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LeBron James triple-double lifts Cavaliers over Sacramento Kings

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers walks off the court on their way to being defeated 106-97 by the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers walks off the court on their way to being defeated 106-97 by the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Cleveland superstar LeBron James posted his 40th career triple-double — and his first this season — to lead the Cavaliers to a 120-100 NBA win over the reeling Sacramento Kings on Monday.

James had 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and teammate Kyrie Irving added 32 points and 12 assists to pile on the misery for the Kings, who have lost four straight and eight of their last nine.

Sacramento coach George Karl reportedly could be fired before next weekend’s All-Star break.

Cleveland were in control throughout, stretching a 16-point halftime lead to as many as 24 in the third quarter.

James capped his triple-double with his 10th rebound in the final minute of the third period.

He said he didn’t realize until the end of the quarter that he had achieved the triple-double.

“I just go out and continue to play the game,” James said. “If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, it doesn’t.

“The only concern is how we can close out quarters and win the ball game.”

It was another encouraging performance from Irving, still returning to full strength after missing the first two months of the season as he continued to recover from the knee injury he suffered in the first game of last season’s NBA Finals.

“I think we are just starting to settle into our roles every game out,” Irving said. “Last few games felt really good.”

Cavs forward Kevin Love, back from a one-game absence with a bruised thigh, scored 11 points and surpassed 9,000 for his career in the first half.

“We were happy that we were able to maintain the lead,” Love said of a Cavaliers team that has sometimes struggled to finish off wins. “We were able to maintain and keep enough distance there.”

OVERTIME DRAMA

The Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers all notched overtime victories.

Portland point guard Damian Lillard scored a game-high 33 points in the Trail Blazers’ 112-106 win over the Grizzlies in Memphis. He made 10 of the Trail Blazers’ 14 free throws — including two late in an overtime in which Portland outscored Memphis 10-4.

Portland trailed 102-100 with 7.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter and attempted three shots — the last an equalizing tip-in by Allen Crabbe with one-tenth of a second left.

In Atlanta, the host Hawks led the Magic by 20 in the first quarter but Orlando battled back, erasing an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to triumph 117-110 in overtime with the aid of 28 points and 12 rebounds from center Nikola Vucevic.

The Clippers rallied for a 98-92 overtime triumph over the lowly 76ers in Philadelphia.

Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick scored 23 points each and center DeAndre Jordan scored four of his 12 points in the extra session.

Point guard Chris Paul added 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds for Los Angeles, who trailed by 19 points in the first half and by eight with six minutes left in regulation.

JOHNSON LIFTS NETS

It came down to the wire in Brooklyn, where Nets forward Joe Johnson hit the game-winning three-pointer with one-tenth of a second remaining to give the hosts a 105-104 triumph over the Denver Nuggets.

The Nets had wasted a 16-point lead before pulling out the dramatic victory.

The Indiana Pacers also held on for a win, 89-87 over the Los Angeles Lakers in Indianapolis.

Paul George scored seven of his 21 points in the final one minute and 11 seconds as the Pacers thwarted a Lakers rally.

The Lakers trailed by as many as 17 in the third quarter and were down 75-68 before Kobe Bryant led a rally that put the visitors up 84-80.

George scored the next six points with three free throws and a three-point play as the Pacers held on.

February 9, 2016 By : Category : English featured NBA 0 Comment

Buzangu joins Espoir as Burundian Ntagunduka signs for Patriots

Burundian Jean de Dieu ‘Yao’ Ntagunduka has joined Patriots BBC.

Burundian Jean de Dieu ‘Yao’ Ntagunduka has joined Patriots BBC.

Point Guard Patrick Buzangu has joined four-time reigning league and playoffs champions Espoir Basketball Club from rivals Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) on a one-year contract.

The DR Congo-born star has been brought in as a replacement for former club captain Aristide Mugabe, who crossed to Patriots Basketball Club this season.

