LeBron James delivered a statement game for the ages Thursday night, scoring 41 points, dishing out a seemingly endless stream of alley-oops, grabbing 8 rebounds, making 4 steals, blocking 3 shots, and turning the ball over just once as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors 115-101.
Cleveland dominated the Warriors in the first quarter in a fashion to which the defending champs were not accustomed. The Cavs scored the first 8 points of the game, and when a Klay Thompson jumper pulled the Warriors within 6 at 13-7, it occurred to no one that was as close as Golden State would get for the rest of the night. When the first quarter was over, Golden State had scored just 11 points (22.6% shooting), Steph Curry leading the way... Read More
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors, GSW leads series 3-1 (9pm ET Monday, ABC)
Steph Curry finally knocked off the rust in Game 4, leading all scorers with 38 points, and leading the Warriors’ Finals-record barrage of 17 3-pointers, as Golden State climbed out of a third-quarter hole to beat the Cavaliers 108-97. Tonight the Warriors have a chance to wrap up their second-consecutive title, but will have to do so without the aid of All-Star forward Draymond Green.
The Warriors outshot the Cavs in the first quarter, but the Cavs’ Tristan Thompson grabbed 5 offensive rebounds, three of which he converted into buckets, while Kyrie Irving put the pedal to the floor, scoring 9 points, and dishing out 3 assists. Despite hitting 8 of... Read More
If the Cleveland Cavaliers can’t win on a night when Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combine to make 8 of 27 for just 20 points, this series is gonna be over real quick. On Thursday, the Warriors' bench picked up the slack for the Splash Brothers, outscoring Cleveland’s bench 45-10, and doing all the heavy lifting in a 104-89 victory.
The Warriors finished the first quarter up 28-24, and the second quarter opened inauspiciously for the Cavs, as LeBron James missed a layup and then missed twice more on putbacks. Minutes later, a Kevin Love jumper would get the Cavs back to within 4, but a Draymond Green 2-pointer, followed by a Leandro Barbosa bunny and 3-pointer would give the Warriors some breathing room as they went up 39-28. A... Read More
For the 11th time in NBA history, we have a rematch of the previous year’s finals, and this one is loaded with intrigue, drama, and side stories. It’s the Cleveland Cavaliers, perhaps the most disappointing 57-win team ever, versus the Golden State Warriors, who in their quest to be the GOAT won a league-record 73 regular season games. ESPN gives the Cavs a 25% chance of winning title, Basketball Reference has them 23.6%, Vegas has them at +180 – LeBron James is unmoved by these things.
#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #3 Oklahoma City Thunder, OKC leads series 3-2 (8:30pm ET Thursday, ESPN) It wasn’t pretty, but Russell Westbrook threw the Thunder over his back and willed them to a 95-91 victory over the Spurs on Tuesday, to bring them within one more win from a trip to the Western Conference finals.
The San Antonio Spurs were up by 6 with 3:55 to play after Kawhi Leonard stole a pass and ran it back the other way for a monster dunk. But the Thunder answered with an 8-point run over the next 2 minutes to take back the lead. Then, up 92-91 with 9 seconds to go, the Thunder came out of a time out and got the ball to Westbrook, who turned the corner along... Read More
#3 Miami Heat vs. #2 Toronto Raptors, Series tied 0-0 (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT)
On April 22, the esteemed fivethirtyeight.com declared The Miami Heat Are The Most Impressive Playoff Team So Far, based on the fact that they’d beaten the Hornets by an average of 22 points in the first two games. Five days after that story ran, the Heat found themselves on the brink of elimination, down 3 games to 2. Game 6 saw the Heat tie it up with a 97-90 victory powered by some sharpshooting from Luol Deng and Dwyane Wade, before taking the series Sunday night, with a 106-73 beatdown, as Goran Dragic awoke from his slumber to score 25 points, grab 6 rebounds, and dish out 4 assists.
NBA Playoffs on Sling TV: Raptors at Pacers – Game 7
Who doesn’t love a Game 7?
With the Pacers holding onto a 1-point lead late in the third quarter, a pair of Paul George free throws sparked an 18-point Indiana run, as the Toronto Raptors went more than 6-and-a-half minutes without scoring. When the Raptors came to, they found themselves in a 83-64 ditch and with just 7 minutes and 22 seconds to climb out. By the time buzzer sounded, the score had changed, but not the deficit, as the Pacers prevailed 101-83.
Paul George led the Pacers in scoring, rebounding and assists, with 21 points (despite hitting just 5 of 14 from the field), 11 boards and 6 dimes, and is... Read More
#5 Boston Celtics vs. #4 Atlanta Hawks, ATL leads series 1-0 (7pm ET Tuesday, TNT)
The Celtics lost a heartbreaker in Game 1 on Saturday, falling to the Hawks 102-101, a loss that was compounded by guard Avery Bradley’s pulled hamstring. Boston was shooting with markedly more abandon than accuracy, heaving 102 shots, but sinking just 37 of them, with starters Jae Crowder and Jared Sullinger making just 10 of 30. The Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 27, but Hawks Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Kent Bazemore scored 24, 23 and 23 respectively, proving to be too much for the C’s. The Hawks had led at one point by as much as 19, but let the Celtics fight back to a tie at 88-88 with 3:51 to... Read More
#6 Dallas Mavericks vs. #3 Oklahoma City Thunder, OKC leads series 1-0 (8pm ET Monday, TNT)
On Saturday, the Thunder beat the Mavs like a rented mule 108-70, in a game so lopsided OKC’s starting five averaged just under 26 minutes apiece with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant not even stepping on the floor in the fourth quarter. The Mavs managed just 11 points in the first quarter on their way to being the first team since the 2013 Bulls to shoot under 30% in a playoff game (not surprisingly, NBA teams are 0-24 in playoff games in which they’ve shot that poorly since 1964). Dirk Nowitzki was the lone Mav to reach double figures, scoring 18 points as Zach Pachulia and Dwight Powell led Dallas with just six... Read More
Detroit Pistons at Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 1 (3pm Sunday, ABC) A month ago the Pistons were a .500 team battling the Bulls for the final playoff spot, but they put the hammer down to win 10 of 14, leaving Chicago comfortably in their rearview. Detroit is led by 6-11 rebounding machine Andre Drummond, who led the league with 14.8 rpg, and scored 16 ppg. Drummond is so consistent that he led the NBA in 15-15 games with 30, while DeAndre Jordan was second with 13. The Pistons offense isn’t high-powered, but it is balanced, as all five starters averaged at least 14 ppg, with Reggie Jackson leading with 18 ppg, as well as leading the team with 6.2 apg.
