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Cavs take 2-0 series lead vs Hawks

Cavs take 2-0 series lead vs Hawks

The Cleveland Cavaliers are rocking, and leave Atlanta with two wins, heading to Cleveland for Game 3. No Kyrie Irving in Game 2, no Kevin Love for the rest of the playoffs, yet no problem so far for LeBron James and company. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

The Cavaliers are down to one superstar and plenty of helping hands.

The Hawks might be down to their last rites.

LeBron James had 30 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists and the Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks 94-82 Friday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. And they did it without Kyrie Irving.

Irving was held out of Friday’s game because of tendinitis in his left knee, yet his absence was barely noticeable.

Matthew Dellavedova had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists in place of Irving, Iman Shumpert scored 16 points and the Cavs held the high-powered Hawks to 42 percent shooting while dismantling the best team in the East on their own floor.

Tristan Thompson grabbed 16 rebounds and Timofey Mozgov had 10 points and seven rebounds.

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and Cavaliers head team physician Dr. Richard Parker traveled today to see Dr. James Andrews of the Andrews Institute. Irving’s left knee was evaluated and his diagnosis (tendinitis) confirmed and treatment plan agreed upon. Irving will be with the team tonight in Atlanta, but will not play. He will continue treatment and is currently listed as Questionable for Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

Kyrie Irving health update

Kyrie Irving health update: questionable for tonight’s Game 2

Kyrie Irving health update

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving will not attend the team’s shoot around this morning in Atlanta in order to undergo additional evaluation with head team physician Dr. Richard Parker. After continuing his treatment following Wednesday night’s game, symptoms related to his left knee tendinitis had not diminished and additional evaluation was recommended. He will be listed as Questionable for tonight’s game.

Warriors edge Rockets 99-98 to take 2-0 series lead

James Harden had Game 2 on his fingertips - and then he didn’t.

Now the Golden State Warriors have the Western Conference finals in their grasp.

Stephen Curry scored 33 points before Harden lost the ball in the closing seconds, and the Warriors held off the Houston Rockets 99-98 on Thursday night to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

Harden rallied the Rockets from 17 points down in the second quarter and had a chance to finish off the comeback in the fourth. Instead, Klay Thompson harassed him and Curry came over to trap Harden, who lost the ball as time expired…

Harden had 38 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and Dwight Howard overcame a sprained left knee that slowed him down to finish with 19 points and 17 rebounds for a Rockets team headed home in a major hole.

– Associated Press

Tyreke Evans undergoes knee surgery

Tyreke Evans undergoes knee surgery

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that guard Tyreke Evans underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Wednesday evening. A timetable for his return to basketball activities will be announced in the near future.

Evans, 6-6, 220, appeared in 79 games during the 2014-15 regular season, posting averages of 16.6 points, 6.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds. The University of Memphis product appeared in all four of the Pelicans’ post-season games against Golden State, averaging 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

The Pelicans qualified for the NBA playoffs this season, but were rudely swept 4-0 in the first round by the Golden State Warriors.

DeMarre Carroll health update: knee sprain, questionable for Game 2 vs Cavs

Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll suffered a left leg injury with 4:59 remaining in the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. An X-ray was negative and an MRI revealed a left knee sprain. Carroll will be listed as questionable and his status will be updated as appropriate.

Austin Spurs exec Tim Salier wins 2015 D-League Executive of Year award

Tim Salier, Spurs Sports & Entertainment Vice President of Franchise Business Operations, was named the 2015 NBA Development League Team Executive of the Year today. NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner made the announcement.

The NBA Development League Team Executive of the Year is determined by peer voting and teams are not allowed to vote for themselves.

“We are very pleased to honor Tim with the Team Executive of the Year Award in recognition of his tremendous contributions to the NBA D-League, the NBA and the Austin community,” said Turner. “Under Tim’s leadership, the Austin Spurs have become a prime example of a how an NBA D-League team should be run to both benefit its NBA parent club and be independently successful.”

To forge a greater bond between Austin and its NBA affiliate – the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs – Salier oversaw the Austin’s adoption of San Antonio’s team name after being called the Toros the previous nine seasons.

Jusuf Nurkic undergoes knee surgery

Jusuf Nurkic undergoes knee surgery

Denver Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic underwent successful knee surgery in order to repair a partially torn left patellar tendon, according to General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, California Wednesday afternoon.

Nurkic averaged 6.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.10 blocks in 62 games (27 starts) this season and was recently named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team.

Cavs take 1-0 series lead vs Hawks

Cavs take 1-0 series lead vs Hawks

J.R. Smith knocked down a tough 3-pointer, then another. Turning toward the fans, their heckling transformed to groans, he blew off his right index finger and motioned toward his side, like he was holstering his pistol.

Yep, Smith was that hot.

While LeBron James led Cleveland with 31 points, it was Smith who ignited the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. He made eight 3-pointers and scored 28 points in a 97-89 victory over the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

”When he gets hot,” Cleveland coach David Blatt marveled, ”he gets smoking hot.”

