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Harden scores 49 points, taking career-high 41 shots

By The Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — James Harden scored 49 points on a whopping 41 shots from the field and the undermanned Houston Rockets won their seventh straight game, 125-105 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). With Russell Westbrook resting, the Rockets needed Harden to shoulder an even bigger scoring load than usual. The 41 attempts are the most in his career, and the most in the NBA this season, surpassing the 37 Golden State’s D’Angelo Russell took in an overtime loss Nov. 8 (Nov. 9, PHL time) in the same building in Minnesota. Harden made 16 of the 41 shots, going 8 for 22 from 3-point range. He was 9 of 11 on free throws. Ben McLemore scored 20 points. Undrafted rookie Chris Clemons scored a career-high 19 for the Rockets, who broke open the game with a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter. Austin Rivers also had 19 points. Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves. TRAIL BLAZERS 121, SPURS 116 SAN ANTONIO (AP) — CJ McCollum scored 32 points and Portland beat San Antonio to spoil Tim Duncan’s first shot at coaching following Gregg Popovich’s ejection. Popovich was ejected after walking onto the court to berate official Jason Goldenberg over a non-call. Popovich calmly walked off the court following his first ejection of the season. The Spurs responded with Duncan and fellow assistants Becky Hammon and Will Hardy coaching by committee, but it was Duncan calling the plays and screaming out instruction. Damian Lillard added 22 points and Hassan Whiteside had 21 for Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 13 rebounds Spurs. They’ve lost five straight. BUCKS 102, PACERS 83 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and Milwaukee forced Indiana into its worst shooting performance of the season. Brook Lopez added 15 points and eight rebounds. He had blocked five shots as the Pacers shot a season-low 32% from the field. Milwaukee, 9-3 despite a road-heavy schedule to start the season, shot 45%. Donte DiVincenzo added 14 points, Myles Turner, playing his first game since Oct. 30 (Oct. 31, PHL time), had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for Indiana. MAVERICKS 110, RAPTORS 102 DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 26 points and 15 rebounds in Dallas’ victory over Toronto. Doncic scored nine points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks added to a one-point lead. He made all seven free throws in the quarter and finished with a career-best 15 free throws in 19 attempts. Delon Wright finished with 15 points, and banked in a fadeaway with 5 seconds left in the third quarter to send Dallas into the fourth quarter with a 78-77 edge. Wright added six points in the fourth quarter. Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points and matched his career best with 15 rebounds for Dallas. Norman Powell scored a season-high 26 points for Toronto. HEAT 109, PELICANS 94 MIAMI (AP) — Kendrick Nunn scored 22 points and Miami beat New Orleans to remained unbeaten at home. Bam Adebayo had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler added 16 points, 13 assists and eight rebound. Miami is 5-0 at home and 9-3 overall — tying the best 12-game start in team history. Nickell Alexander-Walker made six 3-pointers and had 27 points for New Orleans. NETS 117, BULLS 111 CHICAGO (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points and Brooklyn beat Chicago without All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to snap a three-game losing streak. Irving entered Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) sixth in the NBA with 28.5 points per game but sat with a right shoulder injury. The short-handed Nets are also without Caris LeVert, who’s recovering from right thumb surgery. Zach LaVine scored 36 points for Chicago. HORNETS 103, KNICKS 102 NEW YORK (AP) — Devonte’ Graham made his ninth 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining and had 29 points to lead Charlotte past New York. P.J. Washington scored 19 points, Terry Rozier had 16 and Marvin Williams added 13. RJ Barrett scored 22 points for the Knicks......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 17th, 2019

Westbrook scores 31 as Rockets get 120-116 win over Bucks

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Russell Westbrook scored 31 points and the Houston Rockets used strong defense down the stretch for a 120-116 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday night. It was the 36th straight game with at least 20 points for Westbrook, who led Houston’s offense on a night James Harden scored 24. Houston tied an NBA record for most 3-point attempts in a regulation game with 61, making 21 of them, and forced 22 turnovers. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 36 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists for Milwaukee. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players to have 15 games with at least 30 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a season in the last 50 years. Khris Middleton scored 27 points and Brook Lopez added 23 as the Bucks missed a chance to clinch the best record in the Eastern Conference. SPURS 108, GRIZZLIES 106 DeMar DeRozan made two free throws with a second to play, giving San Antonio a victory over Memphis that moved the Spurs into ninth place in the Western Conference. The Spurs built an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, then needed a bunch of big plays down the stretch from DeRozan after the Grizzlies rallied. The final one came when he brought the ball down court after Jaren Jackson Jr. tied it for Memphis with a corner 3-pointer with 10.6 seconds to play. DeRozan pump-faked Dillon Brooks into the air and drew the foul, then knocked down the foul shots. Jackson missed a long 3 on the final possession. The Spurs are trying to qualify for the postseason for what would be an NBA-record 23rd consecutive season. They arrived at Walt Disney World in 12th place in the West, but after victories over Sacramento and Memphis are just two games behind the eighth-place Grizzlies. Dejounte Murray had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs. Derrick White added 16 points and DeRozan had 14. Morant finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Jackson scored 21 points. CELTICS 128, TRAIL BLAZERS 124 Jayson Tatum scored 34 points, Jaylen Brown added 30 and Bostons built a big early lead before holding off Portland. Tatum, who added a career-high eight assists, rebounded from a terrible performance in a loss to Milwaukee on Friday when he scored just five points on 2-of-18 shooting. Damian Lillard had 30 points and 16 assists for Portland. Jusuf Nurkic added 30 points in his second official game back after breaking his leg in March 2019. SUNS 117, MAVERICKS 115 Devin Booker scored 30 points and Phoenix erased a double-digit deficit while the All-Star guard was on the bench with foul trouble, rallying to beat Dallas. The Suns have won both games in the restart after coming in with the worst record in the Western Conference. They’re still long shots for the playoffs, while the Mavericks clinched their first postseason berth since 2016 by virtue of Memphis’ loss to San Antonio earlier in the day. Luka Doncic had 40 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the Mavericks. whose hopes of moving up from the seventh seed are fading with an 0-2 start in the eight-game seeding round. MAGIC 132, KINGS 116 Nikola Vucevic had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Aaron Gordon scored 19 of his 22 points in the first half and Orlando continued its strong restart with a victory over Sacramento. Terrence Ross added 25 points to help the Magic win a season-best fifth straight game going back to before the pandemic-forced shutdown in March.Orlando won the last three before the hiatus and beat Brooklyn, the team it is battling for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, to open the restart. De’Aaron Fox scored 13 points after a career-high 39 in the restart opener for the Kings, who have lost both games in the bubble as they try to get in position for a shot at the final playoff spot in the West. Harry Giles III led Sacramento with a career-high 23 points. NETS 118, WIZARDS 110 Caris LeVert scored 14 of his 34 points in the final seven minutes to help Brooklyn beat Washington. Joe Harris scored a season-high 27 points and Jarret Allen added 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Nets. They rebounded from a loss to Orlando in their first seeding game to move seven games ahead of ninth-place Washington in the Eastern Conference standings. Thomas Bryant had a career-high 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Troy Brown Jr. added 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Wizards......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

Harden, Westbrook combine for 72, Rockets beat Jazz 120-110

By MATTHEW COLES Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — James Harden scored 38 points and Russell Westbrook had 34 to boost the Houston Rockets to a 120-110 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. Harden (13 for 23, 6 3-pointers) and Westbrook (14 for 26) were efficient all night and the Rockets rode a big third quarter to their third straight win. Eric Gordon and Ben McLemore each scored 12 off the bench for Houston. Donovan Mitchell scored 31 and Jordan Clarkson had 22 for the Jazz, who cut the Rockets’ lead to seven in the fourth quarter a couple times but could never get closer. The Rockets made the Jazz pay when they occasionally double-teamed Harden and couldn’t rotate fast enough to the perimeter shooters. After a season high-tying 25 3-pointers in their last outing against Golden State, the Rockets made 20 of 48 from beyond the arc. The Rockets made their move in the third quarter when they outscored the Jazz 38-19. Westbrook capped a 14-2 run with a jumper and Houston led 100-85 entering the final period. The Rockets made eight of their first nine 3-point attempts to take an early eight-point lead. Taking advantage of Houston’s lack of rim protection, Clarkson scored 20 points in the first half to help the Jazz recover and move in front. The Jazz played zone defense at times and used some non-traditional defensive matchups like 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert on 6-3 Westbrook. The Jazz lost to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night and could hardly afford another slip-up on the second half of their back-to-back as they jockey with the Rockets for playoff position in the last third of the season. Houston and Utah now both have records of 36-20 but the Rockets claimed the season series, 2-1. TIP-INS Rockets: Gordon, who scored 50 against Utah on Jan. 27, returned from a three-game absence with a leg bruise. … The Rockets' 20 3-pointers gave them a 60-21 edge on shots from long range. ... Westbrook demonstratively demanded a replay on a foul by Bojan Bogdanovic early in the fourth quarter. After review, the elbow nudge was determined to be a common foul. Jazz: Rookie forward Juwan Morgan, who had never played more than seven minutes in a game, played 13 minutes against the small-ball Rockets and had career highs of four points and five rebounds. … Utah outscored Houston 64-36 in the paint. … Mike Conley had 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists after sitting out for rest against the Spurs. UP NEXT Rockets: Host New York on Monday night. Jazz: Host Phoenix on Monday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 23rd, 2020

