All-Star break works wonders for Blazers, Jazz, Heat

By John Schuhmann, The Portland Trail Blazers are doing it again. For the second straight season, the Blazers are the most improved team after the All-Star break. Last year, spurred by the acquisition of Jusuf Nurkic at the trade deadline, the Blazers were 7.8 points per 100 possessions better after the break (plus-5.3) than they were before it (minus-2.5). This year, without a rotation-altering trade, the Blazers have been 9.5 points per 100 possessions better since the break (plus-10.0) than they were before it (plus-0.4). Their 13-game winning streak (which started with their last game before All-Star weekend) came to an end at the hands of James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), but prior to that, they were the only undefeated team (12-0) since the break, climbing from seventh place in the West at the break to third place (with a relatively comfortable three-game lead in the loss column over the teams behind them) going into Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) games. Improvement has come on both ends of the floor. The Blazers have been 5.5 points per 100 possessions better offensively and 4.0 points per 100 possessions better defensively since the break. With the league average seeing an increase of 1.3 per 100, that's about even improvement on both ends of the floor. On offense, the Blazers have increased their three-point rate (3PA/FGA) from 31 percent before the All-Star break to 35 percent since, but have seen just a small jump in effective field goal percentage. Improvement has come more from taking better care of the ball and getting to the line more often. Over the last 16 games, Damian Lillard has averaged 9.2 points at the free throw line, 3.4 more than he averaged prior to that (5.8). Lillard has also seen a drop in turnover ratio, from 9.8 per 100 possessions before the break to 7.8 since. That 7.8 is the second lowest (higher than that of only LaMarcus Aldridge) among 14 players with a usage rate of greater than 30 percent since the break. On defense, rebounding has been key. After allowing 12.2 second chance points per game before the break, the Blazers have allowed just 9.5 (second fewest in the league) since. They continue to lead the league in opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area and have been at their best defensively with Jusuf Nurkic on the floor. The defensive improvement may be more impressive, given that six of the Blazers' 13 post-break games have been against the league's top-10 offenses, though that includes games against Minnesota without Jimmy Butler and Golden State without Stephen Curry. It should also be noted that nine of the 13 games have been at home. Of course, the Blazers have been better defensively on the road (103.9 points allowed per 100 possessions) than they've been at home (104.6) this season. We'll see how those numbers (and their post-break improvement) hold up when they play seven of nine on the road after hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Does it mean anything? Some teams might want to be playing their best going into the playoffs. But playing better late in the season doesn't necessarily mean anything. In fact, playoff team stats (offensive and defensive efficiency) more strongly correlate with pre-All-Star numbers than with post-All-Star numbers. Over the last 10 full seasons (going back to 2007-08 and skipping 2011-12), the 20 playoff teams that have seen the biggest increase in NetRtg (point differential per 100 possessions) from before the break to after the break have been more likely to underachieve in the playoffs (losing a series in which they had home-court advantage) than overachieve (winning a series they started on the road). The playoff team of the last 20 years that saw the biggest improvement was the 2009-10 Phoenix Suns, who were 8.2 points per 100 possessions better after the break (plus-11.2) than they were before it (plus-2.9). They reached the conference finals as the 3 seed in the West, but did so with home-court advantage in each of the first two rounds (because the seventh-seeded Spurs beat the second-seeded Mavs in the first round). Four of those 20 most improved teams have lost in the first round with home-court advantage, while the 2010-11 Chicago Bulls (4.5 points per 100 possessions better after the break) lost in the conference finals as