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Walker, Lamb lead Hornets over Knicks

NEW YORK --- The Charlotte Hornets got off to a strong start and cruised to an easy win. Kemba Walker scored 25 points and Jeremy Lamb added 19 as Charlotte beat the New York Knicks 119-107 on Sunday night in a game it never trailed. Tony Parker scored 16 points, Marvin Williams had 13 and Cody Zeller finished with 12 as the Hornets led by as many as 28 points. "We knew they played last night. We wanted to come out really aggressive on both ends of the floor and it worked out for us," Walker said. "We wanted to jump on them. We really needed this win." Knicks rookie Kevin Knox tied a season high with 26 points and set a career high with 15 rebounds, while Tim Hardaway Jr....Keep on reading: Walker, Lamb lead Hornets over Knicks.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Dec 10th, 2018Related News

Walker, Lamb lead Hornets to 119-107 win over Knicks

By Jeffrey Bernstein, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 25 points and Jeremy Lamb added 19 as the Charlotte Hornets beat the New York Knicks 119-107 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Tony Parker scored 16 points, Marvin Williams had 13 and Cody Zeller finished with 12 as Charlotte led by as many as 28 points in a game it never trailed. Knicks rookie Kevin Knox tied a season-high with 26 points and set a career-high with 15 rebounds, while Tim Hardaway Jr. added 21 points. Lamb's layup with 8:50 left in the third quarter gave the Hornets their biggest lead at 77-49. New York pulled within 18 on Knox's three-pointer before Walker's long triple pushed the lead to 99-78 heading to the fourth. The Knicks opened the fourth with a 7-0 run to pull within 14 on Frank Ntilikina's jumper with 10:47 remaining. However, the Hornets scored the next 12 points to put the game out of reach. During that run, Ntilikina, who finished with 18 points — all in the second half — fouled out with nine minutes left and Knicks coach David Fizdale was accessed two technical fouls and ejected with 8:33 remaining. Zeller scored 10 points in the first quarter as the Hornets opened up a pair of seven-point leads. Parker came off the bench to score eight and Charlotte led 27-24 after the first 12 minutes. The Hornets opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run, but the Knicks responded by scoring the next six points to pull to 34-30. The Hornets followed with an 18-4 stretch to take an 18-point lead. New York closed within 10 by scoring the next eight points, but the Hornets went on to lead 61-47 at halftime. Damyean Dotson added 12 points for the Knicks, who have lost four straight. TIP-INS Hornets: Three Charlotte players (Walker, Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lamb) have started all of their 26 games this season, while two others (Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller) have started 25. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Willy Hernangomez have each started once. Knicks: New York had defeated Charlotte four consecutive times at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks hadn't been beaten by the Hornets at home since April 6, 2016. ... Allonzo Trier, who strained his left hamstring in Saturday's (Sunday, PHL time) loss to Brooklyn, did not play. BALANCING ACT The Hornets have not been more than one game above .500 or more than two games below .500 all season long. Their longest winning streak is two games (five occasions) and they have one three-game losing streak (Dec. 1-6, PHL time) KNICKS' ACHING BACK The Knicks have now played six back-to-back sets this season. They are 1-11 in those games, with their only victory coming at Boston, 117-109 on Nov. 21 (Nov. 22, PHL time). BRIEF LAYOVER The Hornets begin a five-game homestand on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) when they host the Pistons, and end it when they play Detroit again on Dec. 21 (Dec. 22, PHL time). It is part of a stretch in which Charlotte plays 10-of-12 games on its home floor, with the only away games having taken place in Minnesota (Thursday, PHL time)) and New York. UP NEXT Hornets: Host Detroit on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Knicks: At Cleveland on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsDec 10th, 2018Related News

Short but sweet search lands Fisher as coach of LA Sparks

By Beth Harris, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was a “short but sweet” search to find the new coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. Turns out he has been sitting in the courtside seats for years. Derek Fisher was introduced Friday as coach of the team that he watched play at Staples Center while helping the Lakers win five NBA championships as their point guard. It’s Fisher’s second stint as a head coach in the pro ranks. He was fired from the New York Knicks in 2016. “This opportunity is not a step down, sideways, backwards, somehow different than the men’s game,” Fisher told a room full of media at a downtown hotel, insisting the WNBA isn’t a steppingstone. “There isn’t a future outside of what we’re here to talk about today.” Executive vice president and general manager Penny Toler didn’t look far in finding a replacement for Brian Agler, who resigned last week. “Our coach’s search was short but sweet,” she said. “The first person who came to mind was Derek Fisher. Derek has been a huge supporter of the Sparks, but even more importantly, he’s been a huge supporter of the WNBA from day one. He would leave his practice and fly and watch us play.” Toler said that during her 20 years as GM she would discuss the team with Fisher and seek his advice and suggestions. “He’s invested,” she said. Fisher becomes the 12th coach in franchise history. He takes over a team that went 19-15 in the regular season this year before losing in the second round of the playoffs. Agler resigned without explanation after four years that included winning the WNBA championship in 2016. He had an 85-51 career mark with the Sparks. “I don’t know why he wanted to. I didn’t ask,” Toler said. “When someone wants to resign, it’s not my job to talk them out of it.” Former league MVP Candace Parker was on hand to welcome Fisher. She waved her right hand in the air, showing off her WNBA championship ring that made a clunking noise when her hand hit the table. “I want more,” she said. Besides Parker, the Sparks have another former league MVP in Nneka Ogwumike and hope to re-sign guard Chelsea Gray. “We have chemistry,” Parker said. Parker noted she first met Fisher when she was 8 or 9 and her older brother’s agent was based in Arkansas, where Fisher is from. Fisher was fired in New York after going 40-96 in 1 ½ seasons while working under then-Knicks executive Phil Jackson, who coached him on the Lakers. Fisher said it took a while for him to come to terms with the fact that he was “overly fixated with what other people thought about my experience in New York as opposed to what I felt about my experience in New York.” Fisher peppered Toler with what she said were “about 2,000 questions” before agreeing to take the Sparks job. He indicated the homework was necessary after his time with the Knicks. “What I learned is, if there is not clarity in purpose, vision and mission from ownership to management to coaches to players to staff, it doesn’t work,” he said. “Some of the basketball things are irrelevant if ownership, management, staff, players, if we are not aligned in the way we see going about our jobs and achieving our purpose and our mission.” Since leaving New York, Fisher has worked as a TV analyst. He said he explored jobs with college and men’s pro teams but the timing wasn’t right. He also experienced upheaval in his personal life. In June 2015, he and former teammate Matt Barnes got into an altercation at the home of Gloria Govan, Barnes’ ex-wife who is now Fisher’s fiancée. In June 2017, Fisher was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after his vehicle flipped on a Los Angeles freeway. He and Govan weren’t injured. Govan and two of Fisher’s children from his first marriage were on hand Friday. “The book is not finished yet,” Fisher said. “I feel like this is an opportunity for me to continue writing my coaching book and I’m excited to do it here in LA with the Sparks.”  .....»»

