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  • Olapido: James goaltended in final seconds
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 26, 2018

    While Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James added to his lengthy playoff legacy with a buzzer-beater Wednesday night, the Indiana Pacers felt aggrieved by the play just before his decisive shot.

    • With the score tied at 95 and the clock winding down in the fourth quarter, Indiana guard Victor Oladipo drove down the left side of the lane with James defending.

      Oladipo laid the ball of the glass moments before James swatted away the attempt. Goaltending should have been called but wasn't, and the play wasn't reviewable by replay under NBA rules.

      Cleveland came up with the rebound with three seconds left, called timeout and set up a play on which James hit a 3-pointer to give Cleveland a 98-95 win.

      "Hit the backboard, then he blocked it," Oladipo said. "Replays, I guess you guys can see, it was a tough play at the time for him, but it was a goaltend. It's hard to even speak on it. It just sucks, honestly. It really sucks."

      Asked about the play, James said, joking, "I definitely thought it was a goaltend." He then added, "Of course I didn't think it was a goaltend. I try to make plays like that all the time, and I mean, he made a heck of a move, got me leaning right and he went left, and I just tried to use my recovery speed and get back up there and make a play on the ball. And I was able to make a play."

      The fact that James' ensuing basket was a 3-pointer would seem to make the goaltending question moot, but Oladipo won't accept that logic.

      "Give him credit where credit is due," Oladipo said. "The three was big-time. Definitely huge. But who's to say they even run that play? We don't know what happens. It's unfortunate. It really sucks that (the referees) missed that."

      The result gave the Cavaliers a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven, first-round Eastern Conference playoff series. Game 6 is Friday in Indianapolis.

      James wound up with 44 points on 14-of-24 shooting from the floor. Olapido made just 2 of 15 field-goal attempts while contributing 12 points and 12 rebounds.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: LeBron sinks Pacers at buzzer
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 26, 2018

    LeBron James sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer Wednesday, lifting the Cleveland Cavaliers to 98-95 victory and a 3-2 first-round series lead over the visiting Indiana Pacers.

    • James scored 44 points, hitting 14 of 24 field-goal attempts and all 15 free throws. He contributed 10 rebounds, eight assists and a huge blocked shot on the Pacers' final possession just before his game-winner. Game 6 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series is Friday at Indianapolis.

      Kyle Korver hit 5 of 9 3-point attempts en route to 19 points for the Cavaliers, who shot 41.3 percent from the floor. Kevin Love contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavs.

      Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. The offensive struggles of Indiana's leading regular-season scorer, Victor Oladipo, continued as he put up 12 points on 2-of-15 shooting. Oladipo is 12 of 50 from the field in the past three games.

      Rockets 122, Timberwolves 104

      James Harden and Clint Capela recorded double-doubles, and Houston used another third-quarter blitz to top visiting Minnesota and complete a 4-1 victory in a Western Conference first-round playoff series.

      Harden scored 15 of his 24 points in the third quarter and added 12 assists on the night. Capela capped a strong series with 26 points and 15 rebounds. All five Houston starters scored in double figures while Eric Gordon chipped in 19 points off the bench.

      The top-seeded Rockets will await the winner of the Utah-Oklahoma City series. Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 14 rebounds.

      Thunder 107, Jazz 99

      Russell Westbrook recorded 45 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists, and Oklahoma City recovered from a 25-point, third-quarter deficit to stay alive in its first-round series against visiting Utah.

      Paul George added 34 points and eight rebounds as Oklahoma City cut Utah's lead in the best-of-seven series to 3-2.

      Jae Crowder made six 3-pointers and had 27 points and eight rebounds for the Jazz. Donovan Mitchell tallied 23 points, Joe Ingles had 16, Rudy Gobert added 11 points and 10 rebounds and Ricky Rubio had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

      Raptors 108, Wizards 98

      DeMar DeRozan put his team on his back, pouring in 32 points for host Toronto against Washington to give the Raptors a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.

      In a close, back-and-forth affair, the Raptors led 79-78 heading into the fourth quarter. Kelly Oubre Jr. converted a three-point play off a dunk that gave the Wizards an 87-82 lead with nine minutes to play. Toronto answered with eight consecutive points, capped by a dunk from DeRozan, to regain the lead.

      Kyle Lowry had 17 points and 10 assists for the Raptors, who got 14 points and 13 rebounds from Jonas Valanciunas. John Wall paced the Wizards with 26 points, and he added nine rebounds and nine assists.

