Griffin: Durant, James in two-man MVP race

DENVER – Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin was named the Western Convention Player of the Week for the third time this season on Monday but do not search for him to start campaigning to win the MVP.

Blake Griffin

"I believe the MVP race is a two-man race" between LeBron James and Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin says.

"No, I think the MVP race is a two-man race," Griffin stated. "The stretch of games that we've played and we have been profitable has been an enormous crew effort. Jamal Crawford was taking part in out of his thoughts before he bought hurt and guys have stepped up and really performed their half. With our staff I don't suppose it's one guy that's making us go.

"I genuinely believe it's been a complete workforce effort."

Griffin believes the MVP will finally go to LeBron James or Kevin Durant but he has no less than vaulted himself into the conversation this season, averaging a career-high 24.three points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists whereas shooting 69.9 percent from the free throw line.

"I believe he is arguably the third-best participant within the NBA," Clippers forward Jared Dudley mentioned. "Clearly you've LeBron and Durant at one and two however you would be arduous-pressed to seek out somebody higher at three. He is one of many high three players in the NBA."

Griffin gained player of the week honors for games performed March 10-16. It marks the third time this season Griffin has captured the award after claiming it twice in November. He additionally gained the Western Conference Player of the Month award in February after being certainly one of solely two players in the league to average a minimum of 30 factors and 10 rebounds throughout the month.

The Clippers are currently driving an NBA-best 11-recreation profitable streak while Griffin has scored at the least 20 points in a franchise-finest 26 straight games.

For his half, Durant ran his streak of games with 25 or more factors to 32 on Monday, the longest in the NBA since Michael Jordan did it in forty in a row through the 1986-87 season. He also chipped in with five assists in the Thunder's ninety seven-85 win over the Chicago Bulls.

After the sport, Bulls middle Joakim Noah solid his vote for Durant.

"He calls for lots of attention," Noah said. "And you got to present credit when credit is due.

"He's the very best participant in the world proper now."

 

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NBA Prediction Thursday Night Preview/Pick- Heat vs. Thunder

nba pick heat vs thunder

Free NBA Pick and Prediction Heat vs Thunder

Miami Heat (38-14, 18-10 away) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (43-12, 23-3 home) 02/20- 8:00PM EST

 

Line: OKC -3.0

Over/Under: 207.0

 

Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook is set to make his return on Thursday night just in time as the Thunder get set to host the Miami Heat and go for a season sweep against the two-time defending NBA champions.

 

In a rematch from Jan 29 back in Miami, the Thunder fought back from an early 18-point deficit to roll past the Heat 112-95… a game Westbrook did not play in.

 

Westbrook who has missed 27 games due to swelling in his injured right knee had his third operation in nine months back on Dec. 27. After going through a full practice on Wednesday, Westbrook is eager to get back on the court and help lead the Thunder, who already have the NBA’s best record 43-12 to another playoff run.

 

It’s like trading for an All-Star at the trade deadline,” said Kevin Durant, who leads the league in scoring. “We’re looking forward to it. We’re definitely excited to get him back.”

 

Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks wouldn’t make a definite yes or no on Westbrook returning to action against the Heat, but had this to say after Wednesday’s practice…

 

I thought he had a good practice today. We went so hard, no question. We did a lot of things in transition, we did a lot of halfcourt. We did a lot of defensive drills, and he was able to participate in all of our drills.”

 

The Miami Heat (38-14) are expecting the three-time All-Star Westbrook to be suited up for Thursday’s contest and realize the challenge will be tough.

 

It’ll be one of our biggest challenges of the regular season,” Heat’s Dwayne Wade said. “Anytime we play them (is a challenge), especially now, after losing to them at home. And bringing in Westbrook, you’re bringing in a dynamic player at home, where they play very well. We’re going to have to play as close to flawless as we can to beat this team.”

 

As for MVP candidate Kevin Durant, he has been playing like a man among boys in Westbrook’s absence, averaging 35.0 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists to help lead the Thunder to a 20-7 without their star point guard.

 

Miami will be playing in the final of a six-game road trip that has seen them win three straight and four of five as they try to chase down the Indiana Pacers for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

 

With the Thunder’s impressive 23-3 home record, the oddsmakers have made OKC a slim (minus -3.0) point favorite, but get the latest spread on the game up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Expect a great game on Thursday night as Durant and LeBron James will battle once again, but it’s hard to go against the Thunder with Russell Westbrook back in the lineup for the seasons most important game for Oklahoma City. The line may have it as a close game but I predict the Thunder winning by a comfortable margin to sweep the season series in what can be yet another preview for the NBA championship.

 

Prediction/Pick- Oklahoma City

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Durant not a big fan of ‘Slim Reaper’ nickname

 

Kevin Durant will be a free agent in 2016. (USATSI)
Kevin Durant doesn’t particularly like his new nickname. (USATSI)

 

If Kevin Durant has something to say about it, our nationwide manhunt for a nickname for him will continue.

The past few weeks, the moniker “Slim Reaper” has caught on, and it suits properly contemplating Durant’s skinny frame and the very fact his crushes souls on the basketball court. There have been cool footage, photoshops, t-shirts and a bunch of different stuff accomplished for it.

However what does Durant assume?

“That identify is what it’s,” Durant said at shootaround Monday. “It’s cool to have a nickname any individual else gave to you. It is type of bizarre in the event you make your own nickname up. However to have that out there, I assume, is cool. “I’m here to shine a bright mild. I’m not right here to be a man of, I suppose, dying. We’ll see what occurs with that, however I just like KD higher.”

The nickname, which originated on Reddit, took off like wildfire as Durant torched opposing groups routinely for 30, forty and sometimes 50 factors nightly.

