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Articles on this Page
- 05/12/16--09:48: _Taylor Swift dances...
- 05/12/16--10:43: _Azealia Banks has b...
- 05/12/16--17:31: _Netflix's 'Voltron'...
- 05/13/16--05:24: _Meghan Trainor take...
- 05/13/16--08:40: _Is Tyler Oakley a l...
- 05/13/16--09:20: _BTS premieres K-pop...
- 05/13/16--15:09: _YouTube experiments...
- 05/13/16--15:17: _Forget millennials,...
- 05/13/16--16:23: _Hulu to develop Ben...
- 05/13/16--15:13: _NFL, YouTube contin...
- 05/14/16--07:46: _Review: Chance the ...
- 05/14/16--08:49: _Over 20,000 people ...
- 05/14/16--09:16: _Stephen Colbert tal...
- 05/14/16--09:45: _Kit Harington revea...
- 05/15/16--08:25: _Drake was more Cana...
- 05/15/16--13:37: _6 overlooked sci-fi...
- 05/16/16--06:02: _John Oliver reveals...
- 05/15/16--10:00: _The last wrestling ...
- 05/16/16--07:39: _5 keys to the Warri...
- 05/16/16--07:51: _Kesha posts to Inst...
- 05/12/16--09:48: Taylor Swift dances to the Darkness in new Apple Music ad
- 05/12/16--10:43: Azealia Banks has been suspended from Twitter
- 05/12/16--17:31: Netflix's 'Voltron' reboot gets a trailer
- 05/13/16--05:24: Meghan Trainor takes a spill during 'Tonight Show' performance
- 05/13/16--08:40: Is Tyler Oakley a lock to win the 'Amazing Race' finale?
- 05/13/16--09:20: BTS premieres K-pop's first ever emoji on Twitter
- 05/13/16--15:09: YouTube experiments with in-app messenger
- 05/13/16--15:17: Forget millennials, AwesomenessTV is out to serve Generation Z
- 05/13/16--16:23: Hulu to develop Ben Stiller comedy anthology 'Bitches'
- 05/14/16--07:46: Review: Chance the Rapper's 'Coloring Book'
- 05/14/16--08:49: Over 20,000 people sign petition to bring 'Agent Carter' to Netflix
- 05/14/16--09:16: Stephen Colbert talks with Donald Trump's new publicist
- 05/15/16--08:25: Drake was more Canadian than a Tim Hortons on SNL's 'Black Jeopardy'
- 05/15/16--13:37: 6 overlooked sci-fi movies you need to stream
- 05/16/16--06:02: John Oliver reveals a deadly problem with 911 emergency calls
- 05/15/16--10:00: The last wrestling hotline still worth calling
- 05/16/16--07:39: 5 keys to the Warriors-Thunder series
- 05/16/16--07:51: Kesha posts to Instagram about eating disorder, her depression
We've watched her fall off a treadmill to Drake and apply makeup to Jimmy Eat World, and in her newest commercial for Apple Music, Taylor Swift tries to up the ante by dancing around her house to the Darkness.Vulture
Azealia Banks has been suspended from Twitter.
To those who've been following her incessant beefs and screeds as well as the occasional happy messages to her followers, it comes as quite the shock that the rapper would be taken offline on Thursday.
She's called out racist epithets to reporters, believed the contents of a faux Sarah Palin interview so strongly that she lashed out at the former Alaska governor because of it, and even attacked Beyoncé following the release of her cinematic sonic masterpiece Lemonade. So, what prompted this suspension?Many are pointing to a feud the day prior with former One Direction member Zayn Malik. Banks took to Instagram, where she maintains a sparsely updated account, to call out Malik for jacking her style in his "Like I Would" music video. She submitted side-by-side screenshot comparisons to illustrate her point.
The rapper explicitly said she wasn't mad, though. Her behavior following what appeared to be subtweets from Malik would indicate otherwise.
All it took was two subtweets from the singer to spurn Banks into action, unleashing her signature flurry of problematic jabs. Disney star Skai Jackson jumped to Malik's defense, marking a brief yet bizarre interlude to a feud that prompted Desi folks across the social media platform to co-opt her #curryscentedbitch insult, turn it into a hashtag, and celebrate their culture.Countless offensive tweets emerged from Banks over the course of the day on Wednesday. She attacked Malik's heritage, questioned his sexuality, and continued to drag Jackson into what appeared to be a one-sided match-up.
