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  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    NBA notebook: Lakers GM says Kobe down to final season
    By The Sports Xchange

    Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Kobe Bryant has indicated the 2015-16 season will be the star's last with the team.

    • "He has indicated to me that this is it," Kupchak said Thursday on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

      Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and former league MVP, is scheduled to make $25 million in his final contract season and 20th year with the Lakers.

      There has been speculation that Bryant could play beyond next season and the guard -- who will turn 37 when next season begins -- hasn't ruled out that possibility.

      "I think first and foremost, he's on the last year of a deal," Kupchak said. "There have been no discussions about anything going forward. I don't think there will be."

      Bryant's last three seasons have ended early because of injury. He played only 35 games last season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists.

      "A year from now, if there's something different to discuss, then it will be discussed then," Kupchak said of Bryant potentially playing beyond next season. "I talk to him from time to time ... and he is recovering. He's running. He's getting movement and strength in the shoulder. We expect a full recovery, but yeah, he's much closer to the end than to the beginning."

      ---Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving did not attend the team's morning shootaround before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

      Irving aggravated the tendinitis in his left knee during the Cavaliers' 97-89 Game 1 win on Wednesday night. He was listed as questionable for Game 2.

      Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll's status was a game-time decision after he suffered a sprained knee in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game.

      The Cavs said Irving was undergoing additional evaluation with head team physician Dr. Richard Parker.

      Irving's frustration was obvious after scoring 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field. Of the final 18 minutes, he played in only three.

      Carroll was undergoing extensive treatment as Friday night's game approached. He wore a knee brace at the Hawks' morning shootaround and walked with a slight limp.

      ---Marques Haynes, known for his dazzling dribbling skills and showmanship with the Harlem Globetrotters, died Friday of natural causes at age 89.

      Haynes died in Plano, Texas, Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider said.

      In 1998, Haynes was the first Globetrotters player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

      During Haynes' long career, he played in more than 12,000 games and traveled more than 4 million miles to entertain fans and display his talents in more than 100 countries.

      Haynes was with the Globetrotters from 1947 to 1953 and from 1972 to 1979. He served as player-coach in 1974-75.

  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    Globetrotters legend Haynes dies at 89
    By The Sports Xchange

    Marques Haynes, known for his dazzling dribbling skills and showmanship with the Harlem Globetrotters, died Friday of natural causes at age 89.

    • Haynes died in Plano, Texas, Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider said.

      In 1998, Haynes was the first Globetrotters player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

      During Haynes' long career, he played in more than 12,000 games and traveled more than 4 million miles to entertain fans and display his talents in more than 100 countries.

      Haynes was with the Globetrotters from 1947 to 1953 and from 1972 to 1979. He served as player-coach in 1974-75.

      "Basketball has lost one of its most iconic figures," Schneider said.

      The Globetrotters plan to honor Haynes during their 90th anniversary tour in 2016 and will wear a uniform patch as a tribute to the basketball showman.

  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    Lakers GM: Kobe says next season is his last
    By The Sports Xchange

    Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Kobe Bryant has indicated the 2015-16 season will be the star's last with the team.

    • "He has indicated to me that this is it," Kupchak said Thursday on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

      Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and former league MVP, is scheduled to make $25 million in his final contract season and 20th year with the Lakers.

      There has been speculation that Bryant could play beyond next season and the guard -- who will turn 37 when next season begins -- hasn't ruled out that possibility.

      "I think first and foremost, he's on the last year of a deal," Kupchak said. "There have been no discussions about anything going forward. I don't think there will be."

      Bryant's last three seasons have ended early because of injury. He played only 35 games last season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists.

      "A year from now, if there's something different to discuss, then it will be discussed then," Kupchak said of Bryant potentially playing beyond next season. "I talk to him from time to time ... and he is recovering. He's running. He's getting movement and strength in the shoulder. We expect a full recovery, but yeah, he's much closer to the end than to the beginning."

      Kupchak was asked about the impact Bryant's future plans could have on potential free agents joining the team while Bryant is still playing.

      "I think it is clear," Kupchak said. "He's on the last year of his deal. There have been no discussions (about playing beyond next season). He hasn't indicated that he wants to continue to play.

      "But if there is a player out there like that, that won't come here for that reason, then we don't want them. Every great player is demanding and focused and if you don't want to play for a guy like him that's driven to do nothing but win championships and work hard, then you shouldn't be here. You should go someplace else."

      Kupchak said Bryant is still involved in recruiting free agents.

      "He's more than willing (to call a player) every time I asked him," Kupchak said.

      The Lakers, who had the fourth-worst record (21-61) this season, have the No. 2 selection in the 2015 NBA Draft on June 25.

