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Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau narrowly edges Suns’ Monty Williams in NBA Coach of the Year voting



Knicks' Tom Thibodeau narrowly edges Suns' Monty Williams in NBA Coach of the Year voting

Tom Thibodeau has been named the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year — but not without controversy.

The first-year Knicks coach narrowly edged Suns second-year coach Monty Williams 351-340 to earn the award for the second time of his career. Thibodeau is the first coach to receive the honor in his first year coaching with two different teams (his first came with the Bulls in 2010-11).

But Williams, who had already been tabbed NBCA’s Coach of the Year, produced more first-place votes (45) than his Knicks counterpart (43). Thibodeau secured the award with 10 more second-place votes. Below is the tally for voting in 2020-21, decided by media and based only on the regular season.

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There’s something to be said of Thibodeau leading New York to its first playoff berth and winning season since the 2012-13 season. But Williams’ Suns produced more wins (51) than Thibodeau’s Knicks (41), a better winning percentage (.708 to .569) and a higher seed in the NBA playoffs (the Suns are the 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, compared to the Knicks’ 4 seed in the Eastern Conference).

Phoenix also experienced a playoff berth for the first time under Williams, and the first time since 2009-10. Though it has nothing to do with Coach of the Year voting, the Suns also became just the sixth team to unseat the defending NBA champions in the first round, beating the Lakers in six games. The Knicks lost their first-round series against 4-seed Atlanta in five.

For those who care about such things, Williams has considerably less experience coaching in the NBA. Thibodeau was an NBA assistant for 20 years before becoming a first-time head coach with the Bulls in 2020-11; the 2020-21 season was his ninth as a head coach. Williams was an assistant for five years before returning to play five seasons from 2010-15. He then spent one season as associate head coach in Oklahoma City and another year as an assistant in Philadelphia before taking over the Suns in 2019-20.

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Padres’ Manny Machado wore the perfect Father’s Day footwear



Padres' Manny Machado wore the perfect Father's Day footwear

Manny Machado’s got heat on feet. Kind of.

While ostentatious, loud and colorful cleats are all the rage in baseball, the Padres’ star third baseman dialed it down on Father’s Day. Like, a lot down.

Machado took the field wearing a pair of Nike Air Monarch cleats — the preeminent, iconic dad shoe — during San Diego’s Dad Day matchup vs. the Reds.

The Monarchs have fostered a reputation for being an unforgettable dad-worn sneaker, making Machado’s footwear a tremendous salute to fathers (and grillmasters) around the country.

What makes the cleats even better is that they are in the classic white, silver and navy blue colorway, which is the only way to wear those bad boys. While these are Jordan Brand player-exclusive cleats, they’re dad-exclusive away from the field.

MORE: Joey Votto makes young fan’s day in San Diego

Machado has worn all different makes of cleats throughout his career, usually flashy and gaudy types. The All-Star infielder has worn Jordan 11s, 12s, 4s and a bunch of others on the field.

Still, lacing up a pair of Grillmaster 5s on Father’s Day earned him plenty of praise from fans who understood the tribute:

You’ll probably be able to catch Machado after the game at a BBQ near you, likely cracking some bad puns and calling everyone “big guy.”

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Nets’ Kevin Durant joining Team USA for Tokyo Olympics after Game 7 loss vs. Bucks, report says



Nets' Kevin Durant joining Team USA for Tokyo Olympics after Game 7 loss vs. Bucks, report says

Kevin Durant isn’t going to be taking much time off this summer.

In fact, he appears to be ready for more action despite playing all 53 minutes of the Nets’ Game 7 overtime loss to the Bucks and scoring a game-high 48 points. And he’s joining another super team that has title hopes.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Durant is expected to commit to Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Durant would become the sixth player to commit to Team USA, joining another player with Olympic experience, Draymond Green, and four first-time Olympians: Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker.

MORE: Kevin Durant blames ‘big-ass foot’ for loss to the Suns

Durant competed in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. He averaged 19.5 points at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro and 19.4 points at the 2012 London Olympics.

In addition, Durant shot 54.6 percent from the shorter-range international 3-point line at the two tournaments and has compiled a 39-0 record in international play.

Team USA can now turn its attention to its remaining question marks with Durant’s commitment reportedly secured. Anthony Davis and LeBron James won’t be participating in this year’s Olympics, but Stephen Curry was “50-50” about competing in the event.

Either way, Team USA should be considered the top threat at the 2021 Summer Games with Durant in the fold.

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Yankees secure win vs. Athletics with another triple play, tie MLB record



Yankees secure win vs. Athletics with another triple play, tie MLB record

If a double play is a pitcher’s best friend, then what’s a triple play?

The Yankees had already turned two triple plays this season before Sunday, including one that has literally never been seen before in MLB history. Then they pulled off one more, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

With the Yankees teetering on the brink of danger in the ninth inning, closer Aroldis Chapman got A’s catcher Sean Murphy to ground to third baseman Gio Urshela, who stepped on the bag and relayed to DJ LeMahieu, who then threw to Chris Gittens for the 5-4-3 game-ender.

It was a record-tying play by the Yankees: The high-water mark for triple plays turned in a season is three, with the feat most recently accomplished by the White Sox in 2016.

The Yankees’ second triple play of the year — a 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple killing vs. the Blue Jays on June 17 — had never accomplished in baseball history:

The around-the-horn game-ending triple play on Father’s Day secured a 2-1 victory over Oakland and gave New York the series win over a hot A’s team. New York moves to 38-33 and continues to right the ship in an up-and-down season.

But, hey, that’s a pretty cool gift for dads everywhere.

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