NBA Roundup


Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Piston) scored 26 to key a 121-114 win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night. The Lakers ended the game on an 18-4 run after trailing late, with Brandon Ingram (21 points and nine assists) making big shots down the stretch.

Josh Hart also added 22 points, allowing the Lakers (21-16) to avenge their one-point loss to the Kings three days earlier.

Josh Hart

James missed his third straight game with a groin strain ( ) , but it was the first time in 14 games dating back to 2016 that his team won without him, per Micah Adams ( )  of NBA ( ) .com.

The Kings fell to 19-17 on the season despite 26 points from De’Aaron Fox.

De’Aaron Fox Deserves Spot on All-Star Roster

The Western Conference is loaded with the best basketball players in the world, but Fox deserves a spot among those players in the All-Star Game based on the way he has played to this point.

No one expected the Kings to be in the playoff hunt this late into the season after going 12 straight years without a winning record, but they have kept pace heading into 2019 thanks mostly to the play of their point guard.

Even while seemingly dealing with shoulder problems and foul trouble, Fox still had a good night with 26 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals. The Kings were even while he was on the court despite the seven-point loss.

He once again showed a knack for producing highlight plays in many phases of the game:

> Sacramento Kings @SacramentoKingsSwipaVision™️

> Sacramento Kings @SacramentoKings🦊


> Sacramento Kings @SacramentoKingsA 🦊 always stays ready…

Perhaps just as important for him, he outdueled Lonzo Ball, a personal rival since they were both top recruits in high school.

Fox has been playing at this level all year long, entering the day averaging 18.0 points, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game. The only players to match these numbers so far this season are James Harden ( ) , Russell Westbrook ( )  and Jrue Holiday, per Basketball Reference ( ) .

He has also taken his game to another level as of late. Taking away his six-minute game against the Timberwolves earlier this month, he averaged 21.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.5 steals over his last 11 games.

The 21-year-old remains a threat every night as someone who can carry the offense with his scoring or keep the offense flowing with his passing while also playing shutdown defense on the perimeter.

> Jason  Jones @mr_jasonjonesDe’Aaron Fox’s speed shows up in so many ways on both ends. How he snuck in for that last steal and score was ridiculous

While Buddy Hield has played well this season and just about everyone on the roster has exceeded expectations, Fox is the most valuable player on this team and one of the best on the floor every night.

DeMarcus Cousins ( )  has been the only Kings All-Star in the last 10 years, and that was because he put up numbers no one could ignore. While Fox doesn’t have this type of production on paper, he has helped his team win and is playing at an All-Star level.

If he can keep this up, he should be in Charlotte next February.

What’s Next?

The Lakers will continue their homestand Wednesday with a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Kings will play on New Year’s Day while hosting the Portland Trail Blazers.

This article will be updated to provide more information soon.

NBA News
via Bleacher Report – NBA


LeBron vs. Lance: A Rivalry Filled with Flops, Fouls and Folk Heroes — High Velocity Sport

News, sports

B/R Lance Stephenson will probably never win a playoff series against LeBron James. I guess that’s kind of like saying Drake will never get together with Nicki Minaj, or that I will grow a second head. Some laws are immutable, and this is one of them. It’s the Lance Stephenson Doctrine: Thou Shalt Not Advance […]

via LeBron vs. Lance: A Rivalry Filled with Flops, Fouls and Folk Heroes — High Velocity Sport  

Lance Stephenson will probably never win a playoff series against LeBron James. I guess that’s kind of like saying Drake will never get together with Nicki Minaj, or that I will grow a second head. Some laws are immutable, and this is one of them. It’s the Lance Stephenson Doctrine: Thou Shalt Not Advance in the Playoffs Against LeBron.

Stephenson can huff and puff and try to blow Bron’s house down, but when the dust settles, the King remains the King. James’ 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in Game 5 of the Indiana Pacers-Cleveland Cavaliers first-round series put the Cavs one game away from vanquishing another pretender to the throne. No matter how it ends, though, the series will stand as another chapter in an epic LeBron-Lance rivalry that dates back to the 2012 playoffs.

