Butler scores 30, Heat top Giannis-less Bucks 121-99
Jimmy Butler scored 30 points before leaving with back soreness following a hard fall, and the eighth-seeded Miami Heat beat the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks 121-99 on Saturday night for a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
Trade deadline passes, and Kyle Lowry remains with Raptors
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) celebrates a three-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)Kyle Lowry wound up staying with Toronto after all. The trade deadline has come and gone. “Anytime you trade a player like Nikola, it is a tough decision to make," Magic President Jeff Weltman said. But Lowry — a free-agent-to-be and considered perhaps the biggest prize on this year's trade market — did not get traded, the Raptors apparently unable to find enough assets to their liking. Questions swirled around Lowry all the way to the 3 p.m. EST deadline, and there were signs that the Raptors were positioning themselves to make the move.
Rockets end skid at 20, Wall has 1st triple-double since '16
Houston Rockets' John Wall (1) drives on Toronto Raptors' Fred VanVleet (23) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 22, 2021, in Houston. But Wall had 19 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds, his first triple-double since March 17, 2016. The Rockets closed out the third quarter with an 88-86 lead and opened the fourth quarter on a 9-1 run to pull away. AdThe Raptors led 28-27 at the end of the first quarter. In their losing streak, Houston led after the first quarter only three times, including on Feb. 26 when they led the Raptors 31-30.
Rockets lose team-record 20th straight game, fall to Thunder
(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)HOUSTON – Mired in a long losing streak, the Houston Rockets twice put the ball in John Wall's hands in the waning moments. The Rockets lost their team-record 20th straight game, falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-112 Sunday when Wall missed two shots in the final 10 seconds. This one hurts.”Dort scored 23 points and Isaiah Roby had 18 for the Thunder, who led by as many as 13 points. They shot a sizzling 14 of 21 on 3s in the second quarter, however, and Oklahoma City led 66-62 at halftime. The Rockets hit a franchise-record 28 3s in a win against the Thunder on Feb. 1, just three days before their last win.
Pistons hand Rockets franchise-worst 19th straight loss
Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo (7) shoots as Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (28) defends during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 19, 2021, in Houston. (Troy Taromina/Pool Photo via AP)HOUSTON – Frank Jackson had a season-high 23 points and the Detroit Pistons handed the Houston Rockets their franchise-record 19th straight loss, 113-100 on Friday night. The injury-plagued Rockets were playing just their fourth game of the season where Christian Wood, Victor Oladipo and John Wall were all available. Wall had 21 points and seven assists, Oladipo had 19 points, and Wood 18 points and 11 rebounds. Rockets: Wall was charged with a flagrant foul on a second-quarter collision with Frank Jackson and later received a technical foul for arguing with officials in the third quarter.
USA Basketball picks 57 players for men's Tokyo Games pool
USA Basketball is a step closer to choosing the team that will play in this summer’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, releasing the names Thursday of 57 players who are part of the pool to fill the squad. It’s also already drawing major interest from some NBA stars who have yet to taste Olympic gold. USA Basketball will pare the list to a 12-person Olympic team by early summer. Jordan, who now plays for Brooklyn, is also a newcomer to the pool even though he was on the 2016 Olympic team. “But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”
Depleted Raptors hand Rockets 10th straight loss
(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)TAMPA, Fla. – Norman Powell scored 30 points, Kyle Lowry had a triple-double and the depleted Toronto Raptors beat the Houston Rockets 122-111 on Friday night. AdLowry had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to help the Raptors hand the Rockets their 10th straight loss. Victor Oladipo led the Rockets with 27 points, and John Wall had 21 points and 12 assists. TIP-INSRockets: The last time the Rockets lost 10 straight games was Nov. 23-Dec. 20, 2001 during a 15-game losing streak. Raptors: The Raptors have not been involved in any of the NBA's 29 coronavirus postponements so far this season.
Wall scores 24 to lead Rockets over Wizards 107-88
Houston Rockets' John Wall reacts during the second quarter against the Washington Wizards in an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Houston. Wall scored 24 points to help Houston to a 107-88 victory over Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards. Houston was leading by six when Wall re-entered the game. “I was itching to get back in in the fourth quarter," he said. “The fourth quarter was good," Silas said.
LeVert, Pacers await test results before plotting next move
He was eager to meet his new teammates, join the starting lineup and make his Pacers debut. LeVert spent his first 4 1/2 seasons with the Nets after the Pacers selected him in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft. Though teams conduct physicals at the start of each season, LeVert wasn't sure if the Nets ever scanned his lower back. That changed when he joined the Pacers, who came up with a diagnosis LeVert never expected. And until LeVert does return, first-year coach Nate Bjorkgren will be dealing with a short-handed roster.