Intent on bringing Cleveland its first NBA title, James sealed the victory with a soaring dunk in the final minute.

– AP

J.R. Smith steps up in Game 1 vs Hawks

J.R. Smith steps up in Game 1 vs Hawks

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks 97-89 on Wednesday to open the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

With a berth in the NBA championship finals on the line in the best-of-seven series, J.R. Smith set a Cavaliers club record for three-pointers, draining eight from beyond the arc.

His 28 points accounted for all of the scoring by Cleveland reserves.

“I was just trying, if anything, to take good shots,” Smith said. “I got in a rhythm early and just stayed aggressive.”

– AFP

Timberwolves land first pick in 2015 NBA Draft

The Minnesota Timberwolves had the best chance to win the first pick in the 2015 NBA Draft at Tuesday’s Draft Lottery in New York, but by no means was it a guarantee. Yet they did it. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting:

The Wolves, who very much need to bolster their front line, are expected by many to choose between two post men with the top pick, either Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke center Jahlil Okafor. Also Saunders, in a post-lottery press conference, said that is not necessarily the case. Saunders said no decision has been made on which player the Wolves want or will take. The process of evaluation and workouts will continue going forward.

And while the Wolves technically didn’t improve their position – they, of course, could not – they kept their position. It is the first time in 19 trips to the lottery that the Wolves have emerged with the top pick.

With the worst record during the regular season, the Wolves had the best chance (25 percent) of getting the first overall pick. That said, the odds were 3-to-1 against that happening. Minnesota had a 21.5 percent chance at the second pick, a 17.8 percent chance at No. 3 and a 35.7 chance at the fourth pick.

That meant a 64.28 percent chance at the top three picks.

Tyler Ennis undergoes shoulder surgery

Bucks guard Tyler Ennis undergoes shoulder surgery

Tyler Ennis undergoes shoulder surgery

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond announced that guard Tyler Ennis underwent successful labral repair surgery to his right shoulder today. After consultation with Bucks orthopaedist Dr. Michael Gordon and Dr. David Altcheck from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, the procedure was performed this morning in New York.

Ennis was acquired along with Miles Plumlee and Michael Carter-Williams on Feb. 19 in a three-team deal with Phoenix and Philadelphia. In 25 games (one start) this season for Milwaukee, Ennis averaged 4.0 points, 2.4 assists and 1.1 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per game.

Kyrie Irving health status for Eastern Conference Finals: good to go

Kyrie Irving says he will play in Game 1 vs Hawks

The Cleveland Cavaliers are still without Kevin Love, who is out for the rest of the playoffs and inactive for months beyond that, but banged-up guard Kyrie Irving appears healthy enough to play in Game 1 against the Atlanta Hawks in the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

Kyrie Irving worked overtime Monday, bouncing around the court during a shooting drill with LeBron James long after the formal portion of practice had ended.

Irving is still fighting injuries to both his left knee and right foot, but he moved fluidly and without a limp. And most importantly, he declared himself ready for Wednesday’s opening game of the Eastern Conference finals at the Atlanta Hawks.

“I’m going to go,” he said.

Irving’s availability was never really in doubt, although Cavaliers coach David Blatt cast a temporary shadow when he said he was hopeful Irving would be ready. After Irving was a full participant on Monday, Blatt said he was “encouraged’ by the progress his star guard made in a relatively short amount of time.

Kyrie Irving sits out Saturday practice

Kyrie Irving sits out Saturday practice

The Cleveland Cavaliers recently proved they can win a big game while LeBron James’ shot is off and Kyrie Irving (and Kevin Love) aren’t on the floor, but it’s not something they care to attempt on a regular basis. Ideally, Irving will be out there, making defenders look slow while he racks up points. But he’s banged up. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting the latest:

Kyrie Irving sits out Saturday practice

Cavs’ All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving was held out of practice Saturday after reaggravating a left knee injury in Thursday’s closeout Game 6 against the Chicago Bulls.

An MRI on Monday revealed tendinitis in Irving’s knee. Irving has also been battling a right foot strain suffered in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Boston Celtics.

Cavs coach David Blatt said Irving saw the doctors again Friday. Blatt couldn’t give a definitive assessment of Irving’s status for Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Hawks in Atlanta, but said the Cavs “hope” he can play.

Joakim Noah wins 2014-15 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls has won the 2014-15 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award as selected by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA). The honor, named after the NBA’s second commissioner, is presented annually by the PBWA to the player, coach or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.

The other finalists for the award were forward Tobias Harris of the Orlando Magic, forward Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons, guard Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and forward Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Noah, a two-time All-Star center who has spent his entire eight-year career with the Bulls, has dedicated himself to helping children develop a stronger sense of self through his Noah’s Arc Foundation (NAF). The foundation recently launched the “Rock Your Drop: The Drop of Consciousness” anti-violence initiative, which supports those affected by violence and encourages youth to express themselves through creative outlets like sports and art.

