And now, free agency for Paul Millsap

And now, free agency for Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap

Power forward Paul Millsap was a huge part of the Atlanta Hawks’ success this season. Will he and the club part ways? Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting:

The next stop for Paul Millsap is free agency.

The two-time All-Star, both in his seasons the Hawks, is an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Hawks would like to re-sign the power forward – along with several other teams.

The sting of a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference finals was still fresh minutes after the Hawks 118-88 Game 4 loss to the Cavaliers Tuesday night when Millsap was asked about his future.

“I think looking at different options, looking at this team, looking at what we’ve built thus far, in weight my options I can’t make a decision right now,” Millsap said.

Miami Heat lineup analysis

Miami Heat lineup analysis

The Miami Heat, who played roughly half the season without star Chris Bosh, finished with a 37-45 record, failing to qualify for the NBA playoffs. Here’s the Palm Beach Post with a look at some of their lineups:

The lineup everyone wanted to see heading into last season (Norris Cole, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Chris Bosh) was on the court a total of 34 minutes over four games. That group had a plus-26.1 efficiency rating (points scored per 100 possessions minus points allowed per 100 possessions).

The lineup everyone wanted to see in February and going into next season (Goran Dragic, Wade, Deng, Bosh and Hassan Whiteside) played zero minutes together. Bosh exited due to blood clots in his lungs just as Dragic arrived in the trade.

The most prevalent lineup was Dragic, Wade, Deng, Udonis Haslem and Whiteside. That group worked together for 179 minutes. For context, Golden State’s primary unit logged 813 minutes, and the Warriors had two other groups play at least 180 minutes.

Cavs sweep Hawks, reach 2015 NBA Finals

Cavs sweep Hawks, reach 2015 NBA Finals

The AP reports: The championship LeBron James craves more than any other, the one he came back home to get, is within reach. The Cavaliers are in the NBA Finals. James scored 23 points, Kyrie Irving provided a boost after missing two games and Cleveland reserved a spot in the finals with a 118-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night to win the Eastern Conference title. By sweeping the top-seeded Hawks, the Cavs earned their second trip to the finals, where they will face either Golden State or Houston starting June 4.

The AP reports: It will be the fifth straight visit to the league’s showcase event for the inimitable James, who returned to Cleveland after four years in Miami to try and end this city’s championship drought dating to 1964. The Cavs are four wins from doing it, and if they can, James will have a title that would put him in a class by himself. Other players have won more championships, but none has ever done it for his ring-starved home region.

The AP reports: Jeff Teague scored 17 and Paul Millsap 16 for Atlanta, which won a team-record 60 games during the regular season and made the conference finals for the first time since 1970. But the Hawks were no match for the Cavaliers and had no answer for James, who nearly averaged a triple-double in the four games.

Reuters reports: In addition to his 23 points, James also made nine rebounds and had seven assists on Tuesday, doing most of his scoring in the first half as Cleveland opened up a commanding 59-42 by halftime. The Cavs were bolstered by the return of point guard Kyrie Irving, who had missed the last two games with a knee injury. Irving played 22 minutes and scored 16 points.

AFP reports: Cleveland will face either the Golden State Warriors or the Houston Rockets in the championship showdown. Golden State leads that series 3-1.

The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday, sweeping them and reaching the NBA Finals. During the Cavs postgame press conference, J.R. Smith snapped an Instagram selfie with LeBron James and Tristan Thompson. Enjoy!

Rockets win Game 4 vs Warriors

Rockets win Game 4 vs Warriors

When Golden State’s Stephen Curry crashed into Trevor Ariza’s shoulder, was upended and sent flying toward the court on Monday night against Houston, it felt like forever before he landed.

”That was the worst (fall ever) because you’re in the air for a long time,” Curry said. ”And not knowing how you’re going to hit the floor, knowing that it’s going to happen, it’s inevitable, but you’re up there just trying to brace yourself.”

The MVP was able to return to Game 4 of the Western Conference finals after the spill but the Warriors couldn’t overcome a big deficit, as James Harden scored 45 points in the Rockets’ 128-115 victory.

– Associated Press

While the Rockets prevented a sweep, no team in NBA history has recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.

“We’re a really good team when we are moving the ball and working together,” Harden said. “We’ve got to do a better job of being consistent.”

Harden made 13-of-22 shots from the floor, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range, and added nine rebounds and five assists.

– AFP

Harden also pulled down nine rebounds, while center Dwight Howard notched 14 points and 12 boards as the Rockets ensured they would live to fight another day, pulling back to 3-1 down in the best-of-seven series.

Curry finished with 23 points, while guard Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 24.

Golden State, who will have their next chance to close out the series back in Oakland on Wednesday, have not been to the NBA finals since 1975.

– Reuters

Incident with Matthew Dellavedova leads to Al Horford ejection

Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting on a key sequence from Sunday’s Hawks-Cavs Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 in Cleveland, which the Cavaliers won in overtime to take a 3-9 series lead:

Incident with Matthew Dellavedova leads to Al Horford ejection

Matthew Dellavedova’s growing reputation as a dirty player — deserved or not — preceded him Sunday night.

And it seemed to play a part in another playoff entanglement, following his leg lock on the Chicago Bulls’ Taj Gibson in the conference semifinals and his collision with the Atlanta Hawks’ Kyle Korver on Friday that left Korver with a postseason-ending ankle sprain.

This time in a scramble for a rebound with 34.3 seconds left in the first half at Quicken Loans Arena, Cavs’ backup point guard Dellavedova tripped over the Hawks’ DeMarre Carroll and fell in a heap with Atlanta’s Al Horford. When he felt Dellavedova on his knees, Horford elbowed Dellavedova in the neck and shoulder area.

