Grizzlies, Clippers win to level NBA playoff matchups

Grizzlies, Clippers win to level NBA playoff matchups (via AFP)

Zach Randolph scored eight of his 25 points in overtime to spark the Memphis Grizzlies over Oklahoma City 111-105, equalizing their NBA playoff series at one win each. Mike Conley on Monday added 19 points and 12 assists while Spaniard Marc Gasol and…

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East Conference Playoff matchups

 

The Raptors and Nets will battle in a three-6 matchup. (USATSI)

 

 

Here is a rundown of the Eastern Conference Playoff Matchups updating with the results Wednesday.

Locked:

Indiana Pacers (1) vs. Atlanta Hawks (eight)

Analysis: The Pacers have struggled headed into the playoffs and split the season series 2-2 with the Hawks. The Hawks truly completed with a constructive web rating after their final blowout win in Atlanta.

But the matchups nonetheless favor the Pacers. If Al Horford was playing it will be an entire totally different collection. One factor to keep watch over? Small ball lineups featuring rookie Pero Antic at middle, stretching the floor and forcing Roy Hibbert out of his comfort zone.

Miami Warmth (2) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (7)

The Warmth gained the season sequence 4-zero, and have been +10.5 per game vs. Charlotte. Most notably, LeBron James dropped 62 on the Bobcats' defense. Do not think the Bobcats are a pushover, although. They play nice defense, grind, and have a top-stage interior participant in Al Jefferson.

They will wrestle to score, although, and the Heat's entice on Kemba Walker should give the Heat guard issues. Guarding Chris Bosh from range will probably show problematic, and the Bobcats' youthful gamers may have points with nerves in opposition to the champs. Greatest case for Charlotte, a tough, laborious-nosed six-game series that offers them one thing to build on. Worst-case: Miami hits the jets and leaves them in a mud to be swept away.

Toronto Raptors (3) vs. Brooklyn Nets (6)

The Nets tanked down to grab this matchup, so that they got what they needed. The Nets and Raptors cut up the season sequence 2-2, with the Raptors finishing with a +2.8 level differential within the four video games.

It's an intriguing matchup of youth vs. expertise. The Nets can grind it out and have veteran players with playoff expertise. The Raptors have been the better staff and have youth and a deeper talent pool. It needs to be a fascinating first spherical matchup.

Chicago Bulls (4) vs. Washington Wizards (5)

The Wizards had been caught between the Bulls and the Warmth. They chose properly. There are some interesting matchups going on here. We're speaking John Wall vs. D.J. Augustin and Nene vs. Carlos Boozer. The Bulls cannot shoot, the Wizards are inconsistent throughout. Marcin Gortat is huge and versatile but Joakim Noah is a tank.

The Bulls should win this sequence with execution and savvy, however don't be surprised if the Wizards make some noise.

Western Convention Matchups right here.

 

NBA Prediction NBA Saturday Night Preview/Pick- Clippers vs. Rockets

NBA Free Pick & Prediction L.A Clippers vs. Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers (51-22, 20-17 away) @ Houston Rockets (49-22, 29-7 home) 02/29- 8:00PM EST

 

Line: HOU -1.5

Over/Under: 216.5

 

Yet another big Western Conference showdown will take place on Saturday night when Los Angeles visits the Houston Rockets as the Clippers will be going for the season sweep.

 

The Rockets (49-22) will be in quest of their 12th straight home victory on Saturday night and a win against a team they have yet to defeat this season will draw them into a third-place tie in the tough Western Conference.

 

Houston is also riding a five game win streak, having won three of those without center Dwight Howard who was sidelined with a left ankle strain and he responded in his second game back with 17 points and 13 boards in their 120-98 smack down of the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

 

James Harden continued his all-star season performance by recording a triple-double with 26 points, 10 boards and 10 assists.

 

We did a great job of coming out tonight and taking care of business,” said Harden who’s been on a scoring tear averaging 31.3 over his last three games. He is also 12 of 23 from behind the arc in that same span.

 

Speaking of tears, the Rockets have been lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 118.2 points per game during their win streak and are averaging the same amount of points over their last nine games at the Toyota Center beating opposing teams by an average of 14.6 points per contest.

 

Having Howard back in the mix and with the team putting points on the board, the Rockets will need all they can muster against the Clippers…. a team that has dominated them winning eight of nine, including taking the first three games by an average of 13.3 points this season.

 

Los Angeles (51-22) is challenging the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs for the West’s best record and are closing in on their second straight Pacific Division crown. However, the Clippers sit just one game ahead of fourth place Houston after dropping two consecutive games before bouncing back with a big 109-103 road victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.

 

The big three of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan all responded against the Mavs after losing the night before to New Orleans and understand there is no room for nights off if they want to challenge come playoff time and make some noise.

 

We knew it was going to be a playoff-type game,” Paul said. “They’re just not playing for their playoff lives; we’re trying to gear up for the playoffs too.”

 

Despite the Clips having their way with Houston of late, the oddsmakers have faith the home town Rockets will get it done on Saturday night making them a slight (minus -1.5) point favorite with an over/under of 216.5, but as always… stay up to date with the latest spread up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Tough one to call between these two teams, but I too am going to agree with the oddsmakers on this one and predict the Rockets to finally find some success and find a way to defeat the visiting Clippers in a close one.

 

Prediction/Pick- Houston

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

Why You Shouldn’t Have a Problem with the Tanking Philadelphia 76ers

michael carter williams 76ers record

The Philadelphia 76ers will more than likely set an NBA report for futility Saturday night when they lose to the Detroit Pistons. It’ll be Philly’s 27th loss in a row, eclipsing Cleveland’s file of 26 set just a few years in the past. From coast-to-coast, the 76ers are being hammered for tanking this season. I’m a hundred% on board with the tank job, and it makes complete sense. Let’s count the methods:

1) Anytime a new leader takes cost at a corporation, change happens. Sometimes, it's gradual change, so as to not upset too many of us. Many individuals are deathly afraid of sudden change. Different occasions, as has happened in Philadelphia, the teardown is swift, and the gutting fairly brutal. The 76ers ripped off the band-assist as a substitute of slowly taking it off. In sports activities, this makes full sense. Still, teams are terrified they’ll “lose” the fanbase. That’s criminally dumb. Build a winner. Fans will come.

2) This is the way you go from the dreaded middle of the NBA (or below common), to the basement, shortly: Since losing recreation seven to Boston in the 2012 Eastern Convention semifinals, Philadelphia has traded its greatest participant (Andre Igoudala) for a participant who didn’t play one minute (Andrew Bynum), fired a coach (Doug Collins), hired a new GM (Sam Hinkie), traded its 2nd finest player (Jrue Vacation) for a draft choose who was injured and sat out the entire year (Nerlens Noel), and traded away its former No. 2 general pick (Evan Turner) for essentially nothing.

michael carter williams dancing with nerlens noel

3) No group goes into the 2014 NBA draft – a really, very good draft, not simply at the top, but into the 2nd spherical – in better position than Philadelphia. As of at this time, it seems to be like they’ll have two lottery picks (absolute best-case: 1 and 6) and 4 or 5 2nd round picks. Before you scoff at 2nd spherical picks, enjoy watching these current 2nd spherical picks play a job within the upcoming NBA playoffs: Chandler Parsons (Houston), Draymond Green (Golden State), Patrick Beverley (Houston), Danny Green (San Antonio) and Lance Stephenson (Indiana). Oh, and you’re not locked into utilizing all of them – you now have flexibility to make a trade. Flexibility, cap room, high draft picks … these are good things.

4) After Cleveland misplaced 26 games in a row, guess what the outcome was? It acquired Kyrie Irving, a very talented point guard who they thought they may build round (still can, in case you ask me). Why is Cleveland nonetheless a mess? As a result of it didn’t follow up that draft decide with any good moves. Drafting Dion Waiters 4th (over Harrison Barnes or Andre Drummond) and then Anthony Bennett 1st (over Victor Oladipo) is what set the Cavaliers again.

5) You already know what’s worse than tanking? The Knicks being stuck in cap hell, not having any draft picks, and being just bad enough to miss the playoffs. When the 76ers land Andrew Wiggins and Aaron Gordon within the draft, after which choose up Russ Smith, DeAndre Kane and Nick Johnson in the second spherical, let me know if tanking was a foul concept.

