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Bazemore hits winning shot, Hawks beat Pelicans 94-93

By Paul Newberry, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Kent Bazemore hit a jumper with 2.1 seconds remaining and the Hawks rallied from 19 points down to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 94-93 Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) before a sparse crowd on an icy night in Atlanta. With the score tied at 92, DeMarcus Cousins drew a blocking foul on John Collins with 13.7 seconds remaining, earning a trip to the foul line. Cousins made only one, giving the Hawks a chance to pull out the victory. .@24Bazemore comes up BIG for the @ATLHawks in #CrunchTime! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/a57TuUTgb9 — NBA TV (@NBATV) January 18, 2018 Bazemore knocked down the winning shot with Anthony Davis in his face. New Orleans had one last chance, inbounding the ball to Cousins near the hoop. He came up short on a quick shot, pleading with the officials for a foul call while the Hawks celebrated. Bazemore led the Hawks with 20 points, while rookie John Collins added 18. Jrue Holiday paced the Pelicans with 22 points, while Cousins had 19 points and 14 rebounds. But Davis was held to just eight points on 2-of-8 shooting. Coming off a victory over San Antonio, the Hawks won back-to-back games for only the second time this season and snapped the Pelicans’ three-game winning streak. The Hawks started quickly, knocking down four of their first six shots — including a couple of three-pointers — but it was all Pelicans the rest of the first half. The Hawks missed seven straight shots during two different stretches in the first quarter and endured another long drought at the beginning of the second period, going nearly five minutes without a field goal. New Orleans ripped off 12 straight points to erase Atlanta’s early edge and pushed ahead twice by as many as 19 before settling for a 60-45 lead at the break. The Hawks wiped out that big deficit by the end of the third quarter. The Pelicans made only 3-of-18 shots in a 10-point period, allowing Atlanta to grab a 71-70 lead heading to the fourth. The game was played after a winter storm moved through Atlanta, leading most schools and businesses to shut down for the day because of treacherous roads. The upper deck wasn’t even used, allowing everyone in the estimated turnout of around 5,000 to watch the contest from the lower level. The announced attendance was 10,894, the smallest crowd of the season at Philips Arena. TIP-INS Pelicans: Davis, coming off a 45-point effort in a win at Boston, and was held to single figures for only the second time this season. ... New Orleans had a season-low 33 points in the second half, missing their first eight shots after the break. Hawks: C Dewayne Dedmon fouled out with 4:48 remaining after playing 20 minutes off the bench. He had 10 rebounds. ... F Luke Babbitt, who was on the inactive list, hasn’t played in five straight games. In fact, he’s gotten in only two of the last 13 games — scoring five points in just over 13 minutes of playing time — after making nine starts early in the season. ... The Hawks came into the night ranked last in the league with an average attendance 14,239 — more than 1,300 less per game than the next-lowest team, the Indiana Pacers. UP NEXT Pelicans: Return home Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) to face the Memphis Grizzlies. Hawks: Continue a six-game homestand by hosting the Chicago Bulls on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 18th, 2018

Prince hits go-ahead 3 in closing seconds, Hawks beat Suns

By George Henry, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Taurean Prince hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 7.6 seconds remaining and finished with 22 points, helping the Atlanta Hawks hold off the Phoenix Suns 113-112 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Devin Booker's potential winner for Phoenix, a 15-foot shot from the right baseline, bounced off the rim with Tyler Dorsey defending as time expired. T.J. Warren had 35 points, and Elfrid Payton had 11 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high 14 assists for the Suns. Booker had 20 points, ending a streak of four straight games in which he had at least 30. In a matchup of two struggling teams, neither led by more than seven points. Prince's basket marked the 24th lead change. Phoenix has lost 22 of its last 26 games, dropping to 19-46, second-worst in the Western Conference. Atlanta, which had lost 5-of-6, improved to 20-44, worst in the East. Dennis Schroder had 21 points for Atlanta but did not play in the closing minutes because of an undisclosed injury. Warren's layup with 20 seconds remaining gave Phoenix a 112-110 lead. After Prince scored, Suns coach Jay Triano called a timeout and set up a clear-out play for Booker. Warren made it 79-77 in the third with an acrobatic fast-break dunk, falling down at the baseline while scoring on Josh Jackson's alley-oop pass. He scored on a putback of his own missed shot in heavy traffic early in the fourth to make it 93-90. The Suns went up 97-90 on Booker's floater, but the Hawks soon went on an 8-0 run to go up 103-102 on Mike Muscala's baseline runner with five minutes left. Phoenix finished with 33 assists and outscored the Hawks by 20 in the paint, thanks in part to 17 points from Marquese Chriss. TIP-INS Suns: C Tyson Chandler, starting after he missed the last six games with a sore neck, had six points and five rebounds. The 17-year veteran showed his sense of humor midway through the third, flexing his muscles after Schroder, who's one foot shorter and almost 70 pounds lighter, fouled him in the lane. Chandler missed the ensuing free throw. Hawks: Teams can't say publicly they're vying for a bad record and more chances in the NBA lottery, but G Kent Bazemore, Atlanta's second-leading scorer, had a rest day for the second time in the last six games. Bazemore hasn't otherwise missed a game this season. He was coming off a career-high 29 points in Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) home loss to Golden State. ... Tyler Dorsey started in Bazemore's spot and scored 12 points. OUTTA HERE Tempers flared with 2:14 left in the game after Prince was called for goaltending against Jackson. Jackson shoved Prince in the chest, and Prince responded with the same. They were quickly separated by official Matt Boland near the baseline when Hawks reserve guard Isaiah Taylor bumped Jackson in the shoulder. Jackson then shoved Prince again. Players on the floor for both teams closed in, but the benches did not empty. After lead official Bill Kennedy watched the replay, Jackson was ejected while Jackson and Prince were assessed technical fouls. MORE BOOKER Booker's streak was the franchise's longest since Amare Stoudemire scored at least 30 in four straight games in 2004. Booker was vying to tie Charlie Scott and Charles Barkley for the team's longest streak of at least 30 points. In Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) loss to Oklahoma City, the 21-year-old Booker became the third-youngest NBA player to reach 4,000 career points, topped only by LeBron James and Kevin Durant. UP NEXT Suns: At Miami on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Hawks: At Toronto on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 4th, 2018

Warriors re-introduce themselves in rout of Spurs

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, CALIF. — It is generally accepted that the Warriors will perspire some, feel a degree of burn in their lungs, receive an urgency slap in the face and get pushed toward the edge of their defending championship throne once they play a team from Texas. Just not this team from Texas. No, not the Spurs, at least that’s what the hunch and the outset of this first-round playoff series says. Common sense, too, wants to chime in and declare the Spurs without Kawhi Leonard are just standing in the way, albeit proudly, of the Warriors’ path to greater things in the post-season. And so, the long and antsy wait for the anticipated and projected Warriors vs. Houston Rockets showdown in the West began in earnest Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) when the Warriors breezed from jump ball to buzzer against San Antonio, and also torpedoed the notion that they’re somehow vulnerable (at least for now). The playoff tipoff was all about the Warriors re-establishing their muscle flex and their defense and most importantly, their aura, even with Steph Curry still out and ailing, because the rest of the NBA was watching. That’s what a 113-92 wipeout Game 1 win at Oracle Arena accomplished, if nothing else. The combination of the Spurs being overmatched and the Warriors needing to put on a more menacing face than what they showed the last month of the regular season delivered the predictable result: A smackdown. Or, as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich put it: “Got our ass kicked.” Too much Kevin Durant, the sneaky elevation of Andre Iguodala to the starting point guard spot, a JaVale McGee sighting and Klay Thompson getting swishy was exactly what the Warriors needed and received. Seriously, though: Anything less would’ve been a big surprise. The Warriors couldn’t afford to stay locked into the season-ending fog that turned coach Steve Kerr’s hair a lighter shade of gray and created the perception of a fat, too-satisfied winner of two championships in three years. Most likely, they were merely victims of human nature: While going 7-10 down the stretch, the Warriors simply grew bored with the meaningless late season, especially once Curry hurt his knee on March 23 (Mar. 24, PHL time). Seriously, what was left to accomplish, other than to stay healthy? This team was created and molded for the sole purpose of winning in June, not for placing importance on, say, drop-kicking the Sacramento Kings on April Fools. “We’re a championship ballclub and we know what it takes to win this time of year,” said Draymond Green, applying the perspective. “You heard, 'The Warriors lost it, they’re not together, they’re not the same team without Steph, blase, blase, blase, blah blah blah.' Well, we know what we’re capable of. There have been series where we’ve won without Kevin, without myself, without our head coach. A lot of people forgot.” In case you’re one of the people Draymond was referring to, here’s a refresher course, courtesy of Game 1: Durant is very long and tough to defend, Thompson usually doesn’t miss when he has three feet of separation from his defender, Iggy always earns his fat paycheck in springtime, and as for McGee? “He’s very tall,” said Kerr. Actually, Kerr wasn’t purposely trying to troll his starting center, just stating the obvious when it comes to defending Spurs leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge. McGee brings four more inches and therefore made it tough for Aldridge, who managed only 14 points and was mainly a ghost. With Aldridge on lockdown, the Warriors’ D had accomplished its main mission, because the Spurs lack a secondary source of punch. What, is Rudy Gay going to turn back the clock? Manu Ginobili? Tony Parker? Because that’s what needs to happen for San Antonio. Without it, well, unfortunately for the Spurs, Kawhi isn’t limping through that door. What irritated Kerr was how the Warriors dialed down their defensive intensity in the weeks leading into the playoffs. They spotted 126 points each to the Pelicans and Pacers, and in the season finale did a complete no-show, getting spanked by 40 courtesy of Utah. Remember, the Warriors constantly ranked among the better defensive teams during their multiple runs to the NBA Finals. As coaches tend to do in these matters, Kerr jeopardized his vocal chords a few times while trying to get the message across in the disinterested locker room. But deep down, did anyone buy the notion of the Warriors suddenly forgetting how to play defense? With the second-best record in the West secured, and first place conceded to Houston, weren’t they just tapping their toes until the first round? Is that such a crime? Wouldn’t that be understandable, and wise on some levels, given the risk of something bad happening to a hamstring? Anyway, Kerr barely uncrossed his legs on the bench Saturday (Sunday, PHL time); no need to scold a team that held the Spurs to 40 percent shooting and claimed the rebounding edge by 21 and never felt threatened. “We finally got back to defending,” said Kerr. He made sure of that, by inserting Iguodala, his best all-around defender, into the starting lineup and also using McGee extensively instead of Zaza Pachulia. Iggy spread his limbs all over the floor, guarding bigs and smalls, switching on the screen and generally being a pest to the other team, as he generally is this time of year. “I just wanted to put our best defensive lineup on the floor from the beginning,” he explained. “The last month or so our defense had been subpar. You can’t win in this league unless you defend. You could feel the intensity right from the start. We set a good tone.” To be fair, the awakening of the Warriors’ defense will receive a more accurate measure if and when they advance beyond the Spurs and face, for example, the Blazers with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and of course the turbocharged Rockets with James Harden and Chris Paul and all those three-point slingers. But until then, wrapping up the Spurs will serve as necessary preparation. Less worry was the Warriors on the other end of the floor, where Durant assumed the lead and took 17 shots, scoring 24 points. More efficient was Thompson, who missed only twice in 13 shots and finished with 27 points. All of this was necessary with Curry not expected back for the first round; he just received the green light to press the accelerator during rehab and begin lateral movements. If the Warriors, a top-10 team in both offensive and defensive efficiency, continue to get this kind of killer balance, there’ll be some long nights upcoming for the Spurs and a quick series as well. “We were not as ready to face a team like them,” said Ginobili. “They were much better than us. Klay got away from us many times. Overall, they were so much better in every aspect that we had no shot. We’ve got to regroup, feel hurt and desperate, got to be smarter … We understand we’re not favorites. We’re underdogs. To get a win here we’ve got to overachieve. We got to do better than we can.” It’s too bad that the Kawhi Situation continues to follow the Spurs like a dark cloud. He remains stymied by a quad injury that apparently hasn’t healed enough for his liking. The Spurs with Kawhi and the Warriors without Curry would tip the scales in this series toward being somewhat level, or at least invite some suspense. Without Kawhi, the Spurs are shooting spitballs at a tank. Guts and hard work and good coaching can only go so far against the suddenly-refocused and playoff-locked Warriors. So, yes, the Warriors set out to re-introduce themselves and did so Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). “We want to make a statement in Game 2 as well,” said Thompson. “We hobbled to the playoffs but we know how good we are and what it takes in the post season to win. When our intensity and focus are high, we’re tough to beat.” Well, tough for one team in Texas. We’ll see about the other soon enough. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or 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 NewsApr 15th, 2018

