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Billy Donovan out as Thunder coach after 5 seasons

Billy Donovan won’t return as coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder after five seasons, the team announced Tuesday night. Donovan, who was at the end of his contract, took the Thunder to the playoffs every year and was a finalist for Coach of the Year this season after his squad outperformed expectations and pushed the […] The post Billy Donovan out as Thunder coach after 5 seasons appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerSep 9th, 2020

Billy Donovan out as Thunder coach after 5 seasons

Billy Donovan won’t return as coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder after five seasons, the team announced Tuesday night. Donovan, who was at the end of his contract, took the Thunder to the playoffs every year and was a finalist for Coach of the Year this season after his squad outperformed expectations and pushed the […] The post Billy Donovan out as Thunder coach after 5 seasons appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 9th, 2020

Westbrook wins battle of guards vs. former teams

By Michael C. Wright, NBA.com HOUSTON -- Russell Westbrook scrapping under the rim for a loose ball with good friend Steven Adams set the tone for odd visuals Monday in a clash between star point guards facing their former teams. Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul returned to Houston for the first time since the Rockets moved him for first-round picks and pick swaps over the summer to acquire Westbrook, who dominated the night of reunions by nearly logging his second consecutive triple-double (21 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists) to fuel a 116-112 triumph. Brodie coming up big to help us get the W! ????21pts ????12reb ????9ast pic.twitter.com/Q18ZxHsMSJ — Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 29, 2019 In doing so, Westbrook nearly became the first player to post triple-doubles against all 30 NBA teams. “This is how it goes,” Westbrook said. “When I hoop, I have no friends. On the court, they know not to talk to me. Steven’s a real close friend of mine. But inside those lines, there’s no friends. Spalding, that’s my friend, and my teammates. That’s it. If you try to be my friend, I ain’t gonna say s--- to you.” Shortly after saying those words, Westbrook walked down the hall to the Thunder locker room, where he hugged coach Billy Donovan before entering as his former teammates dressed. Westbrook played 11 years for the Thunder before the July trade, and earned NBA All-Star recognition on eight occasions in addition to capturing the 2017 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award. “He obviously has done an enormous amount for the organization, for the state and the city,” Donovan said. “I’ve always respected how hard he competed and played. We had a chance to spend four great years together. It was good to just connect.” As Westbrook strolled into the locker room, several Thunder officials approached him for hugs. Glass of water in hand, the point guard eventually settled near Adams’ locker adjacent to injured guard Andre Roberson. Nearby, Paul dressed and joked that Westbrook could be fined by the league for entering the opponent’s locker room, which drew laughter from all over the room. Westbrook eventually moved to Paul’s locker, where the two talked quietly for several minutes. On the floor, though, Westbrook overcame a slow start to dominate over the final three quarters which helped push the Rockets to their second consecutive victory. Westbrook finished at a game-best plus-19, while James Harden led all scoring with 40 points. Westbrook has posted a 20-point double-double in all three of Houston’s games this season, including a triple-double Saturday in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Westbrook has also pulled down 38 rebounds over his first three games, which ranks as the most by a Rocket through the first three games of the season since Dwight Howard registered 51 rebounds during the 2013-14 season. Congrats to @russwest44 of the @HoustonRockets for moving up to 20th on the all-time ASSISTS list! pic.twitter.com/CAxe023sQd — NBA (@NBA) October 29, 2019 In addition, Westbrook moved into 20th on the NBA’s all-time assists list (6,918). “He just brings a different dynamic to the game: his speed, his pace, his athleticism, his playmaking ability,” Harden said. “He does so much and creates for his teammates. It’s pretty tough to guard. He’s a superstar. But he’s getting offensive rebounds, he’s hustling. He’s doing the dirty things that help you win. It feels good to have that on your side.” On the other side, Paul didn’t fare as well against his former team, finishing with 15 points and four assists. Paul missed his first five shots, making his first bucket with 54.9 seconds left in the first half. At the 5:57 mark of the first quarter during a timeout, the Toyota Center played a tribute video featuring Paul’s days as a Rocket that lasted a minute and 30 seconds, ending with the message of “Thank you CP3.” The crowd gave Paul a standing ovation as he waved to the fans from the bench area, before hugging Houston guard Eric Gordon as he checked back into the game. Thank you, @CP3! pic.twitter.com/xshVifhtFI — Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 29, 2019 “The fans here were always great to me. Some of the people here became like family to me,” Paul said. “And I try to stay in touch with those who were as genuine as could be. I had some great memories here. I’m grateful to the fans for how they always treated me and my family. I’ll forever be grateful for that.” Paul played two seasons in Houston (2017-19), averaging 17.1 points, 8.0 assists and 5 rebounds, before the club traded him to Oklahoma City. Paul helped the Rockets to a franchise-best record of 65-17 in his first season, but they fell in the Western Conference Finals to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. With the Rockets leading that series 3-2, Paul suffered a hamstring injury that forced him out of the last two games. “He’s one of the best point guards that’s ever played and still is. What he does is incredible,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “With his knowledge of the game, his competitiveness, he’s going to be around for a while. He was just really good for us. It’s hard to win a whole lot more than what we won with him. We could’ve gone a little bit further in the playoffs. One year, he just got a hamstring problem. Then the next year, it just didn’t work out. It’s hard to be better than what he was.” Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. 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......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 29th, 2019

Westbrook scores 21 as Rockets beat Thunder 116-112

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook scored 21 and fell an assist shy of a triple-double against his former team, as the Houston Rockets got a 116-112 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Westbrook had 12 rebounds and nine assists after notching his 139th triple-double in his last game to pass Magic Johnson for second-most all-time. A 3-pointer by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 19 seconds left got Oklahoma City within 3. Westbrook made 1 of 2 free throws before fouling Nerlens Noel, who made both free throws. But Harden, who was 21 of 22 from the line, made two free throws with 13.2 seconds to go to make it 114-110. Gilgeous-Alexander cut it to 2 with a basket, but Harden made two more free throws to secure the victory. It was the first game between these teams since a blockbuster summer trade reunited Westbrook with Harden and sent Chris Paul to Oklahoma City after the nine-time All-Star failed to help the Rockets to a title in two seasons in Houston. Paul had 15 points, four assists and five rebounds. Just before tipoff, Westbrook approached the Thunder bench and hugged coach Billy Donovan before slapping hands and greeting virtually every player on the bench. Westbrook spent the first 11 years of his career in Oklahoma City where he was the face of the franchise before moving to Houston in the deal the Rockets hope will help bring them their first title since 1995. Gilgeous-Alexander had 22 points and Dennis Schroder added 22 points to lead the Thunder, who fell to 1-3. Danilo Gallinari made a 3-pointer to get the Thunder within 4 with about 3 1/2 minutes left, but Westbrook added a jump shot seconds later to push Houston's lead to 106-100. Paul hit a 3 for the Thunder after that before a turnover by Westbrook. Harden made two free throws with about 90 seconds left to leave Houston up 108-103. Paul added a basket, but Westbrook drove into the lane before kicking it out to P.J. Tucker for a 3 to push the lead to 6 with a minute left. Houston used a 39-point third quarter to take an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter. Both teams had trouble getting going on offense to start the quarter and the only points either team scored in the first three minutes of the fourth came on two free throws Gallinari at the start of the quarter. Paul made the first field goal of the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer with just over eight minutes remaining before a layup by Schroder cut the lead to 91-87. Houston scored its first points of the quarter when Harden made two free throws about a minute later. The Rockets led by 4 soon after that when Harden was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws to make it 96-89. That was the start of a 7-4 run that left Houston up 100-93 with five minutes to go. The Rockets opened the third quarter with a 17-4 run to erase a 10-point halftime deficit and take a 69-66 lead with about seven minutes left in the quarter. A 3-pointer by Tucker put Houston on top and Westbrook punctuated the run with a dunk before screaming and flexing as he passed the Thunder bench. TIP-INS Thunder: Steven Adams went to the locker room in the fourth quarter and didn't return. It was unclear why he left the game. ... Oklahoma City made 13 of 35 3-pointers. ... The Thunder attempted just two more free throws than Harden did alone. Rockets: G/F Gerald Green, who has been out since Oct. 10 (Oct. 11, PHL time), had surgery on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) to repair a broken bone in his left foot and is expected to be out about six months. ... Tucker finished with 17 points. UP NEXT Thunder: Host Portland on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Rockets: Visit Washington on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) to start a four-game road trip......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 29th, 2019

Thunder name Daigneault head coach

Los Angeles---The Oklahoma City Thunder promoted assistant Mark Daigneault to head coach, succeeding Billy Donovan who departed in September after the team’s playoff exit......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 12th, 2020

Donovan, Budenholzer share Coach of Year title

Los Angeles—Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer and Oklahoma City Thunder counterpart Billy Donovan were named as joint winners of the National Basketball Coaches Association coach of the year award on Monday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 4th, 2020

Grizzlies hang onto lead this time, beat Thunder 110-97

By Murray Evans, Associated Press OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Jonas Valanciunas scored 21 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 20 and the Memphis Grizzlies held onto the lead this time against Oklahoma City, beating the Thunder 110-97 Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) in the second meeting between the teams in eight days. Tyus Jones added 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting for Memphis, which blew a 24-point third-quarter lead during its last visit to Oklahoma City on December 18 (Dec. 19, PHL time) and lost 126-122. That started a stretch in which the Grizzles dropped three out of four games. The burly Valanciunas went 9 of 11 from the field and fueled an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter that essentially put the game away. Brandon Clarke scored 15 points for Memphis, going 6 of 7 from the floor. Steven Adams scored 16 points for the Thunder. TIP-INS Grizzlies: Memphis has made at least 10 3-pointers in a franchise-record 11 straight games — four more games than the club’s previous mark. The Grizzlies went 10 of 25 from behind the arc. … Jackson has hit at least one 3 in 20 straight games. The team record is 31, held by Tyreke Evans. … Ja Morant had 10 points and five rebounds. Thunder: Rookie forward Darius Bazely made his second straight start in place of Danilo Gallinari, who missed a second consecutive game due to left ankle soreness. … Oklahoma native and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth attended the game. … The Thunder shot 41% from the field. … Kevin Hervey made his NBA debut, playing the final 1:18. GALLINARI OUT Gallinari, the Thunder’s second-leading scorer at 18 points per game, was a last-minute scratch Sunday (Monday, PHL time) before a win over the Los Angeles Clippers. He sat out Thursday (Friday, PHL time)  as well. Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said Gallinari wouldn’t travel with the team to games at Charlotte on Friday and Toronto on Sunday as a precaution. Donovan said the team has no concerns about “structural” issues with Gallinari’s ankle but “as long as the season is and with what we have coming, the most important thing is we want him to get to where he’s feeling better.” UP NEXT Grizzlies: Visit the Denver Nuggets on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Thunder: Visit the Charlotte Hornets on Friday (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2019