 

NBA Prediction Friday Night Preview/Pick- Memphis vs. Golden State

NBA Free Pick & Prediciton Grizzlies vs. Warriors

Memphis Grizzlies (43-28, 20-14 away) @ Golden State Warriors (44-27, 23-12 home) 02/28- 10:30PM EST

 

Line: GSW -2.0

Over/Under- 188.0

 

With the NBA season winding down and teams in the Western Conference still battling for positioning, the Memphis Grizzlies will try to move even with the Golden State Warriors when both teams take the floor in Oakland on Friday night.

 

The playoff seedings are still up for grabs and with not many games separating the fifth and ninth place teams in the tough Western Conference… both the Grizzlies and Warriors understand what is needed the rest of the way so they are not sitting at home come playoff time.

 

With a win over the Warriors, the surging Memphis Grizzlies (43-28) will have a chance to draw even with six-place Golden State… although I feel confident both teams will advance to the postseason.

 

The Grizzlies, since Jan. 10 have been one of the hottest and better teams in the league having won 28 of their 37 games, with only the San Antonio Spurs, which has won 15 straight the only hotter team with a better winning percentage. But, prior to the Grizzlies playing the type of basketball we’ve come to expect, they were sitting at the bottom of the Southwest Division at 15-19.

 

Memphis has won three straight and nine of 11 games and with the likes Portland, Golden State, Dallas and Phoenix all fighting for the final four playoff spots, the Grizzlies must continue to use what has gotten them to where they are… defense.

 

We know how important each of these games are for us,” said Marc Gasol, who along with Zach Randolph and Mike Conely are the cornerstones of this team.

 

With a win in Oakland, a place where they have had success in recent years, the Grizzlies can move a season-high 16 games above .500 and having won 15 of 19 games versus the West with the Trail Blazers coming up on Sunday, Memphis is poised to continue their success and make a strong playoff push.

 

After five days off, a well rested Golden State team will try to bounce back following last Saturday’s 99-90 home loss to San Antonio, a team that won without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili in the lineup.

 

It’s a disappointing loss,” said Warriors’ coach Mark Jackson, who along with the Grizzlies are 13-5 since the All-Star break. “It’ll make us better.”

 

Starting swingman Andre Iguadala will be back in the lineup after missing the last three games due to a sore right knee and will give the Warriors another offensive weapon along with Stephen Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson to go up against the tough defense of the Grizzlies who have allowed an NBA-low 90.2 points per game since the return of Gasol back on Jan. 14.

 

Golden State is a team that lives and dies from the outside and it’s all-or-nothing for them, where in their seven wins since March 5 have averaged 110.1 points per game and in their three losses have averaged only 94.0 ppg.

 

Memphis has won the last five contests in Oakland holding the home Warriors to only 88.8 points per game, but the oddsmakers are giving Golden State the slight edge making them a (minus -2.0) point favorite with an over/under of 188.0, but get the latest odds on the game up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.

 

It will be the high powered offense of Golden State versus the stingy defense of Memphis on Friday night and we all know defense wins games. Expect a good close game between these two teams but I predict the Grizzlies to continue form and leave Oakland with a tough road victory.

 

Prediction/Pick- Memphis

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Sources: Marshall reaches out to D’Antoni

Marshall has reached out to Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni to gauge his curiosity in coaching his alma mater, according to sources close to the method.

Sources advised ESPN.com that the Thundering Herd have pursued D'Antoni earlier than and made this latest inquiry – which coincides along with his unsure future in Los Angeles – as a result of they "always sound him out" any time Marshall has a gap in a bow to D'Antoni's stature in school history.

However sources harassed D'Antoni is highly unlikely to make such a switch even if the Lakers go for a coaching change at season's end. Although he has served as an unofficial sounding board for college officers up to now, D'Antoni has coached solely on the pro level, with three stops in Italy and stints with the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Lakers in the NBA.

D'Antoni

Marshall has reached out to Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni to gauge his interest in coaching his alma mater, sources said.

"Come on, guys," D'Antoni stated in an exasperated tone when asked in regards to the Marshall inquiry after the Lakers' 108-a hundred and five loss to the final-place Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday. "Come on. OK, good. That ESPN is throughout it. That's good."

D'Antoni then was requested whether he had any latest communication with representatives from his alma mater.

"I hear from them all the time," D'Antoni mentioned. "I am the top of their capital [fundraising] campaign. I am shut friends to them. No matter they want, I attempt to do. However.. who knows."

D'Antoni played for the Thundering Herd from 1970 to '73, and was chosen in the second spherical of the 1973 NBA draft. His brother, Dan, additionally performed and coached at the college before serving on Mike's staffs with both the Suns and Lakers.

Marshall is looking to exchange Tom Herrion, who was fired after posting a sixty seven-67 mark in 4 seasons.

The harm-ravaged Lakers entered Thursday's play at 24-46. They went forty-32 final season after D'Antoni changed Mike Brown early within the 2012-13 campaign, however quite a few accidents and in-home tensions throughout Dwight Howard's lone season as a Laker led to a primary-spherical sweep at the hands of San Antonio.

In a recent appearance on "The Dan Patrick Present," amid hypothesis that he has been disenchanted with D'Antoni's unfold-the-floor method, Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant said: "I don't know [if D'Antoni ought to return]. It has been powerful on him. The 2 years he is been right here, he's been dealing with so many injuries left and proper. He hasn't actually gotten a fair shake at it since he's been right here."

D'Antoni has two seasons left on his Lakers contract but solely next season is guaranteed. When pressed recently about his future, D'Antoni informed native reporters: "My job is to finish up nearly as good as we will. Then everybody huddles.. and we'll see what occurs."

 

 

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Wisconsin throttles Baylor, gains West final

Wisconsin Rolls Previous Baylor

 

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Ben Brust and his Wisconsin teammates obtained oodles of open pictures while they sliced and diced Baylor's vaunted zone defense. When the Bears had the ball, 7-foot Frank Kaminsky always appeared to be right in their way.

Brust, Kaminsky and their Badgers understand they dominated Baylor in a 69-52 victory Thursday evening because of a coach who at all times places them in the correct spots.

Bo Ryan has never been to college basketball's closing weekend, however the Badgers are thrilled to put him on the brink.

"That might be a very special thing to do, however we also know that he's not going to let us look too far ahead," said Brust, who scored 14 points. "When that point comes, we'll deal with it. I would definitely like to do this for him."

Kaminsky scored 19 points and blocked six shots whereas Wisconsin romped into the West Regional remaining, reaching the final eight for the third time in school history.

Brust hit three of the six three-pointers from the second-seeded Badgers (29-7), who jumped to a 14-point lead within the first half and never let up on the overmatched Bears (26-12).

Kaminsky and his disciplined teammates shredded the Baylor zone that performed so well within the first two games. Wisconsin additionally methodically shut down Baylor's gifted offense while moving into its second regional last in 13 years under Ryan, who has seen nearly every part except the Last Four in a 700-win coaching profession.

"I'd be honored to be part of that," Kaminsky mentioned.

Wisconsin advanced to the regional remaining Saturday in opposition to prime-seeded Arizona, which held off San Diego State 70-64 within the late sport at Honda Middle. The Badgers haven't been to the Last 4 since retired coach Dick Bennett obtained them there in 2000.

The Badgers superior by countering every little thing the Bears do nicely. Wisconsin wrecked Baylor's zone, negated their 3-level capturing acumen with perimeter defense, stored the tempo on the Badgers' preferred velocity and even held a 39-33 rebounding edge on Baylor, one of many nation's prime rebounding teams.

Ryan placed on a bit of a coaching clinic, but that's nothing new. The Wisconsin folk hero has led the Badgers to an NCAA match berths in every of his thirteen seasons, but solely obtained this near the Remaining 4 in 2005.

"We get 40 extra minutes, and I'm awfully happy with them," Ryan mentioned.

Kaminsky added one other outstanding performance to his junior season with the Badgers, racking up 10 points and 4 blocked pictures whereas Wisconsin took a 29-16 lead into halftime. Wisconsin held Baylor to a season-low in first-half points.

Cory Jefferson scored 15 points for the sixth-seeded Bears in their third Candy 16 trip in 5 years.

Isaiah Austin and Kenny Chery scored 12 points apiece for Baylor.

The Bears needed a late rally simply to match their lowest-scoring performance of the season in the ultimate seconds.

"Wisconsin actually performed an awesome sport, and we did a very poor job in making things powerful," mentioned Baylor coach Scott Drew, who nonetheless led his group to a strong finish after its 2-eight start to Huge 12 play. "They're extraordinarily arduous to strain and rattle… Once we acquired behind, we needed to do some things we wished we didn't need to do."

Three lower-bowl sections of the Anaheim Ducks' residence arena had been packed with red-clad Badgers followers, who usually prove in droves for his or her college's journeys to Southern California, together with three straight current journeys to the Rose Bowl.

