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Dolphins Josh Rosen says he can be franchise quarterback

By Steven Wine, Associated Press DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — As he embraced a fresh start Monday, Josh Rosen said all the right things, smiled a lot and even cracked a couple of jokes, such as when he noted the phalanx of photographers nearly drowning out his first news conference with the Miami Dolphins. "These clicks," he said with a chuckle, "are loud." Rosen does attract clicks, which is a big change for a Dolphins team low on star power. It has been so long since they had a Pro Bowl quarterback that Rosen referred to him as "Mr. Marino." Despite a rough rookie season that prompted the Arizona Cardinals to discard him, Rosen still believes he can be a Dan Marino-type franchise quarterback. And he's glad to get an opportunity with the Dolphins, who are eager to stop a revolving door at the position that has gone through 19 starters since Marino's last game 20 years ago. "I couldn't be more excited to be here," Rosen said. "Very rarely do you get a second chance to make a first impression." As for motivation, Rosen's crooked grin grew wider when he was asked about any chip on his shoulder. "I don't think my chip has to grow any more," he said. "I might tip over." He was the 10th overall pick in the 2018 draft but became expendable in Arizona last week when the Cardinals used the No. 1 overall pick to select Kyler Murray. A day later, the Dolphins acquired him for two draft picks to become part of their rebuilding effort under first-year coach Brian Flores. "I felt like I got drafted twice," he said. Rosen took no direct jabs at the Cardinals and acknowledged that in Miami he faces a one-year tryout . If he doesn't play well this season, the Dolphins will likely have a poor record and be well-positioned to take a QB early in the first round in 2020. Rosen also acknowledged his image needs work. Doubts about his leadership and personality linger despite efforts by Arizona teammates and coaches to dispel them. He said the issue dates to his years at UCLA. "I didn't have all my answers as perfectly crafted as I do now," he said. "I said some things off the cuff, and people misconstrued them. ... "I think I'm a really good teammate. What I've tried to do is not say or do anything extra, just kind of be me and keep my head down, and eventually the story will straighten out. I think it has for the most part. Time and consistency are the best medicine to cure the narrative." With that in mind, Rosen had answers ready when asked about: — competing for the starting job with another Dolphins newcomer, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. "The timing on whether I play or not is not up to me." — Pro Football Hall of Famer Marino. "Hopefully I can follow in some semblance of his massive footsteps." — his belief that he can become a franchise QB. "I think I'm a good quarterback, and I think I'm a good leader." The Dolphins hope he's right......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2019

Curry in Japan to talk Tokyo Olympics, Rui Hachimura

By Jim Armstrong, Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — Stephen Curry is already looking ahead to the next challenge in his basketball career, including the chance to represent the United States at next year’s Tokyo Olympics. Just over a week since his Golden State Warriors lost a grueling NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors, Curry was in Tokyo on Sunday talking about the Olympics and the opportunity to face Japan’s newest basketball sensation. The U.S. has won the gold medal in the last three Olympics and will be the favorite to top the podium again in Tokyo with a Dream Team that could feature such stars as Curry, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. Curry decided to pull out of the Rio Olympics due to several factors, including ankle and knee injuries. “I know the energy here is going to be amazing,” Curry said. “I haven’t played in the Olympics before. I’ve played in two World Cup teams so I’ve had the experience of representing my country playing for the national team. But the Olympics, from everybody that I’ve talked to that’s played, there’s no comparison to that experience.” Curry was in Tokyo for a youth basketball clinic and was asked about Rui Hachimura, who became the first player from Japan picked in the first round of the NBA draft when he was taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). “It’s exciting for the NBA to have representation from Japan and countries all over the world,” Curry said. “It speaks to how the game of basketball is growing everywhere, especially here. For him to be a trailblazer in terms of doing something that has never been done is good for this country.” The 6'8", 235-pound (2.03 meters, 106 kilogram) Hachimura averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at U.S. college Gonzaga, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year. The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Yasutaka Okayama, who went 171st overall in 1981. He never appeared in a regular-season game, something just two players from the country have done: Yuta Tabuse for the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05, and Yuta Watanabe for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2018-19. The son of a Japanese mother and father from the Republic of Benin, Hachimura is the latest Japanese of mixed race to make a splash in the sporting world following the likes of Naomi Osaka and Yu Darvish. “Just from watching him play, I know he’s got good size, obviously,” Curry said. “He seems to have a high basketball IQ, good touch around the rim too. I’m sure as he gets into the NBA his game will expand. I think he fits into the direction the NBA is going right now; being able to score and put pressure on the defense no matter what the situation is.” As for the Warriors, Curry said he’s looking forward to winning more championships with the team. “The story is still going,” Curry said. “A lot of people said this is going to be the end but I’m not going to let that happen. It’s going to be fun to come back and chase more championships next year and beyond.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News20 hr. 47 min. ago

