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  • NBA roundup: Pelicans finish off sweep of Blazers
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday each achieved career playoff scoring highs as the New Orleans Pelicans held off the Portland Trail Blazers 131-123 Saturday at Smoothie King Center.

    • Davis scored 47 points and Holiday 41 as the Pelicans clinched the best-of-seven playoff series with a four-game sweep. Rajon Rondo dished out 16 assists to go with seven points and seven rebounds for New Orleans.

      CJ McCollum had 38 points, Al-Farouq Aminu scored 27 points, Damian Lillard added 19 and Jusuf Nurkic contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.

      Portland lost despite shooting 52.6 percent from the field and turning the ball over just six times. But the Blazers could not stop New Orleans, which shot 57 percent and assisted on 28 of their 45 baskets.

      Sixers 106, Heat 102

      JJ Redick scored 24 points and Ben Simmons added a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to carry Philadelphia past host Miami.

      Simmons is the fifth rookie in NBA history with a triple-double in the playoffs and the first since Magic Johnson had five in 1980.

      Joel Embiid had 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots and Dario Saric added 11 points as the Sixers took a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 25 points while Goran Dragic added 20. Game 5 will be Tuesday at Philadelphia.

      Timberwolves 121, Rockets 105

      Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague combined for 51 points, and Minnesota finally produced a terrific offensive performance to blow past visiting Houston.

      The starting backcourt of Butler and Teague outplayed the Rockets' tandem of James Harden and Chris Paul, helping the Timberwolves cut the series deficit to 2-1 with Game 4 on Monday at Target Center. Andrew Wiggins added 20 points and Karl-Anthony Towns posted a double-double (18 points and 16 rebounds) as Minnesota shot 50 percent and rode a 69-point second half to victory.

      Harden paired 29 points with seven assists while grabbing seven boards. Chris Paul scored 17 with six assists. Ryan Anderson, in his first action since April 3 after recovering from a sprained ankle, added four 3-pointers for 12 points in 18 minutes off the bench.

      Jazz 115, Thunder 102

      Ricky Rubio recorded 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career postseason triple-double to lead Utah to a home victory over Oklahoma City. Game 4 is Monday at Salt Lake City.

      Donovan Mitchell contributed 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Jazz took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round playoff series. Joe Ingles made five 3-pointers while scoring 21 points, Rudy Gobert added 18 points and 12 rebounds and Derrick Favors tallied 11 points.

      Paul George led Oklahoma City with 23 points while Russell Westbrook made just 5 of 17 shots while producing 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton scored 14 points apiece. Westbrook committed eight of the Thunder's 17 turnovers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Curry looks good in return to practice, observers say
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry was back on the court Saturday and is "coming along well" in his recovery from a knee injury, Golden State coach Steve Kerr told reporters.

    • Curry has not played in four weeks since spraining the MCL in his left knee. He missed the final 10 games of the regular season and the first three games of the Warriors' best-of-seven playoff series with the San Antonio Spurs.

      In 51 games this season, Curry averaged 26.4 points per game.

      The Warriors, who have a 3-0 lead over the Spurs, hope to have Curry back for their second-round series. Game 4 against the Spurs will be Sunday afternoon in San Antonio.

      Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams said Curry "was really shooting the ball well and moving around real well. I don't know how he's feeling internally, but I like his attitude about this. He's positive and upbeat, and it rubs off on the other guys."

      Said teammate Kevin Durant: "From his movements, he looked good to me."

      --Field Level Media

  • Morris brothers fined in separate incidents
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Twin brothers Markieff and Marcus Morris were each fined for separate incidents by the NBA on Saturday.

    • Markieff, a member of the Washington Wizards, was docked $25,000 for "attempting to escalate an altercation and pushing a game official" during his team's Game 3 win over the Toronto Raptors. Meanwhile, Marcus, a Celtic, was fined $15,000 for public criticism of officiating following Boston's 116-92 Game 3 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

      Markieff got into it with Raptors rookie OG Anunoby in the first quarter of the two teams' playoff matchup Friday. The two had to be separated after Morris shoved Anunoby with his forearm.

