Kelso NBA PlayoffsAfter Crushing March Madness, IT’S TIME TO KEEP WINNING IN THE NBA PLAYOFFS
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|Cleveland Cavaliers||G Kyrie Irving will miss the remainder of the NBA Finals against Golden State|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||F Kevin Love will miss the remainder of the playoffs|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||C Anderson Varejao is expected to miss the remainder of the season|
|Golden State Warriors||C Ognjen Kuzmic is out indefinitely|
Calderon to start for Cavs if injured George Hill can't play
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill is still listed as questionable for Sunday night's Game 4 against Indiana because of an injured back.
Hill aggravated the injury in Friday's 92-90 loss. The three-time defending Eastern Conference champs trail the Pacers 2-1.
Coach Tyronn Lue says veteran Jose Calderon will start if Hill doesn't.
Calderon scored five points in 13+ minutes in the Cavs' Game 2 victory but did not play in Game 3.
Tristan Thompson also is expected to see more playing time in Game 4 after playing a total of 1 minute, 59 seconds in the first three games - all in the Cavs' 18-point Game 1 loss.
Thompson, Lue says, will add toughness and rebounding to the lineup.
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Dominant Davis wills Pelicans into 2nd round of playoffs
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Now that five-time All-Star Anthony Davis has his first taste of a playoff triumph, he sounds eager to see what's next.
Davis' Pelicans looked like anything but a shoo-in for the postseason after fellow All-Star DeMarcus Cousins was lost for the season in late January with an Achilles tear. They needed 81 games just to clinch a playoff spot. They ran the table during a pressure-packed final five games of the regular season, climbing to sixth in the Western Conference.
Four games later, New Orleans is on a nine-game winning streak and moving on to the second round of the playoffs for only the second time in 16 seasons since the NBA returned to the city in 2002.
''A lot of people counted us out after the injury to DeMarcus, so this is amazing,'' Davis said following Saturday's series-clinching, 131-123 victory over third-seeded Portland. ''But we have to get ready for the second round.''
The Pelicans appear destined to play second-seeded Golden State in Round 2. The Warriors entered Sunday with a chance to sweep their first-round series against San Antonio.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry figures that facing the defending champs will be no easy task, even if Stephen Curry struggles to come back from his knee injury.
''If it is Golden State, we're playing the NBA champs and we understand that,'' said Gentry, adding that he's a little amused by hearing his former boss, Steve Kerr, talk about the ''turmoil'' the Warriors endured this season. ''I don't think it's turmoil if you win (58) games.''
The Pelicans would not be the favorites against Golden State. But given how they've played lately, another upset bid isn't entirely out of the question - particularly with Curry's injury casting doubt on when he'll return and how effective he'll be.
New Orleans' current winning streak included a victory at Golden State. In their first-round series against Portland, the Pelicans proved they could get considerable scoring from players other than Davis when they needed it.
After Davis led the Pelicans with 35 points in Game 1, Holiday scored a team-high 33 in Game 2. When the series shifted to New Orleans for Game 3, forward Nikola Mirotic had a team-high 30 points.
Then in Game 4, a determined Davis and Holiday combined for 88 points, with Davis scoring a franchise playoff-record 47 and Holiday capping his 41-point outing with a clutch 3 and 18-foot jumper in the final minutes.
''Hats off to New Orleans. They played really well,'' Portland coach Terry Stotts said. ''Their stars put on a show. ... They had different people step up at different times.''
Having a veteran guard like Rajon Rondo to run the offense helped.
Pushing the pace, Rondo racked up 53 assists in four games and mixed in his share of slashing layups when defenses over-committed to Davis or Holiday.
''I came here to win a championship. I didn't come here to beat a team in the first round or the second round,'' said the 32-year-old Rondo, who won a title with Boston in 2008. ''My expectations were high coming in, knowing the talent I was playing with.
''We were able to come together as a team that plays for one another. We believe in each other,'' Rondo continued. ''This is just one check mark of the bigger goal that we have in mind. We are going to try to get a couple of days of rest and come back locked in and ready to go.''
When the final horn sounded on the Blazers' season, Portland star guard Damian Lillard exchanged a long hug with Davis. Afterward, Lillard discussed his appreciation for the Pelicans star, who needed six seasons to experience his first playoff victory with New Orleans, and who didn't even get to participate in the playoffs in four of his first five years in the NBA.
''He's had it hard. I couldn't imagine what it's like going all those years not being able to compete in the postseason when you're that level of player,'' Lillard said. ''I congratulate him. ... You've got to give credit where it's due. I give him credit for his performance and their team. And he's also a great dude. So, you can't be mad at him.''
Perhaps even the Pelicans next-round opponents will be happy for Davis. But one can bet they won't be all that happy to have to play against him.
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Rubio's triple-double leads Jazz past Thunder 115-102
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Ricky Rubio had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Utah's first playoff triple-double in 17 years, and Donovan Mitchell added 22 points to lead the Jazz to a 115-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night and a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.
Joe Ingles, who had 21 points, made two 3-pointers around two free throws to spark a 13-0 surge that ended on Mitchell's 3 to put Utah up by 20 points in the fourth quarter. The big run was just par for the course in a series characterized by large runs by one team, then countered by the other.
Rubio's triple-double was the first by a Jazz player in the postseason since John Stockton in the 2001 playoffs against Dallas.
Paul George scored 23 points and Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Raymond Felton each had 14 for the Thunder. Westbrook also had 11 rebounds and nine assists, just missing his ninth playoff triple-double but also had eight turnovers and shot 5 for 17.
Gobert's dunk and pair of free throws capped a 9-0 run in the third quarter to give Utah an 84-70 lead. Minutes later, Rubio hit a running 28-foot 3-pointer to make it 89-75 entering the final period.
The Jazz changed coverages on Westbrook throughout the game and surprised the perennial All-Star with different players in his expected passing lanes.
Utah also outrebounded the Thunder 48-33 and seemed much quicker to the loose balls in the midst of a charged atmosphere. The Jazz's hustle plays energized the packed arena festooned in the colors of Southern Utah - red, orange and yellow.
With Utah trailing 47-43, Rubio scored 10 consecutive Jazz points and his 3-pointer and subsequent three free throws gave Utah a 53-49 lead. The point guard walked toward half-court with his arms outstretched, drinking in the deafening roar and subsequent ''RU-BI-O! RU-BI-O!'' chants from the fans.
Rubio, playing just his third playoff game in his seven-year NBA career, had 19 at the half and the Jazz led 58-53.
The Thunder, shot 16 for 24 on field goals and 7 for 11 on 3s, to lead 45-33 on Westbrook's layup with 7:26 left in the second quarter.
Thunder: Oklahoma City was outscored 30-14 after Adams sat down with his third foul early in the second quarter. ... Both Adams and Mitchell picked up their fourth fouls in the first half of the third quarter. ... Adams finished with two rebounds. ... The Thunder shot 14 for 28 from 3-point range.
Jazz: Utah started the game by converting nine of its first 10 shots, then missed eight of the next nine. ... Royce O'Neale and George got double-technicals for some pushing and words early in the fourth quarter. ... Carlos Boozer had the last triple-double for the Jazz in 2008, but it came in the regular season. ... Utah had 19 second-chance points to the Thunder's eight.
Game 4 is Monday night in Salt Lake City.Read more