      Kupchak knows he will need to improve the roster beyond the high first-round pick.

      "We're going to have to get lucky during the offseason with free agency," Kupchak said. "Kobe is going to have to come back and be very healthy."

  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    Cavs' Irving sits out Game 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving did not attend the team's morning shootaround and was held out of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

    • Irving aggravated the tendinitis in his left knee during the Cavaliers' 97-89 Game 1 win on Wednesday night.

      The Cavs said Irving underwent additional evaluation with head team physician Dr. Richard Parker. He also visited noted orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews to confirm the tendinitis.

      Cleveland coach David Blatt called it a medical decision to sit Irving. Reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova replaced Irving.

      Irving has continued treatment after Wednesday's game, but symptoms had not diminished.

      "Like most other injuries, it's a combination of pain management and what the physical symptoms are, that's all," Blatt said.

      Irving's frustration was obvious after scoring 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field. Of the final 18 minutes, he played in only three.

      "This is obviously one of the most frustrating things I've ever dealt with, just from (when) we do days and days (of rehabilitation) and you go out there and it's nothing like simulating a game," Irving said after Wednesday's game. "So, for me, I'm just going to continue to do what I've been doing and do whatever is necessary to put myself out there."

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Pelicans interview Gentry for head coaching job
    By The Sports Xchange

    Golden State Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry interviewed for the New Orleans Pelicans' head coaching job and is considered one of the leading candidates for the vacancy.

    • Warriors coach Steve Kerr confirmed before Golden State's Western Conference playoff game on Thursday night against the Houston Rockets that the Pelicans met with Gentry earlier in the week.

      Kerr said Gentry's interview was not a distraction to his team and that he encourages his assistants to seek better opportunities.

      Gentry joined the Warriors as associate head coach and offensive coordinator last May after Kerr was hired. Gentry previously served as a head coach for the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat.

      In 12 years as a head coach, Gentry has a 335-370 career record. He was 158-144 in five years with the Suns and also worked in New Orleans in 2003-04 as an assistant.

      The Pelicans fired Monty Williams on May 12 after five seasons as coach and a first-round playoff exit. With forward Anthony Davis anchoring the Pelicans' roster, the job is considered an attractive opportunity.

      Among the other candidates mentioned in connection with the Pelicans is Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Kentucky coach John Calipari denied earlier in the week that he was interested in the job.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    NBA notebook: Curry, James unanimous All-NBA picks
    By The Sports Xchange

    League MVP Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers were unanimous selections for the All-NBA First Team revealed Thursday.

    • Curry and James received votes for the first team on all 129 ballots, the ninth time in 12 seasons James has been All-NBA First Team, tying Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson for the third most all time. It's the first All-NBA First Team selection for Curry.

      MVP runner-up James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies round out the first team. Harden is making a second straight appearance on the first team. Davis (119 votes) and Gasol (68 votes) debut on the first team.

      Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers, Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls and center DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings were the All-NBA Second Team picks.

      The All-NBA Third Team was Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, Clippers forwards Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and the San Antonio Spurs veteran forward Tim Duncan.

      ---New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans, bothered by leg pain during the playoffs, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Wednesday night.

      The Pelicans said the procedure was a success and that an announcement on Evans' return to basketball activities would be coming soon.

      The 6-foot-6 Evans, in his sixth year in the NBA, averaged 16.6 points, 6.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 79 games this season.

      ---Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca will assume a leadership role in Boston's bid to land the 2024 Olympics.

      Pagliuca will head up a local group's bid committee, replacing construction magnate John Fish.

      The United States Olympic Committee picked Boston as America's bid city for the 2024 Summer Games, but there have been some missteps that left the USOC concerned about its choice.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Celtics co-owner joins Boston's Olympic bid
    By The Sports Xchange

    Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca will assume a leadership role in Boston's bid to land the 2024 Olympics.

    • Pagliuca will head up a local group's bid committee, replacing construction magnate John Fish.

      The United States Olympic Committee picked Boston as America's bid city for the 2024 Summer Games, but there have been some missteps that left the USOC concerned about its choice.

      The USOC's bid city must be formally submitted to the International Olympic Committee in September. The 2024 host will be selected in 2017.

      Among the cities anticipated to make bids along with Boston are Rome; Paris; Hamburg, Germany; and Budapest, Hungary.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Pelicans' Evans gets knee scoped
    By The Sports Xchange

    New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans, bothered by leg pain during the playoffs, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Wednesday night.

    • The Pelicans said the procedure was a success and that an announcement on on Evans' return to basketball activities would be coming soon.

