Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

76ers' Joel Embiid feeling 'pretty good' a day after injury scare vs. Knicks, coach Nick Nurse says; listed as questionable for Game 2

Sports / Basketball /

Joel Embiid was feeling “pretty good” a day after the 76ers superstar’s latest injury concern, according to his coach, but was officially listed as questionable for Monday’s Game 2 against the Knicks.

Embiid missed the final 2:37 of the second quarter of Game 1 on Saturday after appearing to tweak his left knee during an emphatic alley-...Read more

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Without Kawhi Leonard, Clippers handle Mavericks in Game 1

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES — The final word came down late Sunday morning.

The inflammation in Kawhi Leonard’s right knee kept him out of the Clippers’ playoff opener against the Dallas Mavericks.

And so Paul George, James Harden and the rest of Clippers coach Tyronn Lue’s group had to press forward without their best player.

Harden and George did ...Read more

Winslow Townson/Getty Images North America/TNS

Jayson Tatum's triple-double powers Celtics to Game 1 blowout of Heat

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BOSTON — Kristaps Porzingis predicted the Celtics’ first-round series against the Miami Heat would be a “war.”

Bam Adebayo used the word “dogfight” to describe the teams’ fourth playoff meeting in five years.

Game 1, though, proved to be a walkover.

The Celtics kicked off their latest quest for Banner 18 by breezing past their ...Read more

Stacy Revere/Getty Images North America/TNS

Ira Winderman: Postseason could create another Heat star search (Summer of Lillard 2.0?)

Sports / Basketball /

Brace yourself, because it’s happening … again.

Just when you thought you were out — no longer to spend an offseason pining for star-level talent that ultimately falls beyond your grasp — the NBA offseason has a way of sucking (and suckering) you right back in, sometimes even with the same names.

So if it isn’t ESPN’s Stephen A. ...Read more

Silas Walker/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS

Mark Story: In 2024-25, Kentucky basketball fans will see things they haven't witnessed before

Sports / Basketball /

LEXINGTON, Ky. — It is some six months until the return of the University of Kentucky’s “Big Blue Madness” heralds the dawn of another college basketball season in the commonwealth.

Likely, it will be some seven months until the UK men face Duke in the State Farm Champions Classic in what will be the first marquee game of the Mark Pope ...Read more

Andy Cross/The Denver Post/TNS

Nikola Jokic scores 32, Nuggets wear down Lakers again for series-opening win

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DENVER — The series opener felt a lot like every other Nuggets-vs.-Lakers game.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis scored easy buckets early, Los Angeles hit the defending champions with its best shot — even taking a double-digit lead — and then Denver slowly, steadily sledge-hammered its challenger into submission.

Nikola Jokic went for 32 ...Read more

Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Keith Pompey: Joel Embiid must remember his career is more important than this year's playoff run

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — He began the game by scoring the 76ers’ first three baskets and 15 of their 34 first-quarter points.

This is what responsibility looks like.

He played in the entire first quarter despite being hit above his left eye.

This is what accountability feels like.

He went to the locker room after landing awkwardly on his surgically-...Read more

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America/TNS

Anthony Edwards leads the way as Timberwolves dismantle Suns in Game 1

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MINNEAPOLIS — With under a minute to play in the third quarter Saturday, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards shifted around a screen and pulled the trigger on a 3-pointer from the left wing.

Phoenix forward Kevin Durant was a step slow on the play, and Edwards had plenty of room to drain the shot, one of the final blows he dealt in a masterful...Read more

Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Kristian Winfield: Knicks must take advantage of Joel Embiid's limitations after Game 1 injury scare

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — Whatever percent healthy Joel Embiid was before Game 1 between the Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday evening, slice it in half.

Embiid — one of the most dominant centers in all of basketball — flexed his particular brand of dominance with under three minutes left in the second quarter when he used an off-the-backboard ...Read more

Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Josh Hart's late-game buckets lead Knicks to Game 1 win over Joel Embiid, 76ers

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — Playoff basketball returned to Madison Square Garden Saturday night. In the minutes leading up to tipoff, fan anticipation for Game 1 of the Knicks‘ first-round matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers reached its peak.

