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TODAY'S NBA RUMORS

Updated Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at 6:45 a.m. ET

Jamahl Mosley was feeling lucky. Heading into Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery, the Orlando Magic were going to be represented by president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman on stage. But early Tuesday morning, a switch was made because of a feeling Mosley had. So when the lottery took place Tuesday night at Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center, it was Mosley who took the stage instead to represent the franchise. Turns out, the audible worked as the Magic won the lottery for the fourth time in franchise history and will pick first in June's 2022 NBA draft. "I haven't been very good at this," Weltman told reporters via videoconference. "It's funny. Coach was feeling lucky and we let him roll the dice and tonight, he's the coach of the year." - ESPN.com

Available to Orlando are top big men prospects Jabari Smith of Auburn, Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren or Duke's Paolo Banchero. "Obviously with that will come a lot of conversations, and it'll be interesting to see some of the calls that come up, but mostly it means that we get to familiarize ourselves now with elite prospects and we get to add one to our team," Weltman said. - ESPN.com

Jimmy Butler is worth the drama. That isn't exactly how Erik Spoelstra termed Butler's game on Tuesday night, of course. The Miami Heat coach was his usual controlled self after guiding his team to a 118-107 victory over the Boston Celtics, fueled by Butler's greatness, to take a 1-0 lead in the NBA Eastern Conference finals. "If you're driven by competition, and the stakes get raised, you're going to raise your level of play," Spoelstra said after Butler assembled a brilliant 41-point, nine-rebound, five-assist, four-steal, three-block masterpiece. "This level is high level, this competition, and he senses it, and he knows it. He feels it. And he was able to produce and put us in a position to feel comfortable to be able to win this game." - ESPN.com

The Boston Celtics exited their locker room at halftime Tuesday night in control of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. But then the third quarter happened. After the Heat demolished the Celtics, outscoring them 39-14 and using their physicality to send Boston into a death spiral of miscues and unforced errors, Miami was on its way to a 118-107 victory to take the opening game of this best-of-seven affair. "More than anything, it just shows us what we are capable of whenever we worry about getting stops, getting into the open floor, getting to the free throw line, all those good things," said Jimmy Butler, who led the way for Miami with his latest spectacular performance in these playoffs, finishing with a game-high 41 points -- including 17 in that decisive third quarter -- nine rebounds and five assists in 41 minutes. - ESPN.com

In the first half, Tatum had 16 paint points -- tied for the most he's had in any half in his career -- as Boston outscored Miami 42-24 in the paint. But just as Tatum's play was emblematic of Boston's strong first half, his horrendous third quarter was a symbol of the Celtics' absolute collapse after the break. Tatum scored two points on 1-for-7 shooting in the second half, in addition to those six disastrous turnovers in the third quarter. Miami got three straight pick-6 turnovers it turned into layups or dunks that blew the game open as part of a 22-2 run to start the second half that gave the Heat the lead for good. - ESPN.com


TUESDAY'S NBA RUMORS

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart is questionable for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat with a right midfoot sprain, coach Ime Udoka said Monday. Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Smart had an MRI on the foot Monday that came back clean, and that Smart will test the foot Tuesday. - ESPN.com

Erik Spoelstra knows exactly what kind of games he expects to see as his proud Heat squad prepares for an Eastern Conference finals showdown with the Boston Celtics. "Pat's [Riley] probably is going to enjoy this," Spoelstra said after Monday's practice. "This is like a throwback series. If both teams are really on top of their games, this should be a series where neither team is scoring 130 points. Both teams hang their hats on rock-solid team defense, and making multiple efforts and being disciplined to schemes. So it will be a lot of plays and things in the margins. That's what you expect. Really, we were the two best teams in the East most of the season and it's fitting that we're moving into the conference finals." The Heat speak with a great deal of respect while discussing the challenges the Celtics pose in this series. Heat players and coaches see a lot of similarities between themselves and the Celtics group that just finished off the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday, especially in terms of how they play and defend. - ESPN.com

For the second straight year, Suns point guard Chris Paul's season came to an end with his team failing to protect a 2-0 series lead en route to a disappointing NBA playoffs exit. And for the second straight year, Paul felt compelled to announce he has no plans to walk away from the game in the immediate aftermath of that devastation. "You play long enough and you don't win, every time you lose, they're going to say it was your best chance," said Paul after the Suns' 123-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday. "But I think for me, us, it's we'll be right back next year. I'll tell you that much. "I'm not retiring tomorrow, thank God. Hopefully, I'm healthy coming back. But I'm [going to] keep playing." - ESPN.com


