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Rockets head into Game 3 confident after big win in Game 2

HOUSTON --- The Rockets have reason to feel good, tied with Golden State after winning Game 2 in a rout in the Western Conference finals. But a big challenge awaits Sunday at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have won an NBA-record tying 15 straight playoff games. Houston coach Mike D'Antoni knows all about Golden State's success in Oakland, but thinks it has less to do with being at home than the fact that the Warriors are a great team. "The challenge is you're playing Golden State. That's why they've won 15 in a row. Not because of the building, but because they're good," he said. "All these players are used to playing in hostile environments ... it helps a little bit (b...Keep on reading: Rockets head into Game 3 confident after big win in Game 2.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerMay 19th, 2018

Rockets head into Game 3 confident after big win in Game 2

HOUSTON --- The Rockets have reason to feel good, tied with Golden State after winning Game 2 in a rout in the Western Conference finals. But a big challenge awaits Sunday at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have won an NBA-record tying 15 straight playoff games. Houston coach Mike D'Antoni knows all about Golden State's success in Oakland, but thinks it has less to do with being at home than the fact that the Warriors are a great team. "The challenge is you're playing Golden State. That's why they've won 15 in a row. Not because of the building, but because they're good," he said. "All these players are used to playing in hostile environments ... it helps a little bit (b...Keep on reading: Rockets head into Game 3 confident after big win in Game 2.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 19th, 2018

Key edge in Warriors vs. Rockets? Our guys have rings says Kerr

NBA.com staff report The Warriors have the rings, the experience and the hunger for more. They also, however, have a healthy respect for their Western Conference finals opponent. Golden State coach Steve Kerr anticipates that his players will have the appropriate motivation required to make a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance. The road to do so goes through top-seeded Houston this year, a team that features a star point guard (Chris Paul) and head coach (Mike D'Antoni) bent on making their first Finals appearance. Kerr believes the Warriors have the proper mentality to meet the Rockets' challenge head-on. "They are taking the challenge and they're embracing it," Kerr told reporters on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). "But we seem to be at our best when we are threatened. That's been kind of the M.O. of this team, and we're definitely threatened." Steve Kerr asked about the Rockets title hunger compared to the Warriors, who have two, so maybe not as much hunger: "I like where we are. Our guys have rings. That's a good position to be in." pic.twitter.com/ggzSS6GZhZ — Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 10, 2018 The Warriors, however, to be as confident as they are careful entering the matchup between the top two teams of the Western Conference. Kerr pointed to the team's winning experience -- and desire to earn more of it -- as a point in Golden State's favor. "Our guys have rings," Kerr reminded reporters. "That's a good position to be in." "We're going to go in here knowing we're the defending champs, knowing we got a couple of championships here the last few years," Kerr added. "Let's go get another one. It's a nice feeling to have and to go into a series with." Game 1 of the best-of-seven series is on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2018

Nets frustrate Rockets, Harden’s 58

HOUSTON — Spencer Dinwiddie didn’t seem to be nearly as wowed by his late-game scoring for the Brooklyn Nets as he was by the fact that his team got an overtime victory on a night James Harden had a season-high 58 points. “The man had 60 and we won,” Dinwiddie said, shaking his head and […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJan 17th, 2019

Poy Erram hopes to help NLEX become a top-tier team in the PBA

Newly-acquired NLEX center Poy Erram knows just how much the Road Warriors needed to give up just to be able to bring him in.  Erram was the focal point of a three-team trade between NLEX, Talk N' Text, and Blackwater that saw the Road Warriors part ways with draft picks Paul Desiderio and Abu Tratter, as well as rotation big men Dave Marcelo and Mike Miranda in order to land Erram from the Elite, along with Philip Paredes from the KaTropa.  In Erram, NLEX finally gets a star bigman that they've always wanted to pair with their loaded back court that includes playmakers Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena among others.  Already, Road Warriors head coach Yeng Guiao is happy with what he's seeing with his new star center.  "We’re very happy. It gives us a deeper front line, our system is well-fitted to his style, he can step out and shoot the outside shots, he’s also not a slow big. Big siya pero may speed and quickness for a big, then he can post-up, he can use his length there," shared Guiao. "He’s going to be an impact player, he’s going to make an immediate impact on our team, and I think yung complementary yung game niya to Asi [Taulava], to JR [Quiñahan], and to our other bigs, so we’re hoping that we’re proven right with the decision that we made," he added.  #PBA2019 | New NLEX big man Poy Erram getting shots up. Erram was sent to NLEX via a three-team trade in exchange for first round picks Paul Desiderio and Abu Tratter. | @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/Vyt2HJd4ef — Santino Honasan🎈 (@honasantino) January 7, 2019 For the 29-year old former Ateneo de Manila standout, knowing how much NLEX was willing to deal for him is part of the motivation to do well and make an immediate impact with the Road Warriors.  "Yung pressure, hindi naman mawawala yun, andiyan lang naman talaga yan. Number one motivation ko siya kasi yun nga, marami silan binitawan na players para sa akin, and then, ayoko din isipin na andito ako para naka-center sa akin yung [attention], hindi naman ganun eh, siyempre matagal na silang magkakasama, kailangan ko mag-adjust sa sistema ni Coach Yeng, siyempre kailangan ko mag-adjust sa players, sa mga characters ng mga players," Erram shared with ABS-CBN Sports.  Erram adds that he also relishes the opportunity to be able to play with veterans, the likes of Taulava, Larry Fonacier, and Quiñahan, among others, a luxury that he didn't necessarily have during his time with Blackwater.  "Motivation din kasi kailangan ko pang mag-improve, kasi marami pa akong i-improve eh, and I think this is the best team for me, kasi I have Asi Taulava, I have JR Quiñahan, I have Kuya Larry, Kuya Cyrus [Baguio], veterans na sadly wala dun sa team namin noon sa Blackwater before. For me ito yung best chance ko mag-improve and mag-grow pa yung skills ko and yung talent ko and yung attitude ko towards the game." Having already played for Coach Guiao before with Gilas, Erram says that the transition period wasn't as difficult.  "In terms of transition, hindi naman ako nahirapan kasi naging coach ko din si Coach Yeng sa Gilas, so most of the system na tinatakbo dito sa NLEX, tinakbo niya sa Gilas, so when it comes to mga set plays, defense, hindi naman na ako nahirapan. May mga kaunti lang kasi siyempre hindi naman niya masyado dinetalye nung sa Gilas. Dito mas detalye talaga eh, so mas kaunting adjustment, kaunting-kaunti lang, madali ko lang din naman na ma-gamay dahil yung teammates ko nga, tinutulungan din nila ako, and then yung iba naging teammates ko nung college."  Plus, it also helps, Erram added, being able to play with fellow former Blue Eagles, especially guys like Emman Monfort and Juami Tiongson, whom he got to play with back in the UAAP.  "Laking tulong kasi sila Emman, sila Juami, nakakasama ko yan sa labas eh, kahit magkakalaban kami, lumalabas kami, so pagdating dito, ang laking tulong kasi alam na nila kung paano ako maglaro, alam na nila ugali ko, kung paano yung work ethic ko sa game, alam na nila and then when it comes to adjustment naman, ang dali din kasi sobrang approachable ng mga tao kasi same school kami, so mas madali na may mag-ga-guide sa akin na same school ko tapos nakalaro ko pa." "Ang laking tulong, and excited ako kasi for the first time, makakasama ko si Emman ulit after college, and si Kuya Larry, never ko pa nakasama, so ang laking bagay nun para sa akin," Erram added. Obviously, the Road Warriors expect Erram to become an integral part of their team starting this season, otherwise they would not have pulled the trigger on the deal.  The six-foot-eight slotman, however, doesn't want to overestimate what he brings to the table for NLEX. Instead, he maintains that he's here to do what he's asked for.  "[Kung anong madadala ko for NLEX], hindi ko pa masasabi for now, kasi hindi pa ako naglalaro eh, hindi pa nakikita ng tao na naglalaro ako with NLEX, so ang mindset ko is every game, every practice, gagawin ko yung mga pinapagawa ni Coach, kung anong kailangan gawin, and kung ano man yung kailangan kong i-improve na aspect ng game ko, yun yung i-improve ko para mas makatulong ako sa team," With the arrival of Erram as well as the return of play maker Kevin Alas, Guiao is confident that NLEX has a chance at once again being a contender in the Philippine Cup, much like they were a season ago, when they made it all the way to the semifinals.  If Erram does help NLEX to a similar deep run in the season-opening conference or if he gets to help them over the hump, then well and good, he expressed.  "If ever man na malampasan namin and magawa namin yun, makatulong ako sa team na magawa namin yun, maganda yung nilalaro ko, for me it’s a plus na eh, kasi siyempre hindi naman ito naka-center sa akin. We have Larry, we have the veterans, tsaka si Kiefer darating pa, si Kevin andiyan na, itong team na ‘to contender na sila bago pa ako dumating. Para madagdag ako, hindi ko alam, titignan natin kung anong maitutulong ko sa team." Being a definite presence inside the paint, his defense is the one thing that Erram is sure of, as far as what he brings to the table is concerned.  "Matangkad ako eh, siguro ang maibibigay ko sa team ay yung defense ko, yun talaga yung calling card ko every time I play, so for now yun lang muna siguro ang alam ko na mabibigay ko sa kanila, kasi when it comes to offense, maraming offensive player dito eh, mabibigat yung pangalan nila, yung kalibre ng player," he stated. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2019

