NBA News

Report: Zion Williamson (hamstring) to miss Friday's play-in game

New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson will miss Friday's play-in tournament elimination game against the Sacramento Kings with a left hamstring injury, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Williamson departed with 3:13 remaining after scoring 40 points in a 110-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night in New Orleans.

The Lakers clinched the No. 7 seed in the NBA playoffs, while the Pelicans earned a do-or-die date at home Friday against the Kings. The winner will grab the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and will meet the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.

Williamson had just tied the score at 95-95 on Tuesday when he exited with an injury to his left leg. In addition to his game-high 40 points on 17-of-27 shooting, the two-time All-Star forward added 11 rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block.

The ESPN report said Williamson, 23, will be evaluated again in the coming weeks.

Williamson averaged 22.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 70 games (all starts) this season. The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick has career averages of 24.7 points, 6.5 boards and 4.1 assists in 184 games (all starts).

NBA Play-In: Heat-76ers Preview, Props & Prediction

The Eastern Conference takes the stage Wednesday for the NBA's play-in round, with the Philadelphia 76ers playing host to the Miami Heat in the first game of the night.

The Sixers appear likely to have star Joel Embiid, who tweaked his left knee in a game last Friday, and Philadelphia (47-35) is a consensus 5.5-point favorite to dispatch the Heat (46-36).

TRENDING

The Sixers have been the popular pick at most sportsbooks. That includes BetMGM, where they have been backed by 76 percent of the spread-line money, and BetRivers, where they have drawn 59 percent.

Philadelphia's -225 moneyline at both books has been even more popular, with the 76ers backed by 73 percent of the money at BetMGM and 93 percent at BetRivers.

Prediction: With Embiid on the floor the 76ers are simply the superior team. However, this is the biggest spread of the play-in round thus far and Miami's veteran roster won't go down without a serious fight. -- 76ers 105, Heat 102

PROP PICK

Joel Embiid Over 29.5 Points (-134 at BetRivers): The same market at BetMGM is 30.5 points at -110, but we'll take the extra point at a lower payout because it could easily make the difference. While Embiid is averaging 34.7 points for the season, he's also dealing with the knee issue and Bam Adebayo is a difficult defensive counterpart.

The seven-time All-Star scored 29 points in Philadelphia's 109-105 victory over the Heat earlier this month.

INJURY REPORT

Embiid tweaked his left knee during the 76ers' win on Friday against the Orlando Magic, an injury that occurred in his just fifth game after being sidelined two months due to a torn meniscus.

After sitting out Sunday's regular-season finale, Embiid was on the court for the portion of Wednesday's shootaround open to the media and reportedly participated fully. That aligns with coach Nick Nurse's hope to have the reigning MVP available come game time.

"Yeah, hopefully," Nurse said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Not sure on anybody, but I'm hopeful."

Miami has its own injury concerns. Kevin Love exited the Heat's season finale on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors due to a left arm injury.

Terry Rozier (neck) and Duncan Robinson (back) have missed the last four games due to their respective injuries.

THE NEWS

Standing in Philadelphia's way on Wednesday is Jimmy Butler, or "Playoff Jimmy" as he's known at this time of the year.

Butler, who was traded from the 76ers to the Heat in the summer of 2019, has guided Miami to two NBA Finals appearances in the last four seasons.

The six-time All-Star averaged 20.8 points, 5.0 assists and 1.3 steals this season for the Heat, who won seven of their final 10 games.

Butler, however, was not interested in reflecting on last season's team that navigated its way out of the play-in tournament. Miami ousted the Milwaukee Bucks in five games, New York in six and Boston in seven before falling to the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals.

"We're not the same group as last year," Butler said, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "So we'll leave that where it's at and we're moving forward with the group that we do have.

"But we, I, are very confident in the guys we do have and we know what we're capable of."

Adebayo contributed 19.3 points and 10.4 rebounds this season.

UP NEXT

With a win, the 76ers likely can secure the Eastern Conference's seventh seed and set up a first-round series against the second-seeded New York Knicks. The loser of Wednesday's contest will play an elimination game on Friday against either the Chicago Bulls or Atlanta Hawks for the eighth seed -- and the right to play the top-seeded Boston Celtics.

NBA bans Jontay Porter for life for gambling violations

The NBA issued a lifetime ban to Jontay Porter following an investigation into his involvement in gambling on league games, it announced Wednesday.

An investigation directed by the league found that Porter "violated league rules by disclosing confidential information to sports bettors, limiting his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes and betting on NBA games," according to a league news release.

Porter, a center, was under a two-way contract with the Toronto Raptors in the 2023-24 season.

"There is nothing more important than protecting the integrity of NBA competition for our fans, our teams and everyone associated with our sport, which is why Jontay Porter's blatant violations of our gaming rules are being met with the most severe punishment," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

"While legal sports betting creates transparency that helps identify suspicious or abnormal activity, this matter also raises important issues about the sufficiency of the regulatory framework currently in place, including the types of bets offered on our games and players. Working closely with all relevant stakeholders across the industry, we will continue to work diligently to safeguard our league and game."

According to the league, Porter played only three minutes of the Raptors' home loss to the Sacramento Kings on March 20 before telling the team he didn't feel well. Prior to the game, he "disclosed confidential information about his own health status to an individual he knew to be an NBA bettor," the league said.

Additionally, per the NBA, another known better placed an $80,000 online wager that would have paid out $1.1 million if Porter underperformed the odds.

The prop bet was frozen and not paid after it was deemed suspicious.

The NBA also reported that between January and March as a member of the Raptors or their G League team, Raptors 905, Porter placed at least 13 bets on NBA games through an associate's account and won about $22,000.

Porter, 24, averaged 4.4 points through 26 games (five starts) for Toronto this season. He began his NBA career with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2020-21, then didn't appear in the league the next two seasons.

He last played on March 22.

His older brother, Michael Porter Jr., started 81 games for the Denver Nuggets this season.

Klay Thompson Next Team Odds: Early favorites emerge

Golden State's season came to an end in Tuesday night's decisive loss at Sacramento, and it could have ushered in the end of the "Splash Brothers" era.

Klay Thompson went 0-for-10 from the field and missed all six of his 3-point attempts in the loss to the Kings, and will be an unrestricted free agent in July. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game that "we need Klay back," but it is anything but certain the 34-year-old will return to Golden State for the 2024-25 season.

Despite the ignominious end to this campaign, Thompson is a four-time NBA champion and five-time All-Star who will certain draw strong interest if he hits the open market. One sportsbook released odds Wednesday morning for all 29 potential NBA destinations, with a cross-country relocation leading the way.

KLAY THOMPSON NEXT TEAM ODDS*

Orlando Magic (3/1)

Oklahoma City Thunder (6/1)

San Antonio Spurs (6/1)

Philadelphia 76ers (7/1)

Detroit Pistons (8/1)

Utah Jazz (10/1)

Atlanta Hawks (18/1)

Chicago Bulls (18/1)

Los Angeles Lakers (20/1)

Boston Celtics (25/1)

Brooklyn Nets (25/1)

Cleveland Cavaliers (25/1)

Dallas Mavericks (25/1)

Indiana Pacers (25/1)

Memphis Grizzlies (25/1)

Miami Heat (25/1)

Milwaukee Bucks (25/1)

Charlotte Hornets (33/1)

Houston Rockets (33/1)

New York Knicks (33/1)

Washington Wizards (33/1)

New Orleans Pelicans (40/1)

Phoenix Suns (40/1)

Denver Nuggets (50/1)

Los Angeles Clippers (50/1)

Minnesota Timberwolves (50/1)

Portland Trail Blazers (50/1)

Sacramento Kings (50/1)

Toronto Raptors (50/1)

*SportsBetting.ag. Odds provided for informational purposes only.

When the final buzzer sounded Tuesday night and his teammates entered the tunnel to the locker room, Thompson lingered, turned around to take in the scene and exited in recognition of the potential gravity and finality of the moment.

"We need Klay back," Kerr said. "He's still got good years left. And I know I speak for everybody in the organization: We want him back.

"What Klay has meant to this franchise and as good as he still is, we desperately want him back."

Notably one half of the "Splash Brothers" alongside Stephen Curry, Thompson could agree to a short-term deal to align with Draymond Green, Curry and Kerr, who are signed through 2026.

Thompson's future is one of multiple major decisions facing the Warriors' front office this offseason. The team also faces a June 28 deadline for an erasure maneuver with point guard Chris Paul's contract, which could directly impact what the team can do with Thompson.

Paul, who will turn 39 next month, has a $30 million non-guaranteed contract with the Warriors for 2024-25. That could be a boon for a trade to bring back youth, or general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. could decide to simply wipe the hefty deal off the books entirely.

"This isn't (the end). I know it for sure," Paul told The Athletic this week.

The book is also offering odds on Paul's next NBA address.

CHRIS PAUL NEXT TEAM ODDS

Los Angeles Clippers (3/1)

Los Angeles Lakers (4/1)

Philadelphia 76ers (8/1)

Milwaukee Bucks (9/1)

Boston Celtics (12/1)

Miami Heat (12/1)

Dallas Mavericks (14/1)

Atlanta Hawks (16/1)

Washington Wizards (18/1)

Orlando Magic (20/1)

San Antonio Spurs (20/1)

Oklahoma City Thunder (22/1)

Brooklyn Nets (25/1)

Chicago Bulls (25/1)

Detroit Pistons (25/1)

Minnesota Timberwolves (25/1)

New Orleans Pelicans (25/1)

Portland Trail Blazers (25/1)

Phoenix Suns (33/1)

Charlotte Hornets (40/1)

New York Knicks (40/1)

Sacramento Kings (40/1)

Utah Jazz (40/1)

Cleveland Cavaliers (50/1)

Denver Nuggets (50/1)

Houston Rockets (50/1)

Indiana Pacers (50/1)

Memphis Grizzlies (50/1)

Toronto Raptors (50/1)

Green, whose contract includes a player option for 2026-27, added he wants the Warriors to keep the band together and expects the front office to maintain the established course. He said he didn't envision "any scenario where Klay leaves."

"They did right by me. They've done right by Steph. They've done right by all of us," Green said. "Klay tore his ACL and they gave him $160 million dollars."

LeBron, KD, Curry headline '24 Olympic roster for Team USA

LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant headline the 12-man Team USA roster for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

The American men will compete for their fifth straight -- and 17th overall -- Olympic gold medal behind an All-Star cast that also includes 2022-23 NBA MVP Joel Embiid, Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Suns guard Devin Booker and Lakers center Anthony Davis.

Leonard was the final addition to the roster to be identified.

James is gunning for a third gold medal. He first appeared in the Olympics in 2004 and his 20-year run matches the two decades with the women's team by Diana Taurasi, who is again playing for the American squad in 2024.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr continues as Team USA head coach, a role he accepted in December 2021. The team has a 34-4 record in Olympics competition since 2004.

Embiid, a native of Cameroon, was eligible to play for the host country, but informed Team USA managing director Grant Hill in October that he would play on the American squad instead of Team France.

"I'm grateful to these 12 men for their commitment to represent USA Basketball," Hill said. "The United States is home to some of the best basketball players in the world and I appreciate the vast interest in being part of this roster. These decisions weren't easy, but it was a pleasure to go through the process and reach this outcome."

