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Heat win back-to-back games, hold off Mavericks

MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic had 32 points, Tyler Johnson scored 10 of his 23 in the fourth quarter and the Miami Heat topped the Dallas Mavericks 99-95 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Dragic shot 11-for-15 from the field and 4-of-4 from three-point range. He also got a big offensive rebound in the final minute to extend a possession, and Johnson made a pair of free throws with 29.9 seconds left to give Miami an eight-point lead. Hassan Whiteside scored 13 and Dion Waiters added 12 for the Heat. Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points for Dallas, which had its season-best three-game winning streak snapped. The Mavericks went 1-for-8 from the field during a late stretch of the fourth quarter and never got the lead again. Wesley Matthews scored 18 for the Mavericks, who got 15 apiece from Harrison Barnes and Seth Curry. Nowitzki made 2-of-3 free throws with 18.5 seconds left to get the Mavs within 95-92. The Heat needed to burn two timeouts before even getting the ball inbounded on the ensuing possession, and Johnson hit two from the line five seconds later to help seal the win. Dragic tied a career-best for shooting percentage when taking at least 15 shots; he was 11-of-15 on two other occasions, both with Phoenix. It was also the fourth time he was 4-for-4 from three-point range in a regular-season game -- he was 5-for-5 once, in a 2010 playoff game with the Suns. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>Nowitzki took Dallas' first four shots. J.J. Barea scored 13 points and has reached double figures in 11 of his 17 games this season. At 32, he's on pace to average more than 12 points a game for the first time. Dallas took only 11 free throws to Miami's 29. em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Miami is up to 170 games missed by players for illness or injury this season, most in the NBA. Okaro White made his NBA debut in the first quarter. He was signed to a 10-day deal earlier this week. Wayne Ellington got his 1,000th career rebound and is one three-pointer shy of 500. strong>PROMOTION ISSUE /strong> A fan avoided injury when a door -- depicting a hotel room door -- on a wheeled frame fell over on her during a promotion after the first quarter. The promotion had several fans slide hotel 'keys' into the door, and the one that worked would win a hotel stay. Heat officials said the woman was fine, and the game was delayed a couple of minutes while some cosmetic scrapes to the floor were removed. strong>BOGUT CLOSER /strong> Dallas center Andrew Bogut missed his fourth straight game with a right hamstring strain. He worked out on the court before the game and is improving, though he isn't expected to play Friday (Saturday, PHL time) against Utah. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>Host the Utah Jazz on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Dallas is 0-7 on the second night of back-to-backs this season. em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Miami is 1-1 against the Bucks, with both teams winning at home. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 19th, 2017Related News

Needing a part-time caddie, Westwood calls on familiar face

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer   ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Lee Westwood needed someone to carry his bag for him at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week when his long-time caddie dropped out following the death of his father. With his options limited at such short notice, the former No. 1 called on someone close to home. His girlfriend, Helen Storey, has wanted to try out the job for a while and was happy to help out, especially since she had the week off from her day job as a personal trainer. With the par-72 National Course at Abu Dhabi Golf Club measuring long at 7,583 yards, it wasn't easy to replace usual caddie Billy Foster. 'I wouldn't want to carry the golf bag around six miles in this kind of heat,' Westwood said. 'Every credit for doing it.' It was a valuable experience for Westwood, too. 'She doesn't play a lot of golf so she can't do too much about that (side of things),' Westwood said. 'It was good for me, doing the yardage, reading the greens, and taking a bit more responsibility. You sometimes lose touch with your game when you haven't got that responsibility.' Westwood, now ranked No. 45, shot a 4-under 68 in his first round of competitive golf in nearly two months and was tied for 10th place, four strokes behind leader Henrik Stenson. 'I didn't advise him,' Helen said at the back of the 18th green at the end of Westwood's round. 'Just keeping up: That was my job. And I made sure he was hydrated. 'I managed to get round in one piece. He's very even-tempered all the time with me. It was good fun.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 19th, 2017Related News

