Doc Rivers calls on Blake Griffin to face-up, use speed, attack in Game 3

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LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin’s jump shot has gotten to the point you have to respect it. From his spots on the left wing and near the top of the key, with a little space, he can knock it down consistently.

Except he hasn’t through two games against the Thunder.

It’s not just the jumper, Griffin isn’t scoring as efficiently as you expect of him anywhere on the court. Check out his shot chart from the first two games.

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It’s a little shocking to see him shooting 50 percent inside 8 feet (he’s just 5-of-10 at the rim as part of that) but his midrange game also is flat. He’s just 5-of-14 from the midrange total against the Thunder (35.7 percent).

The length of Serge Ibaka and the Thunder defenders are part of that, but the Clippers just missed makeable shots in Game 2. Rivers wants an aggressive Griffin back for Game 3.

“We do want him to attack more,” Rivers said 90 minutes before tipoff. “I don’t think this is going to be one of those backdown, post-up series for him with Perk and Ibaka. But I do think it’s a face up series with speed and attacking that way, and we just have to get him in better spots to do that….

“His advantage in this series is not going to be power. His advantage in the Golden State series was being more powerful. His advantage in this series will be speed.”

If Griffin faces up he may get a little space.

“If I had to pick between a dunk and a shot, I’d take the shot,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

The real key for Griffin is hitting them, and it goes for the rest of the team. In Game 1 the Clippers got 58 uncontested looks and shot 54 percent on them (via NBA.com’s Sports VU data). In Game 2 they got 50 of those shots but hit just 44 percent. That was the difference.

If the Clippers are more comfortable at home and hitting those shots, you have to like their chances in Game 3.

When Lance Stephenson gets a traveling call, he earns it (VIDEO)

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Yes, guys get away with traveling in the NBA. James Harden on the step back (sometimes, not always), or guys sliding left/right to avoid a closeout at the arc and not bothering to dribble while they do it.

Lance Stephenson got called for traveling Sunday in the Pacers’ loss to the Cavaliers. In a game where Stephenson got under the skin of LeBron James and drew a technical (and tied him up for a jump ball at one point), this was the best Lance highlight of the game. Because if you’re going to travel, you should go all in.

Never change Lance. Never change.

Matthew Dellavedova steals pass, hits wild scoop shot at buzzer (VIDEO)

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Matthew Dellavedova is a hustler. Everybody knows that. Well, unless you want to argue he’s more about grit. It’s really your call.

But against the Boston Celtics on Sunday, Dellavedova came through with whatever you want to call it — hustle, grit, moxie, gumption.

As the first quarter wound down and the Celtics tried to inbound the ball, Dellavedova spied his opponents rolling the basketball in order to save time on the clock.

That allowed the Australian native to fly in and do this:

That’s a steal, a scoop, and a score all within 1.2 seconds.

Milwaukee won Game 4 and evened the series with the Celtics, 2-2.

Cavaliers tie series with Pacers in Indiana, 2-2

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Sunday night’s game between the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers was raucous. Bankers Life Fieldhouse was rocking, and despite Indiana’s best effort to put back seemingly every offensive board it encountered, LeBron James‘ 32 points was just too much to overcome.

Facing the possibility of going down 3-1 in the first round, the Cavaliers pulled out the win, 104-100, and sent the series back to Ohio for Game 5.

The game came down to the final period following a surge by the Pacers to end the third quarter. The teams were tied several times midway through the fourth, but a tip shot by Thaddeus Young wth 6:13 left gave the Pacers the lead as fans in Indiana went wild.

Cleveland then came roaring back. At the three-minute mark, James drove to the basket and scored. Thirty seconds later, Kyle Korver hit a big-time 3-pointer to put the Cavaliers up by four points, a mark the Pacers couldn’t recover from.

LeBron scored again with 1:52 left, and despite some weird late-game antics — featuring none other than Lance Stephenson — the Cavaliers were able to remain resolute down the stretch.

James finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Kyle Korver added 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting from deep, and Kevin Love had five points with 11 boards.

Victor Oladipo struggled for Indiana, scoring 17 points but shooting just 25 percent from the floor. Seven Pacers finished in double-digits, with Young notching an impressive double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Game 5 will be played in Cleveland on Wednesday, April 25.

Wizards beat Raptors in Game 4, tie series at 2-2 heading to Toronto

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The Toronto Raptors were far and away the best team in the Eastern Conference this season. The Washington Wizards were … well, very Wizard-y.

So considering their regular seasons, the fact that Washington was able to tie the first round series between the two teams at 2 games apiece on Sunday is pretty astonishing.

Bradley Beal had 31 points and five rebounds for the Wizards while teammate John Wall added 27 points to go along with a whopping 14 assists. Washington shot an impressive 41 percent from 3-point range as four of five starters finished in double-digit scoring.

Despite Beal’s performance, it was Wall who saved the day for the Wizards. Beal was disqualified after fouling out with around five minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Beal didn’t agree with the call, and could be seen throwing a towel near the Washington bench.

For his part, Wall either scored or assisted on 10 of the Wizards’ final 14 points of the game. That helped stave off the likes of DeMar DeRozan, who led all scorers with 35 points.

The series heads back to Toronto for Game 5, which will be played on Wednesday, April 25.