Category Archives: NBA

Jerebko, Durant Lead Warriors Past Jazz in 124-123 Squeaker

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Jonas Jerebko returned to Utah and got what he was looking for.

Jerebko crashed the basket and tipped in a shot against his former team with 0.3 seconds remaining to lift the Golden State Warriors to a 124-123 victory over the Jazz on Friday night.

“My teammates knew this was a big game for me coming back here. I wanted to win and told them I really wanted this one,” said Jerebko, who couldn’t stop smiling after the victory.

Warriors at Jazz

Kevin Durant drives around Royce O’Neale on Oct 19, 2018 in Salt Lake City. (Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

Kevin Durant, who scored 38 points, missed a running jumper. But Jerebko, who was let go by Utah as a free agent after last season and who was just subbed in to spread the floor with his long-range shooting ability, charged in from the right side and delivered the game-winning put-back.

“I took the ball out, so I knew I was going to give it to K.D. and I knew he was going to shoot it, so I just tried to get to the rim,” Jerebko said.

Jerebko, who finished with 10 points, punched the air in celebration and then was mobbed by his new teammates in a scene that looked more like a playoff game than the second game of the season.

“To win that game in that way, that was really special,” Jerebko said.

Durant thought his last shot was going down, but he couldn’t have been happier for Jerebko.

“Jonas was there in the right place at the right time. It was very fitting that he comes back here and gets the game-winning tip. We were very excited for him afterwards,” Durant said.

The Jazz had taken their last lead when Jae Crowder scored off his own miss with 51.4 seconds left in the game.

Warriors v. Jazz

Stephen Curry looks to pass in the first half on Oct. 19, 2018 in Salt Lake City. (Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

Stephen Curry scored 31 points and Draymond Green had 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists and a fistful of attitude.

Joe Ingles paced the Jazz with 27 points, including seven 3-pointers, and Donovan Mitchell added 19 points, but missed all six of his fourth-quarter attempts.

“It’s more physical,” Mitchell said. “They’re taking away my easy looks. I just got to be able to hit the tougher shots. That’s all it is.”

Crowder had 17 points and Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Dante Exum gave the Jazz a 111-101 advantage with 8:53 left in the game. The Warriors responded with their most inspired defense of the night and went on a 13-0 run — Draymond Green’s layup made it 114-111 — to set up the game-ending fireworks.

High scores have been common in the first week of the NBA season, but the Jazz and Warriors took it to a new level, especially in the first half, which ended with Utah leading 81-69.

In a role reversal, the Jazz were the ones letting shots fly from behind the arc with 46 3-point attempts. The Jazz made 19, while the Warriors made 10 of 19 from long range.

After the Warriors whittled their 16-point deficit down to 3, Ingles beat the third-quarter buzzer with a running, double-pump 3-pointer from 37 feet.

SHOOTING STARS?

Ingles recently called himself the best shooter in the NBA. When asked about that claim, Stephen Curry joked, “That just means in Las Vegas in summer league in 2009 we had two of the best shooters of all time on the same team. . We got a lot in common then.” Curry averaged 17.4 points in five summer league games for Golden State while teammate Ingles shot 20 percent from the field in scoring 3.2 points per game.

NOT LIKE THE GOOD OL’ DAYS

As a member of the Chicago Bulls championship teams in the late 1990s, Kerr said this contest wasn’t like the knock-down, drag-out games between Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen versus John Stockton and Karl Malone. “I remember being in this building about 20 years ago in the Finals and literally, the final score was like the halftime score tonight. That shows you how much the game has changed.”

TIP-INS

Warriors: Allowing 47 points in the second quarter ties a record for a Golden State opponent. Atlanta did it first in 1990. … There were 26 lead changes and 12 ties in the first half. … Twice, Green pushed Gobert after fouls and the result of the second shoving match was double-technicals on Green and Favors. … Andre Iguodala sat out, but Coach Steve Kerr said, “If this were a playoff game, he’d play. We’re just going to be very cautious.”

Jazz: After the late evening tip, the game was stopped on the first play for several minutes because of a clock malfunction. … The Jazz set a franchise record of 81 points in the first half. … The Jazz made 10 of 16 3-pointers in the second quarter, another record. … Georges Niang posted a career-high with eight points.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Visit Denver on Sunday evening.

© Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Sacramento Kings Score 129 In Loss To New Orleans Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Nikola Mirotic scored 36 points, Anthony Davis had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the pace-pushing New Orleans Pelicans continued their torrid start to the season with a 149-129 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

Jrue Holiday had 15 points and 10 assists for the Pelicans, who shot 58.9 percent (56 of 95) and reached 110 points before the third quarter ended.

