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Rockets goal for next season is to get healthy and better, says James Harden

James Harden is coming off yet another MVP-caliber season, leading the Houston Rockets to another post-season berth, after what was a rocky start to the season.  Facing a litany of injuries to key players like Chris Paul and Clint Capela, Harden went on a historic run that saw him score 30-plus points in 32 straight games to pull the Rockets back into the playoff picture from an 11-13 record.  "Just the will, finding the will to win games," Harden said of his stellar streak. The 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player is currently in the Philippines for his two-day adidas Free To Harden Manila 2019 tour, and was able to answer some questions from the media, Wednesday.  "Throughout that 32-games, it was a stretch of scoring, throughout the other course of the games, it was maybe assists, it was maybe defense, a variety of things." "I think every game is it’s own challenge and you have to find ways to impact the games and try to win the games, and so, throughout the course of the season, you might have injuries, you might have guys out of the lineups, you can’t let that sidetrack you, you have to focus on winning that game, and that was kind of my mindset," he continued.  While the Rockets did make it back into the postseason, finishing with another 50-win season and the fourth seed in the tough Western Conference, they again saw their title dreams come to a crashing halt at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, who just a season prior, eliminated them in Game 7 the Western Conference Finals.  With the Warriors' spot at the top of the Western Conference now in question due to the looming free agency as well as injuries to key guys in Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Harden says that the Rockets just need to get better to put themselves in a position to contend for the title again.  "Just get a little bit better, that’s all we can do, from an individual [standpoint], myself, Chris, Clint, PJ, Eric, all guys get a little bit better, and then for the front office to bring in more skilled, more talented guys that have championship nature and want to win into the locker room. [We need] to continue to put ourselves in that position," he explained. "I think two years ago, we were so successful, we were one game away from the Finals because we had vets, we had guys that’s been through it throughout the course of the league for a long time, they had longevity in the NBA, and then last year we just went through so much adversity as far as injuries and trades, and we fought through it and we still got to a top-4 seed in the west. [We just need to] keep healthy, keep getting better, and just try to put ourselves in a position to be successful," Harden added.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 26th, 2019

Mike Budenholzer named 2019 NBA Coach of Year

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Milwaukee's Mike Budenholzer has won Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his career at the NBA Awards. The @Bucks' Mike Budenholzer accepts the 2018-19 Coach of the Year trophy! ???? pic.twitter.com/0f4hcaJKy8 — NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 25, 2019 He guided the Bucks to a 60-22 record in the regular season in his first year with the franchise, leading them to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to eventual NBA champion Toronto. He got choked up while thanking his wife and kids Monday night. Budenholzer also coached Team Giannis in the All-Star Game last season He earned his first Coach of the Year trophy with Atlanta in 2015. Budenholzer beat out Denver's Mike Malone and Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2019

Kiefer Ravena looking forward to Governor s Cup as he re-joins NLEX in practice

Just hours after his first practice back with the National Team, Kiefer Ravena also re-joined his mother team, the NLEX Road Warriors, for practice, Tuesday morning at the FCL Center in Katipunan.  The 25-year old Ravena, the number two overall draft pick in the 2017 PBA, had his stellar rookie campaign cut short after being handed a suspension by FIBA for failing a random drug test in 2018.  The suspension encompassed not only Ravena's international play, but also his professional play here at home.  Now, with just two months left before his suspension is up and three months to go before he can return to the court with NLEX, Ravena is treating his first practice back like it was his first ever practice with the team.  "I treated it as a normal practice, just like my first day last year," Ravena shared with the media during a post-practice scrum. "I want to make it routine as possible, to hasten the process, to get back to my rhythm, especially, ibang team ‘to eh, NLEX ‘to eh, so every time na nandito ako, yung priority ko is to really think about what’s happening now first, and then pag nasa Gilas, sa hapon, yun naman ng pino-proseso ko." Apart from being able to return to basketball activities, Ravena said that he can also finally watch games as well, and he will be in the house on Friday when his Road Warriors take on Rain or Shine this Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.  "It was a good practice, we have a game on Friday against Rain or Shine. I’m excited to watch, it’s been a while since I’ve watched a basketball game. I’ll be there to watch and support the team." More than just finally being able to run with his squad, Ravena said he just missed simply being around his NLEX family.  "Yung trabaho mismo, yung pupunta ka dito, yung pupunta ka talaga dito mismo to practice, talk to your teammates, do something that I love doing, which is play basketball, just being around my teammates, yun yung pinaka-namiss ko." With the Road Warriors sitting at the bottom of the standings with a 1-7 slate and just three games left in the ongoing 2019 PBA Governor's Cup, it's highly unlikely that NLEX makes a playoff push. As early as now however, Ravena and the team are already getting ready for the third conference, the Governor's Cup.  "Again, it’s more than three months until I get to play with them kasi sa September pa, we’re preparing early for the third conference, so hopefully, ngayon pa lang, good start na sa amin." By the time the Governor's Cup rolls in, Ravena hopes to have with him a fully healthy NLEX squad. Right now, the team has been ravaged by injuries, with their other key playmaker Kevin Alas being sidelined with another ACL injury and veterans in Larry Fonacier, JR Quinahan and RJ Jazul still working their way back.  Ravena is also excited to finally share the court with new faces in Jericho Cruz and Poy Erram. Import Olu Ashaolu is also back with the Road Warriors and is expected to debut on Friday as part of their preparation for the third conference.  "With Jericho coming it, healthy si Poy, healthy is JR, with Olu, me and Kevin, si Jazul, he’s healthy, si Larry pa nandiyan, I think we’re ready to take steps back," said Ravena. "Our goal is to really win it all in the third conference, but we have to take it a day at a time." With three months to go before he makes his long-awaited NLEX return, Ravena is making sure that the team gets into a groove before the start of the Governor's Cup. Being away from the team and not being able to contribute was a difficult experience, Ravena said. Now, he's happy to be able to help the team out, even if it's just in practice for now.  "Siyempre, medyo mahirap, kasi parang medyo helpless ka, nanonood ka lang sa TV, wala kang magawa para makatulong, kahit gustong-gusto mo maka-tulong." Soon enough, 'The Phenom' will be back on the floor, and that can only mean good things for the Road Warriors.  "Pero at the end of the day, tapos na ‘yon, ilang buwan na lang aantayin ko, at least ngayon, eto, makakatulong na ako sa practice. Ito na yung quote-unquote ambag ko sa kanila to make us better for the next three games." "Again, it’s more than three months until I get to play with them kasi sa September pa, we’re preparing early for the third conference, so hopefully, ngayon pa lang, good start na sa amin," he added. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2019

Curry in Japan to talk Tokyo Olympics, Rui Hachimura

By Jim Armstrong, Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — Stephen Curry is already looking ahead to the next challenge in his basketball career, including the chance to represent the United States at next year’s Tokyo Olympics. Just over a week since his Golden State Warriors lost a grueling NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors, Curry was in Tokyo on Sunday talking about the Olympics and the opportunity to face Japan’s newest basketball sensation. The U.S. has won the gold medal in the last three Olympics and will be the favorite to top the podium again in Tokyo with a Dream Team that could feature such stars as Curry, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. Curry decided to pull out of the Rio Olympics due to several factors, including ankle and knee injuries. “I know the energy here is going to be amazing,” Curry said. “I haven’t played in the Olympics before. I’ve played in two World Cup teams so I’ve had the experience of representing my country playing for the national team. But the Olympics, from everybody that I’ve talked to that’s played, there’s no comparison to that experience.” Curry was in Tokyo for a youth basketball clinic and was asked about Rui Hachimura, who became the first player from Japan picked in the first round of the NBA draft when he was taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). “It’s exciting for the NBA to have representation from Japan and countries all over the world,” Curry said. “It speaks to how the game of basketball is growing everywhere, especially here. For him to be a trailblazer in terms of doing something that has never been done is good for this country.” The 6'8", 235-pound (2.03 meters, 106 kilogram) Hachimura averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at U.S. college Gonzaga, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year. The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Yasutaka Okayama, who went 171st overall in 1981. He never appeared in a regular-season game, something just two players from the country have done: Yuta Tabuse for the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05, and Yuta Watanabe for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2018-19. The son of a Japanese mother and father from the Republic of Benin, Hachimura is the latest Japanese of mixed race to make a splash in the sporting world following the likes of Naomi Osaka and Yu Darvish. “Just from watching him play, I know he’s got good size, obviously,” Curry said. “He seems to have a high basketball IQ, good touch around the rim too. I’m sure as he gets into the NBA his game will expand. I think he fits into the direction the NBA is going right now; being able to score and put pressure on the defense no matter what the situation is.” As for the Warriors, Curry said he’s looking forward to winning more championships with the team. “The story is still going,” Curry said. “A lot of people said this is going to be the end but I’m not going to let that happen. It’s going to be fun to come back and chase more championships next year and beyond.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2019

