Advertisements


Harden caps preseason with a scoring flourish

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press MIAMI (AP) — James Harden sure seems in midseason form. Russell Westbrook isn’t there yet. Harden, the reigning NBA scoring champion, scored 44 points in 35 minutes — 18 of those points coming in the third quarter — and the Houston Rockets ended the preseason with a 144-133 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). “James was ridiculous,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. Harden was 12-for-26 from the field, 8-for-16 from 3-point range and 12-for-13 from the foul line. He also had seven assists and five rebounds, and finished the preseason averaging 31.5 points. “That’s the way he’s wired,” D’Antoni said. “He loves to play. I couldn’t take him out in the fourth quarter if I wanted to. He’d play 48 if he could. He’s wired that way. He gets better every time. I don’t know what his ceiling is. But he’s, to me, the most improved player every year. He’s just ridiculous.” The Rockets didn’t get out of the game unscathed, however. Austin Rivers could play only seven minutes before being downgraded to out with neck soreness, and Westbrook — who has been dealing with some dislocated fingers on his right hand — left the game in the fourth quarter in obvious discomfort. Westbrook lost the ball, immediately grabbed at his right hand, then ran off the court and straight into the tunnel leading to the Rockets’ locker room without stopping. He finished with 16 points, four rebounds and four assists on 6-for-13 shooting in 26 minutes. “Both of them told me they were OK, so we’ll take that,” D’Antoni said. D’Antoni said Westbrook aggravated the finger issue, and will be fine. A top task for the Rockets in this preseason was figuring out all the ways to best utilize their new point guard, with D’Antoni acknowledged is still a bit of a work in progress. “I was with him for eight summers in USA Basketball,” D’Antoni said. “He’s a great guy. Works hard. Unbelievable athletically. Just the speed and power that he can play with ... he’s relentless.” Some of D’Antoni’s favorite moments during Westbrook’s brief Houston tenure so far have been ones that few people have seen — since they’ve come in practice, in moments where the competitive juices have perhaps overflowed. “He gets ticked off in practice sometimes and the next three minutes, he’s killing people,” D’Antoni said. “He needs that competitiveness to juice him up. He’s not like the old guy at the Y who will knock you down and shoot it. No, no, he’s coming at you with all the athleticism that he has.” Westbrook will have a few extra days to get through the issue with his fingers. He and the Rockets don’t open the regular season until playing host to Milwaukee on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). Eric Gordon scored 23 points for Houston and Clint Capela finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Kendrick Nunn scored 40 points in 40 minutes for Miami, making 15-of-27 shots. Tyler Herro scored 14 points and Bam Adebayo made all six of his shots on the way to a 13-point, 11-rebound night. Jimmy Butler didn’t play for the Heat, held out to rest. PRESEASON STANDINGS Friday’s (Saturday, PHL time) slate marked the end of the preseason, with Milwaukee (5-0), New Orleans (5-0), Boston (4-0), and Denver (4-0) all finishing unbeaten. The regular season starts Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) when NBA champion Toronto getting its rings before playing host to New Orleans, followed by the Lakers and Clippers meeting in the first battle of Los Angeles this season. SATURDAY’S (PHL TIME) GAMES PELICANS 117, KNICKS 116 Nickell Alexander-Walker and Josh Hart each scored 17 points, and New Orleans wrapped up an unbeaten preseason without injured No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. Williamson has a sore right knee and remained in New Orleans to undergo further testing and evaluation. Coach Alvin Gentry said he didn’t have any update on the power forward’s condition, though ESPN.com reported Friday, citing sources, that Williamson would miss multiple weeks. Even without him, the Pelicans (5-0) put up plenty of points after coming into the game scoring a league-leading 127.8 per game during the preseason. Brandon Ingram scored 16 points and JJ Redick had 14. Williamson looked as good as advertised while averaging 23.3 points on 71.4% shooting in four preseason games, and Gentry was asked if he was concerned the injury would dampen enthusiasm in New Orleans. “Yeah, but it’s not anything that we can worry about,” Gentry said. “We’ve got games to play and bottom line is that we will be in Toronto in a few days playing on opening night and we’ll have to put five guys out there and play.” Julius Randle had 20 points and nine rebounds against his former team, but missed a three-pointer that would have won it at the buzzer for the Knicks (1-3). Rookie RJ Barrett, the No. 3 pick who was Williamson’s Duke teammate, added 19 points. WIZARDS 112, 76ERS 93 Jordan McRae scored 17 points and Thomas Bryant finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for Washington. Moritz Wagner scored 14 and Bradley Beal — one day after signing a $72 million, two-year extension — scored 13 for the Wizards. Joel Embiid scored 17 points in 23 minutes for Philadelphia, which played without Ben Simmons. Tobias Harris had 13 for the 76ers. RAPTORS 123, NETS 107 OG Anunoby scored 18 points and Toronto had nine players score at least nine points. Fred VanVleet scored 16 points and handed out eight assists for Toronto, which got 15 points and 11 rebounds from Serge Ibaka. Kyle Lowry got his first — and only — action of the preseason, scoring nine points in 26 minutes. Kyrie Irving got his first extended action of the preseason for Brooklyn, scoring 19 points in 25 minutes. Irving played only 66 seconds in the Nets’ first game against the Los Angeles Lakers in China last week before aggravating a facial fracture and not playing on the remainder of that trip. Some fans at the game wore shirts, held signs and chanted in support of Hong Kong during the Nets’ first game since returning from China. One sign was critical of Nets owner Joe Tsai, co-founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, who had written a Facebook post explaining why Houston general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters was upsetting to Chinese. SPURS 104, GRIZZLIES 91 Patty Mills was 4-of-5 from three-point range and scored 16 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 14 points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio. DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes added 14 points each and Rudy Gay scored 13 points for the Spurs (2-3). Ja Morant had 16 points and six assists, Jae Crowder added 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Brandon Clarke had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies (3-2). WARRIORS 124, LAKERS 103 Stephen Curry scored 32 points and D’Angelo Russell added 29 for Golden State, each making six 3-pointers. The Warriors (2-3) took the lead early in the second quarter and held off a run that got the Lakers (3-3) within five points early in the fourth. Glenn Robinson III had 13 points and Draymond Green had nine points and 12 rebounds. Zach Norvell Jr. made 5-of-10 from three-point range and scored 29 points for Los Angeles. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 25 points and Devontae Cacok had 16 points and 10 rebounds......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnOct 19th, 2019