PBA: Yeng Guiao confident NLEX can contend in the Philippine Cup

As the NLEX Road Warriors were wrapping practice up Monday at the Epsilon Chi Center inside the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus, head coach Yeng Guiao had a reminder for his wards. “We’re trying to contend this conference. We have no more excuses.” #PBA2019 | "We're trying to contend this conference. We have no more excuses." - Coach Yeng Guiao | @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/hwcf8p9fex — Santino Honasan🎈 (@honasantino) January 7, 2019 During last season’s Philippine Cup conference, NLEX were indeed contenders, finishing sixth in the eliminations and then making it all the way to the semifinals, before losing playmaker Kevin Alas to a torn ACL and then ultimately losing to Magnolia, 4-2 in the semis. This year, Coach Yeng hopes to be able to go as far, if not further than their semis run last season. “We’re hoping to improve on our last conference performance. Last year kasi, sa All-Filipino, we made it all the way to the semis, so maybe we just want to duplicate that. Perhaps, if we get lucky, baka maka-chamba pa.” Guiao told ABS-CBN Sports. The long-time mentor is pinning NLEX’s success in the Philippine Cup on the arrival of star big man Poy Erram, as well as the return of Alas. “At least siguro, we’re looking to make semis, especially with Erram there and Kevin healthy, then we have some rookies. We’re hoping we can duplicate that,” he added. “Pero hindi parin natin masasabi, pero maganda naman ang nakikita ko sa practice, so my outlook is quite positive.” As far as personnel goes, Guaio believes that he has a better team this year than the one he coached to the semifinals last year, and a big part of that is his new starting center, as well as a talented batch of rookies in Kris Porter, Paul Varilla, and Kyles Lao. The important thing now, as Guiao expressed, is to build harmony with all the pieces of the puzzle. “Palagay ko, materially, we’re better than last year. Pero, having the materials, you also need to have the chemistry and the cohesion, so I think that’s going to be the next part. We can only make an honest assessment - kasi ngayon kung tatanungin mo ako, maganda, okay, positive, kaya natin mag-contend, pero until you see this team in actual competition, then that’s really the time then you can say more accurately where we can be this conference.” “Materially, we’re better, I feel. Cohesion-wise, again, I feel good about our teamwork, our chemistry, but you can only test that with game pressure, in a real game situation,” he continued. So far, Guiao says he’s happy with how his new guys are jelling with the more tenured Road Warriors. “I’m also happy with the way our rookies and Poy Erram are blending in with the veterans, or the old-timers, so that’s a plus for me.” With the 44th season of the PBA kicking off on January 13th, Guiao is looking at these remaining days of practice to tighten things up, with regards to his team’s defense. Once the Road Warriors get those down pat, Guiao maintains that his team will be one to reckon with once the Philippine Cup gets underway. “Itong last few days of practice, if we’re able to focus a little bit more on defense. Our offense is basically in place, so the last few days, we’ll try to focus on our defensive schemes,” he explained. “If we can complete that in time, yun nga, tingin ko makaka-contend kami sa conference na ito......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2019