Millsap scores 36 as Nuggets top Thunder 126-125 in OT

By CLIFF BRUNT ,  AP Sports Writer OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Paul Millsap scored a season-high 36 points to help the Denver Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 126-125 in overtime on Friday night. Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 16 rebounds, and Will Barton added 18 points for the Nuggets, who had lost two straight and desperately needed the win for the Western conference playoff race. Denver entered the night two games out of the No. 8 spot. Russell Westbrook had 33 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds, but he missed what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer at the end of regulation. Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and Jerami Grant added 16 for the Thunder, who have lost four of five. Those losses have been by a combined nine points, with none by more than four. Denver led 122-121 in overtime and had the ball before the Thunder tied up Jamal Murray and forced a jump ball with 15 seconds left. The Thunder got possession on the jump ball, but Denver's Mason Plumlee blocked Grant's layup. Millsap made two free throws at the other end to put Denver up 124-121. Paul George was fouled with 4.6 seconds left. He made the first free throw, then the Thunder were called for a lane violation on George's intentional miss. Barton made two free throws on the other end to seal it. Millsap scored 15 points in the first half to give Denver a 62-58 lead. The Nuggets scored the first six points of the second half, including two buckets by Millsap, to go up 10. The Nuggets expanded their lead to 15 later in the quarter and took a 92-79 advantage into the fourth. Oklahoma City's reserves helped the Thunder climb back into the game. Westbrook tied the game at 94 on a drive when the Nuggets were called for goaltending, and the Thunder finally took a 99-97 lead on a 3-pointer by Grant. Barton made a layup with nine seconds left to tie the score at 114. Westbrook missed a deep three in the closing seconds, and the game went to overtime. ___ TIP-INS Nuggets: Shot 52.2 percent in the first half. ... F Wilson Chandler left the game with a nose contusion. ... G Gary Harris missed his seventh straight game with a right knee strain. Coach Michael Malone said he expects Harris to miss at least another week. Thunder: Opened the game with a 9-0 lead. ... Made just 15 of 26 free throws. ... Made a franchise-record 20 3-pointers. UP NEXT The Nuggets host the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. The Thunder play at the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2018

All-Star break works wonders for Blazers, Jazz, Heat

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com The Portland Trail Blazers are doing it again. For the second straight season, the Blazers are the most improved team after the All-Star break. Last year, spurred by the acquisition of Jusuf Nurkic at the trade deadline, the Blazers were 7.8 points per 100 possessions better after the break (plus-5.3) than they were before it (minus-2.5). This year, without a rotation-altering trade, the Blazers have been 9.5 points per 100 possessions better since the break (plus-10.0) than they were before it (plus-0.4). Their 13-game winning streak (which started with their last game before All-Star weekend) came to an end at the hands of James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), but prior to that, they were the only undefeated team (12-0) since the break, climbing from seventh place in the West at the break to third place (with a relatively comfortable three-game lead in the loss column over the teams behind them) going into Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) games. Improvement has come on both ends of the floor. The Blazers have been 5.5 points per 100 possessions better offensively and 4.0 points per 100 possessions better defensively since the break. With the league average seeing an increase of 1.3 per 100, that's about even improvement on both ends of the floor. On offense, the Blazers have increased their three-point rate (3PA/FGA) from 31 percent before the All-Star break to 35 percent since, but have seen just a small jump in effective field goal percentage. Improvement has come more from taking better care of the ball and getting to the line more often. Over the last 16 games, Damian Lillard has averaged 9.2 points at the free throw line, 3.4 more than he averaged prior to that (5.8). Lillard has also seen a drop in turnover ratio, from 9.8 per 100 possessions before the break to 7.8 since. That 7.8 is the second lowest (higher than that of only LaMarcus Aldridge) among 14 players with a usage rate of greater than 30 percent since the break. On defense, rebounding has been key. After allowing 12.2 second chance points per game before the break, the Blazers have allowed just 9.5 (second fewest in the league) since. They continue to lead the league in opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area and have been at their best defensively with Jusuf Nurkic on the floor. The defensive improvement may be more impressive, given that six of the Blazers' 13 post-break games have been against the league's top-10 offenses, though that includes games against Minnesota without Jimmy Butler and Golden State without Stephen Curry. It should also be noted that nine of the 13 games have been at home. Of course, the Blazers have been better defensively on the road (103.9 points allowed per 100 possessions) than they've been at home (104.6) this season. We'll see how those numbers (and their post-break improvement) hold up when they play seven of nine on the road after hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Does it mean anything? Some teams might want to be playing their best going into the playoffs. But playing better late in the season doesn't necessarily mean anything. In fact, playoff team stats (offensive and defensive efficiency) more strongly correlate with pre-All-Star numbers than with post-All-Star numbers. Over the last 10 full seasons (going back to 2007-08 and skipping 2011-12), the 20 playoff teams that have seen the biggest increase in NetRtg (point differential per 100 possessions) from before the break to after the break have been more likely to underachieve in the playoffs (losing a series in which they had home-court advantage) than overachieve (winning a series they started on the road). The playoff team of the last 20 years that saw the biggest improvement was the 2009-10 Phoenix Suns, who were 8.2 points per 100 possessions better after the break (plus-11.2) than they were before it (plus-2.9). They reached the conference finals as the 3 seed in the West, but did so with home-court advantage in each of the first two rounds (because the seventh-seeded Spurs beat the second-seeded Mavs in the first round). Four of those 20 most improved teams have lost in the first round with home-court advantage, while the 2010-11 Chicago Bulls (4.5 points per 100 possessions better after the break) lost in the conference finals as the No. 1 seed. The overachievers? The 2008-09 Houston Rockets (5.6 points per 100 possessions better after the break) and 2013-14 Washington Wizards (4.8 better) won first-round series as No. 5 seeds without home-court advantage. And finally, the 2014-15 Cleveland Cavaliers (who were 4.8 points per possessions better after the break) reached The Finals as a No. 2 seed. With that in mind, here are the teams that have been most improved on either end of the floor since the All-Star break this season. Most improved offenses 1. Miami Heat Like the Blazers, the Heat are doing this for the second year in a row. When they went from 11-30 in their first 41 games to 30-11 in their last 41 games last season, it was on offense where they really turned things around. Last year's turnaround came with increases in both three-point percentage and three-point volume (3PA/FGA). This year, the Heat have shot better from beyond the arc since the break, but they've actually taken a lower percentage of their shots from three-point range than they did prior, so their jump in effective field goal percentage isn't huge. They have gone from the bottom 10 to the top 10 in both offensive rebounding percentage and turnover rate. Hassan Whiteside has grabbed 28 offensive boards in just eight post-break games, though he hasn't seen a big increase in offensive rebounding percentage since the break. The team increase has been more about six different guys grabbing at least 13 offensive boards over the 14 games. On the turnover front, James Johnson has seen a big drop in his individual rate, from 13.7 turnovers per 100 possessions before the break to just 7.3 since the break. Goran Dragic has also seen seen a reduction. The drop in turnovers, along with more second chances and an increase in pace, as provided the Heat with almost six additional shots per 48 minutes. The Heat's post-break offense has been at its best (more than 123 points scored per 100 possessions) with Kelly Olynyk on the floor. Both Olynyk (60.7 percent) and James Johnson (60.6 percent) rank in the top 20 in post-break effective field goal percentage among 157 players who have taken at least 100 shots since the break. Tyler Johnson, meanwhile, has seen an effective field goal percentage jump from 50 percent before the break to 58 percent since the break. The Heat have played a fairly average post-break schedule in regard to opposing defenses. They've picked on some bad ones (scoring 128 points per 100 possessions in three games against the Suns, Nuggets and Knicks) and have played ugly against some good ones (like those of the Sixers and Blazers), but have been strong against the defenses in the middle of the pack. Going forward, they'll play just three of their 10 remaining games against top-10 defenses. Two of those are against the eighth-ranked Thunder, and one of those is Friday (Saturday, PHl time). Six of their other seven games are against bottom-10 defenses. 2. L.A. Lakers Rookies and second year players have accounted for 45 percent of the Lakers' minutes this season. That's the third highest rate in the league and the highest among teams that aren't at least 23 games under .500. So, in-season improvement both critical and somewhat expected. Of course, a vet has been a big part of the Lakers' offensive improvement. Brook Lopez has seen the second biggest increase in effective field goal percentage (behind that of Wilson Chandler) among players who took at least 300 shots before the break and have taken at least 100 since the break (see table below). For Lopez, as well as the team as a whole, it's been about the three ball, both in regard to percentage and volume. Before the break, the Lakers ranked 29th in three-point percentage and 22nd in the percentage of their shots that were threes. Since the break: fifth and fourth. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (46.3 percent) ranks seventh in post-break three-point percentage among 98 players with at least 50 attempts. But the biggest key to the Lakers' post-break offense may be a big jump in minutes for Julius Randle. He's actually seen a drop in usage rate and not much of an increase in efficiency, but Randle has gone from averaging less than 25 minutes before the break to 34 since the break. As a result, he's averaged 21.5 points (on 59 percent shooting) over the 13 games. And in that stretch, the Lakers have scored 14.2 more points per 100 possessions with him on the floor (114.1) than they have with him off the floor (99.9). Most improved defenses 1. Utah Jazz Utah's improvement started with the return of Rudy Gobert from a month-long absence in mid-January. Since his return on Jan. 19 (Jan. 20, PHL time), the Jazz have allowed just 96.2 points per 100 possessions, 6.5 fewer than any other team. Over those nine weeks, the difference between the Jazz and the second-ranked Spurs (102.7) is more than the difference between the Spurs and the 20th-ranked Hawks (109.1). More improvement came with the acquisition of Jae Crowder at the trade deadline. And the Jazz have allowed a paltry 85 points per 100 possessions in 308 minutes with Crowder and Gobert on the floor together, with their opponents shooting just 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from three-point range. And the Jazz haven't allowed their opponents to do much with all those misses, grabbing 85 percent of available defensive boards (a rate which would lead the league by a wide margin) in those 308 minutes. There is a schedule-related boost here. Since the break, the Jazz have played seven games against the league's bottom-10 offenses (including six against the bottom six) and just three games against the top 10. But in two of those three games (Feb. 27, PHL time vs. Houston and March 12, PHL time at New Orleans), they held their opponent under a point per possession. They've now done that in nine straight games and in 18 of their last 24. Given the state of league-wide offense (this is now the most efficient season in league history), that's pretty remarkable. The Jazz have four games remaining against top-10 offenses, including two against the Warriors. One of those is Sunday at Golden State (next Monday, PHL time). 2. Indiana Pacers The Pacers have improved defensively six of their 14 post-break games having been against teams that rank in the top 11 offensively (the 11th-ranked Wizards have bounced in and out of the top 10). They've gone 3-3, but held those top-11 offenses - Milwaukee (x 2), New Orleans, Washington (x 2) and Toronto - to just 103.4 points per 100 possessions (about four fewer than the league's post-break average) over the six games. The Pacers' post-break defense has been at its best, allowing just 96 points per 100 possessions, with Myles Turner on the floor. Turner has been improved offensively since the break (seeing a sizeable jump in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage), but his defense has been more important. While Turner has made an impact inside, forcing turnovers has been a big part of the Pacers' defensive improvement. They lead the league in opponent turnover rate since the All-Star break, having forced 17.4 per 100 possessions, up from 15.1 (10th) before the break. Victor has been the league leader in steals this season at 2.2 per game, and has seen an increase (from 2.1 to 2.8) since the break, with Thaddeus Young (2.3) joining him in the top four in post-break steals per contest. The Pacers have also rebounded a little better, grabbing 77 percent of available defensive boards (15th in the league) since the break, up from 76 percent (27th) before it. Things haven't gone so well on the other end of the floor. The Pacers have seen the league's biggest drop in offensive efficiency since the break. They ranked sixth offensively (108.5 points scored per 100 possessions) before the break and rank 26th (101.6) since the break. Oladipo (from 59 percent to 46 percent) and Young (from 54 percent to 45 percent) have seen two of the eight biggest drops in effective field goal percentage since the break among 142 players who took at least 300 shots before the break and have taken at least 100 shots since the break. The improved defense will continue to be tested in the next couple of weeks. The Pacers will play six of their next eight games against top-10 offenses. That includes two games against the second-ranked Warriors and two more against the seventh-ranked Clippers. L.A. is in Indiana on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Most improved shooters Here's a look at the players who have seen the biggest increases in effective field goal percentage since the All-Star break. John Schuhmann is a staff writer 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 NewsMar 23rd, 2018