      The 6-foot-6 Evans, in his sixth year in the NBA, averaged 16.6 points, 6.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 79 games during the regular season.

      In the Pelicans' first-round Western Conference playoff series loss to the Golden State Warriors, Evans averaged 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in four games.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Curry, James unanimous All-NBA picks
    By The Sports Xchange

    League MVP Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers were unanimous selections for the All-NBA First Team revealed Thursday.

    • Curry and James received votes for the first team on all 129 ballots, the ninth time in 12 seasons James was All-NBA First Team, tying Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson for the third most all time. It's the first All-NBA First Team selection for Curry.

      MVP runner-up James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies round out the first team. Harden is making a second straight appearance on the first team. Davis (119 votes) and Gasol (68 votes) debut on the first team.

      Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers, Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls and center DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings were the All-NBA Second Team picks.

      The All-NBA Third Team was Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, Clippers forwards Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and the San Antonio Spurs veteran forward Tim Duncan.

      Media voted for All-NBA teams by position with points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis. Voters were asked to select two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, choosing players at the position they play regularly. Gasol and Jordan were classified as centers.

      Curry led the Warriors to a franchise-record 67 wins, averaging 23.8 points (sixth in the NBA), 7.7 assists (sixth), a career-high 2.04 steals (fourth) and 4.3 rebounds. He made 286 3-pointers, breaking his own NBA record of 272 set in 2012-13. Curry, the leading vote-getter in NBA All-Star balloting, shot 48.7 percent from the field, ranked fourth in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (44.3) and led the NBA in free throw percentage (91.4).

      James ranked third in the NBA in scoring (25.3 points per game) and seventh in assists (7.4 apg) as Cleveland finished with the second-best record (53-29) in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers were 50-19 in the 69 games James played and 3-10 in the 13 games he did not. The 11-time All-Star was one of only three players to tally 1,700 points, 500 assists, 400 rebounds and 100 steals (Harden, Westbrook).

      Harden was second to Curry in scoring (27.4 ppg) and ninth in assists (7.0 apg) while leading the Rockets to 56 wins and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. He led the NBA in 40-point games (10) and 30-point games (35), and his four triple-doubles were the most by a Rocket since Hakeem Olajuwon posted four in 1989-90. Harden led the NBA in free throws made (715) and attempted (824).

      Davis ranked first in the league in blocks (2.94 bpg), fourth in scoring (24.4 ppg), seventh in field goal percentage (53.5) and eighth in rebounding (10.2 rpg). Davis helped the Pelicans make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

      Gasol, who is entering free agency in July, averaged a career-best 17.4 points to go with 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the 55-win Grizzlies. He scored 30-plus points five times after doing so just once in his first six seasons.

      2014-15 ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM

      Position Player, Team (1st Team Votes) Points

      Forward LeBron James, Cleveland (129) 645

      Forward/Center Anthony Davis, New Orleans (119) 625

      Center Marc Gasol, Memphis (65) 453

      Guard Stephen Curry, Golden State (129) 645

      Guard James Harden, Houston (125) 637

      2014-15 ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM

      Position Player, Team (1st Team Votes) Points

      Forward/Center LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland (13) 390

      Center/Forward DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento (18) 220

      Center Pau Gasol, Chicago (15) 242

      Guard Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City (10) 397

      Guard Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers (1) 335

      2014-15 ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM

      Position Player, Team (1st Team Votes) Points

      Forward Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers (2) 189

      Forward/Center Tim Duncan, San Antonio (6) 167

      Center DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers (12) 175

      Guard Klay Thompson, Golden State 122

      Guard Kyrie Irving, Cleveland 112

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Hawks' Carroll diagnosed with bone bruise
    By The Sports Xchange

    Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when tests revealed his left knee injury was only a bone bruise and hyperextension with no structural or ligament damage.

    • Carroll exited Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals with 4:59 to play in the game and needed help leaving the court. He will officially be listed as questionable, the team announced.

      "We're hopeful," coach Mike Budenholzer said of the Hawks' outlook for having Carroll in Game 2 on Friday. "We'll continue to monitor it over the next 24 hours."

      Carroll's knee buckled and appeared to hyperextend as he planted in the lane on a fast break he started with a steal of a pass from LeBron James.

      Carroll hit the deck under the Hawks' basket. He was helped to the locker room and approached at midcourt by James, who pounded Carroll on the back and tapped the top of his head as he exited the floor.

      The Hawks' leading scorer in the postseason at 17.1 points per game entering the conference finals, Carroll was diagnosed Wednesday night with a sprained knee. However, he put no weight on his left leg and Carroll could be limited in this series. Bone bruises, depending on the severity, can require recovery measured in weeks, not hours or days.