Barrett falls vs Duke teammate Reddish, and Zion is next

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — RJ Barrett kept misfiring, a rough start to his college reunion week at Madison Square Garden. Barrett did plenty of things well but not shooting, going 4-for-14 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) in the New York Knicks’ 100-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Old teammate Cam Reddish left with a victory, but Barrett gets another chance for bragging rights among Duke rookies Friday (Saturday, PHL time), when Zion Williamson comes to town. Williamson, Barrett and Reddish were freshmen at Duke last season who went on to become top-10 NBA draft picks. Barrett, the No. 3 pick, and Reddish, taken 10th, were guarding each other at the start of the game. “Obviously, competing against him was a ton of fun,” Reddish said. “I mean, obviously in college we were together nonstop and we’re here now, so competing against him was definitely a good experience.” While Williamson has been tearing up the NBA in preseason play to the tune of 23.3 points per game on 71.4% shooting for unbeaten New Orleans, Barrett and Reddish have experienced some of the usual rookie struggles. Reddish entered shooting 28.6% at 6-for-21. He was 4-for-7 when the Hawks lost to the Pelicans in their opener, but then went 1-for-7 in each of the next two games, missing all eight three-point attempts. He bounced back with a 4-for-9 performance and nine points, which was good enough the way Trae Young (23 points, nine assists) and Vince Carter (17 points, five three-pointers) played. Barrett averaged 16 points in his first two games and finished with 12 in this one. He did add seven rebounds and a team-high six assists, but his outside shot just wouldn’t fall and his errant pass in the third quarter was scooped up by Reddish and taken for a three-point play that gave Atlanta a 75-69 lead. “He’s always engaged. He’s always trying to win,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said about Barrett. “These are good learning lessons for him right now to go through that and he still made some plays.” SPURS 128, ROCKETS 114 LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points on 11-of-13 shooting to help visiting San Antonio get its first preseason win, and spoil James Harden’s near triple-double. Dejounte Murray added 20 points, going 8-of-11, for San Antonio (1-3), which shot 57% from the field. The Spurs, who led 65-51 at the half behind Murray’s 15 points and Aldridge’s 14, had six players score in double figures. Harden powered Houston (3-2) with 40 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon each added 14 points. Harden made 13-of-27 from the field and Westbrook was 5-of-13. HAWKS 100, KNICKS 96 Young beat the third-quarter buzzer with a long three-pointer in transition to give Atlanta an 80-71 lead. Carter sank an open three-pointer from the wing for a 97-95 lead with 1:30 remaining, and Young made two free throws at the 16-second mark to make it 99-96. New York was off on a three-pointer and De’Andre Hunter sealed it with a free throw. Hunter, a rookie from Virginia’s national championship team, had 15 points for Atlanta (1-3). Carter scored 14 of Atlanta’s 16 points with four three-pointers late in the second quarter. Julius Randle paced New York (1-2) with 20 points and eight rebounds. PISTONS 116, HORNETS 110 Andre Drummond and Markieff Morris each scored 17 points and visiting Detroit held off Charlotte. Drummond also had 15 rebounds, and Langston Galloway scored a team-high 18 points, with five three-pointers, off the bench. Tim Frazier added 15 points and 12 assists for Detroit (3-2), which was without Blake Griffin. Drummond had 12 points and nine rebounds in the first half as the Pistons led 61-58. Malik Monk led Charlotte (2-3) with 18 points and seven assists. Cody Zeller was one of four Hornets with 12 points. GRIZZLIES 124, THUNDER 119 Former Oregon standout Dillon Brooks scored 30 points, with five three-pointers, and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis in the road victory. Tyus Jones scored 10 of his 16 points in the first half for Memphis (3-1). Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 17 points, Danilo Gallinari had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Steven Adams added 12 points for Oklahoma City (2-2). Devon Hall scored a team-high 19. TRAIL BLAZERS 126, JAZZ 118 At Salt Lake City, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard combined for 53 points and eight three-pointers as Portland’s backcourt outdueled Mike Conley Jr. and Donovan Mitchell. McCollum made five three's and scored 28 points, and Lillard had 25 points, five rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes. Mitchell led Utah (1-4) with 27 points and four three-pointers. Conley added 20 points and Rudy Gobert had 13 points and 15 boards. Zach Collins was the only other starter for Portland (2-2) in double-figure scoring with 13 points. Hassan Whiteside grabbed 11 rebounds......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2019

Harden and Westbrook back together to chase title in Houston

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden and Russell Westbrook are thrilled to be reunited in Houston and can’t wait to prove they will work just fine together. And Harden knows the rest of the team is excited about the addition of the eight-time All-Star as well. “I enjoy it but I know that everybody else enjoys it, too,” he said. “They get more shot opportunities ... with another guy that gets to the rim and draws so much attention to create opportunities for his teammates. Obviously he plays at a different pace than I do. He plays way faster than I do but we are both trying to accomplish the same thing, making sure our teammates get involved and we share the wealth.” Westbrook joined the Rockets this summer in a stunning trade that sent the longtime face of the Oklahoma City Thunder to Houston in exchange for Chris Paul. The deal brought Harden and Westbrook back together after the guards spent three seasons together with the Thunder at the start of Harden’s career. It was a trade that came with questions about how two players used to handling the ball will be able to work together. Both brushed off the concerns, and insist they’ll make it work to chase an NBA championship in a conference loaded with powerhouse teams. “I impact the game in so many different ways and I’ve proven that for many years and that’s why I’m not worried,” Westbrook said. “I don’t have to have the ball to impact the game. I don’t have to score. I can defend. I can rebound. I can pass. I can lead.” Westbrook, the 2017 MVP who is entering his 12th season, said statistics don’t matter to him. “My main goal and main focus is to win,” he said. “I can go in a game and be scoreless and if we win that’s the best thing that ever happened and that’s all I care about and all I’ve always cared about.” Harden, who led the NBA in scoring last season for the second straight year by averaging 36.1 points, said he welcomes having another player on the team who can lessen his load a bit. And while Harden believes that Westbrook will help the Rockets get to the next level, he’s comfortable with the fact that the team’s success or failure will always be linked to his performance. “If we don’t win I’ll take all the blame for it,” he said. “It comes with it. That’s why we have to go out there and win. That’s why we work extremely hard in the offseason to bring players in and bring whatever is necessary in to give ourselves that chance to win. I know what’s at stake.” The Rockets open the season Oct. 24 (Oct. 25, PHL time) against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. CHINA RELATIONS The Rockets are eager to move on from the distraction caused by a since-deleted tweet by general manager Daryl Morey in support of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong that angered China and many fans. The Rockets were in Hawaii on Oct. 4 (Oct. 5, PHL time) to play a preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers on the first leg of a trip that included two games in Japan when Morey tweeted an image that said: “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.” His tweet was in reference to pro-democracy demonstrations in the semiautonomous Chinese territory that has been mired in escalating violence between protesters and law enforcement. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta quickly rebuked his GM with a tweet saying that Morey does not speak for the team, but the damage was done. The Chinese Basketball Association, headed by former Rockets star Yao Ming, suspended its ties to the Rockets over the tweet. Events in China promoting a Lakers-Nets series were canceled, NBA media partner Tencent said it was evaluating its plans to cover the league and some Chinese corporations have suspended relationships with the NBA. HOUSE PARTY The Rockets signed G/F Danuel House to a three-year, $11.1 million contract this summer after the 26-year-old split time between Houston and the G-League last season. Coach Mike D’Antoni is glad he’ll have House in Houston all season this year after he averaged 9.4 points in 39 games last year. “Danuel House excites me,” D’Antoni said. “He should have a big year.” HEY OLD FRIEND Power forward Ryan Anderson is back with the Rockets after signing as a free agent just before the start of camp. The 12-year veteran spent two seasons in Houston before being traded before last season. HARDEN’S LEADERSHIP D’Antoni doesn’t believe Harden can do much more statistically this season after putting up gaudy numbers the past several seasons. But he likes the way he’s grown as a leader in the last couple of years and hopes to see him continue to evolve in that area this season. “His leadership is getting better every year,” D’Antoni said. “He understands the importance of being positive. That’s invaluable and it’s invaluable that we keep that attitude all year.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2019