“Everyone’s been loving the name. I feel I am the only one that basically would not prefer it an excessive amount of.”

Different nicknames for Durant like “Durantula,” “Okay-Smoove,” “Flight 35″ and “Simple 30″ haven’t seemed to really stick for whatever reason. The Slim Reaper moniker has a hoop to it, and a really feel that might have just a little endurance. He won’t prefer it, but that does not actually matter. Until you’re Kobe, you don’t select nicknames; they choose you.

However maybe just do not call him Slim Reaper to his face.

 

Kevin Durant Tells Blazers He’s Going to ‘Take this sh!t over,” Then Rallies Thunder to Victory

kevin bleeping durant

Kevin Durant is on such a scoring binge, NBA writers are running out of adjectives to describe just how phenomenal he’s playing. Tuesday evening, with the Thunder trailing Portland at dwelling 93-ninety in the fourth quarter, Durant slammed his hand on the scorer’s desk. He was whistled for a technical foul.

What happened next is something out of Michael Jordan’s e-book: Durant scored in the lane, then made a three-pointer, and started jawing at the Portland bench (4:20 within the video), reportedly saying, “I’m about to take this shit over.” And that’s what he did: OKC closed the game on a 15-4 run – Durant had eleven – to beat the Blazers. The NBA’s main scorer finished with 46 factors on a ruthlessly efficient 17-of-25 from the field, including 6-of-7 from deep. Afterward, Portland’s Mo Williams said, “The way he was enjoying, he in all probability could have scored on Jesus.”

Durant, going at it alone with Russell Westbrook injured, is doing things that seem unfathomable.:

* fifth time he’s scored forty or more this season
* four of the forty+ point performances have come within the last 10 video games
* Final 14 games: 36.5 ppg
* Final three video games: 66 % on 3-point shooting, 72 p.c midrange shooting

LeBron on Durant’s number of shots: I’m jealous

Four MVPs, a couple of championships, and LeBron fred is jealous of pendant.

Four MVPs, two championships, and James is jealous of Durant. (USATSI)
In an job interview with ESPN, Miami Warmth star LeBron James said that he's envious of the number of shots Kevin Durant gets to be able to take for your Thunder. "I get envious sometimes when I look over support IN PIECES and he's just like 16-for-32 (from the field) and then 14-for-34… Man, micron James told ESPN. com's Tom Haberstroh.

While the Ohio heating star is capturing a good career-high 59. one percent from the field this season, he is connected for just 18th in the category in field goal endeavours (580) together with an average in sixteen. 1 per match.

 

Recover sort of efficiency, James could quite possibly stand to take more golf shots but explained, "I'm little of a forced-shot guy.

"But you can find games exactly where I have this going, and then at the particular end of the overall game, Now i'm like, damn, i just photo just 12-for-16? How about we I actually get up at the very least 6 or seven a lot more? when i definitely notice it. inches

 

"First of all, a person have to have an unbelievable frame of mind to obtain up 30 pictures, inches James said. "I constantly think about it, though. If I get up high-20s, 30 images a game, what could I carry out at present, with the way I'm enjoying? "

 

via LeBron adam of Miami Warmth 'jealous' of Kevin Durant's photo attempts – ESPN.

 

So how very much does Durant shoot, especially?

 

According to NBA. apresentando, Durant creates 35. eight percent of Thunder details. James creates 32. four percent. hence a three or more. 4 pct difference. That's what happens when you enjoy at a faster rate. There's in fact not very much difference in the quantity James scores vs. au cours de. Durant takes 30. 1% of all field objective makes an attempt, while James takes 35. 3 percent. This specific isn't a number of insurmountable gap.

 

Furthermore, in case fred really wanted to be able to take more vaccinations.. whoms stopping him? Difficult like he couldn't dabble within heavy-usage scoring and after that change back when the playoffs came around. Larry pet was famous for things just like that, deciding how to be able to play on an evening just to not get fed up.

who is realistically going to tell LeBron James, "Hey, don't fire so a lot, buddy? "

But this individual cannot. He's not developed that way. And in the lot of approaches, it can the difference between the guy and Durant and for what reason he's won so many MVPs. But could this particular tell James to help to make a run on weighty scoring? It'd turn out to be enjoyable to see.

A relevant take note of to that: KD's got six to eight games of 30+ photographs in his profession. LeBron has already established 24 (though just a pair of since signing up for the Heat).

 

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Smart, Oklahoma State run over Memphis

Good’s Big Evening Lifts Oklahoma State

 

STILLWATER, Okla. – Oh positive, Marcus Good definitely noticed Kevin Durant sitting courtside in Gallagher-Iba Arena. And he put collectively quite a efficiency for one of the NBA’s most gifted scorers.

Good scored a career-high 39 points, and No. 7 Oklahoma State raced past No. eleven Memphis for a 101-eighty win Tuesday evening in a one-sided matchup of top teams.

Durant was considered one of many basketball followers throughout the nation involved to see Sensible’s return to the nationwide stage after he bypassed the NBA draft following the Cowboys’ early exit from last season’s NCAA event.

Sensible responded by scoring 26 points in the first half. He finished eleven-of-21 from the ground and hit five three-pointers whereas simply passing his earlier profession excessive of 28 points, set final season in opposition to Oklahoma.

“We noticed Kevin Durant, and we simply needed to go out there and placed on a present,” Sensible mentioned.

Nick King had 23 points for Memphis, and Shaq Goodwin finished with thirteen. The Tigers (1-1) shot forty one.2 % (28-of-68), together with a mixed 2-of-20 performance from guards Michael Dixon Jr. and Geron Johnson.

The Tigers had played simply once before the journey to Stillwater, a ninety five-sixty nine residence win over Austin Peay. They usually gave the impression to be unwell prepared for their first hostile road setting.