      Thursday's news should be relatively positive for the Hawks but reduced minutes might be a consideration.

      "Somebody has to step up," said point guard Jeff Teague, who led the Hawks with 27 points in the loss that pushes home-court advantage to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

      Budenholzer said the team will figure out before Game 2 what gives the team the best chance in defending James.

      The best chance Wednesday was not Paul Millsap, who found himself checking James for long stretches because of lineup combinations and a tremendous shooting night by J.R. Smith. The Cavaliers' sixth man made 8 of his first 10 attempts from 3-point range and scored 28 points.

      "DeMarre is a perimeter player," Budenholzer said. "I think most likely (we would) play more Kent Bazemore and players like that. Mike Scott and Mike Muscala are always ready."

      Scott said Thursday that he is "healthy and available" and is expected to get minutes after five consecutive games without logging a single minute.

      --Smith said Thursday that he was comfortable taking multiple contested shots in Game 1.

      "I'd rather take a contested shot than an open shot any day ... It's kind of boring when you take open shots," Smith said.

      James marveled at the 10-of-16 shooting performance from Smith, including 8 of 12 from 3-point range, that helped Cleveland's offense churn even with the NBA's third-leading scorer on the bench.

      "Those shots were in rhythm -- for him. They wouldn't have been in rhythm for me," James said.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Nuggets' Nurkic undergoes knee surgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    Denver Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic had surgery to repair a partially torn left patellar tendon on Wednesday.

    • Dr. Neal ElAttrache handled the procedure at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

      The 7-foot, 280-pound Nurkic completed his first season with the Nuggets, averaging 6.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 62 games. The 2014 first-round draft pick started 27 games and was named to the NBA's All-Rookie second team.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    NBA notebook: Rockets' Howard questionable for Game 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    Dwight Howard was supposed to be the big advantage for the Houston Rockets over the top-seeded Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals, but he might be on the bench Thursday following a Game 1 loss in which he suffered another knee injury.

    • Howard is listed as questionable for Game 2 against the Warriors, who went small and outran the Rockets on Tuesday, 110-106, the fifth win in as many meetings with Houston this season.

      It's officially a bruised left knee -- good news for the Rockets considering the right knee ailment that dogged Howard during the 2014-15 season -- Howard attempted to return to the game but was hobbled and underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday after logging 27 minutes in the opening game. Houston lacks depth, especially up front, without Howard in the lineup.

      "Thank God it was nothing major, but bruises -- especially around the knee and all that -- it's very hard to do a lot of the things that I want to do," Howard said. "It's very painful. I tried to play it off as much as possible, but I couldn't give my teammates what I needed to give them. It was disappointing. It was frustrating. But it's a long series."

      ---Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry was fined $5,000 on Wednesday for violating the NBA's anti-flopping rules during Game 1 of the Western Conference finals series against the Rockets.

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

      Curry, the league MVP this season, saved seven of his 34 points for a critical 11-point burst late in the game, allowing the Warriors to overcome a fourth-quarter flurry by Rockets guard James Harden.

      ---San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, the Defensive Player of the Year, headlines the 2014-15 NBA All-Defensive Team, the league announced Wednesday.

      Leonard received 116 first-team votes and 242 points from a panel of 129 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.

      The first team also includes forward Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors (229 points, 107 first-team votes), guard Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies (207 points, 88 first-team votes), center DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers (187 points, 84 first-team votes) and guard Chris Paul of the Clippers (170 points, 67 first-team votes).

      The second team consists of New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler, Warriors center Andrew Bogut, Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Spurs forward Tim Duncan.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Spurs' Leonard headlines All-Defensive First Team
    By The Sports Xchange

    San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, the Defensive Player of the Year, headlines the 2014-15 NBA All-Defensive First Team, the league announced Wednesday.

    • Leonard received 116 first-team votes and 242 points from a panel of 129 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.

      The first team also includes forward Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors (229 points, 107 first-team votes), guard Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies (207 points, 88 first-team votes), center DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers (187 points, 84 first-team votes) and guard Chris Paul of the Clippers (170 points, 67 first-team votes).

      Green and Jordan, who finished second and third, respectively, in the voting for the Defensive Player of the Year Award this season, join Leonard as first-time selections on the first team. Paul made the first team for the fourth straight season and fifth time overall, while Allen earned his third first-team honor.

      The NBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler, Warriors center Andrew Bogut, Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Spurs forward Tim Duncan.

      Leonard teamed with Duncan to help San Antonio hold opponents below 100 points per game (97.0) for the 20th consecutive season. Leonard averaged career highs of 5.9 defensive rebounds and a league-leading 2.31 steals for the Spurs.

