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NBA Notebook

Associated Press
The NBA notebook …
ATLANTA ó Hawks forward Marvin Williams isn’t sure he’ll be able to play today in Game 7 of Atlanta’s first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics after spraining his left knee.
Williams, who was hurt in the fourth quarter of a win Friday night, took part in a walkthrough at Philips Arena on Saturday before the team departed for Boston. But the former UNC star’s knee was iced and heavily taped, and he didn’t even attempt to bend it during the light, 30-minute workout.
“It’s pretty sore right now,” said Williams, who led the Hawks with 18 points in Game 6. “As of right now, the trainers list me as doubtful. I’ll do the best I can to get as much treatment as I can and see if I can play tomorrow.”
BOSTON STUNNED
WALTHAM, Mass. ó The Boston Celtics played hard all season for home-court advantage in the playoffs.
They just didn’t expect to need it this soon.
The Celtics are back in Boston and hoping to finish off the pesky Atlanta Hawks today in Game 7. It’s the last first-round series still going ó a bit of a shock considering that the Celtics were the best team in the NBA during the regular season, and the Hawks the worst of the 16 to reach the postseason.
“Clearly, we’d have loved to have won in four games. We’d have loved to have won it in five, (or) six,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after a walkthrough at the team’s practice facility on Saturday. “But we have to do it in seven. We earned the right to do it at home.”
LAKERS-JAZZ
LOS ANGELES ó When the Staples Center crowd chants “MVP! MVP” in Kobe Bryant’s direction Sunday, it won’t simply be based on sentiment.
While the Los Angeles Lakers’ players were watching the finale of the Houston-Utah first-round playoff series Friday night at a Hollywood restaurant, Bryant received an e-mail informing him he had won his first Most Valuable Player award.
While it hasn’t been made official, the honor has been expected since the completion of the regular season 21/2 weeks ago, when the Bryant-led Lakers finished with a Western Conference-best 57-25 record.
The word came through a Los Angeles Times report, which quoted sources as saying NBA commissioner David Stern would be in Los Angeles this week to present the MVP trophy to Bryant. That’s expected to happen Wednesday night before Game 2.
“The game (today) is a beast sitting on my shoulders,” Bryant said after practice Saturday, referring to the opener of the second-round series against the Jazz. “I’m reserving judgment until I hear from David Stern.”
MAVS’ SEARCH
DALLAS ó Rick Carlisle is the front-runner to replace Avery Johnson as coach of the Dallas Mavericks.
Carlisle ó a former NBA coach of the year who had successful stints in Detroit and Indianapolis ó is the only serious candidate the team has interviewed since firing Johnson on Wednesday.

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