the No. 1 seed. The overachievers? The 2008-09 Houston Rockets (5.6 points per 100 possessions better after the break) and 2013-14 Washington Wizards (4.8 better) won first-round series as No. 5 seeds without home-court advantage. And finally, the 2014-15 Cleveland Cavaliers (who were 4.8 points per possessions better after the break) reached The Finals as a No. 2 seed. With that in mind, here are the teams that have been most improved on either end of the floor since the All-Star break this season. Most improved offenses 1. Miami Heat Like the Blazers, the Heat are doing this for the second year in a row. When they went from 11-30 in their first 41 games to 30-11 in their last 41 games last season, it was on offense where they really turned things around. Last year's turnaround came with increases in both three-point percentage and three-point volume (3PA/FGA). This year, the Heat have shot better from beyond the arc since the break, but they've actually taken a lower percentage of their shots from three-point range than they did prior, so their jump in effective field goal percentage isn't huge. They have gone from the bottom 10 to the top 10 in both offensive rebounding percentage and turnover rate. Hassan Whiteside has grabbed 28 offensive boards in just eight post-break games, though he hasn't seen a big increase in offensive rebounding percentage since the break. The team increase has been more about six different guys grabbing at least 13 offensive boards over the 14 games. On the turnover front, James Johnson has seen a big drop in his individual rate, from 13.7 turnovers per 100 possessions before the break to just 7.3 since the break. Goran Dragic has also seen seen a reduction. The drop in turnovers, along with more second chances and an increase in pace, as provided the Heat with almost six additional shots per 48 minutes. The Heat's post-break offense has been at its best (more than 123 points scored per 100 possessions) with Kelly Olynyk on the floor. Both Olynyk (60.7 percent) and James Johnson (60.6 percent) rank in the top 20 in post-break effective field goal percentage among 157 players who have taken at least 100 shots since the break. Tyler Johnson, meanwhile, has seen an effective field goal percentage jump from 50 percent before the break to 58 percent since the break. The Heat have played a fairly average post-break schedule in regard to opposing defenses. They've picked on some bad ones (scoring 128 points per 100 possessions in three games against the Suns, Nuggets and Knicks) and have played ugly against some good ones (like those of the Sixers and Blazers), but have been strong against the defenses in the middle of the pack. Going forward, they'll play just three of their 10 remaining games against top-10 defenses. Two of those are against the eighth-ranked Thunder, and one of those is Friday (Saturday, PHl time). Six of their other seven games are against bottom-10 defenses. 2. L.A. Lakers Rookies and second year players have accounted for 45 percent of the Lakers' minutes this season. That's the third highest rate in the league and the highest among teams that aren't at least 23 games under .500. So, in-season improvement both critical and somewhat expected. Of course, a vet has been a big part of the Lakers' offensive improvement. Brook Lopez has seen the second biggest increase in effective field goal percentage (behind that of Wilson Chandler) among players who took at least 300 shots before the break and have taken at least 100 since the break (see table below). For Lopez, as well as the team as a whole, it's been about the three ball, both in regard to percentage and volume. Before the break, the Lakers ranked 29th in three-point percentage and 22nd in the percentage of their shots that were threes. Since the break: fifth and fourth. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (46.3 percent) ranks seventh in post-break three-point percentage among 98 players with at least 50 attempts. But the biggest key to the Lakers' post-break offense may be a big jump in minutes for Julius Randle. He's actually seen a drop in usage rate and not much of an increase in efficiency, but Randle has gone from averaging less than 25 minutes before the break to 34 since the break. As a result, he's averaged 21.5 points (on 59 percent shooting) over the 13 games. And in that stretch, the Lakers have scored 14.2 more points per 100 possessions with him on the floor (114.1) than they have with him off the floor (99.9). Most improved defenses 1. Utah Jazz Utah's improvement started with the return of Rudy Gobert from a month-long absence in mid-January. Since his return on Jan. 19 (Jan. 20, PHL time), the Jazz have allowed just 96.2 points per 100 possessions, 6.5 fewer than any other team. Over those nine weeks, the difference between the Jazz and the second-ranked Spurs (102.7) is more than the difference between the Spurs and the 20th-ranked Hawks (109.1). More improvement came with the acquisition of Jae Crowder at the trade deadline. And the Jazz have allowed a paltry 85 points per 100 possessions in 308 minutes with Crowder and Gobert on the floor together, with their opponents shooting just 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from three-point range. And the Jazz haven't allowed their opponents to do much with all those misses, grabbing 85 percent of available defensive boards (a rate which would lead the league by a wide margin) in those 308 minutes. There is a schedule-related boost here. Since the break, the Jazz have played seven games against the league's bottom-10 offenses (including six against the bottom six) and just three games against the top 10. But in two of those three games (Feb. 27, PHL time vs. Houston and March 12, PHL time at New Orleans), they held their opponent under a point per possession. They've now done that in nine straight games and in 18 of their last 24. Given the state of league-wide offense (this is now the most efficient season in league history), that's pretty remarkable. The Jazz have four games remaining against top-10 offenses, including two against the Warriors. One of those is Sunday at Golden State (next Monday, PHL time). 2. Indiana Pacers The Pacers have improved defensively six of their 14 post-break games having been against teams that rank in the top 11 offensively (the 11th-ranked Wizards have bounced in and out of the top 10). They've gone 3-3, but held those top-11 offenses - Milwaukee (x 2), New Orleans, Washington (x 2) and Toronto - to just 103.4 points per 100 possessions (about four fewer than the league's post-break average) over the six games. The Pacers' post-break defense has been at its best, allowing just 96 points per 100 possessions, with Myles Turner on the floor. Turner has been improved offensively since the break (seeing a sizeable jump in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage), but his defense has been more important. While Turner has made an impact inside, forcing turnovers has been a big part of the Pacers' defensive improvement. They lead the league in opponent turnover rate since the All-Star break, having forced 17.4 per 100 possessions, up from 15.1 (10th) before the break. Victor has been the league leader in steals this season at 2.2 per game, and has seen an increase (from 2.1 to 2.8) since the break, with Thaddeus Young (2.3) joining him in the top four in post-break steals per contest. The Pacers have also rebounded a little better, grabbing 77 percent of available defensive boards (15th in the league) since the break, up from 76 percent (27th) before it. Things haven't gone so well on the other end of the floor. The Pacers have seen the league's biggest drop in offensive efficiency since the break. They ranked sixth offensively (108.5 points scored per 100 possessions) before the break and rank 26th (101.6) since the break. Oladipo (from 59 percent to 46 percent) and Young (from 54 percent to 45 percent) have seen two of the eight biggest drops in effective field goal percentage since the break among 142 players who took at least 300 shots before the break and have taken at least 100 shots since the break. The improved defense will continue to be tested in the next couple of weeks. The Pacers will play six of their next eight games against top-10 offenses. That includes two games against the second-ranked Warriors and two more against the seventh-ranked Clippers. L.A. is in Indiana on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Most improved shooters Here's a look at the players who have seen the biggest increases in effective field goal percentage since the All-Star break. John Schuhmann is a staff writer for 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......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports14 hr. 14 min. ago Related News