That they had loads of time to rejoice while their Badgers shortly sapped all of the drama out of those schools' first meeting.

Baylor's flexible zone defense induced numerous problems for Nebraska and Creighton within the Bears' victories final week. With a few days to arrange, Ryan clearly figured out exactly methods to assault it.

The Badgers acquired multiple open seems on practically every possession in the first half, moving the ball across the perimeter for open three-level attempts or getting it down low to Kaminsky, who scored eight of Wisconsin's first 10 points. Brust hit two 3-pointers within the first half, and only a few open misses prevented Wisconsin from blowing it open early.

On the other end, the Bears had little of the poise they confirmed in their first two video games. Baylor missed 12 of its first 15 shots and fell behind by 14 late within the half.

Baylor finally deserted the zone early within the second half, but Traevon Jackson hit a 3-pointer for Wisconsin on the following possession. The Bears confirmed their athleticism and talent with a number of one-man drives to the hoop in the second half, however the Badgers calmly stuck to their plan in a blowout win.

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Sixers tie NBA record with 26th straight loss

76ers Handed twenty sixth Straight Loss

 HOUSTON – After the Philadelphia 76ers tied an NBA report with their twenty sixth consecutive loss, one of their youngest voices spoke loudest.

Michael Carter-Williams, one of six rookies on the NBA's youngest team, delivered a pep speak after James Harden's triple-double led the Houston Rockets to a one hundred twenty-98 victory on Thursday night time.

"Throughout the recreation a couple of guys had long faces.. and I discovered myself a little bit down," said Carter-Williams, who had 10 assists. "I just don't desire anybody in this locker room feeling bad for themselves.. I think that is actually important that we don't get down on ourselves and we simply quit just because we now have a certain amount of losses.

"I simply felt like I needed to talk my piece and guantee that guys are upbeat each single day."

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown was impressed by the leadership the 22-yr-outdated Carter-Williams confirmed.

"He by no means would have performed that two months ago," Brown said. "He would not have done it two weeks in the past. All these things, all these small wins we discover along the way, that's our road map this year. And life strikes on. The group will stay together and we'll finish this thing out together."

Harden had 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in three quarters for his second profession triple-double as Houston picked up its fifth straight victory.

"We did an excellent job of coming out tonight and caring for enterprise," Harden said. "It doesn't matter what their document was, we knew they were going to come right here and play arduous."

The 76ers (15-fifty seven) stuck round early earlier than an enormous second-quarter run allowed the Rockets to drag away and roll to the win. Philadelphia moved inside a recreation of Milwaukee for the league's worst record.

Philadelphia matched the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers for the NBA's worst skid and may set the document at residence against Detroit on Saturday.

"We transfer on," Brown said. "We are on a special path. We see this whole factor via a far totally different lens."

James Anderson led the Sixers with 30 points and made six three-pointers.

The Sixers have not won since Jan. 29 and are two games away from going winless in two straight months. There was very little visible emotion as the ultimate seconds ticked away and the players slowly made their approach off the court.

Dwight Howard added 17 points with 13 rebounds for Houston. Terrence Jones had 20 factors.

There have been a variety of lowlights because the 76ers took their spot in historical past. One got here when Howard blocked a shot by Thaddeus Young and he fell backward to the ground. By the point he received up, the Rockets were already on the other end of the courtroom working their offense.

Another was when the Sixers got a steal, however gave it back seconds later when Younger's pass intended for Anderson sailed excessive over his head and into the group.

Carter-Williams received in on the unhealthy play motion when, below heavy strain from Harden, he simply threw the ball into the Philadelphia bench in the second quarter.

However the game wasn't with out some nice performs by the Sixers, who've continued to play exhausting during this horrible stretch. A highlight got here when Casper Ware grabbed a steal and made a forty six-foot heave as time expired within the first quarter.

That shot was part of a 12-zero run which got the Sixers inside 35-33 early in the second quarter.

A pleasant reverse layup by Anderson tied it at forty three-all midway by the second quarter before Houston used a 20-6 run to take a 63-49 lead at halftime.

The Sixers missed nine shots, including three layups, and had 4 turnovers because the Rockets built the lead.

Houston was up by 17 late in the third quarter when the staff went on an 8-zero run to pad the lead to ninety six-seventy one.

Brown addressed the dreadful stretch before the sport and he is not enthusiastic about anyone's pity.

"I hope they be ok with themselves," he mentioned. "I do not want anyone feeling sorry for us or hanging our head.. we are going through something and we'll get by it collectively."

He additionally discussed their plan for rebuilding at length, saying he knew what he was stepping into when he took the job and insisted this skid hasn't been troublesome for him.

"I can tell you very, very sincerely that that is something that in a twisted manner is enjoyable in regards to watching the young guys get higher," he mentioned. "Obviously at instances it's arduous going by it.. (however) I feel like we're not off course."

None of that may erase the fact that this streak now has its place in historical past as one of the worst in the entire four major skilled sports activities.

In line with STATS LLC, the longest streaks in the other major sports activities are held by:

• Within the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 26 losses in row, from Sept. 12, 1976-Dec. four 1977.

• In MLB, the Philadelphia Phillies, 23 losses in a row, from Jan. 29, 1961-Aug. 20, 1961.

• Within the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins, 18 losses in a row, from Jan. thirteen, 2004-Feb. 22, 2004.

Recreation notes

Former Rockets and Hall of Famers

Hakeem Olajuwon

and

Moses Malone

attended the game. Malone additionally performed for the 76ers… Houston point guard Pat Beverley sprained his proper knee within the first half and didn't return.

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Still dancing: No. 11 seed Dayton into Elite 8

 

Dayton defeated Stanford eighty two-72 to advance to the Elite Eight for the primary time since 1984.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Like a red and blue blur, the Dayton Flyers have been pressing and passing, capturing and scoring. The waves by no means seemed to stop coming, with 10, eleven after which 12 gamers giving them high quality minutes.

An exhausted and foul-plagued Stanford simply could not keep up.

The underdog Flyers – an 11 seed on this South Region – are actually in the Elite Eight for the primary time since 1984 after an emphatic eighty two-72 victory over Stanford on Thursday evening.

"We had eleven guys rating within the sport and from prime to bottom, we stored coming and coming," Dayton coach Archie Miller said. "The best way they shared the ball and moved the ball.. it was a real workforce effort. It's good that on the most important stage, we acted like ourselves."

Jordan Sibert scored 18 factors and freshman Kendall Pollard added a season-excessive 12, as Dayton (26-10) made sure this one wasn't significantly close after slipping by in the first two rounds. The 6-foot-4 Sibert was spectacular, slashing to the basket and draining three-pointers, to assist the Flyers lead for almost the entire night.

Dayton confirmed its depth early, using a dozen players in the first half to put on down Stanford.

"They had been relentless," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "That's the best way I can put it."

No. 10 Stanford (23-thirteen) had the superior put up play, nevertheless it wasn't enough. Chasson Randle led the Cardinal with 21 factors, but shot 5 of 21 from the field. Dwight Powell added 17 and Stefan Nastic – who fouled out with more than 5 minutes left – had 15.

Dayton, the last remaining of the six Atlantic 10 teams in the discipline of sixty eight, will play top total seed Florida on Saturday. The Gators beat UCLA seventy nine-sixty eight late Thursday night.

Sibert finished 7 of 12 from the sector, together with 4 of 9 from 3-level vary. He had loads of help, including from Pollard, a 6-foot-6 guard who frequently obtained to the basket and helped the Flyers stretch their lead within the first half.

"Folks have been doubting us and not giving us plenty of credit," Sibert mentioned. "I do know these guys. I know what coach needs. We all need to win. On the end of the day all of us need to be considered winners."

Pollard was averaging two factors per game, however Miller didn't hesitate to provide him large minutes once he bought scorching.

"This guy's a big-time winner," Miller stated. "He isn't afraid of anything."

Devin Oliver scored 12 factors and Matt Kavanaugh added 10. Dayton's bench had a 34-2 scoring advantage over Stanford.

The Flyers had been good in just about every side, capturing forty eight.three p.c (28 of 58) and dishing 19 assists on 28 area objectives.

They made nearly the whole lot they threw on the basket early. Scoochie Smith's corner three-pointer put the Flyers ahead 15-13 early and Stanford's Powell – who averages almost 14 points per game – was shortly banished to the bench with two fouls.

Foul bother was an early theme, and a much larger problem for Stanford.

The Cardinal rely on a six-man rotation. When the Flyers would lose a man to foul bother, they merely replaced him with someone who was simply as capable.

