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Mystics top Aces 94-90, reach WNBA Finals; LeBron courtside

By W.G. Ramirez, Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Washington Mystics are heading back to the WNBA Finals, and this time they believe they have the depth and versatility to win it all. Elena Delle Donne scored 25 points, and the Mystics earned a return trip to the championship round, outlasting the Las Vegas Aces 94-90 to close out their semifinal series on Tuesday night with LeBron James sitting courtside. The Mystics, who eliminated the Aces in four games, will host the Connecticut Sun in Game 1 of the Finals on Sunday. Last season, Washington was swept in three games by the Seattle Storm. Emma Meesseman bounced back from her six-point performance in Game 3 by scoring 22 for Washington. Kristi Toliver added 20 and Natasha Cloud chipped in with 11. "Beating a team like that to get to the Finals, we had to earn it," Washington coach Mike Thibault said. "I thought they had some great performances tonight, and obviously we did, too." Thibault said three keys for his team were Meesseman returning to her role as a reserve, LaToya Sanders for "absorbing the beating that she had to take defending someone like Liz (Cambage)," and Delle Donne for defense on A'ja Wilson, who had a career-low four shot attempts. "That's what makes a championship team, that's the makeup, it's everybody doing their part," Toliver said. "Everybody knows their role. Not everybody can be a chief, we gotta have Indians, too. And we got a great group of Indians — the best in the league." Cambage, who suggested the Mystics needed to "get in the weight room" to deal with her physical play, led the Aces with 25 points and 12 rebounds. WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby had 18 points and 11 rebounds while Kelsey Plum scored 17. But it was the absence of Wilson's opportunities that hindered the Aces in key moments, including the fourth quarter, when she didn't attempt a shot. Las Vegas erased a seven-point deficit and closed the third quarter on a 15-7 run that included five points each from Plum and Hamby and gave the Aces a 68-67 lead. League MVP Delle Donne and Meesseman took over in the fourth quarter. They scored 21 of Washington's 26 points in the period to seal the win. Hamby had a chance to tie the game with 3.4 seconds left but missed a 3-pointer from the corner. "Our main focus was just to get defensive stops and we know our offense goes from there," Meesseman said. "That was pretty much the only thing we were saying in the huddles." The Mystics held the Aces to 9 of 20 shooting in the fourth quarter. Washington shot 10 of 19 from the field in the fourth, with Delle Donne and Meesseman combining to make 9 of 12. "When you have to be a big-time player in big-time games, the more times you do it, the better you get," Thibault said. "I thought we stayed calm down the stretch. We got up seven, they made a great run, came right back at us, gave up a lead twice in the second half and we stuck with it. ... To win these kinds of games you gotta have guts and you gotta have emotion, but you've also gotta have some calmness when everything is crazy. "I thought we showed some calmness late in the game." Las Vegas built a 10-point lead midway through the second quarter, but the Mystics quickly turned things around. Toliver, Delle Donne, Cloud and Meesseman scored consecutive buckets to ignite a 16-4 run that closed the half and gave the Mystics a 45-43 lead at the break. Washington carried its momentum into the second half when Toliver opened the quarter with a 3-pointer in front of the Aces bench and went on to score 10 of the Mystics' first 15 points in the third. TIP-INS Mystics: It won't show on the stat sheet, but Aerial Powers gave Washington the support it needed, including a spark just before its second-quarter run. Powers, who finished with seven points and five rebounds in 16 minutes, stood her ground against a driving Hamby and took the charge on the baseline with 5:40 left, with the Aces leading 34-27. The Mystics outscored Las Vegas 18-9 from there. Aces: Kayla McBride, who averaged 7.5 points over the last six games of the regular season, came in averaging 14.7 on 50% shooting in the playoffs. But she went just 2 of 10 from the floor Tuesday night, including 1 of 5 from 3-point range. NBA INVASION James, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Kyle Kuzma and Quinn Cook of the Los Angeles Lakers watched the game courtside. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green also attended. UP NEXT Washington will host Connecticut in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 26th, 2019

Kobe Bryant left deep legacy in LA sports, basketball world

By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant inspired a generation of basketball players worldwide with both his sublime skills and his unquenchable competitive fire. He also earned Los Angeles’ eternal adoration during his two decades as the fierce soul of the city’s beloved Lakers. Less than four years into his retirement from the NBA, Bryant was seeking new challenges and working to inspire his daughters’ generation through sports and storytelling when his next act ended shockingly early. Bryant, the 18-time All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday. He was 41. The crash occurred in the foggy hills above Calabasas, California, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. A different person familiar with the case confirmed Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna also was killed. Both of the AP's unnamed sources spoke on condition of anonymity because few details of the crash had been released publicly. Authorities said nine people were on the helicopter, and all were presumed dead. No names were released. Bryant lived south of Los Angeles in coastal Orange County for much of his adult life, and he often used helicopters to save time and avoid Southern California's notorious traffic. He often traveled to practices and games by helicopter before his playing career ended in 2016, and he kept up the practice after retirement as he attended to his many new ventures, which included a burgeoning entertainment company that recently produced an Academy Award-winning animated short film. The crash occurred about 20 miles from Mamba Sports Academy, Bryant’s basketball training complex in Thousand Oaks, California. A girls basketball tournament was scheduled for Sunday at the facility. Bryant, who had four daughters with his wife, Vanessa, dedicated himself to boosting women’s sports in recent years, coaching and mentoring basketball players around the world. Gianna, better known as Gigi, had a promising youth career. Bryant sat with her courtside at a Brooklyn Nets game late last year, clearly passing along his wisdom to his daughter. Bryant told Jimmy Kimmel in 2018 that Gianna wanted to play in the WNBA and recalled how fans would often approach him saying “you gotta have a boy, you gotta someone to carry on the tradition, the legacy.” Gianna took exception: “She’s like, 'Oy, I got this,’” Bryant recalled. Bryant retired nearly four years ago as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, finishing two decades in Lakers purple and gold as a prolific shooter with a sublime all-around game and a relentless competitive ethic that inspired strong reactions from fans and opponents alike. He held that No. 3 spot in the league scoring ranks until Saturday night, when the Lakers’ LeBron James passed him during a game in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown. “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” Bryant wrote in his last tweet. “Much respect my brother.” On Saturday night, James said he was "happy just to be in any conversation with Kobe Bean Bryant, one of the all-time greatest basketball player to ever play. One of the all-time greatest Lakers.” News of Bryant’s death inspired an outpouring of grief around the sports world and beyond, but it was felt particularly painfully in Los Angeles, where Bryant was unquestionably the sprawling city's most popular athlete and one of its most beloved public figures. The Lakers’ next game isn’t until Tuesday night against the crosstown rival Clippers, but hundreds of fans — many in Bryant jerseys and Lakers gear — spontaneously gathered at Staples Center and in the surrounding LA Live entertainment complex on Sunday, weeping and staring at video boards with Bryant’s image before the Grammy awards ceremony. “I thought he was going to live forever,” Lakers great Magic Johnson told KCBS-TV. “I thought he was invincible. ... There was nobody who took more pride in putting on that Laker uniform than Kobe. Nobody. He was just special. We will miss him and we’ll remember him for his greatness, but let’s not forget how he impacted the world, too.” The NBA kept its games on as scheduled when the news broke, but the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors both took voluntary 24-second shot clock violations at the start of their game in honor of Bryant, who wore No. 24 for the second half of his career. Several other teams followed up by deliberately taking delays of 24 and 8 seconds, honoring both of his jersey numbers. Many players were seen crying before their games, and James looked emotional on the tarmac when he got off the Lakers’ team plane from Philadelphia. Bryant’s future appeared to be limitless in retirement, whether in sports or entertainment. He opened a production company shortly after leaving the Lakers, saying he was just as passionate about storytelling as he had been about his sport. He won an Oscar in 2018 for his contributions to “Dear Basketball,” an animated short about his relationship to the game. He also produced content for ESPN. In 2003, Bryant was charged with attacking a 19-year-old employee at a Colorado resort. He had said the two had consensual sex, and the charge was eventually dropped. The woman later filed a civil suit against Bryant that was settled out of court. Bryant's adulation remained strong in Los Angeles even during the sexual assault allegations. Bryant became one of the game’s most popular players as the face of the 16-time NBA champion Lakers franchise. He was the league MVP in 2008 and a two-time NBA scoring champion, but he also earned 12 selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive teams. He teamed with Shaquille O’Neal in a combustible partnership to lead the Lakers to NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He later teamed with Pau Gasol to win two more titles in 2009 and 2010. A two-time Olympic gold medalist with the dominant U.S. team, Bryant retired in 2016 after scoring 60 points in his final NBA game. In December 2017, the Lakers hung banners retiring his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys in the Staples Center rafters in an unprecedented double honor. Bryant looms large over the current generation of NBA players, most of whom grew up either idolizing Bryant or absorbing his work ethic and competitive spirit in the same way Bryant's generation learned from Michael Jordan. After James passed Bryant on Saturday, he remembered listening in awe to Bryant when the superstar came to speak at a childhood basketball camp. “I remember one thing he said: If you want to be great at it, or want to be one of the greats, you’ve got to put the work in,” James said. James later teamed up with Bryant on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in Beijing. “He had zero flaws offensively,” James said. “Zero. You backed off of him, he could shoot the 3. You body him up a little bit, he could go around you. He could shoot from mid-range. He could post. He could make free throws. ... He was just immortal offensively because of his skill set and his work ethic.” Bryant was a basketball superstar for his entire adult life, and he grew up from a teenager to a respected veteran in the unforgiving Hollywood spotlight. He entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996 after a childhood spent partly in Italy, where his father, former NBA player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, played professionally. He spoke four languages and played a major role in the NBA's international growth over his two decades in the league, traveling the world and connecting with athletes in other sports and celebrities. The Lakers acquired the 17-year-old Bryant in a trade shortly after Charlotte drafted him, and he immediately became one of the most exciting and intriguing players in the sport alongside O’Neal, who had signed with the Lakers as a free agent. Bryant won the Slam Dunk Contest as a rookie, and the Lakers gradually grew into a team that won three consecutive championships. Bryant and Gasol, the Spanish star, formed the nucleus of another championship team in 2008, reaching three straight NBA Finals and winning two more titles. Between those title runs and before the quiet final years of his career, Bryant accomplished innumerable feats including an 81-point game against Toronto in January 2006. Bryant's final NBA seasons were dogged by injuries, but he still went into retirement with that jaw-dropping 60-point performance against Utah. ___ AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2020