      Green and Allen had significant impacts on the defensive performance of their teams. Green ranked 14th in the NBA in defensive rebounding (6.7 per game), and Allen finished third in steals (2.05).

      Paul ranked second in the NBA in total steals (156) and fifth in steals per game (1.90). Jordan led the NBA in defensive rebounding (10.1 per game) and was fourth in blocks (2.23).

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Rockets' Howard questionable for Game 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    Dwight Howard was supposed to be the big advantage for the Houston Rockets over the top-seeded Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals, but he might be on the bench Thursday following a Game 1 loss in which he suffered another knee injury.

    • Howard is listed as questionable for Game 2 against the Warriors, who went small and outran the Rockets on Tuesday, 110-106, the fifth win in as many meetings with Houston this season.

      Officially a left knee bruise – good news for the Rockets considering the right knee ailment that dogged Howard during the 2014-15 regular season -- Howard attempted to return to the game but was hobbled and underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday after logging 27 minutes in the opening game. Houston lacks depth, especially up front, without Howard in the lineup.

      "Thank God it was nothing major, but bruises – especially around the knee and all that – it's very hard to do a lot of the things that I want to do," Howard said. "It's very painful. I tried to play it off as much as possible, but I couldn't give my teammates what I needed to give them. It was disappointing. It was frustrating. But it's a long series."

      If Howard isn't in the lineup, the Wizards can get away with making the game a track meet without concern over a shot-blocking presence in the paint. Without the 7-footer, the Rockets would be taking the court without three starters from the regular season. Already they're using replacements for Patrick Beverley (point guard, wrist injury) and forward Donatas Motiejunas (back).

      "I don't think that it's going to be something that is going to restrict me from playing for the rest of the series," Howard said. "I'm just going to stay positive, stay focused, and the doctors are going to do their job to make sure that I get out on the floor."

      Howard helped to spark at 27-6 run and the Rockets built a 16-point lead in Game 1. When he was out, the Warriors were the better team.

      "I hope Dwight is healthy and we can stay big," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "I like us when we play big. We didn't have that option tonight with Dwight out."

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Warriors' Curry fined for flopping
    By The Sports Xchange

    Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry was fined $5,000 on Wednesday for violating the NBA's anti-flopping rules during Game 1 of the 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.

      "Yeah, I don't agree with it," Curry said. "I watched the play over and, transition play, so obviously balance is not very good in that situation."

      Warriors coach Steve Kerr questioned why the play was singled out.

      "Are we just choosing one time to do this?" Kerr said. "You can pick out flops every single game from half the guys on the floor."

      Curry, the league MVP this season, saved seven of his 34 points for a critical 11-point burst late in the game, allowing the Warriors to overcome a fourth-quarter flurry by Rockets guard James Harden.

      "When I shoot it, I see someone hit me on my arm, and when you're up in the air it's obviously a reaction to that," Curry said. "That play happens countless times. I wasn't even looking for the foul; I was just reacting to the contact."

      Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday night in Oakland.

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Rockets' Howard leaves game briefly
    By The Sports Xchange

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard briefly left Tuesday's opener of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter with a slightly hyper-extended left knee.

    • The minor injury occurred when Rockets power forward Josh Smith crashed into Howard's knee on a drive to the hoop in the seventh minute of the game.

      Howard was removed from the contest during a timeout shortly thereafter, and spent much of the break exercising the injured leg.

      He returned to the game later in the first period.

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Timberwolves win NBA draft lottery
    By The Sports Xchange

    For the first time since 2004, the team with the worst record in the NBA landed the first pick in the ensuing draft, as the Minnesota Timberwolves won the draft lottery Tuesday.

    • The Los Angeles Lakers, who had the fourth-worst record, moved up to the No. 2 selection, and the Philadelphia 76ers stayed in the No. 3 slot. The New York Knicks, who the second-worst record, dropped to No. 4.

      The Timberwolves landed the No. 1 overall selection for the first time in franchise history.

      "We have a very young team, and we will add one most outstanding young player," Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said on ESPN's broadcast of the lottery from New York. "We just want a young man with a great heart and a great mind."

      Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said in a statement, "This is a great day for our franchise and our fans. We're excited about the opportunity to have the top pick in the draft for the first time in franchise history. The No. 1 pick is a fantastic asset to have as we look to add more talent to our team."

      Minnesota will get the opportunity to add a big man to anchor their lineup, as the gems of the draft class include freshman power forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and freshman center Jahlil Okafor of Duke. The top pick will join the NBA's reigning Rookie of the Year, forward Andrew Wiggins.

      The team with the best odds won the top pick for only the fourth time in 22 years under the current lottery format.

