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Spurs' Popovich wins NBA Coach of the Year (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:33:03 PDT)
The San Antonio Spurs, the model for stability and sustained success in the modern NBA, were still a shaken team when they showed up for training camp in October, less than four months after a devastating loss to Miami in the NBA Finals. Gregg Popovich took it head on, embraced the heartache, and in a career full of masterful coaching performances, delivered perhaps his finest effort in season No. 18. ''The way we lost in the finals wasn't an ordinary loss, it was pretty devastating,'' Popovich said on Tuesday after being named NBA coach of the year. Don't blame it on the basketball gods or bad fortune or anything like that, the Miami Heat beat us and won the championship and that's that.'' Popovich joined Don Nelson and Pat Riley as the only coaches in league history to take home the Red Auerbach trophy three times in their career.

Hawks-Pacers Game 3 Playoff Preview (Automated Insights)
(Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:21:38 PDT)
After splitting the first two games, the Atlanta Hawks and the Indiana Pacers travel to Philips Arena for Game 3 of the opening-round series. The Pacers can win in back-to-back games after taking Game 2 at home.

Wakeup Call: Wizards are magical so far in playoffs (Comcast SportsNet New England)
(Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:11:23 PDT)
There's something fitting about Theo Epstein declaring that "losing sucks" on the 100th anniversary of the day Wrigley Field opened its doors, because losing is all the Cubs have done at Wrigley. As promised, Carlos Gomez appeals the suspension -- a three-game ban -- he receives for his part in Sunday's Brewers-Pirates brawl. Also appealing are the Pirates' Travis Snider, who got two games, and teammate Russell Martin, who got one. Milwaukee's Martin Maldonado, however, immediately begins serving his five-gamer.

Pacers-Hawks Game 1 Playoff Preview (Automated Insights)
(Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:26:09 PDT)
The Indiana Pacers take on the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of this opening-round playoff series. If the Pacers hope to advance, they'll likely need Paul George to be at the top of his game. He averaged 22.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 2.5 APG versus the Hawks this year. Likewise, the Hawks may rely heavily on Kyle Korver, who averaged 14.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 3.8 APG versus the Pacers. This series should be tight as these teams split their season series, 2-2.

Pacers-Hawks Game 2 Playoff Preview (Automated Insights)
(Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:23:56 PDT)
After winning Game 1 on the road thanks in part to Jeff Teague, the Atlanta Hawks can return home with a commanding 2-0 series lead with another win against the Indiana Pacers. The Hawks are feeling confident after their 101-93 Game 1 win over the Pacers. Jeff Teague put in a solid performance during the win, registering 28 points, five assists and three rebounds for the Hawks. For the Pacers, Paul George registered 24 points and added 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the playoffs.

Report: Pacers’ Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner got in fight day before Game 1 (NBC Sports)
(Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:00:42 PDT)
Teammates reportedly broke up the fight, but I bet they really wanted to step back and let it go for a while.

With two wins in Chicago, Wizards seize control over Bulls (NBC Sports)
(Wed, 23 Apr 2014 01:59:45 PDT)
Bradley Beal, Nene help Washington take 2-0 series lead

Pacers rally past Hawks 101-85 to even series (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 23 Apr 2014 00:25:23 PDT)
The Pacers got tired of talking trash. That left them with plenty of energy to handle the Hawks on Tuesday night. Paul George scored 27 points, George Hill added 15 in the second half and that suffocating defense that seemed to vanish over the past few weeks was back in force. Atlanta couldn't contend with the Pacers' resurgent combination, falling 101-85 and into a 1-1 tie in the best-of-seven playoff series.

Pacers fight each other on eve of playoffs, finally take swing at Hawks in Game 2 (Yahoo Sports)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 23:24:17 PDT)
A fight between Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner in practice added to the Pacers' discontent. Beating the Hawks in Game 2 cooled some of the tension.

