TOP OF THE TOWN – We haven’t seen this much firepower since the Iraq war. The three superstars in the Brooklyn Nets lineup scored a collective 104 points May 30 tying an NBA playoff record for three teammates held by Boston’s John Havlicek, Jo Jo White and Dave Cowens in 1973 and matched in 1986 by Atlanta’s Dominique Wilkins, Randy Whitman and Spud Webb (Doc Rivers was a point guard on this team). Those three superstars are, of course, Kevin Durant (42 points), Kyrie Irving 39) and James Harden (23) as the Nets bombed the Boston Celtics 141-126. Harden, who had a playoff high 18 assists in that bombing of the Celtics, had a triple-double Tuesday (June 1) as the Nets sent the Celtics packing (and coach Brad Stevens to the front office as President of Basketball operations, replacing Danny Ainge, who at 62 is retiring), in a 123-109 victory that closed out the series, 4 games to one. Harden scored 34 points, pulled 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. Irving added 25 points and Durant 24. The Nets now take their firepower up against Milwaukee Saturday (June 5) in Brooklyn, which isn’t going to be the cakewalk this one was. … Damian Lillard is unreal. The Portland Trail Blazers’ star had a night Tuesday (June 1) that had the rest of the league sitting up and taking notice. Lillard became the first player in NBA playoff history to go crazy, scoring 55 points and adding double digit assists (10). The ‘Blazers sharpshooter nailed 17 of 24 shots, including 12 of 17 threes, added nine of 10 free throws, a steal, three blocks and just one turnover in 51 minutes. Alas, the ‘Blazers lost 147-140 to Denver in double overtime. … While Lillard was putting on a show with an extra effort, the King took a walk. LeBron James walked off the court to the bench with just over five minutes left and his Lakers being pounded by the Phoenix Suns. Some are questioning his heart or calling him a sore loser. The Lakers, playing without Anthony Davis, were spit out by the Suns, 115-85. It was 105-73 when King James took a seat on the bench. James scored 24 points before he took a seat. I have seen this before. He walked off the court last year in Game 3 when his team was getting beat. In 2018 his Cavaliers were swept in four games by Golden State and the King made all kinds of excuses for defeat. He’s definitely a sore loser. He was called out for quitting in 2011 when his Miami Heat was beaten by Dallas. So it goes. When things are going well, the King is all smiles. When they go bad, the King disappears…. I don’t believe its right for leagues or associations require their stars to talk to the media or be fined. They shouldn’t have to talk if they don’t want to (see Marshawn Lynch). Tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open because of the requirement to speak to the French press.  Osaka said she struggles with social anxiety and depression and being forced to talk heightens those concerns. Many stars took to social media to support her decision, including Russell Wilson. I understand organizations that depend on public relations to sell their product want their stars to talk, but I say tough. It’s not the player’s duty to sell their game. Their effort is all they need to give. If they want to be silent, deal with it media. I had at least one player refuse to talk to me after being upset at something I wrote about him. That’s part of the deal of being a reporter. You deal with it and move on. So if Osaka doesn’t want to talk for mental health reasons, leave her alone. If she wants to talk, fine, but otherwise leave her alone. Ok, that is enough for today. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.