Stephenson, in a way, is the anti-LeBron: the 40th overall selection in the 2010 NBA draft and somewhat of a project who developed into a useful role player and made a name for himself through his tenacity and personality. LeBron, on the other hand, was a can’t-miss No. 1 pick who seemed destined to become an all-time great.

That Stephenson has grown into LeBron’s most persistent annoyance should not be a surprise. Nor has he given up that title. He’s pushed, shoved, cajoled and coerced James as much as possible in the hope that one sweet day, he’ll break the spirit of the game’s best player. Still, Lance—ever the underdog—has yet to come out on top.

Indeed, Lance vs. LeBron might be the greatest one-sided rivalry in sports since the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals (or the Cleveland Browns versus the other 31 teams in the NFL), but how did it start? Why does this titanic struggle endure through the six different stops Stephenson has made in his NBA career and the seven straight Finals James has reached? Why has Lance refused to concede defeat? Why hasn’t LeBron just punched him in the face?

So many questions, which we will attempt to answer with an entirely too detailed examination of their duel. In the process, we hope to explain to you, the faithful reader, why the real winner of this rivalry is not LeBron, but Lance, a folk hero for our modern times.

Stephenson had always been a pest, starting with his miming of the universal symbol for choking when James missed a free throw in the third quarter of a Pacers win in the 2012 Eastern Conference semis. In a series the Miami Heat won, it was a blip on the radar. But what really jump-started their animus was the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, when Stephenson blew in LeBron’s ear during Game 5. Creepy, yet simultaneously hilarious, the moment cemented the feud in the imaginations of NBA fans everywhere. To this day, it remains a legendary meme. LeBron did his best to deny Stephenson the satisfaction of a visible reaction, but he still offered up a mild headshake of disbelief. That someone would go to these lengths to disrupt his game was hard for LeBron to accept, but it was only the beginning.

In Game 6 of those 2014 conference finals, Stephenson tried to burrow deeper into LeBron’s psyche. Instead of invading his space with his breath, he touched LeBron’s mouth. It was almost a slap but slightly more playful than that. It comes off sort of like he’s trying to feed a pet, if his pet were a human being who’s very good at basketball.

I don’t even know what this was. In the same Game 6 in 2014, Stephenson wouldn’t let LeBron get up after falling on the baseline. Was he sitting on him? Expressing dominance? Showing off the high quality of the stitching on his shorts? Whatever it was, it sent a message to LeBron: I’m up here, and you’re down there.

One of Stephenson’s most potent weapons in his war with LeBron is the flop. Even the most minor contact can send Stephenson flying across the court as though he’d been kicked by an angry racehorse. He played dead here in Game 2 of the 2014 East finals but was aware of the cameras enough that he opened his eyes to glance forward, barely stifling a wink. With this, Stephenson established himself as the quintessential “guy they warned you about.”

Pity the man when he tries to face up the GOAT. Stephenson did his best to go one-on-one with LeBron in Game 2 of the first round in 2017 and failed spectacularly. But, as a consummate troll, he fouled immediately. One must remind his foe that the battle might have been lost, but the war continues.

Stephenson’s flop in this game from earlier in the 2017-18 season didn’t just amaze fans for its brazenness, it also appeared to injure LeBron. Perhaps Lance had finally gone too far.

Or not. In Game 4 of this first-round series, Stephenson tied up LeBron and forced a jump ball during the final minutes of a close contest. Preventing James from scoring was something of a victory, but Stephenson took it to another level, snatching the ball from his opponent’s hands and raising it like a big-game hunter’s trophy. Stephenson’s face was simultaneously proud and shocked as he played to the home crowd in Indianapolis that has come to love him despite his deficiencies as a player.

And that is the genius of Lance Stephenson. That’s the reason he is still occupying LeBron’s attention all these years later. Despite his physical inability to truly challenge LeBron on the basketball court, he’s crafted a career out of being an irritant. He’s known. He’s loved. Sometimes, he’s hated, but most importantly, he’s become a character.

In the modern NBA, it’s better to be seen than not. Stephenson wins not because he’ll ever be the lead scoring option on a championship team, but because he’s demanded we notice him despite that.

