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
New York fired Isiah Thomas as coach on Friday after a season of listless and dreadful basketball, a tawdry lawsuit and unending chants from fans demanding his dismissal. Thomas, the coach for two seasons, will remain with the organization reporting directly to new president Donnie Walsh, who replaced Thomas as team president a little more than two weeks ago. The Knicks suffered their seventh straight losing season and matched the franchise record for losses with a 23-59 record.

OKLAHOMA!
to remain until their lease expires in 2010 and rejected owner Clay Bennett's $26 million bid to settle the lease dispute. Oklahoma City played host to the New Orleans for two seasons following Hurricane Katrina.

FIGHTING CHANCE
Atlanta may be on the wrong side of what could be one of the biggest mismatches in NBA postseason history when it faces top-seeded Boston in an Eastern Conference first-round series. One of two teams to reach the playoffs with a losing record (37-45), the Hawks finished 29 games behind the Celtics (66-16) during the regular season, the largest differential between two first-round opponents since 1996. That year, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls - who set a league record with 72 wins - faced a Miami team that went 42-40. Boston held Atlanta below 90 points in each of the teams' three meetings, all Celtics wins.

SPEAKING
``They wanted us. They got us now, and good for them. Sometimes you've got to give people what they want.'' - New Orleans 7-foot-1 center Tyson Chandler on facing Dallas in the opening round of the NBA playoffs. The Hornets won a franchise-record 56 games during the regular season, earning the second seed in the powerful Western Conference.

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#1 509 Boston Celtics  78%
#2 512 Atlanta Hawks  56%
#3 508 Utah Jazz  52%

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