Harden dazzles, then Raptors rally past Rockets in Japan

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press When James Harden's night was over, defense got easier for the Toronto Raptors. Pascal Siakam scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and the Raptors — in their first game since winning the NBA Finals — rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 134-129 in Tokyo on Tuesday to open the NBA Japan Games. The exhibition game at the Saitama Super Arena, a site for basketball at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, was the NBA's first in Japan since 2003. The Rockets and Raptors return there to conclude the two-game series on Thursday. Raptors coach Nick Nurse said he liked the arena and felt energy from the Japanese fans. "We get 'Let's go Raptors' in a lot of cities," Nurse said. "It's nice to see it in Tokyo as well. Lot of Raptors fans around the world. It's great." There were plenty of Rockets fans as well, for good reason. Harden put on yet another dazzling offensive show, making his first six shots and finishing 11 for 14 from the field and scoring 34 points in 27 minutes. His final points were a pair of free throws with 3:40 left in the third quarter that put Houston up 104-87. He checked out shortly afterward, and Toronto outscored Houston 47-25 the rest of the way. "It was amazing," Harden said. "They got an opportunity to see what NBA basketball is about, what Rockets basketball is about. They brought the energy tonight. They were excited from the beginning of the game. They made us want to go out there and put on a show, so hopefully it can be that same kind of atmosphere on Thursday." Russell Westbrook played for Houston for the first time, scoring 13 points in 21 minutes in his preseason debut. "It wasn't bad," said Westbrook, the longtime Oklahoma City star and former MVP now in his first season with Houston. "Unfortunately, we didn't win. That's the main goal. But it was good to get on the floor for the first time, get up and down, try to find a rhythm. We've got a lot of work to do." Serge Ibaka scored 18 points and Fred VanVleet scored 16 for the Raptors, who played without Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry. There are six games later Tuesday (Wednesday morning, PHL time): Philadelphia plays host to Guangzhou of the Chinese Basketball Association, San Antonio visits Miami, Memphis hosts New Zealand, Dallas goes to Oklahoma City, Minnesota is at Phoenix and Denver plays in Portland......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2019

The MVP exits: Giannis, Greece fail to advance at World Cup

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo now has a little more time to get ready for the NBA season. That would be an unwanted consolation prize. The reigning NBA MVP's stay at the World Cup is over, even after a victory in the team's finale. Greece needed to beat the Czechs by at least 12 points to have any chance of reaching the quarterfinals, and instead is heading home after an 84-77 win on Monday wasn't enough to push it to the next round. "He's proud of his team. ... We gave everything we have," said Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the MVP's brother, along with his Greece and now Milwaukee Bucks teammate. "It's crazy — you win and you don't get to the next round." Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled out with 5:32 left, called for charging on a play that left the Greek bench and fans howling in disbelief. Greece was up by 10 at the time, on the cusp of the margin it needed to advance. Czech guard Tomas Satoransky of the Chicago Bulls knew it was a big call. "We knew that he would go for the Eurostep or try to force it," Satoransky said. "In Europe, they'd probably call it. In the NBA, they wouldn't call it, obviously, because they protect stars." Giannis Antetokounmpo did not make himself available to reporters for the second consecutive game. He also told FIBA officials that he was too upset to speak Saturday after Greece's 69-53 loss to the U.S. Antetokounmpo is the first reigning NBA MVP to play in the World Cup or the world championships. Only three reigning MVPs have played in the Olympics — Michael Jordan in 1992, Kobe Bryant in 2008 and LeBron James in 2012, all for the U.S., and all going home with a gold medal. "He came, he worked 100%, he tried 100% to get this game," Greece coach Thanasis Skourtopoulous said. Greece, up by seven both times, had to take fouls three times in the closing seconds — unusual for a team with a lead, of course, but the only number that mattered was the scoring margin and the Greeks simply needed more points. It almost worked: Nick Calathes' deep 3-pointer with 7 seconds left pushed Greece's lead to nine, but Jaromir Bohacik — who was 5 for 6 from the line in the final 20 seconds — made a pair with 4.6 seconds remaining, and that was the end for Greece. Greece had its chances, leading by as many as nine in the first half. But the Czechs closed the half on a 16-6 run — a stretch where Giannis Antetokounmpo went to the bench with 1:10 remaining after an ill-advised offensive foul, his third personal of the game — and, because of the point-differential tiebreaker, Greece knew it needed a dominant 20 minutes of second-half basketball to keep hope alive. And it wasn't to be. So soon, it'll be time to head back to Milwaukee. The Bucks open training camp Oct. 1, play their preseason opener Oct. 7 against Chicago and open the regular season on Oct. 24 at Houston — in a game that will feature the last three MVPs, with Antetokounmpo, Rockets guard and 2018 winner James Harden and new Houston guard Russell Westbrook, the 2017 MVP when he was with Oklahoma City. Thanasis Antetokounmpo said getting to share the World Cup stage with his brother, even with a disappointing final outcome, was what he would remember. "It was a dream come true," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2019

