HoopsHype rumors

May 7, 2012 | 08:10 PM ET Update

Source tells SI.com that Charlotte has requested permission to speak with Indiana assistant Brian Shaw regarding its head-coaching vacancy. Yet Shaw prefers to hold off for the time being and focus on the playoffs, so no interview has been scheduled. Sulia

Looking at your own free agents, how do you go about evaluating where they fit? Geoff Petrie: Jason (Thompson), once he became a starter, showed he's a good complement to DeMarcus, (and) doesn't necessarily need the ball to score. He's going to run the floor, he gives you another passer out there as a big guy, and he started finishing better this year. … So he's somebody we will definitely give the qualifying offer to and look to re-sign. After that, it's Donté (Greene), and we really haven't sat down and discussed the rest of the roster. Donté had some really good stretches for us, too. We'll have to wait and see how the draft order sorts out and see to what extent it becomes a potential allocation of resources. Sacramento Bee

What do you think about Tyreke Evans' progression? Geoff Petrie: I thought he made progress this year, especially in terms of moving up to small forward, playing more at two guard at times. It's interesting in terms of efficiency – his most efficient positions were at two (shooting guard) and three (small forward). But he really does have a chance to be a legitimate three-position player. Those types of players are really valuable. I think he's committed to a summer of really trying to upgrade some of the weaknesses in his game. And with all that, he's still averaging 17 points a game and improving. He's running the court better. He's started throwing the ball ahead better in transition. I think it was a season, even though nobody likes the losing, (that) opened up his eyes to other parts of the game and how he can be effective. Sacramento Bee

An MRI on Monday revealed that New York Knicks point guard Baron Davis has suffered a partial tear of the patella tendon in his right knee and complete tears of the right anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, according to the team. Davis is expected to undergo surgery later this week. Recovery time is approximately 12 months. ESPN.com

Brian T. Smith: Earl Watson was wearing a Jazz uniform while walking in the locker room on crutches. Rare to see a player do that. Says a lot about Watson. Twitter

John Canzano: Adrian Wojnarowski reporting now on @750thegame that the Blazers have "had a lot of quiet rejection" in their GM search. Twitter

May 7, 2012 | 05:53 PM ET Update

Dirk Nowitzki isn’t ready to hang up his Mavericks shorts for the final time just yet. The face of the Dallas hoops franchise said Sunday that as long as he’s still able to drive and post, he’ll stay in the game for, “a couple more years.” Nowitzki, who turns 34 next month, has two more years on his current contract. Perhaps adding a superstar could make things easier on one of the game’s greatest players. But would Nowitzki be comfortable having another player be the focus of a team that has been built around him for the past 14 seasons? “If that’s the case I’d love to hand over the keys,” Nowitzki said. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens. I still think I can play some great basketball and I can still contribute to a good team.” Dallas Morning News

Game 5 is Wednesday at 7 p.m. at AmericanAirlines Arena. Coach Erik Spoelstra gave his team Monday off. "Maybe it's good for us to really sulk on this loss for the next two days, really focus on where we need to be," Bosh said. "We're not there right now. We certainly weren't there [Sunday]. So we're going to have to go back and maybe it's good it happened the way it did." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is "most likely out" of Game 5 on Tuesday night because of a sprained left ankle, according to head coach Tom Thibodeau. "He's a little better," Thibodeau said after Monday's practice. "He'll be a game-time [decision], most likely out." ESPN.com

Thibodeau said he wasn't sure if Noah is still using the crutches. "He's doing some walking around now," Thibodeau said. "He's better." Noah is the second Bulls' starter to go down this postseason after Derrick Rose tore the ACL in his left knee at the end of Game 1. Rose spent part of Monday at the Berto Center talking to his teammates as he awaits surgery to fix his knee. "They're still working through things," Thibodeau said, when asked if a surgery date has been set yet. "He's coming along well. He's doing a lot of rehab and feels pretty good so that's encouraging." ESPN.com

Baron Davis’ knee injury much worse than thought: partial tear of patella tendon, complete tears of ACL and MCL. 12 month recovery Davis would be age 34 when trying to make that comeback. A guy who has struggled to come back from injuries in recent years such as the herniated disc in his back that has limited him these playoffs. Davis, when he was going right, was always one of my favorite players to watch. Too often, do to conditioning and more, we had to catch glimpses of what he was capable of — in transition he could be amazing. Too many days he settled for threes (early in the clock), but when he attacked he could score or dish as well as anyone. NBCSports.com

Milwaukee Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute (6-8, 230) underwent successful right knee surgery on Friday to address his patellar tendonitis, General Manager John Hammond announced today. The procedure was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. Mbah a Moute is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for training camp in October. NBA.com