Wizards edge Bulls while Pacers, Raptors equalize
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:49:11 PDT)
Bradley Beal scored a game-high 26 points to spark Washington over Chicago 101-99 in overtime, giving the Wizards their best NBA playoff start in 32 years. Brazilian forward Nene scored 17 points Tuesday and John Wall added 16 as the Wizards seized a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series with games three and four Friday and Sunday in Washington. It's the first time in franchise history that Washington won the first two games on the road to open a series and the first time since 1982 they won the first two games in a playoff series. East top seed Indiana and Toronto each won at home Tuesday to level their first-round matchups, with the Pacers beating Atlanta 101-85 and Toronto downing Brooklyn 100-95 to deadlock each series at 1-1.

Paul George drills buzzer-beating 3 to cap big 3rd quarter as Pacers beat Hawks, tie series (Video) (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:38:24 PDT)
An awful lot went wrong for the Indiana Pacers in their disappointing Game 1 home loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, but the most significant damage done by Mike Budenholzer's eighth-seeded birds came during the third quarter. That must have been especially dispiriting for Indiana — after all, as I wrote earlier Tuesday , third-quarter dominance had been a Pacers trademark all season, but during the first game of their quest for an NBA championship, they found themselves being blown off the floor by a 38-44 team en route to giving away the home-court advantage that they'd spent the entire season — or, at least, the first few months of it — fighting so hard to secure. Faced with a must-win Game 2 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday, the Pacers once again struggled to contain point guard Jeff Teague and All-Star forward Paul Millsap, and headed into halftime down 52-48. Once again, the third quarter would tell the tale ... and this time, it was the Pacers' All-Star who capped the stanza off with a bang: With the clock winding down in the third quarter, Indiana backup center Ian Mahinmi blocked a layup attempt by Hawks guard Lou Williams. The ball bounced to Atlanta's Shelvin Mack, who kicked it out to Millsap for a 3-point try that went awry, and was rebounded by Pacers forward Luis Scola. The Argentine reserve flipped the ball to Paul George, who calmly dribbled over half-court, pulled up from 28 feet out, and splashed through a 3-pointer of his own at the buzzer, much to the delight of the Fieldhouse faithful. The long ball put an exclamation point on a third quarter that was much more like it from the Pacers' perspective — a 31-13 frame that completely changed the game, allowing Indiana to regain some of their lost swagger and resume playing like a top-flight team that can, and should, blow the doors off middling competition. As Brett Pollakoff of ProBasketballTalk notes , the Pacers' run actually extended beyond the boundaries of the third quarter — they'd started to find a little bit of rhythm in the final minutes of the second quarter, and they kept the hammer down well into the fourth — but it was the third that turned the tide. It started with a sharp 3-point shot by George from the short right corner over the hard-charging closeout of Hawks swingman DeMarre Carroll that drew Indy within one. It continued with point guard George Hill — either a non-factor or, less charitably, a significant minus for the Pacers through the first six quarters of the series — going aggressively to the basket to get himself going, break down the Atlanta defense and start opening doors for his teammates with his scoring. It kept going with Lance Stephenson — he of the "Gotta punch more" mantra — briefly resembling the fires of old, ripping down a rebound off a Teague miss, taking it all the way down the court and dancing with Carroll a bit before shaking him baseline and finishing a reverse layup that gave Indiana its first lead since the 4-1/2-minute mark of the opening quarter. And it rolled on with the Hawks finally starting to cool down from, well, everywhere — Atlanta went 5 for 20 in the third quarter, including a 1 for 8 mark from long range, during the third. George's buzzer-beating triple capped an 11-0 run to end the third, which the Pacers extended to a 19-0 run by holding Atlanta scoreless for the first 2:57 of the fourth quarter. By that point, Indy's lead had ballooned to 20, and with the Hawks mired in their coldest stretch of the postseason, it was all over but the shoutin'. Nine minutes of second-unit-heavy play later, Indiana had locked up a 101-85 win that evened up the best-of-seven series at one game apiece before heading to Atlanta for Game 3 on Thursday. On a night where the Pacers desperately needed anybody to step forward and be counted, George was the man, scoring a game-high 27 points on 9 for 16 shooting, drilling 5 of 7 3-point attempts, pulling down 10 rebounds, dishing six assists, snagging four steals and turning the ball over just once in 39 minutes of play. He took on the challenge of checking Teague, who quieted down significantly after his loud first half, finishing with just 14 points on 6 for 13 shooting to go with five rebounds and four assists. He fought over and through screens, bothering Hawks with his long strides and longer arms, tracked back to lead his team on the defensive glass, and confidently stepped into the shots that the Pacers' offense needed to find some semblance of scoring punch. (There's that word again.) He also had some help from an unlikely source. After looking steps slow and like he'd lost his touch (shouts to Kumar ) for large chunks of the season, the 33-year-old Scola gave Frank Vogel huge minutes off the Pacer bench, making nine of his 14 field-goal attempts to kick in 20 points and seven rebounds, including four on the offensive glass, in just under 20 minutes of floor time, on a night where Indiana needed every last ounce of energy and scoring acumen he could muster. The performance was enough to grant him one of the postseason's greatest honors — a trip to the post-game interview podium to discuss his outing with the media horde. Now at the podium, #Pacers Luis Scola and he says to the microphone: "I've always wanted to do this." — Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) April 23, 2014 Pacers fans are pretty glad he came through with the game that led to it on Tuesday, helping relieve the pressure, change the storylines and, for one more night at least, regain control of the third quarter that they've owned all season long. If the clip above isn't rocking for you, feel free to check it out elsewhere, thanks to watchnba201415 . - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Pacers tie series with victory over Hawks (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:07:22 PDT)
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers needed just six and a half minutes Tuesday to drive home their point. A 19-0 run over that time led the Pacers to a dominating 101-85 victory over the Atlanta Hawks to tie their best-of-seven, first-round series at one, vividly producing images of how the Pacers ran over opponents early this season. Pacers forward Paul George scored a game-high 27 points, including eight in the third quarter, and was greeted by virtually the entire bench when he hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter. George also had a game-high 10 rebounds, leading Indiana's 38-rebound attack, and a game-leading six assists.

