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Griffin's triple-double lifts Clippers over Rockets 117-101 (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 04 May 2015 21:38:57 PDT)
Blake Griffin had 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists for his second straight triple-double to lift the Chris Paul-less Los Angeles Clippers to a 117-101 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. Houston scored five straight points to cut the lead to one with about 7 1/2 minutes left. Matt Barnes got the Clippers going after that, making two 3-pointers in a 12-0 run that made it 101-88 3 minutes later, and the Clippers coasted to the victory.

Clippers' Paul misses game one
(Mon, 04 May 2015 19:36:41 PDT)
Los Angeles Clippers game seven hero Chris Paul missed the opening contest of their Western Conference semi-finals series on Monday with a sore hamstring. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers ruled Paul out of game one of the second round NBA series against the Houston Rockets. The all-star point guard battled through the injury in game seven against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday and banked in the game-winning shot over San Antonio's Tim Duncan.

Clippers' Paul's hamstring keeps him out against Houston (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 04 May 2015 19:00:02 PDT)
Chris Paul will not play for the Los Angeles Clippers against the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal Monday night because of a strained left hamstring Paul was injured Saturday night in Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs but returned to hit the game-winning shot. Coach Doc Rivers says the All-Star point guard could have played if it were an elimination game, but that it wasn't worth the risk for Game 1.

Chris Paul out for Rockets-Clippers Game 1 with strained left hamstring (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 04 May 2015 17:19:58 PDT)
Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul will not play in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets on Monday night, Clippers coach Doc Rivers announced during his pre-game media availability about an hour and a half before tipoff. Paul suffered a strained left hamstring during the first quarter of Game 7 in the Clippers' first-round matchup with the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night: Paul returned midway through the second quarter and put on an absolutely brilliant performance, scoring 27 points with six assists, two steals and two rebounds, and making a game-winning, series-clinching runner over the outstretched arm of Tim Duncan to seal a 111-109 win that eliminated San Antonio and moved the Clippers on to a second-round matchup with the second-seeded Rockets. Paul joked after the game that he would "be living with" the Clippers' training staff between the final buzzer Saturday and Monday night's tipoff in Houston, but evidently, his hamstring hasn't progressed enough for Rivers to feel comfortable plugging him back into the lineup on such short rest: Chris Paul is not playing, per Doc Rivers "I just don't think he's healthy enough to play," Rivers said — Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) May 5, 2015 "I don't think the risk is worth it. ...They were going to have change my mind." - Doc Rivers — Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) May 5, 2015 Doc Rivers said Chris Paul would play if it was Game 7 but he wanted to be more cautious with the short turnaround for Game 1. — Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 5, 2015 Rivers did say he expects Paul to play in this series, and perhaps as early as Wednesday's Game 2 . But he won't go on Monday, dealing a major blow to an already-thin Clippers squad that would love to steal one of the first two games in Texas to gain home-court advantage in the series. Rivers said he had yet to decide on who will start in Paul's stead. His son, backup guard Austin Rivers, could be one likely choice, allowing the Clips to continue bringing top reserve Jamal Crawford off the bench in the sixth-man role in which he has thrived in recent years. Austin Rivers averaged 5.4 points, 1.1 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 14.1 minutes per game in Round 1, shooting 41 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from 3-point range, and came through with a huge performance — 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting — in a Game 4 win in San Antonio that kept the Clippers season alive. - - - - - - - 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 Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