DeRozan scores 25, Spurs rally from 18 down, beat Raptors

By Ian Harrison, Associated Press TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points, Rudy Gay had 15 and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors 105-104 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). San Antonio used a big fourth quarter to win for the third time in four games. Derrick White scored 13 points for the Spurs, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 11. DeRozan also collected eight rebounds and four assists while topping 20 points for the 11th straight game. San Antonio trailed 82-69 to begin the fourth but opened the quarter with a 19-5 run, taking an 88-87 lead on Aldridge’s layup with 6:34 to play. The Spurs led 100-91 with 2:37 left, but Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka each made 3-pointers as Toronto tied it 100-100 on Ibaka’s shot from distance with 1:17 left. Siakam broke the tie by making the second of two free throws with 41 seconds left, but Marco Belinelli replied with a 3 for the Spurs, making it 103-101 with 28 seconds remaining. After a Toronto timeout, Siakam missed a shot that would have tied the game. San Antonio’s Lonnie Walker IV grabbed the rebound, Lowry fouled DeRozan, and the former Raptors star pushed the lead to four points by making a pair from the line. Lowry replied with a deep 3, cutting the deficit to one, and Aldridge missed a pair of free throws with four seconds left, but Siakam’s long 3-pointer bounced off the backboard at the buzzer. DeRozan missed his first three free throws but made 11 straight the rest of the way. He didn’t score until 1:25 remained in the first half and attempted just three shots in the first two quarters, but made six of nine attempts in the second half. Ibaka had 21 points and a season-high 15 rebounds, and Lowry had 16 points and a season-high 15 assists for the Raptors. Ibaka’s double-double was his career-best eighth straight. He’s the third Toronto player to achieve the feat. Chris Bosh did it five times and Donyell Marshall did it once. San Antonio’s comeback spoiled the returns of Siakam and Powell, each of whom had missed 11 games since a Dec. 18 (Dec. 19, PHL time) win at Detroit. Powell scored 20 points and Siakam had 15, including 12 in the first quarter. FAMILY FIRST While battling San Antonio’s Bryn Forbes for a loose ball in the third, Lowry landed heavily on Toronto’s baseline, just in front of where his family was seated. Lowry got up and gave his son a kiss on the cheek, then returned to the court. TIP-INS Spurs: Playing in Toronto as a visitor for only the second time, DeRozan received loud applause when he was introduced before the game. Fans rose for a standing ovation when DeRozan was honored with a tribute video during a first-quarter timeout, part of Toronto’s 25th anniversary celebration. Raptors: Toronto is still without center Marc Gasol, who has also been out since Dec. 18 (Dec. 19, PHL time), and guard Fred VanVleet, who sat for the third straight because of a strained right hamstring. UP NEXT Spurs: Visit the Miami Heat on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Raptors: Visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2020

Harden scores, dishes as nets get past Blazers

James Harden scored 25 points and matched his career high of 17 assists to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 116-112 victory over the host Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 25th, 2021

Turner helps Indiana hold off Harden rally to beat Rockets

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Myles Turner had 18 points, reserve Edmond Sumner added a season-high 17 and Indiana held off a late rally by Houston and James Harden to break a five-game losing streak to the Rockets, 108-104 on Wednesday (Thursday in the Philippines). It looked as if the Pacers had locked up the win when they went up 104-90 with 5:05 remaining. That’s when Harden got Houston going, cutting it to 106-104 on with a driving basket with 27 seconds to go. Harden had 11 of Houston’s 14 points during the surge. But after Victor Olidipo missed a 3-pointer, Turner tipped out the rebound to Justin Holliday with six seconds left. Holiday hit two foul shots to finish off Indiana’s first victory over Houston since February 2017. Harden could not get off a final 3-pointer before the buzzer sounded. The Rockets have lost two straight for the first time since the NBA restarted the season. Harden had 45 points and tied his career high with 17 rebounds. He came an assist shy of his fifth triple-double this season. It was Harden’s 21st game this season with 40 points or more. Holiday also has 18 points for the Pacers. Olidipo and Doug McDermont had 16 points apiece. Turner led the Pacers with 12 rebounds. Jeff Green had 14 points for Houston. The Rockets struggled from the outside, going just 16 of 57 on 3-pointers. Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) and Anthony Davis (3) celebrate after defeating the Denver Nuggets 124-121 during an NBA basketball game Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool) TIP-INS Pacers: Coach Nate McMillan was rewarded with a one-year extension to his contract that was set to expire after next season. ... Malcolm Brogdon, who had 12 points in Monday’s loss to Miami, sat out against Houston with a sore neck. Rockets: Russell Westbrook was diagnosed with a strained quadriceps muscle in his right leg and will miss Friday’s regular-season finale. He did not play against Indiana. Westbrook will be reevaluated before the playoffs. ... Houston had not lost consecutive games since dropping four straight in March before the pandemic shut down the NBA. UP NEXT Pacers: Play Miami on Friday (Saturday in the Philippines). Rockets: Play Philadelphia on Friday (Saturday in the Philippines)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent of their potential when they play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost a podium finish to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure, but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.]   [Updated Notes: The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent when the play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.]   [Updated Notes: The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent when the play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.] The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2020

Defending champion Harris and NBA All-Stars Lillard and Yong headline 2020 3-point contest

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2020 – Defending champion Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets and NBA All-Stars Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks will participate in the 2020 MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest on Saturday, Feb. 15 at the United Center in Chicago. The eight-player field for the two-round, timed shooting competition also includes Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards, Devonte’ Graham of the Charlotte Hornets, Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings, Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls and Duncan Robinson of the Miami Heat. The 34th MTN DEW 3-Point Contest is part of State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night, which also features the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and AT&T Slam Dunk.  All-Star Saturday Night will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio in the United States at 8 p.m. ET.  NBA All-Star 2020 will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages. The 2020 MTN DEW 3-Point Contest features a new look with the addition of two shots in the “MTN DEW Zone” – two locations positioned equidistant between the traditional racks at the top of the 3-point arc and the adjacent “wing” rack.  Each of the two ball pedestals in the MTN DEW Zone is located 6 feet behind the 3-point line and holds one special green ball, the “3-Ball.”  Shots made with the green ball are worth three points.  Click here for a diagram showing the location of the MTN DEW Zone.      In addition to the two new shots, the MTN DEW 3-Point Contest will continue to have five main shooting locations – four racks containing four official NBA game balls (each worth one point) and one multicolored “money” ball (worth two points) as well as one special “all money ball” rack.  Every ball on the all money ball rack, which each participant can place at any of the five traditional shooting locations, is worth two points. With the addition of the MTN DEW Zone, the number of balls in a round has increased to 27 from 25, the amount of time in a round has expanded to 70 seconds (1:10) from 60 seconds (1:00) and the maximum possible score in a round has risen to 40 points from 34 points.  The three competitors with the highest scores in the first round advance to the championship round.  The player with the highest score in the championship round is the winner of the 2020 MTN DEW 3-Point Contest.  Click here for a complete explanation of the rules. Here is a closer look at the 2020 MTN DEW 3-Point Contest participants: • Davis Bertans, Wizards (1st appearance): In his first season with Washington, the 6-10 forward from Latvia is fourth in the NBA in 3-pointers made per game (3.6) and leads the league in catch-and-shoot 3-pointers made per game (3.1).  Bertans is shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc, which ranks 10th in the NBA and is identical to his full-season mark with the San Antonio Spurs last season. • Devonte’ Graham, Hornets (1st appearance): Playing his second NBA season, Graham ranks fourth in the league in 3-pointers made with 176.  He was selected to play for the U.S. Team in NBA Rising Stars on Friday, Feb. 14 during NBA All-Star 2020 in Chicago.   • Joe Harris, Nets (2nd appearance): Last year, Harris became the second NBA G League veteran to win the 3-Point Contest, joining 2009 champion Daequan Cook.  Harris, who led the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage last season, is shooting better than 40.0 percent from beyond the arc (40.5) for the third consecutive season. • Buddy Hield, Kings (2nd appearance): Hield was one of three players to reach the final round in the 2019 MTN DEW 3-Point Contest, along with Harris and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry.  In his fourth NBA season, Hield has made the third-most 3-pointers in the league with 186. • Zach LaVine, Bulls (1st appearance): LaVine has already set a career high for 3-pointers made in a season with 154.  A two-time AT&T Slam Dunk champion (2015 and 2016), LaVine is seeking to become the first player to win both the Slam Dunk and the 3-Point Contest. • Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers (3rd appearance): Lillard, who earned his fifth NBA All-Star selection this season, ranks third in the NBA in scoring (29.8 ppg) and second in 3-pointers made (192).  In his last six games, Lillard has averaged 48.8 points and 8.2 3-pointers made per game and shot 57.0 percent from beyond the arc.   • Duncan Robinson, Heat (1st appearance): The undrafted Robinson ranks fifth in the NBA in 3-pointers made (165) and sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (43.9) in his second season.  An NBA G League veteran, Robinson tied a Miami franchise record by making 10 3-pointers against Atlanta on Dec. 10. • Trae Young, Hawks (1st appearance): The NBA’s fifth-leading scorer (29.2 ppg) has made the same number of 3-pointers in 46 games this season as he did in 81 games last season (156).  In his second season, Young was named a starter for the NBA All-Star Game and a participant for the U.S. Team in NBA Rising Stars.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2020

