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Kyrie Irving, Celtics rally past Hawks | Inquirer Sports

ATLANTA --- Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics found a way. Not bad for the second part of back-to-back games. Irving scored 32 points and the Celtics rallied to beat the Atlanta Hawks 113-105 on Sat.....»»

Source: Philippinetimes PhilippinetimesCategory: NewsJan 20th, 2019Related News

Wade helps Heat beat Bulls 117-103

By JOHN JACKSON,  Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Dwyane Wade had 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in his final game in his hometown, helping the Miami Heat beat the skidding Chicago Bulls 117-103 on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Wade, who turned 37 on Thursday, plans to retire at the end of his 16th NBA season. He got a warm reception in his return, hearing several loud ovations throughout the night. Josh Richardson had 26 points for Miami, and Dion Waiters finished with 21. The Heat had dropped two in a row. Chicago lost its 10th straight game. Zach LaVine scored 22 points for the Bulls, and Bobby Portis had 21. Lauri Markkanen finished with 20 points and nine rebounds. Wade played for the Bulls during the 2016-17 season, and the team honored him with a video tribute during the game's first timeout in the first quarter. The sellout crowd gave Wade a standing ovation and he responded by waving to the fans. Wade got another loud ovation when he entered the game. He shot an air ball on his first attempt, but then nailed a 3-pointer on his second shot. He had nine first-half points, but the Heat trailed 57-55 at the break. Richardson had 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting and Wade added five in the third quarter as Miami took an 83-76 lead into the fourth. With Miami leading 91-86 early in the final quarter, the Heat went on a 14-2 run to put the game away. Wade received another loud ovation when he exited with two minutes to play. TIP-INS Heat: Wade entered with 997 career points against Chicago. He now has scored 1,000 points against eight NBA teams. Bulls: Rookie C Wendell Carter Jr. is going to have surgery on his left thumb, but no date has been set for the procedure. He is expected to be sidelined for eight to 12 weeks. "He's meeting with his family and his representation and our medical staff," coach Jim Boylen said. "Our heart's broken for him. You know, 44 games in, he's done everything that we've asked him to do from a competitive standpoint and a developmental standpoint." CHICAGO G.O.A.T. Wade was asked if he was the greatest Chicago-area basketball player of all-time. "I have no idea," he said. "When people have asked me who I think the best player who was born and raised in Chicago, I always go with Isiah Thomas." Thomas averaged 19.2 points and 9.3 assists in 13 NBA seasons. He also won two NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons. Thomas tweeted during the game he thought Wade was the best player to come out of Chicago. "I will be second to him any day!" Thomas posted. Wade entered Saturday's game with career averages of 22.2 points, 5.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds. He has three NBA titles. UP NEXT Heat: At Boston Celtics on Monday night to conclude a four-game road trip. Bulls: At Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 20th, 2019Related News

Irving has 32 as Celtics rally in 4th quarter, top Hawks

By CHARLES ODUM,  AP Sports Writer ATLANTA (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 32 points and the Boston Celtics rallied to beat the Atlanta Hawks 113-105 on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) for their third straight win. After trailing for most of the game, Boston took the lead with a 9-0 fourth-quarter run, including a go-ahead 3-pointer by Jaylen Brown, who had 14 points. A drive by Irving gave Boston the lead for good at 101-100. Al Horford made four free throws and a layup to help the Celtics increase their advantage to 109-100 with 1:11 left. Kevin Huerter led Atlanta with 18 points, and fellow rookie Trae Young had 16. Minutes after he was called for his first technical following his fourth foul about three minutes into the third quarter, Boston's Marcus Smart was ejected following an altercation with Atlanta's DeAndre Bembry. Smart and Bembry had to be separated after an exchange of words as players lined up for a jump ball. After being restrained by teammates and coaches, Smart broke free and charged toward Bembry before being restrained again. Bembry also was called for a technical foul following a video review. One night after scoring 38 points in a 122-116 home win over Memphis, Irving continued his high-scoring streak by going 5 for 8 from 3-point range. He pulled the Celtics back from a 50-34 deficit by scoring 15 of Boston's final 19 points of the half. The Hawks led 67-60 at the break. Atlanta answered Irving's one-man scoring show with a more balanced attack that stood up until the final quarter. Huerter continued to shine in his fill-in starting role while Kent Bazemore recovers from a sprained right ankle. Huerter has made 45.5 percent of his 3-point attempts to lead all NBA qualifying rookies. He made 4 of 10 3s against Boston. Another rookie, Omari Spellman, added two 3s in the first half. Boston's Jayson Tatum opened the game with a three-point play. The Hawks scored the next 10 points and kept the lead until Brown's 3-pointer with 9:07 remaining gave Boston a 95-93 edge. Tatum had 19 points and Horford had 13. TIP-INS Celtics: Due to expected bad weather in the Boston area on Saturday night, there were tentative plans for a return flight on Sunday. Travel concerns also led to F Gordon Hayward remaining in Boston, where his wife is expecting the couple's third child. "With pending weather, there was no reason to make this trip," coach Brad Stevens said of Hayward. Hawks: John Collins and Alex Len each had 15 points. ... Collins (bronchitis-like symptoms) and Young (flu-like symptoms) started after being upgraded before the game. ... C Dewayne Dedmon (left ankle sprain) had six points in 24 minutes in his return after missing two games. UP NEXT Celtics: Host Miami on Tuesday night. Hawks: Host Magic on Monday......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 20th, 2019Related News