NAF also produced the “You’re Not Alone” anti-violence video featuring first-hand stories from those who have lost loved ones to violence, including Noah’s teammates Taj Gibson, Nazr Mohammed and Derrick Rose. Last summer, in his ongoing efforts to raise awareness of gun violence and promote unity in Chicago, Noah and NAF debuted the #ChicagoStandUp public service announcement and hosted a basketball tournament that brought together young men from the south and west sides of the city.

“Joakim’s initiatives to slow the violence in Chicago should inspire us all to help in our communities,” said PBWA President Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “His creative, sustained efforts stood out in perhaps the deepest pool of worthy candidates in the 41-year history of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.”

Without Tony Allen, Grizzlies lose Game 5 to Warriors

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on Wednesday’s Warriors-Grizzlies second round playoff game, which went quite badly for Memphis:

Without Tony Allen, Grizzlies lose Game 5 to Warriors

Much like the last playoff game in Oakland, Game 5 came down to a key Grizzlies player who was a game-time decision because of injury. While Mike Conley put on a face mask and cape in Memphis’ win in Game 2 at Oracle Arena, Tony Allen was not able to play with a bad hamstring Wednesday night.

The defensive repercussions were obvious, but the Grizzlies were actually somehow worse offensively without their jump shot-challenged tough guy.

“It’s huge, being without Tony,” Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee said. “We can’t replace his energy or his defensive intensity. We needed to step up tonight and we didn’t.” Memphis shot 5-of-25 in a 12:35 span over the end of the first quarter and most of the second quarter, turning a 25-15 lead into a 49-37 deficit.

Memphis shot 5-of-25 in a 12:35 span over the end of the first quarter and most of the second quarter, turning a 25-15 lead into a 49-37 deficit.

And a 12-point deficit might as well be 24 — which it grew to — for a big, physical team that can’t get out on the fastbreak (six points all night) or shoot threes (they made four).

John Wall returns in Wizards Game 5 loss to Hawks

Nobody expected injured Washington Wizards guard John Wall to return during these playoffs. But yesterday it happened, and he gave it his all, though the Wizards fell slightly short to the Atlanta Hawks. Here’s CSN Washington reporting:

John Wall returns in Wizards Game 5 loss to Hawks

John Wall threw himself on the floor with 32.6 seconds left, and the score tied at 78, for a loose ball, corralled it and called a timeout. He slapped the floor repeatedly with his good hand, the right one, as he sensed a Game 5 victory was near Wednesday.

But a 3-2 series lead for the Wizards is oh-so-far away. Wall blocked Dennis Schroder’s shot on the final play as he drove to the basket, but Al Horford darted in like a bowling ball to send bodies scattering to grab the loose ball for the putback with two seconds left and an 82-81 victory for the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena.

“It felt great. I didn’t have any problems with my hand,” Wall said after having 15 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. “I was able to play aggressive and make plays so I was fine.”

Queens gym being named in honor of Anthony Mason

The late Anthony Mason was an awesome NBA player, and is dearly missed. Here’s the New York Daily News reporting:

Springfield Gardens Education Complex in Queens will honor the memory of its most-decorated basketball player on Thursday when it names its gymnasium for former Knick Anthony Mason in an afternoon ceremony.

Mason, one of the signature players on Pat Reilly’s mid-1990’s Knicks teams, died at age 48 on Feb. 28, less than a month after suffering a heart attack.

“It’s a wonderful way of honoring my pops,” said Anthony Mason Jr., the former St. John’s star. “He really cared about his school.”

Turner Sports has signed Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaq to contract extensions for TNT’s Inside the NBA studio TV show

TNT’s “Inside the NBA” studio TV show has signed host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal to multi-year extensions.

“We truly believe Inside the NBA is among the best studio shows of all time and a large part of its success is due to the unrivaled chemistry between Ernie, Charles, Kenny and Shaquille,” said Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports. “We’re looking forward to continuing the creativity and pioneering spirit behind the show for a very long time.”

The content of the show includes popular re-occurring segments such as “EJ’s Neat-O Stat of the Night,” “Gone Fishin’” and “Shaqtin’ a Fool.”

Inside the NBA is the most-watched NBA studio show on cable television, based on Nielsen Research, and frequently generates the second most-watched program on cable throughout the NBA Playoffs (trailing only live game coverage).

It’s a surprise to many that Shaq lasted all these years. But the network is clearly intent on keeping him around.

Fan discussion: Shaq, Ernie, Kenny and Chuck sign multi-year deal with TNT

Alan Anderson had ankle surgery today

Alan Anderson had ankle surgery today

Brooklyn Nets guard/forward Alan Anderson underwent successful arthroscopic surgery today, May 12, to remove bone spurs from his left ankle, General Manager Billy King announced. The procedure was performed by Nets’ foot and ankle specialist Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Anderson is expected to resume basketball-related activities in July.

Anderson played in 74 games (19 starts) for Brooklyn this past season, with averages of 7.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. In six postseason contests, Anderson posted averages of 11.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, while shooting a team-best .610 from the field and .625 from three-point range.

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