Hall of Fame: Jack Sikma s reverse pivot clears lane to induction

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- When Jack Sikma officially enters the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), one of his presenters will be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Which is a terrific example of game recognizing game. Or in this case, move recognizing move. Just as Abdul-Jabbar ranks as the NBA’s most prolific scorer and arguably its greatest player ever, so does his signature sky hook loom as the league’s most famous individual move. Most unstoppable, too, and for defenders, most deflating. Well, Sikma had a signature move of his own, one that helped elevate him from an NAIA program at Illinois Wesleyan to seven NBA All-Star appearances, a championship with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979 and now to the brink of his craft’s highest honor. It was the reverse pivot or inside pivot, which were its names when it was an arcane maneuver used by a small number of big men, taught mostly at the sport’s lower levels. Once Sikma learned it in 1974, brought it with him to the NBA in 1977 and helped the Sonics reach The Finals as a rookie and win the championship a year later, though, it swiftly became known as his: The Sikma move. “It was just an experiment after my freshmen season,” Sikma said Thursday (Friday, PHL time) at the Hall, after being introduced at a news conference as one of the Class of 2019’s 12 honorees. Others being inducted this weekend: coach Bill Fitch; NBA stars Bobby Jones, Sidney Moncrief and Paul Westphal; as well as WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon. Longtime Warriors player, coach and executive Al Attles was elected as a contributor. NBA center and current Sacramento GM Vlade Divac was chosen by the international committee. Being honored posthumously are: guard Carl Braun, a star in the 1950s; and Chuck Cooper, the first black player drafted by an NBA team (Boston, 1950). Finally, there are two college team entries: the Wayland Baptist women’s teams from 1948-82 and the Tennessee A&I teams from 1957-59. Divergent paths, compelling stories all. Including the one about the slender, blond kid from Kankakee, Illinois, whose offensive game needed a makeover. “My college coach [Dennie Bridges] and I sat down and he said, ‘Jack, you’ve just got to be more effective in the post if you want to take the next step.’ I was a good shooter – I’d learned the game as a wing and grew late, so I was comfortable facing the basket. “He had a friend who suggested, ‘Hey, down in southern Illinois there are some coaches who do an inside pivot with their guys to face the hoop. It might create a little space for Jack.’ I was really thin – I just wanted to get dislodged from the defender.” Basically, Sikma choreographically held a mirror to the post-up moves of traditional centers of the time. Holding the ball with his back to the basket, rather than turning on his pivot foot to the outside and attacking over his shoulder, he would spin to the inside. That motion would set up him a few feet back, facing the hoop, allowing for a simple hop and shot. And then there's this priceless Hubie Brown interview, in which Sikma teaches the move:  “A lot of coaches would pooh-pooh it because you’re catching the ball in one spot and then you’re stepping three feet farther away from the basket,” Sikma said. “That’s not the concept of big-men play, right? But I’ve got to hand it to Coach. He said, ‘Jack, I think this is it.’ And I said, ‘I’m not uncomfortable with the pivot.’” Sikma went from averaging 15.4 points as a freshman to 20.3 as a sophomore, with his shots increasing from 14.5 per game to 17.9. By his senior season, he averaged 27.0 points. As Sikma honed it in the NBA, at 6-foot-11, he would hold the ball above his head with a high release point that gave him the option of flipping up his shot or faking, then powering inside. In 14 seasons, by Sikma’s count, he played against 15 Hall of Fame centers, including Abdul-Jabbar. So he wanted every edge he could get. “You didn’t know which way he was going to go with it,” said fellow inductee Bobby Jones, a Sikma contemporary known for his defensive prowess. “Most of the time he would go back and shoot that shot, but sometimes he would go forward and draw the contact. I was just sitting there thinking, with all the other [inductees], if I ever blocked his shot. And I don’t think I ever did.” Jones, at 6-foot-9, matched up with him early in Sikma’s career (when Sikma was cast as a power forward for Seattle). Later, Jones had to decide how much help to give the teammate guarding Sikma. “The only thing I could ever have done was maybe come from behind and get him,” Jones said. “But he was a pretty good passer too. To ever leave your man that much, there’s a danger there.” Opponents weren’t the only ones made uncomfortable by Sikma’s unusual tactic. “I know I surprised some of the officials because I got called for traveling a few times,” Sikma said. “And I said, ‘Nope, I’m not traveling. I’ve got my foot up in the air, I plant it and then I pivot on it. By stepping out, that creates the space.’ “So even though it was a long time ago, they had film. They checked it out and they realized it wasn’t a walk. But I got called two or three times doing it.” Sikma laughed, recalling chatty Sonics teammate Fred Brown pleading his case for him to some of the referees. “I’d get called and Fred was in the ref’s face, ‘That’s his move! That’s his move! It’s not a travel,” Sikma said. “Fred had seen it enough in practice and figured it out.” Sikma had another facet to his game with which current NBA fans might be more familiar: he was a protypical “stretch 5.” Said Sidney Moncrief, another 2019 Hall newcomer who played for Milwaukee before and after Sikma was traded there for his final five seasons: “People don’t remember this about Jack Sikma, but Don Nelson was the first coach who started emphasizing 3-point shots for big men. He put Jack on the perimeter to take the big men out of the lane so we could make plays.” Not unlike current Bucks center Brook Lopez, Sikma underwent a late-career transformation as a deep threat. In his first 11 seasons, Sikma took 68 3-pointers and made seven (10.3 percent). During his final three seasons – from age 33 to 35 – Sikma shot 550 times from behind the arc and made 196 (35.6 percent). Still, it’s the quick inside step about 10 feet from the hoop that puts Sikma in a select subset of Hall of Famers already enshrined and those who will be. Call it the Alcove of Famous Moves. Hakeem Olajuwon’s “Dream Shake,” Kevin McHale’s up-and-under, George Gervin’s finger roll, Dominique Wilkins’ double-pump reverse, Allen Iverson’s crossover, Dirk Nowitzki’s one-legged fadeaway and Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook will be joined, in time, by James Harden’s step-back 3-pointer, Manu Ginobili’s Euro-step, LeBron James’ chase-down block and Steph Curry’s long range pull-up 3. Each became or has become a signature move. But that only matters if the idea works. “They made it look good, so it was effective,” Sikma said. “If I tried to do the sky hook, if I tried to do the up-and-under, you’d probably think, ‘Meh, that’s not such a good move.’ A lot of it has to do with how effective a person is doing it.” The 2019 Enshrinement Ceremony at Springfield’s Symphony Hall will air on NBA TV Friday (Saturday, PHL time) beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. 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 NewsSep 6th, 2019

