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Giannis tells Bucks fans: Please don t call me MVP

NBA.com staff report The Milwaukee Bucks gave their hometown fans the chance to celebrate the Kia MVP season of Giannis Antetokounmpo at a rally in downtown Milwaukee on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! The 24-year-old Antetokounmpo spoke at the celebration and asked that the fans stop calling him MVP so he can remain focused on bringing a championship to Milwaukee. “After today, please don’t call me MVP... until I win it again next year!” - @Giannis_An34 pic.twitter.com/vNv5qc7Nwa — Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 14, 2019 "After this day -- July 14 -- please, please, please do me this favor so I can be a better player, lead this team to a championship: please don't call me MVP," Antetokounmpo told the crowd of thousands in Milwaukee. "Please, after this day don't call me MVP until I win it again next year." Antetokounmpo -- who averaged career-highs with 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals over 72 games last season -- said on Saturday he believes he is only at "60 percent" of his potential. He finished his speech by saying, "Let's go get the big trophy now!" Ready for the MVP!! pic.twitter.com/blShyuiYOL — Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 14, 2019 ???? @Giannis_An34 is presented with the MVP Trophy!! pic.twitter.com/BEvAFLtX0G — Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 14, 2019 “I want to thank God... for blessing me with this amazing talent and allowing me to get drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks.” - @Giannis_An34 pic.twitter.com/gVrWVOVcsQ — Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 14, 2019 “Let’s go get the big trophy now!!” - @Giannis_An34 pic.twitter.com/vWLmcOs3Ha — Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 14, 2019 MVP! MVP! MVP! pic.twitter.com/mHE7WVhjLG — Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 14, 2019.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJul 15th, 2019

Embiid stars as 76ers beat Bucks 121-109

By Dan Gelston, Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid outplayed Giannis Antetokounmpo in Philadelphia's first home Christmas game in 31 years, collecting 31 points and 11 rebounds to help the 3-point happy 76ers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 121-109 on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Tobias Harris sank five 3s, Josh Richardson and Furkan Korkmaz each had four and even Embiid hit three as part of Philly's season-high 21 3s (on 44 attempts) against a Bucks team that had the best record in the NBA. Harris and Al Horford hit 3s over the final 90 seconds to push back a late Bucks run, and the Sixers improved to 16-2 at home. There was a charged atmosphere for the anticipated matchup featuring Embiid and Ben Simmons taking on Khris Middleton and Antetokounmpo. Fans dressed as elves, wore ugly sweaters and held signs that said all they wanted for Christmas was a Sixers win. They got it, with Embiid using the national showcase to play like an MVP in a dominant first half that helped the Sixers take the biggest halftime lead (21 points) against the Bucks under coach Mike Budenholzer. Embiid scored 23 points and was disruptive defensively, holding Antetokounmpo to 4-for-14 shooting in the half. The Sixers hit 11 3s in the half and made the NBA-best Bucks (27-5) look like anything but Eastern Conference contenders. Embiid stood firm under the basket, arms extended sky high on one Antetokounmpo drive in transition. Embiid absorbed the contact and the "Greek Freak" lost control of the ball, one of six Milwaukee turnovers at the break. 76ers coach Brett Brown said before the game the Bucks were "NBA royalty." They have a ways to go before they're crowned tops in the East. With fans chanting "Trust the Process!" on Embiid free throws, the All-Star center was worthy of the holiday highlight video. "I reminded our team, people in America have more appreciation for this day in the NBA," Brown said. "We're grateful for the opportunity." The Sixers aced their test against the NBA's best. "I'm not going to overvalue one game," 76ers general manager Elton Brand said, "but it's a good barometer." It wasn't just Embiid that flustered the Bucks. Korkmaz was knocked on his rear and buried Philly's 16th 3 of the game late in the third for a 93-67 lead that had the crowd going wild. Korkmaz's shot capped a string of 3s on five straight Sixers baskets. Mike Scott, the reserve better known for his man-of-the-people popup appearances, became the seventh Sixer to hit a 3 for a 98-70 lead. The 76ers led 100-73 through three. Middleton scored 31 points and Antetokounmpo had 18 points and 14 rebounds. Antetokounmpo got flustered over a perceived missed call and was whistled for a technical in the fourth. Brand held a state-of-the-franchise press conference before the game and preached chemistry and continuity would eventually get the Sixers among the best in the East, a conference many pundits picked them to win. "We are going to get there," Brand said. "Home-court advantage is important but having Joel healthy in the playoff in May, June, that is important to us. We could still grow into a team that could be a No. 1 seed." For a game, the 76ers sure played like one. TIP-INS Bucks: The Bucks trailed by 29 and held only an early three-point lead. 76ers: Embiid had his seventh game this season with 30 points and 10 rebounds. He scored 20 points before halftime for the second time this season. ... Simmons had 15 points and 14 assists. BANNER TIME Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo admired the 2016 and 2018 Villanova national championship banners that hang in the rafters. The former Wildcats star was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player in the '18 title run. "There's two of them things. That's tough," he said. TRADE MARKET "I always look at opportunities to improve the team. That is my job to make sure Brett and the group have the pieces to compete for a championship. Right now, I am definitely encouraged," Brand said. UP NEXT Bucks: Play Friday (Saturday, PHL time) at Atlanta. 76ers: Open a four-game trip Friday (Saturday, PHL time) at Orlando......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2019

21 active stars who should have their jersey retired someday

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com Tony Parker is the latest all-time great to see his jersey raised to the rafters for his years of service in San Antonio. But he won’t be the last of his generation to be honored that way. Parker’ big night in San Antonio generated some interesting conversation about who, among current NBA players only, would be in line for similar honors someday. Keep in mind that the standards for a retired jersey with one franchise differs from one to another. Winning titles in Los Angeles or Boston -- or even Chicago or Golden State -- is a tougher sell than it is where there aren’t already multiple championship banners. Accomplishments matter … and so does sentiment, too. There are always unique variables at work when it comes to retiring jerseys, which is a much more significant honor than inducting a player into a franchise’s ring of honor. With Parker’s star-studded ceremony still fresh in our minds, here’s a list of other stars who will one day be able to see their jerseys up in the rafters: * * * LeBron James (Cavs and Heat): If there is anyone that’s an absolute lock to see his jersey raised high when he calls it a career, it’s LeBron. He delivered Cleveland a title, ending the city’s 52-year title drought, in his second stint with what is essentially his hometown team. Before that, he was the catalyst for the Heat’s four straight Finals trips (2011-14) and back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. The standard to join the Lakers’ retired-jersey fraternity is tougher, of course. The greatest Lakers get statues -- a fate that might await LeBron in Cleveland one day. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala (Warriors): Also known as the “Hamptons 5”, they will all be immortalized someday by Golden State. All five played a role in the championship fun and excitement they generated during the franchise’s golden era of the past half-decade. You can make case for all five of them to enjoy jersey retirement ceremonies on their own. That, however, would go against everything their “Strength In Numbers” era was about. Rest assured, though, that all five of them will have their day. James Harden (Rockets): Harden started his career as a super sixth man in Oklahoma City before rewriting his legacy after a trade to Houston. He’s already one of the most prolific and creative scorers the league has seen. The Rockets have had their fair share of legendary players and know what it’s like to bask in the championship glow provided by the rise of a transcendent player. Harden’s jersey will be in good company some day, perhaps right next to Hakeem Olajuwon’s No. 34. Russell Westbrook (Thunder): In an era where nearly every other elite superstar of his generation made a move via trade or free agency, Westbrook stuck to his roots in Oklahoma City until he had no choice but to move on. He endeared himself to generations of OKC fans by playing at a fever pitch from start to finish, earning All-Star, All-NBA and Kia MVP honors there. Being a part of a Finals team with Durant and Harden helped cement his legacy. Although he’s now in Houston, he’ll always have a place in the hearts of Thunder fans. Damian Lillard (Blazers): Lillard personifies the values of a basketball-mad fan base in a city that adores its team and stars in a unique way. The Blazers did their homework on the unheralded point guard from Weber State and have enjoyed everything that’s happened since. From his Kia Rookie of the Year campaign in 2013 to today, he has played out better than anyone could have imagined. Lillard, one of the most underappreciated stars of his generation, couldn’t have found a better match in a city and franchise. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks): The rise of the "The Greak Freak" from obscure prospect to Kia MVP in just six seasons gives his story extra dramatic flair. His relentless work ethic helped change the culture in Milwaukee and branded him as a potential successor to James as the face of the league. The fact that he authored the greatest individual season in Bucks history since Kareem-Abdul Jabbar’s days has carved out a permanent space for Antetokounmpo’s jersey in franchise lore. Kemba Walker (Hornets): The face of the franchise in Charlotte for the first eight years of his career, Walker has since moved on to Boston. But he remains the Hornets’ career leader in several categories and was a beloved fan favorite for a team that never achieved any sustained postseason success. Few players of his or any era forged a connection to a city and franchise as Walker did with Charlotte. Derrick Rose (Bulls): Born and raised in Chicago, Rose (at 22) became the youngest player to win the Kia MVP in 2011. He also joined Michael Jordan and Elton Brand as the only Bulls to win Rookie of the Year honors. Even though knee injuries derailed his career in his hometown, he piled up enough early career accolades to one day be honored with a retired jersey. Although he never led the franchise back to championship prominence, he is the the most decorated Bull since MJ. Vince Carter (Raptors): How many players can say they served as the basketball inspiration for an entire nation? Carter can. His time with the Raptors served as the spark for generations of future NBA players, many of whom have gotten the chance to play with their childhood idol in the twilight of his future Hall of Fame career. His five seasons with the New Jersey Nets solidified his status as one of the best players of his generation. But his star was never brighter than it was from 1998-2004 when “Vinsanity” inspired Canada. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley (Grizzlies): These two should grit and grind their way to the rafters in Memphis, on the same night if possible. They helped usher in the greatest run in franchise history, spearheading a feisty and physical style that spoke to the city’s blue-collar ways. The “Grit and Grind” Grizzlies validated their rise to prominence with a West finals run in 2013 steered by Gasol and Conley. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan (Raptors): Lowry and his best buddy DeRozan were separated before they could realize their dreams of winning a title together in Toronto. Lowry realized it last season alongside Kawhi Leonard, thus cementing his legacy as an all-time great Raptor. He’ll always have a place to call home north of the border because of the franchise-altering success that took place on his watch. DeRozan was a fan favorite who wanted to finish his career in Toronto. He, too, will always have a home in the city. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul (Clippers): The LA end for these two was messier than it should have been, especially since they oversaw the “Lob City” era that revitalized the franchise. Time will surely heal all wounds, somewhere down the road. History will be kinder to the Clippers’ climb out of the doldrums than anyone was during their injury-tortured run. Griffin and Paul are locks for the Hall of Fame one day. Plus, a franchise without much history to celebrate could use a couple of jerseys to jazz up their new building. Kawhi Leonard (Raptors): Is a one-year surreal playoff run enough to warrant franchise immortality? Clippers fans are hoping Kawhi and Paul George give them a reason to raise their jerseys to the rafters someday, too. Right now, Leonard is a seeming lock for the honor with the Raptors, where his brief-but-fruitful stay there gave their rabid fan base their first NBA championship. Dwight Howard (Magic): After his first eight seasons in Orlando, Howard had a near slam-dunk case for the Hall of Fame and retired jersey status. Yes, his exit from Orlando was messy. And he has yet to find a way to part ways with any of the other franchises on good terms. Still, you can’t overlook his Magic-era feats: All-Star berths, three Kia Defensive Player of the Year awards, five All-NBA first team nods and a Finals trip in 2009. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. 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 NewsNov 13th, 2019