LeBron James posts 35 points, 16 boards, Lakers beat Mavs

By The Associated Press DALLAS (AP) — LeBron James had 35 points and 16 rebounds, Kyle Kuzma scored a season-high 24 points starting in place of injured star Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers went up big early in a 129-114 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). James was dominant from the start to help the Lakers build a 22-point lead in the first half, which ended with Luka Doncic in a ripped jersey on a frustrating night for the 20-year-old Dallas phenom against the player he grew up admiring. Doncic, who had played James just about even while the Lakers took two of first three in the season series, had 25 points and 10 rebounds but ripped his jersey late in the first half after one of his 11 misses (8 of 19). Davis missed the first game of a road back-to-back after taking a nasty fall in a win over the Knicks in Los Angeles on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). Both leading men — James and Doncic — were without their star sidekicks for the final regular-season meeting as both fell short of a triple-double after both had one in the previous meeting in Dallas. They had seven assists apiece. Tim Hardaway finished with 22 point for Dallas. NETS 117, HEAT 113 NEW YORK (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 26 points and had a career-high 14 assists as Brooklyn beat Miami and snapped a seven-game losing streak. Rodions Kurucs scored 19 points and Taurean Prince added 17 for Brooklyn. Jarrett Allen finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for his team-high 17th double-double of the season. Jimmy Butler scored 33 points and Bam Adebayo added 22 for the Heat. Miami's Duncan Robinson missed a 3-pointer from the corner with 5.7 seconds left. PELICANS 123, KNICKS 111 NEW YORK (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 28 points, Jaxson Hayes had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and New Orleans beat the Knicks. Lonzo Ball had 15 points and 11 assists, and Josh Hart added 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Pelicans won for the seventh time in nine games. Taj Gibson led the Knicks with a season-high 19 points, shooting 8 for 8 from the field. RJ Barrett scored 16 points, and Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton finished with 15. The Knicks lost their fifth straight following a season-best three-game winning streak. BUCKS 127, KINGS 106 SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Khris Middleton had 27 points and 11 rebounds, Eric Bledsoe scored 24 and Milwaukee beat Sacramento despite an off night for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee improved to an NBA-best 34-6 and extended the best start in franchise history. Antetokounmpo was held to a season-low 13 points and 10 rebounds. The reigning MVP took only nine shots and picked up three of his four fouls in the first half. Donte DiVincenzo had a season-high 18 points and Sterling Brown added 11 points and 12 rebounds for Milwaukee, which is 16-4 on the road. De’Aaron Fox had 19 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for Sacramento. Harrison Barnes scored 19 before limping off the court and into the locker room late in the fourth quarter. CLIPPERS 109, WARRIORS 100 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 36 points, Lou Williams added 21 and the Clippers rallied from a 10-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to defeat Golden State. The Warriors had a 93-83 lead going into the final 12 minutes before Los Angeles went on a 21-6 run the first six-plus minutes of the quarter to take control. Montrezl Harrell keyed the rally with seven of his 11 points as the Clippers went 8 of 12 from the field and forced the Warriors to go 3 of 11. The Clippers defeated the Warriors in two straight games for the first time since 2011. Glenn Robinson III and Omari Spellman scored 17 apiece for Golden State, which has lost its last seven. Alec Burks added 16. WIZARDS 111, HAWKS 101 WASHINGTON (AP) — Jordan McRae scored 29 points, Troy Brown Jr. added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Washington overcame a poor shooting performance to beat Atlanta. Atlanta, which has the worst record in the NBA, lost for the 14th time in 16 games. Trae Young, who had 42 points in a defeat to Houston on Wednesday, led the Hawks with 19 points. John Collins had his second straight double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds for Atlanta, and Alex Len had 10 points and 14 rebounds. PACERS 116, BULLS 105 CHICAGO (AP) — Myles Turner set season highs with 27 points and 14 rebounds, and short-handed Indiana withstood a huge effort by Zach LaVine to beat Chicago. The Pacers overcame 43 points by LaVine and escaped with the victory after Chicago rallied from 16 down to cut the deficit to four in the closing minutes. T.J. Warren scored 17 for Indiana after being fined $25,000 by the NBA for an altercation with Miami's Jimmy Butler on Wednesday night. The Pacers picked up their second win in three games even though they were missing two of their top players, with Malcolm Brogdon out with strep throat and Domantas Sabonis nursing a sore left knee. LaVine finished six points shy of his career high set at Charlotte in November. Coby White scored 23, but the Bulls lost their sixth straight — their worst skid since a 10-game slide in December and January last season. GRIZZLIES 134, SPURS 121 MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 24 points, Ja Morant added 22 points and a season-high 14 assists and Memphis won its fourth-straight game. Dillon Brooks also scored 22 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 21 as six Memphis players scored in double figures. DeMar DeRozan matched his season-high with 36 points, and added nine assists for the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge and Bryn Forbes each scored 21 points, combining to go 9 of 17 from 3-point range. Rudy Gay added 13 points. JAZZ 109, HORNETS 92 SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Rudy Gobert had 15 points, 13 rebounds, and six blocked shots, leading Utah to a victory over Charlotte. Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 20 points off the bench. Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 points and Georges Niang chipped in 15 while matching his career high with five 3-pointers. Utah has won eight straight games and 13 of 14. Terry Rozier scored 23 points to lead the Hornets. Miles Bridges added 11. Charlotte finished with 21 turnovers, leading to 24 points for the Jazz. The Hornets have lost three straight. The Jazz swept the regular-season series with the Hornets for the second straight season. SUNS 98, MAGIC 94 PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker scored 24 points, including late back-to-back 3-pointers, and Ricky Rubio came up with a steal and a free throw to help Phoenix rally past Orlando. The Suns scored the final eight points of the game after Nikola Vucevic knocked down a 3 from the top of the arc with 59.4 seconds left, giving the Magic a 94-90 lead, Orlando's largest of the game. Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 22 points and Rubio added 11 points, 10 assists and three steals. Evan Fournier led Orlando with 28 points, 16 in the second half. Vucevic added 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Terrence Ross scored 18 off the bench......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2020

West-leading Lakers beat Suns 117-107 for 3rd win in row

By Beth Harris, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James had his eighth triple-double of the season, Anthony Davis had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and the West-leading Los Angeles Lakers opened the new year with a 117-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). James finished with 31 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in the Lakers' third straight victory that appeared well in hand by the end of a dominant first quarter. He had double-figure points and assists by halftime. The Suns rallied in the fourth, getting within seven points after trailing by 36 earlier in the game. That forced the Lakers' starters back in, and James steadied them with eight points to close out the win. The Lakers shot 70% in a ferocious opening quarter when they made their first 11 shots. Danny Green had their first miss on a 3-point attempt, but the Lakers controlled the offensive rebound and JaVale McGee found Green for a dunk. It was that kind of sequence for the Lakers, who missed just eight attempts in the first. James airballed a shot, but they snagged the rebound and Avery Bradley scored to salvage the possession. The Lakers put together a 25-4 run in which the Suns were limited to only free throws. Among the highlights, Davis dunked over Aron Baynes and let out a roar, and later Davis threw down a reverse dunk on James' pass. Not to be outshone, James followed with a two-handed jam that ignited the crowd. Los Angeles led 43-17 at the end of the quarter. Kyle Kuzma, sporting blond hair, had three 3-pointers in the second. Bradley scored on a smooth behind-the-back pass from James. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope beat the shot clock with a casual heave on a 3-pointer. Dwight Howard chipped in eight points and the Lakers shot 61% in taking a 74-41 lead into halftime. Kuzma added 19 points and Bradley had 18. Devin Booker scored 32 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 26 for the Suns. Phoenix had won two in a row after losing eight straight. TIP-INS Suns: Booker has scored 30 or more points in a season-high four straight games. ... They fell to 1-4 all-time playing on New Year's Day; it was their first such contest since 1983. ... They were held to a season-low 17 points in the first quarter. ... The Suns gave up a season-worst 74 points in the first half. ... Frank Kaminsky III missed his second straight game because of a right knee injury. Lakers: They improved to 18-0 against teams under .500 this season and more such opponents are coming up: New Orleans, Detroit and New York. ... Howard notched his 1,000th career steal. ... Their 43 points in the first quarter were a season high. ... Alex Caruso had right calf tightness and didn't return. ... Green and McGee stayed loose by jumping rope on court during a timeout in the fourth. UP NEXT Suns: Host the New York Knicks on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) to open a five-game homestand. Lakers: Host New Orleans on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in the middle of a five-game homestand......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2020