NBA News

via Bleacher Report – NBA

April 27, 2018 at 05:34AM


2018 NBA Playoffs First Round Preview


2018 NBA Playoffs First Round Preview

2018 NBA Playoffs

First Round Preview
Warriors Champions

As the NBA regular season concluded, we saw an amount of parity and competitive balance that has been uncommon for a long time.  The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavilers looked human, while teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz went on large stretches of winning.  The Houston Rockets were the only team in the association to surpass the 60-win threshold, and there was a clutter of teams in both conferences with 40 plus wins.  The winners of each conference (Toronto and Houston) have a reputation for failing to perform in the playoffs, yet the teams we are accustomed to seeing do well have weaknesses of their own.  Can the Warriors move throughout round one without Steph Curry? Does LeBron have enough support to move on? Are the Sixers legit? Do we trust the Thunder? GIANNIS!?


Well, I simply do not know; only time will tell.


But what I will do is, with the best of my ability (and I’m like a wicked smaht guy), predict the first round of these playoffs… buckle up folks.


Eastern Conference


Toronto v Washington

demar and kyle

I do not know how to feel about this series.  Toronto had a stellar regular season. They finally established a bench, and did so by developing youth!  Stunning!


Yet just when you felt like things were in their favor, they lose in a shootout to the Cavs (just an example).  Can we trust their body of work to hold up?


Well… Washington has all the talent to beat Toronto.  John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter are no novices when it comes to the playoffs.  They have won a playoff series three of the past four seasons and were a game away from reaching the conference finals last season (blame the Olynyk clinic).  Nevertheless, they tend to underperform as well (the fact they’re an 8 seed says as much).


This reminds me of the Celtics-Bulls matchup last year… and this time I see the upset happening.  If I have to choose a backcourt to perform and win, I’m giving Wall and Beal the (slight) edge. It will be close, and this series could go either way, but I have the tides of luck going to Washington.


Washington in 7

Boston v Milwaukee

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics

If this were right after the All-Star break, and Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, and Daniel Theis were healthy, this would be a breeze… but they are not.  The Celtics have been dealt an undeniably bad hand all season… and yet they won 55 games. They have a brilliant coach who can work with anything, and that has been the case numerous times this season (see Jonathan Gibson).


But can he handle Giannis?


The Bucks have the superstar in this series (a huge plus), and good surrounding pieces in Eric Bledsoe and Kris Middleton.  They have the talent to win this in 5, yet they simply never perform to the level they should. This led to Jason Kidd getting fired, and Joe Prunty is not Phil Jackson.

This series will be a chess match.  The Bucks have the advantage, but the Celtics have an elite coach, and a roster of ruthless players who never quit.


The 55-win team is seemingly the underdog, and that is something Brad Stevens is familiar with (see Butler).  Folks, I am taking the underdog here.


Boston in 7


Philadelphia v Miami

Philadelphia 76ers V Miami Heat

The 76ers ended the regular season on a 16-game winning streak, finishing 52-30.  Process complete? Well, Ben Simmons looked like Magic Johnson. Joel Embiid looked like a superstar.  Markelle Fultz actually played (well!) How can you not root for this!?


Hit the brakes, America.


Miami is no stranger to the NBA playoffs.  Erik Spolestra has coached in 4 NBA finals, and has made numerous other playoff appearances.  The presence of the legendary Dwayne Wade will be an asset (and he is still balling). Miami has been called Boston-lite, meaning that although they may have inferior talent compared to their competition, their coaching and execution is far superior.  This should not be forgotten, especially against a young squad where many of the prominent players are making their first playoff appearances.


Joel Embiid will not be ready for game 1, but that did not stop Philly from winning at the end of the season.


This will be a fun series, but the momentum that the 76ers have had of late is remarkable.  They are clicking at the right time, and I do not see that stopping.


Philadelphia in 6

Cleveland v Indiana


LeBron James versus the Indiana Pacers in the first round.  If this sounds familiar, it is because it happened last year.  Unfortunately, this series will not feature the likes of Kyrie Irving or Paul George.  Yet it might be even better than last year.


