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By John L. | PLAYOFF TIME

LeBron James told the Cavs to make the J.R. Smith trade that saved Cleveland's season

Four months after the New York Knicks traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a tax on Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith scored 28 points in a 97-89 Game 1 win over the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals.

With Kevin Love hurt and Kyrie Irving playing on roughly 0.75 legs, Smith became …

Lebron James

How the Houston Rockets blew a golden opportunity to stun the Warriors in 48 seconds

The Houston Rockets suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.

The Warriors escaped with a 99-98 victory after James Harden was unable to get the potential game-winning shot off at the buzzer on the final possessions.

Prior to that, the …

NBA

Home Is Where the Much-Needed Help Is for Stephen Curry and the Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. — Sometimes, home-court advantage detonates in a buzzer-beating moment of exultation.

Sometimes, home-court advantage occurs back in the shadows, some comfort zone affecting something in the game in a way that can't be quantified.

Stephen Curry enjoyed some of the subtle perks of …

Stephen Curry

B/R NBA 200: Ranking the Top Combo Bigs of 2014-15 Season

What an intriguing blend of players we have before us.

There's the young basketball god known as Anthony Davis. A certain grizzled veteran on the San Antonio Spurs joins him as a standout who plays both power forward and center. Plenty of former All-Stars as well as a number of up-and-coming studs …

Sports Coaching

James Harden, Rockets Must Now Dig Themselves out of Yet Another Postseason Hole

Following a tightly contested 99-98 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, the Houston Rockets are once again left to dig themselves out of another seemingly inescapable hole.

A hole that almost wasn't.

Trailing by one inside 10 seconds to play, James Harden rebounded Harrison Barnes' …

James Harden

2015 NBA Playoffs Heat Check: Final 4 Teams Showcasing League's Elite Players

And then there were four.

Four NBA playoff teams, that is.

Fortunately for us, there are way more than four stars still fighting for a title. The Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors each employ scores of household names who are playing some of their best …

NBA

James Harden Loses Ball on Potential Game-Winning Attempt in Final Seconds

Houston Rockets star James Harden did everything he could to lead his team to victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night, but in the end, he fell one play short in the 99-98 loss.

On the final possession against the host Golden State Warriors, the defense stifled Harden and …

James Harden

Are Cleveland Cavaliers Proving They Don't Really Need Kevin Love?

Do the Cleveland Cavaliers even need Kevin Love?

Two weeks ago, this would have seemed like a ridiculous question. After Love suffered a dislocated shoulder in a series-clinching victory over the Boston Celtics, the Cavs had to make some serious lineup adjustments.

In their first game without the …

Kevin Love

2015 NBA Offseason Will Determine Ranging Value of Big Men in Today's League

Does size still matter in the NBA?

That's a question league executives will ponder and ultimately answer over the coming months.

Both the free-agent market and incoming draft class are overloaded with supersized frontcourt players of all types. Interior scorers, high-post producers, rim protectors …

NBA

Could Thibs and Davis Pair Up to Become the NBA's Next Pop and Duncan?

The New Orleans Pelicans are in search of a new head coach after firing Monty Williams. What the Pelicans need to do now is appease superstar forward Anthony Davis.

While hiring college coaches is becoming a trend again, what would benefit Davis most is a coach who has experience in the pros and …

Anthony Davis

LeBron James' 1-on-1 Interview with TNT's Rachel Nichols

LeBron James spoke with TNT's Rachel Nichols in a one-on-one interview, comparing the Hawks and Spurs in style of play, discussing how physical the playoffs have been for the Cavaliers and talking about his relationship with Kyrie Irving.

Watch LeBron's interview with Nichols in the video above.

Rachel Nichols

J.R. Smith, Leader? After Another Clutch Performance, the Cavaliers Say So

ATLANTA — The first shot was a bit forced, though not quite to the degree of some others, a curl that led to a step-back, and then a splash, as the ball fit through the rim with 10 seconds left on the shot clock. The second would come in better rhythm, on more solid footing, under less duress and …

J. R. Smith

Hawks' problems go beyond potential loss of Carroll

ATLANTA -- The moment came without contact, as Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll gathered the ball and readied himself to elevate past Iman Shumpert to the rim for a layup. It was a quintessential Carroll sequence. He read the passing lane in the Cleveland halfcourt the entire way. When LeBron …

NBA

Do Atlanta Hawks Stand a Chance vs. Cavaliers Without DeMarre Carroll?

Through three-and-a-half quarters of a 97-89 Game 1 loss, the Atlanta Hawks looked physically overwhelmed against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They had a tough time containing LeBron James (31 points, eight rebounds, six assists), got bludgeoned on the boards (49-37) and appeared submissive on the …

Atlanta

NBA playoffs: What does it take to be a LeBron stopper?