Irving s 38 points propel Celtics past Grizzlies

LOS ANGELES, USA – Kyrie Irving led by example Friday, January 18, scoring 20 of his 38 points in the third quarter as his Boston Celtics defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 122-116. Irving, coming off a 27-point, 18-assist performance in a win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, added 11 assists and ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 19th, 2019Related News

Irving scores 38 points, Celtics beat Grizzlies 122-116

By DOUG ALDEN,  Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 20 of his 38 points in the third quarter and the Boston Celtics held off the Memphis Grizzlies 122-116 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Marcus Smart had 20 points and Al Horford finished with 18 for the Celtics, who have won two straight since a three-game losing streak. Irving also had 11 assists and seven rebounds for Boston, which beat the Grizzlies for the seventh consecutive time but had to hang on down the stretch. Memphis trailed only 111-108 with 3:13 left, but the Celtics responded with a 10-2 run. A few late 3-pointers by the Grizzlies came too late. Memphis has lost 10 of 11 overall, and six in a row on the road. Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 26 points. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 23, and Marc Gasol had 11 rebounds and 12 assists. Boston led 96-91 after three, but the pesky Grizzlies would not go away. Conley's three-point play with 4:53 remaining pulled Memphis to 106-104. Irving finally sealed it when he hit a 3 with 1:22 left to put the Celtics up 118-110. Jaylen Brown had 12 points and Terry Rozier scored 10 for Boston. Rozier hit a 3 to start an 11-0 run that put the Celtics up 35-24 after the first quarter. Then he made another from beyond the arc while drawing a foul and converted the four-point play. The Grizzlies rallied late in the period, tying it 52-all on a layup by JaMychal Green and taking a 62-58 halftime lead on Conley's layup just before the buzzer. TIP-INS Grizzlies: Justin Holiday had 14 points, his highest-scoring game since arriving in a trade with Chicago on Jan. 3. ... Shelvin Mack scored 15 points. Green and Omri Casspi had 12 apiece. . Shot 59 percent (13 for 22) in the second quarter while outscoring Boston 38-23. . Had five turnovers in the first quarter. Celtics: Aron Baynes had 12 rebounds in his second game back since missing a month with a broken bone in his left hand. . Turned the ball over seven times in the second period. . Irving was called for a technical with 3:27 left in the third quarter after getting tangled up in front of the Memphis bench with Mack, who also got a technical. UP NEXT Grizzlies: At the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. Celtics: Visit the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 19th, 2019Related News

'KicksStalker: Jayson Tatum debuts self-lacing sneakers in Celtics’ win

MANILA, Philippines---As the game of basketball further evolves, so too does the shoe that comes with it. Boston's Jayson Tatum debuted the first self-lacing sneaker on an NBA game when the Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 117-108 Thursday (Manila time) at TD Garden. Tatum wore the Nike Adapt BB to the tune of 16 points and 10 rebounds in a landmark moment in sneaker history. Dallas's rookie sensation Luka Doncic also wore the sneakers in the Mavericks' 105-101 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. READ: #KicksStalker: Nike unveils next-generation self-lacing basketball shoes Doncic finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists wearing the new self-lacing sneaker...Keep on reading: #KicksStalker: Jayson Tatum debuts self-lacing sneakers in Celtics’ win.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Jan 17th, 2019Related News