Nadal withdraws, Murray loses to Medvedev in Brisbane

By John Pye, Associated Press BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Andy Murray lost his second-round match less than an hour after Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Brisbane International on Wednesday. Both players arrived in Australia after long injury breaks, and neither had played a competitive match since September. At least Murray completed two matches, playing on a protected ranking after an injury-interrupted 18 months, beating James Duckworth before losing to fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2. There were signs in both matches that he is still bothered by the hip problem which has derailed his last two seasons. The second-ranked Nadal had a first-round bye but withdrew on the eve of his scheduled second-round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after having an MRI on a muscle strain in his left thigh. Nadal said he would keep practicing in Brisbane until the weekend, then head to Melbourne after a brief stopover in Sydney to prepare for the Australian Open. The 32-year-old Spaniard is confident he will be fit enough to compete at the season's first major, which starts on Jan. 14 at Melbourne Park. "After analyzing everything, (doctors) say that it's a very small thing, but can become a big thing, because a strain in the muscle is dangerous," Nadal said during a news conference staged while Murray was playing Medvedev on Pat Rafter Arena. "When you increase the intensity on the muscle competing, then there is a big risk to make something bigger." Also exiting the men's draw on Wednesday where defending champion Nick Kyrgios, who lost to Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3, and third-seeded Kyle Edmund, who lost to Japanese qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-6 (6), 6-4. Second-seeded Kei Nishikori and 2017 champion Grigor Dimitrov had straight-set wins earlier to set up a quarterfinal showdown — a rematch of their final in 2017 — and fifth-seeded Milos Raonic advanced with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) win over Miomir Kecmanovic. Anett Kontaveit beat fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova 7-5, 7-6 (1) to advance to the women's quarterfinals, and Anastasija Sevastova set up a match against U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka when she beat Harriet Dart 6-2, 6-0. Fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova had a 7-5, 6-2 win over Marie Bouzkova, Ajla Tomljanovic beat Johanna Konta 6-2, 7-6 (2), and Donna Vekic ousted No. 6 Kiki Bertens 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-5. Nadal withdrew after one match at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi before arriving this week in Australia, where he forecast another withdrawal when he said he wanted to focus on quality of his play over quantity of matches in his schedule this year. He played nine tournaments in 2018, winning five titles, including the French Open, in a season curtailed by knee and ankle injuries. "Probably I'm 100 percent in five days. And then I have plenty of time to prepare Melbourne," he said. "It's a waste to damage my body for one month if I keep playing here. After all the things that happened to me, probably I am not ready to assume that waste." Taro Daniel, a lucky loser from qualifying, will take Nadal's place in the Brisbane draw and will play Tsonga on Thursday. The absence of Nadal and Murray casts more focus on the Nishikori-Dimitrov quarterfinal match. Nishikori broke at love in the 11th game to seize momentum in a 7-5, 6-2 win over Denis Kudla in the second round. The sixth-seeded Dimitrov, who beat Nishikori in the 2017 final, had to withstand a late comeback from local favorite John Millman before winning 6-3, 6-4. He's using the quarterfinal match against Nishikori as a barometer for where his preparations stand for the Australian Open. "It's great. I mean it's right off the blocks," Dimitrov said. "It's perfect to play a match like that to kind of see where your game is at.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2019

MVP Ladder: Irving enters chase with work on, off the floor

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com The best of Kyrie Irving, both on and off the floor, has been on display the past few weeks. With the Boston Celtics’ season at an early crossroad, of sorts, it was Irving who stepped into the leadership void to steer things in the right direction. With injuries to key players complicating matters and chemistry issues still being sorted out, Irving was the veteran willing to step up and speak out in an effort to make sure the Celtics dealt with their issues head on. The Celtics had an inconsistent start to the season (10-10) before going on a eight-game win streak that was more like what was expected of them, only to hit the skids again briefly and lose three straight games before Irving piped up. "I think everyone can see that we've obviously had some inconsistencies regarding our play,” he said, “so I think it was just time to address it." A 36-minute players meeting in the locker room after a Dec. 21 (Dec. 22, PHL time) home thumping from Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks was enough for Irving, who didn’t spare anyone (himself included) from the harsh spotlight. It was a cathartic moment for the Celtics, who saw Al Horford return from a seven-game absence just in time for Sunday’s win in Charlotte. Kyrie was at his superstar best with the bright lights shining on Christmas. He torched the Philadelphia 76ers for 40 points, unleashing his full offensive arsenal (shooting 17-for-33 from the floor, 5-for-10 from deep), while also grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out three assists. He was in showtime mode again Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) against James Harden and the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center, finishing his night with 23 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and just one turnover. The Celtics simply had no answer for Harden, who like Irving moves up the ranks on this week’s Kia Race to the MVP Ladder. But it’s clear Irving is ready to shoulder the burden of leading these Celtics, in whatever way necessary. * * * The top five this week in the 2018-19 Kia Race to the MVP Ladder: * * * 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks Last week: No. 1 Season stats: 26.4 points, 12.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.3 steals Antetokounmpo turned Madison Square Garden into his very own Christmas playground when he smoked the Knicks for 30 points, 14 rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks to kick off the league’s showcase day. And just so the Knicks know it wasn’t a fluke, he hurried them again Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at Fiserv Forum with 31 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and four blocks in another rout. The Greek Freak is making it tough for anyone to nudge him from the top spot on this list; he’s averaging 24.8 points (on 60.9 shooting), 12.6 rebounds  5.6 assists and 1.7 blocks in his last 10 games. The Bucks are cruising during this stretch as well, solidifying their position as one of  the top teams in the Eastern Conference and the entire league at the close of the calendar year 2018. If this is just the warm up for 2019, Antetokounmpo can really crank up his MVP campaign between now and the All-Star break. 2. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors Last week: No. 2 Season stats: 26.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 steals Leonard and the Raptors didn’t get an opportunity to showcase themselves for the world to see on Christmas but made up for that scheduling snafu with an instant classic in a win over Miami on the day after the holiday. Leonard scored 30 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had two assists and two steals in the winning effort. December has been good to the Raptors’ prized summer acquisition — he’s averaging 30.1 points (on .520 shooting) to go along with his 8.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals. For all of the chatter about how good the Raptors have been with Leonard out of the lineup and how good their quality depth is and has been all season, the fate of this team rests on Leonard’s broad shoulders come playoff time. He’s the one element they’ve lacked in previous runs, as a true crunch-time, go-to player in the postseason. All that noise about him not being an ideal vocal leader looks like just that at this stage of his tenure in Toronto. 3. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers Last week: No. 3 Season stats: 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.3 steals Lakers Nation held its collective breath earlier this week, awaiting the word on LeBron’s MRI after he heard a “pop” when he went down in the third with a groin injury in the third quarter of the Lakers’ Christmas Day (Dec. 26, PHL time) blowout over the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The news was better than expected but the catalyst for the Lakers’ revival this season is still expected to miss “several games.” This could actually prove to be a critical stretch for the Lakers. If they can manage to maintain their position in the Western Conference standings without LeBron in uniform, it’ll speak volumes about the growth and development of their youngsters. It will also instill some confidence in the entire group if they can piece together a few wins without the new king of Los Angeles. All that said, it would be shortsighted of anyone to dismiss the work LeBron has put in during the early-season turnaround this team has undergone. He was playing as well as anyone in the league this month (25.8 points on .516 shooting, 9.3 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.3 steals). 4. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors Last week: No. 4 Season stats: 28.6 points, 5.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals Curry bounced back from yet another uncharacteristic Christmas Day (Dec. 26, PHL time) performance (just 15 points on an ugly 5-for-17 shooting) with a big night against his brother Seth and the Portland Trail Blazers. But his 29 points and a triple-double from Kevin Durant wasn’t enough to lift the Warriors past Damian Lillard’s late-game heroics against his hometown team. If there was ever a time to be concerned about Curry and these Warriors, it’s now. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson cannot find their marks. The bench production is non-existent at times. And the edge the Warriors have used to their advantage for years seems to have vanished. The boost they need is more than just adding a superstar talent like Boogie Cousins (whose recovery from his Achilles injury seems to be in hyperdrive). The Warriors might need both Curry and Durant to go off script a bit and shake things up by going nuclear offensively to strike fear in teams the way this team once did. They’ve become far too predictable a target without the proper support from their other stars. 5. James Harden, Houston Rockets Last week: No. 7 Season stats: 32.3 points, 8.4 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals The reigning Kia MVP will not be denied any longer. Harden has been on an absolute tear of late and is bringing the Rockets back into focus in the Western Conference playoff chase while doing so. He’s posted back-to-back 40 point games (45 in their Friday, PHL time showdown win over the Boston Celtics and 41 in their Dec. 26, PHL time win over the Oklahoma City Thunder). He’s currently on a career-best eight-game run scoring 30 or more points, the first player to do so since Russell Westbrook did it in November of 2016. Harden’s the first to score 35 or more in six straight games since former teammate Carmelo Anthony accomplished the feat in April of 2013. Harden’s eight games of 40 or more points this season leads the league (Anthony Davis is second with five). The Celtics tried every player in uniform to stop him but to no avail. But Harden’s best work has been pulling the Rockets out of their sub-.500 hole at Thanksgiving to a season-best four games over .500 as they close out the 2018 portion of their schedule. * * * The next five 6. Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder 7. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets T-8. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors T-8. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers 10. Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics And five more: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans; De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings; Tobias Harris, Los Angeles Clippers; Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2018

