NBA Wrap: Heat take 2-1 series lead over Bulls

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NBA Wrap: Heat take 2-1 series lead over Bulls

The Sixers made their first big acquisition of the offseason on Friday, agreeing to a deal with Sam Hinkie to become president and general manager, according to a league source (see story).

That decision means the Sixers' front office is moving toward embracing the analytics wave in professional sports (see story).

Now let's look at Friday's NBA playoff action:

Heat battle past Bulls
CHICAGO -- LeBron James came on strong down the stretch to finish with 25 points, Chris Bosh added 20 points and 19 rebounds, and the Miami Heat followed up the most lopsided playoff win in franchise history with a 104-94 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Norris Cole scored 18, and the Heat pulled out a tight win after blasting the Bulls 115-78 on Wednesday.

This time, Chicago refused to go quietly. Never mind that the Bulls were coming off the worst playoff loss in franchise history. Put aside the fact that the ailing Luol Deng and injured Kirk Hinrich (calf) remained sidelined, not to mention Derrick Rose, or that Nazr Mohammed got ejected in the second quarter for shoving James to the floor.

The Heat simply had too much in the end.

James hit just 6 of 17 shots and even got blocked on a layup by Nate Robinson in the third quarter. But the four-time MVP came through down the stretch, scoring 12 in the fourth (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Vets lead Spurs to 2-1 series lead
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Tony Parker scored 25 of his 32 points in a sizzling first half, Tim Duncan added 23 points and 10 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs quieted the hot-shooting Golden State Warriors in a 102-92 victory Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Kawhi Leonard finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, and Parker added five assists and five boards to help the Spurs wrestle back home-court advantage from the Warriors after withstanding a brief fourth-quarter rally.

San Antonio outshot Golden State 50.6 to 39.3 percent and curbed streaky shooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for the first time in the series.

Thompson scored 17 points on 7-of-20 shooting, while Curry had 16 points on 5 of 17 from the floor. Andrew Bogut added 11 points and 12 rebounds for Golden State but was saddled with foul trouble most of the second half (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

The Kings and Pelicans made waves after Sunday's NBA All-Star Game with the huge trade that sent superstar DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Sacramento sent Cousins to New Orleans for a package that included rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round picks this in this year's draft.

But the Sixers and Pelicans reportedly were very close recently on deal for a "similar" package in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne.

That "similar" package was reportedly minus Hield.

So while the Pelicans are now almost certainly out of the running for Okafor, they've still made an impact on the Sixers in the near future.

Remember, the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings in this year's draft via the Nik Stauskas deal in 2015.

So with Sacramento's brightest star now gone, that pick swap could be looking better and better for the Sixers.

As for Okafor, what does all this mean for his status with the Sixers?

Reports: Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans

Reports: Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS -- A person familiar with the situation says the Sacramento Kings have agreed to trade DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Tyreke Evans, 2016 first-round draft pick Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round draft picks this summer.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday night because the trade is not official and has not been announced by either team.

The deal pairs Cousins, a frontcourt All-Star from nearby Mobile, Alabama, with Anthony Davis, who on Sunday night was the 2017 All-Star MVP after scoring 52 points, breaking Wilt Chamberlain's 1962 record of 42 points.