Durant was a 2010 World Cup gold medalist and is the USA's all-time Olympic statistical leader in total points (435), scoring average (19.8 points per game), field goals (146), 3-point field goals (74) and free throws (69). He ranks third in rebounds (118) and blocks (16) and fourth in games played (24) and assists (71).

James has scored 273 points (third all-time among Americans) in the Olympics to date. This would be his fourth Olympics and first since 2012. He won gold in 2008 and 2012 and made his Olympics debut in 2004 (bronze).

Curry makes his Olympics debut but is a Team USA veteran as a two-time World Cup champion (2010, 2014).

Training camp is scheduled to begin July 6 in Las Vegas.

Team USA announced the complete roster on Wednesday morning:

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors

Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

Jrue Holiday, Boston Celtics

Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

By finishing as one of the top two nations in the FIBA Americas zone at the 2023 FIBA World Cup in September, Team USA has already qualified for the Paris Games.

As part of Group C, the American men will face Serbia on July 28, South Sudan on July 31 and the winner of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Puerto Rico on Aug. 3 in the first round of the Olympic tournament. The 5-on-5 Olympic basketball group phase will take place in Lille, France, before the tournament moves to Paris for knockout and medal rounds.

Chris Paul, Klay Thompson lead Warriors' weighted offseason questions

Klay Thompson and Chris Paul are not guaranteed a return to the Warriors as Golden State enters the offseason with a number of pressing questions.

Paul wrapped his 19th season in the NBA on Tuesday night and for the first time since 2010, he won't be part of the NBA playoffs. The Warriors lost the play-in tournament opener to the Sacramento Kings, but Paul said he'll be playing a 20th season in 2024-25.

"I love coaching Chris. I really hope we bring him back next year," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said postgame Tuesday.

Paul has a $30 million non-guaranteed contract with the Warriors for 2024-25, which could be a boon for a trade to bring back youth, or general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. could decide to simply wipe the hefty deal off the books entirely.

"This isn't (the end). I know it for sure," Paul told The Athletic this week.

Thompson is an unrestricted free agent in July, meaning he can re-sign with the Warriors before June 28, the deadline for an erasure maneuver with Paul's contract, or test the open market.

If Tuesday was Thompson's final run with the Warriors, it was relatively forgettable for the four-time NBA champion and five-time All-Star drafted by Golden State 11th overall in 2011.

Thompson didn't score, was 0 for 10 from the field and missed all six of his 3-point attempts at Sacramento. When the final buzzer sounded and his teammates entered the tunnel to the locker room, Thompson lingered, turned around to take in the scene and exited in recognition of the potential gravity and finality of the moment.

"We need Klay back," Kerr said. "He's still got good years left. And I know I speak for everybody in the organization: We want him back.

"What Klay has meant to this franchise and as good as he still is, we desperately want him back."

A reset isn't high on the list of options Kerr said the Warriors would consider. But Thompson is 34, Stephen Curry turned 36 in March and Paul will be 39 next month.

Notably one half of the "Splash Brothers" alongside Curry, Thompson could agree to a short-term deal to align with Draymond Green, Curry and Kerr, who are signed through 2026. Curry said Tuesday his primary focus is finding a way to win again after being eliminated from the playoff picture in mid-April, six weeks before the NBA Finals.

"I understand this league changes and there are so many things that go into it," Curry said, "and we're not going to play forever. But we've experienced so much together and at the end of the day I know (Green and Thompson) want to win, I know I want to win, and that's all I'm worried about."

Green, whose contract includes a player option for 2026-27, added he wants the Warriors to keep the band together and expects the front office to maintain the established course. He said he didn't envision "any scenario where Klay leaves."

"They did right by me. They've done right by Steph. They've done right by all of us," Green said. "Klay tore his ACL and they gave him $160 million dollars."

Keegan Murray, Kings KO Warriors, advance in play-in

Keegan Murray sank eight 3-pointers and finished with 32 points and nine rebounds as the Sacramento Kings remained alive with a convincing 118-94 victory over the visiting Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.

De'Aaron Fox added 24 points for ninth-place Sacramento, which controlled the 9 vs. 10 play-in game. The Pelicans will visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, with the winner receiving the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs and a matchup with the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.

Stephen Curry scored 22 points for the Warriors, who came in 10th in the West and will miss the playoffs for the third time in five seasons. Curry committed six turnovers and his long-time Splash Brother teammate, Klay Thompson, had a forgettable contest by missing all 10 of his shots while going scoreless.

Reserves Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga each put up 16 points for the Warriors. Golden State's Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins scored 12 apiece.

The victory was a dose of payback for the Kings, who blew a 2-0 lead in a first-round playoff series against Golden State last season as the Warriors won four of the last five.

Harrison Barnes scored 17 points and Domantas Sabonis had 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for the Kings. Keon Ellis added 15 points, five assists, three steals and three blocked shots for Sacramento, which shot 43.9 percent from the field, including 18 of 39 (46.2 percent) from 3-point range.

The Warriors connected on 41.2 percent of their field-goal attempts and were 10 of 32 (31.2 percent) from behind the arc.

Sabonis scored four straight points and Barnes followed with a jumper to give the Kings a 97-78 advantage with 9:35 left in the game.

Golden State crept within 13, but Murray and Barnes drained 3-pointers to push the lead to 105-86 with 6:09 remaining. Barnes added four free throws to make the margin 23 with 4:39 to play.

Murray drilled his eighth trey to make it 116-90 with 2:15 left as the Kings closed it out.

Murray scored 14 of his 16 first-half points in the opening quarter, and Sacramento led 31-22 after 12 minutes.

The Kings were up by 16 early in the second quarter before Golden State pulled within 54-50 entering the break. Kuminga scored 12 in the half for the Warriors.

Sacramento used a 21-7 burst during the third quarter to stretch its lead to 77-62 on Fox's trey with 5:39 remaining in the period. The Warriors pulled with 81-71 on Moody's basket with 3:53 left before the Kings took a 91-76 lead into the final stanza.

