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Sat May 1918:26Warriors eager to get back on the court, respond from loss
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — One good beating per series is plenty for Draymond Green and Golden State.The Warriors got it in Game 2 at Houston, and now the defending champions plan to do what they seem to do best: bounce back with brilliance.As the Western Conference finals showdown shifts to Oracle Arena for Sunday's Game 3, tied at one game apiece, the Warriors have spent the past few days discussing their Game 2 troubles and what they're striving to do in order not to be dominated again.It's time to play."I think we're at our best when we feel threatened," Green said Saturday. "Game 1 we felt threatened, we came out with a sense of urgency. Game 2 we maybe didn't feel as threatened and the sense of urgency wasn't there. I think you're allowed one of those a series. We've had our one, now it's time to lock in for the remainder of the series."And for the Warriors that starts on the defensive end against Chris Paul, James Harden and Co., because when they get stops it allows Golden State ... [More]
Fri May 1820:36Stephen Curry, Warriors unconcerned about MVP's shooting
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry has absolutely no concerns about his 3-point touch, so he's counting on the first one he takes going in."I have confidence in myself and my teammates have confidence in me to do what I need to do," the two-time MVP said Friday. "Never worry about it because I know how hard I work at it. It's not a false sense of confidence. I know how hard I work at what I do."His teammates and coach also say enough with the panic about Curry already. Kevin Durant doesn't even want to hear about any shooting struggles: he considers Curry the best shooter on the planet, and so be it if he shows he's human, too, once in a while. This is after all the same sweet shooter who broke his own NBA record for 3s in a single season by hitting 402 in 2015-16."When Steph misses a shot everybody gets up in arms about it. That's how great he is. So many people expect him to make every single shot. Sometimes it doesn't happen," Durant said. "I knew the next couple days was going ... [More]
Fri May 1818:26Rockets head into Game 3 confident after big win in Game 2
HOUSTON (AP) — The Rockets have reason to feel good, tied with Golden State after winning Game 2 in a rout in the Western Conference finals.But a big challenge awaits Sunday at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have won an NBA-record tying 15 straight playoff games.Houston coach Mike D'Antoni knows all about Golden State's success in Oakland, but thinks it has less to do with being at home than the fact that the Warriors are a great team."The challenge is you're playing Golden State. That's why they've won 15 in a row. Not because of the building, but because they're good," he said. "All these players are used to playing in hostile environments ... it helps a little bit (but) sometimes you feed off the energy also from the other crowd. So you try to take them out as soon as you can and take out the crowd."The Rockets aren't daunted by Golden State's winning streak there and are looking forward to the challenge."It's definitely a great place to play," Trevor Ariza said. "Their fans are... [More]
Fri May 1802:46Houston's P.J. Tucker's unique style a hit on, off the court
HOUSTON (AP) — P.J. Tucker wasn't a high draft pick and actually is undersized by NBA standards.At 6-foot-6, the Houston Rockets forward's intensity and defensive grit helps him overachieve against taller opponents on a nightly basis.Off the court, Tucker also defies the norm.He has spent years curating a wardrobe that has helped his style ascend to the upper echelons of fashion.Tucker was in the Balmain store in Paris during this year's NBA All-Star break when the manager told him there was a special one-of-a-kind piece that would be perfect for him.When Tucker first laid eyes on the beaded haute couture jacket at the French luxury fashion house he loved it, but was certain it wouldn't fit his muscular 245-pound frame.It did."Everybody in fashion knows of those must-have pieces where you're just like: 'I've got to have it,'" Tucker said. "And I had to have this."Then he learned the price of the black and gold open front jacket: $25,000."I had no idea. I was like: 'Oh all right, that... [More]
Wed May 1601:47Green's conference finals culmination of long journey
HOUSTON (AP) — Gerald Green was at a crossroads.Released by Milwaukee in training camp, the career journeyman couldn't find another NBA team that wanted him.He contemplated playing internationally and in the G League, but no one had any use for the over-30 player with almost a decade of NBA experience."I was honestly contemplating retirement," he told The Associated Press. "A lot of people don't know that, but I was done."So he contacted his agent to put an expiration date on his basketball career."I was like: 'Look man, when Jan. 1, 2018, hits, if I'm unsigned, I'm putting out a big statement on my Instagram letting everybody know, thank you for the awesome career over all these years but I'm done,'" he said. "'I ain't going to play no more.'"Just four days shy of his self-imposed deadline, Green received the call that would change everything: His hometown Houston Rockets wanted him."Basketball was the last thing on my mind until I got that call," he said. "Then it's kind of like ..... [More]
Sun May 1315:26Top-seed Houston hosts Warriors to start conference finals
