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Cut day: Celtics waive RJ Hunter, Suns let go of Archie Goodwin

The following are the latest roster moves by NBA teams, as they endeavor to get down to 15-man rosters, ahead of opening day.  strong>Celtics waive guard R.J. Hunter, 2015 Draft pick /strong> em>Boston Celtics press release /e.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 25th, 2016

Tourists and trash

Tourists in Daku Island in General Luna, Siargao, Surigao del Norte, pick up trash left behind by other tourists on Saturday, 25 May 2019. The country’s “surfing capital” is finding ways to to solve the garbge problem in this tourist destination. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated News11 hr. 45 min. ago

Obra Maestra bettors’ pick in Triple Crown

Manila Jockey Club, the premier horse racing club in the Philippines, will host the first leg of the Philippine Racing Commission’s (Philracom) Triple Crown today at San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated News21 hr. 32 min. ago

Raptors on brink of first Finals berth in franchise history

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com TORONTO -- Twenty-one would be a very cool number for the Toronto Raptors. Before they get it, though, they’ll need to get one. And one would be beyond cool. Off the charts, historic, potentially transformative and largely indescribable. Twenty-one: That’s how many teams in NBA playoff history will have overcome an 0-2 start to win a best-of-seven series, if the Raptors manage to close out the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals. Whether it happens in Game 6 Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) at Scotiabank Arena or in Game 7 back in Milwaukee Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), Toronto would buck outlandish odds -- this is the 289th series to begin with the same team winning the first two games, so we’re talking a seven percent likelihood (20-of-288). [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] One: That’s all that stands between the Raptors and the first NBA Final appearance in Toronto franchise history. One more victory in the next three days would validate the risks and twists of this 2018-19 season for the Raptors, while exorcising nearly a quarter century’s worth of demons. One little win and Toronto finally will break through, capping a stellar six-year run of promising regular seasons and heartbreaking postseasons. They will have earned, in the face of so much uncertainty, their best shot yet at a championship, even if it means going through the mighty Golden State Warriors. When Raptors president Masai Ujiri traded for star forward Kawhi Leonard, he was gambling not just that Leonard could recover from the right quadriceps injury that scuttled his 2017-18. He was guessing that swapping in Leonard for former All-Star wing DeMar DeRozan could push Toronto to, well, right where they’re at. And he was hoping Leonard, a rent-a-player able to leave this summer in free agency, would enjoy the whole experience enough to let Ujiri pay him $220 million over the next five seasons. It’s impossible to know where things stand on that last front, owing to Leonard’s inscrutability and a decision that’s still six weeks away. But the Raptors never have gotten this far, so there is an opportunity here to be savored, with more potentially to come. “It would be a very, very long summer thinking about what could have been or what you could have done,” guard Fred VanVleet said, framing things a bit negatively after raining 7-of-9 three-pointers on Milwaukee in the 105-99 Game 5 victory. “So we've just got to go out there and have no regrets. … One win away from the Finals sounds pretty good to me.” Sounds a little easier, maybe, than it actually will be. The Raptors are at home for Game 6 and the crowd at Scotiabank crowd, already dialed high, will be able to let it rip without any fear -- immediate fear, anyway -- of failure. But Milwaukee will be desperate. Giannis Antetokounmpo has pledged that his team will not “fold.” And the Bucks have zero interest in a knock-knock year, believing all season that they were good enough to reach and win the championship. They wouldn’t be human if they weren’t shaken by the three consecutive defeats Toronto has dealt them. The Raptors have managed to surround and partially stifle Antetokounmpo, while still firing out enough to bother Milwaukee’s three-point shooters into repeated misfires. The Bucks’ defense has been probed and poked like a cut-rate steak. They resorted again to some uncharacteristic switching in Game 5 but had most of their success inside the arc. Late in the pivotal loss, they got beat for five offensive rebounds, when grabbing two or three might have swung the outcome. “It's win or lose,” coach Mike Budenholzer said Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in a conference call with reporters. “When you win, there are things that [still] are concerning and unsettling that you need to work on and improve. I think there's just enough possessions where there's a couple of rebounds that stand out. “Can we do a little bit better job in some of our activity in certain situations. Offensively, I think at times can our spacing be better and our ball movement be better? But I would say it's like a lot of games. We didn't get it done.” One area in which Budenholzer refuses to budge, dire circumstances be darned, is in his use vs. overuse of Antetokounmpo. The load the Greek Freak carries when he’s on the floor, the activity he generates, leads to fatigue and wear-and-tear that requires regular breathers. Extending his star’s minutes, Budenholzer believes, would lead to less “peak Giannis” rather than more, an inevitable tradeoff of quality over quantity. And the Bucks need every bit of Antetokounmpo’s best, or what’s left of it in their 97th game of the season. “Giannis, it's so impressive what he does and how important he is,” Budenholzer said. “I maintain that him getting appropriate rest, appropriate kind of just a chance to catch his breath, refuel… At the end of the day, you need to be able to produce and perform, including in the fourth quarter.” At the possible end of your season, though, you’ll have plenty of time to refuel if the opponent pounces while your star sits. Said Raptors coach Nick Nurse, in his own teleconference: “It's a ‘whatever it takes’ game. It's an unlimited-minutes night. This is just like any other critical must-win game.” 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 25th, 2019

