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Old School Power Rankings 2017-18: Weeks 3 and 4

By Scott Wraight, NBA.com If you want to bump the King from his throne, you'd better come strong. Real strong. It's true, if you have hopes of ascending to the top of the mountain this season, you'd better turn in some memorable performances, triple-doubles, 40-point efforts and then some. That's what happens when the club opens its doors to "youngsters."  Even if you do all that, there's no guarantee you'll be sitting at the head of the table, not when a certain four-time MVP goes off for 57. Good luck, folks. Notes: - Season statistics are through games of Nov. 2 (Nov. 3, PHL time) - Any player who turns 32 during the regular season can be added to the rankings. 1.  LeBron James (32), Cleveland Cavaliers Previous rank: 1 Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 31.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 8.6 apg Season stats: 28.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 8.7 apg Anytime you open the two-week period with a 57-point performance, you ain't going anywhere. Period. Mr. James could've put up bagels the rest of the way and it wouldn't have mattered (We say that knowing it never would've happened). And here's the real scary part: LeBron is eclipsing career-highs in FG% (57.9), FT% (81.4), assists (8.7) and blocks (1.3). Like a fine wine, right?   2.  Marc Gasol (32), Memphis Grizzlies Previous rank: 3 Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 19.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 4.3 apg Season stats: 20.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.4 apg It was looking like a ho-hum stretch for Gasol ... until he exploded for 35 and 13 on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Like James, Gasol is setting career-highs in several categories: 9.3 rebounds (would tie his mark set in 2009-10), 1.9 blocks (would tie his mark in '11-12) and 1.6 3-pointers made per game. He's also just four double-doubles away from matching all of last season's total. 3.  LaMarcus Aldridge (32), San Antonio Spurs Previous rank: 2 Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 20.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 apg Season stats: 22.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.4 apg Despite slipping one spot, Aldridge had a relatively productive period, including a 32-point showing Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). But the big thing for Aldridge is rest. In three games with no rest, he averaged 14.3 points and 43.2 FG%. In two games with one day of rest, he totaled 23 points and 59.4 FG%. And in two games with two days of rest, Aldridge went for 26 points and 57.1 FG%. 4.  Carmelo Anthony (33), Oklahoma City Thunder Previous rank: 4 Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 16.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.3 apg Season stats: 20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.5 apg Unlike James and Gasol, Anthony is going the other direction in a couple of categories. After shooting just 34.9 from the field over the last two weeks, Anthony is sitting at a career-low 41.8 for the season. His previous low was 42.6 in '03-04, his rookie season. Anthony is also averaging just 1.5 assists, which would be the lowest of his career by a wide margin (2.6 in '04-05 and '12-13). 5.  Taj Gibson (32), Minnesota Timberwolves Previous rank: 8 Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 12.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 0.8 apg Season stats: 10.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.3 apg Maybe the brisk Minnesota air has reinvigorated Gibson, who is putting up career numbers across the board. Playing a career-high 30.5 minutes, he's shooting 53.6 from the field, 83.3 from the line and hauling in 7.7 rebounds -- all career bests. Gibson also already has five double-doubles, putting him on pace to break his career-high of 18 double-doubles in '09-10. 6.  Paul Millsap (32), Denver Nuggets Previous rank: 5 Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 16.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.7 apg Season stats: 15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.9 apg Millsap started to week in grand fashion, pouring in 27 points and nine rebounds on Nov. 3. Unfortunately, he followed that up the next night with six points and zero rebounds against the Warriors. He did, however, bounce back nicely with four straight games of 16 or more points including tying a career high with six blocks on Nov. 9 (Nov. 10, PHL time) against the Thunder. 7.  Trevor Ariza (32), Houston Rockets Previous rank: NA Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 14.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.1 apg Season stats: 10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.6 apg The Rockets put up 142 points in a win over the Suns and Ariza contributed just 11 points? Huh. Despite that showing, it was still a solid two weeks for the small forward, who went for double-digit scoring in five of six games including two steals in four straight. He's also connected on at least three three's in six of his last eight games. 8.  Zach Randolph (36), Sacramento Kings Previous rank: 10 Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 15.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.3 apg Season stats: 13.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.8 apg Randolph, who has started every game this season for the Kings while averaging 25.4 minutes, is getting with the times and taking his game out beyond the arc. Before this season, the most three-pointers Z-Bo had made in a season was 25 back in '08-09 with the Clippers. This season, he already has eight (8-for-20), putting him on pace for 40-45.  9.  Courtney Lee (32), New York Knicks Previous rank: NA Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 13.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.3 apg Season stats: 11.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 apg Lee has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. Starting and averaging more than 33 minutes, he's scored in double figures in four consecutive games while connecting on at least two treys in three straight. In fact, Lee has made at least two three's in 7-of-14 games and is shooting a career-high 47.2 from deep. 10.  J.J. Redick (33), Philadelphia 76ers Previous rank: Just missed Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 17.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.0 apg Season stats: 14.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.1 apg Redick started the stretch nicely, snatching his first 30-point game of the season (31 points with 8-for-12 three's). He followed that up with five straight games of double-figure scoring, though two of those (10 on Tuesday, PHL time, 11 on Thursday, PHL time) left much to be desired. Much of Redick's success is tied to his long-range accuracy, which has been off in the early going (35 percent). Just missed the cut: J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, J.J. Barea, Pau Gasol, Marcin Gortat Will turn 32 this season: Dwight Howard (Dec. 8), Gerald Green (Jan. 26), Rajon Rondo (Feb. 22), Corey Brewer (March 5), Kyle Lowry (March 25), Marco Belinelli (March 25). The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 18th, 2017Related News

LOOK: Noctis from ‘Final Fantasy XV’ to enter ‘Tekken 7’ arena

The crown prince of Lucis, Noctis Lucis Caelum of "Final Fantasy XV" has been revealed to be making his way to the "Tekken 7" fighting game. Bandai Namco Entertainment made the announcement through Twitter. They also included several screenshots of Noctis in action and a new background featuring Cid's The Hammerhead Garage from FFXV. Noctis will become available in "Tekken 7" starting spring next year. However, Bandai Namco suggests purchasing the season pass early to also get Geese Howard, another guest character for the fighting game. JB RELATED STORIES: EA backtracks on 'Star Wars Battlefront II' hero cost after massive gamer flak in Reddit ...Keep on reading: LOOK: Noctis from ‘Final Fantasy XV’ to enter ‘Tekken 7’ arena.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Nov 16th, 2017Related News

LeBron James scores 31 points, Cavaliers top Hornets 115-107

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — LeBron James scored 31 points, Kevin Love had 22 points and 10 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers continued their dominance against the Charlotte Hornets with a 115-107 victory Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). The Cavaliers have won seven straight against the Hornets and 11-of-12. James is 40-6 in the regular season against Charlotte. Kyle Korver's three-pointer with 1:06 left in the third quarter put the Cavaliers ahead for good at 86-84. They extended the lead to 10 points three times in the fourth quarter, first when James drove into the lane and hit a stepback baseline jumper to make it 105-95. Jeff Green added 13 points for Cleveland, Korver had 11 and J.R. Smith 10. The Cavaliers have won three straight and four of five. The loss was Charlotte's fifth in a row since a five-point win at Milwaukee on Nov. 1 (Nov. 5, PHL time). Michael Kidd-Gilchrist shot 10-of-14 from the field and led Charlotte with a season-high 22 points, three shy of his career best. Point guard Kemba Walker had 20. Hornets guard Nicolas Batum played his first game of the season after a tearing a ligament in his left elbow last month. He started and scored 16 points in 32 minutes, including seven straight in the second half as the Hornets took a 58-52 lead. Jeremy Lamb added 13 points off the bench. Hornets center Dwight Howard, who entered averaging 14.4 points and 13.1 rebounds, was limited by foul trouble and played just 23 minutes. He finished with eight points and five rebounds and fouled out with 24.5 seconds left. TIP-INS Cavaliers: Derrick Rose (left ankle sprain), Isaiah Thomas (right hip) and Tristan Thompson (left calf strain) did not play. ... James went to the bench with his fourth foul at the 3:31 mark of the third quarter after being called for two charges in less than a minute. Walker drew the first one, Kidd-Gilchrist the second. The Hornets led 82-79 at that juncture. ... James scored in double figures for the 806th straight game. It was his 404th career 30-point game. ... J.R. Smith hit his 1,800th career three-pointer in the first half. Hornets: Charlotte's Treveon Graham (right quad) and Julyan Stone (strained hamstring) did not play. ... Carolina Panther players Devin Funchess and Thomas Davis and coach Ron Rivera were seated courtside. Former Hornet Muggsy Bogues also was in attendance. UP NEXT Cavaliers: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Hornets: At Chicago on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 16th, 2017Related News

