Topic: Tim Williams Jersey

The Portland Trail Blazers fought their way through a pressure-packed playoff race to earn home-court advantage in a series Mackensie Alexander Jersey , then lost it in one game.

The Toronto Raptors know that problem all too well, so they want to take advantage of playing from ahead for a change.

They try for their first 2-0 playoff series lead ever Tuesday night against Washington, while the Trail Blazers try to even things up in against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Boston and Milwaukee play the other Game 2 on Tuesday after the Celtics pulled out a 113-107 overtime victory on Sunday.

The No. 3 Trail Blazers were the highest-seeded team to lose so far, falling 97-95 on Saturday. Anthony Davis was dominant, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were slow-starting, and the Pelicans got a couple big defensive plays down the stretch from Jrue Holiday to hold on after the Blazers nearly came back from a 19-point deficit.

”I think it puts some pressure on us,” Lillard said. ”You know, you come in with home court, the first two games on your floor and you lose the first one, and now they’re saying in their locker room we got one, why not go get another one. And our job is to defend the home court.

”We’ve got to tighten up, come back sharper, and take care of home floor.”

Toronto had lost Game 1 at home all six times it had home-court advantage in a series, part of an overall 10-game losing streak in series openers, before beating Washington 114-106 dropped on Saturday. Finally, the Raptors could enjoy the start of postseason play.

”And for me, this year is finally a year I can be happy watching other games and not be like `Damn, I lost Game 1,”’ point guard Kyle Lowry said.

Some things to know about Tuesday’s matchups:

WIZARDS AT RAPTORS

Toronto leads 1-0. Game 2, 7 P.M., NBA TV.

NEED TO KNOW: Toronto’s only other 1-0 series lead was in the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals against Philadelphia Matt Schaub Jersey , which won Game 2 and ultimately the series in seven games.

KEEP AN EYE ON: The 3-point line. The Raptors made a franchise-record 16 in the opener, twice as many as Washington for a 24-point advantage behind the arc.

INJURY UPDATE: Raptors reserve Fred VanVleet (right shoulder) went through most of practice Monday after missing the opener but remains day to day. Lowry was fighting a cold but joked he was ”out tanning” Sunday during an ice storm.

PRESSURE IS ON: Washington’s bench. The Wizards‘ reserves probably aren’t going to win the battle against Toronto’s highly productive second unit, but need to produce something more after getting next to nothing beyond Mike Scott’s 14 points in the opener.

BUCKS AT CELTICS

Boston leads 1-0. Game 2, 8 P.M., TNT.

NEED TO KNOW: Giannis Antetokounmpo has scored 20 or more points in eight straight games against the Celtics after scoring 35 before fouling out in overtime of the opener.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Boston’s balance. With Al Horford (24 points), Terry Rozier (23), Marcus Morris (21) and Jaylen Brown (20), the Celtics had four 20-point scorers in a playoff game for the first time since Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Reggie Lewis and Brian Shaw did it in a 1991 game. Throw in Jayson Tatum’s 19 points, and the Bucks let too many players get hot in Game 1.

INJURY UPDATE: Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Marcus Smart is getting some shots up and working on lower body and conditioning as much as he can, but has been told by the training staff that April 27 is the earliest the guard could begin basketball activity.

”We’re still a ways away from that and a lot of games away from that,” Stevens said.

PRESSURE IS ON: Eric Bledsoe. Milwaukee needs more from its starting guard who had more combined fouls (6) and turnovers (5) than points (9) in a bit of a Game 1 dud.

PELICANS AT TRAIL BLAZERS

New Orleans leads 1-0. Game 2, 10:30 P.M., TNT.

NEED TO KNOW: Anthony Davis had 35 points in the opener and has scored 25 or more in his first five postseason games. He can tie LeBron James for the second-longest streak to begin a career, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 14 straight, according to Elias.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Rajon Rondo. A 17-assist, eight-rebound opener was another reminder of how much the Pelicans’ point guard can elevate his game in the postseason.

INJURY UPDATE: Portland’s Maurice Harkless is nearing a return from late-season left knee surgery, but may not be available until later in the series.

PRESSURE IS ON: The Blazers’ backcourt. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined to shoot just 13 for 41, and their three combined points on 1-for-15 shooting in the first half doomed Portland to a big hole from which it could not recover.

AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower in Boston and freelance writer Ian Harrison in Toronto contributed to this report.


The franchise with the most titles. The best player of this generation. The reigning champions. The probable MVP.

The NBA has its Final Four.

It certainly does not disappoint.

