The Denver Nuggets, facing a 3-1 series lead against perhaps the most talented team in all of basketball, capped off their second-straight comeback from that exact deficit. For the first time in NBA history, a team has come back from that hole in the same postseason, and on Tuesday night, Denver earned that distinction with an emphatic 104-89 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
It was shocking in just about every sense of the word — the Clippers, once again, got out to a double-digit lead, then the Nuggets rallied back, playing like a team that looks like it can win a championship in a second half where just about everything went right. Here are three takeaways from the game, which capped off a comeback that I still can’t fully believe happened.
1. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are superstars
Teams that want to win are oftentimes defined by their superstars. As this series emphatically showed, Denver has a pair of superstars who can not only play, but will scratch and claw and fight for every single thing with the hopes of coming out on top in every game they play.
The Clippers, a team that was ostensibly built around its suffocating defense, had absolutely zero answers for Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray in Game 7. The former was about as deadly a quarterback as you’ll see this side of Patrick Mahomes. His 16 points were perfectly solid, yes, but the big man ripped down 22 rebounds and just made Los Angeles’ frontcourt submit to his will on the glass. More impressive we were his 13 assists. Even when he did not make a pass that directly led to an assist, Jokic was finding dudes in perfect places and putting them in positions to do something, whether it was score or make something happen on their own.
Jokic was in complete and total control of every single thing that have been around him. He is the team’s metronome, possessing qualities that you normally expect out of guys like LeBron James or Chris Paul. Instead, we are talking about the 7-foot tall center of the Denver Nuggets. Jokic is nothing short of a marvel, and I hope he never stops doing stuff like this. This was him rubbing salt in the wound by going deeper into his bag than Santa does for the last kids he visits on Christmas Day.
And then, there is Murray, who has been just a straight up monster all postseason. He has brought an edge that works in perfect balance with the steadiness that Jokic brings. In Game 7, he was an inferno, scoring 40 points on 15-for-26 shooting and hitting six of his 13 threes. He doled out five assists and ripped down four rebounds, too.
This is a guy who is just oozing confidence right now. Every single time that Jamal Murray steps onto the basketball court, he is convinced that he is going to outplay everybody else on the other team. And if he does not, he is, at the very least, going to play his behind off. Denver is better for it, and he is, slowly but surely, earning the title of being a superstar in this league.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in Game 7 vs. Denver: a combined 24 points on 10-of-38 shooting (26.3 percent) and 4-of-18 shooting on 3s (22.2 percent) in 82 minutes.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) September 16, 2020
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in the 4th quarter of Game 7:
— Shaker Samman (@ShakerSamman) September 16, 2020
Not great! We’ll get to them in a sec. Before then, let me just say the following:
2. The Nuggets rule
A bit of a mea culpa here: I thought that the Clippers would sweep this series. I did not think that Denver, coming off of an all-out war with the Utah Jazz, would have the horses or answers for any of the various things that L.A. could throw at them.
But my God, does Denver have heart. This is a team that steps onto the floor every single night and wants to make sure that the other team has as miserable a basketball playing experience as they possibly can. Their two stars are fantastic, of course, but up and down their roster are a bunch of guys who want nothing more than to fight whenever they are on the floor.
Paul Millsap has lost a step, but he will battle. Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig are not afraid to mix it up with anyone. Gary Harris, god bless him, had a brutal year in which he battled injuries and looked like a shell of himself, but was fantastic as the Nuggets battled back in this series and competed like hell on the defensive end of the floor, while simultaneously hitting some shots that just did not fall for him during the regular season for one reason or another. The guys off the bench — Mason Plumlee, Monte Morris, Michael Porter Jr. — understand what they have to do when they step onto the floor.
Michael Malone absolutely deserves a ton of credit for what he has built. He has built a team that has this unshakable belief in itself and will not go down without a fight. As a result, this group has so much swagger right now, and even if the Lakers might be a better team on paper, it’s really hard to bet against them being able to put away this team. Denver is such a wonderful story, especially when you consider how close they came to making the conference finals last season. They got a chance to atone for that, and when that opportunity presented itself, they made the best of it.
3. The Clippers are in for one heck of an offseason
No team made a bigger splash last offseason than the Los Angeles Clippers. They pulled off an absolute monster deal, giving away basically every single thing that they could trade in order to acquire Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder. As a result, they were able to sign the biggest name in free agency, convincing Kawhi Leonard to come home to Los Angeles after winning a championship with the Toronto Raptors. Between those two, a team that was very good last year, a coach that knew how to win a title, and a front office that was willing to do whatever it took to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy, this team seemed preordained to make some serious noise in the postseason.