Knicks subdue Celtics 117-106

Knicks subdue Celtics 117-106.....»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: SportsJan 19th, 2017Related News

Earth breaks heat record in 2016 for third year in a row

Earth breaks heat record in 2016 for third year in a row.....»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 19th, 2017Related News

Heat record, LP senators, Bush | Midday wRap

Heat record, LP senators, Bush | Midday wRap.....»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 19th, 2017Related News

Derrick Rose powers short-handed Knicks past Celtics

em>By Ken Powtak, Associated Press /em> BOSTON (AP) — Derrick Rose matched his season high with 30 points, and the slumping New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics 117-106 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). New York played without injured starters Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah, but Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez each scored 17 points to help make up for their absence. It was just the third win in 14 games for the Knicks. Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 39 points, his 13th time this season with 30 or more points. Jae Crowder added 21 for the Celtics, who lost for only the fourth time in 17 games. Al Horford, Boston's big free-agent acquisition during the summer, had five points on 2-of-14 shooting. He was 1-for-8 on three-point attempts. Boston closed to 97-96 on Jaylen Brown's two free throws with just under eight minutes to play, but Justin Holiday and Courtney Lee nailed three-pointers 29 seconds apart, pushing New York's lead back to seven. Rose then capped an 8-0 spree by putting in his own miss after Thomas missed a jumper -- his seventh straight shot that was off. strong>TIP-INS /strong> Knicks: Porzingis was out with a sore left Achilles and Noah was sidelined by a sore left ankle. Porzingis missed his fourth straight game, but did shoot before the game. Noah played in their last game. Both big men are expected to undergo MRIs on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). F Lance Thomas was also out (fractured left orbital bone). Celtics: G Avery Bradley was a late scratch with a sore right Achilles after warming up. He played in Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) win, but had missed the previous four games after straining the same Achilles. strong>SPECIAL MOMENT /strong> The fans gave a loud ovation to 11-year-old Stephen Register of Needham, Massachusetts, late in the opening quarter when he was shown on the Jumbotron. On Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), as part of a Make-A-Wish memory, the team signed him to an honorary one-day contract and he practiced with Celtics players Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, received a personalized team jersey, and participated in a press conference with players asking him questions. He was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em>Host Washington on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) for their third game in four days. The Wizards won the only other matchup -- 119-112 in Washington on Nov. 17 (Nov. 18, PHL time). em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em>Host Portland on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), the first of two meetings between the teams this season. .....»»

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

NBA: Whew! Heat scorch Rockets

Goran Dragic had 21 points and eight assists while Wayne Ellington scored 18 off the bench as the Miami Heat overcame another triple-double from James Harden to beat the Houston Rockets 109-103 on Tuesday night......»»

Source: Tempo TempoCategory: NewsJan 18th, 2017Related News

Dragic scores 21 as Heat stun Rockets

MIAMI — The way the Miami Heat saw it, this was a reward......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJan 18th, 2017Related News

