National Basketball Association
NBA News Wire
  • Saturday, April 18, 2015
    NBA notebook: Bulls' Hinrich ruled out for Game 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich was ruled out for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Milwaukee Bucks because of a hyperextended left knee.

    • Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Saturday he is unsure when Hinrich, who missed the last two games of the regular season, will be able to return.

      "(The rehab progression) has sort of plateaued off," Thibodeau said after the shootaround before Saturday night's game. "So he's been stuck for a few days now. So hopefully we can find something to get him better."

      ---Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle, the team announced.

      The surgery was performed Friday by Dr. Richard Ferkel in Los Angeles. Knight is expected to make a full recovery.

      Knight averaged 17.0 points and career-highs of 5.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals this season. A four-year NBA veteran out of the University of Kentucky, Knight played in 11 games with the Suns this season after being acquired in a trade from the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 19.

      ---The Golden State Warriors recalled center Ognjen Kuzmic from the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League.

      Kuzmic helped Santa Cruz earn a 106-95 victory over the Austin Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA D-League Western Conference Finals on Friday night by posting 16 points, a game-high 14 rebounds, two steals and three blocks in 33 minutes. In three playoff games with Santa Cruz (all starts) this postseason, Kuzmic is averaging 13.7 points and 14.3 rebounds in 34.0 minutes.

      ---The Cleveland Cavaliers assigned guard Joe Harris to the Canton Charge of the NBA D-League.

      Harris has played in 51 games (one start) for the Cavs this season, averaging 2.7 points in 9.7 minutes per game.

  • Saturday, April 18, 2015
    Bulls G Hinrich ruled out for Game 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich was ruled out for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Milwaukee Bucks because of a hyperextended left knee.

    • Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Saturday he is unsure when Hinrich, who missed the last two games of the regular season, will be able to return.

      "(The rehab progression) has sort of plateaued off," Thibodeau said after the shootaround before Saturday night's game. "So he's been stuck for a few days now. So hopefully we can find something to get him better."

      Thibodeau said point guard Derrick Rose's minutes won't be restricted for Game 1. Since returning from a right knee meniscectomy on April 8, Rose has averaged about 20 minutes a game.

      "Not really," Thibodeau said when asked if Rose's minutes would be restricted. "It's just him playing well and we'll see what he can handle."

  • Saturday, April 18, 2015
    Suns G Knight has surgery on ankle
    By The Sports Xchange

    Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle, the team announced Saturday.

    • The surgery was performed Friday by Dr. Richard Ferkel in Los Angeles. Knight is expected to make a full recovery.

      Knight averaged 17.0 points and career-highs of 5.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals this season. A four-year NBA veteran out of the University of Kentucky, Knight played in 11 games with the Suns this season after being acquired in a trade from the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 19.

  • Saturday, April 18, 2015
    Cavaliers reassign G Harris
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Cleveland Cavaliers assigned guard Joe Harris to the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League on Saturday.

    • Harris has played in 51 games (one start) for the Cavs this season, averaging 2.7 points in 9.7 minutes per game.

      Harris has played in nine games for the Charge, averaging 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 31.7 minutes.

      Harris will be available for Sunday's Eastern Conference Finals game when the Charge face Fort Wayne.

  • Saturday, April 18, 2015
    Warriors recall C Kuzmic
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Golden State Warriors recalled center Ognjen Kuzmic from the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League on Saturday.

    • Kuzmic helped Santa Cruz earn a 106-95 victory over the Austin Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA D-League Western Conference Finals on Friday night by posting 16 points, a game-high 14 rebounds, two steals and three blocks in 33 minutes. In three playoff games with Santa Cruz (all starts) this postseason, Kuzmic is averaging 13.7 points and 14.3 rebounds in 34.0 minutes.

      The second-year player appeared in 16 games with Golden State this season, averaging 1.3 points and 1.1 rebounds in 4.5 minutes.

  • Friday, April 17, 2015
    NBA salary cap could surpass $100M in 2017-18
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NBA salary cap is expected to exceed $100 million as early as the 2017-18 season, according to an ESPN report Friday.

    • Teams were informed at the NBA Board of Governors meetings this week in New York that a sizable increase could be coming based in part on an infusion of money from the league's new nine-year, $24 billion television contract that begins with the 2015-16 season.

      NBA officials anticipate the cap soaring from $63.1 million to $67.1 million next season, $89 million in 2016-17 and $108 million in 2017-18, ESPN reported. The largest salary-cap increase in one year has been $7 million.

      After the salary cap peaks in 2018-19, the league believes it will decrease slightly in 2018-19 to $100 million.

      Commissioner Adam Silver said the cap estimates are based on the league avoiding a strike after the 2016-17 season. The league and the players could opt out of the current labor agreement before Dec. 15, 2016.

      Along with the salary-cap forecasts, the luxury tax ceiling is projected to jump from $76.8 million to $81.6 million next season, $108 million in 2016-17 and $127 million in 2017-18, according to ESPN.

  • Friday, April 17, 2015
    NBA notebook: Abdul-Jabbar undergoes quadruple bypass surgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    Legendary NBA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing quadruple coronary bypass surgery.

    • UCLA Health issued a statement Friday at the request of Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

      Abdul-Jabbar, who turned 68 on Thursday, was admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center this week with cardiovascular disease. The operation was performed Thursday by Dr. Richard Shemin, UCLA's chief of cardiac surgery. Shemin said the surgery was successful and he expects Abdul-Jabbar to make a full recovery.

      The 7-foot-2 Abdul-Jabbar played 20 seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, retiring in 1989.

      Abdul-Jabbar, a 19-time All-Star and six-time league MVP, won six NBA championships -- five with the Lakers and one with the Bucks.

      ---The Indiana Pacers won a tiebreaker over the Utah Jazz on Friday that gives them one extra chance in the draft lottery.

      That was one of four draft-order tiebreakers broken by the NBA via random drawings conducted in New York.

      In non-lottery tiebreakers, the Dallas Mavericks (50-32) edged the Chicago Bulls for the 21st draft spot, the Memphis Grizzlies (55-27) beat out the San Antonio Spurs for No. 25 and the Houston Rockets (56-26) aced the Los Angeles Clippers for No. 27.

      The Pacers (38-44) have a 0.8 percent chance of winning the lottery, while the Jazz have a 0.7 percent shot.

      The draft lottery is May 19. The draft is June 25.