Extra specifically, they weren’t prepared for Sensible – who added 5 steals, four rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks in an impressive all-around efficiency.

“Oklahoma State was simply the better crew tonight,” Dixon mentioned.

“Our apologies for not playing Memphis basketball; we simply could not make photographs.”

Markel Brown added 20 points and Brian Williams had 15 for Oklahoma State (4-0), which is averaging 102 factors per recreation.

Surprisingly, Sensible didn’t even enter the game as the leading scorer for the Cowboys.

In truth, the sophomore was third on the Oklahoma State staff – behind sixth man Phil Forte and Brown – with a mean of 13.7 factors by means of the staff’s opening three blowout victories.

Sensible, nevertheless, played up to the competitors within the Cowboys’ return to the national highlight after last season’s crushing loss towards Oregon in the NCAA match.

“We simply wanted to show all people that we weren’t backing down, and that’s what we did tonight,” Sensible mentioned.

In front of Durant, a host of NBA scouts and Oklahoma Metropolis coach Scott Brooks, Good scored 12 of the Cowboys’ first 14 points. His final basket throughout the opening stretch was a dunk on the break that put Oklahoma State forward 14-7.

The Tigers did their greatest to stay close, rallying to tie it at 16 after again-to-back baskets by King, however they’d no reply for Good within the first half.

“Oklahoma State, they just kicked our butt,” Memphis coach Josh Pastner said.

“When (Good) scores like that, he could be the best player in college basketball.”

With the Cowboys up 17-sixteen, the 6-foot-4 guard went on a one-man scoring binge that labored the group into a frenzy.

Good scored the following 12 points for Oklahoma State – together with three 3-pointers and a trio of free throws after he was fouled on a 3-level attempt – to put the Cowboys up 29-20. In all, he scored 24 of Oklahoma State’s first 29 points.

“That’s simply Marcus,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford mentioned. “He’s going to be ready when he needs to be ready… I knew he was going to be able to play, I knew that from the beginning.

“I did not know he was going to go out there and get 39. That is not all the time what we need from him, however we’ll take it.”

The Cowboys led 50-32 at halftime and stretched their lead to as many as 34 factors in the second half – comfortably answering their first challenge of the season and reminding the country why Good was a consensus preseason All-American.

Sensible’s fifth 3-pointer lifted Oklahoma State to a 64-43 benefit, giving him a profession-finest 31 factors.

“I was just feeling it tonight,” Good said. “My teammates found me and gave me the ball at times when I wanted it in order to get my shot off.”

 

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Iguodala’s late shot lifts Warriors over OKC

Warriors Win Thriller Over Thunder At Buzzer

 

OAKLAND, Calif. – Silence one second, pandemonium the subsequent.

In 2.3 seconds, Andre Iguodala flipped the script on the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder by hitting the largest shot of his Golden State Warriors tenure.

Iguodala made a baseline fadeaway as time expired to lift the Warriors to an exciting 116-one hundred fifteen victory over the Thunder on Thursday night, capping a back-and-forth recreation between two teams anticipated to contend for the Western Convention title.

“Those are the moments when your mind is just racing,” mentioned Iguodala, who completed with 14 factors and nine assists. “When Klay (Thompson) threw the pass, I used to be considering I might get to the basket. As soon because the ball hit my hands, my toes have been set simply to catch, flip around and shoot – something I labored on a lot throughout my profession. The state of affairs was there and the whole lot simply labored out.”

Russell Westbrook’s three-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining put the Thunder forward after they trailed by 14 factors early in the fourth quarter. Warriors coach Mark Jackson referred to as a timeout, drawing up a play that gave Iguodala an option to shoot or go, saying he thought the Thunder would simply switch if Stephen Curry obtained the ball.

Iguodala took the inbounds pass from Thompson and rose up against Thabo Sefolosha for the successful sixteen-footer, sending the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 into a frenzy. Iguodala sprinted toward half court and was mobbed by teammates.

“That final timeout, it was pretty darkish in that huddle,” Jackson said. “You lookup and also you say, `How did they climb all the way in which back? How?’ You begin beating yourself up. That’s when you have a second. They looked at each other and realized there is still time left and we can execute as a result of we work on it day by day.”

Golden State trailed for just 23 seconds combined in its first three home games. The Warriors held a lead in each game – towards the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons – of at the very least 27 factors and received by double digits.

Not on this evening.

The sport began with an outpouring of offense and energy and by no means relented over forty eight minutes.

There have been sixteen lead adjustments, 9 ties and numerous cannot-believe-he-just-made-that shots. Neither team led by greater than seven until the Warriors started to drag away late within the third quarter.

Or so it seemed.

Westbrook’s three set off the Thunder’s celebration simply seconds earlier than Iguodala’s shot. Westbrook kissed his hand and was bumped by teammate Kevin Durant as each flashed grins close to the scorer’s desk.

“It was enjoyable until the final shot,” Durant stated.

“I don’t even know what happened,” Westbrook added. “I used to be guarding Curry down in the corner, so I’m not precisely positive.”

Thompson scored 27 points and Curry had 22 factors and 9 assists for a Warriors team that made 14 of 23 shots from three-level range.

Nevertheless it was Iguodala’s tough midrange jumper that stole the spotlight – the very purpose Golden State signed the free agent away from Denver this offseason with a four-12 months, $forty eight million contract.

“He is precisely who we thought he was,” Jackson said. “We’re so lucky to have him on this basketball crew.”

Oklahoma Metropolis outrebounded Golden State 48 to 31, however could not put collectively enough stops to match a powerful offensive effort from its three big stars.

Westbrook finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and 5 assists, Serge Ibaka had 27 factors and thirteen rebounds and Durant had 20 points, eight assists and 7 rebounds as the Thunder lost for the second straight night time to a high Western Convention staff. Oklahoma Metropolis fell at the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday evening.

