LA Lakers - Miami Heat 90-99 LeBron James (6'8''-SF-84) had 39 points and eight assists, Dwyane Wade (6'4''-G-82, college: Marquette) added 27 points on his 31st birthday and the Miami Heat held off the Los Angeles Lakers 99-90 Thursday night to finish their six-game road trip with three wins. Ray Allen scored seven of his nine points in the final 5 minutes as the defending NBA champions repelled a late charge by the Lakers, who lost for the seventh time in nine games. Kobe Bryant (6'6''-SG-78) scored 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles, which rallied for a brief lead midway through the final period before James and Allen secured the Heat's second win in their last eight road games against the Lakers. Dwight Howard had 13 points and 16 rebounds, but missed two key free throws with 1:51 left while Miami pulled away, capping the All-Star starting center's 5-for-13 effort at the line. Metta World Peace (6'7''-G/F-79, college: St.John's) scored 16 points for the Lakers, who committed 20 turnovers and didn't score in the final 2 1/2 minutes. Pau Gasol had 12 points and four rebounds in his return from a five-game absence with a concussion for the Lakers, who had hoped to build on consecutive victories following a six-game losing streak that knocked them well out of the Western Conference playoff picture. Instead, James and Wade demonstrated why they're the champions and the Lakers are in 11th place in the West. James and Wade got little help until Allen's late flurry, but they didn't need it. Chris Bosh had just seven points and six rebounds in 35 minutes for Miami. Bryant scored at least 20 points in his 23rd consecutive game, but the NBA's leading scorer missed 14 of his first 17 shots. Miami held a narrow lead for most of the first three quarters until Bryant hit two 3-pointers and two jumpers during a 14-3 Lakers run to an 84-81 lead in the fourth quarter. Allen put the Heat back ahead with a 3-pointer with 4:55 to play, but Bryant tied it with his third 3 of the quarter with 2:33 left. After Wade hit a jumper, Howard missed two free throws - airballing the first - and Allen hit a high-arching jumper in the paint before James iced it with a short bank shot with 49 seconds left. The game featured four of the 10 starters in next month's All-Star game, with Bryant edging James by roughly 7,800 votes as the top vote-getter in the final results announced earlier in the day. Wade and Howard also will start in Houston. Bryant is headed to his 15th All-Star game in 17 NBA seasons, starting a record 15 consecutive times, while Howard will be a seven-time All-Star. While Bryant's popularity and success are undeniable, even Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni was somewhat surprised Howard had been voted to a starting spot. "When you're under .500 and you have two guys on the All-Star (team), that's kind of like, 'Really?'" D'Antoni said before the game. "He's coming back from injury, and he's played at the All-Star level the last two or three games." Earl Clark stayed in the Lakers' starting lineup on his 25th birthday, but Gasol played well off the bench in his first game since Denver's JaVale McGee elbowed him in the face Jan. 6. Miami had lost everywhere except Northern California on its West Coast trip, but the Heat's blowout win over Golden State on Wednesday night allowed James, Wade and Bosh to rest for the entire fourth quarter. Miami then got off to a ferocious start with dunks on its first four shots while forcing five Lakers turnovers in the first 3 1/2 minutes. Los Angeles settled down and got back into the game with balanced scoring and good rebounding despite continuing to turn the ball over at an alarming rate. James and Wade combined for 31 points in the first half, but their seven teammates managed just 13 points on 4-for-21 shooting. The Lakers committed 16 turnovers, but minimized Miami's second-chance points, allowing just two offensive rebounds in the first half after Milwaukee grabbed 21 offensive boards against them two nights earlier. Courtesy of: huffingtonpost.com
