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LeBron ties record with 11th All-NBA pick, Harden unanimous

May 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James matched a record with his 11th All-NBA First Team selection while Houston guard James Harden was a unanimous choice, the NBA announced Thursday.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game One

Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook, San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans center Anthony Davis were other selections to the select squad, chosen in a global media vote.

None of the Golden State Warriors roster were included in the first team.

James joined Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone as the only players in NBA history to make the First Team 11 times.

Harden was selected to the First Team on all 100 ballots while Westbrook, who joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average a triple double for a full season, and James, who set career highs in rebounds and assists and led the league in minutes played, were chosen on 99 ballots with Leonard on 96.

Davis had the narrowest call with 45 First Team votes to 43 for Utah’s Rudy Gobert, edging him 343-339 in total points with five for first team votes, three for second and one for third team selections.

Harden made the First team for the third time in four years while Davis, Westbrook and Leonard each made their second appearance on the list.

Harden averaged career highs of 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds a game, leading the NBA in assists and finishing second in scoring to propel the Rockets to the NBA’s third-best record at 55-27. Harden led the NBA by making 746 free throws and hit 262 3-pointers, third in the league.

James, in his 14th NBA campaign, ranked eighth in the NBA with 26.4 points a game and averaged career highs of 8.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds.

The All-NBA Second Team included Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, Gobert and two members of the Warriors, guard Stephen Curry and forward Kevin Durant.

The All-NBA Third Team consisted of Chicago forward Jimmy Butler and Golden State forward Draymond Green, center DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan and Washington guard John Wall.

Other NBA awards, including Most Valuable Player and Coach of the Year, will be revealed June 26 at the new NBA Awards Show in New York.

Cavaliers again flirt with historic playoff start

May 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are on the verge of making their second consecutive 10-0 start to the NBA playoffs when they face the Boston Celtics on Friday.

Lue

The defending NBA champions ripped the Celtics 117-104 in Wednesday’s start of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final series with game two Friday in Boston.

“We did a good job of coming out, throwing the first punch,” said Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue.

Cleveland swept past Indiana and Toronto in the opening rounds and could match last year’s 10-0 playoff start, one shy of the best in NBA history, with another road triumph.

“I have to be in attack mode and just put the pressure on the defense and see what happens,” James said. “The energy and effort and mindset was where it needed to be starting on the road, especially in the Eastern Conference Finals.”

James scored 38 points, grabbed nine rebounds and made seven assists against the Celtics in game one, giving him 35 or more in five consecutive games and at least 30 in seven as he raises his game the nearer he gets to reaching a seventh consecutive NBA Finals.

“He’s playing at a high level right now and that’s the reason why we’re riding him so much,” Lue said. “He’s really setting the tone for us in these playoffs. We’re just kind of riding it.

“When LeBron is playing at this level, other guys just have to be solid and I think we’ve got a good chance of winning the game. Let’s see if we can just keep this up.”

Cleveland could become the first team to make 10-0 playoff starts in consecutive seasons. Golden State is off to a 10-0 start in the Western Conference, the Warriors two games from their third consecutive NBA Finals and a possible third consecutive meeting with the Cavaliers there.

The record NBA playoff start of 11-0 was accomplished twice by the Los Angeles Lakers, in 2001 when they dropped only one game on the way to the title and in 1989 when they reached the final only to be swept by Detroit.

One secret to Cleveland’s success has been to take advantage of the rest during breaks between rounds but practice as if every game is a must-win situation.

“We put in a lot of work,” James said. “We’ve been on the practice court or in the weight room training as if we were playing. There’s no way you can substitute a game. But the work that we put in this week, we just tried to be as up to speed as possible when the game did come.”

The Celtics rotated defenders on James to no avail, unable to wear him down, and barely able to slow him down.

“It’s not an individual matchup for me, no matter who’s in front of me. My mind is always racing on how I can make this the best possession at that particular time,” James said.

“I know how many guys I’m going to see throughout the course of a game. The only thing on my mind is how we can execute the best way and get a bucket, either if I can get myself a shot or if I can drive, get my shooters a shot, or if I can get a double-team in the paint or get to the free throw line.”

That group effort has allowed guard Kyrie Irving and forward Kevin Love to take their share of the load off James and play swarming support defense against top rival scorers, forcing shots from players unaccustomed to carrying the task of point production.

“We wanted to come in and set the tone and dictate the game and we felt like we did a good job of doing that,” Love said. “We felt like we could have played better and there are some things we’ll look at that will be better for Friday.”

Paul Pierce departs league with ‘no regrets’

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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Paul Pierce said Sunday he departs the NBA with “no regrets” despite the bitter disappointment of the Los Angeles Clippers first-round playoff loss to the Utah Jazz.

Los Angeles Clippers v Utah Jazz - Game Six

“I really enjoyed myself with this group this year. Regardless of what happened today with the basketball, I’m happy,” he said.

“What I’ve been able to accomplish, what I’ve been able to do with my career, I gave every ounce I could. I have no regrets.”

After the retirements of Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, the NBA is bidding farewell to another star of the 2000s in Pierce.

The 39-year-old won a title with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and competed for another in the NBA Finals.

But his bid to recapture that magic with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles — where he signed with the Clippers as a free agent prior to the 2015 season — didn’t pan out.

But he was hailed by his peers as one of the greats.

“Paul Pierce is ‘The Truth’” Bryant told The Players’ Tribune website — a nod to Pierce’s nickname.

A video tribute on the website featured Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Oscar Robertson and an emotional Kevin Garnett, Pierce’s teammate in Boston and Brooklyn, among others.

Pierce later tweeted his thanks.

“Thanku to all my NBA brothers and sisters associated with the game a game Ive loved my whole life but now ready for a new chapter stay tuned,” he posted on the social media site.

Pierce leaves the game with 26,397 career points, the 15th-most on the league’s all-time scoring list.
On Sunday he played 22 minutes, scoring six points and pulling down three rebounds.

