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Charles Oakley’s civil lawsuit following MSG run-in dismissed

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A civil lawsuit filed by Charles Oakley against New York Knicks owner James Dolan and Madison Square Garden has been dismissed.

Oakley filed the lawsuit in 2017 following a February incident that year in which he had a run-in with security personnel at the Garden.

Oakley was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault, one misdemeanor count of aggravated harassment and one misdemeanor count of trespassing. He was also cited for two additional counts of harassment that are considered noncriminal violations. The criminal case was dismissed and sealed in 2018.

He had been seeking compensation to be determined by a jury for emotional distress and/or mental anguish, punitive damages, damages to Oakley’s reputation and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

“This case has had the feel of a public relations campaign,” U.S. Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan wrote in his decision to dismiss, “with the parties seemingly more interested in the court of public opinion than the merits of their legal arguments.”

Judge Sullivan concluded: “Oakley has failed to allege a plausible legal claim that can meet federal pleading standards.”

Madison Square Garden released a statement thanking the court for its decision.

“This was an incident that no one was happy about,” the statement said. “Maybe now there can be peace between us.”

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Thunder’s Danilo Gallinari helping fund COVID-19 test kits, protective equipment

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Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari has connected with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department to provide funding for 400 coronavirus testing kits as well as personal protection equipment such as face shields, gloves, gowns and N95 masks for next week.

The focus will be providing for high-risk individuals such as health care workers, first responders, persons over age 65 and those who are immunocompromised.

“There is a need, and so people in my position, if we can help, if I can help, it’s something that I feel that I want to do and I need to do,” Gallinari told ESPN by phone on Friday. “It was a great to collaborate with the local institutions and be able to set this up. Since I’m here, I’m leading the quarantine here, this is where I am, so it feels even better to be able to help the situation here.

“Knowing what’s going on in my country and what my family has been in through both in France and Italy, if I can help mitigating or at least avoiding some of the troubles we had early on in Italy, and we can do better here in OKC, and the States in general, that’s good.”

The last time Gallinari shot a basketball was March 11 when he was warming up some 15 minutes before tipoff against the Utah Jazz. The game never started, as Rudy Gobert‘s positive COVID-19 test was about to stop the entire sports world in its tracks.

Since then, Gallinari has been quarantined in Oklahoma City with his fiancée, working out once or twice a day, cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner and binging Netflix shows.

“If I was by myself,” he said, “it would be way, way tougher.”

Gallnari’s native Italy has been one of the hardest affected by COVID-19, with the entire country going on lockdown a few weeks ago. He said his family is still doing well, although they’ve been quarantined for more than a month. But some of his close friends have been impacted, including a childhood best friend who lost his grandmother and a former childhood teammate who lost his mother on Thursday.

“It’s a tough situation, and I could tell you a lot of not nice stories, in terms of people passing away or people that I know — best friends, family members — that have been affected by the virus,” he said. “The stories, they keep coming up every day. Every hour.”

After witnessing the issues his country faced with the outbreak, Gallinari was one of the first professional athletes to speak out about the need for closing arenas and stadiums in the United States to fans. He said that a day before the Thunder played the Jazz on March 11, at a time when shutting arena doors still seemed a toss-up decision.

“I wasn’t predicting anything or I wasn’t a magician, I was just telling everybody what was going on in Italy was something very possible in the States too,” he said.

A little more than 24 hours later, Gobert tested positive and the NBA never even got to the stage of closing doors to fans; the season was immediately suspended.

“Fortunately, Adam Silver did an amazing job closing everything right away, so we didn’t go through phase two. We never even played games with no fans,” Gallinari said. “After what happened, it was great for him to do what he did and stop everything. It was the right thing to do. So I’m glad. It’s been tough, but as players we’ve been quarantined since March 11, so we started the quarantine that night.”

The United States passed China on Thursday with the most cases worldwide of COVID-19. As of Friday, there have been more than 100,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., with the death toll rising above 1,500.

“I think there is still time to contain the situation,” Gallinari said. “It’s very important the citizens understand how to behave and this is not something that will go by tomorrow or is gonna go away in a few days or a week or two weeks. It’s something that’s going to take months and so with a little help other like people like me can do all over the States in their local communities, hopefully we’ll be able to contain the numbers.”

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Bridges leads Suns to victory in first NBA 2K game broadcast on radio

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Mikal Bridges pulled through in the clutch, scoring 27 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Phoenix Suns‘ NBA 2K team to a 75-64 victory Friday over the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I don’t even know how to play this game,” Sixers player Matisse Thybulle joked.

“I’ve been playing the last 48 [hours],” Bridges said.

Perhaps it was that extra bit of practice that was all the difference.

Read more: Rhys Hoskins leads Phillies to MLB The Show win | Simulations fill the void with sports on hold

The twist is that Philly native Bridges was controlling his Suns, while Thybulle, from the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale, Arizona, took charge of his 76ers.

The Suns pulled away in the second quarter, taking an 11-point lead into halftime. Philly surged back, scoring 21 in the third and holding Phoenix to six to take a four-point lead into the final frame before Bridges and the Suns pulled away.

If it wasn’t the extra practice, it was Twitch chat calling for substitutions. When Philly took control of the game — in part because of exhausted pixelated Suns players — Bridges noticed the call to action and corrected course, leading to a bounce-back for the Suns.

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Amid the pause in sports due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Suns have embraced creating season-simulation content more than most other teams that are also doing it. Even the Suns’ official website schedule has been updated to include Twitch links. Every game is treated like an event, with different athletes and influencers taking part, often with little wrinkles being added along the way.

This game included a bingo card filled with entries such as “Ayton dunks” and “Rubio rebound” that fans could use to follow along. It was also the first broadcast to be called on the radio, as Suns radio host Jon Bloom and Suns color analyst Tim Kempton called the NBA 2K game on Arizona Sports KMVP-FM 98.7, an ESPN Radio station based in Phoenix. According to the Suns’ press release, this is the first NBA 2K game ever called on the radio.

Despite audio issues in the fourth quarter and the game starting time being pushed back an hour , the game consistently saw 12,000 viewers on Twitch and Twitter, which is consistent with the number of viewers from previous games. The Suns’ next scheduled broadcast is Saturday against the Miami Heat.

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ESPN NBA Analyst Doris Burke

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ESPN NBA Analyst Doris Burke

ESPN NBA Analyst Doris Burke joins The Woj Pod to reveal that she has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, including details of her symptoms, her hospital testing experience and her recovery process. In opening up, she is hopeful to make more people aware of the importance of social distancing and other important measures being taken to try and combat the pandemic.

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