Antetokounmpo leads streaking Bucks past Grizzlies 111-101

By Clay Bailey, Associated Press MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 11 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks used a third-quarter outburst to capture their third straight win, 111-101 over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Eric Bledsoe added 16 points and D.J. Wilson scored 13 for the Bucks, who won for the 14th time in 17 games. Omri Casspi led the Grizzlies with 17 points. Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and JaMychal Green scored 14 points apiece for Memphis, which lost its ninth in the last 10. The Grizzlies took their only lead of the game at 59-58 early in the second half on a three-pointer by Gasol. The Bucks made sure any Memphis excitement was short-lived. Milwaukee ran off 19 straight points to extend its lead to 18. By that point, the Grizzlies returned to uninspired play as the Bucks outscored Memphis 41-28 in the quarter. Memphis committed eight turnovers in the third, leading to 20 points. The Bucks took an early lead thanks to anemic shooting by Memphis. The Grizzlies starters seemed lackadaisical and not up to the task of challenging one of the better teams in the NBA as Milwaukee stretched its lead to as many as 14 points. The Memphis reserves brought more energy and steadily chipped away at the Bucks advantage. Casspi and Green led the rally. But the Bucks used 15 points from Antetokounmpo to hold on for a 50-45 lead at the break. The third-quarter rally led to Milwaukee building the advantage to as many as 31 points in the fourth. TIP-INS Bucks: Milwaukee leads the series 23-22. . The Bucks lead the league in scoring differential at 10 points per game and have 23 double-digit victories this season. . Antetokounmpo recorded his 30th double-double of the season. . Memphis defeated the Bucks 116-113 on Nov. 14 (Nov. 15, PHL time). Milwaukee is now 5-0 facing teams that it lost to in its previous meeting. Grizzlies: Memphis played its only home game in a five-game stretch. .F/G Justin Holiday, obtained from the Chicago Bulls in a Jan. 4 (Jan. 5, PHL time) trade, started his first game for Memphis. . Memphis missed 10 of its first 11 shots in the game, part of the Grizzlies shooting 26 percent in the opening quarter. . The Bucks' 41 points in the third quarter was the most given up by Memphis in any period this season. UP NEXT Bucks: At Orlando to face the Magic on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Grizzlies: Face the Celtics in Boston on Friday (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 17th, 2019Related News

Irving s 27 points, 18 assists leads Celtics past Raptors

By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving hit a foul-line fadeaway to give Boston the lead, then hit a 31-foot three-pointer to finish with 27 points and lead the Celtics past the NBA-leading Toronto Raptors 117-108 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Returning after missing the last game with a bruised right leg, Irving had 10 points and six of his career-high 18 assist in the fourth quarter — including passes to set up Boston's last three baskets in a game-ending 17-4 run. Al Horford scored 24 and Jayson Tatum had 16 points with 10 rebounds for Boston, which returned home after losing three straight on the road. Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points and Serge Ibaka had 22 with 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who had won five in a row heading into the matchup of two teams that consider themselves the heir to LeBron James' Cavaliers as the best team in the East. Toronto (33-13) fell percentage points behind Milwaukee (32-12) for the best records in the NBA. Toronto led 104-100 after Leonard's three-point play with 4:22 left before Boston scored 17 of the next 19 points. Tatum had a three-point play and then a three-pointer to give Boston a 106-104 lead, before Toronto tied it. Irving then hit consecutive baskets, popping his jersey for the adoring crowd after connecting on the second from just a step or two inside the center tipoff circle. He then went to the pass, assisting on Boston's last three baskets of the game before Toronto's last bucket ended it. After adding Leonard in the offseason, the Raptors have zoomed to the top of the conference standings. But despite getting Irving and Gordon Hayward back from injuries that kept them out of last year's playoffs, when the team went to the conference finals, the Celtics have stumbled their way to the fifth-best record in the East. Leonard scored nine in the first quarter, when the Raptors opened an 18-7 lead in the first five minutes. Boston cut it to six at the end of the first and then went on a 12-2 run early in the second to take the lead. It was 46-44 with just over four minutes left in the half when the Celtics scored 11 of the next 13 points to open a double-digit lead. In all, Toronto scored just 17 points in the second, missing all nine 3-point attempts. The Celtics made just one of their first 11 shots in the fourth, giving up nine straight points to trail 92-89 midway through the quarter. But Aron Baynes, who had made 12 three-pointers all season, hit one from the top of key to stop the run and tie it. TRAINER'S ROOM Kyle Lowry, who finished with 10 points and seven assists, was poked in the left eye by teammate Pascal Siakam while the two were trying to defend Marcus Smart in the lane. Lowry went down under the basket for the rest of the possession but stayed in the game after a timeout. Baynes, who missed a month with a broken bone in his left hand, returned and played 14 minutes, scoring nine points with five rebounds. Irving and Smart also returned after missing Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) game in Brooklyn. UP NEXT Raptors: Return home for the second half of a back-to-back against the Phoenix Suns. Celtics: Host Memphis on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 17th, 2019Related News

Kanter blasts Turkish president

WASHINGTON — New York Knicks center Enes Kanter, staying home from an NBA game Thursday in London over safety fears, ripped Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a Washington Post column Tuesday. Kanter, who says he receives death threats for his complaints against Erdogan, said he refused to join the Knicks on the trip to […].....»»

