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Warriors well-built for success over the long haul

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Golden State Warriors players and coaches celebrate with the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors made a strong case to be called one of the best teams in NBA history after a near-perfect run through the playoffs resulted in their second title in three years.

The scary part for the NBA’s 29 other teams? This may just be the beginning.

That is because the Warriors boast an intimidating starting lineup featuring four All-Stars in their 20s who are likely to be with the team for years to come.

Two-time reigning league MVP Stephen Curry is expected to sign the richest contract in NBA history this offseason as the league’s best three-point marksman will be eligible for a five-year deal worth an estimated $207 million.

“I’m just excited to do something special,” Curry said during the presentation of the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy on Monday in Oakland after his team beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. “I’m ready to do it again.”

If so he will have help from shooting guard Klay Thompson and do-it-all power forward Draymond Green, who are already locked into long-term contracts with the Warriors.

And then there is Kevin Durant. The 7-foot (2.13 m) small forward and 2017 Finals MVP has said that after his controversial decision leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the Warriors last offseason, he is not eager to move again.

Durant is so dedicated to winning multiple championships that he is reportedly considering taking less money from the team in order to free up space to re-sign key reserves like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala.

That all spells trouble for the rest of the league, who saw the Warriors capture a title in 2015, win a record-setting 73 games the next regular season before Durant moved to the Bay Area and the team became a juggernaut.

“They’re going to be around for a while,” Cavaliers forward LeBron James said after suffering his second Finals defeat in three years to a Warriors team that went 16-1 in the playoffs.

“Pretty much all their big-name guys are in their 20s, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.”

And the team’s coaching staff is equally formidable.

After being sidelined for part of last season and again during the 2017 playoffs with back pain, head coach Steve Kerr returned during the Finals and said he intends to coach “for a long time.”

General Manager Bob Myers, who helped assemble the Warriors lineup after the franchise spent years as the league’s laughing stock, and savvy owner Joe Lacob fill out the rest of the team.

The big question this offseason is what, if anything, will contenders like Cleveland, San Antonio and Boston do to counter the champion Warriors.

Some reports have suggested James, the best player on the planet, may head to California to join the Lakers or Clippers in 2018, likely bringing talented players along in an effort to topple the Warriors if the Cavaliers fall short again next year.

One thing is clear – if no one can assemble a truly special team, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy could very well reside in the Bay Area for years to come.

“After the parade, the narrative will shift to ‘So, what does the league plan to do about this?'” wrote Ray Ratto, a veteran Bay Area sports columnist.

“Right now, the only answer seems to be ‘not a damned thing.’ Because that’s the only answer that makes sense. This is Golden State’s era.” — By Rory Carroll | OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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LeBron James agrees to four-year, $154 million deal with Lakers

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, July 2nd, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Jan 23, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts late in the fourth quarter of a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans defeated the Cavaliers 124-122. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Three-time NBA champion LeBron James bid farewell to Cleveland on Sunday after agreeing to a four-year $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 33-year-old forward leaves the Cavaliers to join an iconic franchise that has won 16 NBA titles but is rebuilding after posting a losing record for five consecutive seasons.

James bid farewell to Cleveland via his Instagram account.

“Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible four seasons,” the four-time NBA most valuable player, and 14-time All Star, said on his “This will always be home.”

His agency revealed he was heading for Los Angeles.

“LeBron James, four-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA finals MVP, 14-time NBA All Star, and two-time Olympic gold medalist has agreed to a four year, $154 million contract with the Los

Angeles Lakers,” Klutch Sports Group said on Twitter.

The decision by the game’s best all-around player to leave his native Ohio for Los Angeles, where he has a home, will make the Lakers an instant contender in the Western Conference where the Golden State Warriors have won three of the last four NBA titles, defeating Cleveland each time.

The other title, for the 2016 season, went to the James’ led Cavaliers.

Originally signed by the Cavaliers in 2003, James, who grew up in Akron, left Cleveland in 2010 to join the Miami Heat and led them to four consecutive NBA Finals, winning in 2012 and 2013.

He returned home to the Cavaliers the next season and ended a championship drought for Cleveland with the NBA title in 2016.

But despite claiming the Eastern Conference crown for a fourth straight year, James was given a blunt reminder of how far short the Cavs are of a championship caliber team when they were swept 4-0 by the Warriors in the Finals.

Speculation about James’ future began in advance of last season with the 76ers and Rockets rumored to be suitors, while the Cavs had hoped to keep him in Cleveland.

The Knicks and Clippers were also mentioned as possible destinations but in the end James opted for Los Angeles, who are run by former Lakers great Magic Johnson.