Mavericks edge Bulls, win third straight

em>By Jay Cohen, Associated Press /em> CHICAGO (AP) -- Wesley Matthews made a go-ahead 3-pointer from the wing with 12 seconds left, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls 99-98 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) for their first three-game winning streak of the season. Six players scored in double figures for the Mavericks, including all five starters. Harrison Barnes had 20 points, Seth Curry added 18 and Dirk Nowitzki finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Dallas trailed 98-96 after Jimmy Butler made a long jumper over Matthews with 23 seconds left, but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle decided against a timeout and Deron Williams drove into the lane before kicking out to Matthews for the triple. Chicago had one last chance, but Dwyane Wade missed a potential game-winning jumper from the corner on his 35th birthday as time expired. Butler finished with 24 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds for the Bulls, who had won two in a row. Robin Lopez scored 21, and Wade had 17 on 8-for-21 shooting. Wade's fadeaway jumper gave the Bulls a 94-90 lead with about 3.5 minutes left, but they were unable to close out Dallas. Chicago has dropped four in a row against the Mavericks, including a 107-82 loss in their first meeting of the season. Chicago played without forward Taj Gibson, sidelined by left ankle soreness. Paul Zipser, a second-round pick in last year's draft, started in Gibson's spot and finished with five points and three rebounds in his 13th game of the season. Gibson, averaging 12 points and 7.3 rebounds, could return Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) at Atlanta. He had played in every game this season. Dallas put together a 15-4 run spanning halftime to open a 64-51 lead on Barnes' turnaround jumper with 8:38 left in the third. But Chicago kept chipping away at the deficit, and Lopez's three-point play off a pass from Butler trimmed the Mavericks' lead to 76-74 heading into the fourth. Williams had 11 points, nine assists and six rebounds for Dallas, and reserve J.J. Barea scored 12 points. Matthews went 3-for-5 from three-point range and finished with 11 points. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>C Andrew Bogut missed his third straight game with a right hamstring strain. em> strong>Bulls: /strong> /em>Butler received his Olympic championship ring during a pregame ceremony. He helped the U.S. win gold in Rio de Janeiro last summer. F Doug McDermott, who scored a career-high 31 points in Chicago's 108-104 victory at Memphis on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time), finished with seven points on 3-for-10 shooting. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>Visit Miami on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). The Mavericks have lost nine of their last 10 regular-season games against the Heat. em> strong>Bulls: /strong> /em>Visit Atlanta on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). The Bulls have dropped five in a row against the Hawks, including a 115-107 defeat at Atlanta on Nov. 9 (Nov. 10, PHL time). .....»»

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

6-time champs Djokovic, Williams post Australian Open wins

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The record will show that six-time Australian Open champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic each had straight-set wins. It may seem straight-forward, but it was not routine. Newly-engaged Williams, aiming for an Open-era record 23rd major title, and Djokovic, bidding to become the first man to win seven Australian titles, confronted former top-10 players in the first round at Melbourne Park. And so there was no chance for the No. 2-ranked players, in the recently unaccustomed position at the foot of the draw, to feel their way into the season's first major. Djokovic faced Fernando Verdasco, who beat Rafael Nadal in the first round last year and who had five match points in their last head-to-head encounter — only 10 days earlier. Djokovic held off the Spanish lefthander in a 71-minute, momentum-swinging second set before winning 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2 on Tuesday. The first and third sets were great, he said, but the second was 'a gamble.' 'I'm very pleased with the first round, considering I had one of the toughest first-round draws, definitely considering his form,' Djokovic said. 'He's a quality player. He's a big match, big-time player.' The 33-year-old Verdasco peaked at No. 7 in the rankings in 2009, not long after he pushed eventual champion Nadal in five sets in one of the best and latest-finishing semifinals ever at the Australian Open. 'From one perspective it was good that I got to have the very tough first-round match, because it made me prepare better and kind of approach the tournament with the right intensity, right from the first point,' Djokovic said. Williams, on the comeback after a stint on the sidelines following a U.S. Open semifinal loss, took a 5-0 lead in the second set against Belinda Bencic. But Bencic has been ranked in the top 10, and was seeded 12th in Melbourne last year. She applied pressure on Williams, who made mistakes on key points — including a double-fault to give Bencic a break point, and another on her first match point — before recovering to win 6-4, 6-3. Williams became engaged to Alexis Ohanian during the holiday break, and the Reddit co-founder was in the crowd at Rod Laver Arena. She has been asked repeatedly about her wedding plans since arriving in Australia, but only gave a time frame for that discussion after her opening match. 'February I'll start looking at the bigger picture of my life,' she said. 'Right now, I'm just so focused that this is kind of all I can think about.' Williams made a big statement, though, by walking into her news conference wearing a shirt with the word 'Equality' emblazoned across the front. It was still before midnight Monday in the United States, where the holiday in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was nearly ending. 'It's important to spread the message,' she said. Asked if she was concerned about the future of equality in the United States, Williams declined to comment apart from saying it was 'a concern for just everyone in general.' After improving her record in the first round of majors to 65-1, Williams will play Lucie Safarova, who saved nine match points before beating Yanina Wickmayer 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1. Nadal, also returning from a couple of months on the sidelines following the U.S. Open with an injured left wrist, has already improved on 2016. 'I'm happy to do an interview with you — last year, I didn't have the chance!' Nadal said in his on-court interview after a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Florian Mayer. As usual at Melbourne Park, the heat was a factor. The thermostat reached almost 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) on a day when Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic beat Dustin Brown and No. 11 David Goffin beat 19-year-old qualifier Reilly Opelka 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Ivo Karlovic was thankful that it was cooler at night, when the 37-year-old Croat fired 75 aces and held off Horacio Zeballos 6-7 (6), 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 22-20 in a match that set a record for most number of games (84) at the Australian Open in the tiebreak era. No. 6 Gael Monfils, No. 8 Dominic Thiem, No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 18 Richard Gasquet were among the other seeded players to advance. Heather Watson beat No. 18 Sam Stosur, extending the 2011 U.S. Open champion's drought on home soil. U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, 2016 Australian Open semifinalist Johanna Konta, No. 6 Dominika Cibulkova, former top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, No. 14 Elena Vesnina, No. 21 Caroline Garcia and No. 28 Alize Cornet all advanced before third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska finished off her 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 win over Tsvetana Pironkova just before midnight. .....»»