Meanwhile, Patriots have also completed the signing of Burundian Jean de Dieu ‘Yao’ Ntagunduka from Burundian champions, Urunani.

The 25-year-old won two consecutive Burundian league titles with Urunani, in 2014 and 2015 as well as the Zone V Club Championship in 2013 after they beat Espoir in the final.

February 9, 2016 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment

Paul powers Clippers to victory at Miami

Chris Paul

Chris Paul

Chris Paul scored 22 points and passed out seven assists to spark the Los Angeles Clippers to their sixth victory in seven games, a 100-93 triumph Sunday at Miami.

Jamal Crawford added 20 points while J.J. Redick netted 14 points and DeAndre Jordan and Cole Aldrich each grabbed 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who won for the 11th time in their past 13 road games.

The Heat (29-23) were denied a seventh win in eight games despite 17 points each from Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Slovenia’s Goran Dragic plus 15 from Britain’s Luol Deng.

Paul missed his first nine shots from the floor, but sank back-to-back 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to prevent a Heat rally.

“Just kept shooting it. Sooner or later it has got to go in,” Paul said. “Just had to stay aggressive and I finally started making shots.”

At New York, Denver’s Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton each scored 19 points to power the Denver Nuggets over the host Knicks 101-96.

Barton added 11 rebounds for the Nuggets (21-31) while rookie guard Emmanuel Mudiay added 15 points, nine of them in the fourth quarter.

Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis each netted 21 points but the Knicks (23-31) suffered their season-high fifth consecutive loss and ninth defeat in the past 10 games.

Anthony missed a tying 3-point try in the final seconds and Barton sank four free throws in the final seven seconds to seal Denver’s victory.

Anthony, who returned after missing three games with left knee tendinitis, is shooting a career-low 42.4 percent from the field this season.

VUCEVIC POWERS MAGIC WIN

Orlando centre Nikola Vucevic of Montenegro scored the last of his 22 points on a game-winning fallaway jumper as time expired to give the Magic a 96-94 victory over visiting Atlanta.

Evan Fournier scored 21 points and Victor Oladipo had 19 to help the Magic (22-28) snap Atlanta’s three-game win streak while Jeff Teague led the Hawks (30-23) with 24 points and five assists while Kent Bazemore contributed 23 points and eight rebounds.

At Boston, Avery Bradley scored 25 points and Isiah Thomas added 22 as the Boston Celtics beat Sacramento 128-119 for their ninth win in 10 games, stretching their home-court win streak to seven games with a season-high point total.

The Kings (21-30) suffered their fifth road loss in a row and seventh defeat in eight games amid reports that coach George Karl’s job is in jeopardy.

“I don’t think I’m in limbo,” Karl said. “I don’t have any control over what other people are thinking or saying. That’s their storm. Once something gets out, it magnifies and grows and becomes a storm. That’s not my storm.”

The Celtics (31-22) led by 21 points in the third quarter before Sacramento rallied within five in the last two minutes, only to have Thomas score nine points to end the threat.

Boston’s Jared Sullinger matched a season high with 21 points and reserve centre Tyler Zeller netted a season-high 17 points.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 31 points for the Kings while former Boston star Rajon Rondo, booed every time he touched the ball, added 14 points, five assists and six steals.

AFP

February 8, 2016 By : Category : English featured 0 Comment

Rockets’ Howard suspended

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Houston Rockets centre Dwight Howard has been suspended one game without pay for striking the arm of a game official and Rockets head coach JB Bickerstaff has been fined $10 000 for public criticism of the officiating, it was announced on Tuesday by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident involving Howard occurred with 8:08 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Rockets’ 123-122 loss to the Washington Wizards on January 30 at Toyota Centre. Bickerstaff made his comments to the media post-game following the same contest.

Howard will serve his suspension on Tuesday night when the Rockets host the Miami Heat at Toyota Centre.

