Monthly Archives: July 2017

LeBron James would welcome Lance Stephenson on Cavs: ‘I just want to win, man’

LeBron James voiced his opinion last week by claiming the Cavaliers needed to add “a playmaker”.

The Cavaliers held workouts with Mario Chalmers, Kirk Hinrich, Jordan Farmar, and Lance Stephenson in an attempt to bolster a squad that had lost seven of its last 13 games entering Wednesday’s matchup against the Timberwolves. And James was surprisingly all right with the names brought in to help the team — even the troublesome Stephenson, who has failed with the Hornets, Clippers, Pelicans and Grizzlies since breaking out with the Pacers.

“I got a history with all those guys except Jordan,” James told reporters, via ESPN.com . “I got a history with Lance too, obviously. I got a history versus Kirk. I played him in a lot of playoff series. And I got a history with Rio [Chalmers]. … At the end of the day, Rio is recovering from his Achilles tear. I hope he’s been doing everything he needs to do just to get back on the floor. He loves to play the game.

“I’m a supporter of what this franchise wants to do, no matter what it’s doing. But my focus right now is to get our guys playing championship-level basketball.”

James’ history with Stephenson is as a foe, when Stephenson famously blew into James’ ear during a 2014 playoff series. But he’s willing to put that aside if it will help the team win more games.
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He had but four 20-point outings in his first three NBA seasons combined.

The performance was enough for coach Rick Carlisle to admit the Mavs need to take an extended look at Curry as the team’s starting point guard long term.

The 26-year-old former Duke star is shooting 42.2 percent from behind the arc — 2.3 percentage points better than Stephen, good for sixth in the NBA — and is averaging 16.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 15 games since the All-Star break.

It was, after all, Curry’s 11th game of 20 points or more this season, his season- and career-high of 31 coming last month.

He had but four 20-point outings in his first three NBA seasons combined.

More notably, the Mavericks are 8-3 when Curry goes for 20 points or more. Three games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot, this Curry could make a name for himself sooner rather than later if Dallas finds a way to sneak in.
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DeMar DeRozan has struggled at times since runningmate Kyle Lowry was lost to injury last month, but he’s on a tear of late. The Raptors guard poured in 40 points in a 101-84 win over the Heat to follow up his 42-point showing Tuesday. He shot nearly 50 percent from the floor in those two games combined (31 of 63). The last Raptor to go for 40 points in back-to-back games was Vince Carter in 2001.

The same question was presented last season with the Golden State Warriors as Stephen Curry attempted to fight through an ankle injury.

He played through the injury all the way to the end of the season. But during the season he averaged 30.1 points per game. In the playoffs he averaged 25.5. Would rest have helped? Who knows? That’s why the question has been presented to Harden, and it’s something he’ll have to deal with in the coming weeks.
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The Rockets get back to action Sunday when they visit Phoenix for a 6 p.m. tip.

Bill Cartwright dishes on coaching connections, battling Moses Malone and early draft entry

Dan Feeney Mens Jersey Next month, University of San Francisco great Bill Cartwright, who also attended high school at Elk Grove near Sacramento, will be inducted into the Bay Area Hall of Fame. Cartwright played 16 NBA seasons, starting with the Knicks and winning three championships with the Bulls.

He spoke with SN about the Bay Area, coaching and why he didn’t jump to the NBA right out of high school.

The Thunder have won just 55 percent of their games, no player since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976 has won the MVP award on a team that had a winning percentage less than .561. The closest point was Malone in 1981-82, when he averaged 31 points and 15 rebounds.

Game Mens Ernie Stautner Jersey Only two MVP winners in NBA history played for a team that won fewer than 60 percent of its regular season games. Malone actually did it twice with the Houston Rockets (57.3 percent in 1978-79; 56.1 percent in 1981-82) and Bob McAdoo did it with the Buffalo Braves (59.8 percent in 1974–75).

According to NBA.com records, 39 MVPs played for the team with the best regular season record.

Nurkic combines that scoring ability with some elite passing for his position. Since joining the Blazers, he ranks sixth amongst centers in points created by assists with 7.7 per game. That’s not far off of what Plumlee averaged in a Blazers uniform this season. Considering Plumlee’s greatest strength to the Blazers was his ability to act as a Draymond Green-like facilitator from the center position, they haven’t lost much production by replacing him with Nurkic.

It’s not like Nurkic is only generating his assists out of the post either. He has proven the ability to find open teammates with his back to the basket when the defense collapses …

… but he’s also showcased his vision on the roll.

Stephen Curry sneaks out of huddle to help Warriors fan win $5,000

Elite Youth Morgan Burnett Jersey Stephen Curry finished with 27 points against the Nets on Saturday night, but his biggest score didn’t happen during the game.

Carly, a fan in attendance at Oracle Arena for the Warriors’ win, stepped on the court during a timeout to try to take home some serious cash. She played what looked like a bigger version of Skee-ball — roll miniature basketballs up a ramp and hope you find a bucket. Simple enough.