HOUSTON (AP) — The Golden State Warriors are in the unfamiliar position of opening on the road as they prepare for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals with the top-seeded Rockets in Houston on Monday night in the series that many have been waiting for all season.It's the first time the No. 2 Warriors have been in a playoff series without home-court advantage since 2014 when they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 4-3 in the opening round.For a team that has matched the Chicago Bulls' NBA record with 15 straight home playoff victories, the feeling is a bit unsettling."It's different," coach Steve Kerr said. "I think our guys, they are taking the challenge and they're embracing it. They feel like, 'OK, we don't have home court for the first time,' but we seem to be at our best when we are threatened. That's been kind of the M.O. of this team. We're definitely threatened. We're on the road for Game 1, we've never felt that."The Rockets, who earned the top seed for the first time in fr... [More]
Sat May 1211:26NBA Conference Finals preview capsules
Capsules for NBA's conference finals that start Sunday in the East, Monday in the West:___EASTERN CONFERENCENo. 2 BOSTON CELTICS (55-27, 8-4) vs. No. 4 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (50-32, 8-3)Season series: Cavaliers, 2-1.Story line: Cleveland's LeBron James is one round away from his eighth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals, and it's an East finals rematch between two franchises that look incredibly different than they did 12 months ago. Kyrie Irving went from Cleveland to Boston last summer; his season is over because of a knee injury. Isaiah Thomas went from Boston to Cleveland in that deal; his season is over because he's long moved on from the Cavs. It's two teams that were written off plenty of times this season, yet here they are again.How They Got Here: Boston beat No. 7 Milwaukee 4-3 and No. 3 Philadelphia 4-1. Cleveland beat No. 5 Indiana 4-3 and No. 1 Toronto 4-0.Key Matchup: Boston's Al Horford vs. Cleveland's Kevin Love. James is going to be great; that's a given. The Cavs will n... [More]
Fri May 1119:05Houston's Capela develops into pivotal player for Rockets
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston's Clint Capela certainly isn't a household name, and doesn't get nearly the attention other centers like Ruby Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns receive.But after he outshined those stars the first two rounds of the playoffs, the league is taking notice that Capela is one of the pivotal pieces to Houston's success as the team prepares for its showdown with Golden State in the Western Conference finals starting Monday."What he does is as good or better than anybody in the league without a doubt," coach Mike D'Antoni said.Capela leads the NBA this postseason in blocks (2.8 a game) and offensive rebounds (4.1 per contest). He's fourth with 12.2 rebounds a game overall and his 14.4 point average in the playoffs ranks third on the Rockets behind James Harden and Chris Paul. This came after a regular season where the fourth-year player posted career highs in virtually every statistical category. He averaged 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in helping the Rockets ... [More]
Thu May 1016:05Draymond Green elevates game, brings it on both ends for W's
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Draymond Green's remarkable postseason has pushed beyond basketball, featuring Charles Barkley declaring he'd like to punch the emotional Golden State forward, a death threat from a frustrated fan who Green encouraged to get the help he needs, and an attempt by the All-Star to listen in on the Pelicans huddle.Oh, and it just so happens Green also became the first Warriors player to ever average a triple-double in a postseason series."He's just incredibly engaged and locked in. This is the best I've seen him play all year," coach Steve Kerr said. "Draymond has to play hard to do what he does. I think the playoffs have energized him."Green is at his best on the big stage and playing just on the edge — pushing boundaries by being just physical enough without crossing the line, dishing out just enough trash talk, though others may beg to differ.Just as Barkley did.Green flaps his mouth with the best of them in what many might consider over-the-top gamesmanship, e... [More]
Thu May 1014:15Draymond Green elevates game, brings it on both ends for W's
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Draymond Green's remarkable postseason has pushed beyond basketball, featuring Charles Barkley declaring he'd like to punch the emotional Golden State forward, a death threat from a frustrated fan that Green encouraged to get the help he needs, and an attempt by the All-Star to listen in on the Pelicans huddle.Oh, and it just so happens Green also became the first Warriors player to ever average a triple-double in a postseason series."He's just incredibly engaged and locked in. This is the best I've seen him play all year," coach Steve Kerr said. "Draymond has to play hard to do what he does. I think the playoffs have energized him."Green is at his best on the big stage and playing just on the edge — pushing boundaries by being just physical enough without crossing the line, dishing out just enough trash talk, though others may beg to differ.Just as Barkley did.Green flaps his mouth with the best of them in what many might consider over-the-top gamesmanship, ... [More]
Thu May 1007:18The NBA's Final Four: Cavs, Celtics, Warriors, Rockets