PBA: Crucial stretch coming up for Northport says Anthony

For the second time this season, Northport has started a conference with a 2-0 mark. Following a win against NLEX Saturday, the Batang Pier are 2-0 in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Of course, they had the same record in the All-Filipino and then went on to lose six straight games. They ended up missing the playoffs. Northport wants to avoid that this time around. “We just gotta figure out how to keep winning as a team,” forward Sean Anthony said. “Games don’t get easier. We got TNT and then all three San Miguel teams. So it’s gonna be a big stretch for us coming up. We gotta buckle down and just keep getting better,” he added. Against NLEX, Northport had to scramble late just to pick up a win. The Road Warriors were without an import and the Batang Pier were still without star guard Stanley Pringle. “It’s a big win anytime you’re missing your best player and your team can pull off wins,” Anthony said.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2019

PBA: Brownlee expects big things to come from Ray Parks

Justin Brownlee has won an incredible amount of championships with different teams in different leagues since 2016. In one particular memorable run in the ABL with San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas, Brownlee won the title playing alongside Bobby Ray Parks Jr. The two of them crossed paths on the court again Friday, this time as opponents in the PBA. Parks Jr. playing only his second game in the big leagues, led his Blackwater crew to a stunning overtime win against Brownlee and his champion Gin Kings. Ginebra’s super import was not surprised. “That's why – if I'm not mistaken – three-time [ABL] MVP. I've seen him do it for the past 3 years in Alab even before I got there, I was keeping up with him and he was doing great,” Brownlee said of his former teammate. “I definitely expect big things for him in this league too,” he added. Brownlee says Parks’ size and versatility makes him stand out. The no. 2 overall pick of the 2018 Draft certainly showcased his talents against Ginebra, scoring 28 points, including 10 in overtime, to get the job done. “He got a lot of weapons. Has a great size for his position, can put the ball on the floor, can attack, can shoot the three-pointer, can get to the line,” Brownlee said of Parks. “It's very tough trying to contain him, keeping him from the free throw line and not the paint. He hit some big shots. He had a really good game and they're looking really good this conference,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2019

Brigada Eskwela 2019 kicks off in Ozamiz

OZAMIZ CITY, Misamis Occidental, May 20 (PIA)--It's the time of the year again when stakeholders are encouraged to pick up their tools and take part in making sure that public schools in their resp.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsMay 25th, 2019

PBA: Parks clutch as Elite stun champion Ginebra in OT

Ray Parks showed up in hist first marquee game against Brgy. Ginebra. Parks Jr. was effective in overtime Friday, leading Blackwater to a 108-107 stunner against the defending champion Gin Kings in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Big Dome. The no. 2 pick of last year’s Draft, scored 10 points in extra time, including back-to-back triples for separation, and the Elite have won back-to-back overtime games to start the mid-season joust. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

