May 24, 2018
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Cavaliers win NBA draft lottery again; Celtics to pick 6th

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

The Cleveland Cavaliers struggle to win games on the court, but they know how to win the NBA’s draft lottery.

For the second year in a row and the third time in four years, the Cavaliers will select first overall in the draft this year.

Despite having only a 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery — the ninth-best odds — Cleveland emerged as the lottery victor again Tuesday.

The Milwaukee Bucks, who finished with the league’s worst record in 2013-14 and had a 25 percent chance of winning the lottery, will pick second.

The Philadelphia 76ers, who endured a 26-game losing streak en route to posting the second-worst record this season, will make the third selection. The 76ers had a 19.9 percent opportunity of winning the lottery.

In 2011, Cleveland finished with the second-worst record in the league but still earned the right to pick guard Kyrie Irving of Duke with the top selection.

Last year, the Cavaliers had the third-best chance of winning the lottery, but they came out on top and chose forward Anthony Bennett of UNLV.

After the Cavaliers, Bucks and 76ers, the rest of the lottery picks will be made, in order, by the Orlando Magic, the Utah Jazz, the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sacramento Kings, the Charlotte Hornets, the 76ers, the Denver Nuggets, the Magic, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Phoenix Suns.

The top picks in this year’s draft, which will be held June 26, are expected to include two Kansas teammates: center Joel Embiid and forward Andrew Wiggins. Other highly touted prospects include Kentucky forward Julius Randle and Duke forward Jabari Parker.

The Los Angeles Lakers, in the lottery for the first time since 2005, fell one spot in the order to seventh. In 30 years of draft lotteries, the Lakers were participants only in 1994, 2005 and this year, and they never won the top spot.

The Boston Celtics also are still looking for their first lottery win despite participating 12 times. They slipped one spot to sixth this year.

Duncan, Spurs silence Thunder

San Antonio Spurs made the most of home court advantage as they delivered a superb offensive display to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-105 on Monday in Game One of the Western Conference finals.

Though the Spurs had lost all four of their regular-season games to the Thunder, they lived up to their status as the top seeds in the conference and dominated in the paint to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

All-Star forward Tim Duncan scored a team-high 27 points and Manu Ginobili weighed in with 18 off the bench as San Antonio had five players in double-figures. The Spurs outshot their opponents by 57 percent to 46 from the field.

“It was a great team win,” All-Star guard Tony Parker, who contributed 14 points and 12 assists for San Antonio, told reporters. “Everybody played well. Defense was pretty good so hopefully we can keep it going.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was delighted with the form shown by Parker, who left last week’s second-round clincher over the Portland Trail Blazers early in the second quarter due to a strained left hamstring.

“I think he feels pretty good, a little winded probably but he didn’t seem to have a problem with his leg tonight,” said Popovich. “I thought he executed offensively really well to start the game.”

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 28 points and Russell Westbrook put up 25 and seven assists but the Thunder trailed for most of the game, a couple of narrow leads late in the third quarter representing their brief high points.

Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green tallied 16 points apiece for the Spurs.

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