BDL's 2014-15 NBA Playoff Previews: Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 04 May 2015 11:32:11 PDT)
How They Got Here • Houston : What looked like a tough battle between in-state rivals ended up as a Rockets rout. The Dallas Mavericks gave the West's No. 2 seed little of a fight in the first round, winning a sole game well after Houston's advancement to the next round took on the air of inevitability. That pivotal moment happened some time during Game 2 , when Rajon Rondo essentially chose to end his brief tenure as Mavs point guard and Josh Smith and Dwight Howard teamed up for roughly six dozen alley-oops as the Rockets grabbed the most convincing 12-point win in recent memory. The eventual Game 5 clincher completed an impressive series victory for the Rockets, who proved themselves to be much more than the sum of a bunch of James Harden free throws. The presumptive MVP runner-up showed well with 28.4 ppg on 46.5 percent shooting for the series, but these five games were defined by much more, including an apparent return to form for Howard and strong performances for role players like Smith and Corey Brewer. The only problem with it was that the Mavericks couldn't defend the Rockets even before their Game 2 implosion and looked overmatched. Houston did their job, but they'll face a sterner test in the conference semis. • Los Angeles : How does one sum up the Clippers' seven-game survival of the defending champion San Antonio Spurs? Billed as the most competitive series of the first round , in actuality it was one of the most thrilling, tight, and just plain good basketball series any of us are ever likely to see. Both the Clippers and Spurs played at a championship level (in this context, at least), with both teams and numerous players stepping up to make game-changing plays at both ends. Perhaps most crucially, those who ever doubted the Clippers' resilience and resolve likely see things differently now. Doc Rivers's team bounced back from a blowout loss in Game 3 and game-deciding miscues late in Games 2 and 5 to take the series via terrific showings in the final two games. Game 7 will deservedly get most of the attention when basketball fans look back on this series — it was a true classic capped by Chris Paul's incredible last-second winner after playing the bulk of the game on one leg. The series was so utterly titanic that it's difficult to understand that the Clippers still have three series to go if they want to claim the franchise's first title. It's fair to wonder if the Spurs took too much out of them, particularly now that Paul's overall health and availability are in question. Nevertheless, this team proved itself plenty capable of hanging with the elite. Blake Griffin played the best all-around ball of his career, DeAndre Jordan changed the game at both ends (sometimes not always for the best, via his free throw shooting), and role players stepped up in key spots. The Clippers certainly looked like a team that can play deep into the spring — they'll just have to beat another really good team in this round before they achieve those goals. Head to Head The Clippers and Rocket split their season series, although none of the meetings feel especially representative of what we're likely to see in this series. L.A. took the first on November 28 at Houston by 17 points as Harden attempted an uncharacteristically low 12 field goals and six free throws on his way to 16 points. Griffin dominated with 30 and 10, but he missed the next matchup on February 11 due to a staph infection in his right elbow. No matter — the Clippers won 110-95 as DeAndre Jordan was hacked into 26 free throw attempts. That was another weird game for Harden, who scored nine points on 12 shots. Harden fared better when they met two weeks later for a 110-105 home Rockets win, but he still shot only 4-of-13 from the field for his 21 points. Griffin missed that one, too, although he returned from his injury for the fourth and final contest on March 15 at Staples Center. He was understandably limited and tentative and didn't play much of a role in the Rockets' 100-98 win. Harden was his usual self with 34 points on 17-of-18 from the line. The common denominator between all these games is that Dwight Howard played in none of them due to his persistent knee issue. On the other hand, the Rockets had to face Griffin at his best just once, and he happened to put forth the game-deciding performance. If the 2-2 series means anything, it's symbolic. Until we see all the best players on the court at the same time, it's probably best to consider these teams evenly matched. -- Eric Freeman . Likely Starting Lineups Injuries forced Kevin McHale to juggle quite a bit, with Trevor Ariza acting as the lone constant in Houston's 18 starting fives . After losing Patrick Beverley and Donatas Motiejunas just before the playoffs, McHale has turned to veteran Jason Terry alongside Harden in the backcourt and third-year man Terrence Jones, a former starter who missed 49 games due to injury , next to Howard and Ariza. That five-man unit didn't see much regular-season run, but it performed well, outscoring opponents by 25 points in 85 total minutes over 10 appearances. It decimated the Mavericks in Round 1, walloping Dallas by 42 points in 64 total minutes in Houston's five-game victory. Harden runs the show, dominating by slithering to the rim, drawing fouls in bunches and creating open looks for others; he averaged 28.4 points and 7.8 assists against Dallas and it felt almost perfunctory. Another Houston storyline — Howard looking healthy and explosive, soaring for swats and alley-oops while averaging 16.6 points, 13.8 rebounds and three blocks per game — drew much more attention. Howard was a legitimate deterrent, locking down the lane and making the Mavs reconsider their shots. In Howard's minutes, 26.5 percent of Dallas' attempts came inside the restricted area; when he sat, that rose to 36.4 percent. When he played, 28.2 percent of the Mavericks' shots came from midrange; when he sat, that fell to 18.5 percent. In other words, his mere presence shifted 10 percent of Dallas' shots away from the rim. A full-force Dwight makes opponents think twice, and opponents that think twice can make mistakes, playing into the hands of a Houston attack that finished third in the NBA in points off turnovers this season.

