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The NBA might also take issue with the act itself of Rockets officials encouraging players not to cooperate.Chicago Bulls Face Masks

With 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Rockets have no real reason to overwork Wall and can use the open point guard spot to give some younger role players an eye test on the court. This season has been especially bad for Houston. The Rockets went on a disastrous 20-game losing streak, which finally ended in late March in large part due to a Wall triple-double.NBA Face Masks & NBA Face Covers

Barnes: Zion's continued growth because quietly, he's having the second season that we expected with his hype. How Jaren Jackson Jr. helps the Grizzlies when he finally returns. Can Boston keep up this late play? Can Phoenix overtake Utah for the No. 1 seed with Mitchell out because I really like how they're playing lately.Root Categories Face Masks

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Nets coach Steve Nash, whose team has the best Eastern Conference record at 40-20 heading into play Saturday, said during the week that tests on Durant's thigh confirmed his status of questionable.

The Knicks lost 118-110 against Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns to end their winning streak. SNY NBA Insider Ian Begley explains how the Suns were able to limit production from Knicks All-Star forward Julius Randle and halt their nine-game win streak.

First and foremost, it's hilarious to think about defenders begging Steph to stand still. That's awesome.Atlanta Hawks Face Masks

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• Nate McMillan, Hawks: "I feel that the jury did their jobs. You got to hold everybody accountable for their actions. The jury found him guilty on all three charges. I thought they did their jobs. That is all everybody is asking for in this country -- hold everybody accountable for their actions. I thought they made the right decision today."

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''I guess it's already known,'' Embiid said, confirming the knee was what caused him to leave the bench. ''There's no need to explain myself anymore. I'm just trying to do the best I can.''Atlanta Hawks Face Masks

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"For most of my life, I've been able to push by, explode by, and jump through people or over people, and for the first time in my career, I've had to play on the floor," Mitchell said. "Knowing when to attack, picking my spots, finding my teammates, I think that's the biggest thing, being able to kind of get off, hit them when they're doubling me and engaging the blitz. And I think I did a solid job of that. I can do better. It's a learning process and it sucks that I'm learning this through the playoffs, but it is what it is and no excuses."

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Should the 76ers lose, the front office must have a tough conversation about Simmons. Joel Embiid is obviously here to stay. Simmons isn’t an immovable object.Philadelphia 76ers Face Masks

“The world is witnessing, once again, you know, who the best player in the world is,” said Green, who aided Durant in hitting seven triples. “And it's amazing to see.”Orlando Magic Face Masks Face Masks

The Brooklyn Nets hold a 2-1 lead on the Milwaukee Bucks heading into Game 4 on Sunday. Here’s how to watch the NBA playoffs online.New York Knicks Face Masks

As noted above, Rozier set the tone for his season in the opening game. Much of his impressive play to start the year was overshadowed by Hayward’s arrival and Ball’s rapid ascension.

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All of that assumes Gayle Benson sells the team, which as of now is not on the table. It’s pure speculation. Her late husband, Tom Benson, stepped up and bought the team to keep it in New Orleans and saw that as being a civic duty as much as a financial investment. Some around the league have doubted Gayle Benson has that same commitment to the NBA franchise, but she has never said or done anything that would suggest she is ready to sell the team.
"There is no voice more closely associated with NBA basketball than Marv Albert's," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement released Monday by Turner Sports.

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The Warriors, after all, rode a minuscule roster -- by height and depth -- to a marvelous 15-5 regular-season finish. That eight-man roster, all forwards and guards, went and went and went until their collective reservoir was empty.Atlanta Hawks

"So y'all send Klay love, support. Y'all send all your wishes as he keeps grindin' to get back. It's been a long two years for my dog. I can't wait for him to be back out there."

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The safe money is on the Lakers in this winner-take-all scenario; it’s impossible to bet against LeBron in any do-or-die environment. However, the King has only played four games in the last two months after suffering that high ankle sprain, and the Dubs have been on a roll lately.