Wall’s 23, Beal’s 22 help Wiz beat Lonzo Ball, Lakers 111-95

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — John Wall’s Wizards managed to make a double-digit edge hold up against the Lakers this time, with the All-Star point guard scoring 23 points and Bradley Beal 22 as Washington beat Los Angeles and cold-shooting Lonzo Ball 111-95 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Ball had 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. But the No. 2 overall draft pick out of UCLA came in making just 29.5 percent of his field-goal attempts for the Lakers and he was worse against the Wizards, going 3-for-12 — 25 percent. Washington’s Otto Porter Jr. finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Markieff Morris scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including a pair of three's to open the third quarter. Coming off a home loss in which they never held a lead against the NBA-worst Dallas Mavericks, the Wizards went up by as many as 21 against the Lakers, at 91-70 on Porter’s turnaround fadeaway jumper with about 75 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Lakers pulled to 93-84 on Julius Randle’s two-handed slam with about 8 minutes left in the game. But a triple by Beal soon built the hosts’ advantage back up to 15 and the outcome was never in doubt the rest of the way. That’s not always been the case for Washington this season, when its defense has seemed to be optional at times. But Washington held the Lakers to 36 percent Thursday (Friday, PHL time). When these teams played each other in Los Angeles last month in the fourth game of the season for each, the Wizards led by 10 points entering the fourth quarter before the Lakers wound up winning 102-99 in overtime. There was plenty of Wall vs. Ball hype leading into that one — initially fueled, not surprisingly, by Ball’s father, LaVar — although their matchup never become the game’s focus. TIP-INS Lakers: Seven players scored at least 10 points apiece, including Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Brook Lopez. ... Came in averaging an NBA-high 56 points in the paint and 16 of their first 20 points came that way Thursday (Friday, PHL time). L.A. finished with 48. Wizards: Wall had eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals. ... Centers Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi combined for 10 points and 11 personal fouls in 44 minutes. UP NEXT Lakers: At the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) for the third stop in a four-game trip. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo is the NBA’s leading scorer at 31.9 ppg. Wizards: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). The Hawks’ 2-9 record is the worst in the Eastern Conference......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 10th, 2017Related News

Nats manager Martinez: We re here to win the World Series

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Rookie Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez certainly knows his audience. Whether his words were intended for the man seated to his left in the Nationals Park home clubhouse, general manager Mike Rizzo, or the ownership group watching intently from the front row or any fans who might have been watching the live telecast of Thursday's introductory news conference — or all of the above — Martinez kept sounding the same note. "This team doesn't lack much. It really doesn't. I think we've just got to get over the fact that we're not here just to win a playoff game," Martinez said. "We're here to win the World Series." That came shortly after he made a pair of other references to earning a title, and a little before he declared, "The ultimate goal is to win that championship, to bring a world title to the city of Washington and the fans who deserve it." Heady stuff for a franchise that has collected four NL East crowns in the past six years but never won a single postseason series despite such talented players as Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon — not to mention for a man who never has been a manager. Rizzo used the term "co-manager" when describing Martinez's work over the past decade as a bench coach for Joe Maddon, most recently with the Chicago Cubs and before that with the Tampa Bay Rays. "The only thing 'first time' about Davey (is that) he's never had the title 'manager,'" Rizzo said. "He's been managing games ... standing next to one of the best and brightest guys in any dugout. I don't see this as your typical rookie manager who hasn't managed before. He's never had the title of manager but he's really done most of the job that a manager has to do. He's very prepared for it and I think it's going to be a comfortable transition for him." Martinez replaces Dusty Baker, who was dismissed after two division titles and two one-run Game 5 losses at home in two years as Washington's skipper. Baker's staff was let go, too, and the club began the process of restocking by reaching an agreement Thursday with former Mets and Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long to take that job with the Nationals. Asked to describe the trait that suits him best for his new duties, Martinez said: "The one thing I can tell you is that I have a lot of high energy, positive energy. I'm not a guy that's going to sit in the manager's office. I'm very hands-on. I love talking to players, I love conversations with players. It's my strong suit. I (will) collaborate a lot with front office, Mike, ownership to get it right." He was in the running when the Nationals wound up hiring Matt Williams — another rookie manager — after the 2013 season. But Rizzo said Martinez, who got a three-year contract with an option for a fourth, was a different sort of candidate this time. "Four years ago," Rizzo said, "a lot of it was about the process of 'Joe and myself, Joe and myself.' And this was about how he does things and how he's going to do it and how he would do it moving forward." Rizzo lauded the 53-year-old Martinez, who answered a question in Spanish during Thursday's session with reporters, for being a combination of an "old school" guy who played in the majors for 16 seasons and a "new school" type well versed in the sort of analytical statistics used to great effect by teams such as the Cubs and Rays. Martinez is Washington's sixth manager in the past decade. So when Rizzo, whose own contract ends after next season, was asked about the hiring process that led to Martinez, a joke was in order. "Well, we're good at it. We know what we're doing," the GM said. "We've had a lot of practice at it." Notes: Rizzo said the Nationals are "optimistic" that 2B Daniel Murphy will be "ready for opening day" after having right knee surgery last month. Murphy's operation came about a week after the Nationals were eliminated by the Cubs in an NL Division Series. ... The $5 million mutual option on backup LF-1B Adam Lind's contract for 2018 was declined, making him a free agent. The 34-year-old Lind appeared in 116 games and hit .303 with 14 homers and 59 RBIs in his only season with the Nationals......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 3rd, 2017Related News

Willie Mays’ one-game, four-home-run streak

Willie Howard Mays, popularly known in Major League Baseball as “The Say Hey Kid”, spent almost all of his 22-season career as a New York then San Francisco Giant before ending up with the New York Mets. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, in his only first year of eligibility. [...] The post Willie Mays’ one-game, four-home-run streak appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Source: Manilatimes ManilatimesCategory: Oct 31st, 2017Related News

