NBA

Nets and Timberwolves advance to NBA playoffs

By Sports Desk April 12, 2022

The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 115-108 in the first game of the NBA Play-In Tournament on Tuesday.

The Nets are now the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, confirming a playoff matchup with the second seed Boston Celtics.

Kyrie Irving made 10 straight attempts on the way to 34 points and 12 assists, but Kevin Durant took over in the second half with 25 points and 11 assists, as well as two steals and three blocks.

The Nets led by as much as 22 points at one stage, but it was on the back of Durant and Irving starting off hot. The Cavs managed to hang in there and cut it down to single digits with Darius Garland's free-throws and triple following Goran Dragic's flagrant foul.

Garland finished with 34 points on 13-of-24 shooting, but Caris LeVert and Lauri Markkanen experienced a poor shooting night, combining for 25 points but on nine-of-26 attempts from the floor.

The Cavs will play the winner of Wednesday's matchup between the Charlotte Hornets and the Atlanta Hawks, for a chance to take on the Miami Heat in a seven-game series.

Timberwolves win through to face Grizzlies

The Minnesota Timberwolves reached the playoffs for the second time since 2004 with a 109-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Timberwolves, who lost All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns who fouled out early in the fourth quarter, finished with a 26-11 run to secure victory, which means they will face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs.

Anthony Edwards (30 points with five three-pointers and five rebounds) and D'Angelo Russell (29 points and six assists) starred offensively, while the relentless Patrick Beverley was excellent against his former side with 11 rebounds.

Paul George kept the Clippers in the contest with 34 points including six three-pointers with seven rebounds and five assists.

The Clippers will next face the winner of the New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs' play-in game for a shot at the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Related items

  • 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.

  • Hawks acquire All-Star Dejounte Murray from Spurs for Danilo Gallinari, future draft picks Hawks acquire All-Star Dejounte Murray from Spurs for Danilo Gallinari, future draft picks

    The Atlanta Hawks have acquired All-Star guard Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Danilo Gallinari and three first-round picks, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. 

    As part of Wednesday's trade, the Spurs are receiving the Hawks' 2023 first-round pick, as well as first-rounders in 2025 and 2027. Atlanta and San Antonio are also swapping a draft pick in 2026. 

    Murray enjoyed a breakout year in his fifth NBA season in 2021-22, averaging 21.1 points, 9.2 assists and 8.3 rebounds while being named to his first All-Star Game. The 25-year-old point guard joined LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Oscar Robertson as the only players to average 20+ points, 9+ assists and 8+ rebounds in a season. 

    The addition of Murray, who has two years left on his current contract, gives Atlanta one of the more explosive backcourts in the league as he will team up with two-time All-Star Trae Young. 

    The Spurs, meanwhile, look to be entering a rebuild by trading away their young All-Star for three first-round picks and the 33-year-old Gallinari. 

    The sixth overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft, Gallinari averaged 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 66 games last season for the Hawks.  

    The veteran from Italy struggled a bit from the perimeter after being one of the more dangerous three-point shooters during the previous few seasons.

    After averaging 2.4 made three-pointers a game while shooting 41.5 per cent on threes from 2018-19 to 2020-21 – the seventh-best rate in the league among those with at least 600 three-point tries – Gallinari made an average of 1.7 three-pointers a game and shot 38.1 per cent from long range last season. 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.