Celtics' Marcus Smart is NBA defensive player of the year
Nets Celtics Basketball Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) defends as Brooklyn Nets guard Goran Dragic, of Slovenia, right, looks for an opening in the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round Eastern Conference playoff series, Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Boston. The Celtics won 115-114. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (Steven Senne)NEW YORK — (AP) — Boston’s Marcus Smart is the first guard in over a quarter-century to win the NBA defensive player of the year award. Smart helped the Celtics lead the NBA in defensive rating and scoring defense (104.6) while holding opponents to a league-low field-goal percentage (.434) and 3-point percentage (.339). Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo won defensive player of the year in 2020.wftv.com
Durant leads big rally at MSG as Nets storm past Knicks
Kevin Durant had 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, leading the Brooklyn Nets back from 21 points down to a 110-98 victory over the New York Knicks that strengthened their chances of the best spot possible in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
Goran Dragic leaves Raptors because of personal matter
Goran Dragic has left the Toronto Raptors because of a personal matter. The Raptors said Sunday before their game against Boston Celtics that the 35-year-old guard — acquired along with Precious Achiuwa in the offseason deal that sent Kyle Lowry to Miami — wasn’t with the team. Dragic, from Slovenia, has played in just five games with the Raptors, averaging 8.0 points, 1.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds and 17.9 minutes.news.yahoo.com
Kyle Lowry, Chris Paul move quickly in NBA free agency
Point guards were the immediate focus when the NBA’s free agency window opened Monday night, with Kyle Lowry headed to the Miami Heat, Lonzo Ball on his way to the Chicago Bulls while Chris Paul and Mike Conley landed lucrative deals to remain with their current teams.
Heat top Magic 111-103, get over .500 for 1st time this year
MIAMI – For the first time this season, the Miami Heat have a winning record. Miami opened the season with a loss to Orlando, and had gone 0-6 in opportunities this season to move over .500 — until Thursday. Tyler Herro scored 17 points, Kendrick Nunn had 13 and Goran Dragic added 11 for the Heat. All-Star Nikola Vucevic finished with 24 points and a game-high 17 rebounds for the Magic, who have dropped six straight. MAGIC CHAMPSOrlando’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, won that league’s championship Thursday by topping the Philadelphia-affiliated Delaware Blue Coats.
Butler, Dragic carry Heat past NBA-best Jazz, 124-116
Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk (9) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)MIAMI – The Miami Heat don't believe in statement wins. “A high-level game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “and we had some big plays down the stretch." Duncan Robinson scored 15 and Kendrick Nunn added 12 for the Heat, who held Utah to 29% shooting in the fourth quarter. It was the sixth game in Heat history in which both teams had at least 94 points through three quarters.
Heat say Herro may miss time for virus-related issue
(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)MIAMI – The Miami Heat may have another player missing games for virus-related reasons, after second-year guard Tyler Herro revealed that someone who lives with him tested positive for COVID-19. The reason the Heat cited for having Herro on the report is the NBA’s health and safety protocols, which only means it is a virus-related reason and does not suggest that he tested positive. If Herro cannot play Monday, he’d become the ninth Heat player on that list. Herro is tested daily and obviously had not tested positive Saturday, since the NBA and Heat permitted him to be on the floor; he played a team-high 40 minutes and scored 15 points. “Someone who lives with me tested positive before the game and I found out at halftime.
Harden, Durant help Nets break away late, beat Heat 98-85
Harden and Durant each scored 20 points despite three relatively quiet quarters, and the Nets broke away with a big run in the fourth to beat the Miami Heat 98-85 on Monday night. Kyrie Irving added 16 points for the Nets, who completed a sweep of the Heat in two games that couldn't have been more different. “I think our defense held tight the whole game,” Durant said. Miami took a 45-41 edge into halftime, going just 4 for 19 on 3s but doubling the Nets' makes after they went 2 for 17. Nets: Durant missed his first six 3-point attempts before sinking one in the third quarter.