Cebu Confab to Tackle Education Trends, Strategies

The Institutes for Research, Innovation, and Scholarship (IRIS) will hold a two-day conference here early next month where leaders of universities and the education industry can discuss trends and strategies for the learning curriculum. Dr. Napoleon Juanillo Jr., IRIS founder and convenor, said in a press conference Thursday that presidents of 27 universities and colleges, […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2019

Japan hails Hachimura s NBA selection as new era for sport

By Jim Armstrong, Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — Japanese basketball officials, fans and media hailed the selection of Rui Hachimura in the NBA draft, saying the move will usher in a new era for the sport in Japan. Hachimura became the first player from Japan to get chosen in the first round of the NBA draft, taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). "The Birth of the NBA's Hachimura, a huge step for Japan," read the headline in the Nikkansports newspaper's online edition. The 6'8", 235-pound (2.03 meters, 106 kilogram) forward averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at U.S. college Gonzaga, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year. The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Yasutaka Okayama, who went 171st overall in 1981. He never appeared in a regular-season game, something just two players from the country have done: Yuta Tabuse for the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05, and Yuta Watanabe for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2018-19. "The fact that Hachimura, a product of the Japanese basketball system, has been selected in the NBA draft makes us very proud," said the Japan Basketball Federation's Yuko Mitsuya. While it has grown in popularity with the introduction of a pro league in 2005, basketball still lags far behind baseball and soccer in Japan. Hachimura's NBA career is sure to help the sport grow in leaps and bounds. The son of a Japanese mother and father from the Republic of Benin, Hachimura is the latest Japanese of mixed race to make a splash in the sporting world following the likes of Naomi Osaka and Yu Darvish. "This is a huge step forward for Japan," said Keisuke Tsutsumi, an office worker who follows the NBA. "It will take the sport to a new level here." Hachimura's junior high school coach Joji Sakamoto welcomed the news of his draft selection. Sakamoto coached Hachimura in his native Toyama Prefecture and said he saw potential in his student from a young age. "I told him to visualize his dream, and now it will be a reality," the 59-year-old Sakamoto said. Japan's education minister Masahiko Shibayama said Hachimura had given hope to a generation of young players in his home country. "It's really wonderful," Shibayama said. "By taking a prominent role in a league that is difficult for Japanese players to enter, he will give hope to many Japanese people." Hachimura's rise couldn't come at a better time with Tokyo building to host the 2020 Olympics. Japan's national men's team has qualified as host country and Hachimura could play a leading role at both the Olympics and the World Cup in China later this year. Wizards interim general manager Tommy Sheppard mentioned the 21-year-old's play for Japan's national team. "For Japan to qualify for the world championships, he's the focal point. And when the (Tokyo) Olympics come in 2020, he's going to be the focal point of that country on that basketball team," Sheppard said. "To be able to shoulder that load at his age — the maturity he has — I think that's going to bode well for him in the NBA.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

From foundation to innovation

Data is very much in the spotlight in today’s business environment. We se it in how organizations are moving towards automating their data-related processes in order to minimize their output error rate, reduce the cost of data remediation, and maximize insights. There has also been a surge in the demand for data professionals such as data scientists and engineers to better analyze unstructured pieces of data and turn them into valuable information (e.g., reliable trends, forecasts and projections)......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

Pelicans extend coach Gentry’s contract through 2021

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Pelicans basketball operations chief David Griffin says the club is exercising its option to extend coach Alvin Gentry’s contract through the 2020-21 season. Gentry has coached four seasons in New Orleans and made one playoff appearance, when New Orleans swept Portland in the first round in 2018 before falling to eventual champion Golden State. Griffin worked with Gentry in Phoenix when the veteran coach helped the Suns reach the Western Conference finals in 2010 and says Gentry is “exactly the right coach at the right time” for the Pelicans. Griffin says he and Gentry have a “shared vision” for the Pelicans on and off the court, which will enable them to build a roster that “fits both culturally and tactically.” New Orleans has the top pick in Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) draft and is expected to select Zion Williamson of Duke. The Pelicans have also agreed to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round draft choices. Gentry has coached more than 1,000 games in 16 seasons with Miami, Detroit, the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix and New Orleans......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2019