      --Field Level Media

  • Budenholzer, Hawks agree to part ways
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    The Atlanta Hawks and head coach Mike Budenholzer mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced Wednesday night.

    • Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of the move, "(I) feel like it's in the best interest of both parties."

      Budenholzer told ESPN, "I am grateful for the five years that I spent as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, and will always cherish the incredible contributions, commitment and accomplishments of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with here. From ownership to management, support staff to the community, I'll look back with great pride on what we were able to achieve together with the Hawks."

      The Hawks previously gave Budenholzer permission to interview with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks for their head-coaching vacancies. He met with the Suns for two days before pulling his name out of the running last week.

      The New York Post reported Budenholzer interviewed with the Knicks on Sunday and wants to become the team's new head coach, quoting one source saying, "New York's his top choice. If they offered him the job, he'd say yes. He wants to live in New York."

      Budenholzer, 48, spent the last five years with the Hawks, going 213-197 while making four trips to the playoffs and winning Coach of the Year in 2014-15. He also served as the team's president of basketball operations until 2017, when Schlenk was hired as general manager and took over personnel decisions.

      A native of Holbrook, Ariz., Budenholzer had two years and more than $14 million remaining on his contract with Atlanta.

      ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that assistant coaches expected to be potential candidates for to replace Budenholzer include current the Charlotte Hornets' Stephen Silas, the Portland Trail Blazers' Nate Tibbetts and David Vanterpool and the San Antonio Spurs' Ime Udoka and James Borrego.

      --Field Level Media

  • LaVar Ball pulling sons early from Lithuania
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    LaVar Ball has pulled sons LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball off of their Lithuanian professional team, BC Vytautas, with two games remaining in the regular season and will leave the country next week.

    • According to Lithuanian reporter Donatas Urbonas, the Balls will be leaving in part because of a dispute between head coach Virginijus Seskus and LaVar Ball, who is upset with the lack of playing time given to LaMelo. LiAngelo recently suffered an ankle injury and would not be playing in the final two games anyway.

      "We're not going to waste our time no more," LaVar Ball told Urbonas, adding that LiAngelo will be playing it safe with his health as preparation for the NBA draft approaches.

      The elder Ball also told Urbonas that he was happy with the general experience in Lithuania, but said, "I just didn't get along with the coach."

      When asked if LaMelo, who will not be eligible for the NBA draft until 2020, will return to play in Lithuania in the future, LaVar Ball responded, "We'll see. He is still so young." However, he made it clear that his son won't return to the same team.

      "Coach ruined everything and he'll have to pay the price that Melo is not coming back," he said, per Urbonas.

      With two games remaining, BC Vytautas (8-24) sits last in the Lithuanian Basketball League and faces relegation to a lower-tiered league.

      LiAngelo, 19, averaged 12.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 21.7 minutes per game in 14 appearances (six starts) while shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from 3-point range. He declared for the 2018 NBA Draft in March but is not expected to be drafted. LaVar Ball has voiced his intention to have LiAngelo join his older brother, Lonzo Ball, on the Los Angeles Lakers as an undrafted free agent.

      LaMelo, 16, appeared in just eight games (one start) for Vytautas, averaging 6.5 points, 2.4 assists and 1.1 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game while shooting 26.8 percent from the field and 25 percent from deep.

      --Field Level Media

  • Spurs, Popovich plan sitdown with Leonard
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    Kawhi Leonard played only nine games for the San Antonio Spurs this season, but the team has no greater offseason priority.

    • A meeting between Leonard, coach Gregg Popovich and other members of the executive staff is expected soon now that the Spurs are eliminated from the playoffs.

      The crux of the conflict between Leonard and the Spurs is health, communication and a potential super-max contract.

      Furthermore, ESPN speculated Wednesday that the future of head coach Gregg Popovich might not be certain following the death of his wife.

      Leonard was bothered by a quadriceps injury, attempted to return in January and then went back on the shelf. But during his absence, Leonard was distant from the team. Leonard maintained he was in New York for treatment and rehab and in mid-March, speculation mounted that Leonard might be ready for the playoffs.

      But when it came time to make a call on his status, Popovich said he wouldn't be the one to ask, instead directing question to Leonard and his "group."

      The Spurs' medical staff cleared Leonard to return to play in March. Leonard's personal medical team has decided to hold him out.

      His last appearance on the court this season was Jan. 13.

      Popovich, 69, did not coach the Spurs for the final three games of the series with the Warriors while mourning his wife's death.

