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Hawks eliminate Celtics in six games

Jeff Teague #0 of the Atlanta Hawks drives around Al Horford #15 with pressure from Amir Johnson #90 of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter of Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Jeff Teague #0 of the Atlanta Hawks drives around Al Horford #15 with pressure from Amir Johnson #90 of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter of Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

 

Paul Millsap had 17 points and eight rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks eliminated the Boston Celtics with a 104-92 win in game six of the first round playoff series Thursday.

Al Horford and Kent Bazemore each scored 15 points, Kyle Korver had 14 points and Jeff Teague added 11 for Atlanta, which led by as many as 28 points in the second half en route to its first playoff series win over Boston in nearly 60 years.

“We played well here before but couldn’t get it done,” Horford said. “Tonight we took care of business. The shots went down for me tonight.”

Atlanta will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round, which begins Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Hawks lost all three meetings with the Cavaliers during the regular season. Cleveland also swept Atlanta in four straight when the two teams met in last season’s NBA playoff semi-finals.

“We know it is going to be tough but we are looking forward to the matchup,” said Horford of facing the Cavs.

Isaiah Thomas had a double-double with 25 points and 10 assists to lead host Boston in front of a crowd of 18,600 at the Garden arena. Jae Crowder finished with 15 points and Marcus Smart and Jonas Jerebko each added 13 for the Celtics.

Boston shot 36 percent from the field Thursday and was held to 38 percent shooting in the series.

“We should give the Hawks credit. They are a better team. They proved it over six games,” said Boston coach Brad Stevens.

The Celtics fell behind 20-17 at the end of the first quarter and were limited to 27 percent shooting in the opening half.

Atlanta outscored the Celtics 39-26 in the third quarter and led 89-61 with 9:51 remaining, but the Celtics battled back to come within 96-86 with just under two minutes remaining in the fourth.

April 29, 2016 By : Category : English featured Tags:,
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Miami shooters bring heat for 2nd straight playoff game

Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket during game two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs against the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on April 20.

Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket during game two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs against the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on April 20.

Dwyane Wade sank two key late baskets as the Miami Heat shot better than 57 percent for the second straight game en route to a 115-103 playoff win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.

After a franchise playoff-best first half of shooting, Miami maintained control in the second half to protect home-court advantage in the first round Eastern Conference series and go ahead two games to none.

“I was taking what they gave me, understanding what their game plan was,” Wade said. “I’m an aggressive player, so I’m always going to put pressure on the basket. That’s what I do, and I got a couple of things to go for me.”

Game three is Saturday in Charlotte.

In Cleveland, LeBron James scored 27 points and the Cavaliers tied an NBA playoff record with 20 three-pointers in a 107-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Wade scored a team-high 28 points and added eight assists for the Heat, who shot 57.9 percent from the floor on Wednesday. That followed a game one victory in which they shot 57.6 percent.

The Hornets cut an 18-point deficit in the third quarter to seven with under four minutes to play, but the Heat clamped down defensively.

A total of five Miami players finished in double figures, including Hassan Whiteside who scored 17 points on eight-of-eight shooting from the field and Luol Deng with 16 points.

Whiteside added 13 rebounds and two blocks, and Goran Dragic scored 18 points and Josh Richardson scored 15.

“Everything was falling for me,” Whiteside said.

Miami took a 72-60 lead into halftime thanks to shooting a franchise playoff-best 74.4 percent from the field in the first half, including seven-of-10 from three-point range.

While the Heat were nine-of-16 from three-point range, the Hornets hit just one-of-16 from beyond the arc.

Kemba Walker had a game-high 29 points and Al Jefferson scored 25 on 12-of-17 shooting from the floor for the Hornets.

The Hornets’ Marvin Williams missed all 10 of his shots from the floor to finish scoreless. Nicolas Batum had nine points and seven rebounds but left early in the fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle and did not return.

CAVS STRUGGLE

The Cavaliers now lead their series 2-0 with game three on Friday night at Detroit.