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

Spider-Man is back on screen, but this time he’s black and Latino

LOS ANGELES, United States -- For what seems like the umpteenth time, Spider-Man is back on the big screen. But this year, when Hollywood is under the microscope on the hot-button issue of diversity, the superhero is half-black and half-Latino. Step aside, Peter Parker. There's a new Spidey in town. Hello, Miles Morales. Miles as Spidey is not new to comic book enthusiasts, but he is new to theater-goers, who earlier this year embraced the long-awaited arrival of the Marvel universe's first black hero, Black Panther, on the silver screen. "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," which hits US theaters on December 14, is a free-wheeling animated look at the multiple Spideys in...Keep on reading: Spider-Man is back on screen, but this time he’s black and Latino.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Dec 2nd, 2018Related News

Graduating Tamaraws leave mark at FEU | Inquirer Sports

The names Axel Iigo, Richard Escoto, Jasper Parker, and RJ Ramirez would never get into a conversation about being the best players in the UAAP for the past five years. Those names are sure stable pla.....»»

Source: Philippinetimes PhilippinetimesCategory: NewsNov 26th, 2018Related News

Graduating Tamaraws leave mark at FEU

The names Axel Iigo, Richard Escoto, Jasper Parker, and RJ Ramirez would never get into a conversation about being the best players in the UAAP for the past five years. Those names are sure stable players when they play their roles but they're no superstars. Still those four helped construct the Tamaraws' backbone for several years in the UAAP. "I already thanked them earlier," said FEU head coach Olsen Racela after the Tamaraws exited the UAAP Season 81 Final Four following an 80-61 loss to Ateneo 80-61 Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. "JR [Parker] is one of the quickest guards we have in the UAAP, RJ provided us with so much energy and it just so happened that we have ...Keep on reading: Graduating Tamaraws leave mark at FEU.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Nov 26th, 2018Related News

Richardson has 12-point 4th quarter, leads Heat past Bulls

By PATRICK ROSE,  Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Josh Richardson scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and Hassan Whiteside had 18 points and 10 rebounds to help the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls 103-96 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Bam Adebayo added 14 points and 13 rebounds, and the Heat held on after nearly squandering a 26-point lead in the fourth quarter. Zach LaVine got the Bulls to 87-84 with 6:07 left, but Richardson had back-to-back baskets and Wayne Ellington answered with a 3. Richardson made his fifth 3 to put the Heat up 100-90 with 2:00 left. Justin Holiday had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, and LaVine added 24. Within a minute in the second quarter, Whiteside shot airballs on two free throws. His first airball came on the front end of a shooting foul, then he airballed another free throw after trying to convert a three-point play. Whiteside could get a chuckle about it because the Heat were on a 20-2 run, where he scored 12 point. The Heat outscored the Bulls 32-13 in the second quarter. Whiteside was perfect from the floor in the second quarter, making all five of his attempts, while going 2-for-7 from the free throw line. The Bulls were horrific in the second quarter, making only 2-of-their-19 field goal attempts, while committing nine turnovers. Whiteside provided the defensive presence for the Heat by blocking three shots in the quarter. The Heat led 60-39 at the half. Richardson finished with 13 points in the half for Miami and Justin Holiday led the Bulls with 17 points in the half. The Heat led by as many as 26 in the second quarter, but the Bulls were able to get within foue points in the fourth quarter. Chicago went on a 9-0 run midway through the the third quarter. LaVine capped it off with a dunk. Then in the fourth quarter, Parker scored six consdecutive points to get Chicago within 81-77. Parker scored 17 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. TIP-INS Heat: James Johnson was in the starting lineup for the first time this season. He underwent surgery for a hernia back in May. "I'm going to try to fast track him as much as possible but not at the thought of trying to jam in 30 minutes. He's going to be a big part of what we're doing," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Bulls: Rookie F Chandler Hutchison missed his second straight game with back spasms. ... Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, who sat courtside, drew a loud ovation when he appeared on the video board during the first quarter. BACK TO THE BENCH Spoelstra moved Justise Winslow back to the bench.on Tuesday after starting eight straight games. He scored 10 points in a loss to the Nets "That was going to be a temporary move probably anyway, so he feels more comfortable in that unit, handling the ball, initiating our offense a little more, it immediately activates him into the game," said Spoelstra. UP NEXT Heat: At Toronto on Sunday. Bulls: At Minnesota on Saturday night......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 24th, 2018Related News

Westbrook scores 30 as Thunder hold off Hornets

By Murray Evans, Associated Press OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook had 30 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off a late rally by Charlotte to win 109-104 on Friday night, completing a regular-season sweep of the Hornets (Saturday, PHL time). Dennis Schroder — paired with Westbrook in the starting lineup for the first time this season — scored 23 points and Paul George added 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Oklahoma City, which has won 12 of its last 14 games after an 0-4 start. Kemba Walker had 25 points and eight assists for Charlotte, but the NBA’s leader in made 3-pointers went 2 of 10 from behind the arc. With the Hornets down 105-104, he drove and passed to Marvin Williams, who missed a 2-point jumper from the corner. Westbrook rebounded and hit two free throws with 11.2 seconds left. Walker missed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 2.4 seconds left and Westbrook again rebounded and hit two free throws to seal the win for the Thunder. Charlotte rallied from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to close within 93-92 on a put-back by Jeremy Lamb with 5:38 left and was within 97-95 after Walker hit a 3-pointer with 3:49 left. Westbrook answered with a three-point play and Oklahoma City pushed its lead to six points before Williams hit a 3-pointer with 37.1 seconds left to pull Charlotte within 105-104. Westbrook threw ball away with 20.5 seconds left, giving the Hornets a chance to take the lead. Lamb scored 18 points for Charlotte. The Thunder took the lead for good at 53-51 on a three-point play by Burton with 4:49 left in the first half and a 3-pointer by Westbrook in the final minute gave Oklahoma City a 62-57 advantage at halftime. The Thunder led 89-80 entering the fourth quarter. TIP-INS: Hornets: Reserve G Tony Parker missed the game with bruised ribs. Coach James Borrego said Parker was day-to-day . F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed his fifth straight game with a right ankle sprain . Frank Kaminsky recorded a season scoring high for the second straight game, finishing with 12 points after scoring 11 against Indiana on Wednesday . Williams’ 10 points gave him 10,002 for his career . Lamb tied his career high for made free throws, going 8 for 8. hunder: Coach Billy Donovan said G Terrance Ferguson, who sprained his left ankle in a win Wednesday at Golden State, will be reevaluated in 10 to 12 days. The Thunder said Thursday rookie G Hamidou Diallo, who also sprained his left ankle during that game, would be reevaluated in seven to 10 days . Two-way player Deonte Burton scored a career-high 11 points UP NEXT: Hornets: Wrap up a two-game road swing on Sunday at Atlanta. Thunder: Continue a four-game homestand on Saturday against Denver......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 24th, 2018Related News