      Minnesota had a 25 percent chance of receiving the No. 1.

      The Knicks fell to No. 4 even though they had a 19.9 percent chance of landing the top overall selection and a 55.8 percent chance of picking in the top three.

      The Milwaukee Bucks finished with the worst record in the NBA in 2013-14, but the Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery and drafted Wiggins first overall. Wiggins joined Minnesota in the deal that sent All-Star forward Kevin Love to Cleveland.

      While the 76ers didn't move up or down with their own draft selection, they were unlucky when it came to other teams' selections. Due to a prior trade, Philadelphia would have received the Lakers' pick if it fell at No. 6 or lower, but instead, Los Angeles gets to keep its place.

      Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant tweeted, "We played like crap all season so it's only right we get the #2 pick HA #lakerluck #goodday"

      Because of another previous trade, the 76ers would have landed the Miami Heat's choice if it fell at No. 11 or lower. However, Miami landed the No. 10 pick.

      The draft will be held June 25 at the Barclays Center in New York, home of the Brooklyn Nets.

      NBA DRAFT ORDER

      1. Minnesota Timberwolves

      2. Los Angeles Lakers

      3. Philadelphia 76ers

      4. New York Knicks

      5. Orlando Magic

      6. Sacramento Kings

      7. Denver Nuggets

      8. Detroit Pistons

      9. Charlotte Hornets

      10. Miami Heat

      11. Indiana Pacers

      12. Utah Jazz

      13. Phoenix Suns

      14. Oklahoma City Thunder

      15. Atlanta Hawks (from Brooklyn Nets)

      16. Boston Celtics

      17. Milwaukee Bucks

      18. Houston Rockets (from New Orleans Pelicans)

      19. Washington Wizards

      20. Toronto Raptors

      21. Dallas Mavericks

      22. Chicago Bulls

      23. Portland Trail Blazers

      24. Cleveland Cavaliers

      25. Memphis Grizzlies

      26. San Antonio Spurs

      27. Los Angeles Lakers (from Houston Rockets)

      28. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers)

      29. Brooklyn Nets (from Atlanta Hawks)

      30. Golden State Warriors

      SECOND ROUND

      31. Minnesota Timberwolves

      32. Houston Rockets (from New York Knicks)

      33. Boston Celtics (from Philadelphia via Miami)

      34. Los Angeles Lakers

      35. Philadelphia 76ers (from Orlando Magic)

      36. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Sacramento via Houston)

      37. Philadelphia 76ers (from Denver via Houston, Portland and Minnesota)

      38. Detroit Pistons

      39. Charlotte Hornets

      40. Miami Heat

      41. Brooklyn Nets

      42. Utah Jazz

      43. Indiana Pacers

      44. Phoenix Suns

      45. Boston Celtics

      46. Milwaukee Bucks

      47. Philadelphia (from New Orleans via Washington and L.A. Clippers)

      48. Oklahoma City Thunder

      49. Washington Wizards

      50. Atlanta Hawks (from Toronto Raptors)

      51. Orlando Magic (from Chicago Bulls)

      52. Dallas Mavericks

      53. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Portland via Chicago and Denver)

      54. Utah Jazz (from Cleveland Cavaliers)

      55. San Antonio Spurs

      56. New Orleans Pelicans (from Memphis Grizzlies)

      57. Denver Nuggets (from Los Angeles Clippers)

      58. Philadelphia 76ers (from Houston Rockets)

      59. Atlanta Hawks

      60. Philadelphia 76ers (from Golden State via Indiana)

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Cavs PG Irving to start Game 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving went through the team's light workout Tuesday and expects to play Wednesday.

    • Irving limped to the bench in the deciding game of the Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Chicago Bulls and has been bothered by left knee tendinitis and a sore foot.

      "I'm good to go," said Irving.

      Coach David Blatt said Irving would be on the court with the starters Wednesday in Game 1 at Atlanta unless he wakes up with pain or discomfort that causes Irving to be reevaluated. Irving played just 12 minutes in Game 6 and was ineffective for stretches of the first five games. The Cavaliers are playing without All-Star forward Kevin Love, who had shoulder surgery following Cleveland's opening-round sweep of the Boston Celtics.

      "I don't want to be on the sideline at all, especially preparing for a big stage like this," Irving said.

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Calipari shoots down reports of interest in Pelicans
    By The Sports Xchange

    With the New Orleans Pelicans in need of a new head coach and former Kentucky standout Anthony Davis being their marquee player, there was speculation that John Calipari might be interested in leaving Lexington to take the job.

    • Not so, the Wildcats coach said Tuesday.

      Responding to a Times-Picayune report that Calipari had contacted the Pelicans about the opening, he tweeted that he was not pursuing the vacancy.