In the two years since replacing Dave Joerger, Walton has seen his team get off to encouraging starts only to fade. The main issues have been a lack of defense and a lack of consistency on the offensive side. The Kings swept three games from the Denver Nuggets and beat the playoff-bound Dallas Mavericks twice. They also lost twice to two of the worst teams in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves.New Orleans Pelicans

In addition, McMillan said he told his team that most media are picking the Knicks to knock off the Hawks in the series. New York won all three games during the regular season, though Atlanta has been one of the hottest teams in the league since McMillan took over as coach shortly before the All-Star break after Lloyd Pierce was fired.Charlotte Hornets

Keeping with the theme, you have to imagine that Denver will go the way of Jokic in these playoffs. Jamal Murray had some amazing takeover games in the bubble playoffs, but Denver is struggling to find consistent backcourt production without him. As a result, the bulk of the work falls to Jokic and Michael Porter Jr., which is good for us. Jokic only played a few minutes last Sunday vs. Portland, but still kept up his crazy almost two fantasy points per minute pace. There’s no player I believe in more tonight.San Antonio Spurs

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"We haven't really talked about it," James said. "If it gets to a point where we can capture it, then why not? But we haven't really talked about it at all. We haven't talked about seeding all year.

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For Tuesday’s contest, Jusuf Nurkic (right calf strain) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) are out.

Some NBA players are skeptical about getting vaccinated. But people have become far less reluctant as doses go from abstraction to available. Expect many more NBA players to get vaccinated as eligibility expands. Even the healthiest young NBA player will soon be eligible.Orlando Magic Face Masks Face Masks

Last night, Zion Williamson tied Charles Barkley for the 3rd-most games with 25 points and 80% FG pct in a player's first 2 seasons (5).Phoenix Suns Face Masks

“Portland is an ideal fit for Gordon,” O’Connor wrote. “The former no. 4 overall pick has proved to be an effective and versatile defender when he’s locked in (like he was during Orlando’s push for the playoffs in 2019). He’d allow the Blazers to utilize small-ball lineups wherein he could focus on screening for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Atlanta Hawks Face Masks

The NBA trade deadline is coming up (March 25), which means the rumors are hot and the Warriors’ aggression will be even hotter. General manager Bob Myers recently said the team will be more “open in making calls and listening to calls that we’ve been [in the past]”

It’s easy to see why, of course. The 14-year veteran’s splendid two-way play and reputation as a locker-room leader make him a tidy fit on almost any contender. His affordable contract, which carries a partial guarantee for the 2021-22 season, makes him a practical one too.Chicago Bulls Face Masks

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But somehow, the Bucks' lead kept growing without them doing anything spectacular, hitting corner threes and not paying much mind to how hard the Heat played.Minnesota Timberwolves

Washington could re-insert Raul Neto into the starting lineup for a three-guard look with Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. Expect Anthony Gill and Chandler Hutchison to play more at forward.

Walker’s struggles in this series and his absence in a pivotal Game 4 will not quiet the cries of those uncertain about his future here. Brad Stevens stressed how hard it was for Walker to be sidelined, a bone bruise on his already sore knee leaving him unable to go, but it will do little to ease concerns about Walker’s ability to stay on the floor moving forward.Sacramento Kings

"I don't know what that means. I don't know what the exact diagnosis is. But he's uncomfortable right now."

The Knicks are considered slight underdogs to win the series, according to the oddsmakers at BetMGM. The team is listed at +115 to advance past the Hawks in the first round. Atlanta Hawks

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“He's always supported,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “That's the biggest thing from a team, from the coaching staff, from the organization, and you know that's what we want to do while he's going through that.”

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Over a six-game stretch late in the regular season, with Jamal Murray (ACL) and P.J. Dozier (strained adductor) out, Rivers got more minutes (29.3 per game) and averaged 14.0 points per game on 51.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Going 4-2 in those games helped Denver secure the No. 3 seed in the West.Denver Nuggets
Also worth noting, the play-in tournament agreed upon following a negotiation between the NBA and the National Basketball Player's Association, an organization LeBron served as vice president of for four years before getting replaced in 2019.Atlanta Hawks Face Masks

There are worse wagons to tie your championship hopes to than Tatum and Brown, but they still need the horses around them. Given all they have experienced so far, you can imagine how what we perceive as the start of their new contracts could feel to them like the middle of an eight-year cycle leading nowhere new.Boston Bruins Face Masks

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Atlanta holds the fifth seed in the East while the 76ers clinched a playoff spot with their victory. Philadelphia is one game out of first place behind the Nets.

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“I just feel like I’m just learning every day. I’m in the gym every day, and doing extra film every single day, just to not only help me but to help the team. I feel like if I’m coming in in the second unit, and I’m doing everything I have to do to help the team put points on the board, or get a defensive stop, I feel like that’s always gonna be good. Anything I can do to help the team win, I’m gonna continue doing."Sacramento Kings Face Masks

The Trail Blazers went to Boston and picked up a huge win over the Celtics on Sunday, extending the team's winning streak to four in a row and ending the night tied for fifth place in the Western Conference. 

