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Grizzlies relieve David Fizdale of head coaching duties

Memphis Grizzlies press release Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced that the organization has relieved David Fizdale of his head coaching duties. Grizzlies associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has been named interim head coach. Fizdale was named the 13th head coach in franchise history on May 29, 2016 and compiled a 50-51 record (.495) during his two seasons in Memphis, including a 7-12 record (.368) this season. “After a thorough evaluation, I decided a change in course was necessary to move forward and provide the team and organization its best chance at success this season and beyond,” Wallace said. “Coach Fizdale represented the Grizzlies and City of Memphis proudly, and we wish him well as he continues his career.” “Coach Fizdale worked tirelessly to achieve on-court success, and for that, we are grateful. We wish him and his family all the best in the future,” Grizzlies Controlling Owner Robert J. Pera said. “We remain focused on achieving sustainable, long-term success.” Before joining the Grizzlies as associate head coach in June 2016, Bickerstaff served five seasons (2011-16) with the Houston Rockets, originally as an assistant coach and then as interim head coach, guiding the Rockets to a 37-34 record (.521) to close the 2015-16 season with a berth in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. His previous NBA coaching experience also includes four seasons (2007-11) as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves and three seasons (2004-07) as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats under his father, Bernie Bickerstaff......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 28th, 2017

Marc Gasol talks Fizdale firing and Grizzlies struggles

MEMPHIS, Tenn. --- Marc Gasol wants to clear up a few things with the Memphis Grizzlies struggling through one of the worst stretches in franchise history, doing his best to defend himself. No, Gasol says he did not get David Fizdale fired as head coach. Yes, Gasol had a strained relationship with Fizdale before the firing. Gasol called letting forward Zach Randolph and guard Tony Allen leave as free agents last summer a mistake. But no, Gasol won't ask to be traded. "I understand that I've made some mistakes," Gasol said Monday. "I understand I'm responsible for some of the things - not all the things. In any relationship, there's multiple moving pieces. Not just one. "There's n...Keep on reading: Marc Gasol talks Fizdale firing and Grizzlies struggles.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 19th, 2017

Temperature check at 20-game mark of 17-18 NBA season

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Twenty games is not a small sample size. At 20 games, much of what an NBA team is -- and much of what it will become -- is mostly well-established. Fourteen, 16, even 18 games into an 82-game schedule, it might be easy to understate and/or overstate a season. That round number of 20, though -- the closest a team can get in whole games to 25 percent of the regular season (24.39, actually) -- resonates. As our man John Schuhmann notes annually in his Power Rankings, what qualifies as one-fourth of the season carries a certain heft, in terms of who’s good, who’s not and who’s headed where over the remaining 60-62 games. The teams that are likely to be in the playoffs largely are known by now -- 14 of the 16 qualifiers in 2016-17 were above the lottery cutoff by Dec. 5, last season’s quarter mark -- as are those that are racing toward the bottom or merely churning about. Twenty games is no joke, in other words, which is why numerous NBA teams do some serious evaluating at this point each season. Those at or near the top (and those committed to the cellar) may not make course-altering decisions. The teams in the yawning middle might be particularly engaged right about now -- all 30 teams will have played at least 20 games by Friday morning -- in either fishing or cutting bait. The Miami Heat, at 10-9, will hit 20 at Cleveland tonight. They’re especially known for the so-called Rule of 20 owing to team president Pat Riley’s ways dating back to his New York and Los Angeles days. The thinking is, 82 games is too vast and ill-defined, splayed across six months or so, to allow for clear, concise judgments along the way. By the time you get a feel for where your team is headed, you’ve either already gotten there or been sidetracked. At 20 games -- and then again at 40 and 60 -- there’s an opportunity to correct one’s course or adjust one’s objectives. Lock into a starting lineup, pursue a trade, fire a coach, opt for Plan B or hitch up the shorts for a stretch drive, it’s only doable if the right markers are heeded. Some coaches will talk about “continuous improvement” as their overriding mission, but there are so many tiny variables from one game to the next: travel, schedule quirks, minor ailments. Better to go with a block of games. And to know when you can’t. “You have a pretty good idea of your general feel and context of your team,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But that’s not always in cement. Just look at us last year. We didn’t really understand where we were. But you have an idea of what direction, usually, that your team is going in.” The Heat in 2016-17 had one of the most unusual seasons in league annals, going 11-30 after a Jan. 13 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks and then 30-11 in to finish the season. They were 7-13 after 20 games, then wound up barely missing a playoff berth on the season’s final night. This time around, the Heat seem to be a blend of last season’s good and bad, and their mediocre mark shows it. Spoelstra has rolled back a lot of the work between games to fundamentals and essentials, with the focus on building good habits. “We’ve got a ways to go,” he said. ‘We’re building habits. We’re building better behavior, all the little things that lead to winning, so hopefully we’ll be a much different team every 20-game block from here on out.” (Some even think 20 games is too many, too diffused and vague for the short attention spans players almost necessarily have to have when uploading mass quantities of opponent research for a homestand’s worth of foes. Hall of Fame coach Hubie Brown preferred to mentally break the season into eight-game chunks. Go 5-3 in enough of those, you’re almost assured of being a playoff team.) Twenty games in is a fragile time for coaches, as far as job security, as the Memphis Grizzlies’ David Fizdale found out Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). At 7-12, he and the Grizzlies had been given enough rope that management obviously felt a determination could be made. Memphis’ quick start, winning five of its first six, didn’t resonate nearly as much as its eight consecutive losses did. Not every franchise hits 20, 40 or 60 games on the nose before doing something dramatic. Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough felt he needed to see only three games to fire coach Earl Watson. In 2015-16, the Houston Rockets pulled the plug on Kevin McHale after 11 games. But the last time Miami made a coaching change in season, Riley sent home Stan Van Gundy at 11-10 in 2005-06 and took over for the final 61 games. The Cleveland Cavaliers fired David Blatt 41 games into the 2015-16 season. And the last time each of these organizations -- Washington, Toronto, San Antonio, Minnesota, Golden State, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Chicago -- made coaching changes during the season, they did so after 17, 17, 18, 19, 23, 23, 24 and 25 games respectively. What have we learned about the league this season, with 20 games coming sooner than usual? * Boston’s acquisition of Kyrie Irving, its young starting forwards and a more tenacious defense than expected have more than made up for Gordon Hayward’s loss. * The day Philadelphia coach Brett Brown longed for finally has arrived. * Detroit, Indiana and New York might manage to overachieve their way into lower-seed possibilities. Washington’s window is closing before its eyes, and Milwaukee has flaws at both ends that won’t be solved if and when Jabari Parker returns. * Houston’s James Harden might snag the Kia MVP trophy many thought he deserved last spring. * Minnesota, Denver and Portland are for real in the West, while it’s getting late early in Oklahoma City. Carmelo Anthony was supposed to have left his sub-.500 records back with the Knicks. * The next man Memphis owner Robert Pera offers a full-time coaching position is going to speed-dial Lionel Hollins, Dave Joerger and Fizdale in some order. * A strong field of Kia Rookie of the Year candidates at least six deep from the Draft class of 2017 all might wind up slotting in behind the Sixers’ Ben Simmons. * The drama of the draft lottery might be greater than that of the playoffs decided several weeks later. * LeBron James still moves the Earth and the league when he firmly puts his foot down. Then there’s the best thing about the NBA season at 20 games: That means 62 more to go. 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 NewsNov 29th, 2017