Seven takeaways from Lakers reported trade for Anthony Davis

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Here are seven takeaways on the reported blockbuster trade sending New Orleans star forward Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. 1. Davis gets what he wanted all along Davis and his camp, fronted by agent Rich Paul, first made noise about getting out of New Orleans in January, when he still had a year and a half to go before he even reached the player-option year in his Pelicans contract extension. New Orleans management, notably GM Dell Demps, resisted the power play then. Of course, Demps lost his job after resisting the trade demand and seeing the ripple effects undermine his own team’s season. Demps’ replacement, David Griffin, took over on a more traditional timeline -- one year out from the dreaded possibility of having a star free agent walk without compensation. After apparently trying to change Davis’ mind, Griffin did what he felt he had to do. So the six-time All-Star doesn’t have to wait until the summer of 2020, or even the trade deadline in February, to swap a less glamorous market for the bright lights and a franchise that has never won for the Lakers’ legacy of champions built around elite big men. 2. Will future franchise players do the same? What cost did Davis pay for his trade demand? Not much. His playing time plummeted from about 37 minutes in the first four months of 2018-19 to 22 in the 16 games he actually played after Jan. 18 (Jan. 19, PHL time). He did not participate at all in 21 games as New Orleans tried to protect its asset, which derailed any ambitions with which the Pelicans began the season. They went 12-24 in those 36 games to fall into the lottery – and land the No. 1 pick. But that didn’t concern Davis. He got what he wanted. The Pelicans got what they could. 3. Right package at right time for Pelicans There’s a time-value to money and there’s a time-value in trades, too. The best time for Griffin to deal was now, with the No. 4 pick in this year’s Draft in play to team with the No. 1 pick that presumably will be on Duke’s Zion Williamson. Landing that, along with two more first-round picks from the Lakers, a Draft pick swap, and players Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart (per ESPN’s report), shifts New Orleans into full rebuild mode with an exciting core of current and maybe future young players. Could Griffin have gotten more had he waited deeper into the offseason or heading toward the in-season trade deadline? Perhaps. But Boston, the other oft-purported suitor for Davis, no longer could count on teaming Davis with Kyrie Irving, who will explore free agency (and likely leave). Besides, the Celtics never did want to part with Jayson Tatum, so what they could offer the Pelicans was limited. Didn’t matter, anyway. Griffin didn’t want to drag this into a new season. In fact, he might work the phones to find point guard Jrue Holiday’s market value. As strong as Holiday is as a leader and two-way player, at 29 with 10 seasons in, he’s out of sync with the new era in N’Awlins. 4. Griffin should have held out for Kyle Kuzma OK, the Lakers had committed publicly to keeping Kuzma, the overachieving forward and No. 27 pick in 2017, out of the deal. And as noted above, the Pelicans were on the clock to make a clean break with Davis pre-Draft. But would the Lakers really have scuttled the deal if Griffin had held out for Kuzma? Some say yes, as the time factor gave them leverage. I’m not so sure. I’m reminded of the blockbuster deal that sent Kevin Garnett from Minnesota to Boston in 2008. Word eventually got out that Kevin McHale, the Wolves’ president of basketball operations, had wanted a raw point guard named Rajon Rondo in the package of players Minnesota received. His Celtics’ counterpart and buddy, Danny Ainge, pushed Sebastian Telfair instead. But with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on board, and Garnett so close to his wearing o’ the green, would Ainge have blown up the trade over young Rondo? Same applies here. So the positive spin on Kuzma staying put is, the Lakers did well to keep him. 5. LeBron gets his greatest sidekick yet That statement might offend a few folks. Dwyane Wade for one. Maybe Irving, Chris Bosh or Kevin Love, too. Heck, Davis might bristle at the idea of being anyone’s “sidekick” after being the man in Mardi Gras to this point in his career. But the truth can’t be controversial, and the success of this deal will be measured in the short-term by how well Davis meshes with James in the superstar’s quest for a fourth ring and beyond. Some believed that agent Rich Paul, who represents both James and Davis, was more concerned with helping the former than the latter, which Paul refuted a few days before news came out on this blockbuster trade. Who’s to say AD wouldn’t have thrived and won sooner in Boston had the Celtics and Pelicans worked out a Kawhi-like rent-a-player price? What if James not only is past his best years, but his most durable ones, and injuries intervene as he heads to age 35 and beyond to stymie title hopes? For James, though, there’s no downside to this. Ingram, because of the blood clot issue that cut short his 2018-19 season, is an unknown for now. Ball isn’t essential with James as a ball dominator. Hart actually backslid in his second season. And James has little or no use for draft picks at this stage of his career. Davis is good enough to carry the bigger load relative to James, more than any of his past Super Friends who all caught him in his extended prime. But it’s still to be determined how they’ll work that out – the two previous elite big men that he played alongside, Bosh and Love, wound up as No. 3 options once they teamed with James. 6. Kemba Walker might be next in Lakers’ sights Walker is a free agent who has served his time in Charlotte, a team that might not want to be locked into a super-max deal for their lone star anyway. He would be a nice backcourt complement to James and Davis, another scorer if not the pure shooter L.A. would seem to need. Speaking of which, that suggests other free-agent implications as the Lakers search for shooters. Say, if not J.J. Redick himself, then the next Redick perhaps. 7. So long Warriors, hello Lakers in 2020 Finals? You’ve got to admit, it would be something to see LeBron James pop up on the Western Conference’s finalist vying for a championship, in what lately has been Golden State’s accustomed spot. That’s what some anticipated for this June, until the Lakers went sideways with injuries and dysfunction. But with ESPN’s report of the Davis trade, a team that already was ranked atop the NBA’s contenders for 2020 saw its odds improve. Caesars Sportsbook put the Lakers as 7-2 favorites, ahead of the Bucks (6-1), the L.A. Clippers (6-1), the newly crowned Raptors (8-1), the Rockets (8-1) and what would be a distinctly different Warriors team (11-1). Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

PSL: F2 overpowers Generika in All-Filipino conference opener

MANILA, Philippines – F2 Logistics got off to a good start in its bid for the 2019 PSL All-Filipino conference crown with a straight-set win, 25-12, 25-21, 25-17, over 2018 2nd runner-up Generika-Ayala on Saturday, June 15, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.  Aby Maraño delivered 15 points off 9 ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 15th, 2019

Brazil opens Copa America with spotlight still on Neymar

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil will get the Copa America underway with the Neymar saga still far from over. As the hosts closed their preparations for Friday's opener against Bolivia, Neymar was still attracting most of the attention in the country even though he is not playing in the South American championship. The player, who was ruled out of the tournament last week because of an ankle injury, appeared at a police station amid a media frenzy on Thursday to answer questions related to the allegations of a Brazilian woman who says he raped her when she visited him in Paris. Neymar has denied wrongdoing. The team practiced a few hours later at the Morumbi Stadium, where it will begin its quest for the South American title against Bolivia in Group A. Brazil is trying to quickly get past the Neymar controversy and focus solely on soccer. "There's more talk about Neymar (in the media) than there is talk about him within the squad," Brazil coach Tite said on Thursday. "Within the squad we are focused on our preparations. I would never want to be in this situation of playing without Neymar, a top-three player in the world, but we have to be prepared." Neymar hurt his ankle in Brazil's win over Qatar in a Copa America warm-up last week. He was on crutches on Thursday when he arrived to speak with investigators at the police station, where a crowd of fans cheered him. This will be Brazil's first tournament since the team's loss to Belgium in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Tite kept his job despite that elimination, but only the title will be good enough at the Copa America at home. "We know it's important to win titles, we can't run away from that," Tite said. "But winning that has to be done step by step, it's part of a process." Tite said injured Barcelona midfielder Arthur is back in training but won't start on Friday. Goalkeeper Ederson is also out after hurting a muscle in practice on Wednesday. He is expected to be sidelined for about a week. Brazil has won the Copa America all four previous times it hosted the tournament, though its last South American title was in 2007. Bolivia didn't get past the group stage in the 2016 Copa America, but it made it to the quarterfinals in the 2015 tournament. "Brazil is a favorite in any competition it plays and always has the responsibility to win," Brazil defensive midfielder Casemiro said. "We are without Neymar, our biggest star, but we remain very strong. There's no doubt we are prepared. The work done so far has been very good.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

DUTERTE TRANSCRIPTS: Asia-Pacific Healthy Islands 2018. DC. 25 July 2018

  Presidential Communications Operations Office Presidential News Desk SPEECH OF PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE DURING THE ASIA-PACIFIC HEALTHY ISLANDS CONFERENCE 2018: NETWORKING FOR RESILIENT ISLAND HEALTH SYSTEMS [Delivered at The Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City |25 July 2018] Kindly sit down. Thank you for your courtesy. Health Secretary Francisco Duque; Climate Change Commission Secretary Emmanuel […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated NewsJun 12th, 2019

MPBL: Manila Stars aiming for better finish in Lakan Cup

All things considered, the Manila Stars had a pretty good campaign in the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup.  The Stars finished the elimination round with a 20-5 slate and went as far as the Divisional Finals, where they fell to eventual National Champions San Juan Knights in three games.  With their maiden season in the books, Manila is now looking to put on an even better showing in the upcoming MPBL Lakan Cup.  "It was good season for the Manila Stars, lalong-lalo na sa akin, kasi siyempre may Divisional Finals appearance," said Stars playmaker Chris Bitoon. "Makikita mo talaga yung players na gumagaling sa Divisional Finals eh, yung mga nag-iisip." "Sana ngayong dadating na MPBL, makakapag-laro ulit kami sa Divisional Finals, para yung bawat isa sa amin, mag-improve pa," he continued.  Bitoon himself had a pretty good maiden season in the league, averaging just under 15 points, nearly four rebounds, and four assists per game, good for a spot in the All-MPBL First Team.  And while an individual achievement is always nice, Bitoon maintains that it's just a bonus. The main goal remains the same, and that's to go far into the postseason.  "Sa akin, yung pagiging kasama ko sa First Team, bonus na lang ‘yun, talagang ginawa ko lang yung trabaho ko, pero sana ngayon yung expectation is makapag-laro muli kami sa Divisional Finals, ma-feel yung crowd na ganun ka-lakas yung sigawan, sana ma-bless kami ni God na makapag-laro ulit doon." With another Divisional Finals, and even a National Finals stint on their crosshairs, Bitoon says that a 'more organized' Manila Stars squad plans on taking things step by step, and among those steps is adding some depth in their roster.  "Siguro yung Manila Stars ngayon, mas naging-organized, naging organized, nag-recruit din kami ng mga bagong players, mga potential players na alam naman namin na makaka-tulong sa team namin," Bitoon shared. Among those new recruits include former PBA All-Star Carlo Lastimosa, former Mandaluyong standout Gian Abrigo, and former De La Salle Green Archers Jollo Go and Mark Dyke, and former UST Growling Tiger Marvin Lee.  The Stars hope that these additions will more than make up for the loss of forward Riel Cervantes.  "Sana, ngayong darating na season, siyempre step-by-step, makapag-laro kami ng Finals, pero ang nasa isip muna namin ngayon ay bawat game eh, elimination, Divisional Finals, then yung National Finals," Bitoon added.  With so much new blood injected into the Stars' system, Bitoon is confident that he and fellow All-MPBL First Teamer Aris Dioniso will have a lot of help in the coming conference.  "Laging sinasabi ng coach namin na kahit sinong pwedeng ipasok, makaka-contribute eh. Siguro sa amin ngayon, kailangan lang namin na mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa eh, hindi pwedeng kami lang ni Aris Dionisio, Chris Bitoon. Kailangan lang namin mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa. Andiyan naman yung mga ex-pro pa namin na maasahan." Right now, Bitoon is relishing the opportunity that the MPBL has given him, and playing for the capital city's home team has given him the perfect avenue to showcase his skills.  "Sobrang saya kasi ultimo mga bata, hanggang sa mga matatanda, mga nanay, talagang naka-support sa amin eh. Pag pumupunta kami sa venue namin sa practice, may mga ‘Idol, idol!’, magpapa-picture sila, kaya sobrang nakaka-proud kasi kahit hindi ka kilala, kahit hindi ka galing sa malaking school, nabibigyan ka ng halaga sa Manila."   The 2019-2020 MPBL Lakan Cup begins on Wednesday, June 12, 4:00 PM at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!   .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