Thunder opens road trip with 108-96 win in Portland

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore (AP) — Dennis Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander each scored 21 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder opened a four-game trip with a 108-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). The Thunder, who led by as many as 18 points in the first half, have won four of their last five games, the team's best stretch of the season. Chris Paul finished with 20 points. Damian Lillard had 26 for the Blazers, who have lost three of four. After trailing 55-47 at the break, the Blazers closed the gap in the third quarter and the Thunder held just an 82-78 advantage going into the final period. But Danilo Gallinari's 3-pointer put Oklahoma City up 95-87 with 4:14 left and Moda Center fans started streaming to the exits. Gilgeous-Alexander hit a 3-pointer and a floater that extended Oklahoma City's margin to 100-89 with 3:13 left and essentially put the game out of reach for the Blazers. Portland (9-15) was coming off a costly 136-113 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Starting forward Rodney Hood tore his Achilles during the first half and will miss the rest of the season. The Blazers had already lost forward Zach Collins to a shoulder injury that required surgery. And center Jusuf Nurkic continues to rehab from a broken leg. Portland made a move to shore up the frontcourt with the Nov. 19 signing of 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, who hadn't played for more than a year. Anthony has fit in well with the Blazers, averaging 16.7 points and 5.6 rebounds through his first nine games. But he struggled against the Thunder, going 4 of 18 from the field and finishing with just nine points. Kent Bazemore started in Hood's place against Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City (10-12) was without Terrance Ferguson because of right hip soreness for the second straight game. Coach Billy Donovan said before the game that he expects Ferguson will miss Monday night's (Tuesday, PHL time) game at the Jazz as well. Abdel Nader started in his place. The Thunder were coming off a 139-127 overtime victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Oklahoma City forced overtime when Steven Adams threw a length-of-the-court pass that Schroder caught and laid in at the buzzer. The game got attention because Thunder guard Chris Paul alerted the officials that Minnesota's Jordan Bell had an untucked shirt, which led to a technical foul that helped the trailing Thunder send the game to overtime. Neither team looked sharp at the start on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Oklahoma City held a slight 21-20 lead at the end of the first quarter, on 31.8% shooting. Portland shot 27.6% to open the game. Schroder's pull-up jumper stretched the Thunder's lead to 41-29 midway through the second quarter. Portland clawed back into it and closed to within 51-47 on Anthony's 3-pointer, which capped a 10-0 Blazers run. But Portland couldn't get closer and trailed 55-47 at the break. Paul led all players with 16 points. Portland closed within 62-60 on Lillard's 3-pointer in the third quarter. The Blazers eventually pulled in front when Lillard made a trio of free throws, but it was short lived and the Thunder led 82-78 going into the final quarter. The teams split their first two games earlier this season. TIP-INS Thunder: In the third quarter a fan dropped a phone on the court and Dennis Schroder picked it up and handed it back. ... It was the first of a four-game trip for Oklahoma City. ... Luguentz Dort fouled out with 4:34 left in the game. Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard went 0 for 6 from the field to start the game. His first basket was a floater with less than a minute left in the opening quarter. Then he had 16 points in the third quarter alone. ... Hassan Whiteside finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. UP NEXT Thunder: Oklahoma City plays the second of a back-to-back Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) at Utah. Trail Blazers: Portland hosts the New York Knicks on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2019

Anthony Davis has big 2nd half, Lakers beat Thunder

By The Associated Press OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 24 of his 33 points in the second half to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 130-127 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Davis also had 11 rebounds and seven assists, and LeBron James added 23 points and 14 assists. The Lakers have won six in a row to improve the best record in the NBA to 13-2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points and Steven Adams added 22 for the Thunder. They have lost five of six. Los Angeles guard Rajon Rondo was ejected early in the fourth quarter after a kick to Dennis Schroder’s groin area. CLIPPERS 122, ROCKETS 119 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard hit a go-ahead jumper with 15 seconds remaining to finish with 24 points and lift Los Angeles over Houston. Russell Westbrook missed at the other end and Paul George got the rebound while getting fouled. He made both free throws with 1 second left to complete a wild finish and help the Clippers improve to 10-1 at home with their fourth win in a row overall. James Harden couldn’t get a shot off on the Rockets’ final possession as time expired. George scored 19 points in his second game playing with Leonard. Lou Williams led the Clippers with 26 — all in the second half. Montrezl Harrell added 18 points. Harden had 37 points and 12 assists for the Rockets. Russell Westbrook added 22 points before fouling out late, and Clint Capela had 17 points and 19 rebounds. MAVERICKS 143, CAVALIERS 101 DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 30 points and 14 assists with former Dallas teammate Dirk Nowitzki watching as a retiree for the first time. Nowitzki stayed away for the first eight Dallas home games after setting an NBA record of 21 seasons with the same franchise while finishing last season as the highest-scoring foreign-born player in league history. The big German got a standing ovation when shown on the video board in the first quarter from his courtside seat next to owner Mark Cuban. Rookie Darius Garland scored a career-high 23 points for Cleveland. NUGGETS 96, CELTICS 92 DENVER (AP) — Jamal Murray hit two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining and scored 22 points and the Denver beat Boston in a game overshadowed by a head injury to Celtics guard Kemba Walker. Walker collided with teammate Semi Ojeleye late in the second quarter, striking Ojeleye's abdomen area head-first and going down on to the court in a heap. In a tweet, the Celtics said Walker has been diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms and was transported to a hospital for further evaluation. Nikola Jokic added 18 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for the Nuggets. They improved to 8-0 this season when holding an opponent to fewer than 100 points. Jaylen Brown had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics. 76ERS 115, SPURS 104 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tobias Harris scored 26 points, Joel Embiid had 21 points and 14 rebounds and Philadelphia handed San Antonio its eighth straight loss — the Spurs’ longest under longtime coach Gregg Popovich. Ben Simmons had a triple-double with 10 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for the 76ers. San Antonio last dropped eight in a row in November 1996 under coach Bob Hill. Popovich was the team’s general manager at the time. He fired Hill later that season and began his long run of success. DeMar DeRozan had 29 points for the Spurs. JAZZ 113, WARRIORS 109 SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points and Mike Conley had 27 to help Utah beat undermanned Golden State. About 15 minutes after the game ended, the arena was evacuated because of a suspicious package. Most fans had already left the building when players, coaches and reporters were instructed to leave immediately. Jazz players quickly headed for their cars in the parking lot — center Rudy Gobert was still in uniform as he left. Warriors players boarded their team bus. Salt Lake City police Lt. Carlos Valencia said the suspicious package was a shoebox discovered under a table at a restaurant in the northeast corner of the arena. He said the call came in from a uniformed officer working part-time at the game, and the sellout crowd was already starting to leave when the evacuation began. Arena bomb dogs went near the package and got a hit on it, Valencia said. Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points for the Jazz, and Gobert had 19 rebounds and seven blocks. Alec Burks scored 20 points for the Warriors. PISTONS 128, HAWKS 103 DETROIT (AP) — Andre Drummond had 23 points and 15 rebounds and Detroit had its highest-scoring first half since 1983. Detroit led 76-57 at halftime, and the Pistons reached 100 points with over 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter. t was the most points in the first half for the Pistons since they scored 77 on Dec. 2, 1983, also against the Hawks. Atlanta has dropped five straight, and the Hawks allowed at least 120 points for the eighth game in a row. Blake Griffin scored 24 points. DeAndre’ Bembry led Atlanta with 22 points. WIZARDS 125, HORNETS 118 WASHINGTON (AP) — Bradley Beal had 30 points and 12 assists, Thomas Bryant added 21 points and 11 rebounds and Washington overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Charlotte. Davis Bertans had 20 points, hitting six 3-pointers to help the Wizards win two in a row for the first time this season. Miles Bridges scored a career-high 31 points for Charlotte. HEAT 116, BULLS 108 CHICAGO (AP) — Jimmy Butler had 27 points against his former team and Miami beat Chicago for its fifth straight victory. Butler played for the Bulls from 2011-17. He was 7 of 10 from the field and had seven assists and five rebounds. Bam Adebayo added 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Kendrick Nunn scored 13 of his 21 points in the first quarter to help Miami improve to 11-3. Zach Lavine led the Bulls with 15 points. NETS 116, KINGS 97 NEW YORK (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points and Joe Harris added 22 in Brooklyn’s victory over Sacramento. Garrett Temple finished with 18 points, Jared Allen had 11 points and nine rebounds, and DeAndre Jordan added 10 rebounds. Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 18 points. Buddy Hield had 16......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2019

Lillard leads Trail Blazers past Thunder 102-99

By Cliff Brunt, Associated Press OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Damian Lillard had 23 points and 13 assists to help the Portland Trail Blazers hold off the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Lillard made 4 of 15 shots the first three quarters, but he made three 3-pointers in an 86-second flurry in the fourth that turned a three-point deficit into a five-point lead. The Trail Blazers led the rest of the way. C.J. McCollum scored 22 points and Kent Bazemore added 14 for the Trail Blazers. Chris Paul scored 21 points, Dennis Schroder scored 17 and Nerlens Noel added 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder. It was a rematch of last season's first-round playoff series, which the Trail Blazers took in five games. Only three of the 10 players who started Game 5 started on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), largely because of roster turnover. Portland led 49-44 at halftime. The Trail Blazers shot 38.1% in the first half while the Thunder shot 35%. Lillard made just 2 of 8 shots in the first half and scored seven points. A 3-pointer by Paul tied the game at 53 early in the third quarter, and then he made a jumper to put the Thunder ahead by two. The Thunder took a 69-68 lead into the final period. Diallo grabbed three offensive rebounds on one possession before finally scoring to put the Thunder up 79-76, and Mike Muscala's layup on an assist from Paul put the Thunder up by five before the Trail Blazers rallied. TIP-INS Trail Blazers: Held the Thunder to 27.8% shooting in the first quarter to take a 24-17 lead. ... C Hassan Whiteside left the game late in the second quarter after injuring his left knee. He later returned. He finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Thunder: C Steven Adams sat out with a left knee contusion. Coach Billy Donovan said Adams will be re-evaluated on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). ... Muscala made 2 of 9 shots and scored four points. ... G Hamidou Diallo had a career-high 10 rebounds to go with 12 points. UP NEXT The Trail Blazers host the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time).  The Thunder host the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 31st, 2019

