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- Nene on pundits picking against the Wizards: 'Haters are haters' (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic) April 19, 2014The national chattering class is overwhelmingly siding against the Wizards in their first round matchup with the Bulls. Washington is the fifth seed, Chicago the fourth. Nene and Wizards head coach Randy Wittman surely know whether the power forward will start Sunday's Game 1 at the United Center in Chicago. The 31-year-old played a reserve role in four of Washington's last five games after missing 21 straight with a sprained left MCL.
- Raptors GM Masai Ujiri says '[BLEEP] Brooklyn' at rally before Game 1 vs. Nets, later apologizes (Video) (Ball Don't Lie) April 19, 2014NOTE: The Instagram video below includes an instance of foul language. User/reader/listener discretion is advised. After a five-year postseason drought, the Toronto Raptors returned to the playoffs Saturday, kicking off their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the Brooklyn Nets at home. The city's fans were extremely fired up for Game 1, with thousands flocking to Maple Leaf Square outside Air Canada Centre to watch the matinee affair on a huge outdoor screen outside the arena. Evidently, Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri — imported in the spring of 2013 after winning Executive of the Year honors for his work with the Denver Nuggets — was pretty fired up, too. After addressing the amped-up crowd at the pre-game pep rally outside the ACC, Ujiri punctuated his remarks with a four-letter expletive to which I, personally, was first introduced as a lad by Van Halen . As we live in the age of smartphone cameras, the moment was, of course, captured and quickly shared via social media: Well, then. Tell us how you really feel, Masai! Ujiri later confirmed that he didn't misspeak: Spoke to Masai U, who confirmed he said "F--- Brooklyn!" in ML Sqr: "I love Brooklyn. But it's playoffs. Just trying to get our fans going." — Dave Feschuk (@dfeschuk) April 19, 2014 But as word of his unkind comment toward the borough where they paint murals of Biggie began to spread, the Raptors announced that Ujiri would address media on-site at the ACC at halftime. The content of said address, of course: an apology. "I apologize wrong choice of words out there." Ujiri — Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) April 19, 2014 ... but this is pretty much a "sorry, not sorry" situation: Masai Ujiri, best apology ever: 'You know how I feel. I don't like them, but I apologize.' — cathalkelly (@cathalkelly) April 19, 2014 Ujiri might find himself a little bit sorry after the game, since his pregame expletive will surely cost him a fair bit of coin. (For reference, Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman was fined $20,000 earlier this season for lobbing an eff-bomb during his post-game press conference.) Then again, if this was really a tactical decision rather than a case of Ujiri getting caught up in the heat of the moment, he might not mind all that much. Nets CEO Brett Yormark had no comment on Ujiri's expletive, according to Fred Kerber of the New York Post . Here's hoping Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is crafting an appropriately "super-cool-Russian-billionaire-y" response as we speak. Hat-tip to Megan Ann Wilson . - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
- Fast Forward: Underdog Warriors out to prove everyone wrong (Comcast SportsNet Bay Area) April 19, 2014LOS ANGELES The Warriors are back where they were a year ago, opening the playoffs on the road against an imposing team playing outstanding basketball.
- The boring part of the year is over for the Heat (The Associated Press) April 17, 2014LeBron James was standing at his locker and chatting a few days ago when the conversation turned to which teams out there the Miami Heat might fear entering these playoffs. ''We respect all,'' James said, ''but fear none.'' With those words it became obvious: Even after a regular season that seemed boring at times, and was reduced to a sputter at the finish, the Heat have no lack of confidence as they head to the playoffs. And they're seeking a fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals, something only the Celtics and Lakers have accomplished. ''We'll be tested,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
- NBA Power Rankings: Spurs top final rankings of 2013-14 season (Yahoo Sports) April 17, 2014As the NBA playoffs begin, plenty of teams, including the Knicks, Lakers and Celtics, are beginning their offseason plans.
- Suns Mount Comeback to Overcome Love’s 36 March 24, 2014Phoenix trailed by 22 in the first half but shot a season-high 57 percent from the floor to overcome Kevin Love’s 36 points and 14 rebounds.
- Late Charge By Wizards’ Gooden Dooms Nets March 16, 2014Washington erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to move ahead of the Nets for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
- Knicks Can’t Win, Even if They Play to Lose March 5, 2014Because they owe their first-round draft pick to the Denver Nuggets, the Knicks cannot even benefit from additional losses that would set them up for a favorable draft position.
- George Karl Sees a Talent Adrift as Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks Fade March 2, 2014Karl, Anthony’s former coach in Denver, believes the Knicks’ star is missing “mental toughness” around him.
- Special Night for Collins, and a Win for the Nets February 28, 2014Jason Collins, who played the final eight minutes of the Nets’ rout in Denver, planned to meet afterward with the parents of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student murdered in 1998.