Archive for May 17th, 2013

golden state warriors

Rookie forward Draymond Green walked out of Golden State’s practice facility Friday holding a yellow ”We Are Warriors” shirt, taking home the small souvenir to savor the team’s captivating playoff run.

Even though the season ended so painfully, the Warriors will carry more positive memories from the 2012-13 campaign than they ever imagined back in training camp. No banner will be raised and no rings will be awarded, but there was a sense of accomplishment all around.

”The expectations for us this year, we exceeded all of them plus way more,” Green said.

The Warriors overcame injury setbacks all season to earn a rare playoff berth, pulled off a first-round upset against Denver and pushed the four-time champion San Antonio Spurs to six games in the Western Conference semifinals. The franchise won more postseason games than it had in 36 years and might be on the brink of something even more special.

If Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut can find a way to stay healthy, the Warriors believe they can be a major championship contender in the coming years.

– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

marc gasol

The Miami Heat have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Spurs have dominated for years with the trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Now the Memphis Grizzlies, who traded their leading scorer in January, have surged into their first Western Conference finals behind an unlikely Big Three of their own.

Marc Gasol still is Pau’s little brother to some. Memphis thought about trading guard Mike Conley, the son of a track star, early in his career. And Memphis is Zach Randolph’s fourth NBA team.

”Me, Marc and Zach, we all tried to take the team and put them on our back and say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to do. This is what we’ve got to do to be great and get to where we want to go,”’ Conley said Friday. ”We knew we had to step up, and we all did that.”

That they have.

The Grizzlies never won a playoff series with Gay on the court. When they beat the Spurs in the first round in 2011, it came with Gay sidelined by an injury.

– Reported by Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press

Pacers guard George Hill to undergo more concussion tests

Pacers guard George Hill will have another concussion test before Saturday’s home playoff game.

Hill missed Thursday night’s game after complaining of headaches. He was diagnosed with a concussion. NBA policy requires players to pass a concussion test before returning to action. Hill did not practice Friday, and coach Frank Vogel said he had not spoken with him. Vogel said Hill was expected to meet with doctors later Friday.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Larry Drew to interview for Bucks head coach job

Larry Drew is preparing to part ways with the Hawks and will interview for the head coach position with the Bucks Monday.

Drew told the Atlanta Journal Constitution Friday that in a meeting with general manager Danny Ferry earlier this week the two came to an amicable agreement to allow the coach to interview for other vacant positions in the league. The Bucks called Ferry about speaking with Drew, who is still under contract until June 30, and they were granted permission.

“I’ve moved on from the situation,” Drew told the AJC. “We had a very professional talk just trying to get things in order since I’m still under contract.”

– Reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kawhi Leonard keeps evolving for Spurs

Kawhi Leonard keeps evolving for Spurs

Kawhi Leonard has matured faster than anyone could have expected in his two seasons with the Spurs.

That he started for Gregg Popovich as a rookie was enough to herald his supreme potential. He’s done nothing but improve since then, regularly adding wrinkles to his foundation of lockdown defense and efficient offense.

The young small forward took the latest step in his apparent march to stardom in the Spurs’ 4-2 victory over Golden State in the Western Conference semifinals. For the first time in his exceedingly bright, if short, career, he consistently and significantly impacted a playoff series.

Leonard was also excellent against the Lakers. But the Spurs were always going to win that series after injuries rendered the Lakers a shell of themselves. Against the Warriors, however, they would have been hard-pressed to advance without him.

Dominant might be a few degrees too strong to describe his performance. But if Leonard didn’t, he wasn’t far off as he chipped in with his usual array of hustle plays and timely buckets, pulled down rebounds at an elite rate for his position and rendered Klay Thompson virtually invisible.

– Reported by Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News (Blog)

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced to screaming throngs of Kings fans Friday that the deal to sell the NBA franchise to a group led by software tycoon Vivek Ranadive has been signed.

The announcement at a City Hall rally brings to an end nearly five months of maneuvering by Johnson to secure a new ownership group, convince the council to commit to building a new downtown arena, and to show the NBA that the capitol city of the most populous state in the nation has the fan base to make the venture successful.

”This was one heck of a comeback,” Johnson, a former NBA All-Star, said on a stage shared with two dozen investors, fans and politicians who had worked to keep the franchise in the city.

Earlier this week, NBA owners rejected a bid to move the franchise to Seattle.

– Reported by Tracie Cone of the Associated Press

Tim Duncan

Slow at the start of the series and strong at the end, the San Antonio Spurs wore out the Golden State Warriors the way they have so many other opponents.

Tim Duncan had 19 points and six rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and 10 rebounds and the Spurs held off a furious final rally to beat the Warriors 94-82 in Game 6 on Thursday night and advance to the Western Conference finals.

”They’ve got great character. They’re competitive. They know there’s not a million chances to do this sort of thing. They wanted it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his squad.

Tony Parker shook off a poor start to score 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Tiago Splitter added a career-playoff high 14 points for San Antonio, which had a 13-point lead in the third quarter dissolve to two in the final minutes.

Stephen Curry shot 10 of 25 from the floor to score 22 points on a nagging left ankle, and Jarrett Jack had 15 points as the injury-saddled Warriors finally tired. Rookie forward Harrison Barnes also suffered a head injury in the second quarter, returned in the third and was sidelined in the fourth with a headache.

The Spurs outshot Golden State 45 percent to 39 percent and outrebounded them 46 to 40.

Second-seeded San Antonio will open the conference finals at home against Memphis on Sunday. The fifth-seeded Grizzlies eliminated Oklahoma City in five games…

Klay Thompson, who had 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting, made a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter that sliced San Antonio’s lead to three. Then Curry’s pull-up jumper brought the Warriors within 77-75 with 4:52 to play.

– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony

For the New York Knicks, it was about playing harder, even if not really much better.

Saving their season would be more about effort than execution.

”Tonight it was just one of them days where you just got to leave it out there on the basketball court,” Carmelo Anthony said.

Now they have to do it two more times.

Anthony scored 28 points and the Knicks avoided elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 85-75 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 on Thursday night.

Reserves J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland each had 13 points for the Knicks, who trail 3-2 and will need a victory Saturday in Indiana to force a seventh game back here Monday. They are trying to become the ninth NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series…

Paul George had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pacers. They played without point guard George Hill because of a concussion and committed 19 turnovers…

George battled foul trouble and couldn’t contain Anthony quite as well as he had while the Pacers easily won the previous two games…

David West had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who were trying to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004…

The Knicks went back to their regular lineup, reinserting Pablo Prigioni, after going with a bigger group in Game 4 in a futile effort to match Indiana on the boards. The smaller group did a better job, getting outrebounded only 43-40.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

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