The Thunder made six of their first seven from lengthy range, taking pictures greater than 70 p.c overall halfway by way of the second quarter below the direction of Durant and Westbrook. However 19 turnovers cost Oklahoma Metropolis more than something, handing the Warriors extra alternatives to do what they do finest: shoot.

Reserve Draymond Inexperienced gave Golden State a one hundred-86 lead early in the fourth quarter, twisting his method for a layup after taking a pointy pass from Thompson. The Warriors still had to hold off a furious last push from the Thunder to earn by far their biggest win this young season.

“That was an important NBA sport,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks mentioned. “Playoff depth in November. Great crowd, nice environment. They’re a terrific staff. Couldn’t ask for a greater sport. Unfortunately, any person had to lose.”

Sport notes

Durant was called for a technical foul within the remaining seconds of the first half after shoving Warriors C

Andrew Bogut

… Thunder C

Kendrick Perkins

wasn’t with the team for the second straight recreation after his grandfather died Monday. He was raised by his grandparents in Beaumont, Texas… The Thunder fell to 33-eight following a loss for the reason that begin of the 2011-12 season, one of the best report within the NBA throughout that span. Oklahoma Metropolis was 17-4 after a loss last season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Related Press

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Clippers outshine Thunder following scuffle

Clippers Win Physical Battle With Thunder

 

LOS ANGELES – The Clippers are searching for defensive intensity under new coach Doc Rivers. They discovered it for the ultimate 24 minutes towards the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.

Blake Griffin had 22 factors and 12 rebounds after being concerned in a first-half scuffle that resulted in two ejections, sparking Los Angeles to a 111-103 victory Wednesday evening.

“You would have to say it woke us up somewhat bit,” J.J. Redick mentioned. “It damage both groups.”

Serge Ibaka of the Thunder and Matt Barnes of the Clippers were ejected, and Griffin obtained a technical foul for his half within the altercation with six seconds left in the second quarter.

“Just a little further after the play,” Griffin stated.

Kevin Durant had 33 points, making 15 of 17 free throws, and 10 assists to lead the Thunder, who had received four straight. Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 10 assists.

“They just beat us,” Durant said. “We’ve got to complete the sport out. No excuses, irrespective of who’s on the market. Of course we might quite have Serge out there, but it didn’t occur like that. We still had an opportunity to win the sport.”

Jamal Crawford scored 20 points off the bench for the Clippers, who had six players in double figures while successful their third in a row. DeAndre Jordan and Redick scored 15 each, and Chris Paul had 14 factors and sixteen assists.

The fireworks began when Griffin was attempting to put the ball up and his arms and Ibaka’s turned entangled. Barnes shoved Ibaka arduous within the chest. Griffin kept trying to get at Ibaka as gamers from both groups shaped a scrum.

“I didn’t suppose it was going to turn into that,” Griffin stated. “After I rotated and heard the oohs and aahs, (I) knew we were into one thing.”

Ibaka cocked his right fist however didn’t take a swing as Barnes smiled at him. As he left the court docket, Barnes reached over a barrier, grabbed his younger son and held his hand as he walked off. Later, Barnes left the locker room earlier than media members have been allowed in.

“I did not see the video after that, so I will strive to verify I watch it,” Ibaka said. “I was disillusioned, however I’ll be taught from my mistake. I do not need to think about it no more.”

Durant made the free throw on Griffin’s technical and Westbrook hit a three-pointer to present the Thunder a 62-53 lead at the break.

“I have no complaints about what happened,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We did not lose the game due to that incident, trust me. The bottom line is they outplayed us.”

The change certainly riled up the Clippers.

Down by 10 early in the third, they rallied with a 14-2 spurt to go up 74-71, their first lead for the reason that opening quarter. Redick had a pair of free throws and a three-pointer, Paul had two free throws and a basket, and Griffin capped it with five straight points.

He stole the ball and dribbled down the court, driving in for a layup. After a timeout, Durant misplaced the ball and Griffin scored again while getting fouled. He made the free throw.

The Thunder were outscored 30-16 within the third, by which they shot 29 percent and acquired outrebounded 13-7.

“What I beloved about the third quarter, each single man got here in and did something,” Rivers stated.

Throughout the Clippers’ run, Ryan Gomes, Nick Collison and Thabo Sefolosha all picked up their fourth fouls. Gomes began the second half rather than Ibaka.

Los Angeles shot 7-of-eight on free throws late in the interval to take an 83-78 lead into the fourth.

The Clippers forced turnovers and contested photographs in the fourth once they weren’t scoring. They opened with an eight-0 run to take a ninety one-seventy eight lead on the strength of their bench taking pictures.

The Thunder couldn’t get a sustained run collectively while turning the ball over in opposition to a team they swept in three games last season.

After his ejection, Barnes tweeted, “I like my teammates like family, but I am ACCOMPLISHED standing up for these n-as! All this s- does is value me cash. …” The tweet was later deleted.

“I believe he was very emotional,” Rivers stated, adding that he wasn’t a fan of the derogatory term Barnes used.

Griffin, Paul and Redick all described Barnes as a great teammate.

“I don’t know what he meant by it, however I do know what his intent is for his teammates,” Redick stated.

Paul said he hadn’t seen the tweet.

“I am going to have to learn that and analyze it myself,” he said. “We won, though.”

Griffin also said he hadn’t seen Barnes’ tweet, adding, “He does an ideal job of sticking up for us. We recognize what Matt does for us.”

Jared Dudley, who had 10 factors, stated he would have accomplished the same thing for Barnes.