Draymond Green expects to be selected between the 20th and 30th pick in the NBA draft. Utah Jazz executive Walt Perrin says the ex-Michigan State star has realistic expectations. Green was the lone senior on The Associated Press' All-America team last season. He might be overlooked by teams earlier in the first round because some scouts don't think he's tall enough to play power forward or quick enough to be a small forward. The 6-foot-7 Green says he wouldn't come up short if teams could measure his heart and work ethic. SI.com

Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Malone is scheduled to interview for the Charlotte Bobcats head-coaching vacancy on Tuesday, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Malone will meet with Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho. Malone is considered one of the NBA's elite head-coaching candidates. He was the runner-up for the Warriors' job that went to Mark Jackson last year. The Warriors then made Malone the league's highest-paid assistant at $750,000 a year, hiring him to lead Jackson's staff. Yahoo! Sports

The dirt-cheap season tickets are gone. Now Charlotte Bobcats fans who pounced on a ticket promotion will have to wait to see how cheap they’ll be – and who they’ll get to see when they use them. The team said Monday that it has sold out of a block of season tickets that could be as cheap as $43. They were part of a promotion that began Wednesday, where the per-game price for one of about 500 upper-deck seats would equal the draft pick the team wins in the lottery May 30. If the Bobcats get the top pick, and presumably draft Kentucky standout Anthony Davis, the season ticket would be $1 per game, or $43 for the season, including two exhibitions. Charlotte Observer

May 7, 2012 | 04:22 PM ET Update

All indications in Phoenix are the Suns will make Steve Nash a limited offer and he’ll move on. It makes sense as the Suns will have $23 million in salary cap room and they’ve gone as far as they can go. The Suns were always a player destination, and this will test whether they still are under the frugal Robert Sarver management. Many believe Nash instead of chasing a title with a contender for a lesser salary will go back to Canada and the Raptors for a three-year deal and help bring their young players along. NBA.com

The bigger question is: Will Lin, a restricted free agent, be a Knick next season? Insiders have said it's very likely, and on Sunday afternoon before Game 4, Lin's backcourt teammate, Iman Shumpert, seemed very confident about the possibility, too. "Oh yeah, oh yeah," he said. "We all miss him. But if he's not able to come back this year, next year I'll be back with him, so we'll all be back together again." ESPN.com

Though some say it was in reaction to Anthony continuing to selfishly dominate the ball, which is reasonable, friends say Stoudemire continues to have difficulty getting over his brother’s death this year. NBA.com

“The main thing is Tyson really wanted to be good and has wanted to do whatever it took to be good,” said Cartwright. “At that point in time, it was a lot for both those guys to take in. Just the basic concepts (of staying in front of your man). It wasn’t easy for them. I always felt Tyson would be really good, seven-feet tall, athletic and he really wanted to do whatever it took. But I knew you had to give them time. A lot of guys coming into the league had this notion, ‘I’m going to score 30 pts and get 20 rebounds.’ I did not feel Tyson felt that way. He knew he’d be a really good defender. He had to work on offensive game. NBA.com

“People don’t realize what those guys are coming into is overwhelming,” said Cartwright. “Cooking, your own apartment, and now playing against guys in the NBA. It takes time to find yourself. Eddy’s situation was a little tougher being from Chicago. But I always had great belief in those guys and still do. I remember when I was in New Jersey and the Bulls were trying to move Tyson. I told Rod (Thorn), ‘This guy is going to lead the league in shot blocks and rebounds.’ The unique thing about Tyson is he does what few players do, bring energy to the team and virtually guards everyone at the basket. He’s happy with who he is and thrives on it. To me, that’s a beautiful thing. NBA.com

The playoff game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets was briefly interrupted when a 20-year-old alleged stalker of several Nuggets players walked out on the court in the second quarter Sunday night. The woman, identified by police as Savannah McMillan-Christmas of Denver, walked several steps onto the court as Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson brought the ball past half-court. Officials blew the whistle to stop play with 1:10 left and McMillan-Christmas was escorted away by security. McMillan-Christmas was arrested for investigation of trespassing and taken to a detention facility for booking, said Denver police Det. Todd Erickson, part of the security detail at Pepsi Center. CBS Local

TNT’s Craig Sager reported that McMillan-Christmas was found several years ago to have been stalking and following several Nuggets players and was banned from ever entering the arena. Authorities do not know how she was able to get in. CBS Local