MPBL: Manila Stars aiming for better finish in Lakan Cup

All things considered, the Manila Stars had a pretty good campaign in the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup.  The Stars finished the elimination round with a 20-5 slate and went as far as the Divisional Finals, where they fell to eventual National Champions San Juan Knights in three games.  With their maiden season in the books, Manila is now looking to put on an even better showing in the upcoming MPBL Lakan Cup.  "It was good season for the Manila Stars, lalong-lalo na sa akin, kasi siyempre may Divisional Finals appearance," said Stars playmaker Chris Bitoon. "Makikita mo talaga yung players na gumagaling sa Divisional Finals eh, yung mga nag-iisip." "Sana ngayong dadating na MPBL, makakapag-laro ulit kami sa Divisional Finals, para yung bawat isa sa amin, mag-improve pa," he continued.  Bitoon himself had a pretty good maiden season in the league, averaging just under 15 points, nearly four rebounds, and four assists per game, good for a spot in the All-MPBL First Team.  And while an individual achievement is always nice, Bitoon maintains that it's just a bonus. The main goal remains the same, and that's to go far into the postseason.  "Sa akin, yung pagiging kasama ko sa First Team, bonus na lang ‘yun, talagang ginawa ko lang yung trabaho ko, pero sana ngayon yung expectation is makapag-laro muli kami sa Divisional Finals, ma-feel yung crowd na ganun ka-lakas yung sigawan, sana ma-bless kami ni God na makapag-laro ulit doon." With another Divisional Finals, and even a National Finals stint on their crosshairs, Bitoon says that a 'more organized' Manila Stars squad plans on taking things step by step, and among those steps is adding some depth in their roster.  "Siguro yung Manila Stars ngayon, mas naging-organized, naging organized, nag-recruit din kami ng mga bagong players, mga potential players na alam naman namin na makaka-tulong sa team namin," Bitoon shared. Among those new recruits include former PBA All-Star Carlo Lastimosa, former Mandaluyong standout Gian Abrigo, and former De La Salle Green Archers Jollo Go and Mark Dyke, and former UST Growling Tiger Marvin Lee.  The Stars hope that these additions will more than make up for the loss of forward Riel Cervantes.  "Sana, ngayong darating na season, siyempre step-by-step, makapag-laro kami ng Finals, pero ang nasa isip muna namin ngayon ay bawat game eh, elimination, Divisional Finals, then yung National Finals," Bitoon added.  With so much new blood injected into the Stars' system, Bitoon is confident that he and fellow All-MPBL First Teamer Aris Dioniso will have a lot of help in the coming conference.  "Laging sinasabi ng coach namin na kahit sinong pwedeng ipasok, makaka-contribute eh. Siguro sa amin ngayon, kailangan lang namin na mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa eh, hindi pwedeng kami lang ni Aris Dionisio, Chris Bitoon. Kailangan lang namin mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa. Andiyan naman yung mga ex-pro pa namin na maasahan." Right now, Bitoon is relishing the opportunity that the MPBL has given him, and playing for the capital city's home team has given him the perfect avenue to showcase his skills.  "Sobrang saya kasi ultimo mga bata, hanggang sa mga matatanda, mga nanay, talagang naka-support sa amin eh. Pag pumupunta kami sa venue namin sa practice, may mga ‘Idol, idol!’, magpapa-picture sila, kaya sobrang nakaka-proud kasi kahit hindi ka kilala, kahit hindi ka galing sa malaking school, nabibigyan ka ng halaga sa Manila."   The 2019-2020 MPBL Lakan Cup begins on Wednesday, June 12, 4:00 PM at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!   .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

SAP Celebrates Innovation, Highlights Keynotes of SAPPHIRE 2019

SAP SE announced updates to their technological solutions, as well as collaborative projects with tech-related industries to assist businesses in their journey towards digital innovation during the SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG (Americas’ SAP Users’ Group) Annual Conference event held at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida from May 7 to 9, 2019. The three-day […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

