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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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NBA roundup: LeBron moves up scoring list in Lakers loss

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2018

Oct 27, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) goes up for a dunk during the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

DeMar DeRozan finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to help the San Antonio Spurs post a 110-106 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night.

Rudy Gay had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Bryn Forbes also scored 16 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 as San Antonio defeated Los Angeles for the second time in less than a week.

LeBron James registered 35 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers. His 17-foot jumper with 7:51 left in the third quarter moved him into sixth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 31,202 career points, 14 more than Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.

In fifth place on the list is Wilt Chamberlain with 31,419 points.

Celtics 109, Pistons 89

Jaylen Brown scored 19 points, and Marcus Morris led a strong bench effort with 18 points as Boston handed host Detroit its first loss.

Boston controlled the game virtually from the opening tap and led by 22 at halftime. Daniel Theis had 17 points and eight rebounds, Gordon Hayward supplied 15 points and Terry Rozier added 14.

Pistons forward Blake Griffin, who entered the game averaging 33.8 points, was held to seven points on 2-of-13 shooting from the field. Andre Drummond led Detroit with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Stanley Johnson contributed a season-high 16 points.

Bucks 113, Magic 91

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds in just 19 minutes as host Milwaukee remained undefeated by routing Orlando.

Milwaukee’s 6-0 start is the team’s best since the 1971-72 squad led by future Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson opened with seven straight wins. The Bucks host the NBA’s only other undefeated team, the Toronto Raptors (6-0), on Monday night.

Khris Middleton had 18 points and seven rebounds, Malcolm Brogdon scored 16 points and Donte DiVincenzo added 15 points off the bench for the Bucks. Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 16 points and nine rebounds.

Heat 120, Trail Blazers 111

Goran Dragic scored 28 points, and Hassan Whiteside provided 16 rebounds and six blocks in host Miami’s defeat of Portland.

Damian Lillard posted a season-high 42 points and added seven rebounds and six assists. He had 41 points in his previous game Thursday night at Orlando.

Miami blew a 19-point second-quarter lead but put together a 10-0 run late. Dwyane Wade, the Heat’s 36-year-old 12-time All-Star who is a reserve in his final NBA season, scored 18 of his 19 points in the first half.

Grizzlies 117, Suns 96

Wayne Selden and Shelvin Mack came off the bench to spark a 19-3 run to start the second quarter, and host Memphis went on to defeat Phoenix.

Selden scored eight points, and Mack added six as the Grizzlies opened up a 45-21 lead in the first four minutes of the period. A Jamal Crawford 3-pointer accounted for the only points scored by the Suns during the Grizzlies’ run.

Marc Gasol led five Grizzlies in double figures with 19 points. Rookie Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists as Phoenix has lost four straight, all by at least 18 points.

76ers 105, Hornets 103

Joel Embiid had 27 points and 14 rebounds, and host Philadelphia turned to defense down the stretch to finish off Charlotte.

Embiid was listed as questionable going into the game because of a sprained ankle, but he played through the pain and was dominant at times. The Sixers snapped a two-game losing streak while the Hornets have lost three of their last four.

Robert Covington finished with 18 points, and JJ Redick scored 15. Kemba Walker finished with 37 points to lead the Hornets, but he was 11 of 31 from the field and 3 of 15 from 3-point range, on a night when the Hornets shot just 38.9 percent collectively.

Pacers 119, Cavaliers 107

Victor Oladipo scored six of his 24 points in the final 7:50 as Indiana handed host Cleveland its sixth straight loss to open the season.

Bojan Bogdanovic had 25 points and combined with Oladipo to hit 20 of their 29 shots, helping Indiana win a second straight game for the first time this season.

The Cavaliers have lost all six of their games by at least seven points in their slowest start since opening 0-7 in 1995. Rodney Hood had 17 points, Larry Nance Jr. 15 and George Hill 14 for the Cavaliers, who were without Kevin Love, out with a sore foot.

Bulls 97, Hawks 85

Zach LaVine scored 27 points, and Jabari Parker came off the bench to score 18 to help Chicago beat host Atlanta.

LaVine was 9 for 19 from the floor, and his step-back jumper with 1:35 remaining was the final nail in Atlanta’s comeback hopes. LaVine then sealed the outcome with a rebound of a missed shot on Atlanta’s next possession.

Chicago also got a season-high 13 points from Ryan Arcidiacono and 12 from former Hawk Justin Holiday. Taurean Prince led Atlanta with 16 points and added five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Trae Young scored 13 points but was 0-for-6 on 3-pointers.

Jazz 132, Pelicans 111

Ricky Rubio scored 28 points as Utah took advantage of the absence of All-NBA forward Anthony Davis to hand host New Orleans its first defeat of the season.

Davis, who averaged 27.3 points and 13.3 rebounds during the Pelicans’ 4-0 start, did not play because of a right elbow strain sustained a night earlier in a victory against Brooklyn.

Rubio added 12 assists and six rebounds, and Rudy Gobert had 25 points and 14 rebounds. Nikola Mirotic led the Pelicans with 25 points and eight rebounds, and Jrue Holiday scored 18 points.

—Field Level Media

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LeBron to make Lakers debut Sunday in San Diego

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Sunday, September 30th, 2018

September 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during media day at UCLA Health Training Center. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The wait is nearly over for fans looking to see LeBron James make his first start for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers coach Luke Walton has announced that James will play in Sunday’s preseason opener against the Denver Nuggets in San Diego. But just how many minutes he’ll play has yet to be determined.

“It will be more than one and less than 48,” said Walton on the Lakers’ official website.

Lakers reporter Mike Trudell tweeted that James will likely play limited minutes.

Following practice earlier this week, James was asked about his plans for the Lakers’ six-game preseason schedule. “I don’t need preseason games [at this stage of my career] to get ready,” he said.

—Field Level Media

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NBA Board approves rules changes

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, September 24th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Apr 21, 2018; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) grabs an offensive rebound during the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game three of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

 

Three rules changes were approved by the NBA Board of Governors on Friday.

The NBA announced adjustments, unanimously recommended by the league’s competition committee, were unanimously approved.

Beginning with the 2018 NBA preseason, the shot clock will reset to 14 seconds in offensive rebounding situations, as opposed to 24; the clear-path foul rule will be simplified; and the definition of a “hostile act” will be expanded for purposes of triggering instant replay review.

The shot clock goes to 14 seconds following offensive rebounds, a measure aimed at increasing shot attempts particularly late in close games. The shot clock reset to 24 seconds anytime the ball hit the rim in previous seasons.

The change to the clear-path foul erases some of the judgment calls for referees by requiring only that the offensive player is ahead of all defensive players and in control of the ball or ready to receive an already released pass. The previous rule included more nuance about the defender’s specific positioning and opportunity to make a play. The new language removes the requirement for the play to start in the backcourt, since transition plays can begin in the frontcourt.

The third rule adopted relates to any “hostile act” that triggers the use of instant replay to include not just player-to-player interactions but also any hostile interaction between a player and a coach, referee or fan.

—Field Level Media

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