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Heat arrange NBA title duel with Lakers

Florida—The Miami Heat poured it on in the fourth quarter to beat the Boston Celtics 125-113 on Sunday and book a NBA Finals showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers......»»

Category: sportsSource: thestandard thestandardSep 29th, 2020

LA Lakers crush Miami Heat to win 17th NBA title

The Los Angeles Lakers dominated the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday to win a record-equalling 17th NBA championship but their first since 2010......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 12th, 2020

Lakers close out Heat for 1st NBA title in 10 years

After missing out on their close-out chance in Game Five, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers went out guns blazing, getting a wire-to-wire victory in the title-clinching game......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 12th, 2020

Lakers Davis says he ll be ready for NBA Finals game six

Anthony Davis insisted he'll be ready to go on Sunday when the Los Angeles Lakers try again to close out the Miami Heat for the 2020 NBA title, despite an early injury scare in the Lakers' game-five loss on Friday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 11th, 2020

Lakers seek 17th NBA title; Heat still defiant

Orlando---The Los Angeles Lakers can complete the franchise’s return to the pinnacle of basketball here Friday as they look to seal a record-equalling 17th NBA Finals crown with a victory over the Miami Heat......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 10th, 2020

Heat edge Lakers in thriller to keep NBA title dream alive

Jimmy Butler's triple-double propelled Miami to a 111-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday that kept the Heat alive in the NBA Finals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 10th, 2020

Lakers fend off gritty Heat, on verge of NBA title

The Lakers survived a low-scoring affair against a determined Heat defense that was reinforced by the returning Bam Adebayo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 7th, 2020

NBA Finals: Lakers close in on title, cool off Heat

LeBron James scored 28 points as the Los Angeles Lakers moved to within one win of a 17th NBA championship on Tuesday with a 102-96 victory over the Miami Heat. Humbled by Miami in game three on Sunday, James and the Lakers came roaring back in a hard-fought defensive battle that was finely balanced until […] The post NBA Finals: Lakers close in on title, cool off Heat appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 7th, 2020

James, Davis, propel Lakers to second straight win over Heat

Anthony Davis and LeBron James powered Los Angeles to a 124-114 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday that put the Lakers two wins away from their first NBA title since 2010......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2020

Davis, James power Lakers past Heat for 2-0 lead in NBA Finals

Anthony Davis and LeBron James powered Los Angeles to a 124-114 victory over the Miami Heat that put the Lakers two wins away from their first NBA title since 2010. The injury-depleted Heat hung on as well as they could, but 33 points from James and 32 from Davis were just too much. Davis, playing in […] The post Davis, James power Lakers past Heat for 2-0 lead in NBA Finals appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2020

Butler finally at home as Heat prepare title tilt

Jimmy Butler’s journey to the NBA Finals began when he was thrown out of home by his mother as a teenager. The 31-year-old Texan with a taste for country and western music will lead the Miami Heat on Wednesday as they take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the […] The post Butler finally at home as Heat prepare title tilt appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 29th, 2020

Heat scorch Celtics, reach NBA Finals vs Lakers

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida — It was exactly one year ago Sunday when Jimmy Butler walked into the Miami Heat practice gym, took a seat on a makeshift stage and said he wanted to be part of the team’s next title run. He’ll have that chance. The Heat are going to the NBA Finals — […] The post Heat scorch Celtics, reach NBA Finals vs Lakers appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 28th, 2020

2020 NBA Champion doesn t deserve dreaded 'asterisk'

Take your asterisk and file it somewhere else. For former NBA champion Glen Rice, the winner of the 2020 NBA title will be a deserving one. It certainly shouldn't be subject to to any asterisks even as the NBA season was postponed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If anything, the season delay and the fact that NBA teams had to be subjected inside the bubble for the duration of the playoffs plus an additional eight seeding games makes this year's champion all the more celebrated. "When you have what's going on around everyone, trying to maintain a safe lifestyle in the bubble, at the same time staying aware of what's going on outside the bubble and the nuances that can go as far as COVID creeping in there, if you can get champion out everything that's going on that's really easy to distract you from basketball, I think that's a huge plus for these guys," Rice said in an interview set up by NBA Philippines. "That just goes to show you how determined and focused they were," he added. The 2020 NBA Champion will be one of the few crowned during a season where teams played less than then 82 regular season games. The 2012 Miami Heat and 1999 San Antonio Spurs won their respective titles during lockout-shortened seasons. Still, those teams don't deserve asterisks shouldn't they? Do the 2019 Raptors deserve an asterisk because Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were injured in the last two games of the Finals? Do the mid-1990s Houston Rockets deserve an asterisk because Michael Jordan chose to play baseball? Each NBA champion will be unique in their own way, Rice says there should be no reason why the 2020 NBA winner should be looked at any differently just because of the current world circumstances. "I think you will see a lot of people saying something different, perhaps having that asterisk. But I think more importantly, people need to realize is that this is different and I'm talking about in a positive way," he said. "This is something that we've never seen in sports. To crown a champion in this environment right now, I think that says a lot about the players and coaches who go out there and do what they gotta do," Rice added. The 2020 NBA playoffs tip off Monday (Tuesday in Manila) with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers leading the East and West, respectively. The Bucks open round 1 against the Orlando Magic while the Lakers battle the Portland Trail Blazers. Defending champion Toronto Raptors take on the Brooklyn Nets while the Boston Celtics meet the Philadelphia 76ers. The Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat complete the East bracket. In the Western Conference, the no. 2 Los Angeles Clippers open things up against the Dallas Mavericks. The Denver Nuggets take on division rival Utah Jazz while the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder duke it out in a best-of-7.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 17th, 2020

