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About Last Night: Thunder escape Portland with sweep

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The stars shined brightly in the Pacific Northwest on Thursday night in a game that oozed with playoff intensity.

Russell Westbrook had 37 points and Paul George added 32 points and 14 rebounds for the Oklahoma City Thunder in a chippy 129-121 overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Damian Lillard turned in an epic performance, finishing with 51 points, nine assists and five rebounds.

The end of regulation was filled with drama. Jusuf Nurkic took an elbow to the face from George, but George was not called for a foul. George missed his layup attempt on the play, but with Nurkic on the floor, Terrance Ferguson grabbed the rebound and scored with 13.1 seconds left to put Oklahoma City up 113-111.

Moments later, George and Nurkic jawed at each other and drew technical fouls with 4.4 seconds left. Because it was Nurkic’s second technical, he was ejected. Thunder coach Billy Donovan then chose reserve Skal Labissiere to shoot the Blazers’ two free throws in place of Nurkic. He missed both, but a loose-ball foul was called on the Thunder and Al-Farouq-Aminu made both shots to tie it at 113 with 2.9 seconds left.

After a turnover by the Thunder, the game went to overtime, where Westbrook scored eight points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer.

The victory gave the Thunder a four-game series sweep of the Blazers this season, and pulled them ahead of Portland and Houston, who entered the night in a three-way tie for No. 3 in the West.
 

Kanter Antics

Enes Kanter reconnected with Westbrook before the game and received a nice cheer from fans at Moda Center as he checked in for his home debut in the first quarter. Kanter later introduced himself to woman sitting courtside while chasing down a loose ball.
 

 

Don’t make Giannis angry

After leading by as many as 14 points, the Bucks found themselves in a tight battle with the Pacers midway through the third quarter.

With the Bucks up 67-61, Giannis Antetokounmpo was hit hard on a dunk attempt. No whistle. Instead, Myles Turner was credited with a block and the Pacers went the other way, with Bojan Bogdanovic drilling a 3-pointer. Three-point game.

Antetokounmpo stayed under the basket in disbelief for a moment before getting up and running down an official to voice his displeasure, immediately getting assessed a technical.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo channeled his frustration over a non-call and subsequent technical foul in the best way possible.

Milwaukee responded with a 13-0 run. Antetokounmpo started the spurt with a dunk and finished it with another.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said the entire team fed off the technical foul.

“It felt like the whole arena, his teammates, I think everybody was probably somewhat frustrated, but I think that frustration got channeled into a great energy,” Budenholzer said.

The Bucks never looked back on their way to a 117-98 victory, halting their first losing streak of the season.

Antetokounmpo finished with a team-high 29 points and 12 rebounds. He scored eight straight points in the final minutes, including two spectacular dunks.
 

Milwaukee’s Got Talent

Can you name all 50 states in under 30 seconds? Bucks guard Sterling Brown can, and apparently without a mnemonic device. The video aired during a timeout and quickly went viral.

Brown, who missed his sixth straight game due to a right wrist injury, says he remembers “all 50 of these from social studies.”
 

 

Carter not ready to retire



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Report: Trail Blazers, Terry Stotts agree to contract extension

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Just one day after being eliminated from the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors, the Trail Blazers and coach Terry Stotts have agreed to a multiyear contract extension, according to ESPN sources.

The Portland Trail Blazers and head coach Terry Stotts have agreed to a multiyear contract extension.

The Blazers announced the extension Tuesday but did not disclose terms.

Stotts has led Portland to six straight playoff appearances in his seven seasons at the helm, holding a 325-249 record.

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Griffin says Pelicans are ‘very optimistic’ about Anthony Davis situation

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David Griffin has been clear since his first day with the New Orleans Pelicans that he believes the team can convince Anthony Davis to stay on board this summer.

Griffin reiterated this belief on Tuesday during a conference call to introduce newly hired GM Trajan Langdon. Griffin said the team plans to sit down with Davis and his agent Rich Paul in Los Angeles at some point soon. 

“I think that’s the next step — really to look each other in the eye and talk about what’s important to us,” Griffin said on Tuesday. “And we’re very optimistic from previous conversations with Rich Paul, his agent, and with all of the people here that know Anthony and know what he’s about. We’re very confident that we have a compelling situation for him here.

“And if winning is what he is indeed all about, which we have every reason to believe, we feel confident that we can create — and are creating — the right environment for Anthony and frankly for high-caliber players of all types to want to be a part of. This is something that we hope creates an energy that recruits itself, and Anthony would just be one step in that process.”

While Griffin and the Pelicans may be confident, there has been no public indication from Davis that he wants to remain with the team. The six-time All-Star told the Pelicans in January that he desired a trade and did not plan to re-sign with the team next offseason when his contract expires. 

 

David Griffin talked with NBA TV after the Pelicans won the No. 1 pick.