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Cole Anthony provided one of the best highlights of a difficult season by knocking down a buzzer-beater to top the Grizzlies on Saturday night. Anthony finished with 26 points. It's going to be interesting to see how the 20-year-old rookie guard pairs with Markelle Fultz next season. The Magic are well out of the playoff picture and are hoping for some lottery luck; they own the Bulls' 2021 first-rounder if it stays out of the top four. -- Friedell

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The highlights went to Twitter and was noticed by Bo Ryan's son, Will, an assistant at Ohio.

Trevor Ariza’s name has been floated around in trade and buyout rumors for quite some time in 2021. The veteran forward was included in several deals before the start of the season and eventually landed with the Oklahoma City Thunder.Orlando Magic

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At 18 consecutive losses, the Houston Rockets already have the longest losing streak in franchise history. If at all possible, they’d like to avoid making broader history, and Friday’s home game versus the struggling Detroit Pistons could offer an opportunity to do that.Atlanta Hawks

Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin are both playing in New York with the Knicks and Nets, respectively, and the Pistons have added two guards in Dennis Smith Jr. and Diallo. More changes could come before the March 25 trade deadline.Denver Nuggets

Timberwolves’ Edwards hitting his stride: Top overall pick Anthony Edwards didn’t get off to the best of starts this season, as even though he did have some high-scoring nights the efficiency was lacking. His shooting percentages are still lower than where you’d want them to be, as he’s making 38.5% of his attempts from the field and 31.8% of his 3-pointers. But since the Timberwolves replaced Ryan Saunders with Chris Finch, Edwards has been playing better basketball.

LaVar Ball says Lonzo Ball can't stay in New Orleans, wants to be tradedReport: New York Knicks expected to pursue Lonzo Ball in free agencyLonzo Ball sets career high for assists against Portland Trail Blazers

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For as good as Kanter has been, the time is now to try to deal him. Nurkic is nearing his return and could be back before the end of March. While he will likely play limited minutes his first few games back, he should eventually reclaim his starting job from Kanter, which would send Kanter back to a limited role off the bench.San Antonio Spurs

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Atlanta has been helped through the injuries by contributions from Bogdan Bogdanovic, who is averaging 25.3 points and shooting 58.3 percent on 3-pointers over the last three games, and Kevin Huerter, who scored a season-high 24 against New Orleans after being held scoreless against San Antonio the previous game.Phoenix Suns Face Masks

Welts -- who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018 -- joined the Warriors in late 2011.Los Angeles Lakers Face Masks

It helped, McMillan said, that the shots all seemed to come in a rhythm, and it certainly didn't hurt that nine of the 11 3-pointers came off assists.Atlanta Hawks Face Masks

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Several of last week’s suggested pickups have since seen their rostered percentage rise, including Gary Trent Jr. (48% rostered), Danny Green (47% rostered), Chuma Okeke (46% rostered), and Jae’Sean Tate (44% rostered).

"Cousins was good," Clippers head coach Ty Lue said. "[It's] just tough because he doesn't know as many plays right now, so we're limited offensively. But he's a problem [for opponents]. He is a big load, he can post up, he can shoot the 3, he can pass the basketball. ... Just getting him into shape and getting him acclimated to what we are trying to do offensively and defensively, but we already know he's a big talent."Orlando Magic Face Masks Face Masks

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The Lakers will be without guard Talen Horton-Tucker and forward Kyle Kuzma when they play Miami in a NBA Finals rematch Thursday.

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The Clippers will be a playoff team. Since their midseason swoon entering March’s All-Star break, they have won 10 of 14 games behind the league’s second-best point differential and stand third in the Western Conference standings.
He was able to get some workouts with the coaches in Philadelphia while the team was on the road for a few weeks.

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NOTES: Bickerstaff said Love took part in practice and the team will see how he responds before deciding when he'll return. Love has been slowed by a calf strain since December and played in just four games.Detroit Pistons

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Oregon didn’t get a chance to play in the first round due to COVID-19 issues on the VCU team. In the two games Oregon did play, Duarte was incredible. He had 23 points in a win over No. 2 Iowa and 21 points in the loss to USC. What was most impressive about Duarte was his playmaking ability, dishing out 13 assists in two games.Atlanta Hawks

Gordon is still growing into his role but he’s doing everything the Nuggets need at they have to feel extremely positive about their playoff chances with this new group.San Antonio Spurs

If you needed something to bring a smile to your face today, leave it to Philadelphia 76ers wing Danny Green to get that job done for you. That’s because he’s gone over the top to bring us one of the best sports moments of the month.