Phoenix Suns - Milwaukee B. 94-98 Mike Jr. Dunleavy (6'9''-G/F-80, college: Duke) hit a 3-pointer with 57.4 seconds left to cap a 10-0 run and the Milwaukee Bucks pulled away to beat the Suns 98-94 on Thursday night, snapping a 24-game losing streak in Phoenix. Monta Ellis (6'4''-G-85) scored 24 points and Larry Sanders (6'11''-F-88, college: VCU) added 19, while Dunleavy and Brandon Jennings had 16 apiece for the Bucks, who had not won in the Valley since Feb. 21, 1987, at the old Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Milwaukee has won four of six since interim coach Jim Boylan replaced Scott Skiles on Jan. 8. Shannon Brown (6'4''-G-85, agency: Priority Sports, college: Michigan St.) scored 20 points off the bench and Luis Scola added 16 for the Suns, who have lost four straight at home for the first time since 2004 and have dropped 13 of 15 overall. Courtesy of: Associated Press
Minnesota T. - LA Clippers 77-90 MINNEAPOLIS -- Jamal Crawford (6'5''-G-80, college: Michigan) scored 22 points, Blake Griffin (6'10''-F-89, college: Oklahoma) added 20 and the Los Angeles Clippers hardly broke a sweat in cruising to a 90-77 victory over the free-falling Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night. Lamar Odom grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out six assists, and the Clippers outscored Minnesota's bench 45-23 to overcome Chris Paul's third straight missed game because of a knee injury. Luke Ridnour (6'2''-PG-81, college: Oregon) scored 21 points and Ricky Rubio had four points and six assists in his first start of the season for the Timberwolves, who lost leading scorer and rebounder Nikola Pekovic to a bruised right quadriceps in the third quarter. The Timberwolves shot just 35.7 percent and missed 15 of their 19 3-pointers in losing their fifth straight game. Even without their MVP candidate out there to steer the ship over the last few games, the Clippers have been humming right along. Backup Eric Bledsoe clearly has been watching how Paul goes about his business because the third-year Kentucky point guard has played with a maturity and explosiveness that has allowed the Clippers to not miss a beat. Bledsoe picked up two quick fouls in the first 3 minutes on Thursday night, but that was no problem for the deepest team in the league. Coach Vinny Del Negro went to the super-sub Crawford, who scored 12 points in the first half to help Los Angeles muddle through an uninspired start. "We should come into every arena feeling we should get the W," Caron Butler said at the morning shootaround. "That's not being cocky or overconfident. That's having enough confidence in our ability and ourselves and the personnel we have out there and the system that we run." The Clippers looked a little too overconfident early in the game, seemingly playing on cruise control against a team they knew was undermanned and overwhelmed. Los Angeles turned the ball over 17 times in the first three quarters and coasted offensively to allow the Wolves to hang around. Minnesota trailed by just five going into the fourth quarter, but the Clippers simply wore down the Timberwolves with their depth. Bledsoe scored only two points, but Crawford's 3-pointer with 5 minutes to go gave Los Angeles a 13-point lead and the short-handed Wolves simply faded away. Pekovic was injured while getting tangled with Griffin under the basket in the third quarter and Alexey Shved rolled his left ankle midway through the final period, the latest in an incredible pile of injuries for the Wolves this season. Kevin Love is out for two months with a right hand that is broken for the second time this season, Brandon Roy may not play at all this season with recurring knee problems, Chase Budinger is out until March with a knee injury and Josh Howard and Malcolm Lee are both lost for the season with injuries. Head coach Rick Adelman missed his sixth straight game while tending to his sick wife. Courtesy of: http://www.newsobserver.com
Detroit P. - New York K. 87-102 LONDON- Back in London and back on the basketball court, Carmelo Anthony (6'8''-SF-84, college: Syracuse) went right back to his winning ways. The Knicks star was the main attraction at the O2 Arena on Thursday, five months after he helped the United States win the Olympic gold medal at the same venue. This time, he led the New York Knicks over the Detroit Pistons, 102-87 in the third regular-season NBA game played in the British capital. 'It felt good out there,' said Anthony, who scored 18 points in the first half as the Knicks (25-13) jumped out to a big early lead. 'I definitely had some flashbacks out there. Running out there on the court, just being in the O2 Arena.' Part of Anthony's strong showing against the Pistons (14-25) may be attributed to his diet. He recently ended a two-week fasting period, and definitely seems to be getting his strength back. 'I felt better than I was the last couple of games,' Anthony said. 