Source: Tribune TribuneCategory: NewsJan 17th, 2019Related News

Anyone against Erdogan is a target – Kanter

WASHINGTON: New York Knicks center Enes Kanter, staying home from an NBA game Thursday in London over safety fears, ripped Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a Washington Post column…READ The post Anyone against Erdogan is a target – Kanter appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Source: Manilatimes_net Manilatimes_netCategory: NewsJan 16th, 2019Related News

Young wins point guard battle, Hawks top Thunder 142-126

By Charles Odum, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young had 24 points and 11 assists to win the showdown of past and former Atlanta point guards, leading the Hawks over the Oklahoma City Thunder 142-126 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). Former Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder scored 21 points in his return to Atlanta. Schroder struggled early but had 14 points in the third period when the Thunder outscored the Hawks 41-27 to reclaim the lead. Atlanta was similarly dominant in the second period, outscoring Oklahoma City 45-30 to match its high mark for any quarter this season. After holding a big lead of 15 points, the last time at 70-55, the Hawks led 70-59 at halftime. Led by Schroder and Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City answered strong in the third period. A jumper by Westbrook tied the game at 87-all. Schroder scored the Thunder's final 11 points of the third period, the last six on free throws, for a 100-97 lead. John Collins made 12-of-14 shots from the field and led Atlanta with 26 points. Alex Len had 24 points and 11 rebounds. The Hawks were 18-of-37 on three-pointers. Westbrook led the Thunder with 31 points and 11 assists. Paul George had 24 points and Jerami Grant added 21. Young, Atlanta's rookie starter, opened the final period with a tying three-pointer. Young added a three-point play and another basket as the Hawks regained momentum. A jam by Omari Spellman pushed Atlanta's lead to 117-107, and another dunk by Spellman pushed the advantage to 121-109. George sank a three-pointer with about 90 seconds remaining to cut Atlanta's lead to 132-123, but the Hawks quickly pushed the advantage back to double figures. A steal and reverse jam by DeAndre Bembry iced the win. The Hawks had a "welcome back" video tribute for Schroder during a first-quarter timeout. Schroder raised his arm to acknowledge the fans. The Hawks wore new powder blue uniforms with red trim and numbers for the first time. The uniforms were introduced as part of the Hawks' 50-year celebration in Atlanta. TIP-INS Thunder: F Nerlens Noel (concussion protocol) "is doing a little more each day," coach Billy Donovan said before the game. ... G Alex Abrines (personal reasons) missed his eighth straight game. Hawks: G Jeremy Lin (flu-like symptoms) was not with the team. F Taurean Prince was limited in his second game back while recovering from similar symptoms. ... G Kent Bazemore (right ankle sprain) and F Dewayne Dedmon (left ankle sprain) did not play. Dedmon may return Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) against Boston. UP NEXT Thunder: Host Lakers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). Hawks: Host Celtics on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 16th, 2019Related News

Nike launches the most scientific basketball shoe ever made

Say goodbye to the common shoelace. On January 16, 2019 at the Nike Headquarters in New York City, the world’s most iconic sportswear brand presented a new platform called Nike Adapt which aims to deliver digitally powered adjustable footwear across both performance and lifestyle categories. Michael Donaghu, VP of Nike Innovation “Our vision for the future is called ‘Powered Athlete’ - A world in which products are intelligent. I’m pleased to say that the first chapter of intelligent Nike products and experiences begins today,” said Michael Donaghu, VP of Nike Innovation. Imagine a shoe that delivers the precise fit you need, when you need it with a push of a button or the swipe of a phone. That’s the kind of revolutionary technology that Nike Adapt presents to athletes and consumers. The first chapter in this innovation of Nike Adapt will feature the game of basketball. “We chose basketball as the first sport for Nike Adapt intentionally because of the demands that athletes put on their shoes. During a normal basketball game, the athlete’s foot changes, and the ability to quickly change your fit by loosening your shoe to increase blood flow and then tighten again for performance is a key element that we believe will improve the athlete’s experience,” explained Eric Avar, Nike VP Creative Director. Eric Avar, Nike VP Creative Director During the process of creating the shoe, the Nike Adapt BB underwent various tests including using the underfoot lacing to lift 32 pounds of force. It’s as strong as that of a standard parachute cord. “This was the most tested shoe in the history of Nike Basketball,” revealed Ross Klein, Senior Designer of Basketball Footwear Innovation. Ross Klein, Senior Designer of Nike Basketball Footwear Innovation Owners of the Nike Adapt BB will have the ability to customize the fit of the shoe and select not just one setting, but different situations be it warming-up or engaging in the heat of the game via an app which controls the FitAdapt tech embedded in the sole of the shoe. “The app makes the shoe that much easier to use and allows you to evolve and update your shoe over time,” explained Michael Martin, VP of Nike Direct Product. “But, that’s just the beginning of an incredibly rich robust roadmap of additional improvements.” Michael Martin, VP of Nike Direct Product Aside from the power-lacing feature, the app also allows you to change the color of the two lights at the base of the shoe to fit your mood. There are 14 colors to choose from. Now, of course, part of the meticulous process of releasing the Nike Adapt BB to the world was getting elite athletes to test it out. That is exactly what Nike did when they brought the likes of Kyle Kuzma, Luka Doncic, De’Aaron Fox and Jayson Tatum to the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon to take the Nike Adapt BB for a spin. It was one intense workout that Tatum, the sophomore star of the Boston Celtics thoroughly enjoyed. “We might have played 5 or 6 games and everybody was going hard. At first, everybody was just going up and down and breaking a sweat, but then, things started to get serious and we’re all competitors, so, we went at it,” said Tatum. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics Tatum will be the first NBA player to wear the Nike Adapt BB in an actual NBA game when the Boston Celtics play the Toronto Raptors in their upcoming match-up. The twenty year old forward has been known for wearing Kyrie Irving and Kobe Bryant signature sneakers but he already considers the Nike Adapt BB as his new favorite pair. “They’re now my favorite basketball shoe of all-time,” said Tatum with a smile. The Nike Adapt BB will be available in the Philippines in February at Nike Park Fort, Titan BGC and titan22.com at Php 17,495.00.  .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 16th, 2019Related News

