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April 27, 2015 | 10:08 PM ET Update

As long as the Raps can re-sign Williams at a palatable number of his own, it's believed they want him back as well, no matter how badly they need frontcourt upgrades. Which speaks to the sort of splash Williams made in his first season in Canada, arriving via trade with Atlanta on the day before free agency commenced last summer and going on to win the league's highest honor for reserves. ESPN.com

Today with a cool head I want to write some thoughts about the former season, my 12th as a pro, which ended yesterday. I began it with big determination fighting for a spot in Detroit, with no results. I went to the gym EACH and EVERY day to prepare myself to be the most ready as possible when the holy occasion would have came. It needed months of patience and a trade, which involved one of my favorite players(I have Prince's Kentucky jersey at home). I want to thank Boston and the Celtics for the last 2 months spent together. The management who made the trade happen. The players who welcomed me since the really beginning. The coaching, conditioning, strength and physiotherapist staff who helped me in fitting in and getting me better. All the people who work at the facility, at the Garden and in the organization who allowed us the do our job at the best. Our fans, from literally all over the world, who hit me on social medias and those from Boston who showed me huge love in the city and specially at the arena. I will never forget the garden chanting my name! Facebook.com

In July 2013 I had the target to show that I belong to this level. It has been 2 long and mostly hard years, but I'm satisfied and proud for how I took advantage of the opportunities they gave me. I didn't do anything who'll change NBA's history, but I know the effort I put in it and I'm proud of myself. This summer I will be a free agent. I'll try like always to do the best choice for my career, valuing every propose with huge attention, from everywhere it comes from. In the while, as you can see from the beautiful drawing of Mauro Mazzara, I'll go through the ocean one more time heading Sardinia(my island). Like a Celtic, with my national team jersey underarm. It will be another summer(the 15th) of work with big targets. Always with the smile on my face, until I will have a basketball to let fly in the air. Facebook.com

The team said Love has "an acute anterior inferior glenohumeral dislocation with the corresponding ligament/labrum tearing and humeral head bone bruising" and is undergoing treatment. The team also said it is exploring additional opinions and treatment options. The corresponding ligament and labrum tear make the injury much more serious and the recovery time longer. A 4-6 week absence or longer is possible. USA Today Sports

The average absence for a dislocated shoulder is 27 days, according to athletic trainer Jeff Stotts, who maintains a comprehensive database of NBA injuries. Some players, such as Channing Frye, return in 14 days. Cleveland guard Iman Shumpert, however, missed six weeks with a dislocated shoulder earlier this season. USA Today Sports

Initial indications, though, suggest that Casey will indeed be back next season, according to the latest whispers on the Toronto grapevine. The fact Ujiri scheduled his end-of-season press conference for Tuesday, instead of taking an extra week to evaluate things like Sam Presti did in Oklahoma City, would also seem to bode well for Casey. ESPN.com

April 27, 2015 | 08:32 PM ET Update

Dallas Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons might need microfracture surgery on his right knee, sources told ESPNDallas.com, although there remains a possibility that the cartilage damage could be repaired with arthroscopic surgery. ESPN.com

The final determination on whether Parsons needs microfracture surgery to regenerate the damaged cartilage will not be made until the surgeon performs the initial arthroscopic procedure to assess the damage. ESPN.com

Matt Barnes: Not a knock on Jr cause he's the homie, but I get 1game for pushing someone! Let me take a swing w/a closed fist. NBA picks & chooses #joke We both have a history, so come up with another excuse!! Dnt get me wrong I wanna see Jr help his team, specially considering it's the playoffs. I'm using him as an example its not directed at him Twitter @Matt_Barnes22

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE?

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   
April 27, 2015 | 07:17 PM ET Update

The difference between a Clippers debilitating loss or an inspiring win in their 2-2 first-round series to San Antonio traces to one thing. With Rivers calling the Clippers and Spurs “evenly matched” and describing his opponent as “really fundamentally sound,” he and his players echoed after Monday’s practice that urgency will play the main factor in determining the outcome of Game 5 on Tuesday at Staples Center. “You have to be ready to play and ready to sustain play in this series,” Rivers said at the Clippers’ practice faciltiy in Playa Vista. “Even in the middle of a game, you can’t take a break. When you take a break, they make a run. When they take a break, we make a run.” Los Angeles Daily News

Former LSU power forward Jordan Mickey has signed with agents Matt Babcock and Adie von Gontard of the APAA Sports Group, Givony reports (Twitter link). Mickey, who entered the draft this year after his sophomore season, is the 49th-best prospect overall as Givony ranks them and No. 50 in Chad Ford’s ESPN.com listings. Hoops Rumors

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN HORNETS HISTORY

Only two Pelicans make a list where perennial All-Star Chris Paul is No. 1.