The Pacers have been a nice story this year, winning 48 games with sudden superstar Victor Oladipo (who very well could make an All-NBA team).  No one anticipated this team doing much, as they only received Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in return in return for George (which was seen by many as pennies on the dollar), yet they exceeded all expectations.  Good for them.


Unfortunately, the luck runs out here, thanks to LeBron James.


James has been phenomenal this season.  Part of that is due to the fact his supporting cast is as lackluster as he has had since his first Cleveland stint, but we know good and well that means nothing.  If you have LeBron, you have a shot, and in most instances, you have a great shot. I see the Cavs, with a healthy Kevin Love, making easy work of the Pacers.


Indy, you were a nice story, and I hope you fill out your team around Oladipo… but do not expect a series here.


Cleveland in 5

Western Conference


Houston v Minnesota


What a treat we got on Wednesday.  We witnessed a play-in game for the 8 seed between Minnesota and the Denver Nuggets.  In a game that went to OT (and dragged on forever due to replays), the Timberwolves ended a 14-year playoff drought, securing the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.


Their prize?  Facing the juggernaut Houston Rockets.


Houston has exceeded everyone’s expectations this season on their way to 65 wins.  No one quite knew what to expect with a backcourt featuring James Harden and Chris Paul.  The critics said, “there is only one ball.” Well, for one ball, these two (and the whole team) sure knew what to do with it.  When all the pieces were healthy (including Clint Capella), this team was almost unbeatable. It was a sight to behold all year and will absolutely end in some hardware coming to Houston (at least in the form of an MVP trophy going to James Harden).


It’s good to see the T-Wolves here, but they are no match for this year’s best team


Rockets in 5


Warriors v Spurs


Yet another case of “what if everyone was healthy?”


If the Warriors had Steph Curry, this series would be quick.  If the Spurs had Kawhi Leonard, this series would be amazing (just like last year would’ve been).  Unfortunately, those two will not be playing.


Nevertheless, there is still a loaded Warriors team featuring Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, and an institutionally great Spurs organization including the rejuvenated LaMarcus Aldridge.


Great coaching, lots of ball movement, plenty of threes… but the champs move on.  San Antonio will not go down easy (even without Kawhi). Even as the Warriors season ended in disappointing fashion by their standards (imagine 58 wins being seen as a down year), they’re just too good, and too accustomed to this moment.


Good games will occur, but Golden State will prevail.


Golden State in 6

Portland v New Orleans

New Orleans Pelicans v Portland Trail Blazers

This is going to be a FUN series.  These two teams both were at a point this year where they seemed like they would be low seeds, and possibly not even make the playoffs.  New Orleans suffered a demoralizing injury when DeMarcus Cousins tore his achilles… yet did even better. They defied the odds and were in contention for a top 4 seed during the last days of the season.  Anthony Davis looked like a machine, NBA Rondos (sup Janos) was good, and the team did what we did not think they could: make the playoffs.


The Trail Blazers have always been a team I’ve rooted for from afar.  I absolutely love Damian Lillard, and C.J. McCollum is a baller. They are a group, not unlike the Wizards (or as Fredy has personally told me: the Raptors), that you think they have the talent to succeed, yet they just do not.  As the Raptors seem to face (and lose) to the Cavs each year, the Trail Blazers seem to face (and lose) to the Warriors every year. Luckily Golden State is not their opponent (yet?)


Portland finished the season strong, surging to the 3 seed with a strong second half, and securing it on the last night of the season.  They showed when all the pieces are clicking, they can be an elite team.


I can say plenty of nice things about each team, but only one can move on.


I have gone back-and-forth all day on this (and will continue to do so) … but right now, I’ll give the edge to Portland (hey, if it gets Anthony Davis mad, he’s one step closer to wanting out… hmmm).


Portland in 7

Oklahoma City v Utah


This is another interesting series.  Utah went from looking on from the outside in February, to having a shot at the 3 seed on the last night of the season.  What a turn of events, huh? Donovan Mitchell looks like a legit scorer in this league, putting up 20.5 PPG this season. They feature a selfless squad (which includes former Celtics’ Jonas Jerebko and Jae Crowder) and a potential DPOY in Rudy Gobert.  Momentum is on their side… right.