Japan hails Hachimura s NBA selection as new era for sport

By Jim Armstrong, Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — Japanese basketball officials, fans and media hailed the selection of Rui Hachimura in the NBA draft, saying the move will usher in a new era for the sport in Japan. Hachimura became the first player from Japan to get chosen in the first round of the NBA draft, taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). "The Birth of the NBA's Hachimura, a huge step for Japan," read the headline in the Nikkansports newspaper's online edition. The 6'8", 235-pound (2.03 meters, 106 kilogram) forward averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at U.S. college Gonzaga, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year. The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Yasutaka Okayama, who went 171st overall in 1981. He never appeared in a regular-season game, something just two players from the country have done: Yuta Tabuse for the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05, and Yuta Watanabe for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2018-19. "The fact that Hachimura, a product of the Japanese basketball system, has been selected in the NBA draft makes us very proud," said the Japan Basketball Federation's Yuko Mitsuya. While it has grown in popularity with the introduction of a pro league in 2005, basketball still lags far behind baseball and soccer in Japan. Hachimura's NBA career is sure to help the sport grow in leaps and bounds. The son of a Japanese mother and father from the Republic of Benin, Hachimura is the latest Japanese of mixed race to make a splash in the sporting world following the likes of Naomi Osaka and Yu Darvish. "This is a huge step forward for Japan," said Keisuke Tsutsumi, an office worker who follows the NBA. "It will take the sport to a new level here." Hachimura's junior high school coach Joji Sakamoto welcomed the news of his draft selection. Sakamoto coached Hachimura in his native Toyama Prefecture and said he saw potential in his student from a young age. "I told him to visualize his dream, and now it will be a reality," the 59-year-old Sakamoto said. Japan's education minister Masahiko Shibayama said Hachimura had given hope to a generation of young players in his home country. "It's really wonderful," Shibayama said. "By taking a prominent role in a league that is difficult for Japanese players to enter, he will give hope to many Japanese people." Hachimura's rise couldn't come at a better time with Tokyo building to host the 2020 Olympics. Japan's national men's team has qualified as host country and Hachimura could play a leading role at both the Olympics and the World Cup in China later this year. Wizards interim general manager Tommy Sheppard mentioned the 21-year-old's play for Japan's national team. "For Japan to qualify for the world championships, he's the focal point. And when the (Tokyo) Olympics come in 2020, he's going to be the focal point of that country on that basketball team," Sheppard said. "To be able to shoulder that load at his age — the maturity he has — I think that's going to bode well for him in the NBA.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

Report: Fil-Am Sedrick Barefield to join Thunder for Summer League

While he went unselected in the 2019 NBA Draft, Fil-Am guard Sedrick Barefield will reportedly be suiting up for the Oklahoma City Thunder's Las Vegas Summer League team. Undrafted rookie Sedrick Barefield will play the Summer League for the Oklahoma City Thunder, a source told me — Emiliano Carchia (@Carchia) June 21, 2019 That's per a report by Sportando's Emiliano Carchia. Barefield averaged 16.8 points (40.8 FG%, 38.7 3FG%), 2.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 0.9 steals in 31 games (28 starts) in his senior year with the Utah Utes. The 6'2" guard was recognized for his strong play, as he was named to the All-PAC 12 First Team in his final collegiate season. Barefield actually tested the draft waters last season, working out for the LA Lakers and the Utah Jazz, before withdrawing his name for consideration from the 2018 Draft and returning to school......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

Williamson welcomed to New Orleans by a grateful franchise

By Brett Martel, Associated Press METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Zion Williamson and his family were met with applause and traditional New Orleans jazz as they walked into the Pelicans’ headquarters. The practice gym was filled with team employees and executives eager to welcome the player who has infused the franchise with so much more promise than it appeared to have when six-time All-Star Anthony Davis requested a trade five months ago. Williamson, who was in New York a night earlier when the Pelicans made him the NBA’s top overall draft choice, smiled and looked relaxed in his blue suit and white designer sneakers. When the music was turned down and it was time for Williamson to address the gathering, he spoke with an easy manor and kept his comments short and simple. He promised maximum effort and flexibility, but stopped short of forecasting the type of greatness for himself that so many others have predicted. “I look at things from a realistic point of view,” Williamson began during his formal introduction to his first professional home on Friday evening (Saturday, PHL time). He called the praise being showered upon him “a bit much,” and reminded everyone that he is still a couple weeks short of his 19th birthday. “I haven’t played one (NBA) game yet, so I look at it just like that,” Williamson said. “I’m just trying to contribute to the team.” The 6'7", 285-pound forward will probably do a lot more than that, given the force of nature he was in his one season at Duke. He averaged 22.6 points for the Blue Devils and was voted to the ACC’s All-Defensive Team. He also averaged 8.9 rebounds, 2.12 steals and 1.8 blocked shots. Pelicans new executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has sought to temper expectations by asserting that Williamson is “not the savior” of the small market franchise that was won two playoff series since relocating from Charlotte in 2002. Griffin also has stated repeatedly that veteran guard Jrue Holiday is the unquestioned leader of the team — which didn’t seem to bother Williamson at all. Williamson visited New Orleans for just a day of meetings before the draft and had dinner at renowned Uptown restaurant Commanders Palace. This second trip is expected to span at least the weekend, and dinner at a downtown steak place was on tap Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), followed by his first community service event at a playground in eastern New Orleans on Saturday. His parents and siblings also have made the trip, and they were expected to help the Pelicans’ newest star look for a place to live. Williamson said he enjoyed the televised images of fans in New Orleans celebrating wildly in a downtown street upon his selection. “I didn’t think I deserved all that,” he said with a smile, “but it was just passion for the team.” Even Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry and owner Gayle Benson struggled to contain their enthusiasm for Williamson’s arrival. “To receive the No. 1 pick in the draft is a prize any sports team would covet; this one is different,” Benson said. “We could not have asked for a better player with more potential on the court. More importantly, we could not have hoped for a better person to represent and help lead our franchise into this new chapter.” Added Gentry, “You don’t get to coach guys like this very often. When you’re lucky enough to have a generational player like that that you’re going to be able to coach, you relish just the honor of being able to coach a guy like that.” “You have to have the talent, but you have to have people that have the character that he has. It’s going to be enjoyable to see the style of basketball that we’re going to play. He more than fits into it. It’s going to be exciting to watch.” Williamson said it is easy for him to take such comments — and superstar treatment from fans — in stride. “The thing that keeps me grounded is, I just always think about the times when, like, it was just me, my stepdad and a basketball on an outdoor court,” he said. The Pelicans had the right to draft Williamson first overall after an unlikely victory in the NBA’s draft lottery last month. Before the lottery, odds were that Williamson would wind up in one of the NBA’s largest markets with the New York Knicks. Instead, he’ll be in one of the smallest. But his stepfather, Lee Anderson, said New Orleans was exactly where he was hoping his stepson would go. “I am so thankful,” Anderson said. “I thought this city would be a great place to go, and God worked it out.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

