One Team, Three Stats: Nuggets' defense holding them back

One Team, Three Stats: Nuggets' defense holding them back.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 12th, 2017

PSG playing its best soccer since Qatari takeover in 2011

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain is dreaming big, just like its motto says. The French club, desperate to join Europe's elite since Qatari owners QSI took over six years ago, made an eye-catching breakthrough in the Champions League on Tuesday, routing Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of the last 16. 'This was the best performance I've been part of since coming to PSG,' said midfielder Blaise Matuidi, one of QSI's first signings after its takeover in June 2011. In the years since the new ownership came in, PSG has pumped hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) into acquiring big-name coaches and big-name players, including Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler. QSI also launched an advertising campaign with the motto 'Revons Plus Grand,' French for 'Let's Dream Bigger.' It hasn't always worked out, though. In the past four seasons, PSG has dominated in France but has failed to reach even the semifinals of the Champions League. Twice the team lost to Barcelona, in 2013 and '15, in the quarterfinals and then again last year to Manchester City. The result of European frustration has led to swift and ruthless change, with coach Laurent Blanc fired in the offseason despite winning back-to-back domestic trebles. His successor, Unai Emery, was hand-picked by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who liked what he saw in the Sevilla side that Emery guided to three straight Europa League titles. That team played with passion, total commitment and relentless energy, and the Spanish coach has allied those qualities to a PSG team with considerably more individual talent than Sevilla. After a difficult start, his methods are working well. ___ NO IBRA, MORE TEAMWORK Zlatan Ibrahimovic's departure to Manchester United before the season left a huge void — one that PSG has filled with more teamwork. When Ibrahimovic played, everything revolved around him. He was given such freedom by then-coach Carlo Ancelotti and by Blanc that he roamed wherever he wanted. While the Swede was a prolific scorer, the loose way he played often unbalanced PSG and made the side predictable against better European opposition. With the unselfish Edinson Cavani as the main striker, PSG is much harder working. And Cavani has stepped up with 34 goals this season. Ibrahimovic also hardly ever defended, while Cavani tracks back to support his teammates. ___ EMERY'S TACTICS The team Emery picked against Barcelona was brave and innovative. He dropped Brazilian winger Lucas, one of his best players, and recalled the inconsistent Angel Di Maria — who scored twice. But it was Emery's midfield formation that really caught the eye and earmarked him as a clever strategist. Switching from the 4-3-3 formation he usually deploys, Emery went for a 4-2-3-1 with Adrien Rabiot and Marco Verratti as the holding pair and with Blaise Matuidi pushing up almost as a playmaker. Matuidi is usually either a holding or a wide midfielder, but Emery used him as a thrusting spearhead where his relentless energy and ability to time late runs behind the defense caused havoc. ___ HOMEGROWN TALENT As the final whistle blew at Parc des Princes, three homegrown PSG players joined in the celebrations. Center back Presnel Kimpembe had marked Barcelona star Lionel Messi out of the game and Adrien Rabiot had won his midfield battle against Sergio Busquets. Midfielder Christopher Nkunku came on for the last 20 minutes. Kempembe and Rabiot are both 21, while Nkunku is 19. All three grew up in the Paris region and came through the club's youth ranks. While Ancelotti and Blanc rarely trusted homegrown players, offloading central defender Mamadou Sakho to Liverpool and winger Kingsley Coman to Juventus, Emery has great faith in them. Kimpembe is an athletic defender who reads the game well and is strong in the air. The graceful Rabiot has great composure on the ball, a dangerous shot from outside the box and is a perceptive passer. Homegrown players also give the club a stronger local identity because fans feel like they're watching one of their own, rather than only imported stars. ___ KEEPING VERRATTI The diminutive Marco Verratti is the heartbeat of the side and PSG has done well to keep him, despite interest from Real Madrid. The 24-year-old Italy midfielder is a great organizer and sets the tempo for PSG's game with quick-thinking and crisp passing. He has an excellent passing range, whether short or long, and he regularly creates chances with his defense-splitting passes. All he needs to add now is goals, with only five in 185 games since joining from Italian side Pescara five years ago. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2017

Luke the leader has the Lakers on the right track

Luke Walton, the player, had a nice, quiet career. He played 11 seasons, nine for the Lakers, two for the Cavaliers, and averaged 17.2 minutes, 4.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. While he wasn’t a superstar, he was an essential glue guy for the teams he played on, doing a little bit of everything. It was a task that rewarded him with a pair of NBA championships.  His coaching career so far though has seen him do more, in much less time.  Walton is currently the youngest head coach in the League, but it’s a position he got on merit. As the interim head coach of the Golden State Warriors a season ago, he guided the then-defending champions to a 24-0 start.  At first glance, you might think that streak is just because of the players involved: MVP Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, and more. However, while Coach Steve Kerr laid the groundwork for their success, it was Walton making the in-game adjustments and tweaks. A 24-0 start is no joke, and a large part stems from how the players responded to the guy holding the clipboard.  Eventually, Kerr returned to the bench, moving Walton back to the lead assistant position. Though the Warriors didn’t win the championship, plenty of teams were impressed with what Walton accomplished, leading the Lakers, his former squad, to name him their new head coach. From one of the top squads in the Association, Walton was now the man in charge of a rebuilding team in the post-Kobe Bryant era.  As I said in my previous article on the Lakers, it’s all about rebuilding and maturing for LA, not just the players, but there’s still plenty of space for Walton to grow. In fact, for the franchise to succeed, everyone from the GM to the last guy on the roster have to take a page from another rebuilding team, the 76ers, and trust the process. It’s become a cliche, but it’s true. For you to reach success, you have to climb that ladder, and climb, and climb each time you get knocked down from it.  Proof? At the end of November, the Lakers were an impressive 10-10, and there was some talk of the team possibly contending for the eighth seed in the conference. Since then, they’ve only won eight more games, while losing 27.  Time to climb the ladder anew.  Just a little segue, in my little basketball experience, I also coached for a bit during my earlier years. I coached the youth basketball teams of De La Salle Zobel and played high school varsity for the same school. Maybe I can relate to Walton because like him, I was never the go-to guy, nor the star player of the team. I didn’t get a lot of minutes on the court, but I was a leader. Maybe it’s true, when you don’t get a lot of minutes and sit on the bench longer, you see the whole perspective of the game and understand it better. I may not have been the best coach, but I always strive to be the best example for my players.  And that’s how Coach Walton is using his experience to his advantage. Why did I mention his stats at the beginning of this article? I’m sure you’ve heard of the belief that “the best players don’t make the best coaches.” In the case of Luke, he wasn’t the best player. He didn’t stick around until he was 40 like what Vince Carter is currently doing. But he rose up quickly through the ranks from player development coach in the NBA D-League, to Warriors assistant, to where he is now. Why? Because he can lead.  Hopefully the Lakers stick to the plan and let Coach Luke do his thing. I’d love to see him grow as a coach known for his principles and leadership. In time, perhaps with the addition of a superstar or two, the Lakers will be back on the championship track. And despite not being a Lakers fan, I really hope it happens, as a fan of good squads, great systems, and unlimited potential, things Coach Walton can hopefully develop in LA. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2017