      "It wasn't really a scuffle," Morris told reporters after the game. "I felt like [Anunoby] really went high with his elbow. That's what really got me started. We needed some physicality. I felt like when we played them in Toronto, they did everything too freely. So this is me trying to set the tone for how we need to play the whole series, especially on Sunday."

      Marcus made his comments while speaking to the media after the Celtics' loss, saying the referees "knew who they wanted to go after" with regard to the technical foul he received in the contest.

      Both Marcus' Celtics and Markieff's Wizards will be in action Sunday. The Celtics lead their series with the Bucks 2-1, while the Wizards trail the Raptors in their series 2-1.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Heat F Richardson hurts shoulder vs. Sixers
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Amid conflicting reports over the severity of an injured left shoulder suffered in a Game 4 loss to the 76ers on Saturday, Miami Heat small forward Josh Richardson expects to play in Game 5 on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

    • Richardson was banged up after a second-quarter collision with Sixers center Joel Embiid with both players and others scrapping for a loose ball in a heated sequence. Yahoo Sports reported after the game that the 24-year-old Richardson had suffered a sprained AC joint.

      The team announced Richardson's injury as a shoulder contusion and made no mention of a sprained AC joint.

      The 6-foot-6 Richardson returned to the game, contributing 10 points, seven assists, five rebounds and a game-high seven steals in Miami's 106-102 loss. The Heat trail their first-round series with the 76ers three games to one.

      The three-year NBA veteran averaged 12.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in over 33 minutes each contest for the Heat in the regular season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cavaliers PG Hill (back) questionable for Game 4
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill underwent an MRI exam on his ailing back on Saturday and is questionable for Sunday's Game 4 against the Indiana Pacers.

    • Hill scored 13 points in Game 3 but his back "locked up," according to Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue.

      Lue said veteran Jose Calderon will start if Hill is unavailable.

      Hill injured the back during Game 1 of the series and dealt with stiffness and spasms over the ensuing days.

      Hill is averaging 8.7 points and 1.7 assists during the series.

      Indiana holds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Real Madrid's Doncic files draft paperwork
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Luka Doncic, currently leading Real Madrid in the EuroLeague playoffs, has filed paperwork to enter the NBA draft, according to Yahoo Sports.

    • Doncic, 19, is a 6-foot-7 wing player from Slovenia who has been with Real Madrid since 2013 and has played with its top-level team since 2016.

      He's averaging 16.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in EuroLeague play this season and is expected to be an early pick in the June draft, with teams intrigued by his versatility.

      Doncic played on the Slovenian national team, led by the Miami Heat's Goran Dragic, at last year's EuroBasket and impressed the New York Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis after torching him on a layup.

      "I wanted to kill him," Porzingis laughed, per an ESPN profile.

      "I don't know any other European kid that plays at such a high level," Porzingis added.

      The deadline for early entries for the draft is Sunday.

      --Field Level Media

  • Spurs coach Popovich to miss Sunday's Game 4
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will miss Sunday's Game 4 of the playoff series with the Golden State Warriors due to the recent death of his wife, the team announced Saturday.

    • Erin Popovich died Wednesday at age 67 after a long illness. Gregg Popovich also missed Thursday's Game 3.

      Ettore Messina will again coach the Spurs in Game 4. San Antonio trails 3-0 in the Western Conference first-round series.

      The Spurs lost 110-97 in Game 3 with Messina running the team.

      "I think that everybody did a fantastic job as players, as people working in the organization, as staff, really trying to support each other and face this moment like it should be faced," Messina told reporters after Game 3. "With support of friends. There is nothing that should be faced individually at this level of sad event."