Pacers bounce back with blowout Game 2 win over Hawks (NBC Sports)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 19:38:25 PDT)
Pacers go on a monster third quarter run to even series with Hawks.

Pacers 101, Hawks 85 (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:49:38 PDT)
INDIANAPOLIS -- Forward Paul George and the Indiana Pacers answered their doubters on Tuesday night. George scored a game-high 27 points and the Pacers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 101-85 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to tie their best-of-seven first-round playoff series at one game each. Game 3 will be played Thursday night at Atlanta's Phillips Arena. Forward Luis Scola, who did not score a basket in Indiana's 101-93 loss in the series opener on Saturday, came off the bench to supply 20 points.

Lance Stephenson's planned adjustment for Pacers-Hawks Game 2: 'Gotta punch more' (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:13:34 PDT)
The Indiana Pacers enter Tuesday's Game 2 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks coming off a stunning and dispiriting home-court loss , facing serious questions about their core identity and internal makeup , and possibly fighting for their postseason lives , since it's difficult to envision a team that's fallen apart as utterly as the Pacers have over the past three months climbing out of an 0-2 hole on the road, especially at Philips Arena, where they're 2-6 since Vogel took over midway through the 2010-11 season. The Pacers desperately need to find a spark to regain some of the "gold swagger" that carried them to the seventh game of last year's Eastern Conference finals and through the first 3 1/2 months of this regular season, and they need to find it quickly, lest they put themselves in grave danger of becoming just the fifth No. 1 seed in NBA history to be toppled by a No. 8 seed in the postseason, the third to be ousted in Round 1 since the advent of the seven-game opening-round series, and the first since the Memphis Grizzlies knocked off the San Antonio Spurs back in 2011 . While Frank Vogel and his coaching staff will look to make Xs-and-Os adjustments to prevent the Hawks' plethora of floor-spacing shooters from stretching the Pacers' D beyond its breaking point and allowing jitterbug point guard Jeff Teague to repeatedly slice his way to the rim , shooting guard Lance Stephenson apparently plans to take a simpler, less subtle and more blunt approach, according to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star : "(The Hawks) threw the first punch," Stephenson said. "Now we gotta punch more." [...] "Be physical from the start and don't wait till the second quarter when the refs call fouls," Stephenson said. "I'm going to try to come out early and throw the first punch and get some assists, get some rebounds and get the tempo out running." On one hand, increased aggression would certainly be welcome for a Pacers crew that has, at times, seemed content to let the game simply happen to them since the All-Star break, rather than seizing it by the scuff of its neck with stultifying defensive pressure as they did earlier in the season. And if said aggression carries over to the offensive end, then so much the better. Indy's struggles to contain Teague or contest the Hawks' perimeter shooters were the headline item in Game 1, but the ongoing putrefaction of the Pacers' offense — 42 percent from the floor, seven missed free throws, 17 turnovers leading to 25 Hawks points and a Game 1 offensive efficiency of 98.8 points per 100 possessions, which would've been the second-worst mark in the league during the regular season, and is even worse than Indy's awful post-All-Star break scoring rate — was just as significant a problem for Vogel and company. While Indiana's ranked either near or firmly within the bottom third of the league in terms of pace (average number of possessions per 48 minutes) in each of Vogel's three full seasons at the helm, and Indy hasn't profiled as an especially dangerous fast-break offense, anything that can pick up the pace of execution for the Pacers — more forceful and successful ball screens, more intentional off-ball cuts, more decisive moves with the basketball, more confident shots, etc. — figures to be particularly important. And if that includes a couple more possessions