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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

Rookie Ladder: Big performances abound at season s midway point

By Drew Packham, NBA.com Due to a much-needed holiday break on my part, it’s been two weeks since we last checked in on this impressive rookie class, and they didn’t disappoint since then. There have been some monster games in the past 14 days including the following: - Luka Doncic scored a career-high 34 points on Dec. 29 (PHL time) in New Orleans, going 7-for-10 from beyond the arc (10-for-16 overall) in a 114-112 loss to the Pelicans.       - Deandre Ayton scored a career-high 33 points with 14 rebounds (10 offensive) and four steals (also a career high) on Dec. 30 (PHL time) in a 122-118 loss to the Nuggets. Ayton was 16-for-20 from the field.       - Landry Shamet scored a career-high 29 points to lead the Sixers to a 132-115 win over the Wizards on Jan. 9 (PHL time). Shamet was 8-for-14 from three-point land in what was easily his biggest night of his career.       - Hawks rookie Kevin Huerter scored a career-high 22 points on Jan. 1 (PHl time) in a 116-108 loss to the Pacers. Huerter was 8-for-15 from the field, going 6-for-8 from beyond the arc.       - Pelicans rookie Frank Jackson scored a career-high 17 points Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) in 17 minutes in a 114-95 win over the Grizzlies, then topped that two nights later with 19 points -- hitting all four three-point attempts -- in 19 minutes in a 140-124 win over the Cavs.   We’ve just hit the midway point of the season, and big games should start becoming more common as teams falling further out of the playoff race give their youngsters more opportunities. * * * 1. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks Last week: No. 1 Doncic dominated his third matchup with No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton, notching 30 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. It was Doncic’s fourth 30-point game of the season, while no other rookie has more than one. It was also his seventh game with 20-5-5. All other rookies have combined for five such games. Over the past two weeks, the Slovenian has averaged 22.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists while shooting 40 percent from 3-point land. 2. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns Last week: No. 2 While Ayton has had some monster games over the past two weeks -- averaging 16.2 points and 9.7 rebounds over nine games -- he’s also had some clunkers in the New Year. In a 121-111 loss to the LA Clippers, Ayton finished with four points and five rebounds with four turnovers, then struggled mightily in Wednesday’s (Thursday, PHL time) loss to the Mavs. In 20 minutes, the big man had six points and five rebounds while hitting just 1-of-7 shots. "For the first time, I think I ever, went scoreless in the first half and stuff like that just started to get to me a little bit," said Ayton. "It was just me being the bad egg today. I'm going to apologize to them about this, but yeah, it was a bad game for me." 3. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks Last week: Not ranked Young has shot more consistently over the last two weeks, shooting 44.7 percent overall and 47.4 percent on three-pointers. I’ve hammered Young repeatedly for his poor shooting numbers, so I have to give him props for his turnaround. Over his last nine games, he’s averaged 15.9 points and 7.6 assists and has generally looked more in control and selective with his shots. Young continues to lead rookies in assists at 7.3 per game, which puts him ninth among all players. 4. Kevin Knox, New York Knicks Last week: No. 3 Knox was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December after averaging 17.1 points and six rebounds. The 6'9" forward out of Kentucky is certainly on the rise, but also admitted he may not even be done growing. “Doctors said I have a half-inch or an inch left in the tank,” Knox told the New York Post recently. “You never know -- hopefully I have an inch [left]. Maybe 6-10, 6-10.5. If not, I’m perfectly fine with where I’m at.” For his part, coach David Fizdale is letting his young prospect grow with more minutes and responsibility. “Right now, he’s gained momentum, and [I want to] keep him rolling. It’s starting to become I need him on the court. That’s pretty good to say about a 19-year-old. We need him out there.” 5. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies Last week: Not ranked Jackson has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 11 games, but his rebounding and foul troubles are areas of concern. Jackson is first (or worst, depending on how you look at it) among all players in fouls per game (3.9) and is just sixth in rebounds per game among rookies. "Because of how long, tall and narrow he is, when guys lock him up he has a hard time escaping or staying on balance," Bickerstaff told The Commercial Appeal last week. "To be honest, with him, with his length and athleticism, he needs to be trying to escape people more and not let them get their hands or body on him where they can wedge him out." These are all things the 19-year-old will figure out, as Bickerstaff says. “The way he works, the way he studies, he's going to figure it out.” * * * Just missed the cut: Rodions Kurucs, Brooklyn Nets Kurucs falls out of the top five, but it was a close call thanks to an impressive night in Boston. Kurucs tied a career high with 24 points. He finished 8-for-15 from the field, hitting a career-high five triples on eight attempts. Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls Carter has scored in double-digits in five of his last seven games, with a pair of double-doubles to close out 2018. Most notably, he had a 17-point, 13-rebound, three-block showing in a win over the Wizards on Dec. 28 (Dec. 29, PHL time). Landry Shamet, Philadelphia 76ers Shamet not only scored a career-high 29 on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), but he also set personal bests by making eight three's (one shy of Dana Barros’ team record set in ‘95) on 14 attempts. He scored 15 of his points in the third quarter when he was 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. “It just happens,” Shamet said afterward. “That might not be the answer you’re looking for, but it’s just simple, and it just comes in the flow of everything.” Frank Jackson, New Orleans Pelicans This could be an anomaly and Jackson won’t stick around these parts, but he deserves some love for his work off the bench. With E’Twaun Moore nursing a quad injury, Jackson has stepped up, scoring 17 points in a win on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), followed by 19 in Wednesday’s (Thursday, PHL time) win over the Cavs. Jackson was 11-for 15 overall in the two games, going 7-for-12 from three-point land (7-for-7 from the FT line). Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers Sexton has scored in double figures in his last six games, but the Cavs are mired in an 11-game skid and the rookie is dealing with his own shooting woes. During the slide, Sexton is shooting 32.4 percent from the field, 35.5 percent on three-pointers. * * * (All stats through Jan. 10, PHL time).....»»

