Author: Brett Pollakoff

Tiago Splitter, Chris Paul

Chris Paul scores 34 points, Clippers win Game 4 to even series with Spurs


The Clippers were in desperation mode entering Sunday’s Game 4 against the Spurs, and after the previous game where they never led and trailed by as many as 37 points, you knew things would be different for them from the opening tip.

L.A. brought the energy from the very start, got superstar performances from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and was able to pull away for the 114-105 win in San Antonio to even the best-of-seven series.

Paul was magnificent, and finished with 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting, to go along with seven assists. He really took over in the fourth, scoring 10 of his points in the final period — a feat even more impressive when considering the fact that he picked up his fifth personal foul with 8:25 to play, yet was able to remain aggressive the rest of the way.

Griffin, meanwhile, finished with 20 points, but his work on the glass in hauling down 19 rebounds was even more critical to his team’s success.

The Clippers got a huge boost off the bench from Austin Rivers, who finished with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in 17 minutes of action. A reserve unit which usually only features Jamal Crawford as a capable scorer benefited greatly from Rivers’ shifts, as he was aggressive and attacking on the offensive end of the floor where he was seemingly (and uncharacteristically) unable to be stopped.

On the Spurs’ side, San Antonio was competitive for most of it, as expected. Kawhi Leonard had another solid overall performance in finishing with 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists, but he wasn’t nearly as impactful as he’d been in the last two contests. Danny Green missed all six of his attempts from three-point distance, and Patty Mills provided an early spark, but then seemed to get too many minutes later on when Tony Parker might have been more under control, and better able to guide the San Antonio ship.

It was as close to a must-win as possible for the Clippers, who would have faced the daunting task of trying to beat the Spurs three straight times just to keep their season alive had they fallen in this one. But Paul and Griffin made sure that the series would be headed back to Los Angeles all tied up at two games apiece.

Warriors’ Andrew Bogut in line for contract bonus if he makes All-Defensive team

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four

Draymond Green may have gotten more first-place votes for Defensive Player of the Year than the actual winner of the award did, but Andrew Bogut has been just as strong for the Warriors in anchoring the league’s best defense from the center position.

And he’s about to get a nice payday because of it.

Plenty of players have incentive bonuses worked into their contracts, and Bogut is no different. He’s already met a threshold for games played, and should he be named to one of the league’s All-Defensive teams, Bogut will receive a well-earned reward of almost two million dollars.

From Rusty Simmons of

(via HoopsHype):

Warriors center Andrew Bogut played more than 65 regular-season games and is expected to make one of the NBA’s All-Defensive teams this month.

If that happens, Bogut will get a bonus of 15 percent of his salary — more than $1.9 million. The bonus will be added to the three-year, $36 million extension he signed in October 2013.

The bonus would count against the Warriors’ salary cap, but team officials say it wouldn’t push the number into the luxury tax.

Bogut made the first team on three of our four unofficial All-Defensive team ballots, and made the second team on the fourth. He seems to be a lock to land on one of the two when the league makes the announcement official in the coming weeks.

Report: Sixers to select D’Angelo Russell in 2015 NBA Draft

Ohio State v Indiana

The NBA Draft is two months away, and we won’t know the order of who picks where until the lottery is held on May 19.

But it’s fun to guess which teams might be targeting certain players before then, and we have one report that has the Sixers already settled on someone for their first-round selection.

From Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The thought around the NBA is that the 76ers hope to select D’Angelo Russell in the NBA draft, according to a league executive.

“He’s the guy they want,” the executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Saturday. “That’s the word around the league. You know the Sixers. They won’t come out and say it, but he’s the guy they want.”

The executive said the team might have to nab one of the top two selections at the draft lottery on May 19 to get the former Ohio State combo guard.

The Sixers finished with the league’s third-worst record, which guarantees them a pick of no worse than sixth. They have a 15.6 percent chance of moving up to land the number one overall pick through the draft lottery process.

Even if the Philadelphia brass has put this information out there, there’s little reason to believe in it 100 percent. There’s a lot of misinformation planted in order for teams to position themselves for trades leading up to the draft, and though the Sixers might indeed have an affinity for Russell at this time, where they end up picking will have a lot to do with whether or not he’s the player they ultimately select.

Russell averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.0 assists while shooting 41.1 percent from three-point distance in his final college season at Ohio State. The shooting is what likely has Sixers GM Sam Hinkie intrigued the most, considering it was among the reasons he traded reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams earlier this season.