Tina Charles, Candice Dupree lead WNBA All-Star 2019 reserves

WNBA press release NEW YORK – The New York Liberty’s Tina Charles and the Indiana Fever’s Candice Dupree lead the list of 12 players – six guards and six frontcourt players from across the WNBA – who will serve as reserves in AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019.   The reserves were selected by the league’s head coaches, who voted for three guards, five frontcourt players and four players at either position regardless of conference. The coaches were not able to vote for their own players. Joining Charles and Dupree as frontcourt reserves are the Phoenix Mercury’s DeWanna Bonner, the Minnesota Lynx’ Sylvia Fowles, the Los Angeles Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike and the Connecticut Sun’s Alyssa Thomas. Reserves at the guard position are the Chicago Sky’s Diamond DeShields, Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot, Minnesota’s Odyssey Sims, the Washington Mystics’ Kristi Toliver,  and the Indiana Fever’s Erica Wheeler. The 10 starters for AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019, announced on July 11, were selected by fans, current players and media. As the two All-Star starters who finished with the most fan votes during WNBA All-Star Voting 2019 presented by Google, Washington’s Elena Delle Donne and the Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson will serve as team captains and draft the All-Star Game rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves. AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 featuring Team Delle Donne vs. Team Wilson will be played on Saturday, July 27 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, home of the Aces. The 16th WNBA All-Star Game will be televised live by ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET. Joining Delle Donne and Wilson as starters in the frontcourt are Las Vegas’ Liz Cambage, Phoenix’s Brittney Griner, the Seattle Storm’s Natasha Howard and Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones. The four starting guards are Los Angeles’ Chelsea Gray, Seattle’s Jewell Loyd, Las Vegas’ Kayla McBride and New York’s Kia Nurse. Delle Donne and Wilson will select their respective rosters in the WNBA All-Star Draft by choosing first from the remaining pool of eight starters and then from the pool of 12 reserves.  By virtue of finishing with the most fan votes, Delle Donne will make the first pick in the first round (Starters).  Wilson will have the first pick in the second round (Reserves). Additional details about the All-Star Draft will be announced at a later date. Las Vegas head coach Bill Laimbeer and Washington head coach Mike Thibault have earned spots as the head coaches for AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019. With Las Vegas having clinched the best record in the WNBA through July 12 (10-5, .667), Laimbeer and his staff will coach Team Delle Donne. Thibault, whose Mystics posted the second-best record through July 12 (9-5, .643) will guide Team Wilson. AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 Reserves - DeWanna Bonner, Mercury (3rd All-Star selection): The WNBA’s leading scorer (19.4 ppg), Bonner was named to the All-Star Game for the second consecutive season after sitting out the 2017 campaign when she gave birth to twins. A two-time WNBA champion with Phoenix (2009, 2014), Bonner began her career by winning WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year honors three straight seasons (2009-11). - Tina Charles, Liberty (7th All-Star selection): Charles, who this season moved into sixth place in WNBA history with 3,014 rebounds, also ranks 12th with 5,727 points. Earlier this year, she added filmmaker to her resume when the documentary she produced about her father Rawlston Charles and his Brooklyn-based record store and music label debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. - Diamond DeShields, Sky (1st All-Star selection): Chicago’s leading scorer (14.9 ppg), DeShields, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, is one of three Sky guards named to the All-Star Game along with Quigley and Vandersloot. - Candice Dupree, Fever (7th All-Star selection): Now in her 14th WNBA season, Dupree recently moved past Lisa Leslie and into sixth place in league history with 6,267 points. She also ranks eighth in career rebounds with 2,880. - Sylvia Fowles, Lynx (6th All-Star selection): The WNBA’s MVP in 2017 and Finals MVP in 2015 and 2017, Fowles became the WNBA’s career leader in double-doubles (158) this season. She also ranks fourth in league history with 3,201 career rebounds, behind only Rebekkah Brunson (3,356), Tamika Catchings (3,316) and Lisa Leslie (3,306). - Nneka Ogwumike, Sparks (6th All-Star selection): Ogwumike leads the Sparks with 15.5 ppg and 9.5 rpg. The top pick in the 2012 draft, she is one of five No. 1 overall picks in this year’s All-Star Game, along with Tina Charles (2010), Brittney Griner (2013), Jewell Loyd (2015) and A’ja Wilson (2018). - Allie Quigley, Sky (3rd All-Star selection): A two-time WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year (2014, 2015), Quigley has earned three consecutive All-Star appearances since becoming a full-time starter for the Sky in 2017. Quigley won the Three-Point Shooting Contest at the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game in Minnesota. - Odyssey Sims, Lynx (1st All-Star selection): After spending the past two seasons with rival Los Angeles, Sims was acquired by Minnesota from the Sparks via a trade in April. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, she leads the Lynx with 15.7 ppg and a career-high 5.4 apg and is the only player in the league ranking in top 10 in scoring and assists. -  Alyssa Thomas, Sun (2nd All-Star selection): Thomas, who made her All-Star debut in 2017, is the Sun’s No. 2 scorer (11.6 ppg) and rebounder (7.2 rpg) behind Jonquel Jones, an All-Star starter. - Kristi Toliver, Mystics (3rd All-Star): An All-Star for the second consecutive year as a member of the Mystics, whom she helped to the WNBA Finals last season, Toliver also represented the Sparks in the 2013 All-Star Game. - Courtney Vandersloot, Sky (2nd All-Star): Vandersloot leads the league with 8.2 assists per game a year after she set a WNBA single-season records with 8.6 apg and 258 total assists. She returns to the All-Star Game for the first time since her rookie season of 2011. - Erica Wheeler, Fever (1st time All-Star): Wheeler is the only undrafted player among the 22 players selected for AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 and the first undrafted player named to the Game since Erika de Souza in 2014......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 16th, 2019

LeBron, Lakers back in NBA Finals after holding off Nuggets

The Los Angeles Lakers, fueled by a triple-double from superstar LeBron James, beat the Denver Nuggets 117-107 on Saturday to reach the NBA Finals. With the win in the league’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida, the Lakers completed a 4-1 victory over the Nuggets in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals. They team is back in […] The post LeBron, Lakers back in NBA Finals after holding off Nuggets appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 27th, 2020

Heat oust depleted Bucks to reach NBA East finals; Lakers down Rockets, up 2-1

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during Game Five of the Eastern Conference semifinals of the NBA Playoffs on September 8, 2020 at The Field House in Orlando, Florida. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP) MIAMI (AFP) — The Miami Heat punched their ticket to the NBA Eastern Conference finals Tuesday, beating top-seeded Milwaukee 103-94 as injured Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo watched from the bench. Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic finished with 17 points apiece as six Heat players scored in double figures and Miami completed a 4-1 series victory in a bruising encounter against the league’s top defensive team. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 23 points. Antetokounmpo — tipped to scoop a second straight NBA Most Valuable Player award this season — aggravated his sprained right ankle in the first half of the Bucks’ game-four overtime victory over the Heat. The Bucks declared him inactive less than an hour before tipoff on Tuesday. The loss of Antetokounmpo, who averaged career highs of 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds per game this season, was a huge blow for the Bucks, as they tried to do what no NBA team has done before: come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a seven-game playoff series. It’s the second straight campaign that the Bucks built the best regular-season record only to come up short in the playoffs. In 2019 they fell to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors in six games in the Eastern Conference finals. The fifth-seeded Heat will face either the Boston Celtics or Toronto Raptors for a place in the NBA Finals. The Celtics lead their series against the defending NBA champion Raptors three games to two. Butler, who added 10 rebounds and six assists and was a perfect eight-for-eight from the foul line, said the Heat’s impressive 8-1 record so far in the playoffs means nothing now. “All of that is behind us now,” he said. “We’ll wait and see who we get out of Toronto and Boston and then we’ll lock in on that. “But it’s zero-zero now, we’ve got eight more to get.” The Heat trailed 28-19 after a chaotic first quarter in which they committed six turnovers leading to nine Bucks points. They trailed by as many as 13 in the first period, but settled down in the second, out-scoring the Bucks 33-18 to take a 52-46 lead into halftime. But Milwaukee, with Middleton leading the way, refused to go away. After going scoreless for more than six minutes in the third period the Bucks put together an 8-0 run to pull within five points. Trailing 73-65 going into the final period, the Bucks trimmed the deficit to four multiple times, but the Heat’s depth finally proved too much. “Obviously they missed their MVP,” Butler said. “But we knew we were going to have to get one out of the mud and I think this was the one.” Antetokounmpo said he felt “lost” as he was unable to contribute. “Mentally it was a battle, but at the end of the day you’ve got to trust your teammates and that’s what I decided to do,” he said after the Bucks medical staff persuaded him not to risk further injury by playing. LeBron leads Lakers LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers, left, drives the ball against Ben McLemore #16 of the Houston Rockets during the second quarter in Game Three of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 08, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (AFP) In Western Conference action, LeBron James scored 36 points and Anthony Davis added 26 as the Los Angeles Lakers powered to the finish in a 112-102 victory over the Houston Rockets. The Lakers grabbed a 2-1 series lead and James notched an NBA record 162nd career playoff win. “It says that I’ve played with a lot of great teams,” said James, who won two NBA titles with the Miami Heat and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers. “It says that I’ve played with a lot of great teammates and some great coaches.” James Harden scored 33 points with nine rebounds and nine assists and Russell Westbrook added 30 points for Houston in a back and forth battle that saw 16 lead changes. The Lakers’ reserves scored 42 points, with Houston’s only points off the bench the 16 of Jeff Green. Rajon Rondo, who scored 21 off the bench for Los Angeles, hit back-to-back three-pointers and came up with a steal and layup as the Lakers surged ahead with a 17-5 scoring run to start the fourth quarter. After putting up 64 points in the first half Houston scored just 38 in the second and the Lakers posted their second straight win of the series. There was a frightening moment in the fourth quarter, as Robert Covington and Davis collided as Davis rose for a rebound. Davis’s elbow appeared to hit Covington in head and he left the court holding a bloodied towel to his face, while Davis was hurting from Covington’s elbow in his side......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsSep 9th, 2020