The NBA’s West race should be incredibly good this season

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Stephen Curry knew roster change was inevitable. That being said, Curry and the Golden State Warriors aren’t changing their expectations. The five-time defending Western Conference champions aren’t the popular pick to represent their side of the league in this season’s NBA Finals, understandable after losing the likes of Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala. But Curry said the Warriors will strive to remain what they’ve been over the last half-decade — “a team that’s feared across the league.” “Look at every era of basketball,” Curry said. “For a team to sustain this type of level of play and this greatness, it doesn’t happen that often. And when you need to retool, it may look different, but the great teams, great players figure it out as they go.” Thing is, there are so many great players — and potentially great teams — in the West this season. The Los Angeles Clippers are the prohibitive favorite to win the NBA title, at least according to oddsmakers in Las Vegas, after landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Los Angeles Lakers still have LeBron James, and added Anthony Davis. Houston reunited James Harden with Russell Westbrook. Denver and Utah bring back strong cores. Portland might have the league’s best backcourt. “You just can’t take it for granted,” Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti said. “It’s really, really hard to win games in the NBA, especially the Western Conference, the way it is now.” Maybe harder than ever. “We want to maintain the culture that we’ve built, but we want to make sure our players are put in the best position to succeed, and the last four years we pretty much knew exactly what that meant,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We don’t really know what it means this year. That’s why we have a lot of work ahead, but it’s exciting. I’m looking forward to it.” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said the West will be great for fans and the league — not so much for coaches, players and owners. “Somebody is probably going to come in ninth and get fired when they shouldn’t because they did a great job,” D’Antoni said. “But that’s the way it is.” A look at the West, in predicted order of regular-season finish: PLAYOFF BOUND 1. Denver — The team that few are talking about, for puzzling reasons. They’re young, they already know how to win and the Nuggets’ win total has risen in each of coach Michael Malone’s first four seasons there. No reason to think that won’t continue. 2. Houston — James Harden is entering his 11th season. Russell Westbrook is entering his 12th. Mike D’Antoni is entering the last year of his contract. It sure seems like title-or-bust time in Houston, and the wide-open West could be for their taking. 3. L.A. Clippers — When Paul George gets back from his recovery from shoulder surgeries to join Kawhi Leonard on the new-look Clippers, this is going to be a team with frightening potential on defense. They’ll peak toward the end, and could win it all. 4. L.A. Lakers — This is absolutely not to say they’re the fourth-best team in the West. LeBron James knows it’s all about April, May and June, and he certainly isn’t going to care where the Lakers are seeded as long as they’re in the playoffs. 5. Utah — Donovan Mitchell is just starting to come into his own, Rudy Gobert is still the defensive player of the year and Joe Ingles is better than people realize. The addition of Bojan Bogdanovic was big, as was adding Mike Conley — if healthy. 6. Golden State — The five-time defending West champs lost Durant, Iguodala and Shaun Livingston — plus won’t have Klay Thompson for most of the season. But the Warriors still have Curry. Relax. They’ll be fine. 7. Portland — This is way too low, but that’s life in the West right now. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are elite, Terry Stotts is underrated and don’t be surprised if the Blazers tweak the roster after Jusuf Nurkic returns to take a title shot. 8. San Antonio — LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan lead a team that features a young core of Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White. Oh, and Gregg Popovich is still there. Count the Spurs out at your own risk. IN THE MIX 9. Dallas — Dirk Nowitzki is gone, but the new star-duo pairing of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis has enormous potential. The Mavs haven’t won a playoff series since the 2011 NBA Finals, but this season will see them get closer. 10. Minnesota — Ryan Saunders’ first full season will lead to improvement, but even a five-game leap to .500 won’t get it done as far as a West playoff berth this season. But if Karl-Anthony Towns plays 82 games at his potential, who knows? 11. Sacramento — Rick Adelman took the Kings to their last playoff appearance in 2006. Luke Walton is the team’s 10th different coach since; he has Harrison Barnes, De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley and Buddy Hield, yet still faces a tall task. 12. New Orleans — Zion Williamson’s knee is already a concern, not a good sign for the No. 1 overall pick. Lonzo Ball’s shot is better and J.J. Redick has never missed a postseason. But if Williamson isn’t full-go, it may be tough sledding for New Orleans. FACING LONG ODDS 13. Oklahoma City — There is a lot of talent on this team: Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams. If all goes right, the Thunder will contend for a spot. Or will they make more trades and collect more picks? 14. Phoenix — Devin Booker is entering his prime. But the Suns have averaged 22 wins over the last four seasons, are on their fourth coach — Monty Williams — in a span of 24 months and still seem overmatched in the loaded West. 15. Memphis — The Grizzlies’ first-round pick in 2020 is top-six protected or else it conveys to Boston. The Celtics might not want to plan on getting this one. This year’s goal for the Grizzlies? Simple: Get Ja Morant settled into his new job. WHAT TO KNOW Three-Team Ring Circus Kawhi Leonard has a chance to win a ring with a third different team if the Clippers win the title. LeBron James and Danny Green would do the same if the Lakers win it all. The only players to win a championship with three different franchises: John Salley and Robert Horry. Spurs Streak San Antonio is bidding for a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance, which would give the Spurs outright possession of the NBA record. They’re currently tied with Philadelphia with 22 straight playoff trips (the 76ers’ franchise did it from 1950 through 1971, that span starting when they were the Syracuse Nationals). Wide Open The league’s general managers have wildly different views on which team will win the West. In NBA.com’s annual preseason polling of GMs, six different West teams — the Clippers, the Lakers, Golden State, Houston, Denver and Portland — got at least one vote as the conference’s best. LeBron Milestone LeBron James has 993 games of 20 or more points, third-most in NBA history. When he gets to 1,000 of those, he’ll be the last to hit that milestone for many years. Kevin Durant may be the next; he’s got 720. Good Sign With James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Houston becomes the sixth team to have two players who each won an MVP in the last three seasons. Of the other five, four — the 1959 and 1960 Boston Celtics, the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers and the 2017 Golden State Warriors — won an NBA title. The other was the 1984 76ers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2019

Thunder plan to keep Billy Donovan despite playoff struggles - Inquirer Sports

OKLAHOMA CITY The Oklahoma City Thunder plan to keep coach Billy Donovan for a fifth year. Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Monday that he doesnt expect change despite Oklahoma Citys third con.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsApr 30th, 2019

Durant dazzles against former Thunder team anew

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Kevin Durant dazzled against his old team once again with a season-best 40 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat Oklahoma City 121-100 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) despite Russell Westbrook's 21st triple-double for the Thunder. Westbrook had 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists in an improved showing from his 20-point outing on 4-for-15 shooting when OKC first faced Durant in the other jersey here 2.5 months ago and watched him dismantle the Thunder from every which way. In his two games against OKC, Durant has scored 79 points on 28-for-50 shooting. He hit seven three-pointers in the first meeting, a 122-96 Warriors rout Nov. 3 (Nov. 4 PHL time), also at Oracle Arena. Durant also had 12 rebounds Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Stephen Curry added 24 points and eight assists, and Klay Thompson had 14 points after he arrived back in the Bay Area just in time to play after a short absence dealing with a personal family matter. This one had tension, which just might be the norm from here on out when Durant faces the Thunder. There were words exchanged and stare downs, and of course a few hard fouls -- then an occasional smile to balance things out, like when Durant missed on a driving tomahawk jam and the ball shot back to midcourt. This atmosphere wasn't that much different from two days earlier when the champion Cavaliers visited Golden State's home floor and left with an embarrassing 126-91 defeat. Enes Kanter added 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Thunder, who missed center Steven Adams for a second straight game with a concussion. Tied at 63 after the game was also even at halftime, the Warriors scored eight unanswered points with three’s by Thompson and Durant. Thompson scored five straight points during the exact kind of scoring flurry Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan described before the game as what makes these star-studded Warriors so dangerous. It wasn't that long ago Donovan could only watch as Golden State rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat OKC in the Western Conference finals last season. Westbrook shot just 8-for-23 this time and missed all but one of his six three-point tries, but made 10-of-11 free throws. With 4.4 seconds left in the first half, Zaza Pachulia collided with Westbrook and clobbered the OKC star in the face as the Warriors center went with his man as Kanter set a screen on Andre Iguodala. Westbrook went down and grabbed his face in obvious pain and Pachulia glared at Westbrook as he stood over him. The play went to official review before Pachulia received a flagrant 1 foul, drawing boos from the sellout crowd. Golden State outscored Oklahoma City 37-22 in the third to turn the game into another blowout on the way to wrapping up 9-1 stay in Northern California over the past 3.5 weeks. Durant posted his 11th game with 30 or more points and fifth with at least 30 points and 10 boards. As dominant as KD has been against the Thunder, the Warriors still must go to Oklahoma City on Feb. 11 and March 20 (Feb. 12 and Mar. 21, PHL time). strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Thunder: /strong> /em> Oklahoma City is 5-11 on the road against Golden State and hasn't won on the Warriors' home floor since Dec. 18, 2014. Adams wasn't with the team. em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em>PF David West has a non-displaced fracture of his left thumb and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Golden State was tied at halftime for the first time all season. After out-rebounding the Cavs 58-35, the Warriors led the category 46-36. Golden State committed 13 first-half turnovers and 18 total. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Thunder: /strong> /em>At Utah on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) after a four-day break without a game. em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em> At Houston on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Golden State wrapped up a stretch of more than three weeks at home that included only a bus ride to Sacramento for a lone road game in a 10-game stretch since Dec. 26 (Dec. 27, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

CAMPEONE: Year of the Tiger (2010)