Five things we learned from Game 4 of the 2019 Finals

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. – Five things we learned from the Toronto Raptors’ 105-92 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals on Friday at Oracle Arena: 1. Dynasties eventually become ‘die-nastys’ Will we get one more game at Oracle Arena? The scene of so much Golden State wonderfulness the past five seasons? A building about to be abandoned when the Warriors move from Oakland to a state-of-the-art arena across the Bay? Hold up. Asking one more game out of the Warriors seems a lot at the moment. These guys just suffered their second consecutive home playoff loss by 10 points or more, something that hasn’t happened to this franchise in 50 years. After three straight games scoring precisely 109 points, the Warriors came up 15 short Friday (Saturday, PHL time). They are 0-9 overall this season when held to double digits, and 0-11 in the playoffs during the Steve Kerr era, when they score 94 or fewer. And now they’re on the wrong side of a 3-1 deficit, lacking everything from certain healthy bodies to an edge, a sharpness that was missing in the second half. Granted, Golden State once held a 3-1 edge in a Finals, all the way back in 2016 … when LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers chased them down and became the only Finals team to claw out of such a chasm. The Warriors did the same to Oklahoma City in the 2016 Western Conference finals. So they not only have a blueprint, they have the know-how and an opportunity to do it again. Like Kerr before him on Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) postgame podium, Warriors forward Draymond Green spoke of simply trying to win one basketball game, the next game, as the proper way to dig out of this series hole. But then he dropped his guard and mentioned winning three in a row, something the Warriors have done often. But they’re a whole year removed from doing that in a Finals (last year’s sweep of the Cavs) with a healthy Kevin Durant. This is a more worn-down, tired team. In fact, Game 4 was more than Golden State’s 102nd game of 2018-19, regular and postseason combined. It was the 102nd playoff game of their five consecutive Finals runs, which means they have crammed an extra season-plus into their schedules compared to the underachievers on lottery teams sitting at home. From the looks of it Friday (Saturday, PHL time), these guys are ready to be toppled, like the Lakers in 1989 and again in 2004, like the Heat in 2014 and the Cavaliers last June. The boisterous Raptors fans who staged their takeover of the Warriors’ building after Game 4 were merely mirroring what their favorite team did on the court from halftime on. Golden State could not stop it. Rudy Tomjanovich might still be inclined to scream into the darkness. (“Never underestimate the heart of a champion!”) But pride only takes you so far, and that’s mostly what the Warriors have left. 2. Third quarter? That’s Toronto’s now It took the Raptors more than 18 minutes to score 30 points Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), stymied by the pace of the game and particularly Golden State’s scrappy, hustling defense. Immediately after halftime, it took Toronto only 12 minutes to put up 37. The time of death for Golden State on Friday was immediately after Kawhi Leonard drained consecutive three-pointers – “F-you” shots, teammate Fred VanVleet memorably coined them – that boosted Toronto from a four-point deficit to a 12-point advantage. The Warriors already had played well enough to rightly feel they should have had a bigger cushion; falling behind so rudely seemed to buckle the defending champs. That they feel third quarters are their birthright made the switcheroo intolerable. “We had a big problem with the third quarter in Game 2,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “We had to make some adjustment there to try to combat the way they come out of the half. We made the decision to put Fred in, [first] in Game 3 and then Game 4 again. Mostly it's to try to keep up pace of our offense going. It gives us two point guards out there that can push the ball, get it in and get it going, and it kind of paid off. “I know Kawhi's two big three's to start the half really changed the whole feel of everybody. Everybody was like, ‘Okay, man, we know we are here, let's go,’ and we just kind of kept going from those two three's.” For the Warriors, who have done that to so many others, turnabout was a pain in the rump. “Oh, this sucks,” Draymond Green recalled thinking as Toronto took control of the quarter. “It sucks really bad. You just try and do whatever you can to change it. Get a stop, get a bucket, get some momentum.  Every time we did, they answered.” Green was asked about the difficulty of rattling the stone-faced Leonard with whatever defensive tactic Golden State could muster, and brushed the question aside. “I don't think you're ever going to rattle Kawhi. Not sure we used that word one time in our scouting report, ‘We're going to rattle him,’” Green said. But it’s not just Leonard now. It’s the Raptors. Time after time, whenever Golden State revved up with a couple of scoring possessions, signaling to their fans they ready to make a run, Toronto snuffed it with a three-pointer or a well-executed pick and roll. They’ve got a team of Kawhis-in-training, unflappable lately if not as inscrutable. “Most teams will take cues from their leaders or their star players, so I think that spreads around a little bit,” Nurse said. But he also praised vets such as Marc Gasol, Danny Green, Kyle Lowry and VanVleet for how steady they’ve been. Now, with the temptation to imagine hoisting a championship trophy, the Raptors might be expected to buy into the stat that, of the 34 teams in The Finals who have led 3-1, 33 of them got their rings. But this team is so focused, so resolute in taking care of business down to the smallest and most mundane task, that all Nurse might have to do is remind them how many aspiring champs won three games in a Finals and still headed into summer empty-handed. (It's 19.) No trophy, no rings. 3. A surge from Serge The chemistry between Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry was evident in their playful banter on the podium Friday night. Each slipped into his role, Lowry as the instigator, Ibaka as the target of his playful jibes. “You joining me?” Lowry asked, as Ibaka got to the podium a half minute after him. “Serge Ibaka, everybody. You all know him. Nice outfit. Worth a lot of money. Is that jacket real leather?” “Yes, it’s real leather,” Ibaka said. "Pants too tight, he can't even sit down,” Lowry said. On court, Ibaka’s defensive impact and 20 points in reserve dampened a lot of Warrior enthusiasm. There are nights when Ibaka comes across like Chief in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” a large, lumbering and rather stiff option near the rim with very little to say. Some nights, he even seems to be asleep. But still waters often run deep, too deep for the Warriors in Game 4, it turned out. Ibaka’s here-today, gone-tomorrow shooting touch had him playing in a way that none of Golden State’s three centers – DeMarcus Cousins, Kevon Looney or Andrew Bogut – could match. “Once he gets into the series," Nurse said, "which he did in Game 3 with the blocked shots and the rebounding and stuff, he seems to stay in the series. He usually gives you all of it.” Said Lowry, about knowing when a Serge surge is coming: “He doesn't say anything. When Serge is effective defensively is when he's at his best. I think the scoring just comes. We're going to make sure he gets that pick-and-pop jump shot, he's rolling … When he brings that intensity and that fierceness, it's kind of tough to stop him on both ends of the floor.” 4. Stephen Curry had a bad game One of the most famous pieces of magazine journalism ever was entitled, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” by Gay Talese, a profile written when Sinatra obviously was ill of body and temper, and didn’t even grant Talese an interview. So our headline kind of tells the story as his did: Curry, one of the top five players in the NBA and probably the greatest overall shooter of all time, was not his two-time MVP self. He wasn’t even the Game 3 version (47 points). The Warriors point guard scored 20 fewer points in this one, and was 2-of-9 from three-point range. He missed all five of his shots from the arc in the first half and he picked up some obvious frustration fouls. Curry played 43 of the 48 minutes, and Golden State was outscored by 11 points when he was on the court. “It wasn’t his best game,” Kerr said. Evaluating Curry, for the Warriors, was going to come down to breaking down video and keeping the faith. Evaluating him, for the rest of us, is getting complicated these days by a sense that Curry did not get his due in past Finals – at least in terms of winning the Bill Russell Award as Finals MVP. But that’s no excuse to don rose-colored glasses every time he hits the floor. As scintillating as his performance was in defeat Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) as the Warriors’ only healthy threat, his Game 4 work was raggedy and unproductive. “They have been aggressive all series and trying to take space away from me and Klay,” Curry said. “I missed some shots early that I usually make, especially from the three-point line. But overall, I thought I got good looks.” Every game doesn’t need to be a referendum on the level of Curry appreciation. He might have deserved more consideration as Finals MVP in 2015, when Andre Iguodala snagged it with a strong performance in the clinching game. And even though Kevin Durant was an easy choice in 2017, there were some who felt Curry was more essential (including this voter). In some cosmic and just way, Curry probably should have been recognized with hardware somewhere among the three. But all signs are pointing to Leonard now, so Curry might have to muddle along with "only" those two Maurice Podoloff trophies for regular-season MVP, along with his All-NBA berths and assorted accolades, his ginormous contract and bounty of commercial endorsements, three rings (unless this series turns around) and a better life than most people who’ve ever walked the planet. 5. Durant to play in Game … 8? It’s possible that Durant will come walking through Rick Pitino’s proverbial door and seize what’s left of the championship series by the throat, playing like the two-time Finals MVP he is. Failing that, if there’s a Game 6, maybe that’s the night Durant at least does a Willis Reed impersonation, limping through the Oracle tunnel to a thunderous roar and hitting a couple of early shots to inspire his teammates to something special. (There still, alas, would be a pesky Game 7 for which to account, back in Toronto, likely muddying the drama.) Then again, maybe Durant doesn’t come back at all. For The Finals or with the Warriors, period. Speculation at this point is all over the map. Some think the Warriors planned to hold him out until things got really dire, to buy extra healing time and maybe not use him at all. Others now believe Durant’s rehab process of his strained right calf back-slid to some degree on Thursday, when he participated in a checkpoint workout with the training staff. A few folks think he never was going to return, regardless. After all, the All-NBA forward hasn’t played since May 8 (May 9, PHL time), missing nine fairly important games. This is a league where injuries typically face an “If this were a playoff game, would he play?” threshold. Durant has been nearly as absent from this NBA postseason as LeBron James. Look, all injuries are different, and even the same type of injury can have different timelines with different sufferers. Klay Thompson rushing back from his hamstring issue after skipping only Game 3 is at the crazy-resilient end of the durability scale. Kevon Looney basically rose from the ashes, giving the Warriors a rim runner and 10 points with six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. He had been ruled out for the rest of the series after suffering a rib cartilage fracture in his crash to the floor in Game 2. After anticipation of Durant’s availability got out in front of his reality for a few days, the chatter is more tempered now. There’s a shrug and a whiff of uncertainty folded into every mention. If Durant had his Thursday workout, he would have played Friday (Saturday, PHL time). If he had a setback … Heck, at this point it might be more pragmatic for the medical peeps to declare him out and let the Warriors who’ve come this far see this through, yea or nay. “As far as KD, there's been hope that he will come back the whole series,” Draymond Green said. “So that's not going to change now. Obviously we hope to have him, but we'll see what happens. We don't make that final call, he don't really even make that final call.  His body will tell him if he can get out there or not. And if he can, great. And if not, you still got to try to find a way to win the next game.” The Warriors had been holding out hope for Durant’s return as if he was their ace in the hole, imagining him with zero rust or rhythm issues once back and no limitations on his gait. But he has passed the “In case of emergency, break glass” point of urgent help possibilities. Now Durant resembles more the keg hanging from a Saint Bernard dog’s collar. It’s a nice idea, but when was the last time one of those dogs saved somebody who literally drank from the little barrel? Toronto is in a foreign land, by NBA standards. But it ain’t the Alps. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Film Study: Raptors ignore the non-shooters in Game 4

