Cavaliers hold off late Pacers rally to win Game 2, take 2-0 series lead



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CLEVELAND — LeBron James said that the Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys’ meager one-point margin of victory in Game 1 didn’t bother him, so long as the Cavs got the win.

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That said, he saw his team build a big lead again, only for the Pacers to get as close as a two-possession game in Monday’s 117-111 win, which put the Cavs up 2-0 over the Indiana Pacers Jerseys.

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If Pacers superstar Paul George was upset with CJ Miles for taking the potential game-winner from him Saturday, you have to wonder how he felt about Lance Stephenson falling into the foil role Cleveland needed to wake up and play inspired ball, leading to a 19-point Cavaliers lead.

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The Cavs’ masterful third quarter, in which they outscored the Pacers 33-20, really got going when Stephenson was matched with Kevin Love. Cleveland’s All-Star forward took it to Indiana’s wild card.

The third ended with Kyrie Irving tossing in a 3-pointer over Stephenson and jawing at him to punctuate the play he made before heading back to the Cavs’ bench for the quarter break.

When Irving wasn’t scoring on Stephenson, he was unleashing on Jeff Teague much the same way he did each of the last two postseasons when Teague played for the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys.

Irving led all scorers with 37 points. Love was right behind him with 27 points on an exceptionally efficient 6-of-7 shooting and 11 rebounds. James was solid despite a game-high eight turnovers, contributing 25 points cheap jerseys, 10 rebounds and seven assists. James’ teams had previously been 0-3 in the playoffs when he had at least nine turnovers, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

This is the first time that Love, Irving & James have all scored 25 points in the same playoff game. The Cavaliers are now 7-0 when the trio score at least 20 cheap jerseys points each in the postseason.

We’ve got you covered all the way to the Finals with the latest news, schedules, analysis and more. 2017 NBA Playoffs »

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• Winners, losers after opening weekend
• Portis plays game of his life for Bulls
• Isaiah plays through heartbreak
• Beverley leads Rockets in opener
• Beard’s Rockets takes first over Russ
• It’s Dray all day for Warriors’ opener
• “”>LeBron’s all-time top playoff games
• Upsets? Series that could surprise
• Experts’ first-round picks: East | West

Paul George had 32 points to pace Indiana once again, with 14 coming in a 4th quarter that saw the Pacers outscore the Cavs 33-21 and get as close as a four-point deficit with 19.5 seconds left to play.

The Cavs made their move to take charge earlier than they did in Game 1, using an 11-0 run from the end of the first quarter through the start of the second quarter to seemingly grab control. Cleveland went 5-for-8 during the spurt while Indiana was 0-for-4 with two turnovers.

However, it was the Cavs’ turnovers that allowed the Pacers to stick around, cutting a 13-point Cleveland lead down to five. After coughing it up 11 times in Game 1, leading to 19 points for Indiana, the Cavs had 11 turnovers in the first half alone Monday and the Pacers scored 14 points off them. James was the biggest culprit, losing the ball six times to mar an otherwise brilliant 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting, five rebounds and five assists in the first half. Overall, Indiana outscored Cleveland 24-17 on points off turnovers

Iman Shumpert saw his first action of the series starting the second half in place of J.R. Smith, who left the game at halftime with a left hamstring injury. Shumpert quickly made his presence felt, guarding George on one end and hitting a 3 on another to cap a 7-0 run to start the third quarter that put the Cavs back up by 12.

Check out the team site for more game coverage

Check out the team site for more game coverage

Later Shumpert poked the ball away from George and dove to the floor for the loose ball, causing a jump ball to be called. Tristan Thompson approached Shumpert to celebrate his defensive gusto while the guard flexed his biceps to the delight of the crowd wholesale nba jerseys.

The Cavs’ offense was exemplary, shooting 60.3 percent through three quarters and 55.3 percent for the game. Their defense still has some kinks to work out, as the Pacers shot 51.2 percent overall and 8-for-20 (40.0 percent) from 3.

It’s not like the effort wasn’t there on the defensive end. Twice Love set up to take a charge and appeared to have position – first on George and later on Teague – and both times a blocking foul was called on Love. James was called for a technical foul for expressing his displeasure in the second call that went against Love to the refs.

He eventually got one to go his way, drawing a charge on the 6-9, 285-pound Kevin Seraphin in the third quarter – a third quarter that belonged to Love. He scored 10 in the period, including going right at Stephenson in consecutive sequences when being matched with the 6-5 swingman in the post.

Game 3 is Thursday in Indiana.

Curry leads Warriors to 50th win, 102-92 over Hawks

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ATLANTA (AP) — The Golden State Warriors Jerseys reached 50 wins faster than any team in NBA history.

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With their eyes on more than regular-season records, the Warriors improved to 50-5 as Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Golden State bounced back after squandering a 23-point lead to beat the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys 102-92 on Monday night.

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The Warriors eclipsed the mark set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls Jerseys, who needed one more game to win their 50th. Of course, that’s the team Golden State is chasing, moving another step closer to the record 72-10 mark put up by Michael Jordan & Co. at the height of their six-titles-in-eight-years dynasty.

”Fifty wins is great,” Curry said, ”but we’ve got to keep plugging away and staying hungry, because nobody wants to talk about that in June.”

Curry and the defending NBA champions appeared headed for a rout against the struggling Hawks, pushing out to a 70-47 lead approaching the midway point of the third quarter. Atlanta closed the period on a 28-6 run and grabbed the lead briefly early in the fourth, igniting the sellout crowd.

But the Warriors would not be denied cheap jerseys, bouncing back to hand the Hawks their fourth straight home nba jerseys cheap loss.

”I liked our response,” coach Steve Kerr said. ”They were on fire in their home building. Everything was going against us, and we maintained our poise and pulled away down the stretch. It was a really good win.”

Klay Thompson added 27 points for the Warriors. Both he and Curry knocked down five shots from 3-point range. Draymond Green didn’t do much offensively, scoring only six nba jerseys cheap points, but he had 14 rebounds and nine assists.

Al Horford led the Hawks with 23 points.

”The third quarter is something we can hopefully build off of,” said Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, whose team had the top record in the Eastern Conference a year ago but has slipped all the way to sixth this season.