RELATED: Sacramento Kings Start Fast, Stumble In Opening Night Loss To Utah Jazz

Julius Randle and Ian Clark each scored 13, and Randle also had 13 rebounds for New Orleans, which opened the season with a surprising 131-112 victory at Houston and has scored at least 30 points in each of its first eight quarters of play so far.

Mirotic hit three 3s in quick succession in the middle of the fourth quarter, the third a step-back shot from the right wing, drawing chants of “Ni-ko! Ni-ko!” from the crowd.

Willie Cauley-Stein scored 20 points and Marvin Bagley III had 19 for Sacramento, which has lost its first two games. De’Aron Fox and Frank Mason each scored 18 for the Kings, who shot 52.1 percent but simply could not keep up with the Pelicans, whose relentless style produced a slew of crowd-pleasing moments.

RELATED: Sacramento Kings 2018-19 Schedule Is Out; Utah Jazz First Up

In the first half, Holiday lofted a right-handed lob that looked like a running hook to Davis, who soared to palm the ball with his right hand and slam it down in one motion.

Later, Davis grabbed an offensive rebound as he crashed to the court, and from his back flipped a pass to Holiday, who drove down the lane for a layup.

New Orleans finished with 16 3-pointers on 31 attempts from deep (51.6 percent).

TIP-INS

Kings: Former Pelicans first-round draft choice Buddy Hield scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. … C Kosta Koufos was out with a right hamstring strain.

Pelicans: Randle played despite being on New Orleans’ injury list with left plantar fasciitis. … G Elfrid Payton had 11 points to go with six rebounds and six assists in his second game with New Orleans after getting a triple-double in his debut. … Darius Miller scored 10 points. … The Pelicans are 2-0 for the first time since 2011-12, the last season before Davis was drafted.

UP NEXT

Kings: Visit Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Pelicans: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

 

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.

Simmons Triple-Double Leads 76ers Past Bulls 127-108

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Markelle Fultz heard 20,000 Philadelphia 76ers fans exhort him to shoot each time he touched the ball, a roaring confidence boost for a No. 1 pick closer to a bust than brilliance.

Fultz had the look he wanted in the second quarter. He dribbled to the foul line without a defender in his path, pulled up and uncorked a jumper. The ball rattled around the rim before it fluttered through the net.

Sixers fans rose to their feet, erupted in cheers and chanted “Fultz! Fultz! Fultz!”

Yes, a simple jumpshot from the top pick of the 2017 draft in the second game of the season was enough to get a rise out of the fans — and a sigh of relief from Fultz.

“It makes me feel better for the whole crowd to feel as good as I want to,” Fultz said.

The curious case of Fultz’s missing jumper continued against the Bulls when one of the more scrutinized players in the NBA managed to steal the spotlight from his more accomplished teammates with routine — yet highlight-reel worthy — baskets.

Until he gets his shot right, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid will continue to lead the Sixers.

Simmons had a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists and Embiid had 30 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Chicago Bulls 127-108 on Thursday night.

Fultz scored 12 points on 5 of 15 shooting, the most shots taken by a Sixer.

“He shot it to mean it,” coach Brett Brown said. “He didn’t look afraid of anything. He missed the shots but they looked good.”

Fultz is coming off a miserable rookie season that was shortened because of a right shoulder injury, a broken shot and busted confidence. Even his personal shooting coach said Fultz suffered from the “yips,” an assertion shot down on media day by the second-year guard. Fultz simply blamed his lost season on the injury. Brown tried to give Fultz a confidence boost by putting him in the starting lineup — yet has benched him for the start of the second half.

Fultz was 1 of 6 in 15 minutes in the first half and didn’t play again until late in the third and the Sixers leading by 88-68.

“The challenge is to grow him and help us win the game,” Brown said. “There’s no book that tells you how to do that, so you’re going to have to figure some stuff out. There will be some pain along the way and some positives.”

With or without Fultz, the 76ers had plenty of positives after an opening-night disaster in Boston.

Simmons reached a triple-double with 2:34 left in the third, the 13th of his career and the first Sixer to ever get one in the home opener. Sixers fans chanted “Trust the Process!” when Embiid ended the third with free throws.

Fultz proved a long-range ace again in the fourth — this time with a 3! He drained his first career 3-pointer for a 108-88 lead and the Philly fans that are firmly perched in his corner went wild and again chanted his name.