For her part, Banks did manage to apologize, firing off a forgettable—if not lengthy—series of text messages that she screengrabbed and shared with her Twitter followers prior to the suspension.The damage had been done, however. It's unclear how long Banks's suspension is set to be. In an email to the Daily Dot a Twitter spokesperson said that the company does not "comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons." Twitter said that its suspensions range from temporary to indefinite.
The move from the social media company has been applauded by many, though others are now calling its policies into question based off similarly contentious celebrity accounts.Twitter's abuse and harassment policies have repeatedly come under fire, as have the company's rather curious means of enforcing such rules. This case with Banks is no different.
She had been previously suspended from the site in 2013.
If you were a fan of the classic '80s cartoon Voltron: Defender of the Universe, you're in luck: Netflix has rebooted the series and is giving us brand new episodes June 10.
The new spinoff is called Voltron: Legendary Defender and will follow a group of teens who suddenly find themselves the commanders of five robotic lions and who are tasked with protecting the universe from evil. You know, normal teen stuff.
This series marks the third official spinoff of the original Voltron cartoon. The first was 1998’s Voltron: The Third Dimension and the second was the Voltron Force in 2011 on NickToons.
H/T TV Line
Trainor performed on The Tonight Show Thursday night just as her second album, Thank You, was about to drop on digital platforms. For nearly four minutes, the show went off without a hitch. But as she turned at the end of her song, her foot landed in an odd place and there wasn't a mic stand in the world that could have prevented her from falling over.
Ever the good sport, Jimmy Fallon joins her on the floor to make sure she was OK.When asked by fans later, Trainor brushed it off, telling them that she didn’t get a scratch and she didn’t feel anything until hours after the fall. H/T US Weekly
With more than 18 million social media followers between them, one Amazing Race duo will add another million—dollars, that is—to their accomplishments.
CBS launched its all-digital-influencer edition of the Amazing Race earlier this year, and tonight’s finale will determine which Web stars take the top prize. The finalists include dancers Dana Borriello and Matt Steffanina, vloggers and podcasters Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl, and underdog mom-and-son pair Sheri and Cole LaBrant. Not exactly the final three we suspected at the start of the season, but a solid group. Who will take home the prize money? We have some predictions based on their accomplishments, or lack thereof, this season.
Sheri & Cole LaBrant
Original Odds: 20 to 1
The other finale teams were shocked when this duo took third in last week’s episode. They were even shocked themselves, having trailed at the back of the pack all season. They survived two last-place finishes by lucking out on non-elimination legs. Burnie Burns and his girlfriend Ashley Jenkins seemed a lock for the finale with consistent second-place finishes through the race, but bad challenge choices knocked them just minutes behind. It would be a huge upset for Sheri and Cole to take first place, and would require exceptional luck and total collapse of the other two teams. Stranger things have happened, but we’re not betting on it.
Dana Borriello & Matt Steffanina
Original Odds: 18 to 1
Dancer couple Borriello and Steffanina have been consistently good during the race, but also have had trouble with communication and keeping a positive attitude. While they’re competitively strong, final legs usually don’t include a dance challenge, their biggest advantage. We haven’t seen if they’ll excel on a memory challenge—a final episode staple—without first joining forces and riding another team's coattails. They definitely have a chance at the prize, but they’re more likely to hit second.
First placeTyler Oakley & Korey Kuhl
Original Odds: 9 to 1
That’s right, one of YouTube’s brightest stars is on track bolster his lengthy resume. We didn’t rate them highest going into this season, but Oakley and Kuhl have won more legs than anyone left in the race, and aside from a small slip, have been in the top finishing teams each time. Our money is on this duo, even though top teams have crashed and burned under the finale pressure. Hell, one bad cab ride could cost them everything; but based on past performance alone, they’re the front-runners.
K-pop boy band BTS continues to score big internationally, this time becoming the first ever K-pop group to land a custom Twitteremoji.
The group released its new track, "Fire," last week, and ever since, it's been exactly that. BTS—which is changing K-pop for the better— announced Thursday through its official Twitter feed that the band has been awarded its own Twitter emoji for consistently trending on the site as one of K-pop's strongest presences. In 2015, BTS made the list for Twitter's top 10 trending topics.