The franchise with the most titles. The best player of this generation. The reigning champions. The probable MVP.The NBA has its Final Four.It certainly does not disappoint.Boston's win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night brought down the curtain on the postseason's second round — one that wasn't exactly loaded with drama, since it was the first time since 2002 that none of the NBA's four conference semifinal series went past five games. Cleveland swept Toronto, while Houston, Golden State and the Celtics all prevailed by 4-1 counts.Everyone gets to catch their collective breaths for a few days, with the league going dark until the weekend. Cleveland and Boston don't tip off the Eastern Conference finals until Sunday, and the Warriors and Rockets start their West title series on Monday. And yes, the Cavaliers and Warriors are four wins away from a fourth consecutive meeting in the NBA Finals.A few things to know going into the conference finals:LEBRON, OF COURSEAny list of anything ... [More]
Thu May 1003:18The NBA's Final Four: Cavs, Celtics, Warriors, Rockets
The franchise with the most titles. The best player of this generation. The reigning champions. The probable MVP.The NBA has its Final Four.It certainly does not disappoint.Boston's win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night brought down the curtain on the postseason's second round — one that wasn't exactly loaded with drama, since it was the first time since 2002 that none of the NBA's four conference semifinal series went past five games. Cleveland swept Toronto, while Houston, Golden State and the Celtics all prevailed by 4-1 counts.Everyone gets to catch their collective breaths for a few days, with the league going dark until the weekend. Cleveland and Boston don't tip off the Eastern Conference finals until Sunday, and the Warriors and Rockets start their West title series on Monday. And yes, the Cavaliers and Warriors are four wins away from a fourth consecutive meeting in the NBA Finals.A few things to know going into the conference finals:LEBRON, OF COURSEAny list of anything ... [More]
Wed May 911:58Finally: Warriors-Rockets is the series everyone wanted
The buildup for this series truly began in February, with some pointed comments from Golden State's Draymond Green.Or in October, when Houston won at Golden State on ring night.Or in June, when the Rockets landed Chris Paul.Whenever it started, however it started, it's clear that this is the series that the NBA-watching world wanted. Western Conference finals, Golden State versus Houston, Game 1 on Monday on the Rockets' home floor. Series winner to the NBA Finals, series loser will undoubtedly feel like they let a championship ring slip away."They got us. We got them," Green said. "Got to go out there and play. We'll see who better."After more than 10 months of playing, posturing and some pontificating, it really is that simple.This Rockets team was assembled — the key being the trade for Paul last summer — with hopes of unseating the reigning champion Warriors from their perch atop the NBA. So far, so good. Houston set a franchise record with 65 wins in the regular season, went 2... [More]
Wed May 902:27Paul finally gets into conference finals as Rockets advance
HOUSTON (AP) — Chris Paul is an ultra-intense competitor, often the most passionate player on the court.But even for his Houston Rockets teammates, what they saw from him Tuesday night was on another level.Paul scored a playoff career-high 41 points with eight 3-pointers to finally reach the conference finals, helping the Rockets eliminate the Utah Jazz 112-102 in Game 5."He said you get out of the way ... I'm going to put us on my back," James Harden said. "You could see it in his eyes. He had that look in his eyes. If he has that look in his eyes ... he's a problem."The Rockets will meet Golden State after the Warriors closed out their series against the New Orleans Pelicans later Tuesday night. Top-seeded Houston will host the series opener Monday night.It will be Houston's second trip to the Western Conference finals in four years and the first ever for Paul. The point guard has been panned for failing to get past the second round in his nine previous trips to the postseason."He'... [More]
Sat May 521:06Rondo, Green serve up spicy subplot in NBA playoffs
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Rajon Rondo and Draymond Green have won NBA titles and never have been known to shy away from conflict on the court.Now their combustible convergence in the playoffs is providing a spicy subplot to the Western Conference semifinal series between New Orleans and Golden State."We're here to fight," Rondo said following New Orleans' lopsided Game 3 victory that trimmed the Warriors' series lead to 2-1. "With my guys on the court, I'm going to fight as hard as I can ... and do whatever it takes."Green and Rondo had to be separated after whistles twice in the first three games — never mind some other antics in the flow of the game — and they'll be back at it again in one of two pivotal Game 4s to be played on Sunday. The other pits Houston against Utah in a series that the Rockets lead 2-1.The Rondo-Green sideshow is compelling because of what both players mean to their teams. They are not the type of trash-talking, loud-mouths who otherwise play marginal roles. Th... [More]
Sat May 518:46Rondo, Green serve up spicy subplot in NBA playoffs