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

Marcus Morris, Jayson Tatum push Celtics to rout of weary Pacers | Inquirer Sports

BOSTON Theres no secret to the Boston Celtics recent roll. The Celtics continued to share the offensive load, and the results showed again in a 135-113 rout of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night f.....»»

Source: Philippinetimes PhilippinetimesCategory: NewsJan 10th, 2019Related News

Kyrie Irving, Nick Kyrgios collab for sneaker crossover

Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving and Australian tennis pro Nick Kyrgios are pouring their shared Aussie roots into an ambitious sneaker crossover. Both born in Australia, Irving and Kyrgios share a love for their heritage and a high esteem for one another. The mutual respect inspired a collaborative project that will have Kyrgios wearing a Kyrie 5-inspired Vapor X shoe in the Aussie Open in Melbourne. Irving already rocked his Vapor-inspired sneakers last Monday in the Celtics' 116-95 win over the Nets. Kyrgios' low-cut tennis version features the Kyrie 5's iconic Flytrap-inspired upper for a lockdown fit and a Vapor X outsole. The Nike Vapor X 'Kyrie 5' releases January 14......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 9th, 2019Related News

Celtics top sloppy Nets on Irving s return

Kyrie Irving returned after missing two games with an eye injury and scored 17 points to lead eight players in double figures as the Boston Celtics beat the Brooklyn Nets, 116-95......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: NewsJan 8th, 2019Related News

Kemba Walker’s big finish gives Hornets win over Suns

PHOENIX --- Kemba Walker didn't have much of an impact in Charlotte's game Sunday night against the Phoenix Suns --- until the final 4 minutes. Then he was the Hornets' everything. Walker scored 18 of his 29 points in that late surge ---punctuated by a halfcourt heave at the buzzer--- and Charlotte pulled away to hand the Suns their sixth straight loss, 119-113. "This isn't anything new," Hornets coach James Borrego said. "He's done this most of his career. He's a fourth-quarter player. He shines brightest in those moments." Walker scored his team's final 14 points. "In these kind of situations my teammates look to me to make big plays and that is what I try to do," h...Keep on reading: Kemba Walker’s big finish gives Hornets win over Suns.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Jan 7th, 2019Related News

