Leonard, George each score 31, Clippers tie series with Jazz
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George each scored 31 points — the second straight game they have both had over 30 points — and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Utah Jazz 118-104 in Game 4 Monday night to even their Western Conference second-round series at two games apiece.
Trade deadline passes, and Kyle Lowry remains with Raptors
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) celebrates a three-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)Kyle Lowry stayed with the Toronto Raptors, and the Miami Heat got Victor Oladipo instead. And on a trade deadline day where moves were getting made right up until the last possible moment, the Denver Nuggets took a big swing at getting better for a playoff run while the Orlando Magic began a rebuild. Lowry — considered perhaps the biggest prize who was on the market — did not get traded, the Raptors apparently unable to find enough assets to their liking. Questions swirled around Lowry all the way to the 3 p.m. EST deadline, and there were signs that the Raptors were positioning themselves to make the move. “Everything will be fine," Lowry said on Wednesday, when asked about the looming deadline and incessant reports about his trade prospects.
LeBron James sprains right ankle in loss, out indefinitely
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James holds his ankle after going down with an injury during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks Saturday, March 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)LOS ANGELES – LeBron James left in the second quarter with a high right ankle sprain that the Lakers said will sideline him indefinitely, and Los Angeles went on to fall 99-94 to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Two hours after the game, the Lakers announced that James is out indefinitely. Harrell suggested Hill's actions during James' injury were “not a basketball play,” and said the officials should have considered giving him more than a personal foul. UP NEXTHawks: At Los Angeles Clippers on Monday nightLakers: At Phoenix on Sunday night.
Atlanta Hawks Beat The Detroit Pistons 128-120
Trae Young scored 29 points, Bogdan Bogdanovic added 17 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Detroit Pistons 128-120 in their home opener Monday night. Collins hit two free throws and Young sealed it with four free throws in the final minute. The Hawks made 16 of their first 25 shots before the Pistons went on a 13-2 run to pull within two in the second quarter, but Atlanta got hot again. Hawks: Atlanta was short-handed, too, with Danilo Gallinari unable to play because of a left foot contusion. … The Hawks announced after the game that Okongwu and Snell have been cleared to progress to live contact workouts.detroit.cbslocal.com
Late Pistons rally falls short against Hawks, but some bright spots
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 28: Josh Jackson #20 of the Detroit Pistons drives against Clint Capela #15 of the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at State Farm Arena on December 28, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)ATLANTA – Trae Young scored 29 points, Bogdan Bogdanovic added 17 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Detroit Pistons 128-120 in their home opener Monday night. Collins hit two free throws and Young sealed it with four free throws in the final minute. Hawks: Atlanta was short-handed, too, with Danilo Gallinari unable to play because of a left foot contusion. The Hawks announced after the game that Okongwu and Snell have been cleared to progress to live contact workouts.
Pistons claw back against Hawks, but fall short in third-straight loss
ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young scored 29 points, Bogdan Bogdanovic added 17 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Detroit Pistons 128-120 in their home opener Monday night. Collins hit two free throws and Young sealed it with four free throws in the final minute. ... Sekou Doumbouya has a sore right foot. Hawks: Atlanta was short-handed, too, with Danilo Gallinari unable to play because of a left foot contusion. Kris Dunn (right knee cartilage pain), Onyeka Okongwu (left foot inflammation, sesamoid bone, left foot) and Tony Snell (right foot inflammation) also missed the game.mlive.com
Coaching can wait: Rondo plots future, but stays in present
For the first time in his long career, Rondo is the oldest guy on the team. “To be honest, I’ve been doing that for the last five or six years of my career,” Rondo said. I've been working to understand young talent, understand the (collective bargaining agreement). This is a young team with so much upside and versatility. ... We're on the the upswing for great things here in the city of Atlanta.”His future career can wait.
Butler loses last game in the bubble after memorable run
There will be no more coffee customers with the bubble closing down, though he kept it open far longer than expected with some of the most inspired NBA Finals play seen in years. Butler carried the Miami Heat all the way to Game 6 against the favored Los Angeles Lakers but the weight of his efforts seemed to leave him with little energy Sunday. “I didn’t win so none of the stats matter,” Butler said. But Butler made no excuses, not only saying the Heat could win, but that they should win. Denying Butler the salesman was easier for Vogel than clamping down on Butler the basketball player.
Bubble Kings: Lakers run past Heat for 17th NBA championship
For the first time since Kobe Bryant's fifth and final title a decade ago, the Lakers are NBA champions. James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday night to win the NBA Finals in six games. Rajon Rondo scored 19 points for the Lakers, who put together the elite talents of James and Davis with this moment in mind. James (Miami, Cleveland) and Danny Green (San Antonio, Toronto) added their names to that list with this title. HEAT SEASONMiami led the NBA with 94 games played this season — 30 more than Minnesota, which played the fewest in the NBA.
