In case you forgot, there were some unforgettable performances.

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Nathaniel Butler/Getty Images

It’s been a wild first week of Bubble Playoff action. Inspired by the truly bonkers statlines we’ve seen from Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, and more so far in the first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs, I decided to round up the 20 best individual playoff performances of the 2010s.

After pouring through tons of box scores on the always essential Basketball Reference, I landed on the 20 best single-game performances from the past 10 seasons.

But first, a few ground rules:


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MTV-Viacom

In honor of Nelly T’s tear-jerking sacrifice in the final elimination round of Total Madness, I decided to compile a list of the most heartbreaking losses in Challenge history. Weirdly enough, this might be my favorite type of season-long character arc, even ahead of the long-sought-after win or the ultimate karmic villain loss. Some of my favorite players reached that status because of their heartbreaking loss seasons.

Before we get into the list, a couple of ground rules.


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AppleTV+

With Beastie Boys Story debuting on AppleTV+ last weekend, and without a ton of new content to speak of, the internet took the opportunity to revisit why Mike D, MCA, and Ad-Rock are so beloved. I have nothing to add to that discussion that hasn’t already been said. The documentary was intimate and funny and informal (Thanks, Spike Jonze!) and not necessarily a deep dive into the band’s entire history, but a must-watch for fans of the group.

So, instead of further re-litigating career retrospectives, I decided to chronicle all of the group’s sports references. The group is known for making references, both maddeningly obscure and obvious, to all sorts of pop culture. I could’ve spent days researching all of the random old sitcoms and grindhouse movies they have referenced over the years. Besides, people on the internet already have. Instead, here’s a guide to as many of their sports references as I could find. …


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ESPN

The first two episodes of The Last Dance, the highly anticipated ESPN miniseries chronicling the last season of the Michael Jordan/Chicago Bulls dynasty, debuted on Sunday night.

With the sports world having been at a near-standstill for over a month, fans across the world have been clamoring for the docuseries. Here are 10 quick thoughts I had after the first two hours:

1. Bobby Knight: Basketball Nostradamus

Legendary coach Bobby Knight, a man not exactly known for doling out praise, said that Michael Jordan was the greatest athlete he had ever seen on a basketball court…before Jordan was even in the NBA. …


A guide for new viewers who want to jump in on Total Madness, the 35th season of America’s Fifth Major Sport.

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MTV.COM — Viacom

I never thought I’d see this day, but here we are. I’ve been watching MTV’s The Challenge for 15 years and, outside of Bill Simmons and eventually his crew at Grantland (RIP) constantly championing it as America’s Fifth Major Sport, it has never been covered like a legit sports league…until now. All it took was the literal shutdown of nearly every major sports league across the world.

With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing sports (and much of the world in general) to a standstill, websites that normally churn out sports and entertainment content have finally begun to cover The Challenge like the major league competition that it is. Even FanDuel has got in on the mix with daily fantasy leagues for The Challenge (I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work with a competition where the final results are already floating around out there on the internet, but still). …


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Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

Greatness comes with elevated expectations, which is an idea you’ve heard expressed a million different ways. When someone’s output remains consistently excellent across several years or projects, any sort of dip in quality or difference in expectations is met with a swift, harsh reaction. This is true for any number of fields, directing included. Legitimately great movies can fall through the cracks of history very easily if for some reason they don’t align with an auteur’s previous body of work.

Or maybe the movie is not as successful right off the bat as one would expect (whether because of a lack of acclaim, awards, box office, cultural relevance, or all of the above), but is re-discovered or re-evaluated to be a masterwork at a later date. We’re familiar with history’s most prominent examples: The King of Comedy, Eyes Wide Shut, Ace in the Hole, all of Steven Spielberg’s 2000s output, and on and on. I don’t know which, if any, of the movies on this list will one day be considered among the best of their respective director’s output, but I think they all deserve further reconsideration in that discussion. …


Which teams improved their spot in the championship hierarchy?

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https://nypost.com/2020/02/07/russell-westbrook-and-robert-covington-too-much-for-lakers/

What started out as a slow NBA trade deadline sure ended in a bang. We shouldn’t have expected anything less. Some of the league’s title contenders made big swings to further bolster their championship chances, while others stayed pat with their current groups, with their sights set on potential buyout guys and free agents.

As a sequel to a similiar piece I wrote after the the wild free agency period over the summer, let’s take a look at the rotations of the NBA’s best teams roughly halfway through the season. …


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Link: https://www.ocregister.com/2016/08/12/kobe-bryant-credited-with-reshaping-culture-of-usa-basketball-helping-lead-team-to-2008-2012-gold-medals/

Kobe Bryant eventually became my favorite player. Which is weird, because he was the antithesis of what I love about basketball.

I have always loved the freewheeling, unselfish point guard types bursting with creativity, who would throw a no-look pass while smiling. Your Steph Curry’s, your Steve Nash’s, your Magic Johnson’s. Kobe was the opposite of that. He could be a ball hog. He always had a scowl on his face during games. But, he eventually wore me down with his relentlessness, which is probably his defining characteristic. …


A statistical prediction for this year’s Best Picture lineup.

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The 2019 Oscar nominations take place on Monday morning. I combed through the last 10 years of nominees for six major precursor awards (AFI, NBR, Golden Globes, BAFTA, PGA, and Critics Choice) to guess which movies will be nominated for Best Picture. The potential field looks mostly great, so I’m sure the voters will screw it up somehow.

A few items to note:

About

Logan Butts

Words about: Sports, Movies, Music, TV, and Crime Novels

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