Jabari Parker shines as Bulls beat Suns

CHICAGO --- Jabari Parker had 20 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns 124-116 on Wednesday night to stop a four-game slide. Chicago shot a season-high 56.8 percent from the field and placed six players in double figures in just its third win in its last 12 games. Zach LaVine scored 29 points after missing Saturday night's loss to Toronto due to an illness, and Ryan Arcidiacono finished with 14. Phoenix lost for the seventh time in its last eight games. Devin Booker scored 23 points, T.J. Warren had 21 and Deandre Ayton added 18 points and 12 rebounds. Jamal Crawford's pullup jumper for the Suns tied it at 97 with 10:54 left, but ...Keep on reading: Jabari Parker shines as Bulls beat Suns.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Nov 22nd, 2018Related News

Parker shines as Bulls beat Suns 124-116

By Jay Cohen, Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Jabari Parker had 20 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns 124-116 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) to stop a four-game slide. Chicago shot a season-high 56.8 percent from the field and placed six players in double figures in just its third win in its last 12 games. Zach LaVine scored 29 points after missing Saturday night's (Sunday, PHL time) loss to Toronto due to an illness, and Ryan Arcidiacono finished with 14. Phoenix lost for the seventh time in its last eight games. Devin Booker scored 23 points, T.J. Warren had 21 and Deandre Ayton added 18 points and 12 rebounds. Jamal Crawford's pullup jumper for the Suns tied it at 97 with 10:54 left, but the Bulls responded with a 10-0 run. Parker had a driving dunk before Antonio Blakeney capped the decisive sequence with a jumper with 7:27 remaining. Phoenix pulled within three on Warren's three-pointer with 1:27 to go, but Arcidiacono found Wendell Carter Jr. for a layup and LaVine made two foul shots to help close it out. Carter and Blakeney also had 14 points apiece for Chicago, which improved to 1-7 against Western Conference teams this season. Justin Holiday made three of the Bulls' 11 three-pointers and finished with 11 points. TIP-INS Suns: Crawford finished with 16 points, and Richaun Holmes had 14. ... Phoenix shot 49 percent from the field. Bulls: Rookie F Chandler Hutchison was held out after he developed back spasms during the morning shootaround. "It just kind of came out of nowhere," coach Fred Hoiberg said. ... F Lauri Markkanen (right elbow sprain) had "his best conditioning workout" on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), Hoiberg said. Markkanen and G Kris Dunn (left MCL sprain) participated in a pick-and-roll drill in practice. "We did have our guys out there. It wasn't a contact drill," Hoiberg said, "but just to try to get them integrated into a 5-on-5 setting." UP NEXT Suns: Try to stop a six-game slide against Milwaukee when they visit the Bucks on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Bulls: Host the Miami Heat on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) in the first of three meetings between the teams this season......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 22nd, 2018Related News

UAAP: FEU takes care of business against NU to tie UP at fourth

Far Eastern University made certain it still has complete command of its own fate now in the stretch run of the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Arvin Tolentino waxed hot from start to finish as the Tamaraws wielded all of its weapons in a 79-74 triumph over hapless National University on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum. Tolentino was on-point from the get-go and fired all of his 16 points in the first half. “So far, these boys are playing really well the past two games. Hopefully, we can sustain this,” head coach Olsen Racela said post-game. Right beside him was team captain Kenneth Tuffin and promising rookie L-Jay Gonzales who totaled 15 and nine points, respectively, to help FEU hike its record to 7-6. It was still a close contest after the opening salvo until the floodgates opened for the Tamaraws with Tolentino and Tuffin spearheading their 25-10 surge in the second quarter. The Bulldogs would only come as close as six points for the remainder of the game. FEU now stands on even ground with the University of the Philippines at the fourth spot. “Yun na yun. We’re still in the hunt,” their mentor said. Another win for the Tamaraws against Adamson University coupled with a Fighting Maroons loss to De La Salle University will send the former to the Final Four. “We are going all-out for that win. Whatever happens sa ibang games ng teams, we’re going for that win,” coach Olsen said. For NU, John Lloyd Clemente dropped 38 points, the most points from a player in this season, while Dave Ildefonso also added a 12-marker, 10-rebound double-double. That still wasn’t enough, though, as they dropped to 3-10 in the standings. They hope to salvage a winning end to their campaign up against fellow cellar-dwelling team University of the East. BOX SCORES FEU 79 – Tolentino 16, Tuffin 15, Gonzales 9, Stockton 7, Parker 6, Inigo 6, Orizu 6, Bienes 5, Ebona 4, Comboy 3, Bayquin 2, Cani 0, Escoto 0 NU 74 – Clemente 38, Ildefonso D 12, Diputado 4, Yu 4, Rike 2, Aquino 2, Tibayan 2, Galinato 2, Gallego 2, Salim 2, Gaye 2, Ildefonso S 1, Malonzo 1, Joson 0, Sinclair 0 QUARTER SCORES: 19-18, 44-28, 69-61, 79-74 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 11th, 2018Related News