6 Canadians chosen in 2019 NBA draft, setting non-US record

By Avery Yang, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Canada's basketball celebration keeps on going. Six Canadians were drafted Thursday night (Friday, PHL time), setting the record for a country other than the U.S. A week after the Toronto Raptors won the nation's first NBA championship, Canadians RJ Barrett, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Brandon Clarke, Mfiondu Kabengele, Ignas Brazdeikis and Marial Shayok were drafted. "It's amazing to be Canadian," said Barrett, who went third overall to the New York Knicks. "We take a lot of pride. That's why I've got my Canadian flags on this side of my jacket. To put it on for our country, that means a lot." France had five players selected in 2016. "To see players come out of (Canada) and be very good is something that's awesome," said Clarke, who went 21st to the Oklahoma City Thunder. "I'm somebody who grew up watching (Steve) Nash play and I always thought it was really cool he was from Canada." The players selected — four in the first round — join the 13 active Canadian players in the NBA. Among them include former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, NBA champion Tristan Thompson, Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tyler Ennis. "I know guys like Andrew Wiggins and Tyler Ennis gave me hope," said Alexander-Walker, the 17th pick by the New Orleans Pelicans. "Now as RJ got selected. I got selected. Hopefully more Canadians who get selected can kind of give those kids and other generations hope." Clarke, who played at Gonzaga, said the Raptors' championship will help the growth of basketball in Canada. "Basketball is getting bigger and bigger and it's gotten much bigger, too, in Canada," Clarke said. "It's just been really fun to watch the evolution of basketball in the country." Former Canadian players include 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Nash — who is Barrett's godfather — former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and three-time NBA champion Rick Fox. The previous record for the most Canadians chosen in a single draft was in 2014, when four were picked. From 1983-2009, a total of just nine were selected. "It feels great," Barrett said. "Canadian basketball is really on the rise.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 21st, 2019

Zion Williamson brings rare potential to New Orleans

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Eventually, as with every NBA Draft, there will be a “re-draft” of the Class of 2019. That’s the irresistible exercise in hindsight from media outlets that rank a particular year’s prospects not on their projected value but on actual demonstrated value five, 10 or more seasons into their professional careers. Some players will rise. Others will fall. “Bust” and “sleeper” tags will be dispersed accordingly. This team or GM will be lauded for an especially savvy selection, that one will be razzed for the quality player or players on whom it whiffed. But the through line of the dreams-come-true event Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at Barclays Center, the lone selection that will not or at least should not change, is Zion Williamson. Williamson is the sure thing, the “can’t miss,” consensus No. 1 pick bound for the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s a 6'7", 285-pound freshman from Duke whose comps aren’t merely established players currently in the NBA but some of the game’s legends. So think Blake Griffin, sure. But also think LeBron James. And Charles Barkley. And, for that matter, every other wide-body who’s ever played with muscles on muscles, above-the-rim explosiveness, balletic body control and an instantly recognizable game that’s as charismatic as it is freakish. Yeah, awfully small subset. “I’m looking forward to playing against everybody,” Williamson said soon after his selection. “I want to be the best. I feel I have to earn everybody’s respect.” It’s not just a matter of Williamson’s game tickling NBA fans’ fancy, either. He managed, in almost his first official pro moment, to capture a lot of their hearts too. No sooner had Williamson – the first No. 1 pick to be born in this millennium (July 6, 2000) – strode to the stage in his cream-white suit, tugged on a Pelicans draft cap and embraced NBA commissioner Adam Silver, he dropped his guard to let the world share his emotions in the moment. His status as college basketball’s best and his draft position had been established months ago. There was no new mystery as to when his name would be called by Silver at the podium. And yet, when the first ESPN microphone was poked in front of him, with his mother Sharonda Sampson at his side, the big guy lost it. He choked up and blinked back tears, not quite winning that battle. “My mom sacrificed a lot for me,” Williamson said. “I wouldn’t be here without my mom. She did everything for me. I just want to thank her.” Several interviews and maybe 20 minutes later, Williamson explained how the horribly kept secret of his No. 1 selection could trigger his response. “Because I love the game of basketball,” he said. “You can hear people say things like, ‘Oh, it was likely I was going to go No. 1.’ But I guess you don’t know until you actually go through it.” What mattered most to Williamson about his mother’s role in his life? “Tough love,” he said. “She was always be the first one to keep it real with me. … She put aside her dreams just so me and my brothers could have a chance at ours.” The love already heading Williamson’s way in New Orleans was less tough and more unconditional at this stage, for the teenager represents a re-birth for a Pelicans franchise rocked by the loss of All-Star forward Anthony Davis. Davis, coincidentally, was the No. 1 pick in 2012 and generally considered the top prospect to hit the Draft before Williamson. But after six-and-a-half seasons and only two trips to the playoffs, Davis asked in December to be traded, despite having more than two-plus seasons left on his contract. David Griffin, the Pelicans' new vice president of basketball operations, had hoped that Williamson’s arrival might convince Davis to stay. When that didn’t happen, Griffin swiftly shifted to Plan B, arranging to trade the discontented big man to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that won’t be official until July. Now New Orleans, which has won just two playoff series in its 17 seasons and failed to qualify 10 times, has a new cornerstone. Williamson figures to be under team control contractually for as long or longer than Davis stuck around, with teammates relocated from L.A. such as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to run with him and Pelicans holdovers. “What excites me the most is the fact that they’re young and they’re close to my age,” said Duke’s third No. 1 overall pick (Elton Brand in 1999, Kyrie Irving in 2011). “So they can help me a lot more, like how to deal with this transition. I think we can build something over there.” The essential block is Williamson, who swept college basketball’s major awards with a game that strains credulity. At 285 pounds, his listed weight is greater than almost every big man in the NBA, but he has quick-twitch speed and thrives in the open court. He can stare down into the rim before slamming home dunks with unnerving ferocity, and he is a deft and willing passer. Williamson averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 30 minutes for the Blue Devils, while making 68 percent of his shots. He and fellow Top 10 picks R.J. Barrett (New York, No. 3) and Cam Reddish (Atlanta, No. 10) helped Duke reach the Elite Eight, with Williamson earning ACC Tournament MVP along the way. He’s not a perfect player – his jump shot and range need work – but he already is working to complement his transition and low-post repertoire. Defensively, Williamson has the motor and mobility to switch assignments and quick hands to dislodge the ball without fouling. As a rebounder, his verticality is matched by, well, his horizontality in controlling the air space above and around him. “His size, his athleticism, his power is visible,” former St. John’s coach and Naismith Hall of Famer Chris Mullin said. “But to me his speed is really incredible from end to end. “I would morph Charles Barkley and Shawn Kemp and put them together [as a comparison]. When he gets to the NBA and he plays with that extra space they have in the wide key, he’s going to be a monster.” Williamson arrives with hype – no, make that expectations, because of all he’s shown already on courts around America – that rival what James shouldered when he arrived from high school in 2003. His plan for lugging that responsibility: “Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m willing to do it, because I feel people remember winners.” The selections immediately after Williamson were nearly as predictable, based on intelligence and mock drafts that solidified in the days before the Draft. Murry State guard Ja Morant was chosen by Memphis at No. 2, and Barrett’s ensuing selection by the Knicks delighted their always boisterous fans in the stands at Barclay. The order of the next four choices was jumbled from some predictions. Yet by the time the smoke cleared, sure enough, the seven players projected to come off the board soonest had slotted into the night’s top seven spots. That included Virginia forward De’andre Hunter to Atlanta at No. 4 (via the Lakers, in the aforementioned Davis trade that has yet to be completed), Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland to Cleveland at No. 5, Texas Tech wing Jarrett Culver to Minnesota at No. 6 and North Carolina guard Coby White to Chicago at No. 7. Just because there wasn’t a lot of suspense at Barclays didn’t mean there was no intrigue. Much of that came from unusually heavy trade action – all technically unofficial – that had teams moving up, down and all around to snag picks, dump picks or clean up their salary-cap positions in anticipation of free agency that starts June 30. The timing of the Draft, relative to when the NBA’s new business year begins, had players donning caps of teams they’ll never play for, while speaking guardedly about those for whom they really were picked. A reported nine trades impacted draft decisions made in the first round alone. There even was a moment when Morant, in his post-Draft media session, gave a shout-out to veteran Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, whose spot he’ll presumably be taking once Conley’s trade to Utah officially goes through. But there’s no such uncertainty about Williamson, the through line of this year’s class, the true line in his heartfelt reactions Thursday (Friday, PHL time) and broad-shouldered hope of a Big Easy franchise in need. Williamson showed his grasp of the NBA’s and sports’ need for fresh icons, in effect accepting his status as a legend in waiting. “You know, times change,” he said. “That’s why there are so many debates about who people think the greatest players of all time are. If you were in the time of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, you’d probably say one of those two. If you were in the time of Jordan, you’d say Jordan. In our generation, a lot of them say LeBron. “So times changes and I think younger fans like younger players.” You don’t have to be young, though, to have your eye on Zion. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 21st, 2019

