SunSport’s Sunni Upal rounds up the best and worst from the past week in American sport.
This week, it’s the start of the NBA play-offs, Amazon’s bold move into sports streaming, and Paul George’s future.
AT LAST, I can watch a basketball game where the result means something.
Finally, a game where both teams are desperate for a win, not resting any players or ‘tanking’.
The NBA play-offs began at the weekend, and not soon enough for the league after the regular-season descended into almost a farce.
The resting issue has got way beyond control and commissioner Adam Silver needs to address it this off-season.
When Golden State, Cleveland and San Antonio rested players some empathised with them that their bigger goal was to win a championship.
But what was Brooklyn Nets’ excuse on the final day of the regular-season? Why did they rest six players against Chicago?
They’ve won 21 games all season and were playing against a team that had to win to make the play-offs.
Roman Reigns brother and former WWE tag-team champion Matthew ‘Rosey’ Anoa’i dead at 47
PAPE: ‘DON’T PREACH’
Gerard Pique hits out at Cristiano Ronaldo’s offside goal against Bayern – and PAPE SOUARE bizarrely fires back with Chelsea pics
Klopp loves Hart
Joe Hart set for Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp signs off £20million swoop for Man City keeper
Eye on the ball
Brazilian footballers have a tough time concentrating as stunning lineswoman Denise Bueno officiates… with a kit including a wet T-shirt
Jurgen Klopp risks wrath of Liverpool fans… by backing bitter rivals Manchester United to win Europa League
Eden to Real
Chelsea star Eden Hazard ‘agrees deal to join Real Madrid with Alvaro Morata moving the other way’
Conor McGregor’s Aintree hotel suite left trashed and littered with nitrous oxide canisters after five days of wild partying
100 AND WON
Real Madrid 4 Bayern 2 (AET, agg 6-3): Cristiano Ronaldo hits hat-trick on way to 100 Champions League goals to see Real through
Chelsea’s poor performance against Manchester United on Easter Sunday blamed on mystery illness
A PARTING GIFT?
Alexis Sanchez reveals emotional reason he celebrated so much after Arsenal’s win over Middlesbrough
‘I love him’
Barcelona star Neymar reveals his three favourite strikers in the world, and Man City fans will be delighted
foxes free fourth spot
Leicester’s departure from Europe is GOOD news for Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City and Arsenal
LIVE – Real Madrid 4 Bayern Munich 2 (6-3 on agg): Cristiano Ronaldo completes hat-trick in extra-time at Bernabeu
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard wants Antoine Griezmann ‘as far away from Manchester as possible’
PREM STARS’ JAIL THREAT
Ex-Prem pair Michael Essien and Carlton Cole could be jailed for breaking Indonesian migrant law
More leaked images
WWE star Melina in fresh heartache as more naked pictures of her are leaked on the internet
kings of europe
Real Madrid make Champions League history after qualifying for seven consecutive semi-finals
TWO WILL DO
Antoine Griezmann and Romelu Lukaku top Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United wishlist this summer
Leicester 1 Atletico Madrid 1 (agg 1-2): Foxes Champions League dream dies after Saul Niguez’s away-goal dagger ends their fairy tale run
What was an interesting three-way fight between Indiana, Chicago and Miami for the last two play-off spots in the Eastern Conference on the final day of the season became a joke.
The NBA regular-season has some serious integrity problems that have hurt the league this year.
The simple solution to everything – resting, tanking, more meaningful games – is reducing the schedule from 82 games.
But it’s not that east. It will not happen any time soon. Why would all parties concerned agree to earn less money?
The only way it will happen is if fans stop watching the regular-season. They stop paying for tickets because they can no longer buy one in good faith that they’ll get to see all the stars they wanted to.
Until then, the league, teams and players will carry on getting away with it and make the fans pay and broadcast partners lose viewers.
THE NFL 2017 schedule will be released this week.
We’ll soon know who the New England Patriots will host in the opening game of the season and we can all plan our prime time viewing for the winter.
One thing we’ll also know is which teams will feature on Thursday Night Football this season, which will be on Amazon Prime as well as Sky Sports in the UK and three TV channels in the USA.
Amazon buying sports rights is a step up for digital streaming from Facebook or Twitter or even You Tube.
When users log on to Facebook or Twitter they want content, not to have to pay for things.
With Amazon, they’re already a customer.
Amazon already has the business model to be able to pay bigger sums for sports rights.
Facebook and Twitter can only recoup the money they pay from advertising, unless they set up a paid service.
Sports will only turn to digital partners before television companies if they can make the same money, and Amazon could be the biggest threat yet to satellite and cable giants.
LEBRON JAMES recently posted an image on social media of him and Paul George hugging after the Cavaliers beat the Pacers in a double-overtime thriller.
The caption read “glad to see you back where you belong” after an epic battle in which they both scored more than 40 points.
George was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for April and his red hot form helped the Pacers clinch a play-off spot on the final day of the regular-season.
In truth, though, George belongs on a better team than this. He deserves better than to be scrambling to make it into the playoffs with a low seed and having to face the Cavaliers in the first round.
The Lakers are his most likely destination if he leaves Indiana, but would that not just be more of the same? Carrying the load for a team that has no realistic title chances.
I’d love to see him in Boston with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford – that would be a serious side.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Didn’t I just tell you don’t ask me that? Turn around. Go back that way. See you. Next question. That’s his last interview for the year.”
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones let off some steam at a reporter in his first media appearance since his arrest in January. The reporter asked if Jones had anything to prove to Cincinnati fans.
SEATTLE are really desperate for an NBA or NHL team.
Last week we saw plans to remodel the KeyArena and make it ready for a basketball or ice hockey team.
Normally a venue is built or had a multi-million pound refit when they have a team coming to town, but Seattle have been proactive in the hope to tempt someone back.
How long before the Supersonics return?