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Rajon Rondo and Draymond Green have won NBA titles and never have been known to shy away from conflict on the court.Now their combustible convergence in the playoffs is providing spicy subplot to the Western Conference semifinal series between New Orleans and Golden State."We're here to fight," Rondo said following New Orleans' lopsided Game 3 victory that trimmed the Warriors' series lead to 2-1. "With my guys on the court, I'm going to fight as hard as I can ... and do whatever it takes."Green and Rondo had to be separated after whistles twice in the first three games — never mind some other antics in the flow of the game — and they'll be back at it again in one of two pivotal Game 4s to be played on Sunday. The other pits Houston against Utah in a series that the Rockets lead 2-1.The Rondo-Green sideshow is compelling because of what both players mean to their teams. They are not the type of trash-talking, loud-mouths who otherwise play marginal roles. They... [More]
Sat Apr 2817:27Utah's top defense looks to slow down powerful Rockets
HOUSTON (AP) — Utah's tough defense excelled against almost everyone in the league this season.The Jazz could not, however, find a way to slow down Houston's high-powered offense.Utah tied for first in the league in the regular season by allowing just 99.8 points per game, but the Rockets averaged 116.3 points against the Jazz in a 4-0 sweep of the season series.Now the Jazz will get another shot at the top-seeded Rockets when they open the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday after outdoing the big three of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to eliminate the Thunder in Game 6 on Friday night.Utah had no answer for MVP front-runner James Harden in the regular season. He averaged 34.3 points against the Jazz, highlighted by a 56-point performance in a 137-110 win in November that set a career-high he has since bested."They're such a unique team," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "We have to compete, (that's) the main thing. ... They're so good. They've been the best tea... [More]
Sat Apr 2812:27Jazz-Rockets Preview Capsule
Capsule preview for the Utah Jazz-Houston Rockets second-round NBA playoff series that starts Sunday:___WESTERN CONFERENCENo. 1 HOUSTON ROCKETS (65-17, 4-1) vs. No. 5 UTAH JAZZ (48-34, 4-2)Season series: Rockets, 4-0.Story line: A classic postseason contrast of styles between the Rockets, who fire at will from 3-point range and were second in the league in scoring with 112.4 points per game, against a Jazz team anchored by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert that tied for fewest points per game allowed (99.8). But even the Jazz couldn't stop the Rockets during the regular season, as Houston averaged 116.3 points on 50.3 percent shooting in its four-game sweep.How They Got Here: Golden State beat No. 8 Minnesota 4-1; Utah beat No. 4 Oklahoma City 4-2.Key Matchup: James Harden vs. Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell scored 38 points in Utah's clinching victory over the Thunder and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook. Now the rookie sensation leads the Jazz against the favorite for this season's award who rang up 34.3 points per game against Utah, including a 56-point masterpiece in just 35 minutes of a Nov. 5 victory.Prediction: Rockets in 5.___Compiled by AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney___More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
Thu Apr 2602:51Rockets advance to 2nd round with eyes on bigger goals
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Rockets spent almost no time celebrating their first-round playoff series win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.For the top-seeded Rockets, it simply moved them a little closer toward their goal of bringing the franchise its first title in more than two decades."This was a pretty good step for us, a step in the right direction, but we've got a long way to go," James Harden said. "We (don't) have this team just to win one playoff series."From the moment Chris Paul joined the Rockets in a blockbuster trade from the Los Angeles Clippers last summer, the Rockets have talked incessantly about their desire and belief that the pairing of the two star point guards could propel this already good team into contender status.A 65-win regular season led by Harden's MVP-caliber play and Paul's work in a top supporting role gave the Rockets the NBA's best record for the first time in franchise history and added to the belief that this could be the year th... [More]
Fri Apr 2018:39Towns, T-wolves return home in big hole against Rockets
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The first taste of the NBA playoffs for Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns has been rather bitter, thanks to the 3-point-happy Houston Rockets.The two-game totals tell a frustrating story for the 22-year-old: just 13 points, 5 for 18 shooting and a 2-0 deficit in the series against the Rockets. Towns has found himself the subject of pointed criticism from analysts, fans and even his own team.The switch-heavy Rockets have double-teamed Towns to a stifling effect, and the Timberwolves sure haven't helped their 7-footer out by getting him the ball in favorable situations in the post."They're coming to double. He knows that. He has to face up, be strong with the ball, make quick moves," point guard Jeff Teague said. "But we have to figure out how to get him running, get him some easy buckets."The team's struggles have taken a little luster off Minnesota's first postseason home game in 14 years, but the fans who remember the Timberwolves reaching the Western Confe... [More]
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Mon 21-May-2018 16:46:10