Lowry sparks Raptors over Lakers as NBA contenders duel

Miami, United States—Kyle Lowry scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lift the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors over the Los Angeles Lakers 107-92 in a showdown of title contenders Saturday (Sunday Philippine time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

Former champion Dwight Howard leads field in 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2020 – Former Slam Dunk champion Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers returns to the competition for the first time in 11 years as he headlines the field of four players who will take flight in the 2020 AT&T Slam Dunk on Saturday, Feb. 15 (Sunday, Feb. 16 in the Philippines) at the United Center in Chicago. Howard is joined by two previous second-place finishers, Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic and Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat, as well as first-time participant Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks. The 35th AT&T Slam Dunk is part of State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night, which also features the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and the MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest.  All-Star Saturday Night will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio in the United States at 8 p.m. ET.  NBA All-Star 2020 will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages. Howard, the 2008 Slam Dunk champion, will compete in the event for the first time since 2009, when he made the last of three consecutive appearances.  Gordon’s dazzling runner-up performance in 2016 included three straight perfect scores of 50.  Jones Jr., who turns 23 on the same day as AT&T Slam Dunk, finished second in 2017.  Connaughton is seeking to become the first Milwaukee player to win Slam Dunk.  AT&T Slam Dunk takes in place Chicago for the first time since 1988, when the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan memorably outdueled the Atlanta Hawks’ Dominique Wilkins to win his second consecutive Slam Dunk title. Here is a closer look at the 2020 AT&T Slam Dunk participants: • Pat Connaughton, Bucks (1st appearance): The 6-5 guard is in his second season with Milwaukee after spending his first three NBA seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers.  Connaughton (CONN-uh-ton) recorded a max vertical leap of 44 inches at the 2015 NBA Draft Combine, tied for the third-highest mark in event history.  He was selected as a pitcher by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft. • Aaron Gordon, Magic (3rd appearance): Gordon returns to AT&T Slam Dunk for the first time since 2017.  The 6-9 forward ranks third on the Magic in scoring (13.6 ppg) and second in rebounding (7.2 rpg) in his sixth NBA season. • Dwight Howard, Lakers (4th appearance): Howard is an eight-time NBA All-Star selection, eight-time All-NBA Team selection and three-time Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year.  The 6-10 center ranks 14th in NBA history in both rebounds (13,553) and blocked shots (2,120). • Derrick Jones Jr., Heat (2nd appearance): As a rookie in the 2016-17 season, Jones became the first player to compete in AT&T Slam Dunk and play in the NBA G League in the same season.  Since then, the undrafted Jones has earned a full-time role in the NBA.  Nicknamed “Airplane Mode” for his leaping ability, the 6-7 Jones won a national dunk contest for high school players in 2015.    2020 AT&T Slam Dunk Rules In the two-round event, participants can perform any dunk they choose.  The players have a maximum of three attempts to complete each dunk in both the first round and the final round.  Five judges score every dunk on a scale of 6 to 10, resulting in a high score of 50 and a low score of 30.  The judges will be announced at a later date. All four competitors get two dunks in the first round.  The two players with the highest combined score for their two dunks advance to the head-to-head final round.  Both players get two dunks in the final round.  The player with the highest combined score for his two dunks in the final round is crowned the 2020 AT&T Slam Dunk champion.  Click here for a complete explanation of the rules.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2020