He left the court waving to fans in his hometown, where his time with the Clippers at last let him play regularly in front of family members, including his mother, Lorraine.

“It’s tough if you come up short of your goals,” Pierce said. “Every year you set a goal to be champions and it’s a tough pill to swallow every year.”

“I’ve been in the league 19 years and had to swallow 18 tough pills.” Preparing to leave Staples Center on Sunday, Pierce indicated the magnitude of retirement had not fully sunk in.

With his departure, Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter are the only members of the 1998 NBA draft class still playing.

Perhaps when next season is approaching, and he isn’t trying to gear himself up for another long campaign, he will understand what retirement means, he said.

“Maybe in those months, when I get up and I don’t have to practice, it’ll hit me more,” he said.
When it does, he does not expect to have any second thoughts about the decision to depart.

“I enjoyed this ride,” Pierce said.

Raptors, Spurs advance to second round of NBA playoffs

April 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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Kawhi Leonard tallied 29 points as the San Antonio Spurs advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs with a 103-96 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.

NBA: Playoffs-San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies

Tony Parker delivered 27 points for the Spurs, who eliminated the Grizzlies by winning the Eastern Conference series in six games.

“He is playing at an MVP level and I hope he can keep it going because we are going to need him in the next round,” said Parker of teammate Leonard.

The Spurs next face the Houston Rockets in a best of seven series that gets underway on Monday.

Elsewhere, DeMar DeRozan delivered 32 points as the Toronto Raptors rebounded after blowing a 25-point second half lead to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 92-89 to reach the second round.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds for San Antonio, who won for the first time in Memphis this season.

The Grizzlies got 26 points from Mike Conley and 18 from Marc Gasol. This was Conley’s fifth straight game with 20 points or more.

Zach Randolph finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

San Antonio survived a strong challenge from Memphis by outrebounding the Grizzlies 46-28.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Memphis was a good test and now his team is better prepared to go on a long postseason run.

“One thing I do like is Memphis is a heck of a defensive team and they play rock ‘em, sock ‘em. That gets you ready for anybody you are going to play,” Popovich said.

“This was a chance for a lot of our guys who haven’t been with us a long time to see how it works in the playoffs. The kind of tenacity … and that anything can happen. We have had big leads, other teams have had big leads, and you lose them. It is tough, people are hungry, they want to win.”

Veteran Parker shot 78.6 percent from the field (11-of-14), the best he’s ever shot in a postseason game.

“I was just trying to be aggressive and my teammates were setting great picks for me,” France’s Parker said.

In Milwaukee, the Raptors used a 9-0 surge late in the fourth quarter at Milwaukee’s Bradley Center arena to win the first-round Eastern Conference series, eliminating the Bucks in six games.

Toronto advances to face the second-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round, a rematch of last season’s East finals.

DeRozan led the way for Toronto on Thursday. He made 12-of-24 from the field, including a highlight reel dunk with 48 seconds remaining. Kyle Lowry added 13 points for the Raptors.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 47 minutes, but made just seven of 13 attempts from the free-throw line. The Bucks made only 18 of their 28 foul shots.

The Raptors led by as many as 25 in the third quarter before Milwaukee finally got their act together. The Bucks closed the quarter on a 15-3 run to make it a 74-61 game heading to the fourth.

Toronto led by six in the fourth when Serge Ibaka drew his fourth foul, but a 14-0 Milwaukee run put the Bucks up 80-78 with just over three minutes to play.

Jason Terry nailed a long range three-pointer to make it a one-possession game with 16 seconds left but DeRozan closed it out from the foul line.

Aldridge spurs San Antonio past Raptors

January 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 points as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Toronto Raptors 108-106 on Tuesday to stay on the heels of the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Toronto Raptors

Aldridge, who also grabbed seven rebounds and two assists, led the scoring as the Spurs notched their fifth win on the trot to improve to 36-9, two games behind the Warriors (38-7).

Toronto’s defeat was their fourth straight loss however, and their challenge was hampered by the absence of DeMar DeRozan, who sprained an ankle at the weekend.

The Spurs, missing Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol, had surged into a 13-point lead at one stage in the first half but Toronto drew level in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter at the Air Canada Centre.

Dejounte Murray gave San Antonio a two-point lead with a jump shot before Toronto’s Terrence Ross missed a 25-foot effort with 1:17 to play.

The Raptors meanwhile were unable to punish a Spurs turnover with 45 seconds left before Aldridge scored two key free throws to help get San Antonio over the line.

Patty Mills was the other main scorer for San Antonio with 18 points while Dave Bertans (12) and David Lee (11) also made key contributions.

Kyle Lowry topped Toronto’s scoring with 30 points, while Ross added 21 points off the bench.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the absences on both teams had evened each other out.

“You know they’re missing Mr. DeRozan, so we both had players missing,” Popovich said.

“I thought it was a really competitive game, anybody could have won the thing. … Down the stretch, very honestly, it went our way. We didn’t do anything special to deserve it other than playing hard just like they did so we’re thrilled with the win.”

In Orlando, Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and Jimmy Butler 20 as the Chicago Bulls eased past the Orlando Magic 100-92 at the Amway Center.

Wade finally came good after a slow start, missing his first six shots before hitting eight of his next nine to give Chicago a third period lead which they never relinquished.

Chicago improved to 23-23 with the win while Orlando fell to 18-29.

The biggest upset of Tuesday’s early games came in Philadelphia, where the 16-27 76ers stunned the Los Angeles Clippers 121-110.

Nerlens Noel — replacing the injured Joel Embiid — was the star for Philly, scoring a season-high 19 points as the Clippers fell to 30-17.

Backup Richaun Holmes scored an equal career-best 18 points as Philadelphia turned around a 19-point third-quarter deficit to bag their fourth win in five games.

Dario Saric chipped in with 16 points and Robert Covington added 14 for the 76ers, who made 19 of 20 free throws while committing only five turnovers.

