NBA

NBA

NBA

Mike D’Antoni knew what needed to happen. The Rockets couldn’t fall into the iso-ball trap again. It’s what they’ve done all season, it’s how they became a 65-win team and secured the No. 1 seed in the wild, wild Western Conference. And it’s how they made it through the first and second rounds of the playoffs to dance with the defending champion Golden State Warriors for a shot at the NBA Finals.

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Behold, the perfect Marcus Smart line: 11 points on 3-for-9 shooting, with five rebounds, nine assists, four steals, zero turnovers, and a plus-21 in 31 minutes. What’s not captured on the stat sheet was were all manner of Marcus Smart Plays (™) within those 31 minutes of action.

Like the times he dove into the Cleveland bench to save possessions. Or when he wrestled with some big man trying to establish position and denied an entry pass. Or when he ran the offense in the fourth quarter when things started to bog down in the halfcourt.

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Mike D’Antoni couldn’t even let the question finish before cracking a joke.

“Was there any talk? I didn’t hear it.”

The Houston Rockets head coach was being asked about whether iso-ball as an identity could work against the Golden State Warriors. It was all the rage in the two days following the Game 1 loss, but Houston responded with a 127-105 drubbing on Wednesday. Oh, right. Why was anyone complaining about an identity when it led to a 22-point win?

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NBA

Will Deandre Ayton or Luka Doncic make the Suns good right away?

After winning Tuesday's NBA draft lottery, how quickly can the Phoenix Sunsreturn to the playoffs?

Phoenix hasn't reached the postseason since losing to the L.A. Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference finals. Since trading Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomasat the 2015 trade deadline, the Suns have averaged nearly 60 losses over the past three seasons.

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NBA

Just like that, the Cavaliers are down 2-0 to the Celtics. Forty-two points from LeBron Jameswere not enough as Cleveland lost Tuesday’s Game 2 in Boston 107-94.

James also finished with 12 assists and 10 rebounds to lead the Cavs with Kevin Love adding 22 points of his own. Cleveland even lead in this game, holding onto a four-point lead after the first quarter and seven points at half time. And then all of it — Game 2, maybe the Cavs’ season if they can’t rebound from this — unraveled.

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