May 7, 2012 | 02:54 PM ET Update

But with Nelson vowing that “Rick’s not going anywhere,” the attention turns to the 39-year-old Kidd and 34-year-old Terry, two stars on last season’s championship squad who have both been valuable contributors to the franchise and the city since their arrival. “We would love to have those guys back. It’s all at what price, and they’ve got decisions to make,” Nelson concluded. “Their agents have decisions to make, we’ve got decisions to make, and so, certainly we’d love to have those guys back at the right price.” “Well, I’m a player, so I don’t have anything to do with that,” Kidd added. “That’s up to our owner and the president and GM, those guys and the coach. They’ll figure out how to get this team better, and hopefully I’ll be back. … I think Cuban and those guys have a plan, and we’ll see what happens this summer.” NBA.com

Now, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and veteran players Jason Kidd and Jason Terry headline a long list of names in the Dallas locker room that are free-agents-to-be, after six free agents hit the market immediately after singing "We Are the Champions" last summer. “I’m not gonna talk about my situation right now, but this is a summer that’s gonna be very exciting for our fans and our franchise,” Carlisle said when the team gathered for exit interviews on Sunday. “There’s flexibility for the first time in a long time. … So, there’s a lot of great possibilities and there’s gonna be a lot of decisions that need to be made. I look at it as an opportunity for the franchise and something people should get excited about.” NBA.com

So how much does the 10-time All-Star and future Hall of Famer think he's worth heading into his final contract, one he said he would like to sign for two years to take him through 20 NBA seasons? "It's more fit, but hopefully I do have a little value," Kidd said. "I don't want to come cheap or come free, but it's ... The finance part, that always takes care of itself." ESPN.com

He added: “The reality is there’s some changes that will be made and that’s the reality. We do it every year. It’s just one of the basketball 101 laws. You've just gotta continue to evolve, you’ve gotta continue to upgrade. … Listen, how many years have we made the playoffs now? We don’t plan on putting out anything less than a championship-caliber team. That’s been Mark’s history and that’s our commitment to our fans and this city.” NBA.com

In public, Dallas Mavericks players have been diplomatic when discussing Lamar Odom's failure to compete this season. Their truer feelings came out in a locker room vote Sunday, when they decided not to include Odom in their share of playoff money. A team source confirmed that Odom will miss out on about a $14,000 playoff share. ESPN.com

"If the Lamar thing would have worked out and if he would have played like the year before when he was the best sixth man, I think we would have had a shot," Dirk Nowitzki said of going deeper in the playoffs. "It would have given us another playmaker, another guy that's long, that can defend and rebound. "But for whatever reason the stuff he was going through off the court was just too much. He couldn't help us the way he wanted, the way we wanted, and we had to move on without him." Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Saturday in retrospect he would still have made the trade for the versatile veteran forward. "I'd do the exact same thing all over," Cuban said. "You go for it. You hit on those things sometimes, and sometimes they don't work. ... He wasn't the first player that didn't work, and he won't be the last." ESPN.com

Me: You said recently that you won't consider this season a failure if you don't win a championship. But you also said not winning The Finals last year has motivated you. What specifically has motivated you? LBJ: I just think the whole year, how everything came down on us. We came to the point where we had an opportunity and we didn't relish it all the way through. That kind of motivated me. I wanted to get back to that point, get back to that moment, but I know it takes baby steps to get there. It takes progress throughout the year, and not take each day for granted, continue to get better. I've been excited all year to play the game of basketball, and try to play it at a high level, and I'm happy to be back at this point where I can compete at a high level. NBA.com

Me: What did you think you would get from talking to Magic Johnson, and Isiah Thomas, and Hakeem Olajuwon last summer? What was it you hoped you would hear from them? LBJ: Well, what I thought I would get and what I wanted to achieve in having conversations with them is just their perspective on winning a championship, and what it takes. And if there was something I was missing throughout my preparation that I could gain from those guys, we all know that Magic has multiple championships, and Isiah, and Hakeem and all these greats. It's a process. It's a process and you've got to just continue to work at it. You've got to continue to believe in your abilities, first, before anybody else believes in your abiliites. And you've got to be a leader. That's not just on the floor and off the floor. And throughout the summer, it was great communicating with those guys, and just hearing their perspective from when they played, and what they thought. Like I said, I've always been a historian of the game. I wasn't old enough to watch them live, but I've watched plenty of classic games and I've read about their history of the game. So it was great to have them. NBA.com

With a thrilling victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday, the Knicks not only infused new life into their postseason but raised a tantalizing possibility: the return of Linsanity. Jeremy Lin is ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery. He is running again and has scrimmaged three-on-three. He has hinted at a possible return in this series. With Baron Davis and Iman Shumpert both lost to knee injuries, the Knicks, who trail the Heat, three games to one, have never needed Lin more. The stage would seem set for a storybook return, but the reality is more complicated. Lin is not in game shape, has yet to play five-on-five and has not received medical clearance. “I’m not counting on Jeremy Lin to play,” Coach Mike Woodson said in a conference call with reporters Monday. New York Times