Paul questionable as Clippers and Rockets begin series (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 04 May 2015 10:52:13 PDT)
HOUSTON (AP) -- - When the Houston Rockets open their second-round Western Conference playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, it will have been six days since they last played. The Clippers are in a much different situation after clawing their way out of the first round with a gritty performance in downing the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 on Saturday night. ''It's been good to have our rest - (Monday's) going to be a big game for us, especially with our energy,'' Houston's James Harden said. So we just have to do a really good job of coming out here with energy, making sure we're playing well on both ends of the floor.'' The Rockets are in the Western Conference semifinals for the first time since 2009 and 13th overall.

Warriors' Curry named 2014-15 Most Valuable Player
(Mon, 04 May 2015 10:35:11 PDT)
Golden State Warriors star guard Stephen Curry on Monday was named the NBA Most Valuable Player for the 2014-15 season. Curry -- who set a single season record for three-pointers made -- earned 1,198 points in balloting for the award, including 100 of 130 first-place votes, the National Basketball Association said in a statement. James Harden of the Houston Rockets finished second in the voting with 936 points. Four-time MVP LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers was third (552 points), followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (352 points) and Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.

NBA-Warriors' Curry wins NBA's Most Valuable Player award
(Mon, 04 May 2015 09:44:48 PDT)
(Reuters) - Sharpshooting guard Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who set a single-season record for three-pointers made, won the NBA Most Valuable Player award for the 2014-15 campaign, the league said on Monday. Curry led the National Basketball Association's top regular season team in scoring, assists and steals, becoming the second Warriors player to take the honor, joining Wilt Chamberlain, who won it in 1959-60 when the franchise played in Philadelphia. ...

Warriors' Stephen Curry named 2014-15 NBA MVP (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 04 May 2015 08:58:49 PDT)
Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry was officially announced as the 2014-15 NBA Most Valuable Player on Monday morning . The news was first broken on Sunday night  by Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com and later confirmed by Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears. Curry received 1,198 total points in the voting and received 100 first-place votes out of 130 ballots. Houston's James Harden (936 points, 25 first-place votes), Cleveland's LeBron James (552 points, five first-place), Oklahoma City's Russell Westrbrook (352 points) and New Orleans' Anthony Davis (203) rounded out the top five. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:   The best slams from all of basketball] Poole first reported the news following the Warriors' comfortable victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Curry had been anxiously awaiting news of the award. A week ago, he told Yahoo's Marc Spears that he got nervous after receiving a call on his phone that said it was from "NBA." It was actually NBA vice president Rod Thorn asking what the referees told him after he was fouled on a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation during Game 3 of the Warriors' first-round series against the New Orleans Pelicans. Curry worked his way into the NBA conversation early as the Warriors established themselves as the best team of the regular season. He was the top player on a roster that won a franchise-record 67 games, averaging 23.8 ppg (48.7 percent from the field, 44.3 percent from deep) and 7.7 apg while breaking his own 2-year-old record for 3-pointers made in a single season. Curry also improved his previously poor defense and played with plenty of style to make himself the most consistently fun superstar in the NBA. Harden led a number of challengers for the award, including Oklahoma City Thunder dynamo Russell Westbrook (whose candidacy died as soon as his team missed out on the playoffs), New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, and some guy on the Cleveland Cavaliers named LeBron James. Harden's candidacy depended on his brutally efficient scoring and role as the offensive linchpin for a Rockets squad that lost Dwight Howard for several months due to knee soreness. He would have been a perfectly acceptable winner of the award, but Curry had the credentials and broad popularity to become the clear frontrunner. He then won even more support with several fantastic performances after the Warriors had already clinched the West's No. 1 seed. Curry also has a strong argument for his level of importance to the Warriors relative to that of other players, because first-year head coach Steve Kerr reformulated the team's elite offense around his skills when he took over last summer. Wilt Chamberlain is the only player in Warriors history to win MVP, but he did so in 1959-60 when the franchise was located in Philadelphia. - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric Related Video:

Clippers-Rockets Playoff Capsule (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 04 May 2015 06:30:56 PDT)
No. 2 HOUSTON ROCKETS (56-26, 4-1) VS. No. 3 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (56-26, 4-3)

AP Source: Warriors star Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 03 May 2015 20:46:53 PDT)
Stephen Curry has another label now: NBA MVP. The Golden State point guard has won the league's most coveted individual award, a person familiar with the decision said Sunday. An official announcement and news conference are expected Monday, and Curry will be presented with the award on the court before Game 2 of the Warriors' Western Conference semifinal series against Memphis on Tuesday night. Curry had 22 points and seven assists in Golden State's 101-86 victory over the Grizzlies on Sunday.