“He’s a very robust man and sometimes he needs that (from) everyone,” Dudley mentioned. “It goes both methods. We’ve got to be a little bit tougher, and he’s received to be a bit of bit smarter.”

Ibaka had 13 points on perfect capturing earlier than his ejection. He hit all six photographs from the field and was 1-of-1 from the road. Barnes was scoreless in simply less than eight minutes.

Recreation notes

Paul grew to become the first participant in Clippers history to have at the very least 10 factors and 10 assists in each of the first 9 games of a season. The previous participant to do it was Magic Johnson of the Lakers within the first eleven games of the 1990-91 season… The Thunder play on back-to-again nights for the primary time this season when they go to Golden State on Thursday… Thunder C

Kendrick Perkins

wasn’t with the workforce after his grandfather died Monday. He was raised by his grandparents in Beaumont, Texas. Rivers, who coached Perkins in Boston, talked to him Tuesday.

 

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Durant: I’m no longer obsessed with winning

Kevin Durant admitted he was obsessed with main the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder to a championship final season – too obsessed.

Durant

Durant

So even though he had another magnificent season – scoring 28.1 points per game, and capturing 51 p.c from the sphere and forty one.6 % from 3-point vary – his infatuation with profitable a title affected him personally, and he even took it out on others.

“Final yr, I was obsessed with it,” Durant advised The Oklahoman of successful a title. “Like, I wasn’t going to sleep as a result of I wanted to win so bad. I used to be screaming at my teammates, at the refs, on the coaches. I got mad as a result of I assumed ‘if we’ve a bad sport here, we’re not going to win a championship.'”

These cracks showed up in his demeanor on the court as well, as he was known as for 12 technical fouls final season – far surpassing his complete from the previous 5 seasons combined.

All the while, Durant was feeling that he wanted to play perfectly each night time and held his crew to that very same normal.

“Like, for me, when I was coming in I was like ‘If I miss a shot, I will miss this shot in Recreation 6 of the Finals,'” he said within the report. “‘If we don’t play defense this sport, we’re not going to play protection within the Finals.’ Like, I was thinking like that. And I used to be going residence and I might get so mad over small stuff. That is not me. So I used to be dropping myself over what folks thought, what different people thought.”

That title chase in the end fell brief when the Thunder, minus injured Russell Westbrook, were eradicated within the second spherical of the playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies.

A year wiser, Durant is taking a unique approach as the new season nears.

“So I’m not going to let that overtake my mind,” Durant instructed The Oklahoman of his championship chase. “I mean, in fact I need to win it, but I’m not obsessive about it. I’ll put within the work to help my group, however I’m not going to be obsessed with it as a result of that is when I compromise myself, and most of the time it would not work out.”

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Durant: Time for Dwyane Wade to ‘pass the torch’

Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade continue to feud. (USATSI)
Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade proceed to feud. (USATSI)

In an interview with EuroHoops.net, Thunder forward Kevin Durant reasserted his feelings about how James Harden has passed Dwyane Wade in being a top 10 player, and went on to say that Wade should settle for it, and “cross the torch.”

“But I stand by what I say. Lots of people disagree with me, however it’s what it’s. It’s nothing against D-Wade, he is a great player, he set his mark within the league, he is among the best capturing guards ever, however like I mentioned, I simply thought, that as an older man, it is time to cross the torch to the youthful guys. Identical to any individual did to him, identical to anyone did to me and I must do the identical in a while. So I simply thought it was his time”.

by way of “It’s time for Wade to move the torch” | Eurohoops.

The whole thing started when Durant informed CineSport that James Harden was a high ten participant and may have been in Sports activities Ilustrated’s High 10 gamers checklist and never Dwyane Wade. Wade took exception on Instagram, and Durant caught by his place as soon as camp opened.

This can be a pretty previous chestnut in the NBA. Getting old player refuses to accept that he may have misplaced a step, younger participant thinks he should present opportunities for the younger players. From Magic and MJ on down, it has been advised over and over. The query is whether Wade legitimately has fallen off or not. In our EOB Elite a hundred, Harden got here in one spot behind Wade, at No. eight vs. No. 7.

Wade seemed to battle last year, however then would undergo a surge. He appeared absolutely accomplished in the series towards the Pacers, then responded with a 21 factors, 9 rebounds performance in Sport 7 to shut out Indiana. Then once more, he struggled within the Finals, before responding with 32 points in Recreation four, and 23 factors and 10 boards in Recreation 7 to win his third title.

So he is got slightly little bit of some extent in saying he’s not done.

But Harden is on the rise, and arguably was extra consistent and extra environment friendly final year. Wade’s injuries and age have compromised his defense sufficient to shut that hole (Harden struggles in that space). It is actually a very good debate.

And regardless of who’s better, it should be a enjoyable state of affairs to observe when the Thunder and Warmth play each other this season.

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He’s Number 1: LeBron’s jersey is top NBA seller

lebron

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – LeBron James has the world’s best-promoting NBA jersey.

The Miami Warmth star and four-time league MVP tops the NBA’s global record of jersey gross sales for this previous season, in keeping with numbers launched Tuesday. James – who additionally has the highest-promoting jersey in the United States – outsold Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Warmth teammate Dwyane Wade for the No. 1 spot.

James stated having the world’s high-selling jersey “means everything” to him.

“To know that so many people look up to me, so many kids, that is what means greater than anything, that I continue to encourage the youth and so they have a look at me as a job mannequin,” James said after studying the news at Heat coaching camp in the Bahamas. “I understand, whenever you put on someone’s jersey, you actually like consider in them. You imagine they will do supernatural issues. It is like an extension of our household, and I really admire that.”

The league unveiled the rankings – primarily based on adidas’ global gross sales for the previous season – just days before the start of NBA World Games 2013-14, which includes eight preseason video games in seven countries, then regular-season games in Mexico City on Dec. 4 and London on Jan. sixteen.