The Cavs struggled to put away the Pistons in game one and struggled again until late in the third quarter on Wednesday.

They trailed by 10 points early and still were behind midway through the third quarter before a Kevin Love three-pointer gave Cleveland the lead for good at 63-62.

The 20 three-pointers were more than the Cavs made in any game during the regular season and made them the fourth team to hit 20 in a playoff game.

The most recent was the Golden State Warriors last year.

While JR Smith (21 points), Love (16 points) and Kyrie Irving (22 points) kept draining three-pointers, James drove to the basket in a game plan that worked to perfection in the fourth quarter.

“We have shooters. They are designated snipers, and that’s why we’ve got them,” James said. “I am not one of them. I am more like a tank.”

In the Western Conference contest, Chris Paul scored 25 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers rolled to a 102-81 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers to take a 2-0 edge in their series.

J.J. Redick scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half for Los Angeles, while Blake Griffin added 12 points and nine rebounds. DeAndre Jordan grabbed 18 rebounds but scored only three points.

Damian Lillard and Mason Plumlee had 17 points apiece, and CJ McCollum chipped in 16 points for the Trail Blazers.

Game three is Saturday at Portland’s Moda Centre.

AFP

April 21, 2016 By : Category : English featured 0 Comment

Hollywood ending as 60-point Kobe Bryant bows out

Hollywood ending as 60-point Kobe Bryant bows out

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers address the media during the post-game news conference after scoring 60 points in his final NBA game at Staples Centre on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant delivered a Hollywood ending as the curtain came down on his glittering 20-year NBA career on Wednesday in a blockbuster finale.

On a night of searing emotion at a packed Staples Centre, the 37-year-old signed off with a mammoth 60 points, including a final burst of scoring to inspire a 101-96 comeback victory over the Utah Jazz.

A galaxy of A-list celebrities — from Jack Nicholson to David Beckham — roared their approval from courtside as Bryant exited with a perfectly scripted final act.

“Man, I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by, this is crazy,” Bryant told his adoring fans. “What can I say? Mamba out.”

A sell-out crowd of 19,060 fans had packed into the Staples Centre to watch Bryant lace up for the 1,566th and last time.

“Tonight was trying to go out, playing hard and putting on a show as much as I possibly could. It felt good to be able to do that one last time,” Bryant said.

“The coolest thing is that my kids actually saw me play like I used to play.”

Tickets for the game were the most expensive in basketball history, according to online exchange StubHub.com, which sold one pair of courtside seats for a staggering $27,500 each.

Lakers legend Magic Johnson had acted as master of ceremonies for a lengthy pre-game tribute that featured video messages from some of the NBA’s most recognizable figures.

“We are here to celebrate greatness for 20 years,” Johnson told the crowd.

“He’s not only a great and unbelievable sports icon but he’s already the greatest to wear the purple and gold.”

MELANCHOLY NICHOLSON

Oscar-winning actor Nicholson — a regular presence at courtside during the Bryant era — wrapped up a montage of video messages.

“Kobe, goodbye, I think I might retire with you, I’m not sure,” said Nicholson.

Nicholson later described Bryant’s retirement as a “melancholy” moment.

“It’s like anything — you don’t know what you had until you don’t have it,” Nicholson told NBA TV. “Fortunately we do know what we had and he’s been great all the way.”

Football icon Beckham meanwhile expressed delight at the manner of Bryant’s departure.

“Every wanted him to go out like this,” Beckham said. “The way he’s gone out tonight is incredible.”

Lakers coach Byron Scott told his team they had “witnessed history.”

“I hope they savour the moment. I hope they realise that man gave everything he could for 20 years and he gave it again tonight,” Scott said.

Excitement for Bryant’s farewell game had built throughout the day, with the streets surrounding the Staples Centre transformed into a sea of purple and gold as thousands of fans thronged the area.

Los Angeles transport officials meanwhile got into the spirit of celebration, renaming a metro station near the Staples Center “Kobe Station” for the day.