      ---The NBA is considering extending the season by a week in 2015-16 to alleviate the number of back-to-back games teams must play, commissioner Adam Silver said Friday at the Board of Governors meeting in New York.

      Silver said the league probably will make a decision on the possible extension by early May.

      He said the league should be able to reduce the number of back-to-back sets next year to 16 per team, which would be the lowest ever. He also said the league thinks it can reduce to one the number of times teams have to play four times in five nights.

      Silver also said the league could shorten the preseason starting in 2016 so the season can begin earlier.

      ---Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic has been cleared to resume basketball activities and could return for the playoffs.

      Teletovic has been out since being diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs in January.

      In 40 games (four starts) this season, Teletovic averaged 8.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 22.3 minutes.

      ---Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons plans to play in Saturday night's series opener against the Houston Rockets.

      Parsons, who missed the final six games of the regular season due to a sore right knee, practiced Friday for the first time since leaving an April 2 game against the Rockets.

      Parsons is the Mavs' third-leading scorer with 15.7 points per game. He also averaged 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 66 games.

      ---Atlanta Hawks guard/forward Thabo Sefolosha underwent surgery on Friday to repair a fractured right fibula and ligament damage suffered during his arrest April 9.

      The Hawks said Sefolosha will be out for the remainder of the playoffs while he rests and then begins treatment and rehabilitation.

      Sefolosha was injured in the early morning hours outside a Manhattan nightclub, where a police report states he was resisting arrest. Sefolosha said the police caused the injury.

  • Friday, April 17, 2015
    NBA breaks four draft tiebreakers
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Indiana Pacers won a tiebreaker over the Utah Jazz on Friday that gives them one extra chance in the draft lottery.

    • That was one of four draft-order tiebreakers broken by the NBA via random drawings conducted in New York.

      In non-lottery tiebreakers, the Dallas Mavericks (50-32) edged the Chicago Bulls for the 21st draft spot, the Memphis Grizzlies (55-27) beat out the San Antonio Spurs for No. 25 and the Houston Rockets (56-26) aced the Los Angeles Clippers for No. 27.

      The Pacers (38-44) have a 0.8 percent chance of winning the lottery, while the Jazz have a 0.7 percent shot.

      The draft lottery is May 19. The draft is June 25.

      LOTTERY TEAMS

      The first three picks will be determined by the lottery and the remainder of the lottery teams will select in inverse order of record. Teams listed with record and number of ping-pong balls out of 1,000.

      Minnesota 16-66, 250

      New York 17-65, 199

      Philadelphia 18-64, 156

      LA Lakers 21-61, 119

      Orlando 25-57, 88

      Sacramento 29-53, 63

      Denver 30-52, 43

      Detroit 32-50, 28

      Charlotte 33-49, 17

      Miami 37-45, 11

      Indiana 38-44, 8

      Utah 38-44, 7

      Phoenix 39-43, 6

      Oklahoma City 45-37, 5

      REST OF THE FIRST ROUND

      15. Brooklyn 38-44

      16. Boston 40-42

      17. Milwaukee 41-41

      18. New Orleans (To Houston) 45-37

      19. Washington 46-36

      20. Toronto 49-33

      21. Dallas 50-32

      22. Chicago 50-32

      23. Portland 51-31

      24. Cleveland 53-29

      25. Memphis 55-27

      26. San Antonio 55-27

      27. Houston (To LA Lakers) 56-26

      28. LA Clippers (To Boston) 56-26

      29. Atlanta 60-22

      30. Golden State 67-15

  • Friday, April 17, 2015
    Sefolosha ruled out of playoffs after surgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    Atlanta Hawks guard/forward Thabo Sefolosha underwent surgery on Friday to repair a fractured right fibula and ligament damage suffered during an off-the-court incident.

    • Dr. Robert Anderson performed the procedure at the OrthoCarolina Foot & Ankle Institute in Charlotte.

      The Hawks said in a statement that Sefolosha will be out for the remainder of the 2015 NBA playoffs while he rests and then begins treatment and rehabilitation.

      Earlier this week, Sefolosha pointed to police as the cause of his injury.

      Sefolosha was injured in the early morning hours outside a Manhattan nightclub, where a police report states he was resisting arrest. Sefolosha and Hawks teammate Pero Antic were arrested on suspicion of interfering with the efforts of New York police to set up a crime scene after the stabbing of Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland.

      "I am extremely disappointed that I will not be able to join my teammates on the court during the playoffs and apologize to them for any distraction this incident has caused," Sefolosha said. "I will be cheering for them every step of the way and will be diligent in my rehabilitation.

      "On advice of counsel, I hope you can appreciate that I cannot discuss the facts of the case. Those questions will be answered by my attorney in a court of law. I will simply say that I am in great pain, have experienced a significant injury and that the injury was caused by the police."

      TMZ published a video that it said shows five officers surrounding Sefolosha at the scene and trying to take hold of him. Copeland suffered a knife wound to his left elbow and abdomen in the incident. He also had a fractured elbow that required surgery.

  • Friday, April 17, 2015
    Abdul-Jabbar undergoes quadruple bypass surgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    Legendary NBA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing quadruple coronary bypass surgery Thursday.

    • UCLA Health issued a statement Friday at the request of Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

      Abdul-Jabbar was admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center this week with cardiovascular disease. The operation was performed by Dr. Richard Shemin, UCLA's chief of cardiac surgery. Shemin said the surgery was successful and he expects Abdul-Jabbar to make a full recovery.

      Abdul-Jabbar, who turned 68 years old Thursday, "would like to thank his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA, his alma mater, for the excellent care he has received," the statement said, in part. "He is looking forward to getting back to his normal activities soon.

      "He asks that you keep him in your thoughts and, most importantly, cherish and live each day to its fullest. For those wanting to send well wishes, he thanks you in advance and asks that you support those in your own community who may be suffering from various health issues."

      The 7-foot-2 Abdul-Jabbar, a New York native, played 20 seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, retiring in 1989.

      Abdul-Jabbar, a 19-time All-Star and six-time league MVP, won six NBA championships -- five with the Lakers and one with the Bucks.

  • Friday, April 17, 2015
    NBA considers extending season by a week
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NBA is considering extending the season by a week in 2015-16 to alleviate the number of back-to-back games teams must play, commissioner Adam Silver said Friday at the Board of Governors meeting in New York.

    • Silver said the league probably will make a decision on the possible extension by early May.