Crowder has season-high 22, Jazz beat Grizzlies 95-78

By CLAY BAILEY,  Associated Press MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jae Crowder scored a season-high 22 points and the Utah Jazz won their fifth straight with a 95-78 victory Friday night over the Memphis Grizzlies, who have lost 16 in a row. Joe Ingles added 16 points for Utah, while Ricky Rubio had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Dillon Brooks led Memphis with 18 points, and Ben McLemore finished with 14. Jarell Martin contributed 13, while making only five of his 15 shots as Memphis shot 37 percent for the game. Utah never trailed in the second half and Memphis never really threatened after the early minutes of the third quarter. Memphis actually led 36-34 near the midway point of the second quarter, but was outscored 14-2 over the final 6 minutes. That allowed the Jazz to carry a 50-38 lead into the break. Crowder came off the Utah bench for 14 first-half points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 4 of 7 from outside the arc as the Jazz converted 44 percent of their 3-pointers. McLemore led Memphis with 10 points as the Grizzlies were stymied by 37 percent shooting in the half. Utah extended the lead to 15 points in the third, and entered the fourth with a 71-58 advantage. TIP-INS Jazz: Donovan Mitchell, who was held to nine points in a Feb. 7 game against Memphis, managed 12 points Friday. He entered the game averaging 23.2 points in 11 games since the Feb. 7 single-digit effort. . Rudy Gobert, who entered the game averaging 21.5 points and 14.8 rebounds over the winning streak, had four points and 10 rebounds. Grizzlies: Have held the Jazz under 100 points in all of the last 28 meetings between the teams. .. JaMychal Green, who has recorded six double-doubles since the All-Star break, managed only two points and five rebounds. . Marc Gasol had nine points and 11 rebounds. . Grizzlies are now winless in 16 games this season without Tyreke Evans. Evans missed his eighth straight game with a right rib injury. UP NEXT Jazz: Face the Pelicans in New Orleans on Sunday. Grizzlies: Visit the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 10th, 2018

Brooks, McLemore lead Grizzlies past Kings 106-88

CLAY BAILEY, Associated Press MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Dillon Brooks scored a career-best 22 points, Ben McLemore had a season-high 21 and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the skidding Sacramento Kings 106-88 on Friday night for their third consecutive win. The game marked Zach Randolph's first return to Memphis since spending eight years as a key figure in the Grizzlies' success. The power forward received a standing ovation when he was introduced with the starting lineups. The team showed a tribute video between the first and second quarters. Randolph finished with four points and six rebounds for the Kings, who have lost seven straight. Tyreke Evans added 14 points and Andrew Harrison finished with 12 for Memphis, which built its lead in the third quarter and coasted down the stretch. De'Aaron Fox led the Kings with 16 points and six assists, while Bogdan Bogdanovic and Vince Carter scored 15 each for Sacramento. Memphis clicked off a 22-7 run to open the second half, extending the lead to 15 before carrying a 67-59 advantage into the fourth. The Kings never really threatened the rest of the way. Neither team shot particularly well, both hitting at less than 37 percent through three quarters. Sacramento's 21 turnovers added to its problems. Memphis took an early 13-point lead but then fell into a poor shooting stretch. That contributed to the Kings tying the game 40-all at halftime. TIP-INS Kings: Randolph wasn't the only one back with recent ties to Memphis. Carter also played for the Grizzlies last season before signing with the Kings, and Sacramento coach Dave Joerger was the Grizzlies' coach until the end of the 2015-16 season. In addition, F Skal Labissiere played high school ball in Memphis. . The Kings have lost 14 of their last 15 games in Memphis. Grizzlies: Put together their first three-game winning streak since the opening three games of the season. . McLemore's previous season high was 17 points against Oklahoma City on Dec. 9. . Brooks has reached double figures in three straight games. UP NEXT Kings: Make their second stop on a six-game road trip Monday night at Charlotte. Grizzlies: At the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

Curry goes off again, Warriors top Nuggets for 5th straight

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Stephen Curry scored 32 points and dished out nine assists in another superb performance during his sensational recent stretch, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Nuggets 124-114 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) to avenge an ugly home loss to Denver in late December. Nikola Jokic had his first triple-double of the season with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists as four players scored 20 points or more for the Nuggets, who were coming off a 106-98 loss at Sacramento on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Klay Thompson scored 19 on his bobbblehead night while Draymond Green added a season-high 23 points and 10 assists in the defending NBA champions' fifth straight victory on a night when Kevin Durant sat out his third consecutive game with a strained right calf. In his 12th 30-point game of the season, Curry hit a long three-pointer with 56.1 seconds left in the third and the Warriors led 93-81 going into the final quarter after the Nuggets had fought back to tie it midway through the period. The two-time MVP has scored 29 or more points in seven straight games. In four games before Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), he was averaging 36 points, six rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 31.8 minutes since returning from an 11-game absence with a sprained right ankle. The Western Conference Player of the Week for last week, Curry strained his left knee in the first half, headed to the locker room to have it taped and then returned. Golden State's David West contributed 10 points, scoring in double figures for a third straight game to go with six rebounds and four assists while becoming the 127th player in NBA history to play in 1,000 regular-season games. Thompson made his initial four shots and Green scored eight quick points, connecting on his first three field goal attempts. He dished out five assists as Golden State raced ahead 27-20 -- a far cry from the Warriors' previous performance in a 96-81 loss to Denver at Oracle Arena on Dec. 23 (Dec. 24, PHL time). The Warriors shot 3-for-27 in that game from three-point range but topped that with four three's in the first quarter Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) and finished 13-for-30 from deep. Thompson's three-pointer with 4:10 left in the third made it 78-71 after Denver had tied the game 89-all at the 6:57 mark of the period. The Nuggets held the Warriors to a season-low scoring performance here last time that snapped their 11-game winning streak. Golden State has won 7-of-8 since. Denver got 22 points from Gary Harris, and 21 apiece from Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles. DURANT UPDATE Kerr said Durant "didn't feel quite right" after going through shootaround earlier in the day. "We're all on the same page that until he feels right, he's not going to play," Kerr said. "Hopefully the next couple of days he'll clear that hurdle and be ready to go." GREEN FINED Green was fined $25,000 by the NBA for publicly criticizing the league's officiating in comments after Golden State's 121-105 win against the Clippers on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). CURRY THE OWNER? Curry has people helping him explore options to buy into the NFL's Carolina Panthers. Jerry Richardson announced he plans to sell the franchise while he is under investigation for sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace. "It's a pretty interesting opportunity," Curry said after Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) shootaround. "I've had conversations with plenty of people about the right way to go about it and kind of the different approaches I could personally take. Obviously I have a day job, but I've got people that are plugged in and trying to see how to make that happen. I've had nothing really to say about it besides that I'm very interested and very willing to do what it takes to make that happen." TIP-INS Nuggets: Denver limited its turnovers to 11 after committing a season-high 26 at Sacramento two days earlier that led to 40 Kings points. ... Denver is 3-11 on the road vs. Western Conference teams. Warriors: Andre Iguodala hit his first three-pointer in nine games he's played since Dec. 18 (Dec. 19, PHL time), snapping an 0-for-12 funk from deep when he made one in the first. ... Golden State rookie Jordan Bell took a hard fall in the second quarter and moved gingerly afterward. ... Newly crowned U.S. figure skating national champion and Olympian Nathan Chen attended the game, watched Curry's warmup, and was set to meet him afterward. UP NEXT Nuggets: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Warriors: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) seeking a 13th consecutive victory in the rivalry......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

C.J. Williams hits 3 to lift Clippers over Hawks 108-107

By Tim Liotta, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — C.J. Williams hit a three-pointer from the left wing with nine seconds left to lift the Los Angeles Clippers over the Atlanta Hawks 108-107 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 34 points but missed a late three that was rebounded by Wesley Johnson. He passed the ball out to C.J. Williams for a shot that snapped the Clippers’ two-game skid. Taurean Prince missed a 15-foot jumper with three seconds remaining on Atlanta’s last possession. DeAndre Jordan added 25 points and 18 rebounds as Los Angeles won despite blowing a 13-point lead in the third quarter. The Clippers played without leading scorer Blake Griffin, who suffered a concussion Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) against Golden State. Prince scored 20 points, Dennis Schroder added 18 and Kent Bazemore and Ersan Ilyasova had 13 apiece for Atlanta, which lost its fourth straight. With the score tied at 105, Lou Williams missed a short shot and Bazemore made two free throws after being fouled in the lane with 23 seconds to play, putting Atlanta up 107-105. After C.J. Williams hit a floater from the left baseline with 3:35 left, tying the score at 99, Bazemore followed up a layup with a three-pointer to give Atlanta a 104-100 lead with 2:11 to play. After Lou Williams committed a turnover, Bazemore was fouled by Jordan and hit one of two free throws for a 105-99 advantage. The Hawks then decided to foul Jordan on three consecutive possessions. He made 5-of-6 free throws to pull Los Angeles to 105-104 with 1:08 left. The Clippers forced an Atlanta turnover on the ensuing inbounds play, and Juwan Evans made the first of two free throws. Johnson was called for basket interference as the second shot hung on the rim, giving Atlanta the ball with the score tied at 105. GRIFFIN UPDATE Griffin was inactive against the Hawks, but did ride an exercise bike during the Clippers’ workout earlier in the day and continues to progress toward a return that coach Doc Rivers expects to be at least three or four days away. “He’s passed a couple of tests already,” Rivers said. “The whole (concussion) protocol thing now, you have to go through the entire protocol. I think he has another couple of tests to pass, and we’ll just have to wait.” TIP-INS Hawks: Prince was a game-time decision, as the Hawks wanted to see how he felt about his dislocated right ring finger after pregame warmups. Prince was injured in the first quarter against the Lakers the night before. ... Fifth-year center Dewayne Dedmon was under a minutes restriction in his first game after missing 19 with a left tibia stress reaction, coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He’s fit us well,” Budenholzer said. “His leadership and personality have been a welcomed addition this year. I think getting those things back on the court, we’re all looking forward to it.” Clippers: Los Angeles played without four of its five opening-night starters (Griffin, Patrick Beverley, Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic), and the first man off the bench that night, Austin Rivers. Jordan was the only opening-night starter to play against the Hawks. ... Jordan, a career 43 percent free throw shooter, made 21 of his 25 free throws over the previous four games. UP NEXT Hawks: At the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Clippers: At the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