On Twitter, fans were invited to share their memories under the trending hashtag “#MambaDay”, a reference to Bryant’s “Black Mamba” nickname.

As day gave way to dusk, Los Angeles City Hall was lit up in the Lakers’ iconic colours of purple and gold.

Announcing the gesture earlier in the day, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson declared the move a fitting tribute to the retiring star.

“The City of Angels owes Kobe Bryant a debt of gratitude for sharing with us 20 remarkable years of electrifying dedication and commitment to the city, our fans and communities,” said Wesson.

“His work ethic, hustle and quest for championships ensures his place in the history books – there will never be another Kobe Bryant.”

April 14, 2016 By : Category : English featured Players Tags:
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Warriors top Spurs for record-tying 72nd win

Warriors top Spurs for record-tying 72nd win

Stephen Curry

The quest for one record was thwarted on Sunday when the Golden State Warriors beat San Antonio 92-86 to end the Spurs’ chance of completing the first undefeated home schedule in NBA history.

However, the Warriors’ victory kept alive their pursuit of setting the NBA’s single-season win mark. The defending champions cemented their place as one of the greatest teams in league history.

The Warriors (72-9) matched the victory total of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. Golden State can set a new mark with a home win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, the season’s final night.

Much of the credit for Golden State’s Sunday victory goes to Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ transcendent point guard, and his 37 points, 16 of them in a pivotal stretch of the third quarter.

A nip-and-tuck game between the teams with the league’s two best records turned in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. Warriors forward Harrison Barnes had three big baskets and led a group of mostly reserves to a six-point lead over a mixture of San Antonio’s starters and bench players.

From there, Curry and Klay Thompson took over as Golden State turned a four-point lead into a 90-79 advantage on Curry’s finger-roll layup with 1:34 to play. San Antonio cut the Warriors’ lead to four points in the waning seconds but could not complete the comeback.

Golden State handed the Spurs their first home loss of the season and ended San Antonio’s franchise-high, 48-game regular-season home winning streak that began on March 12, 2015. The Spurs’ streak is the second longest in NBA history, right after the Warriors’ mark of 54 consecutive home wins that ended last month.

“We are in the moment and enjoying the ride, but the goal is to win a championship,” Curry said. “We’ve put ourselves in a great position to do something no other team has ever done. It’s hard to step out of the locker room and understand the hoopla that comes with chasing the record. We want to go out and take advantage of an opportunity that may never come again.”

The Warriors also ended their streak of 33 consecutive regular-season defeats at San Antonio. Golden State’s last regular-season win in the Alamo City was a 108-94 victory on February 14, 1997.

Golden State took the season series from the Spurs, 3-1.

“Steph (Curry) got away from us for a while, but part of the reason we lost was because of some bad shots,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We lost our poise for about a three-minute period, and that was the difference in the game. We played a hell of a team, and our aggressiveness and attention to detail was much better.”

Thompson added 14 points for the Warriors, while Draymond Green hit for 11 points.

The Spurs (65-15) were led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 24 points and Kawhi Leonard’s 20 points and 13 rebounds. David West and Aldridge each pulled down 10 rebounds.

San Antonio held a 19-14 lead after the end of a raucous first quarter. The Spurs outrebounded Golden State 18-11 in the quarter, 6-3 on the offensive boards, which created five second-chance points for San Antonio.

The teams fought through tautly played second quarter with the Spurs gaining a seven-point lead twice in the period before Golden State pushed within 31-30 after consecutive 3-pointers by Brandon Rush and Thompson and jumpers by Barnes and Thompson.

Green pumped in a 3-pointer a minute later to tie the game at 33-33, and then Curry picked off a pass from the Spurs’ Danny Green and gave the Warriors a short-lived 35-33 lead. Aldridge responded with a put-back off yet another offensive rebound on San Antonio’s ensuing possession to knot the score at 35-35 at halftime.

