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Liberty Links: Rihanna is basically the only good thing about the NBA Finals

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Tell ‘em, Rihanna.

NBA: Finals-Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Quite an exciting Game One of the NBA Finals last night, huh guys? Let’s all hope the series gets a little better from here, because if this is what we’ve been reduced to in the league’s championship—particularly after a fairly dull run in the conference playoffs—it’s not going to be much fun to talk about the league.

Some links for your viewing/reading pleasure:

The best of both worlds—Jackie MacMullan, ESPN

"Two or three years ago, that stuff would have bothered me," Durant says. "Not anymore. I'm having fun and enjoying my life. I know they want me to be miserable, but I'm not. Sorry." Win or lose, the plan is now the same at the house in the hills. Kevin Durant will play the game he loves, then come home, crank up the classic vinyl Marvin Gaye record his father bought him for Christmas and watch the sun set on the Bay, the bridge, his new city, his new home.

Since last night’s Game 1 was a complete snoozefest, read Jackie Mac’s story on Durant, who totally didn’t make these playoffs less exciting by joining a 73-win team, of course.

All aboard the Jonathan Isaac bandwagon

I don’t even know if I would go this far on this claim, but hey, dare to dream! Using this as a springboard, Jonathan Wasserman wrote a piece for Bleacher Report this week that discussed Isaac vs. Jayson Tatum, and he leaned slightly toward the FSU product:

They'll each make for fine picks in the draft, regardless of where they're taken. But Isaac has the chance to be unique at both ends, and he's given scouts enough reasons to buy into his development over the next few years.

Him checking more boxes across the board—namely defense, rebounding, tools, efficiency and fit—only acts as additional cushion.

I found an executive who should be fired

There are legitimate concerns Lonzo Ball will have to overcome if he’s going to be a lead guard at the next level. But man, this take exists in an alternate universe. Ball should be a very good passer and a player who raises his team’s offensive level, regardless of whether or not he overcomes some of his limitations. There are guys who might be better upside plays, but come on, T.J. Leaf?

The Immortal Life of John Tesh's NBA Anthem "Roundball Rock"—David Roth, Vice

And yet, because it never left, NBA fans still hear it all the time. There are no plans on the part of any of the NBA's current broadcast partners to bring it back, and Tesh is busy enough that he has not pushed for a reunion. "I don't really wake up every morning thinking about it," Tesh told me. "But what I'd really like to do is maybe at the Finals, one time, if they asked me, I would love to come, just right at midcourt, maybe with an eight-piece string section or something like that, and just play the theme right after the national anthem. That would be a fun thing for me."

Maybe you, as I did, found that very easy to imagine. Maybe you, as I did, realized that you had, in some way, already been imagining it.

LeBron James won’t last forever—Seerat Sohi, Fansided/The Step Back

But then he followed up a 11-point dud in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a lackluster first half in Game 4, and topped it off by missing an open dunk; more aberration than bad omen, maybe, but it is hard not to be spooked by a statistical rarity when it finally strikes the person it used to skip over. All of which is to say, as much as I am floored by the fact that he is still so dominant, plays like that serve as a reminder that one day, he won’t be.

We need a Rihanna-Embiid relationship for the culture

Nothing would be better than Joel Embiid grabbing the torch from LeBron James, storming through the NBA Finals, and clowning on this Warriors team with Rihanna by his side.