Lowry scores 24 points, Raptors beat Cavaliers 117-97

TORONTO (AP) - Kyle Lowry kept injury-ravaged Toronto rolling along by finishing off 2019 with another 20-point performance. Lowry scored 24 points, Terence Davis matched his career high with 19 and the Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-97 on Tuesday night. Serge Ibaka had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 14 points in his first start with Toronto as the Raptors recorded their fifth straight home win over the Cavaliers. Toronto won for the fourth time in seven games since losing starters Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (left hamstring) and Norman Powell (left shoulder) to injury. Lowry, who did not speak to reporters, has scored 20 or more in eight of his past nine games. He had 14 in a Christmas Day loss to Boston. "Kyle Lowry is a Hall of Famer," Cleveland's Tristan Thompson said. "He's a five-time All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, an NBA champ. He's their backbone. "He keeps this ship running and he's playing at a high level. Kyle's a bulldog, he's going to compete every night. That's why his teammates always love him." Collin Sexton scored 22 points and Thompson had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who had won four of five. Kevin Love returned to the starting lineup with 10 points and 11 rebounds and Cedi Osman scored 14 points for Cleveland. Cleveland coach John Beilein said Lowry and Fred VanVleet deserved most of the credit for Toronto's latest triumph. "In today's game, two guards like that, despite their size, can dominate," Beilein said. "They really dominated the game today." The Raptors are 13-1 when they lead through three quarters at home. Toronto lost 98-97 to Oklahoma City on Sunday despite taking an 80-76 lead into the fourth. Sexton said the Raptors seemed intent on wiping away the memories of Sunday's defeat. "They had a chip on their shoulder," Sexton said. "They wanted to pretty much just beat us. You could tell from the very start of the game that they had a different type of energy." OG Anunoby and VanVleet each scored 12 points in the Raptors' second 20-point win over Cleveland this season. The Cavaliers lost 133-113 at Toronto on Dec. 16. Toronto had lost three of four, but won for the 14th time in 19 home games. The Raptors went 9-7 in December, their busiest month of the season. Hollis-Jefferson started in place of Anunoby, who shot 0 for 7 from 3-point range in Sunday's loss to Oklahoma City and had missed 17 of 19 from distance over his previous five games. "Seemed like it worked out OK, they both played really well tonight," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "I liked the energy from both of them." The Raptors recorded an assist on nine of their 10 baskets in the opening quarter. Lowry fed Anunoby for a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left to give Toronto a 27-25 lead after one. The lead changed 10 times in the opening quarter, but didn't change again the rest of the way. Lowry scored 11 points in the second and Toronto used six 3-pointers to outscore Cleveland 32-18, scoring the final seven points of the quarter to take a 59-43 lead at halftime. "We just buried ourselves at the end of that first half," Beilein said. Cleveland shot 2 for 12 from 3-point range in the second. Toronto led 86-69 through three quarters. TIP-INS Cavaliers: Love sat out Saturday's win at Minnesota because of a sore right hip. . The Cavs shot 10 for 38 from 3-point range. . Cleveland is 4-13 on the road. . The Cavs were 5-9 in December after going 3-12 in November. Raptors: Before the game, Nurse said his injured starters are still "a ways away" from returning. All three were injured in a Dec. 18 win at Detroit. . F Patrick McCaw left early in the first quarter after injuring his left leg but returned in the second. . Toronto held a 15-2 edge in bench scoring at halftime. WINNING MONTHS Toronto has posted a winning record in 20 consecutive calendar months, the longest streak in franchise history and the longest active streak in the NBA. The Raptors last had a losing record in a single month when they went 8-9 in January 2017. DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE Toronto led by double digits for the entire second half. DECEMBER DOUBLES All seven of Ibaka's double-doubles this season came in December. UP NEXT Cavaliers: Host Charlotte on Thursday night. Raptors: Visit Miami on Thursday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

Brown scores 30, Celtics beat Raptors 118-102

By Ian Harrison, Associated Press TORONTO (AP) — Boston’s Jaylen Brown celebrated Christmas with something he had never enjoyed before: a road win at Toronto. Brown scored 30 points, Kemba Walker had 22 and the Celtics beat the Raptors 118-102 Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) in the first Christmas Day NBA game played in Canada. “It was good to get a win here on Christmas,” said Brown, who made five 3-pointers and shot 10 for 13 from the field. “I’ve never won here period, so it was great to just get one.” Enes Kanter had 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Celtics snapped an eight-game losing streak north of the border and became the first Atlantic Division opponent to win in Toronto in more than four years. The Celtics have won four straight to improve to 8-2 in December. Boston’s Gordon Hayward returned to the starting lineup after missing the past three games because of a sore left foot. He scored 14 points in 26 minutes. “It’s still a little sore but it’s playable,” Hayward said. “It’s good, it’s good.” Fred VanVleet scored 27 points in the Raptors' second straight loss, and Chris Boucher had a career-high 24. “We weren’t quite physical enough, I thought, for most stretches of the game,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. The Raptors are 2-2 since losing center Marc Gasol (left hamstring), guard Norman Powell (left shoulder) and forward Pascal Siakam (groin) to injuries. Nurse had no update on the status of the trio, but acknowledged their absence is making life difficult. “Scoring is not very easy for us right now,” Nurse said. “It’s tough.” Toronto had gone an NBA-record 34 games between home losses to division foes. The Raptors’ last home loss to an Atlantic team was a 111-109 defeat to the New York Knicks on Nov. 10, 2015. Kyle Lowry scored 14 points and Serge Ibaka had 12 for Toronto. The Raptors shot 8 for 23 from 3-point range. Kanter arrived dressed in a black t-shirt that read ‘Freedom for ALL’ in white letters. He played outside the United States for the first time since visiting Toronto with the Knicks on Nov. 10, 2018. “Definitely amazing,” a smiling Kanter said. “I just can’t describe it with words. Just going out there was more than just a basketball game. For me, it was just going out there and living this freedom.” Kanter’s outspoken criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an's government led to his passport being revoked in 2017. Turkish prosecutors have accused Kanter of membership in a terror organization and issued an international warrant for his arrest. Kanter did not travel with the Knicks to London last January because he feared he could be killed over his opposition to Erdo?an. After being traded to Portland in February, he did not join the Trail Blazers for their March 1 game at Toronto. The Raptors jumped out to a 10-0 lead as the Celtics missed their first five shots of the game, leading to a Boston timeout with 10:03 left in the opening quarter. After the stoppage, the Celtics outscored Toronto 28-9 to lead 28-19 after one. “They hit us early but I thought we recovered well,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. Brown made all five of his field goal attempts in the third, including three from long range, and scored 16 points. Boston led 88-69 through three quarters. TIP-INS Celtics: G Marcus Smart (eye infection) traveled to Toronto but was not active. Smart has missed the past seven games. … F Grant Williams dislocated his right index finger in the second quarter but returned before halftime. … F Jayson Tatum shot 1 for 10 in the first half. He finished 5 for 18 and scored 11 points. … Boston scored 11 points off seven Toronto turnovers in the first. Raptors: Toronto made a season-worst seven 3-pointers in a Dec. 9 (Dec. 10, PHL time) win at Chicago. … Toronto’s only previous Christmas Day game was a 102-94 loss at New York in 2001. HOME SWEET HOME The road team won a Boston-Toronto game for the first time in 13 meetings. TAKE A CHANCE Boston outscored Toronto 24-4 in second-chance points. HOT SHOTS The Celtics shot 46 for 92 (50%). Boston is 8-0 this season when shooting 50% or better. UP NEXT Celtics: Host Cleveland on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Raptors: Visit Boston on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2019