“We had some easy looks that we didn’t make, and we had some defensive breakdowns at some tough times that they were able to take advantage of,” Aldridge said. “There are some things we can take away from this game that we can get better at.”

The Spurs opened the third quarter with a 10-2 run, punctuated by a Leonard dunk over Andrew Bogut after a strong move to the basket. Golden State answered with back-to-back 3-pointers by Curry that cut the deficit lead to 45-43.

Curry kept shooting and making shots for the rest of the quarter, tallying 16 in the period as the Warriors built a 62-61 lead. The reigning MVP canned a three-quarter court shot at the end of the quarter that was waved off because time had expired.

“San Antonio is a team that doesn’t beat themselves, so you have to come and take a game away from them,” Curry said.

Barnes had seven points and Marreese Speights added a bucket and two free throws in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to help keep the Warriors’ in front at 73-69. That was when Thompson and Curry took over, and San Antonio never could make a sustained run through the remainder of the game until it was too late.

“Everybody is excited – we just beat a great, great team,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s one of the best victories of the year, and with that said, it means nothing come playoff time. It was a true team win, and it was a strange game because this was like the playoffs, when you throw your rotations out of the window. Everybody played well.”

April 11, 2016 By : Category : English featured Tags:
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Warriors down Spurs to keep record chase alive

Warriors down Spurs to keep record chase alive

The Golden State Warriors made a statement with a 112-101 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, clinching home court advantage throughout the playoffs in a clash of NBA titans.

The Warriors joined the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls as the only teams to win 70 games in a season.

The reigning champions kept their quest to break those Bulls’ record of 72 regular-season wins alive. They must still win their final three games of the season to do so, and the closing stretch includes another clash with the Spurs in San Antonio, where the Spurs are 39-0 this season.

Most importantly, the 70-9 Warriors ended the 65-13 Spurs’ chance of stealing the top seed in the West and shook off any doubts raised by a couple of lackluster defeats in their past three games.

Stephen Curry had a game-high 27 points and the Warriors held the Spurs to just 19 baskets in the first 30 minutes of the first-ever regular-season meeting of teams with 65 or more wins.

Australian big man Andrew Bogut had 11 rebounds and Harrison Barnes eight as Golden State out-rebounded the Spurs 43-32.

The Warriors led by as many as 23 in the third quarter en route to the victory.

Barnes had 21 points and Draymond Green 18 for the Warriors, who shot 54.2 percent from the field and connected on 12 of 25 three-point attempts.

Kawhi Leonard scored a team-high 23 points for the Spurs, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

The Spurs made five of six shots to start the fourth quarter to pull within 93-80, but the Warriors quickly rebuilt the lead to 18 points and cruised home.

“We’ve been stumbling a little bit the last three home games here,” Curry said. “Against a team like that, that plays at a high level, you want to come in and get a win and that’s what we did.”

More importantly, Curry said, the Warriors played with the kind of energy and rhythm they’ll need to win a second straight championship.

“Our priority tonight was about how we played,” Curry said. “We obviously wanted to win, but how we play these next three games leading into the playoffs is how we focus on the big goal.”

BULLS, ROCKETS ON BRINK

The Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets, both fighting for their playoff lives, were dealt damaging defeats.

The Bulls fell 106-98 to the Heat in Miami, where Dwyane Wade scored 21 points for the hosts who moved into a tie with Boston for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls fell to 39-40 and are on the brink of elimination. With three games remaining they are three games behind Detroit for the eighth and final post-season berth in the East.

If the Bulls fall short, it would mark the first time since 2008 that they have missed the post-season.

Jimmy Butler’s 25 points paced the Bulls, with Pau Gasol contributing 21 points and 12 rebounds and Derrick Rose adding 17 points.

Chicago jumped to an early lead and led 22-21 going into the second quarter. They stretched their lead to 46-40 at halftime, but the Heat responded after the interval.

After connecting on just 39.5 percent of shots from the field in the first half, the Heat shot 66.7 percent in the third quarter with no turnovers.