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Lots of things happen when you get older. For LeBron, this meant starring in a movie and getting hair back. Good for him.

The Greek Freak has attempted 13, 21 and 21 field-goal attempts in his last three games, all on this current road trip. He is coming off 47 points versus Portland in 33 minutes and a win, so expect him to continue being aggressive after 25 and 32-point performances against the Lakers and Clippers.Denver Nuggets
And then here she was. In this brightly lit arena, with a mop in her hand, cleaning sweat from the floor, rebounding balls, and all the while, paying close attention to some of the best athletes and coaches in the world.Minnesota Timberwolves

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LaMelo Ball was a shot of energy, life and creativity for the Charlotte Hornets this season and his broken wrist was an incredible downer. Even with the caveat that he wasn’t assured of missing the rest of the season, it seemed like it was pushing the pause button for Charlotte. Entering a holding pattern until his return waiting to pick up the fun and momentum next season.New Orleans Pelicans

Toronto promptly dropped two games in a row after breaking a nine-game losing streak, leaving the Raptors closer to 13th than 10th in the standings at a rather late stage of the season. There's still time for Toronto to right itself, and keeping Kyle Lowry will help -- assuming the right foot soreness that held him out of Sunday's loss to Portland doesn't linger. But the idea this team can be a problem for an opponent in the first round is looking more and more remote by the day. As a result, whether it can leap up in a loaded lottery is looking like the much more relevant question. -- Bontemps

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With that in mind, the best opportunity for the Rockets to maximize their odds of gaining a high draft pick following the season is if they finish with one of the league’s three-worst records. (If Houston’s pick is not in the draft’s top four, they would lose it to Oklahoma City as part of the ill-fated Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook swap.)

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After rattling off 11 wins in 12 games, the Heat have fallen back to earth and enter the week in the midst of a six-game losing streak. The defense that helped get them back on track has gone missing. During the skid, the Heat are giving up an average of 113 points per game and haven't been able to finish games late in several close contests. Victor Oladipo's addition should give the veteran group a needed jolt in the next week. -- FriedellAtlanta Hawks

How much of Barrett’s improvements are due to shot selection versus genuine development of his jumper? Look no further than thejump in free throw shooting to quell any doubts. There’s no longer reason to believe he can’t be an effective shooter in this league.

LaMarcus Aldridge — just bought out by the Spurs and a free agent — will sign with the Brooklyn Nets for the remainder of the season, reports Adrain Wojnarowski of ESPN.Indiana Pacers
One more alarming stat: in playoff games officiated by Foster, the Sixers are 3-8 all-time. In games officiated by Brothers, they’re 2-8. Yikes.Brooklyn Nets

With the Warriors watching the NBA playoffs from home after being eliminated in the Western Conference play-in tournament, Green has been spending some of his time working as an analyst on TNT and he also has been tweeting his thoughts during games.Atlanta Hawks

Nets: Brooklyn remained without F Jeff Green for a fourth straight game because of a left foot injury. Nash said Friday he would be considered day to day after Game 1. ... The Nets announced a sellout of 15,750 - featuring Beyonce and Jay-Z - with 98% fully vaccinated. ... Mike James had 12 points after playing less than 10 minutes in the first round against Boston.New Orleans Pelicans

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Doncic did everything he could to send the Clippers home. He was scintillating yet again, finishing with 46 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds. He averaged 35.7 points, 10.3 assists and 7.9 rebounds in his second postseason, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to average 35 points per game in a playoff series at 22.

The Clippers defeated the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of their first-round NBA playoff series on Sunday, as LA came back from a two-games-to-none series deficit to advance to the conference semifinals. And as amazing as Luka Doncic was for the losing side, it was Kawhi Leonard who ultimately proved to be the difference.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix Suns surge past Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of NBA playoff seriesDenver Nuggets

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Facing elimination, the Clippers felt the pressure of their season hanging in the balance and with the possibility of suffering a second straight disappointing postseason. But unlike when they blew a 3-1 lead in the second round to the Denver Nuggets in embarrassing fashion last year, the Clippers played with the type of urgency and fight that they needed to force their second consecutive Game 7.

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