Harden has 44 points in triple-double, Rockets beat 76ers

By The Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 44 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the Houston Rockets’ 118-108 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). On a “Flashback Friday” in which the Rockets wore retro ketchup-and-mustard uniforms from their back-to-back NBA title days in the mid-90s, Harden sported a white headband and cornrows. Harden hit a deep step-back 3-pointer over Josh Richardson with 1:17 left in the game that put Houston up 10. On the next possession, he found Clint Capela with an alley-oop for a thunderous dunk. Capela was a point shy of his career high in scoring with 30 points and 14 rebounds. Ben Simmons led Philadelphia with 29 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists and four blocks, which matched a career high. Tobias Harris scored 24 points, and Joel Embiid added 20 points and 12 rebounds. The 76ers have lost four straight, their longest skid since dropping five in a row in Dec. 2017. LAKERS 123, PELICANS 113 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 46 points against his former team, Danny Green added 25 and Los Angeles rolled over New Orleans. It was Davis' second straight 40-point game against the team he played seven seasons for after he was the top overall pick in 2012. He also had 13 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season. LeBron James had 17 points and 15 assists for the Lakers, who have won four straight after having a season-high, four-game losing streak. Former Lakers Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram led New Orleans in their return to Staples Center. Ball scored a team-high 23 points and Ingram added 22 as the Pelicans had their four-game winning streak snapped. MAGIC 105, HEAT 85 ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Terrence Ross scored 25 points, Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Orlando shut down Miami in the fourth quarter. Miami scored only six points in the fourth quarter, going 3 for 19 from the field. Jimmy Butler had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat. Aaron Gordon had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Magic, and Evan Fournier scored 15 points. One day after holding the Toronto Raptors to 6-of-42 shooting from 3-point range in a victory in Miami, the Heat shot 7 for 37 from long range and 37.5% overall. CELTICS 109, HAWKS 106 BOSTON (AP) — Jaylen Brown had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Boston Celtics overcome an 18-point, first-quarter deficit against Atlanta. Marcus Smart started in place of the flu-ridden Kemba Walker and scored 15 points, adding nine assists and hitting a 3-pointer that gave Boston a four-point lead with 43 seconds left. Gordon Hayward scored 18 points, and Enes Kanter had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Trae Young scored 28 points with 10 assists for the Hawks. They beat Orlando on Monday to snap a 10-game losing streak. TRAIL BLAZERS 122, WIZARDS 103 WASHINGTON (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 35 points and CJ McCollum added 24 in Portland’s victory over Washington. Hassan Whiteside added 23 points, 21 rebounds and five blocks to help Portland snap a five-game losing streak. Jordan McRae scored a season-high 35 points, for Washington. Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas was ejected less than 1 1/2 minutes into the game for making contact with an official. Thomas was tied up along the sideline by Portland's Carmelo Anthony. As Thomas broke away from Anthony, he made contact with referee Marat Kogut, who stumbled into the crowd. SUNS 120, KNICKS 112 PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker scored 38 points, Kelly Oubre Jr. added 29 and Phoenix rallied in the fourth quarter to beat New York. Phoenix won for the third time in four games. Aron Baynes added 20 points and 12 rebounds, ande Deandre Ayton had 15 points and 13 boards. Booker scored at least 30 points for the fifth straight game, the longest streak of his career and tying a franchise high. Oubre shot 11 of 16 from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Former Suns forward Marcus Morris scored 25 points for New York......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2020

