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May 25, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder cheerleaders perform during a time out in game three of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics Daily Dish: May 28, 2014

Top o’ the morning to you, Boston Celtics fans!

Hump day is in the house, which is great, especially since I have a shortened work-week.  It feels greedy to want another weekend so quickly after I had a long one . . . yet, here we are!

Let’s start the daily links with a look at the score and video highlights of last night’s NBA Playoffs action.  [NBA.com]

Home-cooking has helped the Oklahoma City Thunder even the Western Conference Finals at two games apiece.  First, it was Serge Ibaka’s triumphant return for game three that helped the Thunder get on the board.  Last night, it was Russel Westbrook who wreaked havoc all over the floor.  Here’s a preview of a piece over at Sports Illustrated that details just how dominant Westbrook was last night:

Russell Westbrook‘s game, like any force of nature, is best experienced from a healthy distance. Get too close, and his speed, instincts and power will disorient you before overwhelming you.

Ask Danny Green, who was stripped clean by a poking Westbrook on the perimeter. Ask Marco Belinelli, whose pocket was picked by a lunging Westbrook. Ask Kawhi Leonard, who had a crosscourt pass deflected by an anticipating Westbrook, and Tony Parker, who Westbrook robbed blind on the same play. Ask Patty Mills, whose attempted last-second buzzer-beater was mercilessly swatted into the stands by a launching Westbrook, who posed for an extra second or two afterward, presumably so the fans seated courtside could take a moment to process what had just happened.

Essentially, the Thunder have gone back in time to 2012 – so says your Morning Shootaround, among other things.  [NBA.com]

Just when it appeared as if the NBA was going to have a long legal battle on its hands when it came to Donald Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, a ray of sunshine has broken through the clouds.   Apparently, there is talk that Sterling will transfer ownership to his wife, Shelly, who would then oversee the sale of the team.  Nothing is set in stone yet, but this piece over at Sporting News explains why there is cause for optimism:

That wasn’t supposed to be the case — Sterling’s long history of litigiousness was supposed to drag this story at least into next season’s training camp and perhaps beyond.

But the NBA’s report on the Sterling case this week showed that the Clippers tried to cover up the incident, destroying a copy of the tape before it was released, and that Donald Sterling attempted to get the woman who released the tape, V. Stiviano, to claim she had altered it. That damaging report shows Sterling not as a somewhat clueless and elderly man being “baited,” as he said, into controversial remarks, but as a conniver and manipulator.

Another blow came with assurance the league had the owner votes to remove Sterling.

Even Sterling could see his case was hopeless. Part of being litigious, it seems, is knowing when you’re defeated.

Tweet of the day time!  Wanna know why I would bet my house that the Indiana Pacers lose game five, and the Eastern Conference Finals, to the Miami Heat tonight?

Denial: it’s not just a river in Egypt.

I leave you today with this piece on Nik Stauskas.  I was really impressed with how he stepped it up this past season for Michigan.  Yes, he’s a long-range threat, but as this piece by Jay King over at Masslive.com points out, Stauskas is not just a one-dimensional bomber.  Enjoy the reads!

After Nik Stauskas’ freshman year, everybody knew he could shoot. But he spent his second season at Michigan surprising NBA personnel — and just about everybody else — by acting as a multi-faceted offensive threat who could hurt teams off the dribble and with the pass as well as from behind the arc.

With Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. gone to the NBA, Stauskas needed to shoulder plenty more responsibility, and he responded well. He more than doubled his per-minute assists, boosted his per-minute scoring substantially, and actually upped his scoring efficiency (barely, but that’s still impressive given his changing role). While taking a number of difficult shots, with every defense focused on him, he managed to shoot 44 percent from behind the arc.

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