And now it has its own emoji.The emoji itself is an icon of the group's signature bulletproof vest, concurrent with its full name, Bulletproof Boyscouts. Twitter populates the emoji automatically when users use the hashtags #BTS or #방탄소년단, the group's name in Korean.
The emoji will be used to track BTS' most active fans between now and June 22. BTS will use the data to determine the top five most engaged countries by the end of the Twitter campaign and record a special video message to each. According to Billboard, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, the United States, and Indonesia are currently in the lead, but the competition is open globally.
BTS is also spreading its flames on the charts, breaking the U.S. Billboard 200 Chart for the first time at No. 107. To put it into perspective, world famous British band Muse first broke the Billboard 200 at the same position with its 2003 album Absolution, which included two of the band's most popular songs, "Time is Running Out" and "Hysteria."
Meanwhile in Korea, the band just scored its second win—making it two for two—on Music Bank, one of Korea's many performance shows. Idols perform on these shows to promote their music and receive awards based on fan votes. BTS took its first win earlier this week on M!Countdown. The group took home its first award on The Show last May with the track "I Need U."BTS will be on tour in Asia in June, and it plans to come to the U.S. from June 24-25 for the annual Korean music and culture convention, KCON, in New York. BTS also will attend KCON LA in Los Angeles from July 29-31.
As if YouTube rabbit holes weren't siphoning enough hours of the day, you might soon find yourself spending even more time on the platform.
According to Wired, YouTube is experimenting with a new in-app messenger, much like Facebook's, so you can chat with friends or family while browsing. And that actually makes sense: How many times a week, when you're messaging with someone on Gchat or Facebook, has a conversation shifted with: "Have you seen that video?" Probably plenty.
On Wednesday, the company started letting a select number of mobile users try out the messaging feature, which lets them chat about a shared video and respond (hopefully with another video) in groups or one-to-one. Considering that more than half of YouTube views come from mobile and those users are watching videos for an average of more than 40 minutes, this is a smart move to advocate for more sharing—and staying put.This comes as YouTube is attempting to go after streaming video sites like Netflix with YouTube Red, its home for original content, and possibly even branching out to live TV. That would make the messenger even more of a social tool.
We've reached out to YouTube to see when this feature might be rolling out to a larger user base.
The tween and teen-focused multi-channel network AwesomenessTV outlined its dominance with the 12-24 set at its NewFronts presentation this week. To do so it brought out some of the company's biggest stars, from Jc Caylen and Kian Lawley, to Kandee Johnson and Tyler Oakley, to explain how Awesomeness programming connects with its targets.
“This is really a whole different sort of mass media,” explained Oakley. “I reach millions of people, but they feel like they’re being reached as individuals.”
Said founder Brian Robbins: “Gen Z, they are rich. … They are loaded man.”
He went on to explain how they are flush with parental money, free from college debt, and all have smart phones, which he described as “basically credit cards.” All that combines for the perfect storm of a consumer.
“They’re the most influential generation ever,” he said.
There is some wiggle room in AwesomenessTV’s focus on the Generation Z crowd. To skew younger, DreamWorksTV creates content for children. Actual child star Sunny Keller took the stage to explain how DreamWorksTV has produced more than 100 original series for 1.5 million subscribers in two years, eclipsing established kid brands like Nickelodeon and Disney.
For millennials, AwesomenessTV has honed in on a subset: the millennial mom. Awestruck, AwesomenessTV’s new programming offering for the growing millennial parenting genre, features digital star moms like Kandee Johnson and mainstream celebs like Zoe Saldana.
The company also announced a partnership with Major League Baseball for a multi-episode scripted series aimed at bringing young viewers to the sport, as well as new seasons for Royal Crush and Guidance, and a new go90 series, t@agged. Another announcement was the Kids Game Awards, a new livestreamed program from DreamWorksTV to highlight the best in kids gaming this October.
AwesomenessTV is also moving into the messaging space, partnering with Kik to deliver chat bots on the platform. With an audience of 40 percent of U.S. teens, AwesomenessTV will tailor unique, scripted content directly to handheld devices.
AwesomenessTV content is now available on 31 platforms, including a recent Apple TV launch.
“The problem with linear TV isn’t the shows, it’s the experience,” said Robbins, who started AwesomenessTV at his kitchen table four years ago. “Today we’ve evolved into an IP-driven network.”