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

Injury-depleted Heat sign forward Okaro White to 10-day deal

MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat have signed forward Okaro White to a 10-day contract. White was with the Heat for the summer league last year and training camp before this season. Tuesday's (Wednesday, PHL time) move means he becomes the 16th name on the roster. Miami received permission from the NBA to exceed the 15-player limit because a number of players are sidelined by injury and illness. White averaged 18.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in 23 games for Miami's NBA Development League affiliate in Sioux Falls. For the Heat in preseason, he averaged 5.7 points in six games. The Heat have been without All-Star forward Chris Bosh all season. Currently, Josh McRoberts, Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow are sidelined by injuries. .....»»

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

Heat is on as stars struggle at Australian Open

Heat is on as stars struggle at Australian Open.....»»

Source: Manilatimes_net Manilatimes_netCategory: NewsJan 16th, 2017Related News

The Six Fix: These Cool Dudes Hail The Heat Of Summer Way In Advance

Summer is on its way, but James, Bret, Sam, Piolo, Iñigo, Xian, and Daniel just couldn't wait......»»

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

Celtics' Crowder, Wizards' Wall fined by NBA

NEW YORK (AP) — Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) for an on-court postgame confrontation with Washington Wizards guard John Wall on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Crowder also was fined for attempting to escalate the situation after exiting the playing court. Wall was fined $15,000 for his role in the confrontation on the court. The Celtics won 117-108 at TD Garden.   .....»»

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

Parker, Antetokounmpo lead Bucks past Heat, 116-108

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks made quick work of the slumping Miami Heat......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJan 14th, 2017Related News

Thomas steadies Celtics, Horford triumphant in return home

ATLANTA  — Isaiah Thomas scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, Al Horford made a triumphant return and the Boston Celtics snapped the Atlanta Haw.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJan 14th, 2017Related News