Turkey prosecutor seeks Interpol red notice for NBA star Kanter

ISTANBUL, Turkey – An Istanbul prosecutor on Tuesday, January 15, applied for an Interpol "red notice" to be issued for Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter for his alleged links to the group blamed for a 2016 failed coup, state media reported. Kanter, a New York Knicks' center and an outspoken critic ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 15th, 2019Related News

Nets hand Celtics 3rd straight loss

MANILA, Philippines – The Brooklyn Nets returned to the winning track and dealt the Boston Celtics their third straight loss, 109-102, at the Barclays Center on Monday, January 14, (Tuesday, January 15, Philippine time).  D'Angelo Russell fired 34 points with 7 assists and 5 rebounds as the Nets added to ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 15th, 2019Related News

76ers escape Knicks | Inquirer Sports

NEW YORK --- Ben Simmons backed up his tough talk with a big day. Simmons had 20 points, 22 rebounds and nine assists, and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the New York Knicks 108-105 on Sunday. Joel Embii.....»»

Source: Philippinetimes PhilippinetimesCategory: NewsJan 14th, 2019Related News

Sixers back on track as Embiid returns

  LOS ANGELES, USA – The Philadelphia 76ers welcomed Joel Embiid back with a hard-fought 108-105 victory over host New York Knicks. Embiid, sidelined from Friday's loss to Atlanta with a sore ankle, scored 26 points in his return to the starting lineup, pulling down 8 rebounds and blocking 6 shots. "It ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 14th, 2019Related News

Magic edge Celtics for 2nd time

ORLANDO, Fla. --- Aaron Gordon had 28 points and 12 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic held off a late rally to beat the Boston Celtics 105-103 on Saturday night. Jayson Tatum missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have tied it for the Celtics, who charged back from a nine-point deficit in the final 1:43 before losing to the Magic for the second time this season. Kyrie Irving scored 25 points for the Celtics, 10 of them from the foul line in the final 4:31 as Boston made its late charge. He appeared frustrated afterward with Gordon Hayward, who inbounded the ball on Boston's final possession. Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Orlando, which broke a four-game lo...Keep on reading: Magic edge Celtics for 2nd time.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Jan 13th, 2019Related News

