Could James Harden reunite with Kevin Durant in Phoenix?

James Harden

Just when you thought super teams were fading away, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne dropped this bomb on us. The senior NBA writer says to keep an eye on James Harden making his way to the Phoenix Suns, as this bombshell comes just a day after news broke about Chris Paul being shown the door. This is another example of how teams are still willing to take the quick-fix route when that hasn’t been the best way of winning a title in recent years.

“The Phoenix Suns don’t waive Chris Paul unless they feel pretty good about somebody else,” Shelburne said. “And I want you to keep your eye on James Harden. I don’t want to report anything, but that was in the wind for the past month or so.”

Undoubtedly, many Suns fans would welcome another star guard into the fold alongside Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. But is this version of Harden, the player who should fill that roster spot? Probably not. If this happens, the Suns still need depth. At this point, you have to wonder if Harden actually wants to do what it takes to win a championship. After all, he’s supposedly been torn over remaining in Philly or leaving for a second stint in Houston. That makes absolutely no sense unless he just wants to go back to his favorite city, score a bunch of points, and win 30 games.

Suns making room for Harden by waiving CP3?

With Phoenix supposedly in the mix for Harden, the upcoming release of Paul makes sense. Although, moving on from CP3 makes sense for the Suns even without Harden potentially on the table. Paul is still a good player, but not at what he was scheduled to make next season. If the Suns can figure out some way to get Harden at somewhat of a “discount” and still add some depth to the team, then maybe it could work. Without any depth off the bench, this sounds like another failed attempt at assembling a “super team” to win it all.

Harden and Durant have played together for two different franchises at this point, and neither time ended with them hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy. They came close in OKC but ran into the super team of that era — the Miami Heat, aka The Heatles — led by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Their experiment in Brooklyn went awry — (Editor’s note: That’s an understatement) — and Harden opted out quickly, making his way to Philly.

Of course, these are all rumors at the moment, but it’s not hard to believe Harden wants out of Philadelphia already. The Suns being linked to Harden doesn’t seem like it would work, but it makes more sense than him running back to the Rockets. They were supposed to be rebuilding with young talent in Houston, and Harden no longer falls into that category. Maybe Harden and CP3 will end up swapping spots, with Paul landing in a Sixers jersey teaming with Joel Embiid.

That doesn’t sound like the best option either on Philly’s end, but stranger things have happened.

With the recent failures of so-called “super teams,” you’d think NBA franchises would see that this isn’t the answer. The quick fix rarely works, but too many organizations continue throwing teams together comprised of older players past their prime. There’s nothing that says they can’t do this but don’t act surprised when it falls apart faster than it was assembled.

We are finally getting the Netflix Florida Gators doc we deserve

Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer before failing in the NFL

It’s finally here. Well, it’s at least on the way — reportedly.

While there hasn’t been anything official from Netflix, multiple online publications are convinced that the streaming company will be releasing a documentary on the 2006-2009 Gators — which featured Urban Meyer, Cam Newton, Aaron Hernandez, and Tim Tebow to name a few — called “Swamp Things” in the coming months. According to, longtime college football enthusiast, author, and personality Paul Finebaum hinted at the project last year. There’s also an Instagram post from former Florida linebacker Brandon Siler that all but confirms it.

It’s believed that the series “Untold” will be the home for the deep dive into the Gators. In case you forgot, the most well-known piece of that series was on former Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o — which the old version of this site was at the center of. Well, Deadspin is kind in this, again, as this site did a story on that era of the Florida Gators in 2020 in a collection of stories that focused on some of the most-loaded campuses in college sports history.

“Titletown is what they called it,” former Gators hoops star Chris Richard told Deadspin back in 2020 about his days in Gainesville, as he was there when the football team won a national championship while the men’s basketball team was capping off a back-to-back national title run of its own.