Issues went from unhealthy to worse for Stanford late within the first half. The Cardinal fell behind by double-digits and Dawkins was called for a technical foul. Dawkins said it was the correct name.

"I used to be simply more or less making an attempt to get my crew going," Dawkins said. "I thought we had been shedding momentum, we had already burned a timeout and it was a scenario the place I needed to get our guys fired up."

It didn't work.

Sibert nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to provide Dayton a 42-29 lead, though the Flyers had to settle for a forty two-32 halftime benefit.

Stanford made a comeback early in the second half – as well-known Cardinal supporters Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared on – thanks to sturdy publish play.

But the Cardinal simply couldn't stay out of foul hassle. Nastic – who was main Stanford with 13 factors on the time – picked up his fourth foul with greater than thirteen minutes remaining and fouled out with more than 5 minutes left.

Stanford managed to tug inside sixty four-58 after Powell made the bucket and free throw after being fouled, but the Cardinal couldn't get any nearer. The Flyers merely kept sending waves at the Cardinal, scoring from inside and out in the last minutes.

Both groups had made impressive runs to make it so far. Dayton had knocked off in-state rival Ohio State and Syracuse whereas Stanford has dispatched increased-seeds New Mexico and Kansas.

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Numbers game: Analytics driving NBA hires?

It is mentioned numbers never lie, however apparently they will additionally get you a front-office job within the NBA.

There is a growing concern that the rise in the popularity of basketball analytics (corresponding to player efficiency rating and true shooting percentage) has led to extra stat-based personnel hires slightly than ex-gamers turning into basic managers.

One former star within the NBA with years of front office expertise stated that there is a divide within front workplaces between those that are perceived to be stat guys and those who are considered basketball lifers.

"Basketball guys who participated in the sport by way of years of rigorous training and practice, many years of remark work by movie and area participation work really feel below-utilized and below-appreciated and are fairly insulted because their PhDs in basketball have been downgraded," the previous executive, who chose to remain anonymous, instructed ESPN NBA Insider Chris Broussard.

One longtime govt, who additionally selected to stay nameless, postulated that one purpose why so many roles are going to people with larger analytical backgrounds is as a result of newer and youthful house owners could better establish with them.

"Typically speaking, neither the [newer era of] homeowners nor the analytic guys have basketball in their background," the longtime government informed Broussard. "This truth makes it simple for each parties to dismiss the significance of having expertise in and information of the game.

"Most new homeowners come from the financial world in order that they rely on analytics as an necessary part of their enterprise models exterior of the NBA. Within the try to raised perceive the game [of basketball], the newer homeowners put analytic-minded guys in place to run their organizations who make the most of similar methods and techniques which might be acquainted to them. There's a consolation degree for each parties."

That same govt nevertheless additionally famous that statistics have at all times performed a part in the game of basketball.

"Numbers and statistics have been a part of each organizations' analysis course of for years," the longtime govt said. "The new methods of extracting the data/information is where the advance has occurred."

However whereas each executives agree a larger understanding and use of metrics should be a part of player evaluation, each suppose the problem resides in an over-reliance on stats and that is what is in the end protecting basketball guys from transferring into the front office.

"The [analytics] narrative is hurting basketball PhD thinkers proper now," the ex-participant said. "Nonetheless, if numbers never lie, the basketball PhD thinkers have won more championships by far than the uneducated analytics man."

 

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Dirk, Mavs storm past Thunder in overtime

Mavs Muscle Previous Thunder In OT

 

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki was pissed off by his poor capturing efficiency in Dallas' previous sport. That disappointment, plus a little bit assist from an outdated friend, turned into another big performance by the veteran ahead.

Nowitzki scored seven of his 32 factors in extra time, main the Mavericks to a 128-119 victory over the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder on Tuesday night.

Nowitzki also had 10 rebounds and 6 assists. In Dallas' loss to Brooklyn on Sunday, he was 2 for 12 from the sector in his worst taking pictures performance of the season.

"The last recreation was disappointing for me," Nowitzki said. "I was simply hesitating too much, so I had to return to having fun out there and simply being me.

"That was a heck of a game, and it was fun to be a part of."

The 7-foot Nowitzki was eleven for 23 from the sphere and 8 for eight on the line.

"His emotion and his attitude carried the staff," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "He is a prideful man. I believe great players are great for a reason. They by no means let something keep them down for lengthy. He is bounced back from each adversity he is ever had in his profession, so that is no shock."

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with forty three points. He has scored a minimum of 25 in 36 consecutive video games within the longest such streak since Michael Jordan's forty-recreation run in the course of the 1986-87 season.

Dallas had seven gamers rating in double figures. Jose Calderon went 6 for eight from 3-point range and finished with 22 factors.

Nowitzki mentioned he frolicked on Tuesday with Holger Geschwinder, his longtime basketball mentor from his home country of Germany. He stated they got in just a little taking pictures work.

"I suppose he was tired of watching my capturing proportion," Nowitzki said. "It's at all times good when he's there."

Russell Westbrook scored 23 for Oklahoma City. All of his factors got here in regulation, when he played 31:50. He added another minute in additional time.

Westbrook is proscribed to 30 to 32 minutes per game because of his oft-injured right knee.

Oklahoma Metropolis was coming off a 117-ninety six victory over Denver on Monday evening. The Thunder had received four in a row.

"I am pleased with our guys' effort and power, getting back from again-to-back games," coach Scott Brooks said. "I am unable to complain about anything we did tonight."

"We didn't make the big play," said Durant, who has scored 40 factors or more 13 occasions this season. "They made photographs in additional time. It's a must to give them credit."

The Mavericks scored the primary 5 points of the additional period on two free throws by Nowitzki and a three-pointer by Calderon. They by no means trailed again.

The victory pushed Dallas into eighth place in the Western Convention, a half-recreation forward of idle Phoenix. The Mavericks improved to 3-2 on a franchise-long, eight-recreation homestand, with three of the games going to overtime. They began the homestand in seventh place, 1 half forward of the ninth-place Suns.

Calderon returned to the beginning lineup after being knocked out of Sunday evening's game in the first minute. He was whacked in the face by Brooklyn's Mason Plumlee, chipping a facial bone between his nose and mouth.

Calderon mentioned the injury only hurts when he talks or laughs. "And I don't have to giggle throughout video games," he stated.

One other of Calderon's 3s came with 26.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter and sent the game into time beyond regulation.

"It felt good from the beginning," he stated, "however you do not know till that ball goes by way of the rim."

Dallas received 109-86 at Oklahoma City on March sixteen in the Thunder's worst lack of the season. Westbrook missed that game as a result of the workforce desires to restrict the exercise for his surgically repaired knee, choosing to rest him in a single a part of back-to-back games.

Westbrook was the catalyst of Oklahoma City's second-quarter rally after the Thunder fell behind by 10. He scored 10 factors in the interval, including a foul shot that gave Oklahoma City a 57-forty eight lead with 1:25 to go.

But the Mavericks answered with three consecutive 3-pointers – one from Calderon and two from Vince Carter – to tie it with 33.4 left in the half. Durant then hit a three to provide Oklahoma City a 60-fifty nine lead at the break.

The Thunder hit 14 of 18 pictures within the interval and shot 57.1 percent for the half.

 

Game notes

Thunder middle Kendrick Perkins, sidelined since Feb. 20 with a groin strain, is hoping to return at Houston on April four… If Dallas finishes among the many league's top-10 groups, Oklahoma Metropolis will get the Mavericks' first-round draft selection next summer season because of a collection of trades.

 

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Lakers score 51 in 3rd quarter, blast Knicks

 

L. A. – With Knicks president Phil Jackson watching from a luxurious suite excessive above the courtroom, his new crew's teetering playoff hopes bought an enormous shove from his previous group's incredible offensive present.

Xavier Henry scored 22 points, Nick Young hit five 3-pointers whereas scoring 20 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers set a franchise file with 51 points within the third quarter of their 127-96 victory over New York on Tuesday evening.

Although the Lakers have sixteen NBA championships and a luminous listing of former superstars, these groups by no means had a quarter to match to the 12 magical minutes played after halftime by Los Angeles' present patchwork roster.

And no Knicks defense had ever given up fifty one factors in a quarter till this staff did it in a key sport for its postseason chase. New York dropped three games behind Atlanta for the eighth playoff spot in the Jap Conference.

"We hit photographs everywhere," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni stated. "It is infectious. If you begin taking good photographs, they begin getting in, and even the hard shots start entering into."