LeBron James, Lakers edge Pelicans, clinch playoff bid

LeBron James recorded 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and the Los Angeles Lakers clinched a playoff berth with a 110-106 victory over the host New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.

D'Angelo Russell added 21 points for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who led by as many as 18 points in the play-in game. Anthony Davis had 20 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots for Los Angeles.

The Lakers will face second-seeded Denver in the first round of the playoffs, with Game 1 on Saturday in Colorado. The Nuggets are the defending NBA champions.

New Orleans star Zion Williamson scored 40 points on 17-of-27 shooting and collected 11 rebounds before exiting with 3:13 left in the game due to an undisclosed injury.

Trey Murphy III added 12 points for the Pelicans and Brandon Ingram scored 11.

New Orleans receives a second chance to claim a playoff spot on Friday night. The Pelicans will host the winner of the late Tuesday game between the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings.

Davis scored a tiebreaking basket to put the Lakers ahead by two with 1:23 left. Larry Nance Jr. split two free throws 15 seconds later to move the Pelicans within 101-100. Russell then drilled a corner 3-pointer to give Los Angeles a four-point edge with 50.3 seconds to play.

CJ McCollum made a short jumper in the lane to pull New Orleans within 104-102 with 38.2 seconds left. Davis hit two free throws with 14.8 seconds remaining as the Lakers took a four-point lead and held off the charge.

Austin Reaves scored 16 points and Rui Hachimura added 13 for the Lakers, who shot 41.7 percent from the field and made 14 of 35 (40 percent) from 3-point range.

New Orleans hit 46.2 percent of its shots, including 9 of 30 (30 percent) from behind the arc. Jose Alvarado, Herbert Jones and Nance added 10 points apiece.

The Lakers led by 18 in the third quarter, but Murphy and Alvarado each buried a 3-pointer during a 9-0 surge as the Pelicans moved within 91-89 with 5:41 left in the game.

New Orleans caught the Lakers at 93 when Alvarado's alley-oop pass was slammed through the net by Williamson with 3:53 left.

Williamson scored on a driving hoop 34 seconds later to knot the score at 95 but was injured on the play. He displayed his frustration before heading to the locker room.

Los Angeles held a 10-point halftime lead and soon used a 10-2 spurt to open up a 73-55 lead. Reaves capped it with a basket with 6:53 left in the third quarter.

Los Angeles led 83-76 entering the fourth quarter.

James and Russell scored 15 points apiece as the Lakers led 60-50 at halftime. Williamson had 20 points and eight rebounds in the half for New Orleans.

Report: Kawhi Leonard lands final Olympics roster spot

In a sign that Kawhi Leonard's right knee inflammation continues to improve, the Los Angeles Clippers' All-Star forward was named to the final spot on the USA Basketball roster for the upcoming Paris Olympics, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.

When reports of the USA roster surfaced Monday, one spot was still unnamed and was expected to stay open through the team's training camp.

Leonard's inclusion comes on the same day he was a partial participant in Clippers practice Tuesday in advance of the team's opener in the first round of the playoffs Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks.

Leonard, 32, averaged 23.7 points with 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 68 games (all starts) this season. But he missed the final eight games of the regular season, leaving the team's four-game road trip that began late last month in order to return to Los Angeles for treatment.

His availability for the playoff opener has yet to be determined by head coach Tyronn Lue.

Leonard has dealt with knee issues in recent seasons, playing in 52 games during the 2020-21 season, missing all of the 2021-22 campaign because of an ACL injury, then playing 52 games (50 starts) in 2022-23. His 68 games this season were his most since playing 74 for the San Antonio Spurs in 2016-17.

The 12-player roster is a star-studded cast and will include Stephen Curry, who is making his first appearance in the Olympics.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns also were featured on the roster. James is slated to make his first Olympics appearance since 2012 and the fourth of his career.

The other team members named were Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday of the Boston Celtics, Joel Embiid of the Philadephia 76ers, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat and Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers, according to reports.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr serves as Team USA head coach and will be assisted by Lue, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Gonzaga coach Mark Few.

Hawks seek fresh start with play-in game vs. Bulls

The Atlanta Hawks ended the regular season on a downhill slide with six consecutive losses.

Now they need only a two-game winning streak to reach the playoffs.

The Hawks have renewed life due to the Eastern Conference play-in round and will visit the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

Atlanta (36-46) is the 10th seed in the East with Chicago (39-43) set at No. 9. The loser on Wednesday is eliminated.

The winner will face either the No. 7 seed Philadelphia 76ers or No. 8 Miami Heat on Friday for a spot in the playoffs.

The Hawks are a battered team that recently lost standout forward Jalen Johnson (ankle) for the near future. Big man Onyeka Okongwu (big toe) also is sidelined while forward Saddiq Bey (knee) was lost for the season five weeks ago.

That makes the three-time All-Star Trae Young a key figure if Atlanta is going to make a run to the postseason.

Young recently returned from a 23-game absence due to a torn ligament in his left pinkie finger. He averaged 15 points and 10 assists during Atlanta's final three games.

Though his scoring totals were modest, Young was on a minutes restriction that gradually increased. He played 21 minutes in his return, then 27 and 32.

"I feel a lot better," Young said. "I'm just trying to make sure I can play at least close to my minutes that I played in the regular season in the play-in game."

Young will complement Dejounte Murray, who had outputs of 29, 12 and 32 points since Young returned.

The Hawks will be short-handed, but coach Quin Snyder isn't fretting over the situation.

"That's just something, as I've said, really, it's no different than throughout the course of the year," Snyder said. "The guys that you do have, they have to be ready to go and have to play at a high level, and you can't lament those things. So we'll be ready."

Atlanta was thrashed 157-115 by the host Indiana Pacers in Sunday's regular-season finale.