Lillard s 3-pointer in OT lifts Blazers over Warriors

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Damian Lillard hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 6.3 seconds left in overtime and scored 21 points in his final regular-season game at home in Oakland, sending the Portland Trail Blazers past the Golden State Warriors 110-109 in a wild one Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). The kid from Oakland hits the game winner at our last game in Oakland. pic.twitter.com/oWXoGC019M — Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) December 28, 2018 Kevin Durant missed a 13-footer off the front rim as the final buzzer sounded but finished with his second triple-double of the season: 26 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Jusuf Nurkic had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers. Durant hit a tying three-pointer with 19 seconds left in regulation following a driving one-handed dunk the previous possession but the Warriors couldn't overcome a comedy of errors in losing a second straight at home. They took a 127-101 beating from the Lakers on Christmas night. Seth Curry largely outplayed big brother and Golden State star Stephen down the stretch, scoring 11 straight points. In fact, their sister, Sydel posted on Twitter: "Wouldn't have been mad at all at a Seth game winner." Wouldn’t have been mad at all at a Seth game winner 🤷🏽‍♀️ — Sydel Curry-Lee (@SydelCurryLee) December 28, 2018 Lillard shot 7-for-20 with friends and family cheering him in the Blazers' final scheduled trip to Oracle Arena before the Warriors move to San Francisco next season. Stephen Curry made a three-pointer with 10:46 to play in regulation, then his little brother Seth rattled off 11 in a row with three consecutive triples. Klay Thompson's shooting struggles continued. He went 6-for-19 and was just 2-of-9 on three-point tries on the way to 15 points. He made a triple late in the third and was fouled, drawing a rousing ovation, then missed the free throw. Curry's 33-footer with 8:42 left in the third on a pass from Draymond Green got Golden State within two, then Curry found Green for a tying layup the next time down to make it 55-all. A series of silly mistakes followed: Thompson made a steal and threw it toward midcourt and Green couldn't keep the ball from going over the line for a backcourt violation, as Portland regained possession. Then, Green clanked a one-handed dunk try off the back of the rim. This after he had earlier thrown a pass off Thompson's head. The Warriors missed nine of their initial 11 free throws and finished an uncharacteristic 6-for-15 at the line. Both teams were trying to rebound from embarrassing Christmas losses two days earlier in which the three-point shooting was dismal: Golden State following that flop to the Lakers at home and the Blazers a 117-96 defeat at Utah. Portland coach Terry Stotts said whichever team lost this game at least would get another chance right away with the rivals playing twice in a three-day span. The Warriors beat the Blazers 125-97 on Nov. 23 (Nov. 24, PHL time) at Oracle Arena. In his last five games against the Warriors, Lillard has averaged 31 points, shooting 42.4 percent and 38.8 percent on three's. "I represent this city, so when I come here I want to represent myself well. I have a lot of family and friends coming to see me play, so you're excited about that. You've got energy, that's what it is, "Lillard said. "And they've been one of the best teams in the league, so you want to beat them. To do that you've got to put your best foot forward." After the Warriors shot 9-for-36 on three's in the loss to the Lakers — Curry 2-of-8, Durant 3-for-8 and Green 0-of-3 — Golden State was just 13-of-44 with Curry 6-for-15 and Durant 2-of-7. LILLARD'S ORACLE MEMORIES When Lillard was 9 or 10, he came to a Rockets-Warriors game with his brother and lucked into getting to take a shot on the court. "My brother and I were up at our seats and Steve Francis was doing his pregame workout and the ball bounced up and into the stands and I ran down the stairs and got it and I was going to throw it back and he was like, 'No, come shoot it.' And I went on the court and shot a three and airballed. That's the story." He used to walk to the games he lived so close in East Oakland. Lillard clearly had mixed emotions about the Warriors' upcoming move, saying: "You wish it wasn't happening. You know how much it means to the city of Oakland to have something positive happening, especially with the team having so much success right now. ... So it's sad to see them moving on." SELLOUT STREAK Golden State's 311th straight sellout Thursday became a new franchise best, topping a run of 310 consecutive sellouts from March 9, 1989, to April 19, 1996. TIP-INS Trail Blazers: Seth Curry quickly threw up his hand acknowledging his foul on brother Stephen early in the fourth. ... Portland pushed Golden State into nine first-half turnovers while committing just two. ... The Blazers were 21-of-23 on free throws. Warriors: Durant has scored 20 or more points in his last nine games 23-of-24. ... The Warriors dropped to 11-3 at home against the Western Conference. ... Golden State lost by 20-plus points at home twice in the previous six seasons but has done it four times already. UP NEXT Trail Blazers host Warriors on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). The Warriors last played an opponent in two straight regular-season games against the Lakers on Nov. 23-25, 2016......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2018

