Do you agree with Max Kellerman that “Kobe Bryant is running – and ruining – the Lakers” ?

Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg weigh in on Kobe Bryant’s continuing influence on the Los Angeles Lakers during retirement. Max claims the Lakers are still feeling negative effects from Kobe’s 2-year, $48.5 million deal he signed at the age of 36 and adds that Kobe’s close relationship with Jeanie Buss may have influenced the hiring of GM Rob Pelinka.

DeMarcus Cousins diagnosed with torn left quad after MRI; likely to miss rest of playoffs

NBC Sports Bay Area staff

The Warriors’ worst fears after DeMarcus Cousins’ Game 2 tumble appear to be coming true.

Cousins has been diagnosed with a torn left quad, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Tuesday morning. Charania reported this injury probably will end Boogie’s season, but the Warriors aren’t fully closing the door yet on Cousins’ possible return.

Earlier Tuesday morning, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported that Cousins is “expected to miss” the remainder of the NBA playoffs. Haynes added, however, that there’s “faint optimism” the Warriors’ starting center could return for the NBA Finals, should the team advance that far.

Cousins left Monday’s game with what Warriors coach Steve Kerr said afterward was a “pretty significant” injury. Cousins will undergo an MRI on Tuesday morning to reveal the full diagnosis, and an official announcement is expected.

Now the Warriors must lean on Kevon Looney, Andrew Bogut and Jordan Bell at center in their NBA playoff first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. Looney, in particular, has played well, with a plus-31 in the first two playoffs. He finished Game 2 with a career-high 19 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes.

Bogut and Bell likely would be more limited. Bogut hasn’t played more than 24 minutes in a game for the Warriors since rejoining the team from Australia, and he has logged 19 total minutes of playing time in the two games against the Clippers. Bell has played even less in the playoffs, with five total minutes. He played 20 or more minutes in just seven of the 68 regular-season games in which he saw action.

Needless to say, none of those three has the credentials of Cousins, a four-time NBA All-Star who averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 30 regular-season games with the Warriors after returning from his torn Achilles.

Cousins’ comeback story cruelly ended early in the first quarter Monday, when he reached out for a loose ball, then grimaced in pain as he fell to the court and immediately grabbed his upper left leg. He went to the locker room, and the Warriors quickly ruled him out for the game.

Cousins tore the Achilles in the same leg in January 2018, while playing with the New Orleans Pelicans. He signed a one-year, $5.3 million contract with the Warriors, in the hopes of winning a championship and then cashing in for a bigger deal, but his latest injury puts his future in doubt.

The Warriors must shake both the emotions of Cousins’ injury and the NBA-record 31-point lead they squandered in a Game 2 loss that evened their best-of-seven series with the Clippers at one apiece. Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday night in LA.

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Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins leaves first quarter of Game 2 with quad injury; to undergo MRI within 24 hours

Brian Witt | NBC SPORTS

The Warriors got a major scare early in Game 2 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series with the Clippers on Monday night when center DeMarcus Cousins went to the locker room with an apparent left leg injury.

Cousins suffered the injury chasing down a loose ball in the frontcourt. As he reached out for the ball, Cousins could be seen grimacing in pain. He immediately grabbed his upper left leg before heading to the locker room.

Cousins, of course, has been working his way back from a torn Achilles in his left leg suffered in January of 2018. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game and will undergo an MRI within 24 hours.

This story is being updated. 

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Zion Williamson Announces His NBA Draft Decision

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Holleran | THE SPUN

Duke star freshman forward Zion Williamson has announced his decision for the 2019 NBA Draft.

No surprise: the Blue Devils’ five-star phenom is heading to the NBA.

Williamson, who racked up several national player of the year awards during his lone season at Duke, is widely projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

The future NBA star announced his decision on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

?Thank you Duke?#thebrotherhood

A post shared by Zion Williamson (@zionlw10) on

Williamson had one of the most-impressive freshman seasons in college basketball history, averaging more than 22 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists per game for the Blue Devils.