Chicago ended the regular season with a 120-119 overtime loss against the host New York Knicks.

DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points but missed a short shot with 2.8 seconds left in overtime.

DeRozan was crushed afterward even though the game had no bearing on the Bulls' postseason picture.

"Everybody out there wanted to win," DeRozan said. "So I don't know, it just felt like one of those games like we were playing for something, and we are."

DeRozan is happy about the state of the Bulls despite the fact they finished the regular season four games below .500.

"I'm proud of this group," DeRozan said. "Even the way we competed going into the play-in game shows you with the amount of things we went through, us being ready for what's next. This year has been a lot to build up a lot of resiliency in us all, and it's brought us a lot closer. And with that it's going to be a lot of positives that can carry over."

Chicago lost standout Zach LaVine (foot) for the season nearly three months ago but is certainly healthier than the Hawks.

Big man Andre Drummond (sprained left ankle) and guard Ayo Dosunmu (bruised right quadriceps) are both listed as questionable for the Bulls.

Chicago took two of three meetings with Atlanta this season, but the visiting Hawks prevailed 113-101 in the most recent clash on April 1.

Bogdan Bogdanovic had 20 points as one of six Atlanta players in double digits, while DeRozan poured in 31 for the Bulls.

NBA Play-In: Warriors-Kings Preview, Props & Prediction

The Golden State Warriors sent the Sacramento Kings home last season by rallying to win a seven-game first-round playoff series with the finale set in California's capital city.

The Warriors once again will try to make it a disappointing ending for host Sacramento on Tuesday night when they face the Kings in a loser-goes-home Western Conference play-in contest.

TRENDING

The Warriors are consensus 2.5-point favorites. That includes at BetMGM, where they have been backed by 75 percent of the spread-line money while their -140 moneyline has drawn 80 percent of the money wagered.

The line has also shifted to 2.5 points at BetRivers, where Golden State opened as a 3.0-point favorite. The Warriors have also received lopsided support at the book, drawing 78 percent of the spread-line money while their -137 moneyline has been backed by a whopping 95 percent of the action.

Prediction: This feels like the end of the road for the Warriors' trio of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Where the road officially ends remains to be seen, but it won't be Tuesday night in Sacramento. --Warriors 115, Kings 108

PROP PICK

Domantas Sabonis Over 12.5 rebounds (-152 at BetRivers): This has been the most popular player prop at the book, drawing 4.2 percent of the total player prop money wagered on this game. Sabonis averaged 13.7 rebounds per game during the regular season and 14.1 in eight April games.

He had only eight in each of the past two matchups against the Warriors, but did pull down 18 in an October game at Golden State and 11 in a home loss to the Warriors five days later.

THE NEWS

Green said he expects to be roundly booed again when he steps on the court in Sacramento. His playoff antics from last season have not been forgotten as part of an electric series in which the Kings won the first two games before Golden State recovered to win four of the final five.

Curry's 50-point performance in Game 7 allowed the Warriors to advance, Green's stomping on the midsection of the Kings' Domantas Sabonis in the fourth quarter of Game 2 lives on as the series-defining visual.

"It kind of has brewed into (a rivalry)," said Green, "but for us, it's another game we have to go win. We've got to get it done."

Sabonis is having a monster season with 77 double-doubles, while teaming up with star point guard De'Aaron Fox to get the Kings in the playoffs for the second straight season after 16 consecutive fruitless campaigns.

The history of losing made last season's postseason ouster feel even harsher for Sacramento.

"It's exciting," Kings guard Davion Mitchell said of facing Golden State. "We get to get a little payback for last year. We know they're going to come here with energy. It's a home game. We know it's going to be loud. It's going to be physical. I think we are ready for it."

Sacramento floundered down the stretch with five setbacks in six games prior to hammering the visiting Portland Trail Blazers 121-82 in Sunday's regular-season finale.

The Kings were eyeing a possible top-six playoff spot when they sat 13 games above .500 with just 11 games left. But a 4-7 finish landed Sacramento in the high-stakes 9 vs. 10 game.

"We welcome anybody that's in front of us," Sacramento coach Mike Brown said. "We are just excited about an opportunity to play. And again, situations like this, we as a group right now, haven't been through. And so to go play one game right now, that's how I look at it and swing for the fences. Try to get a win."

KEY STAT

The Warriors had a hot finish with 10 wins in 12 games, including Sunday's 123-116 home win over the Utah Jazz. Golden State didn't permanently get over .500 until Feb. 15. After being five games under .500 on Jan. 27, the Warriors went 27-12 the rest of the regular season.

SERIES HISTORY

The teams split four regular-season meetings this season -- going 1-1 in both Sacramento and San Francisco.

THEY SAID IT

"We have a really good connection on this team, good chemistry, guys pulling for each other. So I've got a good feeling about what's ahead," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "I think we still have a chance to do something special.

"Now, obviously, it's (the) NCAA Tournament. We've got to get out of the first weekend here, win the first two and get to the first round, but we have a shot, so we're excited about that."

UP NEXT

The winner of the game between the No. 10 seed Warriors (46-36) and No. 9 Kings (46-36) will advance to play either the No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers or No. 7 New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. The winner on Friday advances to play the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

Green is confident his squad will still be playing next week.

"We just got to go win," Green said. "When this team's back is against the wall, I like how this group shows up."

Joel Embiid's status looms over Heat-76ers play-in game

The Philadelphia 76ers are a much better team with Joel Embiid in the lineup.

While that's hardly breaking news, there's a noticeable difference in the way the 76ers play when the reigning NBA MVP is on the floor. Now, whether Embiid will be able to suit up on Wednesday in the NBA play-in round against the visiting Miami Heat remains to be seen.

