|Today - 7:00PM - Smart Araneta Coliseum|
TORONTO -- This time, overtime went the way of the Toronto Raptors.
Jonas Valanciunas made sure of it.
DeMarre Carroll scored 21 points, Valanciunas had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and the Raptors beat the Miami Heat 96-92 on Thursday night to even the Eastern Conference semifinals at one game apiece.
While the Oklahoma City Thunder-San Antonio Spurs series is tied 1-1, LaMarcus Aldridge has been nearly unstoppable for the Spurs in the first two games. Aldridge scored a combined 79 points in Games 1 and 2, the second-most ever by a Spurs player in the first two games of a series, trailing only Hall of Famer George Gervin in the 1978 conference semifinals against the Bullets (81 points). Aldridge is shooting 75 percent from the field and has made all 11 free throws.
Aldridge’s post-up game in particular is causing Oklahoma City problems in the Western Conference semifinals, but there might not be an easy way to stop him:
Option 1 – Play Aldridge one-on-one in the post
ATLANTA –- The day after the Atlanta Hawks' death by 3’s in Cleveland during Game 2, Mike Budenholzer had his team relive the nightmare by watching some of the film.
It might actually be a good thing considering the mood the Hawks were already in after surrendering an NBA-record 25 3-pointers to the Cleveland Cavaliers in an Eastern Conference semifinal whipping on Wednesday night.
"I think they all know they have more to give and are looking forward to playing in Atlanta," Budenholzer said on a conference call when asked about the team's mood. "I think there is a certain degree of frustration, a certain degree of -- I don’t want to say pissed off, I am sure that is not appropriate for print -- whatever the right word is for pissed off, as you should be going into a Game 3."
The Rockets have already interviewed four candidates for their head-coaching vacancy this week: J.B Bickerstaff, Chris Finch, Sam Cassell and Mike D'Antoni. Bickerstaff, who took over for Kevin McHale on an interim basis 11 games into the season, withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday.
Hornacek, who played for three NBA teams in a 15-year career, had coached the past three seasons with the Suns before getting fired after 49 games. He compiled a 101-112 record with the Suns.
HAVING fresher legs and with all hands on deck, Rain or Shine tries to reward itself for being the most consistent team in the PBA with a title this time.
The Elasto Painters will come into the Oppo Commissioner’s Cup championship series against Alaska starting today with an edge in manpower as they hope to go all the way and win just the franchise’s second title, and first since 2012.
Game 1 tips off at 7 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao with the Painters having the import perfect for their needs, superstar point guard Paul Lee rounding out to lethal form, and a lineup that is arguably the deepest in the tournament.
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry is unlikely to play Saturday for the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals at Portland since he still hasn't practiced on his sprained right knee.
Curry did work on the side while the Warriors practiced Thursday but couldn't yet do any of the scrimmaging that the medical staff and coaches want to see before he is cleared to return.
"It's tough to see him playing Saturday,'' coach Steve Kerr said. "He's gotten better and better each day.''
Rain or Shine and Alaska have had memorable playoff battles in the past, but it will be the first time the two teams will meet for the championship as they start their best-of-seven finals in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The two teams arranged the title duel after Rain or Shine dominated San Miguel in four games and Alaska surviving Meralco in full five games, marking the first time in 16 years that no team from San Miguel Corporation or from the MVP group will play in the finals.
Rain or Shine is expected to see much of Paul Lee, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, JR Quinahan and import Pierre Henderson-Niles, while Alaska will lean heavily on Calvin Abueva, RJ Jazul, Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio and reinforcement Robert Dozier.
With another PBA title within reach, Calvin also has a chance to add a first-ever Best Player of the Conference award to his resume.
But Abueva is setting aside personal goals to keep his focus on a much bigger duty: help the Aces finally win a PBA title after a series of heartbreaks.
“Di ko pa iniisip yun,” he admitted Thursday during the Finals press conference at PBA Cafe in Pasig.
CLEVELAND -- One day after Charles Barkley said the Atlanta Hawks need to "take somebody out" on the Cleveland Cavaliers to make their Eastern Conference semifinals series competitive again, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue admonished TNT's popular NBA analyst for his stance.
"I don't think there's any place in our game to take someone out if they're playing well," Lue said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. "I think you can take it upon yourself to play harder and do things to stop it or stop a team from playing well.
"But when it gets into trying to hurt guys or trying to take guys out, that's just not right. Hopefully the referees will keep an eye on it and make sure it's a clean game. We don't mind if it's a physical game, but clean and everything that they do and we do is basketball related. I don't believe in taking guys out and trying to hurt guys because a team or a player is playing well."
The Alaska Aces are now back in the finals for the third straight conference. This time, however, they won’t be facing the San Miguel Beermen.
Alaska coach Alex Compton said they will be facing Rain or Shine, which has a style of play similar to theirs. This is because the Aces mentor said they have been emulating the Elasto Painters.
“Rain or Shine is a model for us,” Compton said in the PBA website following their semis conquest of the Meralco Bolts.