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#1 by sakura698 , Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:43 pm

For the sixth time since 2001, the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks will square off in the playoffs, starting Sunday afternoon at the AT&T Center. Bashaud Breeland Super Bowl Jersey . Watch the game live on TSN2 starting at 1pm et/10am pt. For the 17th consecutive season, the Spurs will be in the postseason. For the seventh time since 1997, the Spurs finished with the best record in the Western Conference. The Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili returned intact and key contributors did exactly what Spurs role players do - they played sensationally. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Patty Mills, Boris Diaw and, especially newcomer Marco Belinelli, played brilliantly for stretches this season. Popovich is a master of resting his players as the season progresses and San Antonio heads to the postseason in good health. "We had an unbelievable regular season, we put ourselves in a great situation to be No. 1 overall," said Ginobili. "Were going for it, like every year." If there was ever a season the Spurs couldve folded, this wouldve been the one. Their longevity is stunning, but this season couldve very easily been a championship defense until Ray Allen stuck a dagger in the Spurs hearts. Miamis Allen made a crazy 3-pointer to tie Game 6 of the NBA Finals, a game the Heat went on to win. Miami took Game 7 to win back-to-back titles, but the inevitability of a San Antonio win in Game 6 was so clear, tape was being put up around the floor in Miami to prepare for San Antonios celebration. "What does impress me about the group is that theyve gotten themselves in this position after a devastating loss in the Finals last year," Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said earlier in the week. "I thought they were pretty amazing after Game 6 to play as hard as they did in Game 7, when I think a lot of teams would have just given in. Beyond that, they came back, put it aside and have done what theyve done. I think thats pretty impressive. I dont think a lot of people have picked up on that but I have and Im really impressed with them." The Mavericks are back in the playoffs after a one-year absence, meaning Dallas has been in the postseason 13 of the last 14 years. They earned the eighth seed after a gritty overtime loss on Wednesday to the Grizzlies in Memphis. "Yeah, well be OK," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said immediately after the loss in Memphis. "I feel good about our team. I really do. And (Wednesday night) is a great indication of the fight we have in us. Were going to take that fight to San Antonio." The Spurs have won nine straight against their Texas rivals, including a four- game sweep this season, but that doesnt mean Dallas doesnt know what it takes to beat San Antonio. "What youve got to do against San Antonio is youve got to be a little smarter than we were in the last couple of outings," said Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki. "We feel like one little, two little mistakes and boom, its a three. A brutal missed boxout, pass out and three. Against that team youve got to be smart, youve got to execute perfectly and weve got to shoot the ball well." Nowitzki made yet another All-Star team with averages of 21.7 ppg and 6.2 rpg. He shot 90 percent from the foul line, almost 50 percent from the field and just about 40 percent from long range. Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon joined the Mavs in the offseason and formed a very strong backcourt. They combined to average 30.4 ppg and 10.4 apg. After the All-Texas match-up, the Miami Heat begin their title defense in earnest on Sunday afternoon when they welcome the Charlotte Bobcats to American Airlines Arena. Watch the game live on TSN2 starting at 3:30pm et/12:30pm pt. Miami has won the last two NBA titles and lost in the Finals three years ago to the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat have made the playoffs 10 times in the last 11 years and earned the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami has won four straight Southeast titles and is trying to become the first three-time champion since the Los Angeles Lakers from 1999-00 to 2001-02. "I dont need extra motivation. Im motivated enough," said LeBron James. "This is the best part of the season, its the best time of the year. Im happy to be here once again." The Heat had a real chance at the No. 1 seed, but head coach Erik Spoelstra elected to sit James and Chris Bosh the last two games. Dwyane Wade missed significant time toward the end, but he played late to get some timing back. "Weve got to carry the load," said James, who said all Heat players participated in practice for the first time since training camp. "Its great. I guess guys are ready for the playoffs." The decision to concede the No. 1 seed could hurt later in the postseason, if the Heat advance. Last season, Miami won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers and Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs in South Beach. The Heat come into the postseason in a bit of a rut. They lost the last three games of the regular season, although, they did rest some key pieces. However, Miami did drop six of its last eight and James and Bosh were in the lineup for most of those setbacks. Charlotte is in the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history and was swept in four games by the Orlando Magic back in 2009-10. The Bobcats surprised the NBA world with just the second record of .500 or better in team lore at 43-39, one season after going 21-61 and compiling only 28 wins in the previous two years. What was the difference this season? That would be the offseason addition of Al Jefferson. Jefferson, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Month for April, averaged 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds for the Bobcats, who were 20-9 after the All-Star break and ended with 14 wins in the last 19 games of the regular season. Jefferson was the only player in the Eastern Conference and one of only five players in the NBA averaging at least 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds on the season. New head coach Steve Clifford infused the team with a defensive mindset. The Bobcats finished fourth in opponents scoring and sixth in opponents field- goal percentage. Charlotte did have some trouble scoring this season. The Bobcats finished 