Sexton scores 23, Cavaliers hold on to beat Hornets 100-98

By Steve Herrick, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — Collin Sexton scored 23 points, Cedi Osman had 18 and the Cleveland Cavaliers held off a late Charlotte comeback for a 100-98 win over the Hornets on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Cleveland, which had lost 16 of 18, led the entire game but nearly squandered a 24-point lead in the third quarter. Terry Rozier scored a career-high 35 points for Charlotte and hit five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the last coming with 21 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 100-98. Sexton dribbled the ball off his foot and out of bounds with 16 seconds left. Rozier popped open at the top of the key for a wide-open 3 with three seconds to go, but the shot hit off the rim and Sexton grabbed the rebound to finally secure the victory for the Cavs. Rozier was 12 of 27 from the field and 7 of 15 on 3-pointers. Cody Zeller had 15 points for the Hornets. Kevin Love had 16 points and 14 rebounds for Cleveland. Tristan Thompson added 14 points and 13 rebounds. Cleveland took a 67-43 lead early in the third on Darius Garland's 3-pointer, but Charlotte heated up from the field and cut into the margin. Rozier scored seven points, including a 3 at the buzzer that trimmed the margin to 76-64. The Hornets continued to slice into the lead in the fourth. Rozier and Devonte' Graham hit 3s on consecutive possessions, cutting the deficit to 84-74. Charlotte, which defeated Sacramento at home on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), looked like a team on a back-to-back to start the game. The Cavaliers made 14 of 25 shots in the first quarter and led by 12. Cleveland controlled the first half despite not attempting a free throw. Charlotte committed four fouls before halftime. Cleveland finally got to the foul line less than a minute into the third quarter. Osman was fouled while scoring on a fast break, but missed the free throw. Osman had a highlight-reel defensive play when he chased down Marvin Williams and blocked his layup attempt in the third quarter. Sexton made his first eight shots and was 10 of 14 from the field. TIP-INS Hornets: F Nicolas Batum missed his fifth straight game. He's still feeling discomfort in his left hand aftrer breaking a finger in the season opener. ... Rozier was born in Youngstown and played high school basketball at Shaker Heights, which is 7 miles from downtown Cleveland. Cavaliers: G Kevin Porter Jr. played with protective padding on a sore left shoulder. He took a lob pass from Garland and slammed home a dunk with his right hand in the first quarter. ... Sexton made his 100th career start, joining LeBron James and Kyrie Irving as the only players in franchise history to do so before turning 21. UP NEXT Hornets: Host the Utah Jazz on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Cavaliers: Host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019