Thomas steadies Celtics, Horford triumphant in return home

em>By George Henry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) -- Isaiah Thomas scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, Al Horford made a triumphant return and the Boston Celtics snapped the Atlanta Hawks' seven-game winning streak with a 103-101 victory Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 23 points for Atlanta. The Hawks had won 12-of-16 to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. But the third-place Celtics hit 17 three-pointers and got a season-high 26 points from reserve forward Kelly Olynyk to push past a Hawks team that missed too many open looks from the perimeter. Horford, a fan favorite during his nine seasons in Atlanta, was booed many times throughout the night after leaving the team as a free agent last summer. He received a standing ovation, though, and waved happily to the crowd after the Hawks showed a brief video tribute between the first and second quarters. Horford finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes. Thomas was unstoppable in the closing minutes, hitting a 15-footer and a three-pointer before knocking down a 19-footer just with two seconds remaining to make it 103-101. Millsap missed a jumper at the buzzer. Boston blistered Atlanta in the third, using a 20-5 run to go up 77-57 on Terry Rozier's 21-footer. Hardaway's short jumper trimmed the lead to 91-85 with 4:24 remaining, and Mike Dunleavy, making his Atlanta debut for the first time since last week's trade, rattled in a corner triple to pull the Hawks within two at the 2:12 mark. The Celtics hit eight of its first 11 beyond the arc to take a 28-16 lead at the 2:33 mark of the first, but missed their next 10 attempts on three’s to help Atlanta force a 42-all tie on a pair of free throws by Millsap. Jae Crowder added 18 points, including four three’s, for Boston. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em>Began the night ranked 29th in rebounding -- 18 spots behind Atlanta -- but each team grabbed 43 boards. Crowder had a game-high nine and Olynyk had eight. em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>G Dennis Schroder picked up his fourth foul midway through the third and finished with just four points on 2-for-11 shooting. Reserve forward Mike Muscala went 0-for-7 from the field and didn't score. Dunleavy, acquired in the trade that sent Kyle Korver to Cleveland on Jan. 7, scored six points on a pair of three’s. strong>KEEP IT COMING /strong> Olynyk, a reserve forward, played so well in the first half, going 7-for-9 from the field for 18 points, that Celtics coach Brad Stevens put him on the floor over Amir Johnson to begin the third. Johnson played just eight minutes of the second half and ended the game scoreless. strong>TRIBUTE TO PISTOL PETE /strong> The Hawks wore dark blue and lime green-trimmed uniforms for the first time since the early 2000s. The strange-looking design was made memorable by Pete Maravich, the star guard who played his first four seasons in Atlanta through 1973-74. strong>MORE TESTS /strong> Celtics C Tyler Zeller, sidelined with a sinus infection, didn't make the trip and was inactive for the sixth straight game. Stevens said Zeller has undergone a gamut of tests because he still feels disoriented. 'He gets final results tomorrow but he's feeling a lot better in the last couple of days,' Stevens said. 'It's dissipated a little bit.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em> Host Charlotte on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em> Host Milwaukee on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). .....»»

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

Thomas steadies Celtics, Horford triumphant in return home

ATLANTA (AP) — Isaiah Thomas scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, Al Horford made a triumphant return and the Boston Celtics snapped the Atlanta Hawks' seven-game winning streak with a 103-101 victory Friday night. Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 23 points for Atlanta. The Hawks had won 12 of 16 to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. But the third-place Celtics hit 17 3-pointers and got a season-high 26 points from reserve forward Kelly Olynyk to push past a Hawks team that missed too many open looks from the perimeter. Horford, a fan favorite during his nine seasons in Atlanta, was booed many times throughout the night after leaving the team as a free agent last summer. He received a standing ovation, though, and waved happily to the crowd after the Hawks showed a brief video tribute between the first and second quarters. Horford finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes. .....»»

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

Parker, Antetokounmpo lead Bucks past Heat

em>By Rich Rovito, Associated Press /em> MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Jabari Parker had 24 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 to help the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Miami Heat 116-108 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Antetokounmpo also had eight rebounds and six assists after being limited by illness throughout the week. Greg Monroe added 16 points and 11 rebounds. Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside each had 19 points for the Heat, and Luke Babbitt added a season-high 16. They have lost 10-of-11 games, including the last four on their trip. After leading by as many as 21 points in the first half, the Bucks maintained a large lead throughout the third quarter, pushing it to 22 at one point. But the Bucks allowed the Heat to get within eight points midway through the fourth. Antetokounmpo then scored six straight points and the Bucks quickly built the lead back to 14 with about five minutes remaining. Miami cut the lead to seven with 16 seconds remaining, but would get no closer. The Bucks scored 42 points in the first quarter, their most in any quarter this season, to grab a 12-point lead. Monroe had 12 points in the quarter. CHANGING COURSE The last time the teams met, in November, Miami held Milwaukee to a season-low 73 points in notching the victory. The Bucks surpassed that mark with 8:57 remaining in the third quarter. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em> Center Willie Reed sat out with a bruised sternum, leaving Miami with just 10 available players, all of whom played. em> strong>Bucks: /strong> /em> Antetokounmpo logged 37 minutes after being limited to nine minutes at San Antonio on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) while struggling with an unspecified illness that also caused him to miss Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) home game against Washington. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em> Host Houston on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) in the first of two regular-season matchups. The Heat have won six of their last seven against the Rockets in Miami. em> strong>Bucks: /strong> /em> Travel to Atlanta for a matinee matchup Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The Hawks have won three consecutive games and six of the last eight against Milwaukee. .....»»