Clippers have 2 days rest before facing Rockets in 2nd round (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 03 May 2015 01:28:28 PDT)
The Los Angeles Clippers have less than two days to enjoy their wildly entertaining first-round series victory over the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. Chris Paul, who willed himself back from an early hamstring injury, banked in a shot over Spurs iron man Tim Duncan with a second left to lift the Clippers to a 111-109 victory in Game 7 on Saturday night that eliminated San Antonio. The Clippers, who faltered at home in Games 2 and 5, move on to face the Rockets starting Monday night in Houston. ''As soon as this settles tonight, we'll start thinking about that,'' Blake Griffin said.

Last-gasp Clippers send Spurs packing
(Sun, 03 May 2015 00:30:05 PDT)
Chris Paul scored an acrobatic basket with one second remaining as the Los Angeles Clippers stunned reigning champions the San Antonio Spurs 111-109 to advance to the next round of the NBA playoffs. Paul's moment of magic at the Staples Center sealed a 4-3 series win for the Clippers who completed a fight back from 3-2 down earlier in the week to extend their postseason. The dramatic final twist came after Spurs veteran Tim Duncan had levelled with free throws with just 8.8 seconds left. Paul gathered the ball in the half court, and eluded Danny Green before leaning away from Duncan to flick the ball in over both defenders to give the Clippers a sensational victory.

Why Chris Paul was so emotional after knocking off Spurs with memorable one-legged shot (Yahoo Sports)
(Sat, 02 May 2015 23:58:51 PDT)
Chris Paul shook off a hamstring injury to take down the defending NBA champions, his longtime personal nemesis.

CP3's game-winning, series-ending shot pushes Clips past Spurs in Game 7 classic (Ball Don't Lie)
(Sat, 02 May 2015 23:19:26 PDT)
It almost seemed impossible to imagine Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs actually living up to the hype. I mean, how do you write an ending worthy of six games that featured so much drama, such intensity and so much excellent play by both sides? Forty-eight minutes, 31 lead changes, 16 ties and one unforgettable performance later, I think it's safe to say we found a fitting conclusion. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] The Clippers beat the Spurs, 111-109 , at Staples Center on Saturday, with point guard Chris Paul hitting an absurdly tough game-winning runner over the outstretched arm of the great Tim Duncan with one second remaining: Paul made that drive, and that shot, on one leg. Hell, he played the last three quarters on one leg, after pulling up lame late in the first quarter with what the Clippers would call a strained left hamstring . After he left the game and headed to the locker room with a member of the team's training staff, the Clippers listed Paul as questionable to return. But this was Game 7. Paul missed just over seven minutes of game time, checking back in at the 6:27 mark of the second quarter. He couldn't play with his typical pace; at times, he looked like he could barely jog. But he still completely controlled the game, right up to and including that series-deciding leaner. After Paul's shot, San Antonio had a chance to respond with one second left. As the Spurs came out of their timeout, though, the clock operator at Staples Center started the game clock early, running off the final second as San Antonio prepared to trigger its inbounds — essentially giving the Clippers a free look at what Gregg Popovich had drawn up in the huddle. A furious Pop stomped his way to the scorer's table to register his displeasure. So, too, did Spurs owner Peter Holt, who chucked some choice words at the quick-trigger-fingered clock operator. Without a timeout remaining to reset, the Spurs just started over. Matt Barnes knocked away a lob pass intended for Kawhi Leonard, providing a somewhat bizarre finish to an amazing game headlined by Paul's all-time effort. The eight-time All-Star scored 22 of his 27 points after his return from injury, making seven of his 10 shots from the field. When he got the ball in the backcourt, he kept throwing hit-ahead passes to try to propel his teammates forward, pushing tempo by passing since he couldn't do it off the dribble. He looked often to Blake Griffin, L.A.'s playmaking power forward, who had experienced ecstasy , agony and exhaustion in this series, playing frantically and frenetically for 41 minutes a night ... and of whom, with Paul encumbered, the Clippers would need to ask even more. "I kept telling BG when I did whatever to my hamstring to just bring us home," Paul told TNT's Jamie Maggio after the game. Griffin responded, scoring 24 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing 10 assists — with 18 of the points, all of the rebounds and nine of the assists coming after Paul's injury — to log his second triple-double of the series and the sixth of his career. He was the Clippers' primary offensive initiator with Paul hobbled, and their primary interior defender late, after coach Doc Rivers pulled DeAndre Jordan from the game midway through the fourth to match San Antonio by going small. Griffin promptly met a driving Leonard at the rim to force a missed layup before collecting the ball, pushing it up the court and feeding J.J. Redick for a 3. If Blake doesn't stop the Kawhi layup, San Antonio's up five with five minutes to play. Instead, it was a tie ballgame, 97-all. With Griffin making plays all over the floor, Paul was able to limit his scope. In the half-court, he spent much more time than usual working off the ball on the perimeter, acting as a spot-up shooter and drilling all four of his 3-point tries after his injury. Watching those hit-ahead passes, those lock-and-load triples and those cautious moments on the ball, especially after seeming to reaggravate the hamstring midway through the third , you got the sense that Paul was pacing himself, that he was preserving what little of his burst remained for the moments when it was absolutely necessary. With 8.8 seconds left and the score knotted at 109 after a pair of Duncan free throws, it was absolutely necessary.