   
April 27, 2015 | 06:47 PM ET Update

Stevens is a numbers guy who heavily utilizes analytics. However, Zeller said that Stevens and his staff do a good job providing the necessary information to the players without overwhelming them. "He tells us the pertinent information, but not too much to overload us," Zeller said. ESPN.com

Klay Thompson's three-point shooting is far from average, and a rookie Kansas City area company is counting on the Golden State Warriors guard's deadeye accuracy to net sales of a high-tech virtual training camp and coaching sessions. Coming on the heels of the Warriors' first-round playoff sweep of New Orleans, wearable technology company ShotTracker Inc. unveiled a multi-year partnership and endorsement deal Monday with Thompson. Financial details of the deal weren't disclosed. Upstart Business Journals

When Kevin Durant and Sonic announced their partnership back in November, you knew it was possible that Durant would get into a commercial with the famous Sonic guys. Your dreams have come true. Sonic posted two videos today, one in which Durant takes on the Sonic guys in “one-on-one-on-one,” and another where he shows them how to dunk on a slush. Oklahoman

BEST PLAYERS THAT DIDN'T GET THEIR NUMBERS RETIRED

There's no shortage of great players who don't have their jerseys hanging in the rafters at the arenas of the teams they starred for.

   
April 27, 2015 | 06:17 PM ET Update

Marc J. Spears: Cavs say Kevin Love (shoulder) is unavailable for the East Semis and his status beyond that will be determined over the next several days. Love has "an acute anterior inferior glenohumeral dislocation with the corresponding ligament/labrum tearing and humeral head bone bruising". Cavs also say Love is undergoing training room treatments while additional opinions are being obtained and treatment options being explored. Twitter @SpearsNBAYahoo

After years of playing significant roles in the Euroleague and on the Brazilian national team, point guard Marcelo Huertas is planning a move to the NBA next season, Yahoo Sports has learned. Huertas, 31, a savvy, athletic 6-foot-3 playmaker and a deft shooter, is expected to be aggressively pursued as a backup guard in July free agency. Yahoo! Sports

 

SOCIAL MEDIA PICTURES: PHOTOS PLAYERS POST

Just like everybody else, NBA players are spending more and more time on social media sites and photo-sharing services. Check all the pictures they are posting on Instagram, Twitter and more here.

   
April 27, 2015 | 03:18 PM ET Update

The Celtics also have the option to restrict the free agency of Jae Crowder with a $1.1 million qualifying offer, something they are expected to do. Crowder may not command a huge contract this summer, but he will likely get a sizable raise over the $915,000 he earned last season. Word is the Dallas Mavericks may get into the bidding on Crowder so things may get interesting. Basketball Insiders

There are scenarios in which Conley could return in a possible Western Conference semifinals series against the Golden State Warriors, league sources said, but that’s uncertain until the healing process begins, the pain lessens and Conley can be fitted for a mask. Yahoo! Sports

"We don't know a lot, but the procedure was good and we'll see how it goes from here," said Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger, who indicated he will prepare as if Conley would be out for an extended period. "We've been trying to patch it together all year. We've had a lot of injuries, and one thing this team has done this season is it's stuck together." ESPN.com

NBPA unveils categories for new "Basketball Players Awards": Most Valuable Player; Best Rookie; Man of the Year; Best Defender; Global Impact Player; Hardest to Guard; Clutch Performer; Coach You Would Want to Play For; Best Home Court Advantage; Player You Secretly Wish Was on Your Team. Twitter @HowardBeck

The National Basketball Players Association plans to announce a revised set of agent regulations soon, including whether it will keep and enforce or discard a conflict-of-interest rule that prevents player agents from also representing coaches and others in management. NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts said she hopes to roll out proposed revisions to agents at the annual meetings that the union holds with contract advisers on both the West Coast and the East Coast in June. Gary Kohlman, who was appointed the union’s general counsel in October, has been examining all the regulations for months. The NBPA’s player executive committee is the body that ultimately will vote on whether to approve the changes, and that is not likely to happen until the union’s annual meeting in July. “As any new administration would do, we’ve been reviewing all of the existing policies of the organization,” Kohlman said in a statement to SportsBusiness Journal. “Our legal department is currently conducting a comprehensive review of agent regulations in collaboration with the players. We’re also collecting insights from agents.” Sports Business Daily

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April 27, 2015 | 02:26 PM ET Update

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE?