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

Horford returns to Atlanta for first time with his new team

em>By George Henry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) — Al Horford knows this won't be just another game today. The four-time All-Star is returning to Philips Arena for the first time with a new team, and many are still adjusting to the fact that he no longer plays for the Atlanta Hawks. After nine seasons as a franchise cornerstone, Horford left for Boston as a free agent last summer, signing a four-year, $113 million contract. But a big part of the big center will always be in the Deep South. He hopes his impact with everyone in Atlanta was positive. 'I always tried to be a guy that plays hard and was committed to giving his all, on and off the court,' Horford said Friday (Saturday, PHL time). 'So that's something I'm really proud of.' Horford led Florida to back-to-back national championships before the Hawks drafted him No. 3 overall in 2007. He helped Atlanta make the playoffs each season he was with the franchise, but the team only got close to the NBA Finals once, in 2015. The Hawks won 60 games and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time. They were swept by Cleveland each of the last two years, and coach Mike Budenholzer has remade the roster. Kyle Korver now plays for Cleveland, Jeff Teague for Indiana and DeMarre Carroll for Toronto. The Hawks have rebuilt around Atlanta native Dwight Howard, an eight-time All-Star center, and point guard Dennis Schroder. The overhaul continues to be a work in process with just four players with double-digit scoring averages and the team lacks consistent perimeter shooting. 'It really has changed fast,' Horford said. 'That just shows us what the NBA business can be like sometimes. That's just the way it is. All you can do is embrace those times that you had here and accept these new challenges that we're in.' In his first game against the Hawks, Horford said he expects some mixed emotions, but hopes to settle down after a pregame video tribute. There's plenty at stake tonight with Boston third and Atlanta fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have won five of six and the Hawks seven in a row. Horford keeps up with some of his former teammates and wishes them well. 'It's a team that's gone through its ups and downs, but I feel like they've found a really good rhythm right now,' he said. 'They're playing really well. Dennis has impressed me a lot, the way that he's been playing and leading the team. Paul [Millsap] being as consistent as he is, and Tim [Hardaway Jr.] is really impressive off the bench.' Horford said many times over the years that he wanted to spend his entire career with the Hawks, but when they wouldn't match Boston's offer, his decision was easy. 'I think for me individually it was the right decision,' Horford said. 'It takes time to adjust to a new team, a new city and everything, but my teammates and coach have made my transition very easy.' Boston guard Isaiah Thomas credits Horford with helping him get off to the best start of his six-year career. Thomas is averaging 28.2 points, tied for fourth-best in the league. Horford is averaging 15.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists. 'He helps me out because he puts me in position,' Thomas said. 'He sets really good screens for me to get me open and he also is a hell of a passer, so when he gets the ball in situations where I'm on the opposite side, he usually finds me. I think that's what making me have a pretty good year as well.' Thomas said the Celtics intend to get Horford a win Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). 'He hasn't brought it up to us,' Thomas said. 'That's just the type of person he is. Everything is the same for him.' Horford likes to keep it that way. He's ready to put this game behind him. 'It's a little different, but I think probably tonight I'm sure it will be more surreal for me,' Horford said. 'Right now it's just a shoot-around and it feels very normal.' .....»»

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