Nikola Jokic scores 28 points, Nuggets beat Grizzlies 104-92

DENVER (AP) - Nikola Jokic scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and had 13 rebounds and eight assists to help the Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-92 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Gary Harris and Jamal Murray added 15 points apiece, and Kenneth Faried had 14. The Nuggets won their fifth straight at home. JaMychal Green had 21 points for the Grizzlies in their seventh loss in a row. It's the longest losing streak for the Grizzlies since a seven-game skid from Nov. 1-11, 2009. It also was Memphis' first loss in its last five games in Denver. Marc Gasol and Tyreke Evans scored 15 points apiece for the Grizzlies. Trailing by 16 at the half, the Grizzlies put together an 11-0 run capped by Dillon Brooks' driving reverse layup to pull to 74-69 and outscored Denver 5-2 over the last 90 seconds of the third quarter to get within two points. Jokic scored three consecutive baskets to start the fourth to help the Nuggets regain some separation. His jumper off a feed from Harris put Denver up 88-79 with 6:31 remaining. Jokic and Juan Hernangomez each connected from three-point range over the next 1.5 minutes and just like that Denver was leading 95-81. Memphis fought back to 97-89 on a three-pointer by Mario Chalmers but the Nuggets closed the door in the last 1:38, getting a three-point play from Jokic and a put-back dunk by Faried to fend off the Grizzlies. Denver opened a 61-45 lead at halftime, getting nine-point quarters in the first from Murray and the second from Jokic to help etablish a double-digit advantage. TIP-INS Grizzlies: A left Achilles' tendon injury has forced Mike Conley to miss a fifth consecutive game. No official word yet on when he's expected to return. ... Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) contest marked David Fizdale's 100th career game as the Grizzlies' head coach. He is 140-50 since being hired ahead of the 2016-17 season. Nuggets: Team doctors have discovered ligament damage in F Paul Milsap's left wrist and he will be sidelined indefinitely. The team has not indicated whether he will need surgery. Initially, Milsap's injury was announced as a sprain. He was injured in a loss last Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers. UP NEXT Grzzlies: Return home to host Brooklyn on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Nuggets: Get a three-day stretch between games before playing at Utah on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 25th, 2017