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com TORONTO -- In Game 4 of The Finals on Friday (Saturday, PHL time), the Toronto Raptors went back to the box-and-one defense - four guys in a zone and Fred VanVleet chasing Stephen Curry - that helped them come almost all the way back from 12 points down in the fourth quarter of Game 2. This time, the Raptors went to the box and one for just three possessions late in the third quarter. The Golden State Warriors scored just one point on those three possessions, but then Klay Thompson checked back into the game and the Raptors returned to their standard defense. Their standard defense is, technically, a man-to-man. But often, there's at least one Toronto defender playing zone and ignoring his assignment. And in Game 4, the Warriors being ignored weren't able to do anything about it. This was the ninth straight game that the Warriors played without Kevin Durant. And it was the one where his presence, at least on the offensive end of the floor, was missed the most. Over the previous eight games, the Warriors had scored 113.3 points per 100 possessions. They were better in their 11 playoff games with Durant (117.0 per 100), but 113.3 was still sufficiently efficient. Game 4 was the Warriors' worst offensive game of the postseason, though. They scored just 92 points on 95 possessions, a rate more than 10 points per 100 possessions worse than any of their previous 19 games. Even with both Curry and Thompson on the floor, the Warriors were held to just a point per possession (77 on 77). It's hard to think that a team with Curry and Thompson doesn't have enough shooting. And the pair combined to score 55 points in Game 4. But most of those 55 points did not come easy. And getting enough offensive production from elsewhere on the roster was even more difficult. Zoning up On the Warriors' very first possession of Game 4, Pascal Siakam left Andre Iguodala alone once he cleared out to the weak side. Siakam hung near the basket for a full 12 seconds before DeMarcus Cousins committed the first of the Warriors' 19 turnovers. For contrast, note how Siakam followed Klay Thompson on a similar action just three possessions later, when Danny Green left Draymond Green to help force another turnovers out of Cousins... In regard to Golden State perimeter players not with the ball, the Raptors chased Curry and Thompson, while ignoring Green, Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston. And it's hard to argue with the results, as the latter three shot a combined 1-for-8 from outside the paint. Brick city Livingston, of course, has attempted just five three-pointers (not including shots from the backcourt) over the last three years. Iguodala attempted six three's in Game 3, but is just 4-for-24 (17 percent) from beyond the arc since the start of the conference finals. And the 10-for-49 (20 percent) that Green has shot from three-point range in the playoffs is the worst mark among 71 players with at least 25 attempts. Green was given two wide-open looks from outside in the first half on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). The first came off an Iguodala drive when Siakam was ignoring him on the right wing. Danny Green could have rotated off of Curry to contest, but chose (wisely) to stay with his man. The second jumper for Green came when Siakam helped on a Curry drive, and it doesn't get much worse than a wide-open corner three off the side of the backboard... After that shot off the side of the backboard, Green didn't attempt another shot from outside the paint. Not only was he not making shots, he wasn't even threatening to take them. Midway through the third quarter, a quick-hitting Iguodala screen for Thompson drew two defenders to the shooter. Iguodala was open on his roll to the basket, but the Toronto defense collapsed, and the ball found its way back to Green at the top of the arc. Instead of shooting an open three himself, Green got the ball back to Iguodala, who had relocated to the left corner, doing his best Curry imitation. Alas, Iguodala's shot (with 12 seconds still on the shot clock) barely touched the rim... Notice that, after Thompson gave the ball up, Kawhi Leonard never left Thompson and VanVleet never left Curry. The screen option The Warriors have ways to take advantage of a defense that doesn't want to guard their non-shooters. On the possession following the Iguodala miss above, Siakam was sagging way off of Green, who was on the right wing... Green set two screens on Kyle Lowry, the second freeing Thompson for a catch-and-shoot three before Siakam could recover and contest... But there wasn't enough of that. And even if there was more, it puts a lot of stress on Thompson and Curry to keep moving until they get open, and when they do get open, make 25-foot shots at a high rate. There also weren't a lot of Curry/Green pick-and-rolls. According to Second Spectrum tracking, Curry used a Green screen only nine times in Game 4. The first resulted in a Curry hitting a step-back jumper over Leonard, but those nine plays resulted in only eight points for the Warriors. You could certainly argue that Curry's tank wasn't full after scoring 47 points in Game 3 (with 3 and 4 being the only games with just one day of rest in between). But according to Second Spectrum, Curry's average speed on offense in Game 4 (5.02 miles per hour) was faster than he averaged through his first 19 playoff games (4.79). The missing piece The Warriors can obviously be better offensively than they were on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). But Game 4 was a pretty desperate situation (33 of 34 teams to take a 3-1 lead in The Finals have gone on to win the championship), and they just couldn't summon up the offense they needed to keep up with the Raptors. The difference between having three shooting threats on the floor and having just two is huge, especially against a defensive team as good as the one the Warriors are facing in this series. Toronto has earned this 3-1 lead and there should be no implied asterisk should the Raptors win one of the next three games. But there's no denying that a big part of their success has been their ability to have smart and athletic defenders like Siakam and Leonard play off their primary assignments and help their guards defend the Warriors' remaining threats. Durant's status for Game 5 in Toronto on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time)) is unknown as of Sunday. If he remains out, the Raptors' defensive priorities remain clear. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Five things we learned from Game 3 of the 2019 Finals