(This story was originally published on May 09, 2019) University of Sto. Tomas head coach Shaq delos Santos looked at his squad inside the dugout of The Arena in San Juan one last time. It was a cool Saturday afternoon. He took a glimpse at his graduating hitter Angge Tabaquero, who was all pumped up, but was feeling under the weather and could barely speak because of a sore throat. Delos Santos then shifted his eyes towards fourth-year team captain Aiza Maizo, Maika Ortiz, libero Jessica Curato, then to his prized rookies Dindin Santiago and Maru Banaticla. From their closed locker room, the Tigresses could hear the drums outside and felt the vibration that followed. The weekend crowd packed the venue in a sea of yellow and green. Excitement filled the air. It was electric. Less than an hour before, coach Emil Lontoc celebrated the Tigers’ conquest of Far Eastern University to complete a three-peat in the men's division. With his eyes closed, Delos Santos murmured one last prayer. Then there was a soft tap on their dugout door. It was time to march to the court for the official warm-up for Game 2 of the UAAP Season 72 women’s volleyball tournament.   THE YOUNG AND THE BOLD Delos Santos knew that they’re in for ride in Season 72.   They prided themselves with three pre-season titles, but those conquests meant nothing when it comes to their mother league. “Before mag-start (ang season), for me, hindi ko napi-feel na magtsa-champion agad kami,” said Delos Santos. “Kasi ang adjustment kailangan makita mo muna ang lahat ng naglalaro. So depende pa rin sa nilalaro ng every team na makakalaban mo.” And besides, the mentor will be navigating with a young crew, mostly in their early collegiate careers save for Maizo and returning Tabaquero, two of the remaining heroes of UST’s Season 69 championship run. Maizo was named team captain while Tabaquero, who skipped Season 71 for personal reasons, brought in the needed veteran presence to guide the squad. “Ako personally ang mindset ko sobrang hungry lang rin ako personally and I think si Aiza rin kasi halos pa-exit na rin siya nun,” said Tabaquero. “Ako sobrang gusto ko lang for myself na maka-graduate sa UAAP on a high note.” “On a high lang ako nun kumbaga, ‘Last playing year ko na ‘to wala na akong balikan pa, ibubuhos ko na lahat,’ she added. “Plus the fact na hindi ako nakapaglaro noong Season 71 dagdag gutom sa akin ‘yun.” But then again, the Tigresses remained relatively young. Dimaculangan was just in her third year, her first two saw the bitter memory of losing the title in the semifinals at the hands of the Rachel Anne Daquis-led Far Eastern University and then another Final Four heartache against the same tormentors the following year. Ortiz, Hannah Mance and Curato barely had enough experience on them so did Judy Ann Caballejo.   Then there were the young bloods. UST got a pair of blue-chip recruits in a small but high-flying power-hitter in Banaticla and a lanky 6-footer Santiago.   The Tigresses were parading a decent squad, but not a super team that they had before with Mary Jean Balse and Venus Bernal.       “Nagkaroon kami ng mga rookies noon,” said Dimaculangan. “Nu’ng time na ‘yun kumpiyansa naman ako sa team kasi bakit ka pa maghahanap ng mga wala o bakit ka pa hahanap ng mga naka-graduate na? So kung ano na lang ang meron kami siguro doon na lang.” Delos Santos, himself, was just on his second year as head coach after taking the reins from legendary mentor August Sta. Maria, who suffered a stroke in 2008. Expectations were high from the UST faithful. For the Tigresses, they just have to deliver.   STRUGGLE WITHIN The Tigresses began the season with an early litmus test. Their first game: against the defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers. UST faced a squad assembled to build a dynasty. DLSU was denied of a four-peat three years ago when the league suspended the school in Season 69 because of an eligibility issue with its men’s basketball team. In Season 70, the Lady Spikers were forced to forfeit games because of another eligibility issue with Jacq Alarca. The following year, in Manilla Santos’ final year, DLSU reclaimed the throne. Now, looking to for a repeat, the Lady Spikers just need to break the will of one of their threats. DLSU paraded a formidable team centered on its ‘Big Three’ in Alarca, skipper Paneng Mercado, daughter of Asia’s Sprint Queen Lydia De Vega-Mercado, and versatile hitter Cha Cruz. Then there’s the great wall of Michele Gumabao and rookies Aby Marano and Joanne Siy, who would eventually win the Rookie of the Year and Best Blocker awards. UST was facing a nightmare. But the Tigresses were undaunted. They clung on the confidence of bringing down the same giant they slew in the UniGames championship before the start of the season. With guns blazing and adrenaline in their veins, the Tigresses were able to control the match as they led, 2-1. Then comes their Achilles’ heel. UST was a determined team, but the Lady Spikers had in them the championship experience, the veteran composure of a battle-tested squad. The Tigresses had no answer to that. DLSU walked away with a 20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11, victory to start its amazing elimination round winning streak. UST recovered in the next three games, walking past University of the Philippines, a rebuilding FEU, and cellar-dwellers National University. Then came another big challenge. The Tigresses collided with a feisty young team in Ateneo de Manila University bannered by a hyped Fab Five of sophomores Gretchen Ho, Dzi Gervacio, Fille Cainglet, setter Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi. The result was a shocker: the Lady Eagles upset the Tigresses. It may not show inside the court, but the Tigresses were struggling from the inside.   Delos Santos admitted that being a Tigress under his watch was not for the faint of heart. His relationship with the players was not smooth. He was a blacksmith trying to sharpen a deadly weapon. He needed to put his players into the blazing fire of his Spartan-like training, hammer them into shape and sharpen them into a weapon ready for brutal war.       “Napaka-strict ko kaya medyo ano sila sa akin pero at the end of the day na-realize rin nila na ang lahat ng sinasalihan naming tournament, lahat ng paghihirap namin, kapag naglalaro kami talagang quality,” he said. “’Yung pinaghirapan namin talagang nilalabas namin sa game.” Dimaculangan recalled that that season was marred with conflicts within the team. “’Yung year na 'yun ang dami talagang pinagdaanan. Ang daming naging issues,” she said declining to divulge what the problems were. “Lahat kami takot sa kanya (Delos Santos). Tapos my time din na feeling namin nabe-burnout na kami.” “Baliktad nga eh kasi kung kailan ang dami naming issue doon pa namin nasabi na ‘Ay kailangan nating mag-champion.’ Ganoon ang feeling namin,” Dimaculangan added. Tabaquero would simply describe that Tigresses team as ‘shaky’. “On the rocks ang team and noon may internal issues din,” she revealed. “Medyo magulo siya pero as players, ‘Kung may mangyari man dyan, labas na sa volleyball ‘yan. Kung ano ang pini-perform natin maglaro tayo ng maayos.’ Siguro yun na lang ang tumatakbo sa isip namin.” Whatever the issues were inside their team, the Tigresses were able to put them aside as they made an amazing run to close the eliminations. “Nagulat kami kasi sobrang nakasabay ang mga bata,” said Tabaquero. “Kami ni Aiza halos ang nag-lead sa team na ‘yun pero kasi experienced na ang mga bata na ‘yun kasi coming from UST program sila eh.” “So medyo kumbaga ang pinanggalingan nilang team mataas din so I guess doon na lang din sila humugot from their experience sa high school. Nadala na lang din siguro pagdating nila,” she added.   ENTERING THE END GAME Valentine’s Day. With most of the country looking forward to celebrate that special Sunday, the Tigresses were preparing for something bigger. It was their most-awaited rematch with the Lady Spikers, who heading into that game were already ravaging the league with 13 straight victories. One win and DLSU will enter the Finals outright armed with a thrice-to-beat advantage.   The Tigresses didn’t allow that. UST prevented a Lady Spikers elims sweep by slipping past DLSU in a thrilling five-setter. The Tigresses avoided a stepladder semifinals. UST ended the elims with a nine-game winning streak and second-best 12-2 win-loss record. From there everything changed. “Kasi nakuha nila (ang panalo) sa first round then February 14 tinalo namin sila so dun tumaas ang kumpiyansa namin na ‘Ah kaya namin itong La Salle,’” said Tabaquero. The Tigresses came in the Final Four armed with a twice-to-beat advantage against Ateneo. They split their elims head-to-head but now UST wanted to settle an old score. It was Maizo and Tabaquero who did most of the damage in the Final Four as the Tigresses crushed the Lady Eagles, 25-12, 25-23, 25-20, all while playing without starting libero Curato, who was out because of typhoid fever. “I guess kung ikaw mayroon kang chance na makapasok sa championship siguro ibibigay mo ang lahat. Laban kung laban,” said Tabaquero. “’Yun talaga ang mentalidad namin nu’ng time na yun. ‘Yun ang nag-push sa amin na, ‘For championship ito, ibibigay namin ang lahat 110%.’” Earlier that playdate, the Lady Spikers took the other Finals berth after booting out Adamson University, 16-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22.         "EH ANO NGAYON KUNG DEFENDING CHAMPION KAYO?" Maizo and Tabaquero were UST’s contrasting leaders. They're yin and yang. Maizo was a silent operator. She would rather let her work do the talking. Tabaquero was from a different world. She will get under your skin, play with your head and she was just plain nasty. “Season 69 pa lang salbahe na ako maglaro,” she admitted. “Dun lumabas ‘yung moniker ko na ‘Pamewang Queen’. Sobrang intense lang din ng game namin ng FEU nun. Parang sobrang thrashtalkan. Hindi mo man makita on-cam pero doon pa lang talagang may verbal.” She’s no different in Season 72. “Hindi naman sa mayabang ako pero nasa utak ko nu’ng time na yun, ‘Ay kaya namin kayo kasi tinalo namin kayo nu’ng eliminations,’” Tabaquero continued.  “Doon ako humugot ng lakas na, ‘hindi tayo papatalo rito.’ Sobrang inspired lang din siguro akong maglaro noon kasi ang daming tao nun. Grabe puno itong San Juan Arena,” she recalled.    Facing DLSU, Tabaquero knew they can rip the crown off the Lady Spikers’ heads. “Ako personally, ‘Eh ano ngayon kung defending champion kayo?” she said. It was 2010 and UST just needed to look at the Chinese calendar for an inspiration.    “Year of the Tiger yun, sumakto,” said Dimaculangan. “Iba ang kompiyansa namin na parang amin ‘to.” The Tigresses could see the stars aligning for them, the opportunity was there. Then came the best-of-three series opener. Delos Santos was not new to the Finals. He worked as Sta. Maria’s deputy before. But this was his biggest challenge. His shining moment. Looking back, he felt that Sta. Maria molded him for this situation. “Before nakakuha rin kami ng isa pang championship eh. Sina Bernal, Balse pero si Coach August ang head coach pa nun that time,” he said. “Ang ginawa niya that time sobrang gusto niyang mag-grow ako. Noong Finals namin against FEU, umalis siya. Hindi siya nagpunta ng game tapos nung mag-start na ang game hinahanap ko siya,” Delos Santos continued. “Tinawagan ko siya, sabi ko, ‘Boss nasaan ka?’ Nasa norte siya eh parteng norte." "Sabi ko, ‘boss nasaan ka?’ Sabi niya, ‘kayang-kaya mo na ‘yan. Ikaw ng bahala dyan,’” he said. “’Yung time na yun doon ko na-feel na grabe ang tiwala niya sa akin.” Against a taller Lady Spikers side, Delos Santos needed just one key to success: speed. “I think that time sobrang lucky ko rin kasi ang mga players ko. Yun nga sina Rhea na, sina Tabaquero, sina Aiza. So that time yung system na gusto naming mangyari, more on lalo na kailangang maging speedy kami. Mabilis kami, nakuha namin that time. Siguro yun ang naging key,” he said. “Kasi knowing La Salle ang no. 1 weapon nila is blocking eh. Bukod dun sa service nila na napakabigat, yung blocking. Mayroon silang malalaking players and ang ganda lagi ng line-up nila,” Delos Santos said. As the battle ensued, Delos Santos felt that they had the upper hand. “I think nu’ng time na ‘yun medyo na-feel ko na makukuha namin,” he said. “That time na naglaro na kami sabi ko, sa galawan na nangyayari nakuha namin yung magandang diskarte.” And that strategy was to exploit the height disadvantage of DLSU setter Kaye Martinez. For Delos Santos the best way to stop the Lady Spikers’ deadly arrows was to break their bow.  “That time malalaki sila pero meron silang maliit na setter. Maliit ang setter nila so more on dun kami nagsi-set play ng nagsi-set play,” he said. “Nagkaroon din kami ng magandang receive and then si Rhea nabibigay niya ng maayos sa mga spikers.”  It was shocker. UST recovered from a set down to beat DLSU, 24-26, 25-23, 25-16, 25-21.   For the first time in Season 72, the Taft-based squad got its back against the wall.   SHAQ THE WORLD The Tigresses were on a high as they arrived at the game venue in the last weekend of February just three days after shocking the Lady Spikers in the series opener.     Entering the venue, the Tigresses were greeted by a huge crowd of UST faithful, all hoping for the clincher.  Tabaquero was feeling ill that day. “Naalala ko may sakit ako nu’ng Game 2. Wala akong boses nun,” said the senior, who skipped Thursday’s practice to rest. But Tabaquero was determined to play one last time, give her team the firepower and angst it needed, to finish her collegiate career on top.   “Wala ng sakit-sakit, di pwedeng may sakit. Di ko na siya nararamdaman. Minsan napapagod pero wala kailangang magsakripisyo. Saka yung adrenaline ko sobrang taas nun,” said Tabaquero. As the Tigresses trooped to the court for the warm-up, they were showered by loud cheers from the UST fans. “Go USTe! Go USTe!” echoed inside the arena like a rolling thunder signaling the arrival of a storm. A serenade for conquering heroes. There was a huge banner that read: ‘Kami po ang University of Sto. Tomas.’ It added fuel to the Tigresses’ burning desire to reclaim the throne. The squad came into the venue brimming with confidence but with their supporters egging them on even before the opening serve, the Tigresses felt invincible. They were. UST dismantled the confused Lady Spikers in the first two sets, dominating DLSU with sharp angled attacks and frustrating its blockers. Defensively, the Tigresses were punishing DLSU’s attackers. “Dumipensa lang talaga kami noon saka nagkaroon kami ng first ball. ‘Yun talaga ang edge namin nun,” said Dimaculangan. “Kumbaga parang hindi ako masyadong nahirapang dumiskarte kasi alam kong darating sa akin ang bola.” The Lady Spikers’ defense was also in disarray. Even DLSU’s celebrated libero Mel Gohing, the rookie of the year the season before, was already struggling to keep up with the Lady Spikers’ net defense collapsing. “Yung mga spikers ko ang gagaling din dumiskarte and alam din nila kung ano ang gagawin nila sa bolang ibinibigay ko sa kanila,” added Dimaculangan. The Tigresses were already smelling blood.   But the Lady Spikers regrouped in the third as hitters Cruz and Mercado’s hits found their mark. Gumabao, Siy and Maarano were holding their own. DLSU took the third frame in dominating fashion. It may have turned the tides around for the Lady Spikers. It didn’t.      DLSU built an early five-point cushion in the fourth frame, but the Tigresses raced to a 16-11 lead before Gumabao stopped the bleeding with a crosscourt hit.  Maizo then landed an off speed hit over blockers Siy and Martinez, then the lefty again scored another heady off speed this time over Alarca for an 18-12 lead. Then came the deluge of errors by DLSU. The Lady Spikers crowd went quiet in the pivotal run of the Tigresses. A kill block by Ortiz put UST at championship point, 24-13, as the DLSU faithful froze, seemingly awaiting an inevitable defeat. “Parang pa-last point pa lang ata naiiyak na kaming lahat,” said Dimaculangan. An overexcited Tabaquero sent her serve long then Maizo’s attack was turned back. Two match points saved by DLSU. The Lady Spikers tried to hold on. But it was too late. Nerves got the best of Emeli Zuno as she made contact with the ball at the service line.       It sailed long. Pandemonium broke out. “Nagtatalon na kami nu’ng moment na yun, na ‘Heto na ang pinaghirapan natin.’ Ang sarap sa feeling na mag-champion ulit,” said Tabaquero after the final whistle of the season was called with UST completing the sweep with a 25-18, 25-14, 16-25, 25-15, victory.   For Delos Santos that championship was the fruit of their hard labor. “Sobrang happy kasi siyempre nagkaroon kami ng championship sa UST,” said Delos Santos of his only title for the Tigresses as head coach. “Sobrang memorable. Marami rin kaming pinagdaanan (bago makuha),” he added. UST accomplished a double-crown feat in volleyball that year, its fifth since the 1976-77, 1985-86 at 1987-88 and 1992-1993 seasons. As a reward the Tigresses earned a trip to Hong Kong. But even that trip had some good anecdotes for Delos Santos, Dimaculangan and Tabaquero. “Nag-trip to Hong Kong kami for two to three days sa Disneyland at Ocean Park,” said Delos Santos. “Sila lang mahilig mag-rides eh. Ako may phobia ako sa heights. Nung sumakay kami ng cable car para akong mahuhulog na ewan dun sa cable car.” Dimaculangan remembered vividly their flight. “Nag-Hong Kong kami noon tapos sakto pa na bumabagyo noong umalis kami noon. Buti nga natuloy kami noon eh,” she said. As for Tabaquero, unfortunately, she had to skip the trip. “Nagpunta sila ng Hong Kong pero ako di ako nakasama kasi late yung Hong Kong trip. Di ako nakasama kasi na-ACL (left injury) na ako nun sa Shakey’s V-League, yung sa championship ng San Sebastian,” she said. “Naka-schedule na ako ng surgery nun sa UST hospital kaya di ako nakasama.” “May incentive naman ako nun kahit di ako nakasama nun,” Tabaquero cleared. Ten years ago, UST ruled Season 72. It was the year of the Tiger. The year of the mighty, mighty Tigers.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 26th, 2020

