going back in a time a bit, partnering with beauty powerhouse Ulta for a scent that draws its name from her Sweetener era. Posting on Twitter and Instagram today about the new perfume, Grande revealed that the “God Is A Woman” scent is on its way. With a light purple and white bottle, the brief clip previewing the scent was obviously accompanied by the song it takes its name from.

The singer reported that the scent is coming soon, but didn’t give any specifics beyond that, so keep an eye out for more updates coming very soon. And while no one asked me, I’d like to point out that a “Rain On Me” collaborative perfume with Lady Gaga would’ve been a way better idea during Pride than a 2018 throwback song? But again, no one asked me.

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Ted Cruz Dropped A Bizarre Video In Which He Claims The ‘Pledge Of Allegiance’ Is ‘Controversial,’ And People Lost It

Not everyone can go viral twice in the same day for two separate incidents, but not everyone is Ted Cruz. On Monday, news broke that Texas’ power grid was in trouble due to escalating heat, prompting a large swatch of Twitter to make jokes about the state’s Republican senator, who hightailed it outta there during a freak winter storm earlier in the year. Not a few hours later he was back on top, this time because he released a surreal video in which he recites the “Pledge of Allegiance” to a flag.

“This didn’t use to be controversial,” Cruz wrote in his attempt to commemorate Flag Day. The video, a mere 14 seconds, finds the senator awkwardly standing in front of a flag, his hand on his heart, robotically reciting the statement that originated somewhere in the late 19th century.

Is it actually controversial? Not really. It’s not even clear what Cruz was referring to. But ginning up outrage over patriotism is red meat for people who think Ted Cruz is smart, and perhaps he figured he could use a distraction on the day he was being dragged on Twitter for a past cowardly act.

But it was clear that those who already don’t like him weren’t swayed. Some called out his claim about a “controversial act” as purest bull.

Some dragged him for abandoning Texas when its people are suffering.

Some questioned his mental health.

Some pointed out his past wrongs, particularly his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Some thought he just sucks.

Others just found the whole thing weird.

Or made fun of his hair.

And some people were worried about the flag.

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The FBI Is Warning Lawmakers That QAnon ‘Digital Soldiers’ May Turn Even More Violent

What started as a surreal conspiracy theory claiming former president Donald Trump was battling a shadowy cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles may soon take a turn for the worse. As per CNN, the FBI is warning lawmakers (or trying to, anyway) that, in the wake of the failed insurrection of Jan. 6, QAnon adherents may turn even more violent in the wake of the failed Jan. 6 insurrection that some of them still think is a setup.

In a new report, the agency is warning that those who subscribe to the theory — which at least at one point included Georgia representative and headline-maker Marjorie Taylor Greene, as well as Trump lawyer Sidney Powell — may move from mere “digital soldiers” into committing more real world atrocities. It refers to them as “domestic violent extremists.”

Oddly, the shift may happen because they realize the theory is bull. The elusive person known simply as “Q” laid out a series of predictions, among them that Trump would reclaim power. None of them have come true. As such, the report claims, supporters “can no longer ‘trust the plan” set forth by its mysterious standard-bearer.” But instead of abandoning a crackpot theory altogether, they may, as CNN puts it, feel the “need to take greater control of the direction of the movement than before.”

Of the hundreds arrested for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, over 20 self-identified as QAnon adherents, among them Jake Angeli, better known as the scantily-clad, headpiece-wearing “QAnon Shaman.” They may, the FBI believes, go even farther, targeting people they believe are part of the alleged cabal, rather than wait for Q to spout more nonsense that never comes true.

In other words, it’s more proof that both the internet and electing Donald J. Trump were great ideas that won’t negative affect the nation for years.

(Via CNN)

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Marjorie Taylor Greene Actually Apologized For Comparing Mask Mandates To The Holocaust

Today’s Republicans do not apologize. When called out for saying something offensive or just plain wrong, they never back down. Instead they double down. That’s just what Marjorie Taylor Greene, the most nightmarish of freshman congresspeople, did back in May, when many were horrified that she was going around comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust. Fellow Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, called her out. Even the social media account for the Auschwitz Museum came after her. But now, several weeks later, she’s done the unthinkable, at least for her: She’s finally admitted she was wrong.

The Georgia representative and noted conspiracy theorist — who recently suggested the theory of biological evolution was less believable than “Jewish space lasers” — started the week with a public mea culpa. She had paid a trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C., and she emerged a changed person.

Greene told reporters that she was a “normal person” whose parents raised her right. “One of the best lessons that my father always taught me was that when you make a mistake, you should own it,” she said. She then confessed that “there are words that I have made that I know are offensive, and for that I want to apologize.”

She also talked about what she learned at the museum, among them that “six million Jewish people were murdered,” though she added that among those killed included “black people, Christians, children, people that the Nazis didn’t believe were good enough or perfect enough.” She also felt compelled, for some reason, to add that the Holocaust is “something that some people don’t even believe happened.”

As per Forbes, when asked whether she still believes that masks are comparable to yellow Jewish stars, Greene simply said she’s “removing that statement completely away,” referring to her comparing public health measures to the systematic extermination of six million people of the Jewish faith. One thing she didn’t do was retract her statement comparing Democrats to Nazis. Instead, when asked about that topic, she stated that “socialism is extremely dangerous, and so is communism.”