MVP Ladder: Giannis bolsters case with key win in Houston

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t think he’s quite “there yet” when it comes to the Kia MVP chase. With all due respect, Mr. “Greek Freak,” the basketball world begs to differ. You are definitely there, sir, based on your performance through the midpoint of this NBA season. In fact, if there were hardware to hand out from Kia Race to the MVP Ladder HQ at this point, Antetokounmpo would be the recipient (edging out a crowded field that includes the reigning MVP, James Harden). By the grace of the scheduling gods, the two leading candidates just happened to hook up on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time), the official halfway point of 2018-19. And they put on a show worthy of MVP mention, with Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks knocking off Harden’s Houson Rockets at Toyota Center. Harden continued his torrid scoring streak, collecting his league-leading 14th 40-point game of the season. In doing so, he tied Tracy McGrady for the second-longest 30-point streak since the ABA/NBA merger at 14. (Kobe Bryant has the record at 16 straight.) But Harden didn’t have his most efficient outing (shooting 13-for-30 overall with nine turnovers) as the Bucks took control late. All Antentokounmpo did was shred the Rockets for 27 points on 8-for-16 shooting to go along with a career-high 21 rebounds, five assists and yet another showcase performance for his MVP resume. (The Bucks pounded the Rockets to the tune of a 70-24 advantage in points in the paint and outscored them 19-2 in fast break points.) The Bucks have won seven of their past eight games heading into today’s game against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. They’ve stormed the top of the Eastern Conference standings and own a 10-5 record over Western Conference opponents with Antetokounmpo as their undisputed leader and, yes, MVP. Not there yet, huh? Yeah, right. * * * The top five this week in the 2018-19 Kia Race to the MVP Ladder: * * * 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks Last week: No. 2 Season stats: 26.6 points, 12.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.3 steals Antetokounmpo seems to be the only person on the planet who isn’t moved by his consistent brilliance this season. If he doesn’t think he’s "there yet," then the rest of the league should brace themselves for whatever comes next. He’s been an unstoppable force on both ends of the floor, but particularly as an offensive catalyst on one of the most improved teams in the league. Doing it without the aid of a reliable long-distance shot is what has made watching Antetokounmpo crush the competition so intriguing. If there was any skepticism about the Bucks being both a legitimate threat in the East and a title contender, that should be vanishing as the second half of the season begins. As long as Antetokounmpo stays focused and healthy (he’s probable Saturday, PHL time, with right quadriceps soreness and a left hip bruise), the possibilities are endless. 2. James Harden, Houston Rockets Last week: No. 1 Season stats: 33.9 points, 8.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals Harden has moved into hallowed ground with his current scoring barrage, as his 14 straight games of 30-plus points ties Hall of Famer (and fellow Rockets legend) Tracy McGrady for the second-longest streak since the ABA/NBA merger. Those debates about whether or not Harden is the best offensive player ever aren’t out of line, not when you consider the way he generates offense for himself and his teammates. Harden has a chance to obliterate the record with the Rockets’ friendly upcoming schedule (they play seven of their next 10 games at Toyota Center). The only glitch for Harden as he's hit this nuclear level is the one key flaw in his game is rising, too. He’s averaging 5.7 turnovers this season, which ties his career-high from 2016-17. He's up to 7.3 tpg in his last five games, which he, of course, would point out is world-class nit-picking of a guy playing as well as he is. 3. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors Last week: No. 3 Season stats: 28.9 points, 5.5 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals Curry shot a rather un-Splash Brother-ish 5-for-19 in Tuesday’s (Wednesday, PHL time) home win against the New York Knicks, which includes an ugly 3-for-12 showing from three-point range. That was a huge come down from his 42-point outburst (including 10 made three-pointers) Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in a road win against the Sacramento Kings. But as often happens with a rare rough shooting night for the two-time former MVP, Curry displayed a brilliant floor game against the Knicks. He finished with 14 assists (and just one turnover) while grabbing seven rebounds as Klay Thompson went off for 43 points and Kevin Durant dropped 24. Curry’s had just three hiccups since returning from his 11-game, groin-injury induced absence on Dec. 1 (Dec. 2, PHL time). Over his last 18 games, Curry has failed to score at least 20 points only once. What should worry the Chicago Bulls, who visit Oracle today, is what Curry has done in those other two games after he struggled (averaged 32.0 points). 4. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors Last week: No. 4 Season stats: 27.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 steals MVP voters must decide if the work Leonard did while he was playing outweighs how good the Raptors were all season whether he was in or out of the lineup. As convenient as it might be to try to diminish what Leonard has done by knocking him for the games he missed, you’d be wise to pay attention to just how good he's been when he plays. The Milwaukee Bucks can certainly attest to his impact after what Leonard did to them Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). He logged 30 points and a season-high five steals, playing his trademark lockdown defense, as the Raptors won the battle between the NBA’s top two teams (in the standings). Leonard has such tight control over his own game that he continues to play as efficiently as anyone on this list. He has notched eight games this season where he’s scored 30 or more points while shooting better than 50 percent, including his last two games (30 on 50 percent shooting in the win against the Bucks and 31 points on 61.1 percent shooting in their recent win against the Hawks). 5. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets Last week: No. 7 Season stats: 19.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.5 steals Jokic continues to deliver for the Nuggets in every category, doing his crafty best to help keep coach Michael Malone’s team at the top of the Western Conference. He notched his 21st career triple-double (18 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and two blocks) in Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) win over the LA Clippers. It was his second straight triple-double, coming two days after lighting up the Heat in Miami for 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. In doing so, he tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the second-most career triple-doubles by a center and can now chase Wilt Chamberlain’s big man record of 78. Jokic will probably dig into that deficit considerably the season if he keeps playing the way he has to kick off 2019 (27.2 points on .523 shooting, 12.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.4 steals in his last five games). Jokic and the rest of the Nuggets are focused on team goals first, of course. After missing out on the playoffs on the season's final night in 2017-18, they’re making sure to avoid any such drama this time. * * * The next five 6. Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder 7. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers 8. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers 9. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors 10. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans And five more: DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs; Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics; Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers;Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers; Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. 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: SportsJan 12th, 2019Related News