(insert Russell Westbrook meme)


The Thunder have the stars that we all thought would culminate in the third best record in the West (they were close), but ultimately that was not the case.  The fit was not as seamless as we thought, as Carmelo had trouble acclimating to his new role, and George has had a tough stretch of late. There have been flashes of what this group can do (like last Saturday), and the pure talent and ferocity of Westbrook alone leaves them in any fight they encounter… but they just have not been in ultimate, true sync.

There is a lot riding on this series.  The fate of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony could hinge on how this series goes (unless they have already made up their minds).  It’s tough to throw stars together and expect them to mesh… and this is a team sport too, guys 4-12 play a huge role. Having Andre Roberson would help, but nevertheless, I do not think the Thunder will mesh and maximize the talent they have in time (if they do, I’d be peachy).  The parts the have are ultimately worth more than their whole…and their whole will not be better than that of the Jazz.


This series will go six because of Westbrook, but it will feel like domination on Utah’s end


Utah in 6

By Nick Collins

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LeBron James” by Erik Drost 
“I would disagree with that. I think our league has been built the right way as far as when it comes to the postseason.” “It’s cool to mess around with the All-Star Game, we proved you can do that, but let’s not get too crazy about the playoffs.”

The above quote by LeBron James is what most of us saw when we got the notification from whatever sports app we use. My guess is that several people saw that one quote by LeBron and thought something along the lines of LeBron wanting to keep the playoffs the same because right now nobody in the Eastern Conference can beat him. I envisioned that quote to give LeBron haters another reason to hate on LeBron.

It’s fair to think that if that’s the only quote you saw, but there’s so much more LeBron had to say about why the playoffs should stay the same, and he’s absolutely right. The NBA wants to change the playoffs to something crazy. A 16 seed playoffs where two Western or Eastern Conference teams can end up playing each other in the Finals. Now there’s even talk of them doing a play-in game for the bottom two seeds in each conference. While the idea of those might be cool, it shouldn’t happen.

To my knowledge, one of the biggest reasons the NBA is considering changing the playoffs, is because the Western Conference is a lot more loaded and competitive than the Eastern Conference. It’s been that way for several years. It’s also because LeBron James has ruled the Eastern Conference for years now, going to 7 straight NBA Finals.

“There’s been dominant conferences throughout time. You know obviously in the 80’s you had mix-matched together Lakers who dominated the league at one point and you had Boston who dominated the league. In the 90’s you had Chicago who dominated the league. You know, San Antonio has had its run, we had our run in the East with Miami, Golden State is having its run.”

LeBron is right on the money here. Was it a huge deal when Michael Jordan ruled the Eastern Conference? Was it when Kobe Bryant ruled the Western Conference? Teams change all the time, and so does dominance. LeBron James wasn’t always the player who made it to 7 straight Finals you know. He used to be the guy who had everyone wondering why he couldn’t win a single championship. During that time there were teams like the Celtics, Pistons, and even the Magic had a little run at the top. In the Western Conference you had the Lakers and Spurs in the Finals just about every year.

The Celtics are good now, but it wasn’t always like that. The Pistons aren’t great now, and the Magic are one of the worst teams in the league. The Spurs aren’t the team they used to be, and the Lakers are not the Kobe Bryant in his prime Lakers by any means. Again, teams change and so does dominance. The Warriors are currently having their time of dominance, but it won’t always be like that. Things will change over time. There will come a time when LeBron doesn’t make it to the Finals because things will change.

“It just changes the landscape of the history of the game if you start messing with seedings or playoffs and you start talking about well if this team played this Western Conference team would he have,” James added. This is another thing that bothers me about this. People say things like, “LeBron wouldn’t have made it the Finals if he played in the Western Conference or if he played the (insert team of choice here) in the playoffs.” People make it sound like LeBron getting to the Finals 7 straight times is easy. They make it sound like he didn’t play any good teams to get there or like he didn’t have to try.

What would happen if there’s a 16 seed playoff and LeBron still makes it to the Finals? Is that system automatically going to be deemed flawed too? LeBron James is one of the greatest players of all time. That’s why he’s been to 7 straight Finals. Michael Jordan is one of the greatest of all time. That’s why he had 6 championships. Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest of all time. That’s why he won 5 championships. It’s not because of what conference they played in.