Order restored: US beats Canada in pre-World Cup basketball

SYDNEY (AP) — Order restored. After losing for the first time in nearly 13 years two days earlier, the United States rebounded to outclass Canada 84-68 in a pre-World Cup exhibition basketball game Monday. At the same arena where the Americans won Olympic gold at the Sydney 2000 Games, the U.S. never trailed, leading 20-9 after the first quarter and 46-31 at halftime. On Saturday, Australia stunned the U.S. 98-94 before a crowd of more than 52,000 in Melbourne, a result that ended the Americans' 78-game winning streak. The U.S. is missing top NBA players such as LeBron James, James Harden, Paul George and Stephen Curry. It was a dour scoring game after the exciting Saturday result in Melbourne, with both teams committing numerous turnovers Monday. Jaylen Brown had 19 points to lead the Americans, who out-rebounded Canada 55-37. Donovan Mitchell added 12 points and four assists; Kemba Walker scored 12 points and Myles Turner finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds. "We have to speed up that learning curve," Brown said of the Americans with less than a week to go before the World Cup starts. "We have a lot of room for growth. It's going to be good when it comes together, the sky is the limit for this group." Kyle Wiltjer had 21 points for Canada, while Orlando Magic forward Khem Birch — Canada's lone NBA player in the game — had 13 points and six rebounds. "We've got a lot of work to do, but we've enjoyed our time here," Wiltjer said. "Let's not forget these are practice games." Overall, the Canadians shot just 35% from the field and 6-for-23 (26%) from three-point range. Andrew Nembhard, who injured his knee last week, and Kaza Kajami-Keane (ankle) both returned for Canada, while Brady Heslip, a late arrival for the Canadians, played his first game in Australia. The last time the Americans — counting major international tournaments and exhibitions with NBA players on the floor — lost a game was the semifinals of the 2006 world championships. The American program has won gold in every competition since, including three straight in the Olympics and two consecutive World Cup titles. Canada has also been hit hard by missing NBA players, with Miami Heat's Kelly Olynyk the latest big-name player to pull out after sustaining a knee injury. ___ TIP-INS Canada: It was the third head-to-head meeting between Canada coach Nick Nurse and U.S. coach Gregg Popovich. They went 1-1 against each other in NBA play last season, Nurse's Toronto Raptors losing in San Antonio on Jan. 3 but beating Popovich's Spurs in Canada on Feb. 22. Canada finished 4-3 in its pre-World Cup exhibitions, starting with a split of a two-game series with Nigeria before five games in Australia. USA: The Americans finished their four-game World Cup warm-up tour 3-1 after beating Spain and splitting two games with Australia. The U.S. is planning to stay in Sydney until mid-week, then arrive in Shanghai early Thursday. NURSE TOUR Nurse is getting the full tour of the other side of the world this year. The Canadians have been in Australia for a week or so, and now head to China for the World Cup. Then, Nurse will be in Japan when the world champion Raptors (albeit now without NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard) play preseason games against Houston on Oct. 8 and Oct. 10. KUZMA DEPARTURE Popovich was disappointed that Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma's left ankle injury meant he wouldn't be able to compete in the World Cup. The Americans sent Kuzma home Saturday with the injury, a move that finalized the 12-man U.S. roster. They were in Australia with 13 finalists for 12 World Cup spots. "It's a huge disappointment, because he was a young, energetic guy who was really learning and could play a lot of positions for us," Popovich said. "Hopefully he'll heal quickly." UP NEXT Canada: Opens World Cup play Sept. 1 vs. Australia in Dongguan, China. USA: Opens World Cup play Sept. 1 vs. Czech Republic in Shanghai......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2019

Harden fuels Nets past Heat; LeBron carries LA Lakers

Los Angeles---James Harden believes the best is yet to come after producing a late burst of scoring to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 98-85 victory over the Miami Heat on Monday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 26th, 2021

‘Right now’ Harden is focusing on forthcoming season with Rockets

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Rockets star James Harden, at the center of trade-demand reports as the NBA pre-season heats up, said Wednesday that “right now” he’s focused on prepping for the upcoming campaign in Houston. Harden, who arrived late to Rockets pre-season training camp, spoke to reporters on Wednesday, a day after scoring 12 points […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsDec 17th, 2020

Rockets win in Harden return, Kings foil Warriors comeback in preseason games

Harden, who has been requesting a trade from the Rockets, scored 12 points in 21 minutes of playing time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 16th, 2020

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

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

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

Harden, Rockets draw first blood vs Lakers in NBA West semis

A long scoring drought in the last period doomed the Lakers, who were stuck playing catch-up for most of the game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 5th, 2020