What to make of the Cavs? Two head coaches, two love... Read More
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT)
The Thunder have been scuffling along as of late, recently dropping four of six while trying to rest Westbrook and Durant, but last night, the Dynamic Duo laced them up to bid adieu to Kobe Bryant with a 112-79 dismantling the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, Westbrook and Durant said goodbye in historic fashion with the former notching his record-tying 18th triple-double of the season, the latter scoring 20 or more for the 64th game in a row – the longest such streak since Jordan in ‘91. The win brought the Thunder’s record to 55-26 heading into the final game of the season. The Thunder will be the third seed in the West, but their opponent in the... Read More
Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8pm ET Saturday, ESPN)
On Thursday, the Warriors beat the Spurs 112-101, clinching home field advantage in the playoffs and becoming the second team in league history to win 70 games. Both teams shot well, particularly from three-point range, but the Warriors controlled the glass, outrebounding the Spurs 43-32 on a night when San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge had one of his worst games of the year. Over 29 minutes, Aldridge scored just 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting and grabbed just three rebounds. Meanwhile, the Warriors’ Steph Curry hit 11 of 19 for 27 points with nine assists and five rebounds as Golden State took an 18-15 lead late in the first quarter and never looked back. At 70-9, the Warriors need to win... Read More
Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat (8pm ET Thursday, TNT)
The Bulls find themselves in a 3-6 slide at the most inopportune time, the latest indignity being a 108-92 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Chicago’s big guns, Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, had little to offer, combining to make just seven of 23 shots for 17 points and seven of the team’s 20 turnovers. The loss dropped the Bulls to 39-39 as they find themselves trailing the Detroit Pistons by 2.5 games in the hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
The Heat got a huge win Tuesday, defeating the Pistons 107-89 as they continue to fight on without Chris Bosh. Goran Dragic made nine of 15, including four-of-four from... Read More
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers (7pm ET Wednesday, ESPN)
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting five was on point Tuesday night, hitting 27 of 45 (60%) from the floor as the team rolled over the Bucks 109-80. J.R. Smith had a team-high of 21 from seven-of-12 shooting – all his hits from three-point land – for the Cavs and Kyrie Irving overcame a cranky ankle that had him listed as questionable to score 15 points with three rebounds and six assists as the Cavs jumped out to a 14-point lead in the first quarter before stretching it to 24 at the half and never letting the Bucks get close. Cleveland has now won four in a row and has LeBron saying things like, “We’re in a good place right now.” We’ll... Read More
Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT)
The Pistons have gotten hot when it matters, winning seven of their last nine games and building a two-game lead over the Bulls in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. On Saturday, the Pistons went a long way toward finishing off the Bulls, beating them 94-90 on a night when each of their starting five reached double digits. The Pistons' balanced attack was just enough to overcome a triple-double from Jimmy Butler, who went 25-15-12 with three steals, leading the Bulls in all four categories. With five games left on the schedule, the Pistons are tied with the Pacers for the final two playoff spots in the East, with the Bulls two games back... Read More
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks (8pm ET Friday, ESPN)
The Cleveland Cavaliers have suffered through all sorts of drama this season, and this month it’s gone next-level. Rather than fretting about losing 4 of 9, or getting healthy for a title run, the Cavs are instead dealing with things like whom LeBron is following on Twitter, and the awful/tragic reports about Kyrie Irving’s lovelife. There have probably been teams that have risen above this kind of stuff to win it all, but none come to mind right away. Still, the Cavs have clinched the Central Division, and a just-comfortable-enough lead in the hunt for the top seed in the East.
The Atlanta Hawks led the Chicago Bulls Monday night by 9 after three... Read More
Chicago Bulls vs. Houston Rockets (7pm ET Thursday, TNT) The Bulls got a much needed 98-96 win Tuesday over the Indiana Pacers, thanks to a Jimmy Butler go-ahead jumper with 3.7 seconds to play. Butler had an unremarkable night, making six of 10 for 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, but he came up big when it mattered most. Pau Gasol contributed 10 points, 11 boards, seven assists, and four blocks, but he did commit seven turnovers. It was Nikola Mirotic who led the way for the Bulls with 28 points and 10 boards. The Bulls are now 37-37, two games behind the Pistons in the quest for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East.
James Harden scored 34 in another fruitless effort Sunday against the Pacers as the Rockets went down 104-101 in a game Houston led 95-94 with five minutes to play. It marked the league-leading 14th time this season Harden has scored 30 or more in a loss, well short of the record of 31 by Wilt Chamberlain in the ‘64-65 season. The Rockets are 36-38 and are tied with the Mavericks in eighth place with just eight games left on the schedule – whoever comes out on top gets the final playoff berth in the West. Unless, of course, the 37-37 Jazz go into a death spiral and wind up beneath them both.
After starting the season at 22-22 and brimming with hope, the New York Knicks have fallen back to Earth, losing 21 of 27. On Sunday, the Sacramento Kings delivered an 88-80 loss to the Knickerbockers in a game that saw Boogie Cousins post a 24-20, barely outperforming his Knicks counterpart Robin Lopez’s 23-20. The Kings won despite being outrebounded 55-49 and shooting just 40% from the floor as the Knicks shot an anemic 35% – that ain’t gonna cut, especially when you’re without the services of your big dog, Carmelo Anthony, who was out with migraine-like symptoms, but is expected to play tonight. The Knicks are 28-43 and in 13th place in the East.