The MVP exits: Giannis, Greece fail to advance at World Cup

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo now has a little more time to get ready for the NBA season. That would be an unwanted consolation prize. The reigning NBA MVP's stay at the World Cup is over, even after a victory in the team's finale. Greece needed to beat the Czechs by at least 12 points to have any chance of reaching the quarterfinals, and instead is heading home after an 84-77 win on Monday wasn't enough to push it to the next round. "He's proud of his team. ... We gave everything we have," said Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the MVP's brother, along with his Greece and now Milwaukee Bucks teammate. "It's crazy — you win and you don't get to the next round." Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled out with 5:32 left, called for charging on a play that left the Greek bench and fans howling in disbelief. Greece was up by 10 at the time, on the cusp of the margin it needed to advance. Czech guard Tomas Satoransky of the Chicago Bulls knew it was a big call. "We knew that he would go for the Eurostep or try to force it," Satoransky said. "In Europe, they'd probably call it. In the NBA, they wouldn't call it, obviously, because they protect stars." Giannis Antetokounmpo did not make himself available to reporters for the second consecutive game. He also told FIBA officials that he was too upset to speak Saturday after Greece's 69-53 loss to the U.S. Antetokounmpo is the first reigning NBA MVP to play in the World Cup or the world championships. Only three reigning MVPs have played in the Olympics — Michael Jordan in 1992, Kobe Bryant in 2008 and LeBron James in 2012, all for the U.S., and all going home with a gold medal. "He came, he worked 100%, he tried 100% to get this game," Greece coach Thanasis Skourtopoulous said. Greece, up by seven both times, had to take fouls three times in the closing seconds — unusual for a team with a lead, of course, but the only number that mattered was the scoring margin and the Greeks simply needed more points. It almost worked: Nick Calathes' deep 3-pointer with 7 seconds left pushed Greece's lead to nine, but Jaromir Bohacik — who was 5 for 6 from the line in the final 20 seconds — made a pair with 4.6 seconds remaining, and that was the end for Greece. Greece had its chances, leading by as many as nine in the first half. But the Czechs closed the half on a 16-6 run — a stretch where Giannis Antetokounmpo went to the bench with 1:10 remaining after an ill-advised offensive foul, his third personal of the game — and, because of the point-differential tiebreaker, Greece knew it needed a dominant 20 minutes of second-half basketball to keep hope alive. And it wasn't to be. So soon, it'll be time to head back to Milwaukee. The Bucks open training camp Oct. 1, play their preseason opener Oct. 7 against Chicago and open the regular season on Oct. 24 at Houston — in a game that will feature the last three MVPs, with Antetokounmpo, Rockets guard and 2018 winner James Harden and new Houston guard Russell Westbrook, the 2017 MVP when he was with Oklahoma City. Thanasis Antetokounmpo said getting to share the World Cup stage with his brother, even with a disappointing final outcome, was what he would remember. "It was a dream come true," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2019

Antetokounmpo learning how to deal with playoff disappointment

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com TORONTO – Whenever LeBron James struggled through the sort of playoff performance Giannis Antetokounmpo had Sunday (Monday, PHL time), he seemed to want to put it behind him as swiftly as he could. His routine – assuming it wasn’t The Finals, where he got summoned to the podium, win or lose – typically went like this: the door to the Cleveland or Miami dressing room would swing open and there James would be, ready to face the questions, antsy to move on ASAP. Once he ‘fessed up to the shots he’d missed or the plays he’d botched, that was it. Oh, you knew he’d be looking plenty at video of that game in the hours before he played again, as a way to find and fix the flaws. But for public consumption at least, he shed it fast, like an ill-fitting suit. Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ young star, is still learning this face-of-the-franchise and cutthroat competitor stuff. He took his time afterward in the spartan visitors’ room at Scotiabank Arena. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] There he sat, with his knees wrapped and his feet plunged into an ice bath. The Kia MVP candidate stared at the score sheet that had been handed to him, the one bearing all sorts of dreary news from the double-overtime setback that cut Milwaukee’s lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1. Antetokounmpo barely looked up as the semicircle of cameras, microphones and reporters around him grew with media people tip-toeing that fine line between giving him some space and blocking out for position whenever he’d finally take their questions. (“Talk,” as we say in the trade). Heck, Antetokounmpo barely looked up when Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer strode through the dressing room and tapped him on his left knee, a little atta-boy bonding near the end of a long, disappointing night. While teammates poked habitually at their phones in the aftermath of Milwaukee’s 118-112 loss, Antetokounmpo mostly let his lie there on the seat next to him. By the standards he set this year as an MVP favorite, he knew he’d had a lousy night. The reporters standing there, like fans everywhere, knew he’d struggled, of course, in ways rarely seen since his first taste of the postseason four years ago. And he knew that they knew, so… “Obviously it wasn’t my best game,” Antetokounmpo said eventually. “I’ve got to be more aggressive… I’ve got to make the right play.” Defensively, Antetokounmpo was pretty much his usual self, grabbing 23 rebounds for the Bucks, challenging Toronto’s players out on the floor and close to the rim, and blocking four shots. Offensively, though, Antetokounmpo was a mess. He scored only 12 points, his fewest in a playoff game since he was first dipping his toe into postseason waters as a 20-year-old back in 2015. Through three quarters, Antetokounmpo had only six points on 3-for-8 shooting. Seven Milwaukee players and five Raptors had outscored him to that point, and he hadn’t earned his way to the foul line even once. What made it all worse was that the game was sitting there, aching to be taken by someone, anyone. Antetokounmpo got himself going a bit in the fourth quarter, making a couple of shots and earning five free throws. But he missed three. Then he went scoreless while playing the entire first overtime. And then he fouled out just 36 seconds into the second OT. He didn’t object, either, when that sixth foul for stepping in front of Toronto’s Pascal Siakam sent him to the side. Antetokounmpo just took it and exited, sealing it as one of those “not your night, kid” hard lessons. Asked about the frustration that Antetokounmpo might have shown to teammates, if not the public, Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe said: “If you don’t feel bad when you play bad, you don’t need to be playing this game. That’s the feeling that drives you to success. I’m happy he’s feeling like that.” Antetokounmpo’s game didn’t just spin sideways on its own. Raptors coach Nick Nurse switched some defensive duties around and assigned Kawhi Leonard – a two-time Defensive Player of the Year with the wingspan, instincts and reflexes to confound any open-court player – as the tip of Toronto’s spear against the Greek Freak. Then, as expected, Toronto sent second defenders at him, the surest way to get the ball out of Antetokounmpo’s hands or force him into difficult shots. So he tried to make the right basketball plays, as they say, and sometimes he did – he dished a team-high seven assists. Sometimes, though, he did not, turning over the ball eight times. For the record, Antetokounmpo has played 31 postseason games in his young career. In the games in which he has scored fewer than 19 points, his team’s record is 3-6. When he scores 19 or more, the Bucks are 14-8. Not to lay it all at Antetokounmpo’s feet. Fellow All-Star Khris Middleton was way off his usual offensive form, missing 13 of his 16 shots. And Bledsoe matched that. Together, those three starters were a combined 11-of-48. The rest of the team shot 50 percent (27 of 54). “We have the utmost respect and belief that the next game is not going to be as bad as [this] was,” said guard George Hill, who scored 24 points off the bench. “But I know it's sitting in their head that they go for a combined 11-of-48 or something like that. We're not worried about it.” Right. Who’s even counting? Budenholzer and his staff are going to have to figure out ways to get scoring opportunities without being stymied by all the defensive traffic. Teammates are going to have to shoot better, to keep those diggers honest in their matchups. And Antetokounmpo is going to need to play more aggressively and take what happened in Game 3 very personally. He wasn’t quite there yet, Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). “Obviously I want to stay aggressive. But we stick to our game plan,” Antetokounmpo said. “Some days I’m going to have a bad night. But my team has to focus on doing their job and I’ll do mine.” Said Brook Lopez, after watching the throng swallow Antetokounmpo on the opposite side of the room: “We know he’s not going to quit or stop playing. He’s going to continue to be him.” As he talked, Lopez’s phone began vibrating next to him. He said it was Bucks GM Jon Horst calling and, in a bit of gallows humor after a stinging loss, joked that maybe he shouldn’t answer. “I don’t know if I should pick up or not,” the Milwaukee center said, “’cause I want to be here tomorrow.” Antetokounmpo has a call to answer now, too. In Game 4, Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

Antetokounmpo, NBA-best Bucks earn tough win over Warriors

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 12 rebounds while leading four Milwaukee starters in double figures, and the NBA-best Bucks held off the Golden State Warriors 107-98 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Khris Middleton added 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists as Milwaukee — with the NBA’s best record at 33-6 — bounced back with a hard-fought victory against the young Warriors after having its five-game winning streak snapped in a 126-104 loss at San Antonio on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Alec Burks scored 19 points and Glenn Robinson III and Damion Lee added 15 points apiece for the cold-shooting Warriors, who lost their sixth straight game and third in a row at home. Willie Cauley-Stein contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds. Draymond Green was back for Golden State after sitting out Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) with a sprained right ankle and had five points on 1-for-7 shooting, eight rebounds and eight assists. The Bucks overcame a cold shooting performance of 40.2% to win their third straight game on Golden State’s home floor, playing for the first time at new Chase Center on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Antetokounmpo notched his league-leading 32nd double-double after continuing to deal with a sore back. He shot 1 for 7 on 3-pointers and converted 9 of 13 free throws. KERR FINED Warriors coach Steve Kerr was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) for verbally abusing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following an ejection. Kerr was ejected late in the second quarter of the Warriors' 111-98 road loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) after getting hit with consecutive technical fouls by referee Jason Goldenberg. Kerr appeared initially upset about a continuation call that went the Kings' way, then erupted after Golden State did not receive a similar call. He angrily walked onto the court after the second technical and yelled at Goldenberg before leaving. “I took my punishment and try to move on,” Kerr said. TWO-WAY LEADERS Warriors two-way players Ky Bowman and Lee have been counted on so heavily they are down to their final days of permitted NBA service time, with Bowman scheduled to return to Santa Cruz of the G League and Lee expected to be signed on to stay with Golden State. Bowman will go back once D’Angelo Russell is healthy to return. That had been expected to be Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) at Sacramento but he sat out that one and then missed a fifth straight game Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) with a bruised right shoulder. “We are just like the drunken sailor with fifty bucks left in his pocket,” Kerr said, “we are going to spend it until it runs out and figure it out from there.” TIP-INS Bucks: G George Hill missed the game with an illness. ... The Bucks shot 4 for 23 from 3-point range in the first half and 9 of 41 overall. ... Milwaukee is in the middle of a stretch with six straight games against the Western Conference, having gone 13-3 vs. the West and 33-13 against the other conference since the start of last season. ... The Bucks scored 100 or more points for a 63rd consecutive game, the longest such streak since Dallas did so in 67 straight from Jan. 15-Dec. 10, 1986. Warriors: The Warriors’ reserves scored 46 points and have scored at least 43 in four straight games, averaging 53 over that span. ... Rookie Alen Smailagi? had a career-high 10 points. ... Golden State had won five of the last seven against the Bucks dating to 2015. ... The Warriors play at Milwaukee on March 14 (Mar. 15, PHL time). They haven’t been swept in the season series since 2012-13 as each team won on the road last season. UP NEXT Bucks: At Sacramento on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) continuing the second of two season-long four-game road trips. The Bucks have a six-game winning streak vs. the Kings. Warriors: At Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) for the first of two meetings at Staples Center......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2020