      He said the league should be able to reduce the number of back-to-back sets next year to 16 per team, which would be the lowest ever. He also said the league thinks it can reduce to one the number of times teams have to play four times in five nights.

      Silver also said the league could shorten the preseason starting in 2016 so the season can begin earlier.

      Silver also said the league will continue to look at options for changing the draft lottery and playoff seeding.

      A proposal in October to alter the format of the draft lottery did not garner enough support, and Silver said the competition committee has had several meetings since then to examine options.

      With a new TV deal beginning in 2016-17 and the league expecting a big boost in the salary cap, Silver said owners seem content to wait and see how teams behave in the new NBA economy before changing the draft.

      As for playoff seeding, Silver said it would require more study and discussion. He said he is "intrigued" by the possibility of a play-in game for the eighth spot in each conference, but he also said some owners value tradition.

      "It's early days in these discussions," he said, adding, "The result was inclusive as to where we should ultimately go."

  • Friday, April 17, 2015
    Mavs F Parsons plans to play in Game 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons plans to play in Saturday night's series opener against the Houston Rockets.

    • Parsons, who missed the final six games of the regular season due to a sore right knee, practiced Friday for the first time since leaving an April 2 game against the Rockets.

      "I definitely feel much better today," Parsons said Friday. "I was able to get through everything and went up and down and did all the contact stuff. I definitely made a lot of progress from the last couple of days until now. I'm feeling much better. Hopefully, no setback from now until tomorrow, but if all goes well, I should play."

      Parsons, who left the Rockets as a restricted free agent last summer, said he was pleased with his effort during Friday's practice.

      "I actually felt fine," Parsons said. "My conditioning is a little suspect, but if you miss two weeks, you're going to have a little setback. I've been doing a lot of extra work, did a lot of extra shooting yesterday, a lot of extra running today. With the adrenaline and the atmosphere tomorrow night, I shouldn't have a problem."

      Parsons is the Mavs' third-leading scorer with 15.7 points per game. He also averaged 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 66 games.

  • Friday, April 17, 2015
    Nets' Teletovic cleared for basketball-related activities
    By The Sports Xchange

    Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic has been cleared to resume all basketball activities and could possibly return for the playoffs.

    • Nets general manager Billy King made the announcement Friday regarding the status of Teletovic, who has been out since being diagnosed with multiple blood clots in his lungs in January.

      "Mirza has been cleared to resume basketball-related activities. Mirza will be listed as OUT for games, and if his status changes, we will update at the appropriate time," the Nets said in the statement.

      Nets team physician Dr. Michael Farber also released a statement: "Over the last three months, Mirza has been closely monitored on blood thinners and follow-up testing has met our expectations. The most recent bloodwork was normal and Mirza has been cleared to resume all basketball-related activities."

      Teletovic last appeared in a game on Jan. 22 against the Los Angeles Clippers. He left that game at Staples Center after experiencing shortness of breath and was taken to a hospital in Los Angeles.

      In 40 games (four starts) this season, Teletovic averaged 8.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 22.3 minutes per game. Over 165 career games (11 starts), the third-year pro holds averages of 7.0 points and 3.4 rebounds in 16.9 minutes.

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    Las Vegas installs Cavs as title favorites
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Cleveland Cavaliers enter the NBA playoffs with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, but Las Vegas considers them the favorites in to win the championship.

    • The Cavs were listed Thursday at 9-4 odds by the Westgate SuperBook and as the consensus choice among Vegas bookmakers to emerge with their first NBA title in June, according to ESPN.com. Cleveland opens the playoffs against the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

      The Golden State Warriors, who posted the best regular-season record in the league, were next at 5-2.

      Following the Warriors were the defending champion San Antonio Spurs at 4-1 and the Atlanta Hawks, who finished the regular season with the best record in the Eastern Conference, at 12-1.

      The Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers were at 14-1.

      The Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets were the longest shots at 200-1.

      The Cavs have been the favorite since forward LeBron James announced in July that he was returning to Cleveland after four years with the Miami Heat. Last June, before James' declaration to leave Miami, the Cavs' odds were 60-1 to win the 2015 title.

      One of the surprise teams in this year's playoffs is the Bucks, who were listed at 300-1 last summer after posting the league's worst record in 2013-14. Another postseason long shot is the Nets, who in late March were at 750-1, according to William Hill, to claim the title.

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    NBA notebook: NBA will start HGH testing next season
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NBA will begin testing for human growth hormone next season, the league and National Basketball Players Association announced Thursday.

    • Beginning in 2015 training camps, NBA players will be subject to three random, unannounced HGH tests each year -- two during the season and one in the offseason -- and players also will be subject to reasonable-cause testing, the league and union said.

      The penalties for HGH will be the same as for other performance-enhancing drugs: A positive test will result in a 20-game suspension, a second violation will beget a 45-game ban, and a third positive test will result in banishment from the league.

      The NBA and union negotiated a new drug-testing policy in 2011 in which all players became subject to four random tests each season and two random tests each offseason. As part of those negotiations, the NBA and union agreed to establish an HGH test.

      ---Carmelo Anthony said Thursday that he briefly second-guessed returning to the New York Knicks in free agency last July, when he signed a five-year, $124 million deal, shunning offers from the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers in the process.

      Anthony said he is expected to be full strength for training camp in September. He missed the second half of the season following persistent knee issues he said began in the first or second game.

      At 31, and as the centerpiece of a team that wound up with just 17 wins under first-year coach Derek Fisher, Anthony admits to using hindsight at one point in the season.

      "There was one point in the season where it was cloudy, and I was second-guessing," Anthony said.

      Anthony said he was reluctant to have a complete examination on his knee fearing he would miss the entire season, but gutting through it was ineffective.

      "It's been a long process -- I've been in the house about 2-3 weeks," Anthony said. "I feel much better now. I'm off the brace; I'm off the crutches."

      ---Florida coach Billy Donovan made his interest in NBA positions known at the end of the college basketball season, and a good friend might just make room for him in Oklahoma City as the Thunder sit out the postseason.

      Yahoo Sports first reported mutual interest existed between the two sides.

      Donovan, 50, who signed a contract extension with the Gators in March, has only a $500,000 buyout clause and is a longtime friend of Thunder general manager Sam Presti.

      Scott Brooks, current coach of the Thunder, just missed the playoffs for the first time in six seasons -- most of which the team played without forward Kevin Durant -- and has a guaranteed contract for next season with a team option for 2016-17.

      "I expect to be the coach next season," Brooks said Thursday.

