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NBA Playoff Notes: No timetable for Jazz center Rudy Gobert (knee) to return

NBA Playoff Notes: No timetable for Jazz center Rudy Gobert (knee) to return

LOS ANGELES -- Utah center Rudy Gobert has been diagnosed with a left knee hyperextension and bone contusion after his collision 17 seconds into the Jazz's playoff opener against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The team says he will continue to be re-evaluated. No timetable for his return was given.

Gobert was taken from Staples Center on Saturday night for an MRI, which revealed no ligament damage. Initial X-rays also were negative.

He knocked knees with Luc Mbah a Moute on the first possession of the game, which the Jazz won 97-95.

Game 2 is Tuesday at Staples Center.

Isaiah Thomas inteds to play Game 1 vs. Bulls, a day after his sister was killed
BOSTON -- Celtics coach Brad Stevens said it is point guard Isaiah Thomas' "intention to play" Sunday night in Game 1 of Boston's first-round playoff matchup with the Chicago Bulls, a day after his sister was killed in a car accident.

Stevens said Thomas went through the pregame shootaround, but added he has been emotional and it's up to him to decide whether he ultimately plays. Thomas received word that younger sister Chyna Thomas died early Saturday in a one-car interstate accident in their home state of Washington. She was 22.

The Celtics' All-Star guard was informed of her death following the team's practice Saturday afternoon.

Condolences have poured in from around the league, from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and various players and friends. Thomas, in his sixth season, grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and starred at the University of Washington.

"He's struggling," Stevens said. "Obviously, it's tragic circumstances that he and his family are going through right now. Our thoughts, first and foremost are with them...We've talked a little bit last night and then again today (that) as he goes through it and if he feels like he needs to not (play) -- then whatever he wants."

In the locker room prior to the game, emotions among Thomas' teammates were raw.

Center Al Horford, who touted the opportunity to play alongside Thomas as one of the main reasons he decided to sign with Boston as a free agent this past summer, said everyone is just trying to give him space right now. He expected Sunday's game to be an emotional experience for his teammate.

"It has to be," Horford said. "Isaiah is a very strong man and none of us have any idea what he's going through or feeling. The fact that he's even here is just a lot of credit to him. It's a difficult time, but we're here for him and we're going to go out and compete and play hard."

Forward Tyler Zeller said they just want to try to make his basketball world as easy as possible right now.

"He's the reason we are where we are," Zeller said. "He's had an unbelievable season and he's our No. 1...We're gonna go out and help him out in any way."

The Bulls were among the first NBA teams to release a statement of condolence for Thomas on Saturday. Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said he expected what is usually a high-energy Boston arena to be filled with even more emotion Sunday.

"It's a horrible tragedy," Hoiberg said. "He just seems like such a good kid, and obviously he's one of the great competitors we have in our league. ... It's just awful what happened."

Raptors continue to take care of business at home

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USA Today Images

Raptors continue to take care of business at home

TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry scored nine of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, DeMar DeRozan added 21 and the Toronto Raptors beat San Antonio 86-83 on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak against the Spurs.

Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 11 rebounds as the Raptors improved to 17-3 at home, the second-best home record in the NBA behind San Antonio's mark of 19-2.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Pau Gasol scored 15 points and Patty Mills had 13 as San Antonio lost for the fourth time in six road games. The Spurs are 11-15 away from home.

It had been more than two years since Toronto last beat San Antonio. The Raptors won 97-94 at home on Dec. 9, 2015.

San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili missed his second straight game because of a sore right thigh. Ginobili returned to Texas after the Spurs won at Brooklyn on Wednesday (see full recap).

Beal, Oubre spark Wizards’ win over Pistons
DETROIT -- Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 26 points each, and the Washington Wizards scored 45 points in the third quarter before holding on for a 122-112 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

The Pistons cut a 20-point second-half deficit to four in the fourth quarter, but John Wall made a big 3-pointer to put the Wizards up 107-100. Oubre added a four-point play a few possessions later to push Washington's lead to nine.

Andre Drummond had 14 points, 21 rebounds and eight assists for the Pistons, who have lost four straight.

Both teams were struggling coming into the game. The Wizards lost by 24 at Charlotte on Wednesday, and they fell behind by 15 in the first quarter at Detroit. It was tied at 46 at halftime, though (see full recap).

Nets edge Heat to snap 5-game home skid
NEW YORK -- DeMarre Carroll scored 26 points, Spencer Dinwiddie had 15 and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Miami Heat 101-95 on Friday night.

Brooklyn snapped a five-game losing skid at Barclays Center and a seven-game home losing streak to the Heat.

Caris LeVert and Joe Harris each added 12 points for the Nets. D'Angelo Russell played 14 minutes and went 0-for-5 from the field for Brooklyn in his first action after missing 32 games following left knee surgery.

Hassan Whiteside had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Goran Dragic scored 17 points for the Heat.

LeVert made an acrobatic layup to give the Nets a 95-91 lead with 57.8 seconds remaining and then made a step-back jumper to ice the game at 97-91 (see full recap).

Is a rival upset with Embiid's ASG starter nod?

Is a rival upset with Embiid's ASG starter nod?

While Joel Embiid was sharing his first All-Star nod with his teammates and deciding to move on from his former crush, at least one person wasn’t happy that the Sixers’ center was tabbed as a starter.

Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis feels like he should have garnered that final frontcourt spot in the Eastern Conference.

“Players know,” he said, per the New York Daily News. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

True, Porzingis had more of the players’ support as he finished third in the East in that category compared to Embiid in fourth. 

However, Embiid had the trump card with a pair of third-place finishes in both media and fan voting while Porzingis came in fourth. The fan vote was the main key, as it accounted for 50 percent of the overall tally.

“I feel very blessed to be in this type of position,” Embiid said Thursday. “Thank all the fans out there for the support. It’s been a tough couple of years and I really appreciate it — everybody out there, everybody around me, the whole team, the whole organization, the fans especially, for making this happen. We can only get better from here.”

If Embiid is going to get even better, look out. He’s already averaging 23.9 points (48.7 percent shooting), 11.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 blocks per game this season. Oh yeah, he also has the Sixers with a 21-20 record and sitting in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, Porzingis’ overall numbers have gone down every month this season. He’s currently putting up 23.6 points (43.4 percent shooting), 6.9 boards, 1.2 assists and 2.4 blocks a night. And the Knicks have lost 11 of their last 15 games to fall to 20-25.

“Everybody has their own opinion,” Porzingis said. “Fans are one thing. It is what it is. There are a lot of things I could have done better also. It is what it is.”