Lin had surgery on April 2 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He has not played in a game since March 24, a span of 44 days. Although he has played three-on-three in the last week, he has not had contact on consecutive days. “I’ve watched him shoot and run up and down – he’s not in great shape,” Woodson said. “You know as well as I know that playoff basketball you’ve got to be at an all-time high and he hasn’t played in a while.” Even if Woodson were comfortable with Lin’s condition, the call is not yet his to make. Team doctors have to clear Lin for five-on-five contact first. Woodson said he expected Lin to play three-on-three again Tuesday. New York Times

The U.S. Select Team, which will work out with the Senior Team, will have an even bigger role this season than in previous seasons. There will likely be more rest for Senior Team members than in the past, so the Select Team -- which will include Kyrie Irving, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, among others -- will have more impact. "Obviously, not having Dwight, not having D-Rose, or Chauncey Billups, those kind of guys, it's a different look of how the team is going to be," Wade said. "But we have a lot of guys that can come in and fill the void, or at least try to fill the void of those guys, but come in and really help the team. I just want everybody to get through healthy, so we can have at least everybody that's on the roster now." NBA.com

The blend of winning talent from the last two cycles leaves Colangelo confident the U.S. team can still win gold in London, despite all the injuries and a tougher-than-expected preliminary draw. "When we went to Beijing, we had one gold medal winner in the room, and that was Jason Kidd," he said Sunday. "Now, we have, what? Eight or nine from the two teams? And it's not like we're starting from scratch. They're all indoctrinated. They all know what to expect." NBA.com

Me: How will you merge the respective teams -- the one that you and Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade led in '08, and the one that Durant and Russell Westbrook led to the World Championship in 2010? LBJ: We've got a lot of veteran guys from the '08 team, and we've got a lot of up and coming guys on the '10 team. KD and Kevin Love and Westbrook and all those guys that was on the '10 team, and you have myself and Kobe and 'Melo and D-Wade and CP (Chris Paul) and all of us from the '08 team. It's going to be fun to kind of merge, I guess the veterans -- I guess I'm a veteran guy now; I'm an old guy now, right? (laughs) -- with Westbrook and KD. It should be fun. NBA.com

Once in control of the Kings' direction, Petrie seemingly now is steering with his hands tied. With little freedom to make the bold moves he once did, Petrie is trying to rebuild the Kings with a bunch of one-and-done lottery picks and clearance-rack free agents. The results are annual last-place finishes, lottery picks and fired coaches. Relocation seems more possible than the playoffs. The Blazers, meanwhile, are owned by Paul Allen, one of the world's richest men. Petrie has one year left on his contract, and he seems like the kind of man who likes to fulfill his obligations. His loyalty to the Maloofs is unquestioned. But enough's enough. If the Trail Blazers receive permission to call Petrie, he should answer the phone. Sacramento Bee

Joey Crawford: In my third year, I’m still a kid. I’m only 28 years old. But when we were in L.A., we always put our warm-up jacket on the table right by where Jack Nicholson sat. I was a big Jack Nicholson fan — “Easy Rider,” you know, all that. I loved his stuff. I would see him there and I would catch his eye, but I never said anything. But in my third year in the league, I put my jacket there and I see him and I catch his eye and I say, “How you doing, Jack?” and he actually says, “How you doing, Joe?” and I was exploding. I went and called my wife. I’m not kidding, I ran to a pay phone. And when she picked up, I screamed, “Jack Nicholson knows me!” New York Times

Joey Crawford: Charles Barkley might have been my favorite player to be with on the court. He was one of them at least. Charles used to get a lot of technical fouls, but the thing about Charles was that he didn’t take things personally. The next game was the next game. I always appreciated that about him. Moses Malone was one of the funniest. We were in Denver, I think he was playing with Philly at the time, and that day, a reporter had done a top-10 referee list and my name was in there. So my first call of the night is like a loose-ball foul on Moses, and Moses just turns and says, “That is not a top-10 call.” I had to laugh. New York Times

May 7, 2012 | 10:25 AM ET Update

We’re hearing that the Bobcats may take a look at Jerry Sloan to replace Paul Silas. The former Utah Jazz coach would be a tremendous, out-of-the-box choice and the first indication that Jordan is committed to turning his seven-win team around. New York Daily News

Besides the Jordan issue, Sloan would also have to be willing to work under GM Rich Cho, who has been entrusted by Jordan to rebuild the team after it closed out the season with 23 straight losses and broke the NBA record by winning only 10.6% of its games. “That would be like going from being the heavyweight champ to being a sparring partner,” said one Sloan confidant the other day. “Why go get beat up? Why would Jerry want to be in a rebuilding situation, at this stage of his life? He doesn’t take losing easy. He takes it hard.” New York Daily News

