Pictured: DeMar DeRozan (left) & Kyle Lowry (right)
Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images North America

Preview: Spurs at Raptors

DeMar DeRozan will make his first trip back to where he started his career when the San Antonio Spurs visit the Toronto Raptors on Friday. DeRozan, who was sent to the Spurs in the blockbuster deal last summer that placed Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in Toronto, is averaging 21.4 points while trying to pull San Antonio into the Western Conference playoffs.

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DeRozan was a four-time All-Star for the Raptors and holds the franchise records for games played (675), minutes (22,986) and points (13,296) and is expected to be greeted warmly by the Toronto crowd. “I think it’ll definitely be one for the ages,” DeRozan told TSN of his impending return. “It’s something where you think you’ve experienced everything, but that will be an interesting moment.” The Raptors have done just fine without DeRozan and sit in second place in the Eastern Conference coming out of the All-Star break and went into the break hot with wins in six straight. DeRozan’s Spurs are in a more precarious position and went into the break in seventh place in the West after dropping four of the first five on their eight-game Rodeo Road Trip.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN, TSN 1/3/4 (Toronto)

ABOUT THE SPURS (33-26): San Antonio struggled through the Western Conference portion of the trip prior to the break, falling at Sacramento, Golden State, Portland and Utah before recovering with a 108-107 victory at Memphis on Feb. 12. DeRozan, who missed out on the All-Star game in his first season with the Spurs, is averaging 23.5 points on the trip while All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge went into the break strong with three straight double-doubles. San Antonio finishes out the trip with a back-to-back at New York and Brooklyn on Sunday and Monday before playing eight of their next 10 at home.

ABOUT THE RAPTORS (43-16): Leonard did make the All-Star Game in his first season with Toronto and started for winning Team LeBron, scoring 19 points in as many minutes. The Raptors made a splash ahead of the deadline by bringing former All-Star center Marc Gasol over from the Grizzlies and are undefeated in three games with him in the lineup. Gasol, 34, is still ironing out his place in the rotation and came off the bench in each of his first three games, averaging 10 points in 20 minutes.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Spurs PG Derrick White (plantar fasciitis) sat out the last five games but is expected to return Friday. 

2. Raptors SG Patrick McCaw (shoulder) sat out the final game prior to the break and is questionable.

3. San Antonio earned a 125-107 home win over Toronto on Jan. 3 behind 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists from DeRozan.

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Source: Ezra Shaw / Getty Image North America

Preview: Spurs at Warriors

The Golden State Warriors struggled to find the energy to compete in two games at home after returning from a long trip but managed to split the two and will try to secure a winning three-game homestand when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. The Warriors will play three of five at home leading up to the All-Star break as they try to build momentum for the stretch run.

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Golden State swept a five-game road trip and was enjoying an 11-game winning streak before falling 113-104 at home to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday and needed an injection of energy in the form of a DeMarcus Cousins dunk on Saturday before shaking off the cobwebs and pulling away for a 115-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. “I thought his dunk brought the arena to life,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “It brought the team to life. We were searching for energy and emotion up until that point.” The Spurs were enjoying a five-game winning streak before beginning the annual rodeo road trip with a 127-112 loss at the Sacramento Kings on Monday. San Antonio has seven stops left on a road trip that spans the All-Star break and includes trips to Portland and Utah this week.

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, KENS (San Antonio), NBCS Bay Area (Golden State)

ABOUT THE SPURS (32-23): San Antonio went 2-4 on the rodeo road trip last season and got off to an inauspicious start this year while allowing its most points in a loss since falling 139-105 at Utah on Dec. 4. The Spurs allowed the upstart Kings to shoot 55.6 percent from the floor and were outscored by 11 points in the second half. The positive was an offensive breakout from star guard DeMar DeRozan, who scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting after going 8-of-26 from the floor in the previous two contests.

ABOUT THE WARRIORS (37-15): Golden State’s biggest challenge over the final two months of the regular season will be getting Cousins up to speed after he missed the first 45 games recovering from Achilles surgery. The 28-year-old is averaging 14.4 points on 43.6 percent shooting in seven games and pointed to Saturday’s big dunk as a step in the right direction. “It feels good to be able to finish,” Cousins told reporters. “Obviously, I haven’t been finishing the way that I would like; that’s still a process that I am trying to get through. Just finding my touch and balance around the rim. It was a good finish, I am happy about that.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Warriors SF Kevin Durant is 4-of-23 from 3-point range over the last five games.