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   
April 27, 2015 | 01:43 PM ET Update

Have you realized how much backlash there’s been over the play? Kelly Olynyk: I’d probably get killed if I went to Cleveland right now. I don’t think if someone gave me their arm and I was running forward like that and locked up, I don’t think I could dislocate someone’s arm if I tried. I think it’s a real tough thing to do. Like I said before, it’s kind of ridiculous to say you intentionally meant to. I’d never intentionally hurt someone, him or anybody else for that matter. I don’t think anybody goes out trying to hurt anyone. I think it’s just real unfortunate. If you get tangled up and he doesn’t dislocate his shoulder, there’s’ noting dirty ever said or anything. It’s just a foul. So I just really hope he can get back as soon as possible and help that team keep making a push. Boston Globe

And now that they've advanced, the Cavaliers are not only waiting to see who they'll play next but whether they'll have starters Kevin Love or J.R. Smith for their second-round series. "There's a lot of things up in the air with our team right now," said LeBron James, who has never lost a first round matchup in 10 trips to the playoffs. "It's next man up, depending on what goes on with our team. That's two big pieces, obviously, but next man up," he said. "No excuses." USA Today Sports

"He makes winning plays," a Southeast Division executive said. "Early in the year when I first watched him, when they ran Michigan State out of the gym the first time, one of the things I marked down -- and I didn't know his bio a ton -- was that this kid was a winner. And then I looked and he'd (also) won a couple of state titles." NBA.com

"His pedigree is really off the charts," the coach said. "He's not a great jump shooter. He's a streaky 3-point shooter but is capable of making them. He's strong going to the basket. Probably can play some wing and two. Solid ballhandler. He can get where he wants to go, especially to create a basket. He got better defensively as the year went on ... I thought he bought into getting into his stance and doing more ... he was just more active and more confident defensively." NBA.com

He led Aris in scoring (19.2 points) and rebounding (7.9) this past season, shooting a blistering 44 percent (43 of 98) on 3-pointers, and finished second in the Greek A1 League in scoring. Vezenkov's stroke will certainly make him a valued late first or early second-round pick. "He's a poor man's (Chris) Mullin," a Southwest Division executive said. "Compact stroke like Chris with the left hand, and he can shoot it well. Knows how to play. But a subpar athlete. Real thick legs. I don't know who he guards. At the offensive end he can make shots, and that's a premium in our league...but he would really struggle guarding threes and fours, no matter where you put him." NBA.com

Michael Grange: Casey: I expect to be back ... our staff did a heckuva job working with the players every day. We have nothing to be ashamed of ... Twitter @michaelgrange

The bigger elephant in the room is the status of head coach Dwane Casey. He signed a three-year extension worth roughly $11.25 million last May that would carry him through the 2016-17 season; however, the final year of that deal is a team option. So in essence the Raptors owe Casey one more fully guaranteed year, which likely means his status as a head coach gets looked at too. Like the Pelicans, the Raptors have some soul searching to do, mainly because the postseason exposed the numerous flaws of the team all in one neat little four-game package. Basketball Insiders

Chris Wallace wonders why Elston Turner has not been hired as a head coach in the NBA. Turner, currently the lead assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies, has assembled an impressive resume that is filled with wins and playoffs appearances. Turner has interviewed for a number of vacant head coach positions during his career, but has never been hired. "He's certainly deserves a head coaching job," said Wallace, general manager of the Grizzlies. "He's been successful as a player - collegiate and pro level. He's been around." Oregonian

The Santa Cruz Warriors were crowned NBA D-League Champions for the first time in franchise history after defeating the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in Game 2 of the NBA D-League Finals by a score of 109-96. The victory wraps up a 2-0 sweep for Santa Cruz as they rebounded from their previous two trips to the NBA D-League Finals, where they were swept in 2013 and 2014 by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and these very same Fort Wayne Mad Ants, respectively. NBA.com