On Monday, the Thunder took a month’s worth of frustration out on the Portland Trail Blazers, delivering a 128-94 beating. Russell Westbrook posted 17-10-16 for his league-leading 12th triple-double of the season as the Thunder dominated the game on both ends of the floor, outshooting Portland 59% to 34%, outrebounding them 52-to-39, and out-stealing them 10-to-4. It was a badly needed victory for OKC, who had lost eight of 12 heading into the night. They’re now 45-22 and maintain their hold on third place in the West.
The Celtics last night fell to the Indiana Pacers 103-98 as they continue to struggle with the absence of Jae Crowder... Read More
After winning seven of their last 10 games, the Detroit Pistons have moved past the beleaguered Bulls to take possession of eighth place in the East. On Saturday, they beat up on the Sixers for the second time in three weeks, this time winning 125-111. Andre Drummond had himself another monster night, scoring 19 points and grabbing 15 rebounds while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 23 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals, and Reggie Jackson scored 24 to go along with 10 assists. Over the Pistons’ last 10 games, Drummond has averaged 15-15 and over the season has gone 15-15 a total of 28 times – the next highest total in the NBA this season is 10 each for both Boogie Cousins... Read More
The Bulls forgot about their troubles on Monday just long enough to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 100-90. Pau Gasol dropped a triple-double, scored 12 points on a meager four-for-14 shooting, grabbed 17 rebounds, dished out 13 assists, and had five blocked shots. Derrick Rose continued to shoot well, making nine of 18 and bringing his shooting percentage over his last seven games to 55%. Jimmy Butler returned Saturday from a month-long layoff with a sore left knee to score 24 points with 11 rebounds and six assists in the Bulls’ win over Houston. But awoke the next day with swelling in the same knee, causing him to miss the Bucks game and tonight’s game, too, instead opting for a visit to the... Read More
I’ll take “Teams That Most Recently Played Cleveland” for $400, Alex.
The Grizzlies on Monday night jumped out to an eight-point lead in the first quarter, fell behind 100-99 with 45 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, but then managed to ice the game away with four Vince Carter free throws in the final 13 seconds to seal a 106-103 victory. Carter had 15 points coming off the bench, but it was Tony Allen who led the charge, scoring 26, to along with four assists and five steals, including one off LeBron with 17 seconds to go while nursing a one-point lead. The Grizzlies are now 38-25 after starting the season 16-16, and find themselves in fifth place in the West.... Read More
Just three weeks ago, one might have reasonably left the Wizards for dead on the side of I-95 as they were five games under .500 and in 10th place in the East. But they’ve gone 7-2 since then, most recently defeating the Timberwolves on Wednesday, 104-98. It was a huge night for the Wizards’ bench, as they outscored the starters 64-40, led by Bradley Beal’s 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting. The Wizards are 30-30, and tied for ninth in the East, just a half-game out of the playoff picture.
Cleveland is officially drifting into hot mess territory. They’ve lost three of their last five, including a 113-99 loss to the Wizards on Sunday, their lead over... Read More
On Wednesday, the Spurs beat the Pistons 97-81, for their 29th consecutive home win while clinching a playoff berth for the 19th consecutive season. After leading by just one at the half, the Spurs pulled away in the third quarter and coasted through a fourth quarter that saw the two teams score just 34 points combined. Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 27 while LaMarcus Aldridge went 23-10. The Spurs are now 51-9, good for second in the West, and at +12.6 points per game, remain on-pace to set the NBA record for point differential.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans saw head coach Alvin Gentry lose his cool last night after watching his team commit 22 turnovers in... Read More
The Detroit Pistons are riding high, having won their last four, including victories over the top two teams in the East: Cleveland and Toronto. The Piston’s victory Sunday over the Raptors was a team effort as all five starters scored at least 14 with Andre Drummond posting 15-18. The recent winning streak has lifted Detroit to 31-29, and nudged them from ninth place to a tie for seventh in the East.
Since opening the second half of the season with a loss to the Clippers, the Spurs have regained their footing by winning five in a row. Saturday’s victim was the Houston Rockets, who lost 104-94. In a game that saw the Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge go... Read More
Bulls vs. Hawks (8pm ET Friday, ESPN) It’s a battle for 6th place!
Already limping from the loss of Jimmy Butler, the Bulls on Wednesday were without the services of Derrick Rose, who’s struggling with a balky hamstring, but they found a way to get it done, beating the Wizards 109-104. Pau Gasol was an assist shy of a triple-double, posting 10-15-9, while five teammates scored at least 14. The win was Chicago’s third in a row, making them 30-26.
The Atlanta Hawks’ third loss in a row came Monday as they fell 102-92 to the Golden State Warriors, putting their record at 31-27. Steph Curry tied the Hawks’ Kyle Korver’s record of making a three-pointer in 127 consecutive games. Korver played a feckless... Read More
Thunder vs. Pelicans (8pm ET Thursday, TNT) After a torrid 29-6 stretch heading into the All Star break, the Oklahoma City Thunder sputtered into the second half of the season, falling first to Indiana 101-98 on Friday, and then taking a 115-92 beating by the Cavs. But they bounced back with a 116-103 win over the Mavericks on Wednesday, as Russell Westbrook led the way with 24 points, 7 rebounds and 13 assists. At 41-16, the OKC Thunder have the third-best record in the West, and fourth-best record in the league.
Already ravaged by the loss of starters Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon, the Pelicans’ rotation was further depleted over the weekend by backup center Omer Asik’s sprained ankle, which is expected to keep... Read More
John Wall had trouble getting shots to fall Tuesday against the Pelicans, making just five of 17, but still managed a triple-double, posting 16-12-11 to help Washington best New Orleans 109-89. The win brought the Wizards’ record to 26-29 and within three games of the Bulls and Hornets in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the East. But, before that can happen, the Wiz need to leapfrog past the Pistons, who are one game ahead.
