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Redick, Mavs eye playoffs as guard joins team after trade

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JJ Redick doesn’t have an ideal number of games in mind to get ready for the playoffs with the Dallas Mavericks, who were thinking postseason when they acquired the shooting guard with an expiring contract.

“The ideal number is the most amount of games possible,” said Redick, who is recovering from a right heel injury that required an injection and last played March 3. “I’m a rhythm player and so I want to be in a good rhythm going into the playoffs.”

The Mavericks made a deal just before the trading deadline March 25, getting Redick and Nicolo Melli from New Orleans for James Johnson, Wes Iwundu, a 2021 second-round draft pick and cash.

Redick met his new teammates at practice in New York on Thursday, a day before the Mavericks play the Knicks on their season-long five-game road trip. Redick has joined the team presumably for good this season, but hasn’t started practicing. There’s no timetable for his Dallas debut.

“My understanding is that things are going in a very good direction,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We obviously hope he can be back 100% sooner than later.”

The Mavericks, who are 17-8 since a six-game losing streak that dropped them a season-high five games under. 500, are seventh in the Western Conference with 25 games remaining. Dallas is 3½ games out of a spot in the top six, which the club needs to avoid the play-in round of the playoffs.

Redick made the playoffs each of his first 13 seasons in the league before the Pelicans failed to qualify during the NBA’s coronavirus restart in Florida last year. The 36-year-old has played in 110 postseason games.

“He’s a guy situationally whose shooting is a difference-maker,” Carlisle said. “We feel like he can help us on the floor. We feel he can help us with our day-to-day culture. He’s a meticulous worker and a tireless preparation guy.”

Redick is shooting 36% from 3-point range, which would be a career low if he didn’t play again in the regular season. But the most immediate question is how much better his opportunities will be playing with young Dallas sensation Luka Doncic, whose vast offensive skills are matched by his passing ability.

“Luka is as good as anybody in the league and creating his own shot and creating for other people,” said Redick, who averaged 8.7 points in 31 games with the Pelicans, about four points off his career average.

The day before his first virtual meeting with Dallas reporters since the trade, Redick said on his podcast he was “jarred” by the deal because he had asked to be traded to the East Coast or left out of any deals so he could control his destination through a buyout.

It got close enough to the deadline last week that Redick turned off his phone thinking he was staying put, only to find out later he had been dealt.

“I reiterated this several times on the podcast, look, this is a great situation,” said Redick, who hasn’t won a title and reached the NBA Finals once, in 2009 when Orlando was swept by the Los Angeles Lakers. “I’m hoping that I can really help this team in a few ways and contribute to winning and contribute to hopefully a long playoff run.”

Redick’s postseason experience leaves Carlisle with little worry about figuring out how to incorporate what could be the club’s best 3-point threat into the lineup, presumably in late April and early May leading into the playoffs.

“From what I’ve seen over the years, any time he’s come back, he’s been able to get back into it pretty quickly,” Carlisle said. “At this stage of his career, a couple, three weeks off, whatever it’s been, might actually be a good thing. We’ll try to figure it out quickly.”

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Gains sizable in NBA Finals ratings from last year, but fourth-lowest average since 1997

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NEW YORK — Television ratings for the NBA Finals and playoffs posted sizable increases over last year. But that was the only good news for the NBA as far as viewer numbers.

According to Nielsen, the NBA and ABC on Wednesday, the six-game series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns averaged 9.91 million viewers, a 32% increase over last year’s series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, which also went six games. However, the average makes it the fourth-lowest since 1997.

The Lakers-Heat series — which was played in October in the Orlando bubble after the coronavirus pandemic pushed the season back five months — averaged only 7.45 million.

San Antonio‘s 2007 four-game sweep of Cleveland (9.29 million) and the Spurs’ six-game victory over New Jersey in 2003 (9.83 million) are the other series to average fewer than 10 million since 1997.

The numbers were also down 34.5% compared to two years ago, when the TorontoGolden State series averaged 15.14 million.

Milwaukee’s 105-98 victory over Phoenix on Tuesday night attracted the most viewers in the series, averaging 12.52 million. The audience peaked between 11:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. EDT at 16.54 million. Only two games in the series averaged 10 million or more.

This year’s playoffs averaged 4.25 million, up 35% over last year but down 18% compared to 2019.

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Two shootings leave 3 wounded in Milwaukee during celebration of Bucks’ NBA championship

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MILWAUKEE — Two shootings in downtown Milwaukee early Wednesday as crowds celebrated the Milwaukee Bucks‘ first NBA championship in 50 years left three people wounded, police said.

The shootings both happened about 12:42 a.m. at two locations near Water Street, police said in a statement. TV station WISN had a reporter broadcasting from the scene when multiple shots were heard, prompting people to flee.

The shootings were across the Milwaukee River from Fiserv Forum, where the game was played, and the Deer District plaza, where a crowd of roughly 65,000 had gathered for an outdoor watch party. The area where the shootings took place is on a street heavily populated with bars and restaurants.

During Tuesday night’s game, a police officer was trampled by people trying to get into the Deer District watch party after the area had reached capacity, Milwaukee police Capt. Jesús Ortiz said in an email. The officer didn’t sustain any major injuries but reported being in general pain, Ortiz said.

Following one of the shootings, a 22-year-old man had non-life-threatening injuries, police said, and a suspect was in custody.

In the other shooting, which police said happened simultaneously, a 19-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man had non-life-threatening injuries. One person was in custody and other suspects were being sought, police said.

The two shootings, which were in the immediate area of the celebrations, likely were what was heard during the TV coverage, Ortiz said.

The celebrations came after Giannis Antetokounmpo capped one of the greatest NBA Finals ever with 50 points as Milwaukee beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 to win the series 4-2.

Fans who packed the streets surrounding the arena had cheered and danced all night as they watched the game on giant video screens, and the massive crowd erupted in jubilation as the game ended. A few fans climbed light poles in the plaza and others jumped off a bridge into the nearby river as fireworks exploded above the arena.

Joy Smith, 50, of Milwaukee, danced after the final buzzer. “Milwaukee is underrated, but we proved to the world we could do it,” she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Another fan, Sabrina Holland, 37, of Milwaukee, called it “epic.” She said: “Everyone who’s anyone is here.“

Before the game, and at the city’s request, Gov. Tony Evers mobilized 150 National Guard members to help in Milwaukee with traffic control and public safety.

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Sports world reacts to Milwaukee Bucks winning first NBA title since 1971

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The Milwaukee Bucks are the 2020-21 NBA champions and have snapped a 49-year title drought, the league’s fifth longest entering this season.

This ring proved to be hard-fought as Milwaukee is just the third team in Finals history to win four straight after trailing 2-0, joining the 2006 Miami Heat and 1977 Portland Trail Blazers. Giannis Antetokounmpo joined Bob Pettit as the only players in NBA history to score 50 points in a finals clincher.

As the franchise and fans celebrate their long-awaited championship, let’s relive some of the best social media moments from the Bucks’ title-clincher.

Antetokounmpo joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in Bucks history to be named Finals MVP. He and his teammates had several notable viewers excited to share their congratulations.




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