PBA: Parks Jr. shows clutch gene in big performance vs. Ginebra

Ray Parks Jr. was absolutely electric Friday in his second-ever PBA game. The no. 2 pick of the 2018 Draft carried the Blackwater Elite in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup, taking down defending champion Brgy. Ginebra in overtime. Parks scored 10 in extra time, giving Blackwater the cushion it needed to hold off the Gin Kings. He finished with a total of 28 points in the sensational victory. “I appreciate the coach’s trust in me, keeping me in the game and putting me in position to get the ball. It’s just great. Each game is just part of the motivation,” Parks Jr. said. “At least I showed one part of my game that you know... people say I wasn’t clutch last time with the free throws and now what? I made shots so now it’s just up to get better,” he added. Now armed with a 2-0 start in the mid-season joust, Parks says this big win against Ginebra won’t mean anything if they don’t get the next one. The Elite have another game Sunday. A win would mean a strong 3-0 start. A win also means that Blackwater will surpass its total from the Philippine Cup. “I love playing big games, and I love playing against great competition. Ginebra’s one of the best teams. Just having that crowd environment too is great. Today was just the breaks of the game and we ended up with the win,” he said. “This win won’t mean anything if we don’t win on Sunday. it will just cancel out. We just have to keep growing from here,” Parks added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Brigada Eskwela 2019 kicks off in Ozamiz

OZAMIZ CITY, Misamis Occidental, May 20 (PIA)--It's the time of the year again when stakeholders are encouraged to pick up their tools and take part in making sure that public schools in their resp.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

PBA: Help is on the way for NLEX

After losing its 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup opener by 15 points, things might be a little rough for NLEX now, but help is on the way for the Road Warriors. Well, actually help is already here. He’s just waiting to be unleashed. Kiefer Ravena, NLEX’s no. 2 pick of the 2017 Draft, is about a month away from finally rejoining the Road Warriors officially. Ravena, suspended for 18 months by FIBA last year, can join NLEX in practice on June 24. He can suit up for the Road Warriors starting August 24. “Malapit na rin yun,” NLEX and national team head coach Yeng Guiao said of Kiefer’s eventual return. “Malaking epekto noon sa team namin. Namomroblema kami sa point guards, we’re looking for somebody who can anchor us in the point guard position,” he added. NLEX has a promising backcourt duo but it has been decimated in one form or another. Ravena is suspended and Kevin Alas just suffered a second ACL injury in as many years. Alas needs time to recover but Kiefer... well he’s just counting down the days. “Kailangan talaga si Kiefer, si Kevin malayo pa, matagal pa, next year pa yun,” Guiao said. “So our best chance really of improving our performance at the point guard position is Kiefer in about two month's time,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2019

La Salle solid pick vs winless Arellano

La Salle tries to boost its stock as it clashes with a struggling Arellano University side today in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup 2019 at the Filoil Flying V Centre......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

UAAP 81 Volleyball: Everything was worth the wait for Deanna Wong

Deanna Wong can now call herself a UAAP champion.  The fourth-year playmaker helped the Ateneo Lady Eagles to their first UAAP Women's Volleyball Championship since Season 77 with a 2-1 Finals Series win over the very game University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, led by season MVP Sisi Rondina.  The championship capped off an impressive season for the Lady Eagles, but it was not without its hurdles, as they found themselves in three do-or-die matches throughout course of the semifinals and the finals.  But of course, the victory is made sweeter because of the challenges along the way, and for Wong, the championship made the last four years of hard work and sacrifice all worth it.  "Everything is worth the wait lang talaga," Wong told ABS-CBN Sports. "This has been a very long and very hard journey for me, personally." Wong became Ateneo's lead setter in UAAP Season 80, following the departure of two-time champion and former Best Setter Jia Morado after Season 79.  [RELATED: Morado sees Wong as Lady Eagles' leader in Season 82] While her first season as the Lady Eagles' primary playmaker ended in heartbreak after getting booted out in the semifinals by FEU, Wong and Ateneo bounced back with a vengeance in Season 81, finishing the the best record in the league and ultimately, the title.  "Sa dami ng pinagdaanan ko, sobrang hirap, mahirap talaga, and I think, sobrang overwhelming lang and nakuha namin yung goal namin, and it was my first championship in the UAAP, it’s really great," she continued.  Now, even days after helping steer the Lady Eagles back to the summit of UAAP Women's Volleyball, Wong admits that it has yet to sink in.   "Parang hindi ko parin mapaniwalaan eh, kasi after four years of being in college, ngayon ko lang naranasan talaga," Wong said with a wide smile on her face. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