Following a huge upset victory over the Raptors, the Bulls won again Sunday, defeating the lowly Lakers 126-115 as Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and E’Twaun Moore each scored at least 20 while three more Bulls broke 15 points. Collectively,... Read More
The Lakers on Friday lost their fourth game in a row, this time falling 119-113 to the San Antonio Spurs, despite having three players score 20 or more points. Kobe Bryant led the way, as is his custom, with 25 points on 10-of-25 shooting. Meanwhile, youngsters Lou Williams and Jordan Clark combined needed fewer shots (23) to score 21 and 20, respectively. Bryant dislocated his finger late in the fourth quarter but had it popped back in (watch below), and x-rays showed no fracture. The Lakers are now 11-45 and in second place in the Ben Simmons Sweepstakes.
On Friday, a badly depleted Bulls team managed to knock off the mighty Raptors, owners of the sixth-best... Read More
Paul George and the Pacers peaked in mid-December at 16-9 and have since gone 12-16 to bring their record to 28-25 – not bad for sixth place in the East. Indiana closed out the first half of the season with a 117-95 loss to the Charlotte Hornets as they found themselves down 17 at the half. Paul George had a ho-hum performance of 22-8-6, leading the team in all three categories, but the Hornets .517 shooting percentage and 45-39 rebounding advantage were just too much on a night when the Pacers made only four of 18 from three-point land.
Winners of 12 of their last 14, the Oklahoma City Thunder moved past the Cavs for the... Read More
Pelicans big man Anthony Davis hit a free throw with 2:14 to play against the Jazz, tying the score at 90-90, and then scored his team’s next 7 points to secure a 100-96 victory. The win came against a red-hot Utah team that had won its previous seven games, and lifted the Pelicans to 20-32, who find themselves in 12th place in the West, six games back in the hunt for the final playoff spot.
Since losing back-to-back games to the Hawks and Heat, the Thunder have gone 28-6, outscoring the opposition 110.9 to 101.6, and winning the battle of the boards 47.8 to 40.3. Like the Pelicans, OKC’s latest win came at the expense of the Utah Jazz, in a 122-106 contest that... Read More
Lakers vs. Cavaliers (8pm ET Wednesday, ESPN) Kobe Bryant dug deep again on Monday, hitting three straight 3-pointers in the span of 72 seconds to put the Lakers up 82-79 over the Pacers with 2:30 to play, but Paul George wasn’t havin’ it: George scored 7 points on 5 free throws and a layup in the final 1:10 to topple the Lakers 89-87. The Lakers are now a miserable 11-43 and trail the 76ers by just 2 games for first place in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes. This will be Kobe’s last stop in Cleveland, which has to come as a huge relief.
The jury’s still out on the Tyronn Lue Era in Cleveland, as the Cavs have gone 7-3 since the firing of David Blatt, who had led the team... Read More
Spurs vs. Heat (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT) The Spurs are back on track after ending January with tough losses to both Golden State and Cleveland in the span of six days, having won their last four in a row, most recently surviving a scare against the cellar-dwelling Lakers. The Spurs headed into the fourth quarter trailing by 2, and the game was tied at 99 with just 2:25 to play before a 17-foot Tony Parker jumper put them up for good on the way to a 106-102 final. The victory was the Spurs’ 28th home win in a row to start the season, as their record improved to 43-8, still the second-best record in the West and the league. Tim Duncan continues to sit, but over the weekend coach Gregg... Read More
Pacers vs. Hawks (7pm ET Friday, ESPN) The Indiana Pacers ran away from Brooklyn in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game, outscoring the Nets 36-20 on their way to a 114-100 victory. C.J. Miles came off the bench to score 27 for the Pacers, while All-Star forward Paul George added 17 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals and 1 block. The Pacers are now 26-23 and in 7th place in the East. Rookie Myles Turner has been playing quality minutes of late, averaging 16.6 points, 7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks a game over the Pacers’ last 9 games.
The Hawks put a hurt on Philly Wednesday, defeating the Sixers 124-86, as all 13 Hawks scored, 8 of them in double digits, with Tim... Read More
Warriors vs. Wizards (8pm ET Wednesday, ESPN) The Warriors had a good scare on Saturday, defeating the feckless 76ers 108-105 on a Harrison Barnes 3-pointer with 1 second on the clock – and this after being up 13 with 3:26 left to play. The Warriors got their mojo back the following night, beating the Knicks 116-95 as big man Draymond Green had a triple-double, going 20-10-10, and Klay Thompson scored 34 on 14-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-6 from 3. The Warriors have won 7 in a row to lift their record to a league-best 44-4, and they’re on pace to win 75 games.
Washington on Monday fell victim to a Russell Westbrook triple-double, as the Thunder rolled over the Wizards 114-98. Westbrook’s 17-31-11 was too... Read More
The Houston Rockets held off the New Orleans Pelicans for a 112-111 victory on Tuesday, lifting their record to 25-22, good for 7th in the West. Trevor Ariza was en fuego for the first 42 minutes of the game, making 8 of 12 from 3-point land on his way to a 31-point night, but it was James Harden (go figure) who scored 10 of his 35 points in the final 5:39 to seal the win. The Rockets were without Dwight Howard, who’s missed the last three games since spraining an ankle last week and is questionable for tonight.
The Spurs' 13-game winning streak snapped on Monday, as they fell 120-90 to the Golden State Warriors, who took a 2-0 lead on a Klay Thompson... Read More
Heat vs. Raptors (8pm ET Friday, ESPN) The Heat have lost six of seven, including a 106-87 defeat at the hands of the Washington Wizards, dropping their record to 23-20 and their standing in the East down to 7th. To be fair, the Heat went into the game minus their starting backcourt, as Goran Dragic battles a calf strain and Dwyane Wade is contending with a sore shoulder. Oh, and center Hassan Whiteside logged only 11 minutes before falling to the floor with a strained oblique.