Lakers beat Hawks 132-113 to end nine-game losing streak

By Alex Vejar, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brandon Ingram had 20 points and seven assists, and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 132-113 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Julius Randle had 15 points and nine rebounds in this sixth straight start, while Lonzo Ball finished with 13 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 27 points on 10-of-23 shooting. Kent Bazemore and John Collins added 15 points apiece. Los Angeles led by as many as 26 points — its biggest margin this season — and enjoyed a strong shooting night. The Lakers made 55.8 percent of their field goals, and shot 44.4 percent from three-point range. Even free throws went in for the Lakers, who came into Sunday (Monday, PHL time) as the worst team in the league in that category. Los Angeles made 20-of-25. The Hawks, on the other hand, shot just 43.6 percent from the field. Los Angeles went on a 16-3 run in the opening minutes of the second quarter that culminated in a transition three-pointer by Ball and a basket by Larry Nance Jr. off a pass from Josh Hart. The lead quickly ballooned to 20 after another three by Ball and a layup by Kyle Kuzma. The Hawks closed within 13 with 10:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, but a long pass from Kuzma led to a one-handed dunk by Ball, giving the Lakers a 17-point lead. Hart's three-pointer with 5:33 left in the game gave Los Angeles its biggest lead. The Hawks started the game on a 10-2 run, but the Lakers recovered. Kuzma's basket on a strong drive gave Los Angeles a 29-27 lead just before the first-quarter buzzer. TIP-INS Lakers: Got their first home win since Nov. 21 (Nov. 22, PHL time) against the Chicago Bulls. ... Beat the Hawks 36 years ago to the day for an NBA-record 33rd straight win. ... Seven Lakers scored in double figures. Hawks: Coach Mike Budenholzer picked up a technical foul in the first quarter. Taurean Prince dislocated his right ring finger in the first quarter, but returned to the game. UP NEXT Lakers: Host the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Hawks: Back at Staples Center to play the Clippers on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018

Westbrook s 3-pointer lifts Thunder past Hawks 120-117

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook hit a 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to cap a 30-point, 15-assist outing, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the Atlanta Hawks 120-117 on Friday night. Game on the line. Westbrook for the win! He finishes with 30 PTS, 15 AST & 7 REB.@okcthunder beat @ATLHawks 120-117 for third straight win. pic.twitter.com/gR9ZL3Xa79 — NBA (@NBA) December 23, 2017 Carmelo Anthony added 24 points on 7-of-12 3-point shooting and Paul George scored 17 for the Thunder, who have won five of their last six after an 11-14 start. Atlanta, in last place in the Southeast Division, made Oklahoma City work for this one, rallying after falling behind by 16 points in the first half. The Hawks led 92-88 with 8:49 left after a basket by Kent Bazemore. Westbrook re-entered the game and led the Thunder on a 16-5 run. Anthony's 3-pointer with 5:34 left gave Oklahoma City a 104-97 lead. The Hawks came back again, eventually tying the game at 117 on two free throws by Ersan Ilyasova with 11.1 seconds left. After a timeout, George inbounded to Westbrook, who made the final shot over Atlanta's Taurean Prince. Without a timeout, the Hawks could manage only a desperation heave at the buzzer. Marco Belinelli scored 30 points to lead Atlanta, which is 2-7 against Western Conference teams this season. Ilyasova added 22 points for the Hawks, who went 15 of 32 from 3-point range. The Thunder dominated the second quarter. They broke a 28-28 tie with a 14-2 run to start the quarter, with Raymond Felton and George each hitting two 3-pointers. After the Hawks pulled within 51-43, Oklahoma City went on a 13-5 run and led 64-50 at halftime. Atlanta scored 11 straight points to cut the Thunder lead to 74-70 midway through the third quarter. Oklahoma City made only 19 of 31 free throws. TIP-INS Hawks: Atlanta played without G Dennis Schroder, who sat out with a left ankle injury and was replaced in the starting lineup by Belinelli. Schroder had started and played 32 minutes Wednesday vs. Indiana. ... Prince went 1 of 3 from 3-point range and now has at least one 3-pointer in career-best 14 straight games. ... Belinelli extended his streak of consecutive free throws to 28. Thunder: Westbrook was called for an unsportsmanlike technical foul with 3:24 left in the second quarter for shoving Malcolm Delaney after Delaney had fouled him. ... Steven Adams had 16 points and 10 rebounds. ... The Thunder now trail only 66-65 in their all-time series with the Hawks, including the franchise's time in Seattle. ... George and Westbrook entered the game ranked first and second, respectively, in the NBA in steals at 2.45 and 2.10. George had three steals against the Hawks, and Westbrook had two. UP NEXT Hawks: Host Dallas on Saturday before a four-day break. Thunder: At Utah on Saturday before starting a four-game homestand on Christmas Day against Houston......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2017

Balanced Pacers pull away from Hawks, 105-95

By Matt Winkeljohn, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Victor Oladipo scored 23 points, Myles Turner had 20 and the Indiana Pacers beat the Atlanta Hawks 105-95 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Bojan Bogdanovic had 19 points as Indiana won for the second time in five games. The Pacers rallied from a sluggish start to shoot 48.8 percent. Atlanta has yet to win consecutive games this season and dropped to 7-24. The Hawks bench outscored Indiana’s 46-28, led by 18 points and nine rebounds from John Collins. Marco Belinelli added 13 points off the bench, and Kent Bazemore led Atlanta’s starters with 13. The Hawks led by nine points during the first quarter but trailed 53-51 at halftime as the Pacers shot 52.4 percent over the first two quarters. Indiana never trailed in the second half and stretched the lead to 20 before Atlanta scored the final 10 points of the game. TIP-INS Pacers: Indiana turned the ball over on two of its first three possessions but finished with a season-low nine turnovers. ... Indiana failed to make at least 10 three-pointers (7-of-21) for the fourth consecutive game after making 10 or more in five straight. Hawks: Coach Mike Budenholzer said the team hopes to have forward/center Mike Muscala (ankle) play a couple games with Erie of the G-League before he returns to the team. Muscala has missed 21-of-30 games with a sprained left ankle. ... Atlanta entered third in the NBA shooting 38.3 percent on three-pointers, but on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) the Hawks made just 8-of-29 (27.6 percent). ... Center Miles Plumlee scored a season-high 10 points with four dunks. UP NEXT Pacers: Will play host to the Nets on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Hawks: Visit Thunder on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2017

LeBron hits big 3, scores 32 as Cavaliers win 13th straight

CLEVELAND --- The play is called "Chicago," named after a game-winning shot LeBron James made in the playoffs to beat the Bulls. It worked like a charm again in Cleveland. James drained a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left and finished with 32 points as the Cavaliers tied a franchise record with their 13th straight win, 101-95 over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night. James, who changed his sneakers three times, also had 11 rebounds and nine assists, helping the Cavs rally from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to remain unbeaten since Nov. 11. His decisive 3-pointer in the final minute over JaKarr Sampson came after James went to the bench during a timeout and told co...Keep on reading: LeBron hits big 3, scores 32 as Cavaliers win 13th straight.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 7th, 2017

Irving, Brown help Celtics rally for 15th straight win

ATLANTA -- Kyrie Irving scored 30 points, Jaylen Brown added a career-high 27 and the Boston Celtics won their 15th straight game with a 110-99 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. At 15-2, Boston leads the NBA and matched the best start in franchise history through 17 games. The winning streak is the club's fifth-longest, four behind the 2008-09 team that set the franchise mark. Dennis Schroder had 23 points, and Kent Bazemore added 19 for Atlanta. The Hawks are an Eastern Conference-worst 3-13, but they still had plenty of adrenaline following a 46-point victory over Sacramento -- the biggest in franchise history -- two nights ago The Celtics erased a 16-point deficit to take their first lead on Brown's 3-pointer midway through the third. It marked Boston's fourth win when trailing by at least 16 during the streak. Irving, playing with a protective mask to protect a minor facial fracture, ended the game with a right-handed finger-roll layup, delighting a few thousand Boston fans who were chanting "MVP! MVP!" in the fourth quarter. In 31 minutes, Irving made 10 of 12 shots, including five 3-pointers, and hit all five of his free throws. Irving, frustrated that the mask was affecting his peripheral vision two nights ago, took it off to help Boston beat defending NBA champion Golden State by four points. He scored 16 points, but was just 4 for 16 from the field. Brown was 10 of 13 from the field. The Celtics lead NBA in scoring defense, but they gave up 35 points in the first quarter and trailed by 15 entering the second. Atlanta used a 16-0 run in the first to take a 15-point lead. But fueled by Marcus Smart and other reserves, Boston pulled within four twice in the second and cut the lead to six in the closing minutes on Brown's 3. Marcus Morris and Jayson Tatum each had 14 points for Boston. TIP-INS Celtics: Tatum was scoreless until he stole the ball and dunked to cut the lead to four in the third. The 19-year-old former Duke standout followed with an acrobatic, one-handed dunk on a fast break to make it 75-72 and had another dunk to put Boston up 78-77 near the end of the period. Tatum had all 14 of his points in the third. Hawks: F Taurean Prince is developing into a solid option on offense, spinning for a layup against Shane Larkin and floating a soft assist on John Collins' dunk that put Atlanta up 84-82. But Prince has a substandard reputation as a defender, and coach Mike Budenholzer gave him an earful after calling timeout in the third. Prince had just missed an assignment that left Brown open to hit the big 3 from the left corner. UP NEXT Celtics: Visit Dallas, the NBA's worst team, on Monday night. Hawks: Visit San Antonio on Monday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2017