Most of the top names on the global-sales checklist – together with Rose, Bryant and Durant – are on teams participating on this season’s worldwide matchups.

Carmelo Anthony is sixth on the global-sales record, adopted by Dwight Howard (his now-former Lakers jersey), Deron Williams, Blake Griffin and Rajon Rondo to round out the top 10. In U.S. gross sales, James is adopted by Rose, Bryant, Durant, Anthony, Wade, Howard, Williams, Griffin and Rondo.

Despite missing all of final season with a knee injury, Rose had the top-promoting jersey in China, Latin America and Europe. James had the top vendor within the Philippines.

To James, finishing atop these rankings further signified how things have modified since he made his choice to signal with Miami in 2010 after spending the primary seven seasons of his profession in Cleveland.

“I’ve come a good distance,” James said. “I’ve come a great distance. I’ve grown as a basketball player and as an individual off the floor in each side since 2010. I am undoubtedly humbled by it, appreciative. You all the time hear me say that I’m only a child from Akron, and to be able to have this stature and that accomplishment, I feel that’s pretty cool.”

 
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10 other intriguing, noteworthy games worth watching on the 2013-14 NBA schedule

Sacramento Kings followers will have many reasons to cheer once they tip off this season. (Rocky Widner/Getty)

When the NBA launched the full 2013-14 regular-season schedule on Tuesday evening, intrepid Yahoo! Sports activities NBA columnist Marc J. Spears immediately made his picks for the ten must-see matchups of the forthcoming season, giving hoop fans the dates he believes most merit circling on the brand new NBA calendar. While we would by no means presume to contradict our colleague, in a slate this huge, there’s bound to be a slew of different video games value keeping track of, so why not dig a bit deeper?

Eric Freeman has discovered 10 he liked in each of the past two seasons, and this 12 months, he is invited Dan Devine along to pick a number of he is keen to look at. Here’s what they came up with:

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Denver Nuggets at Sacramento Kings: Oct. 30. When the Kings final played in mid-April, their future was unsure, with the NBA’s Board of Governors but to weigh in on their potential sale to the Seattle-based ownership group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. Might’s decision and subsequent sale to the local group headed by Vivek Ranadivé has saved the group in Sacramento, as well as given your complete franchise new hope after several years of subpar management from Joe and Gavin Maloof. It is a new day for the team and its fans.

The last few years have seen passionate assist from devoted Kings followers on game nights when it appeared as if the franchise was close to relocation. This season’s residence opener can be a different, an event outlined not a lot by desperation as the pride and optimism that comes with a fresh begin. It will likely be a starting, not the potential finish of a protracted journey. — Eric Freeman

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder: Nov. 1. As I wrote earlier this offseason, I am not totally sure that bringing in/again Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer and first-spherical choose Shabazz Muhammad (especially while subtracting Andrei Kirilenko) will make the Wolves a demonstrably better basketball team this season. I do, nonetheless, assume those acquisitions will assist make Minnesota a greater offensive workforce, especially when mixed with a completely healthy (fingers crossed) Kevin Love, a version of Ricky Rubio who’s had a full NBA offseason with out rehabbing from a catastrophic knee injury and (provided this glacial contract course of ultimately culminates in a re-signing) a healthy, rested and paid Nikola Pekovic.

I think that Minnesota team will be, if not glorious, then not less than immensely watchable on a night-to-evening foundation because of improved outdoors capturing, punishing inside-out play from Love and Pekovic, the always-appointment-viewing passing of Rubio and a new slew of active wings capable of activating offense in Rick Adelman’s nook scheme. I’m additionally willing to consider the chance that they will be better than I anticipate defensively, as they were in 2011-12 earlier than Rubio’s torn ACL despatched the team careening off the trail. At worst, they’re going to be fun; at greatest, they could be a risk. So let’s line them up against perhaps one of the best team within the Western Conference — a group led by Love’s Team USA buddy, Kevin Durant, and whose second-in-command, Russell Westbrook, is on observe to be back from the knee injury he suffered through the playoffs — and see which path these Wolves are on.

Also, I bear in mind this happening:

… and, seeing the prospect of early-season well being for all involved, I am very amped. — Dan Devine

Detroit Pistons vs. Washington Wizards: Oct. 30 (Opening Night), Dec. 28, Dec. 30, Jan. 18. At first look, this is the kind of mid-profile sport that pops up on the NBA schedule each night time, a nondescript contest between two playoff hopefuls with comparatively small margins of error (and injury). But, from one other vantage, it is a matchup that makes League Go the most effective bargains in your cable company’s order form.

This offseason, the Pistons dedicated themselves to watchability after several seasons within the aesthetic doldrums, acquiring level guard Brandon Jennings and mercurial ahead Josh Smith to affix man-youngster Andre Drummond and the skilled Greg Monroe. The Wizards, alternatively, have probably the most promising younger trios within the league in max-level point guard John Wall, capturing guard Bradley Beal, and rookie ahead Otto Porter. Their 4 matchups this season could not qualify as main games between contenders, however they provide startling potential for the random leisure that makes the NBA so watchable on a nightly basis. — EF

Andrew Bynum’s return to Philly must be fascinating. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Photographs) Philadelphia 76ers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nov. 8 and Nov. 9. A home-and-residence, back-to-back, Friday-and-Saturday pair that includes the staff that simply signed growth/bust lottery ticket Andrew Bynum and the group whose new CEO just needed to apologize for the previous regime buying and selling for him feels like a pretty closely emotional and compelling set. Plus, the double-dip takes place early sufficient in the season that Philadelphia can neither be mathematically eliminated from anything yet or do too much harm to their tanking strategy by winning, so they may find some compelling incentive to attempt to win. Sincere(ish) competition!