Big-name players at UF including Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin

Riley Cooper, Louis Murphy, Percy Harvin, and the Pouncey Twins joined Hernandez, Meyer, Tebow, and Newton as they were all on the football team at one time or another during the years the documentary will cover. And those are just some of the well-known/controversial members of the team. That squad also featured future NFL draft picks like Brandon Spikes, Carlos Dunlap, and Joe Haden, while guys like Dan Mullen and Charlie Strong were assistant coaches.

“That locker room had so much talent and so many different personalities,” former Gator back Chris Rainey told Deadspin. 2007 served as Rainey’s freshman year, as he was a member of the football and track team. “It was so much fun, and we all became a family and were on the same page.

“But it is weird that when people talk about the Florida Gators and all the players that got in trouble, it does make you think, ‘Damn, we had that many people go to jail or get in trouble?’ But, that’s why I say it was a savage team.”

A lot of drama besides the championships

In case you forgot, Meyer was the head coach who eventually lost his job at Ohio State for being a liar who protected serial domestic abusers. Tebow is, well, Tebow. Newton had to transfer after he got arrested for stealing a laptop. Cooper is infamous for using slurs against Black people. Hernandez turned out to be a convicted killer. Murphy and Harvin have had multiple off-the-field issues. And the Pouncey Twins were never considered angels.

As you can see, outside of the two national titles the team won in three seasons, in 2006 and 2008, there’s a lot to unpack. However, it will be interesting to see if the documentary also touches on the other stars that were on campus during that era. On the basketball team, Billy Donovan was coaching eight future NBA players Taurean Green, Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, Marreese Speights, Nick Calathes, Chandler Parsons, and Richard. Habitual liar Ryan Lochte was on the swim team. Billy Horschel was playing golf. Matt LaPorta was playing baseball before he headed to the major leagues, and apparently, Internet sensation/famous gambler Dan Bilzerian even took a few classes that year. ESPN’s Laura Rutledge was also on campus.

“We all went to the same clubs and ate together,” Rainey added. “And that time was the last time all the athletes did that. It’s just not the same anymore.”

Three years ago, Deadspin hoped that a documentary about that era would be called, “The Swamp.” We were close. “They need to do one on us, but people are scared. After the Aaron Hernandez documentary, no way.” Rainey admitted. It looks like people aren’t afraid anymore.

WNBA, NSWL TV rights are more valuable than ever as leagues seek new deals

Hours before the WNBA’s New York Liberty were set to take the court against the Connecticut Sky at 2 p.m. on Sunday, the crowd near the players’ entrance was already entrenched. Parents and their kids, couples, and groups of friends, many decked out in shirts and shoes with that distinctive Statue shade of teal.

The Liberty have a Dream Team this year with Brianna Stewart, Sabrina Ionescu, Courtney Vandersloot, and Jonquel Jones among the starters. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is draped with their faces and the slogan, “Light it Up.”

It was easy to see why there is so much optimism, as the Liberty built up a 19-point lead in front of nearly 8,000 fans over a team they’d beaten by a single point just a few days before. But in the fourth quarter, Kahleah Cooper (28 points) led a Chicago surge for an 86-82 Liberty loss.

“You guys say it’s the super team and it’s like, we ain’t so super. We didn’t label ourselves that,” said coach Sandy Brondello, who noted that the season was young and this Liberty team has time to change the narrative.

A one-hour drive to transverse 12 miles across Manhattan and through the Holland Tunnel, and Red Bull Arena rises across the transoms of New Jersey highway.

Gotham FC pulled a record crowd of 15,058 for a game against San Diego, with soccer star Alex Morgan on the San Diego Wave roster. It was pride night, with large rainbow flags waved from the stands and miniature ones for the kids, including former Giants quarterback Eli Manning in the front row.

Again, the home team lost, 1-0, but the game felt like a homecoming, and players, coaches, and VIPs lingered for an hour on the field after the game while hopeful fans carrying Sharpies and jerseys crowded the sides of the tunnel.