Curry put on a clinic in the first half, thoroughly dominating Hawks point guard Jeff Teague.

Perhaps the best sequence came when Curry swished a towering 3-pointer from the corner, the ball seeming to disappear into the rafters of Philips Arena at the height of its arc wholesale nba jerseys. Then, after posing briefly in front of the Golden State bench, he hustled back to the other end to draw an offensive foul on Teague, who looked befuddled by what he was seeing.

At the end of the half, with the clock running down and Teague right in his face, Curry somehow found just enough space to knock down another amazing jumper from the corner, though this one with his foot on the stripe.

Someone on the Golden State bench threw a white towel high in the air – partly to celebrate, partly in disbelief.

The Hawks could’ve thrown in the towel early in the third.

Instead, Atlanta finally showed some fight against the league’s best team, making five 3-pointers and nearly 60 percent of its shots in the period.

The Warriors regained control in the fourth, helped by Curry’s 3 that left him wiggling his shoulders in front of the Atlanta bench.

”He senses when he needs to take over,” Kerr said.

SHARING THE BALL

Golden State had 30 assists in a game for the 29th time this season, a franchise record.

The previous mark was set last season on the way to the championship.

In addition to Green’s team-high assists, Curry doled out eight, Andrew Bogut had four and Thompson chipped in with three.

”It’s a special group,” Curry said.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Improved to 45-0 when leading after the third quarter. It looked as though the Hawks would have the lead heading to the fourth, but a video review showed Thabo Sefolosha’s jumper left his hand a split-second after the clock expired, leaving Golden State ahead 76-75. … Bogut played 29 minutes with a strained right Achilles, grabbing 11 rebounds. … Newly signed Anderson Varejao watched the game from the Warriors bench but didn’t play. He was signed after being cut last week by Portland.

Hawks: Have lost four straight home games for the first time since March 21 to April 1, 2007, according to STATS. … Tim Hardaway Jr. had some effective spurts off the bench, scoring 12 points. … Atlanta made 10 of 34 from 3-point range and is 19 of 75 from beyond the arc in its last two games.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Travel to Miami to face the Heat on Wednesday.

Hawks: Host the Chicago Bulls Jerseys on Friday.

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .Sports & RecreationBasketballGolden State Warriors JerseysStephen CurryAtlanta Hawks JerseysChicago Bulls Jerseys

A scoring Harden may prove to be burden for Rockets

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You can’t always win big with a great scorer. None of Wilt Chamberlain’s teams won a championship until he decided to pass. Dominique Wilkins has a statue in Atlanta yet he never took his Atlanta Hawks Jerseys past the Eastern Conference semifinals. There are others who never tasted champagne until they grew old and became a second or third option.

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Admittedly, the pile of names isn’t very big, but unless this season is the exception and not the rule, is James Harden destined to join it?

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He’s a major scorer, ranking No. 2 in the league in that department and is deadly anywhere on the floor. He finished runner-up in the Kia MVP voting last season and once again is pushing 30 points a night. He carried the team for long stretches last season while second-fiddle Dwight Howard dealt with injuries. Harden probably has a basket for every hair on his chin, and speaking of overgrown, aren’t the defeats this season for Harden and the Rockets starting to get thick?

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Rockets vs. Spurs

LaMarcus Aldridge scores 24 points and grabs nine rebounds to lead the Spurs past the visiting Rockets, 121-103.

Seven months after reaching the West finals, mainly on Harden’s labor, they’re clearly far behind the leaders. They are 26th in defensive efficiency, are giving up nearly 106 points a game on 46 percent shooting and are prone to fourth-quarter breakdowns. They’ve beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys, Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs Jerseys, yet are 0-2 against the Brooklyn Nets Jerseys and have also lost twice to the Denver Nuggets Jerseys. After firing coach Kevin McHale in a panic in November to force a shakeup, the Rockets haven’t gained any traction and are still struggling to find their mojo.

Supposedly, the big difference this season was adding a capable point guard to the mix and finally easing Harden’s ball-handling workload. In theory, trading for Ty Lawson last summer made perfect sense. He was to bring the dynamic that would give Houston an edge over the Clippers, Spurs and Golden State Warriors, the top-shelf teams in the loaded West. This way, Harden could play a bit more off the ball and the Rockets wouldn’t rely so heavily on Harden isolations to produce points. They’d have an extra dimension and another way of attacking teams and become less predictable. And by taking the ball out of Harden’s hands on occasion, the Rockets would yield fewer points off their own turnovers, since Harden leads the league in turnovers, something he’s done two of the last three seasons.

Our offense creates bad defense for us. I guess at times we do stop and hold the ball or just don’t move it as much.

– Rockets guard Ty Lawson

Instead, the Rockets are still pulling the bubblegum off their face after this experimental bubble burst quickly. Lawson struggled in the role and was benched and recently put on the trade market. New coach J.B. Bickerstaff dusted off the old playbook and Harden has the ball in his hands again, which is doing wonders for his scoring average 鈥?but not so much for the Rockets’ bottom line.

Harden is not the main problem with the Rockets right now. They simply can’t stop anyone (Harden’s often allergic reaction to defense contributes to that) and Howard is growing old by the minute. Nor is Harden an issue in terms of his offensive talent, which is Hall of Fame worthy. Not many are this shifty off the dribble, can reach the rim, can pull up for 3-pointers and get free throw attempts (which he leads the NBA in) like Harden. But when the ball is out of his hands, he looks ordinary and the Rockets look confused, and that’s why defenses are willing to trap him and take their chances.

“Our offense creates bad defense for us,” said Lawson, who wasn’t singling out Harden. “I guess at times we do stop and hold the ball or just don’t move it as much.”

While Lawson might not be the right point guard to place next to Harden, would any “pure” point guard work? Or do the Rockets have no choice but to use a “shooting” point guard — an old Jason Terry lately — whose main job is to stand on the perimeter and wait for a pass that may or may not come?

Warriors vs. Rockets

Klay Thompson explodes for 38 points, Draymond Green adds a triple-double with 16 assists as Warriors win it 114-100.

