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Chris Paul ‘Less Likely Than Likely’ For Game 7

Chris Paul‘s chances of playing in Game 7 are “less likely than likely,” a league source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, but the Rockets remain hopeful that his injured right hamstring will heal enough for him to take the court Monday (Twitter link). The team is “working every angle to try,” Woj adds.

Houston obviously missed its star point guard during a second-half collapse Saturday that resulted in a 29-point loss in Game 6. Paul offered advice and moral support on the sidelines, but his absence left a shortened rotation that was outscored 64-25 after halftime.

“I don’t know. I have no idea,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game in a video clip tweeted by Mark Berman of Fox 26. “I was in pre-med. Just to let you know, and I’m pretty good. … The doctors, they’ll tell me.” Asked about having Paul on the bench, D’Antoni responded, “I hate it. … He needs to be on the floor. … He’s great. He’s a winner.”

Paul, who suffered the injury on a shot in the final minute of Game 5, continues to receive around-the-clock treatment, writes Janie McCauley of The Associated Press. The Rockets’ training staff wanted Paul to skip the flight to Oakland for Game 6, tweets Tim Cato of SB Nation, but D’Antoni said the plan was always to have him accompany his teammates.

“All our doctors are with us,” D’Antoni told Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “He can get the same type of treatment. Plus, he doesn’t want to miss this. He’s worked his whole career to be here. He’s very responsible for us getting here, so he needs to be here. Treatments will be the same as if he was there, here, doesn’t matter. It will take a few days, and he’ll just have to do what he has to do.”

Paul has been brilliant for the Rockets in the playoffs in his first season in Houston, posting a 21.1/5.9/5.8 line through 17 games. He is in the final year of the contract he signed with the Clippers, and reaching a new deal will be among the Rockets’ priorities this offseason.

Andre Iguodala Out For Game 6

Warriors forward Andre Iguodala will miss his third straight game tonight, tweets Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr confirmed the decision, relays Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). “Until he’s able to run without pain, I can’t play him,” Kerr told reporters at a pre-game press conference, adding that Iguodala’s status remains day-to-day.

The 34-year-old is dealing with a bone bruise in his left knee that he suffered when he bumped knees with James Harden in Game 3. The Rockets have won both games that Iguodala has missed and have a chance to close out the series tonight.

Kevon Looney, who has started the past two games in Iguodala’s absence, will likely get a starting assignment again tonight. Patrick McCaw was activated earlier today after missing nearly two months, but Kerr isn’t sure whether he will play, acknowledging that it’s a “tough” situation.

Iguodala was a valuable contributor before the injury, averaging 7.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.1 APG and 1.4 SPG in the playoffs and starting 12 of the 13 games in which he has appeared. He is an important component of the “Hamptons Five” lineup that makes Golden State so difficult to match up with.

Patrick McCaw To Be Activated For Game 6

2:38pm: Both McCaw and Iguodala are officially listed as questionable for tonight’s Game 6, per Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.

1:36pm: The Warriors are planning to activate Patrick McCaw for Game 6 tonight against the Rockets, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. It would be the first time McCaw has played since he injured his back in a scary fall on March 31.

The Warriors have lost both games against the Rockets since Andre Iguodala injured his left leg in Game 3, and Iguodala remains questionable for Game 6, so perhaps Golden State is hoping McCaw will be able to mimic some of Iguodala’s talents should he still not be ready to go.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic reminds us that McCaw had trouble walking and sleeping for about a month after his injury, and that recovery was slow at first, meaning it’d be a monumental ask for the Warriors to expect too much out of McCaw in his first game back.

Before his injury, McCaw was averaging 4.0 points and 1.4 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game.

Kevin Love Placed In Concussion Protocol; Out For Game 7

MAY 26, 12:57pm: Vardon has now tweeted that Love has been ruled out for Game 7.

MAY 26, 12:53pm: Love was placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol today and his status for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals tomorrow night is uncertain, reports Joe Vardon of The Plain Dealer.

Vardon adds that Love will travel to Boston, but will have to pass a series of tests before being cleared to play.

MAY 25, 9:15pm: Kevin Love left Game 6 of the Cavaliers‘ Eastern Conference Finals matchup against Celtics on Friday after a collision with forward Jayson Tatum.