      "Even though Anthony and Tyreke (Evans) are in NOLA, I have no interest in the Pelicans or any other job. I have a great job and I'm happy at UK," said Calipari, who coached Evans while the two were at Memphis.

      The Times-Picayune also reported that the Pelicans couldn't meet Calipari's financial demands. Calipari spent three seasons in the NBA as New Jersey Nets coach before returning to the college ranks.

      Earlier reports indicated that Golden State assistant Alvin Gentry could be one of the leading contenders for the Pelicans' job, which opened after Monty Williams was fired last week despite New Orleans reaching the playoffs.

      The Pelicans have been granted permission to interview Gentry despite Golden State being in the middle of preparations to play Houston for the Western Conference title.

      New Orleans also reportedly is interested in current Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
    NBA notebook: Cavaliers' Irving ready for Game 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving returned to the practice court on Monday and declared afterward he would play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

    • The injured All-Star played only 12 minutes in the Cavaliers series-clinching win against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday. He's been receiving treatment for a strained right foot and tendinitis in his left knee for most the postseason.

      "I'm going to go," Irving told the Cleveland Plain Dealer said when asked about his availability Wednesday against Atlanta. "The last few days of treatment, rest and a combination of a lot of things I feel pretty good going into Wednesday's game."

      --Washington Wizards guard John Wall said he will not have offseason surgery on his broken left hand and wrist. Instead, Wall said he will take time off and let the five nondisplaced fractures heal on their own.

      The All-Star was injured in the second quarter of the Wizards' Game 1 win over Atlanta in their recently concluded playoff series.

      --Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, the NBA Rookie of the Year, headlines the 2014-15 All-Rookie First Team, the league announced.

      Wiggins was the lone unanimous choice, receiving 130 first-team votes from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.

      Wiggins is joined on the first team by Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic, Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel, Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton and Los Angeles Lakers point guard Jordan Clarkson.

      --The 2015 NBA Draft lottery will be held Tuesday night in New York to determine the draft order for teams with the top 14 selections.

      Odds are stacked in the favor of the worst teams in the NBA. However, the worst rarely has finished first in the lottery, which was established in 1984. The last time the team with the worst record wound up with the top pick in the draft was 2004. The Orlando Magic drafted Dwight Howard.

      --The Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks, who both earned the top playoff seeds in their respective conferences with the best regular seasons in franchise history, headline the list of 24 teams set to compete in the NBA Summer League from July 10-20.

      The games will be played at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus.

      --Golden State Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry has emerged as the leading candidate to become the New Orleans Pelicans next coach, ESPN reported.

      The Pelicans have been granted permission to interview Gentry despite Golden State being in the middle of preparations to play Houston for the Western Conference title.

      New Orleans also reportedly is interested in current Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

      Monty Williams was fired as the Pelicans coach last week.

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
    Report: Pelicans targeting Gentry
    By The Sports Xchange

    The next coach of the New Orleans Pelicans will have the luxury of having Anthony Davis on his team. According to reports, that lucky coach might be Golden State assistant Alvin Gentry.

    • Gentry, according to ESPN, has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Monty Williams, who was fired last week. The Pelicans have been granted permission to interview Gentry despite Golden State being in the middle of preparations to play Houston for the Western Conference title.

      New Orleans also reportedly are interested in current Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls were ousted from the playoffs last week and there are some who believe Thibodeau could lose his job.

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
    Irving a 'go' when Cavs, Hawks clash
    By The Sports Xchange

    Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving returned to the practice court on Monday and declared afterward he would play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

    • The injured All-Star played in only 12 minutes of the Cavaliers series-clinching win against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday. He's been receiving treatment for a strained right foot and tendinitis in his left knee for most the postseason.

      "I'm going to go," Irving told the Cleveland Plain Dealer said when asked about his availability Wednesday against Atlanta. "The last few days of treatment, rest and a combination of a lot of things I feel pretty good going into Wednesday's game.

      He did not participate in Saturday's practice, but on Monday, took part in all the drills.

      "I would say just my spirit and mental confidence," Irving said of what has changed since. "Just being able to feel both of my feet underneath me, especially as I'm shooting. It feels amazing. Just the confidence of getting extra work in and preparing with my teammates."

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
    Wizards' Wall opts not to have surgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    Washington Wizards guard John Wall said Monday he will not have offseason surgery on his broken left hand and wrist. Instead, Wall said he will take time off and let the five nondisplaced fractures heal on their own.

    • The All-Star was injured in the second quarter of the Wizards' Game 1 win over Atlanta in their recently concluded playoff series.