Patrick Beverley s trademark defense getting new test

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com There was a foul, followed by a stoppage in play, a scene replayed dozens of times in NBA arenas. Except in this case, the victim was former two-time Kia MVP Stephen Curry and the punisher was the notorious Patrick Beverley. And so the situation (of course) turned snippy. Beverley has fought against better players his entire basketball life and carries an underdog gene that tends to flare in these situations. That explains why he tried to slap the ball from the Warriors guard after the whistle. Curry wasn’t having it, and so there was a gentle shove. And then a shove was returned. Then a staredown with noses just inches from each other. Then a separation of bodies. This was Beverley doing what he does by reputation: namely, irritate and push his defensive aggression and agenda to the very limit … and then some. His “crime” was restricting Curry’s movement with a forearm. Sometimes Beverley gets away with it, but in today’s NBA, no longer with any regularity. Such is the new normal. He’s a defensive-minded player with the LA Clippers and works in a league that suddenly favors scoring and shooters. He’s quite possibly, in his estimation and that of others, someone who’s forced to evolve or perish. For him, there’s no other option. “It would be very hard,” Beverley said, “to come into the league today and try to play defense like we did years ago.” Before this season, the NBA's Points of Emphasis centered in part on freedom of movement. The goal is to help players move without barriers, which creates high-scoring games, which makes games more entertaining for fans. Halfway through the season, the evidence is convincing: Scores are up, stops are down. To date, 11 teams have an offensive rating greater than 110 and 18 teams are scoring more than 110 points per game. Last season, those numbers were six and six, respectively. For players born with height, wingspan and leaping ability, these defensive rules don’t handcuff them much. But Beverley buys his clothes off the rack, so to speak. He’s a shade over six feet and is therefore a normal man trying to make a living in a big man’s world. At 30, Beverley deals with players who are often taller and even quicker. It’s his job to make their life tougher -- but here in the new age of barely-contested shots and 120-point games, the opposite is ringing true. He’s averaging a career-high 3.6 fouls per game and can’t get away with much. As Draymond Green, a defensive demon himself and teammate of Curry’s said recently: “Defense is not allowed. You can’t really play defense in this league. I guess that’s not what they want.” ‘We’re forced to adjust’ Green's words are perhaps an extreme assessment and a touch of exaggeration. Fifteen teams averaged at least 106 ppg last season; now it’s 26. Calls are less forgiving, as only 13 teams are averaging 24 free throw attempts per game (it was five last season). The ball moves and there’s less restriction, which was the intention. And there appears to be little blowback in the basketball universe from those who observe and play. It’s just … accepted. For the most part. Even Beverley offers a shoulder shrug. “Guys who make a living off defense, we’re forced to adjust,” he said. This evolution of shifting away from certain defensive tactics is decades in the making. The NBA once allowed defenders to shove a forearm into the back of a post-up player, and subtle jersey grabs were often excused. And there was the hand-check, too. All have been outlawed. The game is far less physical, which means the “Bad Boys”-era Detroit Pistons would have little chance of winning one championship today (let alone two). The NBA has sought to distance itself from that brand of ball, from Pat Riley’s New York Knicks (and their “no free layups” mentality) and from the 85-80 scores that often stifled the creativity of the game. The result is a game that sees open lanes and quicker whistles, and less of what helped players like Beverley overcome tremendous odds to reach the NBA. “There is where we’re at,” he said. “They want to see more scoring, more up-and-down, more points and all that, which is understandable. Of course, it makes it hard for me.” Relishing his ‘instigator’ role This is Beverley’s sixth year in the NBA, but his 10th in professional basketball. His journey curved through various stops overseas before he became rooted with the Houston Rockets, his first true NBA home. It speaks to Beverley’s doggedness and his value, at least initially, as a defensive specialist assigned to the grunt work. With the rise in scoring point guards across the NBA landscape, Beverley’s role became more important, and difficult as well. In a typical week, Beverley could guard Curry, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and opposing shooting guards, too. He brings an edge to the job that he learned from growing up on the West Side of Chicago to a single mother as well as a grandmother who adopted a dozen kids. Daily life was a chore. He was one of the main characters in the documentary “Hoop Reality,” the sequel to the acclaimed “Hoop Dreams.” Beverley was friendly rivals with former Kia MVP winner Derrick Rose since grade school and was actually a scorer in high school, averaging a state-best 37 points as a senior. After getting kicked out of Arkansas in 2008 after two years for academic issues -- a tutor wrote a paper for him -- he played three years in Russia and Greece before filling the point guard void on the 2012-13 Rockets caused by Kyle Lowry’s trade to Toronto the summer before. “I wouldn’t change one thing about how I got here,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t get in through the front door. Sometimes you don’t get in through the back. Sometimes you got to climb through the window. That doesn’t mean the opportunity wasn’t there. There’s a way; you’ve just got to find it.” He immediately became singled out for eyeball-to-eyeball defense that teetered on the edge. The moment that earned him a name was in the first round of the 2013 playoffs against Oklahoma City. He went for a steal on Westbrook in Game 2 while Westbrook signaled for a timeout, causing his knee injury five years ago. He still answers for that, even to this day; not that the play on the ball was reckless, but was it necessary? “I don’t go out there to hurt people, I don’t even know how to attempt to hurt somebody,” Beverley said. “I play hard, bring the edge. I’m an instigator. That gets me going. I like to bump people, to feel me getting into somebody’s jersey. I’m just different. I like contact, like physical play, like pushing and holding. But I’m not dirty.” Beverley hasn’t spoken with Westbrook -- their on-court relationship is clearly frosty -- and with the exception of Rose, he doesn’t encourage any friendships beyond his teammates. “I don’t talk to anybody,” he said. “I don’t want personal battles that take away from the team. I’m trying to win games. When I come to San Francisco or Oklahoma City or Portland, I know I’m going straight to my room because there’s people I got to be ready to play the next day. And I know they do the same. There’s respect that’s not being said. When it comes to Steph, Dame, Westbrook, I make sure I get my rest. But they get their rest, too. They know what I bring to the table.” A game that won’t change Beverley was an All-Defensive first teamer two seasons ago, both a career highlight and confirmation of his devotion to studying film and learning opponents’ tendencies. He has also overcome microfracture knee injury in 2017-18 that limited him to 11 games in his debut season with the Clippers. “I worked my ass off and I’m still working,” he said. “If it’s not one thing it’s another. Me getting hurt, coming back faster and stronger. Got kicked out of school, had to go overseas, knew I was going to the NBA anyway. I didn’t know how. But I knew. “This is bigger than me. It’s for my mom, grandmom, seeing how hard the women in my life worked to raise me. It’s not easy being a single mother raising a kid in the inner city but she made it happen. She taught me to stand on my own two feet and get the best out of hard work, which becomes part of your mindset, especially when you see two women doing it every day.” And now comes another challenge for Beverley and those like him. How do you thrive in a league that’s suddenly married to offense? “Maybe after the All-Star break they’ll stop calling ticky-tack fouls,” he said. “The better defender you are, the more you’re singled out. But I’m going to go out there and be Pat. Don’t care. Won’t change.” Beverley estimates that “70 percent” of the players he guards are rattled by him, to different degrees. He said “only a few don’t,” which he refused to name (for strategic reasons). The game may not be designed to help the underdog, average-sized player who brings intensity and defense. But there’s no sense waiting for Beverley to make excuses. He’s come too far for that. “When you’re done with this game, you don’t want to go around saying, ‘Man I wish I could’ve done this, put more time into that.’” Beverley said. “Every year I go out like a person fighting for my spot, fighting for my contract. That’s the way I train. That’s how I prepare. That’s why I’m still in the league.” 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: SportsJan 10th, 2019Related News

