Both players appeared surprised by the third-quarter call, since they were just exchanging a few words when the double-technical was given.
Durant said after the game that he hoped the technical gets rescinded.
“Me and JaMychal Green, we were conversing about the play that happened before, just like you and I,” Durant said. “Somebody came out of nowhere and tech’d us both. How would you feel? That was pretty quick. Hopefully they rescind that one because I don’t want somebody to think somebody is in my head, that’s why I got that tech. I just want to get that out of the way because I don’t want to jeopardize my team in the future.”
With the technical rescinded, Durant is now five away from an automatic one-game suspension.
Damian Lillard scored 32 points, but he had just three in the fourth quarter after scoring 25 in the third. C.J. McCollum had 21 and Enes Kanter added 19.
Oklahoma City closed the second quarter on a 10-1 run to take a 49-39 lead. Lillard was held to four points on 2 -or-6 shooting and the Trail Blazers shot 37.5% in the half.
George hit a 3-pointer, was fouled and made the free throw in the opening minutes of the second half to push Oklahoma City’s lead to 55-43. Westbrook backed down Lillard, hit a bank shot and was fouled. Westbrook brought out his “rock the baby” celebration, then made the free throw to put Oklahoma City up by 15.
Lillard scored 23 points the rest of the quarter to help cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 86-82 at the end of the period. McCollum hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 89 early in the fourth. Oklahoma City regained control, with Westbrook’s jumper with just over two minutes remaining putting the Thunder up 10.
CELTICS 104, PACERS 96
INDIANAPOLIS — Jaylen Brown scored 23 points and Kyrie Irvingadded 19 to help Boston beat Indiana for a 3-0 lead in the first-round series.
The Celtics can close out the Eastern Conference series Sunday in Indianapolis.
Irving also had 10 assists and five rebounds.
Tyreke Evans matched his career playoff high with 19 points for the Pacers. Bojan Bogdanovic had 15, not enough to prevent Indiana from losing its sixth straight to Boston in the regular season and playoff.
Indiana desperately needed a win to avoid facing its second sweep in three years, but Boston started fast and closed it with a 10-4 spurt late in the fourth quarter. And once again, Boston’s defense turned the game by allowing just 12 points in the third quarter.
RAPTORS 98, MAGIC 93
ORLANDO, Fla. — Pascal Siakam had 30 points and 11 rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and Toronto held off Orlando to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference series.
Siakam was 13 for 20 from the floor and the Raptors held Orlando to 36% shooting. Leonard had 10 rebounds, Danny Green had 13 points and Kyle Lowry finished with 12 points and 10 assist.
Lowry’s 3-pointer with 7:48 left gave Toronto its biggest lead at 86-69. The Magic came flying back, and Ross’ 3-pointer with 41 seconds left got Orlando to 96-93. Leonard was short with a jumper on the next possession — but the Magic couldn’t control the rebound, and were doomed shortly afterward. Leonard made a pair of free throws with 12.9 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game again.
Jordan Bell honors Nipsey Hussle before Warriors’ Game 3 vs. Clippers
Dalton Johnson | NBC SPORTS
The death of fallen rapper Nipsey Hussle, a Los Angeles icon, hit Warriors center Jordan Bell hard.
“I thought it was fake at first,” Bell, who was born in L.A. and went to high school in Long Beach, told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Logan Murdock on March 31, the day of Hussle’s death. “I started seeing more and more, so I went on Twitter and starting looking for verified accounts tweeting about it.
“You saw pictures of him shot in the head and all that s—. I don’t know, it just f—ed me up. And finding out he died right before the game was tough, really tough.”
As the Warriors’ first-round playoffs series heads to L.A., Bell is honoring Hussle with a pair of customized shoes for Game 3 against the Clippers.
Hussle was shot in an L.A. strip mall outside of his own clothing store about 45 minutes before the Warriors’ 137-90 win over the Hornets.
Many Warriors looked at Hussle as inspiration, someone who was setting an example to uplift undervalued and impoverished neighborhoods.
“He was setting examples with his actions. He was showing kids how to get money and keep money,” Bell said. “I was like ‘damn, I’m not buying no jewelry, I’m buying a house.'”
Rachel Nichols, Brian Windhorst and Scottie Pippen react to Kevin Durant’s “You know who I am” interview in response to his battle with Patrick Beverley in the Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers first-round series in the 2019 NBA playoffs. They then (3:20) react to KD’s interview and Steve Kerr’s interview, in which they seemed to disagree on how many shots Durant should take.
Kevin Durant breaks down ‘David and Goliath’ matchup with Patrick Beverley
Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS
The Golden State Warriors began their opening playoff series against the Clippers as a historically lopsided betting favorite to advance, but the Warriors surrendered a 31-point lead at home in Game 2 in a stunning collapse. The series shifts to the Staples Center for Game 3 on Thursday, and there’s plenty of evidence that the Clippers’ strategy to try to irritate Kevin Durant is working.
When asked about the Clippers’ strategy on Wednesday, Durant gave an insightful breakdown of LA’s gameplan, and called Beverley a “pitbull.”