Two games, two losses. But that’s in the micro. The actual test for both of these teams is to build up recognition in the largest media market in the country as both the NWSL and the WNBA negotiate their next multi-year television deals at this pivotal moment in women’s professional sports.

The NWSL, WNBA negotiating TV deals

And in that game, both Gotham and the Liberty are winning.

“I think leading into the World Cup you can see the level and product that we can produce and put out on the field,” veteran US Women’s National Team and Gotham player Ali Krieger said. “And then hopefully that’ll just continue to grow after the World Cup when all the players come back and all the attention will be on this league and who players want to join.”

It’s a transformative moment for these two leagues, as investments multiply and ratings go up. Rennae Stubbs, former No.1 doubles player on the WTA tour and host of Amazon’s The Power Hour, also made that cross-town trek from one game to another and stood on the Gotham sideline after the game.

There have been surges for both the WNBA and women’s soccer in the last 30 years, but rarely sustained across markets. It was impossible not to sense, however, going from one venue to the other and seeing the crowds, the stars, and the celebrities in the stands, that this moment is different.

The broadcast market for women’s sports is in a moment of flux. Negotiations are underway as the WNBA’s deal is set to elapse in 2025. The current deal, according to Howard Megdal in Forbes, was for $33 million with ESPN, and the league just signed a deal with $39 million with ION for Friday night games. The NWSL’s $4.5 million deal with CBS is up this year. Ratings for women’s sports surged during the pandemic, when the WNBA and NWSL were two of the first bubble leagues to play.

Image for article titled WNBA, NSWL TV rights are more valuable than ever as leagues seek new deals

The rights for NWSL and WNBA games are more valuable at the current moment than they were when the current deals were negotiated. Even as FIFA is locked in a standoff with European broadcasters used to the bargain-basement pricing for women’s World Cup rights. Still, brands are realizing the value of working with athletes and leagues on the women’s side, and the ceiling for those rights hasn’t been reached yet when, on the men’s side, value has likely been measured and maximized.

New York is important. There are other cities, like Portland and Seattle, that draw more fans to every game, but New York has… OK, everyone knows what New York has.

On Sunday, New York had actress and producer Issa Rae sitting courtside next to Liberty owner Clara Wu Tsai. Rae is the kind of star perfect for this crowd, young, creative, and wickedly funny, but Wu Tsai is a force. She’s a Stanford and Harvard-educated mogul who courted Breanna Stewart by joining Stewart, her wife, and her baby for a family cruise in Turkey. Wu Tsai and her husband, Joe Tsai, also co-own the Nets. The Kansas native knows her basketball.

So here we have arrived at a moment

These teams both play again Wednesday night, so could someone please coordinate schedules so they don’t make fans choose? There were 23,000 fans on Sunday who watched women’s professional sports in the greater New York market. Not everyone is as crazy as me and Stubbs to make it a doubleheader.

There was a lot of overlap in these crowds. Compared to other sports crowds these fans are younger and more diverse in every way that term intends. Women’s professional sports have found their fans, and they are doing it by bringing their whole selves to the playing field. Gotham goaltender Michelle Betos recounted the night she came out to her mom, “My mom said ‘I figured’ and then we ate dinner.”

Plenty of families were out for the night; Krieger’s wife and USWNT player Ashlyn Harris wore a design to celebrate, and Morgan had her young daughter with her after the game.

“I’m really proud of where we’re at and the next generation I think is going to be a beautiful thing,” Betos said.

Athletes far and wide, learn from Isaiah Rodgers and others

Isaiah Rodgers is the latest NFL player to be investigated for gambling

It may appear hypocritical that the NFL — and the rest of professional sports — are willing to shake hands and sign contracts with the legal sports betting companies and then turn around and punish the players for gambling, but it has to be done. For all of the ethical questions surrounding the NFL, the one standard that must always be upheld for the league to remain viable is the integrity of the game. Sorry Isaiah Rogers, but that means your time with the Indianapolis Colts and possibly as an NFL player may very well be finished.