      Wall fell on his left wrist while trying to avoid Hawks' guard Jeff Teague on a breakaway. He missed the next three games of the series, but returned for the final two and played well.

      "I'm going to (the) Cleveland (Clinic) to see a specialist," Wall said Monday. "But I'm still just doing a normal treatment routine (that) I was doing, like I was playing. Just consists of a lot of treatment and trying to keep the swelling down and letting the bone heal on its own."

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
    NBA Summer League teams announced
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks, who both earned the top playoff seeds in their respective conferences with the best regular seasons in franchise history, headline the list of 24 teams set to compete in the NBA Summer League from July 10-20.

    • The games will be played at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus.

      Last summer marked the event's 10th anniversary and saw the Sacramento Kings defeat the Houston Rockets in the championship game.

      This summer's event will again feature the tournament-style format first debuted in 2013 that will crown the champion on Monday, July 20.

      This year's event will feature 14 playoff teams from the 2014-15 NBA season -- including all four conference finalists in Golden State, Atlanta, Houston and the Cleveland Cavaliers -- and top picks from the 2015 NBA Draft, which will be held on Thursday, June 25.

      Nine teams entered in the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery, which is set for Tuesday, will appear in the summer league.

      The Warriors won the inaugural NBA Summer League championship in 2013 with a roster that included Draymond Green, a starting forward on this season's 67-15 team and the runner-up in the voting for both the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and the NBA Most Improved Player Award in 2014-15.

      The Brooklyn Nets, who last competed in Las Vegas in 2005, and the Boston Celtics, who most recently appeared in 2012, join 21 returning NBA teams and an NBA Development League Select team this year.

      The 24 teams will compete in three preliminary round games from July 10-14 before being seeded in a tournament running through the championship game. Each team is guaranteed to play at least five games.

      The Summer League has a rich history of showcasing the NBA's future stars. Stephen Curry of Golden State and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the last two winners of the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, competed in Las Vegas before their rookie seasons, as did 2014-15 Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

      Samsung NBA Summer League 2015 participants:

      Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, NBA D-League Select.

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
    Unheralded Hawks ready for Lebron-led Cavs
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- The Hawks announced their arrival with a 19-game winning streak, placed three on the All-Star team behind the NBA's Coach of the Year and yet, Atlanta is the unknown entering the Eastern Conference Finals.

    • That's just the way these guys like it.

      "It is the team concept," said Dominique Wilkins, the team's TV color analyst who was on traded from the last Hawks team (1994) to entered the playoffs with the No. 1 seed in the conference. "They know that they rely on each other if they're going to be successful (and) that one or the other can't do it by themselves. They rely on a committee to get it done and they've done it better than anybody in the league this year."

      The Hawks host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the conference finals on Wednesday at Phillips Arena, once a veritable empty barn but now a rocking atmosphere with 17 sellouts in 2015.

      Cavaliers coach David Blatt called one of the lopsided losses to the Hawks this season, 127-98 in Cleveland, embarrassing. A month earlier in November, the Hawks blasted the Cavs at Quicken Loans Arena 127-94.

      It's safe to say the Cavaliers are a much different team in May, but the Hawks are essentially an identical outfit.

      "I think it's the players we have," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I think we've been able to put together a group of high character guys that it's kind of in their hearts, in their guts. They play unselfishly, they care about each other. They do all of the things that go into having good chemistry and it's just a credit to the players that we have."

      Atlanta was 38-44 in Budenholzer's first season and won in 2014-15 with balance, including a 35-3 stretch after starting the season 5-5. Six players averaged double figures in scoring, but none eclipsed 17 points per game.

      Budenholzer spent two decades working at the knee of Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs, a team which has had James' number throughout his career. For most of the 2014 NBA Finals, San Antonio let James launch jumpers but cut off his attacking penetration.

      James averaged 23.7 points, 5.7 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in three games against the Hawks this season. He shot 53.1 percent from the field.

      "They're a great team, they've been a great team all year," James said. "They've been the No. 1 seed in our conference all year for a reason."

      The 11-year veteran was dominant in the conference semifinals series against Chicago, averaging 27.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 8.8 assists in his usual adaptive chameleon-like role for a Cleveland team without Kevin Love and playing with a limited Kyrie Irving on the point.

      "Obviously, it starts with LeBron," said Hawks shooting guard Kyle Korver, who made 49.2 percent of his 3-point tries in the regular season but made 29 percent in the conference semifinals against the Washington Wizards.

      Hawks point guard Jeff Teague was inconsistent in the semifinals series against the Wizards but is capable of carrying the offense when scoring lulls strike.

      "We don't have a superstar or whatever, but we come up big in big moments every night," Teague said.