NBA playoffs have arrived
Will Steph Curry and the Splash Brothers reign? Can King James regain the crown he lost last year? Or will the ageless Tim Duncan match Michael Jordan with a sixth ring? Those questions begin to get answered Saturday. Experts' picks
Brad Stevens praises LeBron
Said the Celtics coach: "But clearly LeBron is -- I don't think anyone would argue -- he's the best player in the game. You can argue who the MVP of the season is, I guess, but I kinda always go back to who's the best player in the game. He's the best one."
The NBA postseason is here, with things tipping off up north:
- Wizards at Raptors, 12:30 ET, ESPN
- Pelicans at Warriors, 3:30 ET, ABC
- Bucks at Bulls, 7 ET, ESPN
- Mavericks at Rockets, 9:30 ET, ESPN
Abdul-Jabbar undergoes heart surgery
Thursday, on his 68th birthday, Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery. The hospital released a statement that said the surgery was successful and Abdul-Jabbar is expected to make a full recovery.
Barnes' son chooses Curry over Clips
According to his Instagram, Matt Barnes' sons had to dress up as someone they look up to for school Friday. One of the boys repped his dad. The other, well, as Barnes said, "will be put up for adoption next week." He was kidding, of course.
Royce Young @royceyoung
Russell Westbrook was named Western Conference player of the month for April, his third consecutive player of the month.
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
NBA adding referees calls to play by play record for fans. David Stern complained about conspiracy theories. Adam Silver dismantles them
NBA cap could pass $100M by 2017-18
Sources told ESPN's Marc Stein that, based on current projections, league officials expect the salary cap to increase from its current $63.1M figure to $67.1M next season, $89M in 2016-17 and $108M in 2017-18. Salaries set to skyrocket
Calvin Watkins @calvinwatkins
Kevin McHale just said on 790-AM Houston he's liking what he's seeing from Clint Capela. He could get more PT vs Dallas.
Popovich on Splitter: 'He's progressing'
Spurs C Tiago Splitter participated in practice Friday, but coach Gregg Popovich was unsure if Splitter would play Sunday: "I don't deal in levels of `happy' and `optimistic' and `sad' and `concerned' and all that sort of thing." Game 1 in doubt
History says Spurs needed 2 seed
San Antonio would have been the 2 seed had it won on the final day of the regular season. Instead, the Spurs fell to 6, which could be bad news:
- The Spurs have won the title 40% of the time they've been a top-two seed during the Duncan era.
- San Antonio has failed to even reach the conference finals 71% of the time they've been a 3 seed or lower in the same span.
Everybody love everybody, maybe
David Thorpe on Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and squabbling with teammates: "Can [the Clippers] do what the Celtics did a few years back and put their difference aside for three months or so ... ignore the differences until the day after [they] win the championship?"
Mark Cuban endorses Harden for MVP
"James Harden is so good. That’s what analytics have begot. ... James Harden, I think, is the MVP. Because that’s not a very good team over there.” Cuban on Rockets rivalry
Howard laughs off 'soft' label
“Basically when I hear it, I just laugh because if they knew all the things that I’ve been through on the floor, playing through the injuries I played through with the back, a torn labrum, knee issue, cracked sternum, I never complained about it."
Same old Spurs
San Antonio finished the season on a 21-4 run, becoming a championship favorite in the process. So what changed down the stretch? Said Tony Parker: "Nothing. We do the same thing every year and people bury us every year."
Calvin Watkins @calvinwatkins
James Harden said no comment when told Mark Cuban comments about Rockets being not that good. Josh Smith said team isn't trash talking.
Parsons hopeful for Saturday
Mavs F Chandler Parsons is expecting to play in Game 1 vs. the Rockets after missing the final six games of the regular season with a sore right knee. Parsons averaged 15.7 PPG in his first season with Dallas.
Bulls' Game 1 injury report vs. Bucks
For Saturday's game:
- Kirk Hinrich (left knee) is questionable
- Joakim Noah (left hamstring tendinitis) is probable
- Taj Gibson (left shoulder) is probable
- Derrick Rose (left knee) is probable
Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi
The Clippers offseason rebranding, I'm told, will not include a name change.