The King reigns: LeBron James is AP’s male athlete of decade

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press He left Cleveland for Miami, finally became a champion, went back to his beloved northeast Ohio, delivered on another title promise, then left for the Los Angeles Lakers and the next challenge. He played in eight straight finals. No NBA player won more games or more MVP awards over the last 10 years than he did. He started a school. He married his high school sweetheart. “That’s all?” LeBron James asked, feigning disbelief. No, that’s not all. Those were just some highlights of the last 10 years. There were many more, as the man called “King” spent the last decade reigning over all others — with no signs of slowing down. James is The Associated Press male athlete of the decade, adding his name to a list that includes Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Arnold Palmer. He was a runaway winner in a vote of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, easily outpacing runner-up Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. “You add another 10 years of learning and adversity, pitfalls, good, great, bad, and any smart person who wants to grow will learn from all those experiences,” James, who turns 35 Monday, told the AP. “A decade ago, I just turned 25. I’m about to be 35 and I’m just in a better (place) in my life and have a better understanding of what I want to get out of life.” Usain Bolt of Jamaica was third for dominating the sprints at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, soccer superstar Lionel Messi was fourth and Michael Phelps — the U.S. swimmer who retired as history’s most decorated Olympian with 28 medals, 23 gold — was fifth. James was revealed as the winner Sunday, one day after Serena Williams was announced as the AP’s female athlete of the decade. In his 17th season, he’s on pace to lead the league in assists for the first time while remaining among the NBA’s scoring leaders. “When LeBron James is involved,” Denver coach Michael Malone said, “I’m never surprised.” Including playoffs, no one in the NBA scored more points than James in the last 10 years. He started the decade 124th on the league’s all-time scoring list. He’s now about to pass Kobe Bryant for No. 3. No. 2 Karl Malone and No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are within reach. Is Abdul-Jabbar in his sights? Is catching him the new decade’s goal? “I would be lying if I said I don’t see it,” James said. “Obviously I’m not trying to say, ‘OK, well if I play this amount of time, if I average this’ ... I’m not doing that because I’ve never done that with my career. I’ve always just kind of let it happen. Whatever happens, happens. But I see it. I do see it.” His work ethic, even now, makes even those closest to him marvel. Here’s a typical day this past summer for James, who remains obsessed with working even though fame and fortune found him long ago: He’d wake up at 3 a.m. and be at the Warner Bros. lot by 3:45 — where a weight room and court, built just for him, were waiting. He’d be lifting by 4 a.m., getting shots up by 5:30 and be ready to start another day of shooting the remake of “Space Jam” that he has been planning for years by 7 a.m. “That’s who he is,” said Mike Mancias, one of the longest-tenured and most trusted members of James’ inner circle, tasked for more than 15 years with keeping James fit. “He does whatever it takes when it comes to fulfilling his commitments to everything — especially his game and his craft.” The 2010s for James started with “The Decision,” the widely criticized televised announcement of his choice to leave Cleveland for Miami. (Lost in the hubbub: The show raised more than $2.5 million for charity.) He was with the Heat for four years, went to the NBA Finals all four times with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, finally won the title in 2012 — “it’s about damn time,” he said at the trophy celebration — and led the way in a Game 7 win over San Antonio to go back-to-back the following year. “He grew immensely here as a leader,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He impacted winning as much as with his leadership as he did with his talent. I think that was the most important thing he learned with us. And he’s been able to take that to different franchises and continue using that as a template.” Cleveland was devastated when he left. It forgave him. James returned home in 2014, took Cleveland to four consecutive finals, then led the Cavaliers to the 2016 title and came up with one of the biggest plays of his life by pulling off a chase-down block of Golden State’s Andre Iguodala in the final seconds of Game 7 of that series. And in 2018, he was off to LA. Going Hollywood made so much sense — he’s making movies, has a production company, has a program called “The Shop” as part of his ‘Uninterrupted’ platform featuring an array of guests from Drake to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed a bill on the show that will allow college athletes to get paid for the use of their likeness and sign endorsement deals. “There’s a lot of moments from this decade that would be up there, winning the two Miami championships, winning a championship in Cleveland, the chase-down block,” James said. “But the best moment? Definitely marrying Savannah. That would be No. 1.” James and longtime partner Savannah Brinson got married six years ago. They already had two sons — both are very good basketball players already — and added a daughter in 2014. James also spent most of the last decade as a lightning rod for critics. He used his voice often on social matters, speaking out after the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and campaigning for Hillary Clinton. He supported Colin Kaepernick’s methods of protesting police brutality and racial injustice. Most recently, he was criticized by many — including top U.S. lawmakers — for his remarks after Houston general manager Daryl Morey sparked a massive rift between the NBA and China by sending out a tweet supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. “I don’t live in regret,” James said. “There’s no moment in this last decade that I wish I could have back. If a situation was bad or you feel like you could have done better, then I learned from it.” He doesn’t know how much longer he’ll play. He laments missing time with his children. His “I Promise” school that opened in 2018 in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, has been an immediate success story, and he wants to see that enterprise continue growing. Some love him. Some don’t. He doesn’t mind. “When you believe in your calling or you believe in yourself, then it doesn’t matter what other people say or how other people feel,” James said. “And if you allow that to stop you or deter you from your mission, then you don’t get anywhere.” And in the 2010s, nothing deterred James......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