Red-hot Hayward powers Celtics past Mavericks

LOS ANGELES: Gordon Hayward flirted with a triple-double as the Boston Celtics defeated the Dallas Mavericks 114-93 in what might have been Dirk Nowitzki’s final appearance at the Boston Garden….READ The post Red-hot Hayward powers Celtics past Mavericks appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Source: Manilatimes ManilatimesCategory: Jan 6th, 2019Related News

Red-hot Hayward powers Celtics past Mavericks

      LOS ANGELES, USA – Gordon Hayward flirted with a triple-double as the Boston Celtics defeated the Dallas Mavericks, 114-93, in what might have been Dirk Nowitzki's final appearance at the Boston Garden on Friday, January 4 (Saturday, January 5, Manila time). Hayward had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists before heading ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 5th, 2019Related News

Clippers beat up on Suns again, win 121-111

By JACK MAGRUDER,  Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — Marcin Gortat figures he is the beneficiary of coach Doc Rivers' New Year's resolution. Gortat had not played in the fourth quarter in the first 36 games of the season until the calendar turned, and he responded with his first double-double of the season when the Clippers extended their dominance of the Phoenix Suns with a 121-111 victory Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). "You never know with Doc," Gortat said after getting 18 points and 13 rebounds in 25 minutes. "You just have to be ready. You earn your minutes. Obviously if you play well, you might earn a few more minutes. That's all I'm trying to do, help the team to win." Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams scored 21 points apiece and four other Clippers finished in double figures as they won their third straight against the Suns this season and their 11th straight in the series. Patrick Beverley scored 16 points for the Clippers, who led by 29 points in the second quarter. Beverley made four 3-pointers, Williams had three and Tobias Harris added two with his 16 points. Montrezl Harrell scored 15. "I loved how we started the game," Rivers said. "The way we can score, if we defend, it's hard for anyone to beat us." Devin Booker scored 23 points and T.J. Warren had 20 for the Suns, who lost their fifth straight. The Suns, down by 30 with 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter, used 22-5 run fueled by seven points from Jamal Crawford and six by Josh Jackson to close to 91-78 entering the fourth quarter. Mikal Bridges' slam on the first possession of the period brought the Suns within 11, but Williams made two 3-pointers and a three-point play as the Clippers again pulled away. "We understand (Phoenix) is a young team," Williams said. "They are putting pieces together, trying to figure out their identity. So we just come in and play hard." The Clippers shot 51 percent from the field and held a 43-25 rebounding edge. Los Angeles outrebounded the Suns by 42 in the three meetings this season. "We don't have stupid great rebounders on this team," Gortat said. "Everybody has to rebound. We have to box out, hit somebody. "Make sure we are the guys who are hitting first. Then go get the ball. We have to make them miss and get the ball. Not every game is going to look that way, but today it worked perfectly. Reserves Richaun Holmes and Crawford had 16 points apiece for the Suns. Suns center Deandre Ayton had four points, tying a season low set in the first game against the Clippers on Nov. 28. He had three field goal attempts, five rebounds, three assists and four turnovers. "You know (coach) Larry Brown used to say, 'You need the touches, you go get it,'" Suns coach Igor Kokoskov said. "(Three) touches? It's on all of us." The Suns fell behind early, a problem in their last several starts. Harris and Williams made two 3-pointers apiece in the first quarter, when the Clippers shot 71.4 percent and finished on a 23-6 run for a 38-19 edge. The Clippers led 63-34 on Gallinari's first 3-pointer with 4 minutes left in the half. It was 68-44 at halftime. Phoenix trailed Philadelphia by 22 points after 16 minutes of its 132-127 loss on Wednesday and was down by 17 at halftime of a 132-109 loss to Golden State on New Year's Eve. TIP-INS Clippers: The Clippers play six of their next seven games at home, only away for an over-night trip to Denver on Jan. 10. ... Boban Marjanovic, one of three Clippers to have a double-double against the Suns on Nov. 28, did not play. Suns: Ayton had double-doubles in nine of his previous 11 games, and he had nine rebounds in the other game in that stretch. ... The Suns are 5-16 at home. Only New York (4-12) has fewer home victories. ... Booker has seven 35-point games, tied for third in the league behind James Harden (15) and Stephen Curry (eight). BIG BENCH The Clippers' reserves had 61 points. They entered the game averaging a league-high 52.4 Williams and Harrell have not started a game this season, and Beverley flip-flopped with Avery Bradley on Nov. 20. All average at least 25 minutes a game, and Williams (18.2) and Harrell (15.7) are the Clippers' third- and fourth-leading scorers. "'Trez' could start, we know that. Lou could start," Rivers said. "The fact that they are OK coming off the bench is the first key. I do think it takes a special mindset for a guy to want to do that and then guys who accept to do that. We have that." UP NEXT Clippers: Host Orlando on Sunday. Suns: Host Charlotte on Sunday......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 5th, 2019Related News