in which Stephenson pulls down a rebound and makes a hell-bent-for-leather, straight-arrow drive at the rim that forces the Hawks to either concede a one-man transition layup or sacrifice a rotation piece to getting run over by the Brooklyn-born freight train, well, that'd be OK, too. On the other hand, though, merely throwing more punches is unlikely to be enough of an answer for the Pacers; work-rate's fine, but a higher proportion of those shots need to be power punches, and they need to connect. More effective work in the half-court — like, for example, looking to make more frequent hay out of successful sets like these — would be nice. So, too, would be getting the desired effect out of switching All-Defense wing Paul George onto Teague for at least parts of Game 2. And with all this talk of punching, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the MMA-gloved David West and famed MMA trainee Roy Hibbert, who have to produce more than 16 points on 19 shots when given the chance to work against Paul Millsap, Pero Antic, Mike Scott or Elton Brand on the block, especially in the early going, if they want to seize control of Game 2. Even if they do, though, it's incumbent upon the Pacers to be prepared for a long fight, and not to get too complacent when the battle gets past the midway point. All season long, Indiana was a murderous after-halftime club, outscoring its opposition by a whopping 278 points during third quarters and posting a "net rating" (a measurement of whether you outscore your opponent or get outscored by your opponent over the course of 100 possessions) of +14.6; both numbers were far and away the best in the league. While the numbers weren't nearly as gaudy in the midst of their post-All-Star swoon, they were still strong — Indy was a +26 in third quarters after the midseason break, outscoring opposition by 4.3 points-per-100, a top-10 mark and the fourth-best in the East. That dominance completely reversed in Game 1, as Atlanta blitzed Indiana after halftime with a 30-16 third quarter that saw Teague (14 points on 4 for 5 shooting from the field and 5 for 6 from the line) and Millsap (13 points on 4 for 7 shooting, four rebounds) completely take over. George tried to answer; he went 1 for 7. Hibbert tried to make his presence felt on the interior; he turned the ball over three times in eight minutes and didn't get a shot up. Stephenson had three tough but makable looks; he missed them all. Add it all up, and a 50-50 halftime tie got turned into a laugher heading into the final 12 minutes. “The third quarter we got stops," Kyle Korver said after the game, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "That was the biggest thing for us. We got stops and were able to get out and run. That is when we are at our best. We don’t want to play against that set defense with Hibbert at the basket." With their shooting, their spacing, their pick-and-roll play and the Pacers unable to put the ball in the basket, they rarely had to. If Vogel's adjustments and Stephenson's promised increased aggression aren't able to create more scenarios in which Atlanta's taking the ball out of the basket and trying to start their offense against a Pacers team set in the half court, then no matter how many punches Lance and his pals promise to throw, Indiana could once again find themselves taking it on the chin. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Chicago and Indiana are fighting for their playoff lives in Game 2 (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:09:28 PDT)
The Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls entered 2013-14 as championship contenders. At various points during the autumn and winter they were the darlings of the NBA. Both teams began the postseason with aspirations to knock off the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. They boast the two best defenses in the NBA, and they’re working against two limited teams in Atlanta and Washington that few gave a nod to as first-round victors. On Tuesday, both Indiana and Chicago will be fighting to save their seasons. Even in a best-of-seven series, it’s astonishing what one misspent game will cost you. Atlanta demolished Indiana in Game 1, while Washington took out the X-acto knife to take apart Chicago. Both lower-seeded teams took each contest on the road, and neither