      Erin and Gregg Popovich were married for four decades and had two children -- Jill and Mickey -- and two grandchildren.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Bucks rout Celtics, close series gap to 2-1
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Khris Middleton had 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 19 as the host Milwaukee Bucks beat the Boston Celtics 116-92 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series Friday night.

    • Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker scored 17 apiece and Thon Maker had 14 for Milwaukee, which trails the best-of-seven series 2-1. The Bucks are seeking their first playoff series win since 2000-01, but they've never won a series after trailing 0-2.

      Parker, who averaged 12.6 points during the regular season, had been held to two points on 1-of-7 shooting over the first two games of the series.

      Al Horford finished with 16 points, Greg Monroe scored 15 against his former team and Jayson Tatum had 14 for Boston.

      Wizards 122, Raptors 103

      John Wall and Bradley Beal scored 28 points apiece as Washington climbed back into its first-round series with a home victory over Toronto.

      Wall added 14 assists for the Wizards, who trail the Raptors 2-1 in the series. Game 4 is Sunday in Washington, where the Wizards have won seven straight playoff games.

      DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points, and Kyle Lowry finished with 19 points for the Raptors, who committed 18 turnovers.

      Pacers 92, Cavaliers 90

      Forward Bojan Bogdanovic scored 30 points to lift host Indiana to a come-from-behind victory against Cleveland, which led by 17 at halftime.

      Bogdanovic scored 15 in the fourth quarter as the Pacers took a 2-1 lead in the series, with Game 4 on Sunday in Indianapolis. He hit 11 of 15 shots, including 7 of 9 3-point attempts.

      Cleveland's LeBron James scored 28 points on 10-of-22 shooting and also posted game highs of 12 rebounds and eight assists.

      --Field Level Media

  • Heat's Winslow fined $15K for stepping on Embiid's mask
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow has been fined $15,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct for intentionally stepping on the facemask of Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid during Game 3 on Thursday, the NBA announced late Friday.

    • The incident occurred in the second quarter after Embiid's facemask had fallen onto the court. The goggles attached to the mask fell out, and Winslow intentionally stepped on the goggles and before tossing them aside.

      "He kept throwing [his mask] on the ground. I don't know if he didn't like it or what," Winslow said. "I was talking to JoJo, we were smack talking, trash talking, going back and forth, but no love loss."

      "Justise stepped on it and tried to break it with his hands, but little do they know is I have about 50 of them, so it's going to take much more than that to get me out of this series," Embiid told reporters postgame.

      Embiid is wearing the mask as he recovers from surgery he had on his fractured left orbital bone in late March. Game 3 marked his first appearance of the series, and he scored 23 points in the Sixers' 128-108 win.

      Philadelphia leads the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4 is on Saturday afternoon in Miami.

      --Field Level Media

  • Warriors G Curry cleared to increase practice intensity
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry will begin participating in "modified team practices" on Saturday as he works toward a return from a knee injury, the team announced after an examination Friday.

    • Curry, who suffered a left MCL sprain on March 23, will be re-evaluated again in one week, according to the team.

      "The examination indicated that Stephen continues to make consistent functional progress since the injury," the team said in a statement, while adding that "the intensity of his on-court rehabilitation will continue to increase."

      Curry missed the final 10 games of the regular season and the first three games of the best-of-seven playoff series with the San Antonio Spurs.

      Forward Kevin Durant and guard Shaun Livingston suffered ankle injuries in Thursday's 110-97 win over the Spurs and coach Steve Kerr told reporters that "I think they'll both be OK."

      The Warriors and Spurs play Game 4 on Sunday in San Antonio. Golden State is up 3-0 in the series, having won every game by double digits.

      --Field Level Media

  • Lue says Love will play in Game 3
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Forward Kevin Love, who left late in Cleveland's Wednesday game with the Indiana Pacers with what ESPN is reporting is a partially torn ligament in his left thumb, will be ready to play Friday in the third game of the Eastern Conference series, according to Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue.

    • Love had already declared he'd be ready to play in Game 3.

