Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where there’s never a heat advisory. Let’s get to it:
*Hopkins point guard Paige Bueckers was the Star Tribune’s Metro Player of the Year as a sophomore this past season and is one of the best players in the nation at her age.
Francesca Belibi just finished her junior year in Colorado, where she’s already become famous for her in-game dunks (the first one coming when she was a sophomore).
Together, they make quite a duo. And even if this was only in a casual practice setting, where Bueckers, Belibi and the rest of their Team USA squad is getting ready for the FIBA U17 World Cup later this month in Belarus, it is a sight to behold.
The scene: Bueckers lobs it up; Belibi goes and gets it. A dunk happens, and their teammates go bonkers.
The best part is that there’s video. Check it out:
*The Twins had their five-game winning streak snapped in a 9-4 loss to the Royals, while Kansas City snapped a 10-game losing streak in the process. But Minnesota managed to remain 8.5 games behind Cleveland, on the fringes of maybe sort of trying to stay relevant in the AL Central, because the Indians lost in excruciating fashion.
How’s this: After Trevor Bauer pitched eight scoreless innings and Cleveland took a 4-0 lead into the ninth inning at home against Cincinnati, the Reds rallied for SEVEN runs, all scored with two outs, in the final inning for a 7-4 win.
Making matters worse for Cleveland: The pitcher who gave up the winning hit, Dan Otero, wasn’t even supposed to be in the game. Per ESPN.com:
(Manager Terry) Francona said afterward there was a miscommunication. He requested “OP” — Oliver Perez — and it was understood as “OT,” Otero’s nickname, and Otero was told to warm up in the bullpen. When the pitching change was made, Francona realized something had gone wrong. “When I saw OT coming through the gate, it was not the guy I was expecting,” Francona told reporters.
It was Cleveland’s fourth consecutive loss.
*NBA Commissioner Adam Silver seems to have changed his tune about whether the Golden State Warriors and other “super teams” are bad for the NBA. At a news conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday in the midst of Summer League action, Silver had this to say:
“I think the Warriors—within the framework of this deal—should be doing everything they can to increase their dominance. That’s what you want to see in a league. You want teams to compete in every way they can within the rules. I don’t necessarily think it’s per se bad that the Warriors are so dominant. As I’ve said before, we’re not trying to create some sort of forced parity. What we really focus on is parity of opportunity.”
Here’s what he said two years ago after Kevin Durant joined the Warriors: “I don’t think it’s good for the league. … When you aggregate a group of great players, they have a better chance of winning than many other teams. … I do not think that’s ideal from a league standpoint.”
Therein lies both sides of the argument, I suppose. You can’t fault Silver for evolving his line of thinking — in part, perhaps, since the NBA seems to be as popular as ever even though only a small handful of teams enter every season with a realistic chance to win a title as opposed to more parity-driven leagues like the NHL and NFL.