Under Armour Inc. lost a two-horse race with Nike Inc. for the NBA's on-court apparel rights, but it's not entirely out of the game. Sources said the Baltimore sportswear maker is in talks to end up with a second-prize of sorts: an apparel license that would allow it to sell performance apparel and fan wear with NBA logos, likely within limited distribution — such as its own retail locations and team shops. “As an enhancement to Under Armour’s performance apparel, an NBA license would be valuable,” said Milt Arenson, CEO of venue merchandising specialist Facility Merchandising Inc. “But what they really need more is some hit footwear.” Business News

 

THE TOP 25 EUROPEAN PLAYERS EVER

The Euro NBA pioneers were pretty good, but the new generations have significantly outperformed them.

   
April 27, 2015 | 12:30 PM ET Update

Eric Smith: "We're not far away at all." -- DeRozan. Adds it's a piece or two that's needed; maybe a vet piece or two. #RTZ #Raptors Twitter @Eric__Smith

Jay King: Celtics announce left ACL sprain for Crowder. @Mark Murphy says surgery will not be necessary. Twitter @ByJayKing

Kristaps Porzingis: first of all I would like to get drafted at all and I will be happy to play for whoever drafts me. Matt Tengesdal: #askKris would you like to be selected by the MN Timberwolves and be a part of a rising team of stars? Twitter @kporzee

In a post that spans three entirely different topics in just six paragraphs, Theodore takes aim at WJFK-FM personality Chad Dukes, adding armchair radio program director to his already impressive resume as a sports franchise owner. It seems this has been bothering him all weekend. “On Friday, in drive time rush hour radio, from 500 pm to 600 pm, on 107.6 FM, the conversation wasn’t about the Wizards upcoming game, it was about bacon and potato casserole recipes, and favorite Seinfeld episodes. Is there any other market in America that sports talk radio converses about Seinfeld in drive time on the night of an NBA playoff game? Or the night before a big away Caps playoff game? Perhaps this is why Wizards and Caps fans don’t tune in? These kids today.” — Ted Leonsis, via http://tedstake.monumentalnetwork.com Washington Post

Exactly a year after Deadspin first published the complete tapes of Donald Sterling’s conversation with V. Stiviano that would eventually result in him being banned for life from the NBA, Stiviano wished Sterling a heartfelt ‘happy birthday’ in a long Instagram post. For The Win

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April 27, 2015 | 11:52 AM ET Update

Datome will be unrestricted free agent from July 1. He spoke with Gazzetta.it. Boston Celtics. It was great to play for the Celtics and to reach the NBA Playoffs. I had my first real chance in the NBA, after almost two years. It was great to wear the Celtics jersey. Future. It is too early to talk about. I will decide my future after I will get some offers during the summer. I expect to have proposals from both the NBA and European teams. Then I will sit and make the best decision for me and my career as I’ve always tried to do. Sportando

Chauncey Billups, an ESPN analyst who played with Anthony for three seasons in Denver and New York, said recently that vocal leadership isn't a part of Carmelo’s personality. “He’s not that guy,” Billups said on “The Knicks Blog with Anthony Donahue” radio show. “Melo’s a good friend of mine, one of the best players I ever played with, but he’s not the guy who’s going to stand up in the locker room and give this rah-rah speech and get the team to rally. That’s not who he is. “One thing he is, he’s going to come to play every single night, he’s going to practice every single day. He is who he is, He’s not that guy [who leads vocally]. But for who he is, he’s great. You've got to find another guy to make speeches, and another guy to do most of the leading. [Carmelo’s] going to most of the time lead by example. He’s not going to be vocal, he’s not going to rock the boat.” ESPN.com

That begs the question: Is it wise for Phil Jackson to demand Carmelo to be something that he isn't? “That’s tough to ask for,” Billups said of asking a player to develop into a leader. “I’ll just say this, you've got all that cap room, you better go find someone [to be a vocal leader]. Melo, that’s not who he is and we are who we are. That’s like asking me to be this guy with a 40-inch vertical and go in there and be dunking on everybody like I’m Russell Westbrook. You can’t ask an apple to be an orange, that’s just not fair. “[Carmelo] will lead by example," Billups said. "He’s going to come to work and he’s playing for the win every night. There’s no question about that, that’s who he is. He’s a great player, he wants to win. He’s going to come to work. He’s going to lead by example, he’s not going to be vocal.” ESPN.com

