NBA

Durant carries Brooklyn in playoff preview, Obi Toppin stars for Knicks

By Sports Desk April 08, 2022

The Brooklyn Nets showed how they plan to approach their playoff rotation in a 118-107 home win against the Cleveland Cavaliers to leapfrog into the seven seed with one more game to play. 

In a game considered a must-win for the Nets to avoid the much more difficult Play-In Tournament setup for teams who finish ninth and 10th, Brooklyn cut their rotation down to eight players while Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Bruce Brown all played at least 39 minutes.

Seth Curry and Andre Drummond filled out the starting five, while Kessler Edwards, Patty Mills and Nic Claxton came off the bench, with LaMarcus Aldrige, Blake Griffin and rookie Cam Thomas out of the mix.

Durant went on to finish with a game-high 36 points on 11-of-20 shooting (four-of-six from long range, 10-of-10 from the free throw line) to go with five assists, five rebounds, two steals and a block, while Brown had 10 rebounds, eight assists and four blocks to go with his 18 points (six-of-12 shooting).

With the win, Brooklyn is now in position to host their first Play-In Tournament game – likely against the Cavaliers – with the winner entering the playoffs as the seven seed, while the loser gets another chance to play for the eight seed.

Most Improved Player contender Darius Garland was spectacular for the Cavs, scoring 31 points on 12-of-24 shooting, but the loss means his side has now lost eight of their past 10, and have been sputtering without injured center Jarrett Allen.

Overall, the Cavaliers are 43-38 this season, but just 8-17 in games Allen has missed.

No stoppin' Obi Toppin

It was a career night for New York Knicks cult figure Obi Toppin as he scored a career-high 35 points in his side's 114-92 away win against the Washington Wizards.

In only his eighth start of the season, the former first-round pick shot 14-of-22 from the field, including six-of-nine from deep, while fellow fan-favorite Immanuel Quickley was terrific off the bench, scoring 23 points (nine-of-18 shooting) with 10 assists.

 

Siakam shines, Heat hang on

Pascal Siakam seems destined to receive All-NBA honors this season after another great performance lifted his Toronto Raptors to a 117-115 win against the Houston Rockets.

In his past 10 games, Siakam is averaging 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists while shooting 53 per cent from the field, and improved those numbers with 29 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists against the Rockets.

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks played their shortened playoff rotations, and Trae Young's 35 points and eight assists was not enough as the top-seeded Heat prevailed 113-109 at home.

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    Tyler Herro had 24 points and 14 assists and hit six of Miami’s franchise playoff-record 23 3-pointers as the Heat defeated the Boston Celtics, 111-101, to even their first-round series at a game apiece on Wednesday.

    Bam Adebayo had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Caleb Martin added 21 points with five 3s for the Heat, who shot 53.5 percent (23 of 43) from long range to break the franchise playoff record of 20 3s, set against Milwaukee in 2021.

    Jaime Jaquez Jr. contributed 14 points with three 3s, Nikola Jovic added a trio of 3s, nine rebounds and six assists and Haywood Highsmith came off the bench to hit three 3s.

    The series shifts to Miami for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.

    Jaylen Brown scored 33 points and Jayson Tatum added 28 for the top-seeded Celtics, who cut Miami’s lead to 102-96 with three minutes left. But Martin hit a 3 and Herro made a driving layup to essentially seal the win.

    Tatum scored 14 points in the first quarter and showed no ill effects after he was undercut by Martin while going after a rebound in the final minute in Game 1.

     

    Gilgeous-Alexander, Holmgren power Thunder

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points and Chet Holmgren added 26 to lead the hot-shooting Oklahoma City Thunder to a 124-92 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans and a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round series.

    Jalen Williams had 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Thunder, who shot 59 percent (46 for 78) from the floor and made 14 of 29 (48.3 percent) from 3-point range.

    Game 3 will be Sunday in New Orleans.

    Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and Herbert Jones and Brandon Ingram each added 18 as the Pelicans continued to struggle offensively without injured star Zion Williamson (strained left hamstring).

    New Orleans missed 19 of 26 from beyond the arc and made 33 field goals to 46 for Oklahoma City.

  • NBA acknowledges refereeing errors in 76ers chaotic loss to Knicks NBA acknowledges refereeing errors in 76ers chaotic loss to Knicks

    The NBA has acknowledged numerous refereeing errors after the Philadelphia 76ers were on the wrong end of late decisions in a chaotic defeat to the New York Knicks.