Durant, Irving help Nets hold off Adebayo, Heat 128-124
Miami Heat's Gabe Vincent (2) defends against Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in New York. Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Kyrie Irving took over late and had 28 and the Nets overcame Adebayo's career-high 41 points to beat the Miami Heat 128-124 on Saturday night. Irving helped pull the Nets through with 12 points in the final 5:48 after the Heat had erased nearly all of an 18-point deficit. Adebayo beat the buzzer with a jumper, than Miami opened the fourth with a 13-0 run to get within 96-95. Irving, Harden and Durant quickly combined for eight straight points but Adebayo kept coming, and the Nets needed a couple of clutch baskets from Irving and late free throws to pull it out.
Wizards see a 5th consecutive game postponed by virus issues
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)MIAMI – The Washington Wizards are now assured of going at least 11 days between games, after yet another postponement while the team deals with COVID-19 issues. The Wizards' game that was scheduled to be played Wednesday in Charlotte is now off, the NBA said Monday. That is the 14th postponement since Jan. 10 — and no team has had more games called off than the Wizards. Washington has seen five consecutive games pushed back, and the earliest the Wizards will play again is Friday at Milwaukee. Pushing the Wizards' return back appears to make sense for multiple reasons, including the fact that the team has been unable to even practice.
Pritchard's putback pushes Celtics past Heat, 107-105
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) drives to the basket as Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)MIAMI – Payton Pritchard wasn't there last season when the Boston Celtics lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Pritchard's putback with two-tenths of a second left capped a wild finish, and the Celtics beat the Heat 107-105 in the first matchup this season of last year's East finalists. Jimmy Butler had 26 points for Miami, which got 16 points from Duncan Robinson, 15 points from Bam Adebayo and 14 from Goran Dragic. The Heat cut the lead to eight by halftime, part of what became a 39-17 run that saw Miami lead by five in the third quarter.
Heat avenge embarrassment, rally to top Bucks 119-108
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, bottom, and Miami Heat forward Precious Achiuwa go for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)MIAMI – The Miami Heat engineered a 58-point turnaround against the Milwaukee Bucks in 24 hours. Milwaukee’s lead was 72-58 early in the second half, 84-73 with 3:44 left in the third. Milwaukee had 21 points after four minutes Tuesday; the Bucks were held to four in the first four minutes Wednesday. Miami finished 2020 at 36-29 (22-22 regular season, 14-7 playoffs).
Spoelstra stays perfect on Christmas, Heat beat Pels 111-98
New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (5) dribbles against Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)MIAMI – Erik Spoelstra remained perfect on Christmas, and a record-tying show from Duncan Robinson helped him stay that way. Robinson made seven 3-pointers — tying the Christmas single-game mark — and scored 23 points, helping the Heat beat the New Orleans Pelicans 111-98 to start the NBA’s holiday quintupleheader Friday. Goran Dragic scored 18 points, Bam Adebayo had 17 and Avery Bradley finished with 12 for Miami, and Spoelstra improved his Christmas record as Heat coach to 8-0. COMING HOMEVeteran ref John Goble was crew chief and got to be home for Christmas; he’s a Miami native.
Fournier has late surge, helps Magic beat Heat 113-107
Oddly, the two rivals have started their seasons in Orlando four times in the past five years. Bam Adebayo led Miami with 25 points and 11 rebounds, Goran Dragic added 20 points, and Jimmy Butler had 19 points and seven assists. The Heat turned the ball over 22 times, leading to 24 Magic points. Gordon is confident that the Magic can open some eyes with their play this season. ``I don’t think they think that we’re going to become potential contenders or even have a playoff slot and I don’t think that’s true.
Giannis Antetokounmpo agrees to extension with Bucks
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo has agreed to a supermax extension with the Milwaukee Bucks that takes the two-time reigning MVP off next summer's free-agent market. “I’m blessed to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 5 years,” Antetokounmpo posted Tuesday on his social media platforms. The Bucks announced later in the day that Antetokounmpo had signed an extension without announcing the terms or length. The 26-year-old Antetokounmpo had until Monday to sign the Bucks’ supermax extension offer. “I’m blessed to be able to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 5 years.