'I'm back eating right, eating what I'm supposed to be eating.' Anthony has now scored at least 20 points in 25 straight games, extending the longest such streak of his career. 'He got off to such a hot start, and then he just kind of played as the game came to him,' Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. 'He was getting double-teamed and I thought he did a great job in sacrificing the basketball, which he has to do.' Anthony's hot start was no surprise for Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. 'You know going in, there's no secret, he's the best first-quarter scorer in the league,' Frank said. Amare Stoudemire (6'10''-F-82) added 17 points for the Knicks and J.R. Smith scored 16. Will Bynum (5'11''-PG-83, agency: Priority Sports, college: Georgia Tech) led the Pistons with 22 points. The Pistons were the home team at the O2 Arena, but the crowd certainly favored the Knicks and Anthony. It helped. 'This goes to show you, our sport is global, there's no doubt about that,' Woodson said. 'The fans tonight were fantastic both ways, especially for us.' After Tayshaun Prince netted a pair of free throws for the opening points of the game, the Knicks went on tear. Tyson Chandler started it off with a dunk, and Anthony soon followed with a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched between Jason Kidd (6'4''-PG-73, college: California)'s 3-pointer and Chris Copeland's layup. Iman Shumpert, in his season debut after recovering from knee surgery, nailed another 3-pointer soon after to complete the 16-0 run and put the Knicks in control. 'The Knicks got off to a great start,' Bynum said. 'We were kind of playing catch up from then on.' Trailing 56-41 at the half, the Pistons mounted a third-quarter comeback. They scored 10 straight points midway through the period amid their own 16-2 run to cut the lead to 67-63. Anthony ended the run with a pass rather than another basket. The Knicks forward drilled a pass across the baseline to Steve Novak, who nailed a jumper. Stoudemire then sank a free throw before Smith hit a jump shot after running the court with his own rebound. Anthony finished off the third quarter with a lay-in to make it 75-63. In the fourth, the Pistons briefly cut the lead to single digits when Bynum scored seven straight points to make it 83-75, but the Knicks pulled away again - this time for good. 'We came here to win a game, so it's very, very disappointing,' Frank said. 'This is not a vacation. We're not tourists. We came here to play a competition on an international stage, which is a privilege and an honor to be selected, so it's disappointing that we came up short and didn't play our best.' The Knicks had won only three of their last eight games heading into Thursday's action, but they now have won two straight and next host the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. For the Pistons, who next host the Boston Celtics on Sunday, it's their second loss in a row. But they have still won five of the last eight. The crowd at the O2 cheered loudly at times, but there were stretches of silence during some portions of the game. There was even a quiet moment before the game started, though it appeared to be an accident. With Stoudemire and Prince on the court before the game speaking to the crowd with a microphone, the sound went out just as Prince was thanking the fans for their support. The fans let out a round of boos, but they soon started cheering again as the game got under way. In the second quarter, the referees had to resort to the video replay to make a flagrant foul call on Pistons forward Austin Daye. With Chandler driving toward the hoop, Daye hit him hard and knocked him to the ground. Chandler made both free throws and Smith added a 3-pointer about 10 seconds later to make it 44-24 midway through the quarter. Courtesy of: Associated Press
Thunder, in Rout, Push Warriors to Brink - May 25, 2016
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The Golden State Warriors came here with a well-earned reputation as cool and collected, the greatest basketball show on earth. The defending league champions and the most credentialed regular-season team in N.B.A. history, with 73 victories, the Warriors left Chesapeake Energy Arena late Tuesday night on the brink of elimination, battered in successive games by an Oklahoma City Thunder team that played like a tornado. With a convincing 118-94 Game 4 victory, the Thunder took a three-game... [read more]