Boxing: Aston Palicte comes up short in WBO world title bid

Filipino boxer Aston "Mighty" Palicte came up short in his second bid at the WBO Super Flyweight World Championship, getting stopped by Japan's Kazuto Ioka at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.  Palicte was off to a strong start, but the hometown bet rallied back midway through the bout.  From the 6th round onwards, it was all Ioka as the Japanese star took over.  Ioka tee'd off on the Pinoy pug in the 10th round before the official called a stop to the bout.  Ioka, who makes good on his second attempt at the WBO's 115-pound strap, makes history as the first Japanese male boxer to capture a world title in four weight divisions. He improves to 24-2 in his career with 14 wins via KO.  Palicte, who battled Donnie Nietes to a Split Draw for the same WBO title back in 2018, drops to 25-3. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

Report: Horford now expected to leave Celtics in free agency

NBA.com staff report Another one of the Boston Celtics' top in-house free agents appears set to not opt into his deal, and is reportedly ready to move on from Boston. Though it was reported earlier Tuesday (Wednesday, PHl time) that Horford was expected to decline his $30.1 million player option for 2019-20, it was tinged toward a potential return. Boston Herald sports reporter Steve Bulpett broke news that contract talks had apparently shifted toward an exit. Major change in the Al Horford situation: Per source close to Horford, his side is no longer discussing a new 3-year deal to stay with the Celtics. He is expected to sign a 4-year free agent contract elsewhere... Story to come. — Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) June 18, 2019 Less than a week ago, Celtics star guard Kyrie Irving decided to not opt into his deal for next season. That leaves the Celtics reportedly preparing for a nightmare scenario in which both Horford and Irving walk in free agency, with nothing to show for their recent run of high-profile asset acquisition. Wojnarowski previously reported Horford and the Celtics had interest in working toward a new deal in July, one that would help Boston's salary cap flexibility. Team president Danny Ainge said in early June that he was hoping to discuss restructuring the All-Star big man's contract, a move he called a priority this summer. A five-time All-Star, Horford averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game last season for the Celtics, appearing and starting in 68 games. Overall, the former No. 3 pick in the 2007 draft has averaged 14.1 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 3.2 apg and 1.2 bpg in his career......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

Pelicans primed to draft Zion Williamson and another top-5 prospect

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Now that six-time All-Star Anthony Davis trade request has been honored, its time for the New Orleans Pelicans to start a new era by drafting the next face of the franchise. Duke sta.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsJun 18th, 2019

Pelicans extend coach Gentry’s contract through 2021

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Pelicans basketball operations chief David Griffin says the club is exercising its option to extend coach Alvin Gentry’s contract through the 2020-21 season. Gentry has coached four seasons in New Orleans and made one playoff appearance, when New Orleans swept Portland in the first round in 2018 before falling to eventual champion Golden State. Griffin worked with Gentry in Phoenix when the veteran coach helped the Suns reach the Western Conference finals in 2010 and says Gentry is “exactly the right coach at the right time” for the Pelicans. Griffin says he and Gentry have a “shared vision” for the Pelicans on and off the court, which will enable them to build a roster that “fits both culturally and tactically.” New Orleans has the top pick in Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) draft and is expected to select Zion Williamson of Duke. The Pelicans have also agreed to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round draft choices. Gentry has coached more than 1,000 games in 16 seasons with Miami, Detroit, the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix and New Orleans......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2019