On Monday afternoon, news broke that a player from the Colts is being heavily looked into for gambling violations. ESPN’s Stephen Holder and David Purnam reported that the player is Rodgers. He allegedly placed over 100 bets on a sportsbook account in an associate’s name — most in the range of $25-$50 that included Colts games. On Monday evening, Rodgers issued an apology. He stated that he takes “full responsibility” for his actions — while giving no specifics — and that he “made an error in judgment.”

Ever heard of Pete Rose?

If he indeed did bet on the Colts, or the NFL in any way, he violated the one hard and fast policy that should be easy to understand. NFL personnel are not allowed to bet on NFL games. The Pete Rose ban was issued almost 34 years ago and the Boston College scandal with the real Henry Hill was 50 years ago, however, disgraced former NBA official Tim Donaghy was sentenced to prison for fixing games long after the beginning of the new millennium.

There can be no whiff of that type of malfeasance happening around in the massively profitable industry of sports. Enough people with aluminum foil hats already truly believe that major athletic competition is staged. Any credibility that claim can gain is capable of hammering a punch right in the gut of profitability.

Is this hypocritical? Absolutely. It’s ridiculous that Jalen Rose offers me a sportsbook-sponsored opinion to be wagered upon that could get a player harshly punished for acting on that information, except for the fact that those sportsbook sponsorships bring some extra Brinks trucks to the leagues.

Participation in the world economy involves overlooking, ignoring, or being plain ignorant of not simply inconsistencies, but also horrors. Smartphones, clothing, strawberries, the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup, and many more industries make this gambling paradox in professional sports palatable.

From MLB teams regularly refusing to put money into a legitimate payroll, up to the atrocities in Qatar, there should be room to be angry at all dubiousness in sports. All of that being said, at least the naked gambling hypocrisy gets players more money.

The rules are not perfect. Legislation has never proven to be a strong suit for the NFL. Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill were each suspended six games for placing bets on non-NFL games because it is against policy for NFL personnel to wager at NFL facilities. Miles Austin was suspended for violating the league’s gambling policy by betting on sports that, while non-NFL, coaches can still be punished for it. Austin appealed his late December suspension, and has been replaced as the New York Jets wide receivers coach.

Legal sports gambling is still in its infancy, and all of the major sports organizations are learning how to both profit from and prevent it at the same time. Hopefully, there will be grace granted to those who have had to learn the hard way, especially people in the margins who don’t have the talent of a Williams or a Calvin Ridley that will ensure their return.

Rodgers started nine games in his third season with the Colts. The use of a different person to place wagers indicates conspiracy, and that is a terrible look. If that is true his time in the NFL has likely ended, if not through punishment then the likelihood of him ever being on a roster again.

For all that the NFL should iron out regarding its gambling policy, there is one rule that should be clear as fresh glass. Do not ever, under any circumstance, place a bet on an event in a league that signs your check.

RUMOR: Bob Myers in talks for next job post-Warriors dynasty – but it’s not in the NBA

Given his track record with the Golden State Warriors, there is very little doubt that Bob Myers will receive a lot of offers from opposing NBA franchises now that he’s announced his decision to step down from his high-ranking post with the Dubs. As it turns out, one particular organization has already shown a real interest in hiring Myers, but apparently, it’s not in the NBA.

According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, ESPN has been keeping tabs on Myers’ current situation. So much so, that the sports media giant has reportedly already entered talks with Myers on a potential role with the company:

“ESPN has expressed an interest in hiring Bob Myers, the Golden State Warriors executive who stepped down as president and general manager on Tuesday. The talks are very early on, sources told Front Office Sports,” McCarthy wrote in his report.

To be clear, we have not been able to verify this rumor, and at this point, this is the only source we have been able to cite. If these are indeed true, however, then it seems clear that Bob Myers won’t be jobless for very long, in spite of his earlier indication of wanting to step back from the sport a bit.