2. Spurs PG Derrick White (plantar fasciitis) sat out Monday and could be out until after the All-Star break.

3. San Antonio took the first meeting of the season 104-92 at home on Nov. 18 behind 24 points and 18 rebounds from All-Star PF LaMarcus Aldridge.

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Posted in NBA, Top Fantasy Picks

Photo: Russell Westbrook
Source: J Pat Carter / Getty Image North America

Preview: Thunder at Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs attempt to recover from a subpar effort when they begin a home-and-home with the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. The Spurs saw a season-high five-game winning streak evaporate as they shot a woeful 36.1 percent from the field during a 96-86 loss to the host Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

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San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich remains tied with Jerry Sloan (1,221) for third place on the all-time victories list after the listless effort against the Grizzlies that resulted in only the club’s fourth loss in the past 17 games. “It was one of those nights where the ball wouldn’t drop for us,” Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge told reporters after scoring 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting. “We couldn’t get out of it.” Oklahoma City is in a lull with a 4-5 mark over the past nine games after experiencing a 21-6 stretch. Star point guard Russell Westbrook recorded 25 points and 16 assists but also committed seven turnovers in Tuesday’s 119-117 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, FS Oklahoma, TNT

ABOUT THE THUNDER (25-15): Backup center Nerlens Noel is in the NBA concussion protocol after suffering a hard fall in Tuesday’s game against the Timberwolves and being hospitalized overnight. Noel received an elbow in the head from Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins in the third quarter and lost consciousness after hitting the floor and was taken off the court on a stretcher. “It’s just one of those crazy plays,” Oklahoma center Steven Adams told reporters after the game. “Fortunately, they responded quite quickly, the medical staff. I felt he was in the best hands.”

ABOUT THE SPURS (24-18): Shooting guard Bryn Forbes registered 14 points against the Grizzlies and has scored in double digits in 10 of the past 11 games. The third-year-pro has shown the ability to stretch defenses with his long-range shooting and has made at least three 3-pointers in the seven of the past 11 games. “Some people might say he’s overachieved,” veteran point guard Patty Mills told reporters of Forbes. “For me being with him every day, we were waiting for this moment for him to be able to do that. He grabbed it with both hands and ran with it.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Thunder have lost six straight regular-season games in San Antonio.

2. Spurs SF Rudy Gay (wrist) will miss his third straight game.

3. Oklahoma City SF Paul George recorded 27 points against Minnesota and has scored 20 or more in each of his past 15 appearances.

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Posted in NBA, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Spurs at Lakers

The San Antonio Spurs look to post their third straight win in the season series when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday for the opener of a home-and-home set. San Antonio recorded a 143-142 overtime victory in Los Angeles on Oct. 22 and registered a 110-106 home triumph over the Lakers five days later.

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Both losses to San Antonio came during a 2-5 start for the Lakers, who have since put things together by capturing 12 of their last 16 games. Los Angeles has won its last three contests by an average of 14.3 points, and Monday’s 120-96 rout of Phoenix marked its largest margin of victory this season. The Spurs have lost three of their last four games, with all of the defeats coming by more than 30 points – including Tuesday’s 139-105 setback at Utah. Coach Gregg Popovich was dismayed with the latest whipping, telling reporters, “We’re very challenged defensively.”

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE SPURS (11-13): San Antonio’s defense was virtually nonexistent in Tuesday’s loss as the team allowed the Jazz to shoot 60.7 percent and sink a franchise-record 20 3-pointers on 33 attempts. The Spurs have given up an average of 127.3 points over their last six games, and the effort versus Utah marked the third time they have allowed 135 or more during the stretch. “I think we’re just not aggressive enough. We’re very passive,” center Jakob Poeltl told reporters after the defeat. “We’re trying to change that, but somehow we still fall into bad habits. We’re being the reactors instead of forcing them to go where we want them to go.”