Rondo, a champ in Boston, on brink of getting a Lakers ring
These days, however, the words James uses when speaking of the Los Angeles Lakers’ backup point guard include cerebral and determined. Rondo helped the Boston Celtics win their 17th NBA championship. So, Rondo could be the first player to win a title for both Boston and Los Angeles. James still remembers playoff matchups in 2008 and 2010, when he was in Cleveland and Rondo was with Boston. When the Lakers had a chance to get Rondo, they didn’t hesitate — so clearly, James was more than fine with the move.
Butler's big night helps Heat cut Lakers' Finals lead to 2-1
With a triple-double, he joined NBA Finals lore — and the short-handed Miami Heat might have made this title matchup a series after all. Miami's starters outscored the Lakers' starting five 89-51, and the Heat held the Lakers to a 14-for-42 night from 3-point land. It’s going to be a tough game, Game 4," Herro said. ... Nick Aquilino, the son of Heat neuromuscular therapist Vinny Aquilino, performed the anthem -- a recording from a Heat game with fans in Miami. BUTLER’S TRIPLE-DOUBLEButler became the 21st player to have a triple-double in the NBA Finals — and four of the 21 were part of Sunday’s game.
Halfway home: Lakers top Heat 124-114 for 2-0 Finals lead
The NBA Finals are halfway to a coronation. And the last time the Lakers’ franchise has wasted a 2-0 lead was in the 1969 finals against Boston. The Heat have rallied from a 2-0 series hole only once in eight previous tries, that one being the 2006 NBA Finals. ... James, in his 10th NBA Finals, has a 2-0 lead in the title series for the first time. YOUNGEST STARTERHerro, at 20 years, 256 days, became the youngest player to start an NBA Finals game.
Another NBA Finals await James if Lakers can finish Nuggets
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) celebrates with Los Angeles Lakers' Rajon Rondo (9) and Los Angeles Lakers' Alex Caruso (4) during the final moments of their 114-108 win over the Denver Nuggets in an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Another NBA Finals await James if Lakers can finish Nuggets
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) celebrates with Los Angeles Lakers' Rajon Rondo (9) and Los Angeles Lakers' Alex Caruso (4) during the final moments of their 114-108 win over the Denver Nuggets in an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)LeBron James can reach a 10th NBA Finals, done by only three greats of the game. The final step for the Los Angeles Lakers shapes up as the toughest. “You can never be comfortable around this team,” Davis said. One more win, and James ties NBA career scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for third on the career list with 10 NBA Finals appearances. James and Davis have been the unquestioned catalysts of this run, and they're good strong support from some playoff-tested veterans.
Davis, Lakers beat Nuggets to take 3-1 lead in West finals
Anthony Davis scored 34 points, LeBron James had 26 and the Lakers beat the Nuggets 114-108 on Thursday night in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. James added nine rebounds and eight assists, and the Lakers had 12 offensive rebounds for a whopping 25-6 advantage in second-chance points. We had too many empty possessions tonight.”Game 5 is Saturday night, when the Lakers can reach the NBA Finals for the first time in a decade. With an array of short jumpers, Davis made his first six shots before anyone else on the Lakers made a basket. The Nuggets shot 59% in the first half but the Lakers had an 18-2 advantage in second-chance points.
Davis hits 3 at buzzer, Lakers edge Nuggets for 2-0 lead
Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) shoots a 3-point basket over Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (15) at the end of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. James carried the Lakers early, with 20 points in the first half. Davis put the Lakers back on top with a basket in the lane, but Jokic backed him down on the other end to put the Nuggets back on top with 20 seconds remaining. BUZZER BEATERSThe Lakers said Davis was just the seventh Laker to make a buzzer-beater in the playoffs, a list that includes Bryant. THROUGH THIRTYThis was the 30th postseason game between the Lakers and Nuggets.
Lakers roll past Nuggets 126-114 in West finals opener
The top-seeded Lakers opened a double-digit lead in the first half that they easily extended in the third quarter. The Lakers quickly knocked off any rust for another long layoff in the bubble against a Denver team that's had things much tougher. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray each scored 21 points for the Nuggets, playing in the conference finals for the first time since the Lakers beat them in 2009. The Nuggets fell to 7-22 against the Lakers in the postseason. ... Denver's 16 fouls in the second quarter tied the most by any team in a quarter this season.
Welcome back: Lakers, LeBron headed to the conference finals
James scored 29 points and the Lakers wrapped up their first trip to the Western Conference finals since 2010 by topping the Houston Rockets 119-96 on Saturday night in Game 5 at Walt Disney World. Kyle Kuzma scored 17 points, Markieff Morris had 16, Danny Green added 14 and Anthony Davis finished with 13 for the top-seeded Lakers. James is going to the conference finals for the 11th time overall — six with Cleveland, four with Miami and now with the Lakers. The Lakers scored the next 15 points, and the lead was 95-69 going into the final quarter. Lakers: Los Angeles went seven years without a conference-final appearance from 1991 through 1998, the team's longest drought before this 10-year run.