The Clippers points came via Jamal Crawford with 27, and J.J. Redick with 22.

The LA club were without coach Doc Rivers, who was ill, but welcomed back Blake Griffin following an 18-game absence caused by knee surgery.

Griffin scored 12 points and finished with 11 rebounds and five assists. DeAndre Jordan added 10 points and 20 rebounds.

In the Eastern Conference, Bradley Beal scored 31 points to help the Washington Wizards win their grudge match with the Boston Celtics 123-108.

The two teams have developed a bitter rivalry in recent seasons after a string of ill-tempered clashes, and the Wizards added fuel on Tuesday by arriving for the game dressed in black.

That appeared to be a reference to John Wall’s remarks on Monday that they planned to be attending Boston’s funeral on Tuesday.

Wall finished Tuesday’s game with 27 points to extend Washington’s home winning streak to 14 games.

The Wizards improved to 25-20, remaining firmly in pursuit of Boston who fell to 26-18.

“I love games like this. It’s what makes it fun,” Beal said. “Guys are competitive. It wasn’t a dirty game.

We both kept it clean regardless of what happened last game. That’s a respect factor on both sides. We competed our tails off, and I felt like we dominated most of the game. “

Young’s clutch shot pushes Pacers past Wizards in NBA

December 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Thaddeus Young’s short jump shot with one second left on the clock lifted the Indiana Pacers to a 107-105 win over the Washington Wizards.

wizards

“I just made a play, that was the biggest thing,” Young said of his jumper from 10 feet. “My teammates put me in a position to make that play by having a lot of guys on the court that could space the court out.”

Washington’s Bradley Beal missed a potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer in front of a crowd of 18,100 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena.

Paul George led the Pacers with 27 points and teammate Jeff Teague added 23. Myles Turner fouled out with 20 points and eight rebounds.

“They switched out and denied Paul,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said.

“Thaddeus did what he was supposed to do and come to the ball. With four seconds to go you want to attack the basket. It was the right thing instead of just settling for the hero long jump shot.

“He put his head down and attacked the basket. It was an aggressive move by Thaddeus.”

Beal, who hit both two free throws to narrow the Pacers’ lead to 105-103 with 50 seconds left, had tied the score by hitting a jumper with 15 seconds left.

Marcin Gortat tallied 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards (12-15). Teammate John Wall delivered 19 points.

Washington erased a deficit by scoring the first nine points of the fourth quarter to tie it 88-88. George’s basket made it 90-88 and halted the Wizards’ run.

Elsewhere, Dennis Schroder and Paul Millsap combined to score 61 points in leading the Atlanta Hawks to a 110-108 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Schroder scored 31 points on 10 of 16 shooting to go along with eight assists. Millsap poured in 30 points, 11 rebounds and hit three of five from beyond the arc.

Thabo Sefolosha added 15 points as the Hawks raised their record to 14-14.

Oklahoma City was led by Russell Westbrook, who had a game high 46 points. He also racked up 11 rebounds and seven assists.

In Minneapolis, the Minnesota Timberwolves held onto a late advantage to escape with a 115-108 win over the Phoenix Suns at the Target Center.

The win for the Timberwolves came two days after they let a 12-point lead slip away with just over two minutes to play against Houston. The Rockets eventually won that game in overtime.

On Monday, Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns scored 28 points and grabbed 15 boards for his 18th double-double of the season — and his eighth straight.

Canada’s Andrew Wiggins had 26 points in the win, and Zach LaVine chipped in 23.

In Chicago, Rajon Rondo narrowly missed a triple-double with 10 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls rolled to a 113-82 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Spurs rally, roll toward history on the road

December 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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The San Antonio Spurs erased an early 10-point deficit to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-91 on Tuesday and extend their perfect record on the road to 13-0.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves

The Spurs are closing in on NBA history. They became just the second team to win their first 13 away games, after the Golden State Warriors won their first 14 of last season.

San Antonio notched away win No. 13 without veteran stars Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, with Parker ruled out because of a knee contusion and Ginobili in uniform but on the bench on the second night of back-to-back games.

Kawhi Leonard more than took up the slack, scoring 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting. Australian guard Patty Mills came off the bench to add 15 points, five assists and four rebounds.

Having twice trailed by 10 in the first half, the Spurs were down 46-43 at the interval.

As they did on Monday against the Bucks in Milwaukee, the Spurs produced a big third quarter to take control, out-scoring the Timberwolves 29-18 in the period.

Mills said he didn’t know why the Spurs have been so successful on the road.

“Not sure, mate,” he said. “It’s hard to win an NBA game, especially on the road.

“Maybe (it’s) that extra focus,” he added. “Knowing that we’re in another team’s building and them trying to come out and wanting to beat us, there’s that little bit extra focus or energy.”

The Grizzlies notched their fourth straight win, holding on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 96-91 in a tight contest in Memphis.

Spanish center Marc Gasol scored 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who trailed 77-76 going into the fourth quarter.

After surrendering the lead, the 76ers produced a late 8-0 scoring run to regain a 91-89 advantage with 1:57 to play.

But Memphis power forward Zach Randolph tied the game at 91-91 with a put-back basket with 1:25 remaining.

Gasol made two free throws and Tony Allen made one as the Grizzlies took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

It was a rewarding return for Randolph, who had missed seven games after the death of his mother on November 25.

“It’s important to get back to working,” Randolph said. “This is what my mother would want me to do. Don’t sit around and be sad. Go back to work.” He received a standing ovation from Grizzlies fans when the team was introduced.

The Detroit Pistons wasted a 17-point first-half lead but kept their composure to beat the Chicago Bulls 102-91.

Andre Drummond produced 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who have won four of their last five games.

Marcus Morris had 13 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 12 for the Pistons, who also had seven points, five rebounds and 10 assists from reserve Ish Smith.

Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 32 points, six rebounds and four assists. Dwayne Wade added 19 points and seven assists and Taj Gibson had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Point guard Rajon Rondo, back after a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, added 10 points.

