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Updated: 50 weeks 4 days ago
Tony Parker was nursing a sprained left ankle and playing a critical playoff game on no sleep only hours after the birth of his first child. It was the perfect formula for a resurgent performance from the San Antonio Spurs point guard. Parker had 23 points and five assists and San Antonio never trailed in a 109-103 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night, taking a 3-2 lead in the first-round series. ''Coming into the game I told him this is perfect for you,'' Spurs forward Tim Duncan said.
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford will be named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year for the second time in his career, a league official with knowledge of the award said. Crawford was the Clippers' third-leading scorer and the NBA's top-scoring reserve with 18.6 points per game. ''He's deserving of it,'' Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ''I don't know that there's a more lethal weapon in the league that you could bring off the bench.'' While starting just 24 of his 69 games this season, the shifty veteran guard had his highest scoring average since the 2009-10 season with Atlanta, where he won his first Sixth Man award.
Relaxed, relieved and ready to resume their championship chase, the Los Angeles Clippers tried to get back some sense of normalcy Wednesday after a week unlike any other in NBA history. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the chaos caused by owner Donald Sterling's racist remarks is still far from over. And while NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Sterling from the league for life and asked owners to force a sale of the franchise, Rivers said plenty of uncertainty will remain until a change is complete. We're still in it,'' Rivers said on a conference call with reporters, again shielding his players from the spotlight of the media that surely would've swarmed the team's practice facility.
Quick, name the starting lineup for the Atlanta Hawks. Despite a lack of recognizable players beyond All-Star forward Paul Millsap, talented young point guard Jeff Teague and perhaps 3-point specialist Kyle Korver, the Hawks have shown just how far hard work, intelligence and a steadfast belief in the system can carry a team. Eighth-seeded Atlanta has a 3-2 lead against the top-seeded Indiana Pacers and can complete a stunning upset by winning at home Thursday night. The Hawks finished 18 games behind Indiana during the regular season but have largely controlled the postseason series, building double-digit leads in all five games.
Mike Miller has a sobering story for his Grizzlies' teammates to keep them from celebrating prematurely now that Memphis has a chance to eliminate Oklahoma City. ''We like where we are, but we have a lot of stuff we have to accomplish yet.'' The Grizzlies grabbed a 3-2 lead in this first-round series pulling out a 100-99 overtime win Tuesday night in Oklahoma City when Serge Ibaka couldn't shoot off a rebound before time expired. Now Memphis can become only the second No. 7 seed in the NBA to take down a No. 2 seed in a best-of-seven series, joining the Spurs who beat Dallas in 2010. The Grizzlies have blown leads in each game that went to overtime before winning three, and they also have given up a late four-point play in three games to three different players.
The NBA owners' advisory/finance committee will hold a meeting Thursday to discuss the next steps in the removal of Donald Sterling as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. The 10-member committee will have a conference call two days after Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life from the league and fined him $2.5 million for making racist comments. Silver also said he would urge owners to use their power to force Sterling to sell the team.
The Houston Rockets remain confident they can rebound from a 3-1 deficit in their first-round playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers. But just in case they needed a reminder that such a comeback was possible, coach Kevin McHale had Mario Elie and Hakeem Olajuwon talk to his team as it prepares for Game 5 on Wednesday night. They helped the Rockets bounce back from the same deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns in seven games in the Western Conference semifinals in 1995 en route to an NBA title. ''You focus just on the one game (Wednesday) and shift the game back to Portland (and) there will be tremendous pressure on the Portland team,'' Olajuwon said.
Hall of Fame basketball player Magic Johnson said the decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life from any association with the NBA for making racist comments marks ''a great day for the United States.'' Johnson on Tuesday reacted to the punishment for Sterling announced earlier in the day by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that included a $2.5 million fine. Silver also called on NBA owners to force Sterling to sell the team. ''It was a great day for the United States,'' Johnson told reporters in Saginaw, Mich. ''It was a great day for the NBA and it was a great day for all people of all races, but especially African-Americans and Latinos who he was speaking out against.'' TMZ released an audio recording last weekend of Sterling talking to a female companion.
On an exceptional, emotional night, the Los Angeles Clippers returned to their ''safe haven'' and moved to the brink of winning just their third playoff series since Donald Sterling bought the team in 1981. Sterling wasn't there to witness the 113-103 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, and he won't be at future games. The Clippers' stirring victory at energized Staples Center came hours after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life, fined him $2.5 million and called on NBA owners to force him to sell the team for making racist comments. DeAndre Jordan had 25 points, a playoff career high, and 18 rebounds while Chris Paul scored 20 points as the Clippers took a 3-2 lead in the first-round series.
It took a fraction of a second for the Memphis Grizzlies to take control of their first-round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder. With 2.9 seconds remaining in overtime, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant missed a long 3-point attempt. Teammate Serge Ibaka tipped the ball in on the rebound, sending the crowd into a celebration. The shot was reviewed, however, and it was determined that it was released just after the buzzer, giving Memphis a 100-99 victory Tuesday night and a 3-2 lead in the series.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver delivered the swiftest, strongest penalty he could, then called on NBA owners to force Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team for making racist comments that hurt the league. ''We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling's views. Sterling, 80, is banned for life from any association with the league or the Clippers, and was fined $2.5 million - the maximum allowable under the NBA constitution. If three-fourths of the other 29 owners agree to Silver's recommendation, Sterling will be forced to sell the team he has owned since 1981.
Playoff appearances were rare enough for the Washington Wizards let alone series victories. John Wall finished with 24 points, Nene scored 20, and the Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls 75-69 on Tuesday night to clinch their first-round series in five games. Bradley Beal scored 17 points, and the fifth-seeded Wizards advanced in the postseason for just the third time since the 1970s. They will meet Indiana or Atlanta in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
NBA players strongly considered boycotting playoff games if Commissioner Adam Silver hadn't ruled harshly against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Players' union Vice President Roger Mason Jr. said Tuesday he spoke to representatives from every playoff team about the possibility of boycotting the upcoming postseason games in solidarity against any ruling that didn't include a mandate for Sterling to sell the Clippers. ''We didn't think that this was just a Clippers issue, so we didn't want to put the pressure on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and that team. We wanted to band behind our brothers to do the right thing.'' The Clippers host the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, one of three playoff games on the NBA schedule.
A majority of NBA ownership groups reached Tuesday by The Associated Press say they will vote to force embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his club. When asked by AP if they would vote to remove Sterling, 16 ownership groups said they would, while eight declined to reveal their stance. The other five, not including the Clippers, could not be reached. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants Sterling to sell as part of the stiff series of sanctions brought against the league's longest-tenured owner in response to racist comments.
Dallas Mavericks center DeJuan Blair has been suspended for Game 5 of the first-round series against San Antonio for kicking the Spurs' Tiago Splitter in the head. Blair and Splitter got tangled up and fell to the court in the fourth quarter of San Antonio's 93-89 victory in Dallas on Monday night. After the whistle blew, signaling a foul on Blair, he kicked his former teammate with his left foot. After Game 4, Splitter said he thought it was an accident when it happened but changed his mind when he saw the replay.