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LaMarcus Aldridge's 43 help Blazers put Rockets in 2-0 hole (April 24, 2014)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Portland Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge, right, dunks the ball as Houston Rockets' Omer Asik (3) defends during the fourth quarter in Game 2 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in Houston. Portland won 112-105. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored 43 points and Damian Lillard made six free throws down the stretch to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 112-105 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night and a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.

Aldridge has made the most of the return to his home state and put the Trail Blazers in control heading home for Game 3 in Portland.

Aldridge became the first player with consecutive 40-point games in the playoffs since LeBron James did it in May of 2009 after scoring a career-high and franchise playoff-record 46 in an overtime win in Game 1. He's also the first player Trail Blazers history to have to 40-point games in the postseason.

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Mavericks' balance too much in win over turnover-prone Spurs (April 24, 2014)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, bottom, of Germany, falls to the floor as he and San Antonio Spurs' Boris Diaw (33), of France, chase a loose ball during the first half of Game 2 of the opening-round NBA basketball playoff series on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO -- Blowing their playoff opener turned out to be great therapy for the Dallas Mavericks.

Eighth-seeded Dallas rolled to a 113-92 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night, snapping a 10-game skid against the Spurs and evening their first-round series at a game apiece.

Dallas didn't relent in Game 2 after watching a 10-point lead evaporate in the final eight minutes of the series opener Sunday.

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Heat hold off pesky Bobcats to take 2-0 series lead (April 24, 2014)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) grabs his neck after being elbowed by Charlotte Bobcats' Josh McRoberts during the second half in Game 2 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Bobcats 101-97. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI -- LeBron James drove to the rim as time was winding down, got clobbered by Josh McRoberts and sat on the hardwood gathering himself for a few seconds afterward.

It was fitting. Miami took Charlotte's best shot, and survived.

James scored 32 points and added eight assists, Chris Bosh scored 20 points and the Heat wasted two big leads before hanging on to beat the Bobcats 101-97 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

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Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao. PBA file/Nuki Sabio

Rival coaches Yeng Guiao of Rain or Shine, Ryan Gregorio of Meralco, and Luigi Trillo of Alaska don’t always see eye to eye, but they agree on one thing: the officiating in the quarterfinals playoffs of the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup has been inconsistent.

“We don’t know anymore what’s a foul and not a foul,” Guiao said, who couldn’t hide his frustration after hard fouls against rookie Raymond Almazan and import Wayne Chism in Game Two of their series against Meralco were judged to be regular instead of flagrant fouls.

“I’m not the only guy complaining about excessive physicality and I would be the last to complain because it’s our type of game. But I think punching a player on the face on a rebound play, something which was done by Cliff Hodge, that’s way out of the rules of this league.

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  New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony slam dunks the ball in front of Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (R) in the second half of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, April 14, 2013.  Credit: Reuters/Adam Hunger

(Reuters) - Potential free agent Carmelo Anthony will be asked to give the New York Knicks a discount on his next contract in order to help build a title contender, team president Phil Jackson said on Wednesday.

Anthony, who finished the 2013-14 NBA season second on the scoring list with an average of 27.4 points a game and was one of the few bright spots in New York's 37-45 campaign, could declare himself a free agent on July 1.

"I'd like to appeal to his better nature about winning," Jackson told reporters at the Knicks practice center. "That's the beginning of team play."

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Meralco Bolts head coach Ryan Gregorio. Sports5 file/Pranz Kaeno Billones

Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio was surprised to see his Rain or Shine counterpart waiting on the court at the end of Wednesday night’s game to confront Bolts forward Cliff Hodge.

Guiao was caught by television cameras calling Hodge “mongoloid” shortly after the Elasto Painters won Game Two of their PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals series.

“It was uncalled for,” Gregorio told

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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson still can't believe he didn't get the benefit of two calls late in regulation of Tuesday night's Game 2 loss to the Washington Wizards. With 10.5 seconds remaining, Gibson dove on the floor for a loose ball and appeared to call time out but was not given the call by the officials.

"We looked at the film, we looked at the jump ball, that was crazy," Gibson said. "But the loose ball I called [time out] three times. I had it. Nobody else was around me. D.J. [Augustin] called [time out] a couple times. We had a lot of guys in [Bennie Adams'] face. He just didn't give us a time out ... he was looking right at me [as I was] saying it and he just called a jump ball."

Gibson said the Bulls did not receive an explanation.

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Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao. Sports5/Paolo Papa

Even after the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters had already won Game Two of their PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals series on Wednesday against Meralco, coach Yeng Guiao remained in a fighting mood.

The fiery coach stayed on the court after the game to try to confront Meralco forward Cliff Hodge. Television cameras caught Guiao calling Hodge ‘mongoloid’ as cooler heads prevented them from coming closer to each other.

Hodge committed a hard foul against Rain or Shine rookie Raymond Almazan late in the game. Hodge was also involved in hard fouls against Paul Lee earlier in the match and import Wayne Chism in Game One.

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Chris Paul misses Los Angeles Clippers practice (April 24, 2014)
Ramona Shelburne [ Source: ESPN ]

Chris Paul has been hampered by an injured right hamstring in the first two games of the Clippers' playoff series against the Warriors. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul was held out of practice for the second straight day Wednesday with a right hamstring injury that has bothered him since late in the first half of Saturday's playoff series-opening loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Paul was able to play through the injury in the Clippers' Game 2 win over the Warriors on Monday night and says he will be ready for Game 3 in Oakland on Thursday.

"I'll be ready, I'm OK," Paul repeatedly said when asked about the injury. "As long as I'm out on the court, I'm good."

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 Wayne Chism of Rain or Shine gets one over the defense of Meralco's Reynel Hugnatan. Jeff Venancio

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters made it two for two for the teams that had their backs against the wall with a 102-93 win over the Meralco Bolts, Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

After the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers defeated the Alaska Aces, the Elasto Painters made sure their series will also be extended to a do-or-die game three in the Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals, as they walloped the Bolts.

Sunday Salvacion tried to shoot the Bolts back in the game in the fourth quarter after Meralco trailed by 20 points. He made two huge triples to cut Rain or Shine's lead down to five, 93-88 with 1:28 left in the game. However, it was not enough as the Elasto Painters held on for the win.

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