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CBS Sports

HOOP HANGOUT • NBA PLAYOFFS • GAMEDAY POST • April 15th 2019

USA TODAY SPORTS

Clippers stun Warriors with record comeback

Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. — Landry Shamet hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds left, Stephen Curry couldn’t answer on the other end, and the Los Angeles Clippers climbed back from a 31 points down to stun the Golden State Warriors 135-131 on Monday night and even their first-round playoff series at one game apiece.

It was a historic comeback that topped a 29-point rally by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1989 Western Conference semis over Seattle.

Curry scored 29 points and put the Warriors up 131-128 with 58 seconds left before Shamet’s dagger on a night the two-time defending NBA champions lost DeMarcus Cousins to a leg injury in the first quarter.

Lou Williams tied the game on a jumper with 1:10 to play then Curry immediately answered. Williams scored again at 46 seconds and finished with 36 points and made 8 of 10 free throws in as the teams combined for 64 fouls and 76 free throws attempted.

Cousins injured his left quadriceps muscle in the first quarter and was done for the game, but Golden State’s depth shined and the Warriors built a 23-point halftime lead they pushed to a 31-point advantage failing to hold off Los Angeles late.

76ERS 145, NETS 123

PHILADELPHIA — Ben Simmons had 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds and the 76ers had an answer for the pesky Nets in a win to even their Eastern Conference playoff series.

Simmons had a disastrous Game 1, on the court (nine points) and from a PR perspective after he criticized fans for booing during a game the Sixers were never really in. He backtracked the next day at practice and never gave another 20,591 fans a chance to do anything but roar in approval in Game 2. Simmons flashed the All-Star form that helped lead the Sixers to 51 wins, and was aggressive from tipoff. He used his size and speed to attack the lane and scored 16 points in the half — and then put the game away in the third.

The Sixers busted the game open with a 14-0 run to start the second half and then stretched the lead to 20 on a Simmons steal and fastbreak basket. With a packed house standing, Simmons got a massive ovation when he cupped his hand to his right ear just like Iverson did in his prime.

Iverson and former Sixers teammate Dikembe Mutombo attended the game and tossed T-shirts into the crowd.

Bob Myers laughs at idea of leaving Warriors for Lakers, and with good reason

Monte Poole | NBC SPORTS

OAKLAND — With the three-day dismantling of the Lakers came the speculation and, in some part, concern, among Warriors fans that the team in Los Angeles might come hunting in the Bay Area in hopes of breaking off a piece of the dynasty.

No name was being thrown about more than that of president and general manager Bob Myers. From the moment Magic Johnson stepped down from his position with the Lakers on Tuesday, there has been no shortage of text messages, phone calls and general conversation regarding the possibility of Myers leaving the Warriors for the Lakers.

He went to UCLA and worked out of Los Angeles during his days as an agent, so . . .

Maybe (Warriors CEO) Joe Lacob thinks his son, Kirk, is ready for the job, so . . ..

The Lakers could make an irresistible offer, right?

Which may be why on Myers, standing on the sideline of the practice court as the Warriors prepared for Game 1 against the Clippers on Saturday, needed a couple seconds to catch my drift.

Me: What are you doing here today?

Bob: What do you mean?

Me: Shouldn’t you be having lunch with (Lakers controlling owner) Jeanie Buss?

Bob: Oh, right. Almost forgot. (Looks at his watch) I’m supposed to meet her at 2.

Myers then laughed a laugh that suggests he’s not eager to go anywhere anytime soon, even if there are days and nights when he probably wouldn’t mind.

For one, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka seems overtly secure in his status, practically diving headlong into the power vacuum created by Johnson’s departure and showing coach Luke Walton the door Friday morning.

For two, Myers, who has lived his entire life in either the Bay Area or Southern California, knows whatever headaches that come with his current job would barely register when compared with those felt by the man responsible for the care and feeding of the most beloved sports team in America’s entertainment center.

For three, Lacob may be incredibly driven, sometimes maniacally so, but he surely has come to realize Myers’ value to the emotional stability of the franchise. Lacob doesn’t make questionable decisions to save a dollar or two. Or even a $1 million or more.