2020 king of recruiting crown remains on UP’s head

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. Who was our King of Recruiting in 2019? Find out here. --- From 2007 to 2015, the University of the Philippines only had 13 wins to show in 126 games total. That time is self-deprecatingly called in Diliman as the dark days. Due to that disappointing standing, the Fighting Maroons had the toughest time bringing in recruits. And due to that lack of pieces to the puzzles, they lost even more. Safe to say, State U was stuck in a vicious cycle in the dark days. That’s not to say they didn’t have blue-chip recruits back then as in their time, all of Woody Co, Mark Juruena, Mike Gamboa, Kyles Lao, Jett Manuel, and Mikee Reyes were among the best high school players. Only, a blue-chip recruit or two does not make a team. Fast forward to now and oh, how things have changed. Last year, UP was hailed as ABS-CBN’s King of Recruiting alongside University of the East. “On the strength of the transfers of Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero, the Fighting Maroons… are worthy of the title,” it said then. And the season before that, the maroon and green was also up there with the best of them in terms of recruitment, having brought in the likes of eventual Season MVP Bright Akhuetie, Will Gozum, and Jaydee Tungcab. Indeed, there was nowhere to go but up. That has only continued this year as UP has left no doubt that it is now a force to reckon with in terms of recruitment. Early on, they already had a solid haul in Joel Cagulangan, once the best point guard in high school, and tireless workhorse Malick Diouf. And then, the shock of shocks. As it turned out, Nazareth School of National University stalwarts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano were going to be Fighting Maroons. Meaning, for the first time in recent history, the most promising prospect coming out of high school is headed to Diliman. Not only that, State U also answered its biggest question heading into next season – the question at point guard, filling in for Jun Manzo. But as it turned out, they weren’t done just yet - no, our friends, they weren’t done just yet. Tamayo and Abadiano’s departure from National U was shocking, without a doubt, but CJ Cansino’s exit from University of Sto. Tomas was even more so. Cansino, against his will, decided to move on from his alma mater since 2015 due to personal reasons. Fortunately for him, he landed on his feet. Now, the Fighting Maroons have ready-made replacement for Rivero as well as a leader in the shades of Paul Desiderio for UAAP 84. And that, our friends, is why we have no choice but to put the 2020 King of Recruiting crown on UP’s head once more. Tamayo and Abadiano are the bluest of blue-chip recruits this year and Cagulangan, Cansino, and Diouf are among the most talented transferees, but also joining them in the maroon and green will be scoring machine RC Calimag from La Salle Green Hills, burly big Miguel Tan from Xavier High School, Filipino-American playmaker Sam Dowd, Filipino-Australian tower Ethan Kirkness, physical forward Jancork Cabahug from University of Visayas, and versatile wing CJ Catapusan from Adamson University. The former Bullpups are guaranteed ato be contributors even as rookies while Calimag, Tan, and Dowd are going to shore up a bench that had just lost Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Of course, Diouf, Kirkness, Cansino, Cabahug, and Cagulangan are still serving residency, but when they will be eligible, they will get a shot at a squad that will look brand new. All of Bright Akhuetie, J-Boy Gob, David Murrell, Noah Webb, and Rivero are graduating players while Paras is only guaranteed to play one more year. That means that after Season 83, the Fighting Maroons may very well have to fill six spots. That means that UP is not only beefing up for UAAP 83, it is also securing its future. If not for the shock of shocks, though, the crown would have been claimed by De La Salle University which sent a statement that it is back and better than ever. Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio may be playing their fifth and final years in college, but the green and white’s future has only brightened following this prolonged preseason. First and foremost, Kevin Quiambao, the third leg in that National U tripod of talent out of high school, has the capability and confidence to follow in the footsteps of Baltazar. Hopefully, he will be eligible for Season 83, but if not, what’s certain is he will be playing in UAAP 84. Alongside him as pieces for the future are super scorers CJ Austria and Emman Galman, all-around swingman Joshua Ramirez, and Filipino-Americans Jeromy Hughes, Kameron Vales, and Philips bros. Benjamin and Michael. Among all those, Jonnel Policarpio, likened to a young Arwind Santos, has the highest upside, but the Fil-Ams have much potential as well. And don’t forget that Evan Nelle, the primetime playmaker from San Beda University, is just getting primed and prepped to take the reins when Melecio leaves. Of course, the caveat here is that we are all in uncharted territory due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis. And in that light, the next season of the UAAP remains far away and a lot could still happen until then. While majority of the local blue-chip recruits have already committed, talents from abroad and transferees from other schools could still come and change the game. With that being said, there remains no doubt that UP and La Salle have made the biggest noise in the offseason. However, it’s not actually the Fighting Maroons or the Green Archers who got the lion’s share of the best graduating players in the 2020 NBTC 24. Yes, that honor belongs to Lyceum of the Philippines University which is finally reaping the rewards of its rising Jrs. program with NCAA 95 Jrs. MVP John Barba and Batang Gilas playmaker Mac Guadana being promoted as full-fledged Pirates. Guadana could do it all and looks like the next great guard in the Grand Old League while fearless slasher is Barba is a perfect complement to him. Add another fiery guard in John Bravo and sweet-shooting big man Carlo Abadeza and LPU has restocked its coffers after losing Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee and Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu. In all though, the 2020 NBTC 24 was dominated by UP… and San Beda. Of the annual rankings’ 15 graduating players, four would be Fighting Maroons and another four would be Red Lions. Yes, San Beda’s grassroots program is back on track with its Jrs. championship core all remaining in red and white. Rhayyan Amsali, ranked no. 1 in the 2020 NBTC 24, is the most college-ready high school player while Justine Sanchez is a long-limbed forward who could turn out to be the next Calvin Oftana, you know, the NCAA 95 MVP. Yukien Andrada, meanwhile, is only continuing to develop his two-way game and Tony Ynot is a 3-and-D weapon who had even left an impression on Jalen Green. And hey, as somebody said, don’t sleep on the UAAP’s three-time defending champions. Ateneo may already be missing Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt and they may not be making noise as of late, but they are still welcoming Dave Ildefonso and Dwight Ramos with open arms. Ildefonso will only be good to go come UAAP 84, but Ramos is already being seen by head coach Tab Baldwin as a difference-maker for the Blue Eagles in Season 83. Eli, Dwight’s younger brother, is also in the mix to backstop SJ Belangel and Tyler Tio. Note also that former blue-chip recruit Inand Fornilos may very well finally get his shot while both Jolo Mendoza and Raffy Verano are also back. Ateneo’s foe in the Finals last year also reloaded quite a bit as for the third year in a row, UST will be sending the Tiger Cubs’ best player to the Srs. squad. Following in the footsteps of Cansino and Mark Nonoy, post player Bismarck Lina will be a Growling Tiger next season. Alongside him to fortify the frontcourt are Christian Manaytay, Bryan Samudio, and Bryan Santos while bolstering the backcourt are Joshua Fontanilla and Paul Manalang. Speaking of fortifying the frontcourt, Far Eastern University is the team that got the biggest boost in terms of size. With 6-foot-7 Nigerian Emman Ojoula’s residency over and done with, the go-go guards of the Tamaraws have yet another weapon to burn opponents with. CESAFI MVP Kevin Guibao and transferee Simone Sandagon are no slouches either while Cholo Anonuevo has a roster spot waiting for him if and when he decides to come home after trying his luck in the US. RJ Abarrientos no longer appears here as he was already in FEU’s list last year. These are the new faces to see for the other teams: CSB Blazers LETRAN Knights JRU Heavy Bombers MAPUA Cardinals ADAMSON Soaring Falcons UE Red Warriors --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

