Kerr return adds gloss to big win for unstoppable Warriors

UNTV News   •   June 6, 2017   •   2766

Jun 4, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr at a press conference after game two of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State coach Steve Kerr shook off a long-term back ailment to return to the bench and help his Warriors win a record 14th straight post-season contest with a 132-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Two of the NBA Finals on Sunday.

Kerr has been sidelined by persistent back pain since April. He has attended team meetings but watched all but three playoff games from the locker room as his team swatted aside Portland, Utah and San Antonio.

Despite rumors of his return swirling around Warriors practice on Saturday, Kerr’s status remained a mystery until just hours before Game Two.

The 51-year-old said before the game that he had managed to string together a few “good days” and felt he would be able to return to the sidelines for the remainder of the best-of-seven series.

“I’m feeling better,” Kerr told reporters after the Warriors eased to a 2-0 series lead against the defending champion Cavaliers in a repeat of the last two NBA Finals.

“The last couple weeks have been good in terms of running practice, film sessions, coaches meetings,” he said.

It is a remarkable turnaround for the coach, who has suffered from persistent back pain following two surgeries. The discomfort was so severe that some had wondered whether he would ever coach again.

The Warriors have not exactly suffered without him, posting an unblemished 11-0 record under interim head coach Mike Brown during the playoffs.

As Kerr walked onto the court, he was met with a standing ovation from the fans and hugs from Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue and Cavaliers forward LeBron James.

IN A GOOD PLACE

“It was a great moment for him and for the crowd, everybody showing their appreciation for all he’s been through,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry told reporters after the game.

“And to see him back on the bench was huge. And for him the whole priority was his health, and I think he’s in a good place right now.”

Kerr had his hands full with the game, which featured physical play, eight sloppy turnovers by Curry and early foul calls on passionate forward Draymond Green, whose protestations could have triggered at least one technical.

After the game, Green said Kerr’s return was a positive for the team but added that he coached them so well through 82 regular season games that they could implement his plans without his physical presence.

“It didn’t feel any different as far as play calls and things we need to do,” Green said when asked about how Kerr’s return impacted the game.

“That’s why he prepared the staff the way he did in his absence, and he came back and we just wanted to keep the ball rolling. But it’s definitely great to see him over there and have him talking in the timeouts and out there leading us.”

News that the pain and headaches that kept the coach away from the team for the first 43 games of last season had returned in April shocked fans in the Bay Area, where Kerr is a beloved figure.

Kerr initially hurt his back during the 2015 NBA championship series. He did not immediately miss any time and went on to lead the Warriors to their first NBA title in 40 years. — By Rory Carroll | OAKLAND

(Editing by John O’Brien)

Harden drills OT winner as Rockets nip Warriors

UNTV News   •   January 5, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Feb 10, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) points to the sky against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

James Harden capped his second consecutive triple-double by sinking a 25-foot 3-pointer with one second remaining in overtime Thursday night, giving the Houston Rockets a 135-134 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif.

After Stephen Curry put Golden State up by two with an 18-footer with 23.1 seconds to go, the Rockets got possession after a kicked-ball violation on the Warriors with 5.5 seconds left.

The ball was inbounded to Harden, who was able to get off — and make — a heavily contested 3-pointer to provide the game-winning points and cap a game-high, 44-point night.

Kevin Durant’s desperation 40-footer caromed off the rim at the buzzer, allowing the Rockets to win their sixth straight and 11th in their past 12.

In scoring 40 or more points for the fifth consecutive game, Harden also found time for 10 rebounds and a game-high 15 assists for his fifth triple-double of the season. He turned the ball over seven times.

Curry led the Warriors with 35 points.

The Rockets forced the extra session by scoring the last six points of the fourth quarter on a three-point play by Clint Capela with 1:03 to go and a 3-pointer by Harden with 51.4 seconds left.

After Durant misfired for Golden State, Harden had the last shot of regulation but couldn’t connect from 32 feet, sending the game into overtime tied at 119-all.

Thirty of Harden’s points came on 10 3-pointers as the Rockets went 21-for-54 from beyond the arc and outscored Golden State 63-42 on threes.