24 NBA questions before 17-18 tips off

By David Aldridge, TNT analyst The season starts on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). You’ve been waiting patiently all summer with your questions. Fire away.     1. So … what’s the point of playing this season? The Golden State Warriors are still the prohibitive favorites to repeat this season, next season and into the foreseeable future. But it was good to see a good chunk of the Western Conference -- the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets, to name three teams -- not fold before the first card is dealt. That fact alone is incredibly important. The Warriors are still the best team in the West, without question. But if teams don’t even try to get better, or spend money to compete, the whole rationale for playing fades away. The Thunder could have rode Russell Westbrook alone to another first-round playoff loss, watched him walk out the door in free agency next summer and thrown up its hands, plead ‘woe is us and all small-market teams,’ and enjoyed a luxury tax-free life for the next few years. The Rockets could have just kept selling tickets to fans to watch James Harden and his pals shoot 50 threes a game for the next two or three years. It’s an appealing brand of basketball. Denver could have just kept building through the Draft, climbing a few more wins here or there for a while, and snuck into the eighth seed, choosing to be comfortable rather than bold. But they didn’t. They’ve called and raised. In all likelihood, it won’t be enough to beat Golden State. But those teams can sleep well at night. They’re not cheating their players, or fans. 2. So, is OKC now a legit threat to the Warriors? The short answer: no. But it’s closer. Carmelo Anthony will be as good a third option as anyone in the league has, though; he will eat regularly on the weak side as defenses scramble to handle Westbrook-Paul George pick and rolls; a quick seal and ‘Melo will be off to the races. If coach Billy Donovan goes small ball with Patrick Patterson at the five, there will be many nights when OKC drops a 130 spot. Yes, the Thunder’s defense is going to be an issue; while Enes Kanter was a sieve off the bench, he was coming off the bench, playing behind Steven Adams. Anthony will be starting and playing big minutes, many at the four. But it won’t matter most nights when the Thunder is up 20 to start the fourth quarter, after 36 minutes of Westbrook sorties, George 3-pointers and transition dunks, and Carmelo post-ups and spot-ups (he shot 44.8 percent last season on catch and shoot shots. Among forwards who played 30 or more minutes last season, per NBA.com/Stats, only Kevin Durant, Otto Porter and Kawhi Leonard shot better). The Thunder can guard you with George, Andre Roberson and Adams and they can outscore you with Westbrook and George and ‘Melo. They have a solid bench (Patterson, Ray Felton, Jerami Grant, Alex Abrines) and Westbrook won’t be physically spent by the end of the 2018 playoffs. Wait; what am I saying? Of course he’ll be spent. But he’ll also be playing way deeper into May. 3. Did not getting Anthony hurt Houston or nah? The Rockets -- okay, Chris Paul -- wanted this done bad. It won’t hurt Houston in the regular season, when Paul and James Harden will dominate. And while Harden didn’t like Kevin McHale’s critique of his leadership, Mac was spot on. That doesn’t make “The Beard” a bad guy or teammate -- people gravitate to their comfortable roles in life, and CP3 is a natural-born leader. Harden will, one thinks, be more comfortable with slightly less light on him. They’ll do fine playing together and off one another. But the shadow of the Rockets’ implosion from deep -- 29 of 88 on three-pointers the last two games against the Spurs in their Western Conference semifinals series -- still hangs over them. Ryan Anderson was negated in the postseason. There’s a reason CP3 pushed for ‘Melo so hard. The Rockets will need unexpected consistent offense from a P.J. Tucker or Luc Mbah a Moute in May if they have any hopes of playing in June. 4. Can we just start the Cleveland-Boston East finals now? Maybe Toronto, with C.J. Miles shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers to complement Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, will break up what seems inevitable. Maybe Washington, with its super-solid starting five intact, now has the mental toughness to bust past the second round, where it’s been beached three of the last four postseasons. But it doesn’t feel like that. Boston, ultimately, should be a lot better this season than last. It will take a while for coach Brad Stevens to figure out the rotation and whether Jaylen Brown can really stick at the two, but ultimately, the Celtics have two dynamic playmakers/scorers in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, and with Al Horford providing the glue at both ends, they’re going to be a load by the end of the season. And while Cleveland will have to wait a while for Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs have more than enough firepower until Thomas can make his debut. Whatever Dwyane Wade has left will be accentuated playing with James, and Kevin Love (holy moly, is he underrated) will feast drawing slower, bigger centers out to him on the perimeter. J.R. Smith doesn’t like losing his starting job to Wade, and he should be ticked. But he nonetheless will help Cleveland’s bench, which will be incredibly difficult in its own right with Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver complementing Smith. And that’s before Thomas returns, which will put Derrick Rose on that second unit. There won’t be any rest for defenses who’ll then have to contend with a rested James, et al, coming back. It says here that not only will the Cavs not miss Irving offensively, they could be even more diverse and difficult to guard this season. Not to mention that James is supremely motivated to make an eighth straight Finals. 5. Could Curry break his record of 402 3-pointers in a season? At first glance, with Durant and Klay and Draymond (and, now, Nick Young) all needing to get fed as well, it would seem impossible for Curry to best the mark he set two years ago, on the 73-9 regular season team. But consider: coach Steve Kerr thinks a new guy always blossoms in his second year with the Warriors, which means Durant should be even more lethal offensively this year, as the Warriors’ offense reaches an even higher level of efficiency. And the way they move the ball, it’s not a stretch to think that with defenses tripping over themselves to get to Durant, Curry could get into one of those ridiculous grooves that could leave him within striking distance of 402 by the end of the season. 6. Could the last one in the Eastern Conference turn out the lights? The New York Knicks were hardly a power in the East before trading Anthony, but his departure creates one more team that will struggle to win 35 games this season. With the paucity of talent there should be at least four 50-win teams in the East -- Cleveland, Boston, Toronto and Washington -- with the Milwaukee Bucks knocking on the door. 7. Who’s going to regret their offseason? The Bucks were fine off the court -- their new arena is already more than halfway constructed and looks like it’s going to be a gem -- although the surrounding mall that is supposed to be part of the complex is not going up as quickly. But the Bucks didn’t address their bigs-heavy roster and move some of the surplus -- how can coach Jason Kidd keep all of Greg Monroe, Jabari Parker and John Henson happy with Thon Maker scarfing up more and more frontcourt minutes? -- for the shooting Milwaukee still needs. The East is so open, and Milwaukee is so close to breaking through into elite status with Giannis Antetokounmpo an elite performer. 8. Rudy Gay -- sneaky good pickup? Gay says he’s cool starting or coming off the bench for the Spurs, but he’d best as San Antonio’s sixth man, at least to start things. Bringing Pau Gasol off the bench didn’t work so well, so if he’s starting at center, coach Gregg Popovich can’t go small ball with “Cousin” LaMarcus Aldridge at the five and Gay at the four alongside Kawhi Leonard. (Current state of Spurs fans’ cuticles here and here as they consider a season with an extended Klaw absence if this quad injury doesn’t improve soon.) The Spurs could have some serious firepower in reserve if Gay and Patty Mills come off the bench, but Mills or Dejounte Murray will likely have to start at the point until Tony Parker comes back. 9. Speaking of Popovich … Should he and Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy stick to sports? No. 10. Who’s gonna be Kia Rookie of the Year? I say Markelle Fultz. What, you thought I was gonna pick against a DeMatha Catholic man? (Actual unretouched photo of me as a sophomore at the most successful high school in the history of the United States may or may not be here). Playing off of Joel Embiid, J.J. Redick, Robert Covington … it’s hard to see Fultz not looking really good when he should have all kinds of room to operate. Lonzo Ball will put up bigger numbers, and Tatum will be on a better team. But Boston was good last year, and Jayson Tatum will likely not play as much as the others. The Sixers are poised for a big jump up in the standings, and that’s always a narrative that voters like and get behind -- which is what will hurt Dennis Smith Jr.'s chances in Dallas. 11. What does Dwyane Wade really have left? Now that the inevitable buyout of Wade’s $24 million deal by the Bulls has led to the equally inevitable trek to Cleveland to play with James, can the 35-year-old Wade still be a significant contributor on a title contender? Given the general dysfunction in Chicago last season, you can dismiss most of the good and bad numbers Wade put up, with two exceptions: he still averaged almost five free throw attempts per game, and he shot 31 percent on 3-pointers -- not great, but more than double his anemic 15.9 percent behind the arc in 2015-16, his last with the Miami Heat. Wade obviously knows the cheat code for how to most effectively play off of James, so he’ll use the regular season to learn his teammates and be ready for the playoffs. But can Wade hold up over seven games defensively if he has to chase, say, Bradley Beal around, or try to deny DeRozan his preferred mid-range spots, and still be productive offensively? 12. Back to the Sixers -- how good will they be? My guess is they’ll pretty good in the 60 or so games I anticipate Embiid will play this season -- I’m assuming several designated off days for him during the season, not another injury. The mix of young talent (Fultz, Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Covington) and crafty vets (Redick, Amir Johnson) should mesh to make the 76ers a very tough team to defend. But Philly has to resolve the Jahlil Okafor situation, and in fairness to him, give him a fresh start somewhere else with a trade as soon as possible. If I were a good team that would be hard-pressed to add a free agent any time soon and feels a player short of true contention -- I’m looking at you, Memphis Grizzlies and Wizards -- I’d work hard to get the new, slimmed-down Okafor on my squad while he’s still on his rookie contract and make him the focal point of a kick-ass second unit. 13. Should we feel some kind of way about the Trail Blazers? I’m picking up what you’re putting down. A full season of the “Bosnian Beast” in the middle, it says here, will vault Portland into the top four in the West. Note I said “full season.” That means Jusuf Nurkic has to give coach Terry Stotts between 65-70 starts for the above premonition to be, as they say in the legal world, actionable. If so, Nurkic’s underrated scoring and passing out of the post will only make Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum that much more deadly out front, along with improving Portland’s defense. Per Basketball-Reference.com, the Blazers were 11.6 points per game better than the opposition with those three on the floor together and a +5 when their regular five-man lineup with Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu joined the guards and Nurkic. And that’s pronounced, “Noor-kitch,” accent on Noor. 13. A little movie break ... Kevin Costner’s accent in “Robin Hood” -- worst ever, right? Yes, but Natalie Wood’s in “West Side Story” was painful, too. 14. Many have written the post-CP3 Clippers off. Should they? The Clippers are my darkhorse this season -- if they do the right thing and go small more often. They’re doing it more in practice so far than in games because Danilo Gallinari is working through a foot injury, but Blake Griffin at the five and Gallinari at the four could be spicy during the regular season. That would mean Sam Dekker and/or Wes Johnson would have to become credible and dependable at the three, allowing coach Doc Rivers to play a Pat Beverly-Milos Teodosic backcourt more often, which will just be fun. This would, of course, mean less DeAndre Jordan, and … that may not be the worst thing. Nothing against DJ, who is the best defensive big in the league, bar none. Unfortunately, the NBA isn’t about defense any more -- at least not in the traditional sense. Even someone like Jordan who doesn’t just block shots, but also helps snuff out opposing pick and rolls, becomes less valued by the league’s advanced stats crowd if he doesn’t contribute more offensively. The three has gone a long way to tyrannizing the defense-dominant big man out of the game. (Zach Lowe recommends the Wizards try to get Jordan via trade, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard that name mentioned in connection with Washington, the idea being the only chance the Wizards have of beating Cleveland or Boston is to slow them down enough defensively that Wall-Beal-Porter can try and keep up offensively. Washington is definitely a load when Wall gets locked in on D and creates turnovers, and the idea of Jordan inhaling lobs from Wall is enticing to think about. But the Wizards are not -- not -- going to take on a fourth big contract, and Jordan’s surely going to opt out after this season; he’s rightly expecting a massive payday in 2018, and the Clippers certainly now have motive and means to retain him.) Anyway, some Lou Williams, Austin Rivers and/or Teodosic and Willie Reed off the bench isn’t bad, either. 15. Could Kyle Kuzma be the best rookie on the Lakers this season? Don’t @me, LaVar. Kuzma has followed up a very strong Vegas Summer League with high notes in preseason, averaging better than 19 points per game for the Lakers. He’s been dazzling at times, displaying in-between skills that intrigue, and showing why so many teams were trying to trade back into the first round to get the Utah forward before L.A. snagged him with its second and much less heralded first-round pick last June. And there will be minutes available at the four this season. So far, Kuzma has displayed unusual strength for a rookie and confidence in his ability to score. Of course, he’s inexperienced, and like all rookies, has to differentiate between an open shot and a good shot. The other, more famous first-rounder, Lonzo Ball, will almost certainly be the better all-around player in time. For this year, though … hmmm. 16. What does a Hawks fan have to look forward to this season? Honestly, not much. But they’ll always be well-coached and get better. I’d pick one of the young players, like rookie John Collins or second-year small forward Taurean Prince, and concentrate on them during the season. See what they do with their minutes on the floor, and watch how they gradually expand their games at both ends. Seeing a young guy get better as he gains experience and accepts coaching is one of the great joys of watching the NBA every night. 17. Orlando? What gives there? The team’s new braintrust of Jeff Weltman and John Hammond will need some time to fix the roster -- a mélange of athletic wings that have trouble defending and guards that have trouble shooting. The former is addressed somewhat with the signing of Jonathon Simmons from San Antonio, but I don’t see a solution to the latter with any of the existing backcourt contributors. Unless coach Frank Vogel figures out some way to get more turnovers/runouts from his group, they just can’t get in transition enough for their length and legs to make a difference. 18. New Orleans? What gives there? The short answer is, I have no idea. All of NBA Earth has DeMarcus Cousins out of there one way or another (he’s an unrestricted free agent in ’18 and wants to be on a contender/the Pelicans will never pay him what he wants and will have to trade him by the deadline/no way he and Anthony Davis fit together/Wall agitates for a reunion with his former Kentucky big man in D.C./your departure theory here) by this time next year, but we’ll see what coach Alvin Gentry has come up with for “Boogie” and “the Brow” after a summer to think it over. Rajon Rondo being out hurts their depth, but I have to be honest -- I don’t see how he and Jrue Holiday can possibly work together in a backcourt, and Holiday’s the guy the Pelicans just gave $125 million to, so he should probably have the ball in his hands every night, shouldn’t he? I like Ian Clark and Frank Jackson down there, but that untethered three spot burns a hole in the New Orleans sun. Well, at any rate, should be more fun than watching reruns of My Life on the D-List. 19. Favorite D-List Muppet? Beaker. 20. LeBron is leaving Cleveland again after this season, isn’t he? Everything points to yes, and a relocation to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers or Clippers next year – except … what if the Cavs win it all again this year? That’s not an impossible scenario -- in fact, it’s a pretty simple one to lay out: Cavs run roughshod through the Eastern Conference in the playoffs again, get through a good but hardly great Boston team in the conference Finals and set up a fourth straight encounter with Golden State. It’s easy now to say the Warriors dominated the Cavs in last season’s Finals -- but only if you ignore the fact that Cleveland led by six with just more than three minutes remaining in Game 3, only to see the Warriors score the game’s last 11 points to take a 3-0 lead instead of 2-1. And given that Cleveland vaporized the Warriors in Game 4, a 2-2 series would have meant the Cavs just needed to win once in Oracle -- which they’d done twice in the 2016 Finals -- to have a real shot at repeating. The point is, the difference between the teams isn’t as big as Draymond Green would have you believe; the Cavs have no fear of the Warriors, and Jae Crowder gives coach Tyronn Lue a viable on-ball defender for Kevin Durant, leaving LeBron free to play off of Green. And: that unprotected Nets pick, whether one or three or five or seven, is Cleveland’s best recruiting tool. LeBron knows everyone in college basketball and he can literally pick whoever he’d like to finish his career with in Cleveland before handing over the reins. I’m not saying he’s definitely staying, either -- only that his departure isn’t the lead pipe cinch some would have you believe. The season to come will have a lot to do with his next decision. 21. So, how will the playoffs go this season? Eastern Conference (seeds No. 1-8): Cleveland, Boston, Washington, Toronto, Milwaukee, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia Western Conference (seeds No. 1-8): Golden State, Houston, Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Memphis, Utah, Minnesota Eastern Conference semifinalists: Cleveland, Boston, Washington, Milwaukee Western Conference semifinalists: Golden State, Houston, OKC, San Antonio Eastern Conference finals: Cleveland over Boston Western Conference finals: Golden State over OKC (you heard me) NBA Finals: Golden State over Cleveland (in seven games) 22. Tell me something crazy that’s going to happen this season that no one’s predicting! Giannis Antetokounmpo. NBA MVP, 2017-18. 23. Are you high? No, ma’am. 24. So, why 24 questions? As always, we start the season with 24 questions (or predictions, or issues, whatever) in honor of Danny Biasone, the late owner of the Syracuse Nationals, whose discovery in 1954 helped save the league. At that time, the NBA was in the midst of a literal slowdown, in large part by teams that were desperate to figure out some kind of way to stay competitive with George Mikan, the league’s first superstar big man, and his team, the Minneapolis Lakers. Teams would hold the ball for minutes at a time without shooting in an effort to shorten the game and give them a chance to beat Minneapolis late. But the end result was boring -- very boring -- basketball. At the owners’ meetings that year, Biasone came up with an idea. NBA games were 48 minutes long. Biasone figured out that in a normal game, one not waylaid by the slowdown tactics, about 120 shots -- 60 per team -- were taken. So, why not just divide the number of minutes in every game -- 2,880 -- by the number of shots in an average game -- 120 -- to come up with some kind of a time limit in which a team had to shoot. And thus, the 24-second shot clock (2,800/120) was born. With the implementation of the shot clock in the 1954-55 season, scoring went way up, as did the quality of play. Teams were now running up and down the floor in order to try and beat the shot clock, complementing the “fast break” game that many colleges had played for years. But the new style in the pros was immensely popular with fans. And it still is. Plus, there’s just something iconic about that clock counting down every 24 seconds. It’s unique to the NBA. Thus, we ask 24 questions, in honor of the guy who owned a bowling alley as well as the Nationals for much of his adult life, and probably enjoyed the bowling more. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. 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 NewsOct 17th, 2017