Ben Stiller is bringing Bitches to Hulu.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hulu is developing Stiller's half-hour comedic anthology series, which is based on a Brazilian show called As Canalhas. That roughly translates to "the bastards," and each episode spotlights a different woman who tells of the "evil deeds" she's committed against friends, lovers, strangers, or family.
This adaptation has the same format, with each woman "confiding her dirty deeds and misadventures to her hair stylist. These include stories of confronting dominant husbands, turning the tables on frenemies and finding sweet vengeance after being cruelly pushed to the edge." As Hulu tries to drum up more original comedies, this could be seen as its answer to Netflix's comedy anthology show The Characters, but "racy."
Stiller's production company, Red Hour, is set to produce, and director Nzingha Stewart (Pretty Little Liars) is writing. Last week at Newfronts, Hulu announced it's getting into live TV this year and that it hit 12 million subscribers in May.
YouTube announced Thursday that it is renewing its strategic partnership with the NFL, adding full-length games to its current NFL channel lineup of game previews, in-game highlights, post-game recaps, news, analysis, and fantasy football advice.
YouTube’s new lineup of full-length NFL games won’t be live telecasts. The video-hosting platform will be posting three of the most memorable games for each of the NFL’s 32 clubs—a total of 96 games—to the NFL’s official YouTube channel prior to the start of the 2016 season.
YouTube’s social video competitors have taken a slightly different approach to the football game. Last fall, Yahoo paid a reported $20 million for the exclusive live broadcast rights for a single NFL game. Although it received 33.6 million streams, some doubted the wisdom of the investment.
Last month, Twitter scored the livestreaming rights for 10 Thursday Night Football games, beating out competitors (including Amazon, Facebook and Verizon’s Go90 platform) with a $10 million bid that was $5 million less than the best offer.
YouTube’s renewed deal with the NFL will increase the overall amount of the league’s content on the platform, including game highlights uploaded to YouTube while games are in progress. It also improved the searchability of NFL content. Going forward, a Google search for an NFL team will display official NFL video, along with related news and information, all displayed to the user in a single box at the top of the search results. Kickoff time and broadcast information for every NFL game will also be prominently displayed in Google search.
“This expansion of our partnership will make it easier than ever for the millions of highly engaged avid and casual fans on YouTube and Google to discover and access an even greater variety of some of the most valuable content in the sports and entertainment business,” Hans Schroeder, the SVP of media strategy, business development, and sales for the NFL, said in a statement. “Our fans continue to demonstrate an insatiable appetite for NFL digital video content online.”
“I met Kanye West, I’m never going to fail/He said let’s do a good-ass job with Chance 3” was the first inclination of the now 23-year-old independent rapper’s third mixtape.
But what's in a mixtape these days? If the hook is still that mixtapes are loose, free uploads strewn across databases like DatPiff, Chance is in a different professional place. Released late Thursday via Apple Music and iTunes—where it will remain for two weeks as an exclusive—his third "mixtape" was likewise removed from DatPiff after 11 unauthorized hours and more than 141,000 downloads.
It's his first solo effort since 2013's wildly successful and critically acclaimed Acid Rap. Chance has stated that this new mixtape took two years to make, during which time he became famous and a grown-up, and that is why he has said it is far better than anything he’s done before.
He's set for crossover appeal and even wider recognition with his new project, much like the most heralded rapper of the last five years—Kendrick Lamar. Last year the Dre protege moved away from traditional verse-chorus-verse hip-hop to something quote-unquote “more” than rap, transcending the genre altogether.
In the time between his last mixtape and this one, there was a detour called Surf by Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment. The album was jazz, soul, and the dancier elements of indie rock, combining all the influences of the eclectic Chance and the seemingly endless number of contributors on the album. It was surprising to see a rapper who, after achieving success, was so confident in himself and his friends that he completely deserted his musical expectations while also being content to share the spotlight.
Chance has stated that the Surf album really made him appreciate the art of collaboration, and on Coloring Book, which has more than 20 guest features plus a children’s choir, he definitely puts that theory to use. At this point in his success, Chance is able to get West on his album as well as Justin Bieber, although they both only appear for a couple of quick choruses. But even more impressive than the guest stars themselves is the ease in which they exist both alongside each other and within the lush environment mainly made up of live instrumentation.