Undermanned Sixers hold off Suns, Celtics pounce on T wolves

    LOS ANGELES, USA – Cameroon international Joel Embiid led the way for the Philadelphia 76ers with a 42-point display in a high-scoring 132-127 victory over the Suns in NBA action in Phoenix on Wednesday, January 2 (Thursday, January 3, Manila time). Embiid exploded for 30 points in the 1st half alone ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 3rd, 2019Related News

Joel Embiid shrugs off sore knee, drops 42 points in 76ers blowout of Suns | Inquirer Sports

PHOENIX The Philadelphia 76ers were ready to go home from their trip west a little too early, and it almost cost them. Joel Embiid, playing despite a sore left knee, matched his season high with 42 p.....»»

Source: Philippinetimes PhilippinetimesCategory: NewsJan 3rd, 2019Related News

Hayward leads Celtics past Timberwolves 115-102

By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — Gordon Hayward came off the bench to score a season-high 35 points, and the Boston Celtics beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 115-102 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Terry Rozier scored 11 of his 16 points in the first quarter while making his third start of the season because Kyrie Irving scratched both of his eyes in Monday’s (Tuesday, PHL time) game against San Antonio. Hayward took over from there, with 13 in the second quarter and 15 in the third to finish with his highest scoring game with the Celtics. Andrew Wiggins scored 31 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 28 points — and grabbed five of his 12 rebounds — in the third quarter, when Minnesota trimmed a 22-point deficit to six points. But with about four minutes left the Celtics scored eight straight points to clinch their fifth straight win over the Wolves. Minnesota scored nine of the last 11 points in the first quarter to trim Boston’s 11-point lead to 25-21, and then opened the second with a step-back jumper from Wiggins. It was a four-point game when Boston ran off 16 points in a row to take a 47-27 lead. Boston led by as many as 22 in the third quarter before Towns scored 15 points during a 23-11 Minnesota run that cut the deficit to 10. He added five more in the final 90 seconds of the third to make it a six-point game. TIP-INS Timberwolves: The last time Minnesota won in Boston was March 6, 2005. Kevin Garnett was a starter in his first stint with the Wolves. Ricky Davis led the Celtics with 22 points. ... Robert Covington (right knee injury), Derrick Rose (right ankle sprain) and Jeff Teague (left ankle inflammation) were sidelined by injuries. ... Coach Tom Thibodeau called a timeout just 64 seconds into the game to settle his team down after giving up two quick baskets. Celtics: Improved to 2-1 with Rozier starting. ... Boston shot 60 percent in the first half and out-rebounded Minnesota 20-13. ... In addition to Irving, the Celtics were missing big man Aron Baynes, who missed his seventh straight game with a broken left hand. ... Hayward scored 30 against Minnesota a month ago when the teams last played, also coming off the bench. THAT SMARTS Boston guard Marcus Smart left in obvious pain after absorbing a pick from Towns early in the second half. He walked over by the Celtics bench with his right arm dangling at his side. After coach Brad Stevens called a timeout, Smart was ushered by the training staff into the tunnel to the locker room. But Smart was back with about four minutes left in the quarter, getting a big cheer when he rejoined his teammates on the bench. He re-entered the game late in the third and finished with two points and eight assists. The Celtics said it was a right shoulder strain. Marcus Morris Sr. left the game in the third quarter with a sore neck and did not return. HOMESTAND The Celtics returned home after a 1-2 road trip to Texas and Memphis. They play four straight and 15-of-19 games at home in January and don’t leave the Eastern time zone until Feb. 21 (Feb. 22, PHL time). UP NEXT Timberwolves: Home against the Magic on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Celtics: Host the Mavericks on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 3rd, 2019Related News

