REPORT: NO TRACTION ON DAME TALKS DESPITE HEAT TRADE PACKAGE
There remains no real traction on a deal involving Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, league sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The Heat are working on a trade package that includes expiring deals, three to four first-round picks, one of the team’s younger players, and possibly second-rounders and draft pick swaps, Charania adds. In this scenario, Heat guard Tyler Herro would be sent to a third team.
Lillard’s preference is still to play for the Heat, according to Charania. The NBA recently warned the star guard that he could face discipline if he or his agent suggest publicly that he won’t fulfill his contract if the Blazers deal him to another team.
Lillard and his agent assured the league that he “would fully perform the services called for under his player contract in any trade scenario,” per a league memo obtained by TNT’s Chris Haynes.
The Blazers star reportedly requested a trade on July 1, naming Miami as his preferred destination. Lillard has spent all 11 seasons of his career in Portland.
A seven-time All-Star, Lillard is the Blazers’ franchise leader in both total and average scoring. He was third among qualifying players last season at 32.2 points per game.
INDIANA FEVER BASKETBALL
Emma Cannon scored a team-high 23 points Tuesday night, including the go-ahead layup with 60 seconds left, as the Indiana Fever nipped the Phoenix Mercury 72-71 in Indianapolis for just their second win in 14 games.
Cannon’s bucket was the only points for either club in the final 2:17. Phoenix (6-19) had four shots to take the lead after Cannon scored but couldn’t convert any of them. The last was a driving layup attempt by Shey Peddy with two seconds left that Aliyah Boston rebounded to seal the outcome.
Kelsey Mitchell added 21 points for Indiana (7-19), going 10 of 11 at the foul line, and Erica Wheeler chipped in 13 points. The Fever overcame 39.7 percent field-goal shooting and 21 turnovers to snap a five-game home losing skid.
Diana Taurasi poured in a game-high 29 points for the Mercury despite finding second-half foul trouble. Megan Gustafson added 17, but the duo didn’t have enough help. Phoenix made only 39.1 percent of its attempts from the field and was outrebounded 36-29.
The Mercury were without center Brittney Griner, who is taking a hiatus to focus on her mental health.
Boston grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
The first quarter was defense-optional as the teams scored almost at will. Taurasi got off to a fast start with eight points in the first 3:08 and 12 for the period, helping Phoenix establish a 28-27 edge.
Neither team could maintain that blistering pace in the second period, although Cannon was able to give Indiana a leg up with some surprising punch. Averaging 5.2 points over 16 games coming into the night, she scored 14 points in the period and enabled the Fever to take a 46-43 lead into the break.
Taurasi started the third quarter with 23 points on just 10 shot attempts in a display that might have reminded one of her prime, but she quickly picked up her fourth foul at the 8:25 mark. Without her firepower, the Mercury managed just 14 points in the period and Indiana stretched the margin to 63-57 entering the fourth.
LIBERTY HANDLE SPARKS FOR 6TH WIN IN 7 GAMES
Courtney Vandersloot scored 23 points, including a pivotal basket down the stretch, and the New York Liberty overcame a stout defensive effort from the host Los Angeles Sparks to score their sixth win in the last seven games, 76-69, on Tuesday.
Breanna Stewart scored 16 points despite going 1 of 9 from 3-point range and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season.
New York (20-6) struggled offensively, shooting just 28 of 66, including 8 of 33 (25 percent) from 3-point range, and endured a field-goal drought of almost four minutes from the late third quarter into the fourth.
But with the Liberty holding the Sparks to just 24-of-70 shooting (34 percent) and 6 of 20 from 3-point range, New York rallied from even down in the second half en route to its second win at Los Angeles in as many games.
Vandersloot’s all-around effort set the tone. She posted a game high in scoring, added seven rebounds and matched the Sparks’ Jordin Canada with a game-high six assists.
Vandersloot scored on timely buckets, snapping the Liberty’s field-goal drought early in the fourth quarter, then finishing in the paint with 1:08 remaining on what proved to be the clinching shot.
It was New York’s final made field goal and extended the team’s lead to two possessions down the stretch.
Los Angeles (9-17) could not bridge the gap. The Sparks went 2:44 without a point late, and 3:17 between field goals – both of which came on Nneka Ogwumike’s layups.