Less time, fewer timeouts among adjustments for NBA coaches

em>By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press /em> NEW YORK (AP) — Mike D’Antoni ran an offensive system known as seven seconds or less, so he likes things fast. Good thing, because NBA coaches find things come at them more quickly this season. They are losing time and timeouts, with fewer days to prepare before the regular season and fewer chances to talk things over during games. Throw in new rules legislating how they can rest players, and there are plenty of adjustments even for veteran coaches. “I think it’s good,” said D’Antoni, the NBA coach of the year with Houston last year. “Take stuff out of coaches’ hands, because we just screw it up anyway. So it’s better for the players.” Among the changes: — Next Tuesday's (Wednesday, PHL time) start is the NBA’s earliest since 1980. It’s a week earlier than normal, with the maximum number of preseason games cut from eight to six. — Timeouts are reduced from 18 to 14, with each team having seven. They will be limited to two during the last three minutes of games, instead of the previous rule that permitted three timeouts in the final two minutes. — Teams can be fined $100,000 or more for resting healthy players during national TV games, and are discouraged from resting multiple healthy players in the same game or sitting them in road games. — Halftime will be 15 minutes for all games — and the league plans to be diligent about starting the clock as soon as the first half ends. There previously was a minute or two longer for national TV games, and sometimes the clock wouldn’t start until all players had cleared the floor. That change caught the attention of D’Antoni, who noted that in some arenas there is a longer walk from the benches to the locker rooms. “So instead of showing 10 clips at halftime, you might only be able to show two or three,” D’Antoni said. Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations, said the goal wasn’t to shorten the length of games, which run about 2 hours, 15 minutes. He said the league wanted the games to have a better flow, and worked with the coaches and Competition Committee, which includes some coaches, during the summer on the changes. Spruell said coaches were fine with the removal of the under-9 minute timeouts in the second and fourth quarters, feeling they came too soon after the quarters started. There will now be two mandatory timeouts in each quarter, at the under-7 and under-3 minute marks. Even at the end of games, coaches acknowledged there were too many stoppages. “As a head coach you always want more timeouts. You want to have that flexibility at the end of the game to be able to help your team,” Miami’s Erik Spoelstra said. “But when I’m watching games, I want there to be less. I do. I want there to be less timeouts and for the games to go a little bit quicker, particularly at the end. You want to just see the action.” All timeouts will now be 75 seconds. Full timeouts were formerly 90 seconds. “Before you have the little pow-wow for a long timeout, the coaches try to get reacquainted and figure out where you’re going to eat dinner,” D’Antoni joked. “But now you’ve got to go in and actually coach.” Spruell said the league didn’t get a lot of pushback from coaches on the suggested changes, even coming around on the resting rules. “I’m just happy Adam Silver gave us some good guidelines to follow when it comes to that so we don’t feel like we’re cheating our fans,” Memphis coach David Fizdale said. “That was one good thing that came out of the coaches’ meetings, Adam Silver’s leadership on that.” Player health was one reason for the shorter preseason. By adding the extra week to the regular season, the league reduced back-to-back games and has no teams playing four in five nights for the first time. Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said the shorter preseason wouldn’t matter to most teams, since they usually run a similar system from year to year unless there was a coaching change, and there were none. His team is different. The Knicks are largely scrapping the triangle offense they ran when Phil Jackson was president and redefining roles with leading scorer Carmelo Anthony traded. They’ve had a number of nagging injuries and may not see some combinations play together until the games count. “It’s one of those years that maybe you wish there was eight exhibition games, but it is what it is and we just have to work,” Hornacek said. There’s also a change for general managers in the form of an earlier trade deadline. Previously the Thursday (Friday, PHL time) after the All-Star Game, now it’s the Thursday (Friday, PHL time) 10 days before it. Spruell said in discussions with GMs, they felt that would benefit the traded players, who would have the break to acclimate themselves to their new cities. So there’s plenty that’s new, but Spoelstra said they will all catch on. “Whenever there’s rules changes, regardless, players or coaches, you eventually adapt and we’ll do that as well,” he said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017

Curry makes season-best 10 3-pointers in return from injury

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Stephen Curry made a sensational return from injury by scoring 38 points with a season-high 10 three-pointers, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies 141-128 on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Curry shot 13-for-17 and 10-of-13 from deep in 26 minutes for his ninth 30-point game this season after missing 11 games with a sprained right ankle. His mere presence brought an energy to the Warriors and all of Oracle Arena, and he spent much of the fourth quarter pacing, gesturing in delight while cheering his teammates with a towel draped over his head. Kevin Durant added 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds, and Klay Thompson scored 21 points as the Warriors wrapped up nearly three weeks at home in California. Zaza Pachulia scored a season-best 17 points and also had eight rebounds and six assists. Marc Gasol led six Memphis players in double figures with 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting. With his parents, wife and two daughters in attendance, Curry got his first points on a layup at 10:27 that put the Warriors out front 7-0 and led to a Memphis timeout. He hit a three-pointer at 9:52 before Memphis scored its first points. Curry received roars from the sellout crowd during pregame introductions, and Durant threw his right arm into the air to cheer his pal's comeback. Curry pounded his chest after a three-pointer late in the second that put the Warriors up 64-57. In the game's closing minutes, he hit a three-pointer, held his follow-through and jubilantly hopped up and down on his left foot. This marked Curry's ninth career game with 10 or more three's, most by any player in NBA history. "Sometimes the absence of a month of basketball gives you a little more excitement and energy, and I know he feels that way and it'll probably do the same thing with our crowd and with our team, too," coach Steve Kerr said before the game. Curry was all smiles during pregame warmups. He hoisted his signature tunnel shot, signed a few quick autographs when daughter Riley arrived to greet him and briefly held his arm around her before turning around to do his customary hallway sprint. His little girl cleared the way, and off her dad went to the locker room. "Solid," Curry said with a grin of his sprint. He's healthy at last -- and it showed immediately. Kerr had hoped to play his two-time MVP 20-25 minutes, and Curry conferred with the coaching staff during a timeout with 4:36 left in the third before staying in the game to hit another three just 30 seconds later. Curry sat down to cheers with 2:55 left in the third his team up 103-87. Memphis lost here 97-84 on Dec. 20 (Dec. 21, PHL time), then watched the Warriors match their season-high for points in a half this season by leading 78-67 at the break. GREEN GETS TOSSED Draymond Green was ejected with 9:45 left in the second quarter after a second technical foul in a 43-second span. Both were for arguing. The emotional forward has been ejected twice this season. Green had five assists and three points in 10 minutes. TIP-INS Grizzlies: The Grizzlies' 67 first-half points were their most in any half this season, while Golden State's 78 matched the most points ever allowed in any half by Memphis -- with Golden State also scoring 78 on March 24, 2010, on its home floor. ... The Grizzlies are one of two teams along with San Antonio to own a winning regular-season record vs. the Warriors since the start of the 2011-12 season at 13-12. ... Memphis completed a strange stretch in which it played at Golden State on Dec. 20 (Dec. 21, PHL time), at Phoenix the following night, home on Dec. 23 (Dec. 24, PHL time), back to Phoenix on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), in Los Angeles against the Lakers on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) then returned to Oracle Arena on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Warriors: The Warriors' 141 points are the most scored against the Grizzlies ever by any opponent. ... Golden State's 14 first-quarter assists -- for 40 points -- were one shy of the franchise record of 15, done three times. ... The Warriors improved to 8-0 after a loss this season. Golden State is 40-7 since 2014-15 following a defeat. ... The Warriors went 13-2 in December and finished 5-2 on this season-long homestand. The 13 December victories match the franchise's most wins in the month during their West Coast Era, also done last season. UP NEXT Grizzlies: At Sacramento on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Warriors: At Dallas on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) after playing seven games at home over the past 11 days......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Chris Gavina quits as head coach of Kia