Sessions, who made his playoff debut in Game 1 against the Nuggets after spending his first four seasons with non-qualifiers Milwaukee, Minnesota and Cleveland, is due to be paid $4.3 million for this season and $4.5 million in 2012-13. "It's definitely something that's not in the back of my mind right now because I'm trying to focus on the playoffs," Sessions said on the eve of Game 4. "It's not even a concern. I don't know what's going to happen. I know it's coming. "It's something I'll deal with." Los Angeles Daily News

Hill will be a free agent after the season, though it seems increasingly probable the Lakers will try to bring him back even though he faces a third-degree felony assault charge in Houston for allegedly choking a former girlfriend in February. "Being a free agent, anything can happen," Hill said. "I'm just trying not to focus on that right now. I'm just trying to focus on this ring. It will definitely feel great to have a ring on my finger and after the season, we'll go from there." Los Angeles Times

Conventional wisdom suggests point guard Ramon Sessions will terminate his contract July 1, become a free agent and sign a bigger and better deal with the Lakers. After all, he wasn't acquired March 15 to be just a rent-a-player. He would prefer to think about the present rather than the future, however, and concentrate on helping the Lakers advance past the Denver Nuggets in their Western Conference quarterfinal series. Sessions, who made his playoff debut in Game 1 against the Nuggets after spending his first four seasons with non-qualifiers Milwaukee, Minnesota and Cleveland, is due to be paid $4.3 million for this season and $4.5 million in 2012-13. "It's definitely something that's not in the back of my mind right now because I'm trying to focus on the playoffs," Sessions said on the eve of Game 4. "It's not even a concern. I don't know what's going to happen. I know it's coming. "It's something I'll deal with." Los Angeles Daily News

But that doesn't mean Anderson, who will become a restricted free agent in July, is a lock to return to the Magic. "I love it here in Orlando," he said. "This is a place where I've had an incredible opportunity. I love living here. I think that this is a place that fits my style of play. You know, it's hard. It's hard because at the end of the day, it is a business. You know, I want to get the most out of my career that I can. "Obviously, I love it here. I think I've made that very clear to everybody here that I'm very happy here. But I want to come into this with an open mind." Orlando Sentinel

The odds are rather low that West, whose feisty play and quirky personality quickly made him a fan favorite, will be back. West hopes he played himself back into position to sign a multi-year deal somewhere. It's just doubtful it will be here. "Prayerfully, man," West said when asked if he believes he's proven to be worth a multiyear contract after two seasons of one-year, minimum deals stemming from his 2009 arrest. "I haven't even thought about nothing like that, even now. But, I mean, I hope I showed this league -- I know this league already knows what I'm capable of doing -- that I removed myself far from that incident that happened (three) years ago and I'm going to the prime of my career. "I know what I can do, play multiple positions, score, shoot, shoot the long ball, defend, assists; I come with the whole package." ESPN.com

Jorge Sierra: FC Barcelona big man Erazem Lorbek was not very willing to talk about his NBA future this morning after the Spanish League awards ceremony. Lorbek did say, though, that the fact that San Antonio owns his rights now makes the NBA more appealing to him. Twitter

The business of the sport will serve as the busy backdrop for a franchise that needs to get younger, needs more players who can create their own shots, needs another bona fide superstar along with Dirk Nowitzki and needs someone to protect the basket. "We've got our work cut out for us," general manager Donnie Nelson said Sunday. "Obviously we've got some decisions to make with guys in the locker room and free agency and such. We've got a bunch of free agents, so it's going to be an active summer for us." Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Despite the Hail Mary end result and the inexplicable loss, James didn't second-guess Wade's decision-making or the play's results. "I felt like he got into the lane, he had a good look initially, he ended up dribbling out for a three that's he's made before but it just didn't go for us," James said. "For me personally, I would have loved to have the ball but as a team we win games together and lose games together. That's all that matters." CBSSports.com

Amare Stoudemire on being able to play with bad hand: "I really didn't feel like I had something to prove. Obviously, after that game, after losing Game 2, it wasn't a great feeling, it wasn't a great feeling. So my reaction definitely wasn't the best reaction... I wanted to do whatever I can to heal up as fast as I can, mainly for my teammates and then secondly for the fans who actually stuck with me, understood the frustration that goes into sports and how passionate we are about winning.'' Sulia