Even courtside reporter Tricia Robredo lived NU s no regrets mentality in UAAP 77

National University had to take the rougher road to reach the mountaintop in UAAP 77. First, the Bulldogs had to come out on top of Roi Sumang's University of the East for the fourth-seed. Next, they had to come through against top-seeded and twice-to-beat Ateneo de Manila University with Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal showing the way. Finally, they had to claim the crown at the expense of Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia-led Far Eastern University in three games, having lost the Finals opener. In the end, though, at long last, Jhocson Street was to be the venue of a championship celebration anew. National U won it all because it played every game like it was its last - and, well, many of those matchups could, indeed, have been its last. That's exactly why in each and every game in that Cinderella run, they made sure to leave their all on the floor. "Ang battle cry namin nun was 'no regrets' kasi talagang ang dami naming knockout nun so nilagay namin sa board yun," head coach Eric Altamirano said in last week's The Prospects Pod. He then continued, "We put it there, 'no regrets.' Ano man ang abutin namin, okay lang as long as binigay namin lahat. Every game, that's what we reminded each other." Apparently, that mentality wasn't for coaches and players alone. In fact, long before that Cinderella run, one person in the Bulldogs' camp was already having no regrets. "Before the season, when ABS-CBN called me for my second and last, I was tentative pa kung babalik pa talaga ako kasi I was already in med school," courtside reporter Tricia Robredo shared in her surprise appearance in the same episode. "Pero yun nga, like sabi ni Coach E, mare-regret ko yun kung hindi ako bumalik." Robredo was coming off her rookie year as CSR, but was already done with her premed course by then. Meaning, med school proper was already awaiting her. Years later, though, the 26-year-old now studying for the board exams has no regrets about her decision. "Lalo na nga nag-champion pa sila. Sobrang saya nila, very light ang atmosphere that season. Not only light, pero kahit hindi sila kina-count na isa sa mananalo, sobrang tatapang nila," she shared. She then continued, "Kaya towards the end of the season, alam mong may chance kasi go lang sila. Sobrang inspiring to be in their presence kaya masaya naman akong naging part ako nun kunwari kahit 'di naman ako naglaro." And for the UAAP 77 champions, they would not have wanted another CSR to be standing alongside them as they made history. As Coach E put it, "Well, sa akin, personally talaga, when you talk about NU Season 77, hindi mawawala si Trish." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2020

PBA Best Imports: Allen Durham, Hulking Thoroughbred

Local players are not the only ones that have become stars over the years in the Philippine Basketball Association. Foreign players reinforcing teams, or those they call imports, can be just as beloved. An import playing in the PBA is expected to deliver big numbers; however, production is not the only criteria that makes one successful in basketball on this side of the world. Winning, charisma, and actual love for the PBA and its fans also heavily go into it. The Best Imports will be recognized in name, but the truly great ones that have made their mark here are more than just one-hit wonders. In this series, we take a look at some of the reinforcements who have truly made a home in the PBA. Let’s continue with the electrifying Best Import, Allen Durham.   Thoroughbred Allen Durham’s PBA career actually started in 2014 with Barako Bull, but he found his true home with the Meralco Bolts. Upon returning to the league for the 2016 Governors’ Cup, Meralco head coach Norman Black described the hulking Durham as a thoroughbred. He was right. Norman Black is not just one of the best coaches in the PBA, he’s also one of the best imports in league history. He knows a great import when he sees one so of course he was right about AD. In Durham’s first full conference in the PBA, he led the Bolts to their first-ever Finals appearance. Meralco took down an upstart Mahindra team and the 10-1 TNT KaTropa on its way to the championship round. If not for a certain shot by another Best Import to be featured in this series, the Bolts would most likely have a championship already. In Durham’s first full conference in the PBA, he averaged a strong 29.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks when he won his first Best Import trophy.   Best Import x3 It’s quite unfortunate for an import like Durham to not have a championship after multiple stints in the PBA. He just keeps running into Justin Brownlee’s Barangay Ginebra. In four seasons with Meralco, Durham had the Bolts to three Governors’ Cup Finals, each time losing to Brownlee and the Gin Kings. The only time Meralco didn’t reach the Finals with Durham, the Bolts survived six straight knockout games to set up a semifinals series against Best Import Mike Harris and the Alaska Aces.  Save for the Finals defeats at the hands of Ginebra, Meralco’s winning culture is mostly thanks to Durham. The Bolts repeatedly falter in the All-Filipino, but they’re a top-4 team whenever Durham suits up. AD also consistently puts up monster numbers, that and the impact to Meralco’s wins make him an obvious choice for Best Import each and every season. Durham has won the award three times in the Governors’ Cup for the years 2016, 2017, and 2019. Durham is second in the all-time list and only Bobby Parks Sr. has more Best Import wins than him at seven. After his first Best Import win in the Governors’ Cup in 2016, Durham came back stronger in 2017, leading Meralco to the no. 1 seed and to Game 7 of the Finals in front of a record crowd at the Philippine Arena. In between, AD averaged an incredible 25.4 points, 20.06 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.3 blocks to win a second Best Import plum. Durham is also the most recent winner of the Best Import award in the PBA, averaging 29.8 points, 15.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in the 2019 Governors’ Cup. Just like in previous years, AD beat Brownlee for Best Import but it was the Gin Kings that took the title. Durham is still pretty dead set on winning a PBA title, whether he returns to Meralco or any other team in the future remains to be seen. Regardless, Allen Durham is a true PBA Best Import, his name already sealed in history. Best Import, Allen Durham: - Five PBA conferences for Barako Bull and Meralco - 3-time Best Import - Second all-time for most Best Import wins behind Bobby Parks Sr.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2020

Sabrina Ionescu, wrestler Spencer Lee share Sullivan Award

By The Associated Press Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu and Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee shared the Sullivan Award on Wednesday night as the country’s top amateur athlete. They are the third co-winners in the 90-year history of the Amateur Athletic Union award, following Coco Miller and Kelly Miller in 1999 and Keenan Reynolds and Breanna Stewart in 2005. Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu and Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee shared the Sullivan Award on Wednesday night as the country’s top amateur athlete. The ceremony was done remotely and streamed on Facebook. The scheduled program at the New York Athletic Club was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ionescu, from Walnut Creek, California, swept every major women’s basketball award, including being a unanimous choice as the AP player of the year. She had an NCAA-record 26 career triple-doubles and was the first NCAA player -- men’s or women’s -- to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. She was drafted first overall by the WNBA’s New York Liberty this month after guiding Oregon to a 31-2 mark in the season that ended prematurely with the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament. “This is truly an honor,” Ionescu said. “I’m blessed to be in this position and blessed to be among such great athletes and people, and to follow in the footsteps of the past AAU Sullivan Award winners. “I just want to say thank you to the University of Oregon and anyone that has been a part of my journey in the past and now in the future. Congrats to everyone that was up for this award. It’s really inspirational to be in a pool with these athletes.” Lee, from Murrysville, Pennsylvania, was 18-0 for the Hawkeyes this year as a junior before the season was stopped. The 125-pounder won NCAA titles his first two seasons. “I am incredibly humbled,” Lee said. “It was an honor to be nominated and reach the finals, so to be selected among this incredible group of individuals is pretty special. ... It is really special to be able to represent the University of Iowa. I am happy to share this award with Sabrina. All of the finalists are deserving. I am very surprised and very thankful.” Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence also was a finalist with UCLA gymnast Kyla Ross, California swimmer Abbey Weitzeil, Florida hurdler Grant Holloway, Marquette basketball player Markus Howard, Wisconsin volleyball player Dana Rettke, Maryland lacrosse player Megan Taylor and rhythmic gymnast Evita Griskenas. The award honors AAU founder James E. Sullivan. “We want to thank everyone for their participation and dedication to the presentation of this award. These are unprecedented times, but we as an organization wanted to celebrate the hard work these athletes put out there on the floor throughout this 2019-20 season,” AAU President and CEO Dr. Roger J. Goudy said. “I could not be more proud of both our recipients this year. They are quintessence of what this award represents – character, leadership and citizenship.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 30th, 2020