And then, they spent an entire season never quite looking like the team that they could be at their best. We saw plenty of glimpses of that, but we never quite saw enough to, in retrospect, justify thinking that this was the best team in basketball. They were capable of earning that distinction, they just never did it quite enough. As for their stars, you saw those numbers earlier in the post, but Leonard had 14 points on 6-for-22 shooting with six rebounds and six assists in Game 7, while George had 10 points and hit two of his 11 attempts from three.
The Clippers got punched in the mouth for three games in a row, and whenever their opponent threw that punch, they completely folded. Los Angeles has never made the conference finals, and despite this being perhaps the best opportunity to ever do that in franchise history, they came up short once again.
I have no idea exactly what is going to happen next, but considering how high the expectations are from ownership on down in that organization, it seems like something has to go down. I don’t want to speculate on anyone’s job security, but Doc Rivers, for all the good he has done in that organization, might have to answer some questions after how this went. Montrezl Harrell — who was not all that good during the playoffs — is a free agent, as is Marcus Morris. Leonard and George, a pair that was supposed to get them to the promised land and were as guilty as anyone for their Game 7 collapse, both are free agents after next season.
It’s a weird time in L.A., and despite most teams having their eyes on the 2021 offseason, the Clippers are a team that seems ripe for doing something big before next year tips off.
‘Glee’ Star Chris Colfer Talks New Book ‘A Tale of Witchcraft’
“Extra’s” Cheslie Kryst caught up with Chris Colfer, who dished on his new book “A Tale of Witchcraft,” a sequel to his “A Tale of Magic.”
He said, “Everything is an allegory in the series. It’s all about oppression and acceptance… It’s a fantastical story about a school of really whacky young witches. It’s about this clan, the Righteous Brotherhood, who come back from the dead and try to destroy magic. At its core, it’s really a story about hate, about fear, and about mental health… Hopefully, it will be a conversation piece for parents to have the conversation about mental health.”
Colfer also opened up on how “Glee” co-star Naya Rivera’s death has affected him, admitting, “I’m still kind of coming to terms with it. I think quarantine has made everything foggy for all of us. It’s one of those things I have to wake up every morning and remind myself that it happened.”
Chris added, “She was an incredible person. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about her, truly, which is rare for me.”
Sharing how he wants people to remember her, he said, “I think people have been remembering her the way that I would want her to be remembered… as a smart, funny, talented, wonderful mother.”
He continued, “When you are a part of a show like ‘Glee’… you get worried that you’ll be remembered as the character you played on TV and not who you were as a person. I really think people have genuinely really nailed her. She was all these wonderful things. Being so close to her, it’s wonderful to see that… Her soul shined through.”
On a lighter note, Chris is also ready for Halloween, as was apparent from his background during the video interview. “I’m obsessed with Halloween… It’s gay Christmas.”
He’s getting his costume ready, too! “I think I am going to do a repeat, though I don’t think I am going to go full-out, ’cause there’s nowhere to go.”
“A Tale of Witchcraft” drops September 29.
Dylan Farrow Is Back in the Public Eye. This Time It’s on Her Terms
Dylan Farrow nearly lunges across a table to offer me a “social-distance gamer solidarity hug.” We have been sitting at opposite corners of a park picnic bench in Bridgewater, Conn., for nearly an hour dancing around the themes of her debut novel, a fantasy book called Hush (out Oct. 6), when we realize that we have both recently lost weeks—O.K., months—to the same fantasy video game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses. We both prefer the rare games in which you can play as a female avatar, preferably one who righteously shoots misogynists with arrows.
“Have you seen my author photo?” she asks, scrolling through her phone. In it, she’s wearing a necklace that looks like a crescent moon, but in fact is a family crest from Fire Emblem.
Farrow has been obsessed with fantasy for as long as she can remember, spending hours reading A Wrinkle in Time and The Lord of the Rings. “Maybe that escapism was a form of coping with trauma that I didn’t realize at the time,” she says. Hush—in which the central character, Shae, confronts a cabal of mostly male wizards who can use magic to manipulate her reality and force her to question her truth and her sanity—draws obviously, achingly from Farrow’s life. She’s reticent to talk specifics, but in a bold afterword, Farrow makes a direct connection between Shae’s experience and her own.