Embiid scores 42 points, 76ers hold off Suns 132-127

By Bob Baum, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — Joel Embiid, playing despite a sore left knee, matched his season high with 42 points, 30 in the first half, and grabbed 18 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers held off a strong second-half rally to beat the Phoenix Suns 132-127 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Ben Simmons added 29 points and J.J. Redick 27 for the 76ers, who were without Jimmy Butler and Wilson Chandler, both due to an upper respiratory infection. Devin Booker scored 37 points for the Suns. Deandre Ayton added 18 points and 11 boards and Josh Jackson scored 16 points. Philadelphia led by 23 at halftime and as many as 30 in the third quarter. The Suns cut it to three points before Redick finally sealed the victory with a pair of free throws with 4.3 seconds to play. The 76ers shot out to a 13-3 lead and consecutive three-pointers by Simmons made it 21-8. The 76ers led 44-32 after one, matching the most point allowed by the Suns in any quarter this season. Embiid scored 10 points as Philadelphia opened the second quarter with a 13-2 run to lead 58-36 and the margin barely changed the rest of the one-sided half and the 76ers led 72-49 at the break. Phoenix finished the third quarter on a 13-2 run. Troy Daniels sank a pair of three's and Ellie Okobo added another after a Philadelphia turnover cut the lead to 104-87 after three. A 19-5 Suns run reduced the lead to 116-110 when Jackson scored on a lob pass from Booker with 3:24 to go. Furkan Korkmaz sank a three-pointer, Phoenix turned it over and Embiid's dunk boosted it to 121-110. Booker's three-pointer cut the lead to 129-125 with 14.3 seconds, Redick made one of two free throws and Booker scored on a put-back to make it 130-127. Redick put it out of reach with his two final shots from the line. TIP-INS 76ers: Embiid's career high is 46 set last season. He scored 42 against Charlotte on Nov. 9 (Nov. 10, PHL time). ... Philadelphia wrapped up a 3-2 trip. ... 76ers shot 77 percent in the first quarter (13-of-17), including 4-of-5 three's. ... Embiid was 17-of-19 from the line, 12-of-14 in the first half. Suns: Also allowed 44 points in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 24 (Oct. 25, PHL time). ... Phoenix's only lead was 2-0. ... Most points Suns have allowed in a half is 76, also in that game against the Lakers. ... The first 5,000 fans received Ayton bobbleheads. ... After winning 5-of-7, Phoenix has lost the first four of a seven-game homestand. UP NEXT 76ers: Host Dallas on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Suns: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 3rd, 2019Related News