NBA: Davis reportedly headed to Lakers in blockbuster trade

ESPN and the Los Angeles Times said unsettled star Davis will join the Lakers in a move which will see the Pelicans receive multiple players and draft picks in return. #NBA.....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

Brazil opens Copa America with spotlight still on Neymar

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil will get the Copa America underway with the Neymar saga still far from over. As the hosts closed their preparations for Friday's opener against Bolivia, Neymar was still attracting most of the attention in the country even though he is not playing in the South American championship. The player, who was ruled out of the tournament last week because of an ankle injury, appeared at a police station amid a media frenzy on Thursday to answer questions related to the allegations of a Brazilian woman who says he raped her when she visited him in Paris. Neymar has denied wrongdoing. The team practiced a few hours later at the Morumbi Stadium, where it will begin its quest for the South American title against Bolivia in Group A. Brazil is trying to quickly get past the Neymar controversy and focus solely on soccer. "There's more talk about Neymar (in the media) than there is talk about him within the squad," Brazil coach Tite said on Thursday. "Within the squad we are focused on our preparations. I would never want to be in this situation of playing without Neymar, a top-three player in the world, but we have to be prepared." Neymar hurt his ankle in Brazil's win over Qatar in a Copa America warm-up last week. He was on crutches on Thursday when he arrived to speak with investigators at the police station, where a crowd of fans cheered him. This will be Brazil's first tournament since the team's loss to Belgium in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Tite kept his job despite that elimination, but only the title will be good enough at the Copa America at home. "We know it's important to win titles, we can't run away from that," Tite said. "But winning that has to be done step by step, it's part of a process." Tite said injured Barcelona midfielder Arthur is back in training but won't start on Friday. Goalkeeper Ederson is also out after hurting a muscle in practice on Wednesday. He is expected to be sidelined for about a week. Brazil has won the Copa America all four previous times it hosted the tournament, though its last South American title was in 2007. Bolivia didn't get past the group stage in the 2016 Copa America, but it made it to the quarterfinals in the 2015 tournament. "Brazil is a favorite in any competition it plays and always has the responsibility to win," Brazil defensive midfielder Casemiro said. "We are without Neymar, our biggest star, but we remain very strong. There's no doubt we are prepared. The work done so far has been very good.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

Dave Ildefonso hopes long stint in youth team leads to place in Gilas Pilipinas

Dave Ildefonso, National University's incoming second-year stud, is still part of Gilas Youth. Yes, better believe that the Bulldogs' rising star remains a key cog of the Philippine national youth team as he's only 19-years and two-months old. And come the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, Ildefonso will be wearing the flag for the fourth time in international competition - following his go-rounds in the 2015 SEABA Under-16, 2015 FIBA Asia Under-16, and 2018 FIBA Asia Under-18. Through the years, there is one thing and one thing only that has changed in the eyes of the 6-foot-3 swingman. "Ako na nga yung pinakamatanda rito kaya naisip ko lang na grabe, ang lalaki na pala talaga ng mga bata ngayon. Dati, 6-footer ako, sentro na ako e," he joshed. Indeed, that's all changed now as Ildefonso can now slot into his natural position as a swingman with 7-foot-2 Kai Sotto, 6-foot-10 AJ Edu, 6-foot-8 Geo Chiu, and 6-foot-8 Carl Tamayo entrenched. Turning serious, though, the son of Philippine basketball legend Danny Ildefonso knows full well that his wealth of experience will be of much help for Batang Gilas. And so, he is not shying away from being more of a leader. "In terms of leadership, marami akong makakatulong kasi si Kai, born leader naman tapos nandyan din si AJ [Edu], [Migs] Oczon. As individuals, leaders naman kami lahat dito," he shared. He then continued, "Ako naman, maitutulong ko is yung pagiging role model ko on and off the court." While the upcoming world meet will be his fourth and final with the national youth team, Ildefonso is nothing but hopeful this will not be the last time he wears the flag. "Ang tanda ko na nga kasi e no," he kidded with reporters who likened his long stint in Gilas Youth with what Gabe Norwood has been as a mainstay for Gilas Pilipinas. He then continued, "Sana hindi ito yung last ko. Yung dream ko, siyempre, makasali sa 2023 (FIBA World Cup) at sa iba pa, SEA Games, ganun. Paghihirapan ko yun para sana makuha ko sa future." In that light, the Gilas Youth veteran only vows to keep being better. As he put it, "The game is evolving so my game should be evolving too. Dati, shooter, spot-up lang ako na minsan, nagbi-big man pa, but ngayon, I worked it out over the years na pwedeng 1, 2, 3, stretch 4 pa kung kailangan." He then continued, "Gagawin ko kung anong kailangan ng team." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2019

WATCH: Durant s shock injury exit stuns NBA Finals rivals

    TORONTO, Canada – When Golden State star Kevin Durant went down 12 minutes into his long-awaited comeback game in the NBA Finals, players on both sides were stunned. Durant, the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, suffered a right Achilles tendon injury in the Warriors' 106-105 victory over ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019