      When last asked for an update on Leonard's status, Popovich said, "You'll have to ask Kawhi and his group that question. So far, they say that he's not ready to go. So we can't do anything until that happens. Then, we would have to decide what's going on from there. But that's the first thing that has to happen."

      Popovich successfully navigated a similar situation last offseason, when a one-on-one session with forward LaMarcus Aldridge helped each side gain a better understanding of expectations. Aldridge was an All-Star in 2017-18, flourishing in the No. 1 scoring option role while Leonard was sidelined.

      Leonard is eligible for a five-year, $219 million "super max" contract extension this summer. His current contract runs through the 2018-19 season.

      Rudy Gay and Danny Green have player options in their contracts and could opt to leave.

      San Antonio also has major decisions on the roster status of point guard Tony Parker, who made $15.9 million this season at age 35 but is now a backup, and Manu Ginobili.

      "We'll see," Parker said. "I said already I want to keep playing. I'm happy I don't have those retirement parties. I want to keep playing, and we'll see if it's in San Antonio. Everybody knows I would love to stay here. But free agency is always crazy, so we'll see."

      Ginobili has taken several weeks to weigh his future in the offseason for the past three years.

      "I like to let it season a little bit, to see how I feel. Don't expect news until July, probably. I just don't know. I let a month, two months go by and see how I feel. I'm not the type of guy who makes decisions on the fly, and when you are upset, hurt or whatever."

      --Field Level Media

  • Heat's Wade not ready to decide NBA future
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    Dwyane Wade has not decided if he will continue his NBA career.

    • The 36-year-old guard was non-committal Tuesday night after his Miami Heat were eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 5 of a first-round Eastern Conference playoff series. The 76ers topped the visiting Heat 104-91.

      Asked about his future postgame, Wade said, "One thing I ain't worried about right now is that. That's not my focus fresh off this NBA season, my 15th year. I'll sit back and think about that. I'll dive in and throw myself into my family. They are next on my bucket list of making sure I am there for them.

      "And when it comes to the basketball side of it, which is a long time away from now, then I'll think about that. But right now, I ain't concerned with it."

      If his wife has any say in the matter, Wade might continue playing. Actress Gabrielle Union tweeted, "I hope this isnt the end, but my God... @DwyaneWade has a career most people dream of. He is a damn legend. An icon. And hes cute #HeatNation"

      She then retweeted a post that pointed out only two players in NBA history -- Michael Jordan and LeBron James -- have equaled or surpassed his career totals in games, points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, All-Star selections (12) and NBA championships (three).

      Wade began this season with the Cleveland Cavaliers before he was dealt to the Heat in February for a protected 2024 second-round draft pick. He wound up averaging 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in a combined 67 games for Cleveland and Miami in 2017-18.

      In the postseason series against Philadelphia, Wade averaged 18 points, four rebounds and 3.3 assists.

      Wade holds career marks of 22.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Sixers, Warriors advance
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    JJ Redick scored 27 points to lift the Philadelphia 76ers past the visiting Miami Heat 104-91 to clinch the teams' first-round playoff series in five games Tuesday night.

    • Redick scored 20 or more points in consecutive playoff games for the first time in his career as the third-seeded Sixers advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2012. They will meet either the second-seeded Boston Celtics or the seventh-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.

      Joel Embiid scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Ben Simmons had 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Marco Belinelli chipped in with 11 points and Robert Covington had 10.

      Kelly Olynyk led the Heat with 18 points, Tyler Johnson added 16 and Goran Dragic had 15. Justise Winslow scored 12 points and Dwyane Wade had 11.

      Warriors 99, Spurs 91

      Golden State responded to its first loss of the postseason with a championship-type defensive effort, suffocating San Antonio to complete a 4-1 win in the first round of the NBA playoffs at Oakland, Calif.

      The defending champions, seeded second in the West this year, advance to a Western Conference semifinal matchup with the sixth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans, who scored a surprising four-game sweep of the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers.

      Kevin Durant had a team-high 25 points, Klay Thompson 24 and Draymond Green a 17-point, 19-rebound double-double for the Warriors, who won their 12th consecutive home playoff game. LaMarcus Aldridge had a 30 points and 12 boards for the Spurs, who were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for just the fifth time in the past 21 years.

      Celtics 92, Bucks 87

      Al Horford scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to help host Boston take a 3-2 series lead against Milwaukee Bucks on a night when Marcus Smart returned for the Celtics.

      Terry Rozier added 16 points, Jaylen Brown had 14 and Marcus Morris had 10 for the Celtics, who can clinch the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with a win in Game 6 on Thursday in Milwaukee. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 23 points.