If Bynum is, as planned, able to go for training camp and capable of stay upright/cellular by way of the beginning of the season — hey, it’s nonetheless the offseason, let’s stay optimistic — this might represent the first opportunity for Sixers fans to really see the 7-foot center play stay skilled basketball, which the Wells Fargo Heart devoted will likely reward with either polite applause or hurled hunks of jagged, flaming particles. It is unlikely that eventual centerpiece/2013 lottery choose Nerlens Noel can have returned from rehabbing his torn ACL in time to do something more than watch this one from the sidelines, however even when that is all he does, as we discovered last year, there’s fun available simply watching an apparently coiffed big man trip the pine for Philly.

Also, in on-courtroom terms, it ought to be fun to see which weapons All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving brings out to combat Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams, whose 6-foot-6 body and quickness suggest an intriguing defensive prospect. My guess? Whichever weapons Kyrie desires, early, typically and repeatedly, persevering with a brutal starting to the Syracuse product’s NBA career that will see him face the Miami Heat, then need to examine Irving twice, John Wall twice, Derrick Rose (hopefully), Stephen Curry and Tony Parker inside his first two weeks as a professional. Welcome to the NBA, younger fella. — DD

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder: Dec. 29. The James Harden trade is certain to define any matchup between these teams for the following a number of seasons, or a minimum of so long as it represents the moment at which the Thunder inadvertently turned a rival right into a contender while concurrently hurting their very own possibilities at a title. Despite no matter occasions received them up to now, though, these two groups figure to be two of the West’s top groups for the foreseeable future, longer than the aging (if also ageless) San Antonio Spurs, the Chris Paul-dependent Los Angeles Clippers, and the more tenuously successful Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies. Each rosters function young-ish stars with room to develop (or, in the case of Dwight Howard, return to prominence), and their general managers appear to have sufficient flexibility to improve their groups when vital.

The Harden trade, then, is nearly a distraction from the instant pleasure of watching two exciting, superb groups play each other several instances per season. The season’s first matchup ought to remind us that each one our chatter about storylines exists to organize us for what really issues: the video games. — EF

Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors: Dec. thirteen. Two seasons in the past, these teams finished in the draft lottery. Final season, they climbed up into the Western Convention’s top eight behind the electrical guard play of James Harden and Stephen Curry, with Houston giving the (shorthanded) Thunder a rough go of it in Spherical 1 and the Dubs turning into postseason individuals’s champs by knocking off the Denver Nuggets and scaring the daylights out of the San Antonio Spurs. This season, they’ve made arguably the 2 largest pickups of the offseason, particularly on the defensive finish, with the Rockets landing All-Star heart Dwight Howard to anchor the interior and the Warriors executing a 3-group sign-and-trade to import Andre Iguodala to lock down the perimeter. (And lest we overlook, the Warriors had been one of many few teams granted a free-agent audience with Howard, who reportedly came away very impressed with Golden State’s workers and group.)

Both ranked in the prime five in possessions per game last season, so they like to rise up and down the ground. Both ranked within the prime 11 in points per possession, too, in order that they know what to do with the ball as soon as they cross half-courtroom. They both seem to have improved across the board, supplementing their major acquisitions with smart lower-key add-ons that seem to have bolstered their benches and neatly fleshed out their rotations. And their 4 conferences last season were bookended by Houston hanging 140 on the Warriors earlier than Mark Jackson ordered intentional fouls to keep the Rockets from setting an NBA record for made three-pointers, and Curry going off for 29 points and eleven dimes as Golden State blew Houston out by 30. Draymond Green says he doesn’t like the Rockets; the sensation, we’re certain, is mutual, and I’m betting Howard hasn’t forgotten that stray elbow from Golden State energy forward David Lee while Dwight was carrying purple and gold.

Add up the scoring, the speed, the sparks that have flown between the two groups and the inimitable spirit of the Oracle followers, and I am betting that Friday night matchup’s going to be value staying house to catch. — DD

Expect Andrew Wiggins to be a significant matter of dialog in 2014. (Sam Forencich/Getty)

Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic: March 2. Although much is subject to alter over the subsequent 10 months, the 2014 NBA draft seems to be the strongest on the prime since Greg Oden and Kevin Durant entered the league in 2007. It figures, then, that the league’s worst teams will interact in a similar rush to the underside to increase their lottery odds, all in the hopes of nabbing a future famous person in June.

The Sixers and Magic aren’t certain to end up as the NBA’s backside two squads in 2013-14, however they’re likely to challenge for the league’s dunce cap. As such, their closing matchup in March may have a big impact on the lottery, and by extension the next decade of basketball. (Or, you understand, possibly the team with the second decide will find yourself with the far better participant.) — EF

New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Path Blazers: Dec. 21. If not for the Pistons, the Pelicans might need entered the season as the league’s most intriguing group. A lottery squad in each of the final two seasons after Chris Paul’s departure, the Pelicans elected to make a push for respectability next 12 months by trading its prime picks in 2013 (which wound up being Kentucky middle Noel) and 2014 (a high-5 protected choice) to the 76ers for All-Star level guard Jrue Holiday. They then engineered a 3-team deal to import former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, with visions of versatile wing lineups featuring some mixture of these two, reportedly-now-healthy maxed-out shooting guard Eric Gordon and 2012 first-rounder Austin Rivers making issues occur on the perimeter, opening up opportunities for emerging beast Anthony Davis and flooring-stretching marksman Ryan Anderson.. offered, in fact, all of it comes collectively.