As the Warriors have gotten bigger and bolder – and, therefore, requiring of maintenance both routine and emergency – it’s incumbent to have someone like Myers. He has been there to guide both Kevin Durant and Draymond Green through various spasms of turbulence. He has been there when coach Steve Kerr was about to blow and has definitely been there when Lacob was on the verge of detonation.

When DeMarcus Cousins was done with the New Orleans Pelicans, he reached out to Myers. No matter how good the Warriors are, Cousins wouldn’t dare make such move unless he had done his research on Myers and concluded the Warriors GM was approachable and worthy of trust.

Every successful franchise has someone who can go into any office in the building and be as comfortable lending an ear as spreading a word. Someone who can talk one guy down from the ledge and another guy onto a task. And a “cooler,” able to chill the boiling blood of any number of individuals from the front office to the coaching staff to the scouting department and, of course, the men on the roster that have made the Warriors what they have become.

When Draymond Green made the famous comment after the championship parade in 2017 – “Can somebody give Bob Myers some (bleeping) credit?” – he was talking less about roster construction than Myers’ knack for rinsing away the potentially toxic issues that inevitably come when surrounded by so many substantial egos.

Does Myers have detractors? Sure. A few folks look at recent drafts and wonder what’s taking so long to find the next great Warrior.

Myers also knows there will come a day when the Warriors won’t routinely give the rest of the NBA little more than the backs of their hands. Those close to him seem to believe that’s a challenge he relishes.

That day is not yet upon them. Neither is the day when Myers relocates his family to LA, or anyplace else in the NBA. Lacob is smart enough to know if his GM were to leave, his first priority would be to find another Bob Myers.

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Lakers haven’t called Warriors about GM Bob Myers, owner Joe Lacob says

Ali Thanawalla | NBC SPORTS

The trendy rumor floating around NBA circles is that Warriors general manager Bob Myers could leave the back-to-back champs to join the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office.

But Myers himself laughed at the thought when NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole asked him about it Friday. Then, on Saturday, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob poured even more cold water on the idea.

“No one [from the Lakers] has called me. I can say that,” Lacob told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Greg Papa on “Warriors Playoff Central” before Game 1 of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lacob spoke about what Myers means to him, and also didn’t rule out something unexpected happening.

“We’ll have to wait and see if something like that did occur,” Lacob said. “He’s a great part of our family here, and I feel very close to him. I consider him like a son, almost. I would be surprised by that, I guess. … We’ll see.

“I know there’s been a lot of media speculation. Things happen, so you have to be prepared for it.”

Myers went to UCLA and was based out of Los Angeles when he was an agent, so the connection to LA is there. But Myers also grew up a Warriors fan, so leaving would be tough for him.

Plus, the Warriors are a well-oiled machine right now. The Lakers are a car wreck, after they missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season and team president Magic Johnson surprisingly quit earlier this week.

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Blake Griffin likely to miss series vs. Bucks

Vincent Goodwill | Yahoo Sports

Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin will likely miss the entire first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks because of a left knee injury, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Griffin has battled the injury for the past several weeks, getting pulled from the Pistons’ second-to-last game against Memphis and missing the season finale against New York, games the Pistons needed to win — and did — to qualify for the last playoff spot.

Without Griffin, the Pistons were no match for the top-seeded Bucks in Game 1 on Sunday night, losing 121-86 at Fiserv Forum.

After initially missing three games with the sprained knee, Griffin returned April 5 against Oklahoma City to score 45 points, but the knee swelled again and limited his effectiveness two nights later against Charlotte. The Pistons are concerned that could happen in the playoff series against the Bucks, even with the possibility of Griffin having 10 days off heading into Game 3 on Wednesday at Little Caesars Arena.

Griffin will be listed as day to day for the remainder of the series, with a league source calling it a “slim chance” he plays this weekend. There’s no structural damage in the left knee, and it’s unclear whether he’ll need some type of minor procedure this offseason. Griffin and team doctors will decide the best course of action when the season concludes.

Griffin has been the catalyst for the Pistons making the playoffs for only the second time in the last decade, and he’s stayed largely healthy until this injury. Griffin played 75 games in his first full season in Detroit — his most since 2013-14 — and the organization wants to preserve his health for the long term because he’s under contract until 2021-22. He was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers in January 2018.