Turner s 3-run shot in 9th gives Dodgers 4-1 win over Cubs

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Justin Turner hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the NL Championship Series. Turner drove in every run for Los Angeles, going the other way for a tying single in the fifth before sending a long shot to center field off John Lackey in the ninth. A fan wearing a blue Dodgers jersey reached over a railing to catch the ball on the fly. Turner’s second homer of the postseason ended another dramatic night for the Dodgers, who remained unbeaten in these playoffs and moved within two wins of their first World Series appearance since 1988. And the red-bearded slugger even did it on the 29th anniversary of Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit, walk-off homer to beat Oakland in the opening game of the Dodgers’ last World Series victory. “It’s very cool, and J.T., we were talking about it in there after the game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Twenty-nine years to the day. It was special. Our guys feel it.” Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Midseason acquisition Yu Darvish starts for the Dodgers against Kyle Hendricks. Yasiel Puig drew his third walk of the game leading off the ninth, and Charlie Culberson bunted him to second. After Brian Duensing struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer, Chicago manager Joe Maddon went to the bullpen for the 38-year-old Lackey, who pitched on consecutive days for the first time in his 15-year career. Lackey got the call over All-Star closer Wade Davis, and the veteran starter walked Chris Taylor on six tense pitches. Turner stepped up and ended it with his long drive — the fourth playoff homer of his career and the Dodgers’ first walk-off homer in the postseason since Gibson’s famous shot. “We’ve been doing it all year long,” Turner said. “We’re never out of a game. As long as we have outs left, we’re going to keep fighting.” Completing the poetry of the moment, a fan in a Chase Utley jersey in the center-field bleachers caught the ball in his glove. Turner has been at his best in October, batting .377 with four home runs and 22 RBIs in his postseason career. Addison Russell homered in the fifth for the Cubs, who are down early in this rematch of the 2016 NLCS. Chicago won that series in six games and went on to its first World Series championship since 1908, while the Dodgers have been absent from the Fall Classic since 1988. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen got the victory with a hitless ninth despite hitting Anthony Rizzo on the hand with a one-out pitch. That ended the Los Angeles bullpen’s impressive streak of 22 straight Cubs retired to begin the NLCS, but the Dodgers have thrown eight hitless and scoreless innings of relief in the NLCS. After a collective offensive effort drove the Dodgers to a 5-2 win in Game 1, Turner did it all in Game 2. He has 10 RBIs in the Dodgers’ five postseason games, getting five in the playoff opener against Arizona. Jon Lester yielded three hits and five walks while failing to get out of the fifth inning in the shortest start of his long postseason career, but the Dodgers couldn’t take advantage of a rare shaky night by the Cubs’ star left-hander. Rich Hill struck out eight in five more impressive innings for the Dodgers, but he was pulled for pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson in the fifth in a debatable decision by Roberts. Russell was off to a 4-for-22 start in the postseason with nine strikeouts before the slugging shortstop put a leadoff homer into the short porch in left field. Turner evened it moments later by poking a single to right after a leadoff double by Culberson, the Dodgers’ improbably successful replacement for injured All-Star shortstop Corey Seager. The Dodgers chased Lester with two outs in the fifth, but reliever Carl Edwards Jr. came through after several recent postseason struggles, striking out pinch-hitter Chase Utley and then pitching a strong sixth. Lester was the co-MVP of last season’s NLCS, winning Game 5 at Dodger Stadium and yielding two runs over 13 innings in the series. He had nothing near the same success against the Dodgers’ revamped lineup in this one, issuing four walks in the first four innings and repeatedly escaping jams. Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward held up Turner in the third when it appeared he could have scored from first on Cody Bellinger’s double to the gap. Javier Baez, the other co-MVP of last season’s NLCS for Chicago, got to third base in the third with one out, but also was stranded. UP NEXT Cubs: Hendricks dominated Chicago’s playoff opener with seven scoreless innings against the Nationals, but yielded four runs in four innings during the team’s wild Game 5 victory in Washington. He is starting on normal rest. Dodgers: Darvish was outstanding in Game 3 against the Diamondbacks, earning his first career postseason victory with seven strikeouts over five innings of two-hit ball. He was acquired from Texas precisely for these moments, and he starts on seven days of rest......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2017