LeBron reaches assist milestone as Lakers beat Mavericks

By Joe Reedy, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James became the ninth player in NBA history to reach 9,000 assists and Anthony Davis scored 23 points as the Los Angeles Lakes defeated the Dallas Mavericks 108-95 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). James — who turns 35 on Monday — reached the milestone with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter when he fired an outlet pass to Davis three-quarters of the way down the court for a dunk. It was one of 13 assists on the night for James as he finished with 13 points. Davis was 8 of 12 from the field in his 26th game this season with 20 or more points. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added a season-high 19 points, including four 3-pointers, and Dwight Howard scored 15. All of Howard's points came in the second quarter. Luka Doncic led Dallas with 19 points but struggled from the field one night after recording his ninth triple-double of the season. The second-year guard shot 5 of 14 and missed all six of his 3-point attempts. Delon Wright came off the bench to score 14. Doncic got to shake hands with Lakers great Kobe Bryant courtside after the game. Los Angeles — which won two straight after a four-game losing streak — led most of the way. It was up 35-31 midway through the second quarter before going on a 12-2 run to take control. The Mavericks committed four turnovers during the spurt which led to seven Lakers points, including a pair of dunks by Howard. The Lakers' largest lead was 17 midway through the third quarter. TIP-INS Mavericks: Dallas shot a season-low 30.4% from the field during the first half (14 of 46). Lakers: It was the 25th time in Howard's 15-year career that he scored 15 or more in a quarter. The last time was March 21, 2018, for Charlotte against Brooklyn when he put up 19. ... Los Angeles is 4-0 during road/home back-to-back games. UP NEXT Mavericks: Travel to Oklahoma City on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Lakers: Host the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

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

Young Denver Nuggets set sights much higher this season

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press DENVER (AP) — The Nuggets didn’t make major upgrades over the summer like so many of their Western Conference opponents, and they’re fine with that — they figure Denver will turn into a desired destination soon enough. The Nuggets return a young corps that won 54 games last season and came within four points of reaching the conference championship. Eight of their top 12 players are 25 years old or younger, including All-Star center Nikola Jokic, power forward Jerami Grant and fascinating forward Michael Porter Jr., the No. 14 selection in 2018 who sat out last season as he recovered from back surgery. Although they didn’t make any splashy moves in the offseason, the Nuggets were busy over the summer, acquiring Grant from Oklahoma City, picking up Paul Millsap’s $30 million option and signing point guard Jamal Murray to a $170 million extension. Five months later and coach Michael Malone is still blown away by The Joker’s playoff performance that put him in some pretty elite company. In 14 games, the Nuggets’ unpretentious 24-year-old superstar averaged 25.1 points, 13 rebounds and 8.4 assists. The only other players to post averages of at least 20 points, 10 boards and eight assists while playing at least 10 games in the postseason are Oscar Robertson in 1963, Wilt Chamberlin in 1967 and LeBron James in 2015. “Going into the year I don’t know how you can even have an MVP discussion without mentioning his name because of what he did last year, for a guy that is supposedly unathletic and out of shape,” Malone said. “I think he proved a lot of people wrong.” So did the Nuggets, who ended a six-year playoff drought by going 54-28 and becoming the youngest No. 2 seed ever. They won their first playoff series since 2009 with a seven-game ouster of Gregg Popovich and the Spurs in the opening round before falling at home in Game 7 to the Trail Blazers. “We saw our young players grow up,” Malone said. “You can’t replicate those 14 games in the postseason. You can’t replicate two Game 7s. And I think all of our players have grown from that experience. They’re coming back more confident.” COACH’S CAUTION Now that the Nuggets have broken through and tasted playoff success, Malone’s main goal is to make sure his team guards against letting up. “That’s going to be our greatest challenge,” he said. “It’s not the Lakers, the Clippers, the Warriors, the Jazz or Rockets. It’s us. Fighting ourselves and fighting human nature and not thinking that we’ve arrived, because we haven’t done a damn thing yet.” NO JOKE Malone wants more AND less out of Jokic. “We became so reliant upon Nikola in the postseason,” he said. “I go back to Game 7, when we lost to Portland and he came to my office he’s crying and apologizing for missing a big free throw. He missed the free throw because he was dead tired. The guy was playing 40 minutes a night. Hopefully this year in the playoffs — if we get back to the playoffs — we don’t have to be so reliant on him.” MOTIVATED MURRAY Murray cringes when he hears someone say the Nuggets can end Golden State’s reign out West and reach the NBA Finals. “We need to have the mentality that we’re going to win it,” he said. Murray figures the Nuggets have all the ingredients: “a passing center, shooters all around, the deepest bench.” What they need is more consistency, starting with his own. “I can’t go 4 for 18 or whatever I was in Game 7” against Portland, he said. GRATEFUL GRANT The Nuggets acquired Grant from the Thunder for a 2020 first-round pick. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward is coming off a breakout season that saw him set career highs in points (13.6) and rebounds (5.2). He also blocked 100 shots and collected 61 steals. “It’s good to get off a sinking ship,” said Grant, the son of longtime NBA player Harvey Grant. “I couldn’t really ask for a better situation.” PERSISTENT PORTER “I have no pain. All my flexibility is back and I feel pretty good out there,” said Porter, who has only played in three games since high school because of his bad back (and a knee injury that scuttled his Summer League plans). “No matter how many times you fall it’s up to you if you’re going to get back up, even if you fall a million times,” Porter said. “Eventually my time will come when I’m meant to be a basketball player.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2019

Barty upset in Cincy semifinals, misses top spot for US Open

By Joe Kay, Associated Press MASON, Ohio (AP) — Ashleigh Barty's chance to move back to No. 1 was only one victory away. At the end of an up-and-down week, she didn't have another comeback left. Barty lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Saturday, adding to the tournament's week of upsets and injuries. The women's bracket has a lot questions with New York just around the corner. No. 1 isn't one of them. Barty's seven-week run atop the field ended when Naomi Osaka edged ahead of her in the latest ranking. A victory Saturday would have moved Barty back ahead for the U.S. Open. Instead, she dropped the opening set for the third straight match and this time, there was no digging out. "A week that we battled through," Barty said. "I think at times I played some good stuff. At times, I played some pretty awful stuff." Which will it be for Barty at the Open? And will Osaka be in good enough shape to defend her title? Osaka dropped out of her semifinal match Friday with discomfort in her left knee that caused her worry. She still plans to play in New York, but it's unclear whether the knee will be a problem. And then there's Serena Williams, who retired in the finals at Toronto last Sunday because of back spasms. She also withdrew from Cincinnati before her first match, but stuck around to cheer sister Venus until her loss in the quarterfinals. For Barty, it was another instance of a slow start leaving her trying to dig out. This time, a resurgent Kuznetsova gave her no openings, knocking off a top-five player for the second time this week to reach her first final of the season. "Sveta was unreal today," Barty said. It's been awhile since her play has been described that way. The 153rd-ranked player is recovering from seven-month layoff because of a knee injury. Playing in her ninth event of the season, she got her game together, winning her first Premier-level semifinal since 2017 at Madrid. "Well, sometimes in life it's like this," Kuznetsova said. "It's like really small things change everything. Definitely it's different momentum I have now." She'll face Madison Keys , who beat Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-4 with the help of 14 aces. Keys ended her streak of failing to make it past the second round of her last three tournaments, reaching the final in Cincinnati for the first time. In the men's bracket, David Goffin reached his first Masters 1000 final by beating Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4 . Goffin also is on an upswing after falling to No. 33 in the ATP rankings on June 10, his lowest since September 2014. "Of course, it was a tough period there," Goffin said. "I was coming back from injuries. I had some trouble with my confidence. I couldn't find my rhythm, my game. So it's great now. I'm feeling great. I'm back at my best tennis." Defending champion Novak Djokovic was scheduled for an evening match against Daniil Medvedev. The men's bracket also took several notable hits throughout the week. Originally billed as a reunion of the Big Four — Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray together for the first time since January — it quickly lost its luster. Nadal dropped out after winning the Rogers Cup, citing fatigue. Murray played singles for the first time since hip surgery in January and lost his opening match. And Federer, the seven-time champion, failed to reach the weekend, losing in the quarterfinals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 18th, 2019