Schroder, Paul help OKC over Houston 119-107 in OT

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Dennis Schroder scored 29 points, Chris Paul added 26 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder dominated in overtime to beat the Houston Rockets 119-107 on Saturday night (Sunday in the Philippines) and cut their deficit in the first-round series to 2-1. James Harden scored 38 points for Houston, but fouled out 53 seconds into overtime — the first time he's fouled out this season. The Thunder scored the first 12 points of overtime, powered by two 3-pointers from Paul, to take a 116-104 lead. Houston missed its first seven shots of overtime before Danuel House made a 3-pointer with less than a minute left. By then it was too late. Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Monday. The Thunder had a balanced scoring attack, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander adding 23 points and Danilo Gallinari had 20. Paul made a basket to putt the Thunder within three, House then stepped out of bounds to give the Thunder the ball back. A layup by Steven Adams cut it to 102-101 with less than 30 seconds to go in the fourth. Paul and Harden got tangled up with Harden before the ball was thrown inbounds. Harden made a free throw., but Houston turned it over. Gilgeous-Alexander put Oklahoma City up 104-103 with a 3 from the corner on an assist by Paul with 14.3 seconds left. House made a three throw to tie, but missed the second. Paul’s reverse layup rolled across the rim and out to send it to overtime. Jeff Green had 22 points for the Rockets. They have played the entire series without Russell Westbrook, who is out with a strained right quadriceps. TIP-INS Rockets: Coach Mike D’Antoni said Westbrook is improving and did some shooting at practice on Friday. But he still isn’t sure when he’ll return. ... Houston made 15 of 50 3-pointers. Thunder: Adams left the game late with a bruise on his right knee. He had 13 rebounds. UP NEXT Following Monday’s game (Tuesday in the Philippines), Game 5 is Wednesday (Thursday in the Philippines).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2020

Spurs keep playoff hopes alive with 123-105 win over Rockets

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Spurs aren’t out of it yet. Keldon Johnson had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and San Antonio kept alive its chances of becoming the first team in NBA history to make 23 consecutive playoff appearances with a 123-105 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday (Wednesday in the Philippines). San Antonio has won three straight and five out of seven since arriving in the Florida bubble. DeMar DeRozan added 23 points. Jakob Poeltl finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. A total of seven Spurs reached double figures. Johnson said his mindset since the season restarted has been to fill in whatever role is asked of him. “Whether it's hustling, running the floor — just doing whatever I need to do to help us win,” he said. “Help from my teammates has definitely helped the game slow down for me." Popovich said Johnson is playing with the confidence they saw when they drafted him 29th overall last year. “That’s what he does," Popovich said. "He’s a high-energy guy. He's very physical. Very competitive. Very coachable. He’s just a winner.” The Western Conference is guaranteed to have a play-in for its final playoff spot, with Memphis beginning the day with just a half-game lead over Portland and one game ahead of Phoenix and San Antonio. The Spurs will need help to be one of the teams playing this weekend for the final spot in the West, but made sure they couldn't be eliminated Tuesday with their win. Russell Westbrook had 20 points and seven turnovers in his first game back in the lineup for Houston after missing two games with a bruised right quadriceps. Jeff Green had 17 points. Ben McLemore added 16. The Rockets played without guards James Harden (rest) and Eric Gordon (ankle). Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said the most important part of their final two games before the playoffs will be getting Westbrook some quality minutes so that he is fresh. “Get some of the rust off, build up his legs a little bit,” D'Antoni said. “We'll try to get through these two games and just try to get guys physically ready to go next week.” Westbrook said he isn't worried about finding his timing before the playoffs begin. “I'll get it back,” he said. The Spurs took control in the second quarter, outscoring the Rockets 35-24. San Antonio led by as many as 29 points. San Antonio built a 19-point lead in the first half. DeRozan set the tone with 15 points in the opening 24 minutes, with Lonnie Waker IV, Poeltl and Johnson each scoring 10. TIP-INS Rockets: Went 14 of 48 from the 3-point line. ... Danuel House Jr. sat out with a toe injury. Spurs: Patty Mills (rest) missed his third straight game. WIN-WIN Regardless of whether the Spurs make the playoffs, Popovich is proud of how his young players have stepped up in during their time in the bubble. “Part of it is you have to be realistic,” Popovich said. “I don’t think our chances of winning the championship were great at the beginning of this, nor are they now. If that’s a fact, then you need to do everything you can to develop and be prepared for next season. “The development has been off the charts. We’re thrilled with it. So it’s a win-win no matter what.” Popovich said it would be “thrilling” to get some help and have a chance to extend their season, but he’s not using it as a measuring stick for the season. “We’ve already accomplished what we thought we were capable of accomplishing, that’s what’s important. If we got in now it would be icing on the cake.” UP NEXT Rockets: Play Pacers on Wednesday (Thursday in the Philippines) Spurs: Conclude their seeding schedule Thursday (Friday in the Philippines) against Utah......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2020

LeBron, Giannis, Harden agawan sa MVP award

ORLANDO – Inanunsiyo ng NBA ang mga finalist para sa anim na major awards kasama sina Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden at LeBron James para sa paka-MVP. Nangunguna sa laban si reigning MVP Antetokounmpo na may career highs sa scoring  na 29.7 at rebounding na 13.7  para sa Milwaukee Bucks. Nasa tamang landas naman si Harden, […] The post LeBron, Giannis, Harden agawan sa MVP award appeared first on REMATE ONLINE......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2020

Giannis shines as Bucks hold on, Harden nets 49 as Rockets blast off

Giannis Antetokounmpo shook off the rust of a long layoff by scoring 36 points to power the Milwaukee Bucks to a 119-112 victory over the Boston Celtics in their first game of the NBA's restarted season. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