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com OAKLAND – Five things we learned from the Toronto Raptors’ 123-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the 2019 Finals Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) at Oracle Arena: 1. What Stephen Curry learned … Curry was remarkable in Game 3, consciously seizing more of Golden State’s offensive burden to make up for Klay Thompson’s and Kevin Durant’s absences and turning that desperation into something historic. With 47 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, the Warriors point guard became only the ninth man to score at least 45 points in a Finals game. The lesson in that? Curry learned for a night what it has felt like for LeBron James on many such occasions. James put himself on that specific list a year ago when he logged 51 points, eight board and eight assists against Curry’s team in Game 1, same court. Like Curry, James’ team lost that night as well. Struggling mightily in something of a one-against-five predicament is the sort of things James has done often, while Curry never had faced it during Golden State’s five-year run to The Finals. They both -- James in the past and Curry on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) -- had legit NBA players around them. But the responsibility to put up points fell in both cases mostly on their shoulders. This was even a chance to revisit the 2015 Finals MVP selection, which attracted some attention on social media Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) over bogus speculation about the voting process. Andre Iguodala won the award that June, getting seven votes from the panel of media reps to James’ four. Curry got no votes. The point was, Curry had as a single game Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) what James had as an entire series in ’15. He averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists, scoring 38.5 percent of Cleveland’s points (215-of-561) while assisting on 52.7 percent of his teammates’ baskets while he was on the court. Now Curry is the guy in position, if Golden State loses the series, to get a few MVP votes in a losing effort. By the way, Jerry West is the only player to win the Finals MVP trophy in a losing effort. And West is one of the nine to score 45 or more – he did it three times, but his Lakers teams went 1-2 in those games. (The others: Michael Jordan three times, Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor, Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson once each. Their teams all won on their big scoring nights.) 2. Is the scoreboard broken? It’s tempting to say that the Warriors’ attack is in broken-record mode, except the resurgence of vinyl might not be sufficient yet to bring that phrase back into the mainstream. So we’ll go with a cultural reference that’s more classic than archaic. Think of The Beatles’ “Revolution 9,” but substitute “109… 109… 109…” Yeah, it’s been about as monotonous and unsatisfying for Golden State as it was on the White Album. At least Warriors coach Steve Kerr was somewhat bemused by his team’s scoreboard consistency. In each game of these Finals, Golden State has scored 109 points. “I just knew we were going to score 109 points because that’s all we’re going to do the rest of this series,” Kerr said. “So if we’re going to keep scoring 109, we got to keep them to 108.” The Warriors kept Toronto to 104 points in Game 2. Some of that was to their credit, some to the Raptors’ misfires and mid-game chill. The simplest stat? Toronto launched 38 three-pointers in both games. The night the Raptors made 11, they lost. When they made 17, they won. Getting Thompson back for Game 4 could make a big difference there. He is one of Golden State’s best defenders. For that matter, Durant’s length could assert itself as a defensive weapon, too, if he comes back later in the series. As for 109 being a winning points total, here is some background: taken in isolation, averaged over a full Finals, that would have been plenty to win 19 of the past 20 championships. The lone exception? In 2017, when Cleveland averaged 114.8 ppg yet lost because Golden State was putting up 121.6 nightly. In 2018, the Warriors averaged 116 points to the Cavaliers’ 101. The only other times a Finals team in the past 20 years averaged within five points of 109 were the Spurs in 2015 (105.6) and in 2007 (104.4) and the Lakers in 2002 (106.0) and 2000 (104.8). Obviously, a few of those were in the game’s relative “dark ages” for use of the 3-ball, but all four won championships. The Warriors are scoring enough points to win. 3. ‘Boogie’ fever has broken   DeMarcus Cousins called his decision to sign with Golden State for a cut-rate contract, while rehabbing from an Achilles injury, his “chess move.” He wound up joining the defending champions and favorite to three-peat, and got his game back in time to contribute. Cousins subsequently suffered a quadriceps injury but returned in time to participate in The Finals. Only thing is, he looked like he was back playing checkers in Game 3. The Warriors center stood out Sunday (Monday, PHL time), scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. But those numbers drooped to four points, three boards, three turnovers and 1-for-7 shooting in Game 3. Cousins went from plus-12 impact in Game 2 to minus-12 Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The big man looked a step slow and appeared to be bothered by Toronto’s length, in the forms of Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka. With little lift these days, he’s playing a little smaller than his 6'11", 270-pound specs. And given how long he was off and the mere eight minutes he got in Game 1, what Cousins did in Game 2 was starting to look more adrenaline-fueled than a reliable return to form. Since Curry handled just about everything else for Golden State in Game 3, he was asked afterward about Cousins’ “regression.” The point guard handled the awkward moment well -- being asked a critical question about a teammate might have tempted Curry to blow it off or lie. Instead, he talked of the Warriors’ shared responsibility on defense and noted a few calls offensively that didn't go Cousins' way. Then Curry added: “Like any great player, if you have a rough game, that resiliency to bounce back and the confidence to know that you can still go out there and impact the game, that’s something that he’ll bring, and we all will follow suit for sure.” 4. Danny Green’s big moment Understandably, when an All-Star and potential Kia MVP candidate gets traded, the deal becomes all about him. Next, folks focus on the key player or players swapped out and how the move might work for the other team. Only then do we play much attention to the guy or guys accompanying the All-Star to his new destination. That’s how it’s been for Danny Green for much of the 2018-19 season. Green and Kawhi Leonard were teammates in San Antonio for seven seasons. They went to two Finals together with the Spurs, winning rings in 2014. But when Leonard wanted out after an injured and rancorous 2017-18, the deal the Spurs put together with Toronto shipped out Danny Green, too. The reality of NBA trades is that salaries must match up, so teammates often become collateral damage to even up the dollar sufficiently to satisfy league rules. Sometimes, a teammate is thrown into a deal because he and the star are chums. A familiar face gives the featured guy some comfort -- or someone to carry his bags. But Green was a helpful playoff performer in his own right with the Spurs -- in his 12 Finals games before this year, he had made 52 percent of his three-pointers. And in 2013 he made 27 of them against the Miami Heat, a Finals record that was his for all of three years until Curry drained 32 in 2016. Green struggled with his shot in the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, going 4-for-23 on three-pointers. But his marksmanship early in Game 3 and against near the end of the third quarter propelled the Raptors’ victory. 5. Those rebounds are offensive   Toronto dominated on the offensive glass 15-6 in Game 2 and lost. Golden State dominated on the offensive glass 13-5 in Game 3 and lost. Typically, that’s a positive category for the team that wins it, something coaches hate when the other guys are reclaiming their own misses time and again. But lately, the demerits associated with offensive rebounds have loomed larger than the benefits. You grab a shot you or your teammate missed, that ought to be a good thing. But the Raptors in Game 2 (37.2 percent) and the Warriors in Game 3 (39.6 percent) were beset by inaccuracy, so there were more offensive rebounds to be had, period. The other down side of a generally positive stat is how you go about getting them. If you get overeager and the defense controls the errant shot, you might denude your transition defense. Both the Raptors and the Warriors in Games 2 and 3 respectively built considerable edges in second-chance points off their offensive rebound totals. Toronto had a 23-0 scoring advantage Sunday (Monday, PHL time), yet lost by five. Golden State held it 23-12 Wednesday, yet lost by 14. The losing team in both cases slightly won the battle of fast-break points, but offensive-rebounding strategy still forces a choice on teams. “We have a general kind of rule of thumb that once a shot goes up, we tell our guys to make a really quick, good decision,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said before Game 3. “Either they're going hard to the offensive rebound or they're going hard to defense transition. … There's certain moments of the game – I mean, some of those late are almost scrambles, right, you're behind five and you're throwing it up there and everybody's trying to rebound, just to keep the game alive as well.” It’s a stat worth watching, even if it’s inversely related lately to the games’ outcomes. Sing it loud, sing it proud ???????? #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/8HfjoM9Cht — Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 6, 2019 Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2019