LaVine scores career-high 41 points in double OT win

By Jeffrey Bernstein, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Zach LaVine scored a career-high 41 points, including the game-winning free throw with 0.2 seconds left, as the Chicago Bulls beat the New York Knicks 116-115 in double overtime on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Antonio Blakeney scored 17 points, Jabari Parker had 15 and Wendell Carter Jr. added 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls. Enes Kanter led the Knicks with 23 points and 24 rebounds while Allonzo Trier scored 21. Emmanuel Mudiay's coast-to-coast layup had tied the score with 2.7 seconds left. Lavine, who scored all eight of Chicago's points in the second OT, was then fouled by Mudiay. The Bulls star made the first free throw to give the Bulls the win. He also scored the final points of the first overtime with his fadeaway jumper with 1:13 remaining. Chicago had taken its biggest lead of the game, 59-49, on his free throw with 7:28 remaining in the third quarter. The Knicks cut the deficit to two, 72-70, on Kanter's short turnaround with 1:47 left in the third but still trailed 78-72 after three. The Knicks scored the first five points of the final quarter to pull within one and finally got even at 93-93 on Trey Burke's jumper with 4:14 remaining. LaVine then hit three consecutive three-pointers for the Bulls, but Trier hit a pair of free throws and then a three-pointer with 48 seconds left to tie the game 102-102. LaVine missed a pair of shots on Chicago's next possession. Trier couldn't connect on a jumper with three seconds left and Mario Hezonja's offensive rebound and follow-up didn't fall as the game went to overtime. Mudiay gave the Knicks their first lead since the second quarter, 104-102, when he hit a jumper with 4:12 left in the first overtime. Damyean Dotson scored 18 points, Mudiay finished with 16 and Hezonja added 15 for the Knicks. TIP-INS Bulls: With the victory, Chicago avoided starting the season 2-9 for the second consecutive season. ... The Bulls have won four of their last five games against New York. Knicks: Kevin Knox, the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, returned after missing seven games with a sprained left ankle. He played just five minutes and scored two points. ... New York has now lost both ends of their two back-to-backs this season. In their first set, the Knicks lost to the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics on October 19-20. WHO'S FOLLOWING THE LEADER? Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls in scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg) last season, while Kris Dunn was No. 1 in both assists (6.0 apg) and steals (2.0 spg). Markkanen (sprained right elbow) has not played yet this season and Dunn (sprained left MCL) has only played one game (October 22 vs. Dallas). A NEW WAY With Tim Hardaway Jr. out of the starting lineup on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) with a lower back injury, Frank Ntilikina is now the only Knick to start all 11 games this season. Hardaway Jr. was replaced by Allonzo Trier, who received the first start of his career. EMPTY BUCKET The Knicks did not hit their first basket of the game until Dotson connected on a three-pointer with 6:53 left in the first half. Despite the early draught, the bucket gave the Knicks a 6-4 lead. Overall, New York shot 23.1 percent (6-of-26) from the field in the first quarter and trailed 24-21. UP NEXT Bulls: Chicago visits New Orleans on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Knicks: New York visits Atlanta on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 6th, 2018Related News

Lamb scores 19, Hornets rout Cavaliers 126-94

By STEVE REED,  AP Sports Writer CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Jeremy Lamb had a season-high 19 points and eight rebounds, and the Charlotte Hornets had no problem defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 126-94 on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Two-time All-Star Kemba Walker had 18 points and Malik Monk added 16 for the Hornets, who improved to .500 on the season. Charlotte had balanced scoring throughout, with seven players finishing in double digits, including five off the bench. J.R. Smith scored 14 points for the struggling Cavaliers (1-8), who are playing without the injured Kevin Love and put up very little resistance on defense. The Hornets looked sluggish early on, but broke the game open late in the third behind a 26-11 run that made it a 20-point game. Parker, who has been a big addition for the Hornets as a player and as a leader, led the way during the key stretch, scoring on a pair of floaters and then delivering a perfect alley-oop pass to Monk, who soared above the rim after losing his man on a backdoor cut. Unlike Thursday night, when the Hornets surrendered a 19-point third quarter lead to Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, Charlotte had no intention of letting this one slip away. They quickly extended the lead to 29 points when Walker knocked down his fourth 3-pointer with 7:14 remaining in the game. He exited the game shortly after. TIP INS Cavaliers: Were outrebounded 49-28. ... Kyle Korver had 11 points, with three 3-pointers. Hornets: Owner Michael Jordan took in the game courtside, sitting at the end of the Hornets' bench. ... The owner of the other major sports franchise in the city, the NFL's Carolina Panthers, also attended the game. ... Nic Batum had nine points, eight assists and seven rebounds in a balanced effort. UP NEXT Cavaliers: At Orlando on Monday. Hornets: Host Atlanta on Tuesday......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 4th, 2018Related News

Harden scores 25 in return, Rockets defeat Bulls 96-88

By MATT CARLSON,  Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — James Harden scored 25 points, including 11 in a decisive run in the third quarter, in his return to the Houston lineup, and the Rockets defeated the Chicago Bulls 96-88 on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Harden, who had missed three games with a strained left hamstring, scored 11 straight points in a 1:59 span of the third as the Rockets went on a 15-0 run. Carmelo Anthony had 17 points and James Ennis added 15 as the Rockets won their second game in two nights after starting the season 1-5. Chicago led 59-58 midway through the third quarter before the Rockets and Harden went ahead for good, outscoring the Bulls 21-7 in the period. Zach LaVine led Chicago with 21 points, and Wendell Carter Jr. had 14 points and 13 rebounds. Jabari Parker added 15 points as the Bulls lost their fourth straight game — going 0-4 in the homestand — and dropped their fifth straight to the Rockets. Houston opened a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. Chicago narrowed it to five points with 4:01 left using a 12-2 run and capitalizing on stretch of cold shooting by Houston. Harden, the NBA's reigning MVP, started slowly in his return to the starting lineup. He didn't score until completing a driving layup with 3:55 left in the second quarter. Then he hit back-to-back 3s and had 10 points at the half. Harden had seven assists in the second quarter. He also had eight turnovers. Harden suffered the hamstring injury near the end of the loss to Utah on Oct. 24, and Houston was routed in the next two games. The Rockets beat the Nets in Brooklyn 119-111 on Friday as Harden got an extra day of rest. Guard Eric Gordon was held out of Saturday's game with abductor strain, suffered at Brooklyn. The Bulls held their own with the Rockets in a see-saw, open first half and led 56-54. Neither team had more than a five-point lead in the first half. Ennis, in his second game back after missing three with a strained right hamstring, led all scorers with 13 points at the half. Jabari Parker had 11 for Chicago. TIP-INS Rockets: Before the game, coach Mike D'Antoni didn't have details of Gordon's injury, but thought the guard, who has averaged 15 points through seven games, would be out day-to-day. "Now we get James back, but we lose Eric," D'Antoni said, while noting injuries to top players have taxed other Rockets who aren't used to as much playing time. . D'Antoni's voice was rapsy and barely audible before Saturday's game. He attributed it to his team pulling out its second win of the season at Brooklyn on Friday. "I celebrated last night and lost my voice," D'Antoni said "We won a game." Bulls: Coach Fred Hoiberg expects his injury-depleted team will soon get a boost from the return of F Lauri Markkanen (right elbow sprain) and G Denzel Washington (left ankle sprain), but still doesn't have an exact timetable. "Denzel will continue to ramp up his activity in the next couple days, and Lauri is doing a little bit more still," Hoiberg said, adding that Markkanen might be ready to "get on floor" in about a week. . Hoiberg said Bobby Portis (right knee sprain) and Kris Dunn (left knee sprain) "are still a ways away." UP NEXT Rockets: At Indiana on Monday in third game of a five-game trip. Bulls: At the New York Knicks on Monday......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 4th, 2018Related News