Giroud s overhead kick gives Arsenal 1-0 win at Red Star

The Associated Press - Olivier Giroud scored late in the second half for Arsenal to maintain its perfect Europa League campaign with a 1-0 win over 10-man Red Star Belgrade on Thursday. Five minutes after Milan Rodic was sent off for a second yellow card, Giroud struck with an overhead kick five minutes before the final whistle after Theo Walcott headed the ball to him. "It was a great combination before the goal as well and he finished well," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. Arsenal opened a five-point lead in Group H with nine points. Red Star and BATE Borisov, which beat visiting Cologne 1-0, are on four. Cologne is bottom without a point. Elsewhere, Lazio rallied to take three points at Nice with a 3-1 win in Group K, and Real Sociedad thrashed Macedonia's Vardar 6-0 in Group L with Willian Jose scoring four goals. Milan was held 0-0 at home by Greek team AEK in Group D, and Everton's campaign suffered another blow after a 2-1 loss at home to Lyon in Group E. Arsenal rested nine front-line players who were in the lineup for the English Premier League's match against Watford on Saturday, which Arsenal lost 2-1. But goalkeeper Petr Cech was in the goal as captain and made his presence felt, making several perfect saves. "It's important to have a good goalkeeper in this kind of game, too," Wenger said. "They were dangerous and Petr Cech kept us in the game." Mathieu Debuchy returned to the squad after a year due to injuries. With several young players, including Reiss Nelson, Joseph Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the Gunners didn't look dangerous until Giroud's goal. "I believe you win when you can, you do not decide when," Wenger said. "What's remarkable is the spirit we have shown. They defended very well, but the goal is a consequence of us wanting to play through them." Richmond Boakye headed the ball onto the crossbar in the biggest chance for Red Star. LAZIO LEADS Boosted by a 2-1 victory over Juventus in Serie A, Lazio took the sole lead in Group K after rallying to a 3-1 away win at Nice in a matchup of two teams that won their previous two games. The fans didn't have to wait long for goals. Mario Balotelli headed home for the hosts four minutes into the game from Wesley Sneijder's cross, but Felipe Caicedo equalized for the hosts just a minute later. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored his first goal for Lazio in the 65th before adding his second a minute from time. Lazio stays perfect atop the group with nine points from three wins. Nice is second, three points back. Zulte Waregem and Vitesse drew 1-1 and have a point each in the group. REAL ON FIRE Willian Jose scored two goals in each half for Real Sociedad on the way to thrashing Macedonia's Vardar 6-0. Mikel Oyarzabal gave the Spaniards a first-half lead. The Brazilian striker then took charge before he was substituted on the hour. Alberto de la Bella added the final goal at the last minute. Despite the victory, Real is second in Group L with six points, trailing leader Zenit St. Petersburg by three after the Russians beat Rosenborg 3-1 to stay perfect. Rosenborg has three points and Vardar remains bottom after three defeats. EVERTON'S MISERY Everton is 16th in the 20-team English Premier League and is still without a win in three Europa League group matches this season. Nabil Fekir converted a penalty kick six minutes into the match for Lyon after Mason Holgate downed Marcal in the area. Players of both teams briefly clashed after a hard push from Everton captain Ashley Williams on Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes. Everton could face punishment from UEFA after a fan holding a child appeared to aim a punch at a Lyon player during the second-half melee at Goodison Park which continued off the pitch and in front of the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End. Just minutes later, Williams seemed to come to Everton's rescue with a 69th-minute header. But Lyon needed just six minutes to answer with Bertrand Traore restoring the advantage to 2-1. Under-pressure Everton manager Ronald Koeman has something to think about before league games against Arsenal and Leicester sandwich a League Cup match with Chelsea. Italian side Atalanta leads Group E with seven points after a 3-1 win over Apollon Limassol. Lyon trails by two points in second. Apollon has two points and Everton remains last with one point. NO CHEERS IN BALKANS Partizan Belgrade played without its fans at Skenderbeu in Albania on Thursday with the reverse situation— no Skenderbeu supporters — scheduled to happen in Serbia. Both teams agreed on that measure at UEFA's request to not "create a hot situation." The Group B game ended in a 0-0 draw......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 20th, 2017Related News

Name of new spinoff will be Solo: a Star Wars Story

LOS ANGELES, USA – Oscar-winning director Ron Howard revealed Tuesday, October 17, the name of the new Lucasfilm spin-off about Han Solo: Solo: A Star Wars Story. In a video posted on Twitter, Howard says production has been completed and he thanks the cast and crew for their work ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsOct 18th, 2017Related News

WATCH | Director Ron Howard wraps filming, announces title of Han Solo movie

Clue: it's obviously a stand-alone movie, but it still bears the brand name of the juggernaut franchise that spawned it......»»

Source: Interaksyon InteraksyonCategory: TopOct 18th, 2017Related News

2017-18 NBA season preview roundup

We're just hours away from tipping off the start of the 2017-18 NBA season. That means it's time to get caught up on your favorite team, their player movement, and their storylines entering this new campaign. Check out what you missed below: Opening day rosters Viewing guide for Oct. 18-23, 2017 Top opening day storylines 5 reasons why the Golden State Warriors will repeat 5 reasons why the Golden State Warriors won't repeat +++ Eastern Conference capsule previews “In a watered down East, Celtics-Cavs is the best thing going”   Atlantic Division Offseason moves Boston Celtics 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Offseason overhaul complete, new era begins for Celtics” Toronto Raptors 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Raptors hope offensive evolution pays off in playoffs” New York Knicks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Anthony, Jackson gone, but Knicks’ losing likely to continue” Philadelphia 76ers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “76ers put trust in oft-injured Embiid as franchise player” Brooklyn Nets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Nets see potential for improvement behind bolstered roster” Central Division Offseason moves Cleveland Cavaliers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “James returns, Cavaliers debut new 3-MVP starting lineup” Milwaukee Bucks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Kidd looks to get young Bucks back up to speed quickly” Indiana Pacers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Pacers change directions, making Turner, Oladipo new leaders” Chicago Bulls 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Bulls go all in on rebuild, gear up for run at high pick” Detroit Pistons 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Drummond under pressure as Pistons try to rebound” Southeast Division Offseason moves Washington Wizards 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Not since ’79: Wall, Beal eye 50 wins, East finals for Wiz” Atlanta Hawks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Atlanta Hawks begin a long, painful rebuilding process” Miami Heat 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Heat are deep, and hoping that means they’ll contend in East” Charlotte Hornets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Howard-Clifford reunion may determine Hornets’ success” Orlando Magic 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Magic seek better results, more wins with mostly same roster” Western Conference capsule previews “Surprise! Golden State is the team to beat out West, again” Northwest Division Offseason moves Utah Jazz 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Jazz hope Hood can pick up scoring slack after Hayward exit" Oklahoma City Thunder 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Thunder add reinforcements for MVP Westbrook" Portland Trail Blazers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Jusuf Nurkic wants Blazers to channel Pistons of days past" Denver Nuggets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Leaner Nikola Jokic eager to lead Nuggets back to playoffs" Minnesota Timberwolves 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Now or never for the Minnesota Timberwolves" Pacific Division Offseason moves Golden State Warriors 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Kerr pushes Warriors to keep joy, chase repeat championship" LA Clippers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “With Paul gone, Clippers very much Blake Griffin’s team" Sacramento Kings 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “New-look, youthful Kings try to gain ground in tough West" LA Lakers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Ball prepared to shine in spotlight with rebuilding Lakers" Phoenix Suns 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “In their 50th season, Suns patient in developing young team" Southwest Division Offseason moves San Antonio Spurs 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Aldridge still trying to find his place with Spurs" Houston Rockets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Rockets add All-Star Paul as they look to take next step" Memphis Grizzlies 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “New-look Grizzlies leaning heavily on Parsons in new era" New Orleans Pelicans 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Pelicans’ Davis, Cousins embracing throw-back lineup" Dallas Mavericks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Mavs take tempered expectations into Nowitzki’s 20th season".....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 17th, 2017Related News