Boozer in particular suffered from the imbalance at a critical juncture in the Bulls' 89-82 loss at Wells Fargo Center Sunday. The Chicago power forward -- and frequent target for Chicago fans and media critics -- had acquitted himself well when his team needed him most (23 points, 11 rebounds, more than 41 minutes). His three-point play with 3:18 left cut Philly's lead to 80-76 and Boozer was thinking likewise when he got the ball at 82-80 and about 80 seconds left. Boozer made his move toward the rim, went up between Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes and got nothing. No bucket. No foul. Just a blocked shot by Brand, according to the stats sheets and the referees. A whistle came at the other end and Jrue Holiday's free throws with 51.5 seconds left gave the Sixers enough points to win. "I thought I got fouled, to be quite frank about it," Boozer said later, though he didn't raise a fuss in the moment. "The calls they were calling on the other side, I thought that call could have been made. But they didn't call it. We just kept playing on." NBA.com

"It was a great pocket pass by C.J. (Watson)," Boozer said. "I was trying to go to the hole strong. Obviously, I wanted a layup or dunk. I thought I had some contact. I thought I got fouled to be frank. The fouls they were calling on the other side, I thought that call could've been made. But they didn't call it. We just kept playing on." On the ensuing possession, veteran official Dick Bavetta called Watson for a bump on Jrue Holiday as the Bulls' bench exploded in anger. "It was a key sequence," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It kind of went against us." Chicago Tribune

Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau thought the same thing as Boozer. "Quite frankly, I thought that we had some good hard drives where we didn't get calls," Thibodeau said. Veteran swingman Richard Hamilton, in constant contact with Philadelphia defenders on his perpetual motion cuts and curls, wouldn't answer the question directly but clearly felt the same. Boozer didn't just feel shorted for himself. "I thought Luol [Deng] was driving almost every time he got the ball," he said. "He was getting contact on a lot of his shots. I thought C.J. [Watson] was driving the ball -- there was one play at the end of the game, he got hit right in the face. I saw the whole play; he didn't get that call." NBA.com

"Listen, we're not going to sit here and blame the referees for our loss," said Boozer, who also lost the ball out of bounds with 48 seconds left for an unforced and costly turnover. "It was our fault we lost the game. We gave up 25 points in the fourth quarter. ... The discrepancy is huge. I thought we were being pretty aggressive. ... but at the same time, that's not why we lost. We lost because we didn't contain their guards in the fourth quarter." NBA.com

As with most who made the leap directly from high school to the NBA, back when the rules allowed such a situation, Williams didn’t realize all it took to be competitive in the NBA. And he languished on a veteran team, playing just 145 minutes as a rookie and 688 during this second year. Since then his minutes have increased and he has scored in double figures in each of the past five seasons. “When he first came in, he was hard to guard, a very good one-on-one player but he has really grown, his feel for the game, his maturity and he has learned how to be a pro,” said Chicago Bulls swingman Kyle Korver, a former teammate of Williams. HoopsHype

You can call him soft, you can call him invisible, you can call him a Houston Rocket ... but as long as he's still dressed in a Lakers uniform, he will still do anything it takes for the Lakers to win. He's not doing cartwheels about his situation, but he's not giving up on it. He not thrilled, but he's not Lamar Odom. "I get as much satisfaction out of setting the pick and making the pass to the man hitting the winning shot as I would if I made that shot myself," said Gasol afterward. "I'm OK with my changed role here, less touches, more sacrifices, so bet it." Los Angeles Times

In a game with 18 lead changes and momentum consistently walking a tightrope, one big hit could change everything, and it was Gasol who delivered the blow. Just ask Gallinari. "It was a tough pick, it was just a tough, tough pick," said Gallinari. "You've got to expect that in the playoffs. ... I've got to be more ready in those situations to get those hits and still be able to play defense." Despite the crowd's pleadings, Gasol said he thought it was a legal hit, replays confirmed it, and Gallinari didn't contest it. "I was a good pick, right?" Gasol said. "I was surprised he went down like that." Los Angeles Times

Kobe Bryant was more than surprised, as he thought Gallinari was flopping on the play, which proceeded with Bryant throwing the ball to Gasol at the top of the key, then Gasol finding a wide-open Sessions on the wing. "He's a big guy, you can't flop like that," said Bryant. Los Angeles Times

"I struggled physically for the first time in my career," Nowitzki said. "I'm going to really try to keep my legs strong so we don't have to go through what I did at the beginning, because that was ugly." Nowitzki had the lowest regular-season shooting percentage (.457) since his rookie year. He rallied in the postseason and averaged 26.8 points per game. "One of things that is exciting is [Nowitzki] was able to get back to his form of the playoffs last year after going through some of the physical challenges he had," coach Rick Carlisle said. Dallas Morning News