LeBron s worlds collide as son s team, alma mater meet

By Nicole Kraft, Associated Press COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — They crowded into Nationwide Arena, 13,000 strong, cheering every shot, roaring with every basket. Many were not there to see the game. They came to see LeBron. Bronny James made his Ohio debut Saturday, and hit the go-ahead shot in the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers' 59-56 victory over the St. Vincent-St. Mary Irish. Sierra Canyon is 8-0. Watching, cheering loudest of all and pacing the sideline, was LeBron James, NBA great, father to Bronny, and St. Vincent-St. Mary’s most famous alum. The elder James led the Irish to three state titles in four years, bringing their games to the airwaves of ESPN airwaves and the pages of Sports Illustrated. Now it’s Bronny’s turn.   More than 400 credentialed media encircled the court to capture every pass, every dribble, every shot of the King’s firstborn, who would likely have worn an Irish jersey had the family not moved west so James could shine for the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron James put Akron’s St. Vincent–St. Mary High School on the map nearly 20 years ago and has donated $2 million to the school, renovating the gymnasium that now bears his name and writing a $250,000 check to buy new uniforms for athletes and band members. His best friend, Willie McGee, is the athletic director. But his heart Saturday was clearly with the Trailblazers, as he yelled tips and encouragement from his court-side seat. With a timeout, James walked halfway on to the court, calling, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” to the Sierra Canyon bench and leaping to his feet when the Trailblazers took a first-half lead. “Before LeBron went to the Lakers, it was assumed Bronny would stay in Ohio and play at St. Vincent -St. Mary, and carry on the tradition,” Zach Fleer of 270 Hoops, central Ohio’s premiere prep basketball site, said. “Among freshman class, he is among the elite players, but he is not the best player in country. He’s not like his dad yet—he still has a ways to go, Right now I think he is a better shooter than LeBron was at that age. He’s 6-foot-2 now. If he stretches out to his dad size, there is no telling how good he can he.” James took a private plane from Miami to watch his son play high school ball live for the first time, but the game was about more than family by blood. He started the night having dinner with his St. Vincent-St. Mary teammates — the “Fab Five,” they were called when they were the biggest thing in high school basketball 17 years ago. Joining James court-side was his wife, Savannah, childhood friend and business partner Maverick Carter, and former Irish teammate Romeo Travis, who cheered his alma mater but shouted as Bronny James drove down the court, “Here we go young King!” LeBron James has anticipated the sight of his son facing his alma mater for some time. “A pretty surreal, come-full-circle, unbelievable thing,” LeBron James said. James and Dwyane Wade decided months ago that they would have their sons pair up at Sierra Canyon — just as they did in Miami from 2010 through 2014, winning two championships together with the Miami Heat. Now their kids are chasing a title, although Wade’s son Zaire was injured and did not play Saturday. LeBron James’ said his only regret so far being that his schedule with the Los Angeles Lakers takes him away from Trailblazers’ games. “I love what I do. I don’t take this for granted. This is a dream come true,” LeBron James said. “But missing my son, missing LeBron Jr., missing (younger son) Bryce’s first game the other day when we left for Orlando, missing my daughter at gymnastics and things of that nature, I understand it’s the business, but it sucks.” Sierra Canyon has been a well-known program in high school circles for some time — the Trailblazers have won the last two California Open Division state championships and were ranked nationally last year with a roster loaded with blue-chip prospects. Celebrity sightings are an everyday thing at the school where it costs $37,700 a year in tuition alone for high schoolers to attend: Recent Sierra Canyon rosters included the sons of former NBA players Scottie Pippen and Kenyon Martin. Marvin Bagley III played there. Kendall and Kylie Jenner attended the school. Drake has been to games as a fan. This year — with the oldest sons of James and Wade added to the mix — it has become a full-on spectacle. Saturday’s game was part of a four-game run that will see them play in four different states, California, Arizona, Ohio and next up will be Nevada in a few days. They’ve played in Texas already. Games in Massachusetts and New Jersey are later this season. ESPN will air 10 more Sierra Canyon games this season, with other games either on television or streamed. Bronny James being compared to his father is inevitable. The attention he draws is also enormous — videos of his first dunk, when he was 13, have been viewed on YouTube more than 20 million times and he has 3.8 million followers on Instagram. For now, the family is trying to squash any talk of how good a player he can be or if he’ll one day make the NBA. “My son is in the ninth grade; he’s a kid,” LeBron James said. “We’re not even thinking about anything besides how he can be a great teammate, how he can be a great son, how he can be a great brother to his sister and little brother, how he can continue to be a great kid.” ___ AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2019

LeBron James, Anthony Davis bring new Heat to L.A.