Reuters

February 3, 2016 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment

LeBron James stars as Cavs hammer Suns

LeBron James stars as Cavs hammer Suns

LeBron James (right) takes the ball down court followed by Iman Shumpert of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half against the Chicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena.

LeBron James scored 21 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers routed the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday to ensure new coach Tyronn Lue’s ticket to the All-Star Game.

Just three games into his new coaching job with the Cavs following the shock sacking of David Blatt, Lue and the Cleveland coaching staff will now be in charge of the Eastern Conference team next month.

Under NBA rules, the team with the best record after January 31 is selected to coach the All-Star teams – a status Cleveland clinched with a 115-93 victory.

Although Cleveland’s 32-12 record was compiled under Blatt, the former coach is ineligible to take feature at the All-Star Game after being fired.

“It’s a tribute to Coach Blatt and the players and the hard work the assistant coaches put in to get us to this point,” Lue said Wednesday.

“It’s going to be a great honor to represent the Cleveland Cavaliers and having a chance to do this, I know my coaches are excited, and I know it’s going to be a surreal moment.”

CONGRATULATIONS

Kevin Love, who matched James’ 21-point contribution, congratulated Lue on taking charge of the All-Star team.

“He’s won 66 percent of his games so far,” Love said. “I don’t think it’ll be his last time coaching the All-Star game. We’re happy for him.”

Against Phoenix on Wednesday there was only ever going to be one winner after the Cavs reeled off 12 unanswered points at the start of the third quarter to open an unassailable lead.

That miserable sequence for Phoenix allowed Cleveland to build a 17-point advantage, which stretched to a 28-point that the Suns never seemed likely to catch.

James also had nine assists to go with his points haul, while Love weighed in with 11 rebounds.

The win came after James had been forced into launching an impassioned defense of his conduct leading to Blatt’s dismissal, taking aim at critics who blamed him for instigating the sacking.

“I think it does suck that people want to throw my name in dirt for no particular reason, because of speculation or whatever the case may be,” James told reporters before Wednesday’s game.

January 30, 2016 By : Category : English featured 0 Comment

Los Angeles Clippers shrug off Griffin furore to down Pacers

Paul George #13 of the Indiana Pacers defends Wesley Johnson #33 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 26, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Paul George #13 of the Indiana Pacers defends Wesley Johnson #33 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 26, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Los Angeles Clippers shrugged off the furor surrounding Blake Griffin’s punch-induced hand injury on Tuesday to beat the Indiana Pacers 91-89.

Guard Chris Paul scored 26 points including a crucial jumper with just 33.7 seconds left on the clock as the Clippers held on in a frantic finale.

The road victory saw the Clippers improve to 29-16 for the season while Indiana fell to 23-22 after the game at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Clippers had been plunged into controversy earlier Tuesday after confirming that Griffin had suffered a broken bone in his hand after throwing a punch at an unidentified person.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers paid tribute to the way his side had reacted to the controversy with victory over Indiana.

“I think all the stuff in the last 48 hours, you always say it’s the game that brings your team back,” Rivers said. “You could kind of feel that tonight. That was a good win for our team.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that Griffin had attacked a member of the Clippers equipment staff during an altercation in Toronto over the weekend.

The incident left Griffin needing surgery to repair a spiral fracture in a metacarpal in his right hand, meaning he faces four to six weeks out.

The 6ft 10in (2.08metres) power forward now faces an internal investigation after the Clippers announced a sternly worded statement about the incident on Tuesday.

 

GRIFFIN APOLOGY

“This conduct has no place in our organisation and this incident does not represent who we are as a team,” the Clipper said.

“We are conducting a full investigation with assistance from the NBA. At the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate action will be taken.”

Griffin, 26, has not played since suffering a torn quadriceps tendon in late December.

USA Today identified the target of Griffin’s assault as the Clippers’ assistant equipment manager Matias Testi.

Griffin later issued an apology on Twitter.

“A situation among friends escalated and I regret the way I handled myself towards someone I care about,” he wrote.