The Golden State Warriors came here with a well-earned reputation as cool and collected, the greatest basketball show on earth. The defending league champions and the most credentialed regular-season team in N.B.A. history, with 73 victories, the Warriors left Chesapeake Energy Arena late Tuesday night on the brink of elimination, battered in successive games by an Oklahoma City Thunder team that played like a tornado. With a convincing 118-94 Game 4 victory, the Thunder took a three-games-to-one lead in the Western Conference finals, setting up a close-out game Thursday night in Oakland, Calif. Russell Westbrook (6'3''-PG-88, college: UCLA) played more like the league's most valuable player than Stephen Curry (6'3''-PG-88, college: Davidson), who won the award this season and last. Westbrook riddled the Warriors' defense for 36 points and 11 assists, with 11 rebounds for a triple-double. Kevin Durant (6'9''-SF-88, college: Texas) added 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder. 'He just plays with incredible passion,' Thunder Coach Billy Donovan said of Westbrook. 'He's got such great force and great will, and he's also a really, really high basketball I.Q. player.' Westbrook said: 'I know that my energy and aggression can impact the game. My energy was good tonight. I was just using my size to get to the basket and create some havoc.' Curry endured a 6-for-20 shooting night, with six turnovers. Klay Thompson (6'7''-G-90, college: Washington St.) had 26 points to lead the Warriors, who finished with 21 turnovers. 'This is probably the longest team in the league that we're facing, and we are continuing to try to throw passes over the top of their outstretched arms,' Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said of the turnovers. 'It's probably not a great idea.' Most satisfying for the Thunder and their raucous fans was Draymond Green (6'7''-F-90, college: Michigan St.)'s continued poor play - he shot 1 for 7 and had six turnovers - after the N.B.A. did not suspend him for his kick of Steven Adams's groin in Game 3. 'The league is pro-business - he's one of the best players,' Durant said, suggesting the league was not going to meddle too much in its marquee series. 'We're not upset about it; that's just how it goes.' Given time to sleep on the N.B.A.'s decision to punish but not suspend him, Green insisted he would not become tentative or change the essential character of his game. 'I'm never going to be careful - I'm an emotional player,' he said before Game 4. He was not being defiant, or flippant, saying that the Warriors needed all the passion they could muster against a Thunder team brimming with talent and growing in confidence. Green at least was a man of his word. On the Thunder's first possession, Adams grabbed an offensive rebound, backed into the lane against Andrew Bogut and was hacked by Green, helping out from the weak side. But for all of Green's promises of a new night, a renewed aggression, it was Adams who had a far greater impact on a first half that looked strikingly familiar to the start to Sunday's Game 3. For the second straight game, Adams, switching out to defend Curry on the perimeter, deflected one of Curry's pull-up 3-pointers, a further demonstration of the agility of Adams, a 7-foot New Zealander. It also signaled a nightmarish half for Curry, who missed 10 of 14 shots, turned the ball over three times and added to the speculation that he is not entirely healthy. 'He's not injured,' Kerr said. 'He just had a lousy night. It happens, even to the best players in the world.' Curry said: 'It's a terrible night to have that happen. It's a terrible feeling not stepping up. But the series isn't over. There's a long way to go. Got to protect home court and try to figure out how to win in this building.' As they did in Game 3, the Thunder sprinted ahead early to a double-digit lead, forcing Kerr to call two timeouts on the way to a 22-8 deficit, the second of which came at the 5-minute-41-second mark and after three straight turnovers led to 8 Thunder points. The Thunder were far from the Durant and Westbrook show, with Serge Ibaka (6'10''-C/F-89) knocking down 6 of his 8 shots and scoring 15 points while Durant and Westbrook were combining for 36. Once again, the Thunder piled up a meaty advantage at the free-throw line, making 21 of 28 - Durant hit all eight of his attempts, and Adams converted 5 of 6 - while the Warriors made 9 of 17. Six of those attempts - and five of the misses - belonged to Festus Ezeli, a backup center getting extended