Then again, technically speaking, he won’t be in the NBA if he ends up taking the ESPN job. It will obviously still have a lot to do with the league, but at this point, it remains unclear if he’s going to take on a role in front of the camera for ESPN or if he will be taking on a high-ranking post behind the scenes as an executive. I guess we’ll all find out soon enough.

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Pat McAfee breaks silence on massive ESPN deal

Looks like Pat McAfee can afford to invest in some new tank tops. The media personality’s new broadcast deal at ESPN is reportedly for 5 years and around $85 million, according to the New York Post.

McAfee responded to the Post via Twitter direct messages when asked about the terms of the deal, saying ““Interesting number. I don’t talk about the business side of it all, the actual numbers and such.”

ESPN also declined to elaborate on the financials involved.

McAfee did however open up about why he decided to move his popular sports talk program, The Pat McAfee Show, from his self-produced YouTube platform over to ESPN.

“I will be paying my people and we will be producing the show fully,” McAfee explained over DM. “[ESPN] will be handling a lot more of the backend stuff, while also providing a platform that is incomparable linear wise with a network of talent that is deep and awesome. Their production assets, league rights capabilities, and access to everything in the sports world makes us incredibly pumped about the possibilities and can’t wait to get started this fall.”

The Pat McAfee Show has been a popular destination for pro athlete interviews — with McAfee’s casual on-air style and softball questions, athletes have the comfort of knowing they’re dealing with one of their own (McAfee was an NFL punter and kickoff specialist). Aaron Rodgers makes a regular weekly appearance on the show, including to address his controversial, misleading statements about being “inoculated” against Covid-19 during the pandemic and to discuss his desire to be traded to the Jets when he was still with the Packers.

It will be interesting to see whether athletes still feel comfortable opening up to Pat McAfee now that he’s part of the leading source for sports news. ESPN is banking a lot of money on the bet that they will.

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ESPN analyst under fire after criticizing transgender athletes in high school sports

ESPN analyst Samantha Ponder was criticized in a USA Today column after she called for “fairness” in girls’ high school sports in response to a tweet about transgender athletes competing.

Thursday, Ponder quote-tweeted former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who has spoken out against transgender women competing in women’s sports. Gaines showed texts she said she received from girls and parents in California about transgender girls competing in track and field.

Here is how Ponder responded:

Nancy Armour responded to the ESPN analyst with a column Sunday in which she called the ESPN analyst out for “bigotry.”

“Don’t be fooled by the people who screech about “fairness” to cloak their bigotry toward transgender girls and women, the transgender girls and women who have the audacity to want to play sports, in particular,” Armour’s story read.

“…If Ponder truly wanted to champion women’s sports, she’s had ample opportunity. But she hasn’t. Because this has nothing to do with “fairness.”

According to Armour’s story, ESPN declined to comment about Ponder or “how they square with the network’s social media policy.”

Armour also criticized Ponder for not using her platform to speak about inequitable funding between men’s and women’s sports programs.

“Her public concern about “fairness” for female athletes starts and stops with the miniscule number of transgender women who are participating in sports,” Armour said.

The ESPN analyst has “liked” other tweets from Gaines and others who are against transgender athletes competing in women’s sports.

One tweet is from Caitlyn Jenner, who was formerly known as Bruce Jenner. Jenner won gold at the 1976 Olympic Games in the men’s decathlon.



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NFL players should have a say in the new Thursday night flex games

Last year’s Thursday night games were atrocious

Earlier this week, NFL owners voted to pass the approval of flexing for Thursday Night Football games — given that Thursday hasn’t produced the sexiest of slates to quench the appetites of starving fans. With the decision, fans will get a better game to watch and Amazon Prime gets a product to entice more folks to switch over to their streaming services. Sounds like a win-win, right? Well, there’s only one problem. Players weren’t in the room when the decision was made.