ABOUT THE LAKERS (14-9): LeBron James is averaging just 34.7 minutes – the lowest mark of his 16-year career – and visibly has displayed frustration at times when coach Luke Walton removes him from a contest. Walton said he is making sure the soon-to-be 34-year-old remains fresh throughout the season, while James insists he can play a full game without being subbed out. “I want to play 48 minutes a game. Seriously,” James told reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “But it’s not going to happen. It’s not smart. It’s not smart on anyone’s behalf, but it’s just the competitive side of me.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. James averaged 33.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and nine assists in the two previous meetings with the Spurs this season.

2. Poeltl scored a career-best 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting against the Jazz.

3. Los Angeles PG Rajon Rondo (hand) participated in Tuesday’s practice and could return on Friday, when the teams meet in San Antonio.

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Posted in NBA, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Rockets at Spurs

The Houston Rockets are one of the league’s biggest disappointments and they will look to halt a four-game slide when they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Friday. Houston has allowed an average of 124 points during the skid and was lambasted 128-108 by the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

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Star guard James Harden isn’t overly concerned about the porous stretch as he pointed out the team endured a four-game losing streak earlier in the season before winning eight of its next 10. “We’ve done it already,” Harden told reporters after Wednesday’s loss. “We went through a tough stretch, and then we regrouped and won five in a row – and we looked really good. We’ve just got to figure it out. We’ve got a lot of new guys, and it’s only 20 games into the season. We’ve got 60 more to go.” San Antonio is also coming off a forgettable outing as it scored nine second-quarter points while being walloped 128-89 by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. “I thought we looked a bit lethargic in a lot of ways,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters of Wednesday’s defeat in the finale of a four-game road excursion. “Maybe part of it was the trip, but everybody has these trips. It’s no excuse.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), KENS (San Antonio)

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (9-11): Harden recorded 25 points and season highs of 17 assists and 11 rebounds against the Mavericks for his first triple-double of the season and 36th in his career. But his productivity couldn’t keep Houston in a game in which point guard Chris Paul (hamstring) missed his third straight contest and the bench got outscored 61-25. “Obviously, it’s a problem,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters of the quality of the team’s reserves. “It’s something that I know that the front office tried to address. They’re going to do the best they can. No blame going around – it’s just the way it is.”

ABOUT THE SPURS (10-11): The San Antonio starters combined for only 35 points while being routed by the Timberwolves with power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan leading the way with 10 apiece. DeRozan’s output was a season low and he was greatly disturbed by the club’s poor showing. “It seemed like we let them do whatever they wanted,” DeRozan told reporters afterward. “We just weren’t good at all. … You don’t want to go out there and get embarrassed.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Aldridge recorded 27 points and 10 rebounds as the Spurs posted a 96-89 home win over the Rockets on Nov. 10.

2. Houston swingman Gerald Green (ankle) could miss his third straight game.

3. Popovich revealed that C Pau Gasol (foot) – who will miss his 13th straight game – has a stress fracture and will be sidelined indefinitely.

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Posted in NBA, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Warriors at Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs will try to bounce back from a winless three-game road trip against the top team in their conference when they host the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. A 116-111 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday capped the Spurs’ 0-3 swing, and they are in danger of falling below .500 – a place they haven’t been since starting the 2015-16 season 0-1.

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“Everybody on this team hates losing,” San Antonio guard DeMar DeRozan told reporters. “We want to figure it out as quick as possible. We want to get on top of this thing and get rolling.” This marks the first meeting of the season between the two teams that have accounted for the last six Western Conference crowns. The Warriors have lost two in a row for the first time this season after falling 112-109 at Dallas on Saturday, which left the defending champs with a 4-4 road mark. Leading scorer Stephen Curry (groin) missed his fifth straight game while forward Draymond Green (toe) also was sidelined and already has been ruled out for this contest.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBA TV, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State), FS Southwest (San Antonio)

ABOUT THE WARRIORS (12-5): Kevin Durant (32 points) and Klay Thompson (22) accounted for roughly half of Golden State’s points Saturday, but they were a combined 2-for-15 from 3-point range. The other three starters combined for only 13 points while four reserves totaled 42 on 16-of-28 shooting. Guard Quinn Cook led that quartet with 15 points and is averaging 15.1 over his last seven games while making 55.9 percent from long range.