NCAA: 100 percent Laminou, Cruz all set to ease in EAC s new coach

Emilio Aguinaldo College will be bringing in its fourth head coach ever since joining the NCAA in 2009. Oliver Bunyi has been named as the Generals’ new mentor, replacing Ariel Sison who guided the team in the last three years. Bunyi won’t have to do much to get familiar with his new squad and surroundings as he was already acting as consultant last season. Still, he will be given a tall task of leading EAC as they try to live up to the school’s hallmarks of virtue and excellence by advancing to its first Final Four in history – a feat it has only come close to sniffing twice in the last decade. Even Sison, who had the red and white’s best product in Sidney Onwubere, was only able to register a 17-37 record in his three-year tenure. Bunyi follows Sison, Andy De Guzman, and Gerry Esplana as the Generals’ fourth head coach in the NCAA. The good news for the 46-year-old mentor is that he will still have Cameroonian reinforcement Hamadou Laminou manning the paint. By the next season, Laminou will be two years removed from the ACL injury he suffered and by then, the San Marcelino-based squad is nothing but confident he will finally be back to 100 percent. Even better, Maui Cruz, the promising guard from their high school program who had an up-and-down rookie season, is out to redeem himself. “Sinisigurado ko po na I will give my 101 percent next season. We wish na maging healthy ang buong team namin para mabigay po namin lahat namin para sa EAC,” he shared. Cruz only played nine games in his first year as a General due to various reasons, but when he played, he had flashes of brilliance and had per game counts of 5.1 points, 2.1 assists, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.0 steal. With a new coach comes a new outlook and Cruz said EAC is adamant there is nowhere to go but up. As he put it, “Gusto po namin lahat na umangat, siyempre. Wala na naman kaming pupuntahan kundi paangat.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 20th, 2018

UAAP Finals: Injured Akhuetie reaches out to Kouame

After the University of the Philippines' Bright Akhuetie suffered a hyperextended left knee injury due to a contact from Ateneo de Manila University's Ange Kouame in the Game 1 of the UAAP Season 81 Finals, the latter was the subject of jeers from the maroon side present in the Mall of Asia Arena. Moments after the game that saw the Blue Eagles draw first blood, Kouame admitted that the boos dampened his spirits. "It had an effect on me. It has an impact on me, especially right now. I really feel that. I never thought it's gonna happen but this has happened and I have to accept that and live with that cause it's my rookie year," said Kouame. Akhuetie shared that he saw the ABS-CBN Sports article and took it upon himself to reach out first to his fellow foreign student-athlete to clear the air between them. "We talked after the game on Instagram. I told him to not mind the boos, it's basketball, it happens, and I'll be okay," said the Fighting Maroon who initiated the conversation with the Ivorian student-athlete. "I saw his interview and I read it and I was like, I saw something like he lost confidence or something with the boos and that that he was affected, so I had to tell him to keep his head up. It's basketball," said the Nigerian big man. Kouame mentioned after the game that he tried saying sorry to Akhuetie during the game but as per Akhuetie he did not hear it especially inside the Mall of Asia Arena with almost 21,000 fans. "I didn't hear him say anything. When I got back in, I just have to play the way referees wanted us to play - physical," shared the UAAP Season 81 MVP. As for Akhuetie's injury, he is still yet to know whether he is cleared to play or not after taking further medical exams on Monday, two days before Game 2. "I don't know, I have to do the second evaluation tomorrow before I know what's up," he said before mentioning that he has already underwent x-ray and MRI scans in UP-PGH. Regardless, Akhuetie who is set to receive his MVP award minutes before Game 2 expressed that he is fully confident that the Fighting Maroons can bounce back in the series. "If you really watch the game closely, you can tell, we surprised them [Ateneo]. They probably thought it's gonna be a walk in the park but we surprised them and they know we were coming. And we know we can come, come on," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2018

Former UP standout Lao joins PBA hopefuls

Kyles Lao, a former University of the Philippines stalwart, has decided to turn professional after he submitted his application for the PBA Rookie Draft set Dec. 16 at the Robinson's Place in Ermita, Manila. The Manila Stars guard in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), has mixed emotions on his PBA plans but knows he has done enough to prepare for the professional league. “I have mixed feelings about it. I’m excited and yet anxious,” said Lao, a six-foot combo guard who won Rookie of the Year honors with the Fighting Maroons back in 2013 in the UAAP. “It’s a dream for me to play in the PBA ever since I was young. It’s also a dream for my family. But there is also pressure because I don’t know what will happen. It’s not a sure thing if I'll be selected in the first or second round, or if I’ll be picked in the Draft,” added Lao. The 23-year-old Lao said his four seasons at UP under head coaches Bo Perasol, Ricky Dandan and Rey Madrid, his stint with AMA under coach Mark Herrera in the PBA D-League, and currently with coach Philip Cezar with the Manila Stars improved his skills to play at a high level - the PBA. Lao is playing well so far as a backup guard of the Manila Stars, averaging nearly 10 points per game, including 13 points a game in the team’s three-game win streak the past two weeks, and has a +10 efficiency rating. “He has one of the highest basketball IQ players that I’ve coached," said Perasol, a former PBA mentor. "Whatever he may be lacking in some aspects of the game, he works on it with pure determination and grit. His offensive arsenal has also dramatically improved as he had come in age. I hope that teams will give him the chance that he rightly deserves," he added. Lao said he has learned a lot from these coaches, and he is confident all the knowledge imparted to him will be useful for him in the PBA. Whatever happens, Lao, who personally submitted the requirements for local applicants last Thursday ahead of the Dec. 3 deadline at the PBA Commissioner’s Office in Quezon City, is ready for it. “I’m not sure where I’ll end up, or which team would pick me. But my family, they have been fully supportive to me, they told me to be ready. I have to prepare well too for the Draft Combine,” said Lao. "My stint with the UP Fighting Maroons, with the AMA team and now with the Manila Stars, it all helped me as a basketball player. With the people I played with and played for, they all gave me the confidence to aim for my dream to play in the PBA,” he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018

It s Ateneo vs FEU once more in UAAP 81 Final Four

Game on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum 3:30 PM – Ateneo vs FEU For four years running now, Ateneo de Manila University and Far Eastern University would have to go through each other if they are to make it to the Finals of the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Blue Eagles and the Tamaraws go at it on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum with the former looking to take care of business and the latter looking to take the series to its limit. Twice-to-beat Ateneo wages war with ultra-confident FEU starting at 3:00 PM and, as always, all of the action will be on S+A, S+A HD, livestream, and iWant. The defending champions and their new-age rivals have met in the Final Four for four years running now – with the former winning in 2017 and 2018 and the latter winning in 2016. The Blue Eagles remain the team-to-beat in the this one even without any Mythical selections. That’s because a balanced effort fronted by Thirdy Ravena, Matt Nieto, and Ange Kouame are still in place. Still, the Tamaraws are entering the playoffs with a full head of steam, winning their last four games – the last two of which being knockout bouts. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2018