Imus deals Iriga s first loss in NBL Season 2

Imus handed Iriga City its first loss after a 99-96 victory in overtime last Sunday in the National Basketball League (NBL) Season 2 at the Dominican College Gym in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The Bandila improved their record to 3-2, while sending the Oragons to their first defeat after winning their first four games of the season. Kim Cinco had 26 points including five threes, and Jepoy Sarao had 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Bandila, who bounced back from their overtime defeat against Nueva Ecija in their previous game. Lerry Jhon Mayo had 21 points including the go-ahead basket with 8.7 seconds left in the game as the Taguig Generals defeated the Laguna Pistons, 94-93, to pick up their third win in four outings. Last Saturday, JP Rabe had 23 points and 14 rebounds as the Dasmariñas Ballers nipped the Nueva Ecija Rice Makers, 95-94, to even their record to 2-2. Jeff Comia had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Quezon City Rising Stars also won their second straight game after defeating the Zamboanga Valientes, 94-82, to improve their mark to 3-4......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Bolts pinitpit ng Elite

PBA – Inilampaso ng Blackwater Elite ang Meralco Bolts, 94-91, sa overtime sa pagbubukas ng kanilang kampanya sa PBA Commissioner’s Cup sa Mall of Asia Arena. Si Ray Parks Jr., second overall pick sa 2018 […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  remateRelated NewsMay 20th, 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

PBA: Alaska overpowers Columbian to start Comm’s Cup

All Alaska needed was one strong quarter. The Aces started off the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on a high note, overpowering Columbian Sunday at the MOA Arena, 111-98. Alaska dominated the third, outscoring the Dyip, 34-13, to completely turn the game around in their favor. With import Chris Daniels at the lead, the Aces join Blackwater as early winners of the mid-season joust with identical 1-0 records. “Always good to start off with a win,” said head coach Alex Compton. “This game was really important for us. We have a nice run of 4 games ?in 10 days?, to get one is good,” he added. After giving up 54 points in the first half, including 31 in teh second quarter, the Aces tightened things up in the third, limiting the Dyip to only 13 markers. Alaska controlled the game from then on, taking its largest lead of the night at 20 points, 89-69, before cruising for the win. Import Chris Daniels was the high man for the Aces, shooting 68 percent from the field for 25 points on top of 16 rebounds. Chris Banchero added 20 points off the bench and Simon Enciso was good for another 19 in a starting role. For the Dyip, it was Kyle Barone that led the way with 30 points and 22 rebounds. Top pick CJ Perez contributed 19 points in a losing effort. The Scores: ALASKA 111 -- Daniels 25, Banchero 20, Enciso 19, Cruz 14, Teng 8, Racal 7, Ayaay 7, Thoss 5, Casio 4, Baclao 2, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0. COLUMBIAN 98 -- Barone 30, Perez 19, McCarthy 13, Calvo 10, Escoto 9, Corpuz 8, Camson 3, Celda 2, Tabi 2, Khobuntin 1, Cahilig 1, Faundo 0, Reyes 0, Agovida 0. Quarters: 25-23, 48-54, 82-67, 111-98 — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2019