Mass on kidney to keep LeVert out indefinitely for Pacers
Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) brings the ball upcourt in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers will be without newly acquired Caris LeVert indefinitely after an MRI showed a mass on his left kidney during a physical to complete this week's blockbuster four-team trade. “On behalf of my family and myself, we want to thank the Indiana Pacers for their support and guidance," LeVert said in a statement. LeVert was expected to replace Oladipo and help replace forward T.J. Warren, who is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. “We acquired Caris because of who he is as a young man first and foremost," Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said. Plus, LeVert is signed through 2022-23 as are three other Pacers starters.
Heat-Celtics game postponed by NBA due to virus protocols
Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) dunks the ball over Miami Heat guards Avery Bradley (11) and Andre Iguodala (28) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Miami. That process would not have been completed in time for the 7 p.m. game, so the league called it off. Boston was preparing to play the game with eight available players; the Celtics have 17 on their roster, seven were out due to the COVID-19 protocols and two more with injuries. The other was Dec. 23, an Oklahoma City at Houston game where the Rockets did not have the required eight players available. They were in Miami for a game on Wednesday, and Bradley played in that game for the Heat.
Irving leads rout of Celtics in return to Boston Garden
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Boston. Irving scored 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting and had seven rebounds, five assists and two steals helping the Nets rout the Celtics 113-89 Friday night in the final preseason game for both teams. There were no fans in the new Boston Garden on Friday night, and his introduction was greeted with a faint, fake cheer. Precious Achiuwa scored 13 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Heat, while Bam Adebayo scored 13 points and Tyler Herro scored 10. McCollum led the Blazers with 26 points on 8-of-20 shooting and Gary Trent Jr. added 18 points in the loss.
Bjorkgren describes plan to take Pacers in new direction
INDIANAPOLIS – New Indiana Pacers coach Kevin Bjorkgren went right to work Wednesday. Less than 24 hours after accepting the job, the 45-year-old former Toronto Raptors assistant started explaining his plan. “There are people in this world who bring energy and you like being around them," Pritchard said after introducing Bjorkgren on a Zoom call. But the first-time NBA head coach certainly presented a different kind of vision, one Pacers fans may embrace after watching years of stodgy, half-court basketball. Bjorkgren developed his coaching style working largely with Raptors coach Nick Nurse.
Indiana Pacers tab Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as coach
On Tuesday, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard found his man in Toronto assistant Nate Bjorkgren. “Nate is the right coach for us at the right time,” Pritchard said in a statement released by the team. He comes to Indiana after spending two seasons as an assistant on Nick Nurse’s staff in Toronto. There, Bjorkgren helped the Raptors capture their first NBA championship in 2018-19 and was part of a team that earned the Eastern Conference’s No. “We all look forward to a long, successful partnership in helping the Pacers move forward,” Pritchard said,.
Dragic scores 23, 5th-seeded Heat sweep Pacers to advance
Tyler Herro had 16 points and Bam Adebayo added 14 points and 19 rebounds for the Heat, who made it out of the first round for the first time since 2016. Victor Oladipo had 25 points and Myles Turner added 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who have dropped four straight postseason series to the Heat since 2012. Dragic's layup at the end of the third quarter gave the Heat an eight-point lead and the Pacers never mounted a serious comeback in the fourth. Heat guard Jimmy Butler left the game in the first quarter with a left shoulder strain. Pacers: T.J. Warren had 21 points for Indiana.
Disney is nice but for NBA's top teams, no place like home
But right now it's more hurting the teams that should be playing in front of rowdy fans, not virtual ones. With Domantas Sabonis lost to injury, the Pacers need Turner to do even more on the inside to pick up the slack. Game 2, 9 p.m. ESPN NEED TO KNOW: These teams are seeded No. 8 based on what they did over the entire season, but there is no such difference in the bubble. Vogel said he believes in adjusting when necessary and may decide the Lakers need more speed on the floor and go smaller.
Butler, Dragic help Heat pull away to beat Pacers in Game 1
The Heat pulled away in the closing minutes, long after the Pacers had lost star guard Victor Oladipo to an eye injury. 4 and 5 seeds, who were separated by a game in the standings in this pandemic-shortened season. Indiana went 6-2 in the seeding games and Miami was 3-5, with the teams splitting a pair of meetings. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points apiece for the Pacers, who will try to even the series on Thursday. Pacers: Oladipo's loss came after coach Nate McMillan said the guard was no longer playing with a minutes restriction.
