76ers

NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors rock Blazers to sweep series

NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors rock Blazers to sweep series

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Stephen Curry had 37 points before sitting out the final quarter and the Golden State Warriors welcomed back teammate Kevin Durant with a 128-103 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night to sweep their first-round playoff series.

The Warriors advanced to the conference semifinals, where they'll face the winner of the series between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers, which is tied at 2.

Golden State played for the second straight game without coach Steve Kerr, who has been experiencing a flare-up of symptoms stemming from back surgery a couple of years ago. Assistant Mike Brown has served as head coach in Kerr's absence.

Durant hadn't played since Game 1 because of a strained left calf. He started and the Warriors built a 72-48 lead by the end of the opening half (see full recap).

Powell helps Raptors beat Bucks in Game 5
TORONTO -- Putting Norm Powell in the starting lineup has changed the playoff fortunes of the Toronto Raptors.

Powell scored a career playoff-high 25 points, Kyle Lowry had 16 points and 10 assists and the Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 118-93 in Game 5 of their first-round series on Monday night.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Powell has been "a spark plug."

"In this series, he's been the X-factor," Casey said.

Serge Ibaka scored 19 points and DeMar DeRozan had 18 for the Raptors, who can advance to face defending champion Cleveland in the second round with a victory in Game 6 at Milwaukee on Thursday night (see full recap).

Hawks hold off Wizards, even series at 2-2
ATLANTA -- In a year when the geezers are coming up big in the NBA playoffs, add another one to the list.

Jose Calderon might be the most unlikely of all.

The 35-year-old Spaniard, picked up on waivers late in the season, made a huge contribution to help the Atlanta Hawks pull away from the Washington Wizards 111-101 on Monday night, evening the opening-round series at 2-all.

Answering the call when Denis Schroder got in early foul trouble, Calderon played 20 minutes, scored 10 points and dished out five assists. He joined some old-timers such as Utah's Joe Johnson and Houston's Nene making significant contributions in the postseason (see full recap).

Markelle Fultz will continue his rehabilitation with Sixers, team source confirms

erin_dunne_nbcsp_markelle_fultz_sixers.jpg
Erin Dunne/NBCSP

Markelle Fultz will continue his rehabilitation with Sixers, team source confirms

After weeks of waiting, we have an update on Markelle Fultz. Not a timeline, but an update of some sort — and a positive one at that.

Fultz has returned to Philadelphia and will continue his rehabilitation for thoracic outlet syndrome with the Sixers, a team source confirmed Saturday to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Paul Hudrick. 

The news was first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Fultz is in attendance for the Sixers' game vs. the Thunder.

Since early December, Fultz had been rehabbing in Los Angeles with physical therapist Judy Seto.

While the bottom line is that there's still no timetable on Fultz's return, the fact that he's back with the Sixers seems like a good sign. Fultz and his agent, Raymond Brothers, expect the second-year guard to play again this season, though general manager Elton Brand and the team have yet to make any definitive statements about whether they expect Fultz to be back on the court in 2019.

Fultz last played for the Sixers on Nov. 19, 2018, in a 119-114 win over the Suns. He's been sidelined since then, first by a series of agent-recommended medical consultations that culminated in his new diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome, then by his ensuing rehab.

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Charles Barkley sure had a lot to say about the Sixers

Charles Barkley sure had a lot to say about the Sixers

Charles Barkley sure had a lot to say about the Sixers in the last 24 hours.

With the team on national television against the Pacers Thursday, Barkley had some poignant comments about the team’s usage of Joel Embiid. Embiid was questionable prior to the game with back tightness, but played through it despite looking visibly uncomfortable. 

During TNT’s halftime show, Barkley went in on the Sixers for allowing Embiid to play:

Let me just say this about the Philadelphia 76ers: they’ve got to be the stupidest organization in the history of sports. You’ve got a franchise player who’s got a bad back, who’s injury-prone. He can barely walk and you’ve got him out there playing in a regular-season game. You have to be the stupidest organization.

(h/t Deadspin)

Then, less than 24 hours later as a guest on the Mike Missanelli Show, Barkley had some high praise for “the stupidest organization in the history of sports,” saying that he’d “take my chances right now with the 76ers winning the Eastern Conference.”

You can understand Barkley’s perspective considering Embiid’s injury history and his effusive praise for the Sixers’ big man.

For what it’s worth, Embiid downplayed the injury postgame, saying it’s something he’s gone through before and that he knew how to handle it. He also looked much better in the second half Thursday as he began to loosen up, helping lead the Sixers to arguably their best win of the season.

As for the Sixers' standing in the East, the team does appear to be clicking as it embarks on a brutal stretch of the schedule.

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