This is why collective bargaining agreements are so important, even if this subject wasn’t even on the negotiating table.

With the new rule, between Weeks 13 through 17, the league can now swap a Sunday afternoon game for a Thursday night with a 28-day notice. The league is allowed two Thursday flexes per season, and no team can play on Thursday night more than twice.

A look at ESPN’s TNF schedule

Here’s a look at the current TNF schedule that ESPN put together, in a story in which they mentioned that Giants owner John Mara was opposed to the original version of the proposal because it was “abusive” to fans — not the players on the field who will have their routines, life schedules, and work weeks impacted:

  • Week 13: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
  • Week 14: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Week 15: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders
  • Week 16: New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 17: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns

Jerry Jones weighs in

“This should show our fans and the media industry that we’ll do everything we can to make streaming on Thursday nights successful,” Jerry Jones said in the report. Notice who Jones did and didn’t mention in that quote. Last year, The Washington Post released a story called, “Thursday NFL games are here to stay. That doesn’t mean players like them,” as it explored the disdain that most players have for working on Thursday.

“It was just so awkward,” Devin McCourty told last month. “Because if you just play the Thursday night game and then you go back to a regular Sunday, to me, it becomes normal again. Like, ‘Alright, I’ll push through this and now, we’ll be back on a normal routine.’ Once you mess that up, I think it’s harder.”

Take all of this into account when the 2023 NFL season opens on a Thursday night when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take on a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1992 — the Detroit Lions. 

Jamal Murray’s excellence forces Lakers into a must-win Game 3

Jamal Murray scored 23 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter

In an NBA playoff series, Game 2 is usually the forgotten game. A series usually needs a location change before bold predictions are made. After dominating the Los Angeles Lakers for most of Game 1, the Denver Nuggets’ fourth-quarter performance left much to be desired in a victory that they almost let slip away. A Game 7-like intensity permeated throughout Game 2, and it was Jamal Murray’s excellence that allowed the Nuggets to escape with a 2-0 series lead.

The Lakers’ go-to players did not provide much on offense throughout the game. Anthony Davis shot 26.7 percent from the field, and LeBron James came up short on several shots near the rim. However, the success that the Lakers had against Nikola Jokić in the fourth quarter of Game 1, they brought it all night on Thursday.

I haven’t seen Jokić look that hesitant on a basketball court since the Nuggets’ bubble Western Conference Finals loss to the Lakers three years ago, and these last five quarters have been much worse. In the fourth quarter of Game 1, Jokić went 0-2 from the field with two turnovers. The two-time NBA MVP shot 42.9 percent from the field in Game 2, and went 3-for-11 from the field in the second half. The Lakers threw the kitchen sink at Jokić and were successful.

Jamal Murray goes off in the 4th quarter

However, the fourth quarter got out of hand for the Lakers quickly. The Nuggets changed their fourth-quarter rotation by opening with Jokić and Murray on the floor. Murray played the entire second half after struggling from the field for three quarters. His early Game 1 vibes back when the Nuggets set a playoff-franchise record for total points through three quarters, he got those back in the fourth quarter of Game 2 and hung 23 points on the Lakers during that period.

With Jokić handcuffed, the Nuggets could not have won this game without Murray’s offense. A player who has some series-tipping postseason performances under his belt. During the 2020 NBA Playoffs bubble, the pick and roll between him and Jokić was predictable but — after falling 3-1 in the second round — it also put out Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s Los Angeles Clippers in their first season together.

The Nuggets were solid the following season, but Murray suffered a torn ACL in his right knee two and a half weeks before the end of the regular season. That injury occurred on April 12, 2021. He didn’t play again until the 2022-23 season, but the Nuggets still worked him back into his role gradually. While being load managed throughout the regular season, he still had to miss six consecutive games in February due to inflammation in his left knee.