Kia's unconventional ways just took another unconventional turn. Elevated as official head coach of the Picanto for the 2018 PBA season after spending time as the team's top deputy, Chris Gavina has resigned from his post Saturday. First reported by PBA Press Corps president Gerry Ramos of Spin.ph, this latest development for Kia came after the team lost its first two games of the Philippine Cup. Per Ramos' report, top assistant Ricky Dandan will take over the Picanto while Gavina will step away from coaching for a bit to put more attention in managing the production and marketing of his sports drink, IMPAKT. With Gavina handling coaching duties, Kia, then known as the Mahindra Floodbuster, made its first ever playoff appearance in the 2016 Governors' Cup. The team largely stayed in the hunt for the eight spot in last season's first two conference before things fell apart in the 2017 Governors' Cup when the Picanto lost all of their 11 games. Then, the team traded away its number 1 pick to San Miguel in exchange of role players and the franchise has been the butt of jokes ever since.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2017

Grizzlies’ Gasol fined for profanity during TV interview

NEW YORK --- Grizzlies center Marc Gasol has been fined $15,000 by the NBA for using a profanity during a live television interview. The NBA announced the fine Wednesday. Gasol cursed during the interview after Memphis snapped an 11-game skid Monday night with a 95-92 win over Minnesota. It was the Grizzlies' first win since Nov. 7. The center scored 21 points in the win, which ended an ugly stretch where Memphis fired coach David Fizdale on Nov. 27....Keep on reading: Grizzlies’ Gasol fined for profanity during TV interview.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 7th, 2017

James takes over as Cavaliers win 11th straight

CLEVELAND --- LeBron James scored 34 points, including seven in the final 1:22, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-111 on Saturday night for their 11th straight victory. Memphis has lost 11 in a row, including three since David Fizdale was fired Monday and replaced by interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff. The Grizzlies trailed 91-72 late in the third quarter, but rallied all the way to a tie at 109 on Dillon Brooks' 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining. James' basket in the lane gave Cleveland the lead. After Tyreke Evans missed a 3-pointer, James drove the lane, scored and converted the three-point play after being fouled by Brooks with 34 seconds left. Broo...Keep on reading: James takes over as Cavaliers win 11th straight.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2017

James takes over as Cavaliers win 11th straight

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 34 points, including seven in the final 1:22, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-111 on Saturday night for their 11th straight victory. Memphis has lost 11 in a row, including three since David Fizdale was fired Monday and replaced by interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff. The Grizzlies trailed 91-72 late in the third quarter, but rallied all the way to a tie at 109 on Dillon Brooks' 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining. James' basket in the lane gave Cleveland the lead. After Tyreke Evans missed a 3-pointer, James drove the lane, scored and converted the three-point play after being fouled by Brooks with 34 seconds left. Brooks made two free throws, but James dribbled for several seconds on Cleveland's next possession and hit a jumper from the top of the key for a five-point lead with 5 seconds to go. Evans had 31 points and 12 assists for Memphis. Marc Gasol scored 27 and passed 10,000 career points despite being listed as questionable after injuring his left foot in Friday's loss to San Antonio. Cleveland has scored at least 100 points in each game during its streak and is closing in on its longest winning streak since it ripped off 12 straight in 2015. James scored 11 points in the final six minutes of the second quarter, including a pair of three-point plays and a jumper from the corner at the buzzer, helping Cleveland to a 66-52 halftime lead. James, the reigning NBA Player of the Month, also had 12 assists. He has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in each of his last 10 games. Kevin Love added 20 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland. He went to the floor after banging knees with JaMychal Green in the third quarter, but remained in the game. Memphis point guard Mike Conley missed his ninth straight game because of a sore left Achilles. CAVS, ROSE TALKING Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said the team's communication with point guard Derrick Rose has been positive. Rose is away from the team because of a personal matter. He also has been sidelined by a sprained left ankle. The team is expected to provide another update Sunday. TIP-INS Grizzlies: Gasol has 10,007 career points. ... Memphis hit seven of its first nine shots and took a 16-9 lead, forcing the Cavaliers to call a timeout four minutes into the game. Cleveland called another timeout at the 4:24 mark with Memphis leading 24-13. ... Memphis didn't get to the line until Evans was fouled shooting a 3-pointer at the 6:50 mark of the second quarter. Cavaliers: J.R. Smith scored 17 points, and Dwyane Wade had 16. ... Love was the only starter to get a rebound in the first half when he had seven. ... F Channing Frye went to the locker room in the fourth quarter with an apparent hand injury, but returned to the bench. UP NEXT Grizzlies: Host Minnesota on Monday. Memphis has lost eight straight at FedEx Forum. Cavaliers: Visit Chicago on Monday. Cleveland defeated the Bulls 119-112 on Oct. 24 in Cleveland......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2017