MPBL: Manila Stars aiming for better finish in Lakan Cup

All things considered, the Manila Stars had a pretty good campaign in the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup.  The Stars finished the elimination round with a 20-5 slate and went as far as the Divisional Finals, where they fell to eventual National Champions San Juan Knights in three games.  With their maiden season in the books, Manila is now looking to put on an even better showing in the upcoming MPBL Lakan Cup.  "It was good season for the Manila Stars, lalong-lalo na sa akin, kasi siyempre may Divisional Finals appearance," said Stars playmaker Chris Bitoon. "Makikita mo talaga yung players na gumagaling sa Divisional Finals eh, yung mga nag-iisip." "Sana ngayong dadating na MPBL, makakapag-laro ulit kami sa Divisional Finals, para yung bawat isa sa amin, mag-improve pa," he continued.  Bitoon himself had a pretty good maiden season in the league, averaging just under 15 points, nearly four rebounds, and four assists per game, good for a spot in the All-MPBL First Team.  And while an individual achievement is always nice, Bitoon maintains that it's just a bonus. The main goal remains the same, and that's to go far into the postseason.  "Sa akin, yung pagiging kasama ko sa First Team, bonus na lang ‘yun, talagang ginawa ko lang yung trabaho ko, pero sana ngayon yung expectation is makapag-laro muli kami sa Divisional Finals, ma-feel yung crowd na ganun ka-lakas yung sigawan, sana ma-bless kami ni God na makapag-laro ulit doon." With another Divisional Finals, and even a National Finals stint on their crosshairs, Bitoon says that a 'more organized' Manila Stars squad plans on taking things step by step, and among those steps is adding some depth in their roster.  "Siguro yung Manila Stars ngayon, mas naging-organized, naging organized, nag-recruit din kami ng mga bagong players, mga potential players na alam naman namin na makaka-tulong sa team namin," Bitoon shared. Among those new recruits include former PBA All-Star Carlo Lastimosa, former Mandaluyong standout Gian Abrigo, and former De La Salle Green Archers Jollo Go and Mark Dyke, and former UST Growling Tiger Marvin Lee.  The Stars hope that these additions will more than make up for the loss of forward Riel Cervantes.  "Sana, ngayong darating na season, siyempre step-by-step, makapag-laro kami ng Finals, pero ang nasa isip muna namin ngayon ay bawat game eh, elimination, Divisional Finals, then yung National Finals," Bitoon added.  With so much new blood injected into the Stars' system, Bitoon is confident that he and fellow All-MPBL First Teamer Aris Dioniso will have a lot of help in the coming conference.  "Laging sinasabi ng coach namin na kahit sinong pwedeng ipasok, makaka-contribute eh. Siguro sa amin ngayon, kailangan lang namin na mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa eh, hindi pwedeng kami lang ni Aris Dionisio, Chris Bitoon. Kailangan lang namin mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa. Andiyan naman yung mga ex-pro pa namin na maasahan." Right now, Bitoon is relishing the opportunity that the MPBL has given him, and playing for the capital city's home team has given him the perfect avenue to showcase his skills.  "Sobrang saya kasi ultimo mga bata, hanggang sa mga matatanda, mga nanay, talagang naka-support sa amin eh. Pag pumupunta kami sa venue namin sa practice, may mga ‘Idol, idol!’, magpapa-picture sila, kaya sobrang nakaka-proud kasi kahit hindi ka kilala, kahit hindi ka galing sa malaking school, nabibigyan ka ng halaga sa Manila."   The 2019-2020 MPBL Lakan Cup begins on Wednesday, June 12, 4:00 PM at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!   .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

MPBL: Manila Stars aiming for better finish in Lakan Cup

All things considered, the Manila Stars had a pretty good campaign in the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup.  The Stars finished the elimination round with a 20-5 slate and went as far as the Divisional Finals, where they fell to eventual National Champions San Juan Knights in three games.  With their maiden season in the books, Manila is now looking to put on an even better showing in the upcoming MPBL Lakan Cup.  "It was good season for the Manila Stars, lalong-lalo na sa akin, kasi siyempre may Divisional Finals appearance," said Stars playmaker Chris Bitoon. "Makikita mo talaga yung players na gumagaling sa Divisional Finals eh, yung mga nag-iisip." "Sana ngayong dadating na MPBL, makakapag-laro ulit kami sa Divisional Finals, para yung bawat isa sa amin, mag-improve pa," he continued.  Bitoon himself had a pretty good maiden season in the league, averaging just under 15 points, nearly four rebounds, and four assists per game, good for a spot in the All-MPBL First Team.  And while an individual achievement is always nice, Bitoon maintains that it's just a bonus. The main goal remains the same, and that's to go far into the postseason.  "Sa akin, yung pagiging kasama ko sa First Team, bonus na lang ‘yun, talagang ginawa ko lang yung trabaho ko, pero sana ngayon yung expectation is makapag-laro muli kami sa Divisional Finals, ma-feel yung crowd na ganun ka-lakas yung sigawan, sana ma-bless kami ni God na makapag-laro ulit doon." With another Divisional Finals, and even a National Finals stint on their crosshairs, Bitoon says that a 'more organized' Manila Stars squad plans on taking things step by step, and among those steps is adding some depth in their roster.  "Siguro yung Manila Stars ngayon, mas naging-organized, naging organized, nag-recruit din kami ng mga bagong players, mga potential players na alam naman namin na makaka-tulong sa team namin," Bitoon shared. Among those new recruits include former PBA All-Star Carlo Lastimosa, former Mandaluyong standout Gian Abrigo, and former De La Salle Green Archers Jollo Go and Mark Dyke, and former UST Growling Tiger Marvin Lee.  The Stars hope that these additions will more than make up for the loss of forward Riel Cervantes.  "Sana, ngayong darating na season, siyempre step-by-step, makapag-laro kami ng Finals, pero ang nasa isip muna namin ngayon ay bawat game eh, elimination, Divisional Finals, then yung National Finals," Bitoon added.  With so much new blood injected into the Stars' system, Bitoon is confident that he and fellow All-MPBL First Teamer Aris Dioniso will have a lot of help in the coming conference.  "Laging sinasabi ng coach namin na kahit sinong pwedeng ipasok, makaka-contribute eh. Siguro sa amin ngayon, kailangan lang namin na mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa eh, hindi pwedeng kami lang ni Aris Dionisio, Chris Bitoon. Kailangan lang namin mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa. Andiyan naman yung mga ex-pro pa namin na maasahan." Right now, Bitoon is relishing the opportunity that the MPBL has given him, and playing for the capital city's home team has given him the perfect avenue to showcase his skills.  "Sobrang saya kasi ultimo mga bata, hanggang sa mga matatanda, mga nanay, talagang naka-support sa amin eh. Pag pumupunta kami sa venue namin sa practice, may mga ‘Idol, idol!’, magpapa-picture sila, kaya sobrang nakaka-proud kasi kahit hindi ka kilala, kahit hindi ka galing sa malaking school, nabibigyan ka ng halaga sa Manila."   The 2019-2020 MPBL Lakan Cup begins on Wednesday, June 12, 4:00 PM at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!   .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