Bucks beat Pacers 117-89, spoil Brogdon s return

By Keith Jenkins, Associated Press MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 18 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists, and the Bucks spoiled Malcolm Brogdon's return to Milwaukee with a 117-89 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Wesley Matthews scored 19 points for NBA-leading Milwaukee, which has won three in a row since a 120-116 loss to Dallas stopped an 18-game win streak. Brook Lopez and George Hill each had 17 points. Brogdon was drafted by Milwaukee and spent his first three seasons with the Bucks before he was acquired by Indiana in a sign-and-trade deal over the summer. He was welcomed back with cheers and a tribute video, and finished with 10 points on 5-of-19 shooting and 10 assists. “I would have loved (to continue) to play for this team if they had wanted me, if they had valued me the way the Pacers valued me," Brogdon said before the game. The 6-foot-5 Brogdon was voted NBA Rookie of the Year in 2017. He became the eighth member of the league's 50-40-90 club last season (shooting at least 50% from the field, 40% from 3-point range and 90% from the free-throw line). He was averaging a career high in points (18.7), rebounds (4.6) and assists (7.5) coming into the game. Brogdon scored his first points on a layup with 10:28 to play in the second quarter, giving the Pacers a 26-24 lead. Donte DiVincenzo made a layup to give Milwaukee a 56-55 advantage with 53 seconds to play in the first half, and the Bucks never trailed again. Milwaukee outscored Indiana 58-34 in the second half and had a 48-34 advantage in points in the paint. Domantas Sabonis had 19 points and 18 rebounds for the Pacers. Doug McDermott scored 15 points. Brogdon was serenaded with “Thank you, Malcolm!” chants as time wound down. “That was tough. That was one of the tough parts. These fans here were amazing to me for three years,” Brogdon said. “And I felt like I got to see the city grow. I got to see their love for the game grow.” TIP-INS Pacers: Indiana has lost four straight against the Bucks dating to last season. The Pacers are 0-2 against Milwaukee this season, losing 102-83 at home on Nov. 16 (Nov. 17, PHL time). Bucks: Milwaukee played its fifth game (4-1) without guard Eric Bledsoe, who fractured his right leg against the Memphis Grizzles on Dec. 13 (Dec. 14, PHL time). Bledsoe is expected to miss about two weeks. UP NEXT Pacers: Host the Raptors on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Bucks: At the 76ers on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2019

Giannis gets 3rd triple-double, Bucks rout Knicks 123-102

By The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in his third triple-double of the season, and the Milwaukee Bucks followed their big victory over the Lakers by routing the New York Knicks 123-102 on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Avoiding any letdown two nights after winning a showdown against Los Angeles for the NBA's best record, the Bucks (26-4) made their first six 3-pointers and opened a big early lead that grew to 29 points. Antetokounmpo had secured his triple-double by midway through the third quarter after playing just 23 minutes. Khris Middleton scored 23 points and Kyle Korver had 17 for the Bucks, who are playing without starters Wesley Matthews and Eric Bledsoe because of right leg injuries. They didn't miss them at all. Julius Randle had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who lost for the second straight night. ROCKETS 139, SUNS 125 PHOENIX (AP) — James Harden scored 47 points, Russell Westbrook added 30 and Houston beat Phoenix. The Rockets won for the 10th time in 13 games and improved to 20-9. Harden shot 15 of 27 from the field, including 9 of 19 from 3-point range. He leads the NBA with 38.5 points per game and blew past that number with his fourth quarter outburst, hitting his quartet of 3s in a span of about three minutes. Westbrook added 10 assists, and Clint Capela had 14 points and 17 rebounds. The Suns have lost six straight games and fell to 11-18. Kelly Oubre Jr. led Phoenix with 26 points, and Devin Booker had 19. All five starters scored in double digits for just the third time this season. 76ERS 125, WIZARDS 108 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Josh Richardson added 21 points to lead Philadelphia over Washington. Ben Simmons had 14 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the 76ers, who snapped a three-game losing streak overall and a two-game skid at home. Bradley Beal had 36 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Wizards. Washington has lost three in a row and nine of 11. Isaiah Thomas added 20 points, but was ejected with 2:53 remaining for going into the stands. Philadelphia suffered its first two home losses in its last two times out, Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) against Miami and Friday (Saturday, PHL time) versus Dallas. Both teams used zone defenses that neutralized Philadelphia’s offense. CLIPPERS 134, SPURS 109 SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 26 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in three quarters and won in San Antonio for the first time since leaving the franchise. Leonard was 11 for 16 from the field with four steals and two turnovers in setting a hurried pace the Spurs were unable to match. Los Angeles had six players in double figures, including 21 by Montrezl Harrell and 20 by Lou Williams. Paul George finished with 11 points. DeMar DeRozan, who had 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting in the first quarter, finished with 24 points to lead San Antonio. Marco Belinelli added 17 points. BULLS 119, PISTONS 107 DETROIT (AP) — Zach LaVine scored 33 points and Coby White added 19 to help Chicago outlast short-handed Detroit. The Pistons were without Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, and the Bulls pulled away late thanks to LaVine's outside shooting. He and White made five 3-pointers apiece. Detroit has lost four straight. Andre Drummond had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Pistons, who swept the season series against Chicago in 2018-19 but have lost the first three meetings with the Bulls this season. Griffin has been dealing with an illness, and Rose missed the game with left knee soreness. TRAIL BLAZERS 113, TIMBERWOLVES 106 PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 29 points, Hassan Whiteside had 16 points, 22 rebounds and seven blocks, and Portland defeated Minnesota. Andrew Wiggins scored a game-high 33 points for Minnesota. Lillard set the tone for the Blazers early, scoring 19 points in the first half to push Portland to a 61-52 halftime lead. In addition to Lillard, co-star CJ McCollum had 26 points and swingman Kent Bazemore scored a season-high 19 for the Trail Blazers, who played without a banged-up Carmelo Anthony. NETS 122, HAWKS 112 NEW YORK (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 39 points and Brooklyn overcame a 47-point performance by Trae Young and beat Atlanta. Garrett Temple added 25 points, and DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and a season-high 20 rebounds for Brooklyn. Alex Len had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta, which lost its seventh straight game. JAZZ 114, HORNETS 107 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 26 points, Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 19 rebounds and Utah beat Charlotte for its fifth straight victory. Donovan Mitchell added 20 points for the Jazz (18-11), and Joe Ingles had 14 points, including two pivotal 3s in the fourth quarter. Jazz coach Quin Snyder was ejected midway through the fourth quarter after arguing for a foul call. Terry Rozier had 29 points and Devonte Graham added 22 points for Charlotte (13-19). GRIZZLIES 119, KINGS 115 MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 18 points, Jae Crowder added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Memphis beat Sacramento. Seven Grizzlies reached double figures in points, including Dillon Brooks, with 16. Grayson Allen and Ja Morant had 13 each as Memphis snapped a two-game losing streak. Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 25 points, while De’Aaron Fox scored 22. Richaun Holmes had 18 points and 12 rebounds......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2019

Mavs may have to face East beasts minus injured star Doncic

By Schuyler Dixon, Associated Press DALLAS (AP) — The timing couldn’t be much worse for the Dallas Mavericks to be without star guard Luka Doncic. The reigning rookie of the year sprained his right ankle in the opening minutes of a 122-118 overtime loss to Miami, the first of five straight games for the Mavericks against the teams that entered Sunday (Monday, PHL time) with the five best records in the Eastern Conference. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said he didn’t expect Doncic to play Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) in Milwaukee against reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, although he stressed it wasn’t a medical opinion. X-rays were negative. The rally from a 24-point deficit to a four-point lead late in the fourth quarter against the Heat was probably the most encouraging thing to happen to the resurgent Mavericks this season. But the reality was they still lost and have games against East contenders every other day through next Sunday (next next Monday, PHL time). Three of the remaining four are on the road. “It’s going to be opportunities, a lot of touches for a lot of people,” said guard J.J. Barea, who played in just six of the first 24 games but figures to have more nights like his 12 points in 13 minutes against the Heat as long as Doncic is sidelined. “Just got to be ready. With him here, with him not here, we’ve still got to start the games better.” Doncic was coming off the latest of many eye-opening games this season. A former teenage star in Spain, the Slovenian wowed the crowd in Mexico City with a pre-game speech in flawless Spanish before scoring 41 points with 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a 122-111 win over Detroit. Two nights later, the 20-year-old was on the ground between rows of fans behind a basket less than two minutes into the game, clutching his ankle after landing on the foot of Miami’s Kendrick Nunn on a drive. Doncic had left the arena, presumably to get an MRI, and wasn’t available to comment after the game. “Obviously, we lose a guy that’s a great player,” Carlisle said. “We don’t know for how long. We got to circle the wagons with the guys that we have and play like we did in the second half. Pretty simple.” Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18 of his 28 points in the second half, including several clutch 3-pointers. But he was shut out in overtime, getting just one shot and missing a 3. Kristaps Porzingis, the other half of Dallas’ star European pairing along with Doncic, had 22 points and 14 rebounds. But the 7-foot-3 Latvian missed badly on two shots late in overtime to finish 7 of 21 from the field and gave up an offensive rebound in a one-point game after Jimmy Butler missed two free throws with nine seconds left in the extra period. The Bucks will take an 18-game winning streak into Monday’s (Tuesday, PHL time) game. Dallas then plays Boston at home before trips to Philadelphia and defending NBA champion Toronto. “Just like we did today, the second half,” Hardaway said of the mindset minus Doncic. “But we have to be like that for the whole 48. It’s not going to be easy.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2019

Antetokounmpo scores 50, Bucks beat Jazz 122-118

By Jim Hoehn, Associated Press MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a season-high 50 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for his 17th consecutive double-double to help the Milwaukee Bucks rally in the second half for their eighth consecutive victory, 122-118 over the Utah Jazz on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Milwaukee led 120-113 with 1:24 left, but Bojan Bogdanovic countered with a 3-pointer and Donovan Mitchell followed with a layup to make 120-118 with 43 seconds left. The Bucks missed on their next possession, but Brook Lopez blocked Mitchell's driving layup attempt with 4.4 seconds remaining. Wesley Matthews added 19 points and Eric Bledsoe 13 for the Bucks, whose last loss was at Utah on Nov. 8 (Nov. 9, PHL time). Bogdanovic had 24 points and Mitchell 20 for the Jazz, who were 21 of 45 on 3-pointers. Antetokounmpo's streak of double-doubles is the longest to open a season since Bill Walton opened with 34 straight in 1976-77. Milwaukee trailed 57-48 at the half, going just 3 of 17 from 3-point range, but pulled even with a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter. Antetokounmpo’s 3-pointer from the top of the key tied it at 74 with 5:28 left in the period. The Jazz used a 10-0 run early in the second quarter to go in front 35-25. Milwaukee missed seven consecutive shots during that span, including 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. Utah was aided by a six-point swing midway through the second quarter. Bledsoe’s short pull-up jumper from the right baseline was negated when he was called for an offensive foul for jumping back into Bogdanovic. The Bucks challenged, but the call was upheld, and Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer then was called for a technical. Bogdanovic made the free throw and then drilled a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to put Utah up 39-29. TIP-INS Jazz: Center Rudy Gobert missed his second consecutive game with a left ankle sprain. Bucks: Forward Khris Middleton, who missed the previous six games with a left thigh contusion, is getting closer to returning. Middleton has had some contact and played 5-on-5 Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). “I think I’m safe to say I think he’s for sure on timeline, if not ahead, so that’s a huge positive,” Budenholzer said. … Guard George Hill was out with back soreness. UP NEXT Jazz: At Indiana on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Bucks: Host Atlanta on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2019