UAAP 82: National U still on pace for season sweep; Tiger Cubs still at third

STANDINGS Bullpups 10-0 Baby Tamaraws 9-1 Tiger Cubs 6-4 Blue Eaglets 5-5 Baby Falcons 4-6 Jr. Archers 3-7 Jr. Warriors 3-7 Jr. Maroons 0-10 With Kevin Quiambao remaining a force and Terrence Fortea rounding into form, Nazareth School of National University is still the standard in the UAAP 82 Boys Basketball Tournament. The Bullpups proved that anew, Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre, as they imposed their will on De La Salle Zobel for a resounding 100-76 rout. Quiambao found no match for him and powered through for a 21-point, 15-rebound double-double while Fortea kept his fire burning with 20 markers. Still, the defending champions found themselves getting challenged by the Jr. Archers and were only ahead by one at the half. Come the third quarter, however, they restored order and outscored their opponents, 26-10. National U only stepped harder on the pedal in the final frame en route to its 10th win in as many games. The Bullpups also got much welcome contributions for the other guys such as Reyland Torres who had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists as well as Ernest Felicilda who had 15 markers, five dimes, and four boards. For DLSZ, Ivan Cudiamat topped the scoring column with 24 points, all from threes, while Kobe Dalisay also added 15 markers. Main man Kean Baclaan struggled, though, with just eight points in 3-of-18 shooting from the field to see his squad drop to 3-7. In the day's other game, University of Sto. Tomas kept rolling with a convincing 88-80 victory versus Adamson High School. Much of that was thanks to Bismarck Lina who showed he has indeed moved forward from his preseason knee injury with a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double. Jacob Cortez then contributed an all-around 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the Tiger Cubs' fourth consecutive victory and sixth overall inn 10 games. As they stretched their streak, the black and gold tightened their grip on third-place while also dealing the Baby Falcons their fourth loss in a row. John Erolon fronted the effort for Adamson with 20 points while Jake Figueroa also added an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double - all of which weren't enough to prevent their drop to the sixth spot at 4-6. BOX SCORES THIRD GAME UST 88 - Lina 24, Cortez 19, Montemayor 12, Ascutia 11, Villarez 10, Escoto 7, Bugarin 5, Oliva 0, Calivozo 0, Maliwat 0. ADAMSON 80 - Erolon 20, Figueroa 18, Dominguez 13, Quinal 9, Hanapi 8, Barcelona 4, Cosal 2, Dubouzete 2, Guarino 2, Ignacio 2. QUARTER SCORES: 21-19, 45-34, 69-60, 88-80. FOURTH GAME NU 100 - Quiambao 21, Fortea 20, Felicilda 15, Torres 12, Alarcon 9, Tulabut 9, Abadiano 6, Tamayo 5, Abiera 2, Buensalida 1, Enriquez 0, Mailim 0. DLSZ 76 - Cudiamat 24, Dalisay 15, Baclaan 8, Macasaet 8, Luna 4, Quimado 4, Melecio 3, Milan 3, Unisa 3, Omer 2, Tupas 2, Del Mundo 0, Reyes 0, Sevilla 0, Villarin 0. QUARTER SCORES: 26-19, 52-53, 78-63, 100-76. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2020

It s halftime in the NBA, and time to look at some trends

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press It’s halftime. The midway point of the NBA regular season arrives this week -- there are 1,230 games between October and April, and after Thursday night’s (Friday, PHL time) slate goes into the books 618 games will have been played with 612 left to go. Making statistical judgments after a few games, or even a few weeks, isn’t the wisest thing. But with 50% of the season done, it seems like appropriate enough of a sample size to point out a few trends. 3’S, AGAIN The league records for 3-pointers made and attempted are going to get broken for the eighth consecutive year. But the growth rate in that department seems to be slowing down. First, the numbers: NBA teams combined to make 27,955 3-pointers last season and attempt 78,742, both of which are records. That was an increase of 8.3% on makes from 2017-18 and an increase of 10.4% on attempts. This year, the league is on pace to make more than 29,000 3-pointers and attempt nearly 83,000 of them. Both would be records, of course, but the increases over last season are on pace to be only 4.7% on makes and 5.1% on attempts. And while the league’s love affair with the 3-pointer is nothing new, it’s still a bit mindboggling to put it in perspective. When this soon-to-be-eight-year run of record-setting began, NBA teams made 17,603 3’s and attempted 49,067 of them. How much has it changed? This year’s projected final numbers, compared to those -- up 66% percent on makes, up 69% on attempts. SCORING DOWN (SORT OF) Maybe defenses have caught up to the offense-friendly officiating emphasis that went into place at the start of last season. Scoring is down a tiny bit from last year. In 2018-19, teams averaged 111.2 points per game. This year, it’s down to 110.4 per game. But that is still on pace to be the 15th-highest scoring season in the NBA’s 74-year history -- and the second-highest in the last 35 years. JAMES HARDEN Any look at numbers must include what Houston guard James Harden is doing. He’s averaging 37.7 points per game, putting him on pace for the fifth-highest mark in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain owns the top three (50.4 in 1961-62, 44.8 in 1962-63 and 38.4 in 1960-61). Elgin Baylor is fourth, at 38.3 per game in 1961-62. Harden’s scoring will be (and already has been) a rallying cry for his MVP candidacy, just as it was last season when he averaged 36.1 points per game -- and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo won the award. Precedent is not in Harden’s MVP favor. Chamberlain didn’t win MVP in his three highest-scoring seasons, nor did Baylor when he had his best scoring year. In all three cases, Boston’s Bill Russell won the award -- without averaging more than 18.9 points per game in that stretch. He did average nearly 24 rebounds in each of those seasons, and the Celtics won the NBA championship in all three of those years as well. Harden, however, could seriously challenge the 3-point single-season record. Golden State’s Stephen Curry made 402 in his unanimous MVP season of 2015-16; Harden is on pace for 414 this season, provided he plays in every Houston game the rest of the way. LEBRON’S ASSISTS LeBron James is well on his way to winning his first assist crown, leading the NBA with 10.7 per game entering Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) -- more than one assist per game ahead of Phoenix’s Ricky Rubio. Like so many other things James does, an assist crown would be historic. James is 35. He would become the second-oldest assist champion in NBA history; Steve Nash was 37 when he won that title for the final time. As far as first-time winners, James would become the oldest. Jerry West won his lone assist title when he was 33. Lenny Wilkens and Mark Jackson were both 32. Wilt Chamberlain and Rod Strickland were both 31. Even Utah’s John Stockton -- the king of assists -- was 34 when he won his final assist title. A LOT OF GOOD ... There is a chance that there could be as many 50-win teams as the league has ever seen. At the midway mark, there are 12 teams with realistic chances of getting to 50 wins this season. If they all get there -- and it’s not exactly improbable, either -- it would tie the record for most teams reaching that standard in a single season. The mark is 12 set in 2009-10. That season, Boston, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Cleveland, Phoenix, Dallas, the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah, Portland, Orlando, Denver and Atlanta all won between 50 and 61 games. ... AND A LOT OF BAD Meanwhile, there are 17 teams on pace to finish with losing records. As of now, there are the 12 teams with a great shot at 50 or more wins. Then there’s Oklahoma City, the lone team in the middle, on pace for about 46 wins. And then there is everyone else, all with records below .500 at this point. Call it an erosion of the NBA’s middle class. The last time the league had only one team finish between 41 and 49 wins -- including adjustments for labor-issue-related shortened seasons -- was 1966-67. Of course, the NBA only had 10 teams then, with two (Philadelphia and Boston) having winning percentages of .741 or better, the San Francisco Warriors at 44-37, and then the other seven teams all with losing records. THE WEEK AHEAD A game (or two) to watch for each of the next seven days (PHL times listed) ... Wednesday, Houston at Memphis: Don’t look now, but the Grizzlies are really in the West playoff mix. Thursday, San Antonio at Miami: Impossible for these teams to play and not think of 2013 and 2014. Friday, Boston at Milwaukee: A matchup of two of the best in the Eastern Conference. Saturday, Portland at Dallas: It should be an elite guard showdown, Damian Lillard vs. Luka Doncic. Sunday, Sacramento at Utah: In what is becoming an annual tradition, the Jazz are wildly underrated. Next Monday, Indiana at Denver: Pacers still hovering on pace for 50 wins, Nuggets just keep winning. Next Tuesday, Toronto at Atlanta/New Orleans at Memphis: The league celebrates the life Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with 14 games -- including these two, Atlanta being where he was born and Memphis being where he was killed. ___ Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds@ap.org.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2020