Butler loses last game in the bubble after memorable run
There will be no more coffee customers with the bubble closing down, though he kept it open far longer than expected with some of the most inspired NBA Finals play seen in years. Butler carried the Miami Heat all the way to Game 6 against the favored Los Angeles Lakers but the weight of his efforts seemed to leave him with little energy Sunday. “I didn’t win so none of the stats matter,” Butler said. But Butler made no excuses, not only saying the Heat could win, but that they should win. Denying Butler the salesman was easier for Vogel than clamping down on Butler the basketball player.
Bubble Kings: Lakers run past Heat for 17th NBA championship
For the first time since Kobe Bryant's fifth and final title a decade ago, the Lakers are NBA champions. James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday night to win the NBA Finals in six games. Rajon Rondo scored 19 points for the Lakers, who put together the elite talents of James and Davis with this moment in mind. James (Miami, Cleveland) and Danny Green (San Antonio, Toronto) added their names to that list with this title. HEAT SEASONMiami led the NBA with 94 games played this season — 30 more than Minnesota, which played the fewest in the NBA.
NBA Finals get intense, and Game 6 of Lakers-Heat looms
The Heat have talked since the NBA Finals started about a need to play almost perfect basketball against the Lakers. “One thing about this team that we are playing, they make you pay for every mistake,” James said after Game 5. So, we have to understand that.”James is about to set the record for NBA playoff game appearances. Nobody has had more 40-point NBA Finals games in a loss than he has — the record-setting fifth entry on that list coming Friday in Miami’s 111-108 win. “We’re motivated to win Game 6 and they are motivated to win Game 6,” Davis said.
Heat force Game 6, top Lakers to stave off elimination
“That’s Jimmy Butler," Heat center Bam Adebayo said. Butler got fouled with 46.7 seconds left, then slumped over the baseline video boards, clearly exhausted. He made both foul shots for a one-point lead; Davis’ putback with 21.8 seconds left got the Lakers back on top. Butler drove the lane, drew contact and made both with 16.8 seconds left for a 109-108 lead. Lakers: James and Davis were a combined 24 for 36.
Lakers will look to close Heat out in Game 5 of NBA Finals
Boxes are being shipped out of the NBA bubble in advance of the looming shutdown. The NBA Finals — and the longest season in league history, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and 4-1/2 month shutdown that followed — could end on Friday night, with James and the Lakers going into Game 5 with a 3-1 series lead over the Miami Heat. “I think we all know that tomorrow night is also a must-win for us, just as much as it is a must-win for the Heat,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said. The Lakers will aim to head into Friday night with the same desperation that Miami will have while facing elimination. Jimmy Butler, Miami’s leading scorer and best player by far in the series, said he’ll set the Heat example for Game 5 by demanding more of everything from himself.
A moment of rest finally arrives at the NBA Finals
Like it or not, the NBA Finals are on hiatus until Friday — the first two-day break in this series between the Lakers and Miami Heat. When Game 5 happens, the Lakers will enter with a 3-1 series lead and on the brink of their 17th NBA championship. “For me, I mean, at this point in the season, I don’t care about rest,” James said. James’ teams — two in Miami, one in Cleveland — are 3-0 in finals games when they stand a win away from a championship. “I know Spo going into Game 5,” James said.
Lakers top Heat 102-96, take 3-1 lead in NBA Finals
James and the Lakers are back in control of these NBA Finals, one win away from the franchise's 17th championship. James finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, Anthony Davis' 3-pointer with 39.5 seconds left finally settled matters and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 102-96 in Game 4. The Lakers lead 3-1 and can win the title when the series resumes Friday. 3-1 LEADSThis is the 36th time that a team has held a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. It was just the third time in the last 26 NBA Finals games that neither team reached 50 points in the first 24 minutes.
Adebayo back in Heat lineup for Game 4; Dragic still out
Adebayo was active for Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, the Heat making that determination more than hour before game time. “Bam is the heart and soul of this team,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game. Those tests, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press, proved impossible for Adebayo before Game 2 and were not able to be completed to the team’s satisfaction before Game 3. Dragic hasn’t played since tearing the plantar fascia in the first half of Game 1 of the series against the Lakers. In the playoffs, both raised their numbers: Dragic became the starting point guard and has averaged 19.9 points while Adebayo entered Tuesday averaging 17.8 points and 10.9 rebounds.