The Heat took a 75-69 lead into the fourth quarter, and put the game out of reach with a 14-4 scoring run in the final minutes.

Gasol said that once again the Bulls paid the price for poor defence.

In Houston, P.J. Tucker scored 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and Mirza Teletovic chipped in 26 points off the bench as the Suns shocked the Rockets 124-115.

Tyson Chandler scored 21 points with 10 rebounds, producing the dunk that capped a 12-0 scoring run for the Suns, who snapped a seven-game losing streak and improved to 21-58.

James Harden led the Rockets with 30 points and seven assists, but Houston lost for the seventh time in 10 games and are 1 1/2 games behind the Utah Jazz for eighth in the Western Conference.

April 8, 2016 By : Category : English featured Teams Tags:,
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Warriors record bid falters after Minnesota upset

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors stands on the court towards the end of their loss to Minnesota Timberwolves at ORACLE Arena on April 5, 2016 in Oakland, California.

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors stands on the court towards the end of their loss to Minnesota Timberwolves at ORACLE Arena on April 5, 2016 in Oakland, California.

The Golden State Warriors’ bid to surpass the Chicago’s Bulls regular season record suffered a setback Tuesday as they crashed to a shock overtime defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Warriors, chasing the legendary 1995-1996 Bulls team’s mark of 72 victories, slumped to a 124-117 reverse against the Timberwolves, who have the third worst record in the Western Conference.

The Warriors’ defeat means they must now win all four of their remaining games — which include two meetings with the second-ranked San Antonio Spurs — to get to 73 victories.

The Warriors (69-9) had looked to be cruising to a straightforward win after accelerating into a 17-point lead in the second half.

But Minnesota rallied superbly and a 35-point haul from Shabazz Muhammad — the best of his career — and 32 points from Andrew Wiggins inspired a fightback which left the Golden State home crowd in stunned silence.

Warriors talisman Stephen Curry struggled to find his range all night, finishing with 21 points but making only four of 14 three point attempts as Golden State tumbled to their second home defeat in the space of three games after last Friday’s loss to Boston.

A disappointed Curry rejected suggestions the drive for the record was weighing on the reigning NBA champions.

“I don’t think so,” Curry said. “We’ve put ourselves in a position that it’s a realistic goal and we’ve got to embrace the challenge.

“It’s obviously not easy to get it done — we’re proving that right now. But I don’t think it’s anything that’s weighing us down on the floor or anything like that.

“We just haven’t played well in two of the last three home games. It’s amplified now because we’re so close to the goal.”

Elsewhere on Tuesday, LeBron James scored 17 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers edged closer to locking up home advantage for the playoffs with a 109-80 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks.

James had a relatively quiet night, with his points haul matched by Kevin Love and surpassed by J.R. Smith, who finished with 21.

It was Cleveland’s fourth straight victory and left them with a record of 56-22 at the top of the Eastern Conference with four games left.

The only team capable of catching them at the top of the standings are the Toronto Raptors, who are 51-25 with five left to play.

WESTBROOK TRIPLE JOY

In Denver, Russell Westbrook banked his 17th triple double of the season as the Oklahoma City Thunder thumped the Nuggets 124-102.

Westbrook weighed in with 13 points, 12 assists and 14 rebounds as he became the first player since Magic Johnson in 1988-89 to make 17 triple doubles in a season.

“It’s a great honour,” Westbrook said. “Whenever you’re mentioned in the same sentence as Magic, it’s always great. That’s something you never take for granted.”

Westbrook bagged his latest triple-double after assisting Andre Roberson’s dunk during the third quarter.

The victory saw Oklahoma City improve to 54-24 and guaranteed them the third seeding in the Western Conference.

Although the Los Angeles Clippers could reach 54 wins, the Thunder would still hold the third seed because of their superior head-to-head record this season.

The Thunder’s win came after Enes Kanter scored 18 points and 11 rebounds while Dion Waiters and Serge Ibaka scored 18 apiece.

