Charles Barkley, Shaq, Snoop Dogg headline NBA Awards 2018 presenters

Turner and the NBA today announced a star-studded lineup of presenters for the second annual NBA Awards on TNT presented by Kia on Monday, June 25 (Tuesday, June 26, PHL time), with coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Charles Barkley, DJ Khaled, Shaquille O’Neal, Jesse Williams, Snoop Dogg, Niecy Nash, Ken Jeong and Adrienne Houghton will hand out some of the night’s top awards honoring the brightest stars and best moments from the 2017-18 NBA season. Model Damaris Lewis will return as the trophy presenter and DJ Kiss will be the official DJ for the evening.

Hosted by Anthony Anderson and featuring a performance by Grammy Award-nominated rapper Travis Scott, the night will also play host to several celebrity attendees, including 2 Chainz, Baron Davis, Hill Harper, Boris Kodjoe, Gucci Mane, Von Miller, Terrell Owens, Tony Rock, Angela Rye, Karrueche Tran, Wale and Mack Wilds in addition to current and former NBA players and coaches. The Sports Emmy Award-winning Inside the NBA studio team of Ernie Johnson, Barkley, Kenny Smith and O’Neal will also be integrated throughout the show.

Presented live from historic Barker Hangar in Los Angeles, the 2018 NBA Awards on TNT presented by Kia will honor all of the league’s top performers from the past season, featuring the highly-anticipated Kia NBA MVP, Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year and Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, among others.

Recent NBA Awards announcements have included Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo being honored with the Sager Strong Award – presented annually to an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace.

The NBA Awards on TNT, created by Turner Sports and the NBA, is produced by dick clark productions.

The NBA™ Finals 2018: Warriors vs Cavs

Once was interesting. Twice was a thrill. The third time settled a score. But four? Well, four is going to be a tough sell for the NBA. But here we are, with the Cavaliers and Warriors preparing to meet for the fourth consecutive time in the NBA Finals, Golden State having KO’d Cleveland in five games last spring.

The Warriors rolled through the West playoffs at 12-0 last year, but lost five games this time and went to a Game 7 against Houston in the conference finals.

Cleveland had been 12-1 before the Finals last year, but needed two Game 7s — in the first round against Indiana and in the conference finals against Boston — this year to reach the Finals. We are getting the same Finals yet again, but at least we were close to getting some different representatives.

Now that the matchup is here, though, it’s hard to see how things will be much different this time around. Golden State has the same core of players, and in last year’s Finals, the Cavs did a decent job limiting Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but had no answer for series MVP Kevin Durant, who averaged 35.2 points, shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from the 3-point line.

The good news for Cleveland is that Durant enters this series a little off his game. He has averaged 29.0 points, but his postseason shooting has been all-too human, at 47.9 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from the 3-point line. He scored 34 points on 11-for-21 shooting in Game 7 against Houston, but in his three previous games, he shot 36.5 percent and 31.3 percent from the 3-point line.

And the Cavs could also get a boost from the knee injury that has kept forward Andre Iguodala sidelined for the last four games. Iguodala has been vital to the Warriors’ defense against Cleveland star LeBron James in all three of the Finals matchups between the teams.

But the problem for James is that this will be the worst of the four versions of the last four Cavs teams. Gone is Kyrie Irving — he averaged 29.4 points per game in last year’s series — and the role players that Cleveland brought in have mostly been flops.

Rodney Hood has been relegated to the bench, and Jordan Clarkson has shot 30.6 percent from the field in the playoffs. Larry Nance Jr. has been effective as an energy guy off the bench, and George Hill has been a solid starter, though he’s been inconsistent.

For the most part, Cleveland has leaned on its veterans, like JR Smith and Kyle Korver. But the Cavs are getting very little from anyone outside of James, who is averaging 34.0 points in the postseason. Kevin Love, who missed Game 7 of the East finals with a concussion, is the only other Cleveland player averaging double figures, at 13.9 points per game.

Durant, on the other hand, has ample help around him. Curry has averaged 24.8 points in the playoffs and Thompson is up to 20.5, shooting 42.6 percent from the 3-point line. There’s just too much depth on the Warriors’ side in this series, and there is not enough help for James.

NBA Basketball 2018: Celtics beat Bucks to advance; Warriors blow out Pelicans in Game 1

Despite losing yet another star player to injury — this time Jaylen Brown —  the Celtics somehow managed to turn an eight-point halftime lead Saturday into an easy 112-96 victory over the Bucks in Game 7.

The Celtics advance to host the 76ers in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinals matchup Monday at 8 p.m. ET.

Brown, who had scored 20.5 points per game in the first six games of the series, limped to the locker room late in the first half. Although he returned to the bench after halftime, he didn’t play in the second half. The Celtics announced he had a sore right hamstring.

Yet even with Brown sidelined, the Celtics looked unstoppable against a hungry Bucks team. With Al Horford (26 points) owning the paint and Terry Rozier (26 points, 5-of-8 from 3-point range) ripping the nets from outside, the Celtics built a 19-point lead with five minutes remaining before coasting home. On the defensive end, the Celtics completely shut down the Bucks’ transition game.

It’s enough to make anyone ponder just how good this team will be when stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward return next season.

Meanwhile, in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, the Warriors powered their way to a 123-101 win over the Pelicans, despite the absence of injured Stephen Curry, who was ruled out earlier in the evening.

The two teams were tied at 39 early in the second quarter, but the Warriors outscored the Pelicans by 20 points in the second quarter to take a 76-55 lead into the locker room. Incredibly, things got even more lopsided in the second half, as the Warriors built a 29-point lead after three quarters.

Even with Curry sidelined, the Warriors just had too many players for the Pelicans. Klay Thompson (27 points) and Kevin Durant (26) led six Warriors in double digits in scoring.

Game 2 is Tuesday in Oakland at 10:30 p.m.

Studs of the Night

Draymond Green collected his fourth career postseason triple-double (16 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists), passing Tom Gola for most playoff triple-doubles in Warriors history.

Forward Jayson Tatum also had a huge game for the Celtics, with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists. He also was a ridiculous plus-24, more than twice as many as any other Celtic.

Dud of the Night

Guard Jrue Holiday shot 4-of-14 from the field, picked up five fouls and scored 11 points in the Pelicans’ loss. After averaging 27.8 points per game in the Pelicans’ surprising sweep of the Trail Blazers in the first round, he needs to do more if New Orleans wants any chance in this series.