“I want to apologise to the Clippers organisation, my teammates and the fans for creating a distraction.”

It is not the first time Griffin has found himself in hot water over a physical altercation.

In 2014 he was accused of slapping a man at a Las Vegas nightclub who had taken a picture of him with a cellphone.

He was accused of misdemeanour battery, but the charges were eventually dropped by Nevada prosecutors.

PLAYING THE RIGHT WAY

Elsewhere Tuesday, Kevin Durant poured on 44 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder outgunned the New York Knicks in an overtime thriller at Madison Square Garden.

The Thunder squeezed home 128-122 with Durant also contributing 14 rebounds and five assists while draining four three-pointers from seven attempts.

It was Durant’s second 40-point haul of the season after scoring 43 points against the Orlando Magic on Oct 30.

“I’m not really into how many points I score anymore,” said Durant, a four-time league scoring champion. “I try to play winning and consistent basketball. If I play a good brand of basketball, if I play the right way, that stuff will come.”

In Toronto, Kyle Lowry scored 29 points as the Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards 106-89 to record their ninth consecutive victory, equalling the franchise record for longest winning streak set in 2002.

DeMar DeRozan chipped in with 17 points for Toronto while Terrence Ross contributed 15 points off the bench, and center Jonas Valanciunas scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

 

January 28, 2016 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Teams 0 Comment

Warriors clobber vaunted Spurs in West showdown

Warriors clobber vaunted Spurs in West showdown

Stephen Curry #30 high-fives Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors during their game against the San Antonio Spurs at ORACLE Arena on January 25, 2016 in Oakland, California.

Stephen Curry scored 37 points as the Golden State Warriors thrashed the San Antonio Spurs 120-90 in the first meeting between the two top NBA teams this season.

The reigning most valuable player Curry drained five three-pointers as the defending champion Warriors shot 11-for-26 from beyond the arc.

“This was a team we hadn’t played yet and the Spurs have been playing some great, great basketball so to have this kind of performance is huge,” said Curry.

He played 28 minutes and didn’t set foot on the court in the fourth quarter, with Golden State in complete control.

Golden State’s 39th straight home victory earned them a three-game lead over San Antonio in their duel for top seeding in the Western playoffs.

The Warriors and Spurs are considered the two top heavyweights, and each team knows it must go through the other to win the title.

“We got our butts kicked, that’s for sure,” said Spurs Manu Ginobili.

Golden State is chasing the Chicago Bulls’ NBA record — set between March 1995 and April 1996 — of 44 straight regular-season home wins.

The Warriors are the third team in history to win 39 straight at home.

The loss snapped a 13-game winning streak for the Spurs. They played without star forward Tim Duncan, who was resting an ailing right knee.

It was the worst loss for San Antonio since a 137-97 rout at the hands of Portland in February 2012.

“It was like men and boys. They beat us in every phase of the game. I am glad my general manager wasn’t in the locker room or I might have gotten fired,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.

Curry, who hit 12 of his 20 shots overall, also had four assists and five steals for the Warriors.

Curry set the tone early, connecting on three three-pointers in a 15-point first period. When backup guard Shaun Livingston got into the act with five consecutive hoops in the second period, the game got away from the Spurs for good.

“We had so many assists on our shots that were created by ball movement and that is when we are at our best,” Curry said.

Curry added 18 points to his total in the quarter while nearly outscoring San Antonio (19) single-handedly.

HORNETS RAID KINGS

Guard Troy Daniels hit his eighth three-pointer of the game with nine seconds remaining in the second overtime, lifting the Charlotte Hornets to a 129-128 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Daniels finished with 28 points, and the Hornets overcame a career-high 56 points from Kings centre DeMarcus Cousins to win their third straight.

Guard Darren Collision’s turnaround jumper from the top right corner of the key at the final buzzer rattled off the rim, ending Sacramento’s season-high, five-game winning streak.