Which of course, doesn’t make Terry a point guard.

That’s the dilemma they face, the task of trying to find a way to maximize Harden’s obvious skills while being less predictable. GM Daryl Morey obviously agrees with this, otherwise, why did he trade for Lawson? Why not stick with Patrick Beverley and the same old formula that won 56 games? Because Morey knew the load could eventually wear down Harden come May and June, and that defenses would eventually figure the Rockets out, and that other players needed to become more involved in the flow. Again, those concerns were all well-founded.

Curiously, the Rockets halted a four-game slide, their second such this season, on Tuesday when Terry and not Harden controlled the ball late in a tight game. Terry played the role the Rockets envisioned for Lawson, although you wonder how many times can Terry, at 38, pull it off.

“In those type of situations,” said Terry, “I understand the time and the score, who we need to get the ball to and what actions need to be run. To be out there in those situations, I think that’s what they brought me here for.”

Hawks vs. Rockets

Al Horford scores 30 points and grabs 16 rebounds to lead the visiting Hawks past the Rockets, 121-115.

None of Harden’s teammates have ever said this publicly, but you wonder if cheap jerseys nba they’re OK with a steady diet of “iso-James” and if they believe it has run its course. Or if Harden is willing to change.

He presents a challenge for Morey as he tries to figure whether this year’s poor pairing with Lawson represents a hiccup, or a warning sign. If iso-James is here to stay, then the Rockets need quality shooters around him. The Rockets rank second in 3-pointers per game and make 35 percent of them — roughly what they did last season — but not enough to overcome their horrific defense.

With the exception of LeBron James, no other non-point guard dominates the ball like Harden. LeBron has a pair of rings to show for it, but only because he had a pair of Hall of Fame-worthy shotgun riders in Miami, who allowed him to play more off the ball than he did in his first tour of duty in Cleveland.

It is also possible that last season spoiled Harden. The Rockets finished second in the West despite Howard missing half the season. Harden was a one-man show and tore through defenses, generating MVP talk all season. He carried the team, and last summer earned a $200 million shoe contract. Therefore, why change anything?

When Lawson flamed out and the Rockets nearly bottomed out, there was no choice but to return to what worked, except from a long-term view, letting Harden control the ball again might be fool’s gold.

Surely, the Rockets have bigger concerns: How to keep Howard healthy, try to salvage the Lawson trade (or send him packing again) and how to defend better. They’re in repair mode right now and the task on the front burner is climbing above .500 and staying there.

But assuming that happens, if they don’t soon seek a way to diversify and stop relying so much on Harden isolations, they might find themselves, well, isolated from the pack of contenders.

Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

After Game 1, Hawks feel pain of 8 straight losses to Cavs

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CLEVELAND — Right now, the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys are the Detroit Pistons Jerseys. No more, no less.

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Whatever encouragement they derived from their Game 1 showing against the Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys Monday in their Eastern Conference semifinal — and they talked about deriving quite a bit, particularly from a second-half comeback in which they roared from 18 points down to one up — it’s worth next to nothing if they can’t find a way to turn “close” into a victory and “victory” into a series.

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The Pistons were encouraged, too, facing the Cavaliers way back in April in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. For three of the teams’ four games, Detroit hung around, made the Cavaliers uncomfortable, had chances to push ahead … and walked off night after night with nothing but some atta-boy points as balm for the sweep.

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Stan Van Gundy’s crew, at least, was taking playoff lumps and building springtime callouses by design. They were newbies to this postseason tournament business, several years behind the Hawks in timeline and expectations. They’ll be back, better for their failures next time.

By contrast, when Atlanta forward Kent Bazemore spoke optimistically after Monday’s 104-93 defeat about his team’s “growing pains,” it came across as kind of coddling and thus a little embarrassing, considering how much older, more experienced, presumably savvier and even saltier the Hawks are than the precocious Pistons.

Growing pains? This Atlanta team is closer to its end than its beginning. All on-the-job training was to have taken place last year, when the then-No. 1 seeded Hawks got unceremoniously run out in four games by LeBron James and a less formidable Cavaliers roster.

LeBron Goes Off

LeBron James grabs 25 points with 9 assists in the Cavaliers win over the Hawks.

Growing pains? The Game 1 loss makes it eight defeats in a row for Atlanta against the Cavaliers, including last year’s East finals and three regular-season meetings in 2015-16. That’s a fair amount of pain with very little growth. And no indication of real learning, based on the teams’ late-game execution.

The Hawks showed pluck in planting their heels at 72-54 with 3:56 left in the third quarter, the whole affair about to tilt severely out of control like what had gone on in the openers out West over the weekend. They used guard Dennis Schröder’s ability to hit shots when Cleveland defenders went under screens, alternated nicely with Schröder’s slithery drives inside as the basis for a 16-2 close to the third quarter.

Then they chipped away in the fourth, survived a mini-takeover by Kyrie Irving midway through the period and, on a running hook by Al Horford, went up 88-87 with 4:28 to play.

That’s when Cleveland’s poise saw-and-raised Atlanta’s pluck. The Cavaliers went with what works, what they’ve honed and grooved and made their own through two long seasons and a run to last year’s Finals. First J.R Smith looped around the floor one step ahead of defender Kyle Korver for a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. Then Kevin Love, on a 4-of-17 shooting night, snookered Bazemore into the air for contact in the right corner, and by hitting two of three foul shots had Cleveland up 92-88.

Next came the backbreaker, as far as Atlanta’s chances were concerned. Out of a Hawks timeout, with James chasing and denying Korver, Schröder lost the ball in traffic at 3:11. Exactly 62 seconds later, James veered into the lane at the opposite end, absorbed some contact and hit a layup. His free throw that followed make it 95-88 with 2:09 left.

In between Schröder’s turnover and James’ and-1, J.R. Smith had missed a pull-up jumper and James missed from 16 feet. But Tristan Thompson and then Smith ran down the rebounds.

That extended the possession. Kept pressure on the Hawks to defend, again and again. And chewed up clock — 62 agonizingly long seconds no longer available to Atlanta, even if it had been able to muster any consistent offense from that point.

