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Basketball Rumors for Thursday

Malcolm Brogdon is expected to play in Game 5 between the Celtics and Bucks, coach Mike Budenholzer announced at shootaround Wednesday morning. Brogdon, who has been sidelined since March 15 with a plantar fascia tear, will come off the bench for Milwaukee and be on a minutes restriction.

The Warriors didn’t include Andre Iguodala on their game day injury report Wednesday afternoon, meaning the veteran forward is available to play in Game 5 against the Rockets Wednesday night after hyperextending his left knee late in Monday’s Game 4 loss. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday that Iguodala was probable, but he participated in shootaround Wednesday morning before being cleared. Mercury News

In the Warriors' two wins, they have 18 more rebounds (104-86) than the Rockets. But in the last two games of the series, both losses for the Dubs, the Rockets have 21 more rebounds (124-103) than the defending champions. Before Wednesday night's Game 5 at Oracle Arena, Shannon Sharpe is calling for urgency on the glass from Kevin Durant. NBC Sports Bay Area

But while Chris Paul's extracurricular's with Durant are largely much ado about nothing, the Dubs reportedly do believe CP3 crossed a line late in the Rockets' Game 4 win on Monday. With 11 seconds left and James Harden at the free-throw line, Paul tried to snake around Andre Iguodala to grab a rebound off the miss and hit the forward's knee. The 2015 NBA Finals MVP immediately grabbed at his knee after the play. While Iguodala is expected to be good to go for Wednesday night's Game 5 at Oracle Arena, a number of Warriors believe Paul's move on Iguodala was a "dirty play," Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reported Tuesday. NBC Sports Bay Area

With the NBA draft lottery slated for Tuesday, the Grizzlies are just a week from gaining some clarity in a pivotal offseason that has already featured a front-office shakeup and the beginnings of a coaching search. The Grizzlies face a wide array of potential outcomes from the lottery, which will be televised at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. A favorable bounce of the ping-pong balls could bring the franchise a top-three selection and the ability to select from a highly touted trio of Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Ja Morant. Memphis Commercial Appeal

The Knicks won their first NBA title that night at Madison Square Garden, and have won only once more since. Now the jersey Walt Frazier wore that night can be yours for a mere $15,000 – at least. Lelands Spring 2019 Classic Auction, which runs through June 7, includes the jersey among its offerings and listed $15,000 as a starting bid. NY Newsday

Of the thousands of on-court decisions Klay Thompson has made in his career, none are as questionable as one he reportedly made watching the latest "Avengers" movie. As part of a longer piece about Thompson's struggles in the Warriors' NBA playoff second-round series with the Houston Rockets, The Athletic's Ethan Strauss reported that "[t]here was amusement in Warriors land when, with an hour left in the film, Klay just got up and left a screening of 'Avengers: Endgame.'" NBC Sports Bay Area

Basketball Rumors for Wednesday

Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Paul George underwent rotator cuff surgery to repair a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder Tuesday and will miss at least the start of preseason training camp, league sources told ESPN.

Along with George -- who will also soon have a procedure done to correct a small tear in the labrum of his left shoulder -- All-Star guard Russell Westbrook had a procedure done to repair a torn ligament in a finger on his left hand, league sources said.

George and Westbrook played with the injuries in the final weeks of the Thunder's season, when a promising 3-seed in the Western Conference playoff race culminated with them finishing sixth and losing in the first round to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Given that Kyrie Irving can (and likely will) opt out of the final year of his contract with the Celtics this summer, the speculation over whether he stays or leaves is already in full swing. Yet the circumstances of his potential exit have added a new dimension to the discussion. In the wake of Boston’s latest loss, criticism was directed at Irving from many directions. The team’s possible playoff elimination on Wednesday despite lofty preseason predictions hasn’t escaped notice.

Ayesha Curry also opened up about the difficulty of dealing with the inevitable problem of married athlete life: groupies. "Stephen is very nice by nature. And he's very talkative ... Obviously you know the devil is a liar the ladies will always be lurking, hoping for their moment and waiting. You need to be aware of that," she said. "I honestly hate it... We had the conversation about it and he tries really, really hard if we're going somewhere, he's introduced me. I don't like to have to introduce myself." SF Chronicle

Basketball Rumors for Tuesday

The Los Angeles Lakers and Tyronn Lue are in the process of working on a contract agreement that would make Lue the franchise's next head coach, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Lue, 42, has not accepted the position yet as both sides continue to focus on contractual parameters, sources said. Yahoo Sports

The Cavaliers experimented with a successful European coach a few years ago with mixed results. They may try it again. Cleveland has scheduled an interview this week with San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, a source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, confirming an earlier Associated Press report.

He'll be the second Spurs assistant to meet with Cleveland, which interviewed Ime Udoka on Sunday. It's not known if owner Dan Gilbert is taking part in the interviews.

New Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams has a big fan in Kevin Durant. The Golden State Warriors star gushed about Williams after the Suns announced his hiring last week. “He’s a leader and a teacher," Durant told reporters, as recorded by the Mercury News' Mark Medina. "I’m excited he’s back into coaching and walking those sidelines again.” Arizona Republic

Kevin Durant says that he knows Monty Williams can succeed in Phoenix, saying that he “knows exactly the formula on how to get the team better every single day." “He knows how to talk to people, for one. He knows how to communicate and he’s honest,” Durant said. “That’s lacking in our world in general. It’s just truth. Especially when you’re talking to him on the basketball court, you have a group of guys that will get better. He has a young core that is hungry to get better and is hungry to have some success.” Arizona Republic

Deandre Ayton is hoping to pass the baton. Last year's first-overall pick will represent the Suns at this year's draft lottery. The Suns have a 14% chance of landing the first pick again, tied with the Cavaliers and the Knicks. Arizona Republic

Tobias Harris said it pretty simply, because it’s not that complicated, or doesn’t appear to be. “He’s carrying their team,” the Philadelphia 76ers forward said after Kawhi Leonard had played Atlas again, carrying so much on his broad shoulders, in Toronto’s Game 4 win. “All the shots he’s taking are tough, contested.” It was hard to say more. Tied 2-2, this is becoming a defining series for these Raptors, and one dynamic is clear. When they defend well and Leonard gets adequate offensive help while playing basketball god, Toronto wins. When he doesn’t — or when the defence slips, as in Game 3 — they don’t. Toronto Star

Kawhi Leonard is rewriting the limits of high-volume offensive efficiency: His post-season true shooting percentage, which combines the value of all field goals plus free throws, is .704, the highest ever for a player averaging at least 25 points per game in a single playoff season. Philadelphia blitzes him with elite athletes, terrific defenders, the occasional seven-foot-two shot destroyer, and Leonard just keeps coming. Toronto Star

Basketball Rumors for Monday, May 6, 2019

“That’s Kawhi, man,” Raptors forward Serge Ibaka said after Leonard’s 39-point, 14-rebound, five-assist, 13-for-20 masterpiece in Toronto’s 101-96 win in Game 4, which evened the second-round series. “You know, that’s what he does for a living. We all know that. It’s not a surprise.” “He’s done it every game of this series,” Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler said. “I don’t know what else you can do.” Toronto Star

Leonard had 45 points on 16-of-23 shooting in Game 1; 35 on 13-of-24 shooting in Game 2; 33 on 13-of-22 shooting in Game 3. And the difference between Sunday’s win and getting blown out in Game 3 was that the Raptors were defending, and he had help. With Leonard sitting for the first two minutes of the fourth quarter — the stretch that all but lost Game 3 — Kyle Lowry hit a clever left-handed bank shot runner over the massive Joel Embiid, and Marc Gasol hit an in-between jumper from Lowry over Embiid again. Toronto Star

On a night where Pascal Siakam played through a contused calf and couldn’t make anything that wasn’t a dunk, Lowry and Gasol delivered enough offence. Serge Ibaka, too. Leonard only had eight of Toronto’s 26 fourth-quarter points; only six Raptors scored at all. They needed everything. Toronto Star

The decision to pair Gasol and Ibaka — partly because Siakam was basically immobile because of a sore right calf — was the most inspired and most successful decision. According to, Ibaka and Gasol had played 31 minutes together the entire season, six more than on Sunday. “We weren’t in great rhythm, right?” Nurse said. “But we were good enough tonight and we were fighting and figuring some things out on the fly. “We were running some stuff we’ve never run before with Marc and Serge and trying to figure out how to best use the kind of stuff.” Toronto Star

Ibaka, mostly a no-show in the first three games, was a different player in Game 4 — or, more precisely, the player we had come to know in the regular season and during the first series against Orlando — finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds. Toronto Sun

For the second time in two weeks, the Nuggets stared down a 2-1 deficit and came out standing on the other side. After Friday’s gutwrenching, four-overtime loss, the Nuggets rebounded with a 116-112 win in Sunday’s Game 4 here to tie the series at 2-2 and wrest homecourt control of the series back. Denver Post

His dogged running mate, Jamal Murray, hit the final six points – all from the free throw line – to cap off a 34-point performance. Murray, who sunk all 11 of his free throw attempts, once again outplayed Portland’s star Damian Lillard. Denver Post

Despite the gorgeous weather in Portland, Jokic said he only ventured outside for dinner with his family. “I woke up 10:30,” Jokic said. “I went to the breakfast, then I went to the massage, then I went to treatments, then I walked on the treadmill a little bit. Have a nice lunch, rested, didn’t do nothing. Watched a couple episodes of a TV show.” Denver Post

