Archive for April 20th, 2014

Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times reporting on the Wizards, who are set to face the Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs:

It’s a nice badge to carry into the playoffs: The team no one wants to play.

It even has a tinge of intimidation to it, that is, if the Bulls were actually facing a team that was susceptible to intimidation.

But they aren’t.

The Washington Wizards have little to lose, especially when all they’ve been hearing is they’re destined for elimination by next week.

“Why would they pick us?’’ Wizards center Marcin Gortat told the Washington Post on Friday when asked about all the predictions from the so-called experts favoring the Bulls. “First of all, Chicago is an experienced team. They have a lot of good players every year. The pressure is on them. I don’t understand why we should be mad. This is a good team, and we’ve just got to beat them. We’ve got to focus on our team.’’

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the Heat:

Mike Beasley inactive for Heat in playoff opener

Michael Beasley was designated as inactive for the Miami Heat’s playoff opener Sunday against the Charlotte Bobcats at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Beasley sprained an ankle during Wednesday’s regular-season finale against the Philadelphia 76ers. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Beasley got in a workout Sunday and is closer to a return.

“Michael is still getting healthy from that ankle,” Spoelstra said. “He didn’t really progress the last couple of days the way that we had hoped. He was able to get a better workout today than he was the last couple of days.”

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the Trail Blazers, who are set to face the Rockets tonight for Game 1 in their first round playoff series:

Dorell Wright says Blazers have that hunger

After slipping on his sneakers and lacing them up, Dorell Wright rose from the chair in front of his locker and surveyed the scene around the Trail Blazers’ locker room.

They had just defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, 110-104, in the final game of the regular season, winning for the ninth time in 10 games, and Wright had a knowing feeling. He had been in this situation before and he sensed something familiar, something exciting, in the room.

“There’s a hunger in here,” Wright said. “A lot of hungry guys.”

So hungry, in fact, it reminded Wright of his second NBA season, when he was a wide-eyed teenager along for the ride as the Miami Heat won a championship.

“When I played on that championship team, there was a lot of older hungry guys,” Wright said. “Guys that had been playing for so long and never got that opportunity. We’ve got the pieces in here to be special. And we’ve got guys that are hungry. When you’ve got guys that are hungry and willing to do anything to win and sacrifice their games, it’s a good feeling.”

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on on Nets forward Paul Pierce:

Paul Pierce plays well in Nets-Raptors Game 1

Dubbed a “Dinosaur” on the front page of the local Toronto paper because of his age, the 36-year-old Pierce buried the Raptors in Game 1 of the opening round, scoring nine of his 15 points in the final three minutes of a wild 94-87 victory that started with a profane insult from Toronto’s GM and ended with a broken shot clock.

“Truth-asaurus Rex 1, Raptors 0,” Pierce retweeted from his account not long after the game.

An acrimonious tone was set when Raptors GM Masai Ujiri shouted “F— Brooklyn!” at a fan rally outside the arena before the game, drawing cheers from the assembled thousands. But by the time Pierce walked off the floor, the Nets, seeded sixth, had snatched home-court advantage from the inexperienced and combustible No. 3 Raptors, flexing their experience and $102 million payroll.

“You see, as a home-court team should do, (the Raptors) relied on their crowd, relied on their home-court advantage,” said Shaun Livingston. “So to come in and take that away from them in Game 1, it’s big for us.”

Basketball blog