Five things we learned from Game 4 of the 2019 Finals

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Five things we learned from Game 3 of the 2019 Finals

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com OAKLAND – Five things we learned from the Toronto Raptors’ 123-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the 2019 Finals Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) at Oracle Arena: 1. What Stephen Curry learned … Curry was remarkable in Game 3, consciously seizing more of Golden State’s offensive burden to make up for Klay Thompson’s and Kevin Durant’s absences and turning that desperation into something historic. With 47 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, the Warriors point guard became only the ninth man to score at least 45 points in a Finals game. The lesson in that? Curry learned for a night what it has felt like for LeBron James on many such occasions. James put himself on that specific list a year ago when he logged 51 points, eight board and eight assists against Curry’s team in Game 1, same court. Like Curry, James’ team lost that night as well. Struggling mightily in something of a one-against-five predicament is the sort of things James has done often, while Curry never had faced it during Golden State’s five-year run to The Finals. They both -- James in the past and Curry on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) -- had legit NBA players around them. But the responsibility to put up points fell in both cases mostly on their shoulders. This was even a chance to revisit the 2015 Finals MVP selection, which attracted some attention on social media Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) over bogus speculation about the voting process. Andre Iguodala won the award that June, getting seven votes from the panel of media reps to James’ four. Curry got no votes. The point was, Curry had as a single game Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) what James had as an entire series in ’15. He averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists, scoring 38.5 percent of Cleveland’s points (215-of-561) while assisting on 52.7 percent of his teammates’ baskets while he was on the court. Now Curry is the guy in position, if Golden State loses the series, to get a few MVP votes in a losing effort. By the way, Jerry West is the only player to win the Finals MVP trophy in a losing effort. And West is one of the nine to score 45 or more – he did it three times, but his Lakers teams went 1-2 in those games. (The others: Michael Jordan three times, Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor, Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson once each. Their teams all won on their big scoring nights.) 2. Is the scoreboard broken? It’s tempting to say that the Warriors’ attack is in broken-record mode, except the resurgence of vinyl might not be sufficient yet to bring that phrase back into the mainstream. So we’ll go with a cultural reference that’s more classic than archaic. Think of The Beatles’ “Revolution 9,” but substitute “109… 109… 109…” Yeah, it’s been about as monotonous and unsatisfying for Golden State as it was on the White Album. At least Warriors coach Steve Kerr was somewhat bemused by his team’s scoreboard consistency. In each game of these Finals, Golden State has scored 109 points. “I just knew we were going to score 109 points because that’s all we’re going to do the rest of this series,” Kerr said. “So if we’re going to keep scoring 109, we got to keep them to 108.” The Warriors kept Toronto to 104 points in Game 2. Some of that was to their credit, some to the Raptors’ misfires and mid-game chill. The simplest stat? Toronto launched 38 three-pointers in both games. The night the Raptors made 11, they lost. When they made 17, they won. Getting Thompson back for Game 4 could make a big difference there. He is one of Golden State’s best defenders. For that matter, Durant’s length could assert itself as a defensive weapon, too, if he comes back later in the series. As for 109 being a winning points total, here is some background: taken in isolation, averaged over a full Finals, that would have been plenty to win 19 of the past 20 championships. The lone exception? In 2017, when Cleveland averaged 114.8 ppg yet lost because Golden State was putting up 121.6 nightly. In 2018, the Warriors averaged 116 points to the Cavaliers’ 101. The only other times a Finals team in the past 20 years averaged within five points of 109 were the Spurs in 2015 (105.6) and in 2007 (104.4) and the Lakers in 2002 (106.0) and 2000 (104.8). Obviously, a few of those were in the game’s relative “dark ages” for use of the 3-ball, but all four won championships. The Warriors are scoring enough points to win. 3. ‘Boogie’ fever has broken   DeMarcus Cousins called his decision to sign with Golden State for a cut-rate contract, while rehabbing from an Achilles injury, his “chess move.” He wound up joining the defending champions and favorite to three-peat, and got his game back in time to contribute. Cousins subsequently suffered a quadriceps injury but returned in time to participate in The Finals. Only thing is, he looked like he was back playing checkers in Game 3. The Warriors center stood out Sunday (Monday, PHL time), scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. But those numbers drooped to four points, three boards, three turnovers and 1-for-7 shooting in Game 3. Cousins went from plus-12 impact in Game 2 to minus-12 Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The big man looked a step slow and appeared to be bothered by Toronto’s length, in the forms of Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka. With little lift these days, he’s playing a little smaller than his 6'11", 270-pound specs. And given how long he was off and the mere eight minutes he got in Game 1, what Cousins did in Game 2 was starting to look more adrenaline-fueled than a reliable return to form. Since Curry handled just about everything else for Golden State in Game 3, he was asked afterward about Cousins’ “regression.” The point guard handled the awkward moment well -- being asked a critical question about a teammate might have tempted Curry to blow it off or lie. Instead, he talked of the Warriors’ shared responsibility on defense and noted a few calls offensively that didn't go Cousins' way. Then Curry added: “Like any great player, if you have a rough game, that resiliency to bounce back and the confidence to know that you can still go out there and impact the game, that’s something that he’ll bring, and we all will follow suit for sure.” 4. Danny Green’s big moment Understandably, when an All-Star and potential Kia MVP candidate gets traded, the deal becomes all about him. Next, folks focus on the key player or players swapped out and how the move might work for the other team. Only then do we play much attention to the guy or guys accompanying the All-Star to his new destination. That’s how it’s been for Danny Green for much of the 2018-19 season. Green and Kawhi Leonard were teammates in San Antonio for seven seasons. They went to two Finals together with the Spurs, winning rings in 2014. But when Leonard wanted out after an injured and rancorous 2017-18, the deal the Spurs put together with Toronto shipped out Danny Green, too. The reality of NBA trades is that salaries must match up, so teammates often become collateral damage to even up the dollar sufficiently to satisfy league rules. Sometimes, a teammate is thrown into a deal because he and the star are chums. A familiar face gives the featured guy some comfort -- or someone to carry his bags. But Green was a helpful playoff performer in his own right with the Spurs -- in his 12 Finals games before this year, he had made 52 percent of his three-pointers. And in 2013 he made 27 of them against the Miami Heat, a Finals record that was his for all of three years until Curry drained 32 in 2016. Green struggled with his shot in the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, going 4-for-23 on three-pointers. But his marksmanship early in Game 3 and against near the end of the third quarter propelled the Raptors’ victory. 5. Those rebounds are offensive   Toronto dominated on the offensive glass 15-6 in Game 2 and lost. Golden State dominated on the offensive glass 13-5 in Game 3 and lost. Typically, that’s a positive category for the team that wins it, something coaches hate when the other guys are reclaiming their own misses time and again. But lately, the demerits associated with offensive rebounds have loomed larger than the benefits. You grab a shot you or your teammate missed, that ought to be a good thing. But the Raptors in Game 2 (37.2 percent) and the Warriors in Game 3 (39.6 percent) were beset by inaccuracy, so there were more offensive rebounds to be had, period. The other down side of a generally positive stat is how you go about getting them. If you get overeager and the defense controls the errant shot, you might denude your transition defense. Both the Raptors and the Warriors in Games 2 and 3 respectively built considerable edges in second-chance points off their offensive rebound totals. Toronto had a 23-0 scoring advantage Sunday (Monday, PHL time), yet lost by five. Golden State held it 23-12 Wednesday, yet lost by 14. The losing team in both cases slightly won the battle of fast-break points, but offensive-rebounding strategy still forces a choice on teams. “We have a general kind of rule of thumb that once a shot goes up, we tell our guys to make a really quick, good decision,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said before Game 3. “Either they're going hard to the offensive rebound or they're going hard to defense transition. … There's certain moments of the game – I mean, some of those late are almost scrambles, right, you're behind five and you're throwing it up there and everybody's trying to rebound, just to keep the game alive as well.” It’s a stat worth watching, even if it’s inversely related lately to the games’ outcomes. Sing it loud, sing it proud ???????? #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/8HfjoM9Cht — Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 6, 2019 Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. 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Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2019