"Yeah, hopefully," 76ers coach Nick Nurse said of Embiid's availability, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Not sure on anybody, but I'm hopeful."

Embiid tweaked his left knee during the 76ers' 125-113 win on Friday against the Orlando Magic, an injury that occurred in his just fifth game after being sidelined two months due to a torn meniscus. Embiid, who averaged a robust 34.7 points and 11.0 rebounds while playing just 39 games, sat out Sunday's season finale against the Brooklyn Nets for what the team labeled as precautionary reasons.

Embiid reportedly wasn't the worse for wear during Monday's practice, well in the eyes of teammate Kelly Oubre Jr.

"He made shots. He looked normal. He looked like himself," Oubre said, per the Inquirer. "But you could definitely tell the seriousness in his face, in his work ethic, and everything he's doing in the way he's carrying himself.

"He wants to win, so it's good to see him moving, doing his thing."

Embiid did his thing in Miami on April 4. The seven-time All-Star scored 29 points in Philadelphia's 109-105 victory over the Heat.

Another performance like that and the 76ers likely can secure the Eastern Conference's seventh seed and set up a first-round series against the second-seeded New York Knicks. The loser of Wednesday's contest will play an elimination game on Friday against either the Chicago Bulls or Atlanta Hawks for the eighth seed -- and the right to play the top-seeded Boston Celtics.

Standing in Philadelphia's way on Wednesday is Jimmy Butler, or "Playoff Jimmy" as he's known at this time of the year.

Butler, who was traded from the 76ers to the Heat in the summer of 2019, has guided Miami to two NBA Finals appearances in the last four seasons.

The six-time All-Star averaged 20.8 points, 5.0 assists and 1.3 steals this season for the Heat, who won seven of their final 10 games.

Butler, however, was not interested in reflecting on last season's team that navigated its way out of the play-in tournament. Miami ousted the Milwaukee Bucks in five games, New York in six and Boston in seven before falling to the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals.

"We're not the same group as last year," Butler said, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "So we'll leave that where it's at and we're moving forward with the group that we do have.

"But we, I, are very confident in the guys we do have and we know what we're capable of."

Bam Adebayo contributed 19.3 points and 10.4 rebounds this season.

Like Philadelphia, Miami has its own injury concerns. Kevin Love exited the Heat's season finale on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors due to a left arm injury.

Terry Rozier (neck) and Duncan Robinson (back) have missed the last four games due to their respective injuries.

NBA Play-In: Lakers-Pelicans Preview, Props & Prediction

The NBA playoffs officially tip off with Tuesday night's play-in game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans, who will play host to the one-and-done series two nights after getting thumped at home by the very same opponent.

The Lakers (47-35) enter as the No. 8 seed, and didn't even leave town after Sunday's 124-108 win over the Pelicans (49-33), who had to settle for the No. 7 seed. Tuesday's winner will advance to play the second-seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

TRENDING

The Pelicans are consensus 1.5-point favorites despite trailing by as many as 32 points on Sunday in a game that had potential for New Orleans to claim the No. 6 seed and avoid this rematch. It was actually the closest of the four meetings between the teams this season, three of which were won by the Lakers.

New Orleans has home-court advantage, or does it? The Pelicans have dropped their past five home games and haven't won at the Smoothie King Center since March 28.

Los Angeles has predictably drawn 71 percent of the spread-line bets and 60 percent of the money at BetMGM, where the Lakers' +100 moneyline has also been backed by 76 percent of the money. The same spread at BetRivers has seen the Lakers supported by a smaller majority with 57 percent of the bets and 55 percent of the money.

Prediction: LeBron James has owned Zion Williamson in their head-to-head matchups, and the veteran Lakers are poised to handle the Pelicans for a fourth time in five tries this season. --Lakers 118, Pelicans 110

PROP PICK

LeBron James Over 26.5 Points (-115 at BetMGM): James averaged 25.7 points during the regular season, which he capped by averaging 32.7 points over the past three games. That included 28 points in 38 minutes on Sunday. James scored just 21 in a Feb. 9 home win over the Pelicans, but he did tally 35 in a New Year's Eve win in New Orleans and had 30 in an in-season tournament win over the Pelicans earlier that month.

THE NEWS

James isn't feeling comfortable about the repeat matchup even though his squad just steamrolled the Pelicans on the latter's home floor.

"Tuesday's game is going to be extremely hard, extremely difficult, extremely physical," James said. "I've always known that, when you play a playoff series -- and I look at this like a two-game playoff series -- if you win that first game, a team has multiple days to kind of sit on that feeling, or sit with that taste in their mouth of defeat.

"So they're going to be extremely ready for us and we have to come in with the same sense of urgency that we had the previous game."

Pelicans coach Willie Green certainly isn't going to forget the bitter taste between now and tipoff.

"We have to come back with the right mentality," Green said. "They were the aggressors. We have to be the aggressive team. We have to be the more physical team. We have to keep them out of our paint and make them take contested shots and rebound the ball.

"They played with a ton of force. They came out right away. At least for the first half, they punched us right in the mouth and kept going."

James recorded 28 points, a season-best 17 assists, 11 rebounds and five steals during the easy win. Anthony Davis had 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting and collected 11 rebounds before leaving with back spasms just past the midway point of the final quarter.

Williamson had just 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting while often being guarded by James, and New Orleans gave up 70 first-half points after returning home from a 4-0 road trip.

INJURY REPORT

Listed as questionable, Davis maintained there was no way he would sit out against the Pelicans, the team with which he spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career.

"No doubt that I'm going to play," Davis said. "Get some treatment, keep it loose, just see how I feel over the next 24-36 hours."

New Orleans forward Brandon Ingram (left knee) returned from a 12-game absence to score 13 points in 23 minutes Sunday. Ingram figures to be available for more minutes on Tuesday.