Oklahoma City led by as many as 33 at one point, with the Nuggets barely in contention.

Gary Harris topscored for the Nuggets with 17 points. Emmanuel Mudiay and D.J. Augustin had 15 each as Denver fell to 32-47.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan however believed his side could have played better.

“We didn’t start the game all that well,” Donovan said. “Maybe the altitude had something to do with it but we started to get our legs underneath us as the game went on.”

AFP

April 6, 2016 By : Category : English featured Teams 0 Comment

APR BBC claim women basketball title

APR Women basketball club edged IPRS-South to win the women basketball league title.

APR Women basketball club edged IPRS-South to win the women basketball league title.

APR Women basketball club emerged champions of this year’s national women basketball league after defeating IPRC-South.

The military sponsored side registered a 65-57 win over IPRC-South to amass 15 points in eight matches played this season.

In eight matches played, APR basketball club won seven and lost once to amass 500 points scored while they conceded 430 points.

In the men’s category, IPRC-South tops the table with 25 points from 14 games, Espoir are second, also with 25 points but the former have a better score average, IPRC- Kigali are third on 24 points while Patriots come fourth with 21 points and three games in hand.

April 6, 2016 By : Category : English featured Teams 0 Comment

Warriors edge Nuggets in overtime, Spurs still perfect at home

Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after making a three-point basket against the Dallas Mavericks at ORACLE Arena on March 25, 2016 in Oakland, California.

Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after making a three-point basket against the Dallas Mavericks at ORACLE Arena on March 25, 2016 in Oakland, California.

The Golden State Warriors kept their bid for a record-setting NBA regular season on track Wednesday with a 103-96 overtime victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Stephen Curry scored 31 points and the Warriors overcame a double-digit, second-half deficit to notch a club record 68th win of the season. They have lost only seven games.

Klay Thompson forced overtime with a three-pointer with 15 seconds left in regulation.

He scored 18 points to help the Warriors edge closer to the NBA record 72 regular-season victories posted by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.

Golden State need five wins in their last seven games to surpass the record. They finish out the season with home games against Boston, Portland, Minnesota, San Antonio and Memphis, and road games at Memphis and San Antonio.

“I’ve said many times over the years that I didn’t think that record would be broken, and it still may not be,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who played on that 1995-96 Chicago team. “We have a tough finish still to go in the last games.

“To be part of both situations is unreal.”

Gordon Hayward scored 21 points and Rodney Hood added 20 points for the Jazz, who had won eight of 10 games.

The Nuggets are now tied with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks in a battle for the last two Western Conference playoff berths.

The Jazz were hurt by their performance from the free-throw line, making just 13 of 29 from the stripe.

Hayward gave the hosts an early lead in overtime, but Utah’s offense then succumbed under pressure.

Curry scored six straight points in overtime and Draymond Green added a slam dunk for a 101-93 lead.

SPURS STILL PERFECT AT HOME

While the Warriors continued to close in on the regular-season wins record, the San Antonio Spurs broke one mark set by that Michael Jordan-led Bulls team of 1995-96 with their 38th straight home win of the season without a defeat.

Argentine veteran Manu Ginobili scored 20 points, including nine in the fourth quarter to help the Spurs finish off a 100-92 triumph over the injury depleted New Orleans Pelicans.

The Spurs took control of the contest with a 22-9 scoring run spanning the end of the second quarter and first six minutes of the third.

The Spurs improved to 63-13, matching a franchise record for wins in a season.

The Spurs have won 47 straight regular-season games in San Antonio dating back to last year, the second-longest home winning streak ever behind the continuing 54-game home win streak of the Warriors.

Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green added 16 points each for the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in 11 points. Of 13 players who saw action for the Spurs, 12 of them scored. New Orleans, meanwhile, had just nine players in uniform. Seven of them scored in double figures, led by the 18 points of Alexis Ajinca.

50 WIN RAPTORS

The Raptors notched a milestone victory in Toronto, downing the Atlanta Hawks 105-97 to reach 50 wins for a season for the first time in franchise history.