Schroder Scores Playoff High

Dennis Schroder goes off for a playoff career-high 27 points in the Hawks loss.

“They hurt,” Bazemore said of the rebounds. “Thompson killed us last year by getting them second opportunities. When a team is good, [giving them] two or three cracks at a bucket, they hurt. It’s definitely frustrating on your end. Sometimes you’re boxing ’em out, doing a good job, but the ball bounces a different way and it bounces right into another guy’s hands. You’ve got to weather those things.”

Bazemore had soared high for an offensive board a little earlier, catching James flat-footed — a James Harden moment, social media cackled — to turn Paul Millsap’s missed 3-pointer into a reset and Millsap layup. Everybody knows the impact of those things. Cleveland just flexed them when they mattered most.

Against Atlanta in last year’s playoffs, Thompson claimed 17 offensive rebounds in four games — the entire Hawks roster grabbed 27. He had five in the second half Monday.

“Against the Hawks, in terms of Millsap and Horford, we are kind of the same ‘active’ bigs,” Thompson said. “For me, it’s just staying relentless on the glass. … As the third quarter and fourth quarter hits, that’s when I try to use my technique to create second-chance opportunities for my teammates.”

Said James, asked if Thompson’s contributions are similar to what Dennis Rodman gave the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls Jerseys: “What Dennis did for the Bulls on the floor — let’s make sure we know that part — ‘Double-T’ does for our team.”

Cleveland wound up finishing the game with a 17-5 advantage over the final 3:32 but it didn’t really qualify as a “run.” It was more slog than whoosh, a veteran team responding one cheap ncaa basketball jerseys possession at a time to very deliberately take the game out of the Hawks’ hands and place it next to them. The way you would if you caught a kid messing with the power tools.

Atlanta did plenty of things well, getting 27 points from Schröder and 15 offensive rebounds of its own. But it never shook Korver (0-for-1 in 37 minutes) free of the Cavs’ game plan. It might have used more Millsap on James when Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha were found wanting. And it couldn’t get the defensive rebound it needed most.

Growing pain? Hmm. We know this much: the Hawks’ pain is growing.

Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

Clippers’ Crawford named Kia NBA Sixth Man of Year

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NEW YORK — The Los Angeles Clippers’ Jamal Crawford is the winner of the 2015-16 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award for his contributions in a reserve role, the NBA announced today. He becomes the first player to earn the honor three times. The 36-year-old Crawford also breaks his own record, set two years ago, as the oldest winner.

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Crawford amassed 51 first-place votes and 341 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. The Golden State Warriors’ Andre Iguodala finished second with 288 points (33 first-place votes), and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Enes Kanter was third with 182 points (19 first-place votes).

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Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote. To be eligible for the award, players had to have come off the bench in more games than they started.

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Crawford came off the bench in 74 of his 79 appearances and averaged 14.2 points and 2.3 assists in 26.9 minutes in all games, helping the Clippers (53-29) post their fourth straight 50-win season. He recorded 33 games with 15 or more points off the bench, third most in the NBA behind the Denver Nuggets’ Will Barton (38) and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Ryan Anderson (36). As a starter, Crawford scored at least 30 points in four of five games. Crawford also ranked second in the NBA in free throw percentage (90.4).

A 16-year veteran, Crawford previously won the Kia NBA Sixth Man Award in 2009-2010 with the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys and in 2013-14 with the Clippers. When Crawford was honored for the first time as a Clipper, he joined Kevin McHale, Ricky Pierce and Detlef Schrempf as the only two-time winners. Crawford is the cheap custom basketball jerseys only player to win the award with multiple teams.

2015-16 KIA NBA SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR RESULTS

Player | Team | 1st place (5 pts) | 2nd place (3 pts) | 3rd place (1 pt) | Total Points

Jamal Crawford | L.A. Clippers | 51 | 23 | 17 | 341

Andre Iguodala | Golden State Warriors | 33 | 35 | 18 | 288

Enes Kanter | Oklahoma City Thunder | 19 | 20 | 27 | 182

Will Barton | Denver Nuggets | 15 | 21 | 20 | 158

Evan Turner | Boston Celtics Jerseys | 3 | 7 | 10 | 46

Ryan Anderson | New Orleans Pelicans | 4 | 6 | 5 | 43

Jeremy Lin | Charlotte Hornets Jerseys | 1 | 6 | 7 | 30

Ed Davis | Portland Trail Blazers | 1 | 5 | 1 | 21

Dennis Schröder | Atlanta Hawks Jerseys | 1 | 2 | 6 | 17

Tristan Thompson | Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys | 2 | 0 | 6 | 16

Shaun Livingston | Golden State Warriors | 0 | 1 | 4 | 7

J.J. Barea | Dallas Mavericks | 0 | 1 | 2 | 5

Boris Diaw | San Antonio Spurs | 0 | 1 | 2 | 5

cheap custom basketball jerseys Zach LaVine | Minnesota Timberwolves | 0 | 1 | 1 | 4

Darren Collison | Sacramento Kings | 0 | 1 | 0 | 3

Allen Crabbe | Portland Trail Blazers | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1

Jrue Holiday | New Orleans Pelicans | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1

Patrick Patterson | Toronto Raptors Jerseys | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1

Mirza Teletovic | Phoenix Suns | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 Trending

As usual, Clippers’ Crawford a steady source of reserve power

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It was during a casual conversation last summer after a pro-am game in Seattle, his hometown, when Jamal Crawford listed his goals for the upcoming season. A championship, obviously. He doesn’t have one of those.

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And then, the Kia NBA Sixth Man Award. Obviously. Even though he has a pair of those already.

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“You think I’ll have a chance?” he asked. “Again?”

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Crawford asked the question, not because he didn’t think he could bring the goods to win the award — at age 36 he’s still whip-sharp with the jumper — but whether voters might be biased. After all, they may develop Crawford fatigue and search for a fresh face.

Clippers vs. Hawks

Jamal Crawford scores 21 points, DeAndre Jordan adds 13 with 19 boards and the Clippers stave off the Hawks, nba jerseys cheap authentic 85-83.