victory came off as a fluke. This is why many see Tuesday night’s Game 2s as coin flips of sorts, with Atlanta having decided matchup advantages against Indiana, and Washington somehow aping Chicago’s defensive intensity and inside-out scoring routine. Should the coin land on the road team’s side again in Game 2, Chicago and Indiana – one-time championship contenders – will be facing 0-2 deficits with three out of the next potential five games to be played on the road. That’s about as swift as things sometimes come in this league, in many ways (both fair and unfair) similar to the way the NCAA’s March Madness works. The Eastern Conference was once thought of as a top-heavy mess, but apparently Western-styled parity has crept over to the Midwest as well. Nobody should ever confuse a Hawks-Pacers game with a Mavericks-Spurs series or a Chicago-Washington pairing with a Rockets-Trail Blazers duel, but the proof is in the 0-1’ing. Chicago hasn’t been a championship contender since Derrick Rose tore his meniscus in November, but still managed a 39-18 end to its season, relying on stout defense and crisp ball movement along the way. Washington expertly matched both of those stylistic ends on Sunday evening, though, while mostly denying Chicago the ability to run the offense through Joakim Noah, and taking away Noah’s passing lanes even when he was allowed a high-elbow look. The Wizards pummeled Chicago inside and took advantage of the Bulls’ obsession with guarding the corner 3-pointer, always making the extra pass along the way. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had plenty to chew on while watching tape of his team’s Game 1 loss, but he always has something to chew on. That’s not the point. The point, as always, is whether or not Chicago has the horses to compete with a talented-yet-inconsistent group of Washington Wizards. The Wizards, unlike these Bulls, may take nights off as they dot through the regular season, but they’re also 3-1 against Chicago this season, including Game 1. They match up well, and they have the athleticism and skill to topple the Bulls even at Chicago’s most mindful. Even with John Wall and Bradley Beal combining to shoot 7 for 25, as was the case on Sunday. Matchups are also a grave concern to Indiana, which had to watch as formerly all-world center Roy Hibbert looked like a man out of time on Saturday. Hibbert did well to defend Paul Millsap in the first half, and he scored on a couple of pointed good looks during garbage time in Game 1, but by and large his performance had many wondering if Indiana should sit its two-time All-Star center. Toss in the Pacers’ inability to house Indianapolis native Jeff Teague and solid work off the pine from Elton Brand, and you have a 101-93 Hawks win with a score that doesn’t represent how one-sided the game truly was. There has long been concern that both teams have been punching above their own weight. Since Thibodeau took over in 2010, the Bulls have made an art out of squeezing every drop out of the regular season, standing up to all challenges and rarely falling victim to the various pratfalls that an 82- or 66-game season reveals. The Pacers were notoriously wishy-washy about their 2013-14 regular season turn, pairing a 46-13 start with a 10-13 finish to things, so they can’t claim to perform as well as Chicago does in that term – but as the Bulls have done twice in LeBron James’ time in Miami, Indiana did manage to keep the Heat from earning the East’s top seed. With the postseason comes a respite from a new-team-every-night schedule, which is beneficial to teams both great and mediocre. The Hawks and Wizards are truly mediocre, but mediocre doesn’t mean “bad,” and mediocre paired with good planning and crisp execution can lead to at least a competitive series and at worst an upset win over a favored, supposedly superior basketball club. The Bulls and Pacers will have a life after Game 2, win or lose. They’ll also have to execute their way toward making that a better life, and making a distinction between that “competitive series, or upset?” outcome. We’re not even a week away from May for two teams that wanted to play until June, and already things are on the line. A frightening situation for two teams that expected so much more from themselves last October. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