James enjoyed perhaps his most influential season in Cleveland to carry the team to the Finals, and finished the regular season averaging 27.5 points per game, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds while playing in all 82 contests.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina/Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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Highlights of Saturday’s NBA games

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, January 1st, 2018

December 30, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots the basketball against Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) and guard Andrew Harrison (5) during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Grizzlies 141-128. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

(The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Saturday’s National Basketball Association games:

Warriors 141, Grizzlies 128

Stephen Curry returned from an 11-game absence due to an ankle injury and set an NBA season-high by hitting 10 three-pointers as the Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies 141-128 on Saturday.

In his first game since Dec. 4, Curry scored 38 points on 13-of-17 shooting. He made 10-of-13 as Golden State (29-8) shot 54.5 percent (18-of-33) from behind the arc and 58.8 percent overall.

Klay Thompson added 21 and hit five three-pointers while Kevin Durant contributed 20 for the defending champions.

Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies (11-25) with 27 points while Tyreke Evans added 22 as Memphis shot 52.1 percent and 71.4 percent (15-of-21) from three-point range.

Jazz 104, Cavaliers 101

Rookie Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points and Utah held off Cleveland.

Derrick Favors added 19 while Ricky Rubio totaled 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as Utah (16-21) beat Cleveland for the fourth straight time.

LeBron James turned 33 and played for the seventh time on his birthday. James finished 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists but Cleveland (24-12) lost for the fourth time in five games.

Jeff Green added 22 while Kevin Love finished with 20 and 10 rebounds for Cleveland.

Knicks 105, Pelicans 103

Jarrett Jack made two free throws with 9.1 seconds left and Kristaps Porzingis scored seven of his team-high 30 points in a critical late-game stretch to lift New York to a victory over New Orleans.

The Knicks, who won for just the third time on the road this season, erased an eight-point deficit in the final three minutes.

The Pelicans led 99-91, but Porzingis scored seven consecutive points to get the Knicks (18-18) back in the game. Anthony Davis’ three-pointer at the buzzer was no good for New Orleans (18-18).

New Orleans was led by Davis, who scored 31 points, and by DeMarcus Cousins, who had 29 points and 19 rebounds.

Pistons 93, Spurs 79

Reggie Bullock scored a career-high 22 points and Detroit beat San Antonio.

Bullock, who is averaging 13.6 points in his last eight games, shot 9-of-14 from the field and scored more than 20 points for the first time in his career.

Rookie Luke Kennard added a career high 20 points while Andre Drummond posted a double-double of 14 points and 21 rebounds for Detroit (20-15)

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs (25-12) with 18 points but 4-of-11 from the field. LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 and 11 rebounds as San Antonio set a season low in points.

Heat 117, Magic 111

Tyler Johnson scored 22 of his season-high 31 points as Miami rallied to beat Orlando.

Johnson shot 10-of-11 in the third quarter as Miami (19-17) overcame an 18-point deficit. Goran Dragic added nine of his 25 points in the final 3 1/2 minutes.

Aaron Gordon led all scorers with 39 points but Orlando (12-25) dropped to 4-21 in its last 25 games.

Hawks 104, Trail Blazers 89

Dennis Schroder scored 22 points as Atlanta beat Portland.

Reserve Marco Belinelli scored 14 points as Atlanta (10-26) won for the third time in fourth wins. The Hawks also posted their third straight home win.

Portland star Damian Lillard sat out with a right hamstring injury. Shabazz Napier (18-17) led Portland with 21 points.

76ers 107, Nuggets 102

Jerryd Bayless scored eight of his 14 points in the first 1:06 of the fourth quarter to start a decisive run and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Denver Nuggets 107-102.

Dario Saric had 20 points and nine rebounds, J.J. Redick scored 18 points and Robert Covington had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphia.

Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 31 points, Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and Gary Harris added 17 points for Denver (19-17).

Trey Lyles added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Nuggets.

Editing by John O’Brien

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NBA: Rondo tallies 25 assists for highest total in 21 years

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 29th, 2017

FILE PHOTO: Nov 15, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Rajon Rondo (9) is defended by Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) in the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – New Orleans point guard Rajon Rondo dished out an NBA season-high 25 assists on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets to become the first player to reach the total in 21 years.

Rondo delivered the 25 assists in just 30 minutes to help the Pelicans top the Nets 128-113.

Jason Kidd was the last player to achieve 25 assists back in 1996. The record for most assists in a single NBA game is held by Scott Skiles, who tallied 30 in 1990.

Rondo, who joined the Pelicans on a one-year deal in the off-season, put his passing skills on full display in helping four New Orleans players score more than 20 points on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Rondo had a previous career-best of 24 assists.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Nick Mulvenney

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