SAN ANTONIO -- Led by a no-frills coach, the San Antonio Spurs have long stated the regular season means little to them.
Yet even normally stoic San Antonio couldn't hide its emotion on the court, and the satisfaction afterward, of toppling the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
Tim Duncan had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and the Spurs never trailed against the Heat, weathering a sluggish third quarter for an intense 111-87 victory Thursday.
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin had 20 points and 11 rebounds during three thunderous quarters by the Los Angeles Clippers, who routed the Lakers again 142-94 on Thursday night (Friday, Manila time) to extend their winning streak to a season-best six games.
It was the most lopsided loss in Lakers history.
Darren Collison had a team-high 24 points while starting at shooting guard for the injured Jamal Crawford. Chris Paul added 13 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, who apparently are trying to make up for decades of humiliation at the hands of the Lakers all in one season; they've won the last two meetings by a combined 84 points.
PHOENIX -- Gerald Green came to the NBA straight from high school with an abundance of raw talent that never translated into a big-time pro career.
Then came his offseason trade to Phoenix -- his seventh team in seven seasons -- and he seems finally to have found a home.
On Thursday night, especially in one remarkable quarter, Green was as good as it gets against one of the best teams in the NBA.
CHICAGO -- Initial tests run on Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah's injured right thumb revealed a sprain, according to a league source.
It is unclear whether Noah will have to miss any time or will be available to play Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Noah injured the thumb during Wednesday night's win against the Detroit Pistons. He didn't want to go into detail about the injury after the game, calling it just a "boo-boo," but he did wear a protective brace on it as he headed out of the Palace of Auburn Hills.
LOS ANGELES -- The show begins promptly at 5:45 p.m. before every home game, and Doc Rivers never disappoints. Ask him about the Los Angeles Clippers' game in a couple of hours, the last round of golf he played, David Stern's retirement, Blake Griffin's evolution, a free agent the Clippers might be recruiting, or Clayton Kershaw's $215 million deal and Rivers is money. He's quick with a joke and pitch perfect with soundbytes, he remembers inside jokes from three games ago, he can be interesting and insightful, and he's always, always on message.
Of all the things Rivers has accomplished in his first season coaching the Clippers -- and if you asked that during one of those pregame sessions he'd tell you he hasn't accomplished anything until the playoffs -- this is one of the most significant.
In only eight months, Rivers has become the voice of this franchise. He is unquestionably in charge. It is unquestionably his team.
They have yet to play a game in the 2014 Commissioner's Cup, but reports have the San Miguel Beermen, formerly the Petron Blaze Boosters, already bringing in a new import to replace former NBA first round pick Josh Boone.
RealGM.com's Shams Charania tweeted that NBA D-Leaguer Kevin Jones of the Canton Charge will be the new Beermen import, with Jones earlier tweeting out that he was on a flight to Manila.
It was not immediately clear when the Beermen will switch their import. The team begins their conference campaign Friday night, at 5:45pm, against the Meralco Bolts. Jones' latest tweet had him in Dallas two hours before the posting of this article. SMB may opt to use Boone just for this game, or go import-less.
Defending champions Guangdong Hongyuan managed to win a valuable match in dying minutes on Thursday, beating Beijing Ducks 99-96 to tie the best-of-five semifinal series 1-1 in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league.
With a surprising comeback play from the visiting side who led for a while in the fourth and last quarter, Wang Shipeng's three-pointer helped Guangdong regain the lead with just 13 seconds left.
Yi Jianlian's two free shows in the last moment secured 22 points for the team, and he also got 12 rebounds.
SAN ANTONIO -- LeBron James would be open to mentoring rival Paul George this summer if he's asked by the Indiana Pacers' star, James said Thursday night.
In an interview this week with BasketballInsiders.com, George said he hoped he could spend some time talking to James this summer to get some advice.
"It would be great to be able to pick his brain, pick his mind and just talk about the game because I think he's a player that can help me get to the next level and continue to keep going to the next level," George said. "I wish some day we have that relationship where he is someone I can talk to -- not during the season because I'm too competitive during the season -- but maybe in the summertime."
The Gin Kings, who made an unceremonious exit in the Final Four of the Philippine Cup after losing Game 7 horribly to eventual champion San Mig Coffee, battle Barako Bull.
“The team is doing okay, that (Final Four exit) is behind us now,” Ginebra guard LA Tenorio said. “We have a great team and we are raring to make a run for another title again.”
All eyes though are on the Gin Kings who will parade Leon Rodgers as they take on Barako Bull in the main game at 8 p.m.
MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Beer, the only remaining pioneer in the PBA, returns in place of Petron Blaze Friday as it clashes with Meralco in the Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Again donning the familiar jersey of the league’s winningest franchise, the Beermen slug it out with the Bolts at 5:45 p.m.,
The Beermen, now under Biboy Ravanes, himself a member of several champion SMB squads in the past, will parade Oscar Joshua Boone as their import against Brian Butch and the Bolts. Ravanes has American Todd Purves as chief deputy.