But Chicago have lost three straight and six of their last nine.

“We’re hitting a rough patch right now and you’ve got to find a way to fight through that,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Despite a sluggish fourth quarter, the Utah Jazz held on to beat the Phoenix Suns 112-105 for their seventh win in eight games.

Gordon Hayward scored 27 points and French defensive standout Rudy Gobert added a career-high 22 points with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots to lead the Jazz.

Devin Booker scored 21 points for the Suns, who rallied from a 23-point deficit but never managed to get in front despite trimming the gap to as little as two points.

LeBron chases Jordan legacy after title for Cleveland

October 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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LeBron James, who achieved a life dream by bringing home Cleveland’s first sports title in 52 years, now draws motivation from wanting to eclipse Michael Jordan as the greatest player in NBA history.

James

James, a native of nearby Akron, will begin his 14th NBA campaign Tuesday as the Cavaliers raise a championship banner at their 2016-17 season opener against New York.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the banner go up: 2015-16 champions. It means a lot,” James said.

The 31-year-old playmaker, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, unleashed one of the NBA’s greatest one-man efforts last June as Cleveland made the biggest comeback in NBA Finals history from 3-1 down to beat Golden State in the best-of-seven series.

James averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.3 blocked shots and 2.6 steals a game — leading the finals in each category in an unprecedented feat that earned him unanimous NBA Finals MVP honors.

James sought the fairytale ending when he returned to Cleveland in 2014, having won two titles in four seasons with the Miami Heat after playing his first seven NBA seasons for the Cavaliers.

Now he admits his drive and inspiration come from trying to overtake former Chicago Bullsstar Jordan and be seen as the greatest player in NBA history, a Herculean challenge that should see James to the end of his career.

“My motivation is this ghost I’m chasing. The ghost played in Chicago,” James was quoted by Sports Illustrated as telling a high school basketball player.

“What I’ve gone through is totally different than what he went through. What he did was unbelievable and I watched it unfold. I looked up to him so much.

“If I can ever put myself in position to be the greatest player, that would be something extraordinary.”

Jordan, now 53, won six titles in six trips to the finals in the 1990s with Chicago, each time the NBA Finals MVP. He was the regular season MVP five times, an NBA All-Star 14 times and the NBA scoring champion 10 times. He’s also the all-time NBA playoff scoring leader and ranks fourth on the all-time NBA regular-season scoring list.

And that was with Jordan, now the wealthy owner of the NBA Charlotte Hornets, retiring for almost two full seasons in the 1990s for a failed bid at a baseball career.

James has three titles at the same age Jordan had won three titles but has already been to seven career NBA Finals, including the past six in a row. He owns three NBA Finals MVP awards from his championship runs in 2012, 2013 and this year. He’s a 12-time NBA All-Star but won his only scoring crown in 2008.

Both were known for high-leaping slam dunks and acrobatic style in jamming the ball through the cylinder in younger days and adapting to age by utilizing teammates more.

- ‘I’m chasing that greatness’ -

James is still writing his story. Only 12 players have more NBA Finals appaearances, most of them from the Boston Celtics dynasty in the 1950s and 1960s and the rest from the Los Angeles Lakers.

In his five seasons after age 31, Jordan won three titles with Chicago and made a two-year comeback from retirement with the Washington Wizards from 2001-2003, retiring for good at age 40.

By that scale, James has nine more years to make his case as the Greatest of All Time.

“That’s my personal inspiration. That’s what drives me,” James told ESPN. “I’m chasing that greatness. That’s how great that ghost was. If I can be in a situation where I’m even talked about as the best basketball player ever, that will be great.”

But first things first. For James, that means Tuesday starts an eight-month quest to return to the NBA Finals and defend the title, something no Cleveland team has managed since the 1955 NFL Browns.

“It will not be easy, and it shouldn’t be easy,” James said. “In my two years here, it’s never been easy, and in my 13-year career, so far nothing has been easy. So I look forward to the journey and the work that lies ahead.”

Surgery ‘likely’ for 76ers’ top NBA draft pick Simmons

October 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Ben Simmons, the NBA’s number one overall draft pick who broke his foot in training with the Philadelphia 76ers, will likely need surgery, Sixers president Bryan Colangelo confirmed Sunday.

simmons

Colangelo, speaking after Philadelphia’s first official practice at their new training facility, offered few specifics about the injury, a fracture to the fifth metatarsal bone.

He did not confirm the Philadelphia Inquirer’s report that Australia’s Simmons will have surgery next week to repair what’s commonly referred to as a Jones fracture.

“There is nobody, sadly, that’s had more experience dealing with injured draft picks than we have,” said 76ers coach Brett Brown. “So over the course of time, you learn how to best deal with it.”

Simmons is the Sixers’ fourth straight first-round acquisition to be sidelined by injury in his rookie season.

Nerlens Noel, taken in the 2013 draft, missed his first year with a torn knee ligament.

Joel Embiid, the third overall pick in 2014, has yet to play after surgeries to repair an injury to the navicular bone in his right foot.

Embiid said he felt for Simmons and that what he learned most about his own experience was the need for patience.

“I told him to keep his head up and everything’s going to be OK; patience,” Embiid said. “And I don’t know yet when he’s having the surgery, but there’s a lot of good doctors around, so I think he’s going to be OK.”

Brown said that regardless of how long Simmons is sidelined, the team plans to take a “holistic” approach to his recovery, keeping him involved even if he isn’t playing.

“There needs to be understanding that there’s an opportunity to educate (Simmons) in the film room, watching different NBA players and teaching him,” Brown said. “There might be an opportunity where we sit him in a chair and remake his shot, rebuild his shot, and really spend time with the fundamentals of his shot.”

Argentina beats Brazil in tense thriller

August 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Argentina came from behind twice to force double-overtime and snatch a thrilling 111-107 Olympic basketball win against hosts Brazil in a game held amid fears of violence between rival fans.