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com The relationship they formed, nurtured and maximized to the championship fullest was captured in all its glory nine years ago this month on a sensational play that took maybe six seconds. Dwyane Wade grabbed a loose ball and ran up court, leading a rather routine fast break and then, chemistry happened. He gently tossed a short, no-look bounce pass that for a microsecond went to a ghost, at least until LeBron James, trailing the play in full sprint, appeared and scooped the ball. Wade didn’t see LeBron behind him … he just knew. LeBron didn’t call for the ball … he just knew. As LeBron elevated and cupped the ball for a tomahawk dunk, Wade kept running forward and spread his arms before the crowd, as if to say: This is how we do it. That finish was immortalized by an Associated Press photographer seated underneath the rim named Morry Gash. The image instantly went viral, causing witnesses to gasp at the image’s snarky, arrogant and amazing glory. Mostly, though, that sequence symbolized the blossoming bond between LeBron and Wade early in their time together with the Miami Heat. 9 years ago today. #L3GENDARY pic.twitter.com/Yc7iQDezlM — Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 6, 2019 And, it suggests what’s currently percolating in Los Angeles with the Lakers. LeBron has a new basketball boo, and the process with Anthony Davis is starting to look strikingly familiar. Theirs is an already devastating combo that has the Lakers scorching through the early NBA season with the best record in the West. ‘Bron and The Brow are both entertaining and effective, a combination that certainly works in L.A. (which expects both). This is more of the peanut butter-and-jelly variety than fingernail meets blackboard in terms of two forces blending in beautifully. They share the same ideas about how to play the game as one, when to defer (and when take over) and why there’s no need for ego or one-upmanship. It’s a tag-team, your-turn-my-turn type of existence, sprinkled with an ability to recognize each other’s tendencies. Oh, and it helps that they like each other as people. Longtime Laker witnesses might feel the urge to compare this to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, but a more apt linkage is LeBron and Wade, whose on-court kinship spilled over into their personal lives, and to this day they still refer to each other as brothers from other mothers. “We had something special,” James said. And now, with Davis? “Everything’s coming along great, maybe even quicker than we thought.” As the Lakers prepare to play Friday in Miami (Saturday, PHL time) -- the site of so many LeBron-Wade connections -- the NBA’s new combo is just getting ramped up. No All-Star duo in the league is generating more wins, sizzle and per-game production than LeBron and Davis, who average a combined 53.6 points, 15.8 rebounds and 14.1 assists per game. They’re durable, too: LeBron has played in every game while Davis has missed only one. Much of this was expected when the Lakers traded for Davis and gave LeBron someone who was arguably his equal in terms of talent. The pairing seemed ideal because Davis is a low-maintenance star who doesn’t always demand the ball and keeps his ego hidden -- necessary tools when one plays in LeBron’s orbit. They also tend to cover each other’s weaknesses. For example, Davis is a superior defender while LeBron, who turns 35 in a few weeks, picks his spots defensively. Davis took the Pelicans to the semifinals once, while LeBron has played in eight of the last nine Finals. One other critical element worth noting is this: LeBron is anxious to grab at least another title here with his third team, which would be unprecedented. Davis is hungry for his first. They share the same quest, then, but approach it from different angles. Given where they are in their careers, there was a hunch they were made for each other. After 25 games, this notion has proven correct. “They hit the ground running right from the start of training camp,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “Both on and off the basketball court, their chemistry has been seamless.” LeBron seemed determined to make this work after his first season in L.A. lacked a true co-star and was slowed by a groin injury. His basketball relationship with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland took a sharp turn three years ago when Irving demanded a trade, mainly to escape LeBron’s enormity and strike out on his own. LeBron, like almost everyone else, was stunned as to why someone was so willing to bail on an all-time great. That raised this issue: while LeBron is one of the most accommodating superstars in NBA history, other stars in their prime would rather be the lead singer on another team. Davis seems cut from another cloth, however. And besides, when LeBron eventually retires (he has two seasons left on his contract), Davis will become a solo king if he so desires. This process was months in the making as LeBron made a point to align himself with Davis off the court since last summer. He welcomed him into his home, inviting him to events and generally magnetizing himself to Davis, who in turn did the same. This same approach worked for LeBron and Wade in 2010, but back then, LeBron was joining Wade’s team and was careful not to overstep any boundaries. “What I’m seeing here is how much time they spent together away from the court last summer and how that has impacted what’s going on right now,” Vogel said. “Even in film sessions the two are always together. They’re just building that friendship that LeBron and Dwyane had. LeBron has done everything in his power to make sure he’s going out of his way to make Anthony comfortable.” Wade and LeBron became fast friends because their personalities were similar and therefore clicked. Wade admitted that, at times, it was difficult to ride shotgun that first season together. But he respected LeBron’s talents too much to make that an issue. It all worked as they won two championships and made four Finals together. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra recognizes what’s developing in L.A. and says about LeBron: “He’s able to morph into whatever he needs to be to bring out the best from other players. This just fits like a glove with LeBron and AD, the way they work well together. Their skill sets compliment each other.” The Bron-Brow combo is causing defensive hell for teams: Which one gets a double team? Do you put a big player on LeBron and a shorter one on Davis or vice versa? Last Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the two combined for 82 points against the Timberwolves, which came two nights after they dropped 70 on the Blazers. Scoring only tells so much, but the way they compliment each other is nearly perfect. LeBron handles the ball, Davis impacts the rebounding and defense. They can almost sense where the other is without looking. Together, their sneaker prints are all over the floor. “The more time you spend together, if you have the same goals in mind and you have the same drive, then organically it happens,” LeBron said. Much of this is new to Davis, who only got a half-season’s worth of playing time with an All-Star (DeMarcus Cousins) his six seasons with New Orleans. He welcomes the change of synergy because playing next to LeBron ups his championship odds. “I mean, he’s a tremendous teammate, great talent and takes a lot of pressure off not only me, but everyone else,” Davis said. “It’s fun to be on the floor with him.” That’s evident from everyone who has watched this relationship take root and grow. “It’s there, and I think it’s genuine, too, from what I can see,” said former Lakers great and James Worthy, now a TV analyst for the club. “They’ve known each other for a while now, and they have that same drive and vision about the game and how it’s played. I think they know how to monitor each other and the team constructively to where the cohesiveness remains tight.” What’s frightening is the process hasn’t even reached a half-season. The wavelength LeBron and Wade once enjoyed can be matched with Davis, and it’s on pace to be fully maximized by the playoffs. The better it gets for Bron and Brow, the better it is for their supporting cast. “For me and AD, it starts with us,” LeBron said. “If we’re on the same page it makes it easier for the rest of the ball club.” There’s an important duplication taking place in Los Angeles, from LeBron-Wade to LeBron-Davis. The initial results are decisively promising. If this all keeps up, might multiple championships also follow? Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. 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 NewsDec 12th, 2019