Old School Power Rankings 2018-19: Weeks 3 and 4

By Scott Wraight, NBA.com It was bound to happen, right? The King was never, ever going to give up his throne to anyone else. Period. Because of that, we had to separate him from the rest of the field and give out a new ranking: ATHO (All To His Own). So unless something crazy happens during the season -- or an injury -- No. 1 will have an asterisk of sorts. Now that the chase has opened up for everyone else, it should make for an interesting and intriguing run to the finish line, asterisk be damned. Notes: - Statistics are through games of Nov. 15 (Nov. 16, PHL time) - Any player who turns 32 during regular season can be added to rankings. - Check out previous rankings - Send comments to my email. If it's good -- and clean -- it may appear in a future column. Be sure to include your first name and city. ATHO. LeBron James (33), Los Angeles Lakers Previous rank: 1 Latest stats: 6 games, 27.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 6.2 apg Season stats: 27.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 7.2 apg Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) 44-point performance against the Trail Blazers was the one. That was the one that pushed the King into his own tier, his own neighborhood, his own ranking. He just refuses to make it fair for everyone else. That's how good he is. In addition to Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) superior effort, James has gone for 25 or more in eight of the last 10. _______________________________________________________________ 1. Marc Gasol (33), Memphis Grizzlies Previous rank: 4 Latest stats: 7 games, 16.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 4.6 apg Season stats: 15.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 4.1 apg After eclipsing 15 points in just three of the first six, Gasol has surpassed the mark in four straight, which included Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) effort in which he tied a career high with six three's. Of course the splits over the last seven left us puzzled. In four wins, Gasol went for 21.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg and 52.2 3PT%. In three losses: 10.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 0-for-8 from deep. 2. Chris Paul (33), Houston Rockets Previous rank: 3 Latest stats: 8 games, 16.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 7.1 apg Season stats: 17.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.5 apg We were ready to move Paul to the top of the list until Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) effort: 10 points (4-for-10 shooting) and seven assists against the Warriors. In two previous games, Paul managed 21 and 26 on 15-for-25 shooting. Of course four previous contests saw him combine for just 39 points on 15-for-47 (31.9) shooting. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride in November. 3. LaMarcus Aldridge (33), San Antonio Spurs Previous rank: 2 Latest stats: 7 games, 14.1 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 1.6 apg Season stats: 17.4 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.4 apg He's scoring at home while rebounding on the road. In three home games, Aldridge went for 21.0 ppg and 9.3 rpg. In four road games, he averaged 9.0 ppg and 15.5 rpg. Aldridge has been hot and cold this month, failing to score in double figures in two of seven and scoring 20 or more just twice. One consistent has been the board work, grabbing 10 or more in five straight. 4. JJ Redick (34), Philadelphia 76ers Previous rank: 7 Latest stats: 7 games, 17.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 3.7 apg Season stats: 18.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.5 apg Redick is feeling it of late, pouring in 20 or more points and hitting at least three three-pointers in three consecutive games. Coincidentally, he's started the last three games after beginning the season on the bench. We've also taken notice of Redick's volume of long-range shots, making 3.0 treys a game and attempting 8.3 -- both career highs. 5. Lou Williams (32), LA Clippers Previous rank: Just missed Latest stats: 6 games, 21.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.7 apg Season stats: 19.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.1 apg Hello there, newbie. Williams, who just turned 32 on Oct. 27, sprints up the list on the strength of five games with 20 or more points -- all while averaging less than 30 minutes (29.4) per game. In fact, the only game he didn't go for 20, he added 10 assists. Digging deeper, the last time Williams failed to break double-figure scoring was Nov. 20, 2017. 6. Kyle Lowry (32), Toronto Raptors Previous rank: 5 Latest stats: 6 games, 13.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 10.0 apg Season stats: 16.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 10.7 apg Lowry, who finally saw his streak of games with 10-plus assists end at nine, has been a bit of a road warrior over the last handful of games. In his last three home games, he averaged 9.3 points, 8.7 assists and 40.0 FG%. In three road games, Lowry managed 18.0 points, 11.3 assists and 46.3 FG%. 7.  Wesley Matthews (32), Dallas Mavericks Previous rank: 6 Latest stats: 5 games, 12.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.4 apg Season stats: 16.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.4 apg After starting the season with six straight double-figure scoring games, Matthews has gone for 10 or more in just three of the last seven. He missed one game with a hamstring injury and had to leave Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) game after just 21 minutes with the same injury, so that'll skew the numbers a bit, which is why he only fell one spot. 8.  Taj Gibson (33), Minnesota Timberwolves Previous rank: NA Latest stats: 7 games, 12.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.9 apg Season stats: 11.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.4 apg Gibson started the season sluggishly, failing to score more than 13 points in any of the first 10 games. Since then, the gritty veteran has gone for 15 or more in three of the last five. Also in those first 10 games, Gibson managed to snag nine or more boards just once. He's done that three times in the last five contests. 9.  Dwight Howard (32), Washington Wizards Previous rank: NA Latest stats: 7 games, 12.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.4 apg Season stats: 12.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.4 apg After missing the first seven games of the season with a back injury, Howard is starting to get into a groove. In addition to scoring in double figures in four straight, he has snatched eight or more rebounds in five of the last six. His return to the lineup might also be a reason the Wizards have started to turn things around, winning four of their last six. 10. Goran Dragic (32), Miami Heat Previous rank: 9 Latest stats: 4 games, 16.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.5 apg Season stats: 17.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.8 apg The theme song from Facts of Life keeps running through my head: "You take the good, you take the bad ..." That rings very true with Dragic, who in his four games had three with 20 or more points and one with a goose egg on 0-for-7 shooting. Now, we won't pile on since we realize he missed a pair of games with a knee injury. Just missed the cut: Paul Millsap, JJ Barea, Dwyane Wade, Al Horford, Jeff Green The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 18th, 2018

UAAP: 6-9 Fil-Aussie Brandon Bates lifts La Salle’s ceiling higher

With Prince Orizu still sitting out for Far Eastern University on Saturday, the frontline of De La Salle University went to work. In a convincing victory, Justine Baltazar topped the scoring column with 15 points, six rebounds, and two blocks while fellow big men Santi Santillan and Brandon Bates also did damage down low with the former finishing with 12 points and 14 rebounds and the latter ending with seven markers and 10 boards. Baltazar and Santillan have now been used to doing the heavy lifting for the Green Archers. Bates’ breakout, though, is nothing but a welcome development for them. “Tonight, it was Brandon’s time,” head coach Louie Gonzalez said post-game, talking about his first-year Filipino-Australian. Apparently, Bates wasted no time in coming through for his mentor – just a day after the latter gave the former a pep talk. “Actually, yesterday, I talked to him and said na with the effort he’s giving, he has to commend himself. That’s why I told him that every time he gets the offensive rebound, I want him to take the shot,” coach Louie said. That is exactly what the 6-foot-9 center did against the Tamaraws – hauling down four offensive rebounds and being a big part of their massive 18-4 edge in second chance points. In the eyes of La Salle’s first-year head coach, Bates has just proven his worth with this game. As he put it, “This guy will do everything, not just scoring, to help this team. He’s a winner and that’s why he’s part of this team.” For his part, the 21-year-old said that knowing he has the full faith of the Green Archers just makes him want to work harder. “It’s high praise. It’s nice to hear that. I’m not too confident in myself, but it’s nice to know that the coaches and my teammates, they have all the confidence in me to step up,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