Scrubbed: March Madness leads long list of canceled sports

By EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer The world's sports schedule cratered at warp speed Thursday, with one of the biggest events on the U.S. calendar, the fun-filled and colorful college basketball tournament known as March Madness, becoming the first mega-event to be scrubbed due to fear of the spread of the coronavirus. Leaders at all levels of sports, including the NCAA, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, tennis and soccer, decided the risk of playing games with the threat of the virus hanging over them was too great despite the billions of dollars — to say nothing of the trophies, pride and once-in-a-lifetime experiences — hanging in the balance. By late in the afternoon of an extraordinary, headline-a-minute day across a pandemic-rattled globe, the NCAA, which regulates March Madness and virtually all major U.S. college sports, basically had no choice. With conferences and individual teams calling off their basketball seasons at breakneck pace, the NCAA followed suit. They scrapped all college winter and spring championships, the highlight of which is the men's basketball tournament — a three-week extravaganza that stands as the biggest event this side of the Super Bowl on the U.S. sports calendar. The cancellation leaves a massive hole in American sports — from campuses across the country, to a growing passel of sports-betting businesses that rely on college hoops money, to say nothing of the hearts of players who were poised to get their first, or last, or only chance to shine on the big stage. All of it was to be covered by CBS and its partners; about 80 percent of the NCAA's $1.05 billion annual budget is bankrolled by the money the networks pay to present the 68-team tournament over the air, on cable and online. “This is bigger than a sport or championship,” said Kansas University coach Bill Self, whose team would've been the likely favorite to win it all. Hours earlier, Kansas and Duke had each taken matters into their own hands, announcing they wouldn't be sending any of their teams to games, no matter the stakes. It wasn't even the most jaw-dropping moment of the morning. That came, fittingly, at one of the world's most renowned sports venues — Madison Square Garden — where at halftime of a Big East Conference tournament game, the PA announcer came on and said the tournament had been called. By then, every major conference, and virtually all of the minor ones, had done the same thing. They were prompted in part by the NCAA's decision a day earlier to hold all its tournament games — which had been scheduled to start next week in nine cities and close April 6 at a 71,000-seat stadium in Atlanta — in front of friends and family and limited “essential” personnel. Only 24 hours later, with the stock market tanking, mixed messages coming out of Washington and no promise of quick relief being offered by world health experts, it became even more clear that gatherings involving thousands of people were hard to justify. Also clear: The NCAA would have trouble assembling an equitable bracket for its tournament, given that most games designed to suss out the most-deserving teams and automatic qualifiers had already been scrubbed. “I’m not a researcher in immunology or infectious disease, but those who are engaged at the NCAA level provided some stark information yesterday,” said Greg Sankey, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. The March Madness news meant it will be a world free of basketball for the foreseeable future. A day after the NBA put its season on temporary hiatus, a second member of the Utah Jazz — Donovan Mitchell — tested positive for the coronavirus. The league said its suspension would last for at least 30 days — possibly a conservative guess, as teams undertake the task of identifying any player or referee who has had recent contact with the Jazz, then putting them into isolation for the required two weeks. “What would kill the NBA season is if more players catch it,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an interview on CNBC. He called the hiatus a matter of “us being vigilant, as all businesses should be. Businesses are going to have to be incredibly vigilant, and that's hard.” The NHL also suspended its season, though it did not report any positives for COVID-19. Major League Baseball scrapped spring training and postponed the start of its season, currently scheduled for March 26, for at least two weeks. Before the start of one of the biggest golf tournaments on the calendar, the PGA Tour announced that the last three rounds of The Players Championship, best known for the rowdy gatherings around the island green on the 17th hole, would be played without fans. The same goes for the three events that follow, all of which lead into the Masters, which was, for the time being, slated to go on as scheduled the week of April 6. The LPGA postponed three tournaments, beginning next week, including its first major of the season. Tennis will also be canceling events. The ATP called off men's tournaments for the next six weeks; the WTA said its tournament in South Carolina, set for April 6-12, would not be held as scheduled, with decisions about the rest of the season to come in the next week. NASCAR announced it would race the next two weekends, in Atlanta and Miami, without fans, and IndyCar made the same decision for its race this weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida. Horse races were going on in several states, though without fans in the stands — leaving the parimutuel wagers to be made online; organizers of the Kentucky Derby were moving forward with plans for the May 2 race. The NFL, never off the radar even in the depths of the offseason, announced a number of changes and cancellations on its schedule of meetings, fan fest and scouting trips — all related to coronavirus. The U.S.-based Major League Soccer said it would shut down for a target period of 30 days. Earlier in the day, soccer leagues and teams scrambled to make changes: —Belgium's soccer league backpedaled on an earlier decision, and decided to close stadiums to fans. —A Champions League game involving Real Madrid was postponed after the Spanish team puts its players in quarantine. —Dutch soccer authorities canceled all matches through the end of the month, including friendlies against the United States and Spain. —Also, a second player from Italy's top soccer division tested positive. All sports in that hard-hit country have been suspended through April 3. For once, there were no major announcements coming out of Tokyo, where conflicting messages about the status of this summer's Olympics have come out of the country, and the IOC, for weeks. Instead, the IOC went ahead with its ceremonial lighting of the Olympic flame, an event held in front of the ruined Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia. "We are strengthened ... by the many authorities and sports organizations around the world which are taking so many significant measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” IOC president Thomas Bach said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 13th, 2020