      ---Nebraska guard Terran Petteway declared for the NBA draft, joining teammate Walter Pitchford and ending an emotion-filled week for one of the Big Ten's top scorers the past two seasons.

      A Texas Tech transfer, Petteway returned to Texas last week following the death of his mother. He is scheduled to graduate in May, which factored into the decision.

      A two-time All-Big Ten selection, Petteway started every game the past two seasons and averaged 18.1 points per game, second all-time at Nebraska, during his career with the Cornhuskers. In addition to losing two players to the NBA draft, coach Tim Miles also lost guard Tarin Smith (transfer).

      ---The Minnesota Timberwolves were the worst team in the NBA in 2014-15, but the franchise has only a one in four chance of winding up with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft.

      Minnesota nudged ahead of the New York Knicks, who won two of their final three games and now have less than a 20 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick.

      One of the most intriguing scenarios in the draft lottery centers on the Los Angeles Lakers. If the Lakers run into bad luck in May when the lottery order is set by a draw of ping-pong balls, the needy franchise could lose the pick. The Philadelphia 76ers take the Lakers' pick if it falls to six or lower.

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    NBA will start HGH testing next season
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NBA will begin testing for human growth hormone next season, the league and National Basketball Players Association announced Thursday.

    • Beginning in 2015 training camps, NBA players will be subject to three random, unannounced HGH tests each year -- two during the season and one in the offseason -- and players also will be subject to reasonable-cause testing, the league and union said.

      The penalties for HGH will be the same as for other performance-enhancing drugs: A positive test will result in a 20-game suspension, a second violation will beget a 45-game ban, and a third positive test will result in banishment from the league.

      The NBA and union negotiated a new drug-testing policy in 2011 in which all players became subject to four random tests each season and two random tests each offseason. As part of those negotiations, the NBA and union agreed to establish an HGH test.

      The NBA's drug-testing program has been criticized as too lenient and easy to beat. Two players have been punished under the stricter rules.

      Last year, after Memphis Grizzlies point guard Nick Calathes criticized the harsh nature of his 20-game suspension for tamoxifen, NBA drug chief Rick Buchanan defended the testing system.

      "If you measure (the program) by the list of substances that we banned, the number of times that we test, the percentage of a season that you miss if you're penalized under the program, the labs we use, the processes we use," Buchanan said told USA Today, "all that stuff is as good (as) or better than the programs in the other leagues, but we've kind of been given a bit of a hard time about that."

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    NBA draft order: Lottery loaded with intrigue
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Minnesota Timberwolves were the worst team in the NBA in 2014-15, but the franchise has only a one-in-four chance of winding up with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

    • Minnesota nudged ahead of the New York Knicks, who won two of their final three games and now have less than a 20 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick in the draft.

      One of the most intriguing scenarios in the draft lottery centers on the Los Angeles Lakers. If the Lakers run into bad luck in May when the lottery order is set by a draw of ping-pong balls, the needy franchise could lose the pick. The Philadelphia 76ers take the Lakers' pick if that choice falls to six or lower.

      The gems of the 2015 NBA Draft class including freshmen big men Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor of Duke.

      Below is the draft order based on reverse order of 2014-15 standings. The first 14 selections, known as the lottery, are determined May 19 in a random draw of team ping-pong balls. Teams with the worst record have more chances to earn the top pick.

      The below list includes NBA-tabulated odds to earn the first overall pick, followed by odds to get a top-three selection, for all lottery teams.

      1. Minnesota Timberwolves 25% 64.3%

      2. New York Knicks 19.9% 55.8%

      3. Philadelphia 76ers 15.6% 46.9%

      4. Los Angeles Lakers 11.9% 37.8%

      5. Orlando Magic 8.8% 29.1%

      6. Sacramento Kings 6.3% 21.5%

      7. Denver Nuggets 4.3% 15.0%

      8. Detroit Pistons 2.8% 9.9%

      9. Charlotte Hornets 1.7% 6.1%

      10. Miami Heat 1.1% 4.0%

      11. Utah Jazz * .8% 2.9%

      12. Indiana Pacers * .7% 2.5%

      13. Phoenix Suns .6% 2.2%

      14. Oklahoma City Thunder .5% 1.8%

      --

      15. Atlanta Hawks (from Nets)

      16. Boston Celtics

      17. Milwaukee Bucks

      18. Houston Rockets (from Pelicans)

      19. Washington Wizards

      20. Toronto Raptors

      21. Dallas Mavericks

      22. Chicago Bulls

      23. Portland Trail Blazers

      24. Cleveland Cavaliers

      25. San Antonio Spurs

      26. Memphis Grizzlies

      27. Los Angeles Lakers (from Rockets)

      28. Boston Celtics (from Clippers)

      29. Brooklyn Nets (from Hawks)

      30. Golden State Warriors

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    Report: Thunder might turn to Florida's Donovan
    By The Sports Xchange

    University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan made his interest in NBA positions known at the end of the college basketball season, and a good friend might just make room for him in Oklahoma City as the Thunder sit out the postseason.

    • Yahoo Sports first reported mutual interest existed between the two sides.

      Donovan, 50, who signed a contract extension with the Gators in March, has only a $500,000 buyout clause and is a longtime friend of Thunder general manager Sam Presti.

      Scott Brooks, current head coach of the Thunder, just missed the playoffs for the first time in six seasons -- most of which the team played without forward Kevin Durant -- and has a guaranteed contract for next season with a team option for 2016-17.

      Donovan entertained the NBA once before, even accepting the head coach position with the Orlando Magic only to back out of the deal to stay at Florida.

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    Carmelo no longer second-guessing: 'Time is now' for Knicks
    By The Sports Xchange

    Carmelo Anthony said Thursday that he briefly second-guessed returning to the New York Knicks in free agency last July, when he signed a five-year, $124 million deal, shunning offers from the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers in the process.

    • Anthony, during team exit interviews, is expected to be full strength for training camp in September. He missed the second half of the season following persistent knee issues he said began in the first or second game.

      "There was one point in the season where it was cloudy, and I was second-guessing," Anthony said.

      Anthony said he was reluctant to have a complete examination on his knee fearing he would miss the entire season, but gutting through it was ineffective.

      "It's been a long process – I've been in the house about 2-3 weeks," Anthony said. "I feel much better now. I'm off the brace, I'm off the crutches."