Greene also denied that she was apologizing because she was at risk of being censured in the House. Instead, she said it was just “important” to do so.

(Via Forbes)

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Skylar Diggins-Smith Told Jazmine Jones To ‘Shut Tf Up’ And Called Out The Liberty In A Twitter Dust-Up

There may not be any WNBA games on Monday night, but that didn’t stop the spice from filling the air. After a video of Skylar Diggins-Smith breaking the ankles of New York’s Didi Richards went viral on Twitter over the weekend, Jones decided to toss a bomb in Diggins-Smith’s direction and bring up the fact that despite the highlight, the Mercury had lost the game.

That was a mistake. Diggins-Smith took issue not only with Jones’ criticism but also of the Liberty’s entire publicity strategy, rolling up a whole attack on WNBA marketing into a pretty savage tweet back at Jones.

In addition to telling Jones to shut up, Diggins-Smith is of course referring to 2020 No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu as the “one person” whom the Liberty tend to hype up. This is something Diggins-Smith has commented on for a while, dating back to a firestorm online that began last college season when hoops trainer Alex Bazzell commented that UConn phenom Paige Bueckers would be a top-five point guard in the WNBA if she was in the league already.

The main point that Diggins-Smith seems to be getting at is that the basketball media is quick to anoint white players but not usually Black ones. Diggins-Smith is saying that rather than Jones attacking for getting featured by Bleacher Report, or complaining that teammate Betnijah Laney (who had a double-double in New York’s win) doesn’t get enough attention, that Jones should look internally at how her own team markets its players.

Diggins-Smith backed up her perspective with a subsequent tweet calling out Jones’ “crabs in a barrel a** mentality.”

The Mercury and Liberty next play on Aug. 25, and it’s anyone’s guess what happens that night, as Jones followed up with some not-so-coded allusions toward letting physicality do the talking the next time these two face off.

Jones seemed to get the last word in by retweeting a video of her own game-winning bucket against Phoenix from the very same game:

Between one second-year guard fighting for respect in the league and an established superstar who feels she’s already earned that respect, this is not a surprising fight to flare up, but it admittedly got far more amped-up than most would expect.

Maybe it’s just having a little extra time on a day with no games. That time off also meant players (and teams) from around the WNBA were all also on Twitter to chime in on the budding beef.

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Rudy Gobert And Ben Simmons Headlined The NBA’s All-Defensive Teams As Unanimous Selections

Less than one week ago, the NBA announced that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was the winner of his third Defensive Player of the Year award. While Gobert was a comfortable leader in the final voting tally, the runner-up was Philadelphia 76ers do-it-all standout Ben Simmons, who netted 15 first-place votes and dominated the No. 2 slot on the majority of ballots. On Monday evening, Gobert and Simmons were once again recognized for their defensive excellence, as both were unanimous selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team for the 2020-21 season.

Gobert and Simmons were always going to be selected to the first team, and they were joined by Golden State’s Draymond Green and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo at forward, as well as Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday to round out the backcourt. In the 2020-21 installment, none of the voting results revealed razor-thin margins between the first and second team, though Miami’s Bam Adebayo was the closest to cracking the top five when compared to Antetokounmpo.

Adebayo was joined by teammate Jimmy Butler, listed at guard, as well as Kawhi Leonard on the second team. From there, a pair of Simmons’ teammates, Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle made the final cut.

Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges, Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner and Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela were the closest vote-getters that did not reach the top ten.

Throughout the playoffs, Gobert and Simmons have continued to differentiate themselves. Gobert is the hub of a legitimate Western Conference contender, while Simmons is showing his versatility in taking on the assignment as the primary defender of Trae Young. Overall, the league’s top defensive honors yielded few surprises this season, but the top-tier players on the defensive end continue to shine.

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‘Jeopardy!’ GOAT And ‘The Chase’ Star James Holzhaur’s Next Gig Is Reportedly A Sports Betting Column

James Holzhauer was last seen around these parts causing trouble for his co-workers on a new game show, but according to a report he’s got a new group of colleagues in the world of sports journalism. The record-breaking Jeopardy! GOAT is currently making hay as a “chaser” on the ABC game show The Chase, but he’s long had his eye on a career in sports and appears to be making moves there with a job writing about sports betting.

According to a report from New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand, Holzhauer will soon pen a sports betting column for The Athletic.

Though we haven’t seen much writing from Holzhauer beyond his very entertaining Twitter presence, this isn’t exactly a stretch for Holzhauer. When he took the Jeopardy! world by storm with the second-longest run as champion in show history in 2019, he was mostly known as a professional sports bettor in Las Vegas. And he’s a huge sports fan — most notably the Chicago Cubs and Las Vegas Golden Knights. Holzhauer has spoken in the past about potentially working in sports for a professional team. That hasn’t happened just yet, but he’s clearly been busy, with a turn on the Jeopardy Greatest Of All-Time tournament and now two seasons of The Chase. Adding “sports columnist” to the list will certainly keep him busy, and maybe make some sports fans a bit of money if his column is as good as his trivia knowledge.