Folayang 'honored' to fight in front of kababayans, wants to test himself against a former foe

It's only been a little over two months since Filipino mixed martial artist and Team Lakay superstar Eduard Folayang shocked the world and captured the ONE Championship lightweight title against Shinya Aoki in Singapore.  Since then, Folayang has had his fair share of media obligations, and his hometown of Baguio even threw a celebratory parade in his honor.  Winning the title however, is just the beginning, and as all champions would say, defending the title is the hard part, and not even a month into 2017, the Benguet-based champ already has his marching orders for this year.  In an interview with ABS-CBN Sports, ONE Championship founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong revealed that Folayang would be defending his title for the first time in front of a home-country crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.  For Folayang, the announcement of the his first title defense was pretty much the last push that made everything - him being the ONE lightweight world champion - sink in.  'Lalo na ngayon na pumutok yung balita na mag-title defense ako sa April, so nag-sink in na talaga. Ito na ako, so kailangan na talagang maging prepared sa mga susunod kong mga laban.' Folayang told ABS-CBN Sports.  (Even more now, with the news coming out that I'm defending my title in April, so it's already sunk in. This is who I am, so I really need to be prepared for my upcoming fights.) The dream of becoming a world champion started five years ago for Folayang, when he first fought under the ONE Championship banner, and now, he'll be defending that very world title in front of his fellow Pinoys.  What makes it all the more special for Folayang is the fact that he knows people have seen all that he's been through before he became a world champion.  'Syempre it’s an honor na i-dedefend ko yung title sa harap ng mga kababayan mo, parang despite yung mga nakikita nila na pinag-daanan mo doon sa mga past fights mo, finally may belt ka nang ipapakita at kailangang i-defend sa harap nila mismo,'  (Of course it's an honor to be able to defend the title in front of your countrymen. Despite everything that they've seen me go through in my past fights, finallly, I have a belt to show for it, and I need to be able to defend it in front of them.) And while Folayang says it's an honor to put the title up for grabs on home soil, there's also the pressure of doing better than his previous performance, the performance that got him the gold in the first place, an of course, the pressure of holding on to that gold.  'Yun lang yung pressure, kung saan kailangan talaga mong gawin talaga, ibigay yung best na pinakita mo from the previous fight para makuha yung title, and now yung pressure is how to maintain it.'  (That's the pressure, that's what you really need to do, to show your best, even better compared to your previous fight, the where you won the title. Now, the pressure is in how to maintain it.) While no name has been singled out yet as to who Folayang's first challenger will be, the champion believes that it could come from the winner of the February showdown between lightweight contenders Ev Ting and Kamal Shalorus.  The Kiwi-Malaysian Ting has won six of his last seven bouts, including a three-fight winning streak against the likes of Robert Lisita, Filipino fighter Eric Kelly, and Folayang's teammate and former featherweight champion Honorio Banario.  Shalorus, a perennial contender in the ONE lightweight ranks, is a former WEC and UFC veteran, and is coming off a title-bout loss to then-champion Aoki. Shalorus has recorded two wins under the one banner, the first being against none other than the reigning champ, that's why if you ask Folayang, he'd like to face 'the Prince of Persia' once again.  'Siyempre, para sa akin, gusto ko si Kamal, para ma-test ko kung ano yung difference or ano yung improvement na nangyari sa akin from three years ago. It’s a good test kung saan na yung level na napuntahan ko.' (Of course, I'd like to fight Kamal again so I can test myself and see the difference and what I've improved on from three years ago. It's a good test of what level I've reached already.) It was a little over three years ago when Shalorus, coming off a stint with the UFC, made his ONE debut and defeated Folayang via unanimous decision. Folayang credits that loss to a bad weight-cut, as well as excellent planning on Shalorus' part.  'I felt nung time na ‘yun, masyadong mabigat yung katawan ko, nagkamali ako sa weight-cut dati, and looking into the skill naman of Kamal, malakas siya sa area ng wrestling, doon naman niya ko na-utilize, so makikita naman natin talaga na maganda yung gameplan niya, naging effective yung pag-execute ng gameplan niya.'  (I felt that I was heavy that time. I had a bad weight-cut, and looking into the skill of Kamal, he had good wrestling and that's that he utilized on me. We can see that he had a really good gameplan, and he was effective in executing that gameplan.)  Having knocked out the man that choked Shalorus out in under three minutes, Folayang believes that he's vastly improved since their first meeting back in 2013.  Whatever happens though, the champion says that he's willing to take on whoever's put in front of him.  'Kung sino man ang mananalo sa kanila, willing naman akong kalabanin kung ano yung magiging result.' (Whoever wins between them, whatever the result, I'm willing to fight any one of them.) With over four months to go before fight night, Folayang has more than enough time to prepare for what could be another big night in his mixed martial arts career.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2017

Tiger Cubs growl back to life after big-time upset of Baby Tams

strong>TEAM STANDINGS /strong> br /> Adamson 9-1 br /> NU 9-2 br /> FEU-Diliman 8-3 br /> Ateneo 5-5 br /> UST 4-7 br /> DLSZ 3-7 br /> UPIS 3-7 br /> UE 1-10 Fresh off victories versus league-leading Adamson High School and defending champion Nazareth School of National University, Far Eastern University-Diliman was looking to keep rolling in the UAAP 79 Juniors Basketball Tournament. What the Baby Tamaraws didn’t know, however, was that University of Sto. Tomas had an ambush all set up for them. Closing out the contest on with an unbelievable nine unanswered points, the Tiger Cubs came from behind to shock and then stop streaking Far Eastern University-Diliman, 54-52. Cris Cansino poured in 20 points and also sparked the late spark that turned a seven-point deficit inside the last three minutes into a two-point win. Now through four games in the second round, he has been averaging 19.8 points all while leading UST to a 3-1 record. The hot start in the second round has catapulted the Espana-based squad back into the thick of things now at 4-7. While the first-year swingman has impressed, it was defense that gave UST the chance for an upset by holding their opponents to below 14 points in all of the first three quarters. Also, the Tiger Cubs held their opponents into 27.9 percent shooting. With such disciplined defense, no Baby Tamaraw wound up in double-digits. Jack Gloria, Xyrus Torres, and JJ Sapinit all scored nine points in FEU-Diliman’s losing effort. Upset from out of nowhere, they slipped back into third-place now at 8-3. Meanwhile, NU bounced back mightily after their setback just three days ago by dropping a 51-point hammer on hapless University of the East, 107-56. John Lloyd Clemente and Rhayyan Amsali broke free from their struggles and scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, to show the Bullpups the way back to solo second now at 9-2. They also had five other teammates in double-digits. The latest loss was the Junior Warriors’ 10th in 11 games. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME UST 54 – Cansino 20, Baquial 9, Fornillos 7, Narvasa 7, Balingit 4, Ian 4, Morales 2, Vince 1, Dela Cruz 0, Ratuiste 0, Juan 0, Ballada 0, Villapando 0 FEU-DILIMAN 52 – Torres 9, Gloria 9, Sapinit 9, Baclay 7, Gabane 6, Gonzales 6, Celzo 2, Alforque Roy 2, Jabel 2, Roman 0, Abarrientos 0, Bieren 0, Alforque Ram 0, Boc 0 QUARTER SCORES: 12-9, 22-22, 36-36, 54-52 SECOND GAME NU 107 – Clemente 15, Amsali 14, Tolentino 12, Penano 10, Panginlinan 10, Malonzo 10, Callejo 10, Peralta 6, Atienza 4, Coyoca 4, Dela Cruz 4, Mosqueda 4, Fortea 2, Sarip 2, Manalang 0 UE 56 – Dulalia 20, Vinte 14, Gonzales 7, Manaug 5, Angeles 5, Acuesta 5, Balundo 0, Ramos 0, Canton 0, Cruz 0, Domingo 0, Encelan 0, Po 0 QUARTER SCORES: 30-9, 60-16, 81-41, 107-56 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2017

