Hawks eliminate Nets from playoffs with blowout victory in Game 6


NEW YORK — The first-round playoff series between the Nets and the Hawks had been surprisingly competitive through its first five contests, but Atlanta finally restored a sense of order to the basketball world by putting together the type of dominating performance that many expected from the very start.

The Hawks demonstrated the elite level of offense that carried them to victories in 40 of their first 48 games of the regular season, and used strong first- and third-quarter stretches to put the game away.

Atlanta led by as many as 28 points in the second half, on the way to a 111-87 victory that eliminated the Nets from the postseason. It was Atlanta’s first playoff series victory since 2011.

The Hawks took control early by establishing a 13-point lead at the end of the first quarter, on a remarkable 72.2 percent shooting. Kyle Korver got loose repeatedly for open looks, which is unconscionable from a defensive team with any hopes at all of slowing the Atlanta attack.

Brooklyn briefly showed signs of life in the second, and cut a lead which reached 15 points in the period to just six at the intermission. There was nothing the Nets could hang their hats on, however, because most of the damage was done by Atlanta’s poor shooting from the team’s reserve unit. The Hawks scored just 15 points in the quarter on 31.6 percent shooting, but the Nets weren’t much better with a mark of 34.8 percent themselves.

The third quarter is where the Hawks stepped on their opponents’ throats.

Atlanta opened the second half on a blistering 23-3 run to put the game away for good, which rendered the fourth quarter nothing more than extended garbage time.

One example of just how much the Hawks were rolling: Jeff Teague, who was instrumental in scoring 20 points in Atlanta’s Game 5 victory, finished this one scoreless in 24 minutes of action, on 0-of-5 shooting. But he was masterful nonetheless, both in running the offense and attacking aggressively on the defensive end of the floor. Teague finished with 13 assists, and his team was a plus-27 during his somewhat limited time on the floor.

“I don’t think that Jeff scored a point tonight, but his presence and fingerprints were all over the game, and I thought it was one of the best games that I’ve ever seen Jeff play,” Korver said. “His focus and energy really fueled that third quarter.”

The Hawks advance to face the Wizards in the second round. Game 1 is Sunday in Atlanta at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Report: Kings not interested in trading DeMarcus Cousins


Despite the storied history of the Celtics franchise and the one owned by the Kings that is just as strong in a losing direction, the two teams find themselves in very similar situations.

While Boston indeed made the playoffs this season and the Kings were a far cry from doing so in the West, the Celtics finished the year six games under .500, and really aren’t any closer to contending for a title than Sacramento is.

The difference between the two teams is that the Kings have a legitimate All-Star player in DeMarcus Cousins, and while his attitude and demeanor have been somewhat horrific at times, his averages of 24.1 points 12.7 rebounds make him one of the games best big men from a talent perspective.

That explains the report that Boston would be interested in trading for Cousins. But at least at this point, the Kings have no desire to see their mercurial center play anywhere else.

From Bill Herenda of CSN Bay Area:

The Kings want to make a playoff run next season with DeMarcus Cousins as the centerpiece of the franchise, league sources told

This was in response to a report earlier that the Celtics would dip into their vault of future first round draft picks and try to make a run at trading for Cousins this summer.

But just like Sacramento, Boston is not a place where All-Star caliber free agent talent willingly chooses to sign. The Celtics know this, and that’s why they’re doing the smart thing by trying to trade for an All-Star with multiple years left on his deal, someone they might be able to convince to re-up there by building a winning team around him.

The Kings hope to do exactly that, and even if they were potentially interested in dealing Cousins, they can drive the price up by putting it out there that they have zero interest in doing so.

Clippers’ Glen Davis questionable for Game 7 vs. Spurs


The Clippers are a team built on the strong foundation of their starting lineup, and once you get past Jamal Crawford, there are few if any reliable reserves to be found.

Besides Crawford, only Austin Rivers and Glen Davis have played double-digit minutes consistently off the bench in the first round of the playoffs against the Spurs, and after Davis left Game 6 with an ankle injury, his status is in doubt for Saturday’s Game 7.

From Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:

Los Angeles Clippers forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis is questionable for Saturday’s Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs with a left ankle sprain.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Davis would be a game-time decision with the team not holding a practice Friday or shootaround on Saturday. …

“I don’t know how serious it is. I know Big Baby’s a worker,” Chris Paul said. “Guys stepped up when he went down, but we need him. We need him. Baby’s an emotional leader for our team. He really leads that second unit, and we have an amazing training staff, I think the best training staff in the league. Those guys will get him ready to go by Saturday.”

Paul’s overly-optimistic remarks show just how important Davis is to the rotation.

He’s the only big man to come off the bench for the Clippers thus far in the playoffs, and though Davis is only averaging 12.5 minutes per contest, L.A. needs to not be too undersized out there during the brief moments that Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan come out of the game to get some rest.

In a Game 7, though, with the season literally on the line, Doc Rivers may just choose to play his starters even heavier minutes than usual.

PBT Extra: Rose, Butler in ‘attack mode’ against Bucks

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Kurt Helin takes a closer look at Chicago’s blowout win over Milwaukee in a Game 6, explaining how Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler repeatedly found their way into the paint and were able to convert at the rim.

LaMarcus Aldridge: 9 years in Portland will ‘have more weight than anything else’ on his free agent decision


Will LaMarcus Aldridge stay in Portland?

It’s likely that no one knows the answer to that question at this point, not even Aldridge himself.

But for Blazers fans looking for clues as to how next season’s roster might shake out, it seems as though Aldridge sincerely values his time in Portland, and that will weigh heavily on his decision whether or not to potentially play somewhere else.

From Erik Gundersen of

Q: What’s important for you when you decide?

LA: Yeah. Last night was tough. I wanted to win, blah blah blah. Um yeah. I mean you know i’m not going to get into the details of it. I’m just going to go home, relax, talk to my family and my agent and just go from there

Of course I love being here. I’m thankful for everything this city has give me. I’m thankful for my nine years my time here. It’s been an amazing nine years, of course I wouldn’t want to end. But when the time comes I will sit down with my agent and Neil and Paul and we’ll just figure it out.

Q: Does this team have the benefit though?

LA: As I said we will sit down and figure it out. I’m not going to get into all of the percentages or anything like that. I’ve always been here. I’ve had a great nine years here. That’s always going to have more weight than anything else.

If you think Aldridge’s time in Portland has been a positive, then that could mean he’ll consider re-signing. The problem is, if a team like the Spurs comes along — and Aldridge is interested in a change of scenery — it may be a situation that’s too good to pass up.