Best, worst NBA teams for December 2018

By Khari Arnold, NBA.com Just when mock drafts were beginning to list the San Antonio Spurs as a certified lottery team -- something that hasn’t happened in over two decades -- a vigorous December stretch has Gregg Popovich’s squad clicking and back among the top eight in the Western Conference standings. The Spurs struggled severely in November, pairing their below-average offense with the NBA’s worst defense. They finished the month with a 5-10 record and sat 10-12 overall, just in front of the lowly Phoenix Suns. Injuries began to pile up, LaMarcus Aldridge struggled shooting and their ability to win on the road was nonexistent. While the latter issue still hasn’t been fixed, a shift occurred for the Spurs in December. San Antonio finished No. 1 in offensive efficiency during the last month of 2018 and ranked among the top 10 in defensive efficiency. Seeming to have found their rhythm, the Spurs shot a league-high 51.2 percent from the floor in December, boasted the NBA’s best Net Rating and closed the year out winning 10 of their last 13 games. Talk about ending a year on the right track. Here’s a look at the best records, offenses and defenses based on numbers from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31 (Dec. 2-Jan. 1, 2019, PHL time) only. Five best records Indiana Pacers: 12-3 Houston Rockets: 11-4 Milwaukee Bucks: 10-4 San Antonio Spurs: 11-5 Golden State Warriors: 10-5 The Pacers have quietly climbed to third in the Eastern Conference standings, holding the same amount of wins as the first-place Bucks. Five worst records New York Knicks: 2-12 Cleveland Cavaliers: 4-12 Detroit Pistons: 4-11 Phoenix Suns: 5-11 Memphis Grizzlies: 5-10 The sweepstakes for Zion Williamson, who played at Madison Square Garden in December, roll on. Top five offenses (Points scored per 100 possessions) San Antonio Spurs: 116.6 Boston Celtics: 115.5 Houston Rockets: 113.4 New Orleans Pelicans: 112.2 Minnesota Timberwolves: 111.6 While the Spurs are rolling, the hottest team in Texas -- and the NBA for that matter -- is Houston. James Harden is carrying the Rockets offense without Chris Paul at a historic pace. Bottom five offenses Chicago Bulls: 98.7 Orlando Magic: 101.7 Detroit Pistons: 102.4 Memphis Grizzlies 102.7 New York Knicks: 104.6 Dwane Casey's first year in Detroit hasn't gone according to plan -- yet at least. His offense committed the second-most turnovers per game in December. Top five defenses (Points allowed per 100 possessions) Indiana Pacers: 99.6 Utah Jazz: 100.5 Oklahoma City Thunder: 101.7 Milwaukee Bucks: 102.1 Miami Heat: 104.1 The Lakers, who had a top-three Defensive Rating in November, fell out of the top 10. Bottom five defenses Cleveland Cavaliers: 116.9 New York Knicks: 115.9 LA Clippers: 114.3 Atlanta Hawks: 112.6 Phoenix Suns: 112.4 The Clippers' defense is tumbling despite being in the playoff hunt. Top 10 individual scorers (Points per game) James Harden: 36.4 Paul George: 30.8 Anthony Davis: 29.6 Kawhi Leonard: 29.1 Stephen Curry: 28.1 Damian Lillard: 27.1 Bradley Beal: 26.5 Devin Booker: 26.2 Kevin Durant: 26.1 LeBron James: 25.8.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 2nd, 2019Related News

Curry s 34 points help Warriors scorch Suns, 132-109

By Jose M. Romero, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 34 points and Kevin Durant added 25, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 132-109 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). The Warriors beat the Suns for the 17th straight time, including eight in a row in Phoenix. Golden State was 14-for-28 on three-pointers, with Curry going 5-of-9. Deandre Ayton had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost 5-of-6. T.J Warren added 24 points and Devin Booker 20. Golden State led for all but one minute, 17 seconds of the first quarter, and went ahead 39-31 on a three from Curry with 10 minutes to go in the second. Curry had 12 points in the second quarter and added a team-high nine rebounds for the game. The Suns scored the next eight points to tie it, and were even at 45 before the Warriors closed out the half on a 24-7 run. A triple from Andre Iguodala, a layup and free throw from Jonas Jerebko and Iguodala’s pair of free throws gave the Warriors a 69-52 lead at the break. Ayton’s hook shot with 6:19 left in the third quarter cut the Warriors’ lead to 82-72, but Golden State took control again. A three and two free throws from Durant gave the Warriors a 100-81 lead with 1:38 to play. Quinn Cook knocked down a triple just before the third-quarter buzzer for a 108-87 lead, and Curry’s two three's early in the fourth quarter helped Golden State go up by 27 points. DEFENDING DEANDRE The Warriors, in the absence of a true big man, used starters Kevon Looney and Draymond Green plus Jordan Bell off the bench to guard the 7'1" Ayton. No Golden State defender on Ayton was taller than 6'9". Bell was the most physical of the group and was rewarded with extended minutes. He blocked Ayton’s shot under the basket in the third quarter and forced Ayton to work at the other end by making all five shots he took for a season-high 10 points. TIP-INS Warriors: For the 10th time this season, the Warriors’ starting lineup was Durant, Green, Looney, Klay Thompson and Curry. They’re 6-4 with that group. ... Curry has scored 30 or more points in 13 games this season. ... The Warriors’ point total was the third-highest in a game this season. Suns: Backup C Richaun Holmes missed the game due to illness, the second game in which he’s not played this season. That opened up minutes for seldom-used Dragan Bender, who played for the first time since Dec. 17 (Dec. 18, PHL time) and scored for the first time since Dec. 11 (Dec. 12, PHL time), 10 games ago. ... F Josh Jackson fouled out late in the third quarter and played only 14 minutes, his lowest total since Nov. 21 (Nov. 22, PHL time). ... C Eric Moreland made his Suns debut when entered the game in the fourth quarter. Moreland signed with Phoenix on Dec. 10 (Dec. 11, PHL time). UP NEXT Warriors: Host Houston Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Suns: Host Philadelphia Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time), the fourth game of a season-high seven straight at home.  .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 1st, 2019Related News

