Jimmy Carter is an award-winning reporter covering Arkansas football and basketball for WholeHogSports.com. He was born in Texas and grew up in Tulsa. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Trio of former Hogs in NBA playoffs
Detroit Pistons' Ish Smith (14) defends againsts the steal attempt by Houston Rockets' Patrick Beverley in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 7, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Three former Razorbacks will play in this year’s NBA playoffs, which begin Saturday.
Guard Patrick Beverley’s Houston Rockets are the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, forward Joe Johnson’s Utah Jazz are the West’s 5 seed and forward Bobby Portis’ Chicago Bulls are the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Beverley and the Rockets begin their first-round series at home against the 6-seed Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday at 8 p.m. on TNT.
Beverley is an integral piece for Houston, which posted the third-best record in the league at 55-27 this year. He is an all-defense candidate and averaged 9.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 38.2 percent from 3-point range and averaging 30.7 minutes per game.
Johnson and the Jazz begin their first-round series on the road against the 4-seed Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.
In Johnson’s first season in Utah, the Jazz won their division for the first time since 2008 and reached 50 wins for the first time since 2010, finishing 51-31. A 15-year veteran, Johnson mostly came off the bench for the first time in years and was productive as a fixture in Utah’s rotation, averaging 9.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 41.1 percent from 3, the third-best mark of his career, in 23.6 minutes per game, his lowest average since his rookie season in 2002.
Portis and the Bulls kick off their first-round series on the road against top-seeded Boston on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on TNT.
Chicago beat Brooklyn on the final day of the regular season to finish 41-41 and clinch the final playoff spot in the East. Portis averaged 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 15.6 minutes in his second season, but his numbers jumped to 10.2 points and 6.6 rebounds in 21.1 minutes after the all-star break and a trade that sent starter Taj Gibson to OKC.
Visit ESPN.com/nba/schedule/ for the full playoff schedule.
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.