Griffin had a career year this season while making his sixth All-Star team, averaging 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists while shooting 36.2 percent from 3-point range.

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HOOP HANGOUT • NBA PLAYOFFS • GAMEDAY POST • April 14th 2019

USA TODAY SPORTS

Antetokounmpo, Bucks pound Pistons 121-86 in opener

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 17 rebounds in just 24 minutes, and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucksshowed they were serious about making a playoff run with a 121-86 rout of the Detroit Pistons in Game 1 on Sunday night.

The MVP candidate ran and dunked all over the Pistons, who only really caught him when center Andre Drummond shoved him to the ground with both hands late in the third quarter after Antetokounmpo grabbed an offensive rebound with Detroit trailing by 41 points.

Drummond was given a flagrant 2 foul and ejected. He threw a kiss to the Fiserv Forum crowd as he was escorted off the court.

Seven Bucks players scored in double figures. Eric Bledsoe had 15 points, and Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton each added 14. George Hill scored 16 points off the bench.

Luke Kennard paced the Pistons with 21 points off the bench and Drummond had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Reggie Jackson also had 12 points. Detroit played without forward Blake Griffin, who sat out with a left knee injury.

ROCKETS 122, JAZZ 90

HOUSTON — James Harden had 29 points and 10 assists to help Houston rout Utah in the opener of a best-of-seven first-round playoff series.

The Rockets had a double-digit lead for most of the game, but the Jazz got within five points midway through the third quarter before Houston used a big run to pull away and sail to the victory.

Houston’s starting lineup helped carry the scoring load on Sunday night, with each starter scoring at least 10 points. Eric Gordon had 17, Clint Capela scored 16, Chris Paul added 14 and P.J. Tucker had 11.

Rudy Gobert had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Jazz. Donovan Mitchell had 19 points, but did not have an assist as the Jazz went long stretches without scoring.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Houston.

TRAIL BLAZERS 104, THUNDER 99

PORTLAND, Ore. — Damian Lillard scored 30 points and third-seeded Portland opened its playoff series against No. 6 Oklahoma City with a victory.

Enes Kanter added 20 points and a career playoff-high 18 rebounds for the Blazers, who were making their sixth straight postseason appearance. CJ McCollum added 24 points.

Russell Westbrook had 24 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for his ninth career postseason triple-double. Paul George, who was a game-time decision because of a sore shoulder, added 26 points and 10 rebounds after a slow start.

CELTICS 84, PACERS 74

BOSTON — Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris each scored 20 points, and Boston rallied in the second half to beat Indiana in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Jayson Tatum finished with 15 points. Al Horford added 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Gordon Hayward had 10 points. It was the first playoff game since 2017 for Irving and Hayward after each missed last year’s postseason with injuries.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Boston.

The Pacers led by 11 points in the first half but had just eight points in the third quarter. The Celtics capitalized and led by as many as 22 in the fourth. Indiana scored 29 points in the second half, and the quarter and half were both its worst of the season.

Cory Joseph had 14 points for the Pacers. Bojan Bogdanovic was the lone Pacers starter in double figures with 12 points.

NBA fans roast the Sixers after awful performance in Game 1

Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS

Philadelphia 76ers fans booed their team throughout an ugly loss to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 of their NBA playoff series Saturday afternoon, as D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert powered the Nets to a statement victory.

Sixers superstar Joel Embiid, who was questionable with a troubling knee injury, was able to play in Game 1 and scored 24 points in 22 minutes, but aside from Jimmy Butler, nearly every Sixers player struggled in Game 1. Ben Simmons posted a plus-minus of -21, Tobias Harris scored just four points, and J.J. Redick was limited due to foul trouble.

ESPN cameras even caught reserve Amir Johnson checking his phone in the middle of the game. Commentator Doris Burke called out the team for a clear lack of focus.

The Nets went on to win the game 111-102, and if Embiid is limited for the rest of the series, Brooklyn may have a serious chance to upset the No. 3  seed in the East. NBA Twitter was not kind to the Sixers.

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