“My family was assaulted by a powerful individual dedicated to ruining our lives and our credibility,” she writes. “Using the overwhelming power of a verbal campaign that was supported only by obfuscating legal documentation, an entire generation was led to believe in a false narrative.”
When she was 7 years old, Farrow told her mother, Mia Farrow, that her then-adoptive father Woody Allen had sexually abused her. A few months prior, Mia Farrow had found naked pictures of another one of her daughters, Soon-Yi Previn, in Allen’s possession. Allen has repeatedly denied Dylan Farrow’s allegations and famously told TIME’s Walter Isaacson in a 1992 interview of his affair-turned-marriage to Previn, “The heart wants what it wants.” The two revelations spun out into a very public custody battle and PR war that has plagued Farrow her entire life. In 1993, a judge concluded that “we will probably never know what occurred” on the date of the alleged incident but wrote that credible testimony did “prove that Mr. Allen’s behavior toward Dylan was grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her.”
Given Allen’s fame, Farrow has never been able to completely avoid the man she accused of abusing her, and until recently, telling her story had little effect. Allen continued to make films and win awards. “I have been repeating my accusations unaltered for over 20 years and I have been systematically shut down, ignored or discredited,” Dylan Farrow told Gayle King in 2018.
Farrow was a child when her name began appearing in the news, and she’s still wary of the media. When I ask about the feeling of being gaslit, especially on such a public stage, she’s evasive. But readers of her book will glimpse just how disorienting it can be for an authority figure, particularly a paternal one, to suggest to a survivor that she misremembers her own trauma.
Hush builds a dystopian world where powerful men obfuscate truth not only with magic but by banning reading and writing altogether, claiming that contact with ink can result in a deadly illness called “the Blot.” When Shae claims that her mother was murdered, these men try to convince her that her mother died in an accident. It’s only once she wrests power from them that she can truly begin her journey to discover what happened to her mother and the vast conspiracy of men trying to hang on to their influence by undermining those who might stand against them.
“It can be a delicate line to walk at times, but I think the line is there,” she says. “There is a difference between fiction and reality, and I, turns out, surprise, know the difference.”
Farrow largely exists on the Internet as a person defined by the worst moment of her life. “You’ve seen the stuff written about me,” she says, referencing Twitter attacks from Allen’s defenders. “It sucks. It’s invalidating and dehumanizing to have this limited version of yourself blasted across the news.”
But Farrow is extremely private and loath to offer any more of herself to the public. “I have a whole breadth of experience outside my public persona,” she says. “It’s not salacious. It’s a lot of picking up my daughter’s toys, bingeing television with my husband, playing video games.” She nods toward her purse, which has Star Wars emblazoned on the side. “The thing that the general public doesn’t know about me is I’m a nerd,” she says. “A huge nerd.”
After Mia Farrow adopted her as a baby, Dylan Farrow grew up in New York City and Bridgewater, a town with a single traffic light and cows grazing on rolling hills. Hers is a large family—Mia Farrow gave birth to or adopted 14 children. Dylan Farrow experienced separation anxiety as a kid and would ask her mother to sit outside her kindergarten classroom all day. “And bless her, she did it,” Farrow says. “And if she had to work, one of my siblings did. I was incredibly lucky that they indulged me.”
Dylan Farrow, left, and her mother Mia Farrow arrive at the Opening Night of “Gypsy” at The Shubert Theatre in New York City on May 1, 2003
Bruce Glikas—Getty Images
After graduating from Bard College, Farrow briefly worked as a production assistant at CNN. “It turned out journalism was geared towards a different member of my family,” she says, referencing her brother Ronan Farrow who won a Pulitzer for his work reporting the many sexual-abuse allegations against now-jailed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. She and her now-husband moved to Florida where he worked in IT and she took a job in graphic design. A few years ago, she sat him down and said she was “kind of miserable” and wanted to finally take a crack at writing a fantasy novel.
“We did the millennial thing of moving in with my mom for a while,” she says. “She was very accommodating, but thank God we have our own house now to start our own family unit.” Farrow and her husband now have a 4-year-old daughter. “Luckily, we live close enough that we still have her as a free babysitter nearby.” They are all sharing a quarantine bubble.