Tuesday playoff previews: Pacers, Raptors, Bulls need wins or can start making tee times (NBC Sports)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 05:00:08 PDT)
Bulls, Pacers, Raptors don't want to drop both home games to start playoffs.

Mike Scott, Hawks defeat Bucks, 111-103 (Automated Insights)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 23:21:44 PDT)
The Atlanta Hawks had a strong shooting performance in this game, finishing 41-76 (53.9%), in a 111-103 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Atlanta (38-44) has now won seven of their last 10 games.

The 10-man rotation, starring why Ty Corbin lost his job as Utah's head coach, and why he didn't (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:00:33 PDT)
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Salt City Hoops . Following Monday's announcement that the Utah Jazz will not bring back Tyrone Corbin as their head coach, Dan Clayton dispels some of the criticisms of Corbin's job performance, highlights some valid criticisms of his tenure, and offers his perspective on why general manager Dennis Lindsey ultimately decided that the organization needed to go in another direction: "Corbin did a lot of things well and some things badly, but at the end of the day, he didn’t create a culture." PF : Salt Lake Tribune . Aaron Falk's discussion with Lindsey about the many questions facing Utah this summer ran before the final decision on Corbin was announced, but it still provides a good summertime agenda-setter for a Jazz team with young talent and cap space to burn, but some interesting decisions to make moving forward. SF : In Street Clothes . Jeff Stotts explains what exactly Al Jefferson's plantar fascia injury — the "pop" he felt in his left foot during the Charlotte Bobcats' Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday — means from a medical perspective, and what it could mean for Jefferson on the court as he tries to tough it out and suit up for Game 2 on Wednesday . SG : Heat.com . Couper Moorhead shows how the Heat were able to coax the Bobcats — the league's most secure team with the basketball during the regular season — into 15 turnovers that led to 20 Miami points. PG : Hang Time . Good stuff from John Schuhmann in illustrating how DeMar DeRozan's step-slow decision-making led to missed opportunities that hurt the Toronto Raptors' offense in their Game 1 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. 6th : Raptors Republic . And on the other side of the court, Blake Murphy details how Nets swingman Joe Johnson roasted the Raps to the tune of 24 points on 8 for 13 shooting to help Brooklyn seize home-court advantage. 7th : Grizzly Bear Blues . Andrew Ford offers a nice look at what went right and wrong for the Memphis Grizzlies' offense in their Game 1 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night , and how they might be able to get more of the former in Game 2 on Tuesday . 8th : Bullets Forever . Good stuff from Umair Khan on how Nene was able to carve up the Chicago Bulls' defense on Sunday and lead the Washington Wizards to a big Game 1 road win at United Center. 9th : 8 Points, 9 Seconds and SB Nation . Tim Sartori on what the hell happened to the Indiana Pacers in the third quarter of their Game 1 loss on Saturday, and Mike Prada on how the Atlanta Hawks' offense could keep making the Pacers' defense melt down. 10th : The Triangle . Zach Lowe's post-mortem on the Mike Woodson era lays bare just how bad the Knicks were defensively in each of his two full seasons at the helm. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Hawks-Pacers Preview (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 14:59:33 PDT)
Indiana's next game is the most important of the season. If the top-seeded Pacers can't protect their home court Tuesday night, they'll be down 2-0 heading to Atlanta - where they have only won twice since December 2006. The Pacers have been in a late-season swoon, with a perception that they're soft. Since March 1, the Pacers are 12-14 and the league's stingiest defense has been nothing short of ordinary, numbers that have increased the speculation about everything from psychological problems and team chemistry to what players are doing outside basketball.

