The Celtics can beat the Cavs. If everything breaks their way.

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The Celtics can too beat the Cavaliers.

If Ray Allen is on fire from three. If LeBron James makes a bad decision with the game on the line and goes for the win, then misses a PUJIT three. If the Cleveland coach gets ejected. If Rajon Rondo can keep his turnovers down. If Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t play. If the game is in Boston. If the Celtics can make the key plays to hold on at the end after being up by 21 in the third.

Sure, they can do that four out of seven in the second round. Don’t see the problem.

That was a fun game to watch. At this point in the season, when so many teams are mailing it in, it’s great to see a game that foreshadows the playoffs. Except that in literature, foreshadowing hints at a potential outcome. As Matt Moore told us before, this result said nothing about the outcome of a series between these two.

For three quarters, it was that kind of game for Cleveland. When JJ Hickson just swatted a Kendrick Perkins shot inside, the ball went right to Ray Allen standing alone at the three-point line. Nylon.

Where Atlanta could not match the runs Cleveland would make the other night, for three quarters the Celtics looked like the veteran team with a counterpunch. And Cleveland looked flat. Mike Brown tried to fire up his team with the worst acting job ever in getting tossed from the game in the third quarter. Razzie bad.

(Hey Can we start giving those away for the NBA? Worst flop, worst acting job by a coach, worst effort by a team to pretend like they cared the last two weeks of the season (we want the Knicks to win something).

Then Cleveland got focused. They outscored Boston by 13 in the third, after trimming the lead in the third. LeBron turned into the unstoppable force that he is. Cleveland started defending and rebounding like they can when focused.

The key may have been when LeBron made an Adam Morrison quality decision. Down just two with less than 20 seconds left after Kendrick Perkins reminded us why to foul him with the game on the line, LeBron had the chance on the fast break to drive and get the tie on a layup (and try to draw the and-one). Instead he went for the Kobesque game wining three.

LeBron – be yourself. He missed it.

Celtics win. Good win. They held on by the hair of their chinny chin chin. But it’s a win. Doesn’t change what would happen over seven games in the second round.

Spurs demolish Thunder to take Game 1 of second-round series

SAN ANTONIO,TX - APRIL 30: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs scores over Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during game one of the Western Conference Semifinals for the 2016 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 30, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.

Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?

Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.

It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.

Hawks get another playoff shot at King James and Cavaliers

at Philips Arena on April 1, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.

Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.

Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.

The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.

Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.

Report: Warriors to replace Luke Walton from outside the organization

MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 12: Interim Coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors talks on the sideline during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center on December 12, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.

Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.

Report: Luke Walton’s Lakers contract is for 5 years, $25 million

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Interim head coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors leads the team against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on January 13, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 112-110. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.

This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.