Perkins, 'humble' Thunder ready for Heat in Finals

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Perkins, 'humble' Thunder ready for Heat in Finals

Last season, Kendrick Perkins was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Oklahoma City Thunder after winning an NBA championship and making two Finals appearances. Sixteen months later, he is returning to the Finals again, this time as a member of the Western Conference champions.

Perkins, the Thunders starting center, addressed the media on Monday in advance of Game 1 against the Miami Heat on Tuesday.

I think as far as the team goes, we have one of the hardest playoff schedules this year, having to go through the Dallas Mavericks, the (Los Angeles) Lakers, the (San Antonio) Spurs, and now having to face the Heat, he said. There really werent any free rides this year during the playoffs. I think we're battle tested, so I think we'll step up to the plate.

The Thunder trailed the Spurs 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals before coming back to win four straight, including the final two games on the road. While the Thunder have home court advantage in the championship series, they are proof themselves that it doesnt guarantee success.

I think one thing about us, we stay humble and just continue to work and play hard, he said. Like Coach always says, it's the first team to four. It's the first team to four wins that actually wins the series, so you can't walk in here and think we've got home court advantage so we're going to win the series. The home court advantage team lost in The Finals last year.

But after reaching the Finals in 2008 and 2010 as a member of the Celtics, Perkins knows firsthand the impact playing on his own turf can have on a series.

It's always good when you're at home, he said. I think our fans give us a lot of energy, a lot of confidence, including myself, let alone the other guys on the team. It gives myself a lot of confidence. We do have the best fans in the world.

Follow along with CSNNE.com during the NBA Finals for news and updates on Perkins.

Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

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Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Klay Thompson made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points, and the defending champion Golden State Warriors forced a seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 108-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

Stephen Curry bounced back from a slow start to finish with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

The Warriors, who set the league's regular-season record with 73 wins, will host Game 7 on Monday. The winner will play Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

Oklahoma City dominated Games 3 and 4 at home, but the Warriors made 21 of 44 3-pointers on Saturday, while Oklahoma City was 3 of 23.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Russell Westbrook added 28 for the Thunder. But Durant made just 10 of 31 shots and Westbrook was 10 of 27.

Trying to become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit, the Warriors trailed much of the game and trailed by eight going to the fourth quarter.

Thompson kept them in it with four 3-pointers in just over seven minutes to start the period. Curry then hit two 3s, the second of which tied the game at 99 with 2:47 to play.

Thompson's 3 with 1:35 to play put the Warriors up 104-101.

The Thunder, who blew a number of fourth-quarter leads during the regular season, fell apart in the final minutes after Golden State had finally gone ahead for good.

Westbrook lost control of the ball, and after Thompson missed a 3, Westbrook turned the ball over again. Curry's layup with 14.3 seconds to play put the Warriors up by five, the Thunder turned it over again, and the Warriors were in the clear.

The Thunder led 23-20 after one quarter, then seized momentum early in the second. Steven Adams' powerful one-handed dunk on Draymond Green drew a roar from the crowd and gave Oklahoma City a 37-28 lead. Green, who had hit Adams in the groin area twice during the series, was a constant target for the vocal Thunder fans.

Thompson opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Warriors a 54-53 edge, but the Thunder closed the quarter strong and led 83-75 heading into the fourth.

Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

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Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

By Kurt Helin, NBC Pro Basketball Talk

This is a sad and stunning development.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, the rookie guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, has died, the Dallas, Texas, County Coroner has confirmed to NBC Sports. Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune broke the news.

Dejean-Jones was just 23.

The coroner’s office would not give a cause of death, but Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had the tragic detail.