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with a game-high 26 points to go with six assists and five rebounds.

“It means everything to me,” DeRozan said. “My whole career, I’ve been through the tough times, now to be called the winningest Raptors of all time and now to break a franchise record three years in a row — it definitely means a lot to me.”

Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points and nine rebounds, while Kyle Lowry, still nursing a right elbow injury, contributed 17 points, 11 assists and six rebounds.

In Minneapolis, Chris Paul scored 20 points, handed out 16 assists and pulled down eight rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 99-79 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Clippers won their fourth straight, strengthening their grip on fourth place and the final home-court advantage berth in the Western Conference playoffs.

They are 6 1/2 games ahead of the injury-hit Memphis Grizzlies, who lost 109-105 at home to the Denver Nuggets and are now just two games in front of the Portland Trail Blazers for the fifth seed in the West.

 

March 31, 2016 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Teams 0 Comment

Spurs, Warriors remain perfect at home

m_7

Stephen Curry #30 and Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors react during their game against the Los Angeles Clippers at ORACLE Arena on March 23, 2016 in Oakland, California.

The San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors kept their perfect home records intact as the Western Conference teams moved closer the Chicago Bulls’ all-time single season record for consecutive home wins with 11 games remaining.

The Warriors toppled Los Angeles 114-98 to sweep the season series with the Clippers while the Spurs dumped the Miami Heat 112-88 on Wednesday as Kawhi Leonard matched his career high with 32 points.

The Spurs improved to 36-0 at home to move within one of the 1995-96 Bulls NBA record of 37 wins and no losses from the start of the season.

The Warriors aren’t far behind as they improved to 33-0 to move into a tie with the 1995-96 Orlando Magic for third place on the all time list.

Both the Spurs (60-11) and the Warriors (64-7) have 11 games left in the regular season as they each try to become the first team to finish the season without a loss at home.

“If we take care of home court the rest of the way it would be good,” said Warriors star Stephen Curry on Wednesday night. “We don’t want to limp into the playoffs. With the schedule we have, we got to take advantage of it.”

Both teams are back at home on Friday with the Warriors facing Memphis and the Spurs hosting Dallas.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr also said earlier Wednesday that the club’s quest to set the NBA single-season win record was a real lure.

“We’re getting there,” he said. “That’s pretty enticing.”

The Warriors swept the season series over the Clippers as Curry scored a game-high 33 points while Klay Thompson wasn’t far behind with 32. The teammates combined for 11 three-pointers.

Draymond Green notched his 11th double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds and Shaun Livingston came off the bench to score 11 points.

The victory allowed the Warriors to remain four games up on San Antonio in the battle for top seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Leonard equalled his career high 32 points in 24 minutes of playing time before leaving the Spurs game against the Heat with a bruised quadriceps.

Leonard left the floor midway through the third quarter and headed to the San Antonio locker room with a towel over his face. He did not return, but he was not needed as the Spurs went on a 18-4 burst in the first five minutes after he left.

LOVE LETS LOOSE IN RETURN

Kevin Love returned to the lineup and finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 113-104.

LeBron James had 26 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and Kyrie Irving had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Cavaliers, who have won four of their last five.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Bucks, who lost their third straight. Greg Monroe had 14 points.

Love missed one game with a cold that bothered him for about a week and broke out of a shooting funk that bothered him since the all-star break. He hit eight of 14 shots from the floor.

James spoke earlier telling the US media he would take less money to play on the same NBA team with his basketball friends — Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul — before his basketball career ends.

“I really hope that, before our career is over, we can all play together,” James said. “At least one, maybe one or two seasons — me, Melo, D-Wade, CP — we can get a year in. I would actually take a pay cut to do that.”

Elsewhere, the Boston Celtics ensured their first winning season in three years under Brad Stevens, by posting a 91-79 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Despite the loss, Toronto clinched its third consecutive post-season berth thanks to a 115-107 loss by Chicago to the New York Knicks.

