NBA PLAYOFFS & MORE

LeBron James ripped the Toronto Raptors’ hearts out in Game 3. On Monday night, he and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers finished the job, putting the East’s No. 1 seed out of its misery and reminding anyone who’d ever dared to doubt — and in this rag-tag Cavs season, that was an awful lot of us — just who continues to control this conference. By Dan Devine

LeBron James and the Cavs barely broke a sweat in sweeping the Raptors out of the postseason for the second straight spring. (Getty)

The Philadelphia 76ers are still alive in the playoffs. Needing a win to extend their second-round series with the Boston Celtics, the Sixers went out and got one, winning an ugly Game 4 to cut the series deficit to 3-1. There were all sorts of missed shots, turnovers and fouls to go around, as the game hearkened back to the 1980s or 90s, and not in a good way. By 

Dwane Casey overhauled the Raptors’ offense. He empowered Toronto’s young bench. He got the team to buy in defensively. Yet, the Raptors once again trail LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the playoffs. Toronto is down 3-0 entering tonight’s Game 4 in Cleveland. Could this be Casey’s last game coaching the Raptors? By Dan Feldman

It’s no secret that Draymond Green is the emotional leader of the Golden State Warriors. Coach Steve Kerr often talks about the thin line Green walks between maximum intensity and loss of control. But what happened after the Warriors’ 119-100 Game 3 loss to the Pelicans perfectly illustrates what makes him so important to the team. By 

The smile formed on Stephen Curry’s face as he processed both his progress on his left knee and the Warriors’ Game 4 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. The smile still remained as Curry exited the arena and stopped a few times to pose for pictures with fans.

Those blissful moments on Sunday, however, hardly compared to what happened next. Curry spoke to The Bay Area News Group about Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser helping him during his recent rehab on a left knee injury that kept him out for 5 ½ weeks. As he talked, Curry exited the loading dock and saw Fraser patiently waiting for him by the team bus. Curry’s eyes brightened and his smile spread wider. By 

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) warms up with assistant coach Bruce Fraser before the start of their game against the Atlanta Hawks at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)
Clifford Ray, from left, Jamaal Wilkes and Rick Barry of the 1974-75 Golden State Warriors meet the media on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of their NBA league championship, Monday, March 23, 2015, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

Save it for the next round. Says who? Says Rick Barry. Barry, the Warriors Hall of Famer, dropped in on 95.7 The Game on Monday morning, where he was asked if the series, which the Warriors lead 3-1, was over. I mean, if you’re going to give Barry an uncontested 15-footer he’s going to bury it, even at 74. By 

Pistons owner Tom Gores promised changes to the organization. Pistons president-coach Stan Van Gundy reportedly resisted Gores’ specific ideas. Something had to give, and apparently it was Van Gundy’s job. By  Dan Feldman

David Fizdale is smart, knows the game, can communicate, and comes with a world of confidence. Being head coach of the New York Knicks has felled plenty of men with those and better credentials. Fizdale is going to get his shot. The Knicks made it official on Monday, Fizdale is their new head coach. By Kurt Helin

The 76ers dropped confetti, but the Celtics took a 3-0 lead in their second-round series. Brown is not only playing hurt, he’s giving great quotes hurt. By Dan Feldman

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