Film Study: Little room for Leonard to move in Game 2

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com OAKLAND -- The Golden State Warriors got what they needed out of their trip to Toronto. With their Game 2 victory, they took home-court advantage in The Finals from the Toronto Raptors as the series moves to Oakland for what could be the final two games at Oracle Arena. The Warriors are banged up. Kevon Looney is likely done for the season with a cartilage fracture in his chest, Klay Thompson is questionable for Game 3 with a strained left hamstring, and, as of Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), Kevin Durant's will not play in Game 3. But the champs are 45-8 in playoff home games over the last five years and they were able to put together one of their best defensive games of the postseason on Sunday. After the Raptors scored 118 points on 97 possessions in Game 1 (their third-best offensive game of the postseason), the the Warriors held them to just 104 points on 101 possessions in Game 2. That was done with Toronto registering a playoff-high 23 second-chance points (so the Raptors scored just 81 points on their 101 initial offensive possessions). The Eastern Conference champions were bound for some regression. In Game 1, the Raptors shot a remarkable 15-for-23 (including 5-for-9 from three-point range) in the last six seconds of the shot clock, according to Second Spectrum tracking. That was unsustainable and, indeed, they shot just 5-for-20 (0-for-6 from three-point range) in the last six seconds of the shot clock in Game 2. If 43 shots in the last six seconds of the shot clock over two seems like a lot, well, it is. In the regular season, no team averaged more than 17.5 field goal attempts in the last six seconds. The Raptors averaged the fifth most, but that was just 14.3 per game. With better defenses and slower pace in the playoffs, that number was at 17.3 through the first three rounds. In this series, with the Raptors working their offense late into the clock even more, it's at 21.5 per game. While Toronto has 43 shots in the last six seconds of the shot clock, Golden State has just 16. On one hand, playing late in the clock slows the overall pace against an opponent that can hurt you in transition. In the regular season, the Warriors' effective field goal percentage of 64.2 percent in the first six seconds was the best mark for any team in any portion of the shot clock. On the other hand, playing late into the clock puts pressure on a team's offense. For every team in the league, effective field goal percentage is lowest in those last six seconds of the clock. In most instances, the Raptors would probably like to get something earlier in the clock. But getting a good shot early in a possession has proven to be difficult. The Raptors have been moving the ball. Their 330 passes in Game 2 were the most they've had in a game since the first round (if you don't count the 349 they had in their double-overtime win in Game 3 of the conference finals). But all those passes mean that Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors' best player and most efficient scorer, isn't getting his in-rhythm shots off the dribble, via pick-and-rolls or isolations. Leonard has been forced to give up the ball more than the Raptors would probably like. All eyes on Kawhi The Warriors have obviously been defending Leonard aggressively. The second defender on pick-and-rolls has generally stayed with Leonard until he has given up the ball. They've doubled him in the post and even sent a second defender at him before he can get into an isolation situation. When Leonard has managed to get into the paint, he's been met by a crowd of defenders. All that attention has resulted in a lot of trips to the line. He's drawn 22 fouls (nine more than any other player in the series) and, with 28 free throw attempts in two games, Leonard's free throw rate (FTA/FGA) in The Finals (0.824) is more than double his rate through the first three rounds (0.397). The attention should also result in some open shots just one or two passes away. But Leonard's teammates have attempted only 25 shots off his passes. That accounts for just 23 percent of the 108 shots his teammates have taken while he's been on the floor, a rate almost in line with his rate from the regular season (22 percent). For context, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James had rates of *42 percent and 51 percent in the regular season, respectively. * In case that last part was a little confusing, here's the math: Antetokounmpo's teammates took 3,184 shots while he was on the floor. Of those 3,184, 1,133 (42 percent) were off his passes. Leonard is one of the most complete players in the league, but playmaking is his shortcoming. When he had nine assists in Game 5 of the conference finals, it was a career high ... for both the regular season and playoffs (now 574 total games). A look at the film from Game 2 of this series can show us why a guy who has the ball as much as he does and who draws so much attention from opposing defenses is averaging less than four assists per game. It also shows us how the Raptors continue to get stuck in late-clock situations. Dribbling out of the double Leonard's reaction when he's double-teamed is often to dribble out of it. If he can attack quickly and get one defender to screen the other, he can get an open shot ... Leonard did the Michael Jordan trick of attacking the doubling big in the direction from which he came & having the big screen his own teammate. pic.twitter.com/fEVle6tXE4 — John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) May 10, 2019 Dribbling out of the double-team could also get him a better angle to make a pass or allow him to attack again, like he did in the second quarter on a play that led to an open Norman Powell three-pointer (with some help from Marc Gasol's screen on Andre Iguodala)... But often, the results aren't so great. Here's a first-quarter play where he dribbled out of a double team, couldn't get the ball to any of the teammates that popped open, and had to take a tough shot with one second left on the clock ... In the second quarter, after dribbling out of a double-team, he was unable to get the ball to an open Pascal Siakam on the baseline ... A couple of Leonard's five turnovers were a result of him driving too deep into a crowd. "I thought we hit an action and something would be there," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after Game 2, "and they would cover it up with some help defense. Well, when there's help, there's got to be somebody else probably open on the other side of the floor, and I thought we kind of shot a few too many into multiple defenders or two defenders around the basket, where those probably should have been maybe swung to the other side." Unable to deliver Leonard's inability to get the ball to the open man on Sunday wasn't just about passing out of double-teams. Here was Leonard collapsing the Golden State defense with a drive and Kyle Lowry popping open on the left wing ... But Leonard didn't deliver the ball right away and by the time he got it to Lowry, the Raptors had lost the advantage they had gained from the paint attack ... Here was an opportunity to deliver a pick-and-roll pocket pass to a rolling Gasol for a four-on-three situation, with Klay Thompson trailing the play ... But Leonard couldn't make the pass (credit DeMarcus Cousins' defense to some extent), Thompson got back in the play, and Siakam was eventually smothered by Iguodala ... Bad spacing The Raptors' inability to take advantage of the attention paid to Leonard in Game 2 wasn't just about Leonard himself. There were also a few cases of bad spacing, where he was doubled and just didn't have sufficient outlets with which to make a play ... Example 1, which led to a turnover ... Example 2, which led to a Fred VanVleet miss from 3-point range ... Working off the ball Leonard still managed to work his way to 34 points in Game 2. Sometimes, the Warriors gave him a little space to operate. There were multiple occasions in which he bullied his way to the basket (see the Looney injury noted above). There were also a couple of nice off-ball cuts and duck-ins. A need to be better It's tough to nitpick Leonard's performance in these playoffs. He's averaged 30.9 points per game on a true shooting percentage of 62.3 percent (the fifth-best mark among players with at least 100 postseason field goal attempts). He has hit some huge shots and he has played some stifling defense himself. While he can save his team some precious seconds on a lot of these possessions by making better and quicker decisions, Leonard's teammates must ensure the floor is properly spaced around him. Furthermore, Nurse and his staff have to find ways to loosen up the Golden State defense, which will continue to make Leonard play in a crowd in Game 3 on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2019

NBA celebrates banner season in the Philippines

NBA Philippines press release MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The 2018-19 NBA season marked a banner year for the NBA in the Philippines, as the league saw growth across broadcast viewership, NBA League Pass subscriptions, social media consumption, and more. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] “As we near the culmination of this incredible NBA season, the NBA’s remarkable growth in the Philippines speaks to the league’s impact and relevance to the country’s millions of passionate NBA fans,” said NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson. “The NBA’s commitment to innovation has provided Filipinos with a multitude of ways to experience the energy and excitement of the game. With the continued support of our partners, we look forward to building on this season’s success and taking the league’s popularity in the Philippines to even greater heights in the years to come.” Below are the highlights from the 2018-19 NBA season in the Philippines: Regular-Season Viewership 5.4M – The most-watched regular-season game in the Philippines during the 2018-19 season reached a peak audience of 5.4 million viewers on ABS-CBN. Through April 2019, average audience for live NBA games was up 15% and 87% year-over-year across ABS-CBN S+A and Basketball TV, respectively, reaching its highest mark since the 2016-17 season. 21% – Through April 2019, average audience of live, delayed and on-demand broadcasts of NBA games was up 21% year-over-year across ABS-CBN S + A, Basketball TV and FOX Sports, reaching the highest average audience since the 2016-17 season. NBA League Pass Growth 84% – Through March 2019, NBA League Pass subscribers in the Philippines increased 84% year-over-year, marking the largest year-over-year growth since 2012-13 season. To date, the Philippines ranks fourth in NBA League Pass subscribers among markets outside the U.S. and China and second in Asia-Pacific. Social Media 10.6M – The NBA’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts have more than 10.6 million combined followers from the Philippines, the most of any country outside of the U.S. 5.5M – Viewers from the Philippines to the NBA’s global YouTube Channel watched 5.5 million hours of content during the 2018-19 season, the most of any country outside of the U.S. 3.7M – Followers of the NBA Philippines Facebook page increased 15% year-over-year, making it the largest regional NBA Facebook page at over 3.7 million fans. Marketing Partnerships and Events 14 – Following the announcement of Vivo as Official Smartphone of the NBA in the Philippines, this season the league has a record 14 partners in the country.   2M – The Jr. NBA Philippines presented by Alaska achieved its highest participation numbers ever in 2019 - more than 59,000 players and coaches - and has reached more than two million players, parents and coaches across more than 190 cities and municipalities since 2007. Merchandise 62% – NBA merchandise sales from the Philippines on NBAStore.com have increased 62% year-over-year.   The NBA Finals 2019 tip off in the Philippines on Friday, May 31 on ABS-CBN, Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019