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For these two Timberwolves who have developed a kinship, it has been important for them to use their NBA platforms even when it’s been most uncomfortable this year.

Irving hasn't received a vote for MVP, let alone won the award, since he was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2017. Hampered by injuries, he has played in nine postseason games in his past three campaigns -- spent with Boston and Brooklyn -- after competing in 52 playoff games in his three seasons with James.Minnesota Timberwolves Face Masks

"The kid gets a signature shoe from Nike, which we know there's a small [group]. I mean, out of all the players that's played in our league, out of all the players that's been with Nike, there's not many signature guys," James said. "And I was like, 'That is a signature guy. Because not only is it his ability, what he does on the floor. Not only with his size. And his handle. His handle -- kids love that. He's going to have a following. That is a signature guy.' So I was like, I told my guys at Nike, 'Yes, if this is what you guys are thinking, stop f---ing thinking. He's a signature guy. There's nothing to think about.'"Memphis Grizzlies Face Masks

James, who signed a lifetime contract with Nike in 2015, shared one more story about Irving on the podcast, claiming he had a hand in the sports apparel company's developing a signature sneaker line for his former teammate.San Antonio Spurs Face Masks

"As the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers face off in the second round of the NBA playoffs, here is a full breakdown of the series."

"James Harden and Russell Westbrook versus LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Small-ball versus a group of giants. Two high-scoring offenses and two of the league’s top 10 defenses. This NBA playoffs matchup in the second round between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers has everything an NBA fan could ask for.

While this series between the Rockets and Lakers is sure to provide tons of excitement, the two teams had very different experiences in the first round.

After losing Game 1 to the Portland Trail Blazers many people thought the Lakers might be in trouble, including Charles Barkley who said they would get swept. But James and Davis had other plans. The duo took over the series, putting up incredible numbers, to help the Lakers win the next four games and make quick work of Portland.

On the other hand, it appeared as if the Rockets would cruise past the OKC Thunder after they got out to a 2-0 series lead. But things quickly changed and OKC pushed Houston to the brink of elimination, forcing a Game 7 in which the Rockets needed every single second of to come out on top.

The two different paths the Lakers and Rockets took to get to this point makes this series even more intriguing. The Lakers are fully rested but also have gone six days without playing a game that could hurt them. Meanwhile, the Rockets are still gassed from their first-round series but the fact that the series went seven could serve as a benefit because it let Westbrook get his legs back under him after missing four straight games.

This is just one of the many storylines to follow during this series. Continue reading to for a breakdown of a key matchup, key questions, and predictions for this second-round series"
Last week, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced that a round of testing of 546 players in the last week of November returned 48 positive tests. The New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers recently shut their practice facilities for short periods due to positive tests within their organizations. The Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors also revealed the existence of positive tests within their organizations this week.Dallas Mavericks Face Masks

Danny Ainge working hard to make something from nothing "I was out in the yard raking leaves when I found out that Gordon Hayward was leaving the Celtics. I saw the news and let out a audible yelp/gasp. Turns out Gordon is the one raking - to the tune of $120M.