Odom left the Dallas team on April 9 and they went on without him, although Dirk Nowitzki said Sunday about Odom: “If the Lamar thing would have worked out and if he would have played like the year before when he was the best sixth man, I think we would have had a shot. It would have given us another playmaker, another guy that’s long, that can defend and rebound. “But for whatever reason the stuff he was going through off the court was just too much. He couldn’t help us the way he wanted, the way we wanted, and we had to move on without him.” Orange County Register

In public, Dallas Mavericks players have been diplomatic when discussing Lamar Odom's failure to compete this season. Their truer feelings came out in a locker room vote Sunday, when they decided not to include Odom in their share of playoff money. A team source confirmed that Odom will miss out on about a $20,000 playoff share. The defending champions were swept out of the first round of the playoffs Saturday night by the Oklahoma City Thunder and cleaned out their lockers Sunday afternoon. ESPN.com

Butler said he has no problems with making Gay his top priority in Game 4 Monday and beyond. “The role that I’m playing right now, what I’m doing, I can play with no hands,” Butler said. “It’s not a big deal. I can play.” Butler admitted his broken hand was in considerable pain throughout the game Saturday, but after missing Dallas’ title run last postseason due to a knee injury, he wasn’t going to sit another one out. “Once it happened, I was like here we go again,” he said. “But there wasn’t no way they were going to be able to keep me off the court.” And after watching the Clippers lose in Game 2, Butler’s mind was made up. “I was like, ‘I got to get back out there,’” he said. “…My main assignment is to be as efficient and the best I can be on defense, and from an offensive standpoint, whatever I can give will be a huge plus.” Orange County Register

Celtics forward Paul Pierce said he twisted his left knee during shootaround Sunday morning and aggravated it in the second quarter of Game 4 vs. the Hawks. "I kind of tripped over somebody's foot and turned the knee," said Pierce. "It's a little bit sore right now, so we're just going to take precautions tonight." Boston Globe

“I have no idea,’’ Rivers said, when asked if Pierce will play Tuesday. “You know, with a couple of guys - actually three of them - we literally don’t know. “When I left shootaround, I probably thought [Pierce] was not going to play. I talked to him right before the game. He said, ‘Well, let me just try to warm it up and see how I feel.’ Boston Globe

"When I left shootaround, I probably thought he was not going to play," said Rivers. "And [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] said, 'Let's see, let's give it a try, and see how he feels.' I talked to [Pierce] right before the game, I asked him, 'What do you think?' And he said, 'Well let me just try to warm it up and see how I feel.' "It's amazing. I mean, honestly, guys around the league [getting injured]. He was just dribbling the ball and went to the floor in shootaround. And I was thinking, 'What more can you [endure]?' We were walking. That's how you felt, like, 'My gosh!' And, honestly, when he went down, it didn't look good. So the fact that he could come in and play, and then play the way he played was great." ESPN.com

After seeing images from test results, Allen recently said surgery was “inevitable”. But Allen is feeling so much better than expected that he is reconsidering his initial assessment of requiring ankle surgery this offseason. “I know I said that a couple weeks ago, and I believe that just from the pictures,” he said. “But based on how I feel now and where my body is, I'll revisit getting x-rays, MRI when it's over with and make an assessment then because if I continue on this track and I know I'm getting better, I don't need to have surgery if it's not necessary.” CSNNE.com

Allen will take his ankle day-by-day and decide whether or not to have surgery when the season is over. After playing 37 minutes in his first game back, he knows things can change any time. “I thought about it (reconsidering surgery) maybe yesterday, the day before yesterday,“ he said. “If the joint shows different things in it based on me, how I’m playing, how I feel when I’m playing, I don’t think there’s a need for it. But before it was just too excruciating. It felt like it was the only option. It felt like even as the series was starting, that I wasn’t going to be able to play. So I’m obviously I’m in a different position, and tomorrow it could be CSNNE.com

No timetable has been established for the return of Kendrick Perkins. An MRI on Sunday confirmed that the Thunder center has a right hip strain, the Thunder announced. In a release, however, the team did not provide any specifics about when Perkins might be able to return. “Perkins' return to play will be based on his progress and recovery in the coming days,” the release read. Oklahoman

It was hard for everyone to watch Baron Davis' ugly knee injury. Amar'e Stoudemire said he nearly started crying. "I was almost shedding a tear on the court to be honest with you," Stoudemire said. "It was something I don’t want to see again, from none of my teammates especially. Baron is such a great guy off the court, and as a teammate he’s a phenomenal locker room guy. To see that, I dropped down to one knee and said a prayer while he was on the ground." Sulia