The Mavericks coach was fined $25,000 for his complaints about the officials in Game Three of the Mavericks first-round playoff series against the Rockets, so when asked about the physical nature of the game after Game Four he responded: “Did you ask me about the officiating of the game?” “No, no, no,” a reporter responded. “I brought something just for that,” Carlisle said, holding up a piece of tape and putting it over his mouth. For The Win

NBPA will examine seldom enforced rule that prevents agents from repping players and coaches. The National Basketball Players Association plans to announce a revised set of agent regulations soon, including whether it will keep and enforce or discard a conflict-of-interest rule that prevents player agents from also representing coaches and others in management. Sports Business Daily

Paul Pierce tormented the Raptors all series – from “It” to a huge Game 1 to “That’s why I’m here!” So, once the Wizards completed their sweep of Toronto, Pierce sure wasn’t stopping. He took aim at his old friend Drake, whose last album was “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late:” Paul Pierce: Drake a fool lol NBCSports.com

The crew from Inside the NBA -- Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal -- didn't hold back with their thoughts. Barkley said during the postgame show a minimum of five games would be warranted, but believes the league should consider 10. O'Neal and Smith both said five was the proper number. "What Kendrick Perkins and J.R. Smith did was bush league," Barkley said. "You can't just go around hitting people in the face. It was like watching a boxing match. Your knee doesn't collapse like that." Cleveland Plain Dealer

REAL ESTATE: WHERE DO PLAYERS OWN HOMES?

NBA players spend a lot on real estate. But where and how much exactly? Find out here

   
April 27, 2015 | 10:17 AM ET Update

Boston has been no sure thing to lure Love, but it had a better shot than most had believed. If Love left the Cavaliers, the Celtics had closed the gap on the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Yahoo! Sports

Around the NBA and within the Cavaliers, they understand: Love wouldn't hesitate to bail on the franchise. Love can opt-out of his contract into free agency this summer, or stay one more year and hit the market in 2016. There isn't a team in pursuit of Love who hasn't done significant research and left unconvinced that Love won't minimally explore the market this summer. That was the case before the playoffs, anyway. Before Sunday. Yahoo! Sports

And so, suddenly, maybe everything changed on Sunday. Kelly Olynyk and Love tangled, Love's left shoulder apparently separated and clearly he's beyond furious. He called the play "bush league," and insisted that Olynyk "did it on purpose." Within the Celtics, those defending Olynyk privately suggested on Sunday that "he's sort of uncoordinated and awkward" and that played a part in the mishap. Eventually, someone with Boston will probably need to convince Love about that theory too. Love could be lost for Games 1 and 2 of the second-round series against either Chicago or Milwaukee – or longer – based on the results of an MRI exam in Cleveland. Yahoo! Sports

Anthony Tolliver: Wow! RT @SInow A max contract extension for Anthony Davis could reportedly exceed $140 million on.si.com/1GmycrD http://t.co/4Bl5oZtGSo Twitter @ATolliver44

Bass will become a free agent this summer and does not know where he will be playing basketball next season. “I don’t know what the future holds,” Bass said following the Celtics Game 4 elimination to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. “That’s up to (President of Basketball Operations) Danny (Ainge). But Boston’s been great to me over the last couple years, so it’ll be great for me to come back.” Basketball Insiders

Kelly Olynyk refuted the claims of Kevin Love that he purposely dislocated the Cavaliers forward’s left shoulder in today’s fourth and final game of their playoff series, a 101-93 Celtics loss. The Celtics forward, stunned that Love would accuse him of intentionally trying to cause injury, had a sharp reaction when forced to defend his reputation. “That’s ridiculous,” Olynyk told the Herald tonight. “I would never intentionally hurt Kevin or anyone else. He locked my arm up, I locked up his as we were fighting for a loose ball. You lock up arms all the time in this league.” Boston Herald

Olynyk, who said he had unsuccessfully attempted to contact Love through mutual contacts tonight, also expressed concern. “I wish him a very speedy recovery, and I hope he can come back to help his team in the playoffs,” Olynyk said. Boston Herald