“I can find something on iTunes or something, a nice little medley going right now in A minor. That’s sad right?” Chris Bosh joked after the game. For tonight’s game Wade, Whiteside and Luol Deng (eye injury) are all questionable, and Dragic... Read More
Clippers vs. Cavaliers (8pm ET Thursday, TNT) The Clippers got back to their winning ways Monday, just two days after having their 10-game winning streak snapped, beating the Rockets 140-132 in a good old-fashioned overtime shootout. The Clips led by 12 with 3 minutes to play, but the Rockets came charging back to tie it on a Matt Thornton 3-pointer with 7 seconds left on the clock. Los Angeles opened the extra frame with a Jamal Crawford 3 and never looked back. The Rockets’ loss wasted a monster night by Dwight Howard, who scored 36 points on 11-of-16 shooting and pulled down 26 rebounds. But it wasn’t enough to overcome a ridiculous performance by sharpshoter JJ Reddick, who made 9 of 12 3-pointers on his way to scoring 40, Chris... Read More
Warriors vs. Bulls (8pm ET Wednesday, ESPN) The Golden State Warriors gave notice on Monday that they have zero intention of surrendering their title without a fight, dropping a 132-98 beatdown on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Chef Curry put up 35 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including 7 of 12 from downtown, center Draymond Green scored 16 and added 10 assists, and Andre Iguodala scored 20 in just 24 minutes by making 7 of 8 shots. It was a team effort that left LeBron James calling it what it was: “a good old-fashioned A-kicking.” The Warriors are now 38-4 and lead the Spurs by 2 games for the top spot in the West.
The Bulls have had a tough go of late, losing four of... Read More
Pelicans vs. Grizzlies (2:30pm ET Monday, ESPN) The New Orleans Pelicans have won their last two games, most recently defeating the Charlotte Hornets 109-107, as Anthony Davis threw down a thunderous alley-oop with 2 seconds to play in a game that saw reserve power forward Ryan Anderson go off with 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including 6-of-8 from 3. The win lifted the Pelicans to 13-26, as they’ve leapfrogged the Suns into 12th place in the West. Anthony Davis scored 22 and 24 in the two games since returning from a minor back issue, and continues to average 20-10 on the season.
The Memphis Grizzlies are 23-19 and tied for 5th in the West after winning four of five. On Saturday the Grizz beat... Read More
Timberwolves vs. Thunder (7pm ET Friday, ESPN) It’s been quite a month for Rookie of the Year candidate Karl-Anthony Townes, as he’s averaged a double-double over the last 16 games, traveled the world with his cat and been anointed a future “Hall-of-Famer” by no less an authority than Kevin Durant. Unfortunately, over that span, his Timberwolves have gone 3-13 and lost their last 8. There’s a team-wide shooting problem, especially from 3-point range, where the ‘Wolves rank last in attempts and makes, and 25th in percentage. Guard Ricky Rubio, who’s 5th in the league in assists, ranks dead last in 2-point shooting percentage among guys who’ve played 1,000 minutes, making just 35.9% of his shots.
Durant’s praise for Townes came in the wake... Read More
Cavaliers vs. Spurs (8pm ET Wednesday, TNT) This may be the NBA Finals preview you’ve been waiting for, and Kawhi vs. LeBron is always worth the price of admission.
Cleveland is riding an 8-game winning streak that begs the question: Are the Cleveland Cavaliers the best third-best team in league history? At 27-9, the Cavs are on pace (along with the Spurs and Warriors) to win 62 games – only once since the advent of the 82-game schedule have three teams won that many games: in 2008, when Cleveland, L.A. and Boston each did it. Since Kyrie Irving’s return from a knee injury that derailed the Cavs’ title hopes last June, Cleveland has gone 10-2. Yes, it’s been against a soft spot in the schedule, but 10-2 is 10-2, and... Read More
Pacers vs. Celtics (8pm ET Wednesday, ESPN) The Pacers are 22-16 and the 5th seed in the East following a 116-97 victory last night over the lowly Suns. Guard Monta Ellis has been nursing a sore knee since earlier in the week, but played 34 minutes last night, contributing 14 points and 7 assists. Paul George is showing no ill effects from the gruesome broken leg that cost him virtually all of last season, as he is again playing lockdown defense to go along with his 24.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists. The Pacers have already set an NBA record this season for most guys on the roster named Hill, as George, Jordan and Solomon have collectively played more than 2000 minutes. If they can get Grant to come... Read More
Cavaliers vs. Timberwolves (8pm ET Friday, ESPN) The Cleveland Cavaliers have won five in a row, and at 24-9 lead the East with the third-best record in the league, behind only the Warriors and Spurs. Kyrie Irving finally returned on December 20, and since then the Cavs are 8-2, including 6-1 in games in which Irving has played, during which he’s averaging 17.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4 assists a game, in just 24 minutes. On Wednesday, Irving and LeBron James each dropped 30 on the Wiz in a 121-115 victory.
After 33 games last season, the Cavs had only won 19, at which point they dropped 6 straight, falling to 19-20. This year’s edition is way ahead, and they’ve managed to do it largely without Irving, and with... Read More
Celtics vs. Bulls (8pm ET Thursday, TNT) Since losing three of their last four, the Celtics are now 19-16, barely hanging on to the 8th seed in the East, despite sporting the conference’s 3rd-best point differential. Last night’s loss to the Pistons was a heartbreaker, as the C’s led by 13 midway through the 3rd quarter and were still up 1 with 2:47 to play, before falling 99-94. Boston had 8 fewer turnovers and 5 more assists, but lost the battle of the boards 47-39, and made a paltry 6 of 28 from 3-point land. The game marked big man David Lee’s second consecutive DNP, as coach Brad Stevens is trying out a new small ball lineup. Point guard Isaiah “No Relation” Thomas is nursing a sprained thumb, but managed... Read More
Clippers at Bulls (8pm ET Thursday, TNT) The Clippers won their third straight on Wednesday, a 109-95 victory over the Bucks, bringing their record to 13-9, just 9 ½ games behind the Warriors in the Pacific division. The Clips’ Big 3 was firing on all cylinders, as Chris Paul dropped 18 dimes, Blake Griffin put up 23-14, and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 19 boards and absolutely posterized Greg Monroe. But it was J.J. Reddick who led the way, shooting 6-of-9 from downtown, en route to 31 points. Could it be the Clippers are finding their way out of the wilderness after a 3-8 slide that had them below .500?