Rick Carlisle's contract expires July 1. But don't look for the Dallas Mavericks coach to be roaming the sidelines elsewhere next season. "Rick's not going anywhere," Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson said. "It's just there are situations to be hammered out and that's one of the main ones that we have to contend with and deal with in the near future. "Rick, he likes us, we like him. Those situations generally get worked out." Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Mavericks expect Rick Carlisle to return as coach next season, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said Sunday. Carlisle can become a free agent in June, when his contract expires. Nelson declined to discuss details, but he said the sides have a common ground that should lead to a new deal. “He likes us; we like him,” Nelson said. “Those situations generally get worked out. Rick’s not going anywhere.” Dallas Morning News

"I'm not going to get into anything about my contract situation or my staff's situation," Carlisle said Sunday. "This has been a great opportunity for me and my family and we love it here. "That's as far as I'm going to go talking about it." Fort Worth Star-Telegram

In four seasons with Carlisle, the Mavericks are 198-114 in the regular season and 23-18 in the playoffs. This was his worst season in terms of record (36-30) and being swept by Oklahoma City in the opening round of the playoffs. “He [Carlisle] did everything he could with what he had to work with,” guard Jason Kidd said. “We didn’t make it easy on him with the injuries and stuff, but he was always prepared and always had the team ready to go.” Dallas Morning News

McMillan, 47, was born and raised in North Carolina and is in the process of having a home built in Charlotte. Some have speculated that McMillan and the Bobcats would be a perfect match and others have said he wouldn't be interested because they're not a contending playoff team. Coach sets the record straight for those who say he's only looking for a win-now situation. “Not necessarily,” McMillan explained to CSNNW.com. “The plan in Portland, when I got there was to rebuild and we were lucky to draft some really good players. Injuries just put a damper on things. Coaching is coaching. It would be a new beginning for me. Young team or a veteran team....If you're saying, 'I'm just looking for a veteran team,' that's not true. “Depends on the opportunity. It takes two to agree to a deal and we'll see whenever that happens. I won't just take anything, it will depend on the situation.” CSNNW.com

If moving on doesn't progress swiftly enough, don't expect to see McMillan follow in the footsteps of Hubie Brown and Jeff Van Gundy by jumping on television as a NBA broadcaster. “I don't see myself as a TV guy, but you never know,” McMillan said. “You never say never. Maybe an appearance or two. I'm a coach.” CSNNW.com

In his postgame remarks, 76ers coach Doug Collins referenced Bulls vice president John Paxson, who left the team briefly for a long-planned procedure to address an arrhythmia issue. “He’s like a son to me,” Collins said. “Pax is so much the guts of that organization, and I just want to send out prayers to him.” Chicago Tribune

Let's put you on the spot right away. Who'll be in the Finals and why? Shaquille O'Neal: "Like a lot of people, Miami and the [San Antonio] Spurs. I think it'll be either the Spurs or the Lakers. L.A. is the only team that matches up with the Spurs. With Miami, Wade is the leader of the team, and LeBron [James] is the most celebrated player. They'll go as far as D-Wade can take them. He likes the role of, 'Oh, you guys forgot about me? Watch this.' He has the know-how to win a title. He failed last year. He doesn't like to lose twice." You're not picking Oklahoma City in the West? "No, because you have to know what to do in certain situations. Like if you miss three straight jumpers, you're not supposed to just keep shooting. OKC has good players, but they only know one way to play now. The Spurs know how to do it, they have the greatest leader [Coach Gregg Popovich] in the world. They're on a mission. And I think Tim Duncan, the way he's playing now, has two years left." Los Angeles Times

Give us some insider information: What's Kobe thinking right now? "He has the accolades. He's passed me in scoring. He knows it'll take playing at a high level, and he can do it. He wants that sixth title so he'll go down as the best Laker ever, over Magic [Johnson]." He thinks like that? "If you guys write it down, I'm sure he won't mind. … The thing he understands, he can do his thing, but going all the way is all about the others. He had [Derek] Fisher to take the .04 shot, the [Robert] Horry shot against Sacramento, being down 15 against Portland with B [Brian] Shaw and everyone doing it to come back to win. He has to be himself, play at his level, and help the others do their things. He wants it." Los Angeles Times

The former basketball star – who’s now an NBA analyst on TNT – had some fighting words for the Republican presidential candidate during a broadcast on Sunday evening. Romney’s name came up because he attended the Boston Celtics playoff game that night. “Mitt Romney, listen man,” Barkley said. “We’re gonna beat you like a drum in November. Don’t take it personally. I like you, you seem like a nice guy. But you’re going down, bro.” Politico.com

A woman had to be escorted out of the Pepsi Center Sunday night after she tried to walk onto the court during the first half of the playoff game between the Nuggets and the Lakers. Sonny Jackson, a spokesman for Denver Police Department said the woman, Savannah McMillan-Christmas, 20, was arrested and cited for trespassing. She is not being detained, but will appear in court on Monday, Jackson said. Denver Post

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