I haven’t heard of any problem like this in the NFL, which has a slightly different but essentially the same playoff system. Tom Brady has been to 8 Super Bowls and has won 5 of them. Is the NFL considering changing their playoff system because Tom Brady rules the AFC? No. Teams change in the NFL just like they do in the NBA. The Jaguars were bad for years, and then last year they went to the Conference Championship game. At the end of last season, nobody thought the Eagles would win the Super Bowl because they were terrible the year before.

There’s no reason for the NBA to change the playoff system. It’s always been like that and it should stay that way. If they don’t like the Warriors and Cavs going to the Finals every year, all they have to do is wait. It won’t be that way forever.


NBA fines Mark Cuban $600,000 for tanking remarks


NBA fines Mark Cuban $600,000 for tanking remarks

Getty Images

Last year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gave Mavericks owner Mark Cuban a mulligan. This year, Silver fined Cuban more than a half a million.

The NBA has announced that Silver has fined Cuban $600,000 for his latest round of comments admitting to a tanking campaign lasting more than a year. Cuban admitted to tanking a year ago, but Silver pretended that Cuban didn’t. This time around, there was no way to ignore it.

From the perspective of a league desperate to ensure the integrity of its games (especially with legalized gambling on the horizon), a fine isn’t enough — no matter how big it is — when someone brazenly admits to giving in to the obvious temptation to enhance draft position. Silver should have taken a draft pick from Cuban, ideally the first-rounder that he has been trying to enhance via tanking.

It won’t stop tanking, or remove the temptation to do so, in the NBA or any other sport. Far more importantly for the NBA, it will make it clear to Cuban and all other owners that, if they’re going to tank, they’d better make sure they don’t admit it.

The smart approach, albeit an untruthful one, would be to react the same way Giants co-owner John Mara did when confronted with the obvious reality that benching Eli Manning for Geno Smith was aimed at turning a lost season into a prime draft pick.

That’s complete b—s—,” Mara said. “We would never do that.”

Sure you would, John. Because you did. But you’d never admit to it. And, unlike Cuban, you definitely wouldn’t admit to it twice.




Bill Baptist/Getty Images


James Harden apparently isn’t slowing down in the playoffs after an incredible regular season.

The Houston Rockets star scored 44, including 13 in the fourth quarter, to help the No. 1 seed in the West survive with a 104-101 Game 1 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Andrew Wiggins scored 18 for the Timberwolves in their first playoff game in 14 years, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Harden and the Rockets offense.

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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NBA News

via Bleacher Report – NBA

Khloé Kardashian’s Boyfriend Tristan Thompson Linked to a Fifth Woman Amid Cheating Scandal

Celebrity Gists

As Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson celebrate the birth of their baby girl, photos continue to surface of him allegedly getting too close to another woman.

The Daily Mail published pictures Thursday of the NBA player hanging out with a woman named Tania hanging out in New York City on multiple occasions throughout the past few months, dining and partying together — though there are no images of them getting physical.

She is the fifth woman identified in the cheating scandal, which broke Wednesday when videos surfaced of the Cleveland Cavaliers power forward allegedly getting close to an unidentified woman at the PH-D Lounge in New York City over the previous weekend — while Kardashian, 33, was nine months pregnant.

A man who has been identified as the athlete was seen speaking closely with a brunette in photos and footage published by the Daily Mail and TMZ. The Shade Room later published a video of Thompson and a brunette allegedly entering his hotel at 5 a.m.

Still, a source told PEOPLE on Thursday that the new mom has “basically already forgiven” Thompson, 27, explaining, “She’s so incredibly happy that her baby is here, that she is big and strong and healthy and beautiful, and so right now Khloé truly has no other cares in the world.”

“She is in a bubble of love and peace and happiness right now, and everything that happened with Tristan is less about ‘cheating’ and more like, it was just a random drunken hookup that meant nothing and was kissing at most and didn’t lead to anything else and was the fault of stupid groupies trying to trap him, and everybody just needs to move on,” the source added.

The couple welcomed a daughter Thursday.