Bates boosts La Salle in win over FEU

De La Salle already has an established front court of Justine Baltazar and Santi Santillan that take up most of the minutes, but there are times that head coach Louie Gonzalez draws one big man from the bench that puts on a game-changing performance. Enter 6-foot-9 Brandon Bates, who gave the Green Archers a big lift in their 65-57 win over Far Eastern University in the second round of the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament. Bates played for more than 19 minutes against the Tamaraws and had a solid output of seven points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks and all those marks were higher than what he usually gets. "I'm not too confident in myself but the coaching staff are ...Keep on reading: Bates boosts La Salle in win over FEU.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

Led by bench, Clippers hang on to beat Rockets 115-112

By Beth Harris, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Montrezl Harrell led a fourth-quarter charge by the Clippers' reserves with 17 points, and Los Angeles defeated the Houston Rockets 115-112 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Harrell and the bench helped the Clippers erase a four-point deficit late in the third, with Luc Mbah a Moute's three-pointer giving them the lead for good. Tobias Harris led the Clippers with 23 points. Danilo Gallinari added 20 and Harrell had 10 rebounds. The Rockets were without Chris Paul against his old team. He began serving a two-game suspension for his involvement in an on-court fight against the Lakers on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). James Harden had 31 points and 14 assists for the Rockets. He got shoved by the Lakers' Brandon Ingram in a move that started the incident a night earlier. Harden scored nine straight points to draw Houston within three with 29 seconds left. But his potential tying three-pointer was short on the left side as time expired. The starless-Clippers earned their second win over one of the NBA's top teams, having beaten the Thunder, who played without Russell Westbrook on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Reserves Lou Williams and rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 12 points each for the Clippers. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer exhorted the crowd to "Get up!" during a timeout with 3:17 remaining in the game, waving his arms with a fierce look on his face. Harden was subjected to some smothering defense by Patrick Beverley in the game's opening minutes. Harden went down after inadvertently getting hit in the head by Beverley and the Rockets called timeout. Another time, Harden was on a drive to the basket when Beverley committed a hard foul that knocked down the Rockets star. Trailing by four, the Clippers closed the third on a 19-6 run to lead 93-83. Mbah a Moute had eight points and Harrell added four. Harrell tipped the ball away from P.J. Tucker on the final play and scored, drawing the foul and shimmying his way into high-fives with two courtside fans. Gallinari scored 11 of the Clippers' first 20 points of the third, countering Eric Gordon, who had 10 points early in the period starting in place of Paul. TIP-INS Rockets: Besides his suspension, Paul was fined a total of $491,782 for his role in the fracas. Paul wasn't at Staples Center on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). ... They lost in the second game of their first back-to-back of the season. The Rockets were 10-3 in such situations last season. Clippers: They ended a two-game skid to the Rockets. UP NEXT Rockets: Host Utah on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Clippers: Visit New Orleans on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) in their first road trip of the season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2018

No surprise, the West title still runs through the Warriors

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Golden State coach Steve Kerr is a happy man these days. He’s got a new contract. He’s got his son Nick, who was helping out in San Antonio, working in the Warriors’ video room now. He’s leading a team that has won three of the last four NBA championships and is the overwhelming favorite to win it again this season. Staying happy will be the challenge for Kerr and the Warriors this season, when Western Conference rivals resume their attempts to take down the champs. “Our place in the history of the league is pretty secure,” Kerr said. “I don’t think our guys should feel a ton of pressure. I think they should feel the importance of trying to do it again, because this may be the last time we have this current iteration of the Warriors, just given all the free agents and the money crunch and everything else.” LeBron James took his talents to Los Angeles, signing with the Lakers and moving out of the East for the first time in his career. Houston had the NBA’s best regular-season record a year ago and has reigning MVP James Harden. Utah has a budding superstar in Donovan Mitchell, and certainly got the league’s attention with its playoff run last season. But in the West, until further notice, it’s still the Warriors and then everybody else. “It’s a marathon,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “There’s a lot of time between now and April and May and June, but if we go about it the right way to start the season, it can feed on itself in terms of the expectation we have night in, night out.” A look at the West, in predicted order of finish: PLAYOFF BOUND 1. GOLDEN STATE — Warriors aiming for their third consecutive NBA championship, something only the Lakers, Celtics and Bulls franchises have done. 2. UTAH — Donovan Mitchell is a legitimate star, coach Quin Snyder has been underrated for far too long, and the Jazz went 29-6 to finish last season. 3. HOUSTON — The Rockets have the MVP in James Harden, a leader in Chris Paul and added Carmelo Anthony, but expecting another 67-15 season is a lot. 4. L.A. LAKERS — LeBron James is still the best player in the game and shows no signs of slowing down, so doubting his chances seems less than brilliant. 5. OKLAHOMA CITY — This is a sign of how loaded the West remains: The Thunder are really good, and that won’t assure them home-court for Round 1. 6. DENVER — Losing Game 82 last season to Minnesota and missing the playoffs because of that outcome should serve as a massive motivator for Denver. 7. NEW ORLEANS — DeMarcus Cousins is gone, Rajon Rondo is gone, but Anthony Davis is still there and that should be enough for a Pelicans playoff run. 8. SAN ANTONIO — Dejounte Murray’s ACL tear is a disaster, but any team with LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and Gregg Popovich still has a lot. IN THE MIX 9. PORTLAND — The West’s No. 3 seed last season, the Blazers were only three games ahead of No. 9 and will face a serious battle in a very loaded West. 10. DALLAS — Luka Doncic is NBA-ready, DeAndre Jordan will make the Mavs better and Dirk Nowitzki deserves to see his franchise trending up again. 11. L.A. CLIPPERS — A possible transitional year for the Clippers, who should be major players in free agency next summer and could add a lottery pick. FACING LONG ODDS 12. MINNESOTA — The Jimmy Butler debacle shows that some big changes in direction are probably going to happen in Minnesota, and sooner than later. 13. PHOENIX — Devin Booker got his max deal and the Suns got No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton, but firing GM Ryan McDonough so close to the season was odd. 14. MEMPHIS — Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are savvy vets, but they are going to need a lot of help if Memphis is going to seriously improve this season. 15. SACRAMENTO — Kings had a league-high 44 games last season where they didn’t score 100 points, and a very young team might not change that much. WHAT TO KNOW L.A. BRON: If he has even an average-for-him season, new Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will rise to No. 4 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list this season. He’s currently No. 7, with No. 6 Dirk Nowitzki, No. 5 Wilt Chamberlain and No. 4 Michael Jordan well within reach. Add 2,000 or so points to James’ total of 31,038, and only No. 3 Kobe Bryant, No. 2 Karl Malone and No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — all former Lakers — would still be ahead of him. STEPH RISING: Speaking of rising up career charts, Golden State’s Stephen Curry could easily be No. 3 on the all-time list for 3-pointers made by the end of this season. Curry has 2,129 3s in 625 career games, a rate of 3.4 made per game. The six players ahead of him — Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Jason Terry, Kyle Korver, Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce — averaged 1.8 made 3s per game. BIG NUMBERS: The only players in the last 30 seasons to average 30 points and eight assists were Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in 2016-17 and Houston’s James Harden last season. Probably not coincidentally, Westbrook and Harden won MVP awards for those seasons. There are seven active players with at least one MVP award in the NBA right now, and all seven play in the West. GREAT COACHES: San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich enters the season with 1,197 wins, fifth-most in NBA history — 13 behind Pat Riley and 24 behind Jerry Sloan. Meanwhile, Golden State’s Steve Kerr comes into the year with the highest winning percentages during both the regular season (265-63, .808) and the postseason (63-20, .759) in NBA history. Here’s how far ahead Kerr is on the NBA’s all-time regular season winning percentage list: If the Warriors go 24-58 this season, which seems less than likely, he would still be above Phil Jackson for the No. 1 spot. VERSUS EAST: The West beat the East for the ninth consecutive season in head-to-head matchups, winning nearly 53 percent of the cross-conference matchups in the regular season (and 100 percent of them in the NBA Finals). Over the last nine seasons, West teams have beaten East teams nearly 57 percent of the time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2018