Lillard, McCollum believe Blazers peaking at the right time

This time last season, the Portland Trail Blazers were struggling to make it into the Western Conference Playoffs. Ultimately, they finished with a 41-41 record, just a win ahead of the Denver Nuggets for the eighth seed. Fast-forward to 2018, and it's a whole different story. The Blazers are already three victories better than last season, with 11 games still to play. More importantly, they're now the third seed, with a two-game cushion over the next team, and they're healthy, in sharp contrast to other West powers. Not bad for a team that was 16-16 late in December. The Blazers didn't do a lot during the offseason. In fact, their major move, aside from two first round selections, was a subtraction, shipping out Allen Crabbe to the Brooklyn Nets, and then waiving the player they got for him, Andrew Nicholson, in a cost-cutting move. But by standing pat, Portland have the blessing of continuity, something superstar Damian Lillard believes is key to their current run. "I think the biggest difference between our team this season and last season is our experience together," Lillard told reporters in an international call. "One more year of us being on the same team, understanding each other a little bit better. Also, just being a much better defensive team. "In the past, we've had the ability to score points. Obviously, we're doing a much better job offensively this season because everybody's a part of it....But I think our defense has been a huge deal. We worked our way into being one of the top defensive teams in the league....Over time we've gotten comfortable with each other, and I think we're starting to mesh really well." As of writing, the Blazers have a 104.3 defensive rating, good for #7 in the NBA. A season ago, they were 21st, at 107.8. "I think we have become a much better team because of how we're leaning on each other and counting on each other," Lillard added. The Blazers were riding high on a 13-game win streak, before they finally succumbed to the league leaders Houston Rockets, in a tight, 115-111 loss Wednesday (PHL time). Still, it's a defeat the team is taking in stride. "We had the winning streak and we beat a lot of good teams during that winning streak....But I think playing against Houston, you know, the best team in the league right now, and myself and CJ [McCollum], our top two guys on the offensive end are not having a great night, and we still find ourselves down two under a minute left with a chance to get a stop and maybe go to overtime or win the game....I think we just have a lot of confidence when we don't have great games and our team is still in position to win the game." That's a notion Lillard's running-mate, CJ McCollum, agrees with, giving extra credit to the squad's reserves. "The bench was huge, and they've been great all season. [They] extended leads for us, figuring out ways to contribute, whether that be from scoring, rebounding, or defending. I mean, even last night against the Rockets guys stepped up and were aggressive and made plays and impacted the game." Against the Rockets, Lillard and McCollum combined for just 28 points on 9-of-32 shooting, missing all 12 of their three-point attempts. However, 22 markers from Al-Farouq Aminu, 17 from Mo Harkless, plus, 23 from the bench, gave them a chance to steal one from Houston. Given Portland's slow start to the season, and their under-the-radar approach, it's fair to say that the Blazers are peaking at just the right time. "I think sometimes people come out in the beginning of the season and they play great and look great. You always hear people saying they're playing really well early, and it's almost kind of scary because you want them to be playing really well late," Lillard points out. "I think what's unique about our team is the fact that we started the season off up and down," adds McCollum. "We weren't playing our best basketball. We had some home losses. Then as the season progressed, we continued to get better. We got healthy and just figured out ways to win games." Of course, the Blazers are not yet in the clear. Their next game is against the Boston Celtics on Saturday (PHL time), and their remaining schedule includes fellow playoff squads the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Rockets again, the San Antonio Spurs, the Denver Nuggets, and the Utah Jazz. With teams clustered together tightly in the standings, all of those matches will likely have a major impact on the chase for homecourt advantage. The Blazers, of course, are well aware of all that. "With how good those other teams are," McCollum says, "it's hard enough to beat them in a regular game, let alone on the road. So the more games you can play at home, the better. "I think we can improve on our late-game execution. Figuring out ways to get stops and second-chance opportunities and being a little more sharp down the stretch in games. That's going to be the difference in advancing in the playoffs and having a long playoff life, compared to essentially losing early." "We know it's a tough task and the Rockets are a great team, and the Warriors are a great team, so is OKC. We just feel like the kind of basketball we're playing and how our team is clicking, we feel like we've got a chance," said Lillard. "We're a team that's capable of winning the West. We've just got to go out there and prove it.".....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMar 22nd, 2018Related News
Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsMar 22nd, 2018Related News

Marcus Morris hits game-winning triple to lift Celtics over Thunder

BOSTON — Marcus Morris made a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left and the Boston Celtics stunned the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-99 on Tuesday night (Wednesday Man.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsMar 21st, 2018Related News

Pacers buck slow start, trounce Lakers

INDIANAPOLIS — Victor Oladipo sparked a decisive run and finished with 20 points, Myles Turner had 21 points and the Indiana Pacers recovered from a poor sta.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsMar 20th, 2018Related News

Golden State Warriors trip LA Lakers; Washington Wizards rip Boston Celtics in OTs

OAKLAND, California – Kevin Durant scored 26 points and the injury-plagued Golden State Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Los Angeles La.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsMar 16th, 2018Related News

