Dan Feldman

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Dennis Schroder #17 of the Atlanta Hawks dribbles the ball against the Washington Wizards in the second half at Verizon Center on March 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. 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 Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Dennis Schroder questionable for Hawks-Celtics Game 3 with ankle injury

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ATLANTA (AP) — Hawks guard Dennis Schroder did not practice Thursday because of an injured left ankle and remains questionable for Game 3 of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics.

Schroder was hurt in the closing minutes of Tuesday’s 89-72 victory over the Celtics, which gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

X-rays were negative, and Schroder accompanied the team as it left for Boston.

Coach Mike Budenholzer says Schroder is “making progress” and the team is “hopeful” he’ll be able to play Friday night. If not, 35-year-old Kirk Hinrich will move into a backup role behind starting point guard Jeff Teague.

Hinrich was acquired at the trade deadline, mainly for this very scenario. He has played sparingly with the Hawks but Budenholzer says the veteran is “ready and capable.”

Report: Wizards still longshot for Kevin Durant after hiring Scott Brooks

Scott Brooks, Kevin Durant
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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The Wizards already hired Kevin Durant‘s high school assistant coach.

Now that they’ve hired his old Thunder head coach – Scott Brooks – does that put them over the top?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Washington will be pursuing D.C-area native Kevin Durant in free agency, but the Wizards remain a long shot in his recruitment, and Brooks’ hire isn’t expected to have a significant impact on Durant’s ultimate decision-making process, league sources said.

I’m sure Durant appreciates Brooks helping his career, but when Oklahoma City fired Brooks, Durant didn’t waste time siding with the organization. Ultimately, Durant had little choice but to get in line behind Billy Donovan, but other players in Durant’s position have shown more of a public nod toward the outgoing coach.

So, the Wizards should have known better than to hire Brooks because he’d lure Durant. They probably did.

Momentum has been working against Durant to D.C. for a while.

He called Washington fans cheering for him as an opposing player “disrespectful.” In turn, they booed him.

The Wizards are reportedly planning a low-key pitch when Durant wants major attention.

The Warriors have emerged as a favorite outside Oklahoma City, which could still keep its star at least another year. Even the Spurs and Celtics seem like more credible threats than Washington.

If the Wizards didn’t realize all this, that indicates bigger problems. I’d give them the benefit of the doubt that they believe Brooks is the best man for the job, Durant or no Durant. But that doesn’t let Washington off the hook.

Brooks must still prove he adds big value in other ways.

DeMar DeRozan gets himself, Raptors headed in right direction

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) shoots over Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi (28) during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA first-round playoff basketball series in Indianapolis, Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
AP Photo/Michael Conroy
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — DeMar DeRozan rebounded from his postseason shooting slump Thursday night, scoring 21 points, and Kyle Lowry also added 21 to help Toronto roll past Indiana 101-85.

The Raptors lead the best-of-seven first-round series 2-1 and have reclaimed the home-court advantage they squandered by losing the series opener last weekend.

Indiana was led by Paul George, who had 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Rookie Myles Turner scored 11 of 17 points in the second half.

But after the opening minutes, the game was never close.

DeRozan’s early scoring flurry spurred a 13-4 first-quarter run, which gave Toronto a 21-13 lead. The Raptors never trailed again.

And when DeRozan went to the bench at the start of the second quarter, the onslaught continued. Toronto opened the quarter on an 18-7 spurt, extending the lead to 42-24 and Indiana never got closer than 12 points again.

Seeing DeRozan back in All-Star form was a much needed relief for the Raptors.

Coming into Thursday, he was just 10 of 37 from the field and 0 for 5 from 3-point range through the first two games. In Monday’s victory he didn’t even attempt a free throw – only the second time that happened all season.

He had no trouble in Game 3. DeRozan made his first three shots, scored 12 points in the first quarter, finished 7 of 19 from the field and went 7 of 9 at the free throw line.

For the Pacers, it was an embarrassing night.

They scored a season-low 36 points in the first half, flirted with a season-low shooting percentage most of the game and were in danger of suffering their second-worst playoff loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse until a late push made the score less lopsided.

FRUSTRATING NIGHT

Neither the Pacers nor their fans were pleased with the way the game was officiated. George drew a technical foul in the final minute of the first quarter, Rodney Stuckey picked up another technical less than 3 minutes later and Turner drew his technical midway through the third.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Have their fifth playoff series lead in franchise history. The others: 3-2 in a best-of-five series win over the Knicks in 2001, 1-0 and 2-1 over Philadelphia in 2001 and 3-2 over Brooklyn in 2014. … Toronto is 5-19 all-time in playoff road games. … Swingman Terrence Ross had five points and three rebounds in a little less than 10 minutes after passing the league’s concussion protocol. Ross was injured when he ran into a teammate during Monday night’s victory. … DeMarre Carroll had 17 points and Cory Joseph scored 10.

Pacers: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game. It was his second trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for a game in less than three weeks – he also attended the NCAA women’s basketball championship. … Thursday marked the fifth anniversary of George’s home playoff debut, April 21, 2011. The Pacers also lost that night, to the Chicago Bulls. … Indiana’s worst playoff loss on its current home court was 110-79 to Boston in 2005. … The only other player to reach double figures was George Hill who had 13 points.

Kevin Durant, Thunder light up Mavericks for 131 points in Game 3

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How would Kevin Durant respond to his horrific shooting in a Game 2 loss to the Mavericks?

If you didn’t already know, Durant slammed shut any questions late in the first quarter. He burst past Justin Anderson, jumped by David Lee and twisted around the rim for a powerful dunk.

Too much Thunder.

Durant scored 34 points, matching Klay Thompson for the 2016-postseason high, in Oklahoma City’s 131-102 win Thursday. The Thunder’s 131 points were the most in a playoff game since the Clippers beat the Warriors 138-98 in 2014.

While running up the score, outscoring the Mavericks in each quarter, the Thunder reminded everyone why they’re so much more of a complete package in this series.

Oklahoma City won big twice. Dallas won close once. At 2-1, this series is technically as close as can be. In reality, it’s not.

The Thunder have again seized control, pressuring Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle to get more from his out outmanned team.

Russell Westbrook (26 points and 15 assists) pushed the pace and found his teammates. His defense, still far from ideal, looked better than Game 2, especially blocking a Dirk Nowitzki dunk.

Enes Kanter (21 points on 6-of-7 shooting), Dion Waiters (19 points on 7-of-11 shooting) and Serge Ibaka (16 points on 7-of-9 shooting) provided more than enough complementary offense.

Dallas just couldn’t keep up, though Raymond Felton put up a little fight.

But even in those trivial moments, Oklahoma City got the last laugh. Westbrook hit a late jumper over dance interrupter Charlie Villanueva.

Raymond Felton and Steven Adams get into skirmish (video)

Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton (2) goes to the basket as Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) defends during the second half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 18, 2016, in Oklahoma City. Dallas won 85-84. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
AP Photo/Alonzo Adams
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Boring playoffs?

The games aren’t much tighter tonight, but Raymond Felton and Steven Adams created a little action.

They got tangled going for a rebound. Felton threw a forearm at Adams. Adams glowered. Teammates gathered.

And it ended there, Felton and Adams each drawing technical fouls and tension raising.

video via Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated