Marc J. Spears

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Marc Spears covers the NBA for Yahoo! Sports. He previously has written for the Boston Globe and Denver Post.

  • Steve Nash: Lakers 'can't rely on me'

    LOS ANGELES – Is 40-year-old Steve Nash confident he will be ready for the Los Angeles Lakers' training camp? Or might his beaten body have a different opinion?

    "That's a good question," Nash said. "I think in my mind, yeah, I will be in camp. Who knows? I don't take anything for granted nowadays. I want to work as hard as I can to put myself in a position to compete, succeed and sustain it. At the same time, I got to prove it to myself every day."

    Nash had chronic issues in his back, along with hamstring and knee problems this season. The two-time NBA MVP played in a career-low 15 games, averaging just 6.8 points and 5.7 assists. The 18-year NBA veteran also missed 32 games in his first season with the Lakers.

    Nash arrived in Los Angeles thinking he would chase championships with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Howard, however, left after last season and the Lakers had just a miserable 27 wins this season.

    "We've hit the bottom," Nash said. "We had championship aspirations

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  • Pau Gasol says farewell to Lakers, maybe for good

    LOS ANGELES – Pau Gasol felt nostalgic in what he admitted might have been his last day with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. He's also excited about his impending free agency and is open to a reunion with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who now runs the New York Knicks' front office.

    "I'm happy for him and the position that he got," Gasol said. "I'm always going to be a big fan and a friend. I would listen."

    Gasol completed his seventh season with the Lakers averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 60 games. He won two titles with the Lakers under Jackson, but the latter part of his tenure in L.A. has been clouded by constant trade speculation, including a near-deal to the Houston Rockets. He also didn't fit with coach Mike D'Antoni's offense and had two straight disappointing seasons.

    Despite the struggle in recent years, Gasol seemed very much at peace during his postseason media briefing on Thursday. The main reason is because he can help decide his own future as a free agent

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  • NBA Power Rankings: Spurs top final rankings of 2013-14 season

    San Antonio1. San Antonio Spurs (62-20; last week's ranking: 1): The Spurs have so far impressively responded from their loss in the 2013 NBA Finals. Now, they'll try to use that disappointment as fuel for the playoffs.


    Oklahoma City2. Oklahoma City Thunder (59-23; last week's ranking: 2): Kevin Durant averaged a career-best 32 points this season. He averaged 30.8 in four games against the Grizzlies.


    Los Angeles3. Los Angeles Clippers (57-25; last week's ranking: 3): The heated rivalry between the Clippers and Warriors renews in the playoffs. The teams got testy on Christmas, and their tempers don't figure to cool down in the postseason.


    Miami4. Miami Heat (54-28; last week's ranking: 4): The reigning NBA champions enter the playoffs with one victory in their past six games. LeBron James averaged 31.1 points in April.


    Houston5. Houston Rockets (54-28; last week's ranking: 5): Houston won its season series 3-1 against first-round opponent Portland. Dwight Howard averaged 25.5 points and 13.5 rebounds against the Blazers.


    Indiana

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  • Andrew Bogut out indefinitely with rib fracture

    OAKLAND, Calif. – The Golden State Warriors suffered a major blow to their playoff run when they learned Monday that starting center Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely with a fractured rib.

    Bogut said he's been advised the rib is too close to his right lung for him to play through the pain because he would risking puncturing the lung. He originally suffered the injury against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday and it became worse in Sunday's overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. He took a pain killer before Sunday's game, but the injury worsened in the fourth quarter.

    "I'm going to dedicate the summer to learning how to play while avoiding contact at all costs, I guess – moving out of the way, not taking charges and not trying to block shots," Bogut said. "All of my injuries have been high-impact injuries. I put my body on the line to try to take a charge or a block a shot, and unfortunately, I've been on the tail end of them. There are some players in the league who are very good

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  • Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon to announce he's entering NBA draft

    University of Arizona freshman forward Aaron Gordon will announce this week he's entering the 2014 NBA draft, source told Yahoo Sports.

    Gordon averaged 12.4 points and eight rebounds in 31.2 minutes during his freshman year for the Wildcats. He is ranked as the eighth-best prospect in this year's draft by DraftExpress.com.

  • Kentucky recruit Karl-Anthony Towns latest Wildcat on NBA radar

    PORTLAND, Ore. – University of Kentucky-bound center Karl-Anthony Towns Jr. met with a kinesiologist last week to learn more about the field he plans on studying in college. The 7-footer, who is already on the NBA radar, walked out of the meeting also having learned he could grow three more inches.