The music on the mixtape is done by new and lesser-known producers, and they provided Chance a landscape instead of a backing track. Pianos, string and horn sections, and background vocals all contribute to the warm, bright textures that feel like the skin of a loved one or a red carpet to the dance floor. There are more live instruments than on his previous mixtapes but at the same time, there is a wandering quality that didn’t exist in the fairly tight Acid Rap.
Coloring Book feels dense while also carrying less dead weight. There are intros and bridges and ad-lib solos and plenty of guest verses to weave in and out of Chance’s world, which now splits time in Los Angeles and his crime-stricken Chicago. In Chance we get the perspective of a father, celebrity, and relative kid. The songs reflect that, whether it’s a somber nursery rhyme about illicit substances in “Same Drugs,” a gospel song where he references Harry Potter in “How Great,” or an acoustic slow jam in “Juke Jam.”
Coloring Book is the most fun album in the young rapper’s catalog, but it also contains some very cutting lines. On the slow-burning “Blessings,” he hits a raw nerve: “Jesus’s black life ain’t matter/I know I talked to his daddy.” In the same song, he makes no apologies for the experimental and loose structure to his work: “They want four-minute songs/You need a four-hour praise dance performed every morn’.”
The name Coloring Book was unknown until the mixtape showed up on iTunes Thursday night, and that title is flat compared to stand-in moniker Chance 3. But this newest tape has been anticipated for more than three years and has been in the making for at least two of those years, and all those expectations and work are obvious on each song. It may just be a sketch book, but when the outlines are distinct and expansive, the colors so varied and vibrant, it's enough to just watch a guru have fun with full creative freedom.
ABC announced on Friday that it wouldn't be renewing Agent Carter for a third season, despite the overwhelming success of just about every venture in the Marvel Universe. Fans of the show aren't ready to let go, though.
They've started a petition to bring Peggy Carter to Netflix. Nearly 20,000 people have added their name to the call to bring Agent Carter to Netflix, the streaming service that has a habit of reviving fan-favorite shows that never quite find a wider audience.
Were the '40s-era spy show to get saved from the chopping block, Netflix would be a logical destination given that it plays host to other Marvel vehicles like Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The universe of characters will continue to expand on the streaming platform in coming years as well, with the addition of Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher.
Reviving Agent Carter isn't just a matter of finding a network that fits; there's also a potential logistical issue now that lead actress Hayley Atwell's other show, Conviction, has been ordered to series. According to a report from Variety, Atwell would have managed her schedule to accommodate both shows had Agent Carter been renewed. Fans are hoping she's willing to make similar sacrifices if they can revive the canceled series.
Hurdles aside, viewers just want their show back. Agent Carter suffered from dwindling ratings, but the people who did tune in every week didn't lack for passion.
"Agent Carter is one of only solely female-based shows on the air of the superhero variety," wrote one of the petitioners. "Peggy Carter is without a doubt the leading lady of the Marvel franchise, so in preventing her story, the story of one of the most important characters of a massive company, from being fully told, you are also eliminating a key role-model for many young female superhero fans."
There's no guarantee that even if the petition reaches its goal, it will have any impact on the decision of the major media executives who decide what shows live and die. But it is one way for fans to express their support for the show, renewed or not. Here's hoping Marvel and Netflix are listening.
Donald Trump reportedly pretended to be his own publicist two decades ago. As with the countless other controversies surrounding the presumptive Republican nominee, this bizarre claim hasn't been forgotten.
The Washington Post obtained audio of a 1991 conversation with Trump's alleged publicist, John Miller, digging into the footage and coming up with gold. It turns out that Trump eventually swore under oath that he was indeed Miller (aka John Barron) and that the stunt was merely a "joke gone awry."
Needless to say, late night host Stephen Colbert took notice. The comedian is certainly no stranger to characters who transcend their creator, having turned his neo-conservative persona into a brand so successful it landed him as the emcee of the White House Correspondents' Dinner.
Colbert laid into Trump only to be interrupted by a man who sounded suspiciously like the Donald during his show on Friday night.Turnover certainly is high in the Trump camp. Watch Colbert cycle through three of the presidential hopeful's alleged publicists, all with outlandish names: John-Ald Uh... Melania-Witz, Barron McJohnington, and Mill-John Ivanka-Tower.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones's sixth seasonIf you've ever been pulled over for speeding, then congratulations! You have something in common with Game of Thrones star Kit Harington. Give yourself a bonus point if you've also managed to talk your way out of a ticket.