Like her favorite character in Fire Emblem, who holes up in her room and prefers reading to combat, Farrow is a homebody. When we meet at a park near her house, she notes that it is really the first time she’s left her property since the pandemic began. “I am literally Bernadetta,” she says of the character. “I feel so hard for her.” It’s only on the drive back to New York that I remember the reason this character scorns social interaction: She was abused by her father as a child.
Still, Farrow has proven that, like Bernadetta, she is willing to fight when she needs to. In 2014 when Allen was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes, she wrote in the New York Times that she developed an eating disorder, engaged in self-harm and feared the touch of any man as a result of her trauma and called out those who continued to support and work with him. Allen in turn wrote his own op-ed claiming Mia Farrow indoctrinated Dylan into believing she was molested. When #MeToo accusations felled other powerful men in the industry, Dylan wrote a piece for the L.A. Times asking why Allen had been spared. In 2018 Soon-Yi Previn said in a rare interview with New York Magazine that Mia had “paraded Dylan as a victim,” a claim Dylan told the magazine “only serves to revictimize me.”
This year it was announced that Allen would release a memoir. When Dylan and Ronan expressed dismay that Hachette planned to publish it—and Ronan dropped them as his publisher—Hachette’s staff staged a walkout to support her and forced the publisher to pull the book. (Arcade Publishing later put out the book.) Allen still has famous supporters and manages to secure financing, often from foreign producers, for his projects (he debuted his latest film at the San Sebastian Film Festival in September), but he has become a pariah among major Hollywood studios. Actors who once supported him have expressed regret about working with him.
Farrow says Hush was partly inspired by the #MeToo movement, which she argues is far from over. “It’s not as simple as throwing Harvey Weinstein in jail and calling it a day,” she says. “Right now, there’s a lull in the conversation. It’s not viral. Obviously, women are still being abused, and I feel like issues like this kind of stand on a knife’s edge, and it really takes very, very little to push them back to the forefront again.”
She casts Hush as a coming-of-age story in which the heroine “starts with finding the truth, putting a voice to that truth, making mistakes, learning from them, and starting all over again.” And while discovering one’s own power is indeed a hallmark of young-adult fiction, rarely has that struggle been examined in the context of gaslighting. We know now that it is a common tactic used to discredit women who speak out about abuse. But fantasy is still dominated by male authors, few of whom are equipped to tackle this topic.
The women who do write fantasy novels, especially those that deal with themes like sexism, usually face online abuse primarily by male fantasy fans who bemoan an author weaving politics into their escapist fiction, even though male authors like George RR Martin and JRR Tolkien created explicitly political works. These small groups of fans are part of highly vocal contingent on the Internet who dedicate entire social media accounts to attacking female creators in their favorite genres and arguing that the #MeToo movement has gone too far and that pop culture has become too politically correct. “I feel like those are not the people who would pick up a book written by Dylan Farrow,” she says. “And probably not the people that Dylan Farrow sat down to write the book for.” Anyway, she mostly avoids social media. “I have to stay away for my own mental health, 90% of the time. When I do tweet, it’s like this,” she says, turning her face away from a phantom laptop and grimacing as she mimics hitting “Send.”
Farrow, who is currently working on the sequel to Hush, says the aspect of her book that she identifies with the most is not the battle for truth but the character’s determination to create her own identity, outside of her conflict with the men who try to repress her. “Anyone who is familiar with me and my story and what I’ve gone through will know that it’s been a tough few years trying to sort of step into myself as Dylan the writer rather than Dylan the advocate,” she says. “Believe it or not, I don’t spend all my time yelling about sexual offenders on Twitter. That’s part of my experience, obviously, but not all of it. I’m excited to reintroduce myself to the world.”
Chris Harrison Talks Bachelorette Craziness
Bring “lots of gauze,” Chris Harrison teases in his new interview with E! News, because “your mind is going to explode” when we see Clare Crawley‘s new season of The Bachelorette.
“This is an explosive season, it is a wild, explosive season and it starts quickly with Clare,” Chris explains to Lauren Piester of what fans can expect from the upcoming Bachelorette. “She is emotional and wears her heart on her sleeve and I think she was just…determined to come in here and find the love of her life. And that’s what she was set to do.”
Little has been confirmed about the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, but that hasn’t stopped rumors from circulating amongst fans. In August, multiple sources told E! that Clare’s journey would be a short-lived one, as she apparently found “the one” quite early on in the process.
Later, it was reported that Tayshia Adams is replacing Clare as The Bachelorette. If true, it would be the very first time a Bachelorette stepped down midseason.
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