Bucks making case as favorites to win title

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com MILWAUKEE -- In the wake of a wire-to-wire, 125-103 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, a question for the group: Shouldn't the Milwaukee Bucks be the favorites to win this thing? No, not the conference finals. At this point, they're obviously the heavy favorite to win the East. Prior to this year, 72 teams had a 2-0 lead in the conference finals, and 67 of them went on to win. But why aren't the Bucks the favorites to win the NBA championship? Is there a case to be made against 1) what was the best team in the regular season and 2) what has been an even better team in the playoffs? [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] Maybe this is a we'll-believe-it-when-we-see-it league. How can you pick a team to win a championship when its best player had never won a playoff series prior to this year? Until they lost in five, it was easier to imagine the Celtics, with their talent and with their recent history of playoff success (back-to-back trips to the conference finals), being the team to represent the East in The Finals in the first year A.L. (after LeBron). And then the Bucks outscored the Celtics by a total of 65 points over the last four games of the conference semis. It's similarly difficult to pick against the Golden State Warriors until they actually lose. The two-time defending champs have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Presumably, they'll have Kevin Durant back for The Finals should they finish off the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals. And even without Durant, the Warriors boast the same 2-0 conference finals lead the Bucks currently possess. But the Warriors haven't been as sharp as they were in each of the previous two postseasons. Five of their 10 playoff wins have been within five points in the last five minutes. Last year, only four of their 16 wins were within five in the last five. In 2017, it was four of 16 as well. With the postseason's 10th-ranked defense, Golden State has outscored its opponents by 6.4 points per 100 possessions over its 14 games. The Bucks have outscored their opponents by more than double that: 15.1 per 100. That feels like the mark of an eventual champion. Through 10 playoff wins last year, the Warriors had outscored their opponents by 9.6 points per 100 possessions. Through 10 playoff wins in 2015, they had outscored their opponents by just 7.7 points per 100. It was only in 2017, when they won their first 15 playoff games in Durant's first season in Golden State, that the Warriors were as dominant as the Bucks have been thus far. At 10-0 two years ago, Golden State had outscored its playoff opponents by 16.5 points per 100 possessions. At that point, the Warriors had the No. 2 offense and the No. 1 defense in the postseason. That's exactly where the Bucks stand after Game 2 on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Milwaukee is a complete team in more ways than one. The defense has been there almost every night. The Bucks have held their opponents under a point per possession (the measure of elite defense) in six of their 11 games and only once (their Game 1 loss to Boston) have they allowed them to score more than what was the league average (109.7 points scored per 100 possessions) in the regular season. Even with the rise in three-point shooting over the last few years, the most important shots on the floor remain those at the basket, and no team has been better at both preventing and defending those shots than the Bucks. After allowing a league-low 29.6 points per game in the restricted area in the regular season, the Bucks have allowed just 22.0 per game in the playoffs. In this series, Raptors drives have been met with a swarm of Milwaukee defenders, making it difficult to either score in the paint or get off a clean pass to an open shooter. After shooting 57 percent in the paint through the first two rounds (in which they faced two very good defenses), the Raptors have shot just 49 percent (36-for-73) in the paint through the first two games of the conference finals. On Toronto's first possession of Game 2, Marc Gasol posted up Khris Middleton after a switch and spun around Middleton for a layup, only to be rejected by Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Raptors went scoreless on their first five possessions, had just 39 points on 49 possessions at halftime, and were too far behind for a 39-point third quarter to matter much. "I think the way we played on both ends of the court in the first half," Budenholzer said afterward, "is what we're trying to get to." After a bit of an offensive struggle in Game 1, the Bucks broke out on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). The elite defense led to 28 fast-break points, a size advantage inside led to 17 second-chance points, and six of their nine rotation players scored in double-figures. Three of those six came off the bench. While Toronto coach Nick Nurse has had to both shorten and alter his rotation in these playoffs, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer has seemingly found contributors wherever he has turned. George Hill and Pat Connaughton were huge in the Boston series, Malcolm Brogdon didn't need long to find his rhythm after missing the first eight postseason games, and on Friday (Saturday, PHL time), Ersan Ilyasova had what Budenholzer called "clearly his best game of the year," scoring 17 points, drawing three charges, and registering a plus-22 in just over 21 minutes off the bench. The Bucks have the presumed Kia MVP, but their biggest strength in these playoffs has been their depth. Through 11 games, they've outscored their opponents by 12.0 points per 100 possessions with Antetokounmpo off the floor. Unlike his fellow Eastern Conference coaches, Budenholzer has never had to rush his best player back onto the floor. And this team is now 10-1 with Antetokounmpo ranking 40th in postseason minutes per game at 32.3. While the Raptors' offense has struggled to take advantage of the attention paid to Kawhi Leonard, every Bucks rotation player has played with confidence and freedom. "They're not going to let me play one-on-one," Antetokounmpo said after registering 30 points, 17 rebounds and five assists in Game 2. "So this series is not going to be about me; it's going to be about my teammates being ready to shoot, being ready to make the right play." "We try and empower them," Budenholzer said of his team's role players. "We try to play a way where they all feel like they can contribute and do things. Hopefully that's paying off for us." There's no argument to the contrary. But is there an argument against this team being the favorite to win the championship? While it remains difficult to pick against the team that won last year and remains intact, new champions come along all the time, and it's easier to see them in hindsight than in the moment. Of course, as good as they've been playing and as special as this run has felt, Bucks players refuse to get ahead of themselves. "You can't," Eric Bledsoe said. "That's how you lose focus. The biggest thing with this group is just taking a game at a time, and not looking forward to The Finals. Anything can happen. So we're focused on Game 3." "It's a great opportunity that we have," George Hill added, "but it means nothing until we get there." The players have to keep their minds on Toronto. But the rest of us can feel free to envision the future, one that includes an NBA championship. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