    Nick Nurse, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey all voiced 76ers frustration after the Knicks came back from 101-96 down to win 104-101 on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final series.

    Philadelphia coach Nurse suggested his timeout calls were ignored on two separate occasions in the frantic finale, while Maxey and Embiid were left aggrieved with foul decisions during the same period.

    In its Last Two Minute Report, the league concurred with the 76ers claims after admitting Maxey was fouled in the build-up to Jalen Brunson's 3-pointer that cut Philadelphia's lead to just two.

    The same report also found that Maxey was illegally felled by Josh Hart, turning over for Donte DiVincenzo missing a decisive go-ahead 3-pointer before making the winning shot with 13 seconds remaining.

    "[Maxey] did his job," Embiid said after the game when asked about the turnover in the closing seconds. "That's on the league. That's on the NBA.

    "That's on the referees. I hate to put the game on them. But I am sure the two-minute report is going to come out and we are going to see what happened."

    Maxey blamed himself and refused to dwell on the matter after the 76ers fell 2-0 down in the best-of-seven series, while Nurse was also left disappointed on the sidelines by the officiating.

    Nurse claimed he twice attempted to call timeout, with the league's report acknowledging one of those should have been granted when 76ers point guard Kyle Lowry was inbounding the ball.

    "I guess I got to run out onto the floor or do something to make sure and get his attention, but I needed a timeout there to advance it," Nurse lamented after the game.

    The Last Two Minutes Report reviewed two other errors in officiating, having missed an Embiid foul on DiVincenzo before Brunson's 3-pointer and a defensive violation by Knicks forward OG Anunoby.

    Though the NBA acknowledged the mistakes, no replay will be granted – a decision the Knicks are all too familiar with.

    New York wanted a replay earlier this season after referee Jacyn Goble made an incorrect call for a foul on Houston Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, though that call was labelled as human error.

    Both teams will be hoping for less drama when Games 3 and 4 come on Thursday and Sunday in Philadelphia.

  • NBA acknowledge refereeing errors in 76ers chaotic loss to Knicks NBA acknowledge refereeing errors in 76ers chaotic loss to Knicks

    The NBA has acknowledged numerous refereeing errors after the Philadelphia 76ers were on the wrong end of late decisions in a chaotic defeat to the New York Knicks.

    Nick Nurse, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey all voiced 76ers frustration after the Knicks came back from 101-96 down to win 104-101 on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final series.

    Philadelphia coach Nurse suggested his timeout calls were ignored on two separate occasions in the frantic finale, while Maxey and Embiid were left aggrieved with foul decisions during the same period.

    In its Last Two Minute Report, the league concurred with the 76ers claims after admitting Maxey was fouled in the build-up to Jalen Brunson's 3-pointer that cut Philadelphia's lead to just two.

    The same report also found that Maxey was illegally felled by Josh Hart, turning over for Donte DiVincenzo missing a decisive go-ahead 3-pointer before making the winning shot with 13 seconds remaining.

    "[Maxey] did his job," Embiid said after the game when asked about the turnover in the closing seconds. "That's on the league. That's on the NBA.

    "That's on the referees. I hate to put the game on them. But I am sure the two-minute report is going to come out and we are going to see what happened."

    Maxey blamed himself and refused to dwell on the matter after the 76ers fell 2-0 down in the best-of-seven series, while Nurse was also left disappointed on the sidelines by the officiating.

    Nurse claimed he twice attempted to call timeout, with the league's report acknowledging one of those should have been granted when 76ers point guard Kyle Lowry was inbounding the ball.

    "I guess I got to run out onto the floor or do something to make sure and get his attention, but I needed a timeout there to advance it," Nurse lamented after the game.

    The Last Two Minutes Report reviewed two other errors in officiating, having missed an Embiid foul on DiVincenzo before Brunson's 3-pointer and a defensive violation by Knicks forward OG Anunoby.

    Though the NBA acknowledged the mistakes, no replay will be granted – a decision the Knicks are all too familiar with.

    New York wanted a replay earlier this season after referee Jacyn Goble made an incorrect call for a foul on Houston Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, though that call was labelled as human error.

    Both teams will be hoping for less drama when Games 3 and 4 come on Thursday and Sunday in Philadelphia.

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