Warriors wrap up preseason with a win over Kings

The Associated Press - Stephen Curry had 18 points in 19 minutes as Golden State made a successful return home after its two-game China trip, 117-106. David Stockton had 23 points and eight assists for the Kings (1-5). em> strong>KINGS: /strong> /em> Veteran summer acquisitions Zach Randolph, Vince Carter and George Hill all were sidelined. ... Rookie Frank Mason started and had 10 points. ... Rookies De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic missed the game with injuries. em> strong>WARRIORS: /strong> /em>Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala didn’t play. ... Patrick McCaw scored 17 points and Nick Young made five three-pointers for 15. ... Rookie Jordan Bell started and finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds. ___ strong>LAKERS 111, CLIPPERS 104 /strong> Brook Lopez scored 16 points for the Lakers (2-4), and the Los Angeles teams tuned up against each other before they meet in their season openers on Thursday (Wednesday, PHL time). Tyrone Wallace had 23 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Clippers (2-3). em> strong>LAKERS: /strong> /em>Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle each scored 15 points. ... Rookie Kyle Kuzma struggled to a 1-for-8 night, scoring eight points. ... Lonzo Ball sat again after hurting his ankle earlier in the preseason. em> strong>CLIPPERS: /strong> /em>Rookie Jawun Evans had 22 points and eight assists. ... Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Danilo Gallinari, Austin Rivers and Milos Teodosic all sat. ___ strong>HORNETS 111, MAVERICKS 96 /strong> Kemba Walker scored 17 points and Johnny O’Bryant III had all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter for Charlotte. O’Bryant was 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from the foul line in the fourth, helping the Hornets (2-3) pull away with a 29-15 spurt. Harrison Barnes scored 24 for visiting Dallas (4-2). em> strong>MAVERICKS: /strong> /em> Dennis Smith Jr. closed his preseason with 10 points and nine assists. ... Dirk Nowitzki had 14 points and J.J. Barea added 13. em> strong>HORNETS: /strong> /em>Dwight Howard grabbed 12 rebounds, helping Charlotte win that battle 50-37. ... Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon each scored 14. ___ strong>CAVALIERS 113, MAGIC 106 /strong> Playing without LeBron James, Cleveland got 18 points from Jose Calderon and 15 from Dwyane Wade to beat Orlando. James missed his fourth preseason game with a bad ankle, and Kevin Love also didn’t play for the visiting Cavaliers (1-4). Aaron Gordon had 21 points for the Magic (3-3). em> strong>CAVALIERS: /strong> /em> Kyle Korver took five two-point attempts, something he did in only six games all last season. ... Wade and Derrick Rose didn’t play in the second half. ... JR Smith came off the bench to further acclimate to his new role, now that Wade is the starting shooting guard. em> strong>MAGIC: /strong> /em>Orlando allowed 36 points in the third quarter. ... Jonathon Simmons started again in place of the injured Terrence Ross (hamstring). ... Simmons had 12 points and Elfrid Payton had 11 on 4-for-4 shooting. ___ strong>WIZARDS 110, KNICKS 103 /strong> Bradley Beal scored 24 points in his best game of the preseason, helping Washington (4-1) send the Knicks to a winless exhibition slate. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 23 points as the host Knicks finished 0-5. em> strong>WIZARDS: /strong> /em> All-Star John Wall sat out the finale. ... Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 21 points. ... Former Knicks forward Jason Smith had 17 points. em> strong>KNICKS: /strong> /em>Kristaps Porzingis (sore right hip) and Frank Ntilikina (bruised right knee) were held out again. Ntilikina, the Knicks’ first-round pick, appeared in just one preseason game. He said he expects to fully practice Saturday. ... Doug McDermott scored 21 points off the bench. He had 12 in his first five minutes. ___ strong>RAPTORS 125, BULLS 104 /strong> Toronto outscored Chicago 38-17 in the fourth quarter to turn what was a tie game into a blowout. CJ Miles scored 27 points for visiting Toronto (3-2), which got 17 from Kyle Lowry and 16 from Norman Powell. Justin Holiday scored 17 for Chicago (3-3). em> strong>RAPTORS: /strong> /em> Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 10 rebounds. ... The Raptors were 19 of 48 from 3-point range. em> strong>BULLS: /strong> /em>Lauri Markkanen scored 13 and Bobby Portis added 12. ... Chicago had 28 assists on 38 field goals. ___ strong>SPURS 106, ROCKETS 97 /strong> LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio (3-2). Rudy Gay scored 14 points and Kyle Anderson added 13 for the Spurs. Eric Gordon led the host Rockets (4-1) with 27 points, and James Harden added 15 points and 11 assists — but shot a mere 5 for 17. em> strong>SPURS: /strong> /em>Danny Green had 11 points and seven assists. ... The Spurs outscored Houston 60-38 in the paint. em> strong>ROCKETS: /strong> /em>Houston took 53 shots from three-point range, making 15. ... Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson combined for 27 points, but shot 5-for-20 from behind the arc. ___ strong>GRIZZLIES 142, PELICANS 101 /strong> New Orleans’ Tony Allen — who will have his jersey retired by the Grizzlies when his career ends — got a huge ovation from fans in Memphis in his first trip back as an opponent. He didn’t play, and the Pelicans got routed. Jarrell Martin scored 20 points and Marc Gasol finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for Memphis (3-2). Jordan Crawford scored 19 for New Orleans (1-3). em> strong>PELICANS: /strong> /em>Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins both shot 2 for 5, combining for 16 points. ... New Orleans trailed by as many as 49. strong> em>GRIZZLIES: /em> /strong>Memphis got to the 100-point mark with 4:17 left in the third quarter. ... Mike Conley scored 19. ___ strong>BUCKS 107, PISTONS 103 /strong> Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out six assists as Milwaukee (1-3) avoided a winless preseason. Avery Bradley and Andre Drummond were brilliant for visiting Detroit (2-3). Bradley scored 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting, and Drummond finished with 18 points, 22 rebounds and seven assists. em> strong>PISTONS: /strong> /em>Tobias Harris scored 13 points and Boban Marjanovic added 10. ... Detroit got outscored 48-27 from three-point range. em> strong>BUCKS: /strong> /em> Khris Middleton and Mirza Teletovic each scored 14. ... Milwaukee used 14 players — 13 of them scored (rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon was the exception) and all 14 got at least one rebound. ___ strong>76ERS 119, HEAT 95 /strong> Ben Simmons and J.J. Redick each scored 19 for Philadelphia (2-3), with Redick going 5 for 6 from 3-point range. Bam Adebayo, James Johnson and Dion Waiters had 13 apiece for Miami (3-3). em> strong>HEAT: /strong> /em>Hassan Whiteside picked up three fouls by the midpoint of the first quarter, with Joel Embiid drawing them all. ... Jordan Mickey had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Justise Winslow scored 10. em> strong>76ERS: /strong> /em>Philadelphia “hosted” the game in Kansas City, Missouri. ... The 76ers shot 14-for-39 from beyond the arc, while holding Miami to a 4-for-30 performance from long range. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 14th, 2017Related News

Cubs come back on Scherzer, Nationals win 9-8 in NLDS Game 5

em>By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press /em> WASHINGTON (AP) — The Chicago Cubs win whenever they need to, with whatever it takes, even a seven-out save by Wade Davis to preserve a shrinking lead and a 'Did that really happen?' four-run inning against Washington's Max Scherzer in a thriller of a Game 5. That wild, bat-around fifth inning Thursday night for Chicago included Addison Russell's go-ahead two-run double, a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, and a disputed dropped third strike followed by a throwing error, helping the defending World Series champion Cubs come back — and then hold on — to edge the Nationals 9-8 and reach the NL Championship Series for the third year in a row. Russell drove in a total of four runs, and Davis, Chicago's seventh pitcher, turned in his longest appearance since 2012. The Cubs trailed 4-1, then led 8-4 and 9-6, in a game that lasted more than 4½ hours and ended after midnight on Friday. Catcher Willson Contreras picked off Jose Lobaton at first base to quash a Washington threat in the eighth and Davis fanned a swinging Bryce Harper for the final out. Chicago, which surpassed its total of eight runs in the first four games of the NL Division Series, advanced to face the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will start ace Clayton Kershaw at home in Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday night. For manager Joe Maddon and the Cubs, this was their fourth consecutive victory in a win-or-be-eliminated postseason game. That includes three straight to end the 2016 World Series, when Chicago trailed the Cleveland Indians 3-1 before forcing a Game 7 won by the Cubs in 10 innings. The Nationals, meanwhile, went one-and-done yet again: This is the fourth time in the past six years that the club won the NL East and immediately lost its opening playoff series. And this is the third time in that span that Washington bowed out with a Game 5 NLDS loss at home; that also happened in 2012 against the St. Louis Cardinals and last year against the Dodgers. This one was played exactly five years to the day after the decider against the Cardinals, which the Nationals lost 9-7 in Washington. Just like that night, the Nationals started Gio Gonzalez. Just like that night, Washington raced out to an early lead (6-0 back then). And just like that night, Gonzalez had control problems and started giving back some of the edge. Homers by Daniel Murphy and Michael A. Taylor — whose grand slam off Davis backed Stephen Strasburg's 12-strikeout masterpiece in Washington's 5-0 victory in Game 4 at Wrigley Field on Wednesday — gave the hosts a 4-1 lead in the second against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. But Gonzalez gave back two of those runs, so it was 4-3 as two-time Cy Young Award winner Scherzer entered for the fifth. He started Game 3 of this series, pushed back because of an injured right hamstring, and hadn't come out of the bullpen since 2013 with the Detroit Tigers. By the time Scherzer's one inning was over, the Cubs had taken a 7-4 lead. They scored two earned runs and two unearned runs, on the strength of three hits, one hit by pitch, one intentional walk, a catcher's interference, and one very odd play. What could have been a potentially inning-ending strikeout turned into a run, as Javier Baez swung and missed, but the ball went under catcher Matt Wieters' glove and through his legs. When Wieters collected the ball, he threw it into right field for an error, then appeared to argue that the play should have been ruled over because Baez's follow-through carried the bat into the catcher's mask. Russell made it 8-4 in the sixth on an RBI double when left fielder Jayson Werth tried to make a sliding catch but whiffed. The lead was 9-6 when Washington got one run in the seventh on Harper's sacrifice fly, and one in the eighth on Taylor's RBI single. But the Nationals wasted some opportunities. In the eighth, with two on and no outs, pinch-hitter Adam Lind hit into a double play. Later in that inning, again with two men aboard, Lobaton was nailed by Contreras' snap throw for the third out — Lobaton was originally ruled safe, a call that was overturned on replay. In the seventh, Ryan Zimmerman was up as the go-ahead run with two men on, but Davis struck him out. That was part of an 0 for 4, three-K night for the first baseman who had a resurgent season, leading the Nationals with 36 homers and 108 RBIs. That season is over for him and his team. The Cubs, though, will play on. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 13th, 2017Related News