ABOUT THE SPURS (7-7): DeRozan scored 34 points in the loss to the Clippers while star forward LaMarcus Aldridge continued his offensive woes with 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting. The six-time All-Star is averaging 12.6 points – more than 10 below his average in 2017-18 – while shooting 32.4 percent over his last five games. “He’s going to figure it out,” DeRozan told reporters of Aldridge. “His whole career, he’s been a scorer, shooter. That don’t go nowhere. I see guys at 70 years old … (Shooting) is the last thing that goes. It’s definitely going to come back around.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Spurs C Pau Gasol (foot) is expected to miss his sixth straight game and SF Davis Bertans will sit this one out after being placed in the league’s concussion protocol.

2. Durant averaged 28.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in the playoffs against the Spurs last season.

3. Golden State averaged 114.7 points in three regular-season wins over San Antonio in 2017-18 and then was held to a season-low 75 in its one loss to the Spurs.

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Posted in NBA, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Spurs at Lakers

The fightin’ Los Angeles Lakers are ready to scuffle in LeBron James’ first season with the team, but that isn’t translating to many wins. The Lakers will be missing two key players due to suspension when they go for their first win against the visiting San Antonio Spurs on Monday.

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James made his home debut on Saturday against the Houston Rockets but the game was marred by an ugly incident in the fourth quarter, began when Los Angeles small forward Brandon Ingram shoved Rockets star James Harden. The scuffle escalated to punches, with Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo and Houston point guard Chris Paul trading shots, and Ingram was hit with a four-game suspension while Rondo will sit three games. The Spurs aren’t getting into any on-court melees but are also not off to the best start on the two-game west coast trip, which began with a 121-108 loss at Portland on Saturday. “We’re not disciplined defensively yet,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. “It’s going to take a while with a new group, basically. They run a really nice offense. It’s geared for their players and it’s hard to guard. We’re just not ready for that.”

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, FS Southwest (San Antonio), Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE SPURS (1-1): San Antonio allowed the Trail Blazers to shoot 53.6 percent from the field and is getting used to new teammates and new defensive responsibilities. “It’s all about communication,” star forward LaMarcus Aldridge told reporters. “We were a little late on some rotations and some schemes. We have to keep drilling it and get more familiar with each other.” All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan is not having any trouble adjusting offensively and scored 28 points in each of the first two contests.

ABOUT THE LAKERS (0-2): James knew it was going to be a process to mold the Los Angeles roster into a championship contender, and he was not upset about letting a one-point game get out of hand due to the late skirmish. “I’m not disappointed at all,” James told reporters after the 124-115 setback. “I understand that we’re going to have some early struggles. Nobody said it’s going to be easy. I’m not disappointed in nothing we did tonight.” James is averaging 25 points through two games but is still searching for his touch from long range while going 1-of-11 from beyond the arc.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Lakers are shooting an NBA-worst 24.2 percent from 3-point range.

2. DeRozan is averaging 6.5 assists – more than twice his career mark (3.1).

3. Los Angeles took all three meetings last season and four straight in the series.

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Posted in NBA, Top Fantasy Picks

Spurs at Warriors Game 5 Preview

The San Antonio Spurs had too much pride to get swept on their homecourt by the Golden State Warriors for the second straight season and earned a 103-90 win in Game 4 on Sunday behind a vintage performance from Manu Ginobili. The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer will try to get the Spurs back home with another win when they visit the Warriors for Game 5 of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday.

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San Antonio, which will be operating without head coach Gregg Popovich for the third straight game following the death of his wife, leaned on Ginobili down the stretch on Sunday and was rewarded with 16 points off the bench. “I cannot lie to you,” interim head coach Ettore Messina told reporters. “Even if it’s awful, because nobody would like to be in this situation for obvious reasons. At the same time, there is a little part of that that moves me to be there with Manu in these playoff games. Really, that’s something that pushes you to try to be the best possible helper for him and the team, and don’t mess up anything; just help him to have a great game.” Even Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who played with Ginobili in San Antonio in 2003, found a way to be happy for his former teammate. “I smiled when he made that corner 3 right in front of us at the end of the game,” Kerr told reporters. “It was just so typical Manu: (40) years old and 16 points and hits the clinching 3. He’s Manu. That’s what he does. I know he’s old because he was my teammate, and I’m old as dirt. So, if I played with him, he must be old.”

