Phoenix Suns - LA Clippers 93-88 Goran Dragic scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 93-88 on Thursday night, improving to 2-0 under interim coach Lindsey Hunter. Marcin Gortat (6'11''-C-84) added 15 points, including two free throws with 23.3 seconds left. Luis Scola and Markieff Morris had 14 apiece for the Suns, who had not won two in a row since a season-high, four-game winning streak ended on Dec. 19. Dragic also had eight assists. The Clippers, who lost their third straight, were without Chris Paul for the fifth time in seven games because of a bruised right kneecap. The team is 3-2 without him. Jamal Crawford (6'5''-G-80, college: Michigan) led Los Angeles with 21 points. Eric Bledsoe (6'1''-PG-89, college: Kentucky) scored 15 for Los Angeles and Blake Griffin 12. With the victory, Phoenix pulled out of the cellar in the Western Conference at 15-28 to New Orleans' 14-28. The Clippers slipped to 32-12, 1 1/2 games behind West leaders Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The three-game losing streak is Los Angeles' second-longest of the season. The Suns, who won at Sacramento on Wednesday night, scored six in a row to go up 86-79 on Gortat's layup on a pass from Dragic with three minutes left. But the Clippers reeled off the next six. Bledsoe blocked Dragic's shot and Crawford sank a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to 86-85 with 26 seconds remaining. After Gortat's two free throws with 23 seconds left put Phoenix up 88-85, Crawford was fouled on a drive to the basket, narrowly missing a chance at a game-tying, three-point play. Instead, Crawford, an 88 per cent free throw this season, missed one of two free throws and the Suns led 88-86. Phoenix got the inbounds pass to Shannon Brown, who was fouled on what officials ruled was a clear path to the basket. Brown made both free throws to make it 90-86 with 15.4 seconds left and the Suns retained possession. One free throw by Morris and two by Dragic wrapped up the scoring. Hunter became the fourth coach in Suns history to win his first two games. The other three - Gentry, Scott Skiles and Jerry Colangelo - also did it as midseason replacements. The wins came despite a rocky change of power. Earlier in the day, Elston Turner confirmed he has left the organization after being passed over to replace the fired Alvin Gentry in favour of Hunter, who was director of player development and had never coached before. Dan Majerle also left as an assistant coach after being passed over for the interim job. Dragic scored the final nine Suns points in the first half, the last two on free throws after Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro and Crawford were called for technicals with .3 seconds left to put the Suns up 50-46 at the break. Crawford scored seven straight points, the last two on a drive, to put Los Angeles ahead 62-59 with 4:17 left in the third quarter. Phoenix finished the quarter with a 6-2 spurt to lead 68-66 entering the fourth. Courtesy of: timescolonist.com
Boston C. - New York K. 86-89 BOSTON - There was more passion, more fire, more of everything that Doc Rivers has been imploring the Boston Celtics to bring to the floor for weeks. Sadly, it still wasn't enough as the New York Knicks pulled away in the second half for a 89-86 win. New York pulled ahead 80-70 in the fourth, looking as though they were ready to put the C's away and the Celtics at that point, seemed more than willing to oblige. But the Celtics started making shots, which as we've seen, is usually followed by better defense. It shouldn't be that way, but it is what it is. With Rajon Rondo (6'1''-PG-86, college: Kentucky) leading the way, the C's went on a 12-4 run to come within two points. A tip-in by New York's Tyson Chandler (7'1''-C-82) made it a four-point game, only for Rondo to come back with a pair of free throws to cut New York's lead to 86-84. Rondo was getting it done on the defensive end as well, drawing an offensive foul against Carmelo Carmelo Anthony (6'8''-SF-84, college: Syracuse) with 1:53 to play. The C's couldn't capitalize on the turnover, as the Knicks eventually got a 3-pointer from J.R. Smith with 1:11 to play to lead, 89-84. Smith's shot was huge, but the hero for New York was Carmelo Anthony, who just used and abused the Celtics defenders most of the night with either the pull-up jumper or driving to the basket before finishing with a game-high 28 points. Even with Carmelo Anthony having a big game, Boston had its chances afterward. A Rondo jumper followed by a Jason Kidd miss, gave the Celtics a chance to tie the game with 13.1 seconds to play. Following a Celtics timeout, Paul Pierce lost the ball out of bounds with 7.1 seconds to play. Making matters worse, the C's could not get close enough to any of the Knicks players as time expired, a sequence that reinforced the fact that the C's continue to fail at executing effectively in late-game situations. Pierce led the C's with 22 points -- only 3 in the second half -- while Rondo collected his 27th career triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Boston (20-22) has now lost five straight for the first time this season, and just the third time (twice last season) since the 2008 title run. With so much attention paid to the post-game events in their Jan. 7 matchup involving Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett, it took much of the attention off what was a game that both teams desperately needed for different Knicks. New York (26-14) came in atop the Atlantic Division by half a game, with the Brooklyn Nets nipping at their heels. The Celtics came in having lost