PVL: Angels fly high, claim Reinforced Conference crown

ANTIPOLO --- PetroGazz denied Creamline of a three-peat after completing a come-from-behind Finals series win on Sunday to claim its breakthrough Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference title. Celebrated scoring duo Wilma Salas of Cuba and Janisa Johnson of the United States delivered the same performance they have been bringing the whole conference to power the Angels to a 25-15, 28-30, 25-23, 25-19 win in the best-of-three series decider at the packed Ynares Sports Center here.    Tied at 14 in the fourth set, PetroGazz displayed great team effort with Johnson and Salas conniving with teh Angels locals led by Jonah Sabete, Cherry Nunag, Jeanette Panaga, setter Djanel Cheng and libero Cienne Cruz for a 10-3 scoring spurt to reach match point, 24-17. The Cool Smashers saved two championship points before Johnson sealed their reign with a kill.    Salas  pounded her way to 30 points with 26 attacks and four kill blocks with seven excellent receptions while Finals Most Valuable Player Johson scored 23 markers on 19 spikes, two aces and a pair of kill blocks for PetroGazz. Panaga finished with 10 points while Nunag and Sabete got eight and six markers, respectively, for the Angels. "Answered prayers. These two imports namin played a big role but again siyempre as a team talaga di naman namin makukuha ito basta-basta kung walang help ng locals," said PetroGazz coach Arnold Laniog. "But the moment na nag-commit talaga sila doon sa goal namin, sabi ko 'Atin na di na talaga papakawalan.'"   The Angels escaped a tight third frame, hanging tough in the closing stretch after a 22-22 deadlock. Creamline’s Venezuelan import Ale Blanco put too much power on her attack off an overreception before reigning Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez was denied by PetroGazz’s defensive wall as the Angels took a 24-22 lead. Michele Gumabao saved a set point on the next play before Salas’ hammer to end the frame.         PetroGazz forced the decider after coming back from a set down to prevail over Creamline, 15-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-12, in Game 2 on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Cool Smashers drew first blood, 24-26, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22, on Wednesday. After dropping the opening set, Creamline saved two set points in the second frame before taking a 25-24 lead. The Cool Smashers took three more set points before the Angels tied it at 28. Thai import Kuttika Kaepwin broke the deadlock before Jonah Sabete surrendered the frame with an attack error.    Valdez had 22 points off 18 kills, three kill blocks and an ace while Kaewpin and Risa Sato scored 17 and 10 markers, respectively, in a losing cause for Creamline.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

The ten most intriguing NBA free agents for 2019

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com We knew that the postseason would affect free agency. But the idea was that the success or failure of certain teams would affect what their free agents' thoughts about staying or leaving. Unfortunately, the last two games of The Finals brought devastating injuries to two of the three most coveted free agents on the market. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the world, tore his Achilles in Game 5, just 12 minutes into his return from a calf injury. And Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. The two injuries will certainly have repercussions beyond the two players and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe they already have. With the Western Conference seemingly wide open next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a deal for Anthony Davis, sending a bevy of young players and future picks to New Orleans so they can team the 26-year-old star with 34-year-old LeBron James ... and maybe another star added in free agency. As always, the free agent market and the trade market are tied together. The pending Davis trade could affect the decisions of players and teams come July 1. And if teams miss out on the free agents they're seeking, they could always fill their cap space by making a trade. With all that in mind, the players listed below aren't necessarily the 10 best free agents (or potential free agents). They're the 10 (actually 12) most interesting in regard to where they're going and what kind of contract they get. For players to be on this list, there needs to be some intrigue regarding their (and/or their team's) decision this summer. That's why Thompson isn't included. 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto (Player option) Whether he leaves or not, trading for Leonard last summer was well worth it for the Raptors, who won their first championship, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points per game in the postseason. The Raptors' "load management" program (which limited Leonard to just 60 games in the regular season) clearly worked, and director of sports science Alex McKechnie should be seen as a major asset in the quest to keep Leonard in Toronto. There should be a "run-it-back" sentiment for the new champs, with Danny Green also a free agent and Marc Gasol holding a player option this summer. A short-term deal would make sense, unless Leonard is looking for long-term security, having missed almost all of the 2017-18 season with a leg injury. It's all up to Leonard, maybe the toughest player in the league to read. If he takes his two-way talent elsewhere, the Raptors may have to go in a new direction. Number to know: In the postseason, Leonard had a true shooting percentage of 69.1 percent, the highest mark for a player that averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs and won the championship. 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State (Player option) Durant's torn Achilles probably won't scare any team, including the Warriors, from paying him as much as possible. As deep and talented as this free agent class is, the top two guys on this list are in a class by themselves. Rumors have long had Durant ready to leave Golden State and even with his injury, he seems more likely than Thompson to find a new home. But an ESPN report had Thompson's father talking about "unfinished business" after overhearing a conversation between the two injured Warriors. Durant could always put free agency off for a year by exercising his player option and remaining on the Warriors' payroll through his rehab. Number to know: Durant was the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game in at least 10 playoff games while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston The disappointment of the Celtics' season, along with Irving's questionable leadership with a group that underachieved, has taken some of the shine off his star. Irving's injury history also must be taken into consideration. But talent is the most important thing in this league and Irving is one of its most talented players. He's still just 27-years-old and he can still get buckets when buckets are needed. A return to Boston appears far less likely than it did six months ago (especially with Davis being traded elsewhere) and there have been a lot of signals that Irving is bound for Brooklyn. Number to know: In the regular season, Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-best mark among player with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 4. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia The Sixers lost to the eventual NBA champions on a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times before falling through. They're right there. But their starting lineup, which outscored its opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in 334 total minutes (regular season and playoffs), includes three free agents. In regard to future assets, the Sixers didn't give up as much for Butler as they did for Harris. And of course, Butler has more baggage in regard to accepting his role. But, with his defense and his ability to get his own shot, he's is the most important of the three. Harris struggled a bit in the conference semifinals against Toronto and is the least important of the Sixers' three free-agent starters; J.J. Redick's shooting was clearly more critical in the postseason. But Harris isn't easily replaceable and he appears to be the most likely to leave, with a lot of teams looking for versatile forwards. Number to know: In the regular season, Harris shot 41.3 percent on pull-up three-pointers, the second-best mark among 69 players who attempted at least 100. 5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Walker has expressed some level of loyalty to the Hornets. But immediately after the Davis trade was agreed to, there was a report that Walker would be a "top target" of the Lakers with their cap space. Walker would be an ideal offensive complement to James and Davis, in that he can play off the ball (though he shot less than 35 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season) and take some of the playmaking burden off of James' shoulders. The Hornets, meanwhile, would likely have a tough time upgrading their roster around Walker, with Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all under contract next season for a total of $85 million. Number to know: Walker led the league with 126 field goal attempts with the score within five points in the last five minutes. That was 43 percent of the Hornets' total (295). His effective field goal percentage on those shots (49.6 percent) ranked 15th among 45 players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 6. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn (Restricted) A finalist for the Most Improved award, Russell took a big step forward this season, both in regard to his production and his maturity. He earned himself an All-Star appearance and helped the Nets reach the playoffs with a 14-win increase from last season. He's only 23-years-old and is one of the league's most flammable shooters. But because he doesn't get to the basket or the free throw line very often, Russell is neither all that efficient (his true shooting percentage of 53.3 percent ranked 66th among 94 guards with at least 500 field goal attempts) nor consistent, and he struggled (shooting 36 percent) in Brooklyn's first-round loss to Philadelphia. If the Nets are targeting another ball-handler in free agency (with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie already under contract), they'll probably let Russell head elsewhere. Number to know: In the regular season, Russell ranked second with 11.4 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game. He scored 0.89 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the 26th best mark among 44 players that averaged at least five ball-handler possessions. 7. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, Golden State Cousins hadn't made it back to 100 percent from his Achilles tear before he suffered a torn quad in his second career playoff game. He made it back for The Finals from that injury and showed flashes of his old self with 14 important points in the Warriors' Game 5 win and a big bucket in the final minute of Game 6. But he also struggled on both ends of the floor at times, and the Warriors were outscored with him on the floor in seven of his eight playoff games. Now he goes back on the free agent market with teams still not sure of what they're getting. Looney is an unrestricted free agent at 23-years-old, and he was the Warriors' most important center this season. The Western Conference champs have Looney's Bird rights, but they could also be spending a lot of money to retain Durant and Thompson (and possibly extend Draymond Green). Another team might have a larger role and more money for an improving young big. Number to know: In the regular season, the Warriors' lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Looney scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions and outscored opponents by 18.7 per 100. Those were the best marks for points scored and point differential per 100 possessions among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. 8. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee (Restricted) The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals. But, with four of their top eight players being free agents (or potential free agents) this summer, they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by players who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are the three key pieces. They're all due a pay raise and they all belong on this list. Brogdon is the restricted free agent, but he's also the youngest of the three (he'll be 27 in December) and the one that could be projected into a larger role on another team. Number to know: Brogdon shot 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the third-best mark among 223 players who attempted at least 100. 9. Julius Randle, New Orleans (Player option) After five years in the league, Randle is still just 24-years-old. So he's not necessarily a bad fit for David Griffin's plans for the future in New Orleans. But the Pelicans might not be ready to commit the money Randle is seeking (should he opt out of the final year of his contract) after averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game. Defense remains an issue, but Randle has expanded his offensive skill set; he was a respectable 34.4 percent from three-point range this season, taking 18 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (up from six percent over his three previous full seasons). Number to know: Randle averaged 13.2 points in the paint per game, seventh most in the league, and he made more three-pointers (67) than all but one of the six players in front of him. 10. Ricky Rubio, Utah According to Rubio himself, he's not Utah's top priority in free agency. He remains a good defender and one of the league's best passers, but the Jazz need to get more potent offensively if they're going to take the next step. At 31.1 percent, Rubio ranked 153rd in three-point percentage among 163 players with at least 200 attempts. There could be as many as 10 teams (not including the Jazz) in need of a starting point guard this summer, and Rubio could have more value on a team more in need of a distributor. Number to know: The Jazz were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better offensively with both Rubio and Donovan Mitchell on the floor (scoring 110.4 per 100) than they were with Mitchell on the floor without Rubio (104.6). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst 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 NewsJun 17th, 2019

