Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 22nd 2014 Contents A59
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Aldridge scored a club playoff
record 46 points before he
fouled out, leaving Damian Lil-
lard to put the finishing touches
on Portland s 122-120 win over
Houston Rockets in a thrilling
first-round series opener on
Aldridge fouled out with
about a minute left in overtime
and Lillard, who was making his
playoff debut, scored Portland s
next five points and put the Trail
Blazers on top by one point with
a pair of free throws with 17 sec-
"When you ve got your best
player playing like that, it fires
you up," said Lillard, who fin-
ished with 31 points. "When he
went out of the game, I felt like
our team...had to come through
Aldridge also had 18 rebounds
and two blocks.
"He s been a handful for us
all year long," Houston coach
Kevin McHale said. "We just
didn t have any answers for
James Harden and Dwight
Howard each scored 27 points
for Houston, and Howard
grabbed 15 rebounds.
Houston could have tied it,
but Harden missed a short jump
shot at the buzzer. He had
missed a 3-pointer on Houston s
"I ve got to shake it off, Hard-
en said, "but it will be better in
Game 2 is Wednesday night
In other playoff series openers,
Nene dominated with 24 points
and Trevor Ariza scored 18 as
the Washington Wizards rallied
from 13 points down to beat the
Bulls 102-93 in Chicago, while
LeBron James scored 27 points
and Dwyane Wade added 23 as
Miami beat Charlotte 99-88.
The Spurs had a 90-85 win
over the Mavericks at San Anto-
nio, with Tim Duncan scoring
The Mavericks also went
scoreless for 5 1/2 minutes dur-
ing a late stretch, their lone field
goal coming as time expired.
Tony Parker had 21 points,
and Manu Ginobili added 17.
Kawhi Leonard had 11 points
and ten rebounds and Tiago
Splitter pulled down 11 rebounds
for top-seeded San Antonio,
which has won ten straight
NEW YORK---Mike Woodson was fired as coach the
New York Knicks yesterday after his team fell from divi-
sion champions to out of the playoffs in one season.
Phil Jackson, in his first big move since becoming team
president in March, said in a statement "the time has come
for change throughout the franchise."
The dismissal comes shortly after the Knicks completed
a 37-45 season that began with their belief they were a
Instead, they started poorly, making Woodson s job secu-
rity practically a season-long distraction. A late surge
wasn t good enough for a postseason spot or another year
for Woodson. Jackson has won an NBA-record 11 cham-
pionships as a coach. He has repeatedly said he s not inter-
ested in returning to the bench, so he will have to hire
someone before he turns his attention to the roster. The
team said the coaching search begins immediately.
Jackson said he has a "tremendous amount of respect"
for Woodson and the team "owes a great deal of gratitude"
to him and his staff. Jackson called this an "extremely dif-
ficult" season and said "blame should not be put on one
"But the time has come for change throughout the fran-
chise as we start the journey to assess and build this team
for next season and beyond," he added.
Woodson, a former Knicks first-round draft pick, was
hired as an assistant coach before the 2011-12 season, then
engineered an 18-6 finish after replacing Mike D Antoni
on an interim basis the following March to capture a playoff
spot. Given a multiyear deal two months later, he then led
them to a 54-28 record last season and the Knicks first
Atlantic Division championship since 1994.
New York then beat Boston in the playoffs, its first series
victory since 2000, and general manager Steve Mills picked
up next season s option year on Woodson s contract before
this season began.
But the Knicks were saddled with some early injuries,
including centre Tyson Chandler s broken leg, and Madison
Square Garden chairman James Dolan was already con-
sidering about replacing Woodson by December, when he
met with Jackson at a holiday party and talked to him
about coaching the team.
Aldridge leads Portland
past Houston in OT Knicks fire coach Woodson
Portland Trail Blazers' Mo Williams (25) passes the ball
around Houston Rockets' Francisco Garcia (32) during
the second quarter in Game 1 of an opening-round NBA
basketball playoff series Sunday, in Houston. AP PHOTO
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