Harden scores 49 points, taking career-high 41 shots

By The Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — James Harden scored 49 points on a whopping 41 shots from the field and the undermanned Houston Rockets won their seventh straight game, 125-105 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). With Russell Westbrook resting, the Rockets needed Harden to shoulder an even bigger scoring load than usual. The 41 attempts are the most in his career, and the most in the NBA this season, surpassing the 37 Golden State’s D’Angelo Russell took in an overtime loss Nov. 8 (Nov. 9, PHL time) in the same building in Minnesota. Harden made 16 of the 41 shots, going 8 for 22 from 3-point range. He was 9 of 11 on free throws. Ben McLemore scored 20 points. Undrafted rookie Chris Clemons scored a career-high 19 for the Rockets, who broke open the game with a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter. Austin Rivers also had 19 points. Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves. TRAIL BLAZERS 121, SPURS 116 SAN ANTONIO (AP) — CJ McCollum scored 32 points and Portland beat San Antonio to spoil Tim Duncan’s first shot at coaching following Gregg Popovich’s ejection. Popovich was ejected after walking onto the court to berate official Jason Goldenberg over a non-call. Popovich calmly walked off the court following his first ejection of the season. The Spurs responded with Duncan and fellow assistants Becky Hammon and Will Hardy coaching by committee, but it was Duncan calling the plays and screaming out instruction. Damian Lillard added 22 points and Hassan Whiteside had 21 for Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 13 rebounds Spurs. They’ve lost five straight. BUCKS 102, PACERS 83 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and Milwaukee forced Indiana into its worst shooting performance of the season. Brook Lopez added 15 points and eight rebounds. He had blocked five shots as the Pacers shot a season-low 32% from the field. Milwaukee, 9-3 despite a road-heavy schedule to start the season, shot 45%. Donte DiVincenzo added 14 points, Myles Turner, playing his first game since Oct. 30 (Oct. 31, PHL time), had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for Indiana. MAVERICKS 110, RAPTORS 102 DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 26 points and 15 rebounds in Dallas’ victory over Toronto. Doncic scored nine points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks added to a one-point lead. He made all seven free throws in the quarter and finished with a career-best 15 free throws in 19 attempts. Delon Wright finished with 15 points, and banked in a fadeaway with 5 seconds left in the third quarter to send Dallas into the fourth quarter with a 78-77 edge. Wright added six points in the fourth quarter. Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points and matched his career best with 15 rebounds for Dallas. Norman Powell scored a season-high 26 points for Toronto. HEAT 109, PELICANS 94 MIAMI (AP) — Kendrick Nunn scored 22 points and Miami beat New Orleans to remained unbeaten at home. Bam Adebayo had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler added 16 points, 13 assists and eight rebound. Miami is 5-0 at home and 9-3 overall — tying the best 12-game start in team history. Nickell Alexander-Walker made six 3-pointers and had 27 points for New Orleans. NETS 117, BULLS 111 CHICAGO (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points and Brooklyn beat Chicago without All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to snap a three-game losing streak. Irving entered Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) sixth in the NBA with 28.5 points per game but sat with a right shoulder injury. The short-handed Nets are also without Caris LeVert, who’s recovering from right thumb surgery. Zach LaVine scored 36 points for Chicago. HORNETS 103, KNICKS 102 NEW YORK (AP) — Devonte’ Graham made his ninth 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining and had 29 points to lead Charlotte past New York. P.J. Washington scored 19 points, Terry Rozier had 16 and Marvin Williams added 13. RJ Barrett scored 22 points for the Knicks......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2019

Team effort lifts Bucks past Cavaliers 129-112

By Charles F. Gardner, Associated Press MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton scored 21 points, George Hill added 19 and seven Milwaukee players finished in double figures as the Bucks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-112 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Giannis Antetokounmpo had 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 29 minutes, Pat Connaughton added 17 points, Brook Lopez 16, and Wesley Matthews and Eric Bledsoe each finished with 14 points for Milwaukee. Collin Sexton paced the Cavaliers with 18 points, while Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson each added 17. Milwaukee led by as many as 16 points before Cleveland rallied and cut its deficit to 96-91 in the fourth quarter. But Middleton and Lopez led a 28-12 run that pushed the Bucks' lead to 124-103 with less than 4 minutes remaining. Middleton had 10 points in the run, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Bucks pulled away. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer expressed concern over his team's defense in his pregame comments. Milwaukee allowed 31 points in the first quarter as the Cavaliers shot 50% on the way to a one-point lead. Connaughton came off the bench to give the Bucks a spark, scoring 11 points in the first minutes of the second quarter. He converted a three-point play off a nice feed from Antetokounmpo. After scoring on a drive, Connaughton sank a pair of 3-pointers as part of a 13-2 run. The Bucks grabbed a 59-52 halftime lead behind Connaughton's 14 points and 10 from Lopez. Milwaukee hit 8 of 17 attempts from 3-point range. TIP-INS Cavaliers: Former Bucks player John Henson played 8 minutes (3 points, 3 rebounds) in Cleveland's 110-99 victory over Indiana on Saturday (Monday, PHL time) but suffered a strained right hamstring that could sideline him for a month. The Cavaliers acquired him from Milwaukee in a three-team deal last December, but he was out the rest of the season following wrist surgery. Henson and Ante Zizic (left foot plantar fasciitis) were out, leaving the Cavaliers thin in the frontcourt. ... First-year Cleveland coach John Beilein is quite familiar with Bucks forward D.J. Wilson, who played for Beilein at Michigan. "He's got so many tools with his length and overall ability," Beilein said. "He can shoot; he can pass. Finding his place and staying healthy and all those things are going to be key for him." Bucks: Foul woes plagued Milwaukee in its first two games, and Antetokounmpo fouled out of both contests. Opponents are doing their best to draw fouls on the Bucks star or force a call by the officials. "I haven't picked up on a strategy," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I think Giannis can be more disciplined. He knows that. I have a ton of confidence that he can self-correct." UP NEXT Cavaliers: Host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Bucks: Play at the Boston Celtics on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 29th, 2019