The second, with 14.1 seconds remaining, cut a six-point New York lead to four, but Los Angeles came no closer.
Ogwumike led the Sparks with 20 points and eight rebounds. Canada finished with 13 points, but she shot a dismal 4-of-19.
The loss marked Los Angeles’ 10th in its last 12 outings.
ACES THRASH DREAM FOR EIGHTH CONSECUTIVE WIN
Jackie Young recorded 24 points and four steals to help the Las Vegas Aces notch a 93-72 home victory over the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday night.
A’ja Wilson added 20 points and 11 rebounds as the WNBA-best Aces (24-2) won their eighth consecutive game. Kierstan Bell scored 13 of her career-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, Kelsey Plum scored 14 and Chelsea Gray had 10 points and seven assists as Las Vegas improved to 13-0 at home.
Cheyenne Parker scored 19 points and Nia Coffey added 14 for the Dream (14-12), who are 2-4 since putting together a seven-game winning streak.
Las Vegas shot 52.3 percent from the field, including 11 of 23 (47.8 percent) from 3-point range.
Atlanta made 43.3 percent of its shots and was just 4 of 20 (20 percent) from behind the arc. Both Rhyne Howard (six points on 3-of-10 shooting) and Allisha Gray (eight points, 3 of 11) had subpar nights.
Coffey made two baskets in a 23-second span as Atlanta crept within 63-55 with 3:54 left in the third quarter.
The Aces answered with six straight points to push the lead to 14. Parker then scored back-to-back hoops, and the Dream trailed 69-59 entering the final stanza.
Haley Jones opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to bring Atlanta within seven before Las Vegas delivered the knockout punch.
Bell made two 3-pointers in a span of 29 seconds to start a 15-0 surge. Fellow reserve Alysha Clark also knocked down a trey to push the lead to 16.
Young added a 2-pointer, Wilson made two free throws and Young scored another basket to give Las Vegas an 84-62 lead with 5:22 remaining.
Young scored 18 points as the Aces led 54-43 at the break. Parker had 15 in the half for Atlanta.
Las Vegas led 25-22 after one quarter before making 7 of 9 3-point attempts in the second. Young was 4 of 5 from long range in the period while scoring 14 points.
Young made all four of the treys in a span of 2:32 as the Aces opened up a 46-29 lead with 4:54 left in the half.
ALYSSA THOMAS’ LATEST TRIPLE-DOUBLE FUELS SUN PAST LYNX
Alyssa Thomas posted her second consecutive triple-double, and this time it came in a victory as the Connecticut Sun defeated the visiting Minnesota Lynx 79-69 on Tuesday night in Uncasville, Conn.
Thomas racked up 21 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists. She had her fifth triple-double of the season in the books with more than 1 1/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. She has more triple-doubles this season than all other WNBA players combined.
Thomas has a WNBA-record nine career triple-doubles, seven in the regular season. Sabrina Ionescu is next with four total.
Tyasha Harris poured in 17 points off the bench, Tiffany Hayes supplied 16 points and DeWanna Bonner had 15 points for the Sun (19-7), who have won four of their last five games.
The outcome came two days after the Lynx pulled out an 87-83 victory on the same court.
Lindsay Allen scored 16 points, Kayla McBride posted 15 points and Diamond Miller had 13 points and six assists for the Lynx (13-14), who had a three-game winning streak halted. Minnesota won those previous three outings by a total of 14 points, but it couldn’t keep Tuesday’s margin close by the end.
Thomas also did work defensively, with a game-high three steals.
Bonner helped the Sun pull away with five points in a 53-second stretch that allowed Connecticut to hold a 75-62 lead with 3:59 to play.
Connecticut shot 50 percent from the field to make up for shooting just 4-for-21 on 3-pointers and 3-for-6 on free throws. Bonner was 6-for-10 shooting from 2-point range, but 1-for-9 on 3s.
The Lynx weren’t much better from the 3-point arc, going 5-for-18.
It was a tight game for much of the first half until the Sun carried a 37-30 lead to halftime. Minnesota drew within 58-52 in the final minute of the third quarter.
The second segment of the two-game visit to Connecticut wasn’t as rewarding for Minnesota rookie forward Dorka Juhasz, who played collegiately for UConn. She was held to four points in 28 minutes, though she pulled in a team-high 11 rebounds.