Irving says team meeting helped Celtics clear air, find rhythm

NBA.com staff report The Boston Celtics are perhaps starting to show the kind of teamwork they've been looking for all season. Star guard Kyrie Irving said Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) that a team meeting held after a Dec. 21 (Dec. 22, PHL time) home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks helped players to clear the air about several topics. "We could pinpoint a lot of turning points," Irving told reporters after yesterday's win vs. Indiana, per ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "We just want to build that chemistry first. Just getting with one another, really put everything out there and then move on from that point. "At that point, playing against Milwaukee, we weren't at rock bottom, but we needed to address some [expletive] in this locker room. It's just good to get stuff out in the air. As grown men and guys that have expectations for themselves, it was good to hear guys talk about what they wanted for themselves and what they wanted for this team." The Celtics dismantled the Indiana Pacers 135-108 to notch their fourth straight win, with the victory coming largely because of Boston's willingness to share the ball. The victory marked their fifth straight game with at least 30 assists (after failing to reach that mark in nine of their previous 10 games). Since Dec. 23 (Dec. 24, PHL time), the Celtics rank No. 2 in assist percentage (70.2) and are among the league leaders in offensive rating, net rating, true shooting percentage and more during that span. The Celtics had 32 assists last night and put together their highest scoring game this season. Boston (25-15) also ended a three-game skid against the Pacers, who entered the night third in the Eastern Conference having won seven of eight. Additionally, Boston led 68-53 at halftime after shooting 56.5 percent (26-for-46) in the first half. That Dec. 23 (Dec. 24, PHL time) date is an important one, since it was Boston's next game after the Bucks loss that capped off a three-game losing streak. After that loss to the Bucks, the Celtics were mired in the lower-half of the Eastern Conference standings and had their team meeting. The Celtics have seen a slight uptick in pace (they rank 18th in that category overall) since Dec. 1 (Dec. 2, PHL time), and are getting more comfortable in terms of team chemistry. Overall, Boston has won seven of its last nine games to stay within striking distance of the upper crust in the East. ''We're all understanding that we're trying to play faster and the ball movement has been working for us,'' said Al Horford, who led Boston last night with eight assists. ''It keeps the defense on their toes, really makes the other team work. It's kind of contagious.'' “Well, you see the type of connection that we have out there in terms of our pick-and-roll and what we do and how we talk is pretty seamless,” Irving said, per Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “We came in the same time and have this understanding of where our journeys have started and where it is now and an appreciation of where we are. So we just want to take full advantage of it for this year.” Since Thanksgiving, the Celtics are No. 1 in offensive rating, have a net rating of 11.2 (tops in the NBA) and are 16-6 (the best record in the league). In short, Boston is finding its way -- at least over the last few weeks -- and developing chemistry with a roster filled with talent. “It was hard to find good clips at the start of the year,” coach Brad Stevens said, per the Boston Herald. “And I think some of that was because we were pressing; some of that was because we missed shots when the ball was moving.  All looks a little bit better when it finishes with a make, but that’s who we have to be." Information from The Associated Press was used in this report......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 10th, 2019Related News