Beal keys Wizards 2OT win over Celtics

BOSTON — Bradley Beal scored 34 points, including a three-point play with 1:25 left in the second overtime, and the Washington Wizards beat the short-handed.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsMar 15th, 2018Related News

Determined Wizards

The Wizards most certainly deserve props for their victory yesterday, and not simply because they were on the road against the highly regarded Celtics. Having just lost for the fifth time in seven outings, they could have kept their heads down and chalked up the second night of a back-to-back set as a veritable forfeit. […] The post Determined Wizards appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Source: Bworldonline BworldonlineCategory: NewsMar 15th, 2018Related News

Wizards comeback casts spell on Celtics

LOS ANGELES — The Washington Wizards fought back from a 20-point deficit to jolt the injury-hit Boston Celtics with a 125-124 victory in double overtime on Wednesday. A Jodie Meeks three-pointer with two seconds remaining tied it for the Wizards at 106-106 to send the game into the first period of overtime after the Celtics […] The post Wizards comeback casts spell on Celtics appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Source: Bworldonline BworldonlineCategory: NewsMar 15th, 2018Related News

Beal keys Wizards 2OT win over Celtics

BOSTON — Bradley Beal scored 34 points, including a three-point play with 1:25 left in the second overtime, and the Washington Wizards beat the short-handed.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsMar 15th, 2018Related News

Celtics missing 6 players for Wizards game

BOSTON --- The Boston Celtics were without six players for their game against the Washington Wizards. The team said Wednesday that Kyrie Irving will sit out with a sore left knee. Al Horford will miss his second straight game with an illness. Jaylen Brown remains in the concussion protocol. Marcus Smart sprained his right thumb and is listed as out. Daniel Theis tore a ligament in his left knee and is out for the rest of the season. That's on top of Gordon Hayward, who has been out since opening night with a broken ankle. Jayson Tatum, who was listed as probable with tightness in his lower back, was able to play and started for the short-handed Celtics. ...Keep on reading: Celtics missing 6 players for Wizards game.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Mar 15th, 2018Related News

Jordan Clarkson makes return to LA with forgettable performance

Former Los Angeles Lakers Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. made their first return to their former home court, the Staples Center, although their new team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the three-time Eastern Conference champions, lost against one of the lower-tiered teams in the West. Both Clarkson and Nance were shipped to the Cavaliers in a massive trade deadline swap, which saw Cleveland give away former Celtics star Isaiah Thomas to the Purple and Gold. The 46th pick of the 2014 NBA draft however did not make the most of the familiar rims and cavernous stadium, as he only finished the game with four points on 1-of-8 shooting, a far cry from his hot 21-point performance against the Lakers' co-tenants, the Clippers. Despite the loss and a terrible performance, Clarkson has been enjoying his opportunity in playing alongside LeBron James, one of the rare times a player has been able to play alongside Kobe Bryant and James, two of the best NBA players of all time. "It’s been awesome. He creates shots for us, he gets us going, [he's an] unselfish superstar. it’s definitely been cool." "I’ve played with LeBron and Kobe and not many people in the league can say that. That’s something I wanna be able to hold on to," Clarkson said in the post-game interview. .@JordanClarksons addresses media after his Cavs lose to his former Lakers team 127-114. Not the best stat line for the Fil-Am guard. 16 minutes of action 4pts on 1-8 shooting. 4 assists, 2 TO #NBAsaABSCBN #NBAsabaDOS 🇵🇭🏀 — Steve Angeles (@StevieAngeles) March 12, 2018 Although his first game against the Lakers was sub-par, Clarkson will have to wait next season if we wants to showcase more of his repertoire at the Staples Center since Eastern Conference teams only visit Western Conference arenas once a season. With a report from Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMar 12th, 2018Related News