It appears Crawford’s fears might have been unfounded, because once again he’s a strong contender (and at the very least in the conversation) for an award that might need to be named after him someday. That’s because no one who comes to mind when you think of a super sub — Kevin McHale, Manu Ginobili, Vinnie Johnson — has won it three times. This season, though, Crawford is our pick to win the Kia NBA Sixth Man Award.

“I have such great respect for the award, which obviously means a lot for me,” Crawford said. “I don’t take it for granted. I think by being a sixth man, it shows how selfless you are as a player. The first time I was asked to come off the bench, I said `fine, I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team.’ And then I just embraced to role and the pressure that comes with contributing the minute you check into a game.”

Crawford won the award in 2009-10 with the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys and in 2013-14 with the Los Angeles Clippers, and both times his scoring average was higher than it is today. But in terms of importance to his team, maybe 2015-16 rates higher.

Four-Point Play

Jamal Crawford hits the three while getting fouled for the four-point opportunity.

When the Clippers lost Blake Griffin on Dec. 25, Crawford was one of the main reasons they didn’t crumble. Crawford did his part to fill Griffin’s production on offense, upping his scoring average in January (15.6 points) and February (19.5 points) while the Clippers weathered Griffin’s absence. He also leads the team in 4th-quarter points (341).

“I feel comfortable in those situations,” Crawford said. “I’m a sixth man but I can have a starter’s mentality when it comes to taking on a bigger role or an important shot.”

Crawford scored 15 or more points off the bench 26 times since Griffin was lost on Dec. 25, the most of anyone in the NBA during that span. He dropped 32 on OKC on March 31 and became the 30th player in NBA history to score that many at age 36.

Jamal Crawford Drops 32

See highlights from Jamal Crawford’s 32 point performance against the Thunder.

He remains deadly with the crossover dribble, a one-on-one specialist who’s willing and able to get off a shot anywhere on the floor. Crawford can be streaky, but even then he’s dangerous because the defense must show respect at all times. He’s the rare shooter who doesn’t run from the ball after a few misses. He’s shooting 90.4 percent on free throws this season, making him the player you don’t want to foul. And, on occasions, he can perform when pressed into point guard duty.

The value of Crawford was amplified in early April when he took a short-handed team (no Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan or JJ Redick) and scored 30 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with :00.2 seconds left in overtime, against a Utah Jazz Jerseys team fighting for its playoff life.

Crawford Game Winner

Jamal Crawford hits the game winning 3-pointer in overtime.

It got the attention of a now-healthy Griffin, who missed that game vs. Utah.

Here are some others who deserve mention, however:

Enes Kanter, Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys — There aren’t many more offensively-blessed big men in basketball than Kanter, who brings soft hands, a feathery touch and a tap dancer’s footwork in the post. He ranks 20th in the NBA in points per 36 minutes (21.8) and proved to be a reliable rebounder as well. Defensive limitations doomed him to a life as a sixth man, although his role could change in the postseason.

Will Barton, Denver Nuggets Jerseys — A breakout season happened because Barton exercised better shot selection, which in turn made him more efficient. But it wasn’t just scoring that put Barton in elite sixth man company. For someone so slender, Barton’s 5.9 rebounds per game was an unexpected bonus.

Evan Turner, Boston Celtics Jerseys — What a strange journey for the former No. 2 pick in the 2010 Draft, to go from disappointment in Philadelphia to flourishing in Boston. Turner isn’t your typical sixth man, because scoring off the bench isn’t always what he brings. Taking advantage of his multiple skill set, Turner has given the Celtics a boost with passing, rebounding and contributions from the swing positions.

Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors — His contributions haven’t been box score friendly this season, and that’s hardly a reflection of the value Iguodala has continued to give the defending champs. Defense, decision making and leadership bailed out Iggy in what was otherwise a mild season in terms of raw stats.

Dennis Schroder, Atlanta Hawks Jerseys — He’s eighth among point guards in assists per 36 minutes and in a season where starter Jeff Teague has struggled, Schroder gave the Hawks a needed lift. His decision making remains a work in progress (he’s third on the team in turnovers), but growth has been apparent. And the Hawks value his fearlessness and desire to take big shots, which is rare among young sixth men.

Darren Collison, Sacramento Kings — He’s the embodiment of a change-of-pace point guard, and after four previous NBA stops as a part-time starter, Collison has perhaps found a home in Sacramento. He has never shot better in his career (48.6 percent), recently went 14 straight games with double-digit points. All season long, he proved to be an effective backup to Rajon Rondo, the league assist leader. With Rondo facing free agency, Collison could return to the starting lineup next season.

***

Editor’s note: As the 2015-16 season winds down, NBA.com’s writers give their picks for the various end-of-season awards.

Below is our schedule of stories:

April 5: Executive of the Year

April 7: Coach of the Year

April 11: Kia Most Improved Player

April 12: Kia Sixth Man of the Year

April 13: Kia Rookie of the Year

April 14: Kia Defensive Player of the Year

April 15: Kia MVP

***

Lang Whitaker has covered the NBA since 1998. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

Rookie big men netting solid returns on their vast potential

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The regular season is barely a week past the All-Star break, not close to done, and yet the discussion is mid-April closed.

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The rookie big men of 2015-16 who were expected at the start of the season to be unusually good, in a way a crop of newly arrived centers and power forwards haven’t been for years, have been that good. So good, in fact, that it’s impossible to imagine anything happening in the final 30 percent of the regular season to change that opinion.

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It’s late February, and it’s over.

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The point could be made that the bigs have actually exceeded collective expectations because the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, while projected by most front offices to eventually become the best player in the Draft, has had a far greater immediate impact than imagined. General managers picked him to finish second for Kia Rookie of the Year, behind Jahlil Okafor of the Philadelphia 76ers, and yet here is Towns threatening to turn the race into a runaway.

Only one non-point guard or wing has won the award in the last seven years, Blake Griffin in 2010-11. The top three finishers when ballots are submitted in April could be cheap nba basketball jerseys a center (Towns), a power forward (Kristaps Porzingis) and a center (Okafor). Indiana Pacers power forward Myles Turner, meanwhile, has been one of the best rookies since the calendar turned to 2016. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has earned a spot among the best newcomers despite little preseason buzz because he was drafted in 2014, and as the No. 41 pick at that.