“In this series it’s kind of weird because when the guy is that small, you know, you’ve got the advantage, but the refs see… we hear David and Goliath a lot growing up, so that story is pretty much prominent in people’s minds. So when you put that out there on the court against me, then the refs [are] going to give him a little bit more. So when he runs up on me like a pitbull, grabbing me, holding me, I don’t mind it. That’s how he makes his money. That’s how he feeds his family. But if I throw something back, then let us play. You get what I’m saying? I got four, five offensive fouls like that. I’m just trying to figure out each possession how I can be more effective without getting offensive fouls.”
Durant claimed that he could score on Beverley every possession if left in a one-on-one situation, but said that he plans to focus on sharing the ball and keeping his teammates involved.
“They’re playing a gimmick defense which has been working. Locking everything on the perimeter, guys not even looking at the 3-point line, they’re just forcing guys inside the 3-point line. For us, when I get the ball in my spots, I’ve got a pest, Patrick Beverley, who is up underneath me, who I could definitely shoot over the top and score every time if it’s a one-on-one situation, but we’ve got a guy that’s dropping and helping and then we’ve got another guy that’s just sitting on me, waiting for me to dribble the basketball.
If I put the basketball on the floor, I can probably make 43 percent of my shots if I shoot them like that, but that’s not really going to do nothing for us – the outcome of the game, because we’ve got a nice flow. Everybody touching the rock, everybody shooting and scoring. I’m not going to get in the way of the game because I want to have a little back-and-forth with Patrick Beverley. I’m Kevin Durant. You know who I am.”
A “missing” poster mocking Sixers star Ben Simmons‘ jump shot was taped on a street sign outside of the Barclays Center ahead of Game 3 of the Brooklyn Nets‘ series against Philadelphia.
The poster jokingly offered a $26,620,450 reward for the retrieval of Simmons’ shot — the amount of the point guard’s rookie contract.
The dig at Simmons, who went 21-for-93 on attempts between 10 and 24 feet in the regular season, comes in the wake of his triple double (18 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds) in Philadelphia‘s Game 2 win.
After Wednesday’s practice, Nets veteran Jared Dudleydescribed Simmons’ effectiveness in half-court offense as ‘average,’ which is a product, in part, of his lack of threatening defenses with a jump shot.
“I think that Ben Simmons is a great player in transition. Once you slow him up in the half court, I think he’s average,” said Dudley, who will likely defend Simmons at times in Game 3.
“He’s a player that, when he picks up speed, he’s a load. So, you’ve got to have two guys with him. For him, it’s taking away his easy baskets. If you’re in a bad way, foul him and make him make free throws. If he’s 4-for-4, keep fouling him. The odds tell you what his percentages are for free throws. Someone like that, you’ve got to stop him in transition.”
When Dudley’s assessment was relayed to Simmons on Thursday morning, he replied, “It’s coming from Jared Dudley; c’mon.”
The teams’ series is tied 1-1 entering Thursday’s Game 3.
Michael Rapaport joins Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe to discuss reports of Ty Lue being told to pass on the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching job. Hear why Rapaport is absolutely convinced Ty Lue is the right man for the job.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — He’s Kevin Durant, and the Los Angeles Clippers got reminded of it.
Durant scored 38 points, Stephen Curry added 21 playing with five fouls, and the Golden State Warriors dominated from the opening tip to win 132-105 Thursday night and take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
“He came out super-aggressive, in kill mode,” teammate Draymond Green said of Durant. “That was all the difference for us. We took control of th8e game right there in the first quarter and never lost control of it.”
The Warriors began the game on a 22-9 tear and went on to shoot 73% from the floor in the first, taking the crowd out of it early
The game came easy for Durant, who came into the contest confident that he could take over when needed. After a verbal back-and-forth with Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, which resulted in a Game 1 ejection for both players after being issued a double technical, Durant chafed at the notion that Beverley and the Clippers were getting into his head following the Warriors’ 31-point second-half meltdown in Game 2.
“I’m not gonna get in the way of the game because I wanna have a little back-and-forth with Patrick Beverley,” Durant said after Wednesday’s practice. “I’m Kevin Durant. You know who I am. Y’all know who I am.”
Durant let his game do all the talking Thursday as he repeatedly drove by Clippers defenders while knocking down shots from all over the floor. Durant finished 14-for-23 from the field, which is notable because Warriors coach Steve Kerr was hopeful that Durant would be more aggressive after taking just eight shots in the Game 2 loss.
With his first basket of the game, Durant passed Magic Johnson to move into 14th place on the league’s all-time postseason scoring list. Durant, who now has 3,738 postseason points, is just 17 points behind Hakeem Olajuwon for 13th on the list. Durant’s 38 points also tie a league record for most points in a playoff game when playing 30 minutes or less, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. Durant joins San Antonio Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge as the only two players to accomplish that feat.
“He’s a two-time Finals MVP and coming off a poor performance,” Kerr said. “That’s what happens.”
“They dissected us,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You kind of felt they were going to come in and throw a punch, and we just didn’t respond.”