Rubio leads Suns over Jazz in his return to Utah

By MATTHEW COLES Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Ricky Rubio always felt comfortable in Utah and hated to leave. He made sure his return was noticed. Rubio had 22 points, 11 assists and seven steals to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 131-111 victory over the reeling Jazz on Monday night. “I know their game and I played with them for a long time,” Rubio said, acknowledging he often knew where the Jazz wanted to go with their motion and their passes and stepped into the passing lanes. In his first game back in Salt Lake City after playing for the Jazz for two seasons, Rubio led an offense that shot 56% and seemed a step ahead of the Jazz all night. “That’s a tough game coming back here to play against your former team with so many emotions going through his mind. He dominated the game,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. Rubio used the All-Star break to get some rest and refocus. He also admitted he got extra juice in playing his former teammates. “I haven’t felt this fresh all year,” he said. “This was special for me.” Devin Booker had 24 points and a season-high 10 assists, Kelly Oubre scored 18 while Deandre Ayton added 16 for the Suns. “We were moving the ball. The ball moves faster than bodies can and we took advantage of that tonight. Ricky and I both had over 10 assists and when you have two people creating like that, we were making the game easy for everyone else,” Booker said. Donovan Mitchell scored 38 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 for Utah. The Jazz made a season-high 37 free throws -- on 43 attempts -- but looked disjointed while committing 19 turnovers. The Suns made three 3-pointers in a row to get some breathing room, and then Jevon Carter made a layup and Oubre dunked to take a 99-88 lead into the fourth quarter. "That third quarter used to be lethal for us. That used to be a thing where we come out and that's where we'd make our push. The roles have reversed," Mitchell said. Oubre dunked over Rudy Gobert early in the fourth quarter and let him know all about it, drawing a technical foul. “We didn’t get complacent. Once we got the lead, we kept building on it and we haven’t done that a lot this year,” Booker said. Rubio made an off-balance 3-pointer from the corner that brought audible gasps from the Utah crowd. The knock on Rubio in Utah was that he wasn't enough of a perimeter threat to keep defenses from sagging. “It was an emotional game for him. To come out and play aggressive and play the right way is exciting for him. I know how badly he wanted this one,” Booker said. The Suns made their first five shots and set the tone early that if the Jazz weren't going to stop their drives, they were headed for a big night. The Suns outscored the Jazz in the paint 66-42. "It's all defense. It doesn't matter how many points you score if you can't guard anybody. We gotta go out there and do it -- myself included. No one is excluded from that,” Mitchell said. Rubio, who also had six rebounds, had 13 points in the first half as the Suns shot 59.5 percent and matched the Jazz at 62-62 at the break. Known for their defense over the past few years, the Jazz suddenly can't stop anyone as they dropped their third straight home game for the first time since early last season. "We're going to keep getting the same result if we don't focus and execute on the defensive end. This is a group that's done that, but that doesn't matter right now. (What) that should tell us is we're capable — at least on some level. But, right now, that's not who we are,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. BE LEGENDARY Booker attended the Kobe Bryant Memorial in Los Angeles earlier Monday and it inspired him. “All of those people in one building because of that man. It was a very important for all of us. I wouldn’t say closure, because we’re all missing a piece of us for the rest of our lives, but seeing Vanessa speak and seeing the girls there helped a lot of people,” Booker said. Bryant would tell Booker to be legendary. That’s what will motivate him as his career unfolds. “When you are out there emulating the same moves, same approach, same mindset that he passed on to us … that sticks with you,” Booker said. “But it’s not just basketball. ‘Be legendary’ is a message for life.” TIP-INS Suns: Ayton got a technical foul 8:00 before halftime. ... With their 24th win, the Suns have now tied their highest win total in the last five years. ... The Suns had 33 assists and made more baskets (33) in the paint than the Jazz had field goals (32). Jazz: Former Jazz point guard Deron Williams sat courtside. ... Snyder was hit with a technical with 7:11 left in second quarter. ... Mike Conley, Rubio's replacement at the point, had eights and one assist. UP NEXT Suns: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night to open a six-game homestand. Jazz: Host Boston on Wednesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 25th, 2020

Grizzlies take advantage of George s absence to top Clippers

By The Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jae Crowder scored 27 points and the Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of Los Angeles star Paul George's absence to rout the Clippers 140-114 on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Jaren Jackson Jr. added 24 points, and Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks had 22 points each to help Memphis improve to 7-10 on the road with its highest scoring game of the season. Montrezl Harrell led the Clippers with 28 points, and Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams added 24 points each. The team appeared out of sorts from the start without George. He sat out with left hamstring tightness and Los Angeles clearly missed his defense. The usually stoic Leonard complained to the referees, who hit him with a technical after the halftime buzzer. Coach Doc Rivers stayed on court discussing it and was unhappy about other calls in the game. The Grizzlies raced to an 18-point lead to open the game, highlighted by a 16-2 run that included four 3-pointers. By the time Williams made the Clippers' first 3-pointer late in the second, cutting their deficit to seven, the Grizzlies had already connected on 10 3s. Los Angeles never got closer. BUCKS 127, SPURS 118 MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 19 of his 32 points in the third quarter to help NBA-leading Milwaukee beat San Antonio. The Bucks improved to 32-5 with their fifth straight victory since a Christmas Day loss in Philadelphia. Eric Bledsoe added 21 points. Khris Middleton scored 20 points for the Bucks and backup center Robin Lopez had 14 points in 19 minutes. DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 26 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 — all the first half. RAPTORS 121, NETS 102 NEW YORK (AP) — Fred VanVleet had 29 points and 11 assists, Kyle Lowry scored 26 points and Toronto bounced back from its worst offensive performance of the season to beat slumping Brooklyn. Serge Ibaka finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors. They were held to season lows for points and shooting in their 84-76 loss in Miami, when they hit just 31.5% overall and went 6 for 42 from 3-point range (14.3%.). Toronto made 13 3s and beat Brooklyn for the 17th time in 18 meetings. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points for the Nets. They have lost five straight games. CELTICS 111, BULLS 104 CHICAGO (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 28 points, Gordon Hayward added 24 and Boston beat Chicago. The Celtics hung on for their eighth win in nine games after a 16-point lead dwindled to three in the fourth quarter. Tatum hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to bump the lead to seven, and the Atlantic Division leaders came out on top after rallying from 18 down to beat Atlanta on Friday night. Zach LaVine scored 35 points for Chicago. HORNETS 123, MAVERICKS 120, OT DALLAS (AP) — Terry Rozier scored 29 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime after his tying basket in regulation, and Charlotte outlasted Dallas. Luka Doncic set a Dallas season record with his NBA-leading 10th triple-double, finishing with 39 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Devonte Graham had 27 points and 13 assists to help the Hornets win their second straight after a season-worst six-game losing streak. WIZARDS 129, NUGGETS 114 WASHINGTON (AP) — Ish Smith scored a career-high 32 points and Troy Brown added 25 and a career-high 14 rebounds in Washington’s victory over Denver. After Denver took a 101-99 lead with 9:33 left on Mason Plumlee's dunk, the Wizards scored the next 11 with the run eventually reaching 19-2 for a 118-103 lead with 4:48 remaining. Smith scored 11 points in that stretch, capping the surge with a 3-pointer. Jamal Murray scored all 39 of his points after the first quarter for Denver. The Nuggets have lost two of three on their five-game trip. JAZZ 109, MAGIC 96 ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points and Georges Niang added 15 off the bench to help Utah beat Orlando for its fifth straight victory. Bojan Bogdanovic had 14 points, Emmanuel Mudiay scored 12 points and Joe Ingles had 11. Terrence Ross led Orlando with 24 points. Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 11 rebounds. THUNDER 121, CAVALIERS 106 CLEVELAND (AP) — Dennis Schroder scored 22 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 20 and Oklahoma City beat Cleveland to run its winning streak to five. Danilo Gallinari added 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and Steven Adams grabbed 16 rebounds. Collin Sexton scored 30 points for Cleveland. PISTONS 111, WARRIORS 104 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Andre Drummond had 14 points and 18 rebounds before fouling out late, Derrick Rose scored 22 points off the bench and Detroit beat Golden State to snap a three-game losing streak. Reserve guard Alec Burks contributed 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Golden State's fourth straight defeat following a four-game winning streak. Draymond Green was ejected with 4:57 left in the third. HAWKS 116, PACERS 111 ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young scored 30 of his 41 points in the first half, Kevin Huerter added a season-high 26 points and Atlanta beat Indiana after blowing a 22-point lead. Domantas Sabonis had 25 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana. Justin Holiday added 18 points. PELICANS 117, KINGS 115 SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — JJ Redick’s driving layup with 1.1 seconds remaining lifted New Orleans over Sacramento. Lonzo Ball had 24 points with 10 assists and Redick scored 18 as the Pelicans won for the fifth time in six games. Nemanja Bjelica converted a four-point play for Sacramento with 4.2 seconds left to tie it at 115. Harrison Barnes scored 30 points to lead the Kings, and Buddy Hield added 24......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2020