The Sixers know that if they want to become legitimate Eastern Conference contenders, Fultz will have to become the star they envisioned when they drafted him.

“I’m never afraid,” Fultz said. “I worked hard this summer. Tonight, I didn’t make a lot of them, but I’m going to keep shooting them. If I see an open shot, I’m going to go shoot it.”

He didn’t even mind when Chicago’s defense sagged off him, daring him to take shots. The Bulls, not expected to win much in the East, scored a combined 35 points in the second and third quarters. Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 30 points in their season opener.

“When we started missing shots, we stopped guarding and rebounding,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.

TIP-INS

Bulls: G Kris Dunn missed the game for the birth of his son. … Bobby Portis had 20 points and 11 rebounds.

76ers: Rapper Meek Mill sat courtside and rang the ceremonial Liberty Bell to start the game. … Embiid thanked the fans for coming and told them to “Trust the Process.”

1ST Q & NO D

Embiid scored 12 points in the first 5 minutes of the game and neither team missed many looks in the first quarter. The Sixers made 11 of their first 14 shots and the Bulls started 14 of 19. The 76ers shot a whopping 70 percent in the quarter and still trailed the Bulls 41-38.

UP NEXT

Bulls: Play home opener Saturday against Detroit.

76ers: Host Orlando on Saturday.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Sacramento Kings Start Fast, Stumble In Opening Night Loss To Utah Jazz

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Donovan Mitchell scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and the Utah Jazz overcame an uneven performance on both ends of the floor to beat the Sacramento Kings 123-117 in the season opener for both teams Wednesday night.

Rudy Gobert had 19 points and 15 rebounds, Joe Ingles scored 22 and Derrick Favors added 18 points and nine boards as the Jazz won their sixth straight against the Kings.

Utah trailed by 16 early in the first quarter, blew a 14-point lead in the third and then pulled away in the fourth.

RELATED: Pursuit Ends Outside Golden 1 Center As Kings Opener Wraps Up

Mitchell, runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting last season, struggled with his shot all night but came up big late. He made a pair of 3-pointers, scored on a driving layup and hit a key free throw with 1:46 remaining.

Mitchell shot 8 of 21 and went made only 3 of 10 on 3s.

Seven players scored in double figures for Utah.

Willie Cauley-Stein had 23 points and seven rebounds for Sacramento. De’Aaron Fox added 21 points and seven assists.

Marvin Bagley III, the second overall pick in this year’s NBA draft, had six points and five rebounds in 12 minutes off the bench for the Kings.

Utah beat the Kings by 39 points in a preseason game less than a week earlier but got off to a sloppy start and fell behind 25-9 late in the first quarter.

Things turned around quickly for coach Quin Snyder’s team.

The Jazz put up 59 points over the next 16 minutes, getting 17 from Ingles, who repeatedly scored from the perimeter after getting freed up on screens.

Ingles had 10 points in the second and Mitchell made a layup and 3-pointer to cap a 12-2 run that put the Jazz up 68-55 at halftime.

Utah led 71-57 early in the third before Sacramento went on an 18-2 run.

TIP-INS

Jazz: Jae Crowder picked up a technical foul in the third quarter when he shoved the ball into Nemanja Bjelica’s chest after getting fouled. . Utah missed seven of its first nine shots and had five turnovers in the first 5½ minutes. . Mitchell was 3 of- 1 in the first half.

Kings: Frank Mason made a buzzer-beating 3 to end the first quarter. . Cauley-Stein was called for a technical when he said something to an official while walking off the court in the third.

UP NEXT

Jazz: Host the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

Kings: At the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.

 

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.

Warriors Prepare For Bittersweet Arena Move Across The Bay

OAKLAND (AP) — If anybody understands an arena’s link to a city, to a faithful fan base, Kevin Durant does.

Durant played the final NBA game in KeyArena for the Seattle SuperSonics a decade ago before the franchise’s relocation to Oklahoma City, then returned for a nostalgic exhibition earlier this month in the venue’s final event. On Tuesday night, he will play an opener against his former Thunder team to begin Golden State’s goodbye season at Oracle Arena.

The two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP wants to make sure the Warriors leave more positive memories and defining moments before next year’s move to new Chase Center in San Francisco.

“Luckily we’re not moving to the middle of the country, we’re moving across a 20- to 30-minute drive,” Durant said, “so hopefully that’s a little better for fans to take.”