Cousins made 21 of 30 shots and topped the 40-point mark for the third time this season.

He also grabbed 12 rebounds and scored all nine of the Kings’ points in the first overtime before fouling out on a questionable call while putting back a rebound with 3:29 remaining in the second overtime.

CAVS WIN

Two-time finals MVP LeBron James scored 25 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first game under new coach Tyronn Lue with a 114-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

James also dished out nine assists for the Cavaliers, who had to survive a late challenge by Minnesota.

It was Lue’s second game since taking over from fired coach David Blatt, who was sacked despite Cleveland having the best record in the Eastern Conference.

James sealed the victory with a pair of free throws after Zach LaVine drained a three pointer to pull the Timberwolves to within 110-107 with 16 seconds remaining.

“It felt great to finally get a win,” Lue said. “It’s only been two games, but to get my first head coaching win means a lot. I feel great about that.”

January 27, 2016 By : Category : English featured Tags:
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Rwanda’s Kabange voted Ugandan league’s MVP

Kami Kabange is also favourite for the MVP gong.

Kami Kabange is also favourite for the MVP gong.

Rwanda international Kami Kabange, who plays for City Oilers, has been voted the best player for the year 2015 in the Ugandan Basketball League.

Kabange, 30, did not only lead his side to their third straight league title, but was also pivotal in City Oilers’ second place finish at the Zone 5 Club Championship held in Kigali, Rwanda last year.

The DR Congo-born big man is also expected to be a front-runner for the MVP award during the FUBA (Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations) awards ceremony later this month.

“It’s good to win this award but most importantly the team won the title. I am looking forward to another exciting season. It is always a big crazy feeling to get recognized out of the many,” Kami said.

Leopards’ point guard Flavia Okecho was also named the best player of the year in the women’s category following her impressive displays with the national team during the Women’s Afrobasket Championships held in Cameroon.

She also led her KCCA side to the second spot at the Zone 5 Club Championships in Rwanda to a spot at the Afro-Club Championships in Angola.

January 26, 2016 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Players 0 Comment

Nuggets hand Warriors third defeat of season

Will Barton #5 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket against Harrison Barnes #40 of the Golden State Warriors at Pepsi Center on January 13.

Will Barton #5 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket against Harrison Barnes #40 of the Golden State Warriors at Pepsi Center on January 13.

Denver forward Danilo Gallinari scored 28 points and came up with a key late steal as the Nuggets handed the Golden State Warriors just their third defeat of the NBA season on Wednesday, 112-110 in Colorado.

Golden State’s star guard Stephen Curry scored 38 points, but the Warriors trailed by 10 heading into the final period and couldn’t quite climb out of the hole.

“I don’t think we played hard enough for the majority of the game,” said Warriors coach Luke Walton, whose team fell to 36-3.

“I thought we gave a tremendous effort in the fourth quarter — well, in the last half of the fourth quarter.

“But for a championship team and what we’re trying to accomplish, in my opinion we didn’t play hard enough and we didn’t play smart enough for a majority of that game.”

Nevertheless the Warriors, who are chasing not only a repeat title but the record for regular season wins set by the 72-10 Chicago Bulls of 1995-96 — had a chance to pull it out at the end.

Gallinari, who made 17-for-19 free throws, missed one with 3.1 seconds left to give the Warriors a chance to overcome the 112-110 deficit.

Golden State inbounded the ball, but Klay Thompson missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer.

Golden State played without versatile forward Draymond Green, who missed his first game of the season as a scheduled day of rest.

“We could have used his energy tonight,” Walton said.

Curry scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, draining a three-pointer, three free throws and two layups as the Warriors cut the deficit to 102-95 with 2:40 to play.

Curry’s fourth three-pointer of the game pulled the Warriors within 104-100 with 1:44 remaining but Will Barton, who scored 21 points for Denver, responded with a three-pointer of his own.

After another Curry layup, Denver’s Darrell Arthur sank a jump shot to give the Nuggets a 109-102 lead.