Four months into the season, everything — and nothing — has changed. The rookies have stepped far into their new world by the latest position-by-position breakdown, although with difficulty in some cases, and the bigs have collectively performed at a high level. As expected.

Point guards

NBA Rooks: D’Angelo Russell

As All-Star Weekend approaches, BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge participant D’Angelo Russell of the Lakers talks about the learning curve of a rookie point guard.

1. D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers

2. Cameron Payne, Oklahoma City Thunder

3. Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets

4. T.J. McConnell, Philadelphia 76ers

5. Jerian Grant, New York Knicks

Preseason ranking: Mudiay, Russell, Grant, Payne, Delon Wright.

Jan. 1 ranking: Russell, McConnell, Mudiay, Raul Neto, Grant.

Summary: Although still one of the weaker positions of the first-year class, with only Russell in the top 10 of the latest Rookie Ladder, point guard has improved greatly in the last month with Payne and Mudiay playing much better. With Russell in the midst of his best month, shooting well and taking care of the ball better than any time in the first half of the season, and with McConnell continuing to offer solid play under the radar in Philly, there is suddenly decent depth. Not enough that it’s a tough cut to leave someone off the first five, but definitely forward progress.

Shooting guards

Devin Booker Finds His Shot

Check out rookie Devin Booker getting acclimated to the NBA 3-point line this season!

1. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

2. Jonathon Simmons, San Antonio Spurs

3. Mario Hezonja, Orlando Magic Jerseys

4. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brooklyn Nets

5. Lamar Patterson, Atlanta Hawks Jerseys

Preseason ranking: Hezonja, Booker, Rashad Vaughn, Norman Powell, Pat Connaughton.

Jan. 1 ranking: Hollis-Jefferson Booker, Hezonja, Patterson, R.J. Hunter.

Summary: Hollis-Jefferson was the easy leader in the first in-season progress report, and then he got hurt. Booker is the clear call in the update just after the All-Star break, and now he is slumping. Shooting guard is every bit the soft spot it was at the start of the season. It may not turn out that way when the Draft class as a whole is re-evaluated in three or five years — Hezonja could still develop into a star, Hollis-Jefferson could still become a steal as the No. 23 pick, Booker could have a long career tormenting defenses from the 3-point line — but 2015-16 has been an undeniably a slow start for this position. It helps, a lot, that Simmons has turned into a tremendous success story by going from an NBA D-League open tryout to getting about 14 minutes a game for the second-best team in the league. Hollis-Jefferson’s healthy return from an ankle injury would be another plus.

Small forwards

NBA Rooks: Justise Winslow

10th overall pick Justise Winslow takes stock of his season so far, including how he’s benefitted from his relationships with Dwyane Wade and Head Coach Erik Spoelstra.

1. Justise Winslow, Miami Heat Jerseys

2. Stanley Johnson, Detroit Pistons

3. Kelly Oubre, Washington Wizards Jerseys

4. Justin Anderson, Dallas Mavericks

5. Anthony Brown, Los Angeles Lakers

Preseason ranking: Johnson, Winslow, Anderson, Oubre, Hollis-Jefferson.

Jan. 1 ranking: Winslow, Johnson, Oubre, Simmons, Anderson.

Summary: This could turn out to be the start of years of the Winslow-Johnson comparison — small forwards who will get real minutes at other positions, one-and-done college players, potential physical forces on defense, each needing to prove they can make shots, and off the board about the same time in June 2015. (Johnson went No. 8 and Winslow went No. 10.) They have been 1-2 from the beginning, in some order, and will finish the season that way barring a surprise. Oubre, with some of the similar background as the No. 15 selection, has had some encouraging moments and could join the conversation in later years. For now, though, only playing about 11 minutes a game means a significant gap from the lead pack.

Power forwards

Inside Stuff: Towns and Porzingis at All-Star

Inside Stuff goes behind the scenes with Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis as the rookies experience their first All-Star Weekend.

1. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks

2. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

3. Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls

4. Larry Nance Jr., Los Angeles Lakers

5. Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte Hornets Jerseys

Preseason ranking: Porzingis, Turner, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kaminsky, Portis.

Jan. 1 ranking: Porzingis, Kaminsky, Nemanja Bjelica, Nance, Richaun Holmes.

Summary: A clear top two, then a bit of a drop to No. 3, then a big drop. But there has been enough production in that third group for the close call of four players with a case for the final two spots — Nance Jr., Kaminsky, Holmes and Lyles. Each has contributed and each has shown the ability to handle prominent roles, Lyles and Kaminsky for potential playoff teams. That’s good depth for a position that has offered pleasant surprises all along, especially with Holmes, Nance and Bjeclia coming from far back of the pack to rank among the best power forwards.

Centers

Kia Awards: Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 22.2 points and 12.4 rebounds per game in February.

1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

2. Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers

3. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

4. Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento Kings

5. Boban Marjanovich, San Antonio Spurs

Preseason ranking: Okafor, Towns, Jokic, Walter Tavares, Joshua Smith.

Jan. 1 ranking: Towns, Okafor, Jokic, Cauley-Stein, Marjanovich.

Summary: There is no better sign of the strength of the position than Cauley-Stein, a starter having a good season as the first installment to what should be a long career, as the fourth-best center. While Towns took control of the top spot early, for the entire Rookie of the Year race as well as the position breakdowns, the next three have been far more than afterthoughts. All four were in the top 10 of the Rookie Ladder as recently as Feb. 10, just before the All-Star break, and all four could be there at the end amid the possibility of a Cauley-Stein return. Offense will generate most of the attention, especially with Towns and Okafor plus the massive potential there for Porzingis, but there is a lot of defense on this list.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

Playoffs have long line of series-changing injuries

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The NBA playoffs are only a couple of weeks old, and already we’ve seen them radically changed thanks to a couple of key injuries.

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Golden State’s presumptive MVP Stephen Curry, who led the NBA in scoring during the regular season at 31 points per game, sprained his ankle in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Rockets, then returned in Game 4 and suffered a knee injury that could keep him out for two weeks. More recently, during Game 4 of the Clippers’ series against Portland, Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul suffered a fractured hand, which will sideline him indefinitely, and Blake Griffin re-injured his quadriceps, which means he will miss the rest of the playoffs.