Sterling blossoming into Man City s man for the big occasion

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press MANCHESTER, England (AP) — A video did the rounds on social media last week showing Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola giving Raheem Sterling a clinic during a training session about what his body position should be when receiving the ball, about what his next movement should be after giving a pass. Getting right into Sterling's face, Guardiola was seen dragging the winger around and pointing exactly how and where he should be addressing the ball. Sterling followed his coach, listening intently, occasionally nodding his head. Guardiola sees something special and different in Sterling, and the instructions seem to be getting through. City has no shortage of potential game-changers in its team but, at the moment, Guardiola wouldn't want the ball to drop to anyone else but Sterling in the last minutes of a match. In the past week, the England international has scored winning goals in three straight games, in the 88th, 84th and the sixth minute of injury time. In what is already his career-best haul for a single season of 13 goals — remember, it is not even December — Sterling has eight goals in the last 10 minutes of matches. Four of the goals have been directly responsible for earning City seven points in the league. Without them, the team's lead would only be a point over Manchester United. "Before, he was a little bit more shy or he did not believe," Guardiola said this week after Sterling's winning goal in injury time in City's 2-1 victory over Southampton. "But now he can do that. "His teammates give him the confidence and say, 'We trust in you, you can do that,' but then you have to have the personality, in the last minute, to make the action." Sterling's goal against Southampton felt huge, and not just in the context of the title race in re-establishing City's eight-point lead. It caused pandemonium inside Etihad Stadium, with Guardiola, his coaching staff and the substitutes spilling out on to the playing surface as Sterling raced the length of the field in celebration, screaming with joy. Sterling did something similar at Bournemouth in August, scoring even later — in the seventh minute of injury time — to clinch a 2-1 win. He then raced into City's away fans to celebrate. The day after Guardiola's clinic in that training session, Sterling — with his back to goal — performed a give-and-go move with Ilkay Gundogan before chipping the goalkeeper to seal City's 1-0 win over Feyenoord in the Champions League. "Now he's full of confidence," Guardiola said. "We spoke last season many times, that he has to discover the pleasure for himself to win games, to score goals. He has to feel that." Sterling's confidence levels cannot have been high when Guardiola joined City in the offseason of 2016. The winger, who joined City for 49 million pounds (then $76 million) the year before, was the target of lots of online criticism during the 2016 European Championship. At that tournament, Sterling dubbed himself "The Hated One" on Instagram and he would later stop checking his social media accounts because of the abuse. Guardiola phoned Sterling during Euro 2016 in a show of support. And this year, when Sterling was linked with a swap deal with Arsenal winger Alexis Sanchez, Guardiola insisted his player would not be leaving. Sterling is repaying Guardiola's faith, and is adding an end-product to the chaos he can cause opposing defenses with his pace, directness, and movement. He can thank his coach for that. He is also benefiting from playing in a slightly different position, more of an inside forward now that City has an attacking fullback in Kyle Walker down the right. It means Sterling is in the penalty box more often and getting on the end of more chances. Next in Sterling's firing line is West Ham on Sunday, when City will be bidding for a 13th straight win in the Premier League. Its current total of 40 points after 14 games has never been bettered in the history of England's top division. City was also boosted on Thursday by David Silva signing a one-year extension to his contract, tying the playmaker to the club until 2020. Here are some other things to watch out for this weekend: ___ PLAYING CATCH-UP The best Man United can do is simply keep City in sight, but that won't be easy over the next two weekends. On Saturday, United plays at Arsenal, which has won its last three games to climb to fourth place, before the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Dec. 10. United is set to be without holding midfielder Nemanja Matic, who went off with a muscle injury in the 4-2 win over Watford on Tuesday. ___ PAST AND PRESENT Alan Pardew will begin his tenure as West Bromwich Albion manager with a home match against the club that fired him in December, Crystal Palace. West Brom hasn't won in any competition since August — a run of 13 games — and is one place above the relegation zone......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2017

Grizzlies fire coach David Fizdale day after benching Gasol

The Memphis Grizzlies fired coach David Fizdale on Monday (Tuesday Manila time), with the team at 7-12 and a day after he benched center Marc Gasol for the f.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 28th, 2017

BEST OF 5 Part 5: No one-and-done for forward-looking LPU

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. Read Part 2 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. Read Part 3 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. Read Part 4 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. --- Lyceum of the Philippines University is so close to the greatest season in the 93-year history of the NCAA that they can taste it. After going undefeated through 18 games in the elimination round, the Pirates need just two more wins to complete the greatest-ever perfect season. Yes, a 20-0 record will put them in a league of their own. The last team to have accomplished a perfect season was San Beda College in 2010, but only had an 18-0 record as there were just nine teams in the league then. While that would be the fitting end to what has been a magical season, the Intramuros-based squad doesn’t want an ending just yet. IT’S THE CLIMB For them, a championship – or a runner-up finish – is just another step they are taking in their journey. As head coach Topex Robinson put it, “Building a culture is not a one-time thing; it’s gonna take a while. I always remind myself na not just because we’re in the Finals, we forget ano ba yung vision namin.” He then continued, “There has to be a constant reminder to myself that setting a culture is a combination of all the seasons that’s about to come.” Robinson has not gotten tired of reminding his boys that all of this, from the underwhelming first two seasons to this magical season, is just a part of their overarching desire to inspire others. And so, for LPU, the championship round up against the defending champion Red Lions is only yet another chance to showcase skills and have a positive effect on all who are watching them. “I always tell them that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Sabi ko nga, the longer we play this season, the longer we could really spread the word,” the always amiable mentor said. He then continued, “At the same time, I always tell them that now they’re in this position, mas malaki yung responsibility. People know who they are so mas marami dapat silang matutulungan." MAKE A MARK Without a doubt, it’s nothing but amazing to watch, or read about, or hear about the Pirates who just joined the first and oldest collegiate league in the country in 2011 and are now knocking on the door of history. All of that, they have done by standing as David to the Goliaths of the land such as San Beda. “The masses could relate to us because we’re not a well-funded program. We don’t have the money like the other big programs have,” Robinson shared. He then continued, “What we have are people who are committed to winning. What we have are players na napulot ko sa tabi-tabi and are just happy to be given a second life.” CHIP ON THE SHOULDER CJ Perez, the MVP frontrunner, went from Pangasinan to San Sebastian College-Recoletos and then transferred to Ateneo de Manila University only to find his home inside the walls of Intramuros. MJ Ayaay, the glue guy, went from the end of the bench to a key reserve and now, team captain. Mike Nzeusseu, the inside presence, is a forgotten name among all foreign student-athletes. Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee found no place in Adamson University. Reymar Caduyac just may be the steadiest player in the league, but gets no props for it. Robinson himself failed to find success in his first coaching gig with alma mater San Sebastian. The list goes on and on and on for all of LPU. Always remembering how they had to claw for every inch just to get to where they are keeps each and every one of them going. “We always go back to saan ba tayo dati? Sila, tinapon sila ng teams nila and now, they have an opportunity to redeem themselves,” their mentor said. He then continued, “Once you touch that part of their lives, they really become more aligned to where I wanna go. That’s where I keep them grounded.” THE BLUEPRINT All season long, the Pirates have said they want nothing more than to inspire others. Now their story is coming to its climax, they hope they have already done just that. “I hope that we could also inspire programs that are not well-funded to really look deep inside their hearts to find a way. Instead of complaining, you can find a way to win,” Robinson said. And so, win or lose in their first-ever Finals, the crew from Intramuros is already on the right track. “Whatever happens in the Finals, our vision is not gonna stop there. We’re not a goal-oriented team; we’re vision-oriented. Goal is you hit a number, it’s done while vision is, it’s way beyond what’s happening now,” the head coach said. He then continued, “We can be contented now – nobody thought we were gonna be 18-0. But again, that’s not what we want. What we want is to be persons who make an impact, who become an inspiration.” THINK BIGGER And watch out, LPU is not just limiting itself to the NCAA, to the sport of basketball, and even to the Philippines. “You know, being part of something bigger than yourself is really important. We’re here to change the world, how good is that,” Robinson mused. He then continued, “We’re talking about the world – not just the LPU community, not just the NCAA, but whoever we could touch. That’s not a guarantee of winning a championship, but it’s always about giving, sharing, and inspiring.” Indeed, you and LPU made us believe, coach. Now, believe us when we say. Win or lose, these LPU Pirates made an impact. Win or lose, these LPU Pirates are here to stay. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 9th, 2017