Paul lifts Clippers past Spurs, 111-109 in Game 7 (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 02 May 2015 21:27:23 PDT)
It figured that the most entertaining first-round series in the NBA playoffs would come down to a play involving Chris Paul and Tim Duncan. Paul, who willed himself back from an early hamstring injury, banked in a shot over Duncan with a second left to lift the Los Angeles Clippers to a wild 111-109 victory in Game 7 on Saturday night that eliminated the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs from the playoffs. After Duncan made two free throws to tie it with 8.8 seconds left, Paul drove the right side. He originally was covered by Danny Green before Duncan came over to help.

Chris Paul Ends Epic Series (Rotoworld)
(Sat, 02 May 2015 21:19:00 PDT)
Chris Paul is a real American hero. Mike Gallagher also previews some Sunday action.

Clippers send Spurs packing with Game Seven win
(Sat, 02 May 2015 20:24:06 PDT)
(The Sports Xchange) - Chris Paul scored the winning basket with a second left as the Los Angeles Clippers beat San Antonio 111-109 in Game Seven to send the Spurs crashing out of their Western Conference first-round playoff series. Paul, who strained his left hamstring in the first quarter, scored over Spurs forward Tim Duncan to seal the win and finished with 27 points as the Clippers advanced to the conference semi-finals against the Houston Rockets. Clippers forward Blake Griffin added 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double of the series.

NBA-Clippers send Spurs packing with Game Seven win
(Sat, 02 May 2015 20:19:05 PDT)
Chris Paul scored the winning basket with a second left as the Los Angeles Clippers beat San Antonio 111-109 in Game Seven to send the Spurs crashing out of their Western Conference first-round playoff series. Paul, who strained his left hamstring in the first quarter, scored over Spurs forward Tim Duncan to seal the win and finished with 27 points as the Clippers advanced to the conference semi-finals against the Houston Rockets. Clippers forward Blake Griffin added 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double of the series.

