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.

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.

Draft lottery disappointment for Knicks

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on the Knicks, who after Tuesday’s Draft Lottery only came away with the No. 4 overall pick in June’s NBA Draft:

Phil Jackson did not hit the jackpot, and he did not even land the all-important consolation prize.

The pain and embarrassment of the worst season in franchise history did not result in the Knicks winning the lottery for the second time in 30 years on Tuesday night - or even finishing in the top-2 - as the Ping-Pong balls determined they will select fourth overall in the NBA draft on June 25.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, which had a 25 percent chance of winning the lottery as the NBA’s worst record, were awarded the top pick and the right to choose between the consensus top two prizes of the draft class - 19-year-old big men Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor of Duke.

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.

Report: Pelicans interested in Alvin Gentry

Report: Pelicans interested in Alvin Gentry

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on the NBA’s coaching scene:

Report: Pelicans interested in Alvin Gentry

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said this month that he didn’t think Warriors associate head coach Alvin Gentry would be in Golden State for very long — a statement that is starting to look pretty prophetic.

New Orleans president Mickey Loomis and general manager Dell Demps met with Gentry on Monday night in San Francisco, according to Yahoo Sports. ESPN reported that the Warriors granted permission for Gentry to interview for head-coaching vacancies between playoff series.

He also has been mentioned as a front-runner for Chicago’s top coaching post, should Tom Thibodeau be fired, and among the candidates for open gigs in Denver and Orlando. Gentry declined comment on the subject.

Marcin Gortat says personal issues distracted him this season

Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting on Wizards center Marcin Gortat, who made some partially-revealing comments about his play this season:

marcin gortat was dealing with personal issues

Sometime around the all-star break, the gregarious Marcin Gortat who had captivated the District vanished. After several months of humorous, insightful and candid takes, he politely rushed through interviews if he did them at all. When asked twice over the final weeks of the season to assess his individual campaign, Gortat said he would address his personal situation during his exit interview. That came Monday.

“I would say in the eight years of my career, the eighth year was pretty much the toughest one from a personal standpoint,” said Gortat, who completed the first of a five-year, $60 million contract. “I had some issues during the season and that definitely didn’t help me to focus on basketball. That part is on me, definitely on me. I can’t blame anybody for that. I’m not going to talk about those issues. That’s why we call this personal business.”

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.

LaMarcus Aldridge had thumb surgery today

LaMarcus Aldridge had thumb surgery today

LaMarcus Aldridge had thumb surgery today

Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge underwent successful surgery today to repair the injured radial collateral ligament of his left thumb. Dr. Thomas J. Graham performed the procedure at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

Aldridge is expected to be able to return basketball activity in approximately eight weeks.

The Blazers finished the regular season with a 51-31 record. They lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs, in five games.

In the regular season, Aldridge averaged 23.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. His season almost ended early due to his thumb injury, but he played through it.

Rockets complete comeback, eliminate Clippers in seven games

James Harden scored 31 points, Dwight Howard had 16 points and 15 rebounds and the Houston Rockets never trailed in a 113-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, sending them to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1997.

It’s the ninth time in NBA history that a team has overcome a 3-1 series deficit to win a playoff series.

The Rockets needed an epic comeback to overcome a 19-point third-quarter deficit and force Game 7. No such heroics were needed Sunday when they were up by 17 after three and Howard opened the fourth quarter with a 3-point play to push it to 88-68.

Blake Griffin scored five points in a 9-0 run to cut the lead to eight points with less than 2 1/2 minutes remaining. Harden made a pair of free throws after that, but a dunk by DeAndre Jordan got the Clippers within eight again. This time Trevor Ariza hit a 3 from the corner to secure the victory.

– Associated Press

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