      Smart had nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocks off the bench after missing the first four games of the series and the last 15 games of the regular season while recovering from right thumb surgery.

      --Field Level Media

  • More than 200 seek early entry to NBA draft
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    The NBA draft consists of 60 picks, yet Tuesday, the league released a list of 236 players who applied for early entry.

    • That means a lot of players will be disappointed when their names aren't called on June 21 at Barclays Center in New York.

      The total number of early entrants is a record, according to ESPN. The list includes 181 college players and 55 international players.

      Any college players who don't sign with an agent have until 5 p.m. ET on June 11 to withdraw their names from draft consideration and retain their NCAA eligibility.

      Per ESPN, last year 137 college players and 45 international players submitted their names for the draft, and the year before it was 117 college players and 45 international players.

      Just 64 college players remained available after the withdrawal deadline last year, a slight increase from 60 in 2016.

      ESPN reported that more than 55 college undergraduates already signed with agents this year or plan to do so.

      The players expected to go at the top of the draft are all underclassmen: Arizona's Deandre Ayton, Duke's Marvin Bagley III, Missouri's Michael Porter Jr., Michigan State's Jaren Jackson Jr. and Luka Doncic, a Slovenian who plays for Real Madrid.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mill Meek, rapper supported by athletes, out of jail
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered the bail release of rapper Meek Mill, whose incarceration has attracted the attention of numerous athletes and other sports figures.

    • The Philadelphia native, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, had sought his release while appealing a two- to four-year sentence for a probation violation. He went to jail last November for failing a drug test, traveling out of the region and other related offenses.

      Philadelphia 76ers co-owner and vocal Meek Mill supporter Michael Rubin tweeted Tuesday that he was on his way to pick up the rapper from prison. The Sixers were to play the Miami Heat in Game 5 of their NBA first-round playoff series in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

      New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft visited Mill at a state prison in Pennsylvania earlier this year, and Rubin had organized visits to Mill's prison with 76ers players Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz.

      Members of the Philadelphia Eagles also showed support for Mill.

      "I'd like to thank God, my family, and all my public advocates for their love, support and encouragement during this difficult time," the rapper wrote on Twitter. "While the past five months have been a nightmare, the prayers, visits, calls, letters and rallies have helped me stay positive."

      --Field Level Media

  • Celtics' Smart cleared to play Tuesday, Bucks' Henson out
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart was medically cleared to play in Tuesday's Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks, coach Brad Stevens said at the team's morning shootaround.

    • Smart hasn't played since injuring his right thumb on March 11. He underwent surgery to repair a ligament and will wear a splint to protect the hand.

      Stevens said that Smart will be monitored closely leading up to the game.

      "One thing is he hasn't played in a month and a half," Stevens told reporters. "So this is an opportunity to come in and do what he does best, and that's impact the game with his energy, his physicality, his savvy and his skill. I think one of the things obviously when you've got a player of his caliber, he's really excited to play.

      "But at the same time, we'll see how he feels. Again, if he's got any lingering effects at all after going a 2-on-2 or a 3-on-3 here in an hour or so, then we won't play him."

      Smart averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 54 games (11 starts) during the regular season.

      Meanwhile, Milwaukee will be without center John Henson (back) for the third straight game. Henson didn't make the trip to Boston, and his status for Game 6 could become an issue.

      Henson averaged 8.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 76 regular-season games (69 starts).

      Tyler Zeller is expected to draw his third straight start, but it has been 21-year-old Thon Maker who has stepped up his play with Henson out. Maker is averaging 11 points and five blocked shots over the past two games, both Milwaukee victories.

      The Eastern Conference first-round series is tied at 2 entering Tuesday's game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cavs G Hill (back) still questionable for Game 5
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    After taking part in shooting drills at Tuesday's practice, Cleveland Cavaliers guard George Hill remains questionable for the team's Game 5 against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

    • The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2 as it shifts back to Cleveland.

      Hill missed Game 4 because of back spasms triggered by an injury he aggravated late in the Cavs' 92-90 Game 3 loss. The 31-year-old had 13 points in 23 minutes in Friday's defeat.

      Jose Calderon started in Hill's place in Game 4 on Sunday, scoring five points in 19 minutes. Cleveland won the game 104-100 to even the series.

      If Hill does play Wednesday, he will start instead of coming off the bench, coach Tyronn Lue told reporters.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: Reporter caught stealing jacket from Warriors' security
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    A Bay Area TV reporter covering the Golden State Warriors was caught on camera stealing a jacket from a member of the team's security staff last week and was sent home from San Antonio, according to multiple reports Monday.