The Chicago Bulls lost Wednesday, 105-100, to the Boston Celtics. The teams were tied at 75 at the end of the... Read More
Bulls at Celtics (7pm ET Wednesday, ESPN) Isaiah “No Relation” Thomas shot the lights out Monday night, making 9-of-13 from the floor, including four 3-pointers, for 22 points to go along with 5 assists, as the Boston Celtics beat the New Orleans Pelicans 111-93. The upstart Celtics are now 12-9, and find themselves proud owners of the 9th-best record in the Eastern Conference, and the best – yes, the best – point differential in the conference, at 5.4. The Celtics continue to play without Marcus Smart, who’s nursing a knee injury.
The C’s head into Chicago to play the 11-7 Bulls, who’ve lost their last two games in a row, including Monday’s 103-101 heartbreaker to the Phoenix Suns, which they somehow gave away after... Read More
Nets at Knicks (7pm ET Friday, ESPN) Break up the Nets! After starting the season 0-7, the Brooklyn Nets have since gone 5-6, and came within a 3-pointer of two more victories. Most recently, the Nets beat Phoenix 94-91 for their fourth straight home win. Brook Lopez continues to be the Nets' go-to guy, averaging 20 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. On the defensive end, rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been making a big contribution in limited minutes, ranking in the top 5 in steals per opponent possession and defensive plus/minus. Despite starting 12 of the Nets’ 17 games, he’s averaging just 22 minutes, and not doing much offensively, with just 5.1 points and 1.5 assists.
Thunder at Heat (7pm ET Thursday, TNT) Despite Monday’s 106-100 loss to the Hawks, the Oklahoma City Thunder appear to have gotten it together after suffering through a 1-3 slog while Kevin Durant nursed his latest injury. They’ve gone 3-1 since Durant’s return, with the star shooting guard contributing 29 points a game, and still finding time to whine about the media. Their 11-7 record is good enough for 1st in the Northwest Division, and 3rd in the Western Conference.
Dwyane Wade’s 30 points on Monday weren’t enough to lift the Heat over the Boston Celtics, as Miami fell 105-95. Still, the Miami Heat are 10-6, though that is partially the product of a weak schedule, as their opponents have a combined winning... Read More
Celtics at Hawks (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT) Though just 7-6 and a half-game out of the 8th spot in the East, the Boston Celtics have to be pleased with their start. Yes, they’re coming off a 111-101 road loss to the lowly Nets, but that’s their only loss to a sub-.500 team, and their 5.9 point differential is the 4th-best in the NBA. Unfortunately, the Celtics will be without guard Marcus Smart for the next 2-to-6 weeks, after he suffered a “subluxation of the proximal tibfib joint” Sunday in Brooklyn.
Tuesday’s tilt against the Celtics offers the 9-6 Atlanta Hawks an opportunity to avenge a humiliating 106-93 loss in Boston on Friday the 13th. But really, that game was just a small part of the 1-4 freefall the Hawks... Read More
Spurs at Pelicans (8pm ET Friday, ESPN) The San Antonio Spurs’ 109-98 defeat Wednesday of the Denver Nuggets was their sixth win in a row, bringing their record to 9-2. Kawhi Leonard continues to lead the way with 21.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, and the Spurs continue to get it done on the defensive end, holding opponents to a league-best 91.3 points a game.
The 1-11 Pelicans, on the other hand, continue to limp along, having lost their last five in a row, and have surrendered a league-high 109.9 points a game, more than 11 points above last season’s average. Things could be worse for the Pelicans – oh, wait, they are! Anthony Davis remains day-to-day with a sore shoulder, and... Read More
Bucks at Cavaliers (8pm ET Thursday, TNT) The Milwaukee Bucks have lost three of their last four, most recently suffering a 29-point pistol whipping at the hands of the Wizards, to bring their record to 5-6. The Bucks have been spreading the ball around, and are currently the only team in the league which has all five starters averaging 12 points and at least 1 steal per game. What they’re not doing is winning. A big part of the problem is that the Bucks are getting outrebounded 44.5 to 38.6, the second-worst differential in the league. The Bucks continue to play without Jabari Parker, who’s nursing a sprained foot, but hope to have guard OJ Mayo (hamstring) suit up for the first time this season. But, hey, they did beat... Read More
Pelicans at Thunder (8pm ET Wednesday, ESPN) Alvin Gentry was brought into New Orleans to give the Pelicans the kind of offensive scheme he helped build for the Warriors’ championship run. Eleven games in, it ain’t working: the team finds itself at 1-10 following a 115-98 loss against Denver on Tuesday, with a point differential of -9.9. Worse than the loss of the game was the loss of Anthony Davis, who left the game midway through the first quarter with a shoulder injury. He joined the team for the flight to Oklahoma City, but his status for tonight remains up in the air. Davis has already hoisted as many threes this season as he had in his previous 105 regular season games. He’s hitting them at a respectable clip of... Read More
Clippers at Mavericks (8pm ET Thursday, ESPN) The Los Angeles Clippers are coming off a 94-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, on the strength of 7 free throws in the final 13 seconds. The win put their record at 5-2, good enough for second place in the West. Their only two losses this season have come against their archnemesis, the Rockets, who bounced them from the semis in last season’s playoffs, and the Warriors, who won the title the Clippers know they should’ve competed for.