four in a row and were looking to avoid a five-game losing skid. Both teams delivered the kind of high intensity play that kept the game relatively close in the first quarter which ended with the Celtics ahead 24-20. One of the keys to Boston's slim lead was what turned out to be a near-perfect quarter with the C's committing zero turnovers. The second quarter did not go quite as well for the Celtics, with the Knicks going almost exclusively with multiple zone coverages. Rather than attacking the interior of the zone, the C's relied on what they have relied on all season -- jumpers. And has been the case often this season, those shots were off the mark which allowed the Knicks to spend a good chunk of the second quarter with a lead. Boston eventually snapped out of his jump-shooting trance and began to try and score around the basket, or penetrate and kick out for what were open shots. That was hit and miss for the C's, but the driving to the basket led to a surprisingly high number of free throw attempts. But it was New York's work from the free throw line that proved to be the difference in the half, which ended with three made free throws by the Knicks which put them ahead, 50-48, at the half. For Boston, Pierce was having a big night with 19 points in the first half, which was more points scored by the Captain than he had in each of the C's previous four games - all losses. Boston pulled ahead 66-65 on a Jeff Green 3-pointer in the third quarter, but the Knicks closed out the third with a 7-0 run and the C's spent the rest of the game playing from behind. Courtesy of: http://www.csnne.com
Orlando M. - Toronto R. 95-97 The conditions were right for the Orlando Magic to pick up a rare win, but they fell short once again on Thursday, this time to the Toronto Raptors, by a 97-95 final as Demar DeRozan (6'7''-F/G-89, college: USC) drilled a long, fading two-pointer over the defense of Arron Afflalo (6'5''-G-85, college: UCLA) and Glen Davis as time expired. Toronto was playing the second night of a back-to-back following an overtime loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday, whereas the Magic had the benefit of a day of rest. In addition, Toronto had lost five of its last six. But the Raptors, using a balanced offense and accurate shooting, would take control in the second half and fend off a late Magic rally to complete their four-game sweep of Orlando, their first since the 2006/07 season. The Magic yielded 50 percent shooting, while DeRozan led six Raptors in double-figure scoring with 22 points, including 14 in the fourth. A small, unconventional lineup, featuring Davis at center alongside four guards, helped Orlando turn the tide in the third quarter. A three-point play by Davis brought Orlando within a point at 81-80 with 6:50 to play. Moments later, E'Twaun Moore scooped up a loose ball, and though Jameer Nelson's first shot attempt missed, Davis recovered the offensive rebound and hit a cutting Nelson for a layup to give Orlando an 84-83 lead, its first since the 1:26 mark of the second quarter. A mental error cost Orlando one key possession with 3:04 to play. Under Toronto's basket after a timeout, Moore failed to inbound the ball within five seconds, resulting in a turnover. DeRozan responded with a fading jumper on Toronto's next trip to give the visitors a three-point lead. After a Davis miss, Alan Anderson (6'6''-G/F-82, agency: Priority Sports, college: Michigan St.) scored an easy driving layup to put Toronto up five with 2:09 to go. A four-point play by J.J. Redick (6'4''-G-84, college: Duke) tied the score at 93 with 53 seconds to play, but DeRozan answered with another fading jumper. Moore knotted the score again with a put-back of an Afflalo miss, giving Toronto possession with 20.9 seconds to play. Toronto scored on its first six possessions of the third quarter to build a 62-55 lead. Nearly four minutes elapsed before a short-rimmed Jose Calderon jumper gave the Magic their first defensive stop of the half. One third-quarter play typified the Magic's energy level on the night: off an out-of-bounds play, Amir Johnson launched a long two-pointer with six-tenths of a second remaining on the shot clock. As the shot was in the air, Johnson and three other Raptors retreated to get back defensively. The rebound landed between Magic players Maurice Harkless, Jameer Nelson, and Nikola Vuevi, but Ed Davis--the lone Raptor not sprinting back in transition--came up with the loose ball to keep the possession alive. Toronto was the team on the second night of a back-to-back, but one wouldn't know it based on its energy and approach. A long three-pointer by rookie Terrence Ross, off the dribble with the shot-clock winding down, gave the Raptors a 10-point lead, their largest of the night, with 1:16 to go in the third. A free throw by Vuevi marked the only scoring for either team for the remainder of the period, giving Toronto a nine-point edge. The officials changed Ross' basket to a three-pointer after a video review between the third and fourth quarters. The game was close, if not exciting, in the first half: the Raptors led by just one point at halftime, 48-47, and the game featured 10 lead changes and seven ties to that point. Nikola Vuevi had 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting despite hardly having any plays called for him: he went 5-of-6 on tip-ins and layups in the half. Moore, too, made his presence felt: the second-year player drove to the basket and drew three fouls, setting a new career-high with six free-throw attempts in the half alone. But, in a familiar story, Orlando's defense suffered because it