Coffee talk: Butler, Heat look to even up the NBA Finals
The Heat might apply the same approach going forward in these NBA Finals. Game 4 is Tuesday night, and much like Butler’s coffee-sales strategy, the Heat may stick with what works. You have to be extraordinary.”Butler had 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in Miami’s Game 3 win. Extraordinary, the word Spoelstra used, doesn’t even truly cover it -- out of the 8,175 game appearances by players in the NBA Finals, Butler was the first to have a 40-point triple-double in a finals win, and one of only three with one regardless of outcome. “I’ve never predetermined my game,” James said.
Butler's big night helps Heat cut Lakers' Finals lead to 2-1
With a triple-double, he joined NBA Finals lore — and the short-handed Miami Heat might have made this title matchup a series after all. Miami's starters outscored the Lakers' starting five 89-51, and the Heat held the Lakers to a 14-for-42 night from 3-point land. It’s going to be a tough game, Game 4," Herro said. ... Nick Aquilino, the son of Heat neuromuscular therapist Vinny Aquilino, performed the anthem -- a recording from a Heat game with fans in Miami. BUTLER’S TRIPLE-DOUBLEButler became the 21st player to have a triple-double in the NBA Finals — and four of the 21 were part of Sunday’s game.
Heat rule Dragic, Adebayo out of Game 3 of NBA Finals
Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo, watches play against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Bam Adebayo headed out to the court a couple hours before Game 3 of the NBA Finals, getting some shots up in his typical pregame routine. The Heat remained depleted for Game 3 of the title series against the Los Angeles Lakers, with Adebayo out again with a neck injury and Goran Dragic still sidelined with a torn left plantar fascia. “I can see the anguish literally in the eyes, both of them," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Miami hasn't addressed the severity of the neck issue, but the fact that its best defender is being held out of multiple games of the NBA Finals because of that injury speaks volumes. In the playoffs, both raised their numbers: Dragic became the starting point guard and has averaged 19.9 points while Adebayo is averaging 17.8 points and 10.9 rebounds in the postseason.
Short-handed Heat fight hard, but not good enough in Game 2
Their defense just wasn't good enough and their veteran forward let them know it during a timeout in the third quarter. He wanted to play, but the Heat decided he needed to rest injuries to his left shoulder and neck. Butler insisted the Heat needed to find a way to win anyway, and he took his best shot. Tyler Herro, a 20-year-old rookie, became the youngest player to start an NBA Finals game and scored 17 points. Guard Kendrick Nunn, at 6-foot-2, blocked a shot by Davis, who stands 8 inches taller, in the fourth quarter.
Halfway home: Lakers top Heat 124-114 for 2-0 Finals lead
The NBA Finals are halfway to a coronation. And the last time the Lakers’ franchise has wasted a 2-0 lead was in the 1969 finals against Boston. The Heat have rallied from a 2-0 series hole only once in eight previous tries, that one being the 2006 NBA Finals. ... James, in his 10th NBA Finals, has a 2-0 lead in the title series for the first time. YOUNGEST STARTERHerro, at 20 years, 256 days, became the youngest player to start an NBA Finals game.
Heat rule Adebayo, Dragic out for Game 2 of NBA Finals
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23), left, takes the ball as Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo (13) winces during Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Adebayo had to leave the game with a left shoulder strain. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic were both ruled out of Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday with injury, leaving the Miami Heat down two starters for their matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers. Adebayo is dealing with issues with his left shoulder and the left side of his neck. Dragic tore his left plantar fascia in Game 1. There has been no final determination for the availability of Adebayo and Dragic for Game 3 of the series on Sunday night.
Heat are ailing, but insist NBA Finals vs Lakers aren't over
His team’s starting point guard and center are both doubtful to play in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. And his Miami Heat are coming off a one-sided loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. That, combined with Miami’s injury problems, sure seems to indicate that the Lakers have full control of this matchup. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he’ll plan for Dragic and Adebayo to play. All three of Miami’s NBA titles came after Game 1 losses in the finals.
