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YONG KIM/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Marcus Hayes: Fire Doc Rivers? Don't be ridiculous. He was, in fact, terrific for the Sixers.

Sports / Basketball /

PHILADELPHIA — It seemed like an outrageous claim:

“I think I do a terrific job!”

Doc Rivers said this after his basketball team just got demolished by a tepid Heat team in the second round of the playoffs. He said this a year after getting upset in the second round by a mangy kettle of Hawks.

Ridiculous, right? Wrong.

No coach in ...Read more

Ronald Cortes/Getty Images North America/TNS

Kristian Winfield: The win-now Kings should trade the No. 4 pick

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — The Sacramento Kings had better not mess this up.

When the Kings leapfrogged the draft order in Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, the dark cloud hovering about the city’s Golden 1 Center lifted, at least for a moment, as the team secured its best chance at ending a 16-year playoff drought.

The basketball gods agreed and saw to it ...Read more

Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS

Celtics drub Heat in Game 2, even Eastern Conference Finals

Sports / Basketball /

MIAMI — There is nothing subtle or soothing about this Heat-Celtics Eastern Conference Finals.

There is only mass destruction, the type of devastating damage that leaves you dazed and wondering “What the heck just happened?”

A third-quarter Heat tsunami in Game 1 was followed by a stunning Celtics first-half avalanche in Game 2, a 60-21 ...Read more

Elsa/Getty Images North America/TNS

Kristian Winfield: Nets' championship hopes hinge on amicable solution with Kyrie Irving

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — No matter which side of the Kyrie Irving fence you sit on, it’s important to remember one thing:

If he leaves as a free agent this offseason, so do the Nets’ championship hopes because they don’t have the cap space to outright replace him.

That’s the gamble the Nets made in the summer of 2019, and what Nets GM Sean Marks ...Read more

Al Bello/Getty Images North America/TNS

Stan Van Gundy and Reggie Miller explain why stars reject the Knicks

Sports / Basketball /

Stan Van Gundy is not only down on the Knicks’ current roster, he’s skeptical that the vaunted connections of Leon Rose and William Wesley can make the team any better.

“The Knicks right now — do you love their roster? Because I don’t. People always say we’ve got talent. Well, hell, it’s the NBA. Every team has talent,” said Van...Read more

Eakin Howard/Getty Images North America/TNS

Who's the best fit for Orlando Magic with No. 1 in 2022 draft?

Sports / Basketball /

CHICAGO — It didn’t take long for the Orlando Magic’s draft lottery celebration to turn into speculation.

Moments after the Magic won the draft lottery Tuesday in Chicago, questions quickly started to surround Orlando, the winner of the No. 1 pick in the June 23 NBA draft.

What will be the Magic’s approach to having the top pick?

Will...Read more

Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group/TNS

Stefan Bondy: The third and final act of the Warriors dynasty is a special moment in history

Sports / Basketball /

I’ll admit it. I thought the Warriors dynasty was finished. I was there the night in Toronto when it turned, when I declared the dynasty kaput, ironically during a Warriors victory in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

The moment is easy to remember. Kevin Durant, the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP, hobbled off the court with a torn Achilles, ...Read more

Dieter Kurtenbach: The Warriors are rounding into their best form at the perfect time

Sports / Basketball /

SAN FRANCISCO — Had Game 1 of the Warriors and Mavericks’ playoff series come in round one instead of the Western Conference Finals, things might have been different.

Instead, this series looks lopsided in favor of the Dubs after only one contest.

The Warriors didn’t just beat the Mavericks on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Western ...Read more

Matt Calkins: Expectations no longer weighing on Kelsey Plum, she's now playing like one of the WNBA's best guards

Sports / Basketball /

There might have been a time when you thought "good" was the ceiling for Kelsey Plum and "great" was just a memory from her college days.

There might have been a moment — maybe several moments — in which you felt her going No. 1 in the 2017 WNBA draft was a whiff of a pick.

The early numbers for the former Huskies star were underwhelming, ...Read more

John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

Max Strus was going to bleed Celtics green, now Heat culture courses through his veins in East finals

Sports / Basketball /

MIAMI — This is the revenge, the opportunity for Max Strus to settle the score, to prove the Boston Celtics wrong, to make Brad Stevens wish he never issued that pink slip.

Right?

