NBA playoffs are here, at last we can watch meaningful basketball without players resting or teams tanking

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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’.

Usa Today Sports

LeBron James in action for Cleveland in their first round playoff clash with Indiana

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.


 

Chicago beat Boston in game one of their first round series

EPA

Chicago beat Boston in game one of their first round series

Draymond Green celebrates during Golden State's win over Portland in the playoffs

Usa Today Sports

Draymond Green celebrates during Golden State’s win over Portland in the playoffs

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?

Toronto Raptors fans gather in a fan park outside the arena to watch the playoffs

Usa Today Sports

Toronto Raptors fans gather in a fan park outside the arena to watch the playoffs

Brooklyn decided to rest all their top players in their final game of the season against Chicago

Usa Today Sports

Brooklyn decided to rest all their top players in their final game of the season against Chicago

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.

Amazon will stream 10 Thursday Night Football games around the world this season

Getty Images

Amazon will stream 10 Thursday Night Football games around the world this season

Last year the 10 games were available to watch for free on Twitter

AP:Associated Press

Last year the 10 games were available to watch for free on Twitter

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?

Seattle are planning to redevelop their arena to make it fit for an NBA or NHL team

AP:Associated Press

Seattle are planning to redevelop their arena to make it fit for an NBA or NHL team

These computer generated images show what the remodelled arena would look like for NBA games

Associated Press

These computer generated images show what the remodelled arena would look like for NBA games
Amazing catch as NY Mets star Luis Guillorme nabs flying baseball bat

 



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