Persistent Popovich, Spurs negate coaching-change ways in NBA

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com The first coach in the Gregg Popovich era to get axed was Brian Winters on Jan. 24, 1997. He lost 100 games faster than anyone in history, a byproduct of overseeing the Vancouver Grizzlies in their expansion season (1995-96) and into 43 games of ’96-97. The most recent to lose his job was Tyronn Lue on Oct. 28, 2018 after Cleveland’s 0-6 start. This was more of a head scratcher as he’s the only coach to win a title with the Cavs. Perhaps his biggest crime was failing to give LeBron James the wrong directions to Cleveland Hopkins Airport last summer. In that span, 245 NBA coaching changes were made in Popovich’s time in San Antonio. Some of them have been understandable, others questionable, in all a spinning wheel that managed to eject all from the first seat on the bench … except one. In the wake of yet another coaching switch, it’s fair to wonder: how and when will it end for Popovich in San Antonio? He’s closer to the finish line than the starting line, but the finish line keeps moving. Any notion of Popovich vanishing once Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili left the organization died when training camp began. Any thought of Popovich turning sour from the organization’s lethal relationship last year with Kawhi Leonard was dismissed when Popovich enthusiastically prepared himself for his 23rd NBA season. And all ideas of Popovich permanently drifting to one of San Antonio’s relaxing 18-hole courses as he approaches his seventh decade on the planet should be shattered with a Big Bertha driver. “I don’t golf,” he said. “What a waste of time. I’d rather read a book. You could be doing a lot of other things.” Like, keep coaching. “I still enjoy this,” he said, before deadpanning, “but I don’t know how to do anything else.” He has survived this long because he wins. With 1,201 victories and counting, he’s climbing toward Don Nelson’s career record of 1,335. With a straight face, Popovich says “my ass would’ve been gone a long time ago” if not for great success that he constantly credits to Duncan, among others. But there’s another factor in play that keeps Popovich in control of his destiny and fate. He has rarely, if ever, had to answer to anyone in the Spurs’ organization, now controlled by Julianna Holt, who keeps away from the basketball operation. Almost from the jump, Popovich ruled the empire, and that has separated him from others who’ve won just as many, or more, than his five championships. It’s a unique setup enjoyed by almost no one in professional sports, which are often controlled by owners who act on a whim. Phil Jackson (11 titles) left two organizations, including the Los Angeles Lakers twice, not totally on his own. Pat Riley had a prickly departure from the Lakers after winning four of his five career titles there. In both cases, the lines were clearly drawn: neither Jackson nor Riley, despite steering their teams to historical runs, carried the strongest voice in the building. Neither had tenure or were immune from the type of sports diseases that can fracture even dynasties and shove great coaches out the door. When he greased the “Showtime” era in Los Angeles, Riley had the biggest coaching profile since Red Auerbach and his signature victory cigars. Riley was charismatic, cool and changed the coaching culture. But inside was a gym rat and a clipboard scribbler. He released the leash on the fast break and made the Lakers intoxicating. He smooth-talked Kareem Abdul-Jabbar into taking a reduced role as age began to weather the Hall of Famer. However, the core Lakers eventually grew weary of Riley’s techniques and motivational tricks. When the Lakers were upset by the Phoenix Suns in the 1990 Western Conference semifinals, Riley heard the increased volume and split. Jackson’s relationship with Bulls GM Jerry Krause showed decay early in the Bulls’ run for a sixth and final championship in 1997-98. Theirs was a clash of egos and ideas. That, and a demand by Jackson for more money, led to a Bulls breakup. In the early 2000s, Jackson restored the Lakers’ franchise as they became the biggest rival for Popovich’s Spurs in that decade. But the chore of coaxing two high-maintenance young stars, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, beat up Jackson and lead to his first LA exit. His second stint with the Lakers ended mainly over money, among other issues. That’s all foreign to Popovich, who had the benefit of taking over a team with David Robinson, the gentlemanly All-Star who gave no gruff. And then, blessed by the basketball gods, Popovich landed Duncan, the most no-frills superstar the game has ever seen. Duncan set the tone in the locker room for professionalism, conduct and work ethic. Everyone followed, something that’s lasted for almost two decades, all while making Popovich’s life easier (for which Popovich is forever grateful). Duncan also drastically changed the lives of two men. When Popovich stepped down from his GM role on Dec. 10, 1996 – taking the coaching job from Bob Hill after a 3-15 start -- he went 17-47. That is his only losing season to date, and the Spurs fell into the Draft lottery. There were whispers at the time -- blasphemy nowadays -- that he might not see another season in San Antonio. In 1997, the Boston Celtics had better odds of winning Draft lottery and its grand prize: a bank-shot-shooting center from Wake Forest (via the Virgin Islands) who could transform a franchise. Had the Celtics gotten the No. 1 pick, perhaps Rick Pitino would still be coaching in the NBA instead of lobbying for a return. As much as Popovich heaps praise on Duncan, there’s no denying Popovich’s role in 21 straight years of playoff trips and his own coaching immortality. The way he runs an organization envied by many, helps find talent with low Draft picks (Ginobili was taken 57th overall; Parker at No. 28), generates respect from players and rivals (LeBron James, among others) and is a San Antonio landmark (along with the Alamo) is no accident. If Popovich can’t control his fate, then no one in his profession ever will. Besides, under what circumstances would Popovich be forced out? Even if it’s his call, how will this end? He turns 70 in January, although the only time he ages is when a referee’s whistle doesn’t blow his way. He survived Leonard, the only documented sign of rebellion by a Spurs’ star. And the Spurs, despite losing Dejounte Murray for the season to a knee injury, might keep their playoff streak alive with DeMar DeRozan blending well with new teammates. “It’s San Antonio, OK? The faces have changed but the standards are the same and the way do things are the same,” Popovich said. “We’re going to expect the guys to do their jobs on and off the court. None of that’s going to change. The way we want to approach the game and have the respect for the game is all the same, just with different people.” Asked about the Murray injury and other non-Spurs-like issues, he adds: “Maybe we deserve a little bad luck. We got to draft Tim Duncan 20 years ago. So, a little misfortune. We deserve it.” Coaching changes since Dec. 1996 Gregg Popovich was named coach of the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 10, 1996. Since then, there have been 245 coaching changes league-wide. Here's a look at how many changes each team has gone through in the Popovich era. In two years, Popovich assumes control of the US Olympic basketball team. That could satisfy his urge to coach without the 82-game grind and free up time to pursue other stuff. But who knows? “Being a wine consultant going from vineyard to vineyard, or a restaurant critic going from restaurant to restaurant, that would be more fun, for sure,” Popovich said. The 1996-97 season was bloody for the profession. Seven teams, including the Spurs, changed coaches in season. The Washington Bullets (now Wizards) had three coaches that season. And, in fact, Bernie Bickerstaff held two jobs that season, resigning as Denver’s coach in November and was later hired by Washington in February. Cotton Fitzsimmons lasted eight games with the Phoenix Suns. Only one new coach that season lasted more than two decades. Since Popovich’s debut, the Utah Jazz have had the fewest coaching changes (two), while the Grizzlies and Wizards have been on the other extreme (13 each). The Dallas Mavericks’ Rick Carlisle and the Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra own the longest tenure after Popovich (10 years each). We’ll never see another like him in our lifetime. He’s a coach who gets results on the court, respect in the locker room and no orders from above. Good luck finding another combination like that. The 245 coaching changes are not a number Popovich particularly likes (because he sticks up for the profession) and it’s not a number that he’ll add to anytime soon -- if he has any say. Which he does. “I’m a simple untalented man,” he said. “This is all I can do. I’d better stick with it.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 31st, 2018Related News