The Portland Trail Blazers? Gone till November. (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 01 May 2015 17:13:22 PDT)
The Portland Trail Blazers are about to enter a chaotic, potentially torturous and franchise-altering postseason. None of this was ever supposed to happen. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] Most factored the Blazers to be just a slight skip below the litany of Western championship contenders entering 2014-15, but nobody would have been shocked had the team taken three series’ on its way toward its first Finals berth in 23 years. Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge took turns dominating the Houston Rockets in a first round win last year, and the team’s ever-expanded supporting cast appeared to have enough to keep Portland in the thick of it while slogging through an 82-game turn. The facts check out – another Northwest Division win, a fourth seed because of that win, the sixth-best record in the West and All-Star appearances for both Aldridge and Lillard. Nobody could have guessed that heart and soul swingman Wes Matthews would tear his Achilles midseason, though, or that Aldridge would gut through almost half the season with a painful left hand injury. Or that Lillard would struggle mightily coming out of the All-Star break, or that replacement swingman Arron Afflalo would battle injury and shooting woes down the stretch. Nobody could have guessed, as April turns to May and the Blazers are out of the first round again at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies, that Aldridge would be giving every possibly hint that he plans to make an exit after “ a great nine years here .” LaMarcus hasn’t ruled out re-signing with Portland in the offseason, as the Blazers still have the best chance to sign LMA, but his open change of tone is in stark contrast to what he was telling reporters about his future in PDX prior to the season. Should Blazer fans be worried about this? It’s hard to say – Aldridge also said several times during goodbye interviews on Thursday that he hopes to continue his relationship with the team and city, he praised general manager Neil Olshey, and the Blazers have the upper hand in several areas. They can pay him more money over a longer deal, he can eventually retire as “ the greatest Blazer ever ” as he mentioned wanting to do last summer, and the two sides can agree to a deal with alacrity on July 1, something that is right up LMA’s alley : "I'm definitely not one to prolong things or drag it out,'' Aldridge said. "That's not really my personality." New York and Los Angeles will likely send offers Aldridge’s way that will be laughed out of office. What are worth considering are potential offers from Dallas and San Antonio. Dallas’ would come after they get a feel for Aldridge’s interests and following Monta Ellis’ decision on whether or not to opt into the final year of his contract. San Antonio’s, sadly, would come after Tim Duncan makes a decision on retirement. Those are string-along decisions that fly in the face of Aldridge’s insistence on ending the free agent turn quickly, although even LaMarcus somewhat contradicted himself by (completely understandably) pointing out that he’d “ be lying if I said I didn't want to be wanted .” Aldridge isn’t alone on the free agent front. Portland will have to make a tough and potential cruel decision in what it offers to Matthews. Wesley is beloved in the locker room and Achilles tears are by no means career killers, but his game will not be the same upon return, and he’s going to need a significant portion of 2015-16 to get his groove back. A two-year deal with a player option to opt into the wild free agent summer of 2016 would seem to make sense. The team has to sign Lillard to a contract extension as soon as the rules allow on July 1. Lillard had a terrible defensive year at times but he remains a top-flight offensive point guard and you just can’t tussle with that in the modern NBA. Backup Steve Blake has a player option to decide whether or not he wants to become a Blazer for the 492nd time. Robin Lopez, an unrestricted free agent, will be chased by several teams looking for a 7-footer that can walk and chew gum at the same time and Robin can do that sometimes. Arron Afflalo, weirdly, could opt out of the last year and $7.7 million of his contract , giving the Blazers even more room to play. What’s worrying is if everyone comes back at expected rates. Aldridge turns 30 in the summer and has a game that figures to age well, and it would be nice to give this crew another shot, but with an approximation of Matthews at the off guard spot – is this a championship team? Before his thumb injury LaMarcus was once again working as one of the league’s more unheralded superstars, but could Terry Stotts somehow find a way to work together four rounds of magic as his soulmate (and boss at the time) Rick Carlisle did with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011? They’ll have to get there with an intact roster, first. That could be all shot to hell by the time the fireworks go up on July 4. - - - - - - - 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

NBA-National Basketball Association roundup
(Fri, 01 May 2015 16:34:24 PDT)
Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons underwent arthroscopic surgery Friday to address a cartilage injury to his right knee. The 6-foot-10, 230-pound Parsons played in 66 games (all starts) in his first season with the Mavericks and averaged 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 33.1 minutes per game. He returned for Game One of Dallas' first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets but sat out Game Two and then was shut down for the rest of the postseason. The Rockets won the best-of-seven series 4-1.