Warriors scorch Suns, Spurs roll past Celtics

    LOS ANGELES, USA – The two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors closed out 2018 with a 132-109 victory over the Suns in Phoenix on Monday, December 31 (Tuesday, January 1, Manila time). Stephen Curry scored 34 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. Kevin Durant added 25 points and Klay ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 1st, 2019Related News

Spurs scored 46 in third to race past Celtics, 120-111

By Raul Dominguez, Associated Press SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 32 points and the San Antonio Spurs rode a 46-point third quarter to a 120-111 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Derrick White had a career-high 22 points for San Antonio, which has won 11-of-13 to close within four games of the top spot in the Western Conference. The Spurs made 19-of-25 shots (76 percent) in the third quarter, their highest-scoring period since 1993 and the 12th-highest in franchise history. Jaylen Brown had a season-high 30 points, but Boston was unable to maintain its first-half advantage. San Antonio was without third-leading scorer Rudy Gay because of a sprained left wrist, but had six players reach double figures to offset his absence. The Spurs opened the game 1-for-6 from the field and shot 22 percent in the opening period while scoring a season-low 17 points in the first quarter. Boston shot better from three-point (35 percent) than San Antonio did from the field (33) in the first half. That advantage disappeared quickly as the Spurs went on a 24-4 run to establish an 84-69 edge. White had 11 points and three assists in the third quarter. Terry Rozier hit three consecutive three-pointers to cut it to 86-78, but the Celtics were unable to reclaim their lead. Marcus Morris scored 18 points for Boston, Kyrie Irving had 16 and Rozier had 15. San Antonio forward Davis Bertans was 5-for-8 on three-pointers in scoring 17 points. The Spurs finished 14-for-26 on three-pointers. TIP-INS Celtics: Irving ran back to the locker room with 7:22 remaining in the game after taking a blow to the eye during a collision with Marco Belinelli. Irvin returned to the bench and to the game a couple minutes later. . After taking New Year’s Day off, Boston returns to action Jan. 2 (Jan. 3, PHL time) to open a four-game homestand. . Brown’s previous season-high of 23 points came Dec. 8 (Dec. 9, PHL time) at Chicago. Spurs: Gay missed his fifth game of the season, missing three previously due to a sore right heel and sitting out another for rest. Coach Gregg Popovich is not sure how long the sprained left wrist will sideline Gay. San Antonio is 2-3 without Gay. . Jakob Poeltl made his fourth start of the season and first since Oct. 24 (Oct. 25, PHL time). Poeltl started three of the Spurs’ first four games before joining the team’s bench. . Spurs center Pau Gasol received a big ovation in his first game since Nov. 4 (Nov. 5, PHL time). Gasol missed 26 games with a stress fracture in his right foot. He was active for the past two games on the road against the Nuggets and Clippers, but the Spurs chose to keep him out until returning home. UP NEXT Celtics: Host Dallas on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Spurs: Host Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 1st, 2019Related News