Argentina

Dozens of armed security personnel, some with riot shields, were on hand following previous unruly spectator behaviour in Rio, including a brawl between Argentine and Brazilian supporters at the tennis venue.

Team captains Marcelinho Huertas of Brazil and Luis Scola of Argentina met at half court before tip-off to take the microphone in a joint plea for civility.

“We are South American brothers, and we ask everybody to support us in the spirt of the Olympics and in a civil manner,” Huertas said to cheers.

Decades of football rivalry spice any Argentine-Brazil matchup, but no incidents were immediately reported.

Argentina dealt a blow to Brazil’s hopes of advancing, with forward Andres Nocioni scoring 37 points and guard Facundo Campazzo getting 13 of his 33 in extra time.

Nocioni sank a three-pointer with four seconds in regulation to stun the deafening, mostly Brazilian, crowd and force overtime at 85-85.

Brazil led by as much as six points in the first extra period but Campazzo’s slashing moves to the hoop brought Argentina back against a tiring Brazilian defence.

His fast-break lay-up with 36 seconds left in the first overtime tied it at 95-95 and triggered the second extension.

Argentina went up by as much as eight and held on to ensure a quarter-finals berth by going to 3-1.

“Unbelievable. The basketball today was just ridiculous,” said 39-year-old Manu Ginobili, a four-time NBA champ with the San Antonio Spurs.

“The heart of some of our players is incredible.”

Centre Nene Hilario had 24 points for Brazil, who face winless Nigeria on Monday in their final group game.

Brazil guard Leandro Barbosa rued his team’s inability to close out the game.

“We know that we have to keep our heads up and depend on other teams to lose a couple of games,” he said.

“That is going to be tough but we still believe that we can qualify for the second round.”

Argentina jumped out to an early 11-point lead on 21 first-half points by Nocioni, but Brazil stormed back on the fast break with a 16-2 spurt to end the half in front 52-44.

But Argentina, led by four veterans from their 2004 Athens gold-medal winning side in Nocioni, Brooklyn Nets forward Scola, and guards Ginobili and Carlos Delfino, refused to buckle.

“We were expecting the atmosphere to be as hard as it was,” Delfino said of the captains’ attempt to rein in passions.

“Both teams talked about it before the game to do it. There is a rivalry between us but … it’s not a war or anything like that.”

Said Scola: “We all need to scream, jump, celebrate, cry if they want to, whatever they want to do. But in a civilised matter that we respect.”

“We want to have a big basketball party, and it was.”

Taunting Argentines has become a theme of the Games with Brazil fans poking fun at the legendary Diego Maradona as Argentina crashed out in men’s football earlier.

“Pele scored more than 1,000 goals… Maradona just snorted cocaine,” rang around the Olympic stadium as Argentina played Algeria.

Brazil entered Saturday’s game desperate for a win to ensure they advance.

Their only victory came at the last-second over Spain, a game marked by ugly taunting of Spanish NBA star centre Pau Gasol.

 

NBA stars rattled again, this time by Serbia

August 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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The vaunted USA basketball squad survived a last-second scare from Serbia on Friday to win 94-91 in a Rio Olympics contest that exposed their potential vulnerability for a second straight game.

USA

With a historic upset brewing, Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic missed a three-pointer with two seconds left to hand the defending champions a grind-it-out victory and plenty to ponder about the fast-flowing international game.

Kyrie Irving’s 15 points led six Americans in double figures in a contest that at first looked like a rout thanks to a swarming USA defence.

But Serbian big men Nikola Jokic — the only team member to earn a living in the NBA — and Miroslav Raduljica brought the underdogs back as the Serbian offence kept finding ways to penetrate.

USA guard Paul George admitted that the high-priced American talent — who only began playing as a unit a few weeks ago — were still adjusting to international play.

“We relied on natural talent to get us over this one,” George said.

“That’s why these international guys are special in our league. They really know how to move.”

The USA has won the last three Olympic gold medals and 14 in total.

Now at 4-0 in group play, they were already guaranteed of a spot in the knockout phase starting next week.

But a loss would have been a stunning first in the Olympics since 2004, and first internationally in a decade.

The Serbs came even closer to an upset than medal hopefuls Australia, who two days earlier pushed the champions throughout much of a 98-88 American win.

The USA defence smothered the Serbs early, forcing eight first-quarter turnovers to jump out to an 18-point advantage.

Three straight slam-dunks, two on alley-oops by US centre DeAndre Jordan, made it 23-5 late in the first period, and it appeared NBA showtime had started.

But American mental miscues and sloppy passes prevented them from putting the hammer down as action became disjointed.

The Serbs closed to 50-41 at halftime thanks to 14 first-half points inside by Raduljica, who finished with 18.

The 2.09-metre (6-foot-10) Jokic, who is just 21 but expected by many to emerge as a star for the Denver Nuggets, took over in the second half, repeatedly eluding his markers en route to 25 points.

USA coach Mike Krzyzewski called Jokic “spectacular.”

“He played with the poise of a player much older. He had a great game,” Krzyzewski said.

“We need to expect that from players. We’re going to get their best shot.”

The Serbs got it down to 94-91 with a minute to play.

The USA then missed three shots that could have secured the win, setting up Bogdanovic’s three-point miss.

George said the USA players were “not too concerned,” adding that they were still getting to know each other and such challenges were valuable learning experiences for the medal rounds.

Serbia, now 1-3, must beat 0-4 China on Sunday to stay alive for the knockout phase.

In other Group A games, Australia routed winless China 93-68, and France did the same to Venezuela, 96-56.

With an expected win over Venezuela on Sunday, the relieved Aussies look set to avoid the USA in the medal round until the final, if they get that far.

France also booked a spot in the quarterfinals but must pull off an upset of the USA on Sunday to have any hope of entering the kinder bracket.