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, FS Southwest (San Antonio), NBCS Bay Area (Golden State)

ABOUT THE SPURS: San Antonio went 15-of-28 from 3-point range in Game 4, with Ginobili (3-of-5), point guard Dejounte Murray (3-of-4) and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (3-of-3) leading the way. “We’re not the best shooting team in the league, but we’re not that bad either to shoot 20 percent every game,” Ginobili told reporters. “(Sunday), we had a good night shooting. We’ll see if we can maintain that for next game. There’s not much you can do. You try to get the best shots possible, try to find the open teammate.” Aldridge finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds in the win for his third straight double-double in the series.

ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Golden State All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson shot 63.3 percent from the floor and 65 percent from 3-point range while averaging 25.7 points in the first three games of the series but slumped to 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting in Game 4. The Warriors committed seven of their 18 turnovers in the first quarter, setting the tone for a sloppy performance. “You can’t turn the ball over seven times and spot them a 10- or 12-point lead and make them play at their pace,” Thompson told reporters. “Come Tuesday, we’re going to start better.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Ginobili and PG Tony Parker set an NBA record on Sunday with their 132nd playoff win as teammates.

2. Warriors SF Kevin Durant is averaging 29 points and 9.3 rebounds in the series.

3. Golden State PF Draymond Green is shooting 33.3 percent from the field in the series.

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Posted in NBA

Spurs at Warriors Game 2 Preview

The Golden State Warriors came into the postseason injured and slumping but quickly proved they can flip the switch to playoff mode with a dominating Game 1 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday. The Warriors will try to keep the pressure on and get off to another hot start to make it a 2-0 cushion when they host the Spurs in Game 2 on Monday.

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Golden State dropped 10 of its last 17 games in the regular season and struggled on defense but tightened things up that end and held the Spurs to 17 first-quarter points to establish a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in Game 1. “Just wanted to put our best defensive lineup on the floor from the beginning,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who inserted small forward Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup, told reporters. “I think the whole point of these games here early in this series is to re-establish our defense. I think you guys know, over the last month or so, our defense has been subpar. Can’t win in this league in the playoffs unless you defend, and they defended tonight, and we went with our best defensive group.” San Antonio’s starting unit wasn’t up to the task and only LaMarcus Aldridge (14 points) scored in double figures among the starting five. “I thought we were very prepared physically and mentally,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. “But I was mistaken. As I said, we looked like deer in the headlights. The defense was really poor as far as following game plan of the first quarter, and it’s a bad combination to play defense like that and not shoot at the other end.”

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, FS Southwest (San Antonio), NBCS Bay Area (Golden State)

ABOUT THE SPURS: San Antonio shot 40 percent from the floor in Game 1 and managed only three offensive rebounds in the 113-92 setback. “We’ve got to regroup, feel hurt, upset, kind of desperate,” guard Manu Ginobili told reporters. “We don’t want to go home (down) 0-2. But at the same time, we’ve got to be smarter. Offensively, we’re going to have to move the ball better, sharper, be more aggressive and see what happens. We are underdogs. We’ve talked about it. To get a win here, we’ve got to overachieve.” Popovich started Rudy Gay in the second half over Kyle Anderson to generate more offense and could insert Gay into the starting lineup for Game 2.

ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Starting Iguodala over Quinn Cook left Golden State without a true point guard, leading to All-Star forward Kevin Durant running the offense. “It’s not just one guy who has the ball all the time and making all the plays,” Durant, who finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, told reporters. “I think that’s the beauty of our team, that all of us can go off and score 30 or get eight, nine assists or grab 11 rebounds. That’s just the beauty of our team, and all of us chip in when it comes to facilitating and orchestrating.” The Warriors recorded 32 assists on 44 made field goals in the win, led by forward Draymond Green’s 11.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Warriors SG Klay Thompson scored a game-high 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting in Game 1.

2. Spurs PG Tony Parker – a career 46.1 percent shooter in 222 postseason games – went 1-of-8 from the floor on Saturday.

3. Golden State won its last 10 postseason games at home.

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2018 NBA Playoffs

First-round previews

If the playoffs are anything like the wild finish to the regular season, hold on. It took an overtime play-in win just to determine the Western Conference playoff teams, and little was settled outside of the top two seeds in the East heading into Wednesday’s season finale. But now that we have the sixteen teams, it’s on. The NBA’s second season officially begins on Saturday afternoon.

Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards

The Raptors have all sorts of pressure on them this postseason, but they couldn’t have done much better than facing the fledgling Wizards at the start. Washington, which has lost 14 of its last 21 games, welcomed five-time All-Star John Wall back on March 31 after he missed more than two months with a knee injury. Still, Toronto — which was third in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating this season — should be able to survive.

Enter the TOR/WAS Series Tournament

Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Boston, which is without five-time All-Star Kyrie Irving for the playoffs and guard Marcus Smart until at least late April, has its hands full against these Bucks. Milwaukee’s 106-102 win over Boston on April 3 serves as the best evidence of how they match up at the moment. The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo will be looking to advance past the first round for the first time (he’s 0-for-2 thus far).

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat

Philadelphia comes in as the league’s hottest team, having won 16 games in a row. Never mind that All-Star big man Joel Embiid went down with an orbital fracture in his left eye eight games into the stretch, the Sixers just kept rolling. When Embiid was asked if he might be able to play for Game 1, he told reporters it’s “unlikely but still a chance.”

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers

LeBron James is no stranger to memorable playoff matchups against the Pacers, but this is a different version of the familiar story. With coach Nate McMillan and All-Star guard Victor Oladipo leading the way, the Pacers were a wonderful surprise this season.

Enter the CLE/IND Series Tournament

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Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Rockets dominated the season series against the Timberwolves, but only one of those games (a 126-108 win on Feb. 13) included Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler from beginning to end. The four-time All-Star tore his meniscus in their second matchup on Feb. 23, then missed the final two meetings before returning on Friday. The Rockets, meanwhile, lost key defender Luc Mbah a Moute to a dislocated shoulder on Tuesday, and he’s expected to miss the first round — if not longer.

Enter the HOU/MIN Series Tournament

Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs

This is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference finals in name alone, as Golden State is without two-time MVP Stephen Curry this time around and the Spurs’ franchise centerpiece, Kawhi Leonard, remains out after playing just nine games this season. But if anyone is capable of creating a gameplan to upset the ailing defending champions, it’s San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich. His Spurs had the fourth-best defensive rating this season. The Warriors, meanwhile, have lost 10 of their last 17 games.

Enter the GSW/SAS Series Tournament

Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans

The Trail Blazers lost seven of their last 12 games, but the regular season finale win over Utah was enough to earn them the No. 3 seed. Portland, which had the league’s ninth-best defensive rating this season, will have all it can handle with the way Pelicans star Anthony Davis has been playing (a league-leading 30.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game since DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending Achilles injury Jan. 26).

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz

The Jazz boasted the NBA’s best defense for the final few months of the regular season, and now they’ll try to stop a star-studded Thunder squad that finished 10th in offensive rating. But the Jazz have to score too, and therein lies the most pressing question of their postseason: Can rookie guard Donovan Mitchell be the same star-caliber player on this stage? Utah certainly needs him to be.

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Posted in NBA

NBA Daily Fantasy News

Two big NBA daily fantasy news broke out Monday and FanPick (Click to play) got you covered!

Glolden State’s Draymond Green arrested in Michigan

Golden State Warrior player Draymond Green has been arrested Sunday in Lansing, Michigan, accordinf to information obtained by Sports Illustrated. The detail of his arrest have yet to be revealed, but a confirmed to SI that Green was locked up from Sunday night to Monday. The power forward has been named in the USA squad for the Olympics in Rio starting August 5th.

Green was not far from his alma mater when he got arrested. 26 years old, he has been in the league for four seasons now. All of them in a Warriors uniform. Last year, he collected an average of 14 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.4 assist per games. All statistics that allowed him to be in the NBA all-star first team.

Tim Duncan takes a bow after 19 season in NBA

Tim Duncan nearly spent the last two decades acting like the quiet force of the San Antonio Spurs. He wore the team’s on his shoulders and led them to an unmatched summit in the american sports modern era. With Duncan as focal point, the Spurs won five NBA championship, while also participating in the playoffs for all of his 19 seasons. He helped this franchise become one the best team in basketball history. On this day, the tireless and calm superstar takes the bow. The 40 years-old power forward announced his retirement on Monday, marking the end of an era for the San Antonio Spurs and the NBA.