Speaking of MVP cases, are we sure it’s still a two-man race between James Harden and Russell Westbrook? While Westbrook is averaging a triple-double on the season with 31.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists per game, the Thunder are 11-11 since the turn of the New Year. Harden is also having a historic season — Oscar Robertson is the only player in NBA history to put up similar numbers — yet the Rockets are 13-9 in their last 22 games.

Elite Youth Jordan Matthews Jersey Meanwhile, the Spurs are only four games behind the Warriors thanks to the two-way brilliance of Kawhi Leonard, the Celtics have a legitimate shot at the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference because Isaiah Thomas is a fourth-quarter killer and Kevin Durant’s efficiency — as well as improved defense and overall brilliance — has the Warriors at the top of the NBA once again. Don’t forget about LeBron James and John Wall, either, both of whom are having MVP-caliber seasons.

That’s not to say one of them deserves it more than Westbrook or Harden right now, but it could change in the next couple of months depending on which teams rise and fall. Remember, 40 MVPs since the 1955-56 season have played for the team with the best record in the NBA. Bob Petitt, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone and Bob McAdoo are the only players to win the MVP award on teams that won less than 50 games.

Tyler Ulis buries Celtics with buzzer 3 after Suns force turnover

Tyler Ulis’ rookie season just got a little more enjoyable.

The Suns guard out of Kentucky beat the Celtics on Sunday on one of the craziest NBA plays you’ll see.

After Phoenix had tied the game with 4.0 seconds remaining, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas lost the ball in the backcourt after Marquese Chriss got in the way of the inbounds pass. Ulis picked up the ball, dribbled and then drained an off-balance 3 over Thomas for the 109-106 win.

Ntilikina won the MVP of the U18 European Championships in December and is starting to come on a bit for Strasbourg in France. He’s averaging 12 points over his last four games as an 18-year-old starter whose responsibilities are more geared toward spacing the floor and scoring.

In the U18s, though, he flashed his sterling ability in the pick-and-roll that portrays his likely future as a point guard at the next level. It’ll be interesting to see if he decides to leave, as he’ll be one of the younger players in this class.

Markkanen’s outrageous shooting cooled over the second half of the season, but he’s still a legit 7-footer shooting over 43 percent from beyond the arc on over 150 attempts. He’s also got a real post game that he’ll occasionally show off, plus some mobility that should play well defensively on the perimeter in the NBA.

Howard went full petty mode here, but maybe don’t expect a free jersey if you’re wearing the opposing team’s gear?

Fortunately for the Hawks, Howard’s absence didn’t hurt them, as Atlanta cruised to a 114-98 win in Boston.
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MLB trade rumors: Andrew McCutchen’s renaissance means Pirates should act now

MIAMI — Andrew McCutchen wasn’t at the All-Star Game this year, as you know.

The face of the Pirates franchise struggled through a frustrating 2016 season and his slow start to the 2017 campaign probably tanked any shot he had at getting to Miami. By the time the game was played at Marlins Park, though, his numbers were worthy of inclusion. Seems the reports of his demise had been greatly exaggerated.
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The White Sox had third baseman Matt Davidson in Saturday’s lineup as a designated hitter against the Mariners. The Sox could have used Davidson’s bat in the 4-3 loss, but he instead went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

The Rockies lost for the 15th time in 20 games after getting shelled by the Mets for the second straight day. They also lost starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood, who recorded just one out in Saturday’s 9-3 loss to the Mets. Chatwood gave up four runs on four hits and walked three before leaving with an undisclosed injury. Even when healthy this season, Chatwood has struggled and is now 6-11 with a 4.74 ERA for the Rockies, who are losing their grip on a wild-card spot.

John Ross Limited Jersey Another day, another grand slam. After Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun blasted a grand slam on Saturday, it was Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon clearing the bases in the seventh inning of Washington’s 10-7 win over the Reds. The home run was Rendon’s second of the day and part of a seven-run seventh inning.

Rangers (45-45) at Royals (44-45) 2:15 p.m. ET — If the Rangers hope to make the postseason, they’re going to have to do it as a wild-card team. The Rangers are 15 1/2 games back of the Astros in the American League West and sweeping the Royals, who are 2 1/2 games back of the Indians in the AL Central, could help Texas in the long run. Trying to avoid the sweep for the Royals will be Ian Kennedy (3-6, 4.45 ERA) while the Rangers will turn to Yu Darvish (6-8, 3.49) to get the brooms out at Kauffman Stadium.

Stephen Curry signed a supermax deal with the Warriors

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The clock hit midnight, and the calendar flipped to July 1. The NBA free-agency season has begun, and a lot has changed.
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Paul George was traded to the Thunder late Saturday night, setting the NBA universe on fire. Stephen Curry signed a supermax deal with the Warriors, the richest contract in NBA history. And that was just the start of it all.

Analysis (Rivera, Gatto): The Cubs’ front office is trying to create some mojo for its consistently inconsistent squad heading into the latter stages of the season. Justin Verlander has been very good this year aside from three very bad starts 鈥?nine runs allowed vs. Cleveland in April, six runs allowed vs. Houston in May and seven runs allowed vs. Cleveland in July.