Spain upset by Croatia, Brazil fightback falls short

August 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Spain’s bid for a third consecutive trip to the Olympic men’s basketball finals suffered a severe setback on Sunday, while hosts Brazil took hope from a failed rally against Lithuania.

Spain

Croatia upset second-ranked Spain 72-70 as Dario Saric blocked Pau Gasol’s game-tying attempt at the final buzzer and Lithuania held off Brazil 82-76 as Group B preliminary round play began.

There was no rally in the other opener as Argentina ripped Nigeria 94-66 behind Facundo Campazzo’s game high of 19 points and five assists and Luis Scola’s 18 points and game-high eight rebounds.

Croatia and Spain exchanged leads six times in the final minutes, the last time coming when Krunoslav Simon stole the ball from Sergio Rodriguez and made a layup to put Croatia ahead 69-67.

Simon added two free throws to stretch the margin, Nikola Mirotic answered with a 3-pointer for Spain and Saric added a free throw to create the final margin.

However, Saric’s most telling impact was still to come when the Philadelphia 76ers bound power forward blocked two-time NBA champion Gasol’s last-ditch effort.

“It’s always nice to block a big player, a big name in Euro basketball like Pau Gasol,” Saric said. “This is the cherry on the cake, my block, because this team deserved this win because this team fights all the game.”

Spain had been talking of a third chance against the American collection of NBA stars in the Rio final. Now they might be in a fight to be one of four advancing from the group.

“We can’t even dare to make those kind of thoughts,” Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said. “We have to win the next game. Period. Then we can think of the third one.” Gasol had 26 points and nine rebounds while Mirotic added 19 points for Spain.

“I think we are the best in difficult situations like the one we’re in now,” Mirotic said.

Bojan Bogdanovic, a guard for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, led Croatia with 23 points. Saric had five points, seven rebounds and five assists.

“As much as this victory means to us, we don’t want to be a two-day wonder team,” Croatian captain Roko Ukic said.

“We will approach every game like it’s our last. Bottom line, we need to keep it going.” Next for Spain is Brazil, which is fifth but just behind the Spaniards in the early table.

A loud flag-waving crowd kept Brazil going as the hosts nearly erased a 30-point deficit before falling to Lithuania.

“The fans were great. They were able to lift them up and almost get them over the finish line,” Brazil coach Ruben Magnano said.

Leandro Barbosa, Brazil’s top NBA player, scored a game-high 21 points.

“In the second half we came out with a different attitude. That brought the fans,” Barbosa said. “We almost won. But it was too late.

“We’re going to come back with a different mindset. It will be all right. There’s a lot for us to play for.” Mantas Kalnietis led Lithuania with 16 points and eight assists, Paulius Jankunas added 15 points and seven rebounds.

But squandering a big lead took much of the joy away from the Lithuanians’ triumph.

“We’ve got to move forward,” center Jonas Valanciunas said. “We cannot be satisfied with this victory.”

Mario Ginobili added 12 points and five assists for Argentina while captain Ike Diogu led Nigeria with 15.

USA sends message in China hoops rout

August 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Kevin Durant scored 25 points as the USA’sNBA stars routed China 119-62 on Saturday to launch their bid for a third consecutive Olympic basketball gold.

USA

The former Oklahoma City forward, who joins Golden State next season, added a game-high six assists for the Americans, who set an all-time USA record of 33 free throws made.

Australia opened the Olympic competition earlier in the day with an 87-66 win over France, while Serbia topped Venezuela in the other Group A match.

The USA missed their first five shots but soon displayed the unrivalled depth and long-range shooting that makes them prohibitive favourites to secure a 15th overall men’s title.

The Americans thoroughly dominated despite signs that the recently assembled unit is yet to completely gel.

“It still can be better and that’s what makes us scary,” said New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who is seeking a record third men’s hoops gold.

“We wanted to send a message to the rest of the world that we mean business.”

Led by 25 points from former NBA lottery pick Yi Jianlian, China put up a spirited effort, showing it could cause trouble for other teams.

China, which has never finished higher than eighth, tried to slow the American onslaught with physicality, a strategy that kept USA players parked at the free-throw line.

The Americans made 33 from the stripe, besting a 56-year-old team record of 32.

Durant scored eight points in the first quarter and Anthony added eight more as the USA jumped out to a 30-10 lead.

China hung tight in the second quarter until Durant sank three-pointers on three consecutive possessions shortly before the half, which ended with the US ahead 59-30.

By half-time, only Cleveland Cavaliers NBA champion guard Kyrie Irving had failed to score for the US.

But he made up for it, striking four times in a stretch of five straight USA three-pointers to put the team up 87-43 and well on its way to a laugher.

“The USA are so aggressive in every position. You can’t even pick out the best player. They’re everywhere,” said dazzled Chinese guard Zhao Jiwei.

Earlier, Australian center Andrew Bogut shrugged off the leg injury that knocked him out of the recent NBA finals to dominate France inside with 18 points.

Playing on a heavily taped left knee, the new Dallas Maverick center nevertheless hammered down a half-dozen rim-jarring dunks, most of them on alley-oops from Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs and Matthew Dellavedova of the Cavs.

Mills led the green-and-gold with 21 points.

Left knee bone bruises crucially knocked Bogut out in game five of the NBA Finals as his former team Golden State sought to cap a record 73 regular season wins with a repeat title.

Cleveland won, and Bogut embarked on a desperate rehab to get ready for Rio.

“All I thought about was that I was not going to have it (the Olympics) taken away from me,” said Bogut, who missed the 2012 Games due to injury.

Spurs star guard Tony Parker led France with 18 points, but nearly all of that came in a late first-half spurt as the four-time NBA champ sought in vain to keep his team in the game.

In Saturday’s other Group A encounter, Serbia soured Venezuela’s longshot hopes with an 86-62 win, led by 19 points from Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Group B play kicks off Sunday with two-time defending silver medallists Spain opening its campaign against Croatia, Brazil facing Lithuania, and Nigeria playing Argentina.