MONDAY'S NBA RUMORS

As Luka Doncic lit up the scoreboard in Sunday's Game 7, burying the top-seeded Phoenix Suns by halftime, the Dallas Mavericks' superstar broke out in laughter after some of his buckets. The Mavericks will be a surprise participant in the Western Conference finals, claiming the right to face the Golden State Warriors by rolling to a 123-90 road rout of the Suns. And Doncic has never had more fun in his NBA career than he did while destroying a Phoenix team that followed up winning the West a year ago by posting by far the best record in the league this season. - ESPN.com

"You can't get this smile off my face right now," Doncic said after he had 35 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals in only 30 minutes, sitting out the entire fourth quarter because the win was already secured. "I'm just really happy. "Honestly, I think we deserve this. We've been playing hard the whole series. Maybe a couple of games here we weren't ourselves, but we came here with a statement in Game 7. We believed. Our locker room believed. Everybody believed. So I'm just happy." - ESPN.com

There was a receiving line of Boston Celtics players and coaches waiting to speak to Giannis Antetokounmpo after Game 7 ended Sunday afternoon, each patting the Milwaukee Bucks star on the chest or shoulders. They were happy to give him respect but mostly eager to say goodbye. When the Celtics arrive in Miami on Monday to start the Eastern Conference finals, they might as well have bumper stickers on their luggage: "We survived Giannis." Already with a dazzling postseason résumé, the performance Antetokounmpo put forth in this second-round series was still one for the ages. And that is what's perhaps most impressive -- that the Celtics withstood it. - ESPN.com

Grant Williams had never taken more than eight 3-pointers in a game before this series. He'd never made more than six. He'd never led the Boston Celtics in scoring. All of those things changed Sunday in the NBA playoffs. "Grant won us a playoff game tonight," Jayson Tatum said. "A Game 7." Williams had a career-high 27 points, while Tatum had 23 of his own as the Celtics dominated the second half in a 109-81 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden on Sunday. Boston needed to win Games 6 and 7 after blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead in Game 5 that allowed the Bucks to take a 3-2 lead. But after pulling away late against Milwaukee in Game 6, the Celtics used the 3-point shot to put distance between themselves and the Bucks in Game 7. - ESPN.com

To successfully defend their NBA championship, the Milwaukee Bucks knew they needed a combination of strong player performances, health and, perhaps, a little bit of luck. But the absence of forward Khris Middleton loomed large throughout their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Boston Celtics and was ultimately too difficult to overcome as Milwaukee's season ended with a 109-81 loss in Game 7 on Sunday. The Bucks failed to reach 100 points in three of the seven games (all losses) and were badly outshot from behind the 3-point line. - ESPN.com

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has cleared health and safety protocols. He rejoined the Warriors on Sunday as they begin to prepare for the Western Conference finals. Kerr tested positive for COVID-19 just two hours before Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals, thrusting associate head coach Mike Brown into the head-coaching seat for the final three games of the series. Kerr called Brown on his way to Chase Center ahead of Game 4 on May 9, telling Brown that he wasn't feeling well and that he might have to step in. Just 30 minutes later, he registered a positive test. - ESPN.com

Some things are, in fact, worth the wait. After 13 seasons in the NBA, Stephen Curry earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in sociology from Davidson College on Sunday. Couple Curry's academic achievement with his three NBA championships, two NBA MVP awards and status as the league's all-time three-point leader, and he's amassed the makings of a robust LinkedIn profile. - ESPN.com


SUNDAY'S NBA RUMORS

So far the series has looked drastically different depending on the location. In the Suns' three home games at Footprint Center, they've gone 3-0, winning by an average of 19 points. However, in their three road games at American Airlines Center, they've gone 0-3, losing by an average of 15.3 points. Setting the franchise record in wins by going 64-18 in the regular season earned Phoenix the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason and the right to play any deciding Game 7 in their house. "If you just look at the history of the league, home-court advantage, it's a real saying," Booker said. "It's always tough to win on the road. I think just the comfortability of playing [41] games here rather than two on the road and just playing in front of our fans. I'm sure it's going to be rowdy in there. It's going to be exciting, it's going to be a lot of energy. So, I'm looking forward to it." - ESPN.com