Tatum, Walker lead Celtics to 119-93 win over Hornets

By Gethin Coolbaugh, Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum had a career-high 39 points and 12 rebounds, Kemba Walker scored 23 points against his former team, and the Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 119-93 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Tatum eclipsed his previous high of 34 points against Brooklyn on Jan. 14 (Jan. 15, PHL time). Jaylen Brown added 16 points and nine rebounds, and rookie Grant Williams added 12 points off the bench for the Celtics. Boston has won three straight and seven of nine. Devonte’ Graham had 23 points and 10 assists, Bismack Biyombo scored 18 and Miles Bridges 15 to lead the Hornets. Charlotte has dropped three straight and four of five. Terry Rozier scored 14 for the Hornets in his return to Boston. He left the team in free agency last summer. Rozier finished with three points on 1-of-11 shooting in a 108-87 home loss to Boston on Nov. 7 (Nov. 8, PHL time). Walker had 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting in his return to Charlotte in November. Walker left the Hornets in July after eight seasons, joining the Celtics on a four-year, $141 million deal in free agency. Boston opened the game’s first double-digit lead at 72-62 on a 3-pointer from the right corner by Semi Ojeleye with 7:24 left in the third quarter. Charlotte pulled within 75-73 after Biyombo’s floater with 4:30 left capped an 11-3 run. Malik Monk’s three-point play 13 seconds into the fourth cut the Celtics’ lead to 84-80, but Tatum scored 17 of the Celtics’ next 19 points to blow the game open. Tatum’s stepback 3-pointer with 4:30 remaining gave him a career high, and he finished with 22 points in the fourth. Boston led by as many as 26 points in the closing minutes. Graham scored 17 points as Charlotte led 37-30 after one quarter, but the second-year guard was held to two in the second and Boston took a 59-56 lead into halftime. KEMBA-LIKE Graham was hot in the first quarter, going 5 for 6 from beyond the arc. Graham tied a franchise record for 3-pointers in a quarter, a record shared by ex-Hornet Walker. Graham’s 17 first-quarter points also matched Walker for the most by a Hornets player in the last two seasons. NOT SO SCARY Rozier, nicknamed “Scary Terry” during his tenure in Boston, is a combined 7 for 28 in two games against his former team. TACKO TIME II For the second straight game, the crowd erupted when Celtics’ 7-foot-5 reserve Tacko Fall stood up to check in with three and a half minutes remaining. The crowd again chanted “MVP!” and cheered wildly for every play Fall was involved in. Fall finished with four points, two rebounds, and a block. TIP-INS Hornets: Rookie F P.J. Washington was sidelined for a fifth straight game after fracturing his right pinkie finger on Dec. 13 (Dec. 14, PHL time) at Chicago. Washington, the No. 12 overall pick in this year’s draft, is averaging 12.3 points through 28 games. Celtics: F Gordon Hayward (sore left foot) sat out a third straight game, but coach Brad Stevens said he “felt better” after a morning workout. “I would guess he’ll be bumped up to probable after today,” Stevens said. ... G Marcus Smart (eye infection) has been cleared to work out at the team’s facilities. Stevens said he expects Smart to return shortly after a six-game absence. ... G Carsen Edwards was available after being considered probable with a right quad contusion. Edwards was recalled from Maine of the NBA G-League before the game. UP NEXT Hornets: Host Thunder on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Celtics: Visit defending champion Raptors at noon on Christmas Day (Dec. 26, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2019

Hornets complete home-and-home sweep of Pistons, 110-107

By The Associated Press DETROIT (AP) — Langston Galloway’s shot from near midcourt rimmed out at the buzzer, and the Charlotte Hornets held on for a 110-107 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Charlotte completed a home-and-home sweep of the Pistons this week. Detroit must be wondering what it has to do to beat the Hornets. Charlotte edged the Pistons 109-106 earlier in the month and 102-101 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). This matchup went down to the wire again. The Hornets rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final quarter and led by three with 8.9 seconds left. Detroit inbounded the ball, and Luke Kennard missed a 3-pointer from near the top of the key. Galloway was able to run down the loose ball, and his last-ditch shot looked on line, but it wouldn’t go in. P.J. Washington scored 26 points for Charlotte, and Terry Rozier added 23. The Hornets were without center Cody Zeller because of a left hip injury. Derrick Rose led the Pistons with 23 points. SPURS 107, CLIPPERS 97 SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge and Derrick White each had 17 points, and San Antonio beat Kawhi Leonard and Los Angeles. The Spurs stopped the Clippers’ seven-game win streak in Leonard’s second appearance in San Antonio as an opponent. Leonard finished with 19 points on 8-for-23 shooting. San Antonio had lost two straight and 12 of 14, but found its footing against Los Angeles. Leonard spent his first seven seasons in San Antonio before demanding a trade. He was shipped off to Toronto and won his second NBA Finals MVP last season before joining the Clippers as a free agent. Leonard’s initial return to San Antonio on Jan. 24 (Jan. 25, PHL time) resulted in thunderous boos and a 125-107 loss for the Raptors. BUCKS 119, CAVALIERS 110 CLEVELAND (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 11 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and Milwaukee held off Cleveland for its 10th straight victory. Antetokounmpo grabbed 12 rebounds and has had double-doubles in every game this season for Milwaukee, at 16-3 the top team in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks hadn't won 10 in a row since the 1985-86 season. Hill scored 18 points, and Middleton, playing for the second time since missing seven games with a bruised left thigh, had 12. Cleveland has dropped nine of 10. Rookie Darius Garland scored 21 points, including five 3-pointers, and Cedi Osman had 20. Tristan Thompson had 11 points and 13 rebounds, including the 5,000th of his career in the first half. Love, who is playing despite dealing with a sore back, had 16 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes. RAPTORS 90, MAGIC 83 ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Norman Powell scored a career-best 33 points as Toronto won its sixth straight game, beating Orlando. Powell was 7-for-9 shooting in the third quarter, including three 3-pointers. Fred Van Fleet added 22 points for the Raptors, who won despite Pascal Siakam's 4-for-22 shooting. Siakam finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Evan Fournier scored 19 points for Orlando, which has lost four of five. Markelle Fultz added 15 points. Aaron Gordon, who played 32 minutes for Orlando after missing three games with a right ankle contusion, had eight points and eight rebounds. NETS 112, CELTICS 107 NEW YORK (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie had 32 points and 11 assists while Kyrie Irving was again unable to face his former team, and Brooklyn beat Boston to split a home-and-home series. Irving missed his eighth straight game with a right shoulder injury but was at the arena to get an evaluation and watch from the bench along with Kevin Durant as Dinwiddie kept up his strong play in his place. The Eastern Conference player of the week last week matched his highest assist total of the season and was two shy of his best scoring performance of the season. Jarrett Allen added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, who bounced back from their 121-110 loss in Boston on Wednesday night to win for the fifth time in six games. Jayson Tatum had 26 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics. HEAT 122, WARRIORS 105 MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic scored 20 points, Tyler Herro added 19 and Miami remained perfect at home this season. Duncan Robinson scored 17 for Miami, which is 8-0 at home for the second time in franchise history — tying the mark set by the 2012-13 Heat. Robinson and Herro were a combined 10 for 13 from 3-point range. Jimmy Butler scored 16, while Kendrick Nunn and Kelly Olynyk each had 15 for the Heat. Jordan Poole scored 20 for injury-ravaged Golden State, which was playing the opener of a five-game road trip. Eric Paschall scored 17 and Alec Burks finished with 16 for the Warriors. The Warriors are one of four teams without back-to-back wins this season, joining Chicago, Detroit and New York. 76ERS 101, KNICKS 95 NEW YORK (AP) — Joel Embiid had 27 points and 17 rebounds, James Ennis III scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, and Philadelphia overcame a sluggish start and beat New York. Tobias Harris scored 19, and Ben Simmons chipped in 16 points, including a game-sealing steal and dunk late in the fourth quarter for the 76ers, who have won two straight and six of seven. Julius Randle had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Marcus Morris Sr. scored 20 points for the Knicks, who have lost a season-high five straight. The 76ers were playing without starters Al Horford (rest) and Josh Richardson (right hamstring injury) and it showed in the first half as their offense struggled. Philadelphia shot 13 for 38 from the field, including 2 for 18 behind the 3-point line. JAZZ 103, GRIZZLIES 94 MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 16 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, helping Utah pull away from Memphis. Bogdanovic matched his season-high scoring mark, going 12 of 20 from the field, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range as Utah snapped a two-game losing streak. Donovan Mitchell added 20 points, and Rudy Gobert had 13 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks. Jonas Valanciunas led Memphis with 22 points and 17 rebounds, and Brandon Clarke scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. The Grizzlies have lost six straight. PACERS 105, HAWKS 104, OT INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jeremy Lamb scored 20 points, T.J. Warren hit a go-ahead 3-pointer and Indiana outlasted Trae Young and Atlanta in overtime. Young matched his career high with 49 points in the Hawks’ ninth straight loss. He was 16 of 28 from the field, hitting 8 of 15 from 3-point range. Lamb got the Pacers started in overtime with a 20-foot jumper and he fed Myles Turner for a 3-pointer. Warren made his only 3-pointer of the game with 1:12 remaining to push the Pacers to their fifth consecutive victory. Turner and Domantas Sabonis each scored 17 points, and Warren and Malcomb Brogdon had 16 apiece. DeAndre’ Bembry and Alex Len added 15 points each for Atlanta. THUNDER 109, PELICANS 104 OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Dennis Schroder scored 25 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, and had seven assists to help Oklahoma City beat New Orleans. Abdel Nader scored 19 points and Danilo Gallinari had 17 for Oklahoma City (7-11), which had been 1-4 in its previous five games. Steven Adams added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder, including the final four points in the last minute. Brandon Ingram scored 26 points and had eight rebounds to lead New Orleans (6-13), which lost its fourth straight. J.J. Redick added 16 points for the Pelicans but missed two 3-point attempts in the final 10 seconds. New Orleans had seven players score in double digits. MAVERICKS 120, SUNS 113 PHOENIX (AP) — Luka Doncic tied a career high with 42 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 26 and Dallas beat Phoenix. Doncic just missed a triple-double with 11 assists and nine rebounds. Hardaway shot 6 of 9 from 3-point range to help offset a quiet night from Kristaps Porzingis, who finished with two points. The teams entered the final quarter tied at 89. The Mavericks went on an 8-0 run midway through the fourth to take a 104-97 lead and never trailed again. Phoenix has lost six of its last seven games. Kelly Oubre Jr. led the Suns with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Ricky Rubio added 21 points and nine assists. LAKERS 125, WIZARDS 103 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anthony Davis had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and LeBron James had 23 points and 11 assists before both superstars took the fourth quarter off in Los Angeles’ 10th consecutive victory. Quinn Cook scored 17 points and JaVale McGee had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the steamrolling Lakers, who have won 17 of 18 to soar to the top of the overall NBA standings. Los Angeles went 14-1 in November, posting the most victories in a month for this 16-time champion franchise since March 2000. The up-tempo Wizards have been one of the NBA’s worst defensive teams this season, and the Lakers’ dynamic offense was far too much for them. Bradley Beal had 18 points and nine assists for the Wizards, who have lost three of four. Washington got off to a solid start and had several good stretches against the Lakers, but committed 19 turnovers and lost for the second time in three stops on a four-game West Coast road trip. TRAIL BLAZERS 107, BULLS 103 PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Carmelo Anthony had 23 points and 11 rebounds and Portland downed Chicago for its second victory over the Bulls this week. Damian Lillard added 28 points for the Blazers, who have won three straight after four consecutive losses. Hassan Whiteside had eight points, 15 rebounds and a franchise-record 10 blocks for Portland. Zach LaVine finished with 28 for the slumping Bulls, who have lost seven of their last nine games......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 30th, 2019