The old saying is defense wins championships.

For the game's most physically gifted player in LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, this has become …

Lebron James

Breaking Down the Houston Rockets' Guide to Defending Stephen Curry

Statistics from the Golden State Warriors' Game 1 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night in the Western Conference Finals clearly indicate that Stephen Curry had his way. His 34 points on 13-of-22 shooting, including 6-of-11 from three-point range, led all players.

But the numbers don't tell …

Stephen Curry

We Remember: David Letterman Interviews 23-Year-Old Michael Jordan in 1986

Wednesday night will mark David Letterman’s final time hosting the Late Show, so it’s only right that we look back at an interview with one of the biggest stars to ever grace his stage: a 23-year-old Michael Jordan.

The pair touched on everything from MJ's early years with the Chicago Bulls to his …

Michael Jordan

LeBron prepares to see Spurs 2.0

ATLANTA -- One of the intriguing aspects of this NBA postseason is the new blood in the final four, the new storylines with new faces in new settings with a new champion forthcoming. New, new, new.

But really how new is it?

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks East finals matchup certainly has …

Lebron James

Fan Creates Awesome Video That Shows Final Possession of Recent NBA Finals

There is no better moment in sports than when the final seconds of a season tick off the clock or the final out of the World Series is recorded. At that moment, one team realizes its dream and is rewarded with a championship.

Someone took the time to put together a video that shows the final …

NBA

Who Has Been the MVP of the 2015 NBA Playoffs So Far?

Stephen Curry has already been voted the 2015 NBA MVP, beating out James Harden and LeBron James. But the playoffs usually bring out the best in contenders beyond how they performed during the regular season.

For B/R Senior Writer Ric Bucher, a ballot for the top three candidates for his postseason …

NBA

Stephen Curry, Warriors Flash Extra Gear in Dramatic WCF Game 1 Win over Rockets

OAKLAND—We know by now the Houston Rockets are capable of improbable bursts of brilliance.

Game 6, remember.

We can also safely say Houston—the Western Conference's second-best team in the regular season—is worthy of the world-savaging Golden State Warriors. The Rockets proved admirable in Tuesday …

Stephen Curry

Rockets vs. Warriors: Game 1 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Despite an incredible season, James Harden finished as the runner-up to Stephen Curry in the NBA Most Valuable Player voting. And just like in the MVP race, Harden's Houston Rockets finished just short of Curry's Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday, falling …

NBA

5 NBA Teams in Need of Stylistic Overhauls

In a new NBA era dominated by pace, space and advanced stats, a certain style of play has come to dominate the Association.

But instead of explaining it piece by piece, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is here to concisely sum up the stylistic methods prosperous teams have embraced.

"To …

Sports Coaching

Insider Buzz: Could Friction with Chris Paul Drive DeAndre Jordan out of LA?

The Los Angeles Clippers looked to be the favorites in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets after coming off a seven-game defeat of the San Antonio Spurs and then going up 3-1 against Houston. But the Clippers lost their lead and were stopped short of the conference finals …

Chris Paul

Can Tony Parker Return to Top Form for San Antonio Spurs in 2015-16?

This season marked just the fourth time in the Tim Duncan-Gregg Popovich era in which the San Antonio Spurs exited the postseason after one round of competition. Understanding what went wrong is more about diagnostic accuracy than finger-pointing.

But however one frames the fallout, point guard Tony …

Tony Parker

Who Can You Trust? James Harden, Rockets to Find out in West Finals vs. Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. — Many others have been here before him.

Even better scorers. Guys heralded as true leaders. Accomplished champions.

Now James Harden assumes the titanic, but common, task of being the star player on a good basketball team that is not expected to beat the great basketball team …

James Harden

The Frozen Envelope: The NBA's Greatest Conspiracy Theory

Perhaps the most popular conspiracy theory in all of sports revolves around the 1985 NBA draft lottery. Believers claim Commissioner David Stern and the NBA rigged the lottery so the New York Knicks would get the first pick and, with it, select Patrick Ewing.

After a dominant college career at …

NBA

Kevin Ding's Preview and Prediction for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals

The No. 1 Golden State Warriors are set to face the No. 2 Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are coming off of a six-game series against the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Rockets return to the floor after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in Sunday's Game 7. Game 1 tips …

Predictions

Why NBA Has So Many Dumb Rules--And Won't Change Them

There’s a reason the NBA has dumb rules like Hack-a-Shaq, which is messing up a perfectly good post-season, dating back to the 1940s when the league emerged from the bushes in Tri-Cities and Ft. Wayne.

We always did it this way.

I didn’t say it was a good reason.

If hacking represents the absence of …

NBA