Bulls Carter Jr. undergoing NBA big man s trial by fire

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CHICAGO – Every August, the NBA holds its rookie transition program to give its newly minted pros an idea of what life in the league is going to be like, from handling their money and dealing with reporters to fending off assorted unsavory outside forces. And then, every October, the young guys begin their real rookie transition. Consider Wendell Carter Jr. of the Chicago Bulls. In a span of five days, he will have gone through a gauntlet of imposing NBA big men that would have some 10-year veterans flinching and wondering if their tendinitis needed a night off. Carter’s on-the-job rigors began Thursday (Friday, PHL time), when he became only the 10th Bulls rookie to start on opening night and was met in his matchup at center with Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid. It continued Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in Chicago’s home opener against Detroit, with Carter banging at various times against both Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Now the 19-year-old will travel to Dallas, where he’ll get his first test against the Mavericks’ salty DeAndre Jordan. And just for the record, in the Bulls’ final preseason game, he had to cope with Denver’s crafty Nikola Jokic. For someone so young, against such a slate of established or eventual All-Stars, Carter’s early lessons have been difficult. There really is no other way. “I’m sure it’s just chaos and confusion right now for him,” Griffin said after leading the Pistons with 33 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a 118-116 victory at United Center. “He doesn’t look that way, but that’s just how you feel – no matter what – when you’re a rookie. The game is moving so fast.” Carter, the No. 7 pick from Duke in this year's Draft, fell victim to foul trouble early and the Bulls’ need to play catch-up late, which had coach Fred Hoiberg sticking with Jabari Parker at the end. Carter logged less than 18 minutes, finishing with eight points, two rebounds and two blocks. Drummond had foul issues of his own, exiting with his sixth after just 23:33. Still, Drummond and Griffin won the frontcourt battle with 43 points and 25 boards to Carter and Bobby Portis’ combined 14 and 16. It wasn’t the sort of Windy City debut Carter would have scripted. This was, after all, kind of a big deal – he’s the player Chicago landed after an entire 2017-18 season spent gaming the NBA’s Draft lottery system. The Bulls consciously tried to dive deep, won a little too counterproductively in December and January and wound up waiting until after the first six picks were gone. That tortuous process led everyone to Saturday, when 21,289 in the stands got their first official look at the alleged silver lining from last season’s dark cloud. Carter wasn’t happy with either his or his team’s performance afterward, pulling his clothes from the hangers in his locker as he dressed and bemoaning the Bulls’ lack of defensive communication (they’ve given up 245 points in two games). Not to worry, though, Griffin said. “He’s so talented, he’s going to be fine,” the Pistons star said. “It’s just a matter of time for him. I watched him play probably more than any other player in college last year – I really like his game. I’ve known of him since he was in high school. He would be the least of my concerns if I was over there in the front office or on the coaching staff.” Hoiberg and his staff have approached Carter’s trial by fire by starting him in response to the challenges he handled in summer league and in the preseason. He arrived with a maturity, poise and defensive bent some players never achieve – a young Al Horford was a frequent comp – and isn’t about to blow that image, no matter how many lumps he takes. “I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early on in my career,” Carter said. “Learn what I’ve got to work on. I’ve got to get stronger, that’s the first thing I recognized. … Just being up against the best, I love the competition. I love going against the best players.” Truth be told, Hoiberg said he talked with Carter on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) about handling the frustrations he’ll surely encounter. He’s a little cranky about the officiating, for example, picking up at least three fouls in all six preseason and regular-season appearances while playing fewer than 23 minutes every time. He’s does the “verticality” thing as if from a textbook and still hears a whistle. “At this point, I just feel like it’s rookie calls. I don’t care what nobody’s saying, that’s how I really feel,” Carter said. “I still have respect for the game, though. I have respect for the referees. If they call it, it’s a foul. I’ve just got to do better, learn from it.” Then there was the chatter from Embiid in Philadelphia, a 19-point Sixers romp. “He was telling me what I should and shouldn’t do,” Carter said. “‘C’mon rookie, you’ve got to do’ something ‘better.’ Carter didn’t chatter back, he said. “Not yet. I’m gonna get there at some point though.” Drummond didn’t pile on, thanks perhaps only to the referees. "If I played more, I think it woulda been more of a schooling,” the Detroit center said. “This is a helluva three games for him.” Drummond, 25, remembers what it was like six years ago, when he was the one absorbing the lessons. His rookie year got dinged 22 games due to a stress fracture in his back, an injury that compounded the basketball education. “I learned my lessons the hard way,” Drummond told NBA.com. “Physically. I started out being hurt. I had to just play and figure it out game by game. Watched films. Learned the guys that I played against. And figured it out.” Drummond wound up averaging 7.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He had nine double-doubles and earned all-rookie status. But he’s glad to be wiser now in the NBA’s ways, given how few the shortcuts were. “It was more of a sponge season for me,” he said. “Learning the NBA. I mean, I was a young kid. Just tried to have fun with it. It was the game I loved and I was playing it at the highest level, so I just tried to enjoy every moment and take it in.” That’s Carter today, way at the front end of his career. He’s got a notebook, he said, that he scribbles in bullet points, tips and lessons from each game after he’s left the arena, his mind clear. Portis said he’ll share more with Carter as the season goes on – there hasn’t been much time and the Bulls haven’t really hit the road yet – but most of this stuff will be hands-on. “It’s as important a thing as you’re going to face in this league,” Hoiberg said. “When you’ve got a 19-year-old kid out there, it’s human nature I think when you’re playing against an opponent like Wendell has gone against, to hang your head a little bit.” The coach added: “It’s something every player goes through in this league. It’s understanding who you’re playing against. We’re showing him a lot of personnel, film on who he’s going to be going up against.” Until the day, and it will come, when young guys are studying film of Carter, going through gauntlets of their own. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 21st, 2018Related News

