Rampant Durant helps Warriors silence Thunder

admin   •   January 19, 2017   •   6056

January 18, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0, right) dunks the basketball past Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

(The Sports Xchange) – Kevin Durant terrorized his former team for the second straight time on Wednesday, pouring in a season-high 40 points in the Golden State Warriors’ 121-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Durant, who left the Thunder as a free agent in the off-season and dropped 39 points on them in November, contributed 13 points to a third-quarter flurry as the Warriors (36-6) exploded into a 93-78 lead after having been tied at 56-56 at halftime.

Durant’s big scoring night, the 47th 40-point game of his career, helped the Warriors overcome Thunder guard Russell Westbrook’s 21st triple-double of the season.

Westbrook totaled 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists, but he also was harassed into 8-for-23 shooting and 10 turnovers.

The double-figure turnover total was the sixth of Westbrook’s career and the third during a triple-double performance.

Klay Thompson provided most of the Warriors’ defensive attention on Westbrook after he had earlier in the day left the team for a family matter in Portland.

Thompson returned in time to contribute offensively as well, chipping in 14 points as Golden State beat Oklahoma City for the seventh consecutive time in Oakland.

Stephen Curry had 24 points, including nine in the decisive third quarter, for the Warriors, who shot 54.1 percent from the field and 10-for-21 on three-pointers.

Durant played a large part in both impressive percentages, hitting 13-of-16 from the field and five of his seven three-pointers.

The first-year Warrior also had a team-high 12 rebounds, helping Golden State gain a 46-36 advantage in that area.

Draymond Green had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors.

Westbrook had 16 of his points in the first half, during which the Thunder led by as many as seven.

He also drew a flagrant foul on Golden State center Zaza Pachulia in the final minute of the half, producing the two free throws that created the halftime tie.

Westbrook clinched his triple-double with his 10th assist in the seventh minute of the third quarter. He went on to log 36 minutes.

Enes Kanter totaled 22 points and Victor Oladipo had 20 for Oklahoma City (25-19), which lost three of four to start a six-game trip.

The Thunder shot 42.2 percent overall and were 8-for-28 on three-pointers.

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

NBA free agency roundup: Big names signing as world waits for LeBron

UNTV News   •   July 2, 2018


Jun 8, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) passes the ball against Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second quarter in game four of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA free agency period began at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday, and the wait for LeBron James to decide where he will play next season officially began. But not everyone was interested in waiting around.

Reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors will reportedly continue their successful partnership, agreeing to a two-year deal with a player option for the second year late Saturday night.

According to multiple reports, Durant will make $30 million in 2018-19 and have a $31.5 million option for the following season. While he declined his $26.2 million option for next season to become a free agent, Durant had said all along he wanted to stay in Golden State.

Durant, 29, averaged 26.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 68 regular-season games in 2017-18, missing time due to a rib cartilage fracture.

In the postseason, Durant contributed 29 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 21 games, guiding Golden State past the San Antonio Spurs, the New Orleans Pelicans, the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers.

—ESPN reported that James’ agent, Rich Paul, is meeting with the Philadelphia 76ers’ brass in Los Angeles, adding that James is not expected to attend the meeting despite being in Southern California.

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76ers coach Brett Brown was said to be on hand with owners to lead the meeting, likely pointing to the assemblage of young stars like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid they could surround James with.

Cleveland Cavaliers GM Koby Altman also spoke to both James and Paul in a phone call right after free agency opened at 12:01 a.m., according to the network.

James, 33, would have made $35.6 million in the 2018-19 season had he exercised his option with the Cavs. According to ESPN, James could still fetch as much as $207 million over five years from the Cavaliers, while other teams can offer a max of $152 million over four years. James has been linked to multiple teams in free agency, most notably the Los Angeles Lakers and 76ers.

—At the stroke of midnight, Paul tweeted that he has “unfinished business” in Houston. At that same time, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the star point guard is poised to sign a four-year, $160 million max contract to stay with the Rockets.

With Paul running the offense, the Rockets surged to the best record in the NBA’s regular season at 65-17. But Houston lost to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in seven games in the Western Conference finals, losing the final two games with Paul out because of a hamstring injury.

The Rockets also will bring back swingman Gerald Green on a one-year minimum salary contract worth $2.4 million, according to multiple reports, while starting swingman Trevor Ariza is reportedly heading to Phoenix on a one-year, $15 million deal.

—George committed to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder with a four-year, $137 million max contract, multiple outlets reported late Saturday night.

George was actually in town Saturday night, as star teammate Russell Westbrook reportedly threw a big party. TheHoopCentral tweeted a video of George, standing next to Westbrook, announcing, “If y’all didn’t quite get it, let me say it again: I’m here to stay. I’m here to stay.”

George, who would have been among the top prizes available in free agency, was traded to the Thunder last summer from the Indiana Pacers, giving Oklahoma City a season to try to work out a longer-term relationship. George declined to exercise his player option for 2018-19, making him an unrestricted free agent as of midnight.

The Thunder also re-signed forward Jerami Grant to a three-year, $27 million deal, according to ESPN. Per the report, the third year of the deal is a player option.

—Jordan, who declined his player option with the Los Angeles Clippers last week, agreed to a one-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks, according to multiple reports.

The center’s salary with the Mavericks will approach the $24.1 million that he would have earned with the Clippers had he exercised his option, according to the New York Times.

Jordan has a bit of history regarding offseason talks with both the Mavericks and the Clippers. In July 2015, he verbally agreed to join the Mavs on a four-year, $80 million contract during the moratorium period before contracts could be officially signed. After having second thoughts and getting recruited by his Los Angeles teammates to re-sign, he reneged and signed a four-year, $88 million deal to stay with the Clippers.

