The NBA's first buzzer-beater was made by...

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The NBA's first buzzer-beater was made by...

From Comcast SportsNetSAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tony Parker swished the buzzer-beater and unleashed a cathartic scream. Under the basket, Kevin Durant stood frozen in disbelief.Throw in the trade that sent James Harden to Houston, and that's two stunners for the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first week of this NBA season.Parker sank a 21-footer as time expired and the San Antonio Spurs won a thrilling rematch of the Western Conference finals, beating Oklahoma City 86-84 on Thursday night without having to chase around Harden this time.Parker scored the last of his 14 points while Serge Ibaka -- the NBA's leading shot-blocker last season -- ran at him full steam. The All-Star guard calmly swished a long jumper from the left wing before breaking into a sustained scream while his teammates mobbed him in front of the Thunder bench."I was like, I have to shoot fast," Parker said about eluding the outstretched arm of the 6-foot-10 Ibaka. "He was coming very fast."Durant led all scorers with 23 points and began his sixth NBA season by becoming the second-youngest player behind LeBron James to reach 10,000 career points. Durant, however, stood silent under the basket for several seconds after Parker's shot before walking off the court."We lost him. We didn't get him in time, but he still made a tough shot over Serge," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "It's not an easy hand to shoot over."The defending West champions broke up their Big Three by trading the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year to Houston on Saturday. Harden had 37 points and 12 assists in a brilliant debut with the Rockets on Wednesday night.Speaking before the season opener, Brooks succinctly acknowledged Harden's performance before saying his team was moving forward.Until Parker's game-winner, it was almost as if nothing had changed for Oklahoma City.Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 20 points and eight rebounds. Parker also had 11 assists and hit a 3-pointer with 28.4 seconds left that tied the game at 84 and set up his buzzer-beater on the next possession.Durant also had 14 rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 18 points but made a poor pass on the Thunder's final possession that gave the ball back to the Spurs with 5.9 seconds left, giving Parker plenty of time to set and release his shot.The Thunder are starting anew with newcomers Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, who along with draft picks, are what the Thunder got in exchange for their third-leading scorer. Small-market Oklahoma City wasn't willing to offer Harden a maximum contract, and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 draft wouldn't accept its lesser offer.By Wednesday, Harden had agreed to a five-year, 80 million extension with the Rockets. That night, he stepped into Houston's starting lineup and became the first player in NBA history to have more than 30 points and 12 assists in a debut with a new team.Asked before Thursday's game whether the second-guessing had begun, Brooks didn't linger on the topic."He's played good basketball. He had a good game," Brooks said. "We're real focused on our group, our guys and moving forward."Westbrook, who took responsibility for losing Parker on the screen on the game's final play, acknowledged the first game without Harden didn't feel the same."It was definitely odd not playing and practicing with him," Westbrook said. "But we still need to find a way to win."Martin had 15 points and was Oklahoma City's only bench player in double figures. But backup Eric Maynor made his own big contribution, hitting a half-court heave to tie the game at the end of the third quarter.Spurs guard Manu Ginobili missed his second game with back problems but could make his season debut Saturday against Utah.Parker played 35 minutes and scored 23 points in Wednesday night's season-opening win at New Orleans. He played another 35 minutes against the Thunder, more than what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would prefer for his Big Three on back-to-back nights this early in the season."Down the stretch, you think he might be getting a little tired on the back-to-back," Popovich said. "Be he had his legs on the shot and did a great job."Notes: Spurs C DeJuan Blair made his season debut after Popovich kept him on the bench Wednesday, which prompted a clearly frustrated Blair to take to Twitter after the game. Blair, who started 62 games last season but was stuck on the bench by the playoffs, insisted he wasn't complaining but at one point tweeted, "I'm might not b tall enough." ... Duncan surpassed Charles Barkley for 17th on the NBA's career rebounding list.

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas visiting hip specialists, no decision yet on surgery

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas visiting hip specialists, no decision yet on surgery

BOSTON – The last 2 1/2 games for the Celtics have come without Isaiah Thomas (right hip) and it has certainly been a factor in Boston trailing Cleveland 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals heading into tonight’s must-win for the Celtics to keep their season alive.
 
There have been rumors that if the series with Cleveland were closer, maybe that would lead to a return to the floor for Thomas.
 
“No. No way. He’s done [this season],” Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s "Toucher & Rich" show this morning.
 
Ainge said there’s still swelling in the hip, and it probably won’t go down enough for doctors to make a determination whether surgery is needed for another couple weeks.

Thomas was in New York City earlier this week visiting a hip specialist. He's expected to consult with at least two more before making a decision as to what's the best course of treatment.
 
“Everybody agrees if there’s anything that needs to be done to it surgically, it helps...if the inflammation goes down,” Ainge said. “The recovery [time] would be quicker.”
 
The injury initially occurred on March 15 against Minnesota.
 
Ainge said he didn’t become too concerned about it until after Thomas re-aggravated it in Game 6 of the second-round series against Washington and was questionable to play in Game 7.
 
“I was worried going into the Cleveland series that he was nowhere near himself in Game 1 or 2,” Ainge said. “And Game 2 in the second quarter it was clear he was in a lot of pain. No way we could go out and allow him to play the second half.”
 
Boston was blown out 130-86 in Game 2. In the first half, Thomas had two points and six assists, while missing all six of his shots from the field.
 
Ainge said there was “a lot” of irritation and inflammation around the affected joint in Thomas' right hip.
 
“It had gotten worse from the MRIs he had before,” said Ainge, who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”
 

Butler reaction to Gilmore signing: 'We got another good player'

Butler reaction to Gilmore signing: 'We got another good player'

FOXBORO -- Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium gave reporters their first opportunity to see both Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore on the field at the same time.

Once Gilmore signed with the Patriots earlier this offseason, there was no guarantee he'd actually team up with the 27-year-old in his fourth season out of West Alabama. But Butler wasn't given an offer sheet by the Saints or anyone else, he wasn't traded, and now together they make up one of the most talented cornerback duos in the NFL. 

"Um, nothing much really," Butler replied when asked for his initial reaction to the Gilmore deal. "Nothing much really. We got a better player. We got another player. We got another good player on this team. Anything to help the team win, I'm down with."

Depite the fact that Gilmore is the one who received the big-money contract from the Patriots earlier this year, Butler had nothing but good things to say about his teammate following Thursday's workout. 

"He brings the size and the coverage skills," Butler said. "One of the best guys in the league. Very underrated. [He's] come in, head down, working hard. Just trying to build off each other no matter what."

Butler acknowledged that the corner group, which also includes Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones, has some work to do when it comes to their communication, but he indicated he'll be happy to chip in wherever he's needed. The Patriots could use some help in the slot following Logan Ryan's departure to Tennessee, and Butler said he'd be open to playing inside.

"Wherever they put me, I'm gonna play that role," he said. "I'm ready to play the slot if that's what it is."