Antetokounmpo scores 25, Bucks top Hornets 113-112

By Steve Reed, Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists, and the Milwaukee Bucks spoiled the Charlotte Hornets' celebration of 30 years of basketball with a 113-112 victory in the season opener for both teams Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Antetokounmpo made two free throws with 23.7 seconds remaining to put the Bucks ahead after the Hornets battled back from a 20-point deficit behind 41 points from Kemba Walker. Walker missed a driving layup with 3.4 seconds left and the loose ball got kicked outside where Nic Batum misfired on a three-pointer from the left wing at the buzzer. Khris Middleton had 19 points and Eric Bledsoe added 17 as the Bucks set out on the quest to reach the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. Brook Lopez 14 points in his debut for the Bucks after signing a one-year contract in the offseason. Walker, a two-time All-Star, was terrific in the loss, hitting 15 of 29 shots including seven three-pointers — three of those in the fourth quarter — to rally the Hornets. Malik Monk had 18 points and Tony Parker had eight points and seven assists in his first game with the Hornets after 17 seasons with the Spurs. New Bucks coach Budenholzer stressed spacing and perimeter shooting to open up more 1-on-1 opportunities for the 6'11" Antetokounmpo to drive the lane. It certainly opened up some three-point chances as the Bucks used that spacing to knock down 11-of-22 three-point attempts in the first half to build a 67-54 halftime lead. The Hornets trailed by as many as 18 in the second half, but battled back to tie the game at 101-101 with 6:22 after coach James Borrego went small ball with a lineup of Walker, Parker, Monk, Batum and former small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at center. TIP-INS Bucks: Started the game on fire, hitting their first five shots to take a 14-5 lead. Hornets: Charlotte wore its throwback white jerseys with pinstripes and they celebrated its inaugural team back in 1988-89. Several members of the original team were introduced before the game, including Muggsy Bogues, Dell Curry, Rex Chapman and Kelly Tripucka. ... Walker set a franchise record for the most points in a season opener. UP NEXT Bucks: Host Indiana on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Hornets: At Orlando on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 18th, 2018Related News

Warriors dominance in the West shows no sign of relenting

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com We have reached the point in this Golden State Warriors’ chokehold on the Western Conference where it turns spooky: The last team out West to deny the Warriors (technically) no longer exists. Yes, the LA Clippers are still right where they’ve always been. But all other traces of May 3, 2014, when they beat the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, have turned to dust. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, JJ Redick, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford -- they’re all gone. Usually, it’s the loser who feels the cold repercussions and fallout of a first-round defeat in the playoffs. But what’s often lost as the Warriors run the table in the West is how they’ve shattered so many teams, schemes and dreams along the way. In hindsight, four years ago was not the beginning of “Lob City” and the Clippers. It was the beginning of their end. The wreckage left behind by the Warriors over the ensuing 53 months underlines the undeniable truth: They’ve taken ownership of their very own West Side Story. They had a record-setting 73-win regular season. They’ve won 12 straight West payoff series (and 15 of 16 playoff series overall). Only twice – the West finals in 2016 and '18 -- did they endure the indignity of needing to survive Game 7 in the West playoffs. In short, this dynasty shows no signs of dying this season. If anything, the argument can be made -- even before it’s proven as fact -- that the 2018-19 Warriors are their most talented team yet. All-Stars Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson welcomed a fifth, DeMarcus Cousins, to their mix this summer. That is not typical in the NBA, folks. “This," Durant said, "is going to be an exciting season. Fun.” The Warriors’ five All-Stars (two of whom are former Kia MVPs) are still in their prime. And given that Andre Iguodala tends to transform from a fossil to an X-factor when spring arrives, perhaps only injury or another uncontrollable circumstance will keep the Warriors from making it an NBA-record five straight Western Conference crowns. “In terms of encouraging each other, being in tune with some of the things that might be thrown at you, whether it's injuries, whether it's a couple of slumps on the court, whatever the case is, we adapt really well and we don't stay down for too long,” Curry said. The Rockets, who won 65 games a season ago, are perhaps the most realistic challenger to the Warriors out West. But it's quite possible that Houston is weaker than it was in 2017-18. To understand how high the Warriors are sitting on the throne, you must survey what they’ve left behind. Just look at how the biggest threats in the West have either hit dead ends or maxed themselves out trying to chase the Warriors since 2014. Memphis Grizzlies: At one point, they were considered the toughest matchup for the Warriors because they were polar opposite in style. Half-court and methodical, the Grizzlies took a switchblade to the basketball, slowing the tempo. And they exploited Golden State’s lone weaknesses: Interior size and overall strength. They physically beat up the Warriors in the paint (Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol) and on the perimeter (Tony Allen). Additionally, Mike Conley was at times a handful at point guard at a time when Curry was winning MVP awards. But health and age wore the Grizzlies down and eventually forced them into a current reinvention that likely won’t reap benefits until after the Warriors are finished. Oklahoma City Thunder: As one of only two West teams (Houston being the other) to force the Warriors into a seventh game, OKC was prime for a takeover in 2016. That season, OKC eliminated a 67-win San Antonio Spurs team in the West semfinals. Durant and Russell Westbrook were healthy, humming and helping the Thunder to a 3-1 lead in the West finals. That, however, was their apex, and the costly collapse was heightened by the “Klay Game” (41 points in Game 6). Imagine, if not for a fateful turn of events -- Klay’s 3-point rampage, KD’s second-half Game 7 vapor and the Warriors losing the 2016 Finals to Cleveland -- maybe Durant sticks around in OKC. At any rate, the post-2016 West finals reconstruction being done by the Thunder (Exhibit A: The short-lived Carmelo Anthony experience) is falling short so far. Portland Trail Blazers: They were never seriously considered a thorn to the Warriors, and still aren’t. It’s just that they played themselves. They were fooled by the events in 2016, when they beat the injury-hampered Clippers in the first round. They were then somewhat competitive against the Warriors in the West semifinals (winning one game by 12, losing another in OT and the elimination game by just four). Flushed with false hope, that summer the Blazers handed out rich extensions to rotational players and, unfortunately, locked themselves into a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since. San Antonio Spurs: Like the Grizzlies, the Spurs caused trouble for the Warriors because of their disciplined style that put the brakes on the pace. San Antonio ruled the West just prior to the Warriors’ run and the proud franchise wasn’t willing to relinquish its hold so easily, causing the Warriors to shiver by winning the regular season matchup from 2014-16. Still, like Memphis, the Spurs turned gray almost overnight. Tim Duncan retired, Tony Parker lost some zip and then, of course, came the sneaky Zaza Pachulia foot plant that KO’d Kawhi Leonard in the first game of their 2017 series. It hasn’t been the same for the Spurs, who shipped off the disgruntled Leonard this summer. Houston Rockets: While the Warriors were able to build around Curry to create a dynasty, the Rockets are in their third attempt to do likewise with James Harden. The Dwight Howard experiment was an exploding cigar, and then the strategy of turning Harden into a point guard failed to draw blood. Chris Paul arrived last season and the best record in the West followed, but Paul has always limped at the wrong time. True to form, his body failed him in the conference finals, just when the Rockets were up 3-2 on the Warriors and primed to issue a stunning statement. The conference-wide process of teams searching for the formula to bring an end to this “Golden” era has taken on an interesting twist. Except for the Rockets, who shuffled their deck slightly this summer, other West contenders are on a semi-defeatist two-year plan. As in: We’re not ready now, but look out in a coupla years! LeBron James joined the Lakers this summer, but it’s hard to take them seriously when LeBron himself says his new team isn’t breathing the same air as the defending champs. His supporting cast is a mix of pups with no playoff experience and vets who’ve seen better days. It’s foolhardy to doubt the potential of any team with LeBron — eight straight trips to the championship round is no joke, even if it came through the East. But they’ll stand a better chance next season, especially if they’re bringing Kawhi or Jimmy Butler by then. There’s also the Utah Jazz, a Spurs-like operation led by a pair of Spurs alums in GM Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder. Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is a star in the making, but you need more than one of those to match Golden State. Perhaps in time, Mitchell will get a shotgun rider, but Utah is a tough sell for A-list free agents. Houston stands out from the pack with Harden, Paul and center Clint Capela, who gave the Warriors fits last spring. They’re still an attractive, turnkey team. Adding Anthony provides scoring, but does he impact a potential West finals rematch in 2019? With Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute gone, where is the perimeter defense coming from? Is it possible that Houston, with Paul aging, had its best chance last spring and didn’t cash in? It’s also possible the Warriors will do everyone in the West a favor and destroy themselves in the very near future. Durant can become a free agent next summer. Thompson’s contract is up, too, although he’s been very clear about his preference to stay even if that means making below market value. “What’s happening right now is going to be really tough to replicate for anybody,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “You have the proverbial window, however you want to put it. We have an incredible opportunity that’s just not always going to be here. We want to take full advantage not only from a success standpoint but from an enjoyment standpoint. “We’re well aware that it’s not going to last forever.” But that’s getting ahead of the story here, which is whether the Warriors will fall shy of The Finals for the first time since 2014. A three-time champion is bringing everyone back and will add a bonus whenever the healing Cousins returns. Basketball can sometimes be a funny game and anything can happen to throw this scenario for a loop. Until then, however, it's hard to imagine anything derailing another season of Warriors dominance. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 16th, 2018Related News