With the money Verlander has left on his deal 鈥?$56 million over the next two seasons and a $22 million vesting option for 2020 鈥?he’s going to be pricey, both in terms of payroll and prospects. An anonymous Cubs official told Gammons the money is prohibitive. That’s why Chicago reportedly inquired instead about the Tigers’ best young starters, Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris. The 24-year-old Fulmer, last season’s AL Rookie of the Year, would seemingly require a huge talent outlay, but the Cubs have that type of depth and appear to be willing to part with some of it.
Analysis (Rivera): The Blue Jays are far underperforming expectations this year, and they have some very intriguing pieces to offer teams. Third baseman Josh Donaldson is one, and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman is another. While the Jays still have boppers who can do damage in August and September, they’re probably best suited to sell, and moving Donaldson and/or Stroman would definitely bring back a hefty haul.

Former NFL QB Todd Marinovich announces comeback to competitive football

Former USC and Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich is making a comeback to competitive football, announcing Friday that he’ll play this season for the SoCal Coyotes of the World Developmental Football League.

After serving last year as an assistant coach for the Coyotes, Marinovich will battle for the team’s starting quarterback job with 25-year-old Jacob Russell, who threw 35 touchdowns and led the team to a perfect record last year, USA Today noted.

Sidney Jones Womens Jersey I’m super-stoked, Marinovich said as his first words of his announcement.

Jake Fisher Womens Jersey It’s been 27 years since Marinovich was released by the Raiders and 16 years since he played professionally with the L.A. Avengers of the Arena Football League, during which he made headlines for drug abuse.

An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Montana spent 14 years with San Francisco, where he won four championships as well as three Super Bowl MVP awards. He spoke at an event Tuesday to promote FanDuel’s new golf offering, which he says he plans on playing regularly.

As for the current 49ers, Montana thinks the team’s drastic roster shake-up was much-needed. Saying so far so good in terms of the overhaul, Montana was pleased to see some veterans come in to rebuild that culture.

2017 NBA Awards ballot: Sean Deveney’s votes for MVP, DPOY, etc.

The Serbian’s transition to America, on the basketball, court came quickly, and his life off it has followed suit, largely through the influence of a veteran who is 16 years older than him to the day.

It’s easy to see just how close Jokic and 17-year NBA journeyman Mike Miller have grown. As Jokic warmed up before a late-season game against the Hornets at Spectrum Center, it was Miller who challenged him to a game of one-on-one. That’s something they do before every game.

Lopez was expecting that, coming into Game 2, the Celtics would make an adjustment to limit his effectiveness. They didn’t, and he admitted that surprised him.

“Yeah, a little,” he said. “I was able to put pressure on the rim in the first game and I went out and tried to keep on doing that tonight. When I can do that, it opens things up for the other guys, my teammates. We were able to do that again tonight.”

It’s worth remembering that, for all the grief the Bulls’ front office has taken, it did manage to wrangle Lopez from the Knicks as the principal return for Derrick Rose. Lopez signed a four-year, $55 million deal with New York in 2015, and in this series he has outplayed Boston center Al Horford, who was granted a $113 million contract by the Celtics last summer.

Lopez is a 7-footer with a two-inch advantage over Horford and a 17-pound advantage over Brad Stevens’ backup of choice, Kelly Olynyk. His sheer size has been an issue for the Celtics, and the Bulls have been outrebounded, on average, 57.0 to 46.5 in the series’ first two games. Lopez has accounted for 12 offensive rebounds in the two games, and the Bulls have scored 15 points off those rebounds.
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NBA playoffs 2017: Bulls’ Rajon Rondo out for Game 5, says injury hasn’t healed

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Rajon Rondo said Wednesday he will not play in Game 5 of the Bulls’ playoff series against the Celtics.

Rondo said he can’t do much with the thumb still. It’s still broke.
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American Race executive producer Dan Partland said it was a difficult decision, but they ultimately decided it was important to face the kind of overt racism Spencer represents.

In the end, we were convinced that it was more important to shine a light, Partland said. They say sunlight is a disinfectant. In the course of filming, we felt there was a lot of change in how the country viewed race and viewed groups like the alt right … The point that we started with the show was believing overt racism did not exist anymore and we needed to talk about systematic racism and subtle things on the margins that people are not always aware of. By the time we got to the end of filming, we felt we were not talking about the elephant in the room but about just racism. Richard Spencer provided an opportunity to expose that and to talk about what underlies all of those different issues.

The four-hour miniseries airs Thursday and Friday with two episodes each night beginning at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET on TNT. Additional clips of the show can be found on TNT’s YouTube page.

He is 33 now, and Gortat is proud to be one of the last remaining pure centers, a guy who has never shown much interest in perfecting a jumper, let alone 3-point range. He has no plans to change that.

Not at all, Gortat said. Back in the day, you had one or two players shooting 3s at the 5 spot. Channing Frye, like that. Now all the sudden, everybody wants to shoot 3s. That’s the path they took, that’s the path they chose … Me, I feel confident with what I do.