NBA reveals awards finalists for 2018-19 season

NBA press release NEW YORK – The NBA today announced the finalists for six awards that honor top performers from the 2018-19 regular season: Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, Kia NBA Sixth Man Award, Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Kia NBA Most Improved Player and NBA Coach of the Year.  The winners of these awards will be revealed at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on Monday, June 24 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT (Tuesday, June 25, PHL time).  The third annual NBA Awards will take place at Barker Hangar in Los Angeles. [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] The finalists for the six annual awards, based on voting results from a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, are below: Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder James Harden, Houston Rockets Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns Luka Don?i?, Dallas Mavericks Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks Kia NBA Sixth Man Award            Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers Lou Williams, LA Clippers Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz Kia NBA Most Improved Player De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets Doc Rivers, LA Clippers Complete voting results for each award will be posted on pr.nba.com the night of the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia. The 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia will also feature the announcement of the winners for the NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award, the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, the NBA Sportsmanship Award, the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente, the NBA Hustle Award and the fan-voted House of Highlights Moment of the Year. In addition, basketball icons Magic Johnson and Larry Bird will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award and broadcasting legend Robin Roberts will be honored with the Sager Strong Award......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

Jr. NBA: Sexton, Ticha want young Pinoy ballers to keep working

Being great at basketball is a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of dedication and for most players that get to an elite level, preparation starts at a very young age. And so for the 2019 Jr. NBA Philippines program, Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Collin Sexton and WNBA legend Ticha Penicheiro want aspiring young Pinoy ballers to keep working and chasing that elusive basketball dream. [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] Penicheiro, who left her native Portugal to pursue a career in basketball in the United States, says that programs like Jr. NBA are a great help to aspiring athletes all over the globe. It’s something she wished she had access to growing up. “It’s amazing, they [Jr. NBA athletes] don’t even know how lucky they are. I wish when i was their age I had an opportunity to play in a league like the Jr. NBA,” Penicheiro told ABS-CBN Sports. “Anytime you associate the name, ‘NBA’ to anything, it’s major right? Basketball is a growing sport and the NBA does a great job of creating opportunities for young kids not just boys but also girls,” she added. Penicheiro was the no. 2 pick of the 1998 WNBA Draft and she won the WNBA title in 2005 with the Sacramento Monarchs. She officially retired in 2012 and has since transitioned into being an agent. “I think the secret for success is to love what you do and work hard. Those are the two things that I know I did and it worked out for me,” Ticha said. “I completely love the game and I worked everyday to get better. These kids, the most important thing is they have fun because they’re still kids and to have big dreams to to work hard to accomplish those dreams. Also helping out the top youth players aged 13-14 for the 2019 Jr. NBA Philippines program is Collin Sexton, the Cavs’ top lottery pick from last year. Sexton, who finished with an average of 16.6 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists for his rookie year in Cleveland, is also big on work ethic and that’s what he’d like to remind everyone over at Jr. NBA Philippines. “Just keep working. Someone is still watching,” Sexton told ABS-CBN Sports. “Don’t ever give up on yourself and believe when nobody else does. I can be a testament to that just because when people were doubting me, I just kept working,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 17th, 2019