The loss against Houston came thanks in large part to a blown goaltending call and Chris Paul having been sidelined with a groin pull. (When Blake Griffin leads your squad in assists with 5, your offense probably isn’t performing at peak... Read More
Knicks at Cavaliers (8pm ET Wednesday, ESPN) The New York Knicks’ latest rebuilding is off to a promising start, as their two losses have come against the Hawks and Spurs, while they’ve taken care of business against lesser lights Wizards and Bucks. Carmelo Anthony’s knee seems to be in fine form eight months after surgery, and his ego is definitely in fighting trim, as he responded to an accusation from the Wizards’ Jared Dudley of being overrated by dropping 37 points on the Wiz in a 117-110 victory. ‘Melo’s averaging 23 points, and 7 rebounds, and continues to dispense invaluable lifestyle advice, there’s no reason to think that’ll soon change.
Meanwhile, the Knicks’ Latvian beanpole, Kristaps Porzingis, is leading the team in rebounds (8.3) and steals (1.8) despite... Read More
Heat at Cavaliers (8pm ET Friday, ESPN) The Miami Heat (1-0) saw their win total drop from 54 to 37 in Year One of the post-LeBron era. In an effort to help fill the hole left by James, GM Pat Riley brought in ex-Knick fixer-upper Amar’e Stoudemire, fresh off his scene-stealing turn in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck.
As good as Stoudemire was in the movie, the Heat are still hanging their hats on three guys – Stoudemire, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade – who as a unit have missed 74 games a year over the past four seasons and are going to reach a collective age of 98 this season. Stoudemire has gotten off to an inauspicious start, having started the season on the inactive list with a cranky knee, causing... Read More
Hawks at Knicks (8pm ET Thursday, TNT) The Atlanta Hawks finished the 2015 regular season as the #1 seed in the East, having won a franchise record 60 games. The recipe for their success included some lights-out shooting, a career year or two, solid defense and the weakest schedule in the NBA. They should again be a playoff team, thanks largely to being in the East, and the fact that they bring back the same team as last year, with the exception of swingman DeMarre Carroll. The Hawks are coming off an Opening Night 106-94 loss to the Detroit Pistons, in which they were out-rebounded 59-40 and only got to the free throw line 15 times.
Year One of the Phil Jackson Era at Madison Square Garden saw the... Read More
Spurs at Thunder (8pm ET, ESPN) After getting bounced in the first round of last year’s playoffs by a younger, more athletic Clippers team, the San Antonio Spurs went out and had the best offseason of any team in the NBA. Not only did they re-up reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard to a team-friendly 5-year deal, they also brought in David West, and lured LaMarcus Aldridge away from Portland and the invaluable mentorship of Toni and Candace.
West and Aldridge will come in handy as coach Gregg Popovich looks to continue limiting Tim Duncan’s minutes, and Leonard, at just 24, has yet to hit his ceiling. The Spurs look like they’re poised to make a push for a sixth (!) Duncan-era... Read More
There are worse ways to kick off an NBA season than showcasing four of the league’s eight most watchable teams, but fortunately, we needn’t worry about them.
Cavaliers at Bulls (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT) The evening begins with LeBron James & LeBron-naires beginning their Eastern Conference title defense in the Windy City, where they’ll face Derrick Rose, one of the league’s most snake-bitten and tone-deaf superstars, and the Bulls.
The Cavaliers’ title quest last season was derailed when Kevin Love suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first round of the playoffs, and then point guard Kyrie Irving went down with a fractured kneecap in Game 1 of the Finals. Love has spent the summer paddle boarding and hiking in Park City, Utah, and has been playing... Read More
There isn’t much dispute among the talking heads and scribblers about who the top three picks will be in the NBA draft on Thursday: Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell. There’s also very little debate about the order in which they’ll go. Here’s the nearly universal mock-draft guess: that order.
That leaves the New York Knicks, who pick fourth, in a tough position—so tough there are rumors they might try to trade the pick. It could be safer to let someone else guess whether Latvian 19-year-old Kristaps Porzingis is a Nowitzki-Kirilenko-Durant hybrid or just the next Darko Milicic; or whether Congolese 19-year-old Emmanuel Mudiay is the next... Read More
The Warriors swept the Rockets 4-0 in the regular season but both Golden State and Houston recognize that the postseason is a different animal.
“It seems like in the playoffs, things kind of take a different shape,” said MVP Stephen Curry, who will lead the Warriors against MVP runner-up James Harden and the Rockets tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
Harden agrees: “Yesterday is over with. We play … against the Golden State Warriors. That’s a really good team. We have to turn the page. We have to be ready to go … We’ll be ready.”
LeBron James couldn’t let Derrick Rose and Paul Pierce have his spotlight for long. The King nailed a shot at the buzzer Sunday night to lift the Cavaliers over the Bulls, 86-84, and tie the series at 2.
Consider it returning a favor. Rose banked in a 3-pointer for the win Friday night – and, no, he did not call glass.
“I was supposed to take the ball out,” James said. “I told Coach there was no way I’m taking the ball out unless I could shoot it over the backboard and go in. So I told him, ‘Have somebody else take the ball out.’ The play that was drawn up,... Read More
Is the sweep a blessing or a curse? Does it let you rest or rust?
The Warriors, Wizards and Cavs have moved on to the next round with sweeps, while the Clippers and Spurs seem locked in a battle that has all the makings of a down-to-the-final-buzzer seven-game series.
For the teams that swept, there’s no way they would rather be in the kind of fight that L.A. and San Antonio are in.
Being rusty is better than being battered and bruised.
And a sweep is no guarantee that you’ll escape unscathed. The Cavaliers lost forward Kevin Love for two weeks to a dislocated shoulder. The longer Cleveland can wait tom play the winner of the Bulls-Bucks series the better.