    "Growing up, I've always been that tall kid and now I can be that taller kid," Towns said. "If I could play the way I play now with that height, it would be really great."

    Towns, 17, was named the 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 21.5 points, 13.7 rebounds and 6.4 blocks as a senior this past season for St. Joseph's High School in Metuchen, N.J. The member of the Dominican Republic National Team played for the World Team during Saturday's Hoop Summit.

    Towns' father said it's still undecided as to whether his son will play for the Dominican Republic in the 2014 World Cup in Spain or for Kentucky in an exhibition summer slate in Spain. It appears to be Kentucky coach John

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  • NBA's new international import could come from ... Switzerland

    PORTLAND, Ore. – Switzerland could soon land its second player in the NBA.

    Clint Capela is expected to announce next week he's entering this year's NBA draft, sources told Yahoo Sports. He's projected to be a first-round pick and would join Oklahoma City Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha in representing the Swiss in the league.

    "I'll be happy when he gets to the NBA," Sefolosha said of Capela, who is participating for the World Team in this week's Hoop Summit. "I won't be the only one anymore. It will be real cool for basketball in Switzerland."

    Sefolosha was selected with the 13th overall pick in 2006 NBA draft. He was the first player from Switzerland to be drafted and play in the NBA. Switzerland's national basketball team has only participated in the Olympics twice with the last appearance in 1948. Swiss basketball officials had hoped that Sefolosha's arrival to the NBA would spark interest in the game.

    Capela's length and athleticism have attracted the attention of NBA scouts. (Getty Images)Capela, 19, wasn't well-known about 16 months ago. The Geneva native's parents are

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  • Why 2014 prep hoops class may be as good as Andrew Wiggins' highly touted group

    PORTLAND, Ore. – Led by Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Joel Embiid and Aaron Gordon, the Class of 2013 was the most heralded and hyped prep basketball group in years. The aforementioned pretty much lived up to the billing and are now projected top picks in this year's NBA draft.

    Meanwhile, the Class of 2014 fell under its predecessor's shadow. But despite the lack of fanfare, could this year's class led by only one nationally familiar name actually be as good or possibly even better?

    Jahlil Okafor (L) fouls Cliff Alexander during the second half of the McDonald's All-American game. (AP)"I don't know if it's as good as last year, but it's underrated," one NBA scout said. "I don't think it's that big of a drop off. Last year there were five or seven players like, 'Wow.' There are probably four or five this year, and that's still pretty impressive."

    Said another NBA scout: "They have the potential to supersede last year's class."

    The only well-known member of this year's prep class is Duke signee Jahlil Okafor, a 6-foot-10, 260-pound center from Chicago Whitney High School.

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  • Russell Westbrook entering playoffs with renewed anger

    Russell Westbrook has always played angry. Since he's returned from his knee injury, he's played even more mad.

    "For anybody who gets hurt, you come back with a bigger shovel," Westbrook said. "You want to compete, come back better and compete at the level before you got hurt.

    "It's made me even more meaner. But that's normal for me."

    Westbrook never missed a game during his first five NBA seasons. He quickly built a reputation as one of the NBA's most confident scorers despite playing alongside Kevin Durant. Westbrook was often criticized for being too offensive-minded as a point guard, but he also often said he didn't care what his critics thought.

    Knee injuries eventually forced Westbrook to the sideline, the first of which knocked him out of last season's playoffs. He's had three procedures on his right knee since the initial injury. Sidelined for 35 games this season, he has been forced to watch the Thunder mostly succeed without him. He said that's helped him learn what style of

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  • Kevin Durant's 25-point streak ends at 41 games

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Kevin Durant expects to fondly reflect upon his streak of 41 consecutive games with at least 25 points after the season ends. But for now, he's actually relieved the streak is over.

    Durant's run ended during the Thunder's 107-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. He finished with a team-high 23 points in 31 minutes and did not play in the fourth quarter. Durant's streak is the third longest in NBA history, trailing Wilt Chamberlain's 80 games and Oscar Robertson's 46.

    "When I sit back after the season is over and reflect on everything that I've done, that the team's done, I will appreciate it then," Durant said. "I'm focusing on game to game, how we can get better as a group and how I can help the team get better. I was getting so many texts after every game. I'm glad that's over with.

    "If we play well and I had 25 points, that took away from how the team was playing. So I didn't like it. If we lost, it was all about me scoring 25 points, so I

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