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April 19, 2015 Updates
April 18, 2015 Updates

Paul Pierce scored five of his 20 points in overtime, Nene had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and the Washington Wizards beat the Toronto Raptors 93-86 on Saturday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Pierce hit a 3-pointer, his fourth of the game, to begin the extra session, further tormenting a Raptors team he eliminated with Brooklyn in last year's playoffs, then derided this week by saying, "I don't feel they have the 'It' that makes you worried," in an interview with ESPN. USA Today Sports

"I'm 22-7 in the postseason," James said after Cavs practice Saturday. "So I think about every loss I've ever had, every series loss I've ever had, and all those experiences helped me get to this point. So it's definitely a different challenge for me. I'm going in with a much younger team, with a much [more] inexperienced team than I've had the last four years, but I look forward to the challenge." ESPN.com

The Rockets have four players - Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Clint Capela and Joey Dorsey - who shoot below 60 percent from the free-throw line. As the Rockets prepare to play the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs Saturday night, they know the hacking strategy might be in play. "We definitely understand and know they are going to throw every curveball possible that they have at us to throw us off our game plan, but we are mentally strong and mentally prepared," Smith said. "Guys have been coming in, getting extra shots in, extra free throws to be focused for those moments. Hopefully if it comes, we can make them pay and knock them down." Houston Chronicle

In his six trips to the playoffs, Paul’s never gotten to the conference finals. He’s 3-3 in the first round, 0-3 in the second. And this time of year, that fact tends to get brought up. And then it gets brought up again – and then again. “It’s not a secret,” Paul said. Paul hasn’t forgotten, either. But he doesn’t need to be reminded. And, he doesn’t need the motivation. “I’m funny. I’m one of those people, I don’t need anything to drive me,” Paul said. “I’m going to play regardless. “Win it, lose it, say I’m the best, say I’m the worst. I’m going to play.” Orange County Register

Paul took sole responsibility for that loss, and Paul’s critics cite it as an example when reminding people CP hasn’t made it to round three. “Chris is not the reason the Clippers have not advanced. He’s not even close,” said analyst and former NBA player Charles Barkley. “But, we have to blame somebody. That’s the way it is when you’re a star. “... When you’re a star, you’re going to get the blame. But, you don’t have to take that personally. You have to be smart enough to know ‘Man, I’m not the reason we’re losing.’” Orange County Register

This year's Celtics will start the postseason in a similar spot. They are listed as a a 19-1 underdog to win their first-round matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. “We have nothing to lose, really," Turner said at practice Friday. "We’re playing with house money. It’s going to be hype. There’s going to be two great environments involved. You go to Cleveland, their fans are crazy, then you come back to Boston, and their fans are even crazier. So, it’s going to be fun.” Boston Globe

Another change could come quickly. He said there were discussions about extending the 2015-16 season by a week, which he said could reduce the number of back-to-backs to an all-time low average of 16 per team, with an average of just one four-in-five-nights stretch per team. The playoffs and draft lottery apparently will stay the same. Silver noted the races for the final spots in both the West and East, claimed by New Orleans and Brooklyn, went down to the final night of the regular season. "If you seeded 1 through 16, of course you wouldn't have that," he said. "You'd just have one race to make the playoffs, so that's one factor." Oregonian

The way that teams are seeded in the playoffs was also the subject of what Silver described as a “robust discussion” among the owners. The Eastern Conference playoffs this season include two teams with losing records: the Nets and the Boston Celtics. The Oklahoma City Thunder, meanwhile, who finished the regular season eight games above .500, finished just out of playoff position in the West. The West is much stronger than the East, yet teams in the West have been somewhat penalized by the postseason gods. “When we presented all the data to the teams, what becomes clear is that there is no obvious solution,” said Silver, who cited unbalanced schedules — namely, that teams play members of their own conference more often. “It’s not to say we don’t think there should be a change. I think this is one of these issues that is going to require a fair amount of discussion and study.” New York Times

April 17, 2015 Updates

The NBA is not close to making changes to its playoff format, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Friday after the league and its owners wrapped up two days of meetings in New York. "It's early days in these discussions," Silver said. "This was the first serious meeting among all our board members on this subject, and the result was I would say inconclusive as to where we should ultimately go. It's not to say we don't think there should be a change. This is one of these issues that's going to require a fair amount of discussion and study, not just directly among the owners in the big room but with committees as well." USA Today Sports

April 16, 2015 Updates

When the Golden State Warriors walk into their practice gym they are greeted by a large, old banner that reads, "1974-75 NBA World Champions." Warriors All-Star Stephen Curry believes his team's record season will be a bust if a new title banner isn't finally added to the practice gym this year. "For the players, it is," Curry told Yahoo Sports. "No one will be happy for anything less. If we don't win our last game this season it's going to be a disappointing feeling, one where we felt like we fell short." Yahoo! Sports

April 15, 2015 Updates

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