Certainly, the Lakers hit 19 of their 26 photographs with six three-pointers, stretching an eight-level halftime lead to 30. Nine players contributed a discipline purpose to the spree, led by nine factors from Chris Kaman in his first recreation motion in March.

"It feels good, but it solely lasts one evening," stated Henry, who played exceptionally nicely with a torn ligament in his taking pictures wrist. "We've just received to be encouraged for the remainder of the season from it."

Kent Bazemore scored 18 points as the Lakers received consecutive video games for the first time in additional than three weeks with a season-excessive 82 factors from their reserves, including Henry and Younger.

Jodie Meeks had four three-pointers as Los Angeles completed one three-pointer shy of the only-recreation club record in the course of the Lakers' highest-scoring game of the season. 5 players hit multiple 3-pointers, together with three apiece for Henry and rookie Ryan Kelly.

Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points for the Knicks, who have misplaced two straight after an eight-sport winning streak. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 factors and Amare Stoudemire had sixteen within the Knicks' seventh straight highway loss to the Lakers since 2007.

"On the finish of the day, it's simply particular person pleasure," mentioned J.R. Smith, who had 12 points. "It's important to have delight in guarding your man, guarding the ball, and we simply did not have that the final three quarters."

The Knicks are assured of a dropping season with their forty second loss, and the Hawks have two games in hand in the playoff race. Those excessive stakes and Jackson's looming presence weren't sufficient to spur New York to a competent defensive efficiency.

"I believed we came out ready to play," New York coach Mike Woodson mentioned. "I imply, we held them to 14 factors in the first quarter, and then that second and third quarter, all hell broke loose. We just didn't have any reply for them from a defensive standpoint. I thought the plan was good starting the game, and after they went to their bench, they got here out blazing and we simply couldn't management them."

Jackson's fiancee, Lakers government Jeanie Buss, watched from the second row. The eleven-time NBA champion coach arrived late at the constructing the place he received five titles with the Lakers, who declined to re-hire him early last season, infuriating much of their fan base.

With Pau Gasol sidelined by vertigo, Kaman had thirteen points and nine rebounds because the Lakers' starting center. Steve Nash also sat out for the seventeenth time within the Lakers' final 18 games.

The Lakers missed thirteen of their 18 pictures in a 14-point first quarter, however rolled off a 22-4 run in 5 1/2 minutes to open the second. Meeks and Jordan Hill then expanded the Lakers' lead with a 12-zero run early within the third before the Lakers really bought rolling.

 

Sport notes

Young converted a four-point play in the third quarter. He has six of the Lakers' nine four-level plays this season, each franchise data… Gasol will be re-examined Wednesday before the Lakers decide whether he'll travel with them to Milwaukee and Minnesota this week… Metta World Peace, the former Knicks and Lakers ahead, attended the game. New York waived the former Ron Artest on Feb. 24. He bought a rousing ovation from the Staples Center crowd when he appeared on the scoreboard in the first half, and he sat in Jackson's field during the second half.

 

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Spurs win 14th straight; 76ers’ skid hits 25

 

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs knew the Philadelphia 76ers have been coming in on a long losing streak.

They had no intentions of taking it easy on them.

Austin Daye had 22 points and Tim Duncan added 19 because the Spurs earned their 14th straight win with a 113-ninety one victory Monday evening that sent the 76ers to their twenty fifth consecutive loss.

Philadelphia will face Houston on Thursday with the dubious distinction of being a loss shy of tying the NBA file for consecutive losses set by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010-eleven. Before the sport, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he felt horrible for former assistant Brett Brown, now the 76ers' coach. But he added that he did not feel sorry for "considered one of my finest mates," as a result of pity would upset his former protege.

"Clearly, it's a rough season for them," Duncan stated. "It's a rebuilding season for them. [Brown] is aware of that, they know that. They've a number of young guys. He is simply trying to get the system in place that has them taking part in the best way he wants them playing. It's a process. He is aware of that."

Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills scored 15 points every and Cory Joseph added 12 for San Antonio, which maintained the league's best report at fifty four-16. The Spurs did not play starters Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green, however didn't want them towards the lowly 76ers.

Thaddeus Young and Michael Carter-Williams every scored 19 factors, Byron Mullens added 15 and Elliot Williams had 14 for Philadelphia (15-fifty six).

Daye, who was averaging 2.three minutes whereas playing in solely four video games since being acquired from Toronto on Feb. 20, completed 6-for-10 on three-pointers and had six rebounds in 29 minutes. It was familiar to Brown, who served as an assistant under Popovich for seven seasons.

"He is lucky," Brown stated, "and I've seen this over so a few years – people can come into that system and shine. This system creates opportunities for everybody, and he took advantage of these. The eye you need to give others and the movement that they've in their construction allowed him to get freed up loads.

"He reaped the benefit of enjoying in that system."

The Sixers kept tempo early in opposition to the Spurs, with Carter-Williams fearlessly driving into the paint for a collection of quick jumpers and Hollis Thompson hitting a pair of 3s.

Popovich called timeout with three:forty four left in the first quarter after Williams dunked over Duncan to tie it at 19.

Philadelphia's early success awoke the Spurs and introduced out one of the best in Daye. His athleticism and energy have been just what San Antonio wanted after a listless begin.

"He's a skilled guy," Popovich stated. "Obviously he can shoot it. However he is additionally a good passer. He is aware of the right way to play the sport. It was good to be able to get him some time tonight."

San Antonio went on a 26-5 spurt bridging the first and second quarters, capped by a 19-0 run.

Daye first ran down Carter-Williams, swatting his layup try from behind, resulting in Leonard's driving layup for a 23-19 lead with 3 minutes left within the opening quarter.

Mullens' three-pointer snapped a 6 ½-minute drought, however the Spurs have been up 45-27 with 6:35 left within the first half.

Daye then stole an outlet go on the run, driving instantly at a backpedalling Mullens on a 3-on-1 break. Daye faked a behind-the-back go to Duncan on the left and dished to Joseph on the proper, who fed an open Duncan for a layup and a 47-27 lead.

"He acquired a chance," Duncan mentioned. "He actually stepped up and shot the ball really well. The boy is de facto lengthy. He made some great plays defensively [and] rebounded the ball. He did plenty of good issues on the market."

The Spurs began Ginobili to provide the group another facilitator on the court docket with Parker out. Ginobili did that and extra, scoring seven points and grabbing two rebounds in eight minutes. He drove to the basket for a series of reverse layups, but was blocked by the rim on a one-handed dunk try in starting 2-for-3 from the field.

San Antonio completed with 31 assists while capturing fifty six p.c from the sector.

"It's powerful," Carter-Williams stated. "They transfer the ball really well with the additional pass. They try to transfer the ball and virtually tire you out on defense. You bought to be able to rotate and play all through the shot clock."

The victory did little to satiate the Spurs or Popovich, who're hoping to return to the NBA Finals after falling to Miami final season in a heartbreaking seven-game sequence.

"We're taking part in well by this stretch and winning some video games," Duncan stated. "Pop continues to be not glad, obviously, with what we're doing. We wish to stay wholesome. We need to stay transferring in the correct direction.

"Hopefully we can ride this into the playoffs and feel good going into the playoffs."

 

Game notes

San Antonio's Large Three of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker have played for 39 seasons, which is seven years more expertise than your entire Philadelphia roster mixed. The 76ers have six rookies on this yr's roster… Former Spurs F Malik Rose, a Philadelphia native, now serves as an analyst for 76ers tv. He stuffed in for the Spurs in the same capacity earlier than joining Philadelphia's broadcast workforce.

 

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LeBron scores 43 to power Heat past Cavs

LeBron Powers Heat Past Cavs

 

CLEVELAND – As shot after shot dropped via the online, it became clear LeBron James was going to have a kind of special nights.

The sort he has on occasion.

The type he has when Dwyane Wade sits.

James scored 43 points – 25 in a bewildering first-quarter capturing show – and Chris Bosh added 21, leading the Miami Heat to a a hundred-ninety six win Tuesday evening over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played their first game without injured All-Star guard Kyrie Irving.

With Wade out resting his sore knees, James took it upon himself to carry the Warmth. The same thing happened on March 3 and James responded by scoring a career-excessive sixty one in opposition to Charlotte.

"I don't know, it is a kind of zones," James said, making an attempt to explain how he made 10 of eleven shot and five 3-pointers in the dizzying opening quarter. "When I began the game off, I felt like I could have gone for 50 or 60."

James added two crucial blocks and dropped six free throws within the ultimate two minutes, and Bosh had a key rejection to lead the Warmth to simply their third win in eight games.

With Wade out, the Warmth's two different megastars picked up the slack.