Rockets add All-Star Paul as they look to take next step

em>By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press /em> HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Rockets believe adding Chris Paul to a team led by James Harden helps close the gap with Golden State. They’ll find out how they stack up against the NBA champions early when they open the season on the road against the Warriors on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). “We’re looking forward to trying to get as close as we can or better than Golden State,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They seem to be the ones that set the bar and we know it’s a high bar but we have a lot of potential and now it’s up to us to try and do the work and get it done.” When the Rockets orchestrated the blockbuster deal with the Clippers in June to acquire Paul, a nine-time All-Star, the obvious question was how he and Harden would coexist. Harden was Houston’s point guard last season. D’Antoni knows there will be bumps along the way as they adjust to each other, but loves having two players of their caliber running his faced-paced offense. “Normally my offenses have been one kind of Hall of Fame point guard,” he said. “And now we’ve got two that will be on the court the whole time and I’m real excited about that.” He’s not worried about it not working out and said that in his experience if players want something to work out it normally does. “If you give them freedom and you have certain philosophies that you want them to do they’ll figure out what’s comfortable for them,” he said. “And putting them into spots where both of them can succeed and adjusting a little bit to me that’s the process.” Paul isn’t worried either, not after what he’s seen from D’Antoni and Harden since arriving in Houston. “One of the best things about this transition has been the communication aspect of it,” he said. “We talk about just about everything so it doesn’t get to a point where it’s out of control ... I think as long as we do that everything will be fine. Harden finished second in the NBA in scoring last year with 29.1 points a game and also was the runner-up in MVP voting to Russell Westbrook in a season where the Rockets were eliminated by the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals. He knows his numbers could drop playing with another scorer like Paul but also believes his presence improves the team overall. “He’s one of the best we’ve ever seen at facilitating,” Harden said. “And his attention to detail while he’s playing is something I haven’t seen or something I haven’t played with ... he can make me better.” Paul, who has been criticized for failing to get the Clippers out of the second round of the playoffs in his time there, is very clear about his motivation for joining this team. Chasing a title is all that matters to him at this point in his career. “It means everything,” he said. “If I was fine with anything else I probably would have just stayed where I was.” Some things to know about the Rockets as they prepare for the season: strong>CAPELA’S NEXT STEP: /strong> Center Clint Capela had a career-high 12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds last season in his first year as a starter after Dwight Howard left. But he averaged just under 24 minutes a game as he worked on his strength and conditioning. The Rockets hope the fourth-year player can give them about 30 minutes a night as he continues to develop. “His next step is that,” D’Antoni said. “I think he will. It’s a matter of getting older, stronger, getting into a man’s body.” strong>IMPROVED DEFENSE: /strong>Though Houston lost defensive specialist Patrick Beverley in the trade for Paul, D’Antoni believes the defense will be better this season thanks to the addition of Paul, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. The Rockets had one of the league’s most potent offenses last season, but their defense wasn’t nearly as good. “We need to be in the top five defensively,” D’Antoni said. “If Golden State’s No. 1 offensively and No. 1 or 2 defensively, duh — we’ve got to be up there or otherwise we’re not going to win.” strong>NEW OWNER: /strong> The Rockets have a new owner after billionaire casino and restaurant owner Tilman Fertitta bought the team from Leslie Alexander this offseason. Fertitta paid a NBA-record $2.2 billion to buy the team after losing out to Alexander when he bought it in 1993. The businessman, who owns the Golden Nugget casino and is the star of a reality show called “Billion Dollar Buyer” on CNBC, promised he wouldn’t be as out front and hands on as Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban, but he’ll certainly be more visible than the 74-year-old Alexander was. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 12th, 2017Related News

Newly-extended Joel Embiid shines in preseason debut

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> strong>76ERS 133, NETS 114 /strong> Dario Saric scored 26 points and Joel Embiid, playing for the first time since agreeing to his $148 million extension, added 22 as Philadelphia got its first win of the preseason. D'Angelo Russell scored 24 for Brooklyn in its preseason finale. em> strong>76ERS: /strong> /em>J.J. Redick had 18 points for Philadelphia, which held a 52-37 rebounding edge. ... No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz didn't play. em> strong>NETS: /strong> /em>Caris Levert scored 16 and Jeremy Lin added 14 for the Nets, who led by 10 early — then got outscored by 35 points over the rest of the half, and eventually trailed by 36. em> strong>UP NEXT: /strong> /em> Philadelphia (1-3) meets Miami in Kansas City, Missouri on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Brooklyn (3-1) opens the regular season Oct. 18 (Oct. 19, PHL time) at Indiana. ___ strong>CELTICS 108, HORNETS 100 /strong> Kyrie Irving had 16 points and 10 assists, Al Horford added 15 points and eight rebounds and Boston wrapped up an unbeaten preseason. Rookie Malik Monk scored 21 points to lead the Hornets, shooting 4 for 9 from 3-point range. Dwight Howard had 12 points and six rebounds in his first home game. em> strong>CELTICS: /strong> /em> Jaylen Brown showed he can defend multiple positions, blocking point guard Kemba Walker and forward Marvin Williams on back-to-back possessions. ... Gordon Hayward had 13 points. em> strong>HORNETS: /strong> /em>Michael Carter-Williams (knee) will not be ready for the regular season opener, coach Steve Clifford said. Nic Batum (elbow), Jeremy Lamb (groin) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (personal) did not play. Rookie Dwayne Bacon went 4 for 4 on 3-pointers, accounting for all 12 of his points. em> strong>UP NEXT: /strong> /em> Boston (4-0) opens the regular season against Cleveland on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Charlotte (1-3) hosts Dallas on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). ___ strong>HEAT 117, WIZARDS 115 /strong> Jordan Mickey's three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left gave Miami the win. Bam Adebayo scored 15 points, Tyler Johnson scored 14 and Josh Richardson had 13 for the Heat. Jason Smith scored 20 points on 7 for 8 shooting, and John Wall finished with 16 points and eight assists for Washington. Kelly Oubre Jr. had a strong game, with 10 points and 14 rebounds. em> strong>WIZARDS: /strong> /em>Bradley Beal scored 15, Mike Scott had 13 and Otto Porter Jr. scored 11 for Washington, which led by as many as 13 and never trailed by more than three. em> strong>HEAT: /strong> /em>Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters also got the night off to rest. ... Mickey's 3-pointer was the third lead change in the final 36 seconds. ... The Heat had 78 points off the bench. em> strong>UP NEXT: /strong> /em>Washington (3-1) visits New York on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Miami (3-2) plays Philadelphia in Kansas City, Missouri on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 12th, 2017Related News

