We have our first playoff elimination, as the Thunder defeated the Mavericks to advance to the second round. The victory wasn't without cost though, as Kendrick Perkins suffered a strained hip during the first quarter and didn't return to the game. As for Dallas, they become the first team since the 2007 Heat to be swept the following year after winning an NBA Championship. With that aside, here are tonight's noteworthy links:
- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel writes that Stan Van Gundy, who he refers to as the "best coach the Orlando Magic have ever had," may have coached his last home game with the team. Bianchi adds that if the Magic are to remain a viable franchise, they must side with Dwight Howard in the standoff between him and Stan, which would all but seal Van Gundy's departure. Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel echoed similar sentiments about Van Gundy's reputation, saying that the team's performance against the Pacers today was evidence that the team did not quit on him.
- Hawks forward Josh Smith is eyeing a return for Game Four against the Celtics regardless of how his knee feels, according to Ben Golliver of CBS Sports.
- Lakers center Andrew Bynum attributed his poor performance in the first half of Game Three from not being able to complete his regular pre-game routine, says Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles. While teammate Kobe Bryant lauded Bynum for holding himself accountable, coach Mike Brown wasn't as thrilled: "You hope at this time of the season everybody who steps onto the floor is ready."
- Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston provides a closer look at Mickael Pietrus' value to the Celtics defensively.
- Enes Kanter went from sitting out last year's March Madness at Kentucky to being a part of a playoff team with the Jazz in his rookie season. Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune spoke with Kanter to elaborate more on this experience.
- Stephen Brotherston of HoopsWorld ranks the most disappointing performers of the NBA playoffs thus far.