Leonard’s big fourth quarter lifts Clippers over Jazz

By Tom Connolly, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 18 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 105-94 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Leonard’s scoring surge helped the Clippers erase a double-digit second-half deficit and remain unbeaten (4-0) at home. He only made 9 of 26 shots, but with the game tied at 86, Leonard scored six points to spark a 19-8 run to close out the victory. Montrezl Harrell scored 19 points and Lou Williams added 17 for the Clippers. Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 36 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 19. After trailing by eight points in the opening quarter, the Clippers opened the second quarter on a 20-4 run. Landry Shamet’s 3-pointer gave Los Angeles a 36-24 lead at the 4:53 mark. The Jazz responded with a 17-3 run to finish the quarter and Mitchell’s basket in the final minute gave Utah a 41-39 lead at the break. Both teams shot under 35 percent in the opening half. Leonard made just one of nine shots in the first half and scored only five points. TIP-INS Jazz: Utah coach Quin Snyder served as an assistant for the Clippers for the 1992-93 season. “It was a great experience for me to work with Coach Larry Brown and with so many others who went onto to have historic careers.” ... The Jazz entered Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) game as the NBA’s No. 1 defensive team, allowing 94 points per game. Clippers: The Clippers have the fourth best regular season record (407-239) since the start of the 2011-12 season. Only the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder have more victories during that span. MICHAEL JORDAN-KAWHI LEONARD-ALLEN IVERSON COMPARSIONS In his availability prior to the game, Clippers coach Doc Rivers compared Leonard to Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson. “Kawhi’s body type is more similar to Michael Jordan’s than anyone in the league and Kawhi has the toughness of Allen Iverson.” PAUL GEORGE UPDATE “Paul is working hard and putting in a lot of ‘live’ work,” said Doc Rivers. “We don’t have a timeline on his return yet, but we’ll be reassessing it next week.” George was on the floor shooting and warming up with the Clippers prior to the game.” UP NEXT Jazz: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Clippers: host Milwaukee on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2019

17 NBA things that have been ghosted from memory

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com On a night traditionally known more for tricks and treats than picks and rolls, it seems appropriate to do a little ghost hunting, NBA-style. We’re not talking the Ghost Ballers of BIG3 fame or even the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City, a stop on the circuit that some teams claim is actually haunted. We’re thinking of things that used to be, gone-but-not-forgotten aspects of the league that lurk in the memory, even if they’re never coming back. Here in no particular order are some Halloween hoops hobgoblins that fall somewhere on the scary scale between the chain-rattling Jacob Marley and Casper: 1. Long-gone arenas. Oracle Arena, so recently vacated by the Golden State Warriors, is the latest addition to the NBA’s long list of abandoned homes. Many are gone themselves, though you still can catch a glimpse now and then on Hardwood Classics. There are too many to list, due to NBA teams moving on up to bigger, better digs over time. But a sampling would include the Cow Palace, Cobo Arena, Chicago Stadium, Boston Garden, The Forum, L.A. Sports Arena, Milwaukee’s MECCA, the Salt Palace, McNichols Arena, HemisFair Arena, Market Square, the Summit, the Spectrum, the Omni, the Pyramid, ARCO Arena/Sleep Train Arena and on and on. 2. Belted shorts. Relegated to the throwback bin, along with the more recent sleeved jerseys. 3. The six-foot lane. Heck, the 12-foot lane. The former was widened in 1951 in response to Minneapolis big man George Mikan’s dominance. Then it was widened again in 1964 to its current 16 feet in hopes of tamping down Wilt Chamberlain’s impact. 4. Commercial air travel. Some things on a used-to-be list inspire nostalgia in those who experienced them and curiosity in those who didn’t. But it’s highly unlikely any former or current players and coaches would swap today’s luxury charter flights for the way the NBA used to travel. Wake-up calls at 5 a.m. for the first flight out. Waiting out delays at the gate with the beat writers and civilians. Seven-footers folding themselves into economy class seating. 5. Obstacle-course schedules. The NBA in recent years has tried to be responsive to players’ performance needs and physical limitations, working to minimize the number of back-to-back games and four-in-five-night stretches. Didn’t used to be that way. Consider the Baltimore Bullets, who in January 1966 were put through these paces: Games in St. Louis, Detroit, back to St. Louis, day off, to Philadelphia, to Boston, home vs. Lakers. A week later, they bounced back and forth between L.A. (Lakers) and San Francisco for four games in four nights, then traveled to New York to face the Knicks for their fifth game in five nights. Baltimore’s record in those 11 games: 2-9. 6. Doubleheaders. Some teams in the NBA’s first few decades would book a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition as the night’s opening attraction. But the biggies were when the Knicks would host at Madison Square Garden a neutral-site game for two other NBA clubs. A lingering memory for some who attended: The thick haze that hung over the arena’s upper reaches, courtesy of the smokers puffing away all evening. 7. Tape-delay. It seems inconceivable in 2019 that an NBA playoff game, never mind a Finals contest, might be shown on anything but live TV. Nope. The league didn’t have much leverage in the late 1970s, before Magic Johnson and Larry Bird arrived to help goose interest and ratings. Networks forced fans to stay up late to watch games that were off before the telecasts tipped off. The practice continued into the ‘80s, with four of six Finals games in 1981 held till 11:30 p.m. ET. Michael Jordan was already creating new fans when the last tape-delayed game, Game 3 of the West finals between the Lakers and Rockets, aired on Friday, May 16, 1986. 8. “Illegal!” That used to be a frequent bellow from the league’s benches, with coaches trying to alert the refs when opposing defenses breached (or didn’t) the complicated illegal defense rules. The NBA purged most of that around the turn of the century by legislating in zone play. 9. Shattered backboards. For a while, it seemed as if backboards were exploding every few weeks in the Association. Darryl (“Chocolate Thunder”) Dawkins was the most avid crack-titioner, getting two in 1979. The earliest recorded instance came in 1946, when a Celtics forward named Chuck Connors (later more famous as TV’s “Rifleman”) shattered one during warmups. Baltimore’s Gus Johnson is said to have shattered three. Shaquille O’Neal didn’t get the glass but twice got entire support structures, pulling the backboards down to the court in his rookie season. In March 1993, against Chicago, New Jersey’s Chris Morris dunked and shattered a board without glass falling to the floor. 10. Three to make two. That old free-throw bonus was abolished by 1981-82. It made the game drag, and Jerry Colangelo, then GM of the Suns and the chairman of the NBA’s competition committee, rightly said: “Pro players shouldn’t need that extra foul shot.” 11. Phantom franchises. Oooh, pretty scary, kids, when you think of all the teams that are no more. They are rattling around in the mind long after they were supposedly dead and buried. We’re not talking just about the antiquities such as the Indianapolis Olympians, the Washington Capitols or the Toronto Huskies. The spirits of the Seattle SuperSonics, Buffalo Braves, San Diego Clippers and Vancouver Grizzlies still walk the NBA earth. Then there are most of the ABA franchises -- Virginia Squires, Utah Stars, Kentucky Colonels, Spirits of St. Louis -- that died more than 40 years ago before or in the merger. 12. Hand checking. A lot of capable defenders had their effectiveness vaporized overnight when the laying on of hands vs. a ball handler was outlawed in 2004. The NBA, in case you hadn’t noticed, likes scoring. 13. Injury shenanigans. As silly or frustrating as labels like “DNP-Old” or “load management” seem today, the reporting of injuries real or feigned used to be much less authentic. Before the inactive list, there was “injured reserve,” to which NBA teams would designate up to two players. Anyone put on that list was sidelined for a minimum of five games, and with smaller roster sizes in effect, it was a handy place to stash guys. So there was a whole lot of tendinitis and plantar fasciitis going on. This practice was snuffed in 2005-06. 14. “Play on!” Like the force-out ruling, this is a remnant of the days when the referees had and used more discretion in working their games. If a player lost the ball out of bounds but his elbow was knocked by a foe, the force-out meant the ball handler’s team retained possession. “Play on!” was a frequent order barked by refs when certain contact or violations were deemed minimally intrusive. Heavier scrutiny of the game officials’ performance and, later, video reviews now try to adjudicate everything down to the tip of a fingernail. 15. The 2-3-2 Finals format. This was adopted in 1985 as a reaction to those Lakers-Celtics or Lakers-Sixers championship series, which had the NBA universe crossing the country four or five times in a span of two weeks. Suggestions that the league was being energy-conscious, in terms of jet fuel, were part of it, too. The practice fiddled some with the notion of home-court advantage, although MLB continues to use it for its World Series. With charter flights deployed by all teams, league execs and even some of the media, the NBA changed back to the 2-2-1-1-1 format in 2014 to align with its postseasons’ earlier rounds. 16. Player-coaches. Forty men in NBA history have done it. The first was Ed Sadowski of the Toronto Huskies in the Basketball Association of America precursor to the NBA. Only two men won championships as player-coaches: Baltimore’s Buddy Jeannette in 1948 and Boston’s Bill Russell in 1968 and 1969. The youngest player coach ever was Dave DeBusschere, who took over the Pistons in 1964 at age 24 (not long after ending his second career as an MLB pitcher). The Hawks’ Richie Guerin logged the most games (372) in the role, yet was named Coach of the Year in the one season in the middle when he stopped playing. Legend Lenny Wilkens was a player-coach for two teams, spending three seasons at it in Seattle and one in Portland. And the last player-coach in NBA history was Dave Cowens, who accepted the gig after coach Satch Sanders got fired in 1978-79. None of the players wanted to learn a new system, Cowens said, so “I kind of took one for the team.” The practice died with the arrival of the salary cap in 1984, with NBA brass wary that paying a coaching bonus might enable a team to circumvent the cap. 17. Victory cigars. For obvious reasons. Probably victory vaping, too. 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......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2019