      "Ty says Kevin Love is OK, will be able to play Game 3," a tweet from cleveland.com's Joe Vardon said.

      With under four minutes left in the game, which the Cavaliers won 100-97, Love deflected a pass, but his thumb was bent back in the process. He didn't get back on the floor.

      An X-ray of the thumb was negative.

      "It's fine, yes," Love said to reporters after the game. "I saw the replay, too. It didn't look good. It hurt pretty bad initially.

      "I told (coach Tyronn Lue) afterward that I could have gone back in, but I think he liked the flow out there and guys made big plays down the stretch. It's not going to feel great tomorrow, but throw some ice on it, tape it up and be ready to go."

      An injured left hand cost Love about six weeks this season.

      Love scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Game 2 after he managed nine points and 17 rebounds on Sunday. In the regular season, Love averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in 59 games.

      The best-of-seven series, which is tied at a game apiece, shifts to Indianapolis on Friday for Game 3.

      --Field Level Media

  • Warriors' Durant, Livingston sustain minor ankle injuries
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Already playing without star guard Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors got two more injury scares Thursday.

    • The good news for the defending NBA champions is that the ankle injuries sustained by forward Kevin Durant and guard Shaun Livingston appear to be minor.

      Durant rolled his left ankle with 4:36 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Warriors' Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs. He left for good with his team ahead by 15 points, and Golden State went on to win 110-97 to take a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference first-round series.

      Seconds after Durant got hurt, Livingston turned his right ankle.

      After the game, Durant told ESPN, "I'm good. It's nothing. ... It didn't completely turn. I'm fine."

      Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Durant and Livingston, "Both sprained ankles, but I think they'll be all right."

      Durant scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win. Livingston added 16 points in 20 minutes off the bench.

      Livingston has been seeing extended playing time in the absence of Curry, who is sidelined due to a Grade 2 medial collateral ligament sprain in his left knee. Curry is expected to miss at least the first round of the playoffs.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Embiid returns as Sixers top Heat
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Joel Embiid scored 23 points in his first career playoff game to lift the Philadelphia 76ers past the host Miami Heat 128-108 on Thursday.

    • Dario Saric and Marco Belinelli added 21 points each for the Sixers, who took a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 looming Saturday. Ben Simmons had a terrific all-around game with 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

      Embiid had been out with an orbital bone injury and was forced to wear a protective mask. He went through three different masks during the game and looked uncomfortable at times in the first half.

      Goran Dragic led the Heat with 23 points while Justise Winslow added 19.

      Pelicans 119, Trail Blazers 102

      Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis led the way as New Orleans dominated from start to finish in a dismantling of visiting Portland, giving the Pelicans a 3-0 lead in a Western Conference first-round playoff series.

      Mirotic scored 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Davis collected 28 points and 11 boards for New Orleans, which will try to sweep the best-of-seven series at home on Saturday. Rajon Rondo chipped in 16 points and 11 assists for the Pelicans, who led by 33 points with seven minutes to play.

      CJ McCollum scored 22 points, Al-Farouq Aminu 21 and Damian Lillard 20 for the Trail Blazers, who committed 24 turnovers.

      Warriors 110, Spurs 97

      Kevin Durant scored a game-high 26 points as Golden State won at San Antonio and moved within one game of a first-round playoff sweep.

      The only negatives for Golden State were Durant rolling his left ankle and Shaun Livingston turning his right ankle in the fourth quarter. Durant left the game for good with the Warriors ahead by 15 points. Afterward, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, "Both sprained ankles, but I think they'll be all right."

      The Spurs played Game 3 without coach Gregg Popovich, whose wife, Erin, died Wednesday. Assistant coach Ettore Messina filled in for Popovich. LaMarcus Aldridge posted an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double for San Antonio.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Van Gundy to meet with Pistons owner
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations and coach Stan Van Gundy will learn more about his future next week when he sits down with team owner Tom Gores, according to an ESPN report published Thursday night.