      Anthony said his rehab is sectioned off by week, and his next uptick is a few weeks away. By then, the Knicks will have the results of the 2015 NBA Draft lottery in hand. Whereas bringing back Anthony and finding a head coach were the focus of a meandering offseason a year ago, the Knicks enter the 2015 offseason with $25 million in cap space and a likely top five draft pick.

      "The time is now," Anthony said. "We gotta go for it. But we've got to be smart about the decisions we make. … There's a lot of different scenarios that can take place (in the draft), depending if you are 1, 2, 3 or 4."

      Anthony said he will meet with vice president Phil Jackson to discuss what's ahead. He doesn't envision any health setbacks and is getting close to feeling like himself.

      "I feel great about my recovery and my return," Anthony said.

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    TSX NBA poll: Curry for MVP
    By The Sports Xchange

    When it comes to the 2015 NBA Most Valuable Player Award, there could be more than one right answer.

    • The NBA's top two scorers, Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook and Houston Rockets guard James Harden, are in the race, but the front-runner for MVP is Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, according to an informal poll of coaches and players by The Sports Xchange.

      The opinion of veteran Los Angeles Lakers guard Jeremy Lin might sum up the case for Curry: "He's the best player on the best team."

      Curry guided the Golden State Warriors to an NBA-best 67-15 mark while averaging 23.8 points (sixth in the league) and 7.7 assists (also sixth). He broke his own NBA single-season record with 286 3-pointers, and his accuracy from behind the arc (44.3 percent) ranked fourth in the NBA among qualifiers.

      Westbrook clinched the league's scoring title at 28.1 points per game thanks to a 37-point effort in the season finale, but his chances took a hit when the Thunder failed to secure a playoff spot. He also averaged 8.6 assists (fourth in the NBA) and 7.3 rebounds per game. Westbrook recorded 11 triple-doubles; the next-highest total in the league was four, by Harden.

      Harden finished second in the scoring race at 27.4 points per game. He added seven assists per game (tied for eighth in the league) and 5.7 rebounds for the Rockets, who will be the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

      Others are more neutral -- or closed -- when it comes to the MVP tally.

      "James (Harden) and Steph (Curry) fighting it out. Both great. I don’t think about that stuff too much," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

      Here is what the rest of the polled players and coaches had to say on the MVP matter:

      --

      Sacramento Kings coach George Karl: "After dropping that 51 on us, I thought it was Harden. But then I saw that Stephen just went off the other night. They both deserve it. If I had a vote, I'd probably go Curry, just because he's on a great team and he's putting up big-time numbers. They weren't a 67-win team last year, and somebody had to step forward in a big way. The coaching change probably helped but I think Steph has had an incredible season."

      --

      Kings veteran guard Andre Miller: "I'd vote for James Harden. He's basically carried that team all year. He's playing both ends of the court. I mean, without Dwight Howard down there in the post and the way they've been playing this year, he's doing it all-around, with rebounds, assists, steals, scoring.

      --

      New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher, who played with Westbrook at Oklahoma City, "Obviously it's a tight race, but I think he (Westbrook) deserves it. He practically brought them into the playoffs down the stretch."

      --

      Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson: "I'm glad I don't have to vote. I think Curry is the best player on the best team. Westbrook played amazing and James (Harden) was great. You can't be mad if they gave out a co-MVP, but that's not something the league is going to do. It's a tough year. You even have LeBron (James) who is considered having a down year. But he is still the face of the league. Every candidate is deserving, but I think it's going to come down to those three in the west."

      --

      Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague: "Steph Curry. His team has got the best record in the NBA. He's a top-end scorer, tops in assists, tops in steals. He's having a tremendous year."

      --

      Orlando Magic interim coach James Borrego: "I think it's going to be the closest vote in history. I think you have to look at Harden and Curry, neck and neck. I actually think you can flip a coin between those two."

      --

      Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins: "Are we talking Most Outstanding Player or Most Valuable Player? If you're looking at the MVP, then you have to look at Russell Westbrook and all he's done this year. But his team (didn't) make the playoffs. In an award like that, you have to reward winning, so Curry then has to be the front-runner. LeBron James has to be considered, since where Cleveland was and where he's taken them. So it's hard to say."

      --

      Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans: "I'd probably go with Stephen Curry, just because the way they're playing. I think he probably has the most wins out of those three."

      --

      Jazz coach Quin Snyder: "If it were obvious, I'd say what I think, but I don't think it's obvious at all. You've got guys who've not only had great years, but their teams have had great years. Same thing with coaches, I think it's important to step back and just appreciate each one of those guys and the job that they've done. I wish we could recognize all of them in the same way."

      --

      Toronto Raptors center Greg Stiemsma: "I think I'd give it to Steph (Curry). His ability to score in some unique ways, always a threat, and for him to lead them to the best record. I mean, he's had some help obviously. (Warriors guard Klay) Thompson has had a heck of a season, too, but I think you've got to give it to Steph."

      --

      Boston Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty: "I'm going to say James Harden. ... He's just been playing at a high level where he has to show up every night. All MVPs do, but I think he does a lot for that team. Just watching him, just to see where he's progressed defensively where he's giving the effort and he's taking charges, and he's just doing things that an MVP would do that he hadn't done in years before. He's quickly becoming one of my favorite players."

      --

      Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman: "There have been some really great performances this year, but obviously what Golden State has done with Seth Curry and what they have done overall is special. Whoever wins it is going to be worthy."

      --

      Denver Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt: "I wish the league had a Most Outstanding Player and a Most Valuable Player. Most Outstanding in Stephen Curry. What he's done is incredible. But if he's not on this (Golden State) team, they're not in the lottery. That being said, you could go to Cleveland every year and cut the trophy in half and give half to LeBron James. James Harden gets the Most Valuable. If you take him off that team ... he's shown he's the Most Valuable."

      --

      Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott, making a case for both Harden and Curry: "Harden, because of you take him off that team, there's no way they are where they are. He's raised that team up as much as any player can. ... I'd vote for Steph, because he's Steph. He's done everything, and he's done it with a flair. He's had one of those special seasons."

      --

      Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore: "(Curry), just because of everything he's done overall. He's in such a competitive conference, his team has the best record, and they're one of the favorites (in the playoffs). That says it all. He's a great player on a great team."

      --

      New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams: "My league MVP is (Pelicans forward) Anthony Davis, if you want to quote me on it. I think he's had a phenomenal year. Maybe not as good as some of the candidates, but for me, I don't know of anybody who does what he does on both ends of the floor every night. That's why he's an MVP for me."