Jarrett Jack scored 22 and Dion Waiters added 17 and eleven assists for Cleveland, which was additionally with out starting forward Luol Deng (sprained ankle). Irving's anticipated to miss two weeks with a strained biceps tendon, an harm that further damages the Cavs' fading playoff hopes. Cleveland fell six games behind Atlanta for the ultimate playoff spot.

"Our guys hung in there and so they competed," Cavs coach Mike Brown said.

After one quarter, it was: James 25, Cavs 25.

And like the other 20,000 plus in attendance, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra marveled at James' accuracy.

"That had nothing to do with me," Spoelstra mentioned. "Fact be told, it is not like I am completely in love with these type of plays, however he had it rolling. So I took a step again for just a little bit."

The four-time MVP had 31 points at halftime and 37 after three quarters, however the Heat entered the ultimate 12 minutes tied as they were unable to shake off the Cavs, who shot 60 p.c from the floor via three and had all 5 starters in double figures.

With James content to distribute the ball, Bosh scored nine straight factors to put Miami ahead 93-88 with 2:24 remaining. Cleveland minimize it to three on a basket by Anderson Varejao and had a chance to get nearer however James – with an help from Udonis Haslem – snuffed a dunk attempt by Spencer Hawes. Just 11 seconds later, Bosh turned away Waiters and James made a pair of free throws to make it 95-ninety with 1:06 remaining.

After empty possessions by each groups, James blocked a drive by Waiters and Bosh split a pair of free throws, giving the Warmth a ninety six-90 lead. Jack made two three-pointers within the last 15.7 seconds, but both times James answered by hitting two free throws to shut it out.

Spoelstra was most happy with Miami's defense down the stretch.

"Most likely my favourite play was the double block," he stated. "U.D. and L.J. going for that. It needs to be a layup. It ought to be a dunk. To make that play, those are the things I like to see."

James improved to thirteen-1 against the Cavaliers, the crew he left after seven seasons as a free agent in 2010.

James made his first six shots – 4 of them 3s – and showed most of his offensive repertoire in the first quarter. He hit fadeaways, runners and a thunderous breakaway dunk. The one shot James missed got here on a "heat-test" 3-pointer from method beyond the arc.

"That is what makes LeBron unique on this league," Spoelstra stated. "In as we speak's age, there are gamers who can be in search of numbers with that sort of begin to see when you can go for 70. LeBron's just making an attempt to play the game the fitting manner. It takes great maturity. He's selfless."

It was James' second visit to Cleveland in 10 days. He had been back on March 8, when former teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas had his jersey retired by the Cavs, who might one day elevate the No. 23 James wore to the rafters of Quicken Loans Arena.

Much pregame hype focused on the All-Star's future. James can opt out of his contract with Miami this summer time and become a free agent, and certainly one of his potential locations may very well be Cleveland.

Asked immediately if he wants to play for his former crew again, James was noncommittal.

"As of proper now, it is too arduous for me to think about," he said. "We've 20 or less games earlier than we gear up for no sleep for 2 months, hopefully. So for me to try to take my mind some place else when I know what's on its way is sort of unimaginable."

Game notes

Wade will be re-evaluated Wednesday when the Warmth visit Boston… James has but to fill out his NCAA match brackets and didn't seem to be in a rush to do it anytime quickly. "I'm horrible," he said. He was then reminded in regards to the $1 billion Gilbert and tycoon Warren Buffett are offering for anybody who picks the games perfectly. Does not he need the billion? "No," James said. "I'm simply going to ask him for it." It's unclear whether he meant Gilbert or Buffett… Spoelstra intends to maintain C

Greg Oden

in the beginning lineup, a drastic change for Miami, which has favored smaller, shooter-heavy lineups. Oden made his third start and finished with six points in 14 minutes.

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Jackson officially named president of Knicks

THE BIG APPLE – On his first day on the job, Knicks president Phil Jackson stated he seems to be forward to delivering a winner to New York.

"There is not any higher place to win than New York City," stated Jackson, who was formally introduced because the team's president at a news conference Tuesday at Madison Sq. Backyard.

"I can think of no higher opportunity than the alternatives that I've had, three of the largest cities and basketball franchises [in] Chicago, Los Angeles and now to return again where I began. It's a fantastic feeling."

He confirmed that his contract is for five years. Financial terms weren't released, but sources instructed ESPN.com last week that he will obtain $12 million annually.

Jackson and basic manager Steve Mills will report directly to crew proprietor James Dolan, the Knicks stated. However Dolan and Jackson each famous Tuesday that Jackson will have autonomy, with Dolan adding that he'll cede power to Jackson "willingly and gratefully."

Jackson has won a report eleven NBA titles as a coach and two as a Knicks ahead. His 229 postseason wins and 13 NBA Finals appearances are more than the Knicks have in their 68-season history (186 wins, eight Finals berths), in keeping with ESPN Stats & Info.

"I'm on no account an skilled in basketball," Dolan mentioned. "I'm a fan, but my experience lies in managing corporations and new companies. So I believe I am a bit out of my ingredient when it comes to the team. I've found myself able the place I've wanted to be extra part of the choice-making for a while. It wasn't something essentially that I wished to do. But as chairman of the company, I felt obligated to do it.

"I'm blissful now that we now have the group of Phil and Steve to do this, and my entire job here now is supporting them to win a championship."

Later, in an interview on ESPN ninety eight.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show," Dolan made it clear that Jackson would have full autonomy. 

"Phil Jackson is in charge of all basketball decisions. Interval," the proprietor said.

The Knicks have not won a title since Jackson captured his final as a participant in 1973. On Tuesday, Jackson was asked if he was worried that failing to ship a title with the Knicks would have a adverse influence on his repute.

"I think that this is an opportunity, and that is what I take a look at it as, not as a attainable failure probability," the Hall of Fame coach said. "It's just a great opportunity to do one thing that I love, and that is be with a basketball team, hopefully create a group that loves one another and performs with one another."

Dolan, Jackson

Knicks proprietor Jim Dolan, left, mentioned Tuesday he'll "willingly and gratefully" cede all energy to new team president Phil Jackson. GM Steve Mills is at proper.

The Knicks' courtship of Jackson began in December when Dolan met Jackson at a celebration hosted by music mogul Irving Azoff. Dolan said he initially talked to Jackson about coaching the team but the dialog quickly moved to Jackson taking a front-workplace place.

Jackson, who stated he is stayed away from teaching due partially to his physical condition (he stated he's had 5 surgeries lately), grew intrigued with the possibility of operating the crew as he continued discussions with Dolan. Jackson added that at no point did he get into severe discussions with the Lakers about joining their group.

Jackson takes over a group that has carried out well below Dolan's expectations this season. New York is thirteen games under500 and in ninth place within the Japanese Convention, although the workforce has gained six in a row.

Jackson will face several robust selections in his first offseason as president, the most important of which is what to do with free agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony.

The staff's new president backed the All-Star ahead Tuesday.

"There's no doubt about Carmelo being one of many high scorers within the league, possibly the most effective particular person isolation player in the recreation," Jackson mentioned. "I have no problems with committing to saying Carmelo is sooner or later plans."

Anthony, who has said he plans to choose out of the final 12 months of his contract this summer season, can sign a cope with the Knicks that is one year longer and value $33 million more than any pact he can sign with another team. He has mentioned that his precedence is to re-signal with the Knicks, but he would like to sit down with Jackson and focus on the crew's plans earlier than making a choice.

Jackson additionally will possible have to hire a coach in the offseason. There's widespread speculation that Mike Woodson will be let go at the end of the season. Jackson disciples comparable to Steve Kerr, Brian Shaw and Kurt Rambis are considered potential candidates.

Concerning Woodson, Jackson mentioned the 2 may have discussions about the coach's future in the coming weeks however made no guarantees that he'll be again subsequent season.

One factor Dolan would guarantee for subsequent season: Season-ticket costs will not be raised, he said.

Jackson's fiancee, Lakers president Jeanie Buss, knew Jackson was prepared for a brand new challenge.

"It was clear that Phil wanted to return to work," Buss mentioned in an interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet. "He'd spoken to different organizations. Me personally I like having Phil around. However there was no role for him with the Lakers. He is too good of a basketball thoughts to sit at home in a rocking chair playing solitaire."

One individual exterior of New York especially pleased to see Jackson's return to the NBA is Dallas Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban.

"My bucket boy is back," Cuban said jokingly, citing his favourite time period for Jackson through the verbal sparring periods when Jackson coached the Lakers.