Kyle Lowry shoved by fan after landing out of bounds

By Michael Wagaman, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A fan seated courtside for Game 3 of the NBA Finals was ejected after shoving Kyle Lowry when the Toronto Raptors star crashed into a row of seats while trying to save a ball from going out of bounds on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Lowry scored 23 points and made several big shots in a 123-109 victory that gave the Raptors a 2-1 lead over Golden State. There was as much buzz about Lowry's dust-up with the fan as his offense. Lowry was visibly upset. "There's no place for that," Lowry said. "He had no reason to touch me. He had no reason to reach over two seats and then say some vulgar language to me. There's no place for people like that in our league." Early in the fourth quarter Lowry ran down a loose ball and jumped in the air as it was going out of bounds, not far from where Warriors owner Joe Lacob was sitting. Lowry knocked the ball into a referee and landed in the lap of one male fan who appeared to grab Lowry's jersey with two hands. A female who was standing nearby patted the veteran guard on his back. At the same time, a man wearing a blue shirt who was sitting down extended his left arm and gave Lowry a hard shove in his left shoulder. Lowry got up and complained to officials, although nothing further happened. He told The Associated Press the fan repeatedly cursed at him and said he had spoken to the NBA about the incident before leaving the arena. Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder and security officials confirmed the fan who shoved Lowry was ejected and escorted from Oracle Arena. "Hopefully he never comes back to an NBA game," Lowry said. Lowry said the incident was not like the high-profile one that involved Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook in Utah during the regular season, when the Thunder guard said a fan made racist remarks. "People who sit courtside, they might get in on the action," Lowry said. "Don't sit courtside if you don't want somebody touching you." The incident overshadowed a breakout game for Lowry. He scored 15 points in the first half to get the Raptors going and finished 8-of-16 from the floor with five three-pointers. Lowry also had nine assists and four rebounds. "He controls a lot of the pace for them," said Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who had a career playoff-high 47 points. "He made shots tonight. Tip your cap to him. He was willing to take them. Historically when he plays well in the playoffs they usually go." ___ AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Bagunas hauls MVP, three other individual awards

National University senior Bryan Bagunas netted four individual awards in his swan song, including the coveted UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball Most Valuable Player award. The graduating open spiker and member of the national team became the first MVP winner from NU since the Final Four era started after averaging 20.3 points per game with a very impressive 53.49% accuracy on attacks for the Bulldogs, who he helped reach seven straight Finals appearances. Bagunas also copped the First Best Outside Spiker award, the Best Scorer recognition and the Best Server award after averaging 0.47 ace per frame. His teammate Angelo Almendras won Rookie of the Year honors averaging 10.2 point per game with a 38.93% attack accuracy and 0.47 aces per set. Another NU player in James Natividad won the Best Opposite Spiker award. Jude Garcia of Far Eastern University got the Second Best Outside Hitter award. JP Bugaoan of FEU and Chumason Njigha of Ateneo won the First and Second Best Middle Blocker awards, respectively, while Lawrence Magadia of the Blue Eagles bagged the Best Setter award, stretching Ateneo’s excellence in playmaking to six straight since Ish Polvorosa won in the previous five editions.     Ateneo’s Manuel Sumanguid was named Best Libero. The awarding ceremonies will take place on May 15, Wednesday before Game Two of the Men's Volleyball Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2019

Rockets physicality puts vaunted Warriors on the defensive

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com HOUSTON — This Western Conference semifinal series is tied at 2-2. Each game has been decided by six points or less. Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, perhaps the best shooters in the NBA and among the greatest all-time, each had clean looks at 3-pointers in the final seconds Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) for the Warriors and missed a chance to send Game 4 into overtime. The Rockets won, 112-108. Yes, this is now closer than identical twins and possibly headed to the same finish of a year ago, when the Warriors took out Houston in seven games during the conference finals. And if you look under the hood and examine the parts, you’ll see that in the moments of truth over the last two games that Houston won and created this deadlock. The Rockets were the aggressor, the bully, the chance-taker and ultimately more clutch than the champs. They’re beating the Warriors up inside and out. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] This doesn’t mean they’ll be the better team at the finish line, whether in six games or seven. But right now, they’ve made this contest closer than most imagined and given themselves a shot in what is now a best-two-out-of-three. “It’s a dogfight, and every possession matters,” said Chris Paul. The Rockets claimed victory Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) because James Harden was aces again, scoring 38 points and becoming more efficient – though, to the horror of the Warriors, he was no longer alone. Suddenly, Harden is getting ample help, and the more his supporting cast grows in confidence, the bigger the task it’ll be for the Warriors to finish the job. Here’s the tale of the tape: The Rockets are punching Golden State in the gut, with forward PJ Tucker delivering the body blows. Tucker is just 6'6", yet brings the temperament of a honey badger in a bad mood when it comes to grabbing rebounds. For the second straight game, Tucker snagged double-figures and been especially menacing on the offensive end; he’s going for seconds and sometimes thirds in heavy traffic and giving Houston additional chances at buckets. It’s not just ordinary rebounds he’s getting, but the most important ones. That hunger has a psychological effect as well, breaking the spirits of the Warriors while rousting the passion in his teammates. The sight of Tucker out-fighting Draymond Green for loose balls and missed shots is an emotional boost and keeps possessions alive. “I’m pleased people get a chance to see Tuck,” said Paul. “Everybody sees players in commercials and all that, but they don’t get a chance to see someone play defense and go after rebounds like him. That energy fuels everyone else. That’s basketball.” Houston has out-rebounded the Warriors in its two straight wins and Green says that can’t continue. “We have to change our mindset,” he said, “and that begins with me. That’s my department. They’re slapping us. It’s an easy correction, and if we correct it we’ll be fine.” Maybe the more disturbing aspect of this series is how the Warriors are also getting out-splashed. It’s not terribly surprising to see the Rockets dropping more three-pointers; after all, they take more than anyone in basketball. Yet, the Warriors just aren’t efficient and that’s especially the case with Curry and Klay Thompson. Harden has made just two fewer three-pointers than Curry and Thompson combined. While Curry seemed to break free of his semi-slump Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) with 30 points, his highest single-game point total of the series, he missed 10 of his 14 shots from deep. And Thompson is trapped in a thicker fog right now; he missed 5-of-6 from deep and delivered a weak 11 points and really hasn’t stepped forward for Golden State all series. The shot selection for Curry and Thompson has appeared wicked and surprisingly reckless at times, especially in the fourth quarter. “I felt we were in a rush a lot tonight with our shots,” said Kerr. “I don’t think we got great shots for much of the night. When you’re not searching for great shots, you’re not going to shoot that well.” With only Durant managing to look efficient from beyond the arc, the Warriors are getting lapped. In the last three games, or once Harden’s poked eye improved, the Rockets have made 18 more three-pointers than Golden State. “Our mentality changed after Game 2,” said Harden. “We’re not going to let up. We’re going to keep coming at you.” There are reasons the Warriors shouldn’t be in a state of panic. The next game is at Oracle Arena. And the two they just lost at Toyota Center they could’ve been won had they made plays at the end. Game 3 went into overtime and Curry missed an uncontested layup in the final 90 seconds of that tight game. And the Warriors had those pair of looks by Curry and Durant in Game 4, the sight of which sent chills through the Rockets. “I thought it was going into overtime,” said Austin Rivers. “One hundred percent. KD got one and I’m like, ‘C’mon man.’ And then Steph got one. We are fortunate.” Paul added: “Going back to the Bay, they’re probably not going to miss those shots.” Besides, Houston was qualified to be the most difficult out for the Warriors to win a third straight title, or at least reach the NBA Finals. After all, the Rockets have Harden and Paul, and their ability to shoot three's means they can seldom be counted out of games even if they’re trailing. A furious rally is always a moment away. Besides, aside from Trevor Ariza, this is virtually the same team that took Golden State to the seven-game limit last year and had to play the final two games without Paul, who had a hamstring pull. “I thought they were great,” said Kerr. “They did what they had to do, win their two home games.” But there wasn’t the scent of concern coming from the Warriors. Perhaps it’s the pride of a team still believing it’s heads and shoulders above the league, or a stern belief that whatever advantages Houston had over the last two games will be snuffed. Durant remains playing at an epic level and the basketball logic says Curry, and perhaps Thompson, will eventually snap out of it, not because the Rockets’ defense will weaken, but because Curry and Thompson have, you know, a track record of excellence. “We know what we have to do,” Kerr said bravely. Perhaps. But for the second time in as many years, the Rockets have the Warriors’ full attention, and Golden State must be near-perfect to prevent from being pushed to the ledge. “What I like is how everybody does their job,” said Tucker. “That makes us ‘us.’ We’re tough. We’re that kind of team.” If the Warriors didn’t know it before, they know that now. 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 NewsMay 7th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Whatever it takes -- Laure