Davis, Lakers run past Rockets for 3-1 West semifinals lead
Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) and P.J. James had 16 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers, who outrebounded the Rockets 52-26. Russell Westbrook had 25 points and James Harden had 21 for the Rockets, who got 19 from Eric Gordon and 14 from Austin Rivers. It was 57-41 Lakers at the break, meaning Houston had scored 79 points in its last 48 minutes of basketball. Rockets: Houston is one of the franchises that has overcome a 3-1 deficit, doing so against the Clippers in the second round of the 2015 playoffs.
At home, on the road or at Disney, James is tough to beat
Earlier in this postseason, he also became the all-time leader in playoff road wins. For the first time in NBA history, road teams have a winning record through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Lakers are 3-0 in the playoffs as the road team so far, which has pushed James total for road playoff wins to 65 two more than Tim Duncan managed in his two decades with San Antonio. Nobody impacts winning more than LeBron James, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. The difference was the supporting casts, and Rajon Rondos 21 points and nine assists were enormous for the Lakers.
LeBron, Rondo spark Lakers to 112-102 victory over Rockets
Rondo had 21 points and nine assists as the Lakers broke open a close game in the final period. He scored eight straight points during a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter that put the Lakers ahead for good. Rondo assisted on a layup by James that put the Lakers ahead with about 10 minutes remaining. Rondo then hit a 3-pointer to give the Lakers an 89-85 advantage, their largest lead to that point. The Lakers blew a 21-point lead in Game 2 but outscored Houston by 10 in the fourth quarter to win 117-109.
Rockets run away from No. 1 seed Lakers, take Game 1 112-97
James Harden scored 36 points and the Houston Rockets ran away from the Lakers 112-97 on Friday night, the second straight round the No. Russell Westbrook added 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Eric Gordon had 23 points for the Rockets, the No. They forced 17 turnovers that led to 27 turnovers and played the much bigger Lakers even on the backboards. The Lakers playing for only the second time in 11 days. Lakers: Assistant coach Jason Kidd missed the game because of what coach Frank Vogel said were severe back spasms.
James and Lakers advance with 131-122 win over Trail Blazers
We got better throughout the course of the series, James said. The Lakers hadn't won a playoff series since 2012. James has never lost a first-round playoff series, going 14-0. CJ McCollum had 36 points for the surprisingly scrappy Trail Blazers, who played without injured All-Star guard Damian Lillard. His personality and energy were unmatched, and his contributions on the court were unmistakable, helping the Trail Blazers into the playoffs each of his eight seasons with the team, the Blazers said in a statement.
On Kobe Bryant Day, Lakers dominate Blazers 135-115
The Trail Blazers won the opener but have appeared gassed in the past two games as the grind of the bubble and injuries appear to have taken a toll. It was considered Kobe Day because Monday was 8/24, the two numbers Kobe Bryant wore during his 20-year career. We want to have this be a day to celebrate his life and carry that type of emotion into the game, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said before the game. It was the most points in a half for Los Angeles in a playoff game since a game against Denver in 1987. Trail Blazers: It was the first time this season that the Blazers allowed an opponent 80 first-half points.
Disney is nice but for NBA's top teams, no place like home
But right now it's more hurting the teams that should be playing in front of rowdy fans, not virtual ones. With Domantas Sabonis lost to injury, the Pacers need Turner to do even more on the inside to pick up the slack. Game 2, 9 p.m. ESPN NEED TO KNOW: These teams are seeded No. 8 based on what they did over the entire season, but there is no such difference in the bubble. Vogel said he believes in adjusting when necessary and may decide the Lakers need more speed on the floor and go smaller.
CP3 leads Thunder's rout of cold-shooting Lakers, 105-86
Oklahoma City pulled even with Houston for the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoff picture with five games left. Los Angeles, which has already clinched the top seed in the West and the Pacific Division title, never held a lead for the first time all season. Los Angeles dropped two games behind Milwaukee for the NBA's best overall record, which won't provide a real home-court advantage in the NBA Finals this year. Dion Waiters scored 14 points for the Lakers, whose poor perimeter shooting in the bubble still hasn't been fixed. ... Los Angeles got a scare in the third quarter when Paul elbowed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the ribs, forcing Caldwell-Pope to leave the game.
Lakers G Rajon Rondo breaks thumb in practice, out 6-8 weeks
Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo (9) shoots against Golden State Warriors guard Ky Bowman (12) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)LOS ANGELES Rajon Rondo broke his right thumb in practice with the Los Angeles Lakers in Florida. The veteran point guard will be out for six to eight weeks, the Lakers said Sunday night. James typically functions as the Lakers' point guard with the starting unit, but Rondo frequently took on the role while James rested or while both veterans were on the floor together. Alex Caruso and Quinn Cook are likely to get more playing time at point guard in Rondo's absence.