Cuban added: "It's great simply because of the legacy, the pedigree, the questions. Can he do it again? He is gained in every single place he is gone, together with his first stop in New York, so can he do it once more?"

Tuesday's announcement brought Jackson back to town where his enjoying career started.

He recalled his first journey into New York as a player in 1967. Coach Red Holzman and his spouse, Selma, drove Jackson from Kennedy Airport to Manhattan. The trip was interrupted when somebody on a freeway overpass threw a rock that cracked Holzman's windshield.

"Red regarded up and stated, New York isn't the easiest place to reside," Jackson mentioned with a laugh. "But when you can make it right here, you may make it anyplace. That is the place the phrase began. I swear. So we're going to make it here."

Information from ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon was used on this report.

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Griffin: Durant, James in two-man MVP race

DENVER – Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin was named the Western Convention Player of the Week for the third time this season on Monday but do not search for him to start campaigning to win the MVP.

Blake Griffin

"I believe the MVP race is a two-man race" between LeBron James and Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin says.

"No, I think the MVP race is a two-man race," Griffin stated. "The stretch of games that we've played and we have been profitable has been an enormous crew effort. Jamal Crawford was taking part in out of his thoughts before he bought hurt and guys have stepped up and really performed their half. With our staff I don't suppose it's one guy that's making us go.

"I genuinely believe it's been a complete workforce effort."

Griffin believes the MVP will finally go to LeBron James or Kevin Durant but he has no less than vaulted himself into the conversation this season, averaging a career-high 24.three points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists whereas shooting 69.9 percent from the free throw line.

"I believe he is arguably the third-best participant within the NBA," Clippers forward Jared Dudley mentioned. "Clearly you've LeBron and Durant at one and two however you would be arduous-pressed to seek out somebody higher at three. He is one of many high three players in the NBA."

Griffin gained player of the week honors for games performed March 10-16. It marks the third time this season Griffin has captured the award after claiming it twice in November. He additionally gained the Western Conference Player of the Month award in February after being certainly one of solely two players in the league to average a minimum of 30 factors and 10 rebounds throughout the month.

The Clippers are currently driving an NBA-best 11-recreation profitable streak while Griffin has scored at the least 20 points in a franchise-finest 26 straight games.

For his half, Durant ran his streak of games with 25 or more factors to 32 on Monday, the longest in the NBA since Michael Jordan did it in forty in a row through the 1986-87 season. He also chipped in with five assists in the Thunder's ninety seven-85 win over the Chicago Bulls.

After the sport, Bulls middle Joakim Noah solid his vote for Durant.

"He calls for lots of attention," Noah said. "And you got to present credit when credit is due.

"He's the very best participant in the world proper now."

 

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Allen gets hot late, leads Heat over Rockets

Ray Allen Leads Heat Previous Rockets

 

MIAMI – Ray Allen was somewhat surprised to see how open he was. So was Dwyane Wade, who even took an additional dribble before believing his eyes and sending a 50-foot go to the very best three-level shooter in NBA history.

Moments later, the Miami Heat were back on monitor.

Allen scored 14 of his 25 factors within the fourth quarter on a milestone day for the veteran, Wade and LeBron James each added 24 points and the Warmth closed with a flourish to beat the Houston Rockets 113-104 on Sunday and snap their worst stretch of outcomes since 2011.

"When Ray will get into a rhythm, he's one of the best three-point shooter of all-time," mentioned Warmth forward Chris Bosh, who scored 18 factors to help Miami win for simply the second time in its last seven games.

Miami trailed 97-92 following a 3-pointer by James Harden midway by the fourth, then completed the sport on a 21-7 run.

Allen had 11 points throughout that late stretch, together with a 3-pointer that allowed him to pass Allen Iverson for 21st on the NBA's scoring listing. It was additionally the 750th common-season win that Allen was part of in his profession.

"I don't understand how I get open," mentioned Allen, who took about 1,000 shots on a apply day Saturday by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's estimate. "When I am, I've to be ready to shoot it."

Harden finished with 30 points for Houston, which received 21 factors and 14 rebounds from Dwight Howard. Patrick Beverley added 15 points and Terrence Jones scored 12 for the Rockets, who've dropped three straight.

"We simply did not play effectively down the stretch," Rockets coach Kevin McHale stated.

And that each one began when no one appeared to wish to guard Allen. Houston led by five when Wade sparked the late run with a 50-foot help after a timeout that arrange a three-pointer from the left nook by Allen.

"A vital possession," Wade mentioned.

Allen additionally made three technical-foul free throws to help his late rhythm. One came after a defensive three-second violation, one other following Houston's second delay-of-sport whistle on the afternoon, and the third when Beverley was hit with a technical in the last minute.

James hit a pair of free throws with forty six seconds left for his first factors of the final quarter, and that sealed it for Miami, which moved back inside three games of Indiana for the No. 1 spot within the Jap Conference.

Allen now has 24,370 points, two more than Iverson. Afterward, he was all in regards to the win.

"Tonight we got here out and finished the sport," Allen stated, "versus letting it slip away from us."

The primary surprise of the day happened 20 minutes before tip-off, when the Heat announced Greg Oden – who appeared in his one hundredth profession game, practically seven years after being the No. 1 overall decide within the 2007 draft – can be starting at middle. It was the second begin of the season for Oden, who additionally opened a recreation against Chicago last month partially because James was unavailable while dealing with a damaged nostril.

Oden had three rebounds within the recreation's first three minutes, and the Warmth by no means trailed within the first half, going into the break with a 57-54 lead. Harden and Howard combined for 15 within the third, and Houston led 81-79 entering the final 12 minutes.

"It was a few psychological errors for us down the stretch and they had a couple of calls go their way," Harden stated. "It's powerful.

Clearly, it was a win Miami wanted. Wade's fiancee, Gabrielle Union, was on her ft to yell and cheer halfway by means of the fourth, and James' spouse, Savannah, was close by doing the identical factor, virtually as if it was a playoff sport.

Like all other Warmth fans, they finally left a game comfortable.

"They see the way we have been appearing at dwelling in between games," James stated of his wife and Wade's fiancee. "We came in with a mindset that we wanted to get this win. It was good to see us have to intestine one out."

Game notes

Allen appeared in his 1,287th game, breaking a tie with

Sam Perkins

for fifteenth on the career record. He could pass Mark Jackson (1,296) and Elvin Hayes (1,303) later this season… Houston's

Chandler Parsons

became the 15th player to log not less than 5,000 minutes over the last two seasons…

Jeremy Lin

has been on groups which have played at Miami eight times; they're zero-8 in those games, although he is appeared in only three of those contests.

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Davis’ 40 points, 21 boards power Pelicans

Davis' Monster Evening Fuels Pelicans In OT

 

NEW ORLEANS – Anthony Davis is getting even better while the New Orleans Pelicans close out one other difficult season.

Davis set career highs with 40 points and 21 rebounds, and Eric Gordon made two crucial free throws in additional time to guide the Pelicans to a 121-one hundred twenty extra time victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday night time.

"My teammates inform me that they feed off my power and so they need me to be great so I can not be timid and do what it takes to help my staff win," mentioned Davis, who additionally blocked three photographs, making him the eight participant in NBA history with at the very least forty factors, 20 rebounds and three blocks in a game. "We're making an attempt to do a better job of constructing me comfortable down the stretch."

Tyreke Evans added 26 factors and Gordon had 19 for the Pelicans (27-39), who had lost two consecutive games. Gordon's foul pictures with 9.four seconds remaining gave the Pelicans a 121-117 lead.

"In overtime we did sufficient to squeak out a one-level win," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.

Jeff Green, who led Boston with 39 factors, answered Gordon's free throws in time beyond regulation with a three-point play that trimmed New Orleans' result in 121-one hundred twenty with 5.7 seconds remaining. But the Celtics had been unable to foul on the inbounds play and New Orleans ran out the clock.

"No less than we played with higher poise on the finish of regulation and time beyond regulation," mentioned Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who blamed a defensive miscommunication for Boston not committing the late foul. "We gave ourselves a chance to win on the offensive end. Guys acquired a couple of stops, simply not sufficient at the finish."

Davis did not score in additional time however controlled the middle by grabbing six rebounds. He turned the first player in franchise historical past to have a minimum of forty factors and 20 rebounds in a game. He's averaging 32.three points in his last six games.

His earlier high for factors was Friday night when he scored 36 in a loss in opposition to Portland. Davis' 21 rebounds erased his earlier profession high of 19 against Orlando on Jan. 26.

"I believe he can do this 10 to 15 times a year just because he is so gifted and does issues for the precise reason," Williams said. "Obviously, he has nice athletic skill but some of that stuff is simply him. We attempt to put him ready where he is usually a dominant participant."