    • Van Gundy and his staff are on shaky ground after Detroit (39-43) missed the postseason despite the acquisition of star forward Blake Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers. As many teams throughout the league focused on improving their draft position by losing, Detroit tried -- and failed -- to win.

      One year remains on Van Gundy's five-year, $35 million contract that he signed before the 2014-15 season. The Pistons have posted a 152-176 record since he arrived.

      Pistons general manager Jeff Bower and others who work under Van Gundy reportedly have not received word about whether they will be employed beyond this spring. Rumors have swirled about whether Gores will dismiss Van Gundy entirely, allow him to stay on as coach but reshape the front office, or keep roles intact with the hopes for a playoff run next season.

      Griffin, center Andre Drummond and point guard Reggie Jackson give Detroit a solid core around which to build. Detroit does not have a first-round pick after it sent the selection to Los Angeles as part of the Griffin trade.

      --Field Level Media

  • Masked Embiid starts Game 3
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    After having his status upgraded from doubtful to probable, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid started Game 3 of the team's playoff series with the Heat on Thursday in Miami, his playoff debut.

    • The series was tied 1-1 after the Heat won Game 2 on Monday in Philadelphia.

      Embiid missed the first two games of the Eastern Conference first-round series due to the left orbital bone fracture that he sustained March 28. He missed 10 consecutive games due to the injury. He was recently cleared from the NBA concussion protocol, and he wore a protective mask on the court Thursday.

      The 24-year-old expressed frustrations on his Instagram account over not being able to play after Monday's loss, saying he was "(expletive) tired of being babied."

      Embiid averaged 22.9 points, 11 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game during the regular season, earning his first All-Star appearance.

      --Field Level Media

  • Celtics G Rozier: 'No bad blood' with Bucks G Bledsoe
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier downplayed any beef with Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe after the two exchanged verbal slights in recent days following the Celtics' victories in Games 1 and 2 in the first-round playoff series.

    • "I ain't got no bad blood with nobody," Rozier told reporters Thursday. "Everybody out here play basketball, ain't nobody no boxers or none of that stuff. I'm not really worried about all that. I'm not caught up in that. I'm worried about Celtics and Bucks, how can I help my team get past the first round?"

      After the Celtics took Sunday's Game 1 in overtime -- with Rozier hitting a step-back 3-pointer against Bledsoe in the closing seconds of regulation -- Rozier referred to Bledsoe as "Drew Bledsoe," the name of the former NFL quarterback who played for the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys.

      Following Game 2, Bledsoe was asked postgame whether he was taking the matchup against Rozier personally and replied, "Who?" A reporter repeated "Terry Rozier" and Bledsoe said, "I don't even know who the (expletive) that is."

      Asked Thursday about referring to Bledsoe as "Drew," Rozier smiled and said, "I made a huge mistake. But it is what it is now. I don't care."

      Rozier, 24, has 46 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds and no turnovers through the first two games of the series while starting at point guard with Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart out. By comparison, the 28-year-old Bledsoe is 9 of 25 from the field with 21 points, eight assists and six turnovers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pippen's tractors worth $50K stolen from farm
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Former NBA star Scottie Pippen had $50,000 worth of equipment stolen from a farm he co-owns with his brother.

    • Authorities in rural Arkansas are investigating the theft. Investigator Mark Griever of the Ashley County Sheriff's Office said two tractors -- a Kubota and a John Deere -- were stolen from the Pippen farm in late March.

      Pippen's family is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

      Pippen, who now lives in Florida, is a native of Hamburg, Ark., where the farm is located. He won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls during his playing career.

      --Field Level Media

  • Spurs' Popovich won't coach Game 3 after wife's death
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will miss Game 3 of the team's first-round playoff series on Thursday night following the death of his wife Erin on Wednesday, the team announced.

    • Assistant coach Ettore Messina will serve in Popovich's place against the Golden State Warriors. Popovich had run San Antonio's practice Wednesday.