After a lengthy review, Horford received a flagrant-2 and an ejection and Dellavedova was called for a technical foul for what crew chief Ken Mauer called “a live ball physical taunt.”

The moment nearly stole the spotlight from a play-to-exhaustion triple-double from LeBron James as the Cavs edged the Hawks 114-111 in overtime in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Cavs will attempt to sweep the visiting Hawks in Game 4 Tuesday night and earn a trip to the NBA Finals.

Tristan Thompson making big plays for Cavs

Tristan Thompson making big plays for Cavs

The Cavaliers lead the Hawks 3-0 in their Eastern Conference Finals playoff series. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting on one of the most important members of Cleveland’s postseason squad:

Tristan Thompson making big plays for Cavs

No one will read about double-digit rebounds regarding Tristan Thompson’s performance Sunday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, one the Cavs won in overtime 114-111. The Cavs now own a 3-0 lead in the series.

Though the numbers are respectable [10 points, seven rebounds], his contributions came down to two huge plays – one in regulation and a more significant one in the overtime.

Thompson, playing with five fouls since the 6:09 mark of the fourth quarter, worked as if he had no worries. In the overtime, he grabbed an offensive rebound with 36.9 seconds left on the clock and the Cavs trailing 111-109. He found a wide-open LeBron James in the left corner of the court and James connected on his only three-point shot of six attempts on the night.

“When I got that rebound I was hoping I didn’t get pushed out of bounds like the last one [just moments before], but I stayed in bound,” he said. “Got my balance and looked for the open teammate and that was LeBron.”

James Harden struggles in Game 3 loss to Warriors

The Houston Rockets got smoked at home by the Golden State Warriors last night. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

James Harden struggles in Game 3 loss to Warriors

Harden and the Rockets had their first off night of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday night. Instead of having a chance to be their hero, Harden was on the bench for the entire fourth quarter watching his team fall to the Warriors 115-80 and fall to 0-3 in the series.

“They outworked us,” Harden said. “They played a lot better than us tonight. They played downhill all night and we never recovered.”

Harden was stellar in Games 1 and 2 in Oakland, averaging 33 points, shooting .585 from the field. He also averaged 10.5 rebounds, nine assists and 3.5 steals in the first two games.

On Saturday in Game 3, Harden had 17 points, shot .187 from the field, dished out three assists and had four rebounds.

After the first two games, guarding Harden was key for the Warriors.

“I mean, it’s hard to stop him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s got an incredible pace to his game. He sees angles. He gets into the cracks of the defense and there’s little subtle things you do that he may exploit, he may not. I thought we did a better job taking away some of the angles that he was attacking on us in the first couple games.”

Stephen Curry shines, Warriors take 3-0 lead vs Rockets

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry, who was even more brilliant than usual Saturday night in Houston, helping his team dominate the Rockets 115-80 to take a 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals:

Stephen Curry shines, Warriors take 3-0 lead vs Rockets

Curry was marvelous in Game 1 and deadly in Game 2. He was both and more in Game 3, pouring in a game-high 40 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including a sublime 7-of-9 on 3-pointers.

The scrawny, tiny Curry has never stood larger in his basketball career. He broke Reggie Miller’s NBA record for 3s made in a playoff year. He’s averaging 35.6 points on 61.2 percent shooting (38 of 62) from the field and 58 percent (18 of 31) beyond the arc. He’s made Harden forgettable, placed his name among the league’s historic greats and put once-forgotten Golden State within sight of the only series that matters.

Curry was very, very good before the 2014-15 playoffs. Thanks to three games against the once-resilient Rockets, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard has become indisputably great.

“Steph was Steph. He’s the MVP,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, whose highly confident team blew out the fight-less Rockets 115-80 Saturday at the Toyota Center. “He’s had a brilliant season. The shooting is hard to describe because I don’t think we’ve ever seen anybody shoot the ball the way Steph does off the dribble, off the catch. Seven-for-nine from 3. I mean, it was remarkable. Just a tremendous performance.”

Atlanta Hawks guard/forward Kyle Korver suffered a right ankle injury with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter of last night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. X-rays performed at Philips Arena last night were negative. A follow-up MRI and examination this morning at the Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic confirmed a severe high right ankle sprain. Korver will see a foot and ankle specialist to determine the best course of treatment. He is out for the remainder of the postseason.

Terrence Ross undergoes ankle surgery

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday forward-guard Terrence Ross underwent surgery yesterday in Van Nuys, California to remove bone spurs and loose bodies from his left ankle. The procedure was performed by Dr. Richard Ferkel at the Southern California Orthopaedic Institute.

Ross will conduct his rehabilitation in Toronto. No timetable has been set for a return to basketball activities.

Ross averaged 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 25.3 minutes in a career-best 82 games this past season. He owns career averages of 9.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 23.3 minutes in 236 games. He has shot .373 (371-994) from three-point range.

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.

Check this video of the top five plays from Rockets at Warriors, Western Conference Finals Game 2, which Golden State won 99-98 to take a 2-0 series lead.

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.

Stephen Curry fined for flopping

Stephen Curry fined for flopping

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules during Game 1 of the Warriors’ Western Conference Finals series against the Houston Rockets.

The incident occurred with 3:07 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 110-106 victory over the Rockets on Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

UPDATE: According to AFP, “I don’t agree with it,” Curry said Wednesday. “I watched the play over and, transition play, so obviously balance is not very good in that situation.” Added Curry: “That play happens countless times. I wasn’t even looking for the foul. I was just reacting to the contact.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr also disagreed with the fine — not because Curry’s move wasn’t a flop, but because such falls, from minimal contact, are so common.”

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.

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