minutes because Bogut had three fouls. Donovan - one win from the N.B.A. finals after making the jump from the college game - took advantage, intentionally putting Ezeli at the line three times just as the game really began to resemble Sunday night's. It was during the last six minutes of Game 3's second quarter that the Green-Adams episode ignited the Thunder on a run that provided a 72-47 halftime lead, a burst from which the Warriors never recovered. This time, the Thunder held a 48-40 lead when the first Ezeli foul occurred. He missed both shots, leading to an Andre Roberson (6'7''-F-91, college: Colorado) put-back basket off a missed Durant jumper. He scored again as Adams, with a no-look pass from inside the lane, found him at the rim for a layup. Flaunting his versatility and increasing influence, Adams hit Roberson again from the key area for another layup. The lead was 69-50 when Curry hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the half. But he left enough time on the clock for Westbrook to rise up from 30 feet and nailed a half-ending 3, giving his team 72 points again and a 19-point lead. It was not quite the 25-point hole the Warriors were in Sunday night, but it was still going to require a very different Warriors team in the second half. Unlike Game 3, in which the third-quarter deficit ballooned to 41, Game 4 featured a Warriors push back behind Thompson, with the team getting as close as 80-74 with 4:48 left in the third. But Curry could never put his imprint on the game as desperation led to another defeat and put that record 73-victory season on the brink. Courtesy of: nytimes.com
Kawhi, Draymond Lead NBA All-Defensive Teams - May 25, 2016
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Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (6'7''-F-91, college: San Diego St.) and Warriors forward Draymond Green (6'7''-F-90, college: Michigan St.) were the leading vote-getters for the NBA's All-Defensive teams for the 2015/16 season, with Leonard earning first-team votes from all 130 respondents. Leonard and Green were joined on the NBA All-Defensive first team by center DeAndre Jordan (6'11''-C-88, college: Texas A&M), along with guards Chris Paul (6'0''-PG-85, college: Wake Forest) and Avery Bra... [read more]
Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (6'7''-F-91, college: San Diego St.) and Warriors forward Draymond Green (6'7''-F-90, college: Michigan St.) were the leading vote-getters for the NBA's All-Defensive teams for the 2015/16 season, with Leonard earning first-team votes from all 130 respondents. Leonard and Green were joined on the NBA All-Defensive first team by center DeAndre Jordan (6'11''-C-88, college: Texas A&M), along with guards Chris Paul (6'0''-PG-85, college: Wake Forest) and Avery Bradley (6'2''-PG-90, college: Texas). Here's the complete breakdown of the 2015/16 NBA All-Defensive teams, with point totals in parentheses. Players received two points for a first-team vote and one point for a second-team vote.
Joakim Noah Telling Teammates He's Leaving Bulls, Doesn't Trust Front Office - May 25, 2016
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Joakim Noah (6'11''-F/C-85, college: Florida) has begun to tell his Chicago Bulls' teammates he plans on signing elsewhere in free agency. Noah allegedly said he 'has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction.'' There appears to be a complete mistrust multiple players have towards Gar Forman. Tom Thibodeau was always able to shield the players from the front office, having them buy into the idea that it was 'us against them.'' The wall became blurry when the Bulls h... [read more]
Joakim Noah (6'11''-F/C-85, college: Florida) has begun to tell his Chicago Bulls' teammates he plans on signing elsewhere in free agency. Noah allegedly said he 'has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction.'' There appears to be a complete mistrust multiple players have towards Gar Forman. Tom Thibodeau was always able to shield the players from the front office, having them buy into the idea that it was 'us against them.'' The wall became blurry when the Bulls hired Fred Hoiberg. Noah had a difficult season that included injury. '[Noah] represents a lot of things that we believe in,'' VP of basketball operations John Paxson said in mid-April about re-signing Noah. 'So we have an affinity for Jo. But we've got to talk, we've got to see where it goes.'' Courtesy of: realgm.com
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