Atlanta took the NBA by surprise this year and had a playoff spot secured so soon that it made the end of their regular season anti-climatic.
Most people refuse to pick a team to win the Eastern Conference that doesn’t have a player named LeBron James, but the Hawks went 3-1 against Cleveland in the regular season and have home court advantage.
But that’s getting too far ahead. Atlanta has to get through Brooklyn first (which, let’s be honest, shouldn’t be hard) and the Cavs have to put down a Boston team that surprised many by slipping into the playoffs despite a sub-.500 record.
The East, however, isn’t a two-horse race. Chicago is easing Derrick Rose back just in time for the playoffs. It’s not easy recovering... Read More
Golden State and the Splash Brothers have been one of the best storylines of the NBA regular season. Carrying the league’s best record into the postseason, it’s impossible not to see them as serious title contenders.
However, the West is also home to the defending champions and while San Antonio had what might be considered a “down year” by their standards, nobody is looking past the Spurs.
Tim Duncan & Co. finished the season on a tear winning 16 of their last 20 games. The Clippers, who face the Spurs in the first-round, sported the same record over their last 20 games, too, including seven in a row to finish the season.
San Antonio-L.A. is the series to watch in the first round, and whichever team makes... Read More
Indiana is finishing up strong and with only a few games left the Pacers still have a shot at the playoffs. Indiana beat another playoff hopeful on Sunday, the Thunder, which marked the Pacers’ fifth win in a row.
“We know every game matters for us and we’ve got to continue to play at this level to get in,” George Hill said. “It just sucks that we don’t control our own destiny as far as needing help from others. We just got to hope for the best.”
That help would have to come in the form of a loss by the Brooklyn Nets, who have the same record as the Pacers but own the tie-breaker.
You can watch Indiana make its final push at home against the Wizards and... Read More
Chicago’s Derrick Rose said he’d “probably” return this week and it just so happens that on Thursday the Bulls play the Heat on TBS. Lucky us!
“If anything, I’m just trying to get my mental (approach) together so when I come back it won’t be like my previous times,” the former MVP said about his third comeback from knee surgery. “I think I was away from the game too long (during) previous injuries, and with me missing five, six, seven weeks now, I think that my return is about to be (smoother).”
Miami still has a chance at landing a playoff spot despite being nine gems under .500 as of this writing, but the Rose-less Bulls are coming off a big... Read More
Are LeBron James and Kevin Love really buds or not? Can’t they get it together and beat the King’s former team? Let’s keep it 100: it shouldn’t be that hard. Yet the Cavs lost in Miami the last time these two squads met.
Maybe there’s a little intrigue there but not as much as there is with the two Golden State games this week on Sling TV.
The Warriors travel to L.A. to face the Clippers on Tuesday, and while Golden State sports the best record in the league, L.A. has been on a roll recently, winning eight of its last 10 as of this writing.
Oh, but that might sound a little too hopeful because guess what? The Warriors have won nine in a row. Fancy that.
LeBron and the Cavaliers travel to Miami once again but that isn’t even close to being the best game this week on Sling TV. (Unless all you care about is LeBron.)
The best game of the week is a preview of what could be the NBA Finals: Atlanta verus Golden State. Both teams have balanced, high-scoring attacks and both look to convert 3s on the break instead of layups, so this promises to be an explosive matchup.
The Hawks beat the Warriors, 126-114, in Atlanta the only other time they met this season. And this game will be the last chance to see them battle unless they face each other in the finals. (Which seems quite likely.)
Monday, March 16
Cleveland at Miami, 8pm EST (ESPN) Just before tipoff,... Read More
The four games Sling TV has on tap this week will bring you some of the NBA’s biggest stars and preview what could be some key playoff matchups. The biggest game this week is probably the Cavs at the Spurs. LeBron has been shaping Cleveland into a contender while San Antonio has been floundering. But you can never count the Spurs out, can you?
Wednesday, March 11 LA Clippers at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. EST (ESPN)
The Thunder have Russell Westbrook back. Will Kevin Durant be back in time for this game, too? The Magic 8 Ball says: DON’T COUNT ON IT
Houston at Portland, 10:30 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Point guard Damian Lillard has Portland back on track but this might be an MVP... Read More
Rajon Rondo has been having a bit of a problem fitting in on the Mavericks but recent addition Amar'e Stoudemire hopes to help Dallas gel as they make a push for a title. And you can watch the revamped team twice this week on Sling TV, with games against Portland and Golden State.
The Blazers also have a key Western Conference matchup in Los Angeles against the high-octane L.A. Clippers, who are second in the league in scoring. The last time these two teams met, Portland lost at home, 100-94 despite 37 points from LaMarcus Aldridge.
Wednesday, March 4 LA Lakers at Miami, 8 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Will the Lakers celebrate after the game against the Heat like they did after beating the Celtics last week? TheRead More
With seven NBA games on Sling TV this week, how will you ever decide which one to watch? That’s a trick question. You don’t have to choose. You can watch all of them, and all of them means you’ll get to see OKC three times on the road against Phoenix, Portland, and the Lakers; and Portland twice at home against the Spurs and the Thunder. And a lot of other great action, too.
Here are a few more NBA questions to ponder this week.
Wednesday, Feb. 25 LA Clippers at Houston, 8pm EST (ESPN)
After a break following the All-Star game, the NBA gets back to action Thursday. And if you are still mad about the “travesty” of DeAndre Jordan not making the All-Star team, you can watch him and the man who took his spot on the All-Star team, Dirk Nowitzki, on the same night and fuel that rage.
Sling offers you the following NBA games to tune into this week:
Thursday, Feb. 19
Dallas at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. EST (TNT)
Can Dirk defend his All-Star honor? Magic 8 Ball says: YES DEFINITELY
San Antonio at LA Clippers, 10:30 p.m. EST (TNT)
Will DeAndre make the Spurs feel his snub-wrath? Magic 8 Ball says: IT IS DECIDEDLY SO