During the 2022-23 regular season, Murray’s statistics took a noticeable drop from his 2020-21 peak, but in his last four playoff games, he has played like one of the best guards in the NBA. Murray shot better than 50 percent from the field in each of the final two games of the Nuggets’ second-round series against the Phoenix Suns, and in Game 1 against the Lakers. He managed only a 45.8 field-goal percentage in Game 2, but the reason it was that high was due to his 85.7 percent from the field in the fourth quarter.

Combine that with late-game effort on defense that ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy noticed — while James and Anthony Davis struggled all night from the field — and the Nuggets went from trailing for most of the second half to taking the lead for good at the 9:21 mark of the fourth quarter.

Win or lose, this series is likely going to serve as Jokić’s introduction to America as one of the best professional athletes employed in this country. But without Murray’s excellence, the Nuggets are, at minimum, in a precarious 1-1 position heading to Los Angeles. Instead, Murray has his team in the catbird seat even with the 2021 and 2022 NBA MVP struggling.

YouTube TV’s ECF Game 1 debacle gave NBA cord-cutters an excuse to switch back to cable

Under the sea

The only Americans more upset with Disney than Ron DeSantis sycophants for one night were NBA fans watching The Little Mermaid instead of the Eastern Conference Finals on YouTube TV. But that anger is misplaced. YouTube TV was the culprit in Wednesday night’s Eastern Conference Finals streaming debacle.

The last few minutes of Game 1 sound like it was a riveting affair. I, along with millions of others, wouldn’t know, because viewers paying $72.99 a month for YouTube TV missed the last few minutes while the page buffered at the worst possible time. If you’re one of the people, who scrambled to fix your internet to no avail, rest assured it was not you. The leading live-streaming service provider froze like Joe Mazzulla in crunchtime and shit the bed worse than the Boston Celtics at home. During a commercial break in the waning minutes, most viewers were stuck rewatching a TV spot for The Little Mermaid on an endless loop.

For some viewers, the game skipped between Inside the NBA’s pregame show and skipped between various points in the game. Thankfully, YouTube accounts like FreeDawkins compiled highlights for displaced viewers like me to catch up on what we missed. Jimmy Butler’s three steals in the final six minutes, his dagger three that rattled around every corner of the rim.

YouTube TV’s subscription cost has gone up — and then this happens

However, subscribers pay far too much money to be stuck watching a buffering stream from 2009. The Google-owned streaming service raised its subscription price by 12 percent from $64.99 to $72.99. Wednesday’s Game 1 crisis was exacerbated by Roger Goodell’s appearance Wednesday night at YouTube’s Brandcast to promote the strengthened ties between the NFL and the streaming giant.

Instead, Goodell’s presence was overshadowed by YouTube TV’s high-profile outage stoking fears about how the streaming service may bomb as the new destination for NFL Sunday Ticket after nearly 30 years on DIRECTV. At least the Eastern Conference Game 1 wasn’t part of an extra offering. But the tension from Youtube investors is palpable. If I paid $400 for Sunday Ticket and the thing glitches out, YouTube TV and I would have a serious problem too.

Especially because in 2017, YouTube TV cost $35. While its price has skyrocketed, YouTube TV has overtaken a significant share of the cord-cutters’ version of the streaming-focused virtual multichannel video providers market. Last July, YouTube TV held 20 percent of the pay-TV universe and was rapidly growing. Their 5 million subscribers trail well behind the traditional powerhouses Comcast, Charter, Dish, and the aforementioned DirecTV.

On Thursday morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that ESPN is launching its flagship channel as a direct-to-consumer subscription service. Streaming is the future despite cable television’s attempts to retain its prodigious market share. But if these live-streaming service platforms can’t handle large audiences, it just might be enough to drag us back to cable.

There are suspicions that the streaming giant was unable to handle the spike in viewership for Game 1, but later that night YouTube TV announced that its streaming issues had been resolved. Too little too late for the rest of us. Just don’t do this in the NBA Finals.