Severino, Judge help Yanks top Indians 7-3 to force Game 5

em>By Mike Fitzpatrick, Associated Press /em> NEW YORK (AP) — Luis Severino bounced back from his playoff debacle, slumping Aaron Judge delivered a big hit and the New York Yankees took advantage of shoddy defense by Cleveland to beat the Indians 7-3 Monday night and push their AL Division Series to a decisive Game 5. Gary Sanchez homered and Judge laced an early two-run double for his only hit of the series to go with 12 strikeouts in 15 at-bats. Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer struggled on three days' rest and was chased in the second inning. But it was on the wet Yankee Stadium field where the Indians really flopped, committing a season-high four errors that marked a franchise record for a postseason game and led to six unearned runs. The defending AL champions made only 76 errors all season, the lowest total in the league. After preventing a three-game sweep with a 1-0 win Sunday night, the wild-card Yankees will start CC Sabathia against his original team in Game 5 at Cleveland on Wednesday. Indians ace Corey Kluber gets the ball in a rematch from Game 2, when he was hit hard by New York. The winner will face Houston in the AL Championship Series after the Astros finished off Boston in four games earlier Monday to win their ALDS. Just taking two in a row to send the series back to Cleveland was no small feat for the Yankees. The last time the Indians lost consecutive games was Aug. 22-23 at home against Boston, just before starting their AL-record 22-game winning streak. From that point on, Cleveland had gone 35-4 before arriving at Yankee Stadium for Game 3 of the ALDS. Severino got only one out in the wild-card game against Minnesota last Tuesday, but was bailed out by his teammates as New York advanced with an 8-4 victory. This time, the 23-year-old ace was determined to come through, and he did. Handed an early 5-0 lead, the right-hander struck out nine in seven innings and gave up four hits, including Carlos Santana's two-run homer and Roberto Perez's solo shot. Tommy Kahnle relieved a wild Dellin Betances in the eighth and got six outs for his first save of the season as New York improved to 3-0 when facing playoff elimination this year. Sanchez hit his second home run of the series off Bryan Shaw in the sixth to make it 7-3. A rainy day in the Big Apple prevented both teams from taking batting practice on the field. But the tarp was pulled and play started right on time, with fans in hooded ponchos bunched below the overhangs seeking cover from a heavy drizzle. Showers dissipated in the bottom of the first, though a few puddles remained on the slick warning track all night. The first of two costly errors by normally sure-handed third baseman Giovanny Urshela, a .224 hitter in the lineup for his defense, was a painful one. Starlin Castro's sinking line drive in the second struck him just above the left ankle and caromed away for an error. Shaken up, Urshela was checked by a trainer but stayed in the game. With two outs, Todd Frazier pulled a 78 mph curve to deep left and it landed smack on the foul line for an RBI double. A frustrated Bauer gestured with his hand when he didn't get a strike-three call on a checked swing by Aaron Hicks, who soon singled home a run. Brett Gardner singled and, after a mound visit from Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway, Judge had a gritty at-bat. The rookie slugger was 0 for 11 with nine strikeouts in the series before fighting back from 0-2 to a full count and lining a two-run double to the left-field wall on one hop. After pulling in at second base, Judge clapped and pointed to the Yankees dugout. Bauer managed only five outs after tossing two-hit ball with eight strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings during a 4-0 win in the series opener last Thursday. All four runs he allowed were unearned. Urshela's two-out throwing error with the bases loaded in the third made it 5-0. Frazier reached on pitcher Danny Salazar's two-base throwing error to start the fifth. He scored on Gardner's shallow sacrifice fly to center fielder Jason Kipnis, a second baseman moved to the outfield late this season. Kipnis began the year on the disabled list with a shoulder problem. strong>TRAINER'S ROOM /strong> em> strong>Indians: /strong> /em>Before the game, manager Terry Francona said the team hoped slugging DH Edwin Encarnacion would be available to pinch-hit. ... OF Brandon Guyer is scheduled for surgery Wednesday in Arizona to repair a tendon in his left wrist, ending any chances of him playing in this postseason. ... Minor league RHP Adam Plutko had surgery in Dallas to repair a torn labrum in his right hip. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Indians: /strong> /em>A favorite to win his second Cy Young Award next month, Kluber went 18-4 with a 2.25 ERA and 265 strikeouts this season. Those impressive numbers included a 2-0 mark with a 1.59 ERA against New York that left him 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in seven career regular-season starts vs. the Yankees. But they got to him in Game 2 last Friday for six runs and seven hits over 2 2/3 innings. em> strong>Yankees: /strong> /em> If they don't win Game 5, it could be Sabathia's final outing for the Yankees. The 37-year-old lefty was 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA this season and can become a free agent after the World Series. He was removed with an 8-3 cushion in Game 2 at Cleveland after only 77 pitches. New York's vaunted bullpen squandered the lead and the Yankees lost 9-8 in 13 innings. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 10th, 2017

Red Sox beat Astros 10-3, avoid elimination in ALDS Game 3

em>By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press /em> BOSTON (AP) — David Price pitched four scoreless innings of relief after another Boston starter faltered, and 20-year-old Rafael Devers connected for a key homer as the Red Sox beat the Houston Astros 10-3 on Sunday to stave off elimination in Game 3 of the AL Division Series. After losses in the first two games left the Red Sox hoping to avoid a sweep, Hanley Ramirez cheered up the Fenway Park crowd by waving a “Believe in Boston” flag during introductions. He then delivered four hits and three RBIs to help the Red Sox snap a five-game postseason losing streak. Mitch Moreland had three hits and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first postseason homer, a three-run shot in a six-run seventh that helped Boston pull away. Game 4 is Monday in Boston. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton is expected to start against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello. After winning each of the first two games 8-2, the Astros took a first-inning lead for the third straight game. Up 3-0 with two on and one out in the second, Joe Kelly relieved Doug Fister and retired George Springer before Josh Reddick hit a long fly ball to right field that Mookie Betts caught at the top of the short wall to end the inning. Kelly pitched the third and then Price turned in his seventh straight scoreless appearance since going to the bullpen in September after missing most of the season with left elbow problems. Astros starter Brad Peacock escaped the second inning with a 3-1 lead despite loading the bases with nobody out, but he ran into bigger trouble in the third. After Peacock struck out Boston’s No. 3 and 4 hitters, Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts, Moreland doubled and scored on Ramirez’s line drive over left fielder Marwin Gonzalez’s outstretched glove. Francisco Liriano gave up Devers’ two-run homer to right that gave Boston a 4-3 lead — its first in 44 postseason innings dating to Game 1 of the 2016 ALDS. Devers, who turns 21 on Oct. 24, is the youngest Red Sox player to homer in the postseason and one of only six players in major league history to hit a postseason home run before their 21st birthday. Ramirez drove in two more runs in a six-run seventh inning highlighted by Bradley’s homer that bounced off Reddick’s glove and into the stands behind the Pesky Pole. Price allowed four hits and a walk. He exchanged words with Gonzalez after striking him out with a 95 mph fastball to end the seventh, and home plate umpire Ted Barrett walked toward the Red Sox dugout with catcher Sandy Leon to calm things down. Peacock allowed three runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings. Liriano got just one out while allowing one run and two hits for the Astros, who have never swept a postseason series. strong>TRAINER’S ROOM /strong> Houston reliever Lance McCullers took a hard comebacker off his ankle in the fourth, but needed only one warmup pitch to test it and stay in the game. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Astros: /strong> /em> Morton was 14-7 with a 3.62 ERA in the regular season. em> strong>Red Sox: /strong> /em> A year after leading the league with 22 wins and winning the Cy Young Award, Porcello had a 4.65 ERA and a league-leading 17 losses. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2017

Turner's record 5 RBIs drive Dodgers to 9-5 win over D-backs

em>By Greg Beacham, Associated Press /em> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw still hasn't figured out how to dominate in October. This time, he couldn't even keep the ball in the yard. Justin Turner and the Los Angeles Dodgers made sure it hardly mattered in a strong postseason opener. Turner homered and drove in five runs, Kershaw won despite giving up four long balls and the Dodgers roared to a 9-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night in Game 1 of their NL Division Series. Turner hit a three-run homer and Yasiel Puig added an RBI double before Los Angeles made its first out against starter Taijuan Walker, who lasted just one inning in his playoff debut. Turner, the red-bearded slugger with postseason poise, added an RBI single in the fourth and another in the eighth to tie the Dodgers record for most RBIs in a postseason game. With his teammates providing such a generous cushion, Kershaw could afford to allow a few big flies in the first victory of his checkered postseason career at Dodger Stadium. He improved to 5-7 in the playoffs. 'Yeah, he gave up four solo homers, but who cares?' asked Turner, batting .397 with 17 RBIs in his last 17 postseason games. 'When you have a lead like that, it's about attacking guys, not giving up free bases and pounding the zone. So I thought he was spectacular for us tonight.' Kershaw yielded back-to-back homers into the short left-field porch by light-hitting Ketel Marte and Jeff Mathis on his final two pitches in the seventh, making him the first pitcher in team history and the eighth in baseball history to give up four home runs in a postseason game. LA's big lead was down to 7-4 when the three-time Cy Young Award winner left, but the suspense didn't last: Turner and the 104-win Dodgers added two more runs in the eighth, capping a 12-hit performance. 'It just wasn't coming out as good as I would have liked it to that last inning,' said Kershaw, who gave up five hits in 6 1/3 innings. 'So they hit some good pitches. Not really. I just didn't have much left. I don't know. Hopefully, when you give up hits, maybe one or two would stay in the ballpark, but tonight it didn't seem like that was going to happen. Obviously a frustrating way to end it, but thankfully we had a big lead.' Game 2 is Saturday night, with Rich Hill facing Robbie Ray and the Diamondbacks in a matchup of left-handers. Puig and Corey Seager both tripled and drove in two runs for the Dodgers, who finished 11 games ahead of Arizona to earn their fifth consecutive NL West crown. A.J. Pollock and J.D. Martinez also homered off Kershaw, but Arizona's euphoria from its wild-card victory over Colorado was erased during a rough first inning in Chavez Ravine. Los Angeles' first five batters reached base, punctuated by Turner's shot and Puig's line-drive double that scored rookie Cody Bellinger. Arizona ended a five-year playoff absence Wednesday with a rollicking 11-8 victory over the Rockies that was described by manager Torey Lovullo as 'one of the most emotional days I've had in my career.' But that tough game bit the Diamondbacks in Los Angeles when Walker needed 48 pitches to get out of the first inning. Playing from behind all night, Arizona couldn't catch up. 'Well, we have been very resilient,' Lovullo said. 'We've had some tough losses, and this is playoff baseball. We know that we're built for moments like this. We've been battle-tested all year long. It's one game. It was a tough day for us.' Ray was supposed to start this series opener, but was pressed into relief against the Rockies when ace Zack Greinke faltered — and Walker couldn't come through in his place. 'I just felt like they had a really good game plan against me,' Walker said. 'They were sitting on the fastball most of the time.' Zack Godley pitched five innings of relief, but Turner, Puig and Seager added RBIs in the fourth for a 7-1 lead. Kershaw struck out seven, but the ace left-hander's frequent inability to match his regular-season brilliance in October remains a constant presence. He struggled with the long ball again after serving up a career-high 23 homers during the regular season, but still earned his fifth career postseason victory — one shy of the franchise record — in 15 starts. Pollock made his postseason debut with two extra-base hits in the wild-card game, and he added a homer in the third inning for Arizona's first hit off Kershaw. But Seager hit an RBI triple in the eighth, and Turner drove him home. 'We gave them a run for their money there towards the middle, end of the game,' Martinez said. 'They had to execute, and they had to put up a couple more runs. So you tip your hat to them, (but) I feel a lot more confident the way we battled back in that game.' The Diamondbacks still won't lack for confidence against the mighty Dodgers. Arizona beat its division rivals six straight times down the regular-season stretch, and were one of two teams with a winning record against Los Angeles this season. strong>WILD HORSE /strong> Puig had another standout game in his late-season surge, and the Cuban right fielder also provided some entertainment. He slid headfirst into third base on his triple in the seventh inning with his tongue wagging at the Dodgers' dugout, drawing roars of laughter from his teammates. 'I don't know why,' Puig said. 'I feel maybe ice cream in front of me, or something like that.' Earlier in the game, Puig licked his bat between pitches — and moments later, he remembered that pine tar doesn't taste so great. 'He's called the Wild Horse for a reason,' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. 'Just sometimes you shake your head. Sometimes you smile.' strong>RBI RECORD /strong> Turner now shares the Dodgers record for RBIs in a postseason game with Pedro Guerrero, who had five in the 1981 World Series, and Davey Lopes, who did it in the 1978 World Series. strong>THE MAN /strong> Vin Scully attended the Dodgers' first postseason game since their Hall of Fame announcer retired. Scully got his customary standing ovation when shown on the stadium scoreboard. strong>UP NEXT /strong> Hill (12-8) allowed opponents to bat .203 in his first full Dodgers season, showing off veteran guile and pitch versatility while battling blisters. Ray was 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA in five starts against the Dodgers this season. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 7th, 2017