24 NBA questions before 17-18 tips off

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2017

Grizzlies pull within 2-1 of Spurs with 105-94 win

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Memphis coach David Fizdale set the tone with his memorable rant about the officiating in Game Two, which led to a $30,000 fine by the N.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 21st, 2017

Jags ‘threw a tantrum’ when Marrone started making changes

By Mark Long, Associated Press JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville’s locker room was abuzz late last season. Four guys played table tennis while others crowded around a small table for dominoes. Two 80-inch televisions were tuned to a sports highlight show, and music blared from one corner of the room. Doug Marrone, the team’s offensive line coach at the time, walked through and shook his head. “Can you believe this?” Marrone whispered. The Jaguars were in the middle of a nine-game losing streak that would ultimately cost coach Gus Bradley his job. Marrone had watched from afar for two years, witnessing an atmosphere he felt was too loose, too laid-back and too lenient amid losing. So when Marrone was hired to replace Bradley last January, high on his to-do list was to change the culture in Jacksonville. His success is one reason the Jaguars (12-6) are in the AFC championship game against New England (14-3). The ping pong table was the first to go. Dominoes followed. The locker room stalls were overhauled, too, with Marrone mixing and matching position groups and putting certain players next to veteran leaders and/or NFL role models. “We definitely threw a tantrum,” Pro Bowl defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. “Went in there and talked to him about it. Definitely wasn’t happy. I learned just to be quiet, you know, and go with the flow. He’s been at it longer than I have, and I’m just the football player. He says do this and I go do it. Just learn to follow him, and I’m glad I did.” Marrone saved the most significant changes for the practice fields. Marrone, top executive Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell wanted a much tougher and more physical team. They drafted bruising running back Leonard Fournette and fiery left tackle Cam Robinson to complement a defense that was significantly beefed up in free agency with the addition of All-Pro pass-rusher Calais Campbell, Pro Bowl cornerback A.J. Bouye and veteran safety Barry Church. They also designed an offseason program that was more grueling than most players had experienced. Marrone’s message was clear: Go hard or go home. “You remember guys in camp talking about this took a few years off their lives,” Jackson said. “It’s pretty funny just to see us now. I guess he does know what he’s doing.” The Jaguars were in full pads nearly every day during training camp, a tortuous stretch in draining heat and humidity that left rookies and veterans questioning the process and wondering if it would pay off. It was the NFL’s version of boot camp. Break them down, then build them up. It ultimately brought players closer, making them accountable to each other and causing them to care more for each other. Winning was the final piece, and thumping Houston 29-7 in the season opener was all the proof players needed. “It was the toughest training camp I’ve ever been a part of,” said linebacker Paul Posluszny, in his 11th season. “Coach Marrone would talk to us and say, ‘Listen, I have a plan and you have to trust me.’ With that, guys were able to say, ‘OK, we haven’t gotten what we wanted in years past doing things a certain way, so we have to buy in, trust the head man and know that that’ll bring us success when it’s time.’ “It was difficult just because of so many changes from what we were used to. I think the most important thing is we always said, ‘Well, if it helps us win, then it’s all good.’” Jacksonville had lost 63 of 80 games over the previous five seasons — the worst record in the NFL during that span — and had been through two coaching changes. Coughlin’s return was a key part of the team’s revival, and although the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach with the New York Giants gets much of the outside credit for the team’s turnaround, the reality is Marrone was the one pushing all the right buttons. Marrone has been other places where players resisted, prompting personnel moves that would slow progress. That wasn’t the case in Jacksonville, and he credited his players for being open to change. “They gave our staff the opportunity to say, ‘This is what we want to do. This is what we believe in as coaches or as an organization. This is how we want to handle ourselves,’” Marrone said. “We are still working toward that. It is not perfect by any means.” It’s clearly working, though. The Jaguars are in the title game for the third time in franchise history, one victory away from their first Super Bowl appearance. “They say (stuff) rolls downhill,” Jackson said. “Well, the good stuff rolls downhill, too. ... It’s all worth it when you win.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News21 hr. 30 min. ago