Texans grab AFC South lead with 24-21 victory over Titans

By The Associated Press NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Houston Texans grabbed control of the AFC South by beating the Tennessee Titans 24-21 Sunday. The defending division champs are looking for Houston's fourth AFC South title in six years under coach Bill O'Brien. The Titans haven't won this division since 2008, and Mike Vrabel is Tennessee's third coach since then. Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 29-yard field goal with 3:26 left for the winning points. The Texans (9-5) nearly blew a 14-0 halftime lead. Deshaun Watson threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns, but Tennessee also intercepted him twice inside the Titans 1. The Titans (8-6) snapped a four-game win streak with only their second loss in seven games. Now they will need help in the final two games to earn their second playoff berth in three seasons. When the Titans tied it at 14 early in the fourth quarter, the Texans scored 10 straight points. Carlos Hyde ran for a 10-yard TD, then Fairbairn's field goal finished Houston's scoring. Ryan Tannehill hit Dion Lewis with an 11-yard TD pass with 2:04 left to pull Tennessee within 24-21. But the Titans used backup kicker Ryan Santoso on the onside kick, and the ball only went 7 yards before being smothered by Texans safety Justin Reid. BILLS 17, STEELERS 10 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Allen threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Kroft with 7:55 to play and Buffalo clinched a playoff spot, beating Pittsburgh. The Bills secured their second playoff berth in three seasons under coach Sean McDermott. Buffalo trailed 10-7, but scored on two possessions in the fourth quarter, as Allen rallied the Bills for a comeback win for the fifth time this season. Consecutive interceptions by Jordan Poyer and Levi Wallace on Pittsburgh’s last two possessions sealed the victory. The surging Steelers had an opportunity to leapfrog the Bills for the top AFC wild card spot, but Buffalo snapped Pittsburgh’s three-game win streak. Buffalo won for the fourth time in five games and recorded its first 10-win season since 1999. The Bills also beat the Steelers for the second time ever in Pittsburgh. Allen completed 13 of 25 passes for 139 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Allen, who also rushed for a score, has only lost consecutive games once in his career. Kroft scored his first touchdown since 2017 when he played for Cincinnati. Devin Singletary rushed for 87 yards and John Brown caught seven passes for 99 yards. He became Buffalo’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2015. Devlin Hodges completed 23 of 38 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. PACKERS 21, BEARS 13 GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Jones ran for two scores, Davante Adams caught another in the 200th edition of he NFL's oldest rivalry. With the win, the Packers (11-3) clinched a playoff spot and swept the regular-season series between the teams for the 15th time in the last 26 seasons and the seventh time in the last 11 seasons. Green Bay defeated Chicago 10-3 in the season opener. Green Bay now leads the all-time series 99-95-6. The Bears (7-7) saw their three-game win streak end. The Packers improved to 19-5 against their NFC North rival with Rodgers as the starting quarterback. Rodgers completed just 16 of 33 passes for a pedestrian 203 yards but did enough to secure the victory. The two-time MVP entered the day with a 103.2 career passer rating against the Bears, the highest in league history of quarterbacks with at least 250 passes against Chicago. He had a 78.2 rating on Sunday. Mitchell Trubisky completed his first five pass attempts for the Bears but for only 18 yards. Chicago's offense opened the game with three straight punts and a turnover on downs. Trubisky finished 28 of 53 for 321 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. PATRIOTS 34, BENGALS 13 CINCINNATI (AP) — Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes to move within one of the NFL career record, Stephon Gilmore returned one of his two interceptions 64 yards for a score, and the Patriots clinched a playoff berth. A week that started with intrigue — a Patriots crew videotaping the Bengals' sideline in Cleveland — concluded with more New England history. The Patriots have made the playoffs 11 consecutive seasons, extending their NFL record. Brady had touchdown passes of 23 and 7 yards that left him with 538 for his career, one shy of Peyton Manning's record. The Patriots (11-3) haven't been as overwhelming in this playoff push, getting just enough out of the 42-year-old Brady and more than enough out of the league's top-ranked defense. Thousands of Patriots fans filled the stadium and chanted Brady's name as the minutes ran off. Brady was 15 of 29 for 128 yards and a pair of sacks. The Patriots broke a two-game losing streak with four interceptions in the second half. Gilmore picked off Andy Dalton twice in the third quarter, with his second pick-6 of the season putting New England in control. The Patriots pushed their league-leading interception total to 25. The Bengals (1-13) got a touchdown pass from Dalton that ended a streak of 20 straight games without reaching the end zone on their opening drive. All they managed the rest of the way was a pair of field goals. CHIEFS 23, BRONCOS 3 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, and Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce were on the receiving end of many of his biggest throws, as the AFC West champions romped to remain in the hunt for the No. 2 playoff seed and a potential first-round bye. Like a bunch of kids getting a snow day from school, the Chiefs enjoyed every minute of it. Hill caught five passes for 67 yards and both scores, and Kelce hauled in 11 catches for 142 yards to become the first tight end in NFL history with four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, helping the Chiefs (10-4) beat the Broncos for the ninth straight time. Denver (5-9) hasn't won in Kansas City since Sept. 17, 2015. The Chiefs outscored their longtime division rival 53-9 this season. Whether it was the snowy weather or the suddenly stout Chiefs defense, the Broncos were so inept offensively that Kelce had more yards receiving at the start of the fourth quarter than they had total offense (139 yards). Phillip Lindsay was bottled up on the ground, and former Missouri standout Drew Lock — who grew up in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit, Missouri — spent most of the day seeing red jerseys bearing down on him. The rookie quarterback was 18 of 40 for 208 yards and an egregious interception in the end zone. COWBOYS 44, RAMS 21 ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and Ezekiel Elliott ran for two scores. The Cowboys (7-7) ended their second three-game losing streak of the season, and the defending NFC East champions stayed even with Philadelphia atop the division with a showdown looming next week. The defending NFC champion Rams (8-6), who already needed help to get into the playoffs, didn't help themselves with another poor showing a week after their most impressive game of the season in a win over Seattle. Their loss clinched playoff berths for Seattle, San Francisco and Green Bay. After rushing for a franchise playoff-record 273 yards in a 30-22 divisional win over the Cowboys last January, the Rams were held to 22 while Dallas churned out a season-high 263. Todd Gurley had 11 carries for 20 yards. Coming off two of his better games of the season, Rams quarterback Jared Goff had a rough outing that looked better because of his fourth-quarter numbers with the outcome decided. He finished 33 of 51 for 284 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Cowboys' No. 1-ranked offense kept rolling with a season high in points to go with 475 yards, including scoring drives of 90 and 97 yards. FALCONS 29, 49ERS 20 SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Matt Ryan teamed with Julio Jones on a 5-yard pass that was ruled a touchdown after a replay reversal with 2 seconds left. Jones was called short of the goal line with the Falcons (5-9) trailing 22-17. But a replay showed the ball breaking the plane with the Jones in the air while being tackled by Jimmie Ward. When things couldn't get crazier, they did: On the final kickoff, Atlanta scored another touchdown when Olamide Zaccheaus came up with the ball as the 49ers were tossing it around in desperation. The 49ers (11-3) still clinched their first playoff berth since a 2013 run to the NFC championship game with the Rams' loss at Dallas. In an afternoon when Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense hardly shined, San Francisco's other units did their best to hold off Ryan until the quarterback exhibited the poise of a former MVP in a dramatic final minute — or, make that 12 seconds. Facing his former team and now in his third year as 49ers coach, Kyle Shanahan's high-powered offense fizzled much of the day. Shanahan spent two seasons as offensive coordinator in Atlanta coaching Ryan during his 2016 MVP year when the Falcons set a franchise record by scoring 540 points and Ryan had career bests in yards passing (4,944), TD passes (38) and passer rating (117.1). Then the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead on New England in the Super Bowl and Shanahan left for the Bay Area shortly after. VIKINGS 39, CHARGERS 10 CARSON, Calif, (AP) — Dan Bailey kicked four field goals and Ifeadi Odenigbo scored Minnesota's second defensive touchdown in three games. Los Angeles led 10-9 midway through the second quarter before Minnesota scored 30 unanswered points. The Chargers (5-9), who have dropped four of their last five, committed seven turnovers, their most since having seven against the Giants in 1986. The seven turnovers resulted in 20 Minnesota points. Mike Boone ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Kirk Cousins threw for 207 yards and a TD for the Vikings (10-4), who have won four of their last five to remain in possession of the NFC's last playoff spot. Melvin Gordon fumbled twice and Philip Rivers threw three interceptions. Rivers, who threw for 307 yards, has been picked off 10 times in the past five games. LA appeared to be in field goal range at the Vikings 26. But on second-and-2, Rivers fumbled when he was sacked by Danielle Hunter. Austin Ekeler recovered it at the 38 and tried to make a play but also fumbled. Odenigbo then scooped up the loose ball and went 56 yards for a touchdown to give Minnesota a 19-10 lead. Boone, who had 49 yards on 13 attempts, had most of his carries in the second half after Dalvin Cook was injured. He had touchdown runs of 8 and 2 yards in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. SEAHAWKS 30, PANTHERS 24 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Russell Wilson threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, Chris Carson ran for 133 yards and two scores. The Seahawks (11-3) wrapped up a postseason berth for the seventh time in the last eight seasons with a Rams loss at Dallas. They also tied San Francisco for the NFC West lead. It was the 100th regular season win for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Seattle scored on its first three possessions as Wilson completed 8 of 10 passes for 175 yards, with 19-yard touchdown passes to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett for a perfect 153.8 QB rating. Chris Carson added a 16-yard TD run as the Seahawks built a 20-7 lead at halftime. But Seattle had to hold on after nearly surrendering a 30-10 lead with 7:28 left in the game as Carolina (5-9) got two touchdowns. Christian McCaffrey scored on a 15-yard run and Kyle Allen found Curtis Samuel for a 5-yard score to make it a one-possession game with 3:19 left. But the Seahawks overcame two holding penalties and Wilson connected on a 14-yard pass to Lockett on a third-and-11 to help the Seahawks run out the clock. EAGLES 37, REDSKINS 27 LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Carson Wentz recovered from a late fumble by leading a 75-yard, go-ahead scoring drive and throwing his third touchdown pass of the day to keep the Eagles' NFC East hopes on track. Wentz threw TD passes to running back Miles Sanders, tight end Zach Ertz and receiver Greg Ward and was 30 of 43 for 266 yards. The 4-yard pass from Wentz to Ward with 26 seconds left put Philadelphia up for good and electrified a stadium full of green-clad Eagles fans. Wentz's ability to bounce back from some accuracy issues and a turnover means the Eagles (7-7) are tied with Dallas in the division race with a game against the Cowboys coming next week. Of course, Wentz didn't do it by himself. Sanders rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for 50 yards. The Eagles defense that struggled to stop Washington's Dwayne Haskins most of the afternoon got him to fumble for a touchdown return by Nigel Bradham on the game's final play. Coming off an overtime victory against Eli Manning and the New York Giants, a loss to Washington (3-11) could've had the Eagles facing elimination next week. CARDINALS 38, BROWNS 24 GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kenyan Drake ran for four touchdowns, Kyler Murray threw for 219 yards and a score and the Cardinals snapped a six-game losing streak. Murray got the best of a much-anticipated showdown with Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield. The two were teammates in college at Oklahoma and both won Heisman Trophies before being selected with the No. 1 overall picks by their respective teams in back-to-back years. Murray completed 19 of 25 passes and also ran for 58 yards. Drake, acquired midseason in a trade with the Dolphins, ran for a season-high 137 yards and scored a touchdown in every quarter. He's the first Cardinals player to score four rushing touchdowns in a game since 1993. Arizona pushed ahead 28-17 late in the third quarter when Drake scored his third touchdown on a 1-yard run, one play after the Cardinals won a pivotal challenge. Cleveland's Damarious Randall was called for defensive pass interference after a review, reversing the no-call on the field. Cleveland's Nick Chubb — who came in as the NFL's leading rusher — finished with 127 yards on the ground. Mayfield completed 30 of 43 passes for 247 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. JAGUARS 20, RAIDERS 16 OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Gardner Minshew threw two TD passes to Chris Conley in the final 5:15 of the game and the Jaguars spoiled the final scheduled game at the Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders (6-8) broke out to a 16-3 lead and appeared comfortably ahead before falling apart in the closing minutes to put a damper on an already somber day in Oakland. The Jaguars (5-9) drove 79 yards to draw within 16-13 on Minshew's 6-yard TD pass to Conley. The Raiders tried to run out the clock and got a pair of first-down runs from Josh Jacobs and another from Derek Carr. But Carr was ruled out of bounds with 2:05 to play after sliding down, sparing the Jaguars from using a timeout. Oakland then got a delay of game in the confusion and Tyrell Williams dropped a third-down pass. Daniel Carlson then missed a 50-yard field goal, only to get another chance after Parry Nickerson was called for running into the kicker. Carlson missed again from 45 yards and the Jaguars took over at the 35 with 1:44 to go. Minshew moved them downfield and connected with Conley on the 4-yard score with 31 seconds left. GIANTS 36, DOLPHINS 20 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning threw two touchdowns in what might have been his final home start for the Giants and New York snapped a franchise record-tying nine-game losing streak. Saquon Barkley ran for 112 yards and scored two walk-in touchdowns and New York's much-maligned defense added a safety as the Giants (3-11) handed the Dolphins (3-11) their second loss in as many weeks at MetLife Stadium. Manning, who lost his starting job to first-round draft pick Daniel Jones in Week 3 and got it back last week when the rookie sprained an ankle, threw a 51-yard scoring pass to Golden Tate in the second quarter. He threw a go-ahead 5-yarder to Darius Slayton on the opening series of the second half. The 38-year-old also threw three interceptions, two of which set up by field goals by Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders. With 1:50 left, Manning (20 of 28 for 283 yards) was taken out by coach Pat Shurmur and replaced by Alex Tanney, drawing his second standing ovation from those left in the crowd. He walked to the sideline and was congratulated by teammates while the crowd chanted "Eli Manning.'' He even smiled. Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose game slipped after taking a big hit on a third-quarter scramble, threw two touchdowns to DaVante Parker, the second one with the game out of reach. BUCCANEERS 38, LIONS 17 DETROIT (AP) — Jameis Winston became the first player in NFL history to throw for 450 yards in consecutive games. Winston threw three touchdowns in the first half — four overall — and a career-high 458 yards one week after throwing for 456 yards. The Buccaneers (7-7) have won four straight and five of six, but their surge started too late for them to get in the playoffs race. Detroit (3-10-1) has dropped seven games in a row and 10 of 11, increasing the scrutiny of embattled coach Matt Patricia. The Lions looked like they were still competing for their coach, and themselves, after falling behind 21-0 in the first half. Running back Wes Hills, signed Saturday, ran for a second TD early in the fourth quarter to cut Tampa Bay's lead to 24-17. The comeback hopes ended with a thud. Sean Murphy-Bunting returned an interception 70 yards for a score and a 14-point lead. Winston followed with his fourth TD pass, connecting with Breshad Perriman for a third time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2019