The 10-man rotation, starring Jason Collins, what's changed and what hasn't (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 30 Apr 2015 09:21:25 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 : Outsports . Jim Buzinski on the two-year anniversary of Jason Collins — now a colleague of ours at Yahoo Sports — coming out of the closet , and how little seems to have changed in the sporting landscape two years down the line. PF : The Oklahoman . With reports flying that Billy Donovan's move from the University of Florida to the Oklahoma City Thunder is well underway , Anthony Slater offers those of us who haven't paid tons of attention to SEC basketball over the last two decades a look at Donovan's coaching style and approach, with an eye toward how it might translate at the NBA level. SF : DraftExpress . An interesting consideration of how Jimmy Butler's personality type dovetailed with the specific opportunities he found with the Chicago Bulls to fuel his rise to All-Star status, and what lessons the combinations might offer scouts and teams looking to unearth another similarly undervalued asset in drafts and free-agency periods to come. SG : Sportsnet and The Star . Michael Grange and Bruce Arthur on Masai Ujiri, who's finally going to have to make some decisions this summer . PG : SB Nation . Jon Bois uses "NBA 2K15" to present a dystopian futurescape in which all NBA players are immortal godlike beings. The results are predictably, wondrously bonkers. 6th : Golden State of Mind . Everything seems awfully sunny for the Golden State Warriors right about now, so let's invite some cloud cover: Just what will they do with eight-figure non-contributor David Lee this summer? 7th : ESPN Insider ($) . Amin Elhassan breaks down "Elbow Get," the Mike D'Antoni-Suns-era four-five pick-and-roll set with which the Houston Rockets' big-man duo of Dwight Howard and Josh Smith repeatedly torched the Dallas Mavericks. 8th : ESPN the Magazine . David Fleming, who last year wrote perhaps the definitive breakdown of Stephen Curry's shooting style, takes us to Grottoes, Va., and the lone iron hoop on the utility pole that serves as Ground Zero for the birth of two elite shooters. 9th : The Sporting News . Adi Joseph exchanges emails with Chad Shanks, the social media manager fired by the Houston Rockets after sending a tweet featuring an emoji gun to the head of an emoji horse in the closing seconds of a series-clinching win over the Dallas Mavericks: "The good thing about social media is you get instant responses to your work. The bad thing about social media is you get instant responses to your work." 10th : ESPN.com . Brian Windhorst takes a closer look at the financial considerations that will factor into Kevin Love's choice of whether to pick up his player option and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers or opt out and enter free agency this summer, all of which he'll have plenty of time to consider now that he's officially done for the season . - - - - - - - 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.

Rockets fire social media manager after distasteful tweet (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 29 Apr 2015 23:36:17 PDT)
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Rockets have fired their social media manager after he posted a tweet with an emoji of a gun pointed at a horse's head as they were beating the Dallas Mavericks.

Nowitzki, Mavs head into yet another uncertain offseason (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 29 Apr 2015 15:37:32 PDT)
Dirk Nowitzki took less money to make sure Chandler Parsons could join him in Dallas. The Mavericks are headed into another uncertain offseason after losing to Houston in five games in the first round. They're likely to end up with 11 free agents if leading scorer Monta Ellis and others opt out of contracts as expected. Whether Nowitzki becomes a sixth man in his 18th season will depend largely on Dallas' ability to attract big names in a free agent class that will include hometown product LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland and Houston native DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Sources: Chase Budinger picks up contract option, passes on free agency (Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 29 Apr 2015 15:11:18 PDT)
Chase Budinger has exercised the $5 million player option in his contract to stay with the Timberwolves.

Twitter jab at Mavericks costs Rockets' social media manager his job (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 29 Apr 2015 14:16:06 PDT)