A layup from Warriors forward Harrison Barnes and a three-pointer by Curry made it 109-107 with 37.1 seconds to play.

Gallinari then stole the ball from Curry and Denver guard Gary Harris hit two free throws with 5.4 seconds left.

Thompson sank a three-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining to pull the Warriors to 111-110.

But after Gallinari made one of two free throws, Thompson was unable to get the game-winner.

“We showed a lot of fight and aggressiveness down the stretch,” Curry said. “(But) we spotted them too many points.”

THUNDER ROLL PAST MAVS

Kevin Durant scored 29 points to lead the Thunder to a 108-89 victory over the short-handed Dallas Mavericks in a testy affair in Oklahoma City.

Durant connected on nine of 14 from the field to go with 10 rebounds and four assists.

The Mavericks, playing without all five regular starters after a tough overtime loss to Cleveland, were led by J.J. Barea, who scored 18 points and handed out six assists.

It was Barea who got tangled up with Thunder guard Russell Westbrook in the second quarter, sparking a shoving match between the two teams that resulted in multiple technical fouls.

Dallas’s Charlie Villanueva — who put a hand on Westbrook’s throat — was ejected.

Minutes later, Barea and Westbrook clashed again and Westbrook was issued a second technical foul and ejected for just the third time in his career.

Westbrook finished 0 for 3 from the field and 0 for 4 from the foul line, just the second time in his career he failed to score in a game.

HARDEN MILESTONE IN WIN

James Harden scored 27 points — reaching 10,000 for his career on a fourth-quarter free throw — to lead the Houston Rockets to a 107-104 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Harden added 11 assists, while centre Dwight Howard posted his own double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Rockets stretched their winning streak to a season-best five games.

Los Angeles Clippers centre DeAndre Jordan’s “iron-man” streak of 360 straight NBA games played ended as pneumonia forced him to sit out his team’s 104-90 home win over the Miami Heat.

Jordan’s was the longest active streak of games played in the league. He hadn’t missed a game since March 23, 2011 — when he was also diagnosed with pneumonia.

January 14, 2016 By : Category : English featured NBA Tags:,
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Atlanta Hawks tame rampant Chicago Bulls as Horford sparkles with 22 points

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Atlanta centre Al Horford made sure the Hawks measured up on Saturday, scoring 33 points in a 120-105 victory that ended the Chicago Bulls’ winning streak at six games.

Horford also pulled down 10 rebounds, handed out six assists and blocked four shots as Atlanta led throughout.

“We understood that this was a good measuring-stick game for us,” Horford said. “We knew that the effort had to be there more than ever. We’ve been playing hard, but we knew we had to play harder. From the beginning of the game, we did that.”

The Hawks, who improved to 23-15, had six players shoot in double figures and forced 22 turnovers from the Bulls, who at 22-13 are clinging to the number two spot in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland.

Horford said the Hawks will need to produce more of the same to move up.

“We need to continue to do what we did today, moving the ball and hustling on defense consistently,” Horford said. “As a team, I feel that we sometimes have lapses in those areas.”

Horford set the tone with 11 first-quarter points. He made 15 of 21 shots and his points total was one short of his career high.

“Al Horford was very vintage,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Everyone kind of followed his lead.”

The Bulls had 27 points and 10 rebounds from guard Jimmy Butler and 24 points form Nikola Mirotic, but rarely matched the Hawks’ intensity.

“We dug ourselves a big hole obviously early in the game,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said. “They had way more energy coming out of the gate than we did.”

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul scored 25 points, handed out seven assists and grabbed seven rebounds in a 97-83 victory over short-handed Charlotte — and said it’s defensive commitment that has fuelled the team’s eight-game winning streak.

The Clippers blocked nine Hornets shots — a rejection by Luc Mbah a Moute early in the first quarter showing Charlotte what they were in for.

January 11, 2016 By : Category : English featured 0 Comment