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Preview: Nets at Raptors

The Toronto Raptors host a playoff game for the first time in six years when they open a best-of-seven series Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets in a matchup of youth versus experience. After a slow start and a notable trade that sent swingman Rudy Gay to Sacramento, Toronto went 42-22 over the final four-plus months of the season to record a franchise record in victories and storm to the Atlantic Division crown - its first since 2006-07.

Preview: Grizzlies at Thunde

The Memphis Grizzlies eliminated an Oklahoma City team missing Russell Westbrook from last season’s playoffs and take aim at stunning the Thunder again when the first-round series opens in Oklahoma City on Saturday. Memphis took the Western Conference semifinals in five games last season as Westbrook’s knee injury turned Kevin Durant into a one-man gang. The seventh-seeded Grizzles won their final five games of the regular season while the second-seeded Thunder were 4-4 over their final eight games.

Quo Vadis? An apt query for frustrated Lakers fans

By Mark Lamport-Stokes LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The title of the historical novel "Quo Vadis" is an apt question for frustrated Los Angeles Lakers fans to ask of players and coaches after the team's nightmare 2013-14 NBA campaign came to an end. Written by Pole Henryk Sienkiewicz in 1895, the novel borrows its title from the biblical query "Quo vadis Domine?", Latin for "Where are you going, Lord?", and the future destination of the Lakers franchise is certainly up for debate.

NBA: Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds

LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates seek their third title in a row and fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals starting with their playoff opener Sunday against Charlotte. But it will be the league-best San Antonio Spurs and Eastern Conference pace-setter Indiana that carry the top seedings and home-court edges throughout the NBA playoffs that begin Saturday.

Profiles of NBA Western Conference playoff teams

(Reuters) - Brief profiles of the eight Western Conference teams that qualified for the 2014 National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs: SAN ANTONIO SPURS Regular season record: 62-20 How they qualified: Won Southwest Division Head coach: Gregg Popovich Top scorer: Tony Parker (16.7 points per game) Top rebounder: Tim Duncan (9.7 rebounds per game) NBA titles: Four (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007)

Profiles of NBA Eastern Conference playoff teams

(Reuters) - Brief profiles of the eight Eastern Conference teams that qualified for the 2014 National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs: INDIANA PACERS Regular season record: 56-26 How they qualified: Won Central Division Head coach: Frank Vogel Top scorer: Paul George (21.7 points per game) Top rebounder: Lance Stephenson (7.2 rebounds per game) NBA titles: None Joined NBA: 1976

Heat playoff run could decide James' future in Miami

By Frank Pingue (Reuters) - The Miami Heat may not be entering the playoffs as the top seed but they are still very much the team to beat, and anything less than a third consecutive NBA title could lead to the breakup of their Big Three. No club has won three straight titles since the Los Angeles Lakers in the early 2000s, and the 16-team field for this year's playoffs, which begin on Saturday, has no shortage of contenders for the NBA's Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

NBA: US college stars Parker, Young declare for draft

US college freshman stars Jabari Parker and James Young said Thursday they will skip their final three seasons of collegiate play and declared themselves eligible for June's NBA Draft. Parker, a forward, led Duke University to a 26-9 season, averaging 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds 1.2 assists and 1.2 blocked shots a game. He became the first freshman to lead the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounds for a season. "Jabari could not have been better. He is the epitome of what you would want a basketball player to be," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Pelicans end season with win over playoff-bound Rockets

U.S. Sports Desk, Apr 17 (EFE).- Guard Tyreke Evans contributed 25 points and 10 assists as the New Orleans Pelicans ended their season with a 105-100 win over the Houston Rockets. Already assured of home-court advantage in Houston's first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Rockets coach Kevin McHale rested James Harden and Chandler Parsons for Wednesday night's contest against New Orleans (34-48). The Pelicans also got 18 points from Austin Rivers and 15 from Anthony Morrow, while Troy Daniels scored 22 for Houston in the losing effort.

Reserves lead Warriors past Nuggets in finale

Reserves lead Warriors past Nuggets in finale DENVER -- With the guys who carried the Golden State Warriors to the playoffs serving as spectators, two role players stepped up Wednesday. Guard Jordan Crawford scored a career-high 41 points and Golden State beat the Denver Nuggets 116-112 to enter the playoffs on a winning note.
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