Harrington managed to do just that by revealing the fate of Jon Snow to the cop who pulled him over, per the Game of Thrones fan and law enforcement official's suggestion. The acclaimed actor tells the tale on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.Needless to say, he's just as stoked as any other motorist puttering away from a potentially heavy fine with only a faint warning to slow down. On your way indeed, Lord Commander.
"Black Jeopardy" has returned to Saturday Night Live.
Watch as the rapper trots out music superstars to the north and name-drops hockey players to the confusion of Keenan Thompson—and somehow inadvertently wins.
While the movie selection on the streaming services can be hit or miss, there are a lot of small gems to be found on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Whether it’s a critically praised gem you missed in theaters, an interesting flick that flew totally below your radar, or even a critically savaged film you’d still like to check out without investing in a ticket, there’s plenty to see if you poke around the streaming catalogs.
Better yet, let us do it for you.
Being suckers for a good science fiction outing, we’ve sifted through Netflix and Amazon to find six speculative tales that you probably missed—assuming you even heard about them in the first place. Clear your schedule and enjoy these tales of artificial intelligence, space journeys gone wrong, time travel perils, and the meaning of life.
Ex Machina is the feature directorial debut of Alex Garland, a writer who’s been behind some of the most interesting speculative fiction flicks of the past 10 years, including 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go, and Dredd. In the Oscar-nominated Ex Machina, a gifted programmer named Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) travels to a remote retreat at the behest of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), the eccentric CEO of Caleb’s company. It turns out Bateman has built an honest-to-gosh artificially intelligent android named Ava (Alicia Vikander), and he wants Caleb to test her to see just how convincingly “alive” Ava has become. Soon, however, it becomes clear that Bateman’s motivations may not be entirely benevolent, and Ava enlists Caleb in a plan to escape her creator’s captivity. Ex Machina is currently rocking a 92 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and won an Academy Award for its visual effects work in bringing Ava to life Back to the Future before they started mucking with history.
John Oliver has a reality check for anyone who needs to call 911 during an emergency.
In some cases, like if you use a landline, dispatchers will be able to find your location. Problem is, 70-80 percent of emergency calls now come from cellphones, and it’s becoming harder for 911 dispatchers to locate people when they need it most.
In some cases this could be deadly; a USA Today study found that the chances of being located by a dispatcher is anywhere from 10 to 95 percent. As Oliver explains, an Uber or the Domino’s app can determine your location more accurately than a 911 dispatcher.
Even then, many of the call centers are understaffed and underfunded, further delaying the dispatch of live-saving services. The Federal Communications Commission wants to improve location technology to make 911 dispatches accurate at least 80 percent of the time, but that still means that one out of five people still might not be located."Until we are explicitly confronted with the challenges facing 911, it seems we're not going to do anything about them," Oliver said. "And maybe the problem is that we are taught from a young age to take 911 for granted.”
The 73-win Golden State Warriors weren’t supposed to meet the third-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder with a Finals berth on the line. The Thunder had other plans, vanquishing the San Antonio Spurs in six games, closing out in dominant fashion last week.
The defending champs now get a blazing-hot team arriving into Oakland, California, for Monday’s night Western Conference Finals opener—but one they’ve actually beaten threes times, to no losses. Curry and the Warriors should nevertheless be very afraid. Their matchup could be as difficult, if not more so, than their once-assumed showdown with the 67-win Spurs. The data scientists at Five Thirty Eight certainly think so: "according to the pre-series Elo ratings (which estimate each team’s strength at any moment), it’s the single best-looking conference finals matchup since 1984."
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Steph Curry are not only three of the NBA's most dynamic gunners, they're also giant Web stars with more than 22 million combined Twitter followers. While LeBron James toys with the Toronto Raptors in the East, the Internet will be hooked on Thunder-Dubs during a best-of-seven series that could go the distance.
Here is your illustrated guide to how the West will be won, complete with crucial points straight from leading hoops bloggers.
1) Is Curry 100 percent?
That’s a trick question because no player is 100 percent at this stage of the season, even with long layoffs between rounds. The real question is whether the scoring champion and now two-time MVP is in Rating 99-NBA 2K mode, or if his knee will continue to need close attention throughout—even after playing well in the closeout win versus Portland. If he’s leaning toward the former, look for a continuation of meme-turning closeout performances.