In the Warriors' close-out game against the Grizzlies, [Klay] Thompson scored 30 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including eight 3s. He also grabbed eight rebounds. Did this triumphant Game 6 performance feel like the others? "It felt better," Thompson said. "Especially the perspective I've gained from the injuries I've had, to be able to compete at the highest level and be one of the final four teams, it's a feeling that's hard to describe." This one was a punctuation on Thompson's comeback season -- one that saw him, just several months ago, hunched over on the bench with a towel draped over his head as he longed to get back out on the floor. - ESPN.com

After Memphis bowed out of the NBA playoffs with a 110-96 loss to Golden State in Game 6 of their conference semifinals series Friday, Memphis forward Dillon Brooks said the Grizzlies are hot on the trail of the Warriors. "We're young, and they're getting old," Brooks said. "They know that we are going to come every single year." Brooks, 26, is the eldest of the Grizzlies' top eight scorers this season, during which the upstart Memphis squad won 56 games and finished with the West's No. 2 seed. After seven consecutive postseason appearances during the 2010s with their "Grit 'n' Grind" squad, the Grizzlies began to rebuild in 2018 around a younger core. Over the past four drafts, Memphis has added Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane and Brandon Clarke to a roster that included Brooks. - ESPN.com

The Giannis Antetokounmpo-Jayson Tatum rivalry is here. It is defining the present of the Eastern Conference and may extend well into the future. Antetokounmpo is putting up Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal numbers. Tatum is breaking the records of all those retired jerseys for his 75-year-old storied franchise that has 17 championships. And the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks haven't even played Game 7 yet. This is a black-and-blue series, the ice bag and Advil counts rising by the game. But Antetokounmpo and Tatum made art in Game 6 on Friday night, the Bucks star slamming the Celtics with two-by-fours and the Celtics star responding with high-arching dagger jumpers that cruelly prolonged each punch to the devastated Bucks' crowd. - ESPN.com


SATURDAY'S NBA RUMORS

Jayson Tatum wasn't about to let it happen again. Two nights prior, the Boston Celtics had a prime opportunity to take control of the NBA playoffs semifinal series but let Game 5 slip through their hands. That wasn't the case on Friday. As the Milwaukee Bucks made a push in the fourth quarter, Tatum seemingly had an answer at every turn. Tatum scored 28 of his 46 points in the second half, including 16 in the fourth, as Boston held on for a 108-95 victory at Fiserv Forum. "That's why he gets paid the big bucks," Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. "That's it right there. For moments like that. I was telling him the whole game, just be you man. He was. That's what he gets paid to do. That's what we that's what we lean on him to do." - ESPN.com

After the Bucks closed it to 85-81, Tatum responded with a midrange jumper as the shot clock ticked down off an out-of-bounds play. When Milwaukee answered with an acrobatic layup from Pat Connaughton, Tatum answered with a 3-pointer. Boston's next time down, Tatum showed off his footwork to hit a one-legged fadeaway. With 5:40 left, he nailed another deep trey to push the lead to eight. And with 2:38 left, Tatum converted an old-fashioned three-point play to put the game out of reach. Tatum said the collapse of Game 5 was on the minds of all the Celtics down the stretch. - ESPN.com

The Philadelphia 76ers announced that forward Danny Green tore the anterior cruciate ligament and lateral cruciate ligament in his left knee in Philadelphia's season-ending loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Miami Heat on Thursday night. Green was injured when 76ers superstar Joel Embiid crashed into him in the first quarter of Game 6, falling into Green's left leg after a shot attempt and sending the 13-year forward to the ground in a heap. Green initially said he wasn't aware of just how serious the injury was until he attempted to walk off the court after spending time on the court in pain and his knee buckled when he stood up. - ESPN.com

Ben Simmons is trying to put Philadelphia behind him in more ways than one. The former Philadelphia 76ers guard, who was traded to the Brooklyn Nets for James Harden after a disappointing end to his 2021 playoffs, has sold his house in Moorestown, New Jersey, to Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos. The house, a 10,500 square-foot mansion with six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms on a 1.78 acre lot, is approximately 40 minutes from Philadelphia. The house had been on the market for six months before the sale. Simmons is still trying to sell a $3 million condo in the City Center area of Philadelphia. - ESPN.com


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