After good start, time for Balotelli to score away from home

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — It is about time for Mario Balotelli to start scoring away from home. The Italian striker's return from suspension is much needed for Nice, which faces a difficult match at Bastia on Friday after losing ground last weekend. Nice unexpectedly dropped points by drawing 0-0 against struggling Metz, and Balotelli's absence — through suspension — was felt. The draw played into the hands of free-scoring Monaco, which moved to the top on goal difference, and defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, now only three points behind. Nice will be stronger with Balotelli leading the line, considering he averages nearly a goal a game since joining on a free transfer from Liverpool in the offseason. But the worrying statistic for Nice is that his eight league goals — and nine of the 10 he has scored overall — have all been at home. When Nice plays at home, it often dominates possession through its slick midfield and Balotelli, with his outstanding ability to hold the ball up, is regularly involved in the quick and neat approach play. It's a different story away from home, where Balotelli often drifts in and out of position as he roams for space to create opportunities out of nothing. Nice coach Lucien Favre needs Balotelli to be at his disciplined best on Friday, rather than in improvisational mode. Balotelli, who has a long history of controversy on and off the field, will also have to keep this cool. Although Bastia is only one place above the relegation zone, the Corsican side is always fiercely motivated at home, where the passionate locals at the compact 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari Stadium reserve their most vitriolic and hostile welcomes for southern clubs Nice and Marseille, and for PSG. Because of the seething animosity between Bastia and Nice fans — there have been violent clashes in the past — France's Interior Ministry decreed a ban on travelling fans. Any daring Nice fans trying to circumnavigate the ban will be prevented from trying to reach the island of Corsica either by sea — via the ports of Nice, Marseille and Toulon — or by air. Nice deplored the ban, which it says 'automatically deprives its fans of passion for the umpteenth time.' Favre, who took charge in the offseason after leaving German side Borussia Moenchengladbach, is bracing himself for a heated encounter. 'There's always something special about this game, so I've been told,' said Favre, who replaced Claude Puel after he joined Premier League club Southampton. 'In football, you always have commitment, headers, tackles. It's part of the game, if it's fair. It's up to us to react properly. You must control your emotions.' ___ GOALS GALORE Lorient's players can hardly be looking forward to the trip to play Monaco, given how many goals the French leaders are scoring. Last weekend's 4-1 rout of Marseille made it 60 league goals in 20 games — comfortably more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues — and 86 in 33 games overall this season. Bad news for Lorient, which is languishing in 19th place and has conceded 39 goals — more than any other team in the league. Monaco must be relieved it did not sell Colombian striker Radamel Falcao after he spent two unsuccessful seasons on loan at Manchester United and Chelsea as he fought back from a serious injury. Falcao has been an inspirational captain, scoring eight in the past seven games and 17 in all competitions this season. Behind him and strike partner Valere Germain, the midfield quartet of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Fabinho, Thomas Lemar and Bernardo Silva is striking a good balance. Bakayoko and Fabinho do much of the holding work, thus freeing up the skillful Lemar and the quick Silva to roam free. They were unstoppable against Marseille, with Lemar scoring an audacious lob and Silva netting twice. ___ A TIGHTER DEFENSE PSG is looking for a fifth straight win when it travels to play Nantes on Saturday. Following a rocky spell just before the mid-season winter break, PSG has won its two league games and two cup games since without fuss and without conceding a goal. But Nantes could be a different proposition, especially given how well the team is playing under coach Sergio Conceicao. Wednesday's 1-0 win over Caen was the sixth in seventh games since the former Portugal winger took charge in early December. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Ryan leads Falcons to NFC title game, beating Seattle 36-20

PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer br /> ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan looked very much like an MVP and the Atlanta Falcons are headed to the NFC championship game. Ryan threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Falcons to a 36-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round Saturday. Atlanta will face either the Dallas Cowboys or the Green Bay Packers, who meet Sunday in the NFC's other divisional game. After the Seahawks zipped down the field for a touchdown on the opening possession, Atlanta's young defense largely shut down Russell Wilson & Co. the rest of the way. Ryan and the high-scoring Falcons took it from there — getting a huge boost from a holding penalty that wiped out an 80-yard punt return by Devin Hester. Ryan hooked up with Julio Jones on a 7-yard touchdown and Tevin Coleman for a 14-yard score before finishing off the Seahawks with a 3-yard toss to Mohamed Sanu in the corner of the end zone with just under 4 minutes remaining, sparking a raucous chant of 'MVP! MVP! MVP!' from a Georgia Dome crowd that stood most of the game, giving the Falcons the sort of home-field advantage that Seattle is used to having at the Link. Before a foot injury limited him in the second half, Jones made life miserable for Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, who got away with an apparent pass interference penalty on Atlanta's star receiver when the teams met during the regular season, preserving a 26-24 victory for the Seahawks. Jones was targeted eight times, coming up with six receptions for 67 yards to set a tone that Atlanta would not be intimidate by the Legion of Boom. But, as usual, Ryan spread the ball around to everyone. Speedy Taylor Gabriel had a 37-yard reception. Running back Devonta Freeman slipped out of the backfield to haul in a 53-yard pass, putting a dazzling fake on replacement free safety Steven Terrell right in the middle of the field. In all, eight players caught passes for Atlanta. For only the fourth time in their 51-year history, the Falcons (12-5) will be playing for the conference title and a spot in the Super Bowl. They made their only Super Bowl appearance during the 1998 season, falling to Denver in John Elway's final game, and lost in the NFC title game during the 2004 and 2012 seasons. The Seahawks (11-6-1) couldn't follow up a dominating win over Detroit in the opening round, the game turning dramatically on a holding penalty in the second quarter that wiped out Hester's return to the Atlanta 7. Instead of having first-and-goal and a chance to extend a 10-7 lead, Seattle was backed up to its 7. After Thomas Rawls was thrown for a 3-yard loss, Wilson attempted to drop back for a pass. One problem: rookie right guard Rees Odhiambo, taking over after Germain Ifedi was injured, stepped back onto Wilson's foot, sending the quarterback tumbling down in the end zone. Ben Garland fell on Wilson for a safety that turned the momentum Atlanta's way. Matt Bryant's 35-yard field goal put the Falcons ahead to stay, and the home team closed out the first half with a 99-yard drive touchdown that was extended by Sanu's brilliant, one-handed catch for 22 yards with Jeremy Lane grabbing at his arm. After getting beat on Seattle's first possession, an Atlanta defense featuring four rookies and a bunch of second-year players limited the Seahawks to a pair of a field goals before giving up a meaningless 31-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin in the closing minutes. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