Clippers, Bucks lead NBA.com 2019-20 GM Survey

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com Included in all the player movement of this past summer was the last two Finals MVPs leaving the two teams that met in the 2019 Finals. And with more balance in the distribution of superstars, the race for the 2020 NBA championship appears to be wide open. There are favorites, of course. But with so many good players in new uniforms, we don't know how all the pieces are going to fit. We still asked the league's decision-makers to take their best guesses. And in the 18th annual NBA.com GM Survey, 46 percent of general managers have picked Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to lead the LA Clippers to their first NBA title. Leonard was not only named the offseason acquisition that would make the biggest impact, but is also the first player not named LeBron James to be named the league's best small forward since 2005. In the Eastern Conference, the league's GMs like Giannis Antetokounmpo (the player that 86 percent of them would start a franchise with) and the Milwaukee Bucks, who were named the top team in the East by 76 percent of the respondents. Zion Williamson isn't only the pick to win Kia Rookie of the Year and be the best of his class in five years, but he was also named the league's most athletic player … before suiting up for an official NBA game. The GMs responded to 50 different questions about the best teams, players, coaches, fans, and offseason moves. General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel. Percentages are based on the pool of respondents to that particular question, rather than all 30 GMs. * * * PREDICTIONS Which team will win the 2020 NBA Finals? 1. LA Clippers -- 46% 2. Milwaukee Bucks -- 36% 3. Los Angeles Lakers -- 11% Also receiving votes: Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers Last year: Golden State – 87% Rank the top four teams in the Eastern Conference 2019-20 GM Survey, Eastern Conference rankings Last year: Ninety percent picked Boston to win the East. Order after the Celtics was Toronto, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Indiana, Washington and Miami. Rank the top four teams in the Western Conference Last year: Ninety percent picked Golden State to win the West. Order after the Warriors was Houston, Oklahoma City, Utah, L.A. Lakers, Portland/San Antonio, and Denver. PLAYERS Who will win the 2019-20 Kia MVP? 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 52% 2. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 10%     Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers -- 10%     Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers -- 10% 5. Nikola Jokic, Denver -- 7% Also receiving votes: James Harden, Houston; LeBron James, L.A. Lakers; Damian Lillard, Portland Last year: LeBron James – 30% If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be? 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 86% 2. Anthony Davis, L.A. Lakers -- 7%     Luka Doncic, Dallas -- 7% Last year: Giannis Antetokounmpo -- 30% Which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments? 1. James Harden, Houston -- 48% 2. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 17%     LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 17% 4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 14% 5. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn -- 3% Last year: LeBron James -- 60% Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2019-20? 1. De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento -- 19% 2. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis -- 11%     Jayson Tatum, Boston -- 11% 4. Brandon Ingram, New Orleans -- 7%     Jamal Murray, Denver -- 7% Also receiving votes: Bam Adebayo, Miami; Lonzo Ball, New Orleans; Devin Booker, Phoenix; Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago; Zach Collins, Portland; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City; LeBron James, L.A. Lakers; Dejounte Murray, San Antonio; Julius Randle, New York; Tomas Satoransky, Chicago; Pascal Siakam, Toronto; Zion Williamson, New Orleans Last year: Jamal Murray -- 20% Who is the best point guard in the NBA? 1. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 90% 2. Damian Lillard, Portland -- 7% 3. LeBron James, LA Lakers -- 3% Last year: Stephen Curry -- 57% Who is the best shooting guard in the NBA? 1. James Harden, Houston – 86% 2. Paul George, LA Clippers – 7% Also receiving votes: Jimmy Butler, Miami; Klay Thompson, Golden State Last year: James Harden -- 73% Who is the best small forward in the NBA? 1. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers -- 62% 2. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 24% 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 14% Last year: LeBron James -- 57% Who is the best power forward in the NBA? 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 59% 2. Anthony Davis, L.A. Lakers -- 28% 3. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 10% 4. LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio -- 3% Last year: Anthony Davis --  37% Who is the best center in the NBA? 1. Nikola Jokic, Denver -- 48% 2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia -- 28% 3. Anthony Davis, L.A. Lakers -- 17% Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Last year: Anthony Davis -- 40% OFFSEASON MOVES Which team made the best overall moves this offseason? 1. LA Clippers -- 82% 2. New Orleans Pelicans -- 11% Also receiving votes: Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz Last year: L.A. Lakers – 70% Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact? 1. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers -- 67% 2. Anthony Davis, L.A. Lakers -- 21% 3. Paul George, LA Clippers -- 12% Last year: LeBron James -- 97% What was the most underrated player acquisition? 1. Mike Conley, Utah -- 36% 2. Bojan Bogdanovic, Utah -- 14% 3. Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana -- 11%     Jerami Grant, Denver -- 11% 5. Tomas Satoransky, Chicago -- 7% Also receiving votes: Lonzo Ball, New Orleans; Derrick Favors, New Orleans; Danny Green, L.A. Lakers; Chris Paul, Oklahoma City; J.J. Redick, New Orleans; Josh Richardson, Philadelphia Last year: Tyreke Evans -- 13% Which team will be most improved in 2019-20? 1. Los Angeles Lakers -- 38% 2. Dallas Mavericks -- 21% 3. LA Clippers -- 10% 4. Atlanta Hawks -- 7%     Brooklyn Nets -- 7%     Chicago Bulls -- 7%     New Orleans Pelicans -- 7% 8. New York Knicks -- 4% Last year: L.A. Lakers -- 80% What was the most surprising move of the offseason? 1. Paul George trade to LA Clippers -- 52% 2. Chris Paul-Russell Westbrook trade -- 28% 3. Nikola Mirotic to FC Barcelona -- 7% Also receiving votes: Malcolm Brogdon to Indiana; Al Horford to Philadelphia; Kawhi Leonard to Clippers, Marcus Morris decommitting from San Antonio Last year: DeMarcus Cousins to Golden State -- 35% ROOKIES & INTERNATIONAL Who will win the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year? 1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans -- 68% 2. Ja Morant, Memphis -- 29% 3. Darius Garland, Cleveland -- 4% Last year: Luka Doncic -- 43% Which rookie will be the best player in five years? 1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans -- 68% 2. Ja Morant, Memphis -- 18% 3. Cameron Reddish, Atlanta -- 7% Also receiving votes: Jarrett Culver, Minnesota; Darius Garland, Cleveland Last year: DeAndre Ayton & Jaren Jackson Jr. -- 27% Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft? 1. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (17), New Orleans -- 32% 2. Brandon Clarke (21), Memphis -- 21% 3. Goga Bitadze (18), Indiana -- 11% 4. Bol Bol (44), Denver -- 7%     Tyler Herro (13), Miami -- 7% Also receiving votes: Darius Bazley (23), Oklahoma City; Nicolas Claxton (31), Brooklyn; Daniel Gafford (38), Chicago; Darius Garland (5), Cleveland; Nasir Little (25), Portland; Cameron Reddish (10), Atlanta Last year: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander -- 27% Who is the best international player in the NBA? 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 79% 2. Nikola Jokic, Denver -- 14% 3. Luka Doncic, Dallas -- 7% Last year: Giannis Antetokounmpo -- 73% Who is the best international player NOT in the NBA? 1. Nikola Mirotic, FC Barcelona -- 55% 2. Nando de Colo, Fenerbahce -- 21% 3. Sergio Llull, Real Madrid -- 17% Also receiving votes: Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv; Jan Vesely, Fenerbahce Last year: Sergio Llull -- 39% DEFENSE Who is the best defensive player in the NBA? 1. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers -- 45% 2. Rudy Gobert, Utah -- 28% 3. Draymond Green, Golden State -- 10% 4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 7%     Paul George, LA Clippers -- 7% 6. Anthony Davis, LA Lakers -- 3% Last year: Rudy Gobert & Kawhi Leonard -- 37% Who is the best perimeter defender in the NBA? 1. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers -- 59% 2. Paul George, LA Clippers -- 21% Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; OG Anunoby, Toronto; Jimmy Butler, Miami; Jrue Holiday, New Orleans; LeBron James, LA Lakers; Klay Thompson, Golden State Last year: Kawhi Leonard -- 60% Who is the best interior defender in the NBA? 1. Rudy Gobert, Utah -- 93% Also receiving votes: Anthony Davis, L.A. Lakers; Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Last year: Rudy Gobert -- 80% Who is the most versatile defender in the NBA? 1. Draymond Green, Golden State -- 38% 2. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers -- 31% 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 21% Also receiving votes: Anthony Davis, L.A. Lakers; Paul George, LA Clippers; Pascal Siakam, Toronto Last year: Draymond Green -- 53% Which is the best defensive team in the NBA? 1. LA Clippers -- 52% 2. Utah Jazz -- 24% 3. Milwaukee Bucks -- 17% 4. Philadelphia 76ers -- 7% Last year: Utah -- 45% COACHES Who is the best head coach in the NBA? 1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio -- 55% 2. Erik Spoelstra, Miami -- 17% 3. Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee -- 10% 4. Steve Kerr, Golden State -- 7% Also receiving votes: Steve Clifford, Orlando; Doc Rivers, LA Clippers; Quin Snyder, Utah Last year: Brad Stevens -- 47% Which head coach is the best manager/motivator of people? 1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio -- 41% 2. Doc Rivers, LA Clippers -- 31% 3. Steve Kerr, Golden State -- 17% Also receiving votes: Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn; Mike D'Antoni, Houston; Terry Stotts, Portland Last year: Gregg Popovich -- 47% Which head coach makes the best in-game adjustments? 1. Rick Carlisle, Dallas -- 28% 2. Brad Stevens, Boston -- 17% 3. Quin Snyder, Utah -- 14% 4. Steve Clifford, Orlando -- 10%     Gregg Popovich, San Antonio -- 10% 6. Nick Nurse, Toronto -- 7% Also receiving votes: Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee; Michael Malone, Denver; Doc Rivers, LA Clippers; Erik Spoelstra, Miami Last year: Brad Stevens -- 53% Which head coach runs the best offense? 1. Steve Kerr, Golden State -- 38% 2. Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee -- 14%     Mike D'Antoni, Houston -- 14%     Terry Stotts, Portland -- 14% 5. Michael Malone, Denver -- 7%     Nick Nurse, Toronto -- 7%     Quin Snyder, Utah -- 7% Last year: Steve Kerr -- 40% Which head coach has the best defensive schemes? 1. Quin Snyder, Utah -- 28% 2. Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee -- 24% 3. Nate McMillan, Indiana -- 7%     Gregg Popovich, San Antonio -- 7%     Doc Rivers, LA Clippers -- 7%     Erik Spoelstra, Miami -- 7%     Brad Stevens, Boston -- 7% Also receiving votes: Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn; Dwane Casey, Detroit; Steve Clifford, Orlando; Nick Nurse, Toronto Last year: Quin Snyder -- 33% Which new or relocated head coach will make the biggest impact on his new team? 1. Monty Williams, Phoenix -- 43% 2. Frank Vogel, L.A. Lakers -- 21% 3. Luke Walton, Sacramento -- 18% 4. John Beilein, Cleveland -- 11% 5. Taylor Jenkins, Memphis -- 7% Last year: N/A Who is the best assistant coach in the NBA? 1. Dan Burke, Indiana -- 11%     Chris Finch, New Orleans -- 11%     David Vanterpool, Minnesota -- 11% 4. Darvin Ham, Milwaukee -- 7%     Alex Jensen, Utah -- 7%     Igor Kokoskov, Sacramento -- 7%     Tyronn Lue, LA Clippers -- 7%     Nate Tibbets, Portland -- 7% Also receiving votes: Ron Adams, Golden State; Chip Engelland, San Antonio; Chris Fleming, Chicago; Adrian Griffin, Toronto; Phil Handy, L.A. Lakers; Jason Kidd, L.A. Lakers; Keith Smart, New York; Ime Udoka, Philadelphia Last year: Ron Adams -- 17% Which active player will make the best head coach someday? 1. Mike Conley, Utah -- 26% 2. Chris Paul, Oklahoma City -- 19% 3. Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana -- 15% 4. Rajon Rondo, L.A. Lakers -- 11% Also receiving votes: Jalen Brunson, Dallas; Jared Dudley, L.A. Lakers; Andre Iguodala, Memphis; Kyle Korver, Milwaukee; C.J. McCollum, Portland; Doug McDermott, Indiana; Garrett Temple, Brooklyn; Lance Thomas, Brooklyn Last year: Chris Paul -- 25% MISCELLANEOUS Which team is the most fun to watch? 1. Denver Nuggets -- 31% 2. New Orleans Pelicans -- 21% 3. Golden State Warriors -- 17% 4. Milwaukee Bucks -- 10% 5. Portland Trail Blazers -- 7% Also receiving votes: Houston Rockets, LA Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings Last year: Golden State -- 60% Which team has the best home-court advantage? 1. Denver Nuggets -- 38% 2. Utah Jazz -- 24%     Golden State Warriors -- 24% 4. Portland Trail Blazers -- 7% Also receiving votes: Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors Last year: Golden State -- 50% Which team has the most promising young core? 1. New Orleans Pelicans -- 28% 2. Denver Nuggets -- 24% 3. Atlanta Hawks -- 17% 4. Sacramento Kings -- 10% 5. Philadelphia 76ers -- 7% Also receiving votes: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies Last year: Philadelphia -- 47% Which player is the most athletic? 1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans -- 41% 2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 28% 3. Aaron Gordon, Orlando -- 7%     Derrick Jones Jr., Miami -- 7%     Mitchell Robinson, New York -- 7%     Russell Westbrook, Houston -- 7% 7. Zach LaVine, Chicago -- 3% Last year: Russell Westbrook -- 48% Which player is the best pure shooter? 1. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 86% 2. Klay Thompson, Golden State -- 11% 3. J.J. Redick, New Orleans -- 4% Last year: Stephen Curry -- 73% Which player is the fastest with the ball? 1. De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento -- 64% 2. Russell Westbrook, Houston -- 25% Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Stephen Curry, Golden State; Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Last year: Russell Westbrook -- 50% Which player is best at moving without the ball? 1. Klay Thompson, Golden State -- 43% 2. J.J. Redick, New Orleans -- 25% 3. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 21% 4. Kyle Korver, Milwaukee -- 7% 5. C.J. McCollum, Portland -- 4% Last year: Klay Thompson -- 53% Which player is the best passer? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 57% 2. Nikola Jokic, Denver -- 32% 3. Chris Paul, Oklahoma City -- 7% 4. James Harden, Houston -- 4% Last year: LeBron James -- 50% What bench player makes the biggest impact when he enters the game? 1. Lou Williams, LA Clippers -- 79% 2. Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers -- 7%     Fred VanVleet, Toronto -- 7% Also receiving votes: Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn; Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Last year: Lou Williams -- 41% Who is the toughest player in the NBA? 1. Steven Adams, Oklahoma City -- 32% 2. Draymond Green, Golden State -- 18% 3. P.J. Tucker, Houston -- 14% 4. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 7% Also receiving votes: Aron Baynes, Phoenix; Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers; Udonis Haslem, Miami; Joe Ingles, Utah; Damian Lillard, Portland; Kyle Lowry, Toronto; Marcus Smart, Boston; Klay Thompson, Golden State Last year: Steven Adams -- 33% Which player is the best leader? 1. Damian Lillard, Portland -- 41% 2. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 37% 3. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 15% Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Last year: LeBron James -- 30% Who is the most versatile player in the NBA? 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 46% 2. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 39% 3. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers -- 7% Also receiving votes: Paul George, LA Clippers; Nikola Jokic, Denver Last year: LeBron James -- 63% Which player has the best basketball IQ? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 64% 2. Nikola Jokic, Denver -- 11% 3. Chris Paul, Oklahoma City -- 7%     Rajon Rondo, L.A. Lakers -- 7% Also receiving votes: James Harden, Houston; Al Horford, Philadelphia; Andre Iguodala, Memphis Last year: LeBron James -- 70% Which player would you want taking a shot with the game on the line? 1. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 44% 2. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn -- 11%     Damian Lillard, Portland -- 11%     Klay Thompson, Golden State -- 11% 5. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn -- 7%     Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers -- 7% Also receiving votes: James Harden, Houston; LeBron James, L.A. Lakers Last year: Kevin Durant -- 40% What rule (regarding play, Draft/Lottery, playoff format, etc.) most needs to change? 1. Playoff seeding (1-16) -- 18% 2. Draft (Better combine or more medical info) -- 11%     Draft Lottery -- 11%     Free agency (Before Draft or no moratorium) -- 11%     Schedule (Fewer games, no back-to-backs) -- 11% Also receiving votes: Conference realignment, Draft one-and-done rule, Eliminate tanking, Extra foul in overtime, FIBA goaltending, Increased control of G League players, Instant replay, Midseason tournament, No FGA for half-court heaves, Roster size, Tampering Last year: Playoff seeding – 18%.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2019