KEY STAT

CJ McCollum has been a standout this month for the Pelicans and he scored 25 points on Sunday for his seventh straight game of 25 or more points.

McCollum had topped 30 four times during the stretch and is 42 of 80 (52.5) from 3-point range during the seven-game hot streak.

"We will be better in the next game. It was a good road trip. We got four wins on the road," he said. "Now we have to take care of business on home court."

Former No. 1 pick Blake Griffin retires after 14 seasons

Former Oklahoma star and No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Blake Griffin retired after 14 seasons on Tuesday.

Griffin announced his retirement on social media, expressing how appreciative he was despite the ups and downs throughout his career.

"I'm thankful for every single moment -- not just the good ones: the wins, the awards, the dunks, and the memorable times spent with family, friends, fans, teammates, and coaches," he wrote.

He continued: "I'm equally thankful for the not-so-good moments: the losses, the injuries, the wayyyy too many surgeries, the lessons, the heartbreaks, and it wouldn't be [a] sports retirement letter without acknowledging the ‘haters.' All of these experiences made my 14 years in the league truly unforgettable, and I can't help but to just feel thankful."

Griffin, 35, was a six-time All-Star forward who won the 2010-11 Rookie of the Year Award with the Los Angeles Clippers, who selected him first overall in the 2009 draft. Griffin missed the 2009-10 season due to a knee injury.

Griffin also made the first of five straight All-Star appearances in 2010-11 and won the Slam Dunk Contest, leaping over a car for a dunk.

Despite the addition of Chris Paul in 2011-12, the Clippers never got past the Western Conference semifinals during the Griffin era and traded him to the Detroit Pistons during the 2017-18 season. Griffin had signed a five-year, $171 million extension with the Clippers a few months earlier.

After stints with the Pistons and Brooklyn Nets, Griffin played last season for the Boston Celtics but did not play in the NBA this season.

His best season came in 2013-14, when he finished third in MVP voting after averaging 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

For his career, Griffin averaged 19.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 765 games (692 starts). He received second-team All-NBA honors three times and third-team All-NBA twice.

Report: Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo to miss start of playoffs

Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss the start of the first-round series between the Bucks and the Indiana Pacers with a left calf strain, ESPN reported Tuesday.

Antetokounmpo was sidelined for the final three games of the regular season after the two-time MVP exited the April 9 win over the Boston Celtics.

ESPN reported Antetokounmpo committed to around-the-clock treatment for the muscle strain but was doubtful for Game 1 in Milwaukee.

The Pacers are the No. 6 seed in the East and dominated the regular-season series with the third-seeded Bucks, going 4-1. In Milwaukee's lone win this season over Indiana on Dec. 13, Antetokounmpo scored 64 points with 14 rebounds and four steals to carry the Bucks to a 140-126 victory.

Without Antetokounmpo, the third-seeded Bucks lost the No. 2 spot in the East to the New York Knicks on the final day of the regular season.

Antetokounmpo, 29, played in 73 regular-season games and the eight-time All-Star averaged 30.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists on a career-best 61.1 percent shooting from the field.

Nets reportedly eyeing Kings' Jordi Fernandez as head coach

The Brooklyn Nets are targeting Sacramento Kings assistant coach Jordi Fernandez to be their new head coach, ESPN reported Monday night.

The Nets fired Jacque Vaughn after starting the 2023-24 season 21-33, and they finished 11-17 under interim coach Kevin Ollie.

According to ESPN, Nets general manager Sean Marks conducted numerous interviews with candidates, and Fernandez passed the initial phase to talk directly with team owner Joe Tsai.

Fernandez, a 41-year-old native of Barcelona, Spain, is currently the head coach of the Canadian national team, which he led to a bronze medal at the 2023 FIBA World Cup. He also has served as an assistant coach for the Spanish and Nigerian national teams.

His first NBA work experience was serving as a player development coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2009-13. He spent a year as an assistant and two years as head coach of the Cavaliers' G League affiliate in Canton, Ohio, before working as an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets from 2016-22.

Fernandez joined the Kings' coaching staff in August 2022.

Brooklyn (32-50) finished in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, four games out of the final play-in position. The Nets had made the playoffs in each of the previous five seasons, but they are now looking for their fifth head coach since the beginning of the 2019-20 campaign.

Reports: Team USA Olympic roster includes LeBron, Curry

USA Basketball has settled on most of its roster for the Paris Olympics, which will include Stephen Curry making his first trip to the Games, ESPN and The Athletic reported Monday.

The team, led by managing director Grant Hill, has cemented 11 of 12 roster spots while leaving one vacancy to be filled after a training camp this July, according to ESPN.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns are also featured on the roster. James is slated to make his first Olympic appearance since 2012 and the fourth of his career.

The other team members locked in are Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday of the Boston Celtics, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat and Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers, the reports said.

Curry was not selected for the team that participated in the 2012 London Games, which took place after his third year in the NBA and before his rise as one of the greatest shooters in league history. He withdrew from consideration for the roster in 2016 due to multiple nagging injuries and turned down the 2021 Tokyo Games.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr serves as Team USA's head coach and will be assisted by Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Gonzaga coach Mark Few.

Warriors, Kings meet in high-stakes play-in game

The Golden State Warriors sent the Sacramento Kings home last season by rallying to win a seven-game first-round playoff series with the finale set in California's capital city.

The Warriors once again will try to make it a disappointing ending for host Sacramento on Tuesday night when they face the Kings in a loser-goes-home Western Conference play-in contest.

The winner of the game between the No. 10 seed Warriors (46-36) and No. 9 Kings (46-36) will advance to play either the No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers or No. 7 New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. The winner on Friday advances to play the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

Golden State's Draymond Green is confident his squad will still be playing next week.

"We just got to go win," Green said. "When this team's back is against the wall, I like how this group shows up."