The Beermen are an underrated defensive juggernaut

A common misconception about the San Miguel Beermen is that they simply outscore their opponents to death by virtue of their awesome star power. However, the Beermen are simply not built that way or rather, SMB is simply not programmed to play just to overpower opponents offensively. The reigning two-time Philippine Cup titleholders are actually a stout defensive squad. Defense wins championships after all. The Beermen proved it Sunday against Ginebra, holding their sister team to only 70 points and coming out with a gutsy win. 'I think playing defense is always been part of our forte I want to say,' point guard Alex Cabagnot expressed after his team's sixth straight win. 'It's one of the things we do well with three of the best defensive players in Chris Ross, June Mar, and Arwind out there. We're really a defensive team, it just doesn't get noticed because we make a lot of baskets,' he added after leading the champs with 16 points despite still playing with a broken nose. With a tough, grind-it-out game against the Gin Kings, the Beermen are also absorbing every bit of lessons they can get in order to keep their edge against other teams. Because in some cases, you can actually win and learn at the same time. 'Some games naman like that you gotta actually learn from it, win or lose. We have to go back and use it as a reference, hopefully in the end stay ahead of the learning curve,' Cabagnot said. br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Motiejunas' new mission with the Pelicans: Get Davis open

em>By Brett Martel, Associated Press /em> METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Donatas Motiejunas, the Pelicans' new seven-footer, might sound delusional to more cynical NBA observers. Two of the first topics Motiejunas discussed after his first practice with the Pelicans on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) were the health of his back and the Pelicans' playoff prospects, offering rosy outlooks on both fronts. 'I'm going to prove it when I get on the floor,' Motiejunas said when asked about fighting the perception that he's been damaged goods since back surgery near the end of the 2014-15 season. 'I don't see an issue to fighting through this.' The versatile Lithuanian, who has left and right post-up moves, hits about 31 percent of his three-point attempts and draws praise for his passing ability, also sees himself as a boost to the Pelicans' playoff chances. New Orleans is eight games below .500 (14-22), but sat just two games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot heading into Wednesday night's (Thursday, PHL time) NBA slate. When Motiejunas was asked whether he saw his stint with the Pelicans, which will pay him a pro-rated veteran minimum of about $600,000, as an audition for when he becomes a free agent again next summer, he answered by talking about team goals. 'I'm here to help the team win. I'm not here to look at my personal stats,' Motiejunas said. 'If this team is going to make the playoffs and I'm going to help them, it's going to put my value up regardless.' Motiejunas later added, 'As long as we're going to stay healthy, this team right now can make a big push.' A handful of teams expressed interest in signing Motiejunas, who has played four seasons in the NBA with Houston, averaging 7.8 points and four rebounds. They were all offering about the same pay because most teams at this point in the season are restricted to paying the NBA minimum for new free-agent acquisitions. Gentry said the Pelicans had internal discussions about trading for Motiejunas last year and were pleased to be able to get him now in a low-risk, free-agent deal. Gentry said the presence of Anthony Davis and up-tempo, evenly spaced offense the Pelicans run appealed to Motiejunas. 'The opportunity to play alongside a great player — obviously it makes the game easier,' Gentry said. 'The system that we run is something that was appealing to him.' And for New Orleans, having a big-man with passing skills and shooting range helps Davis because he 'can take away some of the potential double-teams' that Davis might otherwise see. Indeed, Motiejunas said his mission is to help Davis 'get wide open shots.' 'I'm a creator,' Motiejunas said. 'I can take the ball to the paint, force the defense to collapse on me and dish the ball to [Davis], and without a lot of energy waste he can get an easy bucket.' The Pelicans have used a smaller, quicker lineup recently with the 6’11” Davis at center. It has paid off in the form of five victories in seven games. Gentry said Motiejunas will likely play center, but his ability to run and pass means a lineup shift, with Davis moving back to power forward, should not disrupt the rhythm with which New Orleans has played lately. Davis agreed, saying Motiejunas has 'a high basketball IQ, but the thing that stands out to me the most is his ability to pass. ... It gives me another opportunity to get out on the floor and roam, step out and shoot the ball, or be able to attack more.' As a restricted free agent last offseason, Motiejunas signed an offer sheet from Brooklyn worth about $36 million over four years. Houston initially sought to match it, but ultimately allowed the 26-year-old to become an unrestricted free agent after negotiations broke down, in part because of the player's history with back injuries. He played in only 37 games last season, but also only missed one regular season game after Feb. 27 and played in five playoff games. Motiejunas said he's been working out on his own in Vancouver the past five months and is in 'really good shape.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

One Team, Three Stats: Warriors' defense takes a step back

One Team, Three Stats: Warriors' defense takes a step back.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2016

Lots of points, lots of dunks, not a lot of All-Star defense

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> NEW ORLEANS (AP) — It was the fourth quarter of the All-Star Game, and a few fans started yelling loudly enough for DeAndre Jordan to hear them from his spot on the Western Conference bench. Their cry: 'De-fense! De-fense!' Jordan's shout back: 'No, no, no!' The moment was both hilarious and fitting. Defense was in short supply on Sunday night during the NBA's showcase game, one where Anthony Davis smashed a 55-year-old record with 52 points and the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 192-182. And it prompted some questions afterward on whether the glorified exhibition really needs to see at least the appearance of defense return. 'All-Star is about offense and giving the crowd a show, but if they want to see a little more defense as fans and everything — I mean, nobody wants to go out here and get hurt,' said Davis, the game's MVP in his home arena. 'It's all about fun. ... I love it. I don't really care. I'll go out there and have fun. I didn't play any defense.' Few did. There were 33 steals in the game, sure, but most of those were the byproduct of bad passes than picked pockets. There were 16 fouls, mainly ones players were taking to stop the clock and allow substitutions; only four were of the shooting variety. Stephen Curry laid down on the court at one point while Giannis Antetokounmpo was driving in for what became one of his 12 dunks. 'I'm going to play hard no matter what,' Antetokounmpo said. 'That's the only thing I know how to do.' Davis took 39 shots, making 26, both of those now All-Star records. The game also established records for total points (384), most field goals (162), most assists (103), most assists by one team (West with 60), most points in one quarter (101, first) and so on. The East set a rather dubious record, establishing a new high score by a losing team for the third consecutive season. Put simply, it's not a real game, and real-game thinking doesn't apply. LeBron James made a shot from nearly half-court, something he would never try in a competitive situation. He loves defense. He wasn't missing it on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). 'I think the biggest thing coming out of the game is that everybody leaves injury-free,' James said. 'We gave the fans what they wanted to see and everyone left injury-free. Another successful All-Star weekend for myself and everyone.' West coach Steve Kerr said he and East coach Brad Stevens had jobs on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) akin to the person who played the role of the title character in 'Weekend at Bernie's,' that being a deceased man who gets dragged from place to place and propped up to somehow give others the illusion that he's still actually alive. Kerr's point: How All-Star games are played isn't up to the coaches, but rather it'll be the players who decide if they want defense back. 'It would be good to possibly incentivize the guys somehow,' Kerr said. 'I don't know if you can maybe get their charities involved or winner-take-all type thing, but I think it's possible to play a lot harder without taking a charge. We know what silly is out there, if you're undercutting guys, but it's almost gone too far the other way where there's just no resistance at all. I think there's a happy medium in there somewhere.' East guard Kyrie Irving expects that the game will change. Like many, he said avoiding injury in the All-Star Game is paramount and that's certainly understandable. But he also expressed a wish that the games had a bit more of a competitive aspect. 'I think going forward, the All-Star experience will probably get a little harder in terms of defense,' Irving said. Down the stretch, the East did apparently try to raise the defensive bar. Stevens said it was discussed in the fourth quarter, with hopes of putting the East in position to win the game. He almost sounded disappointed in how the flow went. 'We talked about trying to get back in it at the end and talked about how, obviously, the one way to do that is keep people in front of you,' Stevens said. 'But, no, it probably should have been a bigger emphasis in retrospect now.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News19 hr. 14 min. ago