2018-19 NBA Preview: It s the Warriors, and then everyone else

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will be at Oracle Arena on Tuesday night, handing the Golden State Warriors what will be their third set of championship rings from the last four seasons. A banner will be displayed. Highlights will be shown. And then the Warriors will have to start all over again. The NBA’s 73rd season starts Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time), beginning a year where LeBron James will play for the Los Angeles Lakers, where Carmelo Anthony will aim to push the Houston Rockets over the top, where Dwyane Wade will take his 16th and final lap around the league. A new arena is opening in Milwaukee, eight teams will have new coaches, and everyone will be looking to see if the Warriors can win a third straight title. “None of us are ready for this run to come to an end,” said Golden State’s Draymond Green, part of all three Warriors’ titles in this four-year run of dominance. “So we’ve got to continue to approach it like we’ve got zero. And that’s cliche and impossible to do, but you want to try to get as close to that as you possibly can. And that’s my mindset always entering the season.” They will be the overwhelming favorites, with good reason. The Warriors still have Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Green, plus added All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins — coming off an injury — on a bargain $5.3 million deal. And calling all the shots is coach Steve Kerr, who won five rings as a player and now three more as a coach. “If they don’t win, it’s a failure,” Memphis guard Mike Conley Jr. said. “I know that’s how they feel as well. For us, for the other 29 teams, we’re the underdog. We’re trying to take what they have. It’s a lot easier playing from the underdog perspective than coming in with a lot of expectation.” In this NBA, everybody else is an underdog. That even applies to Houston — which won 65 games last season, has the reigning MVP in James Harden, an elite point guard in Chris Paul who re-signed for $160 million this summer, a deep-pocketed owner in Tilman Fertitta and an always-tinkering GM in Daryl Morey. The Rockets had the Warriors against the ropes in last season’s Western Conference finals, leading that series 3-2 yet falling after Paul was lost to a hamstring injury. “We’ve all got one goal, man,” Harden said. “You’ll keep hearing the same story over and over until I’m not here no more. We’ve got to win a ’chip. We’ve all got the same goal. We kind of, a little bit, we kind of know what it takes to almost get there. But we haven’t gotten there yet.” The Warriors are the best team and the Rockets had the best record, but the best player is now in L.A. After 15 seasons in the Eastern Conference, James — who has played in each of the last eight NBA Finals — has moved West. He signed a four-year deal in July with the Lakers, one that makes him the biggest star on the league’s glitziest franchise. He’s teamed up with talented young players like Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, and former rivals like Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson. “I’m a basketball player,” James said. “I play ball. That’s what I do and that’s what I live by. And when I do it at the level I do it at, everything else takes care of itself.” The only certainty in the NBA this season is that James won’t win the East — ending an eight-year run of that, four in Miami and four in Cleveland. Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto (with the newly acquired Kawhi Leonard) are the top candidates to take over as East champions. The Celtics had a Game 7, at home, to get to the NBA Finals last season and lost to James and Cleveland, but now get Gordon Hayward back and a healthy Kyrie Irving again. Miami has been trying to get Jimmy Butler from Minnesota, and if they do — someone will get Butler before the trade deadline — the Heat may be able to get back into East contention. It might be Dirk Nowitzki’s last season in Dallas. Gregg Popovich no longer has Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili with him in San Antonio, and the Spurs (who have been battered by injuries, including one to point guard Dejounte Murray) are no lock to extend their 21-year run of playoff appearances. Sneakerheads will have a big season, because the NBA now says players may wear whatever colors of kicks that they want. There’s plenty of stories. But in the end, it’ll be all about someone finding a way to beat Golden State — or not. “I’ll get back to you when somebody cracks that code,” Wade said. “In this game, the most important thing is health. If they stay healthy, it’s tough to beat them. There’s teams that can, but you’ve got to do it, and you’re going to have to do it four times.”.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 16th, 2018Related News

Tony Parker says he s ready to contribute in Charlotte

        CHARLOTTE, USA – For the first time in 17 years, NBA standout Tony Parker will not don the black, silver and white of the San Antonio Spurs when the league's season opens. After having won 4 championships with Gregg Popovich's team, and at the end of his contract, Parker ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsOct 14th, 2018Related News