The Clippers’ only starter in double figures was rookie Ivica Zubac, who finished with 18 points after playing most of the fourth. Patrick Beverley, a defensive pest guarding Durant in Game 2, was limited to six points, four fouls, one rebound and no assists in 18 minutes.
Lou Williams had 16 points, and Montrezl Harrell and JaMychal Green added 15 each off the bench.
Los Angeles never led and failed to put together any kind of sustained run.
“We just got our (rear) kicked,” Williams said. “That’s it.”
Nikola Jokic had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Denver.
Game 4 is Saturday in San Antonio, where the Spurs are 3-0 against the Nuggets this season.
White attacked Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray from the opening tip after being on the receiving end of Murray’s career outing Tuesday night. Murray had only six points, a game after scoring 21 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter to help Denver overcome a 19-point deficit to even the series.
White set his career high after being fouled by Paul Millsap on a driving layup that bounced off the side of the rim, hit the backboard and fell in to give the Spurs a 99-89 lead with 8:52 remaining. White added five rebounds, five assists and three steals while shooting 12 for 17. The point guard matched his overall career high with 26 points in the first half.
NEW YORK — Ben Simmons scored a career playoff-high 31 points, Tobias Harris added 29 points and 16 rebounds and Philadelphia shook off the absence of Joel Embiid to take a 2-1 series lead over Brooklyn.
Without their All-Star man in the middle, the 76ers relied on Simmons slashing to the basket, and Harris and JJ Redick shooting from the perimeter.
Simmons was 11 for 13 from the field, repeatedly getting to the rim even with the Nets sagging well off him in hopes he would shoot a jumper. He added nine assists and eventually quieted a crowd that loudly booed him every time he touched the ball early. Harris had his playoff highs in both points and rebounds, and was 6 for 6 from 3-point range. Redick was 5 of 9 behind the arc and finished with 26 points.
Embiid warmed up before the game but the 76ers announced shortly before the start that the All-Star center wouldn’t be available because of a sore left knee. Greg Monroe started in his place and had nine points and 13 rebounds.
D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert each scored 26 points for the Nets. They have dropped the last two games after surprising the No. 3 seed in the opener in Philadelphia.
Very few sports outstage the NBA playoffs when action is in full tilt, but this weekend’s broadcast of The Masters Tournament did, with a healthy Tiger Woods completing an epic comeback by earning his fifth green jacket — his first major win in 11 years.
It takes a GOAT to know another, they say — so it isn’t much of a surprise that Michael Jordan, known as the greatest in a sports he left 16 years ago, was closely watching his friend Woods defeat the odds and complete a comeback story which he deems even more impressive than his own.
“I took two years off to play baseball, but nothing like that,” Michael Jordan told David Aldridge of The Athletic. “I’m pretty sure he questioned himself, whether he could get it back, and he had to put a lot of work in. But he took it head-on. He had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit. To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen.”
Matter of fact, Jordan himself doubted Woods, and didn’t have the heart to face his friend and tell him what was in the minds of most who had watched him struggle through a torn ACL and multiple back procedures, often taking one step forward only to take two more backward.
It was only three years ago that Jordan told ESPN The Magazine’s Wright Thompson: “The thing is, I love him so much that I can’t tell him, ‘You’re not gonna be great again.’”
Oh boy, was he wrong.
And it’s not often that a guy so great at his sport, and a ruthless golfer on his own right, makes such a bold statement on a talent the sport of golf has seen nothing like through the modern era.
“I never thought he’d get back physically,” said Michael Jordan. “He didn’t think he’d get back physically. But he did it. No one expected him to be back the way he is now. He’s probably the only person who believed he could get back. To me, that’s a major accomplishment. To me, it’s unbelievable. Mentally, you always think you can. But you can’t answer to what your body has to deal with.”
It was that way that Eldrick Tont Woods, known to the world of golf by only one name — Tiger — dissolved every doubter and naysayer; Jordan included, to his own delight.
Much like Jordan after his return to the NBA, Tiger returned a changed man, a wiser one; a man that learned not only of the limits his now battle-tested body could offer him, but also the wisdom of an older golfer, one more focused on the task at hand than testing the limits of his talent.
When the likes of Francesco Molinari, Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka hit into the water on the 12-hole, Woods hit into the middle of the green instead of the flag, forced to keep his poise and play his cards wisely. Every par a tactical decision to make.
Jordan, who watched the event in a watch party with Luke Donald, the former No. 1-ranked golfer, who finished third in the 2005 Masters, couldn’t help but admire the road traveled for Tiger to get to this point.
“There were so many people that were doubting him,” said Michael Jordan. “You can think about the physical. But he overcame a lot of mental things, too. Not just the physical aspects, but all the scandals, too. I was watching TV and they were congratulating him, but the first thing they bring up is the negative aspect. That’s what he had to deal with. Granted, we all make mistakes. But for him to come back and be able to win again, it’s far tougher than anything I think anybody’s had to deal with.”
Needless to say, D-Wade is wasting no time when it comes to wasting time, chugging his own rosé from the passenger seat of a golf cart while his former trainer (because who needs one of those when you’re retired?) laughs hysterically behind him. If you’re still wondering what “livin’ la vida loca” looks like 20 years later, well folks, this is it.