    • The Athletic's Steve Berman reported that Mike Shumann, a former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver who now works for KGO-TV in San Francisco, was seen on tape stealing the jacket of director of team security Ralph Walker as Shumann left the AT&T Center in San Antonio following practice late last week. Walker is also Stephen Curry's personal security guard, according to Berman.

      The station reportedly sent Shumann home after the incident and on Monday released the following statement to The Athletic: "We are taking these allegations very seriously and conducting a full investigation. As a matter of policy, we do not comment about personnel matters."

      According to ESPN, "several Warriors players were upset over the way the team handled the incident," noting that Shumann is white and a longtime reporter in the city, and that some players "fear he received special treatment."

      --Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will sit out a third consecutive playoff game Tuesday following the death of his wife Erin last Wednesday.

      As he did in Games 3 and 4, assistant coach Ettore Messina will serve as head coach in Game 5, ESPN's Marc J. Spears reported.

      The Spurs trail Golden State 3-1 in their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series. San Antonio avoided a sweep with a 103-90 victory at home on Sunday. Game 5 will be played in Oakland, Calif., with tip scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

      --The New Orleans Pelicans have picked up coach Alvin Gentry's option for 2018-19, according to a report from ESPN.

      Gentry was informed of the team's decision by general manager Dell Demps prior to the Pelicans' sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference quarterfinals, according to the report.

      The Pelicans are 112-134 in three seasons under Gentry's guide. New Orleans went 48-34 this season on its way to its first playoff appearance in the 63-year-old's tenure.

      --The Boston Celtics could have guard Marcus Smart available for Tuesday's Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

      The Celtics have upgraded Smart to questionable for the pivotal contest. The 24-year-old told reporters Sunday that he would have his surgically repaired right thumb evaluated Tuesday. Smart, who was initially eyeing a return for a potential Game 7, said Sunday that playing in Game 6 is the plan. The Celtics and Bucks are tied 2-2 in the best-of-seven series.

      "The surgery did its job," Smart said prior to the Celtics' 104-102 loss to the Bucks in Game 4. "Thumb is holding up well. I feel ready, I feel strong enough to get back out there. I'm just waiting on the OK."

      --Field Level Media

  • Celtics G Smart questionable for Game 5
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    The Boston Celtics could have guard Marcus Smart available for Tuesday's Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

    • The Celtics have upgraded Smart to questionable for the pivotal contest. The 24-year-old told reporters Sunday that he would have his surgically repaired right thumb evaluated Tuesday.

      Smart, who was initially eyeing a return for a potential Game 7, said Sunday that playing in Game 6 is the plan. The Celtics and Bucks are tied 2-2 in the best-of-seven series.

      "The surgery did its job," Smart said prior to the Celtics' 104-102 loss to the Bucks in Game 4. "Thumb is holding up well. I feel ready, I feel strong enough to get back out there. I'm just waiting on the OK."

      Celtics coach Brad Stevens has said Smart will be cleared for game action once he's cleared for contact.

      Smart will also wear a splint when he returns. Both Stevens and Smart said the splint is designed so that it won't affect Smart's shooting.

      "Real comfortable. It feels like nothing's there," Smart said. "To have that comfortability, especially in my dominant hand, my shooting hand, that's a good feeling to have."

      Smart, primarily used as a reserve in the regular season, averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 54 games (11 starts).

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Pels to bring back coach Gentry
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    The New Orleans Pelicans have picked up coach Alvin Gentry's option for 2018-19, according to a report from ESPN.

    • Gentry was informed of the team's decision by general manager Dell Demps prior to the Pelicans' sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference quarterfinals, according to the report.

      The Pelicans are 112-134 in three seasons under Gentry's guide. New Orleans went 48-34 this season on its way to its first playoff appearance in the 63-year-old's tenure.

      Gentry's lengthy head coaching resume includes stints with the Phoenix Suns (2008-13), Los Angeles Clippers (2000-03), Detroit Pistons (1997-2000) and Miami Heat (1994-95). He holds a 447-504 record for his NBA career.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: TV reporter caught stealing jacket from Warriors' security
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    A Bay Area TV reporter covering the Golden State Warriors was caught on camera stealing a jacket from a member of the team's security staff last week and was sent home from San Antonio, according to multiple reports Monday.