Rookie Eya Laure and the rest of University of Sto. Tomas picked up a good line for motivation before they faced the three-time defending champion De La Salle University in playoff for the last twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Final Four.      The top Rookie of the Year candidate borrowed the tagline of the blockbuster film ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and last year’s battlecry of the then LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers.    “Noong huddle pa lang kasi, sa dugout pa lang ni-remind sa amin ni coach na parang ‘Whatever it takes’. Basta yun,” said Laure after the Tigresses’ 25-14, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19 win over the Lady Spikers on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan witnessed by a 5,001-strong crowd. UST entered the game with all guns blazing, taking the first two sets as the Tigresses dismantled DLSU behind Laure and graduating hitter Sisi Rondina. Rondina finished with 29 points built on 25 kills, two aces and two kill blocks while Laure had 17 markers including 15 off attacks.        The Tigresses played fluidly and despite yielding the first set, UST grabbed the opportunity to move a step closer to the Finals for the first time since Season 73 – also the last time the Espana-based squad earned a semis advantage.   “Yung ‘whatever it takes’ yun lang yung parang ginamit sa game na ito,” said Laure. “Whatever it takes gagawin namin lahat talaga and yung mga posibleng pwedeng mangyari…” “Sabi nga ni Ate Si sa amin sa huddle na ‘Wala namang mawawala sa atin. Gawin lang natin kung ano ang kaya natin as a team and walang bibitaw, walang susuko basta-basta hangga’t haya lumaban. Whatever it takes,’ she added. UST and DLSU will face off once again on Sunday in the Final Four in a rematch of their Season 79 semis but this time the Tigresses will have the advantage.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2019

Raonic continues streak by reaching 3rd round in Australia

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Third-seeded Milos Raonic ended one streak and continued another with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) Thursday over Gilles Muller to reach the third round at the Australian Open. Raonic, who reached the semifinals here last year and the final at Wimbledon, had lost both previous matches to Muller — including one when he retired with an injured hip in the second round at Wimbledon in 2012. His win Thursday maintained Raonic's record of reaching the third round at least all seven years he has contested the Australian Open. The 33-year-old Muller entered the season's first major after capturing his first tour-level title in Sydney last week. Raonic was unable to defend his Brisbane title in the first week of the season, but is finding rhythm quickly in Melbourne — he fired 21 aces, hit 56 winners and only had 15 unforced errors against Muller. He left the court complaining of a sore throat, and will get a day off before his next match against No. 25 Gilles Simon. No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Raonic in the semifinals before winning the Brisbane International earlier this month, moved into the third round with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Chung Hye-on. Dimitrov will next play No. 18 Richard Gasquet. No. 32 Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Donald Young 7-5, 6-3, 6-0. David Ferrer, the former world No. 3 who has only missed the quarterfinals once in the previous six years at Melbourne Park, recovered to beat U.S. qualifier Ernesto Escobedo 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 and set up a third-round match against fellow Spaniard and No. 13-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut. No. 30 Pablo Carreno Busta had a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over Kyle Edmund to move into a third-round match against either six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic or Denis Istomin. U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova and No. 9 Johanna Konta carried their winning form from warmup tournaments into the third round of the season's first major. Brisbane International winner Pliskova beat Anna Blinkova 6-0, 6-2 in 59 minutes, and has dropped just four games en route to the third round. She was leading 6-0, 4-0 in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena before the 18-year-old Russian qualifier, ranked 189th, held serve and later held up her arm to acknowledge the cheers from the crowd. 'It's always good to be in the zone,' said fifth-seeded Pliskova. 'It can always be a bit better.' 'I'm feeling pretty good on the court, confident,' she said. 'Also, people are talking I have a good chance to win a Grand Slam, but we are just in third round, so let's see.' She will next play Jelena Ostapenko, who beat No. 31 Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-1. Sydney International winner Konta, who made a surprising run to the semifinals in her debut Australian Open last year, advanced 6-4, 6-2 over Naomi Osaka. Konta, voted the WTA Tour's most improved player of 2016 after moving from 48th to 10th in the rankings, will next play former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki. WTA Finals winner Dominika Cibulkova held off Hsieh Su-wei 6-4, 7-6 (8) and will next play No. 30 Ekaterina Makarova, who was leading 6-2, 3-2 when Sara Errani retired because of a leg injury. No. 14 Elena Vesnina advanced to a third-round encounter against U.S. qualifier Jennifer Brady, who saved five match points before beating Heather Watson 2-6, 7-6 (3), 10-8. Andy Murray returned to the practice court for an afternoon hitting session under the scrutiny of coach Ivan Lendl, allaying concerns about his injured right ankle. Top-ranked Murray, a five-time runner-up at Melbourne Park, twisted his ankle and tumbled to the court during the third set of his otherwise routine second-round win on Wednesday night. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Top-ranked Kerber loses to Svitolina in quarterfinals

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Angelique Kerber predicted that 2017 was going to have a different feel for her, considering her phenomenal breakout season last year. It certainly started differently, with the top-ranked German losing to sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the Brisbane International quarterfinals on Thursday. Kerber reached the final here last year and fine-tuned to precision for the Australian Open, where she beat Serena Williams to claim her first Grand Slam title. She went on to reach the finals at Wimbledon and the Olympics before collecting a second major title by winning the U.S. Open. She overhauled Williams for the top ranking and finished the year at No. 1. After a first-round bye, Kerber struggled with her serve and had nine double-faults in a three-set win over Australian wild-card entry Ash Barty in the second round. Against the No. 14-ranked Svitolina, the German left-hander cut her double-faults down to five, and had a break in the third set after winning the second. But she quickly surrendered the break and wasn't consistent enough, finishing with 48 unforced errors against 39 winners. 'Of course I'm disappointed that I lost here in the quarters (but) I think I'm happy about my start,' Kerber said. 'I'm not worried about my serve. I know I can improve it, but, I mean, that's the second match of the year, the first tournament. 'It was not a bad match. I think we both play on the really high level tonight ...so, yeah, next.' Svitolina was the only player to beat both No. 1-ranked women last year, beating Kerber in straight sets in Beijing and Williams at the Olympics. The 22-year-old Ukrainian has now closed the gap to 5-4 in career head-to-head meetings with Kerber. In the semifinals, she will meet U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, who advanced by beating eighth-seeded Roberta Vinci 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat fifth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-4 to set up a semifinal match against Alize Cornet, who ousted second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 7-5. Defending men's champion Milos Raonic will face 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. The top-seeded Raonic, who had a first-round bye, had 12 aces in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman. Nadal, who is coming back from months off the tour with a left wrist injury, needed only 55 minutes to finish off a 6-1, 6-1 win over Mischa Zverev in a late match. 'After injuries and hard times, it's so special to be back on court,' the 30-year-old Nadal told the appreciative crowd at Pat Rafter Arena. 'It means everything to me. When you fight a lot to be back in action, the support of the people means a lot.' Nadal beat Raonic in an exhibition match last week in Abu Dhabi and has a 6-1 lead in career head-to-head meetings, but the Canadian was still looking forward to facing the Spaniard. 'It's a great task,' Raonic said. 'I feel like I'm doing a lot of things well and, hopefully, I can match up and play some good tennis.' Fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem beat Australian wild-card entry Sam Groth 7-6 (5), 6-3 to move into a quarterfinal match against seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Nicolas Mahut. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017