Blazers make playoffs, oust Grizzlies with 126-122 victory
Portland finished eighth in the West, Memphis was ninth, and the Grizzlies needed to sweep a two-game matchup to advance. They had a chance, up eight in the final quarter, before Portland did what Portland does in the bubble find a way at the end. The Grizzlies' 42-point third quarter matched the second-highest scoring period of the season for Memphis and was the second-highest scoring third quarter in franchise history. LOOKING AHEADThe Lakers went 2-1 against the Blazers this season, with the road team winning all three games. Anthony Davis (32.0 ppg) and LeBron James (24.7 ppg) led the Lakers; Lillard (36.0 ppg) and Whiteside (22.0 ppg) led the Blazers.
Warren scores 39, Pacers surge past Lakers late, 116-111
Warren scored 18 in the first quarter, one off the franchise record he tied in a bubble-opening win over Philadelphia a week ago, before getting held without a shot in the second quarter. TIP-INSLakers: After Justin Holliday opened the second quarter with a 3 that pushed the Pacers' lead to 13, the Lakers went on a 22-5 run for a 46-42 lead. James scored six straight points on layups to start the run and later hit a 3. Pacers: Indiana's JaKarr Sampson had back-to-back putback dunks in the first quarter to finish a run to a 32-17 lead. ... Aaron Holiday had seven points and matched James with a game-high seven assists.
No shortage of points scored inside the NBA's bubble
Scoring numbers are soaring inside the NBAs bubble, where the restarted season is happening at Walt Disney World. Games on average have seen nine points more than what had been the norm this season. There was a six-game NBA schedule on Feb. 21, 1988, and all the teams playing that night scored at least 110 points. That hadnt happened, on a day of five or more games, again in the NBA until July 31 the second day of bubble games. And the fact that, you know, the skill sets of NBA players are increasing exponentially by the month.
Warren scores career-high 53 as Pacers beat 76ers 127-121
I just wanted to be aggressive, do what I do best, Warren said. Tobias Harris scored 30 points for Philadelphia, and Ben Simmons had 19 points and 13 rebounds. But the leading trio for the Sixers wasn't enough to overcome Warren, who matched a franchise record with 19 points in the first quarter. He punished us tonight from the beginning of the game on.The Pacers got the restart-opening win without two starters. The Sixers were down 35-29 after the first and had eight turnovers, including two each from Embiid and Milton.
Down in Disney, Bucks hope to finish the job this season
FILE - In this a Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo reacts to his shot the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Milwaukee. If Antetokounmpo can shoot like that in real games, maybe the Milwaukee Bucks can finish the job and win the title this season. The Bucks are too, bringing the NBAs best record into the resumption of the season next week at Walt Disney World. The Toronto Raptors exploited that last season, with versatile, big defenders such as Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka who could keep Antetokounmpo from the rim and make him shoot outside. The Bucks believe this season they have enough to go all the way, even without getting to use the home-court advantage they likely would have earned.
Masked man: Spurs' Popovich wears face covering for game
Popovich was not serving as head coach for the game against the Milwaukee Bucks. It is unclear if Popovich will wear a mask for the entirety of the Spurs time at Disney. Popovich was the coach who spoke in the teams pregame news conference and followed NBA rules by wearing a mask in that availability. GIANNIS' FOULSBucks star and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had five first-half fouls in his team's scrimmage opener against San Antonio. The last time a player had five first-half fouls in an NBA game that counted was Dec. 7, 2013, when Utah's Mike Harris did it against Sacramento.
Oladipo backtracks on sitting out rest of season with Pacers
Oladipo's presence could give the Pacers a big boost when the season resumes, especially with starting guard Malcolm Brogdon also expected to be healthy. Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers president of basketball operations, and coach Nate McMillan both said they supported Oladipo, whose minutes were being closely monitored when the season was suspended in mid-March. When he returned in late January, Oladipo wasn't the same. But this is a different situation.Brogdon tore a muscle in his thigh March 4 and was listed as week to week. If Oladipo does play, McMillan may finally get to see just how good these Pacers could be.
Pacers' Brogdon in quarantine after positive test for virus
Indiana Pacers' Malcolm Brogdon drives past Milwaukee Bucks' Eric Bledsoe during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)INDIANAPOLIS Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said Tuesday he has been quarantined after testing positive for the coronavirus. I recently tested positive for the COVID virus and am currently in quarantine," the statement read. But with other NBA players voicing concerns about resuming the season amid the continuing protests, Brogdon had decided he would play. If Oladipo does play, the Pacers intend to be cautious with their star.
Brogdon scores 26, Pacers forced to rally late to beat Spurs
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Indiana found its bearing in the paint after losing its composure late against San Antonio. Malcolm Brogdon scored 26 points, T.J. Warren added 23 and the Pacers rallied to beat the Spurs 116-111 on Monday night after blowing a 15-point lead. Patty Mills scored 24 points to lead San Antonio and Trey Lyles added 20. “It’s all about being competitive and executing and you’ve got to do it for more of the 48 minutes than your opponent,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “We didn’t do anything in the second quarter to help ourselves.