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Injuries are an unavoidable part of sports. Over the last few years, we’ve seen teams trying to preserve players by sitting them out of games and limiting their minutes. And along the way, we’ve also learned that nobody seems able to avoid the fickle hand of bad luck, particularly where injuries are concerned.

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This season is not the first time we’ve seen an NBA team in the playoffs have its destiny altered by circumstances beyond its control. Let’s take a look back over the last 15 years at some of the injuries that have had a significant impact on their team’s postseason plans…

Derek Anderson Jerseys, San Antonio Spurs

Playoff series: 2001 Western Conference semifinals vs. Dallas

Injury: Separated shoulder in Game 1

How it affected the series: The Spurs finished the 2000-01 season an NBA-best 58-24, with Anderson the team’s second-leading scorer behind Tim Duncan, averaging 15.5 points in 82 games. Anderson injured his shoulder on a flagrant foul from Juwan Howard, although the Spurs went on to beat the Mavericks in five games. Anderson returned during the Western Conference finals, but the Lakers swept the Spurs in four games.

Peja Stojakovic, Sacramento Kings

Playoff series: 2002 Western Conference semifinals vs. Dallas

Injury: Sprained ankle in Game 3

How it affected the series: Coming off an All-Star season as Sacramento’s second-leading scorer, Stojakovic’s injury kept him out nearly three weeks. He finally returned to help the Kings win Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, although the Lakers bounced back to win Games 6 and 7 and advance to the NBA Finals.

Chris Webber, Sacramento Kings

Playoff series: 2003 Western Conference semifinals vs. Dallas

Injury: ACL injury in Game 2

How it affected the series: Webber was Sacramento’s leading scorer during the regular season, averaging 23 points. The Kings were leading 1-0 when Webber went down, and without Webber, Dallas was able to eliminate the Kings in seven games. Although, as Dallas was about to learn, the injury bug is inescapable.

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

Playoff series: 2003 Western Conference finals vs. San Antonio

Injury: Knee in Game 3

How it affected the series: The Mavs finished the regular season tied for the NBA’s best record at 60-22. After beating the Spurs in Game 1, Nowitzki strained his knee going for a rebound in Game 3, and missed the rest of the series. The Spurs went on to win the series and, eventually, the NBA championship.

Sam Cassell, Minnesota Timberwolves

Playoff series: 2004 Western Conference finals vs. Lakers

Injury: Hip injury in Game 1

How it affected the series: The Wolves had won a regular season franchise-best 58 games and entered the postseason as the top seed in the Western Conference. Point guard Cassell was injured one minute into Game 1, and wasn’t nearly as effective as he was during the regular season. The Lakers won the series in six games to advance to the NBA Finals.

Joe Johnson, Phoenix Suns

Playoff series: 2005 Western Conference semifinals vs. Dallas

Injury: Broken orbital bone in Game 2

How it affected the series: Johnson had played 287 consecutive games for the Suns before a foul from Jerry Stackhouse caused an eye injury that resulted in a minor concussion and required surgery. Johnson missed the rest of the series, as the Suns were able to defeat the Mavericks in six games. Johnson returned in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, but the Suns lost in five games to the San Antonio Spurs.

Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

Playoff series: 2009 Western Conference semifinals vs. Lakers

Injury: Fractured foot in Game 3

How it affected the series: After the Rockets finished the regular season with 53 wins, they won their first-round matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers. In Game 3 of the conference semifinals, Yao had to limp off after suffering a stress fracture. The Lakers would go on to win the series and, eventually, the NBA championship.

Kendrick Perkins, Boston Celtics Jerseys

Playoff series: 2010 NBA Finals vs. Lakers

Injury: Knee injury in Game 6

How it affected the series: Perkins wasn’t Boston’s most dynamic player, but his defensive presence and leadership were valued by the Celtics. The Celtics held a 3-2 lead going into Game 6, but an early Perkins injury derailed Boston, as the Lakers went on to win Games 6 and 7 and take the NBA title.

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls Jerseys

Playoff series: 2012 Eastern Conference first round vs. Philadelphia

Injury: Torn ACL in Game 1

How it affected the series: Rose was the NBA’s reigning MVP, and had led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals the previous season. In 2012, Rose led the Bulls to a first-place finish in the Central Division and they were one of the favorites to contend for an NBA title. Rose’s knee injury in Game 1 was catastrophic for Chicago, as they went on to lose the series in six games.

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Playoff series: 2013 Western Conference first round vs. Houston

Injury: Torn meniscus in Game 2

How it affected the series: One season after a trip to the NBA Finals, the Thunder finished the regular season with a 60-22 record, best in the Western Conference. Westbrook had played all 82 regular season games, averaging 23.2 points and 7.4 assists. Westbrook collided with Houston’s Patrick Beverley and came up limping, and ended up needing surgery and missed the rest of the postseason. The Thunder ended up winning the series behind Kevin Durant, but lost the conference semifinals to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Starters: Beverley vs. Westbrook

The Starters discuss the heated rivalry between the Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook along with their respected teams.

Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder

Playoff series: 2014 Western Conference semifinals vs. Clippers

Injury: Calf injury in Game 6

How it affected the series: One season after losing Westbrook in the postseason, the Thunder were still harboring championship aspirations. But during the Thunder’s Game 6 victory over the Clippers, Ibaka suffered a calf injury. A day later, the Thunder announced that Ibaka was done for the rest of the postseason. But after the Thunder fell behind 0-2 to the Spurs during the Western Conference finals, Ibaka returned in a limited role but the Spurs would go on to win and advance.

Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys

Playoff series: 2015 Eastern Conference first round vs. Boston cheap nba jersey

Injury: Dislocated shoulder in game 4

How it affected the series: After the Cavs added Kevin Love and LeBron James to a young core, they finished the season as the best team in the Eastern Conference. But during Game 4 of their first round series against Boston, Love and Kelly Olynyk became tangled going after a loose ball, and Love suffered his season-ending injury. The Cavs had enough interior depth to win the series and eventually advance to the NBA Finals, but soon learned there were more injuries ahead…

Love’s Injury

Kevin Love leaves the game after injuring his shoulder while battling for the rebound with Kelly Olynyk.