21 active stars who should have their jersey retired someday

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com Tony Parker is the latest all-time great to see his jersey raised to the rafters for his years of service in San Antonio. But he won’t be the last of his generation to be honored that way. Parker’ big night in San Antonio generated some interesting conversation about who, among current NBA players only, would be in line for similar honors someday. Keep in mind that the standards for a retired jersey with one franchise differs from one to another. Winning titles in Los Angeles or Boston -- or even Chicago or Golden State -- is a tougher sell than it is where there aren’t already multiple championship banners. Accomplishments matter … and so does sentiment, too. There are always unique variables at work when it comes to retiring jerseys, which is a much more significant honor than inducting a player into a franchise’s ring of honor. With Parker’s star-studded ceremony still fresh in our minds, here’s a list of other stars who will one day be able to see their jerseys up in the rafters: * * * LeBron James (Cavs and Heat): If there is anyone that’s an absolute lock to see his jersey raised high when he calls it a career, it’s LeBron. He delivered Cleveland a title, ending the city’s 52-year title drought, in his second stint with what is essentially his hometown team. Before that, he was the catalyst for the Heat’s four straight Finals trips (2011-14) and back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. The standard to join the Lakers’ retired-jersey fraternity is tougher, of course. The greatest Lakers get statues -- a fate that might await LeBron in Cleveland one day. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala (Warriors): Also known as the “Hamptons 5”, they will all be immortalized someday by Golden State. All five played a role in the championship fun and excitement they generated during the franchise’s golden era of the past half-decade. You can make case for all five of them to enjoy jersey retirement ceremonies on their own. That, however, would go against everything their “Strength In Numbers” era was about. Rest assured, though, that all five of them will have their day. James Harden (Rockets): Harden started his career as a super sixth man in Oklahoma City before rewriting his legacy after a trade to Houston. He’s already one of the most prolific and creative scorers the league has seen. The Rockets have had their fair share of legendary players and know what it’s like to bask in the championship glow provided by the rise of a transcendent player. Harden’s jersey will be in good company some day, perhaps right next to Hakeem Olajuwon’s No. 34. Russell Westbrook (Thunder): In an era where nearly every other elite superstar of his generation made a move via trade or free agency, Westbrook stuck to his roots in Oklahoma City until he had no choice but to move on. He endeared himself to generations of OKC fans by playing at a fever pitch from start to finish, earning All-Star, All-NBA and Kia MVP honors there. Being a part of a Finals team with Durant and Harden helped cement his legacy. Although he’s now in Houston, he’ll always have a place in the hearts of Thunder fans. Damian Lillard (Blazers): Lillard personifies the values of a basketball-mad fan base in a city that adores its team and stars in a unique way. The Blazers did their homework on the unheralded point guard from Weber State and have enjoyed everything that’s happened since. From his Kia Rookie of the Year campaign in 2013 to today, he has played out better than anyone could have imagined. Lillard, one of the most underappreciated stars of his generation, couldn’t have found a better match in a city and franchise. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks): The rise of the "The Greak Freak" from obscure prospect to Kia MVP in just six seasons gives his story extra dramatic flair. His relentless work ethic helped change the culture in Milwaukee and branded him as a potential successor to James as the face of the league. The fact that he authored the greatest individual season in Bucks history since Kareem-Abdul Jabbar’s days has carved out a permanent space for Antetokounmpo’s jersey in franchise lore. Kemba Walker (Hornets): The face of the franchise in Charlotte for the first eight years of his career, Walker has since moved on to Boston. But he remains the Hornets’ career leader in several categories and was a beloved fan favorite for a team that never achieved any sustained postseason success. Few players of his or any era forged a connection to a city and franchise as Walker did with Charlotte. Derrick Rose (Bulls): Born and raised in Chicago, Rose (at 22) became the youngest player to win the Kia MVP in 2011. He also joined Michael Jordan and Elton Brand as the only Bulls to win Rookie of the Year honors. Even though knee injuries derailed his career in his hometown, he piled up enough early career accolades to one day be honored with a retired jersey. Although he never led the franchise back to championship prominence, he is the the most decorated Bull since MJ. Vince Carter (Raptors): How many players can say they served as the basketball inspiration for an entire nation? Carter can. His time with the Raptors served as the spark for generations of future NBA players, many of whom have gotten the chance to play with their childhood idol in the twilight of his future Hall of Fame career. His five seasons with the New Jersey Nets solidified his status as one of the best players of his generation. But his star was never brighter than it was from 1998-2004 when “Vinsanity” inspired Canada. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley (Grizzlies): These two should grit and grind their way to the rafters in Memphis, on the same night if possible. They helped usher in the greatest run in franchise history, spearheading a feisty and physical style that spoke to the city’s blue-collar ways. The “Grit and Grind” Grizzlies validated their rise to prominence with a West finals run in 2013 steered by Gasol and Conley. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan (Raptors): Lowry and his best buddy DeRozan were separated before they could realize their dreams of winning a title together in Toronto. Lowry realized it last season alongside Kawhi Leonard, thus cementing his legacy as an all-time great Raptor. He’ll always have a place to call home north of the border because of the franchise-altering success that took place on his watch. DeRozan was a fan favorite who wanted to finish his career in Toronto. He, too, will always have a home in the city. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul (Clippers): The LA end for these two was messier than it should have been, especially since they oversaw the “Lob City” era that revitalized the franchise. Time will surely heal all wounds, somewhere down the road. History will be kinder to the Clippers’ climb out of the doldrums than anyone was during their injury-tortured run. Griffin and Paul are locks for the Hall of Fame one day. Plus, a franchise without much history to celebrate could use a couple of jerseys to jazz up their new building. Kawhi Leonard (Raptors): Is a one-year surreal playoff run enough to warrant franchise immortality? Clippers fans are hoping Kawhi and Paul George give them a reason to raise their jerseys to the rafters someday, too. Right now, Leonard is a seeming lock for the honor with the Raptors, where his brief-but-fruitful stay there gave their rabid fan base their first NBA championship. Dwight Howard (Magic): After his first eight seasons in Orlando, Howard had a near slam-dunk case for the Hall of Fame and retired jersey status. Yes, his exit from Orlando was messy. And he has yet to find a way to part ways with any of the other franchises on good terms. Still, you can’t overlook his Magic-era feats: All-Star berths, three Kia Defensive Player of the Year awards, five All-NBA first team nods and a Finals trip in 2009. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 13th, 2019