Griffin also spent time on Tuesday talking about the team’s plan for the 2019 NBA Draft. The Pelicans beat the odds during the draft lottery to receive the No. 1 pick in this year’s Draft, which is headlined by top prospects Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. After New Orleans won the lottery, reports circulated that Williamson would need to be convinced to join the Pelicans. Griffin was quick to dispel those reports on Tuesday.

“I’m certain that’s a false narrative relative to the players that could potentially be the No. 1 pick,” Griffin said. “We’ve sat with multiple players that we’re looking at for that first pick. In fact, in the case of Zion Williamson, Alvin Gentry and I sat with he and his parents the night of the lottery. […] And Alvin and I were also together in interviewing Ja Morant in Chicago as well. And I think because we sat with those kids, who are both incredible human beings and all about all the right things, we know unequivocally that either one of them would be thrilled to join us in New Orleans. And they’re both very much excited about the concept.”

Griffin also discussed his early impressions of Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, who took control of the team after the passing of her husband, Tom, last year. Griffin credits Benson for empowering the team to pursue top-level talent — like Langdon and longtime Phoenix Suns trainer Aaron Nelson — to New Orleans

“It’s become something that it’s very clearly her baby, and the Pelicans matter immeasurably to her. And literally in all these hirings, she’s putting her money where her mouth is and she’s empowering us to go and attract the best and the brightest,” Griffin said. “And I think when you win the lottery in the midst of all those other things, it starts to really lend itself to changing a narrative.”

Griffin and Langdon previously worked together with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the championship 2015-16 season.

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Young, Doncic lead 2018-19 All-Rookie First Team

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NEW YORK — Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young have been unanimously selected to the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Dončić and Young both received NBA All-Rookie First Team votes on all 100 ballots to finish with 200 points each.  They are joined on the NBA All-Rookie First Team by Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (195 points; 95 First Team votes), Memphis Grizzlies forward-center Jaren Jackson Jr. (159 points; 60 First Team votes) and Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III (156 points; 56 First Team votes). 

The 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie First Team is composed of the top five picks in NBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm®: Ayton (No. 1), Bagley (No. 2), Dončić (No. 3), Jackson (No. 4) and Young (No. 5).

This marks the first time since the 1984-85 season that the top five picks in the previous NBA Draft have all been selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team (there was no All-Rookie Second Team that season).  Thirty-four years ago, the NBA All-Rookie Team honorees were Hakeem Olajuwon (No. 1 pick in 1984), Sam Bowie (No. 2), Michael Jordan (No. 3), Sam Perkins (No. 4) and Charles Barkley (No. 5).

Dončić, Young and Ayton are the three finalists for the 2018-19 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award.  The winnerwill be revealed at the2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on Monday, June 24 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.  The third annual NBA Awards, honoring this season’s top performers, will take place at Barker Hangar in Los Angeles.

The 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of LA Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (138 points), Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (132), Clippers guard Landry Shamet (85), New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (77) and Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (45).

The NBA All-Rookie Teams were selected by a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.  The media voted for five players for the NBA All-Rookie First Team and five players for the Second Team at any position.  Players received two points for each First Team vote and one point for each Second Team vote.

Complete voting results by media member will be posted at pr.nba.com the night of the 2019 NBA Awards presented by KiaClick here for the list of 100 media voters for the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Teams.   

Below are the voting results for the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Teams.  The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP.

* * *

2018-19 NBA ALL-ROOKIE FIRST TEAM

Player, Team | 1st Team (2 Pts.) | 2nd Team (1 Pt.) | Total Points

Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks | 100 | –– | 200

Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks | 100 | — | 200

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns | 95 | 5 | 195

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies | 60 | 39 | 159

Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings | 56 | 44 | 156

 

2018-19 NBA ALL-ROOKIE SECOND TEAM

Player, Team |  1st Team (2 Pts.) | 2nd Team (1 Pt.) | Total Points

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LA Clippers | 40 | 58 | 138

Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers | 39 | 54 | 132

Landry Shamet, LA Clippers | 3 | 79 | 85 

Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks | 3 | 71 | 77

Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks | 1 | 43 | 45

 

Below are the other players who received votes for the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Teams.

Player, Team | 1st Team (2 Pts.) | 2nd Team (1 Pt.) | Total Points

Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns | 1 | 29 | 31

Kevin Knox, New York Knicks | — | 22 | 22

Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves | 1 | 10 | 12

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks | — | 10 | 10

Allonzo Trier, New York Knicks | — | 10 | 1

Rodions Kurucs, Brooklyn Nets | — | 9 | 9

Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls | — | 7 | 7

Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets | 1 | 4 | 6

Bruce Brown, Detroit Pistons | — | 2 | 2

Harry Giles III, Sacramento Kings | — | 2 | 2

Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic | — | 1 | 1

Aaron Holiday, Indiana Pacers | — | 1 | 1



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