      --

      Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson: "I'd vote Stephen Curry because of his consistency, and this is not the same team without him. We're talking about a team that could win 67 games. I got to give it to him. a pretty remarkable season, and we wouldn't be the same without him."

      --

      Miami Heat small forward Henry Walker: "Westbrook, Harden and Curry are all deserving in their own rights. It's tough to decide who. Harden has been playing for most of the year without Dwight (Howard), Westbrook has been doing what's he's been doing without (Kevin) Durant, and Curry's been unbelievable. To see that team (Golden State) rise to the top of the Western Conference ... Each player has a strong case. I'm glad I don't have to choose."

      --

      Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Shabazz Muhammad: "James Harden. Their record is really good and Dwight (Howard) wasn't playing for a lot of the season. You could say Steph Curry, too, but I think without James Harden that Houston team wouldn't be in a playoff spot, so for me it's James Harden."

      --

      Atlanta Hawks guard Kent Bazemore: "Stephen Curry is the best player on the best team; he would get my vote. He's had an amazing season. You can't discredit the other two guys, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, for what they've done with less talent, but Steph has been lights out with his points and assists. It's his time (to be MVP)."

      --

      Philadelphia 76ers guard Ish Smith: "Steph has done it consistently all year, and I know you people are looking at me like well, James (Harden), he's missed a lot of players (because of injury). ... And you can argue that, too. But Steph has done it consistently, I think, the whole year. ... They're the No. 1 seed. It's pretty easy for me, because he's been doing it so consistently. He doesn't have to score 30 to beat you. He can get off the ball and score 11, 12 points and have 12 assists. He just has that ability."

      --

      Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks: "It's not my decision, but I know Russell is doing things we haven't seen in a lot of years. Scoring, rebounding and passing. There are five guys that are well deserving of it. So many great individual players in this league. Russell is right there with them, and he is going to be for a long time."

      --

      Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol: "I think there's a couple of candidates that deserve it for me. I think James Harden and Curry are the two guys that are obviously competing for it and deserve to get it. Obviously, only one of them will, but to me, I think what the Warriors are doing and have done this season. I think Stephen Curry leading that team and being an incredible player, I would reward him with that MVP, but they're both well deserving of the trophy this year. James has carried that team incredibly and has played at a very, very high level."

      --

      Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford: "I think you've got to go with Steph Curry simply because they have the best record. I think all three of those guys have just been incredible, but I think when it's that close I would go with him simply because his team has played the best also."

      --

      Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger: "I'm not touching that one. Might be seeing some of those jokers in the next couple of weeks."

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    NBA first-round playoff schedule
    By The Sports Xchange

    NBA FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

    • Western Conference

      Golden State vs. New Orleans

      Game 1 -- Saturday, April 18 -- New Orleans at Golden State, 3:30 p.m., ABC

      Game 2 -- Monday, April 20 -- New Orleans at Golden State, 10:30 p.m., TNT

      Game 3 -- Thursday, April 23 -- Golden State at New Orleans, 9:30 p.m., TNT

      Game 4 -- Saturday, April 25 -- Golden State at New Orleans, 8 p.m., ESPN

      Game 5 * -- Tuesday, April 28 -- New Orleans at Golden State, TBD

      Game 6 * -- Friday, May 1 -- Golden State at New Orleans, TBD

      Game 7 * -- Sunday, May 3 -- New Orleans at Golden State, TBD

      Houston vs. Dallas

      Game 1 -- Saturday, April 18 -- Dallas at Houston, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

      Game 2 -- Tuesday, April 21 -- Dallas at Houston, 9:30 p.m., TNT

      Game 3 -- Friday, April 24 -- Houston at Dallas, 7 p.m., ESPN

      Game 4 -- Sunday, April 26 -- Houston at Dallas, 9:30 p.m., TNT

      Game 5 * -- Tuesday, April 28 -- Dallas at Houston, TBD

      Game 6 * -- Thursday, April 30 -- Houston at Dallas, TBD

      Game 7 * -- Saturday, May 2 -- Dallas at Houston, TBD, TNT

      L.A. Clippers vs. San Antonio

      Game 1 -- Sunday, April 19 -- San Antonio at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m., TNT

      Game 2 -- Wednesday, April 22 -- San Antonio at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m., TNT

      Game 3 -- Friday, April 24 -- L.A. Clippers at San Antonio, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

      Game 4 -- Sunday, April 26 -- L.A. Clippers at San Antonio, 3:30 p.m., ABC

      Game 5 * -- Tuesday, April 28 -- San Antonio at L.A. Clippers, TBD

      Game 6 * -- Thursday, April 30 -- L.A. Clippers at San Antonio, TBD

      Game 7 * -- Saturday, May 2 -- San Antonio at L.A. Clippers, TBD, TNT

      Portland vs. Memphis

      Game 1 -- Sunday, April 19 -- Portland at Memphis, 8 p.m., TNT

      Game 2 -- Wednesday, April 22 -- Portland at Memphis, 8 p.m., TNT

      Game 3 -- Saturday, April 25 -- Memphis at Portland, 10:30 p.m., ESPN

      Game 4 -- Monday, April 27 -- Memphis at Portland, 10:30 p.m., TNT

      Game 5 * -- Wednesday, April 29 -- Portland at Memphis, TBD

      Game 6 * -- Friday, May 1 -- Memphis at Portland, TBD

      Game 7 * -- Sunday, May 3 -- Portland at Memphis, TBD

      Eastern Conference

      Atlanta vs. Brooklyn

      Game 1 -- Sunday, April 19 -- Brooklyn at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., TNT