Ateneo still spotless after shutting down MVP leader Cansino

STANDINGS Ateneo 8-0 NU 6-2 UST 5-3 FEU-Diliman 4-4 Adamson 3-4 DLSZ 2-5 UPIS 1-6 UE 1-6 On Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, Ateneo de Manila High School showed that second, third, and fourth combined is better than first all by himself. Kai Sotto, SJ Belangel, and Dave Ildefonso all together to power Ateneo de Manila High School right through MVP frontrunner CJ Cansino and University of Sto. Tomas, 78-54. Sotto is second, Belangel is third, and Ildefonso is fourth to first-place Cansino in the MVP leaderboard of the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament. Together, however, they again proved to be too much for one of the other contenders in the tournament. “Kahit ganito, marami pa rin kaming kailangang ayusin. We still have lots to improve,” head coach Joe Silva said. Ildefonso had 20 points, seven assists, and three assists; Belangel had 13 points, six assists, and six rebounds; and Sotto had 11 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks to make sure Ateneo remained undefeated through eight games. The Tiger Cubs actually got off to a strong start and owned an eight-point lead in the early going before the league-leaders settled down. Just trailing by one late in the second quarter, Belangel then orchestrated a 9-0 run that put the Blue Eaglets on top, 35-27, at the half. They would only keep their foot on the gas pedal from there and in all, crushed their opponents, 65-36, in the last three quarters. The offense took some time to get going, but the defense was on-point from the get-go as the kids from Katipunan frustrated Cansino to only 16 points, seven coming when the game was already over, in 6-of-20 shooting along with three turnovers. “Actually, we were expecing a shaky start sa offense kaya second quarter, we locked it down,” Silva said. He then continued, “The boys were proud enough to lock Cansino down.” With another convincing victory, they have now defeated UST twice, Far Eastern University-Diliman once, and Nazareth School of National University once all by double-digits. On the other hand, the Tiger Cubs dropped to third in the standings now at 5-3. With the MVP frontrunner struggling, nobody else stepped up as Vince Dolendo was the only other one in double-digits with 10 points BOX SCORES ATENEO 78 – Ildefonso 20, Belangel 13, Credo 12, Manuel 11, Sotto 11, Jaymalin 3, Chiu 2, Escalona 2, Tandeo 2, Diaz 2, David 0, Lopa 0, Gusi 0, Ong 0 UST 54 – Canaino 16, Dolendo 10, Benzonan 9, Villapando 8, Lina 6, Narvasa 3, Baquial 2, Anunciacion 0, Dea Cruz 0, Palencia 0, Esplana 0, Manabat 0 QUARTER SCORES: 13-18, 35-27, 58-41, 78-54 —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2018

The case for Keenum: Vikings QB keeps on disproving doubters

By Dave Campbell, Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When Minnesota's offense huddled for the first time that mid-September afternoon in Pittsburgh, Case Keenum's energy and confidence quickly filled the circle. The Vikings were forced to turn to their backup quarterback to start the second game of the season after Sam Bradford's knee acted up, an ominous development that can doom a team to an autumn of disenchantment and playing for draft pick position. Despite the decisive defeat against the Steelers that day, though, there was a certain assurance Keenum gave his teammates that suggested they'd be all right. "He's a guy you want to play for," wide receiver Adam Thielen said. Four months later, the Vikings and Keenum are still playing. They're two wins away from reaching the Super Bowl. "It's been a blast, man. It's been incredible. I'm sure one of these days I'll be able to look back and really appreciate it, but there's so much to enjoy right now," Keenum said. "Not really putting too much into perspective. Not really looking too much at the big picture. I'm keeping my blinders on." With a modest 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame, Keenum was mostly ignored by major college programs despite leading Abilene Wylie High School to its first state championship in football-obsessed Texas. Houston made his only FBS scholarship offer, from then-head coach Art Briles, and by the time Keenum was finished with the Cougars he was the NCAA's all-time leading passer with 19,217 yards and 155 touchdowns. Yet he still went undrafted in 2012, needing the Houston Texans practice squad to get his professional career off the ground. Keenum started 10 games over the next two years before being traded to the Rams in 2015, but they made Jared Goff the first pick in the 2016 draft so there was no future for Keenum there beyond being a veteran mentor. Even Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was among those who typecast Keenum as a just-in-case second-stringer. Zimmer acknowledged recently he didn't gain full confidence in Keenum until the 11th or 12th game of the season and, when Teddy Bridgewater was cleared to play in mid-November, Zimmer never declared Keenum the starter for more than a week at a time. "He just wanted a chance," his father, Steve Keenum, said this week in a phone interview. "He's got to have the knack. It's just a God-given, innate thing that he's maximized by working hard." As the oldest of his three children, Case made clear at an early age to Steve that he had the makeup to be an NFL quarterback even if there was no way to predict how the skill set would unfold. "He was competitive in everything. It could be a board game. It could be playing darts. It could be playing cards. It didn't matter. But if it had a ball, he wanted to do it," said Steve, who was a high school and college coach around Texas for 24 years, including 10 seasons as the head coach at his alma mater McMurry University. Good coaching, starting with dad's tips in the family backyards, was another success factor. When Briles left for Baylor, Kevin Sumlin arrived at Houston for Keenum's sophomore year. Dana Holgorsen, now the head coach at West Virginia, was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. After he departed, Kliff Kingsbury, currently the head coach at Texas Tech, took charge of the quarterbacks. "They had some speed, and the next thing you know they were throwing the ball all over the field," said Steve, who attended all 57 of Case's games with the Cougars and has been to each game he's played for the Vikings. "They had some really talented kids. People talked about him being a system guy, with short passes and a run after the catch, but they didn't see him play." Steve is now an area director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an organization that Case has long been active in as well. "He's come to the realization like a lot of people in big situations that there are things that are really too big to do by yourself, and in order to stay grounded you've got to find somebody or something that you believe strongly in," Steve said. "I think his faith has been that for him." Though Keenum had prior NFL experience, including nine starts for the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, he was signed by the Vikings as a one-year stopgap to be the guy in the ball cap providing sideline support and give Bridgewater ample time to recover from his colossal knee injury. Bradford had just produced an injury-free career-best performance in 2016, after all, so the Vikings were banking on him. Over the last four months, though, they've been cashing in on Keenum, a dividend that has paid out handsomely for both parties. "We've got a great group of guys here," he said, "and I think we're all excited to be extending our season." With offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur deftly adapting the team's scheme to use Keenum's mobility to better advantage and a sleeker offensive line mostly protecting him well, the Vikings have leaped up the league rankings in every significant statistical category. Among them: 28th to ninth in scoring touchdowns on possessions after passing the 20-yard line, and 19th to third in third-down conversions. Keenum will start his first playoff game Sunday against New Orleans, with a raucous home crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium ready to cheer the next step toward the franchise's elusive first championship. "Our fans are awesome," Keenum said. "All my friends and family who have come up from Texas and my friends from other teams that come in, they'll text me after the games and they'll be like, 'Dude, that place is ridiculous.' It really is.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