failed to force turnovers or wall off the paint. Like Vuevi, Johnson feasted as a finisher inside, scoring 14 of his own on 6-of-10 shooting. Coming off a miserable night against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, some of Glen Davis' fortunes changed against the Raptors. He shot 3-of-5 before halftime for six points and he snared three rebounds as well, but he also picked up three fouls and drew a technical foul, his third of the season, for getting physical with Raptors center Aaron Gray. After referees whistled Davis for his third foul, the veteran big man tossed his hands into the air and walked away, muttering to himself, before approaching official David Jones to discuss the play. Later in the quarter, Davis lingered on Orlando's bench while his teammates huddled with coach Jacque Vaughn during a timeout. Davis did eventually join the huddle, but his frustration was plain to see. Davis' night soured just 43 seconds into the second half, when he picked up another foul trying to take a charge against Johnson. To make matters worse, Johnson made the shot, leading to an and-one situation. Vaughn kept Davis in the game. Courtesy of: http://www.orlandopinstripedpost.com
Team USA coast past Argentina in Las Vegas - 3 hours ago
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Team USA - Argentina 111:74 Team USA played the first exhibition game in their preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games. They faced Argentina in Las Vegas. Kevin Durant (6'9''-SF-88, college: Texas) posted 23 points to lead the hosts. Team USA unloaded 32 points in the opening quarter to open an 18-point lead. They maintained the lead throughout the second term. Team USA built a 56:33 halftime lead. The sides exchanged baskets throughout the third term. Team USA secured a 23-point lea... [read more]
Team USA - Argentina 111:74
Team USA played the first exhibition game in their preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games. They faced Argentina in Las Vegas. Kevin Durant (6'9''-SF-88, college: Texas) posted 23 points to lead the hosts. Team USA unloaded 32 points in the opening quarter to open an 18-point lead. They maintained the lead throughout the second term. Team USA built a 56:33 halftime lead. The sides exchanged baskets throughout the third term. Team USA secured a 23-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. They followed with a 31-point effort in the final stanza to ice the win. Paul George (6'9''-G/F-90, college: Fresno St.) had 18 points, while Carmelo Anthony (6'8''-SF-84, college: Syracuse) chipped in 17 points for the winning side. Andres Nocioni (6'8''-SF-79) responded with 15 points and 7 rebounds for Argentina. Manu Ginobili (6'6''-G-77, agency: Interperformances) had 11 points in the defeat.
San Antonio Spurs (NBA) tabbed 23-year old French-Guyanese power forward Livio Jean-Charles (202-93, agency: BeoBasket). He signed a rookie-scale four-year contract for $4.5 million. It is actually his comeback to the Spurs as he has played here before. Jean-Charles has played for the last two years at ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket in French ProA. In 36 games he averaged 6.4ppg and 4.7rpg last season. Jean-Charles helped them to win the league title and they also made it to the Cup final. [read more]
San Antonio Spurs (NBA) tabbed 23-year old French-Guyanese power forward Livio Jean-Charles (202-93, agency: BeoBasket). He signed a rookie-scale four-year contract for $4.5 million. It is actually his comeback to the Spurs as he has played here before. Jean-Charles has played for the last two years at ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket in French ProA. In 36 games he averaged 6.4ppg and 4.7rpg last season. Jean-Charles helped them to win the league title and they also made it to the Cup final. Jean-Charles also played 8 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he had 8.8ppg, 6.3rpg and 1.6apg. Three years ago Jean-Charles was drafted by the Spurs in first round (28th overall). Among other achievements he received Eurobasket.com All-French ProA Newcomer of the Year award back in 2013. Jean-Charles represented France at the European Championships U20 in Tallinn (Estonia) three years ago. His stats at that event were 4 games: Score-5 (17.3ppg), 6.3rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg, 1.0bpg, FGP-3 (69.2%), 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 70.6%. Jean-Charles has played also professionally in France for CFBB.
Dirk Nowitzki Re-Signs With Mavs On Two-Year, $50M Deal - 1 day ago
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Dirk Nowitzki(7'0''-F-78) and the Dallas Mavericks have finalized his new contract worth $50 million over two seasons. The deal contains $30 million in guaranteed money and a team option for Year 2 if he decides to play in the 17-18 season. Nowitzki had initially agreed upon a two-year, $40 million deal with the Mavericks. Nowitzki was a free agent after coming off a three-year, $30 million deal in 2014 that contained a player option for 16-17. Courtesy of: realgm.com [read more]
Dirk Nowitzki (7'0''-F-78) and the Dallas Mavericks have finalized his new contract worth $50 million over two seasons. The deal contains $30 million in guaranteed money and a team option for Year 2 if he decides to play in the 17-18 season. Nowitzki had initially agreed upon a two-year, $40 million deal with the Mavericks. Nowitzki was a free agent after coming off a three-year, $30 million deal in 2014 that contained a player option for 16-17. Courtesy of: realgm.com
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