Beware of early overreactions after the NBA s opening week

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Beware the overreaction. It’s an easy trap to fall into at this time of year: Look at the early numbers in the NBA, extrapolate those over 82 games and envision the statistically improbable somehow becoming real. Don’t do it. Atlanta’s Trae Young is averaging 38.5 points per game right now which won’t hold up over an entire season. Same goes for Houston’s James Harden, who isn’t going to stay at his current shooting rate of 24% from the field and 12% from 3-point range. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t going to foul out of every game, either. And Golden State isn’t going to go 0-82. The Warriors may be the biggest disappointment of the first week of this NBA season, blown out by 19 at home to the Los Angeles Clippers and then by 28 — a game where the deficit was as much as 42 — on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at Oklahoma City. “We’re just not that good right now,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “I don’t know a better way to frame that for you. I could try in Spanish, but I’m not really that good in Spanish.” They haven’t just lost. They haven’t even led yet — not for a single second. They got down 14-0 in the opener to the Clippers, then 8-0 to the Thunder. But to write off the Warriors — the five-time defending Western Conference champions — after two games would be beyond short-sighted. “We’re trying to develop an identity as a team and it doesn’t happen overnight,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “And when you play in the NBA every single night, you’re going against amazing basketball players.” Golden State still has Green and Stephen Curry. The Warriors added D’Angelo Russell. They won’t have Klay Thompson until late this season, if at all in 2019-20. The NBA Finals MVPs from 2015, 2017 and 2018 — Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant — aren’t there anymore. It’s not starting over. It’s definitely a restart, though. The Warriors’ halftime deficit of 33 points on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) was their largest since 1997. “This is not where we finish,” said Omari Spellman, one of the Warriors’ new faces. “It’s Game 2. But there are only so many times we can keep saying that. ... We’ve got to compete.” The Warriors used 11 players on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), and seven of them were playing elsewhere last season — whether in the NBA or still in college. That’s why Kerr says the Warriors “don’t have a sense of who we are as a team yet.” “I realize I’m making plenty of excuses,” Kerr said. “But they’re real.” JENKINS’ PATH Champions of the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas don’t get rings. They get T-shirts. Memphis won the title this past summer, and Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins — who decided to coach the team in Las Vegas as well — keeps his championship shirt in his wardrobe rotation as a reminder of what happened over those two weeks. “I bust it out every now and then,” Jenkins said. The next championship will be a little bit tougher. Jenkins is one of two first-time NBA coaches this season, with Cleveland’s John Beilein being the other. Beilein is 66 and went to the Final Four twice with Michigan. Jenkins is 35 and his most notable experience as a head coach before now was in the G League. No one asks Beilein if he’s ready for the NBA. Jenkins — who has studied under Gregg Popovich and Mike Budenholzer — has heard that question a lot. “I’ve been preparing,” Jenkins said. He knows he still has a ton to learn, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel prepared for where he is. WHAT TO WATCH A game to watch each day this week (days in PHL time): — Tuesday, Oklahoma City at Houston: Russell Westbrook faces the Thunder for the first time. — Wednesday, Atlanta at Miami: Jimmy Butler is expected to finally make his debut for the Heat. — Thursday, Indiana at Brooklyn: Malcolm Brogdon guarding Kyrie Irving will be must-watch TV. (Also, if the World Series goes seven games, Houston’s basketball team will be in Washington while Washington’s baseball team is in Houston.) — Friday, San Antonio at L.A. Clippers: The Clippers have won their last five Halloween games. — Saturday, L.A. Lakers at Dallas: First matchup between LeBron James and Kristaps Porzingis since Nov. 13, 2017. — Sunday, Toronto at Milwaukee: A rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals. — Next Monday, Sacramento at New York: Kings have missed 13 straight postseasons, Knicks six......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 28th, 2019