      Erin Popovich died at 67 on Wednesday. She had been ill for an "extended period," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. The San Antonio News-Express said she had a respiratory illness.

      Erin and Gregg Popovich were married for four decades and had two children -- Jill and Mickey -- and two grandchildren.

      "We're all suffering a profound loss to a really important member of our family and our team," Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said Thursday, via ESPN. "Erin and Gregg were best friends who were together for 40 years, and Erin's impact and influence on our organization, on our families, on our players and their families will be felt for years to come.

      "I spoke to Pop this morning. He's overwhelmed by the support. He's very appreciative of the love that's been shared with our group and with him and his family and Erin's family. As you'd expect from Pop, he wants our focus to be about the game today, about this series, and that's what today will be about. We'll miss Erin a lot, and the focus of our team will be on supporting Pop. But we've got basketball to get back to."

      The Warriors lead the best-of-seven series between the two teams 2-0. The Spurs will be without center Joffrey Lauvergne (personal business) and forward Kawhi Leonard (quad injury management) on Thursday.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: James scores 46 as Cavs bounce back
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    LeBron James scored 46 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers evened their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at one game apiece with a 100-97 victory over the visiting Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

    • James hit 17 of 24 shots and 10 of 13 free throws while pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds. Cleveland's Kevin Love, who left the game with a thumb injury with 3:43 left in the fourth quarter, scored 15 points, and Kyle Korver added 12.

      Love later said that he will be able to play Friday night in Game 3 in Indianapolis.

      Victor Oladipo topped the Pacers with 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Myles Turner was right behind with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, and Darren Collison added 16 points for Indiana.

      Jazz 102, Thunder 95

      Donovan Mitchell scored 20 of his 28 points in the final 13 minutes, and visiting Utah evened its Western Conference first-round series against Oklahoma City at one game apiece.

      Ricky Rubio contributed 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Jazz, and Derrick Favors recorded 20 points and 16 rebounds. Rudy Gobert had 13 points and 15 rebounds as Utah halted a 15-game losing skid in Oklahoma City. The series now shifts to Salt Lake City for Game 3 on Saturday.

      Russell Westbrook had 19 points, 13 assists, nine rebounds and four steals for the Thunder. Paul George shot just 6 of 21 while finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Carmelo Anthony had 17 points and nine rebounds.

      Rockets 102, Timberwolves 82

      Chris Paul rebounded from a ragged Game 1 while Gerald Green provided a boost of energy off the bench as host Houston rolled to a win over Minnesota in Game 2 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series.

      Paul finished with a game-high 27 points and eight assists to push Houston to a 2-0 series lead. Green added 21 points and 12 rebounds in 26 high-impact minutes, including nine on three 3-pointers during a 16-0 second-quarter run that shifted momentum to the Rockets for good.

      Nemanja Bjelica led Minnesota with 16 points and added eight rebounds while Andrew Wiggins had 13 points.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cavs' Love downplays thumb injury
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Forward Kevin Love, who left late in Cleveland's Wednesday game with the Indiana Pacers due to what ESPN is reporting as a partially torn ligament in his left thumb, said he will be ready to play Friday in the third game of the Eastern Conference series.

    • With under four minutes left in the game, which the Cavaliers won 100-97, Love deflected a pass, but his thumb was bent back in the process. He didn't get back on the floor.

      An X-ray of the thumb was negative.

      "It's fine, yes," Love said while speaking to reporters after the game. "I saw the replay, too. It didn't look good. It hurt pretty bad initially.

      "I told (coach Tyronn Lue) afterward that I could have gone back in, but I think he liked the flow out there and guys made big plays down the stretch. It's not going to feel great tomorrow, but throw some ice on it, tape it up and be ready to go."

      An injured left hand cost Love about six weeks this season.

      Love scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Game 2 after he managed nine points and 17 rebounds on Sunday. In the regular season, Love averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in 59 games.