Messi's 90th minute penalty give Barcelona win over Leganes

JOSEPH WILSON, Associated Press br /> BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored a 90th-minute penalty for his second goal of the night to give Barcelona a 2-1 win over lowly Leganes in the Spanish league on Sunday. Messi's spot-kick, following a questionable penalty after Neymar tumbled in the area, saved Barcelona from a second demoralizing result this week after a 4-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday. Coach Luis Enrique, however, acknowledged that the match was far from uplifting for a team that is staring at elimination from European competition and is trailing Real Madrid in La Liga. 'We foresaw that it could be a complicated match given where we were coming from in the Champions League,' said Luis Enrique, who has been heavily criticized for the loss at PSG. 'Everything was difficult for us, and that after having scored at the start. It's clear we were lacking confidence for stretches. The game was finally decided by a penalty, but considering how we are right now, we will take it.' Leganes was clinging to a well-deserved point when Neymar stumbled over Martin Mantovani in the area. The contact was enough to secure a penalty and Messi's league-leading 19th goal of the season. The match couldn't have started better for the hosts, when Messi tapped in Luis Suarez's cross after just four minutes. But Leganes, a modest club from Madrid that earned topflight promotion for the first time last season, never lost its poise and threatened whenever it emerged from defending its area. Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen had to make four saves of goal-bound strikes before Leganes's Unai Lopez got one past him for the equalizer in the 71st. 'We wanted to leave here reinforced either way, with points or thanks to our showing,' Leganes coach Asier Garitano said. 'We didn't get the points, but I think we leave bolstered by the match. We competed well.' While Barcelona remained one point behind leader Real Madrid— which has two games in hand, few of its fans will take much solace from the drab performance against a side making its first visit to Camp Nou. Barcelona had romped to a 5-1 victory at Leganes earlier this season, but this time around Leganes was by no means intimidated by Europe's biggest stadium. It remained disciplined in defense despite falling behind early and knew when to take its chances going forward. Winter signing Nabil El Zhar was particularly dangerous. The attacking midfielder tested Ter Stegen three times before Miguel Guerrero cued the equalizer when he stole the ball from right back Sergi Roberto. Lopez then fired a shot past Ter Stegen after fellow substitute Darwin Machis found him arriving unmarked inside the box. 'The match was a difficult one,' Ter Stegen said. 'It has been a complicated week. I hope these three points can lift our spirits.' ___ VALENCIA 2, ATHLETIC BILBAO 0 The playmaking of new arrival Fabian Orellana inspired Valencia to a much-needed victory. The former Celta Vigo midfielder passed for Nani to score before he then combined to help Simone Zaza get his first goal for Valencia since also joining the club last month. Bilbao was left with 10 men from the 56th minute when substitute Aritz Aduriz was injured three minutes after coming on. Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde was unable to replace him because he had made all three substitutions. Valencia's first win in four rounds comes three days before hosting Madrid. __ REAL SOCIEDAD 0, VILLARREAL 1 A stoppage-time goal by Samuel Castillejo snatched Villarreal a win at Real Sociedad as the 'Yellow Submarine' rebounded from its 4-0 loss to Roma in the Europa League's round-of-32 first leg. Sociedad and Villarreal remained in fifth and sixth place, respectively. ___ CELTA VIGO 3, OSASUNA 0 Giuseppe Rossi helped Celta Vigo beat bottom-side Osasuna with a deft touch of his heel to set up Pione Sisto for the opening goal. Jozabed Sanchez struck in the 87th before passing for fellow substitute Iago Aspas to chip in his 12th goal of the season. Osasuna's winless streak reached 15 rounds as the Pamplona-based side fell eight points from safety. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 20th, 2017

Leipzig beats 'Gladbach 2-1, cuts Bayern's Bundesliga lead

CIARAN FAHEY, Associated Press br /> BERLIN (AP) — Leipzig held on for a 2-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach to cut Bayern Munich's lead in the Bundesliga to five points on Sunday. Emil Forsberg scored one and set up another for the promoted side to end its two-game losing streak and stay on course for Champions League qualification with its 14th win of the season. 'We showed that we're ready to get momentum behind us,' Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl said. 'Gladbach 'keeper Yann Sommer pulled off a brilliant fingertip save to deny Marcel Sabitzer early on, but he was powerless to stop Forsberg from breaking the deadlock after half an hour played. Sabitzer and Timo Werner played their way through the static 'Gladbach defense and Werner laid the ball off for the Sweden midfielder to fire inside the bottom left corner. The home side was given a lifeline when Marvin Compper brought down Lars Stindl and referee Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot, but Peter Gulacsi saved Thorgan Hazard's penalty before the break. More poor defending allowed Werner grab the second 10 minutes after the break, firing inside the far post after Forsberg played him through. Jannik Vestergaard pulled one back with a powerful header from a corner to set up an exciting finale. However, six minutes of injury time were not enough for an equalizer. 'Leipzig weren't better, they were more effective,' 'Gladbach coach Dieter Hecking said. 'We simply have to be more forceful.' Leipzig had kicked off to a chorus of whistles from the home fans, who then mostly stayed silent till the 19th minute in protest against the visiting side. Huge banners in the north stand said 'Traditional club since 1900' - an apparent protest against Leipzig, founded in 2009 when Austrian energy-drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz rebranded a fifth-tier team with his company's livery before financing its steady promotion through the lower leagues. ___ COLOGNE 1, SCHALKE 1 Cologne stopped Schalke's progress but the point was enough for the visiting side to overtake 'Gladbach on goal difference in 10th. Alessandro Schoepf got the visitors off to a flying start in the second minute with the help of the left post, and Leon Goretzka hit the post after half an hour with the home side still struggling to get into the game. But Anthony Modeste equalized before the break with a fine strike inside the far post, and might even have scored again just minutes later, when his hesitation allowed Benedikt Hoewedes get back and clear. Guido Burgstaller came closest to a winner for Schalke in the second half, his shot just wide of the far post after beating the goalkeeper. 'With a bit of luck we would have won the game. Unfortunately the ball just went a couple of centimeters past,' Burgstaller said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 20th, 2017