AFP

March 24, 2016 By : Category : English featured Teams 0 Comment

LeBron-less Cavs beat Mavs, Warriors home streak hits 50

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after making a three-point basket against the New York Knicks at ORACLE Arena on March 16, 2016 in Oakland, California.

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after making a three-point basket against the New York Knicks at ORACLE Arena on March 16, 2016 in Oakland, California.

Stephen Curry scored 34 points to power the Golden State Warriors to a record 50th consecutive home victory Wednesday, while the Cleveland Cavaliers showed they could win without LeBron James.

Curry hit 12-of-20 from the floor, including 8-of-13 from beyond the 3-point arc, as the Warriors beat New York 121-85, improving to 32-0 at home this season with a 50-game overall home win streak.

At an NBA-best 61-6, the Warriors have a solid chance at beating the record one-season mark of 72-10 set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.

Curry opened the game 6-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-6 in 3-pointers as the Warriors took a 31-19 edge on the way to a blowout.

Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving scored 33 points and came up with a key steal in the final seconds to preserve host Cleveland’s 99-98 victory over Dallas.

The Cavaliers were without four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, who was given the night off to rest, but the team improved to 4-12 over the past two seasons when playing without James.

MAGICAL KYRIE STARS

Irving threw the ball away when the Mavericks double-teamed him with 16 seconds remaining and the Cavaliers clinging to a 97-95 edge.

“I was really (mad) at the turnover. It was stuck in my head but I tried not to show it,” Irving said.

Irving regained possession when he hooked Dirk Nowitzki and wiggled in front of him for a steal. Nowitzki was forced to foul, and Irving converted both free throws.

“Dirk was trying to post up,” Irving said. “I kind of knew he wanted it on that left shoulder and I just tried to force him that way.”

“Kyrie magically appeared with the ball,” Nowitzki said. “That’s really all that happened.”

Dallas’ Deron Williams banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but that only trimmed the final Cleveland victory margin.

Kevin Love had 23 points and 18 rebounds for the Cavaliers and Channing Frye scored 14 points off the bench to give the Cavaliers (48-19) their first victory this season without James, having been twice before blown out without him.

“We know we have to pick up the slack when ‘Bron is out,” Love said. “It’s a learning experience for us. It’s a chance for us to grow. I think that teams look at when ‘Bron is out and think, ‘This is a game we can grab’ or ‘We hit them in the head and they’ll lay down.’ Tonight we didn’t do that. We came out aggressive and knew that we could take advantage of some mismatches.”

Nowitzki scored 20 points for Dallas, which never led as the Mavericks (34-34) lost for the sixth time in seven games.

BOSTON WANT KD

Boston Celtics fans chanted “Come to Boston” and held signs encouraging Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant to sign with the Celtics when his contract expires after the season, but the NBA star combined with Russell Westbrook to lead the Thunder over Boston 130-109.

Durant had 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while Westbrook had 24 points, five assists and five rebounds. Westbrook sat out the entire fourth quarter and Durant sat for most of it.

At Charlotte, Frenchman Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams each scored 26 points to power the host Hornets over Orlando 107-99.

At Washington, John Wall scored 29 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and passed out 12 assists as the host Wizards beat Chicago 117-96. Derrick Rose had 16 points for Chicago in his return after missing two games with a left abductor strain.

Jeff Teague had 22 points and nine assists and the visiting Atlanta Hawks won for the eighth time in 10 games by downing the Detroit Pistons 118-114.

J.J. Redick scored 14 of his 25 points by the middle of the first quarter, while DeAndre Jordan had 23 points and 16 rebounds, and Chris Paul contributed 15 points and 16 assists in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 122-106 victory at Houston.

Zach LaVine scored 28 points, hitting six 3-pointers to help spark Minnesota to a 114-108 victory at Memphis, while Anthony Davis had 27 points and 14 rebounds in a 123-108 New Orleans victory at Sacramento.

March 18, 2016 By : Category : English featured Teams Tags:,
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