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Friday, 18 April 2008 03:19
NBA Headline News

 SCOREBOARD
Saturday, April 19
Phoenix at San Antonio (3 p.m. EDT). The Suns captured the season series 3-1, including both games after acquiring Shaquille O'Neal. The defending champion Spurs won last year's Western Conference semifinal matchup in six games, which was aided by suspensions to two Suns players.

FIRED
Milwaukee fired coach Larry Krystkowiak Thursday after his first full season in the league. The Bucks finished last in the Central Division with a 26-56 record. ... Chicago fired interim coach Jim Boylan. The Bulls were 24-32 under Boylan, who was promoted from assistant to his first NBA coaching job after Scott Skiles was fired in December. Chicago (33-49) finished 11th in the Eastern Conference just one season after reaching the second round of the playoffs.

FAMILIAR FACES
Cleveland and Washington will meet in the first round of the NBA Playoffs for a third straight year. The Cavaliers have won the last six straight games and eight of 10 in capturing the previous two series, including a sweep a year ago against a Wizards team that was missing All-Stars Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.

OFF THE RECORD
Philadelphia (40-42) and Atlanta (37-45) are in the NBA playoffs despite having losing records in the weaker Eastern Conference. This is the second straight season that the Conference has had at least one losing team make the playoffs after Orlando (40-42) made it last year. The last time two or more teams with losing records made the playoffs was in 2003-04, when New York (39-43) and Boston (36-46) both qualified. The record for most losing teams to qualify is six (Chicago, New Jersey, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio and Washington) in 1985-86.

FAILED TO QUALIFY
Golden State (48-34) had more wins than any team that failed to make the playoffs since the NBA expanded to the 16-team format in 1984. Houston held the previous mark of 45 wins in 2000-01. The only team ever to win more games without making the postseason was Phoenix, who went 49-33 in 1971-72. But only four teams in each conference made the playoffs then. All eight playoff teams from the Western Conference won at least 50 games during the regular season with Denver (50-32) grabbing the final spot, two games ahead of the Warriors.

SPEAKING
``The Phoenix-San Antonio matchup is going to be an absolute bloodbath. The Dallas-New Orleans series is going to be very, very competitive. Denver is athletic enough to match up with the Lakers; you never know what could happen in that series. And the 4-5 is always a good series. It's going to be a very good playoff race in the Western Conference this year.'' - Houston's Shane Battier on the first round of postseason in the Western Conference. The Rockets will face Utah in a rematch of a first-round series from a year ago that the Jazz won in seven games.
 

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NBA TEAM NBA FINALS ODDS CURRENT
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 5/2
SAN ANTONIO SPURS 4/1
CHICAGO BULLS 11/2
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 6/1
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS 12/1
HOUSTON ROCKETS 16/1
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WASHINGTON WIZARDS 33/1
INDIANA PACERS 40/1
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