Kawhi back in Canada, NBA GMs think he’ll go back to finals

UPDATED: 1:41pm By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press Kawhi Leonard was back in Canada, where last season he won a championship. NBA general managers think he’s going to win another one this season. They voted the Los Angeles Clippers as the favorites in the NBA.com GM survey, believing Leonard and Paul George are the missing pieces for a team that’s never even been beyond the second round. Los Angeles was tabbed as the favorite by 46 percent of the GMs who responded. A big reason was Leonard, who not only ended LeBron James’ streak as top small forward that dated to the 2005 poll, but was also voted the league’s most impactful offseason addition, best defender and best perimeter defender. Leonard proved what a difference he can make last season. He led the Toronto Raptors to their first championship in June, triggering celebrations all over Canada. He returned to play in front of the country’s fans in the Clippers’ preseason finale against the Dallas Mavericks in Vancouver, British Columbia. “They should be excited,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before the game. “He did something very special for this country. So that’ll be a lot of fun for him, for sure.” HEAT 107, MAGIC 98 Jimmy Butler had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists to help visiting Miami beat Orlando. Duncan Robinson made four 3-pointers and added 17 points for the Heat (4-0). Kelly Olynyk added 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in his preseason debut. Olynyk missed time due to a bruised right knee he suffered during his time with the Canadian national team in August. Evan Fournier had 16 points and Mo Bamba and Nikola Vucevic scored 14 points each for the Magic (3-3). BULLS 111, HAWKS 93 No. 7 overall pick Coby White scored 29 points in 23 minutes, making 10 of 14 from the field and 6 of 8 from the 3-point range for Chicago. Zach LaVine added 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting for the Bulls (2-3). Otto Porter Jr. scored 15. Jabari Parker had 15 points and Jordan Sibert scored 14 for the visiting Hawks (1-4). BUCKS 118, TIMBERWOLVES 96 Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points and 14 rebounds and host Milwaukee finished its preseason undefeated. Khris Middleton added 18 points and seven assists and Robin Lopez scored 14 points for the Bucks (5-0). Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves (2-3) with 16 points. Robert Covington had 13 points and 11 rebounds. NUGGETS 110, TRAIL BLAZERS 104 Paul Millsap and Will Barton had 13 points apiece in Denver, where 15 Nuggets and 13 Trail Blazers logged at least 12 minutes in the preseason finale for both teams. They open the regular season with a rematch Wednesday night. Monte Morris added 12 points and Nikola Jokic scored 11 for the Nuggets (4-0). Mario Hezonja was 3 of 4 from 3-point range and scored 18 points for the Trail Blazers (2-3). Zach Collins had 13 points and 11 rebounds. MAVERICKS 102, CLIPPERS 87 Justin Jackson and Kristaps Porzingis had 18 points apiece and Dallas mostly led by double digits against Los Angeles. Luka Doncic and Terance Mann received a double technical for shoving each other in the third quarter. Mann knocked the ball out of Doncic’s hand after play had been whistled dead, and Doncic’ retaliated with a chest-to-chest confrontation. Doncic finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Mavericks (2-3). Mann had eight points. Montrezl Harrell had 14 points for the Clippers (2-3). Leonard added seven of his 13 points in the third quarter......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2019

Harden and Westbrook back together to chase title in Houston

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden and Russell Westbrook are thrilled to be reunited in Houston and can’t wait to prove they will work just fine together. And Harden knows the rest of the team is excited about the addition of the eight-time All-Star as well. “I enjoy it but I know that everybody else enjoys it, too,” he said. “They get more shot opportunities ... with another guy that gets to the rim and draws so much attention to create opportunities for his teammates. Obviously he plays at a different pace than I do. He plays way faster than I do but we are both trying to accomplish the same thing, making sure our teammates get involved and we share the wealth.” Westbrook joined the Rockets this summer in a stunning trade that sent the longtime face of the Oklahoma City Thunder to Houston in exchange for Chris Paul. The deal brought Harden and Westbrook back together after the guards spent three seasons together with the Thunder at the start of Harden’s career. It was a trade that came with questions about how two players used to handling the ball will be able to work together. Both brushed off the concerns, and insist they’ll make it work to chase an NBA championship in a conference loaded with powerhouse teams. “I impact the game in so many different ways and I’ve proven that for many years and that’s why I’m not worried,” Westbrook said. “I don’t have to have the ball to impact the game. I don’t have to score. I can defend. I can rebound. I can pass. I can lead.” Westbrook, the 2017 MVP who is entering his 12th season, said statistics don’t matter to him. “My main goal and main focus is to win,” he said. “I can go in a game and be scoreless and if we win that’s the best thing that ever happened and that’s all I care about and all I’ve always cared about.” Harden, who led the NBA in scoring last season for the second straight year by averaging 36.1 points, said he welcomes having another player on the team who can lessen his load a bit. And while Harden believes that Westbrook will help the Rockets get to the next level, he’s comfortable with the fact that the team’s success or failure will always be linked to his performance. “If we don’t win I’ll take all the blame for it,” he said. “It comes with it. That’s why we have to go out there and win. That’s why we work extremely hard in the offseason to bring players in and bring whatever is necessary in to give ourselves that chance to win. I know what’s at stake.” The Rockets open the season Oct. 24 (Oct. 25, PHL time) against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. CHINA RELATIONS The Rockets are eager to move on from the distraction caused by a since-deleted tweet by general manager Daryl Morey in support of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong that angered China and many fans. The Rockets were in Hawaii on Oct. 4 (Oct. 5, PHL time) to play a preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers on the first leg of a trip that included two games in Japan when Morey tweeted an image that said: “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.” His tweet was in reference to pro-democracy demonstrations in the semiautonomous Chinese territory that has been mired in escalating violence between protesters and law enforcement. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta quickly rebuked his GM with a tweet saying that Morey does not speak for the team, but the damage was done. The Chinese Basketball Association, headed by former Rockets star Yao Ming, suspended its ties to the Rockets over the tweet. Events in China promoting a Lakers-Nets series were canceled, NBA media partner Tencent said it was evaluating its plans to cover the league and some Chinese corporations have suspended relationships with the NBA. HOUSE PARTY The Rockets signed G/F Danuel House to a three-year, $11.1 million contract this summer after the 26-year-old split time between Houston and the G-League last season. Coach Mike D’Antoni is glad he’ll have House in Houston all season this year after he averaged 9.4 points in 39 games last year. “Danuel House excites me,” D’Antoni said. “He should have a big year.” HEY OLD FRIEND Power forward Ryan Anderson is back with the Rockets after signing as a free agent just before the start of camp. The 12-year veteran spent two seasons in Houston before being traded before last season. HARDEN’S LEADERSHIP D’Antoni doesn’t believe Harden can do much more statistically this season after putting up gaudy numbers the past several seasons. But he likes the way he’s grown as a leader in the last couple of years and hopes to see him continue to evolve in that area this season. “His leadership is getting better every year,” D’Antoni said. “He understands the importance of being positive. That’s invaluable and it’s invaluable that we keep that attitude all year.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2019

The NBA s new coach s challenge could be a timely tool for teams to wield

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Cleveland’s John Beilein, the only new-to-the-league coach this season, actually got a jump on his 29 rivals in one department. To better familiarize himself with the Cavaliers team he was taking over, Beilein broke from the tradition that has assistant coaches working the sideline at NBA Summer League. When the situation arose in a game in Las Vegas for Cleveland to invoke the experimental “coaches’ challenge” rule, Beilein was the one calling for it. And the one getting shot down. “It was an out-of-bounds play,” Beilein recalled during a break at the coaches’ meetings in Chicago last month. “My player came to the bench saying, ‘It’s definitely our ball.’ I thought, ‘Great, this is why we have it now.’ “We came back out. It was their ball.” There will be a lot of dashed hopes in 2019-20, as well as some pivotal reversals, with the NBA’s adoption of the latest replay wrinkle. As in MLB and the NFL, coaches will have the opportunity to appeal, in real time, certain referees’ decisions. All the “triggers” of the existing replay system remain, but now the teams will have a sense of control. One time each game. “I’ve been a proponent of it for many years, just as an additional layer of security,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, who also serves as president of the NBA Coaches Association. “If a call’s inaccurate for any reason, it’s just an extra chance -- particularly if the game’s on the line -- to get it right. “The question has always been, how to execute it. Where to start. Sounds like this is going to start with a high level of simplicity. Then we’ll see where it goes.” Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone thought back to 2017-18, when the Nuggets missed the postseason after a loss at Minnesota in the season’s final game. Like every game, there were a handful of what-if moments. “Think about it,” Malone said. “Two years ago, one play could have been the difference for us between the lottery and playoffs. That saves jobs, that gets home/road seeding, there are a lot of things that it can affect.” How the coach’s challenge works For this season, the challenge can be made in three situations: to question a foul called against that team’s player, to dispute an out-of-bounds decision or to question a goaltending/basket interference ruling against that team. The first type applies to the entire game; the others to the first 46 minutes (and first three minutes of overtime), after which the established triggers take over. Challenging a call requires the coach to first call a timeout and then inform the referees he wants a review. There are new court administrators at every game this season to help with the process. Also, fans will notice green “challenge lights” at the scorer’s table -- the one nearest the challenging bench will blink. Beilein said he sought redress a couple of times in Las Vegas, without satisfaction. “They never reversed their decisions,” he said, “but it’s really a good idea to do, to let us have this say in a game. You ask, they review it. If they don’t see it, you just move on with the game. It puts things away, so we’re not grinding away all night on that call. It’s over. It’s done.” If a call is reversed, the challenge is successful and the team’s timeout is restored. If the initial ruling stands, the challenge is deemed unsuccessful and that timeout is gone. Win or lose the appeal, the allotment stays the same: One challenge per team per game. The early chatter among coaches has been, when is the best time to use it? In Sunday’s Hornets-Celtics game, Brad Stevens and James Borrego waited until the final minute. Both challenges failed. “I’ll probably save it till the fourth quarter,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I’m going to be really excited about it when it helps wins me some games. And I’m going to really hate it when it costs me.” Said Malone: “The funny thing is, we always say, ‘The game never comes down to just the last play. Something that happened in the first quarter was just as important.’ But the reality it, when you get to the last two minutes, if you have the coaches challenge in your pocket, that could come up with a really big play or give you momentum.” The refs’ crew chief will have the final determination of fouls. He or she also will be able to “clean up” the play in question if, for instance, they notice the foul was assessed incorrectly or if a different foul by either side occurred before the one being reviewed. Note: infractions such as 3-second violations or traveling, if uncalled initially, can’t be assessed in a challenge review. The league’s Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J., will adjudicate out-of-bounds and goaltending challenges. Confidence key in using challenge At the NBCA September meetings in Chicago, the feature -- also given a trial run in the G League in recent seasons -- was discussed in a ballroom session with referees and supervisors of the officials. The next day, they all spent time on a basketball court, walking through the particulars. Borrego took advantage of his proximity in Charlotte to talk with Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera about his strategy in using the NFL’s version. Those coaches physically throw a red flag to signal their challenge and have time to hear from assistant coaches in a stadium booth upstairs who have seen video to determine their chances of reversal. The NBA won’t have either flags to throw or helpers checking. The coaches will have to alert the refs by twirling their fingers in the air, the current universal symbol for “replay.” They’ll need to act before an opposing player is handed the ball to shoot free throws or toss it inbounds, or before a jump ball. “We haven’t had this conversation with them yet, but players never think they fouled,” Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said Monday. “It’s never out on them. We’re gonna have to say, ‘OK, did you really not foul?’ Somehow figure out, ‘OK, you have to tell the truth.’ “That kind of feedback from them is going to be important in a challenge situation.” The preseason was only a few days old but, in this era of analytics, Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen had his crew gather data on every early challenge. He’s working up a list of situations in which to use it. Late in games? Sure. But not so late that the existing triggers take over for a disputed out-of-bounds play. Then the coach might go home without using it. “You’re always concerned about [burning] the timeout,” Boylen said. “You’d better be sure. Your [viewing] angles better be good.” Not everyone is a fan of the experiment, which will be evaluated after the season by the NBA’s Competition Committee. Some skeptics fret that adding reviews will mean more delays in games that already have replay interruptions. Then there was Monty Williams, the Phoenix Suns’ new coach. Part of his dislike? Genuine empathy for the referees. “I’m not a fan of it at all,” Williams said. “Sometimes it’s to your detriment, but I think human error is part of our game. I know we’re trying to get it right, but sometimes [replay] causes referees to get second-guessed a lot. They already are. “And this is just one more thing for coaches to have to do. Now we’re all going to have to delegate a guy on our bench to monitor things.  “If we’re gonna challenge, I wish it was a segment -- say, the last three minutes of the game. I want to coach. I don’t want to be focused all night on, ‘Should I have challenged [a call made earlier]?’ ” Fans might notice other rules changes and priorities for officials this season: * Coaches will be required to submit their starting lineups earlier now, making them public at least 30 minutes before tipoff. This change is seen largely as a nod to the looming arrival of legal sports betting. Knowing the starters earlier -- and which regulars might be sitting out with injuries or for “load management” -- means more wagers can be made with the most updated information. (A change still can be made if a player gets hurt or aggravates an injury during warm-ups.) * The Replay Center will take over determinations of 2-pointers vs. 3-pointers, operating automatically. * There figures to be a spate of traveling calls early this season. The referees have made that infraction one of their “Points of Education” for 2019-20. That means a “more stringent enforcement” of the existing rule, according to Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s VP, head of referee development and training. The league has gone so far as to include the concept of “the gather” in its rule book now. That -- the moment when a player has full control of the ball and thus the point from which he can take two steps – has been used for years by game officials. But now it has been codified, which helps when discerning variations such as steps taken backward (rather than in forward progress) or in the “Euro-step.” McCutchen noted that, in years past, the NBA game was played through the post at a slower pace. Referees evaluated plays starting with the defenders. Now, with hand-checking long gone and 3-pointers pulling players farther out on the court, the refs’ sequence of viewing plays has shifted to feet, then release, then defender. Other Points of Education for the refs this year have focused on illegal contact initiated by offensive players, “freedom of movement” issues and “respect for the game” moments, which basically are emotional overreactions to calls that exceed allowable guidelines. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2019