23rd in points, while Miami was 12th. The Heat ranked fifth in opponents scoring. The Bobcats won their last three regular-season games and eight of their last nine. The Heat swept all four games against the Bobcats in the regular season and are undefeated in the past 16 games between the teams. Charlotte has lost nine straight and 12 of its last 13 trips to South Beach. Derrick Nnadi Super Bowl Jersey . Adding playoff teams. Monitoring instant replay from league headquarters. Possibly creating a set of guidelines to prevent locker-room bullying. Marcus Allen Super Bowl Jersey . The Wild, playing their first game since leading scorer Mikko Koivu broke his ankle Saturday at Washington, have won three straight for the first time since Nov. 1-5. Koivu underwent surgery on Monday and is expected to miss at least four weeks. http://www.officialkcchiefspro.com/Laurent-duvernay-tardif-chiefs-jersey/ .That sight softened the blow of what ended up as a 4-3 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.Knowing their teammate was fine after a scary headfirst fall in the opening minute of the game helped calm the Maple Leafs.TORONTO - In one of the NBAs most unexpected role reversals, the Raptors find themselves sitting atop the East, looking down on a paper-thin conference that includes the hard-luck Pacers, a 56-win team that has hit rock bottom in the absence of their best player. For years, the Indiana Pacers had been a model for the Raptors and most of the NBAs rebuilding teams seeking sustainable success in a league that is generally dominated by superstar players and big basketball markets. Dwane Casey and former general manager Bryan Colangelo would point to the way the Pacers built up their roster, without a top pick or big money free agent import. They would point to Indianas rise to the top of the Eastern Conference - qualifying for the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, improving by at least five wins every year. Continuity and internal growth helped turn Frank Vogels club from a middling team to powerhouse in the East, but theyve fallen on hard times in the aftermath of a season-ending injury to Paul George, one of the NBAs elite two-way players. The Raptors share a similar affliction, also playing without their leading scorer, albeit less permanently. Granted, DeMar DeRozan is not at Georges level, nor are the Raptors as dependant on him as the Pacers are on their All-Star. But the biggest reason theyve been able to tread water in his absence - improving to 4-3 without him - was ultimately the difference in their latest win over wounded Indiana. One of our weapons that we have is our bench, said Patrick Patterson, a member of Torontos second unit, a group that poured in 64 points, fuelling the teams 106-94 victory Friday night. We feel like we have one of the best benches in the league. The Pacers have also been without starting point guard George Hill - out indefinitely with a knee injury. Meanwhile, 34-year-old David West still looks out of sync working his way back from an extended absence. The result has been a seven-game losing streak - their worst since 2009 - and an eight-point (per contest) swing from last year (scoring 3.2 points less, allowing 4.8 more). Toronto, on the other hand, is better suited for life without its top point producer. Unlike the Pacers, they have a second star in Kyle Lowry - hes taken his game to another level with his backcourt partner sidelined - in addition to a strong and diverse bench to pick up the slack. With their starters struggling - Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas combined to go 6-for-23 from the field - the Raptors reserves took over, led by the hot shooting of Lou Williams. Lou is a born scorer, Casey said of Williams, who had a game-high 26 points in 29 minutes. Hes done iit in big games, hes done it in playoff situations. Xavier Williams Super Bowl Jersey. Thank goodness hes back healthy again. We have to make sure we get him good looks. Four reserves scored in double figures for the Raptors - James Johnson had 13 points, Patterson added 11 and Greivis Vasquez overcame a slow start to score 10. Tyler Hansbrough took just one shot but changed the game with his energy in a spirited 18 minutes off the pine. Together, they stretched an eight-point lead to start the fourth quarter to a 19-point advantage, allowing Casey to rest Lowry - who logged just 26 minutes after exceeding 40 in each of his last three outings. We have pretty much the sixth man of the year in my opinion with Lou Williams, Patterson said. Then you have myself, Tyler, Greivis, JJ. We have so many guys, so many different pieces who can come off the bench and contribute game in and game out and it can be anybodys night and tonight it seemed like it was a total team effort from the starters to the second unit. Its good for teams to have a second group, to give the first group relief, Williams added. We have a lot of guys that can start on other teams and weve accepted the role of being backups and we take that in pride, we take that in pride that we know were going into games and going to change the pace of the game. I think thats a major plus. Without George, the Pacers already lacklustre offence has fallen even further. They scored 94 points on Friday becoming the first Raptors opponent to be held under the century mark over Torontos last 10 games. Well, its been a struggle, obviously, said Vogel. If you look at where our record is, we havent had that. Were trying to establish that. Were trying to work through the changes in bodies that we have out there and working guys back from injuries. Its obviously a different dynamic. Indiana simply doesnt have the offensive talent to make up for what theyve lost, but they still present a challenge on the defensive end and on the boards, where they rank second in the NBA. One of our main emphasis going in was to talk about rebounding, said Casey, whos team bested the Pacers on the boards, 52-39, including 16-6 on the offensive glass. And to out-rebound a team like Indiana, which is very physical and a paint-oriented team, my hats off to our guys. Overall, it was just a team effort keeping them off the glass, said Patterson, who contributed eight rebounds. We know theyre a great rebounding team and we know rebounding hasnt been our forte these past couple of games and its something we need to improve on and I think tonight was a step in the right direction. It seemed like everybody was on the glass. ' ' '

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