The Warriors’ pending move comes amid a recent spate of upgrades for NBA franchises.

In Milwaukee, the Bucks will try to build momentum in their new downtown Fiserv Forum next door to the old Bradley Center where they spent the past 30 years. The Timberwolves will play in new-look Target Center following a two-year renovation that cost about $140 million and features a complete overhaul of the arena bowl, a glass entryway outside and other amenities such as a modernized team store and concession stands.

The Sacramento Kings begin their third season in sparkling Golden 1 Center.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was an assistant in San Antonio when the Spurs moved from the Alamodome to a new basketball-only arena in 2002.

“There’s nothing like having a great home atmosphere, having great energy in the building,” Budenholzer said. “There’s no doubt you go into certain cities in the NBA, you know that the crowd is going to be on top of you, the crowd is going to be loud. You have a tough night as a team because of that crowd.”

In Atlanta, Hawks will unveil their $192.5 million makeover of State Farm Arena, formerly Philips Arena. The Hawks say the renovation, which overlapped two seasons, is one of the largest in NBA history. Among the most compelling new features in the arena — in which capacity has been slightly reduced to 16,600 — will be the league’s third-largest center-hung scoreboard with a rounded, 360-degree video screen.

Golden State’s move across San Francisco Bay will be a tough one for many. Fans, players, coaches, even executives, realize how much the Warriors have done for the East Bay in nearly five decades at Oracle. Even through all the down years.

In blue-collar Oakland and right off one of California’s busiest freeways, Oracle has become one of the most imposing stops for opponents on either coast — the frenzied crowd cheering the talented Warriors makes its presence felt.

“It’s still tough for us moving out of Oakland,” Durant said. “But we’re just trying to come out this season and let them know that even though we’re moving we’re still going to be here in the Bay Area, we’re still going to be your team and hopefully people understand that and realize we’re still going to be the Bay Area’s team no matter if we’re playing in San Jose, Oakland or San Francisco.”

The Warriors are offering a similar message: “We’re leaving a building, we’re not leaving a city.”

That’s the motto COO and President Rick Welts is sharing as Golden State, winner of three titles over the past four years, prepares to move into that snazzy, privately funded new arena. Welts hopes fans will stick it out through the transition — realizing full well some might feel abandoned.

“When we talk about the magic of Oracle, the magic of Oracle is the people that are in Oracle,” Welts said. “And to know that four out of five of those people are coming to Chase Center it’s one other element of wanting to maintain that incredible atmosphere that we have.”

From all the down years to the thrilling “We Believe” playoffs of 2007 when Baron Davis and the Warriors ended a 12-year postseason drought then stunned the Mavericks in the first round, loyal fans in the East Bay have experienced all the highs right along with the lowest of lows.

One of the arena’s loudest moments ever was when Davis drove left to the baseline for a powerful one-handed slam over Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko during a 125-105 Game 3 victory in the Western Conference semifinals, Golden State’s lone win of that series.

The lead up to that playoff run left a lasting impression on those players involved in the turnaround. Long before tipoff, the noise was deafening.

“It didn’t matter who showed up, whether we had 10 people, they were going to be as loud and as proud as they could be for our team,” former center Adonal Foyle recalled. “There’s a really amazing spirit to Oakland and what the teams mean to their lives. I think more than anything else what I wanted more than anything with ‘We Believe’ was to just win one for the people that were in the stands every day supporting us.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr could feel it even back during his playing days coming through.

He always loved playing in Oakland even when the Warriors were bad because the fans were so committed, so loud.

“It is bittersweet. I think the new arena’s going to be amazing and we’re all excited about that but we’re all bummed to be moving on from Oracle,” Kerr said. “So, we would love to finish it the right way. It’s hard to replicate an atmosphere like Oracle’s. I think back to Boston Garden, going to the new Garden, the old Chicago Stadium where I played to the new one. It’s hard to create that same sort of intimacy when you’re building a new arena with suites and concourses and everything else. We know this new arena’s going to be great for our organization. It’s going to provide an incredible viewing experience for people coming in. But that doesn’t make it any easier to leave Oracle and leave Oakland.”

At Chase Center, white exterior panels have already gone up on the east and south sides and are beginning to wrap around to the western end near the main lobby entrance. A waterfront park project is also underway.

“It is crazy. I don’t even know what to think about that yet because Oracle has always … that’s been my experience as a Warrior,” two-time MVP Stephen Curry said. “I don’t think I’m ready to think about what’s next yet.”

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.