The injury occurred about five minutes into the first quarter after Tatum’s shoulder struck Love in the head. Love remained on the floor for several minutes before being helped to the bench and later evaluated in the locker room. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game for precautionary reasons. Love grabbed four rebounds before exiting due to injury.

Love’s status for Game 7 on Sunday remains unclear as a source tells ESPN that his prognosis will depend on him getting rest. There is cause for concern as Love has a documented history of concussions. The Cavaliers All-Star left a March 28 contest against the Hornets after an errant elbow knocked a tooth loose and caused him to feel concussion-like symptoms. Love also suffered a concussion during Game 2 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

While he has struggled at times, Love is still a vital piece to the Cavaliers’ lineup. In the postseason, he has averaged 14.8 PPG and 10.4 RPG for the club.

Raptors Interview Messina, Udoka For Head Coach Job

The Raptors officially interviewed Spurs assistant coaches Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka for the team’s vacant head coaching position, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Messia interviewed on Thursday while Udoka met with the Spurs on Friday, Wojnarowski notes.

With several teams seeking to fill head coaching vacancies, Messina and Udoka have been popular names this summer.

Messina interviewed with the Bucks and Hornets before those teams hired Mike Budenholzer and James Borrego, respectively. Messina received a second interview with Milwaukee before the team decided on Budenholzer. Long considered one of the top international coaches in basketball, the 58-year-old has served as an assistant under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio the past four seasons. Messina stepped up to coach the Spurs for Game 3-5 during the first round of the playoffs after Popovich’s wife, Erin, passed away.

As for Udoka, he has interviewed with the Magic and Hornets about their openings. Udoka has been an assistant to Popovich the past six years after he finished his playing career with the Spurs in 2010/11. Udoka played seven NBA seasons, spending time with the Trail Blazers, Kings, Knicks and Lakers.

The Raptors fired Dwane Casey after another early postseason exit, despite finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference. Casey, who was named Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches after his dismissal, is also one of three finalists for the official award. Budenholzer was reportedly a top target for the Raptors before he accepted the Bucks job.

Toronto recently interviewed Jerry Stackhouse –– a former assistant to Casey — who coached the organization’s G League squad this season. Stackhouse was one of three internal candidates considered by the Raptors as Nick Nurse and Rex Kalamian have also interviewed for the job.

Stay up to date with all the latest developments on the coaching front with our Coaching Search Tracker.

McDonough: Suns ‘Overwhelmingly Likely’ To Keep No. 1 Pick

While nothing has been officially ruled out, Suns‘ general manager Ryan McDonough said it is “overwhelmingly likely” that the team keeps the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports writes.

“There’s a very small grouping of players we’d consider trading it for,” McDonough said of the No. 1 pick. “It would have to be a proven young star player with multiple years on his contract or multiple years of team control. Once you start whittling down the list, that list probably shrinks to a handful of players, if not fewer players than that, so I think the overwhelming likelihood is that we keep the pick.”

We relayed last week that Phoenix is considering a “handful” of options in the draft. Arizona’s Deandre Ayton is the likely first overall pick and has been heavily rumored to be the Suns’ choice. However, international star Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley III have also been mentioned as possibilities. Doncic has a relationship with the team’s new head coach, Igor Kokoskov.

It is difficult and I think people are jumping to conclusions as far as [thinking] there’s only one or two guys in the mix for us,” general manager McDonough said in an interview with ESPN. “There are more than that. There are a handful of guys.

If the Suns are comfortable with several of the perceived top choices, McDonough can follow in the footsteps of the Celtics last season. Boston traded down from the top pick to No. 3, using it to select Jayson Tatum. Markelle Fultz went to the Sixers first overall.

Barring a change of heart, however, it is widely expected that the Suns keep the No. 1 selection, with Ayton viewed as the frontrunner to head to Phoenix.

Danny Green: Kawhi Leonard Wants To Be With Spurs

Kawhi Leonard‘s future with the Spurs remains a mystery as the organization ponders whether or not to keep its superstar player in San Antonio beyond next season. Leonard is set to hit free agency after 2018/19 and if he reaches the open market, he will have no shortage of suitors.

However, at least one teammate believes that the two-time Defensive Player of the Year wants to stay in San Antonio. Spurs guard Danny Green recently made an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up!, where he addressed his mercurial teammate (via San Antonio Express-News).