The venue revered as the World’s Most Famous Arena was filled to capacity. Former Knicks greats such as Bernard...Read more

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America/TNS

Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves march past Suns in playoff opener

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MINNEAPOLIS — For a week, the Timberwolves heard the talk that the Suns were a bad match for them in the first round of the playoffs.

For a week, the Wolves had a chance to devise counters to the weaknesses Phoenix exploited in their three regular-season matchups.

The Wolves had an answer for all of the above in a resounding 120-95 Game 1 ...Read more

Robbie Avila, aka 'Cream Abdul-Jabbar,' will transfer to Saint Louis to join Josh Schertz

Sports / Basketball /

ST. LOUIS — Fans will have a plethora of nicknames from which to choose next season, but the most important factor for Saint Louis University men's basketball coach Josh Schertz is that Robbie Avila will have his last name on an SLU uniform.

The 6-foot-10 rising junior committed to SLU on his campus visit after soaring in prominence at ...Read more

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Kawhi Leonard's status still uncertain day before Clippers' playoff opener

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LOS ANGELES — At exactly 10:58 a.m. Saturday, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue’s latest injury update on Kawhi Leonard and his availability was cautious and optimistic for Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at Arena.

Leonard’s teammate, Paul George, in his session with reporters before ...Read more

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Poor shooting plagues Magic in Game 1 loss at Cavaliers

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CLEVELAND — Before the Magic and Cavaliers took the floor inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for Game 1 of the best-of-7 series between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds in the East, both coaches stressed the importance of starting strong.

First, it was Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff who said ahead of tipoff that he wanted Orlando to chase all Saturday ...Read more

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UNC's Harrison Ingram declares for NBA draft: 'I'm a Tar Heel for life'

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina basketball’s offseason rebuild now includes replacing Harrison Ingram, who declared for the NBA draft on Saturday morning.

“I would first like to thank my family and God for their sacrifices and support throughout my life,” Ingram said in a social media post. “To Coach [Hubert] Davis and the rest of ...Read more

Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America/TNS

Over and out: Play-in loss to New Orleans Pelicans costs Sacramento Kings trip to playoffs

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The Sacramento Kings proved they were capable of beating all the top teams in the Western Conference this season, but they never found an answer for the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Pelicans secured the No. 8 seed in the West with a 105-98 victory over the Kings in a play-in tournament game Friday night at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

...Read more

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Timberwolves defense would benefit from a better offense

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MINNEAPOLIS — Since the Suns put the capstone on their seasonlong shellacking of the Timberwolves with a 125-106 victory Sunday at Target Center, there has been plenty of time for fans, players and coaches to roll around the matchup in their heads.

Among the points of discussion: Does Phoenix present an unsolvable matchup defensively for the ...Read more

Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS

Al DiazGreg Cote: Heat win! But did they, really? No Butler a big problem in brutal matchup vs. Celtics.

Sports / Basketball /

MIAMI — How hard would you fight to win if winning meant a hugely harder battle ahead — one everyone seemed sure you would lose decisively? Perhaps even embarrassingly. And that you’d have to undertake this biggest of challenges without your biggest star and top scorer?

That is how much fight the Miami Heat brought Friday night in the ...Read more

Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Despite years of losing, Magic always believed young core good enough to end playoff drought

Sports / Basketball /

ORLANDO, Fla. — When Jalen Suggs was officially introduced less than 24 hours after he was drafted No. 5 overall by the Magic in 2021, he sat in front of a set of microphones alongside fellow first-round pick Franz Wagner, new head coach Jamahl Mosley and president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman.

Mosley had only been hired by Weltman ...Read more

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LeBron James calls Nikola Jokic 'one of the best players to ever play this game'

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DENVER — After the Lakers’ last practice before their playoff series begins Saturday night, LeBron James praised Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, calling him “one of the best players to ever play this game.”

“He does everything. Does everything. The most important thing is he changes the way his teammates think about their own ...Read more