      The best-of-seven series, which is tied at a game apiece, shifts to Indianapolis on Friday for Game 3.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wife of Spurs coach Popovich dies at 67
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 18, 2018

    Erin Popovich, the wife of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, died at 67 on Wednesday, the team announced.

    • She had been ill for an "extended period," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. The San Antonio News-Express said she had a respiratory illness.

      Erin and Gregg Popovich were married for four decades and had two children and two grandchildren, according to the Spurs.

      "We mourn the loss of Erin," Spurs general manager RC Buford said in a statement released by the team. "She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who provided love, support and humor to all of us."

      Reaction arrived quickly from around the NBA.

      LeBron James choked up in comments to TNT, saying, "I'm a huge Pop fan. I love Pop. Such a tragedy. ... The NBA family ... we all stick together, compete every night. But something like this puts everything in perspective."

      Steve Nash, an eight-time NBA All-Star, tweeted, "Knowing Pop, it's fair to assume Erin Popovich was an absolute legend. My deepest sympathies to Pop and his daughters."

      Warriors forward Kevin Durant said, "The whole NBA family is supporting him, got his back through it all. Feel so bad for Pop."

      Golden State guard Shaun Livingston tweeted, "There is more to life than this game of basketball."

      Gregg Popovich's team is in the playoffs for the 21st consecutive year, tied for the second-longest streak in NBA history. The Spurs trail the defending champion Golden State Warriors two games to none with Game 3 set for Thursday in San Antonio.

      Assistant coach Ettore Messina would likely take over for Game 3 if Popovich is absent, ESPN's Michael C. Wright reported.

      Erin Popovich was diagnosed with the illness in the mid-1990s, and it kept her from joining her husband at many events she likely would have attended, according to the News-Express.

      Her death "is really hard to believe," Spurs guard Danny Green said. "This summer, she was just able to travel and I was so happy for him and her to be able to get away."

      Erin Popovich was a close childhood friend of Betsy Gwin, daughter of Robert McDermott, while growing up in Colorado Springs. Gwin later encouraged her father, then the Spurs chairman, to hire Gregg Popovich as the team's general manager. Gregg Popovich took over the GM role in 1994, then became the head coach in 1996.

      "Daddy and I talked about it a lot because he really didn't know that much about basketball," Gwin told the Express-News in 2015. "But he knew with Gregg he was going to get someone who would work hard and be ethical and be above board and wasn't out for glory for himself."

      --Field Level Media

  • 76ers C Embiid doubtful for Game 3 vs. Heat
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 18, 2018

    Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid was listed as doubtful by the club for Game 3 of the team's playoff series with the Miami Heat on Thursday.

    • Embiid missed the first two games of the first-round series due to the left orbital bone fracture that he suffered on March 28.

      Embiid has missed 10 straight games due to the injury. The All-Star was recently cleared from the NBA concussion protocol and will wear a protective mask once he returns.

      The series with the Heat is tied at one game apiece.

      Embiid expressed frustrations on his Instagram account over not being able to play after Monday's loss, saying he was "(expletive) tired of being babied."

      Embiid averaged 22.9 points, 11 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game during the regular season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bucks PG Bledsoe dismisses Celtics' Rozier
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 18, 2018

    Terry Rozier helped the Boston Celtics jump ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks 2-0 in the best-of-seven series on Tuesday, but the Kyrie Irving understudy is still an unknown to the enemy.

    • Rozier has made 7 of his 12 field goal attempts in the first two games when guarded by Eric Bledsoe and scored 23 points with eight assists in Tuesday's 120-106 win in Game 2.

      Asked postgame whether he was taking the matchup against Rozier personally, Bledsoe replied, "Who?"

      A reporter repeated "Terry Rozier" and Bledsoe said, "I don't even know who the (expletive) that is."

      Rozier has 46 points and zero turnovers in the first two games of the series. By comparison, Bledsoe is 9 of 25 from the field with 21 points, eight assists and six turnovers.