    • The Athletic's Steve Berman reported that Mike Shumann, a former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver who now works for KGO-TV in San Francisco, was seen on tape stealing the jacket of director of team security Ralph Walker as Shumann left the AT&T Center in San Antonio following practice late last week. Walker is also Stephen Curry's personal security guard, according to Berman.

      ESPN's Chris Haynes later confirmed the report.

      The station reportedly sent Shumann home after the incident and on Monday released the following statement to The Athletic:

      "We are taking these allegations very seriously and conducting a full investigation. As a matter of policy, we do not comment about personnel matters."

      According to ESPN, "several Warriors players were upset over the way the team handled the incident," noting that Shumann is white and a longtime reporter in the city, and that some players "fear he received special treatment."

      The team and station have an agreement which gives KGO exclusive player interviews, often with Shumann. According to The Athletic, players are now refusing to do those interviews with Shumann, who has reportedly apologized to players.

      --Field Level Media

  • Popovich won't coach Spurs in Game 5
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will sit out a third consecutive playoff game Tuesday following the death of his wife Erin last Wednesday.

    • As he did in Games 3 and 4, assistant coach Ettore Messina will serve as head coach in Game 5, ESPN's Marc J. Spears reported.

      Greg and Erin Popovich were married four decades and had two children. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Erin, 67, had "been ill over an extended period of time."

      The Spurs trail Golden State three games to one in their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series. San Antonio avoided a sweep with a 103-90 victory at home on Sunday.

      Game 5 will be played in Oakland, Calif., with tip scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Cavs, Wizards, Bucks even series
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    LeBron James scored 32 points and Kyle Korver hit two clutch 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 104-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers, evening their first-round playoff series at two games apiece Sunday night in Indianapolis.

    • James grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds. Korver scored 18 points, including eight in the final three-plus minutes. JR Smith and Jordan Clarkson each scored 12 points for the Cavaliers. Game 5 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series is Wednesday night in Cleveland.

      Victor Oladipo sank a 3-pointer to cut Indiana's deficit to 103-100 with 11.9 seconds to go. Pacers guard Lance Stephenson was called for foul after taking Jeff Green down trying to tie the ball up. Green hit one free throw. Bojan Bogdanovic missed a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left, and James sealed it by grabbing the rebound.

      Domantas Sabonis came off the bench to lead the Pacers with 19 points while Myles Turner contributed 17 points.

      Wizards 106, Raptors 98

      Bradley Beal scored 31 points before fouling out, and John Wall recorded 27 points, 14 assists, six rebounds and three steals as Washington posted a victory over visiting Toronto to even their Eastern Conference first-round series at two games apiece.

      Beal made 5 of 7 3-point attempts before his exit as his teammates closed out the victory in impressive fashion. Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter Jr. added 12 points apiece and Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 10 for the eighth-seeded Wizards. Shortly after Beal's exit, the Wizards took control with a 12-2 burst to take a 104-96 lead with 21.9 seconds left.

      DeMar DeRozan had 35 points, six rebounds and six assists for the top-seeded Raptors, who were outscored 66-47 in the second half. Kyle Lowry made four 3-pointers while scoring 19 points for Toronto. Game 5 is Wednesday in Toronto.

      Bucks 104, Celtics 102

      Giannis Antetokounmpo tipped in Malcolm Brogdon's missed floater for the game-winning bucket with 5.1 seconds remaining as host Milwaukee beat Boston to even the series at 2-2.

      Antetokounmpo had 27 points and Khris Middleton had 23 to power Milwaukee, which lost the first two games of its Eastern Conference quarterfinal series in Boston before coming to life with two home wins. Game 5 is Tuesday in Boston.

      Boston's Marcus Morris missed a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer that would have tied it. The Celtics have never lost a playoff series when leading 2-0. Milwaukee, which won 116-92 in Game 3, has never won a series after starting in an 0-2 hole.

      Spurs 103, Warriors 90

      LaMarcus Aldridge banked in a 3-pointer to stave off a Golden State rally in the fourth quarter, allowing host San Antonio to avoid a sweep in its first-round playoff series.

      Game 5 in the best-of-seven series will take place Tuesday night at Golden State, with the Warriors leading 3-1, one win away from a second-round matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans.

      The Spurs never trailed, leading by as many as 10 in the first quarter and 17 in the second as Ettore Messina coached the Spurs in the season-saving win as head coach Gregg Popovich missed his second straight game following the death of his wife Erin. Aldridge scored a team-high 22 points. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 34 points and 13 rebounds.