Casambre scores as UP slips by UST for third straight win

Azkal call-up Marco Casambre scored the first goal in his UAAP career to help defending champions University of the Philippines get past University of Santo Tomas, 1-0, in UAAP men’s football action, Sunday at the FEU-Fern football field in FEU Diliman.  It took only 14 minutes for UP to get on the board as Miggy Clarino found Casambre for the early conversion.  That would set the tone, as UST tried to play catch-up for the rest of the match, pushing their offense but ultimately unable to find holes in the UP defense.  The Maroons on the other hand, tried to add on to their lead, with sophomore King Miyagi and skipper Daniel Gadia getting good looks and nearly adding more points to the UP scoreboard.  While UP has won three straight, head coach Anto Gonzales was less than ecstatic with his team’s performance for the afternoon.  “Poor game.” Gonzales said without hesitation after the match. “Had some players who really didin’t perform up to their standard. Just overall a poor performance from the group.”  “Three straight wins, it’s just a number, what’s more important is the performance,” Gonzales added. “We got our third straight win today, but we can’t be happy with how we played.”  Gonzales did give props to Casambre, who ended up scoring the lone, game-deciding goal.  'Among the back for today, he was the only one who performed.'  For his part, Casambre was quite happy with his first UAAP career goal. 'Sobrang saya ko siyempre, first time ko maka-goal sa UAAP, tsaka ako lang yung naka-goal eh, so malaking bagay yun para sa akin tsaka para sa team.' UP improves to three wins and one draw for ten points in the season and they move into solo second place for now as they build momentum heading into their highly-anticipated matchup with the red-hot Ateneo de Manila squad, who have won their first five games of the season.  That matchup takes place on Sunday, February 26th, 2:00 PM at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 19th, 2017

Hotshots regain control of Manila Clasico, one win away from Finals

The only thing cooking in Game 5 of the Manila Clasico semifinals was Star's offense. Using a big mid-game effort, the Hotshots regained control of their best-of-7 Philippine Cup semifinal series against Brgy. Ginebra after a crucial 89-80 win Friday at the MOA Arena. Star outscored the Gin Kings, 50-33, in the second and third quarters to snap a two-game slide and put up a 3-2 lead in the race to four. The Hotshots particularly did the most damage in the third period, turning a four-point halftime lead into a 16-point advantage entering the last 12 minutes. It was enough to hold off a Ginebra uprising in the fourth quarter. 'It's all about team effort,' head coach Chito Victolero said. 'My players refused to lose. We gathered together, we stayed positive although [we had a] two-game losing streak.' 'We committed. We will focus, no distractions. [We] played hard and [we] played to win,' he added. After losing a 2-0 lead, the Hotshots rediscovered their fiery form to move to within one win of making it back to the Philippine Cup Finals. Rafi Reavis had his second big game of this series, going for 17 points and 13 rebounds in an impressive performance as the team's anchor. Mark Barroca added 12 points and sevem assists while Paul Lee and Allein Maliksi were good for 10 points apiece. Ginebra, who actually led after the first period, only had one player in double figures as the team's offensive struggles, largely due to Star's tight defense, came to haunt them again. Japeth Aguilar scored 13 points while Sol Mercado, Mark Caguioa, and Chris Ellis accounted for nine each. Game 6 is set for Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.   br /> The scores: STAR 89 - Reavis 17, Barroca 12, Lee 10, Maliksi 10, Simon 8, Brondial 8, Melton 7, Pingris 6, Sangalang 5, Jalalon 2, Ramos 2, Dela Rosa 2. GINEBRA 80 - Aguilar 13, Mercado 9, Ellis 9, Caguioa 9, Helterbrand 6, Cruz 6, Taha 5, Thompson 5, Tenorio 5, Ferrer 4, Mariano 4, Marcelo 3, Devance 2. Quarterscores: 21-22, 49-45, 71-55, 89-80 br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2017

AP Exclusive: Wolves owner says playoffs priority this year

JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Basketball Writer br /> MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves enter the All-Star break in 13th place in the muddled Western Conference, seemingly faced with two options. They can try to chase down the eighth seed and make the playoffs, with the Denver Nuggets just 3 1/2 games ahead of them. Or they could turn their eyes toward the lottery, either using a higher draft pick to add another talented young player or as an asset to move this summer in a quest for an accomplished veteran to complement a promising trio of young stars. For Wolves owner Glen Taylor, president and coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden, there is no debate. 'We're all of the same mind, to get in, get the experience,' Taylor told The Associated Press. 'Just the winning of games to try to get there is worth it. Our guys can't see anything positive about losing games. They must win games, and then if we can win enough to get into the playoffs, that in and of itself would be a major step for our young players.' The Timberwolves (22-35) have shrugged off a lousy start to show signs of improvement over the last 30 games, but there is an awful lot of work to do. Five teams are ahead of them in the race for a likely first-round date with the Golden State Warriors, and the young Wolves are still trying to get a firm grasp on Thibodeau's defensive system. Making it more daunting, Zach LaVine had surgery on a torn ACL on Tuesday and will miss the next nine months. That leaves 21-year-old Karl-Anthony Towns and 22-year-old Andrew Wiggins to carry the load, barring a trade before the Feb. 23 deadline. In the last two games before the break — a loss to Cleveland and a win at Denver — Wiggins became the second player in franchise history to score at least 40 points in back-to-back games. Towns has solidified himself as one of the best young big men in the game, averaging 28.4 points and 11.4 rebounds in the seven games since LaVine was injured. 'We're on the right path,' Wiggins said after the loss to the Cavs. 'We've done a lot of good things. There's still some stuff everyone needs to work on, but we've done some good things.' The Timberwolves are 11th in the league in offensive rating, but 23rd in defensive rating, a point of consternation for Thibodeau, who is known as one of the best defensive tacticians in the league. And a 6-18 start to the season put them in a deep hole. The Wolves are 11-9 in their last 20 games, but still on pace for about 31 wins, which would be just a two-win increase over last year's team coached by Sam Mitchell. 'I thought with (Thibodeau's) experience and his mentoring, it would push it along a little faster,' Taylor said. 'And it hasn't gone as fast as we hoped. But I appreciate that he's looking at the long run. He came here to be the coach for the long run. We hired him for the long run. And we've got players that we anticipate will be here for a long time.' While disappointed in the win total, Taylor said he was bullish on the direction of the franchise. 'I'm happy with my coach. I'm happy with the general manager. They're being very patient working through this,' Taylor said. 'On the other side, I was hopeful that we would have more wins.' The one thing that appears to be missing is a strong, veteran, defensive-minded presence to hold things together when the young guys either get too excited or lose focus. 'I know the guys will look at other alternatives, but I also know them well enough that they aren't going to do something foolish,' Taylor said of the looming trade deadline. 'They aren't going to do something that would hurt the team in the long run just to make us look good in the short run. This is a long-run game for all of us.' Taylor has thrown millions into a new practice facility that opened two years ago and a renovation to Target Center that began before the season started. He has also added two minority owners to strengthen his financial position, hired a new CEO in Ethan Casson and has been pleased with the developments on the business side of his operations. 'They can see I'm committed for the long run and we're making investments back into the team and building for the long run,' Taylor said. 'I think we've done all of those things. The only thing that hasn't lived up to our expectations is the number of wins I would've hoped we'd have to this point.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2017