Green said he expects to be roundly booed again when he steps on the court in Sacramento. His playoff antics from last season have not been forgotten as part of an electric series in which the Kings won the first two games before Golden State recovered to win four of the final five.

Though Stephen Curry's 50-point performance in Game 7 allowed the Warriors to advance, Green's stomping on the midsection of the Kings' Domantas Sabonis in the fourth quarter of Game 2 lives on as the series-defining visual.

"It kind of has brewed into (a rivalry)," said Green, "but for us, it's another game we have to go win. We've got to get it done."

Sabonis is having a monster season with 77 double-doubles, while teaming up with star point guard De'Aaron Fox to get the Kings in the playoffs for the second straight season after 16 consecutive fruitless campaigns.

The history of losing made last season's postseason ouster feel even harsher for Sacramento.

"It's exciting," Kings guard Davion Mitchell said of facing Golden State. "We get to get a little payback for last year. We know they're going to come here with energy. It's a home game. We know it's going to be loud. It's going to be physical. I think we are ready for it."

Sacramento floundered down the stretch with five setbacks in six games prior to hammering the visiting Portland Trail Blazers 121-82 in Sunday's regular-season finale.

The Kings were eyeing a possible top-six playoff spot when they sat 13 games above .500 with just 11 games left. But a 4-7 finish landed Sacramento in the high-stakes 9 vs. 10 game.

"We welcome anybody that's in front of us," Sacramento coach Mike Brown said. "We are just excited about an opportunity to play. And again, situations like this, we as a group right now, haven't been through. And so to go play one game right now, that's how I look at it and swing for the fences. Try to get a win."

The Warriors had a hot finish with 10 wins in 12 games, including Sunday's 123-116 home win over the Utah Jazz.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr's squad didn't permanently get over .500 until Feb. 15. After being five games under .500 on Jan. 27, the Warriors went 27-12 the rest of the regular season.

"We have a really good connection on this team, good chemistry, guys pulling for each other. So I've got a good feeling about what's ahead," Kerr said. "I think we still have a chance to do something special.

"Now, obviously, it's (the) NCAA Tournament. We've got to get out of the first weekend here, win the first two and get to the first round, but we have a shot, so we're excited about that."

The teams split four regular-season meetings this season -- going 1-1 in both Sacramento and San Francisco.

Play-in tourney lines up Pelicans for revenge on Lakers

The New Orleans Pelicans could have avoided a rematch against the Los Angeles Lakers by winning the regular-season finale between the teams Sunday and claiming a top-six playoff spot.

Instead, the Lakers again outclassed the Pelicans and didn't even have to leave town as the two teams will square off in New Orleans on Tuesday during the NBA play-in round.

The winner of the contest between the No. 8 seed Lakers (47-35) and No. 7 Pelicans (49-33) will advance to play the second-seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

The loser will get a second chance to make the playoff field on Friday when its play-in opponent will be the Golden State Warriors or Sacramento Kings.

The Lakers led by as many as 32 points during Sunday's convincing 124-108 win over New Orleans. Los Angeles beat the Pelicans by 44 points Dec. 7 and won three of this season's four matchups.

Lakers star LeBron James isn't feeling comfortable about the repeat matchup even though his squad just steamrolled the Pelicans on the latter's home floor.

"Tuesday's game is going to be extremely hard, extremely difficult, extremely physical," James said. "I've always known that, when you play a playoff series -- and I look at this like a two-game playoff series -- if you win that first game, a team has multiple days to kind of sit on that feeling, or sit with that taste in their mouth of defeat.

"So they're going to be extremely ready for us and we have to come in with the same sense of urgency that we had the previous game."

Pelicans coach Willie Green certainly isn't going to forget the bitter taste between now and tipoff.

"We have to come back with the right mentality," Green said. "They were the aggressors. We have to be the aggressive team. We have to be the more physical team. We have to keep them out of our paint and make them take contested shots and rebound the ball.

"They played with a ton of force. They came out right away. At least for the first half, they punched us right in the mouth and kept going."

James recorded 28 points, a season-best 17 assists, 11 rebounds and five steals during the easy win. Anthony Davis had 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting and collected 11 rebounds before leaving with back spasms just past the midway point of the final quarter.

Davis, listed as questionable on the injury report, maintained there was no way he would sit out against the Pelicans, the team with which he spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career.

"No doubt that I'm going to play," Davis said after Los Angeles won for the 11th time in its past 14 games. "Get some treatment, keep it loose, just see how I feel over the next 24-36 hours."

New Orleans forward Brandon Ingram (left knee) returned from a 12-game absence to score 13 points in 23 minutes Sunday. Ingram figures to be available for more minutes on Tuesday.

CJ McCollum has been a standout this month for the Pelicans and he scored 25 points on Sunday for his seventh straight game of 25 or more points.

McCollum had topped 30 four times during the stretch and is 42 of 80 (52.5) from 3-point range during the seven-game hot streak.

But McCollum's latest solid effort had little effect on Sunday's game. Zion Williamson had just 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting while often being guarded by James, and New Orleans gave up 70 first-half points after returning home from a 4-0 road trip.

"We didn't play well enough to win," McCollum said. "We will be better in the next game. It was a good road trip. We got four wins on the road. Now we have to take care of business on home court."

NBA sets all-time regular-season attendance record

The NBA broke all-time regular-season records for total attendance, average attendance and sellouts for the second straight year in 2023-24.

The final numbers released by the league Monday included a total attendance of 22,536,341 (up from 22,234,502 in 2022-23), an average attendance of 18,322 (18,077 last season) and 872 sellouts (791 in 2022-23). Arenas were filled to 98 percent capacity, also an all-time high.

Ten teams sold out every home game: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings.

The league said fans from more than 150 countries and territories attended games during the regular season, which ended Sunday.

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