Quiet as it’s saved, though, the Blazers (who’ve also missed the playoffs in each of the final two seasons) have made an identical push toward relevance, drafting exciting small-faculty combo guard C.J. McCollum to both pair with and again up reigning Rookie of the Yr Damian Lillard, and making a number of shrewd strikes (signing swingman Dorell Wright, snaring 2011 lottery choose Thomas Robinson for a pair of second-round picks, landing middle Robin Lopez within the three-teamer that despatched Evans to New Orleans) that seem to have fortified what was arguably the league’s worst bench final season.. supplied, in fact, it all comes collectively.

By the time these teams meet at the Rose Backyard, Portland will have performed 27 games and New Orleans could have performed 24. They will have had nearly three months because the begin of coaching camp to have labored out rotations, began to develop chemistry amongst all the brand new and current items, and have had the opportunity to figure out whether their respective pushes towards capital-m Mattering in the NBA playoff conversation seem ready to take off or have stalled, which is interesting sufficient in a macro sense. And from an instantaneous run-of-play perspective, the sheer array of interesting combine-and-match talents on the ground — Davis’ awkward-yet-easy apositional frontcourt box-checking, LaMarcus Aldridge’s considerably Boshian 4/5 bristling, extra ball-dealing with guards who can play the nominal one or two than you would shake a stick at, outsized threes/small-ball fours Nicolas Batum and Al-Farouq Aminu, and so forth. — to make this a enjoyable watch in and of itself that might wind up telling us one thing more about the Western playoff picture.

And if all that does not tickle your fancy, I’ve acquired 4 words for you: Robin Lopez Revenge Sport. — DD

Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks: April 16. The final evening of the 2012-13 season featured an excessive amount of excitement, with Stephen Curry setting a brand new file for 3-pointers in a season, the Los Angeles Lakers avoiding embarrassment and clinching a playoff berth, and Sacramento Kings fans doubtlessly watching their workforce for the final time. Solely time will tell what 2013-14’s finale brings, but we can bet it’s going to be magical.

One thing we do know, not less than as of this writing, is that a national TELEVISION viewers will get to benefit from the season-closing tilt between the Hawks and Bucks on ESPN. It appears as though the Worldwide Chief has banked on these squads battling for a playoff spot, and it sure looks like a doozy. Will Jeff Teague rating 20 points and switch the tide in a number of fantasy leagues? Will Ersan Ilyasova take a nap in the course of the third quarter? Will Al Horford and Paul Millsap even have to play? Keep tuned for “SportsCenter!” — EF

When Rudy returns to Memphis, neither he nor Z-Bo figure to be smiling. (Joe Murphy/NBA/Getty Photographs) Toronto Raptors at Memphis Grizzlies: Nov. thirteen. The Raptors and Grizzlies faced off once last season after the trade that despatched Rudy Gay north of the border, but the meeting took place at the Air Canada Centre — Homosexual scored 13 points on 15 pictures, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph scored 17 apiece and the Grizzlies earned a six-level highway win. It will symbolize Homosexual’s first journey to FedEx Forum as a visitor after 6 half of seasons and more than 8,500 factors scored in a Grizzlies uniform.. and yet, you surprise if Memphians really miss his iso-heavy, accuracy-light, volume-taking pictures wing sport as much as his prior level of productivity would seem to dictate.

As I’ve written prior to now, Memphis improved on each ends of the floor after the three-workforce deal that despatched Homosexual to the Raptors, redistributing the possessions beforehand utilized by the athletic swingman to more environment friendly gamers like Conley, Randolph and (most notably) Marc Gasol whereas persevering with to lock down on the defensive end en route to a visit to the Western Convention finals — a level of success they by no means reached with Homosexual playing a pivotal role. However would that method — ditch shot-jacking, unfold responsibility around, emphasize elevated participant and ball motion, operate extra via the 2 huge guys and rating just enough to let your clamp-down D take you residence — be lauded fairly as a lot as it has been if Memphis is not successful?

What if the Grizzlies — who look robust again after re-upping perimeter defending ace Tony Allen, snaring amnestied shooter Mike Miller and trading for regular backup huge man Kosta Koufos — get off to a slow begin in opposition to a troublesome slate that includes the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, revamped Pistons, reloaded Warriors and Jap Conference doppelganger Indiana Pacers? What if Gay — his jumper instantly scorching after long-overdue offseason vision correction surgery — gets off to a sizzling begin and has Toronto wanting like they may compete for one of many East’s lower-tier playoff spots? Might those few lingering voices that take a look at Memphis and say, “It would be good to have someone who may reliably create his personal shot,” find some extra pals? Or has the Grindhouse come far enough to rest on what it is aware of about its group’s id, salute Rudy for his service and return concerning the business of not bluffing?

I suspect I do know the reply to that question, however like every part else we’re talking about right now, we won’t actually know for positive until the season gets getting in earnest; then, all of the questions we pore over during the summer time will likely be changed by entire new units of quandaries that we’ll spend the subsequent eight months attempting to solve. It’s going to be great. — DD

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Bubba Watson went to Chipotle, bought 60 people dinner

Bubba Watson — Getty Images Professional athletes don’t normally hit up fast meals restaurants, however on the PGA Tour if there’s an exception, it is Chipotle.

The burrito chain is a staple on a number of lists, allowing players to eat pretty healthy while getting some fast grub, and Bubba Watson made a cease at an Akron, Ohio Chipotle on Friday.

After rounds of 67-sixty nine have him T-6 at the Bridgestone Invitational, Watson went to Chipotle and apparently was feeling charitable. Webb Simpson’s caddie Paul Tesori tweeted out this image of a receipt of Bubba’s, who apparently purchased dinner for 60 individuals.

It might not be Kevin Durant donating a million dollars to twister reduction or anything, but I feel it says loads about Bubba that he just randomly does stuff like this, probably not asking for attention in return.

Hopefully for Bubba fans the karma will get him again next week at Oak Hill.