Green made three massive free throws late in regulation, tying it at a hundred and ten. Davis answered with a jumper for New Orleans, however Kris Humphries, who scored 16 factors, sent the game into overtime on a long jumper from the correct nook.

"That is a tricky one to swallow," mentioned Celtics forward Jared Sullinger, who scored 14 points. "(Humphries) hitting that big shot to ship it into extra time, we thought we could win. In the end we got here up quick."

Avery Bradley had 12 factors for the Celtics, who lost their fourth consecutive recreation.

Evans' layup with 5:33 remaining within the fourth quarter gave the Pelicans a 102-89 lead. Boston then closed with a 23-10 surge to pressure the extra interval.

It was similar to the previous two games when the Pelicans blew leads towards Memphis and Portland.

"We played defense within the fourth quarter and in time beyond regulation and received stops once we wanted it," Davis stated. "We got here up with the rebounds and made free throws."

The Celtics, who tried to push the tempo towards the defense-minded Pelicans, closed the primary half on a 17-eight run to take a 64-fifty seven halftime lead. Boston scored 39 factors within the second period.

Green had 20 factors on the break. He had a tying dunk with four:eleven left and a three-pointer with 2:35 remaining, giving Boston a fifty four-forty nine lead.

Recreation notes

The Pelicans completed 24-of-28 from the free-throw line, after making their solely two foul shots in the first half… Davis was 12-of-12 from the line, and has not missed an attempt in his past three games… The Pelicans have won their previous 5 games which have gone into overtime… New Orleans scored a season-excessive 70 points in the paint, and held Boston to forty six.

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Clips down Cavs for 11th straight

Griffin's Double-Double Fuels Clippers

 

L. A. – Blake Griffin entered the again half of his 20s with a birthday serenade from the crowd and another dynamic demonstration of why he's only getting better with age.

The Los Angeles Clippers' successful streak also will get an entire lot extra spectacular with each passing week.

Griffin had 21 factors, 11 rebounds and eight assists on his 25th birthday, and the Clippers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-80 Sunday night time for his or her 11th consecutive victory.

The Clippers' excessive-flying forward threw himself a nice little get together: Griffin has scored a minimum of 20 factors in 26 consecutive games, a mark exceeded only by Kevin Durant this season.

"This stretch of games that we have performed and we've been profitable has been a huge team effort," Griffin said. "Guys have stepped up and really carried out their part. With our crew, I don't think it is one guy that is making us go. I genuinely believe it has been a total team effort."

But Griffin is a transparent driving pressure along with his rapidly evolving all-around game. So is Chris Paul: The point guard had 15 assists and scored 11 of his sixteen factors in the last 6:04 for the Clippers, who haven't lost since Feb. 21.

The followers sang "Completely satisfied Birthday" to Griffin throughout a lifeless ball in the second quarter, and he gave a sheepish grin and a wave whereas waiting to inbound the ball.

He had already acquired a pregame tune from rookie Reggie Bullock, who scored a profession-excessive 14 points on his own 23rd birthday.

"It's probably just like the 10th time he is needed to do it this 12 months, and he looks as if he's getting worse," Griffin said dryly. "No enthusiasm. It's actually dangerous… He's bought an excellent persona. He simply cannot sing in any respect."

Luol Deng scored 23 factors and Dion Waiters had 15 for the Cavaliers, who misplaced Kyrie Irving within the first quarter to a left biceps damage. Cleveland had won on its first two stops of a 3-game West Coast street trip, but never led whereas Los Angeles matched the longest streak in the NBA this season, equaling 11-recreation runs in November by Portland and San Antonio.

"They're an incredible workforce," Cleveland coach Mike Brown stated. "They have an opportunity to win it all. I imply, you look how deep their roster is. They've playoff expertise, they have NBA All-Stars coming off the bench, and Doc is a great coach."

Irving, Cleveland's leader in scoring and assists, went to the Cavs' locker room late within the first quarter and didn't return. The All-Star Game MVP missed all five of his shots in opposition to the Clippers and was injured shortly before he left the sport.

Jarrett Jack scored seven straight factors during a 12-zero Cleveland run early within the fourth quarter, trimming the Clippers' former 21-level result in seven. But Paul shook off a tough capturing night with three jumpers in fast succession, and the Clippers closed out their sixth straight dwelling victory.

"We simply cannot begin games like that," Jack said. "We had a lull period for nearly a quarter and a half, and we just didn't exit and compete. Then the sport form of started to show in our favor, however combating an uphill battle against a workforce like that is a very powerful job."

DeAndre Jordan added 15 factors and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who matched the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves for the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. Los Angeles received 17 straight games during its unbeaten run via December 2012.

Jamal Crawford missed his fourth straight game with a strained left calf, and fill-in starter Darren Collison was dominated out quarter-hour before tipoff with a stomach virus. Los Angeles already is without J.J. Redick, who hasn't played since early February.

"They don't use an excuse," Clippers coach Doc Rivers mentioned. "We've three of our high 4 guards out at the moment, and nobody talked about it (in the locker room). They nonetheless feel like every night, we have an opportunity to win the sport."

Los Angeles scored the sport's first 11 factors and jumped out to a 17-three lead just 6 minutes in when Cleveland missed nine of its first 10 pictures.

Griffin in some way scored whereas Spencer Hawes flagrantly fouled him in the last minute of the primary half, muscling the ball residence in a remarkable show of energy. His three-point play put the Clippers up fifty two-38 at halftime.

Recreation notes

Hawes received his second technical foul and an ejection with 1:19 to play whereas standing by Cleveland's bench. Hawes, who scored 14 points, sarcastically waved goodbye to referee Scott Wall as he left. "I'm given up sufficient money tonight, so I won't say anything more past that," Hawes mentioned afterward… Metta World Peace watched the sport from a baseline seat next to the Cavaliers' bench. The erstwhile Ron Artest received a hoop in this building in 2010 with the Lakers, who let him go last summer season.

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NBA Prediction Sunday Game Preview/Pick- Houston vs. Miami

Free NBA Pick & Prediction Rockets vs Heat

Houston Rockets (44-21, 18-14 away) @ Miami Heat (44-19, 25-6 home) 03/16- 3:30PM EST

 

Line: MIA -4.0

Over/Under- 208.5

 

The Miami Heat, losers of five of their last six games will try to get it together against a tough Houston Rockets team on Sunday afternoon in what has the makings of a great game.

 

The Heat (44-19) are experiencing their worst funk in three years and it couldn’t come at a worst time as they are trying to catch the Indiana Pacers for the top-spot in the Eastern Conference which will give them home court advantage through-out the playoffs in the East. They will be hard pressed to secure the best record in the NBA as of now with the season winding down unless they can go on a serious run.

 

Their loss on Friday night to visiting Denver was a hard pill to swallow given the fact that the Nuggets are not expected to make the playoffs.

 

Something is off, obviously,” Heat guard Dwayne Wade said.

 

Just not playing well,” four-time NBA MVP LeBron James added.

 

With just 19 games left in the season and a race to the finish between the Heat and Pacers, Miami needs to figure it out quick.

 

Five out of six, to our standards, that’s unacceptable,” forward Chris Bosh added. “We know we’re better than this. We have to do a better job. We have to have better urgency.”

 

It seemed not to long ago, the Heat were on a tear winning eight straight and 14 of 16 to challenge for the NBA’s best record but now are looking to put anything together and build some momentum.

 

Fittingly enough, Miami’s slump started with a 106-103 loss to the Rocket’s back on March 4and now will be trying to end it against the very same team who go in having lost two consecutive games of their own.

 

Houston (44-21) has lost to Oklahoma City and Chicago on this road trip and will be trying to avoid losing three-in-a-row for the first time all year.

 

And with a 4-0 record following back-to-back losses, they have to like their chances going up against the two-time defending champions looking to find their way again.

 

Despite Miami’s recent play of late, no one on the team is in panic mode just yet and know they just have to go out and play the type of basketball they are capable of.

 

We just have to take it on the chin and stay in the fight,” Bosh said. “We’re going to do that. We’re going to turn this thing around and we’re going to make a championship run. That’s going to be it, because we have to.”

 

Oddsmakers feel the Heat can get it done Sunday afternoon making the Heat a (minus -4.0) point favorite, but get the latest spread on the game up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Something as to give between these two teams who will be both coming out with a sense of urgency but it will come down to who wants it more and I have to favor the Heat to finally get out of their slump and win in a good game come Sunday.

 

Prediction/Pick- Miami

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter