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Kupchak: 'Looks as though' Lakers will use No. 2 pick (May 23, 2015)
Baxter Holmes [ Source: ESPN ]

NBA

Will the Los Angeles Lakers keep or trade the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft on June 25?

Will they select either Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke’s Jahlil Okafor – or will they avoid one of the top two centers highly expected to be drafted first and second overall in some order and instead take a dynamic young guard?

Already, these questions and more are swirling among Lakers fans even though it has been only a few days since their team landed some very good luck in Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery held in New York.

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New commish hopes to improve games (May 23, 2015)
Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ]

D-League

MANILA, Philippines - Chito Narvasa will become the PBA’s ninth commissioner on Aug. 1 and said yesterday he’s looking forward to improving the game with officiating his priority in making sure the 40-year-old league’s future is secure.

Narvasa, 58, has been involved in basketball from when he began to play the sport as a 10-year-old boy. He saw action for the Ateneo varsity, became a PBA head coach with Purefoods and Shell, served as UAAP and NCAA commissioner for a season each and is the president of the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP). It’s an enduring love affair that will now reach a pinnacle with the dream job of PBA commissioner.

Because the work is full-time, Narvasa will give up all his current positions, including Vice Chairman/CEO of City State Savings Bank which is owned by Ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua. “I’ll be watching games five days a week,” he said. “It’s a full-time commitment. Besides, the Central Bank won’t allow staying with City State anyway. When I was considered for the job, I informed the Ambassador of the possibility of joining the PBA. He knows basketball has always been my love and promised to support and help me in any way he could. I wanted the Ambassador to know about it before he heard it from somebody else. It’s this transparency that I’ll bring to the PBA. That’s how I work. If you’re open with what you’re doing, the work becomes easier. I never hide anything from anyone. What I’ll do as commissioner is for the benefit of the league, nothing else.”

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NBA

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll's status for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday will be a game-time decision, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said following the team's shootaround.

"We'll see how he does the rest of the day, if he progresses," Budenholzer said. "He did some things this morning and we're hopeful for the best."

Carroll, who suffered a sprained knee on Wednesday in the fourth quarter of Atlanta's Game 1 loss to Cleveland, continues to undergo extensive treatment as the game approaches. He wore a knee brace at the Hawks' shootaround on Friday and walked with a slight limp. Carroll was not made available to the media.

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Kyrie Irving's troublesome left knee has his availability for Game 2 in doubt. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

ATLANTA -- The Cleveland Cavaliers may be without star guard Kyrie Irving for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night as he continues to deal with a left knee issue.

Coach David Blatt says Irving didn't attend the morning shootaround in order to meet with the team's head physician, Dr. Richard Parker.

"It's not a matter of shutting him down, it's just a matter of, is he healthy enough to play?" Blatt said. "Does he feel healthy enough to play? That's all."

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The pain of James Harden (May 22, 2015)
Calvin Watkins [ Source: ESPN ]

James Harden was left feeling floored after failing to get up a final shot. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

OAKLAND, Calif. -- When the buzzer sounded and the crowd, most wearing yellow shirts, started to yell like they’ve never seen a basketball game before. James Harden was on his hands and knees.

Harden’s head was down like he was trying to hide it in some sand. When the Houston Rockets star got up, he slowly walked off the Oracle Arena floor and into a dark tunnel -- which is where his team's season is at right now.

Harden knocked down a black curtain on the way to the locker room. When Harden arrived, he wanted to watch the film of what just happened to him.

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Fans cheer Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the second half of Game 2 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- James Harden had Game 2 on his fingertips -- and then he didn't.

Now the Golden State Warriors have the Western Conference finals in their grasp.

Stephen Curry scored 33 points before Harden lost the ball in the closing seconds to end a spectacular duel between the NBA MVP and runner-up, and the Warriors held off the Houston Rockets 99-98 on Thursday night to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

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NBA

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has acknowledged that top assistant Alvin Gentry interviewed for the vacant New Orleans Pelicans job.

Kerr's comments came before the Warriors hosted the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, which they won 99-98, Thursday night. He said Gentry met with Pelicans officials earlier this week and that he encourages all of his assistant coaches to "embrace any opportunity that comes their way."

Kerr said the interview process hasn't taken Gentry away from his current coaching duties.

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Small ball: How the West will be won (May 22, 2015)
J.A. Adande [ Source: ESPN ]

NBA

Just because the Western Conference finals appear to be downsizing doesn't mean the series is any less captivating.

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard's availability for Game 2 is in doubt because of a sprained left knee. The Golden State Warriors have been at their best lately when they go without a true center. The end result could be better basketball.

There's a faster pace. There's more room for players to showcase their one-on-one skills, and less deterrence to drive to the rim. There's no temptation to intentionally foul poor free throw-shooting big men away from the ball.

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mark Caguioa of Brgy. Ginebra. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

DUBAI -- Banged up or otherwise, Rain or Shine returns to the Al Shabab Al Arabi Club Friday to face Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the second of back-to-back PBA Governors’ Cup games here.

Fatigue, even aggravated injuries notwithstanding, the Elasto Painters are determined to make the most of the cards they’ve been dealt. Question is, will they have anything else left against the undermanned but well-rested Kings in their 8 p.m. (12 midnight Manila time) encounter?”

That is because the Elasto Painters, long after presstime, remain in the thick of the fight in its opening game Thursday against Jarrid Famous and Globalport also at 8 p.m. in this side of the globe.

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LeBron: I played too much iso ball (May 22, 2015)
Dave McMenamin [ Source: ESPN ]

LeBron neglected to move the ball when he was guarded by Paul Millsap on the perimeter. Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA -- It was, by most measures, a fantastic night for LeBron James.

The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks 97-89 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday. James racked up 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists, in the process passing Michael Jordan for first on the all-time playoff list for games with 30 or more points, five or more rebounds and five or more assists. James also halted the biggest slump of his otherwise sterling career by winning Game 1 on the road, something he hadn't done in eight previous attempts.

And for the cherry on top, James sealed the victory with a monstrous dunk with 37.9 seconds left after driving right down the heart of Atlanta’s defense.

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