WATCH: Scary fall after a dunk by Jaylen Brown of Boston Celtics

MANILA, Philippines – The Target Center in Minnesota turned into a standstill after  Celtics forward Jaylen Brown suffered a scary fall in Boston's 117-109 triumph over the Timberwolves Thursday, March 8. Brown slammed a dunk late in the 3rd quarter but lost his grip on the rim and landed on ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsMar 9th, 2018Related News

Celtics fight off Timberwolves on Irving s return

MINNEAPOLIS — Kyrie Irving returned from a one-game absence to help Boston fend off Minnesota, finishing with 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists to.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsMar 9th, 2018Related News

BLOGTABLE: Who leads the Coach of the Year race? blogtable Who are your top three candidates for NBA Coach of the Year? * * * Steve Aschburner: Toronto’s Dwane Casey, Boston’s Brad Stevens and Indiana’s Nate McMillan, possibly in that order. Casey has helped to reinvent the Raptors after another disappointing playoff exit last spring and a summer in which his boss Masai Ujiri issued a somewhat ominous call for a “change in culture.” Now Toronto has its best shot ever at The Finals. Stevens and his Celtics could have had their season yanked from under them in Game 1 when Gordon Hayward went down. Instead, Boston dominated early, turned massive personnel changes into all positives and still looms as a top East contender. And let’s be honest, most folks expected the Pacers to whimper into lotteryland after the Paul George trade. Instead, this has been a bright, happy season in Indiana, with Victor Oladipo as a top Kia Most Improved Player candidate and a record better than George’s OKC team. Tas Melas: 1. Dwane Casey. 2. Nate McMillan. 3. Brett Brown. Casey got multiple-time All-Stars to buy in to a new style of play. I thought it was unthinkable. That’s real coaching right there, and the bench’s success just puts it over the top. McMillan’s team has surprised and he probably receives the least recognition of any playoff coach, so let’s give him some here. Brown deserves a heck of a lot more than this acknowledgment for coming to work every day with a smile over the last few seasons. He has been a model of consistency in a consistently painful environment. Shaun Powell: My choice by a large margin is Dwane Casey of the Toronto Raptors. I love how he has adapted and evolved his system to fit the needs of his players, and how the bench has developed. No. 2 is Nate McMillan of the Indiana Pacers -- I'm surprised his name hasn't come up much in this conversation. He's doing wonders for a team that lost Paul George and in preseason was targeted for last place in the East. No. 3 is Doc Rivers of the LA Clippers. He may not make the playoffs, but the Clippers lost Chris Paul, traded Blake Griffin, dealt with injuries all season ... and they're still in postseason contention. John Schuhmann: 1. Dwane Casey. The Toronto Raptors are the only team that ranks in the top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency. They've changed their offense, have actually been more improved on defense, and altered their rotation (no longer keeping either Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan on the floor at all times, even after losing their two most reliable reserves of the last couple of seasons), with terrific results. 2. Brad Stevens. The Boston Celtics have the league's No. 1 defense and its fourth best record, having lost an All-Star to injury in the first six minutes of the season and with four first or second-year players in the rotation. 3. Mike D'Antoni. Daryl Morey obviously did a terrific job in the offseason, but D'Antoni is the architect what's happening on the floor. He was the Coach of the Year last season and the Houston Rockets have been improved on both offense and defense. Sekou Smith: Dwane Casey is my frontrunner for Coach of the Year. It's not often you see a coach with his seasoning and stature scrap what's been working and completely revamp his offense. Casey has always been a defensive mastermind, but to do what he's done on the other side of the floor has been simply tremendous for a team that could very well end up as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. And Masai Ujiri should be at the top of your Executive of the Year list, too. Brad Stevens has worked wonders in Boston for some time now. And he's the second name on my list. Alvin Gentry and Nate McMillan are tied for the third spot, and I'd go with the guy whose team finishes with more wins this season. They're doing excellent work under trying circumstances (you see what you can put together when you lose talent like DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George, respectively)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMar 8th, 2018Related News

