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NBA: No plan to change playoffs, lottery

(Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) NBA owners held their first serious discussions about the playoff format, though Commissioner Adam Silver said Friday it was too soon to tell if there was interest in changing it.

The playoffs will open Saturday without the Oklahoma City Thunder, who finished ninth in the Western Conference with a 45-37 record that would have made them the No. 6 seed in the weaker East. Two teams in the East field finished below .500, renewing calls to make the playoffs for the best 16 teams, instead of the current top eight in each conference.

Silver said owners reviewed data over about 30 years, while also considering the need for traditional rivalries born out of having divisions and conferences.


Warriors not taking Pelicans lightly

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Golden State secured the No. 1 overall seed two weeks ago and has been at the top of the NBA standings all season. New Orleans needed an all-out effort through its last game against San Antonio to claim the Western Conference's final playoff spot.

Expectations for both teams now are just as stark.


'Motivated' Harden ready to face Dallas

HOUSTON (AP) James Harden helped the Houston Rockets to their first division title since 1994 and the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs starting Saturday against Dallas.

But the MVP candidate isn't content with what the Rockets have accomplished this season. Harden is "very motivated" to do more this postseason after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in each of his first two seasons in Houston.


Bulls trying to start deep run vs. Bucks

CHICAGO (AP) With the return of Derrick Rose and the addition of Pau Gasol, the Chicago Bulls came into the season with soaring expectations.

Now, it's time to deliver.


Raptors look to win first 7-game series

TORONTO (AP) They won a second straight Atlantic Division title and set a franchise record with 49 victories. Both reasons to be proud, for sure. But it's what the Raptors do next, now the playoffs have arrived, that will determine whether this season is a success.

The Raptors, who lost a Game 7 heartbreaker to Brooklyn in the first round last year, will try to advance for just the second time in their 20-year history when they face the Washington Wizards. Game 1 is Saturday in Toronto.


James begins Cavs' title quest vs. Celts

CLEVELAND (AP) Five years ago, LeBron James left the floor after Game 5 against Boston in disgrace. There were boos from the home fans, even some whispers he'd quit on the Cavaliers.

On Sunday, in his first playoff game for Cleveland since 2010, James will take his first step toward an NBA championship - toward the one that could top them all.


Spurs, Clips not daunted by tough draw

LOS ANGELES (AP) When the NBA finalized its playoff schedule this week, one pairing looked out of place.

The Los Angeles Clippers against the San Antonio Spurs? Players on both teams couldn't help thinking that this matchup belongs in a conference final, not the first round.


Spurs' Splitter uncertain to face Clips

SAN ANTONIO (AP) San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter participated in practice Friday, but the team was unsure if he will play in Sunday night's playoff series opener against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Splitter missed the final six games of the regular season because of tightness in his right calf. He missed over a month earlier this season after straining his right calf.


Abdul-Jabbar has quadruple bypass

LOS ANGELES (AP) Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was recovering Friday after undergoing quadruple coronary bypass surgery.

He had the surgery a day earlier at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a hospital statement.


Nets' Teletovic OK to return from clots

NEW YORK (AP) The Brooklyn Nets say Mirza Teletovic has been cleared to resume basketball activities after recovering from blood clots in his lungs.

The Nets announced Friday that Teletovic would be listed as out for their playoff games, and they would provide updates if his status changed.

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