S.Thomas’ & Good Shepherd Convent crowned U19 basketball champs

July 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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ThePapare Basketball Championship concluded today after two thrilling finals which went right down to the last second.

2016 U19 Boys' Basketball Champions - S.Thomas' College

Girls Final

Good Shepherd Convent beat St.Joseph’s Girls School Nugegoda at over time as the scores were level when the clock ran out. At half time Good Shepherd led 23-12.

Good Shepherd Convent won the game 57-48.

Boys Final

 

In the boys final S.Thomas’ College beat St.Joseph’s College Colombo after trailing the game 14-20 at half time. S.Thomas’ College won the game 53-49.

 

3rd place play-off

In the girls 3rd place play-off Holy Family Convent defeated Presbyterian Girls’ School 49-34 after being down 17-20 at half time.

Royal College defeated Maris Stella College 51-47 to clinch boys’ 3rd place.

 

 

 

Awards : 

 

ThePapare Most Valuable Player (Boys) - Adrian Gunawardhene (S.Thomas’ College Mt Lavinia)

ThePapare Most Valuable Player (Girls) - Nirma Sasanthi (Good Shepherd Convent)

Two exciting semi final match-ups in U19 Basketball

July 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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The semifinal stage of ThePapare U-19 All Island A Division Boys tournament will commence today (15th July) while the Boys’ and Girls’ 3rd place and finals will be held during the weekend at the Henry Pedris Basketball Court. 

Action from the Ananda College v Royal College quarter final

Maris Stella College beat St.Benedict’s College in the quarter final encounter 75-41 while St.Joseph`s College beat  last year’s champions Asian International School 69-61.

Among the other two, S.Thomas` College beat Lyceum International School 74-52 and Royal College beat Ananda College 54-47 in the final match of the quarter final stage.

S.Thomas` College will take on Maris Stella College in the first semi final at 3.45 pm while Royal College will take on St.Joseph`s College at 5.45 PM.

Good Shepherd Convent met Holy Family Convent in the first girls semi-finals as they won 37-28 while St.Joseph`s Girls’ School beat Presbyterian Girls’ School 32-21 in the second semi-final.

Good Shepherd Convent will take on St.Joseph`s College Girls’ Nugegoda in the Girls’ final on the 17th of July at 3.45 pm while Holy Family Convent will take on Presbyterian Girls’ School in the third place match on 16th of July at 3.45 pm.

The tournament is sponsored by ThePapare.com and the matches will be live streamed on ThePapare.com website.

Wade set for a return to his Chicago roots

July 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Dwyane Wade, a three-time NBA champion with Miami, is set to join his hometown Chicago Bulls following 13 seasons with the Heat, the US media reported Wednesday night.

The 34-year-old free agent and 12-time all star reportedly baulked at a two-year, $40 million deal from the only franchise he has known.

His new deal will reportedly pay him $47.5 million over two years, with a player option in year two.

Heat owner Micky Arison wished Wade good luck with his new team on Wednesday night.

“Thank you @Dwyane Wade for a great 13 yrs! You’ve had a tremendous impact on our community and our organization. We wish you all the best,” Arison said in a tweet.

The Heat no doubt figured Wade was expendable as injuries — especially knee problems — have cut down his playing time over the last few seasons.

This past season he played a career low 30.5 minutes a game and averaged 19.0 points per game, which equalled his lowest total since his rookie season in 2003-04.

He was also reportedly upset with Miami making a priority of trying to re-sign Hassan Whiteside and attempting to woo Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City.

The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday night that the Bulls are preparing to offload the contracts of Jose Calderon and Mike Dunleavy in order to clear enough salary cap space to sign Wade.

Wade has made over $300 million in a career where he teammed with LeBron James and Chris Bosh to championships in 2012 and 2013 after winning one with Shaquille O’Neal in 2006.

Before reports surfaced about Wade going to Chicago, he had been linked to the Denver Nuggets, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Wade, who played on the 2008 US Olympic gold medal team of NBA stars, has never been the Heat’s top-paid player.

The Denver Nuggets reportedly pitched as much as $52 million for two years while Bulls guard Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler had been pushing for Wade to come play for his hometown club.

Reaction from players around the league was one of surprise.

“Wow!!! Never would have imagine that…,” tweeted DeMarre Carroll of the Toronto Raptors.

Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers said: “CONGRATS MY BROTHER!!!!”

Meanwhile, Ray Allen, two weeks shy of his 41st birthday, was looking at signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.

ESPN reported Allen’s representatives reached out to the Warriors, while Cleveland.com said he had contacted the Cavaliers of his interest in returning to the NBA after two seasons off.

He also reportedly has shown interest in the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs as he seeks a third title after crowns with Boston in 2008 and Miami in 2013.

In 18 NBA seasons, Allen averaged 18.9 points and made 40 percent from beyond the thee-point arc.

Sri Lankan Women on fire as they top the table with second win

March 31, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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The Sri Lankan Women’s Basketball team was able to record their second consecutive win when they beat Bhutan 112-31 in the first South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Women’s basketball championship, held at Kathmandu, Nepal on Wednesday (30).

The result saw Sri Lanka remain at the top of the table with two wins out of two. All games are being played at the Dasarath Rangasala Covered Hall, Kathmandu throughout the five-day tournament.

The Lankan women started off well, and were in a commanding position in the first quarter itself, which ended 31-6. Continuing with the good start, they managed to collect 28 points compared to Bhutan’s 11 in the second quarter.

The scores read 59-17 at the half-time buzzer.

In the third quarter, which was the highest scoring quarter in the match, the Lankans were able to add 31 more points to their tally compared to Bhutan’s 12. They managed to score 22 points in the fourth and final quarter of the game, which saw them restrict Bhutan to a mere two points.

Sri Lanka’s Center Kumarine Silva had a good game as she chipped in 19 points, the highest of the day.

Sri Lanka recorded a similar looking score line in their first match on Tuesday, which saw them cruise to a 105-39 win over the Maldives. Kumarine excelled then too, which saw her top the score sheet with 25 points.