Davis, James lead Lakers to a 113-110 win over Heat

By The Associated Press MIAMI (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 33 points, LeBron James had 28 while coming within a rebound of a triple-double and the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Miami Heat 113-110 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). James had 12 assists and nine rebounds and Davis grabbed 10 rebounds for the Lakers. They improved to 23-3, extended the second-longest road winning streak in franchise history to 13 games and rallied from a double-digit deficit to win for the eighth time already this season. They also dealt Miami its first home loss of the season, after an 11-0 start. Jimmy Butler led Miami with 23 points, Derrick Jones Jr. had 17, Kendrick Nunn added 16 and Kelly Olynyk had 15. Bam Adebayo had 12 points and 12 rebounds, The Lakers outrebounded Miami 50-34, and the last of those was the biggest. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed a free throw with 8 seconds left to keep the Heat within two, but Miami couldn’t get the rebound. Caldwell-Pope went back to the line with 4.2 seconds left, made one of two again and the Lakers’ lead was pushed to three. Butler took the last shot for Miami, a 3-pointer with about a second left. It hit the rim and bounced off, the Heat argued that he was fouled to no avail, and the Lakers survived in James’ lone trip this season to the city where he won championships in 2012 and 2013. ROCKETS 130, MAGIC 107 ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — James Harden scored 54 points, hitting 10 of 15 3-pointers and 19 of 31 shots overall, in Houston’s win over Orlando. Harden scored 50 or more for the fifth time this season and the fourth time in the last seven games. He also had seven assists, five rebounds and two steals in 36 minutes. Russell Westbrook added 23 points for Houston. The Rockets were 22 of 39 from 3-point range. The Rockets pulled away in the second quarter, with Harden scoring 18 points, including Houston's last 11 for a 59-49 lead. Evan Fournier led Orlando with 27 points. Aaron Gordon added 21. The Magic have lost three straight after winning four in a row. 76ERS 116, PELICANS 109 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tobias Harris scored 31 points, Ben Simmons had 24 points and 11 assists, and Philadelphia survived a late scare and beat New Orleans. Joel Embiid finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds in Philadelphia’s fifth straight victory. It was also the 14th consecutive home victory for the 76ers, the franchise's longest streak to start a season since winning 22 straight home games in their NBA championship season in 1966-67. Brandon Ingram scored 32 points and J.J. Redick had 19 for the Pelicans, who have lost 11 in a row. PACERS 110, HAWKS 100 ATLANTA (AP) — Malcolm Brogdon had 19 points and 12 assists, Domantas Sabonis had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Indiana beat Atlanta. T.J. Warren scored 18 points as all five Indiana starters finished in double figures. The Pacers improved to 5-2 this month and 17-9 overall. They are eight games over .500 for the first time this season. Trae Young had 23 points, but missed 21 of 30 shots from the field, as Atlanta lost for the 14th time in 16 games. DeÁndre Hunter scored 21 and Jabari Parker 20 for the Hawks. HORNETS 83, BULLS 73 CHICAGO (AP) — Devonte’ Graham scored 16 points, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington each had 13 and Charlotte bounced back after squandering an early 15-point lead, beating Chicago for its third straight win. Zach LaVine and Ryan Arcidiacono each had 12 points, Thaddeus Young and Lauri Markkanen added 10 apiece as Chicago lost for the fourth time in five games. It was the lowest offensive output of the season for both teams. Charlotte shot 38% from the floor, but the Bulls were even worse at 30% in a sloppy game between sub-.500 teams. Bismack Biyombo had 12 points for the Hornets. BUCKS 127, GRIZZLIES 114 MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 17 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter to help Milwaukee pull away for its 17th straight victory. The Bucks overcome Jaren Jackson Jr.’s career-high 43 points. He scored 26 in the third quarter to give Memphis a 95-90 lead heading into the fourth. But Milwaukee outscored Memphis 37-19 in the final period to improve its record to 23-3, keeping pace with the Los Angeles Lakers for the best in the league. The 17-game winning streak is second-longest in franchise history, trailing only a 20-game run in the 1970-71 season. Antetokounmpo converted 12 of 23 shots and had 11 rebounds for Milwaukee, which has not lost since Nov. 8 against Utah. Khris Middleton added 26 points for the Bucks, while Eric Bledsoe finished with 12 before leaving in the third quarter with an injury. Dillon Brooks had 19 points for Memphis, while Jae Crowder had 15 points. Memphis played without star rookie Ja Morant, who took the night off for injury maintenance on a bad back. JAZZ 114, WARRIORS 106 SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic hit a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 32 points and Donovan Mitchell added 28 points in Utah’s win over Golden State. Rudy Gobert added 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz. Joe Ingles chipped in 13 points and eight assists, and Royce O'Neale added 14 points. Alec Burks scored 24 points and Damion Lee added 21 for the Warriors. D'Angelo Russell added 18 points. Golden State lost despite outscoring Utah 52-12 in bench points. CLIPPERS 124, TIMBERWOLVES 117 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Paul George scored 46 points, Kawhi Leonard had 42 and Los Angeles held on to beat Minnesota for its fourth consecutive victory. It was the highest combined scoring output of the season for the Clippers' new superstar duo. Leonard and George's previous high came Dec. 1 (Dec. 2, PHL time) when they combined for 65 points against Washington. They became the first set of teammates in Clippers' history to each score 40 points. It was the 21st time in NBA history it has happened. Karl-Anthony Towns had 39 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, which lost its seventh in a row. Towns had 14 points, including a 4-point play, in a 22-6 fourth-quarter run that trimmed a 21-point Los Angeles lead to five. Andrew Wiggins added 34 points for the Timberwolves. KNICKS 103, KINGS 101 SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Elfrid Payton had seven of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, Marcus Morris scored off an offensive rebound with 9.1 seconds left and New York rallied from 16 down to beat Sacramento. Julius Randle had 24 points and nine rebounds, Mitchell Robinson added 14 points and nine boards, and Damyean Dotson scored 11 points. The Knicks (6-20) won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Buddy Hield scored 34 points and had a career-high 11 rebounds for Sacramento. Harrison Barnes had 18 points and Nemanja Bjelica added 12 points and seven assists. The Kings had won their previous three......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2019

Dwight Howard thriving in his smallest role yet

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — There were still a few boos when Dwight Howard checked into the game in Orlando for the first time, a few reminders of how every Magic fan still hasn’t forgotten or forgiven him for the way his stint with his first team ended. He doesn’t mind anymore. There was a time when these things would have bothered him. No more. He just turned 34. He’s in his 16th season. And by all accounts, Howard — in his second stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, his sixth different franchise — has finally seen the light. “This is a new day. This is a new moment,” Howard said. “I think it’s best if we all get out the past and focus on the moments we have in front of us.” There’s a maturity to Howard now that frankly hasn’t always been there throughout his career. He’s on a team expected to compete for an NBA title. He’s earned the trust of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the stars who collaborated in a quest to bring the Lakers back to prominence. He’s a role player, averaging career lows in minutes, points and rebounds. He’s handled it perfectly. This isn’t his second chance. It’s more like a sixth chance. “He’s thriving,” James said. “He’s thriving. It’s going to add more years on his career and it’s going to add an ingredient to our team for success because of the role that he’s accepting and he’s just making the most of it every single night. Defending at a high level, rebounding, blocking shots, catching lobs and with zero ego. Zero ego.” This is Howard’s role now. He played in Orlando for the 10th time as an opponent on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time), he and the Lakers coming in and beating the Magic 96-87. Howard wasn’t called upon to do much; the Lakers were up 26-9 when he checked in for the first time, and he finished with two points and six rebounds in 18 minutes. The other 30 minutes he spent on the bench, cheering and coaching. Past versions of Howard wouldn’t have done that. “I never would have been the person I am today if I would have stayed here,” Howard said, sitting at his locker. “So I’m very thankful that everything that has transpired has transpired and it’s made me the best version of Dwight Howard.” James and Davis will be the primary focus of this Lakers season, of course. Howard is one of many subplots, but so far, he’s been exactly what the Lakers wanted. He’s not a star anymore; he’s a guy who does dirty work. “He’s at a place in his career where he had to adjust some things with regard to the role that he’s going to play on a team,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “To me, it really fit what we were looking for. Had a great meeting in the summer. He’s really bought in and (is) bringing a seriousness about his business and his approach.” Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) was a homecoming of sorts for Vogel, too, his first time back in Orlando since the Magic fired him after two seasons where the team had just about as many injuries as wins. Vogel said he hadn’t set foot in the arena since; he’s not bitter, he just turned the page. Howard is taking the same tact. The Lakers are his fifth team in five years — Houston, then Atlanta, then Charlotte with current Magic coach Steve Clifford, then Washington for nine games in what became a lost season a year ago, and now back in Los Angeles. Howard says he’s loved every place where he’s played. And he still has an affinity for Orlando. But he said it took him until this past summer — seven years after his Magic tenure, which some still call ‘the Dwightmare’ ended — to get past the anger of things that were said once he basically forced the team’s hand into a trade. “I never bashed or talked anything bad about this team,” Howard said. “But I did have a lot of bitterness in my heart towards the organization and even the fans of how they treated me when I came back. But I let it go. I was super bitter, but I let it go. And by letting it go, it just dropped all the weight that I had and it just made me a better person.” The Lakers are 22-3. No team in the NBA has a better record. They look every bit like a title contender. Howard wanted to win a title in Orlando as a star. He might win one in L.A. as a backup, and is perfectly fine with that notion. “I’m staying in this moment,” Howard said. “It’s the only moment that matters.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 12th, 2019