      Discrediting Rozier could be intentional and retaliatory from Bledsoe. Rozier referred to Eric Bledsoe as Drew -- Drew Bledsoe was an NFL quarterback who played for the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys -- after the Celtics took Game 1 in overtime on Sunday.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Pelicans head home up 2-0
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 18, 2018

    Jrue Holiday scored 33 points and dished out nine assists as the New Orleans Pelicans downed the host Portland Trail Blazers 111-102 Tuesday night to seize a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

    • Anthony Davis had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Rajon Rondo collected 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Pelicans, who return home for Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-seven series.

      CJ McCollum scored 22 points, Damian Lillard added 17 points and Al-Farouq Aminu totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.

      The Pelicans jumped in front for good when Nikola Mirotic (17 points) hit a 3-pointer for a 102-100 lead with 2:44 remaining. Holiday sank a trey to make it 105-100 with 1:36 to play. When Rondo buried a corner 3-pointer, the Pelicans were in front 108-100 with 38.9 seconds left.

      Lillard's layup trimmed the difference to 108-102 with 38 seconds on the clock. Holiday made 1 of 2 free throws to up the lead to 109-102 with 25.4 ticks left, and the verdict was decided.

      Raptors 130, Wizards 119

      DeMar DeRozan scored 37 points on 14-of-23 shooting, and Toronto took a 2-0 Eastern Conference first-round series lead by notching a victory over visiting Washington.

      Jonas Valanciunas contributed 19 points and 14 rebounds, and CJ Miles added 18 points for the top-seeded Raptors. Kyle Lowry had 13 points and 12 assists for Toronto, which set a franchise record for points in a playoff game.

      John Wall recorded 29 points and nine assists to pace the eighth-seeded Wizards. Mike Scott scored 20 points for Washington.

      Celtics 120, Bucks 106

      Jaylen Brown had a career-playoff-high 30 points as host Boston took a 2-0 lead in its best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with Milwaukee.

      Brown eclipsed his previous playoff high of 20 in the Celtics' 113-107 overtime victory in Game 1 on Sunday. Terry Rozier finished with 23 points, Marcus Morris had 18 and Al Horford added 16 for Boston.

      Giannis Antetokounmpo paced Milwaukee with 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists after leading all scorers with 35 in Game 1. Khris Middleton added 25 points for the Bucks, who hope to avoid their fourth first-round playoff exit in six years.

      --Field Level Media

  • 76ers, Mavs will head to China in preseason
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, April 17, 2018

    China will get a first-hand look at "the Process" next season when the Philadelphia 76ers play two preseason games there against the Dallas Mavericks.

    • The teams will meet Oct. 5 in Shanghai, then Oct. 8 in Shenzhen.

      "It will be an honor to be the first 76ers team to play in front of the amazing fan base in China in October," Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said in a statement released by the team.

      Dikembe Mutombo, an NBA "global ambassador," was on hand Tuesday in Shenzhen to make the announcement.

      Philadelphia and Dallas will be the 16th and 17th teams to compete in the "NBA China Games" since the league first began playing in China in 2004.

      "Getting a chance to play all over the world has always been a dream of mine and I'm excited to play in China in October," 76ers guard/forward Ben Simmons said in a statement issued by the team. "I know the fans there are passionate about basketball and I'm really looking forward to the trip to Shanghai and Shenzhen."

      Embiid and Simmons are two big pieces of the "Process," the years-long rebuilding strategy that finally has the 76ers in the playoffs this year for the first time since 2012.

      The Mavericks, meanwhile, failed to qualify for the postseason for the second year in a row after a run of 15 playoff appearances in 16 years.

      Mavericks veteran forward Dirk Nowitzki said in a statement, "When I played in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I witnessed China's enthusiasm for basketball firsthand. It will be a fantastic experience for our franchise to play in China for the first time.

      "We're also excited about the possibility of reconnecting with two great Chinese players who played for the Mavericks, Wang Zhizhi and Yi Jianlian."

      --Field Level Media