30 Teams in 30 Days: Jazz on upswing after postseason run

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com What offseason? That's a question many fans ask as the flurry of trades, free agent news and player movement seems to never stop during the summer. Since the Golden State Warriors claimed their third title in four years back on June 8 (June 9, PHL time), NBA teams have undergone a massive number of changes as they prepare for the season ahead. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- from the team with the worst regular-season record in 2017-18 to the team with the best regular-season record -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's Team: Utah Jazz 2017-18 Record: 48-34, lost in Western Conference semifinals to Houston Rockets Who's new: Grayson Allen (Draft) Who's gone: Jonas Jerebko, David Stockton The lowdown: Left woozy by the summer departure of free agent and franchise star Gordon Hayward, the Jazz gave the ball to a rookie and pulled a surprise by nearly winning 50 games and bouncing Oklahoma City Thunder from the playoffs. Their season was made more remarkable considering center Rudy Gobert played only 56 games because of knee issues. But Donovan Mitchell (20.5 points per game) was an unexpected savior and far better than anyone imagined. He won over his teammates and coach Quin Snyder quickly, then earned respect around the league for taking charge and also bailing out Utah in a number of close games, both rare for a rookie. Mitchell finished as the Kia Rookie of the Year runner-up. Snyder made good use of the rotation and found functional roles for most and the Jazz used Mitchell and defense to flourish. By the playoffs, Mitchell was arguably the best player on a floor that featured former Kia MVP Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and the Jazz entered the offseason feeling confident about the future. In 2016, the young Portland Trail Blazers made the playoffs, stunning the LA Clippers in the first round before giving the Golden State Warriors a feisty series in the semis. Encouraged by the bounce and swagger showed by an emerging club, the Blazers handed out contract extensions and … they haven’t done anything special since. In hindsight, every one of those extensions looks like a mistake. The lesson: Fool’s gold can sometimes, um, fool you. Are the Jazz headed down that path? The situations aren’t exactly the same, yet similar to a degree. Instead of going outside to make a few cosmetic changes to the rotation, Utah was mostly content to keep free agents Dante Exum and Derrick Favors, giving each contracts that were somewhat generous in a soft market that worked against most players. Exum signed for three years and a reported $33 million, or roughly the going rate for a backup point guard. But Exum’s run in Utah has been interrupted by injury and, even when healthy, his play was inconsistent. He perhaps earned the benefit of the doubt in the playoffs when he stepped in for an injured Ricky Rubio and had moments of solid play. Evidently, the Jazz feel Exum’s better days are just ahead. He’s only 23 and after investing so much time in him, Utah wasn’t ready to cut him loose. He brings great size (6-foot-6), is energetic, and point guard isn’t a Jazz strength. If nothing else, Exum gives Utah a sense of security. Favors is richer after signing a reported two-year, $36 million extension as no other team was willing to beat that price for him. The last two seasons weren’t exactly robust for Favors, who battled through injuries, sporadic play and found himself benched because of mismatches in today’s stretch-happy NBA. Favors has worked to develop more of a 3-point shot, but his lack of perimeter shooting was exploited by Houston in the playoffs. But as the case with Exum, the Jazz have years of player-development invested in Favors. As Utah’s longest-tenured player, Favors is a solid defender next to Gobert and the Jazz outscored their opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions with the two bigs on the floor together. And even though he’s seemingly been around Utah forever, Favors is just 27 years old. The decisions by the Jazz to maintain the status quo isn’t unusual with this franchise, which has long prided itself on stability and player development. Strangely enough, Mitchell claims to love life in the Wasatch Mountains -- something to remember when and if he ever reaches free agency (unlikely, since the Jazz will surely break the bank for him). Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey moved up to take Mitchell in the 2017 Draft and has a knack for finding talent in places where few others search. He has had a solid track record in the Draft and with the 21st pick took Allen. A year ago, the Duke shooter considered entering the draft, but got mild feedback from NBA types. Allen brings 3-point range to a team that ranked 13th in 3-pointers made and attempted last season. Unless he makes an impact right away, Allen will be in the back end of a rotation that showcases Joe Ingles for distance shooting. The trick for Utah is to match or surpass last season’s effort while catching no one by surprise this time. And the Jazz must do that with virtually the same cast as before. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2018

Guiao confident Clarkson can catch on to system ahead of China game

Head coach Yeng Guiao, assistant coach Caloy Garcia and Gilas player Jordan Clarkson. POOL PHOTO JAKARTA--Yeng Guiao was honest enough to admit that he was surprised at how his rag-tag version of a.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsAug 18th, 2018

Red Warriors win confidence-boosting title in Taipei

The University of the East is nothing but confident that its rebuild is on the right path. The biggest boost thus far for the confidence of the new-look Red Warriors came when they triumphed in the recently concluded 2018 BK Squad Invitational in Taiwan. There, Alvin Pasaol and company downed a Taiwanese club team boasting of one player from the Chinese Taipei national team, two former veterans of the Asean Basketball League, and one former pro from the Australian State Basketball League to win the championship. The champions 🏆🏀🥇 ue red warriors! #ballaholic #23 #taiwan pic.twitter.com/30lIynMwaN — alvinpasaol (@wisha112) Agosto 10, 2018 For UE’s main man Pasaol, who famously scored 49 points in a game last season in the UAAP, the title in Taiwan grants them a mental edge heading into Season 81. “We believe in ourselves and we are unstoppable,” he said, full of confidence. While sharing the same confidence Pasaol has, head coach Joe Silva preferred to say that the championship is primary proof that the Red Warriors will not be pushovers in the looming collegiate wars. “Our championship in Taiwan just shows that we can compete with any team in the UAAP as long as we follow the system and do our jobs,” he said. Hopefully the first of many. #culture #discipline #family #sipag — joe silva (@joesilva18) Agosto 10, 2018 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2018