Anthony scores 25, Trail Blazers beat Bulls 117-94

By John Jackson, Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points in just his fourth game of the season, CJ McCollum added 21 and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Chicago Bulls 117-94 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Damian Lillard had 13 points and 12 assists as Portland snapped a four-game losing streak. Anthony was 10 for 20 from the field, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers. He now has 25,615 career points to move ahead of Alex English (26,613) into 18th place on the NBA’s career scoring list. Zach LaVine had 18 points for Chicago, which has dropped two of three. LaVine was just 1 for 5 on 3-pointers two days after making 13 of 17 while scoring a career-high 49 points Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) at Charlotte. Anthony, who signed with the Trail Blazers on Nov. 19 (Nov. 20, PHL time), got off to a fast start with 12 points in the first 6.5 minutes of the game. Chicago led 28-27 at the end of the first quarter before Portland took command early in the second. The Blazers led by as 13 points before the Bulls scored 11 straight to pull within 50-48. Portland closed the first half with a 12-6 spurt for a 62-54 halftime advantage. The Trail Blazers further stretched the lead in the third, taking a 90-68 advantage — their biggest to that point — on Anthony’s three-point play with 1:27 to go in the quarter. Early in the fourth, Anthony hit a 3-pointer to move past English and give Portland a 100-77 lead. The 35-year-old exited the game for good shortly after that. The United Center crowd started chanting “We want Melo! We want Melo!” midway through the fourth. The Trail Blazers led by as much as 28 points. TIP-INS Trail Blazers: C Hassan Whiteside returned after missing the previous two games with a right hip contusion ... G Gary Trent Jr. sat out with a right hamstring strain. Bulls: F Chandler Hutchison missed two games last week with soreness in both shins. Coach Jim Boylen said Hutchison was available to play Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) against Charlotte, but he opted not to play him. Hutchison didn’t enter Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) until the fourth, long after the game had been decided ... G Denzel Valentine played in just his fourth game of the season and had seven points in four minutes in the second quarter. He finished with 11 points. UP NEXT Trail Blazers: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Bulls: At Golden State on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) to begin a three-game West Coast trip......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2019

Clippers outlast Celtics in OT in successful debut of Kawhi, George combo

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com LOS ANGELES -- It took three weeks and 15 games into the season, but better late than never for the Clippers to finally hold their real Opening Night. They were finally whole on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George shared the floor together, suiting up against the Celtics. Before that, the only significant time spent in each others company in uniform was last summer when they were introduced as the newest and most important members of the franchise. It was an event that shook the league and made the Clippers the title favorites; given the club’s zero championships, that glowing projection had never been written or spoken by anyone before. And, predictably, the league will not be conquered in a day or more accurately, a night where the Clippers defeated a Boston team holding the best record in the East but did so haphazardly at times before showing enough spunk in the fourth quarter and overtime to confirm their arrival as a team to be believed. Perhaps these sketchy performances will be expected from the Clippers here in the early season because George missed the first 11 games and Leonard six. Therefore, the Clippers will reek of training camp smell until their stars develop better harmony and the rotation gets in sync. Because at times in the 107-104 win over the Celtics, the Clippers passed up shots and were careless with their decision making and also their passing, perhaps in an effort to please one another. George and Leonard are the clear alpha dogs and not only were they too deferential to each other during stretches, so were their teammates, mostly to a fault. “Twenty-three turnovers,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, with a sense of resignation. “We were so sloppy. We were trying not to get in each others’ way. We need a lot of work. We’re trying to get the ball to guys instead of trying to score.” It’ll take more practice sessions to clean that up and gain a clearer understanding of roles and situations and flow. Because of injuries, the Clippers, George and Leonard simply haven’t had that chance. “We were thinking in the office earlier today if we ever had two (stars) getting ready to play in a game, and they never had one practice together,” said Rivers. “We couldn’t come up with one.” Well, don’t be misled; the Clippers’ glass is not exactly half empty. There was another aspect to the Clippers in their sneak preview “opener” that left much to be admired. They turn scrappy when cornered and fight when threatened. This was apparent when the Celtics snatched a 10-point lead late in the fourth and were rolling. In these situations, teams tend to discover what’s in their DNA and whether their desire level belongs in elite company, even here in mid-November. Here’s the results, then: George is at the very least Leonard’s equal as a scorer; Lou Williams can take over games even from Leonard and George when necessary; Pat Beverley never runs empty on energy or fire; and Leonard as he showed last spring always seems to deliver in the clutch with a decisive play. “Once we got started,” said Williams, “we saw how special this team can be.” Williams helped erase the Celtics’ lead by scoring 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and caused major problems in the final few moments of regulation. Remember, he’s a lethal scorer in his own right and in last year’s playoffs, without George or Leonard, he carried the Clippers late in games. George finished with 25 points and drew double teams, which created open shots for teammates. It has been a torrid start for him this season since returning from shoulder surgery and rehab; he has 123 points in 110 minutes and hit the game-winner a few days ago against the Thunder. One of those who benefited from the extra attention given to George and Leonard was Beverley. The Celtics picked their poison and their scouting report, no surprise, told them to let Beverley beat them. Ordinarily that’s the proper strategy; Beverley isn’t a scorer nor does the ball usually find him in tense moments. But Beverley punished Boston with four three-pointers (in seven tries) and was an all-around menace, with a career-high 16 rebounds, seven assists and two steals with his 14 points. His feisty tenor set the tone for the Clippers defensively late in the game; the Celtics have the best offensive efficiency in the league yet managed a rather tame 30 points in the fourth quarter and five-minute OT. “They were trying to leave guys open,” said Rivers. “They left Pat open. They took the risk. He single-handedly willed that game for us.” Finally: At the OT buzzer, Leonard reached and deflected Kemba Walker’s potential game-tying shot. The development of the Leonard-George combo obviously will play huge in whatever success the Clippers have this season. It seems a match made in basketball heaven. Both bring similar styles and are unselfish. They can shoot the mid-range or three. They can attack the rim -- see Kawhi’s poster dunk Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) that set social media ablaze -- and besides averaging over 25 per game, they obviously bring the goods defensively. George is a four-time member of the All-Defensive Team while Kawhi is twice the Defensive Player of the Year. Kawhi and George are no longer assigned the toughest assignment every night. They can take turns guarding the other team’s big scorer; George didn’t have this luxury in Indiana and Oklahoma City, and Leonard for much of his time in San Antonio and all last season with the Raptors. And they can switch on and off in the same game. For example, expect to see this happen Friday when league scoring leader James Harden comes to town. Last week, Harden torched the Clippers for 47 points. This time, he’ll see Kawhi in his grill for stretches and then get George, with a little Pat Bev thrown in for irritant’s sake. The elephant in the room is Kawhi’s health. Nobody expects him to play every game the remainder of the season, but he’s already on pace to miss 30. Last year in Toronto he missed 22. The good news is the Clippers can win without him provided George remains healthy. The better news is the Clippers are finally intact and complete right now, even though there are kinks to straighten and flaws to correct and a system that needs to be reset. “We want to figure out how to win games and then become a good team,” said Rivers. “We’re a work in progress.” Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 21st, 2019

PBA: Carom scores 30, Meralco takes first playoff bonus after beating Northport

Meralco’s electrifying run is alive. The Bolts used a fourth-quarter surge to overwhelm Northport Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, taking a huge 103-89 win in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup. Now winners of five straight, Meralco is making a play for first place with an 8-2 record. The win also allowed the Bolts to clinch one of the four twice-to-beat advantages in the quarterfinals. Meralco is the first team to take a playoff bonus. Anjo Caram shot 73 percent on his way to a career-high 30 points, powering Meralco’s offense. Import Allen Durham was right behind, finishing with a monster effort of 26 points and 19 rebounds. Chris Newsome added another 17 for the Bolts. Northport got 27 points from Michael Qualls and 20 points from Christian Standhardinger. However, the Batang Pier have lost back-to-back and at 3-6, their playoff hopes are in serious jeopardy.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 10th, 2019