Boston’s win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night brought down the curtain on the postseason’s second round – one that wasn’t exactly loaded with drama, since it was the first time since 2002 that none of the NBA’s four conference semifinal series went past five games. Cleveland swept Toronto Obi Melifonwu Jersey , while Houston, Golden State and the Celtics all prevailed by 4-1 counts.

Everyone gets to catch their collective breaths for a few days, with the league going dark until the weekend. Cleveland and Boston don’t tip off the Eastern Conference finals until Sunday, and the Warriors and Rockets start their West title series on Monday. And yes, the Cavaliers and Warriors are four wins away from a fourth consecutive meeting in the NBA Finals.

A few things to know going into the conference finals:

LEBRON, OF COURSE

Any list of anything this time of year basically has to start with LeBron James, still generally considered the best player on the planet even at 33 years old and in his 15th NBA season.

Cleveland’s star is trying to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive season – something only four other players have done, and they were all Boston Celtics. Bill Russell went to 10 straight title series, Sam Jones and Tom Heinsohn went to nine, and Frank Ramsey went to eight.

James is already the NBA’s all-time playoff leader in points, steals and minutes played. He’s fifth in playoff wins with 152, behind only Derek Fisher (161), Tim Duncan (157), Robert Horry (155) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (154).

CAVS-CELTICS HISTORY

This is the eighth time Cleveland and Boston have met in the postseason. Boston has won four of the previous seven meetings, but Cleveland has won the last two – including the East finals last season.

WARRIORS–ROCKETS HISTORY

This is only the third Golden State-Houston playoff meeting, and all have come in the last four seasons. The Warriors are 2-0 in the series, winning both times in five games – the 2015 West finals and a first-round matchup in 2016.

SEEKING 10

Golden State is trying to reach the NBA Finals for the 10th time, a mark that two other franchises have reached. The Los Angeles Lakers have made The Finals on 31 occasions (winning 16 titles), and the Celtics have gone 21 times (winning a league-high 17 titles).

If the Warriors successfully defend their NBA title and go back-to-back, it’ll be the franchise’s sixth time as the last team standing – and would tie Chicago for the third-most championships in league history, behind the Celtics and Lakers.

MVP WATCH

Houston’s James Harden seems like the probable winner of the NBA’s MVP award this season Brian Poole Jersey , with the only other realistic candidate for top honors probably LeBron James.

They won’t know who won until June 25 – after the season.

Regardless, they could wind up adding to a recent trend.

The league MVP has played in the NBA Finals in four of the last six seasons – James and the Miami Heat won titles in 2012 and 2013, Stephen Curry and the Warriors won in 2015 and lost to Cleveland in 2016.

MATTER OF TIME

Ray Allen is still the league’s all-time leader in playoff 3-pointers made, with 385.

LeBron James and Stephen Curry are coming his way.

James is No. 2 on the all-time list with 346 playoff 3-pointers. Curry is No. 3 with 329 – in only 79 playoff games. Allen played in 171, and James has played in 228.

WELL DONE, SCHEDULE MAKERS

Here’s how the NBA season began, back on Oct. 17: Boston at Cleveland, and Houston at Golden State.

Almost seven months later, the conference finals begin with Cleveland at Boston, Golden State at Houston.

WIN GAME 1

Winning Game 1 of any NBA playoff series is important; under this format that the league has been using since 1984, teams that take 1-0 series leads ultimately win those matchups about 80 percent of the time.

That’s even more pronounced in this round.

Of the 68 teams that have taken 1-0 series leads in the conference finals, 57 have gone on to make the NBA Finals. But four times in the last seven years, a team has dropped Game 1 in this round and made The Finals anyway.

MORE DAYS OFF?

The NBA Finals start May 31.

That means there could be a lot of days without basketball before then.

If both series end in sweeps – unlikely, of course, but possible – the Boston-Cleveland winner would have 10 days off before The Finals and the Houston-Golden State winner would have nine.

Starting Thursday, there will be no games five times in a nine-day span. There’s no games until Sunday, and there’s no games in either series on May 17 and 18. Those needing a basketball fix on those last two days, fret not – there will be NBA Combine activities going on in Chicago on those two days.

POOL UPDATE

The NBA’s playoff pool for this season is $20 million, and here’s a look at how much the four remaining teams have made so far in this postseason – along with a look at what they could get.

Rockets: $2,322,122. Would finish with $4 Tim Williams Jersey ,669,069 if they lose the NBA Finals, $5,864,018 if they win the title.

Celtics and Warriors: $1,646,226 each so far. They’d get $3,993,173 if they reach The Finals and lose, $5,188,122 if they win the championship.

Cavaliers: $1,478,543. Would finish with $3,825,490 if they lose the NBA Finals, $5,020,439 if they wi Authentic Womens Malik Jefferson Jersey