In the third quarter, Portland was outscored 27-14. Late in the quarter, the Blazers were getting hit hard with fouls, which made it difficult for Portland to get in a flow. Both Maurice Harkless and Enes Kanter picked up their fourth fouls midway through the third. After Kanter got called for an offensive foul and then Lillard was charged with his second foul just minutes after Kanter’s questionable call, the Blazers crowd was yelling ‘refs you suck’ and the boos were heard all over the arena. NBC Sports Northwest

Celtics guard Marcus Smart, recovering from a torn oblique muscle, has been cleared for full contract practice and is hopeful of playing in Game 4 vs. the Bucks in their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Smart suffered a partial avulsion of his left oblique abdominal muscle off of his iliac crest.

However, thanks in large part to the recent analytics boom that each NBA franchise now employs, 3-point shooting has gone bonkers. It seems simple, but as long as you’re making more than 33.3 percent of your 3-pointers that beats making less than 50 percent of your 2-point shots. This season, every team but one — the Phoenix Suns at 32.9 percent — exceeded that threshold. The two teams that have exploited the 3-point shot more than any other are the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors. In Saturday night’s Rockets-Warriors game, the two teams combined for 75 3-point attempts among the 188 total shots they put up. While that seems like a lot, it was a pretty average night of 3-point shooting for those two teams. Back in mid-January, the Rockets and Brooklyn Nets combined for a ridiculous 106 3-point attempts, with the Rockets attempting 70 of them, smashing the previous record. Deseret News

Basketball Rumors for Sunday

The Warriors walked out of here with a 126-121 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday. The Rockets reduced the Warriors’ series lead to 2-1. And though the Warriors still control the series, they squandered a chance to take a 3-0 series lead and force the Houston Rockets to become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit. Mercury News

Kevin Durant (46 points on 14-of-31 shooting) offered a stark contrast to the Warriors’ other normally prolific scorers in Stephen Curry (17 points on 7-of-23 shooting) and Klay Thompson (16 points on 6-of-16 shooting). James Harden almost matched Durant’s production with 41 points on 14-of-32 shooting. While it seemed fitting for Durant to open the fourth quarter with the team’s first 10 points, it seemed fitting that Curry couldn’t finish at the rim on the final play. Mercury News

With seven minutes left in the first quarter, James Harden tried driving to the basket as Draymond Green switched onto him, and Green's right hand caught Harden on the right side of his face near his eye. The blow was likely accidental, but Harden reacted strongly and got in Green's face after the play to express his displeasure. SF Chronicle

It was a rough night for Curry, who shot 7-23 from the field and 2-9 from three-point range. He finished with 17 points, but missed multiple critical layups down the stretch. SF Chronicle

Draymond Green finished with a triple-double after recording 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and Klay Thompson had a mostly forgettable night after shooting 6-16 from the field and 2-6 from downtown. SF Chronicle

Harden led the Rockets in scoring with 41 points, and teammate Eric Gordon added 30 points for Houston after connecting on seven of 14 three-point attempts. SF Chronicle

Two days after Magic Johnson stepped down as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, LeBron James spoke about the way Johnson chose to resign like it was a betrayal. “I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization, having a conversation with Magic and really kind of breaking it down and saying how we was gonna make this Showtime again, and I wanted to be part of that process,” James said during an episode of his HBO show “The Shop,” which aired Saturday but was taped April 11 in the aftermath of Johnson’s decision. LA Times

“He explained to me Year One is going to be tough. …. But I was OK with the process. At Year 16 you ain’t really supposed to be worrying about no damn process, especially for me because I’m in championship mode all the time,” James added. “So it was just weird for him to just be like ‘I’m out of here’ and not even have no like, ‘Hey Bron, kiss my ass. I’m out of here.’ I would’ve been OK with that. ‘Hey Bron, it’s Magic. Kiss my ass. I’m gone.’ Not even that.” LA Times

The Spurs got much of what they needed this season from DeRozan, the most significant asset returned from dealing Leonard to Toronto. He averaged 21.2 points, shot 48.1 percent — the second-best mark of his career — and set personal highs in assists (6.2 per game) and rebounding (6.0 per game). He was a model teammate and a solid locker room guy. The Spurs won’t ask DeRozan to change his stripes, but they might ask him to tweak them a bit. Express News

Even before the season, there was some question as to how DeRozan’s iso-heavy midrange game would fit in the Spurs’ system. He attempted 45 3-pointers last season — fewer than 325 other NBA players — which helped keep the Spurs’ offense in the Jurassic Age. Popovich has said he will talk to DeRozan about expanding his game this offseason. DeRozan is eligible for a four-year, $149.1 million contract extension this summer. The Spurs will have to think hard about how his game fits in the modern NBA before committing to that kind of deal. Express News


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