      Game 2 -- Wednesday, April 22 -- Brooklyn at Atlanta, 7 p.m., NBA TV

      Game 3 -- Saturday, April 25 -- Atlanta at Brooklyn, 3 p.m., TNT

      Game 4 -- Monday, April 27 -- Atlanta at Brooklyn, TBD

      Game 5 * -- Wednesday, April 29 -- Brooklyn at Atlanta, TBD

      Game 6 * -- Friday, May 1 -- Atlanta at Brooklyn, TBD

      Game 7 * -- Sunday, May 3 -- Brooklyn at Atlanta, TBD

      Cleveland vs. Boston

      Game 1 -- Sunday, April 19 -- Boston at Cleveland, 3 p.m., ABC

      Game 2 -- Tuesday, April 21 -- Boston at Cleveland, 7 p.m., TNT

      Game 3 -- Thursday, April 23 -- Cleveland at Boston, 7 p.m., TNT

      Game 4 -- Sunday, April 26 -- Cleveland at Boston, 1 p.m., ABC

      Game 5 * -- Tuesday, April 28 -- Boston at Cleveland, TBD

      Game 6 * -- Thursday, April 30 -- Cleveland at Boston, TBD

      Game 7 * -- Saturday, May 2 -- Boston at Cleveland, TBD, TNT

      Chicago vs. Milwaukee

      Game 1 -- Saturday, April 18 -- Milwaukee at Chicago, 7 p.m., ESPN

      Game 2 -- Monday, April 20 -- Milwaukee at Chicago, 8 p.m., TNT

      Game 3 -- Thursday, April 23 -- Chicago at Milwaukee, 8 p.m., NBA TV

      Game 4 -- Saturday, April 25 -- Chicago at Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m., TNT

      Game 5 * -- Monday, April 27 -- Milwaukee at Chicago, TBD

      Game 6 * -- Thursday, April 30 -- Chicago at Milwaukee, TBD

      Game 7 * -- Saturday, May 2 -- Milwaukee at Chicago, TBD, TNT

      Toronto vs. Washington

      Game 1 -- Saturday, April 18 -- Washington at Toronto, 12:30 p.m., ESPN

      Game 2 -- Tuesday, April 21 -- Washington at Toronto, 8 p.m., NBA TV

      Game 3 -- Friday, April 24 -- Toronto at Washington, 8 p.m., ESPN2

      Game 4 -- Sunday, April 26 -- Toronto at Washington, 7 p.m., TNT

      Game 5 * -- Wednesday, April 29 -- Washington at Toronto, TBD

      Game 6 * -- Friday, May 1 -- Toronto at Washington, TBD

      Game 7 * -- Sunday, May 3 -- Washington at Toronto, TBD

      *If necessary

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    NBA roundup: Pelicans, Nets in; Thunder out
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW ORLEANS -- Forward Anthony Davis scored 31 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and guard Tyreke Evans added 21 points and 11 assists to power the New Orleans Pelicans to a 108-103 victory over the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday at the Smoothie King Center, putting the Pelicans into the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

    • The victory was the eighth in the final 11 games for the Pelicans. Even though New Orleans and Oklahoma City finished with identical records, the Pelicans earned the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference based on a 3-1 regular-season edge over the Thunder.

      The Pelicans will open the playoffs against No. 1 seed Golden State in Oakland on Saturday.

      Grizzlies 95, Pacers 83

      MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Center Marc Gasol posted a double-double with a career-high 33 points and 13 rebounds as Memphis prevented Indiana from claiming the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

      The Grizzlies also helped themselves, moving up to the fifth seed in the Western Conference and a first-round matchup with the fourth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers.

      Thunder 138, Timberwolves 113

      MINNEAPOLIS -- Oklahoma City needed a win, and some help, to get into the playoffs on Wednesday. They got halfway there.

      Guard Russell Westbrook put on an offensive show for the Thunder, posting 37 points, but with the New Orleans Pelicans winning as well, Oklahoma City will be spectators when the playoffs begin.

      Nets 101, Magic 88

      NEW YORK -- Rookie guard Bojan Bogdanovic set a career high with 28 points and forward Joe Johnson capped a crucial 14-2 run with two consecutive jump shots as the Nets claimed the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Nets clinched the eighth spot when the Indiana Pacers lost to Memphis late Wednesday evening.

      Brooklyn will face the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the first round.

      Cavaliers 113, Wizards 108 (OT)

      CLEVELAND -- Kevin Love scored 19 points in limited minutes and guard Matthew Dellavedova had 18 points and matched his career high with 12 assists for Cleveland.

      With nothing left for either team to gain on the final day of the regular season, both sides rested most of their regular starters and were just trying to get out of the night healthy. But Wizards forward Otto Porter sprained his ankle in the third quarter and did not return.

      Raptors 92, Hornets 87

      TORONTO -- Guard Kyle Lowry scored 26 points and dished out seven assists as Toronto finished the regular season with a franchise-record 49 wins.

      Center Jonas Valanciunas added 18 points for the Raptors, whose previous high victory total was 48, accomplished twice before, including last season.

      Celtics 105, Bucks 100

      MILWAUKEE -- Forward Luigi Datome hit three 3-pointers and finished with 22 points as Boston won its final tune-up before its first-round match-up against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

      Forward Jonas Jerebko and center Kelly Olynyk each added 16 points for Boston shot, which shot 49 percent as a team and made 13 of 30 3-point attempts.

      Bulls 91, Hawks 85

      CHICAGO -- Guard Aaron Brooks scored 23 points off the bench, and Chicago against Atlanta.

      Guard Jimmy Butler added 21 points for the Bulls, who erased an 18-point deficit in the second half. Chicago secured the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, where they will face the sixth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.

      Bulls guard Derrick Rose struggled in his fifth game back from a right knee injury that sidelined him for 20 games from late February to early April. He scored two points in 10 minutes during the first half before watching the second half from the bench.

      Rockets 117, Jazz 91

      HOUSTON -- James Harden posted his fourth triple-double this season as Houston turned an explosive second quarter into a win in their regular-season finale on Wednesday night at the Toyota Center.

      By virtue of the New Orleans Pelicans' 108-103 win over the San Antonio Spurs, Houston clinched the Southwest Division title and will play the Dallas Mavericks.

      Heat 105, 76ers 101

      PHILADELPHIA -- On a night when either team might have been able to win for losing, Miami did the winning.

      Forward Michael Beasley scored a season-high 34 points and forward Henry Walker hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with nine seconds left for Miami.

      Mavericks 114, Trail Blazers 98

      DALLAS -- Tyson Chandler scored 22 and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Dallas in an otherwise glorified scrimmage.

      The two clubs came in with their playoffs seeds secure, although neither had a first-round opponent sewn up as other games in the Western Conference were setting the playoff pairings.

      Pistons 112, Knicks 90

      NEW YORK -- Detroit ended its season by stopping a four-game road losing streak.

      Detroit center Andre Drummond recorded his 48th double-double of the season, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Only Chicago's Pau Gasol had registered more double-doubles this season.

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    NBA playoff picture: Pelicans, Nets complete field
    By The Sports Xchange

    The New Orleans Pelicans charged into the postseason in style.

    • The Brooklyn Nets, meanwhile, needed some help, but they sneaked into the playoff field, too.