Knicks fire coach Mike Woodson (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 14:24:39 PDT)
Mike Woodson had the Knicks on top of their division and in the second round of the playoffs, destinations that had become unreachable and practically unimaginable in New York. Phil Jackson fired Woodson and the entire coaching staff on Monday, making his first big move since becoming team president in March and saying in a statement that ''the time has come for change throughout the franchise.'' The dismissal comes shortly after the Knicks completed a 37-45 season that began with their belief they were a serious contender. It was a stunningly swift fall for Woodson, whose .580 winning percentage with the Knicks ranks behind only Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, and who finished third in the NBA's Coach of the Year voting after going 54-28 last season. He and the staff were informed of the decision Monday morning by Jackson, the man the Knicks originally wanted to replace Woodson as coach but preferred to run the team's front office.

Mike Woodson's firing ends one strange, tumultuous era for the Knicks, and begins another (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:07:30 PDT)
The New York Knicks fired head coach Mike Woodson on Monday, five days after the end of a tumultuous, disappointing season that saw the Knicks freefall from Atlantic Division champions to an also-ran unable to reach the postseason in the worst Eastern Conference in recent memory. It was the right thing to do, and yet it might solve nothing; such is the state of the New York Knicks at the end of the 2013-14 NBA season. After an early Monday meeting , new Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson announced that Woodson and his entire coaching staff had been "relieved of their duties, effective immediately." "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Woodson and his entire staff," Jackson said in a team statement . "The coaches and players on this team had an extremely difficult 2013-14 season, and blame should not be put on one individual. But the time has come for change throughout the franchise as we start the journey to assess and build this team for next season and beyond." Turner Sports announcer Steve Kerr — who formerly served as the general manager of the Phoenix Suns, played for Jackson for five years with the Chicago Bulls and knows the triangle offense that Jackson ran during his coaching career — is rumored to be the Zen Master's pick  to take the Knicks' reins . Reports circulated last week that Kerr expected to be offered the job should it become available and would accept it . Kerr refused to comment on the Knicks' coaching situation on Sunday. Woodson exits New York having compiled a 109-79 record in parts of three seasons, leading the Knicks to two playoff berths and the franchise's best season in more than a dozen years. But he was also the public face of an excruciating 2013-14 season in which virtually everything that could have gone wrong did, and often in spectacular fashion. Woodson joined the Knicks in August 2011, one year following his firing after six years as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. He was brought in to serve as an assistant coach, and something of a defensive coordinator, on the staff of Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni prior to the 2011-12 season. D'Antoni resigned (under dubious circumstances ) 42 games into that lockout-shortened campaign amid reported clashes with star forward Carmelo Anthony that helped quell  Linsanity and short-circuit the most exciting era in recent Knicks memory. The spark that had made an expensive collection of mismatched parts into something exciting was gone, and the Knicks were once again a squad that seemed to be going nowhere. Woodson got them going somewhere. Upon being elevated from assistant to interim head coach, Woodson turned to his wing-isolation-loving Atlanta roots and turned the Knicks' offense back over to Anthony on the bully block. He largely eschewed the pick-and-roll prowess of Lin, who was later sidelined by a knee injury, in favor of the (kind of) caretaker point-guard tandem of Baron Davis and Mike Bibby. The mix, along with renewed buy-in from the boys in blue and orange, led to an 18-6 finish to the 2011-12 regular season that got the Knicks into the playoffs. They were smoked in the first round by the Miami Heat, but they did score a win over the eventual NBA champions, the franchise's first postseason victory since 2001. On the strength of that finish, Woodson received a multi-year contract extension and a chance to run the Knicks for a full season with a full offseason and training camp. The next season, Woodson — his hand forced by a preseason knee injury to oft-ailing star Amar'e Stoudemire — slotted Anthony at power forward alongside reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler, shooting guard/small forward Iman Shumpert, and the two-point-guard backcourt of offseason additions Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd. As Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting has written , this was a move Woodson likely never wanted to make and with which he likely never felt  comfortable ... but it worked.