Harden has 35 as Rockets down Nuggets 130-104

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — Now that the Houston Rockets are healthy, James Harden is excited for his team’s possibilities. But he knows there will be ups and downs as his teammates figure out how to play together. Harden scored 35 points after missing the last game with an injury to lead the Rockets to a 130-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. The Rockets were back to full strength after Harden missed his first game of the season because of a sprained right toe in a loss to New Orleans on Sunday. Clint Capela (bruised heel) and Russell Westbrook (load management) also returned after sitting out on Sunday in the 127-112 defeat. They got Eric Gordon back on Sunday after the guard sat out for about six weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery. “We’ve just got to find a way,” Harden said. “It will get there. We’re not where we want to be obviously. It’s still early in the season. But we’ve got to find a way to sustain it for four quarters and once we get that it’s going to be pretty tough to beat us.” Houston pushed a small lead to a big advantage with a 19-3 run to start the fourth quarter. The Rockets were up by 17 when Harden scored five quick points, with a 3-pointer, to make it 118-96 with about 3 1/2 minutes left and end his night and that of most of Houston’s starters. Nikola Jokic scored 21 points for the Nuggets, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. “Our defense wasn’t there all night long,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “The turnovers were too much. Give them credit, they’re a good team, but a really disappointing fourth quarter.” Westbrook had 28 points for his 11th straight game with 20 or more, the longest streak by a Rockets player besides Harden since Yao Ming did it in 14 games in a row in 2006. The Nuggets used a 37-point third quarter to cut the lead to three, but the Rockets scored the first 12 points of the fourth to make it 104-89 with about 9 minutes left. Ben McLemore had two 3-pointers to power that spurt. Denver got its first points of the quarter on a 3 by Torrey Craig after that. Houston then scored the next seven points, capped by a 3 from Harden to stretch the lead to 111-92 midway through the period. Coach Mike D’Antoni was happy with the way the Rockets opened the fourth quarter, but was disappointed that they let up in the third to allow the Nuggets to cut the deficit. “If you stop them and it went the other way the game could have been over (earlier),” he said. “But we have that tendency of letting people back in and we’ve got to develop better habits. Because if you want to go deep in the playoffs you can’t just turn it on.” The Rockets were up by 12 after a 3-pointer by Harden with about 7 minutes left in the third quarter. Jokic then scored four quick points to cut the lead to 78-70 midway through the quarter. Houston remained up by eight later in the third when Harden, who had six 3-pointers, made three free throws to push it to 86-75. The Rockets had pushed the lead to 10 with about 3 minutes left in the third before the Nuggets used an 11-4 run to cut the lead to 92-89 entering the fourth. Malik Beasley led the Nuggets in that stretch, scoring five points capped by a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left. TIP-INS Nuggets: Paul Millsap had 13 points and nine rebounds in his return after missing two games with a bruised left knee. ... Denver made 8 of 25 3-pointers. ... Monte Morris added 18 points off the bench. Rockets: Gordon scored 12 points. ... Capela had 16 points and 10 rebounds after missing the last two games with his injury. HARTENSTEIN HEATING UP Houston center Isaiah Hartenstein had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the first double-double of his career. The performance comes after he scored a career-high 19 points on Sunday filling in for Capela. Hartenstein is averaging 14.7 points and 11.3 rebounds in the last three games. UP NEXT Nuggets: Visit Indiana on Friday night in the second game of a five-game trip. Rockets: Host 76ers on Friday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

Rockets survive sloppy fourth quarter, beat Kings 113-104

By Michael Wagaman, Associated Press SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — James Harden scored 34 points, Russell Westbrook had 28 and the Houston Rockets overcame one of their worst fourth quarters of the season to beat the Sacramento Kings 113-104 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Clint Capela added 15 points and 14 rebounds as the Rockets won their seventh straight on the road. It didn’t come easily. Two weeks after losing to the Kings on Nemanja Bjelica’s buzzer-beating 33-footer, the Rockets squandered most of a 25-point lead before holding on at the end. They won despite shooting 3 of 17 in the fourth quarter. All three baskets were 3-pointers, including one by Westbrook that put Houston ahead 107-96 after the Kings had pulled within six. Harden made a 3-pointer then added a pair of late free throws. De’Aaron Fox had 31 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Sacramento. Richaun Holmes added 12 points and 14 rebounds. The Kings have lost four straight. Houston built a 16-point lead in the first quarter despite slow starts by Harden and Westbrook. The two took five shots total in the opening period and had nine points combined, while House and Capela handled the scoring load early. The Rockets big two got going after that. Harden scored 13 in the second quarter and Westbrook had 10. Houston pulled away in the third and led 86-61 following a short jumper by Harden. TIP-INS Rockets: Westbrook’s streak of 30 points or more ended at three games. Ben McLemore scored eight points against his former team. McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick (seventh overall) in 2013. Kings: Trevor Ariza had 12 points and six rebounds off the bench. … Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle soreness) did not play. MISSED FREEBIES Fox scored 19 in the fourth quarter but missed five free throws over the final 6 minutes. UP NEXT Rockets: Play the Warriors on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) in San Francisco. Houston has won six of the last eight against Golden State. Kings: Play Minnesota at Golden 1 Center on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). The two teams split four games last season, each winning twice at home......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2019