Harden has Rockets rolling with visit to Warriors looming

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press James Harden and the Houston Rockets were one half away from the NBA Finals last time they played at Oracle Arena. The way the Rockets are rolling now, they might just get another shot at the champs this postseason. The Rockets try to wrap up a perfect month at home Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) against Memphis, then visit Golden State for the first time since the Western Conference finals, having recovered from a rough start thanks to Harden’s torrid stretch. He has scored 40 points in three straight games and 35 or more in seven straight, the longest streak since LeBron James did it in nine in a row in 2006. The NBA scoring leader’s quest to repeat as MVP is clearly on track. And after a poor start, so are the Rockets (20-15). They have won four straight and nine of their last 10 games overall, and are 8-0 at home in December after dropping their first four games at the Toyota Center. Just like Game 6 of the West finals, when they blew a double-digit lead, they will play at Golden State for Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) nationally televised game without Chris Paul because of a hamstring injury. But instead of what had been a shaky season getting worse, the Rockets have surged in his absence because of Harden. “Somebody said the other day that we can only win if he scores 40. OK, that’s kind of a bad thing, but the good thing is he can score 40 every night, so we’re OK with that,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Tell him to keep going.” NEW YEAR, OLD HOME Kawhi Leonard’s first trip of the new year is to his old home. The Toronto Raptors visit San Antonio on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) for what became one of the most anticipated games of this NBA season this summer when the Spurs gave Leonard the exit he had been seeking, trading him to the Raptors. Leonard was the NBA Finals MVP when the Spurs won their last championship in 2014 and had become one of the league’s most complete players by last season. But he was limited to nine games because of a quadriceps injury and his relationship with the organization became strained. The Spurs dealt him along with mainstay Danny Green to Toronto, getting All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan back. Leonard led Toronto to the best record in the league for most of the season and the two-time Defensive Player of the Year’s absence has shown on the Spurs’ defense, long one of the league’s best but well back in the rankings now. While the game Thursday (Friday, PHL time) is the most newsworthy, it’s not the most important of the week for Toronto. The Raptors follow it Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) by visiting the Milwaukee Bucks, who have inched ahead of them for the NBA’s best record and have won both meetings this season. OTHER GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK: Orlando at Charlotte, Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Magic coach Steve Clifford returns to face the team he coached for five seasons. Oklahoma City at Lakers, Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Chance for Californians Russell Westbrook and Paul George to put on a show for the fans back home. Atlanta at Milwaukee, Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Mike Budenholzer’s move from Atlanta to Milwaukee couldn’t look much better. Dallas at Philadelphia, Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). The reigning Rookie of the Year (Ben Simmons) against the player (Luka Doncic) who could succeed him. AYTON IN ACTION Deandre Ayton will finish his strong December by testing himself against the NBA champions. Then he opens January against a different kind of test — perhaps the toughest in the league at his position. The rookie center squares off for the second time against Joel Embiid on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) when the Phoenix Suns host the Philadelphia 76ers. Luka Doncic might already have too much hype and highlights to be caught in the Rookie of the Year race, but Ayton’s strong play certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. The No. 1 pick scored a season-high 33 points on 16-of-20 shooting and added 14 rebounds Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in a 122-118 loss to Denver, after he came into the game averaging 16 points and nearly 12 boards for the month. “You can feel game-to-game he is getting better,” coach Igor Kokoskov said last week. “He is working on his game. He is a very dedicated player. It was just a matter of time.” That improvement has helped the Suns go 5-4 in their last nine games — one more victory than they had during a brutal 4-24 start. After facing Golden State on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), it’s on to his second matchup with Embiid, one of the league’s biggest talkers who was already chirping about Ayton even before he’d played his first game. After the former Arizona star was compared to him in June, Embiid wrote on Twitter: “Don’t compare Ayton to me either. I play DEFENSE.” He then told ESPN in a preseason interview that Ayton was “about to get his (butt) kicked.” Embiid had 33 points to Ayton’s 17 in the 76ers’ victory in Philadelphia in November......»»

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

Kyrie Irving, Al Horford rally Celtics past Grizzlies | Inquirer Sports

MEMPHIS, Tennesee --- Kyrie Irving didn't get off to a very good start, so he and the Boston Celtics made sure to finish with a flurry. Irving scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half, Al Hor.....»»

Source: Philippinetimes PhilippinetimesCategory: NewsDec 30th, 2018Related News

Jamal Murray scorches with 46 on 9 3s as Nuggets hold off Suns | Inquirer Sports

PHOENIX --- There was no getting around the pain in his right ankle, so Jamal Murray figured out a way to deal with the injury. "I was trying not to move as much, kind of relied on my shot,".....»»

Source: Philippinetimes PhilippinetimesCategory: NewsDec 30th, 2018Related News