DeRozan pushes Toronto Raptors into the second round!

For the first time in 15 years, The Raptors are in the second round. DeMar DeRozan led the way for the Raptors scoring 30, as they beat the Pacers in Game 7, 89-84. The Raptors won a best-of-seven series. Paul George, whose strong performances helped carry seventh-seeded Indiana into Game 7, made just two of eight attempts in the second half and admitted afterward to being tired. Up 78-64 after three, the Raptors didn’t make their first basket of the fourth until a 3 by Powell at 8:19. Joseph followed with a pull-up jumper to make it 81-67, leading to an Indiana timeout. The Pacers responded by scoring 12 of the next 14 points, cutting it to 85-79 with 3:23 remaining. Indiana cut it to three at 85-82 on Ellis’ 3-pointer with 2:37 left, but Lowry answered with a driving layup. George made a pair of free throws with 52 seconds left to pull Indiana within three again at 87-84. After DeRozan missed a 3-pointer, Solomon Hill grabbed the rebound and Indiana called a timeout to draw up a play for George, but he turned the ball over. DeRozan made the steal, then got fouled at the other end and made both with 6.5 seconds left, giving the Raptors an 89-84 lead. George missed a 3 with 3.9 seconds left, sending Toronto into the second round.

Steve Kerr named 2015-16 NBA Coach of the year

The Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr, whose team won an NBA-record 73 games, is the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year, the NBA announced today. He becomes the Warriors’ first winner since Don Nelson in the 1991-92 season. Under Kerr and assistant coach Luke Walton, who served as interim head coach until Kerr returned from back-surgery complications in January, the Warriors (73-9) posted the best regular-season record in league history, eclipsing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (72-10).

Steve Kerr

Critical third quarter pushes Miami into second round.

Goran Dragic scored 25 points, Gerald Green added 16 and the Heat rolled past Hornets in Game 7, 106-73. Luol Deng scored 15 points, Wade finished with 12, and Hassan Whiteside had a 10-point, 12-rebound, five-block clincher for the Heat, who have won their last four Game 7s. Frank Kaminsky scored 12 points for Charlotte, which got 11 from Courtney Lee and 10 from Nic Batum. The Hornets’ two biggest stars, Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson, never got going – combining for 13 points. The Hornets never had a chance in Game 7, Miami led the whole way, taking a 12-point lead at the half and stretching it to 24 by the midpoint of the third quarter – the period that has been a problem for the Heat all season. This Heat team may not exactly be the same group that romped to the NBA Finals four straight times a few years back, but judging by the way they played today, Miami can still throw flames when necessary.Critical third quarter pushes Miami into second round.

Walton will remain with the Warriors before Lakers job.

Luke Walton won an NBA championship his first season, went 39-4 as interim coach in place of Steve Kerr to start this season with the Golden State Warriors and was part of a team that set the single-season record for wins in the regular season. The Lakers announced Friday night that they had agreed to a contract to hire Walton just five days after firing Byron Scott. Kerr credited Walton for helping to create the culture that allowed Golden State to win 140 games the past two regular seasons, including a record 73 this season. Walton took over when Kerr was sidelined by complications from offseason back surgery to start this season and led Golden State to a record 24 straight wins to open the season.Walton will remain with the Warriors before Lakers job.

Blazers beat the Clippers 4-2 and advance to the semifinals with 106-103 victory!

Lillard scored 28 points and the Blazers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the resilient Los Angeles Clippers 106-103 on Friday night to claim the first-round playoff series 4-2. CJ McCollum added 20 points for the Blazers, who became the first team to overcome a 2-0 deficit since Memphis came back against the Clippers in the first round in 2013. It is the second time in three seasons that Portland has advanced out of the first round. Jamal Crawford had 32 points and Austin Rivers added 21 points and eight assists despite having 11 stitches above his left eye from a collision in the first quarter. But the Clippers could not recover from injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in Game 4 of the series. The Blazers appeared to pull away when McCollum’s 3-pointer made it 98-91 with 4:49 left, but the Clippers persisted. Already plagued by injuries, the Clippers lost DeAndre Jordan to what looked like a sprained right ankle before Los Angeles closed to 98-95 on J.J. Redick’s jumper. McCollum’s 3-pointer put Portland up 101-95 with 2:16 left. Again the Clippers clawed back, pulling within 2 points on Redick’s layup with just under a minute left. Crawford tied it with free throws but Mason Plumlee was fouled by Jeff Green under the basket for free throws to make it 105-103. Crawford missed a 6-foot jumper and Plumlee made the second of two free throws with 1.5 seconds left for the final margin. Rivers’ 42-foot hurl at the buzzer fell short.Blazers beat the Clippers 4-2 and advance to the semifinals with 106-103 victory!

Injured Curry resumes shooting without movement

Stephen Curry has resumed light shooting without movement on his injured right knee with the hopes he can get into scrimmages by later next week, perhaps in time to be ready for Game 3 of the Golden State Warriors’ Western Conference semifinals in Portland. Coach Kerr said the reigning MVP would be ready for Game 2 on Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.Injured Curry resumes shooting without movement