“No,” Strus said to the Sun Sentinel during a private moment outside the Miami Heat locker room at FTX Arena. “This isn’t about me. This is bigger than me....Read more

Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee/TNS

Chris Biderman: The Kings got lucky with No. 4 pick in draft, now they must get lucky a second time

Sports / Basketball /

There’s an underlying theme of this spring’s ongoing NBA playoffs that might provides an important case study in roster building — something the Sacramento Kings should pay close attention to after they landed the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft.

A number of the most important stars in the league are leading playoff runs, or have done so...Read more

Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

David Murphy: Three things we know about the Sixers' offseason plans, with Tobias Harris a big key

Sports / Basketball /

PHILADELPHIA — Daryl Morey is back where he started. Not really. But, kind of.

When the Sixers president arrived in town in October 2020, he inherited a team that many swore had nowhere to turn. Two years of haphazard decision-making had left the franchise with little apparent room to wiggle free from an ill-fitting roster that was coming off...Read more

Warriors thump Mavericks in convincing Game 1

Sports / Basketball /

SAN FRANCISCO – After the Mavericks made a statement in a dominant Game 7 win over the Suns on Sunday, Dallas coach and Bay Area basketball legend Jason Kidd said the team wasn’t sweating the task of going toe-to-toe with an experienced team in the Warriors, who have advanced to the Western Conference finals in six of the last eight seasons....Read more

Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America/TNS

Celtics' Smart upgraded to probable, with Heat's Lowry still out, as pandemic, protocols remain series factors

Sports / Basketball /

MIAMI — The specter COVID and illness continues to be a factor in the Eastern Conference finals series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

A day after the Celtics big man Al Horford entered the NBA’s heath-and-safety protocols, Boston coach Ime Udoka was unavailable for his team’s Wednesday media session due to what the Celtics...Read more

John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS

P.J. Tucker perseveres as vital Heat organ, embraced again as 'the heartbeat of our team'

Sports / Basketball /

For four days before the start of these Eastern Conference finals, left with little else to discuss during yet another extended postseason break, coach Erik Spoelstra and his Miami Heat players spoke of the impending need to make the hustle plays, be first to the ball, impose will, take care of the small stuff in the margins.

Basically, all the...Read more

Roderick Boone: The Hornets have 2 first-round draft picks and need to trade both of them. Here's why.

Sports / Basketball /

When the card with their logo got pulled out of the envelope by NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, revealing the Charlotte Hornets failed to jump up in the draft lottery Tuesday night, it surely didn’t incite many smiles.

Certainly not from PJ Washington, who would’ve gladly flashed a toothy pose on the dais in Chicago if they somehow rose...Read more

John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS

Celtics go back to the video room after Game 1 collapse

Sports / Basketball /

MIAMI — In the wake of Tuesday night’s Game 1 loss, they sounded like a football team.

Whether it was Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown or the coach, Ime Udoka, they all had to look at the “film.”

A day later after getting together at the team hotel, the damage was fairly self-explanatory — the wrong end of a 39-14 third quarter, including ...Read more

Bob Wojnowski: Pistons fall from top three, but could land a Big Ten star

Sports / Basketball /

The bad news for the Pistons is, they fell out of the NBA Draft’s top three. Good news is, they won’t have to engage in the loud, rancorous debate over which super-hyped players should go one, two, or three.

With one flip of the lottery card Tuesday night, the Pistons’ focus shifted, and so will the argument. Landing at No. 5 wasn’t ...Read more

Grant Halverson/Getty Images North America/TNS

Joey Baker, Duke basketball captain and reserve forward, enters transfer portal

Sports / Basketball /

CHICAGO — Joey Baker’s Duke basketball career, which began earlier than planned, included his redshirt being burned late in his freshman season and saw him as a team captain last season, is coming to an end.

The 6-6 reserve forward from Fayetteville, N.C., is entering his name in the transfer portal so that, after he completes work toward ...Read more

John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS

Dave Hyde: Heat's Jimmy Butler keeps telling you who he is -- and it's more than the 41 points in Game 1 win

Sports / Basketball /

Every so often, just for a moment, Jimmy Butler will let you in. He’ll pull back the curtain and let you see who he is, how his mind and motivations assemble.

He mostly keeps that area closed off, opaquely answering he doesn’t care about random ideas like statistics, as he says night after playoff night.

Even if the question is framed that...Read more