2) Can the Thunder play D or what?
There are two keys to OKC having any shot—nuanced physicality on Curry and Klay Thompson, and defensive consistency for four quarters. But this has been a middling defensive team, as Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes noted:
The Thunder ranked 12th in league defensive rating this year—an underwhelming spot in light of the team's overall athleticism and individual stopping power. Communication was a key issue, as were lapses in focus... OKC looked stouter on defense against the Spurs because San Antonio gradually stopped moving the ball and attacked in isolation far too often. That's no way to exploit a defense that, when stretched, tends to come apart at the seams.
The Thunder’s use of their “death” lineup—including Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams—worked over the Spurs’ old front line. They must make entering the lane extremely hazardous; and there can be no plays like these, where Adams, Ibaka, or Enes Kanter are stuck chasing, with no help.
For all the great qualities he does have, Westbrook isn’t exactly an all-NBA defender. He’ll drift off, looking and worrying about things he shouldn’t.
This sort of faulty footwork and laziness will usually mean a Curry or Thompson bucket. On the flip side, Curry has to be salivating. In the last couple games, Westbrook looked completely defeated and shaken by Curry, often giving lackluster effort.
Westbrook must stay at home in his fundamentals, and help must be smart, willing, and available. However, sometimes it doesn’t matter. On this “death play”—one of the high screens so close to the 3-point line—recovery isn’t possible.
3. Slowing down Durant
Simply put, Golden State must contain the dynamic duo. Durant has destroyed the Dubs, averaging over 36 per contest in the season series. The Warriors seem to be acknowledging Durant’s superiority and do the best they can by making him drive into help as often as possible—which helped force nine Durant turnovers in the last matchup. Strategic use of human utility knife Andre Iguodala on Durant in crunch time will pay dividends, forcing the shooter into more contested jumpers.
4. Keeping Westbrook at bay
Defensively, Oklahoma City does not present any additional looks that would buckle Golden State coach Steve Kerr’s knees. But Curry should not be forced to guard Westbrook for long stretches. Kerr must ensure minimal exposure for Curry guarding anyone other than Dion Waiters, Andre Roberson, or passing lanes. Westbrook’s penchant for getting into and breaking the teeth of defenses must be mitigated against—it is what their offense is predicated on.
The Westbrook drive—whether out of an isolation or pick-and-roll, creates catch-and-shoot opportunities... In transition, they are one of the most dynamic teams in the league... Quantified Shooter Impact measures a player's ability to convert shots relative to an average player, and Durant leads the league with a qSI of 26.1 in transition—meaning that given the shots he gets, he has an eFG% that is 26.2 percentage points higher than an average shooter.
5. How do you get so far into a preview, and not mention Klay Thompson, a two-way player rivaled only by Kawhi Leonard, in depth? How about Draymond Green?
What’s understated and critical about Klay Thompson’s double-duty skills is that his defense will offset most of his (rare) bad shooting nights, and up the necessity for him to stay out on the floor as often as possible. As good as reserves Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are, they don’t offer nearly the same bang for the buck, per minute.
Most games, Draymond Green is stuffing the stat sheet, but you’re never quite sure how he accomplished it. Durant and Ibaka must ensure Green isn’t near the rim, or getting his way out of Curry-centric fears. Triple-doubles for Green mean Golden State wins.
With a tried and true formula—centered around Curry and Thompson’s deadly marksmanship—the Warriors won’t be forced to alter much. Thunder coach Billy Donovan will need to have an immediate defensive plan for tightening the clamps on Curry and Thompson, primarily. They must be made to feel claustrophobic whenever possible. However, The Thunder’s tendency to waver in concentration will eventually display itself, hindering their chances.
Aside from Curry’s greatness and the Warriors’ overall skill/IQ combination, their best asset is the uncanny ability to steel and steady themselves, regardless of game situation. There is no moment too big, no detail uncovered. Unless the Thunder can create consistently choppy waters for Golden State, the defending champions will sail into the Finals. Warriors in six.
"I have decided to take my life back. My freedom. My happiness," read the caption.
Sporting nothing but bikini bottoms and two middle fingers pointed toward the sky, Kesha wrote about an "uphill fight" between her career, body image, and self-worth. The liberating post received more than 66,000 likes, and thousands commented their support.
She appeared to be on a tropical getaway with a group of friends.