Hosts Nepal are in hot pursuit of Sri Lanka for first place and are with two wins over Bangladesh (92-26) and the Maldives (36-77). They are tied on four points with Sri Lanka but have a lesser overall point difference. The Lankans have a good chance of clinching the title as the likes of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan having opted not to compete in the tournament due to various reasons. They are due to take on Bangladesh on Friday and Nepal on the day after, which will be the final game of the tournament.

Bryant dislocates finger in loss to Spurs

February 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Kobe Bryant scored 25 points but suffered a dislocated finger on his right hand in the Los Angeles Lakers 119-113 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Kobe

Bryant dislocated his right middle finger with just over two minutes left in Friday’s NBAWestern Conference contest after losing his balance.

He left the game briefly to allow trainer Gary Vitti to pop the finger back into place.

“This probably will be the only time I can sit here and do this at a press conference,” Bryant said, flashing his middle digit to reporters which drew some hearty laughs.

Bryant made 10-of-25 shots from the field, missing seven of the eight three-point attempts.

Bryant hopes to play Sunday in Chicago which will mark his final game in the Windy City. The Los Angeles Times reported that X-rays showed there was no fracture.

LeBron leads Cavaliers over Bulls

February 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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LeBron James scored 25 points, grabbed nine rebounds and passed out nine assists Thursday to spark the Cleveland Cavaliers over Chicago 106-95, handing the Bulls their fifth consecutive loss.

Lebron

Kyrie Irving added 19 points, while Tristan Thompson contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds and Kevin Love produced 15 points and 15 rebounds for the host Cavaliers (39-14).

Chicago beat Cleveland in two prior meetings this season, the first in the season opener and the other last month, just one day after Tyronn Lue replaced Dave Blatt as coach.

“In the first two games we didn’t match their intensity and got beat,” James said. “Today, I think we answered the call.”

Cleveland’s win streak stretched to four games and their overall margin atop the Eastern Conference improved to 3 1/2 games over Toronto.

“I thought our physicality won the game,” Lue said. “I thought we were physical at every position.” At 27-26, the Bulls fell into a tie with Charlotte for the final two East playoff berths, only one half-game ahead of Detroit.

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James, who hit 11-of-19 shots from the floor, passed Moses Malone (9,435) for 19th on the all-time baskets list.

James jammed in a slam dunk off a lob pass from J.R. Smith for a 65-48 lead and celebrated by dancing with the crowd.

Bulls star Joakim Noah has expressed his annoyance with James dancing in the past, but Noah was out with an injury as was Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic.

Derrick Rose led Chicago with 28 points while Spain’s Pau Gasol
added 14 points and nine rebounds.

“We’ve got to stay together through the good, the bad and the ugly — and it’s the ugly right now,” Rose said.

Australian Matthew Dellavedova scored seven points in 16 minutes for the Cavaliers after missing the past five games with a hamstring injury.

James was lamenting the loss of Brazilian center Anderson Varejao, his teammate for eight seasons with the Cavaliers who was traded to Portland on Thursday as part of a deal to obtain guard Channing Frye from Orlando.

“That’s the worst part of the business right there, when you lose a brother, a teammate,” James said.

In Los Angeles, San Antonio’s six-game winning streak came to an abrupt end as the Clippers romped to a 105-86 win at the Staples Center.

Clippers point guard Chris Paul went on a second half points spree — scoring 26 of his 28 points after the mid-game break while contributing 12 assists as the home side improved to 36-18.

Jamal Crawford had 19 points and J.J.Redick 17 points for the Clippers, while Tony Parker led the scoring for the Spurs with 14 points. San Antonio’s record slipped to 45-9 with the loss.

At Washington, Marcin Gortat had 22 points and 10 rebounds while John Wall added 17 points and 11 assists to power the host Wizards over Utah 103-89.

Brazil’s Nene and guard Bradley Beal each contributed 16 points for the Wizards, who scored 27 points off 23 Jazz turnovers in improving to 24-28.

Gordon Hayward led Utah with 19 points while Rodney Hood added 18 for the Jazz, 26-27, in a game postponed from last month because of a massive snowstorm that struck the US capital.

The Wizards are 2 1/2 games behind Charlotte for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth while the Jazz fell level with Houston for the last spot in the Western Conference.

 

NBA Heat’s Whiteside banned one game for elbowing

February 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside, the NBA’s top shot blocker, has been suspended one game without pay for elbowing San Antonio Spurs center Boban Marjanovic, the league announced Thursday.

Whiteside

Whiteside, who honed his game for two years in China and Lebanon, averages 3.9 blocks a game, ranks as the NBA’s second-most accurate shooter by hitting 61.7 percent from the floor and is fifth in the league in rebounds with 11.0 a game.

The 26-year-old American 7-footer (2.13m) was whistled for a flagrant 2 foul and ejected with 9:35 remaining in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s 119-101 Miami home loss to the Spurs.

On the play, Whiteside was lined up to the left of 7-foot-3 (2.21m) Marjanovic. As both tried to rebound a missed free throw, Whiteside slammed his right elbow into the Serbian’s face. For the game, Whiteside came off the bench to produce 14 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in 25 minutes.

Whiteside will miss the Heat’s February 19 game at Atlanta following the break for this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game.

The Heat enter the All-Star break at 29-24, one game back of Southeast division leader Atlanta and fifth overall in the Eastern Conference.

After a two-year NBA stint with Sacramento ended in 2012, Whiteside played for the Sichuan Blue Whales and Jiangsu Tongxi in China as well as Lebanon’s Amchit and Al Mouttahed Tripoli before joining the Heat in 2014.

Last season, Whiteside was ejected from a game against Boston after slamming a forearm into Kelly Olynyk just a week after being ejected for an on-court altercation with Phoenix’s Alex Len.

Whiteside, making just under $1 million this season, figures to be a prized free agent after the season.

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