Mavericks erase Rajon Rondo from memory, withhold playoff share (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 29 Apr 2015 13:31:34 PDT)
The last time Rajon Rondo appeared in a playoff series, he averaged 20.9 points, 11.3 assists and 6.9 boards in a seven-game conference finals loss to the Miami Heat during which he submitted a 44-10-8 performance and was inarguably the best player on the court for stretches opposite LeBron James. It was another chapter in the chronicles of Playoff Rondo, a wonderfully unique basketball player who evolved from an unknown second-year point guard overshadowed by future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on the 2008 NBA champion Boston Celtics to the most important member of a team that featured the same three aging stars and nearly won another title in 2010. So, when Rondo watched from the sidelines as Dallas Mavericks teammate J.J. Barea ran the offense for the final three games of an  early first-round exit at the hands of the Houston Rockets, it was a remarkable juxtaposition, illustrating just how far the former All-Star had fallen since tearing his ACL on Jan. 25, 2013. The Mavs masked his absence as a back injury, but this was a player who once beat the Heat with literally one arm behind his back  in 2011 and played the final 13 minutes of a double-overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks on that torn right ACL two years later. There was talk he might even play on a bum knee when those Celtics made their final stand in 2013, and folks believed it. That's where the legend of Playoff Rondo stood then, but there's no sign of him now, as this "back injury" was a synonym for " benching ." For two years as he nursed his knee back to health, the basketball world awaited the return of Playoff Rondo, and at least monetarily, we'll have to wait at least one more. According to Dallas Morning News beat reporter Eddie Sefko, the Mavericks voted not to grant Rondo his roughly $15,000 playoff share. Multiple sources: Rajon Rondo did not receive a playoff share from the Dallas Mavericks. — Eddie Sefko (@ESefko) April 29, 2015 There's no other way to interpret this decision than as blatant disgust for Rondo's disregard of Rick Carlisle's coaching  during the stretch run and the 29-year-old's ensuing disappearance in the playoffs. The revelation coincided with an ESPNDallas.com report confirming what Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reported after Game 2 — the short-lived partnership between the Mavs and Rondo is all but over . While Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki defended Dallas owner Mark Cuban's acquisition of Rondo this past December as a gamble worth taking, even after the first-round flounder, veteran center Tyson Chandler took a slightly different approach, telling Sefko , "We traded a lot of pieces for a point guard that's not with us right now." Combine that sentiment with the playoff wage decision, and you get their point. For the record, the Mavericks also voted to keep Lamar Odom's playoff wages in 2012, signaling the beginning of the end for a career of another once valuable member of a championship team in Los Angeles. While Odom's demise had as much to do with off-court issues as on-court production, Rondo has been a good citizen outside of basketball, and for that he warrants another NBA chance, even if he clashes with almost every coach he comes across and allows his stubbornness to dictate his actions. So, what next for Rondo? Perhaps no other player's performance has translated into as many lost wages entering free agency this summer, and not just because of a withheld check. Once a bargain for $12 million annually, he will command nowhere near the max contract he sought at season's start in Boston. The Kings, Knicks and Lakers have all been intrigued by Rondo in the past, but pairing him with either DeMarcus Cousins or the triangle could prove disastrous, leaving Kobe Bryant as possibly his most likely partner in 2015-16. The two share a mutual respect for one another's self-described "a—hole" mentality . But at what cost would the Lakers add Rondo? In a league that values point guards who make 3-pointers and get to the free throw line while penetrating and creating, Rondo ranked among the league's worst shooters from long range and the charity stripe — to the point he seemingly feared contact in the lane. There's a reason the Celtics succeeded with Isaiah Thomas running the show instead of Rondo this season, and the former is scheduled to make less than $7 million next year. Is Rondo's price tag lower? If Rondo believes in his ability, perhaps a one-year deal next season is best. In resurrecting the Lakers alongside Bryant, he could recoup some lost wages as a free agent when the salary cap is expected to skyrocket in 2016. Then again, he just submitted one of the worst contract seasons in recent memory. For those doubting Rondo ever belonged on a list of the NBA's elite point guards — the folks who claim he's nothing without KG, Pierce and Allen — how soon we forget his 21 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals as a 22-year-old in a dominant Game 6 effort during the 2008 NBA Finals. There have been post-surgery signs he could be that player again, including four triple-doubles since returning against the Lakers in January 2014 and the 29-6-5 in his first game back in Boston a year later, and it would be fascinating to see him rediscover those bright-lights performances on a regular basis as Kobe's teammate in L.A. If he doesn't, though, it's harder to envision Rondo ultimately accepting a low-cost bench role than it is to think he'll leave the NBA conciousness just as weirdly as he entered it. - - - - - - - Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

Enjoyment the spur for San Antonio legend Duncan
(Wed, 29 Apr 2015 10:39:33 PDT)
NBA legend Tim Duncan says he is determined to extract the maximum enjoyment from the twilight of his career as he attempts to extend the San Antonio Spurs post-season charge. The 39-year-old five-time NBA champion played a key role for the Spurs on Tuesday in a pulsating 111-107 win over the Los Angeles Clippers to give the holders a 3-2 series lead heading into game six on Thursday. Duncan contributed 21 points and 11 rebounds, including a pivotal play in the closing seconds when he blocked Clippers star Blake Griffin at the rim as the Spurs held on to win.

NBA-Highlights of Tuesday's playoff games
(Wed, 29 Apr 2015 01:02:55 PDT)
(Adds later game) April 28 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Tuesday's National Basketball Association playoff games: - - - Rockets 103, Mavericks 94 James Harden and Terrence Jones combined on a series of backbreaking plays to lift the Houston Rockets to a 103-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Toyota Center, clinching their Western Conference first-round series in five games. The pair got to work when Houston were clinging to a 94-89 lead with 2:39 remaining and Harden buried a three-pointer. Rockets center Dwight Howard added 18 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks, while Josh Smith chipped in 20 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

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