“I thought it was a bush league play,” Love said. “Olynyk was in a compromising position, had no chance to get the ball and it’s just too bad that he would go to those lengths to take somebody out of the game and do that to someone. I have no doubt in my mind that he did that on purpose.” Boston Herald

Gary Washburn: Evan Turner didn't think Olynyk's foul was intentional, "He's a horrible box-out guy in practice. Can't box out to save his life." #Celtics Twitter @GwashburnGlobe

"We're all men here and we don't need to cry and tell you guys," Thomas said after the game. "It is what it is. It's playoff basketball. We don't want to hurt anybody, but things happen and you got to move forward." Celtics Blog

He and Crowder briefly scuffled, with Perkins extending a push that made contact with Crowder’s face. For the first time in his NBA career, Perkins heard boos at the Garden. And that’s OK. He knows how they really feel. “Yeah, that was surprising, but I know they still love me,” Perkins said. “When it first happened and I went to the free throw line I could sense it was kind of iffy — do we boo Perk or do we not boo him, but they had to, so I just smiled at it.” Boston Herald

“It wasn’t nothing,” Perkins said. “I went out to set a screen, a hard pick. It was an offensive foul, things happen, guys get tangled up, have some words exchanged and move on. K-Love got hurt, and a couple of minutes were there for me to just go in and play. I didn’t go in with the intention of sending a message. I’m just playing my game.” Boston Herald

“There was nothing malicious about it,” Smith said. “I didn’t try to do anything to hurt him or anybody else. That’s not the way I play the game. … I’ve been in this situation before in the playoffs and it’s not a good feeling. New team, new situation, feeling like things are coming on the up and up. To be ‘back in this situation again’ is nothing I want to happen and unfortunately my team is going to pay for it. … I’m nervous as hell to see what could come out of this.” Akron Beacon Journal

Marcus Smart wasn’t sent to the bench because he overslept and was late for the shootaround. As Stevens explained to the rookie, he planned to start Crowder anyway. But Smart, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds, accepted his punishment without any excuses. “I overslept, my alarm didn’t go off. By the time I looked at my phone clock, it was time to be here. I had to push it. I was 15 minutes late,” Smart said. “The coach is doing what he was supposed to do. It’s not acceptable when you have everybody here, especially for a rookie. .?.?. Coach made the right decision. I apologized to the team and coaches. I have to take it like a man. “It actually is my first time, but that doesn’t excuse it.” Boston Herald

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle made pointed comments criticizing officials for letting the Houston Rockets get away with what he considered to be illegal physical play during Friday night's Game 3. "Look, referees miss calls, but there's just a lot of physical stuff going on out there that just doesn't look kosher to me," Carlisle said after a 130-128 loss that put the Mavs on the brink of elimination. "They're a more physical team, but this series has got to be played within the rules." ESPN.com

"We're scrambling like hell defensively and Devin Harris is going to get the ball, and Dwight Howard throws him into our bench," said Carlisle, adding that he had reviewed the play six times on film. "He takes the ball, skips it over the top and [Trevor] Ariza gets a wide-open 3. So instead of us getting the ball and a foul on Howard, it turns into essentially a five- [or] six-point swing. "That stuff's got to stop. The officials got to get that stuff under control, because there's too much physical stuff going on. Howard is throwing people all over the place, and that can't happen in Game 4." ESPN.com

After being informed of Carlisle's comments, Howard reacted by turning to teammate James Harden and mouthing, "Wow, really." Howard, who grabbed a career-playoff-high 26 rebounds in the game, then offered a politically correct response to the question. "It's a long series, and my job is to be dominant in the paint and just do my best," Howard said. "I don't think about it when I'm out there. I just go out there and play." ESPN.com

When Doc Rivers walked into the locker room, the scene stopped him. Chris Paul called on the Clippers to congratulate the young guard responsible for saving the season and present him the game ball. Everyone clapped. Everyone let out a long, loud cheer for Austin Rivers. "For a moment, for a half second maybe, I became a dad in there," Doc Rivers told Yahoo Sports later on Sunday at the AT&T Center. The tears welled in his eyes, but he quickly wiped them away and stiffened in the concrete corridor. Yahoo! Sports

Wisely, there was no "I told you so," and no-one-believed-in-me defiance after Game 4. This was an immense performance at the crossroads of the Clippers season, but it was only one. Austin Rivers wants to do it again. That's how the criticism will stop. Play well again, and again. "This is something I know I can do," he said. Yahoo! Sports