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys

Playoff series: NBA Finals vs. Golden State Warriors

Injury: Patella fracture in Game 2

How it affected the series: Irving actually missed two games against the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys in the Eastern Conference finals with a knee injury, but returned to play against the Warriors’ strong backcourt in the NBA Finals. Irving suffered the injury during overtime of Game 1, knocking him out for the rest of the series. The Cavs would go on to lose the Finals in six games.

Kyrie Irving’s Injury

Kyrie Irving drives, lands awkardly and appears to sustain an injury on the play.

Lang Whitaker has covered the NBA since 1998. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

Sixers’ Hinkie gives up rebuilding project in Philly

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The Process is over.

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The controversial three-year reign of Philadelphia 76ers Jerseys president and general manager Sam Hinkie ended Wednesday with Hinkie’s resignation, clearing the way for two-time NBA Executive of the Year Bryan Colangelo to assume the team’s GM spot, where he’ll work alongside his father, Jerry, who was given full authority over the team last December by majority owner Josh Harris Jerseys as chairman of basketball operations.

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In the end, according to sources, Hinkie was unwilling to accept a power-sharing arrangement the 76ers wanted to create going forward, with Hinkie still part of the team’s decision-making structure. The idea was to have Hinkie and Bryan Colangelo work together — to “marry them up,” as was said Wednesday — with Bryan Colangelo handling the job of working with agents and other teams that Hinkie struggled with over the last few years.

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Agents and teams complained about his manner. Sources inside the 76ers’ organization also indicated problems getting Hinkie to trust others outside a small circle of confidantes and employees he hired.

It was clear around the league that once Harris brought Jerry Colangelo in — at the behest of the league, according to several sources, though Commissioner Adam Silver has denied any direct involvement — that Colangelo had full authority over the franchise. League sources maintain that Harris had grown weary both of the criticism he (and Hinkie) had received the last couple of years, and by the lackluster on-court product.

Jerry Colangelo immediately made changes, including bringing in former Suns and Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni as associate head coach, pushing for the acquisition of point guard Ish Smith to solidify that position and signing veteran forward Elton Brand to help bring an experienced voice to the Sixers’ locker room.

Bryan Colangelo, who won the NBA’s Executive of the Year award in 2005 in Phoenix and two years later in Toronto, helped build the Suns’ “seven seconds or less” offense around D’Antoni and two-time league MVP Steve Nash, and then acquired or drafted four of the five starters — including All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan — for the Raptors, who are in second place in the Eastern Conference and won 50 games for the first time in franchise history this year.

GameTime: Bob Cooney On Hinkie’s Exit

Philadelphia Daily News’ Bob Cooney joins GameTime to discuss the stepping down of the 76ers general manager and president of basketball operations, Sam Hinkie.

Bryan Colangelo has been trying to get back into the league since being fired as part of an organization shake-up in Toronto in 2014. He has been linked to management jobs in Detroit and, most recently, Brooklyn, which interviewed him twice before hiring Spurs assistant GM Sean Marks last month as general manager.

Bryan Colangelo was also part of a group, along with his father, that tried to buy the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys last year before the team was sold to a group headed by billionaire Tony Ressler.

Hinkie came to Philadelphia in 2013 from Philadelphia with a mandate to take what had been a playoff team the previous two years down to the foundations in order to try and build a championship organization. Hinkie hired Brett Brown off the Spurs’ bench as head coach, giving him a four-year deal (at Brown’s insistence). The 76ers pushed the envelope in all areas of player development, monitoring their players’ sleep patterns, exertions and seemingly anything else that could be measured or timed.

He always gambled on superstar potential at any opportunity. He drafted Joel Embiid out of Kansas with the third pick of the 2014 Draft after one year in college, even though Embiid was coming off of a foot injury that has kept him from playing a single minute in two NBA seasons. Hinkie traded for the Draft rights to forward Dario Saric, considered by many to be the top prospect in Europe. But Saric has stayed overseas the last two years, though he is expected to come to the 76ers next season.

The Starters: Colangelo Joins Sixers

Will Colangelo change the direction of the franchise?

Stateside, though, the 76ers were dreadful in terms of their on-court results.

Philadelphia was 47-195 (.194) in his two-plus seasons as GM, and was vilified throughout the league for its indifference — or, as was more cynically suggested, desire — to losing as many games as possible to try and improve its position in the Draft. The 76ers didn’t make any attempt to sign free agents of significance, and didn’t hesitate to move any players, including 2014 Kia Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams, in order to amass more picks.

Hinkie came to honor a three-word phrase — “trust the process” — which came to symbolize his controversial methods in Philly. He had lots of supporters in town, though it appeared more were frustrated and ultimately disillusioned by the plan. The 76ers’ attendance has cratered the last three years; currently, according to ESPN.com, Philadelphia is 28th in the league in average home attendance (roughly 14,800 per game) after finishing 30th and 29th, respectively, the previous two seasons.

But Hinkie’s maneuverings have produced a haul of future Draft picks, beginning this June, that could — one way or the other — reshape the franchise.

Philadelphia has its own pick,wholesale nba jerseys and as the 76ers are now assured of having the league’s worst record, they’ll have the best opportunity — 25 percent — of getting the first pick in the Draft. The 76ers can also swap first-round picks this year with Sacramento as part of a three-team deal last summer. They could also get the Lakers’ first-round pick, depending on the results of the Lottery.

With Embiid expected to finally make his debut next season, after surgery wholesale nba jerseys and treatment programs that have sent him to Qatar, along with Saric, the potential Draft picks and significant cap room this summer, the 76ers are poised to dramatically reshape their roster going forward around center Nerlens Noel and 2015 first-rounder Jahlil Okafor –though Okafor’s future in Philly is also up in the air after a series of off-court incidents marred his rookie season.

ESPN.com first reported Hinkie’s decision to resign0.

Longtime NBA reporter and columnist David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here1 and follow him on Twitter2.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

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