US misses World Cup because of numerous defensive breakdowns

em>By Ronald Blum, Associated Press /em> COUVA, Trinidad (AP) — Standing in the stadium tunnel near the U.S. locker room after the Collapse in Couva, captain Michael Bradley was asked over and over what went wrong. How had the United States, a regional power that had made seven straight World Cup appearances, failed to qualify for next year's tournament? What led to the Americans' stunning, crushing, almost farcical 2-1 loss to already eliminated Trinidad and Tobago that caused them to tumble to fifth in the six-nation final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region. A year of defensive breakdowns under two coaching staffs did in the U.S., which finished with three wins, three losses and four ties. 'We like to hang our hat on the fact that we outwork teams and we press teams,' goalkeeper Tim Howard said. 'They won a lot of second balls tonight and put us under pressure.' A relentless work ethic the Americans relied on for years was absent too often. 'You can't go and score four, five goals every game. We have to be able to be hard to play against,' forward Jozy Altidore said. 'We weren't hard enough to play against too many times on these nights.' In this cycle, the Americans not only lost their first home qualifier since the 2002 World Cup qualifying rounds, they lost two home games in a qualifying cycle for the first time since 1957 — during their 40-year absence from soccer's top event. 'When you lose the first two games and you drop points on too many days, your margin for error goes away, and so you know you're at the mercy of a night like this, where everything possible goes against you, both here and in the two other games,' Bradley said. 'When we start the hex poorly, when we don't take the points that we should on some other days, then you leave open the chance on the last day this can happen.' Bradley is 30 and may not play in another World Cup. Howard (38) and Clint Dempsey (34) will never again appear on soccer's biggest stage. 'If I said disappointment, it would be an understatement,' Howard said. A look at what went wrong in qualifying for the United States: strong>NOV. 11, 2016 /strong> The U.S. had been 30-0-2 in qualifying at home since a 3-2 loss to Honduras at Washington's RFK Stadium in September 2001 and scheduled its opener of the hex against Mexico at Columbus, Ohio, where the Americans had won four straight qualifiers against El Tri by 2-0 scores. Miguel Layun put Mexico ahead in the 20th minute with a shot that deflected off defender Timmy Chandler and past Howard. Bobby Wood tied the score in the 49th, but in the 89th minute 37-year-old Rafa Marquez got away from defender John Brooks, who was blocked by Altidore, and Marquez nodded in Layun's corner kick for the go-ahead goal in Mexico's 2-1 win. strong>NOV. 15, 2016 /strong> Costa Rica routed the visiting United States 4-0, the Americans' first four-goal loss in qualifying since 1980. Brooks' giveaway led to an attack culminating in Johan Venegas beating Brooks to a cross for the opening goal. Christian Pulisic's turnover set up Cristian Bolanos' goal, Brooks misplayed a looping pass leading to the third goal and Chandler was late to a cross as Joel Campbell scored his second of the night. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann was fired six days later and replaced by Bruce Arena, the U.S. coach from 1998-2006. 'There's going to need to be some urgency,' Bradley said before boarding the team bus. 'We're going to have to look collectively real hard in the mirror at ourselves.' strong>MARCH 28, 2017 /strong> Four days after a 6-0 rout of Honduras at San Jose, California, in the first competitive match of Arena's return, Clint Dempsey's 39th-minute goal gave the U.S. the lead at Panama City. Gabriel Gomez tied the score four minutes later when he beat Tim Ream and Jorge Villafana to a loose ball following a thrown-in for an open 4-yard shot past Howard. The score finished 1-1. strong>JUNE 11, 2017 /strong> Arena changed seven starters with only two off days following a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at Commerce City, Colorado. Bradley's 40-yard chip in Mexico City's thin air put the U.S. ahead in the sixth minute at Estadio Azteca, but Carlos Vela equalized in the 23rd minute to finish a field-length move, cutting inside of 35-year-old left back DaMarcus Beasley for a 23-yard shot that beat goalkeeper Brad Guzan to the near post. The game ended 1-1. strong>SEPT. 1, 2017 /strong> Marco Urena spun around Ream, caught Howard leaning and beat the goalkeeper to the far post in the 30th minute. Urena doubled the lead in the 82nd with an 18-yard shot after David Guzman intercepted a poor pass by Geoff Cameron, giving Costa Rica a 2-0 win at Harrison, New Jersey. strong>SEPT. 5, 2017 /strong> Romell Quioto put Honduras ahead in the 27th minute at San Pedro Sula after defender Omar Gonzalez failed to clear the ball with a slide tackle and left an open shot. Wood's 85th-minute goal salvaged a draw that kept the Americans in fourth place, behind Panama but ahead of Honduras on goal difference. 'He just kind of like fell over the ball a little bit,' Arena said of Gonzalez. strong>OCT. 10, 2017 /strong> A 4-0 rout of Panama days earlier in Orlando, Florida, moved the Americans back into third place and put them in position to qualify with a win over Trinidad and Tobago, almost certainly with a tie (because of goal difference) or even a defeat if Panama failed to beat Costa Rica and Honduras did not defeat Mexico. A loss coupled by either a Costa Rica or Honduras defeat would mean a two-game playoff for the U.S. next month against Australia. But 28 years after the U.S. won at Trinidad and Tobago to return to the World Cup for the first time since 1950, the Soca Warriors went ahead in the 17th minute when Gonzalez tried to clear a cross but sent the ball off his left shin and looping over Howard. Alvin Jones scored on a 35-yard shot in the 37th and while Pulisic cut the gap in the 47th, Dempsey hit a post in the 77th, and both Panama and Costa Rica rallied from halftime deficits to win.   .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 12th, 2017Related News

Atlanta Hawks begin a long, painful rebuilding process

em>By Paul Newberry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) — Let the rebuilding begin for the Atlanta Hawks. After an all-too-brief run among the NBA’s elite, the Hawks are starting over with a largely anonymous squad and no hope of challenging the top teams. Four-time All-Star Paul Millsap was allowed to walk. Dwight Howard was dumped after one dismal season with his hometown team. Coach Mike Budenholzer lost much of his immense power after several ill-fated personnel decision. What’s left is a dynamic point guard, Dennis Schroder, and not much else. The roster is filled with the sort of players that generally make up a team more focused on the future than the present: career backups, journeymen, raw prospects and those who never panned out for one reason or another. Hard to believe it was only three years ago that the Hawks led the East with 60 wins and reached the conference final. New general manager Travis Schlenk made it clear that his two immediate priorities were to get younger and gain “financial flexibility” — essentially code for a team that’s not going to be very competitive for several seasons while it clears out overpriced contracts and accumulates draft picks, all in hopes of making a big splash down the road. “Our goal for the season is to see growth in all our guys,” Schlenk said, not mentioning anything about wins and losses. The probably means Hawks fans are in for a bumpy ride this season. “These are scrappy guys, these are competitive guys, these are prideful guys,” Schlenk said, doing his best to sound hopeful. “Now, we’re going to be young. Historically, teams that are young take it on the chin a little bit.” ___ Some other things to keep an eye on for the Atlanta Hawks: strong>SCHRODER GOES IT ALONE: /strong>Heading into his second season as a starter, Schroder is the unquestioned leader of team in flux. He ranked second in scoring behind Millsap at 17.9 points per game and averaged a team-high 6.3 assists. He’ll be counted on to carry even more of the load on a roster that lacks any big-time scorers. More telling will be whether the 24-year-old shows some much-needed maturity. He had several off-the-court issues a year ago, and this season got off to a troubling start with his arrest on misdemeanor charges after a brawl at a late-night club. strong>BAZEMORE BOUNCEBACK: /strong>After signing a huge contract, Kent Bazemore struggled through an injury plagued season and lost his starting job. Insisting he’s fully recovered, the former D-Leaguer needs to start living up to his status as Atlanta’s highest-paid player. He must improve his outside shooting, having connected on less than 41 percent a season ago, while continuing to bring positive energy and effort to a team that figures to endure plenty of long nights. strong>YOUTH MOVEMENT: /strong>Forward Taurean Prince, a first-round pick in 2016, moved into the lineup late in the season and played an integral role in the playoffs, averaging more than 11 points per game. The Hawks will be looking for similar progress out of their year’s top draft choice, John Collins. The 6'10' forward from Wake Forest is a dynamic athlete who has to expand his shooting range. If that improves, he’ll likely take on an increased role as the season goes along. strong>STEPPING UP: /strong>The Hawks take great pride in their player development, and they’ll have plenty of projects to work with this season. Forward Luke Babbitt is someone who could break out in a high-tempo offense that relies heavily on the 3-point shot. In seven NBA seasons, he’s yet to average more than 7.0 points per game, but he’s hit nearly 41 percent of his career attempts beyond the arc. Also figuring to play a much bigger role are fifth-year big man Mike Muscala and forward DeAndre’ Bembry, a first-round pick in 2016 who saw limited time as a rookie. strong>BUDENHOLZER’S ROLE: /strong>He’s back for his fifth season as the Hawks’ coach, but Budenholzer was stripped of his title as president of basketball operations. Enter Schlenk, who was hired as general manager after working in the front office of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Schlenk has the final say on roster moves, and it will be interesting to see how he meshes with the coach he inherited — and how Budenholzer deals with a new boss. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 11th, 2017Related News