Judge sets home run record as Yankees beat Royals

NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge broke Mark McGwire's Major League Baseball record for home runs by a rookie, hitting a pair for the second straight day to raise his total to 50 and lead the New York Yankees over the Kansas City Royals 11-3 Monday. The 6-foot-7, 25-year-old slugger tied the mark with a two-run drive to right-center off Jakob Junis (8-3) in the third inning that put New York ahead 3-0. His solo shot to left against Trevor Cahill in the seventh made it 7-3 and earned him a rare curtain call. Judge has 13 home runs in September and six in five games, and he is second in the majors behind Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, who has 57. Judge has four multihomer games this month and seven this season. McGwire hit 49 homers for Oakland in 1987. Greg Bird added a two-run homer in the sixth. Gary Sanchez followed Judge in the seventh with back-to-back homers for the third time this year, raising his total to 33. CC Sabathia (13-5) took a 6-0 lead into the seventh, when Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer and Mike Moustakas chased the left-hander by going deep four pitches later. Sabathia improved to 9-0 in 11 starts this year after Yankees losses. New York moved within four games of AL East-leading Boston with six to play. Kansas City was pushed to the brink of postseason elimination. strong>CUBS 10, CARDINALS 2 /strong> ST. LOUIS (AP) — Addison Russell hit a three-run double in the first inning, then made a food run for a fan in enemy territory while Chicago beat St. Louis to move within a victory of clinching its second straight NL Central title. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez homered for the Cubs, who can wrap up the division with a win Tuesday against the Cardinals or a loss by Milwaukee against Cincinnati. Russell helped the Cubs get to starter Luke Weaver (7-2) early, then made some friends out of rival fans. After diving into the stands chasing a foul ball down the third-base line and spilling a fan's tray of chips, Russell emerged from the dugout a few innings later with a plate of nachos and delivered it to the fan. Russell stopped to take a selfie before heading back to play shortstop. The loss eliminated St. Louis from NL Central contention and dimmed the Cardinals' wild-card hopes. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was taken out of the game in the seventh after he took two foul balls off his mask. St. Louis announced he is in concussion protocol. Jon Lester (12-8) allowed one run in six innings. Chicago is 11-2 in its last 13 games. Weaver gave up eight runs in three innings. He had won seven consecutive starts, the longest by a Cardinals rookie since Ted Wilks in 1944. strong>BLUE JAYS 6, RED SOX 4 /strong> BOSTON (AP) — Josh Donaldson homered and drove in three runs, powering Toronto past AL East-leading Boston. Boston's six-game winning streak was snapped and its magic number to clinch a second straight division title remained at three. Eduardo Nunez and Mookie Betts both left with injuries for the Red Sox. Nunez aggravated a right knee injury that sidelined him for 13 games, and Betts came out with pain in his left wrist. Ryan Goins hit a solo homer and Teoscar Hernandez had a two-run double for the Blue Jays. Brett Anderson (2-2) allowed three runs in five innings. Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz (16-6) had his shortest start of the season, giving up five runs and seven hits in two innings. He had only lost once in his last 18 outings. Roberto Osuna got three outs for his 38th save. strong>WHITE SOX 4, ANGELS 2 /strong> CHICAGO (AP) — James Shields tossed seven strong innings and Nicky Delmonico hit a two-run double as Chicago damaged Los Angeles' slim playoff hopes. With six games remaining, the Angels trail Minnesota by five games for the second AL wild card. Mike Trout hit his 30th homer for the Angels, who have dropped seven of eight. Shields (5-7) allowed two runs and four hits. Juan Minaya got three outs for his seventh save. Ricky Nolasco (6-15) allowed four runs, two earned, in five-plus innings. strong>ASTROS 11, RANGERS 2 /strong> ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Marwin Gonzalez had four hits and three RBIs as AL West champion Houston put Texas on the brink of elimination in the wild-card race. Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, the American League leader with 199 hits and a .348 batting average, left in the eighth inning after he was hit by a 95 mph fastball. The team said X-rays were negative and Altuve had a bruised forearm. Gonzalez had two hits and scored twice in an eight-run fourth, including a two-run single that chased starter Andrew Cashner (10-11). Gonzalez later hit his 23rd homer, a solo shot in the sixth. Collin McHugh (4-2) struck out six while throwing 112 pitches in five innings. The right-hander is 15-0 with a 2.94 ERA in 19 starts in September or October during his four seasons with the Astros. Texas (76-80), division champs the past two years, had an early 2-0 lead before losing its fourth straight game. The Rangers dropped six games behind idle Minnesota for the second AL wild card with six to play. Only one of the eight runs in the Astros' fourth was earned. strong>NATIONALS 3, PHILLIES 1 /strong> PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Taylor homered and A.J. Cole allowed one run while pitching into the sixth inning as Washington defeated Philadelphia. The NL East champion Nationals extended their franchise record with 50 road wins. Bryce Harper remained out of Washington's lineup with flu-like symptoms. The team had said it was possible he would return Monday from a knee injury that's kept him out since Aug. 12. Odubel Herrera homered for the last-place Phillies. Cole (3-5) struck out five and walked two. Sean Doolittle worked a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 21 chances with the Nationals since being acquired from Oakland on July 16. Aaron Nola (12-11) allowed Taylor's two-run homer in the second but otherwise pitched well. strong>BRAVES 9, METS 2, 1st game /strong> strong>METS 3, BRAVES 2, 2nd game /strong> NEW YORK (AP) — Seth Lugo pitched two-hit ball over six innings and Travis d'Arnaud hit a record-setting homer for New York in the nightcap of a doubleheader split. D'Arnaud hit his solo shot in the eighth inning. It was the 219th homer for the Mets, a franchise season mark. The sparse crowd at Citi Field jeered when the home run apple didn't rise after d'Arnaud's homer, then cheered when it finally came out of its bin three batters later. Lugo (7-5) struck out seven and didn't walk anybody. Jeurys Familia got his fifth save and second since returning from surgery to repair a blood clot in his right arm. Max Fried (1-1) gave up two runs over 5 1/3 innings for Atlanta. In the first game, Lucas Sims (3-5) turned in his second strong performance since returning to Atlanta's rotation, allowing two runs and five hits over a career-high 6 2/3 innings. Chris Flexen (3-5) took the loss. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2017

Bellinger ties record as Dodgers beat Nationals

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cody Bellinger hit his 38th homer to match the National League single-season record for rookies as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 Saturday to inch closer to the NL West title. Chase Utley had two doubles and scored twice to help the Dodgers reduce their magic number to win the division to five. Rich Hill and five relievers combined on a four-hitter. Los Angeles also moved seven games ahead of Washington in the race to secure home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs. The Dodgers have won four straight since dropping 11 in a row. Anthony Rendon homered for the Nationals, who have lost four of five since clinching the NL East last Sunday. A.J. Cole (2-5) allowed three runs in five-plus innings. Hill (10-8) struck out seven while pitching five innings of one-hit ball. Kenley Jansen worked a perfect ninth for his 38th save. strong>ASTROS 8, MARINERS 6 /strong> HOUSTON (AP) — Dallas Keuchel threw six solid innings while Carlos Beltran had three hits and two RBIs to help the Astros lower their magic number for clinching the AL West title to one. The Astros (90-58), who reached 90 wins for the first time since 2004, can secure the franchise's seventh division title with one more win or a loss for the Los Angeles Angels. Los Angeles was scheduled to play Texas on Saturday night. Keuchel (13-4) allowed one run — Jean Segura's 11th homer in the sixth — and four hits. Joe Musgrove worked two innings for his first save. Seattle right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (5-6) was charged with six runs and eight hits in four-plus innings. strong>INDIANS 8, ROYALS 4 /strong> CLEVELAND (AP) — Francisco Lindor hit an RBI double and the Cleveland Indians bounced back after having their record streak stopped at 22 by beating the Kansas City Royals to move to the brink of an AL Central title. Lindor's double in the sixth off Jason Hammel (8-12) gave the All-Star shortstop an extra-base hit in a club-record 10 straight games. The major league record is 14 straight, shared by Chipper Jones (2006) and Paul Waner (1927). Carlos Carrasco (16-6) pitched into the seventh as the Indians improved to 32-5 in their last 37 games. With the win, the Indians clinched at least a tie for the division and dropped their magic number for repeating as champs to one. If Minnesota loses later at home against Toronto, Cleveland will clinch and take the next step in getting back to the World Series. A victory by the Twins would mean the Indians could lock up the division on Sunday, when ace and Cy Young co-favorite Corey Kluber starts the finale of the season's longest homestand at Progressive Field. strong>CUBS 4, CARDINALS 1 /strong> CHICAGO (AP) — Kyle Hendricks pitched effectively into the eighth inning, Addison Russell homered and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals to increase their NL Central lead. Chicago has won five straight and leads Milwaukee by 3 1/2 games and St. Louis by five in the division. Albert Almora Jr. had three hits and two RBIs for the Cubs. Russell was activated before the game after being sidelined since early August with plantar fasciitis of the right foot. He pinch hit in the eighth and hit a solo shot against Tyler Lyons to the back of the left-field bleachers. Hendricks (7-5) allowed one run and five hits in a season-high 7 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked one. strong>REDS 2, PIRATES 1 /strong> CINCINNATI (AP) — Sal Romano pitched a career-high eight shutout innings and Jesse Winker homered as the Cincinnati Reds beat the reeling Pittsburgh Pirates. Romano (5-6) allowed five hits, struck out six and walked none while improving to 3-1 over his last six starts. Elias Diaz's one-out double in the fifth was the only runner to get past first base against the rookie right-hander. Pittsburgh avoided a shutout when Andrew McCutchen hit his 26th homer in the ninth. But Cody Reed came in with a runner on first and retired Gregory Polanco on a grounder to second for his first career save. The Pirates have dropped four straight and nine of 10. strong>YANKEES 9, ORIOLES 3 /strong> NEW YORK (AP) — Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird homered for the second straight game while rookie Jordan Montgomery pitched six shutout innings as the New York Yankees downed the Baltimore Orioles for their fourth win in a row. The Yankees (82-66) extended their stretch of winning seasons to 25, the second-longest such streak in major league history behind their own 39 straight from 1926-64. The Yankees began the day three games behind AL East-leading Boston. New York was atop the wild-card race, four games ahead of Minnesota. Gregorius and Bird each hit three-run homers and Todd Frazier added a two-run shot as the Yankees won for the seventh time in eight games. They are a season-high 16 games over .500. Baltimore has lost nine of 10 as it continues to fall out of playoff contention. Montgomery (8-7) scattered four hits in his fifth start against the Orioles this year. The rookie left-hander struck out six and walked one. Jeremy Hellickson (8-10) took the loss.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2017