Americans top Antetokounmpo, Greece at World Cup 69-53

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 15 points, Donovan Mitchell scored 10 on his 23rd birthday and the U.S. contained NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, defeating Greece 69-53 in a second-round game at the World Cup on Saturday. Harrison Barnes and Derrick White each scored nine for the U.S. (4-0), which can clinch a quarterfinal berth Monday in multiple ways. It needs either a win over Brazil or a Greece win over the Czech Republic or through a three-way tiebreaker, if necessary. Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks star and reigning NBA MVP, scored 15 points but Greece (2-2) was eliminated from contention for a spot in the quarterfinals. The U.S. national team has won 57 consecutive games in international tournaments with NBA players, starting with the 2006 world championships bronze-medal game and continuing through every FIBA Americas, world championships, World Cup and Olympic event since. The streak started after a 101-95 loss to Greece in 2006 — a defeat that forced the U.S. to change its program. The Americans haven’t lost in the biggest tournaments since. “I thought we played well,” Walker said. “Stuck to the game plan.” Antetokounmpo’s eyes were closed as he mouthed along with the words of Greece’s national anthem. After the U.S. anthem played and the rosters from both sides met at midcourt for the customary pregame exchange of gifts, the NBA MVP shook hands with Bucks teammate Brook Lopez and gave him a quick hug. Other than that, there was no pregame interaction between Antetokounmpo and the Americans. He was super-aggressive from the jump, spinning his way to a layup on the first possession, making a 3-pointer on Greece’s second possession and he got fouled on a baseline drive on the next trip down the floor. So that was five points in the first 43 seconds for Antetokounmpo. He scored four in his next 18 minutes of playing time. The Americans kept a steady stream of different looks coming at the MVP — who was guarded in the first half alone by Harrison Barnes, Khris Middleton, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Myles Turner. The Celtics players, perhaps mindful of what he did against them in last season’s playoffs, held him scoreless in the half and the U.S. went into the break with a 38-25 lead. Antetokounmpo had a steal and dunk late in the third, which got plenty of fans out of their seats and Greek fans waving flags. But the outcome was never in doubt, and the MVP was on the bench for the entire fourth quarter in a somewhat puzzling move. TIP-INS U.S.: Mitchell’s birthday came a day after Joe Harris turned 28. ... Smart, who has twice missed time with leg injuries this summer, slipped and fell as he chased a loose ball out of bounds with 1:11 left in the first. He stayed in the game. ... The U.S. shot only 36%. Greece: The outcome came five years to the day after the Greeks were ousted by Serbia in the Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup. ... Nick Calathes became the third Florida player to be part of a loss to the U.S. this summer; Andrew Nembhard played in the Americans’ pre-World Cup win over Canada in Australia, and Scottie Wilbekin played for Turkey in its overtime loss to the U.S. in the group stage. HOLDING LEADS Through four games, the U.S. has trailed for all of 7 minutes, 48 seconds — out of a possible 165 minutes. The Americans have led for 147:02, and games have been tied for 10:10. CLAMPING DOWN The U.S. has held Japan and Greece to a combined 98 points in the last two games. That represents the fewest points the U.S. has allowed in consecutive games of a major international tournament since the 1988 Olympics, when the Americans gave up 92 in a two-game stretch against Egypt and Puerto Rico. UP NEXT U.S.: Face Brazil (3-1) in a second-round finale Monday in Shenzhen. Greece: Face the Czech Republic (3-1) in a second-round finale Monday in Shenzhen......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 7th, 2019

Hall of Fame: Jack Sikma s reverse pivot clears lane to induction

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- When Jack Sikma officially enters the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), one of his presenters will be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Which is a terrific example of game recognizing game. Or in this case, move recognizing move. Just as Abdul-Jabbar ranks as the NBA’s most prolific scorer and arguably its greatest player ever, so does his signature sky hook loom as the league’s most famous individual move. Most unstoppable, too, and for defenders, most deflating. Well, Sikma had a signature move of his own, one that helped elevate him from an NAIA program at Illinois Wesleyan to seven NBA All-Star appearances, a championship with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979 and now to the brink of his craft’s highest honor. It was the reverse pivot or inside pivot, which were its names when it was an arcane maneuver used by a small number of big men, taught mostly at the sport’s lower levels. Once Sikma learned it in 1974, brought it with him to the NBA in 1977 and helped the Sonics reach The Finals as a rookie and win the championship a year later, though, it swiftly became known as his: The Sikma move. “It was just an experiment after my freshmen season,” Sikma said Thursday (Friday, PHL time) at the Hall, after being introduced at a news conference as one of the Class of 2019’s 12 honorees. Others being inducted this weekend: coach Bill Fitch; NBA stars Bobby Jones, Sidney Moncrief and Paul Westphal; as well as WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon. Longtime Warriors player, coach and executive Al Attles was elected as a contributor. NBA center and current Sacramento GM Vlade Divac was chosen by the international committee. Being honored posthumously are: guard Carl Braun, a star in the 1950s; and Chuck Cooper, the first black player drafted by an NBA team (Boston, 1950). Finally, there are two college team entries: the Wayland Baptist women’s teams from 1948-82 and the Tennessee A&I teams from 1957-59. Divergent paths, compelling stories all. Including the one about the slender, blond kid from Kankakee, Illinois, whose offensive game needed a makeover. “My college coach [Dennie Bridges] and I sat down and he said, ‘Jack, you’ve just got to be more effective in the post if you want to take the next step.’ I was a good shooter – I’d learned the game as a wing and grew late, so I was comfortable facing the basket. “He had a friend who suggested, ‘Hey, down in southern Illinois there are some coaches who do an inside pivot with their guys to face the hoop. It might create a little space for Jack.’ I was really thin – I just wanted to get dislodged from the defender.” Basically, Sikma choreographically held a mirror to the post-up moves of traditional centers of the time. Holding the ball with his back to the basket, rather than turning on his pivot foot to the outside and attacking over his shoulder, he would spin to the inside. That motion would set up him a few feet back, facing the hoop, allowing for a simple hop and shot. And then there's this priceless Hubie Brown interview, in which Sikma teaches the move:  “A lot of coaches would pooh-pooh it because you’re catching the ball in one spot and then you’re stepping three feet farther away from the basket,” Sikma said. “That’s not the concept of big-men play, right? But I’ve got to hand it to Coach. He said, ‘Jack, I think this is it.’ And I said, ‘I’m not uncomfortable with the pivot.’” Sikma went from averaging 15.4 points as a freshman to 20.3 as a sophomore, with his shots increasing from 14.5 per game to 17.9. By his senior season, he averaged 27.0 points. As Sikma honed it in the NBA, at 6-foot-11, he would hold the ball above his head with a high release point that gave him the option of flipping up his shot or faking, then powering inside. In 14 seasons, by Sikma’s count, he played against 15 Hall of Fame centers, including Abdul-Jabbar. So he wanted every edge he could get. “You didn’t know which way he was going to go with it,” said fellow inductee Bobby Jones, a Sikma contemporary known for his defensive prowess. “Most of the time he would go back and shoot that shot, but sometimes he would go forward and draw the contact. I was just sitting there thinking, with all the other [inductees], if I ever blocked his shot. And I don’t think I ever did.” Jones, at 6-foot-9, matched up with him early in Sikma’s career (when Sikma was cast as a power forward for Seattle). Later, Jones had to decide how much help to give the teammate guarding Sikma. “The only thing I could ever have done was maybe come from behind and get him,” Jones said. “But he was a pretty good passer too. To ever leave your man that much, there’s a danger there.” Opponents weren’t the only ones made uncomfortable by Sikma’s unusual tactic. “I know I surprised some of the officials because I got called for traveling a few times,” Sikma said. “And I said, ‘Nope, I’m not traveling. I’ve got my foot up in the air, I plant it and then I pivot on it. By stepping out, that creates the space.’ “So even though it was a long time ago, they had film. They checked it out and they realized it wasn’t a walk. But I got called two or three times doing it.” Sikma laughed, recalling chatty Sonics teammate Fred Brown pleading his case for him to some of the referees. “I’d get called and Fred was in the ref’s face, ‘That’s his move! That’s his move! It’s not a travel,” Sikma said. “Fred had seen it enough in practice and figured it out.” Sikma had another facet to his game with which current NBA fans might be more familiar: he was a protypical “stretch 5.” Said Sidney Moncrief, another 2019 Hall newcomer who played for Milwaukee before and after Sikma was traded there for his final five seasons: “People don’t remember this about Jack Sikma, but Don Nelson was the first coach who started emphasizing 3-point shots for big men. He put Jack on the perimeter to take the big men out of the lane so we could make plays.” Not unlike current Bucks center Brook Lopez, Sikma underwent a late-career transformation as a deep threat. In his first 11 seasons, Sikma took 68 3-pointers and made seven (10.3 percent). During his final three seasons – from age 33 to 35 – Sikma shot 550 times from behind the arc and made 196 (35.6 percent). Still, it’s the quick inside step about 10 feet from the hoop that puts Sikma in a select subset of Hall of Famers already enshrined and those who will be. Call it the Alcove of Famous Moves. Hakeem Olajuwon’s “Dream Shake,” Kevin McHale’s up-and-under, George Gervin’s finger roll, Dominique Wilkins’ double-pump reverse, Allen Iverson’s crossover, Dirk Nowitzki’s one-legged fadeaway and Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook will be joined, in time, by James Harden’s step-back 3-pointer, Manu Ginobili’s Euro-step, LeBron James’ chase-down block and Steph Curry’s long range pull-up 3. Each became or has become a signature move. But that only matters if the idea works. “They made it look good, so it was effective,” Sikma said. “If I tried to do the sky hook, if I tried to do the up-and-under, you’d probably think, ‘Meh, that’s not such a good move.’ A lot of it has to do with how effective a person is doing it.” The 2019 Enshrinement Ceremony at Springfield’s Symphony Hall will air on NBA TV Friday (Saturday, PHL time) beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 6th, 2019