"There's a whole bench, but Austin's always the piñata," Doc Rivers told Yahoo Sports. "The thing I don't like is that guys use that name to get hits. It's so cheap. And I hate that. All the way back, that always pissed me off. Guys writing about him just because it's going to get hits For that, I feel for him. It makes me think sometimes I wish I wasn't the dad in this case. "He's been a target his whole life." Yahoo! Sports

An unprompted Lionel Hollins took it to another level following Sunday’s film session, reprimanding the media with an underlying message: Tone down the expectations because Williams isn’t the same player once trumpeted by the Nets as the best point guard in the NBA. “That’s four years ago. We’re now. No player is the way he was four years ago,” the Nets coach said. “All I’m saying is now is that the guy is playing well. Somebody picks out that he has two points (in Game 2 against the Hawks). So what? He played well. It’s not just about the scoring. “If it was just about the scoring, there’s a lot of teams that would be better because they have guys who score a lot of points. But it’s about winning. It’s about doing the right things for the team. And I’ll defend Deron until the end on that and all my players to the end if you think that just because a guy makes a lot of money and is supposed on a level because everybody put him on that level — whether it be the organization, or whomever — it’s still where we are now. And we have to deal with now. And I support him 100 percent.” New York Daily News

Pat Riley indicated the Heat shouldn’t go more than three or four possessions without getting the ball to Hassan Whiteside and Whiteside should have the mentality of Alonzo Mourning. “If Alonzo didn’t get a touch three or four times down the court, he would put his big hands around my neck verbally or physically,” Riley cracked. Miami Herald

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday said he may consider undergoing a surgical procedure in the offseason to remove a screw from his surgically repaired lower right leg. Holiday said the screw was put in to hold the steel rod in his right leg that was surgically implanted in his tibia to repair a stress fracture last season. New Orleans Times-Picayune

It starts with a blue-collar approach that makes no room for excuses or complaints. It requires embracing the community and understanding the team’s role in it. It mandates you believe and buy in to a team philosophy and put aside individual goals for the greater good. “You can’t have an ego,” Thunder assistant general manager Troy Weaver told The Oklahoman earlier this month about working in the organization. Added director of basketball operations Paul Rivers: “Egos, it just doesn’t work here. You won’t survive. That’ll be your fastest way out the door.” Oklahoman

That arena deal is not yet in place, even though Bucks owners have promised $150 million and Kohl pledged $100 million, and they're counting on state, city and county government to contribute the remaining half for a $500 million downtown arena. But getting public funding for pro sports buildings is a drawn-out political process, difficult to navigate and not always popular. Team executives are more than hopeful a new arena will be built, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently said he is confident an arena deal will be reached. Last week, the Bucks released an artist's renderings of all-purpose arena in a new sports and entertainment district. No site has been chosen for the arena, but there is available land north of the Bradley Center. It's a logical location. USA Today Sports

The Bucks would like the funding package in place this summer and a shovel in the ground in September or October. Ownership has added local minority partners, and earlier this year the Bucks staff moved into new offices at Schlitz Park. It is a modern, wide-open office space to accommodate additional hires, adding new jobs mostly in ticket sales but also to marketing and communications departments. They are moving forward under the idea that a new arena will be built. USA Today Sports

Michael Jordan's shoes have spawned a legion of collectors and shoe enthusiasts that will wait in line overnight just to get the latest version of Jordans. His shoes generally retail close to $200 but one collector recently spent a lot more than that to get a truly unique pair of Jordans. How much more? Well, according to the SCP Auctions, a pair of Nike Air Ships worn by Jordan during his rookie campaign were sold for $71, 533. CBSSports.com

Tim Cato: Monta answered a @Tim MacMahon question! Time mends even the rockiest of relationships. Twitter @tim_cato

Jury selection began Monday for a former NBA player and Georgia Tech Standout. Javaris Crittenton is accused of killing a mother of four in 2011. Investigators said it all started with a stolen iPhone and jewelry, and ended with murder in August of that year. They said that's when 22-year-old Julian Jones was walking with a group of people near Macon Drive when occupants inside a black SUV opened fire. CBS 46

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN CELTICS HISTORY

How bright is Boston's history? Well, the first 19 players in the list won NBA titles with the team.

   

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