Adebayo, Dragic leave with injuries as Heat routed in Game 1
Bam Adebayo (left shoulder strain) and Goran Dragic (left foot) departed with injuries and Jimmy Butler played through one in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. In case things weren't bad enough by then, Butler appeared to be hobbling again after going back into the game in the fourth quarter. Dragic averaged 22.8 points to lead the Heat in their first-round sweep of Indiana in the first round. 5 Heat to the finals as the lowest-seeded team since that year, when the Spurs beat the No. The Heat then jumped on LeBron James and the Lakers with a quick 13-0 run — all but three points coming from Adebayo, Butler and Dragic — to open a 23-10 lead.
Lakers, LeBron roll in Game 1 of finals, top Heat 116-98
Anthony Davis scored 34 points, James had 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled past the Miami Heat 116-98 on Wednesday night. The Heat left beaten and battered. James’ teams had been 1-8 in Game 1 of past finals, with losses in each of the last seven openers. Lakers: The Lakers improved to 17-15 in Game 1s of title series. JAMES’ RECORDSThe NBA Finals record book is basically a James scrapbook of career achievements, and he raised his spot on some of those lists Wednesday.
Lakers, Heat start their preparations for NBA Finals
What was once a 22-team bubble at Walt Disney World is down to the final two, with Adebayo and the Miami Heat set to take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals that start on Wednesday night. It’s the first finals matchup between the clubs, with the Lakers looking for a record-tying 17th title and the Heat seeking their fourth in the last 15 seasons. “But we know that the job isn’t done yet.”The Heat were spending much of Monday resting up before an evening team meeting would officially start their finals preparation process. Much like the Heat, the Lakers took a moment to enjoy winning the conference title. By Game 4 or so of this series, the Lakers and Heat will have been at Disney for three months.
The Finals are set: LeBron, Lakers will meet Butler, Heat
Get ready for the NBA Finals — a title series like none other, to end a season like none other. The Heat won the Eastern Conference title Sunday night, finishing off Boston a day after the Lakers won the Western Conference crown. So, for the first time — well, excluding the league’s inaugural season — two franchises that missed the playoffs the previous season will meet in the NBA Finals. “We know why I came here,” said Lakers All-Star forward Anthony Davis, whose first finals trip comes in his first L.A. season. The last Lakers’ championship was in 2010, when Bryant got his fifth and last title.
Back to the Finals: Heat oust Celtics, move to title series
Bam Adebayo scored a season-high 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Butler scored 22 points and the Heat won the Eastern Conference finals for the sixth time by topping the Boston Celtics 125-113 on Sunday night. The Heat won the series 4-2 — and now, they’ll see LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers for the title. Boston took the lead twice more, with Adebayo answering both times, first with a dunk, then a go-ahead three-point play with 6:16 left. Heat: The Heat are now guaranteed no less than $4,399,686 for their playoff share, and that number would rise to $5,791,041 if they win the title. CROSS-SPORT SUPPORTThe Celtics and Heat were getting some support from afar before Game 6.
Celtics control second half, top Heat to win Game 5 in East
Tatum had 31 points and 10 rebounds, Jaylen Brown added 28 points and the Celtics shook off a slow first half to top the Miami Heat 121-108 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals and stave off elimination. “Our deal was to come out and play, come out and compete, give it our best shot and I thought we played pretty well in the second half," Stevens said. Kemba Walker scored 15 points, Marcus Smart had a 12-point, eight-rebound, eight-assist night and Gordon Hayward scored 10 for the Celtics. “Boston played great in that second half," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. The Heat scored the first basket of the third quarter.
He's a Herro: Heat top Celtics, move a game from NBA Finals
Tyler Herro — still just 20 years old — scored a Heat rookie-record 37 points, Jimmy Butler had 24 and Miami beat the Boston Celtics 112-109 on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. They erased a double-digit deficit to take a one-point lead in the fourth — then saw the Heat run away again. The other: Magic Johnson, who had 42 in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals for the Los Angeles Lakers. And the Heat rookie playoff record was 27 by Dwyane Wade in 2004; it now belongs to Herro, who scored 17 points in the fourth alone. The biggest Heat lead in the first three games had been eight points.