All-Decade Team: Some names to watch in 2020s

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com Picking the best players of the past decade can be a delightful process, a walk down memory lane that highlights the best of the NBA’s best from the most recently completed era. We took care of that for you earlier this week with NBA.com's All-Decade Team for the 2010s. Data and established success provide the context needed to make a strong case when you're looking back. But you can't rely on those conventions when trying to decide what, and perhaps more appropriately, who, comes next. Questions linger for the big stars of the 2010s who would normally transition into the next decade with similar status. How will Kevin Durant look when he comes back from a season lost to an Achilles injury? What will Klay Thompson’s game look like post-ACL injury? There’s no saying how the summer’s superstar free agent and trade shuffle will impact career trajectories for older stars like Durant (going from Golden State to Brooklyn) and Russell Westbrook (going from Oklahoma City to Houston). Young stars just entering the league (or still finding their way) are bound to emerge in the coming years. On the other hand, established veterans will see the inevitable fading of their star status. That uncertain future for so many is part of what makes today’s exercise so much fun. We are peering into our crystal ball and projecting the future, identifying the stars who, a decade from now, might find their names on the best-of-the best list for the 2020s. * * * * = players who made a 2010s All-Decade Team Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks * "The Greek Freak" finished off the 2010s with his first Kia MVP and should be poised to compete for more this decade. He’s only scratched the surface of his immense potential and should be in the thick of the race for best player of the decade. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors * One half of the sweetest shooting backcourts in NBA history, Curry and his fellow Splash Brother, Thompson, could make the next All-Decade Team, too. That would require them to prove they’re still playing championship-level basketball in the Bay Area post-Durant. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers * Davis is finally positioned to chase championships and will do so as he enters the physical prime of his career. With Davis and LeBron James leading the way, the Lakers begin the next decade poised for a return to legitimate contender status. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks The reigning Kia Rookie of the Year gave us all a preview of what’s to come. Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are the foundational players expected to fuel the Mavericks the way Dirk Nowitzki did the past two decades. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers If Embiid stays healthy, he’s good enough to challenge for the unofficial title of best player of the 2020s. His availability is the most critical component for a Sixers organization that believes it is on the cusp of championship contention. Paul George, LA Clippers * George has fully bounced back from his devastating leg injury in 2014, earning a place among the NBA’s elite by finishing third in the Kia MVP voting to close out the 2010s. The only thing left on his to-do-list is to make the championship dreams of Clippers fans a reality. James Harden, Houston Rockets * Finding a new groove alongside Westbrook will determine the Rockets’ championship fate and perhaps Harden’s legacy. Harden’s Hall of Fame status is secured. He just needs a title to complete his trophy case.   LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers * Could he win a Kia MVP in three different decades? LeBron has broken the mold in just about every way imaginable to this point of his career, so it would be foolish to doubt him. He’s also got a chance to add to his title haul in the next decade as well. As for Father Time … what does that matter? Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets After winning a title as the supporting star in LeBron’s homecoming story in Cleveland, Irving hopes to revisit that magic in Brooklyn once Durant is healthy again. While Irving has some repair to do to his reputation after his final season in Boston, his talent remains undeniable. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets Some would argue that Jokic (and not Embiid) finished the decade as the NBA’s best big man. The Nuggets are banking on it, as they’ve built their operation around the triple-double versatility of the 24-year-old All-Star known as “The Joker.” Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers * Leonard load managed his way to a title in Toronto but has already declared himself ready to play without limitations as he attempts to bring a championship parade to his hometown. He’s at the height of his powers right now and, with good health, will be for the foreseeable future. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Lillard was noticeably absent from the 2010s All-Decade Team, but he shouldn’t have to worry about that happening in the 2020s. The face and soul of the franchise in Portland, Lillard knows that the next step for he and CJ McCollum is a Finals berth. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz If the addition of veteran Mike Conley has the impact Utah’s braintrust expects, Mitchell is primed to rise any ranking of the West’s (and NBA’s) top players. Don’t be surprised if he snags a scoring title (or two) in the next decade. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics With Kyrie Irving gone, Tatum and the Celtics can get back to the performances he provided during the 2018 playoffs as a rookie. The Celtics have refused to trade Tatum for a reason. He’s got the array of skills that a team values in a wing scorer. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks Any pre-Draft trepidation about Young was overturned after his strong finish to his rookie season. A splendid passer with Splash Bros.-type range, Young will grow and mature physically into the leader of a franchise revival in Atlanta. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. 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 NewsAug 8th, 2019

Five things we learned from Game 4 of the 2019 Finals

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Things to know about these most-international NBA Finals

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press TORONTO (AP) — Sometime in the next couple weeks, either the Toronto Raptors or Golden State Warriors will proclaim themselves to be world champions. They won’t be true “world” champions, of course. But these NBA Finals have a very distinct international feel. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Game 1 of the series on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) is in Canada, the first time a finals game will be played outside the U.S. Raptors President Masai Ujiri was born in Nigeria. There are players from eight different countries — the U.S., along with Canada (Chris Boucher), Spain (Marc Gasol), Britain (OG Anunoby), Cameroon (Pascal Siakam), Congo (Serge Ibaka), Australia (Andrew Bogut) and Sweden (Jonas Jerebko). “It says a lot that the first NBA Finals outside of America is being played here,” Ujiri said. “Maybe one day it will be real ‘world champions’ or something, but this is what we dream of.” It’s even a homecoming of sorts for Warriors guard Stephen Curry, again. His first four trips to the finals pitted him against Cleveland, not far from Akron, Ohio — where he and LeBron James both were born. Toronto has even more direct ties than Cleveland does for Curry; his wife Ayesha was born and raised in Toronto until she was 14, and his father Dell Curry played for the Raptors. So Stephen Curry lived in Toronto for a bit, and went to school there. “A lot of family history,” Stephen Curry said. The finals will be aired in 215 countries, three Canadian networks will air the series live (one of them in French), and broadcasters speaking in 50 different languages will work the games. There are a half-dozen networks from Australia, Estonia, Hong Kong and New Zealand airing the finals for the first time. More of what to know going into this series: FAREWELL, ORACLE Game 4 or Game 6 of this series will be the last time the Warriors call Oracle Arena home. The team is moving from Oakland to the new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. The Warriors have played more than 2,000 games at Oracle, and since this run of NBA Finals appearances began when Steve Kerr took over as coach five years ago they are a staggering 218-40 in their soon-to-be-former home building. “You cannot tell the story of professional basketball without including Oracle,” said ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, a former Warriors coach. “Those fans have been incredibly loyal from the beginning to the end. ... As a former coach, as a former player coming into that building, as an analyst, it’s as good as it gets.” STILL WAITING With Toronto now in the finals for the first time, that means there are only six active franchises that still haven’t been to the championship series. The Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies are still waiting for their first trip to the NBA Finals. MONEY MATTERS The Warriors and the Raptors are playing for a little bit of money — $1,295,117, to be exact. That’s the difference between winning the finals and losing the finals, at least in terms of the take from the NBA playoff pool. The Warriors are already guaranteed $4,435,312 from the playoff pool; the Raptors have clinched $4,325,888. This year’s playoff pool was $21,676,510, which all 16 postseason teams shared. No playoff team got less than $323,506. Milwaukee got the most, by far, of any non-finals team — after finishing with the NBA’s best record and reaching the Eastern Conference finals, the Bucks will share $2,516,774. SECOND TO ONE Golden State is in the finals for the fifth consecutive year. That’s the second-longest such streak in NBA history, only to Boston’s run of 10 consecutive appearances from 1957 through 1966. Boston (this time in 1984 through 1987, separate from the 10-straight streak), Miami (2011-2014), Cleveland (2015-2018) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1982-1985) had all reached the finals in four consecutive seasons. FINISHING STRONG Even with the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference locked up, the Raptors finished the regular season with a flourish — winning seven of their last eight games. This was why. A 58-24 record meant the Raptors finished a game ahead of Golden State’s 57-25 mark, and that’s why Game 1 of this series is in Toronto. A good omen for the Raptors: Under the current playoff format, teams with home-court advantage in the NBA Finals have ultimately prevailed 26 out of 35 times. ’NOVA NATION It’s been a long time since a Villanova player won a championship ring, and even longer since a Villanova player actually played in a series where his team won the title. Kyle Lowry is looking to change all that. The Raptors’ point guard — who played for Jay Wright at Villanova — is in the NBA Finals for the first time. He’s looking to be the first Villanova player to win a ring since John Celestand got one with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000; Celestand didn’t appear in any playoff games that season. The last player from Villanova to actually play in a victorious NBA Finals was Chris Ford with Boston in 1981. Lowry spoke on the eve of Game 1 about the lessons he learned from Wright that still apply. “If you make a mistake, apologize, kind of just accept everything,” Lowry said. “Accept everything as a man and bounce back from it. If anything negative, just bounce back, take it and keep going. I think those are the things that stick with me today. I never shy from anything, I never shy from negative criticism, constructive criticism, I take it all, I understand it, learn from it, digest it and move on.” RECORD CHASING Stephen Curry already has the NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers made in a career, with 98. He enters this series with 247 attempted 3s in his finals appearances, four shy of tying LeBron James for the most in NBA history. And while not a record, here is an odd stat: If Shaun Livingston makes his first shot of these finals, he’ll pass Wilt Chamberlain and move into fourth place on the NBA Finals all-time shooting percentage list. STARTING EARLY The May 30 (May 31, PHL time) start date for these finals is the earliest for the NBA’s title series since 1986, when the Houston-Boston matchup began on May 26. So the 2019 finals started earlier than has been the norm. That doesn’t mean they’ll be over early. If they go the distance, they’ll end on June 17 (June 18, PHL time) — nine days later than last season’s final game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019