Capela recorded a 29-point, 21-point double-double for Houston, which beat Golden State for the second time this season after falling to the eventual champion Warriors in seven games in last year’s Western Conference finals.

Austin Rivers added 18 points, Danuel House Jr. 17 and Gerald Green 16 as the Rockets rallied from as much as a 20-point, third-quarter deficit.

Curry managed his 35 points despite just 5-for-15 shooting from 3-point range. The Warriors were 14-for-37 from long distance as a team.

Durant and Klay Thompson finished with 26 points apiece for the Warriors, while Draymond Green flirted with a triple-double of his own with nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

The loss was Golden State’s third straight at home.

—Field Level Media

Magic topple Lakers again

UNTV News   •   November 26, 2018

FILE PHOTO: LeBron James (REUTERS / USA-Today)

Nikola Vucevic scored 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds Sunday as the visiting Orlando Magic upended the Los Angeles Lakers for the second time in eight days, earning a 108-104 victory.

The Lakers tied the game at 104 with 2:24 remaining on a pair of free throws by LeBron James, but Los Angeles missed four 3-point attempts down the stretch.

Terrence Ross made a cutting layup with 34 seconds remaining to give the Magic a 106-104 lead, and Aaron Gordon sealed the victory on a dunk with 10 seconds remaining.

Gordon finished with 17 points, while Ross had 16 as Orlando ended a two-game slide. The Magic now have four victories in their past six games.

James scored 24 points for the Lakers, who have seven victories in their last nine games, but both of those defeats came to the Magic.

After losing 130-117 at Orlando, the Lakers made a commitment to defense, holding their next three opponents to an average of 95 points per game. That defensive focus was evident early in the Sunday game as the Lakers held Orlando to 19 points in the first quarter.

The Magic, though, turned things around, starting with a 12-2 run with just under three minutes to play in the first half. Orlando held its first lead of the game at 51-49 with less than a minute to play in the second quarter before a James 3-pointer put the Lakers up 52-51 at the half.

The Magic’s surge continued in the third quarter as they opened on a 15-7 run, forcing the Lakers into eight consecutive missed shots during the stretch. Orlando held an 86-71 lead after three quarters, having limited the Lakers to 19 points in the period.

Vucevic’s 31-point performance came after he scored a season-high 36 points the first time the teams met. Two of his three games with at least 30 points this season have come against the Lakers.

D.J. Augustin scored 12 points and had nine assists for the Magic, while Jonathon Simmons added 10 points.

Kyle Kuzma scored 21 points for the Lakers, while Brandon Ingram added 17. Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball scored nine points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

—Field Level Media

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Lakers boast .500 record after win over Kings

UNTV News   •   November 12, 2018

The Lakers’ LeBron James speaks during a news conference on Monday in El Segundo, California. | USA TODAY / VIA REUTERS

The Los Angeles Lakers have a .500 record for the first time this season after a 101-86 win against the host Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.

LeBron James scored 25 points for Los Angeles, which has won four of five and six of nine. The Lakers have another winnable game Sunday against the visiting Atlanta Hawks.

Brandon Ingram had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma scored 11 apiece for the Lakers. Tyson Chandler had a team-high 12 rebounds off the bench in his second game since joining the Lakers.

De’Aaron Fox scored 21 points to lead Sacramento. Marvin Bagley III had 13 points off the bench and Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, who had won six of eight coming in.

Kuzma made a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half to extend the lead to 53-44. Los Angeles missed its next seven shots, including three open 3-point attempts on one possession, which would have extended the lead back to double digits.

At the same time, the Kings went on a 7-0 run to get within 53-51 and they pulled as close as one point on two occasions before Lakers backup point guard Rajon Rondo capped a 10-0 run by hitting a wide-open 3-pointer for a 67-56 lead with 3:50 left in the third quarter.

The Lakers took a 76-65 lead into the fourth and Lance Stephenson sank a 3-pointer off a loose ball on the first possession, extending the lead back to 14. They soon went up by 20 on Josh Hart’s 3 with 8:01 left and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

The Lakers led by 16 midway through the second quarter before taking a 50-44 lead into the half.

James led the way with 15 points in the first half for the Lakers.

—Field Level Media

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