NBA

Raptors, 76ers advance as Lillard's buzzer-beater sends Blazers through

By Sports Desk April 24, 2019

The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers set up an Eastern Conference semi-final showdown, while the Denver Nuggets moved ahead of the San Antonio Spurs.

Kawhi Leonard posted 27 points as the Raptors topped the Orlando Magic 115-96 in Game 5 on Tuesday.

The Raptors sealed a 4-1 series victory, with the 76ers next up in the second round in the east.

Philadelphia blew away the Brooklyn Nets 122-100 after a dominant first quarter at home.

The 76ers led 14-0 to start Game 5 and never looked back – Joel Embiid scoring 23 points and 13 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action to secure a 4-1 triumph.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets lead the Spurs 3-2 following Tuesday's 108-90 victory against San Antonio.

Denver became the first team in the Western Conference series to win two straight games and did so in a dominant fashion.

Jamal Murray finished with a game-high 23 points on nine-of-16 shooting, while LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan both contributed 17 points for Spurs.

 

Lillard eliminates Thunder

Portland Trail Blazers star Lillard scored a franchise-record 34 first-half points and finished with 50 to secure a dramatic 118-115 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and a 4-1 series success. Lillard made a ridiculous buzzer-beating three-pointer over Paul George for the victory.

George scored 36 points and helped pull the Thunder back from a 12-point deficit, but the Trail Blazers' made all the right plays down the stretch to reclaim the lead.

Pascal Siakam totalled 24 points in Toronto's win.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tallied 21 points for the beaten Nets.

Nikola Jokic had a quality night all around, racking up 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets.

 

No magic for Isaac or Orlando

Jonathan Isaac scored three points on one-of-seven shooting in the Magic's loss.

D'Angelo Russell had eight points on three-of-16 shooting for the Nets.

 

Simmons shows no mercy

Ben Simmons ended Philadelphia's first quarter with a slam at the rim.

Marc Gasol with the big block of D.J. Augustin's floater, which helped the Raptors get out on the break.

 

Jazz at Rockets

The Houston Rockets missed an opportunity to sweep the Utah Jazz on Monday. But now, they will get a chance to finish things off at the Toyota Center. Should the Rockets and Golden State Warriors win on Wednesday, the much-anticipated matchup between the two could get underway soon.

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    Durant is expected to become a free agent after the NBA season and the two-time champion has widely been linked to the New York Knicks.

    But Durant's friend and former Oklahoma City Thunder team-mate Perkins believers the Clippers are a contender to add the 10-time All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP.

    "Don't be surprised if KD signs with the Clippers," Perkins told FS1. "Everybody keeps screaming New York but do not be surprised if KD signs [with Los Angeles]."

    The New York Times also reported earlier this week the "Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State".

    Perkins, who played with Durant in Oklahoma City from 2011-15, said his former team-mate has been impressed by Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.

    Rivers coached Perkins in Boston and the pair won a championship together with the Celtics in 2007-08.

    "I don't need to help recruit [Durant to play for Rivers]," Perkins said. "He likes the organisation. He likes Doc Rivers. He loves Doc Rivers."

    Durant has not played since straining his calf in Golden State's Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semi-finals.

    The Warriors went on to close out Houston in six games before sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals.

    Durant has averaged 26 points and 6.4 rebounds for the Warriors this season.

    Two-time reigning champions Golden State will play the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals. The series is tied at 2-2 heading into Game 5 on Thursday.

     

  • Giannis makes NBA All-Defensive First Team Giannis makes NBA All-Defensive First Team

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    The selection, made by a global panel of 100 sports writers and broadcasters, was announced by the league, with Antetokounmpo joined by team-mate Eric Bledsoe.

    Giannis had 193 points – including 94 First Team votes – while Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert received 196 points, the most of any player in the NBA.

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    Antetokounmpo, Gobert and George are all also finalists for the 2018-19 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

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  • Trail Blazers give coach Terry Stotts multi-year extension Trail Blazers give coach Terry Stotts multi-year extension

    Terry Stotts received a multi-year contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers in part because of his success developing young players.

    News of the extension was revealed on Tuesday as the Blazers went through their exit interviews following the 4-0 series defeat to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

    Confirming the news, general manager Neil Olshey told reporters: "We win every year. But it goes beyond just wins and losses. It's alignment. It's partnership. It's knowing the organisation is moving forward.

    "It's a commitment to a longer-term view, that there are priorities beyond just the next game.

    "We still have one of the youngest rosters in the league. Every [player] who has come through here has gotten better. At heart, you're hiring a coach to be a teacher.

    "As we see the league get younger, there's such a value placed — especially in a market like Portland, where we can't always buy our way out of trouble — on developing our young players and finding reclamation projects and developing them.

    "I don't know that anybody has had as much success as this staff in second-round picks panning out, guys who have flamed out elsewhere becoming contributors and integral players. That consistency is important."

    Former Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks coach Stotts took over the Blazers in 2012. They have made the playoffs in six of the last seven seasons and won 50 games or more three times.

    "I'm pleased with the season," Stotts said. "I'm pleased we came to an agreement. I'm very happy here. I'm happy with the team.

    "It was probably the most enjoyable year I've had as a head coach as far as the group of guys we had. We've gone through peaks and valleys over my tenure. This is another peak. I couldn't be more happy things have turned out the way we have.

    "I never thought I was going to get another opportunity as a head coach. Neil plucked me out and gave me the opportunity. To be here seven years later is remarkable. I have a lot of gratitude for everyone who has helped make that possible."

    The Trail Blazers are also expected to give All-Star point guard Damian Lillard a supermax extension this offseason, stretching out his deal to six years.

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