Harden falls just short of triple-double as Rockets rout Knicks

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> James Harden had 36 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, and Houston made 22 3-pointers while remaining unbeaten and keeping New York winless in the preseason, 117-95. The teams tried during the offseason to work out a trade for Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks ended up sending him to Oklahoma City, though the Rockets appear to still have plenty of firepower. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points for the Knicks. em> strong>ROCKETS: /strong> /em>Houston has made at least 22 three-pointers in all three games. No team has ever had three straight games with 20 or more in the regular season. Clint Capela had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Eric Gordon added 18 points. Zhou Qi played three minutes, getting three points. em> strong>KNICKS: /strong> /em> Michael Beasley scored 17 points before leaving with a bruised left elbow. He landed hard on a drive to the basket in the third quarter. Damyean Dotson also had 17 for New York. em> strong>UP NEXT: /strong> /em>Houston (3-0) visits Memphis on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). New York (0-4) hosts Washington on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). ___ strong>PISTONS 107, PACERS 97 /strong> Detroit outscored Indiana 30-15 from the three-point line, and had a 26-11 edge in points off turnovers. Ish Smith, Reggie Jackson and Boban Marjanovic had 14 points apiece for the Pistons. Damien Wilkins led Indiana with 14 off the bench, shooting 5-for-6 and making both of his 3-point tries. em> strong>PACERS: /strong> /em> Indiana led by 16 in the second quarter, but was outscored 71-47 in the final 25 minutes. Myles Turner, Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Lance Stephenson all didn't play. Al Jefferson had 12 points on 6-for-14 shooting. em> strong>PISTONS: /strong> /em>Smith also had nine assists. Detroit was plus-25 in Henry Ellenson's 28 minutes. Anthony Tolliver and Reggie Bullock each scored 12 for the Pistons. em> strong>UP NEXT: /strong> /em>Indiana (2-1) hosts Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Detroit (2-1) visits Toronto on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). ___ strong>CELTICS 113, 76ERS 96 /strong> Hours after Philadelphia and Joel Embiid agreed on a five-year extension worth $148 million, Boston had no trouble with the 76ers and led wire-to-wire. Semi Ojeleye scored 16 for Boston, which led by as many as 34. Ben Simmons scored 15 for the 76ers, though he missed seven of his 10 free throws. em> strong>CELTICS: /strong> /em>Aron Baynes sprained his left knee in the first half. Jaylen Brown scored 12 for the Celtics, who got 15 apiece from Terry Rozier and Abdel Nader. em> strong>76ERS: /strong> /em>Furkan Korkmaz scored 13 and No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz added 12. The 76ers shot 28 percent from three-point range and 52 percent from the foul line. em> strong>UP NEXT: /strong> /em>Boston (3-0) visits Charlotte on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Philadelphia (0-3) plays Brooklyn on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) in Uniondale, New York. ___ strong>HEAT 109, HORNETS 106 /strong> Justise Winslow's layup with 23.7 seconds left put Miami ahead for good, as the Heat rallied in the final minutes. Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson each scored 18 for Miami, which got 13 from Dion Waiters and 11 points and 11 rebounds from Hassan Whiteside. Malik Monk scored 19 and Dwight Howard had 16 for Charlotte. em> strong>HORNETS: /strong> /em>All-Star guard Kemba Walker left early in the third quarter after getting hit in the face, and Jeremy Lamb left with groin soreness. Charlotte had a 29-14 edge in points off turnovers, but was 5-for-26 from three-point range. em> strong>HEAT: /strong> /em>James Johnson was called for a Flagrant-1 after a hard foul on Howard in the third quarter. The two slapped hands afterward, clearly without animosity. The rookie learning curve for Bam Adebayo continued, after he had three fouls in three first-half minutes and the Heat were outscored by 10 in that stretch. em> strong>UP NEXT: /strong> /em>Miami (2-2) hosts Washington on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Charlotte (1-2) hosts Boston on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). ___ strong>HAWKS 100, GRIZZLIES 88 /strong> Dennis Schroder scored 21 points to lead Atlanta, which got 15 from Malcolm Delaney. James Ennis scored 14 to lead Memphis. em> strong>GRIZZLIES: /strong> /em>Memphis was only 4-for-22 from three-point range. Marc Gasol had 13 rebounds. em> strong>HAWKS: /strong> /em>Rookie John Collins got cut beneath his right eye, then returned and led the Hawks with eight rebounds. Atlanta was plus-21 in DeAndre' Bembry's 20 minutes. The game was at Georgia Tech because of renovations at the arena where the Hawks play. em> strong>UP NEXT: /strong> /em>Memphis (2-1) hosts Houston on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Atlanta (2-2) hosts Dallas on Thursday (Fridau, PHL time) at Georgia Tech. ___ strong>MAVERICKS 99, MAGIC 96 /strong> Dennis Smith Jr. scored 16 points, Harrison Barnes added 14 and Dirk Nowitzki added 10 for Dallas. D.J. Augustin scored 24 points for the Magic, which got 19 from Jonathon Simmons. em> strong>MAGIC: /strong> /em> Nikola Vucevic grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. Augustin was 6-for-10 from three-point range, and Mo Speights had 15 points after shooting 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. em> strong>MAVERICKS: /strong> /em>Smith also had seven assists and six rebounds. J.J. Barea was very effective, tallying eight points and nine rebounds. Nowitzki made four of his seven shots. em> strong>UP NEXT: /strong> /em>Orlando (2-2) vists San Antonio on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Dallas (3-1) visits Atlanta on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) at Georgia Tech. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 10th, 2017Related News

Keenum leads 3 scoring drives, Vikings beat Bears 20-17

em>By Andrew Seligman, Associated Press /em> CHICAGO (AP) — Case Keenum led three second-half scoring drives in relief of Sam Bradford, and the Minnesota Vikings spoiled prized rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's debut with a 20-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday night. Kai Forbath kicked a 26-yard field goal in the closing seconds after Harrison Smith intercepted Trubisky, and the Vikings (3-2) came away with the win after dropping two of three. Called on after Mike Glennon struggled in the first four games, Trubisky played like he belonged. The No. 2 overall pick was 12 of 25 for 128 yards with a touchdown. The interception came after the Bears (1-4) took over on their 10 with 2:32 left in the game. Smith picked off a pass intended for Zach Miller on the right sideline at the 22. The Vikings got the ball at the 28, and Forbath booted the winner with 16 seconds left. Bradford could barely move after missing three straight games because of swelling and soreness in his left knee. He was just 5 of 11 for 36 yards and was sacked four times — including a safety by Leonard Floyd. Keenum replaced him with 25 seconds left in the first half and went 17 of 21 for 140 yards and a touchdown. Jerick McKinnon had a 58-yard touchdown run. Everson Griffen contributed a strip-sack against Trubisky that led to a field goal, and the Vikings beat Chicago on the road for just the third time in 17 games. The Bears simplified their offense for Trubisky, with fewer receivers and extra blockers at times. But he still showed the mobility and arm strength that convinced general manager Ryan Pace to trade up a spot with San Francisco to grab him on draft night. Jordan Howard ran for 76 yards. Pat O'Donnell threw a 38-yard touchdown to Benny Cunningham on a fake punt. Floyd had two sacks. Minnesota was leading 3-2 when Keenum hit Kyle Rudolph for a 13-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter. The Vikings celebrated by playing duck-duck-goose in the end zone. The Bears lined up to punt on a fourth down at the Minnesota 38 on the next possession. But O'Donnell passed to a wide-open Cunningham, who spun around Marcus Sherels on the way to the end zone, cutting it to 17-9. Chicago used another trick play to tie it. The Vikings' Andrew Sendejo tipped a pass right to Zach Miller in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown. The trickery came on the two-point conversion. Trubisky handed the ball to Howard, who gave it to Miller. Miller then pitched it to Trubisky, who ran it in on the right side to tie it at 17-all with 12:24 left in the game. strong>TRANSACTION /strong> The Vikings released running back Stevan Ridley after only five days to make room for receiver Michael Floyd, whose four-game suspension from a drunken driving arrest with Arizona last year expired. strong>INJURIES /strong> em> strong>Bears: /strong> /em> LB John Timu left with a knee injury early in the third. He was hurt trying to tackle Latavius Murray and had to be helped off the field. ... LB Willie Young (triceps) and cornerback Marcus Cooper (back) were inactive. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Vikings: /strong> /em> Host Green Bay on Oct. 15. em> strong>Bears: /strong> /em>Visit Baltimore on Oct. 15. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 10th, 2017Related News

