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.

Related items

  • Hornets forward Miles Bridges arrested on eve of NBA free agency Hornets forward Miles Bridges arrested on eve of NBA free agency

    Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges was arrested in Los Angeles on the eve of NBA free agency.

    A Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman confirmed to Stats Perform that Bridges had been arrested on felony domestic violence charges.

    The 24-year-old was the leading scorer for the Hornets last season and is set to become a restricted free agent on Thursday. He could command a max contract.

    A team statement from the Hornets read: "The Charlotte Hornets are aware of the situation involving Miles Bridges.

    "We are in the process of gathering additional information. We will have no further comment at this time."

    Bridges averaged career highs of 20.4 points and 7.0 rebounds last season, and the Hornets extended a qualifying offer to the player on Tuesday, allowing the team to match any offer sheet presented by a rival.

    A first-round pick in 2018, Bridges had previously expressed his desire to remain with the Hornets but has since removed a reference to the team in his social media bio.

  • James Harden declines $47.4million player option, plans long-term extension with the 76ers James Harden declines $47.4million player option, plans long-term extension with the 76ers

    James Harden has declined his player option – which would have paid him $47.4million for the upcoming season – to become an unrestricted free agent, although all signs point to an extension with the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Since arriving with the 76ers this past season in the trade that sent Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets, Harden's production was up-and-down.

    He averaged 21 points, 10.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds in his 21 regular season games with his new team, but he also shot a career low 40 per cent from the field while attempting his fewest shots per game (13.6) since coming off the bench with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011-12.

    His numbers in the playoffs dipped even further, averaging 18.6 points, 8.6 assists and 5.7 rebounds while no-showing in the second half of some crucial defeats in their six-game series loss to the Miami Heat.

    The report about Harden declining his player option, broken by The Athletic's Shams Charania, states his reasoning for declining the option is to extend with the 76ers at a more team-friendly salary that would allow the team to spend the savings on additional talent.

    In the report, it is said that Harden has also returned to the 76ers' practice facility to begin his off-season program early, with his "sole focus" being to win a title in Philadelphia in this coming season.

    By signing a deal more in the range of three years, $100m, the 76ers would have slightly more wiggle room to sign additional talent, but if they have plans on totally revamping the landscape, it would require trading Tobias Harris ahead of a season where he will be paid $37.6m – more than star Joel Embiid ($33.6m).

  • Bradley Beal declines player option with the Wizards, becomes unrestricted free agent Bradley Beal declines player option with the Wizards, becomes unrestricted free agent

    Washington Wizards standout Bradley Beal will enter the NBA’s unrestricted free agent market after officially declining his $36.4 million player option for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

    Beal’s agency, Priority Sports, confirmed the decision to ESPN Thursday, the deadline for teams and players to decide on options for next season.

    The move allows Beal to seek a maximum contract extension worth just over $250 million over five years if he re-signs with the Wizards, or a four-year deal for approximately $185 million if he signs with another team.

    ESPN reported earlier this week that the industry expectation was for Beal to decline his option to sign a maximum extension with the Wizards, the team he has spent his entire 10-year career with.

    The three-time All-Star is likely to receive a max deal despite an injury-plagued and down 2021-22 campaign in which he was limited to 40 games by a left wrist injury that required surgery. Beal finished the season shooting a career-low 30 percent from 3-point range.

    Beal finished second in the league scoring race in both 2019-20 and 2020-21, and was named to the All-NBA Third Team in that latter season after averaging a career-high 31.3 points per game for a Washington team that earned the Eastern Conference’s eighth playoff seed.

    Should he return to Washington, Beal would have a new backcourt partner after the Wizards acquired point guard Monte Morris from the Denver Nuggets in a four-player trade Thursday.

    The Wizards also received veteran wing Will Barton from Denver while sending wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and reserve guard Ish Smith to the Nuggets.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.