Knicks fire coaching staff after 'difficult' season
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 10:42:56 PDT)
The New York Knicks fired head coach Mike Woodson on Monday as new president Phil Jackson made the first big move to put his stamp on the National Basketball Association team. Jackson, hired last month to turn around the struggling franchise, said in a statement that the entire coaching staff had been relieved of their duties. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Woodson and his entire staff," said Jackson, who won a record 11 NBA titles as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers in the previous two decades. "But the time has come for change throughout the franchise as we start the journey to assess and build this team for next season and beyond." Despite a late surge in which the Knicks won 16 of their last 21 games, New York finished the season with a 37-45 record and missed the playoffs by one game after winning the division title last year and reaching the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Paul George ‘would love to’ guard Jeff Teague (NBC Sports)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 06:47:41 PDT)
Hawks point guard scored 28 points in Game 1 upset of Pacers

Powell grateful to be with Rockets (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 16:57:19 PDT)
At what point in his last couple of months, did recently signed Rockets forward Josh Powell even consider he might be back in the NBA and in the playoffs? It wasn't even in my thought process," Powell said Sunday morning, hours before he and the Rockets host Portland to begin their 2014 postseason. Powell signed with the Rockets with just one game remaining in the season. He had come straight from the Philippines where he playing professionally after being waived by the New York Knicks after training camp just before the NBA regular season began.

Pacers seeking solution for Hawks 3-point shooters (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 15:16:18 PDT)
Atlanta's spread offense is forcing the Pacers to scramble. All-Star Paul George acknowledged he's likely to spend at least some time defending Hawks point guard Jeff Teague on Tuesday night, though it remains unclear how long he'll keep that assignment in Game 2 or whether the plan could change again before tip-off. What is clear: Indiana must slow down Teague, a challenge George has already embraced. ''I would love to, just to change it up a little bit and give him a different look,'' George said after the Pacers practiced Sunday.

Hibbert says he’s the “weak link on defense,” hopes for better Game 2 (NBC Sports)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 09:30:24 PDT)
Roy Hibbert owned up to a poor Game 1. Will he do anything about it in Game 2 is the question.

Hawks take 1-0 lead by rolling past Pacers 101-93 (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 03:24:08 PDT)
Atlanta's Jeff Teague demolished the Pacers' grand playoff plan. The Pacers didn't have an answer. Teague scored a playoff career-high 28 points, Paul Millsap added 25 and the eighth-seeded Hawks won their first road playoff game in three years, shocking top-seeded Indiana 101-93 to take a 1-0 lead in the first-round series. Or it could be that Teague remembers the frustration Indiana caused when it clinched last year's 4-2 first-round win on Atlanta's home court.

NBA-Highlights of Saturday's NBA playoff games
(Sat, 19 Apr 2014 21:59:14 PDT)
(Adds late game) April 19 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Saturday's National Basketball Association playoff games: - - - Warriors 109, Clippers 105 Guard Klay Thompson scored 22 points and forward David Lee added 20 points and 13 rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors surprised the Los Angeles Clippers in the opening round of the Western Conference quarter-finals. Guard Stephen Curry and forward Harrison Barnes had 14 apiece as the Warriors grabbed a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Warriors prevailed despite blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. ...

Hawks stun Pacers in Indy, 101-93 (The SportsXchange)
(Sat, 19 Apr 2014 20:12:36 PDT)
Atlanta center Pero Antic stood face to face with Indiana forward David West after Antic had hit West from behind. I just stand there," Antic said. Whatever that moment meant, the bottom-seeded Atlanta Hawks used it to energize a 101-93 win over the No. 1 seed in the opening game of their best-of-seven first-round NBA playoff series Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Following double technical fouls and a layup by West, the Hawks scored 14 consecutive points to take charge of a game that they eventually led by 20 points.

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