Orioles draft Oregon State catcher Rutschman with No. 1 pick

By Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles selected Oregon State switch-hitting catcher Adley Rutschman with the top pick in the Major League Baseball draft Monday night. The announcement at MLB Network studios marked the second time the Orioles led off the draft — they took LSU pitcher Ben McDonald in 1989. "It's everything I've always dreamed of," Rutschman said in an interview on MLB Network. "This is an unbelievable feeling and I couldn't have asked for anything more." With the No. 2 choice, the Kansas City Royals grabbed Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., the son of former big league pitcher Bobby Witt. The younger Witt has draft-day bragging rights on his father, who won 142 games over 16 seasons after being selected No. 3 overall in 1985. "Now I've got him beat," Bobby Witt Jr. said. The Witts became the highest-drafted father-son duo, topping Tom Grieve (No. 6, 1966) and Ben Grieve (No. 2, 1994). They are the seventh father-son combination of first-rounders, and first since Delino DeShields (1987) and Delino DeShields Jr. (2010). "The dreams are kind of turning into reality," the younger Witt said. The 21-year-old Rutschman had been the favorite to go first overall since he led Oregon State to the College World Series championship last year and was selected the most outstanding player. He followed that up with a dominant junior season at the plate — and behind it. He hit .411 with a career-best 17 homers to go with 58 RBIs and a school-record 76 walks, and threw out 13 of 27 runners attempting to steal. Rutschman, a native of Sherwood, Oregon, is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award given to the country's top college player. He was also the Pac-12 player of the year for the Beavers and the conference's co-defensive player of year. His selection marks the seventh time a player drafted as a catcher was taken with the top pick, and first since Minnesota tabbed Joe Mauer in 2001. The 6-foot, 180-pound Witt Jr., considered a five-tool prospect, turns 19 next Friday. The Colleyville Heritage High School star has impressive power while making consistent contact with a smooth right-handed swing. University of California slugging first baseman Andrew Vaughn went to the Chicago White Sox with the third pick. Vaughn batted .381 this season with 15 homers, 50 RBIs and a .544 on-base percentage that ranks among the national leaders. He also showed a terrific eye at the plate and struck out just 74 times in three college seasons. The 6-foot, 214-pound Vaughn is also looking to become the first repeat winner of the Golden Spikes Award after earning the honor as a sophomore last year. The Miami Marlins drafted Vanderbilt outfielder JJ Bleday at No. 4, adding the Southeastern Conference player of the year who has a quick, left-handed swing and leads Division I players in home runs with a school-record 26. A finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Bleday is hitting .351 and brings a 42-game on-base streak into next weekend's super regionals round of the NCAA Tournament. With the fifth pick, the Detroit Tigers took Florida high school outfielder Riley Greene. Gatorade's Florida state player of year hit .422 with eight homers, 27 RBIs and 38 runs as arguably the country's top prep outfielder. He has a smooth left-handed swing that produces consistent line drives. More draft history was made when the San Diego Padres selected speedy Georgia high school shortstop CJ Abrams at No. 6, marking the first time no pitchers were taken within the first six picks. The lefty-hitting Abrams was considered by many to be the fastest player in the draft. The Blessed Trinity Catholic High School star batted .418 with eight home runs and 100 RBIs in his high school career. TCU left-hander Nick Lodolo ended the run on position players, going seventh overall to the Cincinnati Reds. Generally regarded as the top pitching prospect in this year's class, Lodolo went 6-6 with a 2.36 ERA and struck out 131 while walking just 25 in 103 innings for the Horned Frogs. He was the 41st overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016 — the highest selection to go unsigned that year. Lodolo also became TCU's highest-drafted player, topping Lance Broadway (No. 15 by White Sox in 2005)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 4th, 2019