“It’s up in the air right now,” Green said of Leonard’s status with the Spurs. “But I think he wants to be in San Antonio. He’s let me know that, he let me know verbally he wanted to be there, so we’ll see what happens.”

Leonard, soon to be 27 years old, appeared in just nine regular season games with the Spurs as he battled a troublesome right quadriceps injury. There were various points where it seemed Leonard was on the verge of an on-court return late in the season, but it never happened. Instead, Leonard rehabbed his injury in New York — with little to no contact with the Spurs —  while under the care of his own doctors.

As the Spurs were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Warriors, Leonard was not even on the bench as a spectator.

Most recently, we relayed a report that the Spurs do not intend on trading Leonard and hope to mend the relationship. A healthy Leonard is a difference maker; he finished third in NBA Most Valuable Player award voting last season while averaging 25.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 4.7 APG in 74 games.

Rockets’ Chris Paul Out For Game 6

Rockets point guard Chris Paul will be sidelined for Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday due to a right hamstring strain, the team confirmed today (via Twitter). According to the Rockets, Paul will be re-evaluated after the club returns to Houston.

Paul suffered the injury during the final moments of the Rockets’ Game 5 win over the Warriors, having reportedly felt “a twinge” when he landed after taking a shot on one of the team’s final possessions. As Golden State took the ball back up the court, Paul got to his feet but was unable to get back on defense. He came out of the game at the next whistle, as Houston held on for the victory.

It’s a devastating blow for both the Rockets and for Paul, who has dealt with injuries in the past and has never made an NBA Finals appearance during his 13-year NBA career. With CP3 on the shelf, Houston figures to lean more heavily on Eric Gordon to make plays out of the backcourt alongside James Harden. However, the Rockets – who had already been playing a shortened rotation – will face an uphill battle in Game 6 with the series headed back to Oakland.

If the Warriors pull out Game 6, it would set up a potential Game 7 back in Houston on Monday. Paul will certainly do everything in his power to try to return to the court for that deciding contest, though Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) suggests there’s an “unmistakable” pessimism emanating from Houston about the point guard’s potential availability.

Chris Paul To Undergo MRI On Injured Hamstring

Although the Rockets took a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors on Thursday night, the health of Chris Paul is a cause for concern heading into Game 6. Paul suffered an apparent hamstring injury during the final minute of Game 5, and will be re-evaluated after undergoing an MRI on Friday, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.

A team source tells Shelburne that Paul felt “a twinge” in the hamstring when he landed after shooting a jumper on one of Houston’s final possessions, and was still “really sore” after the game. While CP3 didn’t speak to reporters during the postgame presser, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said that his point guard is “worried” about his hamstring and his status for the rest of the series, as Sam Amick of USA Today details.

“They’ll do whatever they can do,” D’Antoni said. “If he’s there, great, good for him. If he isn’t, we have enough guys, and it’s time for somebody else to step up. We got plenty of guys over there that will have some fresh legs. That’s for sure.”

Paul played a key role in the Rockets’ Thursday night win, and if he’s unable to play in Game 6 and a potential Game 7, Houston’s odds of knocking off the defending champions would decline significantly. It would also be a brutal turn of events for the 13-year veteran, who finds himself one win away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in his career.

We’ll wait for an official update on Paul’s health, but for what it’s worth, the 33-year-old remained optimistic as he left the arena on Thursday night. Caught by Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) as he hopped into a car outside the Toyota Center, CP3 said he’ll “be all right” and expressed hope that he’ll be ready for Game 6.

Andre Iguodala Out Again For Game 5

Warriors forward Andre Iguodala will miss his second consecutive game in the Western Conference Finals, according to the team’s Twitter feed (Twitter link).

Iguodala has a left lateral knee contusion, suffered during Game 3 when he bumped knees with James Harden. Iguodala missed Game 4 on Tuesday, when Houston rallied in the fourth quarter to even the series at 2-all. Iguodala has started 12 of 13 postseason games, averaging 7.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.1 APG and 1.4 SPG in 27.5 MPG.

Kevon Looney could draw his second consecutive start. On the positive side, shooting guard Klay Thompson is available to play despite a left knee strain, according to the tweet.