New UST Tigers coach Aldin Ayo introduces coaching staff

Newly-hired UST Growling Tigers coach Aldin Ayo introduced new members of his coaching staff in a press briefing Thursday morning at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion. Ayo brought along assistant coaches McJour Luib and Kristoffer Co from the De La Salle University Green Archers. Luib was a key member of the 2015 NCAA men's basketball champions Letran Knights, while Co previously handled the Sta. Lucia Realtors in the Philippine Commercial Basketball League. Also joining Ayo's staff are Rene Baena, who previously was an assistant coach with the Adamson Baby Falcons, and former Lyceum Pirates head coach Bonnie Garcia. “Once makumpleto yung coaching staff saka namin titingnan kung ano yung roles [nila]," Ayo told The Varsitarian, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas. Ayo added that some of his potential candidates still have prior commitments and will take some time before hiring them. The Varsitarian also previously reported that Ayo will be coach of the struggling Growling Tigers "for the next six years." ---     follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2018

Ricci reduced to being an observer for first Gilas practice of 2018

Despite not being part of the preliminary Gilas Pilipinas pool for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, La Salle star Ricci Rivero still attended the first practice of 2018 of the national team Monday at the Meralco Gym. Rivero, who was excluded in the original #23for23 because La Salle asked head coach Chot Reyes to hold off for the moment, was a keen observer in practice. And since he wasn't suiting up, the high-flying combo guard instead met with top officials and the rest of the Gilas coaching staff. With the second window of the Asian Qualifiers coming up, Gilas officially opened camp following the holiday break. Aside from the main team that saw action in the opening window back in February, a handful of the #23for23 pool members were also present in practice. [Related: BACK TO WORK: Gilas opens first practice for 2018] For now, Gilas Pilipinas will meet once a week every Monday in preparation for a road game against Australia and a home outing vs. Japan next month.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018

Alvarez drops 28 as JRU blasts SSC-R in historic win

Games Thursday: (FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan) 8:00 a.m. – LPU vs CSB (jrs) 9:30 a.m. -- LPU vs. CSB (m) 11:00 a.m. –- LPU vs. CSB (w) 12:30 p.m. -- Perpetual vs. San Beda (w) 2:00 p.m. -- Perpetual vs. San Beda (m) 3:30 p.m. –- Perpetual vs. San Beda (jrs)   Shola Alvarez caught fire as Jose Rizal University ended years of futility against San Sebastian College with a hard-earned 27-25, 25-23, 22-25, 16-25, 15-12, win Monday in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Alvarez posted a career-high 28 points to lift the Lady Bombers to their first win in two outings to tie their victim, which had only seven players available, and Letran. The graduating hitter smashed 24 kills and had four kill blocks for JRU, which made a historic win against the Lady Stags since the return of its volleyball program in 2008. SSC-R has been dominating the Lady Bombers even before JRU suspended its volleyball program in 2004. Rookie Dolly Versoza scored 15 markers while Season 92 Best Opposite Spiker Karen Montojo chipped in with nine points for the Lady Bombers, who received 44 free points off the Lady Stags’ atrocious errors.      “Sobrang happy na nanalo kami kasi veteran team sila and may winning legacy sila kumabaga. Two years in a row silang nasa Finals and siyempre it’s a very big step for us na at least nakapanalo kami sa ganoong ka-veteran na team,” said JRU head coach Mia Tioseco, who herself earned her first win against the Roger Gorayeb-mentored squad since she took the coaching job for the Lady Bombers five years ago.        “Happy ako sa girls dahil ngayon masasabi nila na they can compete with other teams,” she added. The Lady Stags, who played without injured Julie Tiangco (right knee), fought back to force a decider after dropping the first two sets but were obviously exhausted entering the fifth frame. JRU went up 8-4 but a couple of errors by the Lady Bombers and a last push by the SSC-R led by Nikka Dalisay and Joyce Sta. Rita pushed the Lady Stags close, 13-11, in a scoring blitz capped by Dangie Encarnacion’s back-to-back kills. Alvarez scored on a hit to put JRU at match points, 14-11. Aubry Bautista gave SSC-R a free point after her service went wide but Alvarez sealed the win with a perfect off speed hit. Dalisay finished with 17 points while Daurene Santos and Sta. Rita got 16 each. Encarnacion had 15 for the Lady Stags.            --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018