      --Field Level Media

  • Celtics G Smart eyes Game 6 return
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart said he will have his surgically repaired right thumb evaluated Tuesday and is hopeful he will be available for Game 6 in the team's Eastern Conference first-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks.

    • Smart tore a ligament in the thumb during a March 11 game against the Indiana Pacers.

      "The surgery did its job," Smart told reporters prior to Sunday's 104-102 loss to the Bucks in Game 4. "Thumb is holding up well. I feel ready, I feel strong enough to get back out there. I'm just waiting on the OK."

      Smart was initially eyeing a return for a potential Game 7 in the series tied at two games apiece. But he now sees Thursday's contest as a realistic possibility should he be cleared for contract.

      "Right now, (Game 6 return is) the plan and we're still on the same track," Smart said. "I've been doing everything but contact, so I will be able to go and start that."

      Smart will also wear a splint when he returns. Both coach Brad Stevens and Smart said the splint is designed so that it won't affect Smart's shooting.

      "Real comfortable. It feels like nothing's there," Smart said. "To have that comfortability, especially in my dominant hand, my shooting hand, that's a good feeling to have."

      --Field Level Media

  • Westbrook vows to shut down Rubio after triple-double
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Ricky Rubio became the first Jazz player to record a playoff triple-double since John Stockton in 2001, but Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook wasn't all that impressed.

    • In fact, Westbrook vowed to shut the Jazz point guard down in Game 4. The Jazz leads the series 2-1 after winning Game 3 115-102 on Saturday night.

      "He made some shots. Too comfortable. But I'm gonna shut that (expletive) off next game though. Guarantee that," Westbrook said afterward.

      Rubio finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career postseason triple-double and was humbled to be keeping company with Stockton afterward.

      "Having my name next to (Stockton's) name is an honor," Rubio said. "I don't know what else to say. It's huge. Have huge respect for him, and playing here is great because I know how important a point guard he is for this franchise."

      Westbrook, who has averaged a triple-double the past two seasons, will get his chance to get even in the series -- and with Rubio -- on Monday night in Salt Lake City.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former No. 1 pick Bogut signs with Australian pro team
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Andrew Bogut never found a team to pick him up for the NBA playoffs and now it appears his career is headed back to Australia.

    • Waived by the Los Angeles Lakers in January, the former No. 1 overall pick has signed with the Sydney Kings, the team announced on social media on Sunday.

      The Kings say they will have a press conference Monday morning to officially announce the deal.

      The Kings finished their NBL season in February with an 11-17 record.

      The 7-footer from Australia was picked No. 1 by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005, spending his first seven years in the league there before signing with the Warriors, eventually serving as the starting center on their 2015 championship team.

      In 694 career games with five teams, Bogut averaged 9.8 points and 8.7 rebounds.

      The 33-year-old Bogut, who joined the Lakers in the offseason, played in 24 games (five starts), averaging 1.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 9.0 minutes per contest.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Pelicans finish off sweep of Blazers
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday each achieved career playoff scoring highs as the New Orleans Pelicans held off the Portland Trail Blazers 131-123 Saturday at Smoothie King Center.

    • Davis scored 47 points and Holiday 41 as the Pelicans clinched the best-of-seven playoff series with a four-game sweep. Rajon Rondo dished out 16 assists to go with seven points and seven rebounds for New Orleans.

      CJ McCollum had 38 points, Al-Farouq Aminu scored 27 points, Damian Lillard added 19 and Jusuf Nurkic contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.

      Portland lost despite shooting 52.6 percent from the field and turning the ball over just six times. But the Blazers could not stop New Orleans, which shot 57 percent and assisted on 28 of their 45 baskets.

      Sixers 106, Heat 102

      JJ Redick scored 24 points and Ben Simmons added a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to carry Philadelphia past host Miami.

      Simmons is the fifth rookie in NBA history with a triple-double in the playoffs and the first since Magic Johnson had five in 1980.

      Joel Embiid had 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots and Dario Saric added 11 points as the Sixers took a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 25 points while Goran Dragic added 20. Game 5 will be Tuesday at Philadelphia.

      Timberwolves 121, Rockets 105

      Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague combined for 51 points, and Minnesota finally produced a terrific offensive performance to blow past visiting Houston.

      The starting backcourt of Butler and Teague outplayed the Rockets' tandem of James Harden and Chris Paul, helping the Timberwolves cut the series deficit to 2-1 with Game 4 on Monday at Target Center. Andrew Wiggins added 20 points and Karl-Anthony Towns posted a double-double (18 points and 16 rebounds) as Minnesota shot 50 percent and rode a 69-point second half to victory.

