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NBA Playoff Update, Euroleague Final Four, Draft Combine

The Pacers and Thunder close out their series' on the road to set up the conference finals. The Pacers host the Heat on Sunday while the Thunder will be at San Antonio to face the Spurs on Monday. A couple of days off to catch our breath.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers closed out the Washington Wizards on the road to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami. The final score of 93-80 wasn't really indicative of how close this game was in the fourth quarter, as Indiana ended the game on an 20-6 run.

The Pacers shot the ball extremely well in the first half, finishing at 60% for the half behind a hot Lance Stephenson and David West. That shooting helped them build a 12 point lead at the break.  The Wizards came alive in the third quarter behind John Wall's penetration, but David West's continued activity kept them at bay. A Wizards run in the fourth quarter got them a brief lead, but the Pacers stretched it back out as West continued to score (29 on the night) and the Wizards suffered a series of rushed shots and turnovers.

Despite looking quite pedestrian for long stretches in this post-season, the Pacers get their rematch with the Heat, who beat them in a very tough Eastern Conference Finals last year on their way to the Championship.  Given their struggles, it's difficult to see the Pacers succeeding against the Heat, but they have consistently posed match up problems for them in the past.

The Eastern Conference Finals will begin on Sunday in Indiana.

After five game sevens in the first round of the playoffs, we will have none in the 2nd round as the Thunder came back from as many as 16 down in the 2nd quarter to beat the Clippers in Los Angeles and take the series in six games. Kevin Durant had an MVP caliber performance, finishing with 39 and 16 to lead the Thunder, who closed to within eight at halftime, then executed a ferocious 30-10 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to take control of the game.

The Western Conference Finals begin on Monday night in San Antonio.  After all the agita, the top two seeds in each conference will meet in the conference finals.

Lots of stuff today, and I'm sick of bullet points.

No NBA Playoff games tonight for the first time since the playoffs started.  However, if you can't get enough, the Euroleague Final Four is today, and watchable on some ESPN format or other. Check your listings. CSKA Moscow vs. Maccabi Electra, and Real Madrid vs. Barcelona.

Kevin Love and Maya Moore will play in the celebrity softball game at Target Field in conjunction with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.  The game will take place on Sunday, July 13th, and, if you can avoid hearing the final score, will be televised on Monday night by ESPN.

In a somewhat more interesting story surrounding the All-Star Game, the Minnesota ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis to enjoin a temporary ordinance passed earlier this year by the City Council that grants MLB the right to allow (or disallow) a variety of speech activities over the entirety of downtown for a period of 15 days prior to and following the All-Star game.

Essentially, the City Council has ceded citizens First Amendment rights to the judgment of a private enterprise.  Here is a link to the ACLU website's announcement of the suit, and here is a link to the court filing.

I forgot this the other day, but the Target Center renovations grift is moving ahead nicely. There are some renderings on the Wolves website of the plans that can be found here.

Doc Rivers got fined $25,000 for his criticism of the officials after game five when they awarded the ball erroneously to the Thunder following a video review that showed they missed a foul call on the Clippers' Matt Barnes.

I suppose we should talk about the Wolves related goings on at the combine.  Among the guys they have interviewed or are scheduled to interview are James Young of Kentucky, Kyle Anderson and Zach Lavine of UCLA, Doug McDermott of Creighton, Rodney Hood of Duke, and Nik Stauskas of Michigan, who provided us with this gem:

David Adelman is there helping to run the drills.  In fact, the entire Timberwolves staff is there, apparently, as Darren Wolfson reports nobody is in Milan for the EL FF (and accompanying junior tournament):

In coaching news, there is no news, just another Wolfson tweet suggesting the Wolves have not contacted Lionel Hollins:

It appears to be a coaching non-search.  A non-coaching search? An anti-coaching search?

Finally, the Lynx open their regular season this evening in Washington against the Mystics.  I'll get a Lynx specific article up this afternoon.  Very excited for the season, worried about the injuries, age, and the lack of depth on the front line.

Today in History

1763: Samuel Johnson meets James Boswell for the first time in London
1804: French senate declares Napoleon leader of France
1860: Republican convention chooses Abe Lincoln as candidate for President
1866: Charles Hires invents root beer.  Genius
1868: Senate vote on impeachment of Andrew Johnson falls one vote short
1891: Hormel introduces Spam. Not so genius. 
1920: Jeanne D'arc canonized
1948: Chaim Weizmann elected president of Israel
1965: Campbell's introduces Spaghetti-Os.  Distinctly not genius

Today's musical birthday is Woody Herman, born in 1913 (d. 1987)

It's Friday everyone. Take a breath.