Playing The Point – May 22, 2017

Credit – USA Today

By Jay Colby,

1. Avery Bradley’s last-second shot gives Celtics 111-108 Game 3 win over Cavaliers – The Celtics steal Game 3 without their leader and star Isaiah Thomas. Bradley’s 3 pointer with less than a second left gave the Celtics the victory. The victory ends the Cavs 13 game playoff winning streak. Game 4 will be Tuesday at 8:30 EST.

2. Warriors Take 3-0 Series Lead vs Spurs with Dominant Win – Kevin Durant had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors beat the injury-riddled San Antonio Spurs 120-108 on Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs seemed completely out of the series when they lost Kawhi Leonard to an ankle injury in Game 1. Following Leonard’s exit, San Antonio surrendered a 25-point lead to lose 113-111. Leonard missed Game 2 as well, which was a 136-100 victory for the Warriors. The Warriors are the third team in NBA history to win their first 11 playoff games.

3. NBA announces 1st, 2nd & 3rd All NBA Team – Houston Rockets guard James Harden was unanimously voted to the 2016-17 All-NBA First Team. Lebron James matched an NBA record with his 11th First Team selection. The All-NBA First Team also features Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis. The All-NBA 2nd Team includes three players making their All-NBA debuts Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas. They are joined by two Golden State Warriors, guard Stephen Curry and forward Kevin Durant. The All-NBA Third Team includes forwards Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls and Draymond Green of the Warriors, guards DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors and John Wall of the Washington Wizards and center DeAndre Jordan of the LA Clippers. Butler, DeRozan and Wall are first-time All-NBA selections.

4. NBA Draft Lottery results – Going into the 2017 Draft Lottery there were a lot of questions surrounding who would get the No. 1 pick in the draft and will the Lakers get to keep their 1st round pick. Now these questions have been answered with the No.1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft the Boston Celtics will select… well we still don’t know that part, but we do know Boston has the No. 1 pick. The Lakers also got good news, as they kept their pick for this season by sneaking up into the No. 2 slot, which means they’ll also keep their 2019 pick. The 76ers also had a good night, as they moved up one spot into the top three, and will now get the Lakers’ unprotected pick in 2018.

5. Isaiah Thomas out for Rest of 2017 NBA Postseason with Hip Injury – The Boston Celtics will not have their leader available for the rest of the playoffs as the Eastern Conference Finals seem to be heading towards a sweep. The Celtics announced that Isaiah Thomas will miss the remainder of the postseason after the “re-aggravation of a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear.” He initially suffered the injury on March 15, aggravated it in Game 6 of Boston’s last series against the Washington Wizards and further damaged it in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

6. Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal says “Cleveland didn’t want to see us” – It’s always easier to talk from the sideline as noted when Wizards guard Bradley Beal told the CSN Mid- Atlantic last week “Cleveland didn’t want to see us… I always said that. I felt like that’s a reason they didn’t play us in the second round. They didn’t want to see us in the second round. If they were going to go down, they were going to go down in the conference finals. They didn’t want to go down in the second round.” Even though Beal may have a point his comments come after the Wizards lose Game 7 in Boston after a back in fourth series. Where other than Game 7 his performance was okay, but nothing to brag home about.

7. Celtics options for No.1 pick in the NBA Draft – Now that the Boston Celtics have the No.1 pick they’ve got a tough decision ahead of them deciding who take. Most experts say it will either be Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball, but as it been reported Ball only wants to play for the Lakers and will only workout for the Lakers in the pre-draft process. Also, another would be just to trade the pick to help the Celtics acquire another piece to help them overcome Lebron James and the Cavs. They could try to get the likes of Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls or Paul George of the Pacers. Whatever the Celtics to with No.1 pick will have to be impactful if they want to ever make it to an NBA Finals.

8. Charlotte Hornets offseason moves – After having a disappointing 36–46 season, the Hornets now have to figure out how to improve their roster. This will be a tough task as they don’t have any salary cap flexibility made even worse by the acquisition of Miles Plumlee at the trade deadline. Like so many teams, the Hornets spent assertively last summer. They were coming off a playoff appearance and opened the coffers to retain Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams while also giving center Cody Zeller a reasonable extension. These moves however did not pan out and now the Hornets are stuck between a rock and a hard place. GM Rich Cho also has to navigate the luxury tax because it appears unlikely that Michael Jordan would be willing to foot that bill for a non-elite team. Charlotte’s best chance to add a key piece will come in the draft. They should not expect a late lottery pick to become an immediate contributor but having an eventual rotation player and hopefully a starter.

9. Pistons plan to draft best player available at No. 12 – The Detroit Pistons will have the No. 12 pick in the 2017 NBA draft based on Tuesday’s draft lottery results. With that pick, the Pistons are planning to take the best player on the board. The Pistons could target a shooter in the draft, as they were 22nd in field-goal percentage (.449) and 28th from behind the 3-point line (.330) during the 2016-17 season. Possible targets at No. 12 include OG Anunoby (Indiana), Zach Collins (Gonzaga), Harry Giles (Duke), Justin Jackson (North Carolina) and Luke Kennard (Duke).

10. Could Wizards’ Marcin Gortat seek a trade? – Washington Wizards starting center Marcin Gortat met with the local media for the final time this season on Tuesday, after the team was knocked out of the playoffs on Monday by the Boston Celtics. During the exchange with the reporters, Gortat said he’s not happy with how teams use centers in the league. “I feel like this year it was me doing a lot of sacrificing. I got one of the most underappreciated positions in the NBA. Nobody respects centers anymore. Nobody looks at them as a valuable piece. I’ve been doing a lot of things for the team to win,” Gortat said, according to CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I know there’s a lot of freaking idiots looking directly at the column with the points telling me that, ‘You only score four to six points. We lost because of you.’ That’s how it is. People that know basketball, they know what I bring to the table.” In the Wizards’ 13 playoffs games, Gortat averaged 8.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.8 assists.

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