      Harden paired 29 points with seven assists while grabbing seven boards. Chris Paul scored 17 with six assists. Ryan Anderson, in his first action since April 3 after recovering from a sprained ankle, added four 3-pointers for 12 points in 18 minutes off the bench.

      Jazz 115, Thunder 102

      Ricky Rubio recorded 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career postseason triple-double to lead Utah to a home victory over Oklahoma City. Game 4 is Monday at Salt Lake City.

      Donovan Mitchell contributed 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Jazz took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round playoff series. Joe Ingles made five 3-pointers while scoring 21 points, Rudy Gobert added 18 points and 12 rebounds and Derrick Favors tallied 11 points.

      Paul George led Oklahoma City with 23 points while Russell Westbrook made just 5 of 17 shots while producing 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton scored 14 points apiece. Westbrook committed eight of the Thunder's 17 turnovers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Curry looks good in return to practice, observers say
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry was back on the court Saturday and is "coming along well" in his recovery from a knee injury, Golden State coach Steve Kerr told reporters.

    • Curry has not played in four weeks since spraining the MCL in his left knee. He missed the final 10 games of the regular season and the first three games of the Warriors' best-of-seven playoff series with the San Antonio Spurs.

      In 51 games this season, Curry averaged 26.4 points per game.

      The Warriors, who have a 3-0 lead over the Spurs, hope to have Curry back for their second-round series. Game 4 against the Spurs will be Sunday afternoon in San Antonio.

      Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams said Curry "was really shooting the ball well and moving around real well. I don't know how he's feeling internally, but I like his attitude about this. He's positive and upbeat, and it rubs off on the other guys."

      Said teammate Kevin Durant: "From his movements, he looked good to me."

      --Field Level Media

  • Morris brothers fined in separate incidents
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Twin brothers Markieff and Marcus Morris were each fined for separate incidents by the NBA on Saturday.

    • Markieff, a member of the Washington Wizards, was docked $25,000 for "attempting to escalate an altercation and pushing a game official" during his team's Game 3 win over the Toronto Raptors. Meanwhile, Marcus, a Celtic, was fined $15,000 for public criticism of officiating following Boston's 116-92 Game 3 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

      Markieff got into it with Raptors rookie OG Anunoby in the first quarter of the two teams' playoff matchup Friday. The two had to be separated after Morris shoved Anunoby with his forearm.

      "It wasn't really a scuffle," Morris told reporters after the game. "I felt like [Anunoby] really went high with his elbow. That's what really got me started. We needed some physicality. I felt like when we played them in Toronto, they did everything too freely. So this is me trying to set the tone for how we need to play the whole series, especially on Sunday."

      Marcus made his comments while speaking to the media after the Celtics' loss, saying the referees "knew who they wanted to go after" with regard to the technical foul he received in the contest.

      Both Marcus' Celtics and Markieff's Wizards will be in action Sunday. The Celtics lead their series with the Bucks 2-1, while the Wizards trail the Raptors in their series 2-1.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Heat F Richardson hurts shoulder vs. Sixers
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Amid conflicting reports over the severity of an injured left shoulder suffered in a Game 4 loss to the 76ers on Saturday, Miami Heat small forward Josh Richardson expects to play in Game 5 on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

    • Richardson was banged up after a second-quarter collision with Sixers center Joel Embiid with both players and others scrapping for a loose ball in a heated sequence. Yahoo Sports reported after the game that the 24-year-old Richardson had suffered a sprained AC joint.

      The team announced Richardson's injury as a shoulder contusion and made no mention of a sprained AC joint.

      The 6-foot-6 Richardson returned to the game, contributing 10 points, seven assists, five rebounds and a game-high seven steals in Miami's 106-102 loss. The Heat trail their first-round series with the 76ers three games to one.

      The three-year NBA veteran averaged 12.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in over 33 minutes each contest for the Heat in the regular season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cavaliers PG Hill (back) questionable for Game 4
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill underwent an MRI exam on his ailing back on Saturday and is questionable for Sunday's Game 4 against the Indiana Pacers.

    • Hill scored 13 points in Game 3 but his back "locked up," according to Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue.

      Lue said veteran Jose Calderon will start if Hill is unavailable.

      Hill injured the back during Game 1 of the series and dealt with stiffness and spasms over the ensuing days.

      Hill is averaging 8.7 points and 1.7 assists during the series.

      Indiana holds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.

      --Field Level Media