Dragic stars as Heat pound Hornets to win series

admin   •   May 2, 2016   •   2145

Sunday, May 01, 2016 May 1, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) drives to the basket as Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin (7) looks on during the second half in game seven of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday, May 01, 2016
May 1, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) drives to the basket as Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin (7) looks on during the second half in game seven of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

(The Sports Xchange) – Miami point guard Goran Dragic had a game-high 25 points as the Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals by routing the Charlotte Hornets 106-73 in a deciding Game 7 on Sunday.

The Heat will play the winner of Sunday other Game 7 between the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers.

“The paint was more open, and I could attack,” Slovenian Dragic said. “(The Hornets) didn’t rotate so quickly. I had more room to operate, and it was a little bit easier than it was earlier.”

Miami, which never trailed, also got 16 points from Gerald Green, 15 points from Luol Deng, 12 points from Dwyane Wade and 10 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks from Hassan Whiteside.

“I’m not a prophet,” Wade said, “but I knew we were winning this game.”

Charlotte, which just a few days ago had a 3-2 series lead, failed to close out the Heat. Hornets guard Kemba Walker, who had 37 points against Miami on Friday, was held to nine points on 3-for-16 shooting. He also had a game-high three turnovers.

Dragic and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised Walker despite his poor final game.

“Kemba is an unbelievable player,” Dragic said. “It’s tough to stay in front of him. We knew he was going to be aggressive, maybe try to catch us being tired. We did an amazing job of team defense.”

Spoelstra said it was a “travesty” that Walker was not named an All-Star this season.

“There isn’t anything Kemba can’t do,” Spoelstra said. “He puts so much pressure on you. But Goran didn’t get discouraged. He found his opportunities to be aggressive once their defense started to weaken.

“Dwyane’s usage was high in the last game. Goran had to be a big factor for us tonight.”

Besides winning the point guard battle, the other big advantage for Miami came on the boards. The Heat had a 58-36 edge on rebounds. That helped Miami hold a 58-22 advantage in paint points. Miami had an 18-5 edge on second-chance points.

In fact, Miami had the advantage from the start, taking a 29-18 lead after the first quarter. The Heat stretched their lead to 54-42 at halftime as Dragic had 17 points.

“We had a bad start because of the rebounding game,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “At halftime, I thought we were fine. But in the third quarter, things got away from us.”

Indeed, Miami raced to a 20-4 start to the third and headed into the final period with an 83-53 lead.

The Hornets’ season, which became doomed midway through the third quarter, was nailed shut in the fourth.

But Clifford and Hornets forward Nicolas Batum said they were proud of the team.

“We had a great season,” Batum said of a Hornets team that had the best record in the Eastern Conference since Feb. 1. “We had a chance to win (on Friday) but D-Wade was amazing. All we can do is learn from it.”

Clifford said he realizes his team, which improved by 15 regular-season wins from the previous year, will ultimately be judged by playoff performances.

“That’s fair,” Clifford said of those bottom-line assessments. “But I’m still proud of our guys. This wasn’t (a) 4-0 (sweep). To go down 2-0 and win the next three games shows what we have in our locker-room.”

(Editing by Andrew Both)

Vince Carter retires after NBA record 22-season career

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter officially announced his retirement from professional basketball on Thursday (June 25) after an NBA record 22-season career during which his high-flying dunks made him one of the game’s top players in his prime.

Carter, widely regarded as one of the greatest dunkers of all time, had previously said the 2019-20 NBA campaign would be his last but had not addressed his playing status since the NBA suspended its season in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I am officially done playing basketball professionally,” Carter, 43, told the “Winging It” podcast.

Carter, the first NBA player to feature in four different decades, signed a one-year deal with the Hawks last August.

However, their season is over as they did not qualify for the NBA’s 22-team format for restarting action in late July at Disney World amid the novel coronavirus.

Carter played for eight teams during his career but will be most remembered for his time with the Toronto Raptors, where he put the Canadian city on the basketball map and earned the nickname “Air Canada” for his feats above the rim.

After his first season in Toronto, Carter was named the NBA’s rookie of the year in 1999. He was then named an All-Star for each of the following eight seasons.

In his second season, Carter won the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend with a dazzling display that further increased his stardom and helped ignite basketball’s popularity in what had otherwise been an ice hockey-mad country.

Carter, who ranks 22nd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, averaged 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during a career that also included stops in New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and Atlanta.

He also helped USA Basketball win gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2003 FIBA Americas tournament. (Reuters)

(Production; David Grip)

League approves plan to resume NBA season in July at Disney World

UNTV News   •   June 5, 2020

REUTERS – The National Basketball Association (NBA) Board of Governors have approved a plan to restart the suspended season with a tentative July 31 start at Disney World, Florida amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the league said on Thursday (June 4).

The plan would see 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams play eight games to determine a 16-team playoff field that would follow the traditional post-season format with four best-of-seven series that would crown a champion no later than October 12.

The league said approval from its Board of Governors, which came on the day originally scheduled for the start of the NBA Finals, is the first formal step among the many required to resume the season.

According to ESPN, the vote on the format was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazes voting against the proposal.

All games, practices and housing would be at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex which is inside the Orlando resort and has multiple hotels and arenas, and would allow the league to limit outside exposure.

The NBA was the first North American sports league to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after one of its players tested positive for the new coronavirus in mid-March.

The 22 returning teams would be comprised of the eight teams from each of the two conferences currently in playoff positions plus the six clubs that are six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.

If everything goes according to plan, the NBA said the 2020-21 season would begin on Dec. 1.

The league also said it plans to hold its 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to determine the order of the first 14 selections on Aug. 25. Lottery teams would be comprised of the eight clubs that do not participate in the restart and the six that go to Florida but do not qualify for the playoffs.

The actual NBA Draft, typically held in June, is now scheduled for Oct. 15.

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season sold for record $560,000

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

NBA great Michael Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season fetched a record $560,000 (463,380 pounds) in an online auction, Sotheby’s said on Sunday (May 17).

The Air Jordan 1s, designed for Jordan in 1985 and the first ever signature sneakers, were expected to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000 in the auction.

Known for selling multimillion-dollar art, Sotheby’s held its first auction dedicated entirely to sneakers last year and had then set a world record of $437,500 for a pair of 1972 Nike running shoes known as the “Moon Shoe.”

“We saw tremendous bidding up until the moment the sale closed, with the value more than doubling in the final hour alone,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s director of eCommerce development.

“That coupled with strong international bidding from six countries on four continents shows not only the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan… but also that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market.”

Like most of Jordan’s basketball shoes, they are a mismatched pair in a size 13 (left) and size 13.5 (right).

The auction coincided with the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan brand and the screening of the 10-part ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and Jordan. The final two episodes of the show are set to air later on Sunday.

The shoes were sold by collector Jordan Geller, the founder of the sneaker museum Shoezeum in Las Vegas. (Reuters)

(Production: David Grip)

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