Hawkeyes fly higher with fourth win in a row

Cignal-San Beda College bucked its poor start before cruising to a 109-79 victory over Blustar Detergent to rack its fourth straight win Thursday in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup at the Ynares Arena in Pasig. Robert Bolick anchored the Hawkeyes as he dropped all of his 15 points in the middle quarters to help his team pull away for good. He also had four rebounds and three assists as Cignal improved to 4-1 and grabbed a share of second-place alongside CafeFrance. Byron Villarias also added 15 markers on 3-of-6 shooting from threes while Davon Potts had 13 points. 'We tried to give everybody a chance to start. We played well in the first quarter, but the problem was we were not making our shots,' said coach Boyet Fernandez. 'Credit to the boys who played in the end of the second quarter and really played defense. They really wanted to play and that's where the lead extended to 14.' Cignal went to work in the middle periods, firing a 28-point second quarter to establish a 47-33 halftime advantage before pulling away in the third frame, 77-56. The lead extended to as high as 34, 104-69, thanks to a Radge Tongco floater with 2:21 remaining. Tristan Perez topped winless Blustar (0-4) with 29 points and three rebounds while Jason Melano unloaded 15 markers and five boards. In the first game, Victoria Sports-MLQU nailed its breakthrough win, shocking Jose Rizal University, 76-66. Robbie Herndon took charge for his side, pouring eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, including the back-to-back fadeaway jumpers in the final minute to seal the deal late. He also grabbed four rebounds. Aris Dionisio corralled a double-double with his 20 markers, 13 boards, and four blocks while Chris Bitoon poured 12 points, four assists, and two rebounds. 'I just told my guys to work hard every game because every game, we're getting better. We shouldn't mind our losses. The important thing is our improvement,' said coach Jino Manansala. Victoria Sports improved to a 1-4 slate while sending JRU to its third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. Behind Herndon, Victoria Sports gained control early and even took a 12-point edge, 50-38 thanks to a pair of Bitoon freebies with 4:42 left in the third frame. Jhaps Bautista led the Heavy Bombers fightback in the payoff period, commandeering an 11-0 tear to give JRU a 60-58 lead. But Dionisio snatched the lead back to Victoria, dropping six straight points, to give his team a 68-62 lead with 3:17 remaining. Bautista topped JRU with 20 points and eight rebounds while Teytey Teodoro had 16. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME VICTORIA SPORTS 76 - Herndon 22, Dionisio 20, Bitoon 12, Lao 5, Sorela 5, Koga 4, Grimaldo 3, Mag-isa 3, Nicholls 2, Butron 0, Ragasa 0. JRU 66 - Bautista 20, Teodoro 16, Pontejos 10, Poutouochi 8, Dela Virgen 6, Ambulodto 2, Grospe 2, Lasquety 2, Escosio 0, Estrella 0, Sawat 0. QUARTER SCORES: 17-17, 40-36, 58-49, 76-66. SECOND GAME CIGNAL 109 - Bolick 15, Villarias 15, Potts 13, Adamos 10, Bringas 9, Mocon 9, Tongco 8, Perkins 7, Arong 6, Bahio 6, Raymundo 4, Arboleda 3, Batino 2, Oftana 2. BLUSTAR 79 - Perez 29, Melano 15, Kwaan 9, Ang 7, Liaw 6, Mak 6, Heng 3, Choong 2, Ong 2, Chin 0. QUARTER SCORES: 19-18, 47-33, 77-56, 109-79. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2017

Thompson scores 35 to lead Warriors past Kings, 109-86

em>By Michael Wagaman, Associated Press /em> OAKLAND, Calif. -- Klay Thompson scored 10 of his 35 points during a big third-quarter run and the Golden State Warriors beat the Sacramento Kings 109-86 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Stephen Curry added 13 points and nine assists, and Kevin Durant had 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as the Warriors bounced back from a loss in Denver two nights earlier to head into the All-Star break an NBA-best 47-9. Thompson, Curry and Durant will represent the Western Conference in Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) All-Star Game at New Orleans, along with teammate Draymond Green, who was ejected after picking up consecutive technical fouls in the second quarter. DeMarcus Cousins, who will also play for Golden State coach Steve Kerr and the West, had 13 points and six assists for Sacramento. Matt Barnes added 15 points and Darren Collison scored 14. Golden State looked like a team that could use the break before scoring 22 straight points in the third quarter to pull away. Thompson, who topped 30 points for the fifth time this season, made a pair of three-pointers and had two steals during the spurt. Durant added four points and Curry made a triple, then later lobbed a short pass to JaVale McGee for a dunk. Durant added his own signature dunk in the fourth quarter to extend the margin to 101-69. That was in sharp contrast to how poorly Kerr's team played earlier in the game. The Warriors led for most of the first half before coming unraveled late and giving up seven consecutive points to end the second quarter. Green's ejection was symptomatic of Golden State's sluggish start. He was hit with back-to-back technicals with 35.7 seconds left after being called for a foul on Cousins. The Kings, who beat the Warriors in overtime on Feb. 4 (Feb. 5, PHL time), couldn't capitalize and were outscored 42-15 in the third quarter. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Kings: /strong> /em> Sacramento made five three-pointers in the first quarter but went 2-of-15 from beyond the arc after that. Aaron Afflalo started but did not play in the second half due to a hamstring injury. He had four points and two assists. em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em>Green's ejection was his first of the season. Curry came from behind to block a shot by Sacramento seven-footer Willie Cauley-Stein with 1.9 seconds left in the first quarter. It was only Curry's 10th block of the season. Zaza Pachulia (strained right rotator cuff) and David West (thumb) could rejoin the team for practice Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) when Golden State returns from the break. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Kings: /strong> /em>Host the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 23 (Feb. 24, PHL time) in a key matchup between teams currently fighting for eighth place in the West. em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em>Go for their 10th consecutive win over the Clippers on Feb. 23 (Feb. 24, PHL time) at Oracle Arena. Golden State has won all three meetings this season. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2017