Duncan was selected first-overall in the 1997 NBA draft by San Antonio. He united his efforts with those of coach Gregg Popovich, point guard Tony Parker and shooting guard Manu Ginobili to transform the Spurs into a dynasty in the league. He’s been named NBA most valuable player twice, and is one of four to merit the playoffs finals MVP at least three times. Nicknamed “The Big Fundamental” for his conventional style of play (preferred shooting than dunking), he was named fifteen times to the All-Star game Ten of those was in the All-star first ballot. Duncan is one of three players to have won at-least 1,000 career games. The others are Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Parish. Duncan leaves the sport in fifth place all-time in blocks, sixth in rebounds and 14th in points.

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NBA Playoffs Daily Fantasy Basketball

Western Conference Round 2

Things are already started in the west. The league’s best Golden State Warriors have taken the first game over the Portland Trail Blazers, even without potential repeat MVP Stephen Curry in the lineup. On the other side, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs have already played two game in the series. They each hold a win, but the competition will move to Oklahoma City on Friday. If you want to enjoy following the NBA playoffs, come play the NBA Playoffs daily fantasy basketball at FanPicks.com

Fantasy Basketball

Andrew Bogut has taken to publicly calling himself unflattering names. As long as Bogut and the defending champion Warriors keep playing the kind of defense that has helped them set the tone so far in these playoffs without MVP Stephen Curry, he won’t even mind if anybody else uses those words to describe him either. Bogut’s two early blocks got Golden State going during Sunday’s 118-106 win against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. The teams resume their best-of-seven series Tuesday night in Oakland. The Warriors again will try to establish an energy and presence on the defensive end from the start. They know their offense will come given this team’s depth and many playmakers.

NBA Playoffs

 

Dion Waiters pushed off on Manu Ginobili while throwing an inbounds pass with 13.5 seconds left in Monday night’s game. It took a hairy conclusion and the officials to miss a call to avoid catastrophe is the reason why the Thunder so gleefully jumped for joy and hugged each other when the horn finally sounded, only the second visiting team to win in 45 games at the AT&T Center all season. It’s also why the Spurs should now be concerned going to OKC with the series 1-1. It wasn’t about a missed call and some missed chances in the end. It was about a horribly uninspired and inept start, wasting a 41-point night by Aldridge and actually letting the Thunder beat them three different times in the same game.

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Fantasy Basketball Thunder vs Spurs

Game 1 Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder will travel to the tough AT&T Center to face the San Antonio Spurs in the first game of this highly anticipated rivalry between 2 of the top teams in the league and potential championship contenders. This Fantasy Basketball Thunder vs Spurs Game 1 Preview is brought you by Fanpicks. Come PLAY in our Daily Fantasy Basketball contests at FanPicks and get a free chance to win $1 Million dollars!

 

Fantasy Basketball Thunder vs Spurs Game 1 Preview

The 2nd ranked San Antonio pretty much swept the Grizzlies in a commanding fashion as expected. They’re coming off a full week of rest and ready to head back into back after posting their 7th series swept in 9 years. The league’s Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard had a tremendous first round. He was not only a threat offensively but was also impressive in the rebounding section, constantly making him a fantasy lineup sure shot. His French peer, Tony Parker was also solid from the field with his mix of speed and dribbling. their big man LaMarcus Aldridge ended up the series on a double-double note and averages 14.5 pts with 8 boards a game. It seems like he’s found his Trail Blazers’ rhythm and fits right in with the Spurs. This could be extremely menacing for the Thunder as well as the defending champions, Golden State Warriors.

 

The Thunder finished off the Dallas Mavericks this past Monday to end the series in 5 games. This will be the first time that Oklahoma City advances to the Semifinals in 2 years. Russell Westbrook has been putting up MVP numbers this year and even in the series against the Mavs. His sidekick, Kevin Durant is as consistent as it gets. Westbrook finished off Monday with 36 pts, 12 boards and 9 assists and frequently posts near triple double numbers. Durant finished with 33 pts on monday with 7 boards. Durant and Westbrook are ranked 4th and 5th in the postseason scoring race with each averaging around 26 pts. They’ve had some help as well from Steven Adam who recorded a double double too. This will be the first time that both teams meet since 2014 when they lost the series 4-2 against the Spurs in the Conference Finals. The season series is split at 2-2 and this series will be one hell of a show.

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