      Needing a victory in the season finale against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, who were riding an 11-game winning streak, the Pelicans prevailed 108-103 Wednesday to grab the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff berth.

      Thanks to 31 points from forward Anthony Davis, eighth-seeded New Orleans opens the postseason Saturday against the top-seeded Golden State Warriors.

      The Oklahoma City Thunder, behind 37 points from guard Russell Westbrook, blasted the Minnesota Timberwolves 138-113 to finish with the same record as the Pelicans. However, New Orleans held the tiebreaker thanks to winning the teams' head-to-head series.

      In the East, the Nets did their part Wednesday by beating the Orlando Magic 101-88. Later in the evening, when the Indiana Pacers lost 95-83 to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Nets earned the No. 8 seed and a first-round playoff meeting with the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks.

      The top half of the Western Conference playoff bracket was completed when the Houston Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 117-91 to capture the Southwest Division championship and the No. 2 seed. Houston opens the playoffs against the seventh-seeded Dallas Mavericks.

      The Spurs would have won the Southwest with a victory over the Pelicans. Instead, San Antonio dropped down to No. 6 with the Grizzlies clinching No. 5. Memphis faces fourth-seeded Portland in the opening round, but the Grizzlies will have home-court advantage thanks to their superior regular-season record.

      The Los Angeles Clippers finished with the same record as the Rockets, but Houston won the tiebreaker as a division champion. That leaves the Clippers with the No. 3 seed and a matchup with the defending champion Spurs.

      The Chicago Bulls sealed the No. 3 seed in the East by edging the Hawks 91-85. The fourth-seeded Toronto Raptors finished a game behind Chicago despite a 92-87 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

      Chicago's opening playoff opponent will be the sixth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, and Toronto squares off with the fifth-seeded Washington Wizards.

      NBA FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFF MATCHUPS

      EASTERN CONFERENCE

      No. 1 Atlanta Hawks vs. No. 8 Brooklyn Nets

      No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics

      No. 3 Chicago Bulls vs. No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks

      No. 4 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 5 Washington Wizards

      WESTERN CONFERENCE

      No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans

      No. 2 Houston Rockets vs. No. 7 Dallas Mavericks

      No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 6 San Antonio Spurs

      No. 4 Portland Trail Blazers vs. No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies

      FINAL STANDINGS

      EASTERN CONFERENCE

      1. Atlanta Hawks (60-22), Southeast Division champions

      2. Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29), Central Division champions

      3. Chicago Bulls (50-32)

      4. Toronto Raptors (49-33), Atlantic Division champions

      5. Washington Wizards (46-36)

      6. Milwaukee Bucks (41-41)

      7. Boston Celtics (40-42)

      8. Brooklyn Nets (38-44)

      WESTERN CONFERENCE

      1. Golden State Warriors (67-15), Pacific Division champions

      2. Houston Rockets (56-26), Southwest Division champions

      3. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26)

      4. Portland Trail Blazers (51-31), Northwest Division champions

      5. Memphis Grizzlies (55-27)

      6. San Antonio Spurs (55-27)

      7. Dallas Mavericks (50-32)

      8. New Orleans Pelicans (45-37)

  • Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    James sits out Cavs' final regular-season game
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Cleveland Cavaliers rested LeBron James for their regular-season finale against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night in Cleveland.

    • James missed a second straight game after sitting out Sunday in Boston. Coach David Blatt said he consulted with James on Tuesday before making the decision to keep him out of the final game.

      Blatt planned to play all of the other Cavs regulars, but the Wizards were keeping John Wall, Bradley Beal, Nene and Paul Pierce on the bench to rest for a first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors or the Chicago Bulls.

      The Cavs, who had already clinched the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, open the playoffs this weekend against the Celtics.

      Earlier in the day, the Cavs recalled guard Joe Harris from the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League.

      Harris has played in three playoff game (all starts) for the Charge this season, averaging 17.7 points on .543 shooting and 8.0 rebounds in 30.0 minutes per game. He has played in nine regular-season games for the Charge, averaging 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 31.7 minutes.

      Harris has played in 48 games (one start) for the Cavs this season, averaging 2.5 points in 9.1 minutes.

  • Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    NBA roundup: Pacers on brink after double-OT win
    By The Sports Xchange

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Guard C.J. Miles scored 25 points, including a clutch 3-pointer in the second overtime, and the Indiana Pacers gained an edge in the battle for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 99-95 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

    • Indiana (38-43) can earn the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with a victory on Wednesday at Memphis, or with a Brooklyn loss at home to Orlando. The Nets get the final spot with a victory against the Magic and a Pacers loss to the Grizzlies.

      Miles' 3-pointer with 3:38 remaining in the second overtime gave the Pacers a 90-87 lead, and a basket by forward David West on the next possession extended the advantage to 92-87.

      Point guard George Hill added 24 points for Indiana.

      Center Marcin Gortat scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Wizards (46-35), and guard Bradley Beal added 19 points.

      Celtics 95, Raptors 93

      BOSTON -- Forward Jae Crowder sank a fade-away jumper over a pair of Toronto defenders from the corner with 0.8 seconds left, helping playoff-bound Boston lock up the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference with a win at TD Garden.

      Boston (39-42) clinched a playoff spot after a Brooklyn Nets loss Monday.

      Guard/forward Evan Turner had 14 points and nine assists, and guard Avery Bradley, who sustained a left quad contusion during the game, scored 14 to lead the Celtics. Forward Brandon Bass contributed 13 points and nine rebounds, center/forward Tyler Zeller scored 12, and guard Isaiah Thomas chipped in 11 points off the bench.

      The Raptors (48-33) remain one win shy of a setting a franchise single-season record. Guard Lou Williams gave the Raptors a spark off the bench with 16 points. All-Star guard Kyle Lowry had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.

      Clippers 112, Suns 101

      PHOENIX -- Guard Chris Paul scored 22 points, and forward Blake Griffin collected 13 of his 20 points in the first quarter as the Los Angeles Clippers rolled into the playoffs with their seventh straight win, an easy one over Phoenix.

      Center DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers -- surpassing Swen Nater (1979-80) for the highest single-season rebounding total in franchise history with 1,226. He collected 10 or more rebounds in 75 of 82 games this season and extended his ironman streak to 322 games.

      Guard Archie Goodwin had 18 points for the Suns, who trailed by as many as 30 and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight year, tying the longest drought in franchise history (1970-75).