Wiggins' 40 points leads T-Wolves over Nuggets 112-99

By Arnie Melendrez Stapleton, Associated Press DENVER (AP) -- Andrew Wiggins scored 40 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 24 points and 18 rebounds in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 112-99 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Wiggins' second 40-plus game in 24 hours helped the Timberwolves split the season series with the Nuggets, whom they're chasing for the eighth playoff spot in the West. Before tip-off, Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau spoke about the danger of checking out mentally before the final game leading up to the All-Star break. He suggested focus was paramount in a game like this because 'mentally if you go on the break before the break comes, it's a problem.' It wasn't for Minnesota, which bounced back nicely from a 116-108 loss to LeBron James and the Cavs on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) when Wiggins scored 41. The Nuggets went cold 48 hours after blowing out Golden State behind an NBA record-tying 24 three-pointers on 40 tries. They made just 11-of-34 from long range this time, and Nicola Jokic shot just 6-of-19 from the floor for 15 hard-earned points. The Nuggets missed a half dozen reverse layups and even a breakaway dunk. That embarrassment, by Gary Harris, who led Denver with 22 points, came during an 11-2 spurt spanning the third and fourth quarters that helped Minnesota build an 11-point cushion and take control for good. The Nuggets couldn't match their sharpshooting or their energy they had 48 hours earlier when they walloped the Warriors 132-110 despite missing six players, including three starters. Those three -- Danilo Gallinari (groin), Emmanuel Mudiay (back) and Kenneth Faried (ankle) -- also sat out this game, along with sixth man Wilson Chandler, who missed his second straight game due to illness. Mason Plumlee, acquired for Jusuf Nurkic on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), made his debut, starting alongside Jokic in the frontcourt. He had 11 points and nine rebounds. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Timberwolves: /strong> /em>Wiggins shot 10-of-14 in the first half. Minnesota is 3-4 since losing Zach LaVine, the team's third-leading scorer, is underwent surgery on his left knee Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) to repair an ACL he tore Feb. 3 (Feb. 4, PHL time) at Detroit. em> strong>Nuggets: /strong> /em> Denver had just six first-half three-pointers after piling up 16 by halftime against the Warriors. Jokic had one of them. He was the only player on the Nuggets who didn't fire up a long-range shot in Denver's record-tying performance against Golden State. strong>ALL-STAR REPRESENTATOIN: /strong> Jokic was selected Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) to replace injured Joel Embiid at the Taco Bell Skills Challenge on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in New Orleans. Jokic is one of just five players averaging 16 points, 8.5 rebounds and four assists. Among second-year players, Jokic ranks second in rebounding, third in assists and fourth in scoring. 'I'm just kind of perplexed why it took so long,' Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. 'That would be my question. I don't know if many people in the NBA office have been watching the Denver Nuggets play. But I'm happy that they [saw fit] to recognize that and allow him to be the replacement.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Timberwolves: /strong> /em> On Feb. 24 (Feb. 25, PHL time) host Dallas following the All-Star break. em> strong>Nuggets: /strong> /em> On Feb. 23 (Feb. 24, PHL time) visit Sacramento to open post-break play. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2017

Whiteside helps Heat beat Rockets 117-109

em>By Jordan Godwin, Associated Press /em> HOUSTON (AP) -- Hassan Whiteside had 23 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks to help the Miami Heat beat the Houston Rockets 117-109 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Dion Waiters added 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Goran Dragic had 21 points for the Heat, who ended a two-game skid that followed a 13-game win streak. Miami got back to winning by defeating the same team where that long winning streak started Jan. 17 (Jan. 18, PHL time). James Harden had 38 points 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his 15th triple-double of the season to lead the Rockets, who lost for the second time in seven games. Miami shot 13-for-35 on three-pointers, while Houston was 13-for-40. The Rockets' defense struggled without guard Patrick Beverley, who suffered a strained groin early in the second quarter. His backup, Corey Brewer, played 27 minutes and finished with four points. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2017

BLOGTABLE: How will Kevin Love's injury affect Cleveland Cavaliers?

em> blogtable /em> Cleveland's Kevin Love is out for at least six weeks after knee surgery. How significant is this for the Cavaliers? For the rest of the Eastern Conference? strong>David Aldridge: /strong> Very significant, for one reason: LeBron James's load is only going to get larger. James is in Alpha Male mode when anyone asks him about his minutes these days, but the reality is that while he's just 32-years-old chronologically, he's logged the minute load of a 35-or 36-year-old during his amazing career, when you add all the playoffs/Finals games, and the three Olympic Games and practices.  At present (this could obviously change at any minute), there's not an obvious choice on the roster who could step in at the four and provide the rebounding that Love does. Channing Frye was brought in last season to space the floor, not pound the glass, and newly signed Derrick Williams has never averaged more than 5.5 rebounds per game in his career. There is an argument to be made that it might make more sense for Williams to be put in the starting lineup so that the existing bench minutes and rotation can stay intact, but that would impact the starters' continuity. The only logical move is for James to play more minutes at the four (some of us have argued that's his best position, anyway), which means more banging in the post and more hard minutes for LBJ. Does that mean there's a glimmer of vulnerability in the Cavs for the likes of Boston, Washington and Toronto? A teeny tiny glimmer, maybe. But as long as Love is healthy and ready for the postseason, the Cavs are still prohibitive favorites in the East. strong>Steve Aschburner: /strong>More significant for the rest of the East, at least among the undifferentiated pack of playoff aspirants long considered to be marking time until another Cleveland coronation. If the stated timetable holds, Love would return to tune up in the last couple weeks of the regular season, then have another 10 days as the Cavs eased through the first round. What Toronto, Boston, Washington and maybe Atlanta and Indiana have to be thinking is, if Love’s timetable does not hold ... Well, good luck with that as long as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are healthy (however tuckered out). strong>Fran Blinebury: /strong> It is potentially costly. With the Celtics now just 2.5 games back, it could cost the Cavaliers the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage in an Eastern Conference finals series against Boston. Depending on how quickly Love regains form upon his return, it could make the entire playoff run for Cleveland scarier. Shaun Powell: The significance for the Cavs won't be known until the postseason and they see how Love responds from the injury. That's a mystery, since everyone's body is different. If he's back to normal or close enough, the Cavs are fine. If not, then we'll see if they manage to hold onto home court advantage between now and season's end, and also if LeBron James holds up, before this merits further discussion. I still don't see anyone in the East as a serious threat, not even Toronto with Serge Ibaka. Remember, Love was so-so last season, when he wasn't an All-Star, and Cleveland still buried the East. strong>John Schuhmann: /strong> As long as Love is eventually 100 percent by the conference finals, it's not too significant. The Cavs know who they are and they have LeBron James to carry them through the early stages of the postseason. There are two things for them to be concerned with, however. '1 The Cavs have been mediocre defensively all season and won't have a chance to put a good stretch of regular-season defense together with their core. So they'll have to flip the proverbial switch come playoff time, and there are better offenses among other East playoff teams than there were a year ago. '2 LeBron James needs to get some rest between now and April 15. With Love's injury and with the probability that James will take some games off, the door is open for Boston or Washington to gain home-court advantage over the Cavs. But as long as Cleveland is healthy in May, that probably won't matter. strong>Sekou Smith: /strong> This isn't a significant blow for the Cavaliers, who have dealt with the absence of core players in recent seasons about as well as any team can. The rest of the Eastern Conference probably feels good about their chances to go after what looks like a vulnerable Cleveland team, but I'd suggest they look at how well LeBron James plays when things look like they've gone sideways for his team. As long as LeBron and Kyrie Irving are healthy and in the lineup, there isn't an Eastern Conference team that worries them down the stretch of the regular season. And as long as Love comes back in time for the postseason, the trajectory for this team remains the same. strong>Ian Thomsen: /strong> They’re going to miss him -- but in his absence they’ll have no choice but to develop other options on the perimeter, which will force them to address the playmaking issue that LeBron raised weeks ago. We can argue over whether they’ll hold onto the No. 1 seed, but it doesn’t really matter because (if healthy) the Cavs should prevail against everyone in the East whether they have homecourt or not. strong>Lang Whitaker: /strong> I know the Cavs have had a series of injuries this season, but the optimist in me tends to think the timing could be much worse. Two years ago, Love and Irving went down in the postseason, and the Cavs still nearly limped to the title. If you are going to lose some guys along the way, which is basically a certainty over an 82-game schedule, having them all back by the time the playoffs starts seems like a pretty fortuitous break. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2017