—The Denver Nuggets and restricted free agent center Jokic agreed on a five-year max contract, according to multiple media reports.

The deal reportedly is worth $148 million and does not include a player option for the fifth year, as many similar deals do. The Nuggets reportedly sought the lack of a player option in exchange for previously declining Jokic’s $1.6 million option for 2018-19.

Jokic, 23, led the Nuggets in three offensive categories last season when he averaged 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists. He also shot 39.6 percent from 3-point range and 85 percent from the free-throw line.

—The New Orleans Pelicans and Lakers each called center DeMarcus Cousins after free agency began and Cousins is expected to schedule meetings with both teams, according to The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that Cousins would be an “increasingly likely target” for the Lakers on a short-term, max-level contract.

** Houston will reportedly meet with restricted free agent center Clint Capela and his representatives in Los Angeles on Sunday after agreeing to terms with Paul and Green.

Capela is coming off a career year with the Rockets in which he averaged 13.9 points and 10.8 rebounds while making a league-best 65.2 percent of his field goal attempts.

—Guard Will Barton is reportedly expected to re-sign with the Nuggets on a four-year contract reportedly worth more than $50 million and containing a player option in the fourth year.

—Former Dallas Mavericks forward Doug McDermott will join the Indiana Pacers on a three-year contract that, according to ESPN, is worth $22 million and fully guaranteed.

—The Brooklyn Nets kept their best long-range shooter, guard Joe Harris, and also picked up frontcourt depth with well-traveled Ed Davis, most recently of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Harris is expected to get a two-year, $16 million contract while Davis reportedly agreed to a one-year, $4.4 million contract.

—Stein reported that Minnesota plans to offer guard Jimmy Butler the maximum extension, four years for around $110 million, once he is eligible to sign on July 9.

However, Butler is not expected to be interested in an extention this offseason, as he could sign a five-year deal for $187 million or become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Wojnarowski reported that free agent guard Derrick Rose agreed to a one-year deal to remain with the club.

—Big man Ersan Ilyasova, who began his 10-year career with the Bucks, is returning to Milwaukee, according to ESPN.

Ilyasova reportedly agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract. The third year of the deal is reportedly not guaranteed.

—The Toronto Raptors have reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with restricted free agent Fred VanVleet, a finalist for Sixth Man of the Year last season.

The deal is worth $18 million, according to a report by Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania.

—The Boston Celtics are retaining unrestricted free agent center Aron Baynes with a two-year, $11 million contract, according to multiple reports.

He averaged 6.0 points and posted career highs in rebounds (5.4) and assists (1.1) per game in 81 appearances (67 starts) in his first season with Boston.

—The San Antonio Spurs are keeping forward Rudy Gay and re-adding swingman Marco Belinelli, according to multiple reports.

Earlier this month, Gay opted out of his contract with San Antonio that would have paid him $8.8 million in 2018-19. Instead, he will make $10 million next season on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports.

Belinelli, 32, will sign a two-year, $12 million contract, according to Wojnarowski.

—The Memphis Grizzlies reached an agreement on a one-year deal with forward Omri Casspi, according to ESPN.

Terms were not available, but the Grizzlies are limited to smaller moves unless they can unload Chandler Parsons, who has $49 million owed to him over the next two seasons.

—The Portland Trail Blazers opened free agency by reaching a one-year deal with guard Nik Stauskas, ESPN reported.

Terms were not announced, but the deal is likely for the league minimum given the Blazers’ salary cap constraints. Stauskas, 24, was the eighth overall pick by the Sacramento Kings in 2014, but has been limited to 7.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in 267 career games.

—Field Level Media

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Pacers’ Oladipo showing the promise he once projected

UNTV News   •   December 25, 2017

Dec 23, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets guard Allen Crabbe (33) during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Benefiting from an off-season trade, Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo is finally becoming the franchise player he was projected to be.

The 2013 top-two draft choice had been seen as ancillary to the deal when Indiana sent cornerstone Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But Oladipo appears focused on proving his worth in a new lead role with the Pacers.

“I was already motivated before (the trade to Indiana), Oladipo told Reuters following a recent win over Atlanta.

“Then (the trade) just happened. It might have added on a little bit but I was already motivated.”

The fifth-year player has translated his motivation into career-best production as he averages 25.3 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting, which includes 42.5 percent from three-point range.

He adds five rebounds and nearly two steals a night.

The Pacers, who were expected to fall off a cliff in the absence of George, are holding steady at 19-14, the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference.

Oladipo has been particularly devastating in the month of December, erupting for scoring binges that included a 47-point night in a win against Denver.

Always known for his slashing athleticism and versatile defense, Oladipo has found a shooting comfort back in Indiana where he starred as a college player.

“He’s come into the season with confidence, and I think to prove himself,” said Pacers coach Nate McMillan who has enjoyed extensive film sessions with his new guard.

“There was a lot of conversation out there that the Pacers didn’t get enough in (trading away George). I think he’s proven to the league that he has talent.”

The Orlando Magic were intrigued by Oladipo’s talent when they drafted him as the second overall pick in the 2013 draft.

After three solid but not spectacular seasons with the Magic, Oladipo was shipped to the Thunder.

Playing alongside ball-dominant superstar Russell Westbrook, Oladipo had the role of unsung sidekick.

So when the Pacers landed Oladipo, expectations were low.

He is proving otherwise and appears headed for his first ever All Star appearance.

“We felt like he had potential and he’s showing that he did,” McMillan said. “He’s playing with confidence. And when you have that kind of ability and play with that kind of confidence, good things are going to happen for you.”

Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Gene Cherry

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