No stopping Rockets as they roll to 17th straight victory

MILWAUKEE --- The Houston Rockets had trouble at times holding on to the ball and keeping up with the young Milwaukee Bucks. But as long as the Rockets keep hitting their 3-pointers, they're pretty hard to beat. James Harden scored 26 points, Eric Gordon had 18 points and two momentum-swinging 3s in the third quarter, and Houston beat Milwaukee 110-99 on Wednesday night for its 17th straight win. The Rockets passed the Boston Celtics for the longest winning streak in the NBA this season. Houston hasn't lost since Jan. 26 at New Orleans. "We find ways to win," Harden said. "It's not going to be the same way every game." The latest victory came on the second of a tough...Keep on reading: No stopping Rockets as they roll to 17th straight victory.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Mar 8th, 2018Related News

Gobert helps Jazz snap Pacers win streak at 4

By Corey Elliot, Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Rudy Gobert had 23 points and 14 rebounds, Donovan Mitchell finished with 20 points and six assists, and the Utah Jazz snapped the Indiana Pacers' four-game winning streak with a 104-84 victory Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). The Jazz improved to 15-2 over their last 17 games. Ricky Rubio finished with 18 points and seven assists for Utah, and reserve Jae Crowder added 16 points. Joe Ingles had 11 points and 10 assists. Utah outscored Indiana 28-12 over the final eight minutes of the first quarter and led 54-44 at halftime. Indiana pulled within single digits a couple of times in the third, but Utah was too much on a night when the Pacers shot 38.6 percent from the floor. Utah shot 51 percent from the floor and had 30 assists on 51 baskets, while Indiana had just 12 assists. The lone bright spot for Indiana on offense was Myles Turner, who finished with 24 points. Bojan Bogdanovic and Victor Oladipo each scored 13 points, and Cory Joseph had 12 points and six rebounds. LOUISVILLE LOVERS Standout rookie Mitchell was met by a large crowd of University of Louisville fans near the tunnel as he walked off the floor. TOUGH ROAD AHEAD At 37-28, Indiana is far ahead of where many expected the team to be in March. While the Pacers are almost locked into the Eastern Conference playoff picture, their seeding is less certain. The Pacers are on Cleveland's heels for the third playoff spot, but after a matchup with Atlanta on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), Indiana's next four games will be against current Eastern Conference playoff teams, with two of those contests on the road. TIP-INS Indiana: Bogdanovic has scored in double figures in 14 straight games. It is the longest such streak of his career. ... Indiana is 11-11 against the Western Conference. Utah: The Jazz have won nine straight road games. ... This was Utah's 21st win of the season against teams above .500. UP NEXT Utah: Visits Memphis on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Indiana: Hosts Atlanta on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMar 8th, 2018Related News

Smart fined $15,000 for criticism of officiating

BOSTON — Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been fined $15,000 for public criticism of officiating.   Source link link: Smart fined $15,000 for criticism of officiating.....»»

Source: Manilainformer ManilainformerCategory: Mar 7th, 2018Related News

Brown, Celtics pummel Bulls sans Irving

CHICAGO — Jaylen Brown scored 21 points, and the Boston Celtics pounded the Chicago Bulls 105-89 on Monday night (Tuesday Manila time) even though Kyrie Irvi.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsMar 6th, 2018Related News

Brown scores 21 as Celtics pound Bulls without Irving

CHICAGO --- This time, Boston delivered the big beating in Chicago with Kyrie Irving sidelined. Jaylen Brown scored 21 points, and the Celtics pounded the Bulls 105-89 on Monday night even though their All-Star guard sat out because of a sore left knee. They remembered what happened when they visited in December, getting blown out with Irving sidelined by a bruised quadriceps, and made it clear right from the start that wasn't going to happen again. The Celtics immediately took control, building a 37-point lead on the way to their fifth win in six games. "Kyrie didn't play last time (and) they felt like they could beat us and they did beat us by 20-plus points," Brown said...Keep on reading: Brown scores 21 as Celtics pound Bulls without Irving.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Mar 6th, 2018Related News