Harper, Zimmerman HRs lift Nats past Cubs 6-3 to even NLDS

em>By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press /em> WASHINGTON (AP) — Things were looking bleak for the Washington Nationals and their dormant offense until Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman took over. Harper hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and Zimmerman tacked on a three-run shot moments later to lift the Washington Nationals to a 6-3 comeback victory over the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Saturday, evening their NL Division Series at a game apiece. The Nationals were in serious danger of falling behind 2-0 in the series, entering the eighth trailing 3-1 after losing 3-0 in Game 1. But after accumulating four hits through the first 16 innings of the postseason, NL East champion Washington broke out with five runs and four hits, led by 2015 NL MVP Harper and longtime face of the franchise Zimmerman. 'I was kind of bewildered, because it's not too many teams or pitchers that have held us in check like that for a couple days,' Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. 'I just knew in the bottom of my heart that we were going to explode for some numbers, which we've done all year.' The NLDS moves to Wrigley Field for Game 3 on Monday. The Cubs will have Jose Quintana on the mound and the Nationals counter with two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who was pushed back in the rotation because of an injured right hamstring. Jon Lester held Washington to one run and two hits through six innings, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon turned to his bullpen and everything changed. After pinch hitter Adam Lind led off the eighth with a single, Harper connected off a hanging curveball from Carl Edwards Jr., taking a moment to admire his shot before chucking his bat to the ground as the ball reached the second deck in right field. His teammates in the dugout reacted immediately, screaming and raising fists as the ball tore through the night air. Maddon defended his decision to have the righty-throwing Edwards pitch to the lefty-batting Harper. 'He made a bad pitch and the guy didn't miss it, and that's it. Sometimes that happens. Bryce is good. C.J. is good,' Maddon said. 'Bryce got him.' It was the first extra-base hit for Harper since he returned from the disabled list during the last week of September after missing 42 games with an injured knee. He was only 4 for 25 overall in the regular season and playoffs after coming back until that possibly series-altering at-bat. After the next two men reached, Zimmerman stepped in to face Mike Montgomery. This has been a renaissance year for the first baseman, who had only 15 homers and 46 RBIs during an injury-plagued 2016, but led the Nationals this season with 36 homers and 108 RBIs. His shot off a 93 mph fastball was hardly the no-doubter Harper's drive was, but on an evening in which balls carried in 12 mph wind — every run scored on a homer — this one barely cleared the green wall in left field. It made a winner of Oliver Perez, who pitched to one batter in the eighth, Anthony Rizzo, and induced an inning-ending double play. The last of Washington's six pitchers, closer Sean Doolittle, came on for the ninth and earned the save. In the fourth, Rizzo became the Cubs' career leader in postseason homers (six) and RBIs (16) with a tiebreaking two-run shot off Gio Gonzalez to give Chicago a 3-1 lead. Washington's Anthony Rendon had homered off Lester in the first, and Chicago's Willson Contreras went deep against Gonzalez in the second. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 8th, 2017Related News

Hendricks outduels Strasburg as Cubs top Nats 3-0 in Game 1

em>By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press /em> WASHINGTON (AP) — Kyle Hendricks goes about things completely differently than Stephen Strasburg does on the mound. The kid from Dartmouth relies on a fastball that on a good day reaches 88 mph — about 10 mph slower than Strasburg's — and a deceptive changeup. Instead of power, he gets by on precision, guile and smarts. Hendricks outpitched Strasburg in Game 1 of the NL Division Series, giving up only two hits in seven innings to help the Chicago Cubs open defense of their first World Series title in 108 years by beating the Washington Nationals 3-0 on Friday night. 'That's why we call him Professor,' Chicago second baseman Javier Baez said about Hendricks. 'He knows what he's doing.' Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo produced RBI singles with two outs in the sixth inning for the first two hits off an otherwise-dominant Strasburg. Rizzo added a run-scoring double in the eighth off Ryan Madson. Carl Edwards Jr. threw a perfect inning and Wade Davis finished the two-hitter for a save. Unlike No. 1 overall draft pick Strasburg, Hendricks went in the eighth round. Unlike Strasburg, Hendricks has never been an All-Star. Unlike Strasburg, who already has signed a $175 million, seven-year deal that begins next season, Hendricks earned less than $800,000 in 2017. But this was Hendricks' time to shine. 'He was tricking us tonight,' Nationals manager Dusty Baker said, 'and seems like those kind of guys give us more trouble than guys who throw hard.' The slender righty, who led the NL in ERA last season, gave up a single in the first and another in the second — and that was it for the Nationals. He walked three batters and struck out six. 'He knows the scouting report,' said Jon Lester, who starts Game 2 on Saturday for Chicago against fellow lefty Gio Gonzalez. 'He knows where guys' weaknesses are.' Harper — wearing shoes with 'Pray for Las Vegas' written on the side following the recent mass shooting in his hometown — was 1 for 4 as he tries to regain his timing after returning last week from a 42-game injury absence. Otherwise, Washington's elite hitters — Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, Trea Turner and Jayson Werth — were a combined 0 for 17 with three walks. 'Definitely, your confidence builds,' Hendricks said, 'when you start seeing those swings.' The fact that Hendricks approached 90 mph as often as he did was an aberration he and teammates attributed to adrenaline, but one that helped, of course. He also knew he needed to be really good, because of what Strasburg was doing. Strasburg didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the sixth. Baez reached on Rendon's error at third base to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Hendricks. One out later, Bryant drove in the first run with a single to right-center and went to second when Harper's throw missed the cutoff man. Bryant, Rizzo said, managed to 'get the monkey off the back in the dugout for all of us.' Rizzo followed by singling to right in front of a diving Harper to make it 2-0. With a heavy beard and a lot of sweat on a muggy, 77-degree night, Strasburg dialed up his fastball to 98 mph and mixed in an unhittable changeup. To cheers of 'Let's go, Strasburg!' from many in a sellout crowd of 43,898, he struck out 10 to set a playoff record for the Expos-Nationals franchise. Strasburg wound up allowing just those two unearned runs in seven innings, with three hits and one walk. 'You're aware of it,' Hendricks said about Strasburg. 'You know how well he's throwing on the other side.' Hendricks threw well, too. 'It was,' Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said, 'a masterpiece.' strong>SUSPENSION /strong> Less than a half-hour before the game, the Nationals announced that assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones has been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation. The team said the suspension is connected to a legal matter. The 42-year-old Jones retired as a player in 2008 after 10 years with four teams. 'That was kind of a downer before the game,' Baker said, 'because he's a big part of the team.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Cubs: /strong> /em> Lester makes the 20th postseason start of his career, which includes three World Series titles and an NLCS MVP award last year. He is 9-7 with a 2.63 ERA over his postseason career. em> strong>Nationals: /strong> /em> Gonzalez goes in Game 2 instead of two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who is slated for Game 3 at Wrigley Field on Monday. Scherzer has been dealing with a sore right hamstring. It will be Gonzalez's first playoff start at home since Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS against St. Louis, when he was staked to a 6-0 lead in a game Washington lost 9-7. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 7th, 2017Related News