Spurs win 14th straight; 76ers’ skid hits 25


SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs knew the Philadelphia 76ers have been coming in on a long losing streak.

They had no intentions of taking it easy on them.

Austin Daye had 22 points and Tim Duncan added 19 because the Spurs earned their 14th straight win with a 113-ninety one victory Monday evening that sent the 76ers to their twenty fifth consecutive loss.

Philadelphia will face Houston on Thursday with the dubious distinction of being a loss shy of tying the NBA file for consecutive losses set by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010-eleven. Before the sport, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he felt horrible for former assistant Brett Brown, now the 76ers' coach. But he added that he did not feel sorry for "considered one of my finest mates," as a result of pity would upset his former protege.

"Clearly, it's a rough season for them," Duncan stated. "It's a rebuilding season for them. [Brown] is aware of that, they know that. They've a number of young guys. He is simply trying to get the system in place that has them taking part in the best way he wants them playing. It's a process. He is aware of that."

Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills scored 15 points every and Cory Joseph added 12 for San Antonio, which maintained the league's best report at fifty four-16. The Spurs did not play starters Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green, however didn't want them towards the lowly 76ers.

Thaddeus Young and Michael Carter-Williams every scored 19 factors, Byron Mullens added 15 and Elliot Williams had 14 for Philadelphia (15-fifty six).

Daye, who was averaging 2.three minutes whereas playing in solely four video games since being acquired from Toronto on Feb. 20, completed 6-for-10 on three-pointers and had six rebounds in 29 minutes. It was familiar to Brown, who served as an assistant under Popovich for seven seasons.

"He is lucky," Brown stated, "and I've seen this over so a few years – people can come into that system and shine. This system creates opportunities for everybody, and he took advantage of these. The eye you need to give others and the movement that they've in their construction allowed him to get freed up loads.

"He reaped the benefit of enjoying in that system."

The Sixers kept tempo early in opposition to the Spurs, with Carter-Williams fearlessly driving into the paint for a collection of quick jumpers and Hollis Thompson hitting a pair of 3s.

Popovich called timeout with three:forty four left in the first quarter after Williams dunked over Duncan to tie it at 19.

Philadelphia's early success awoke the Spurs and introduced out one of the best in Daye. His athleticism and energy have been just what San Antonio wanted after a listless begin.

"He's a skilled guy," Popovich stated. "Obviously he can shoot it. However he is additionally a good passer. He is aware of the right way to play the sport. It was good to be able to get him some time tonight."

San Antonio went on a 26-5 spurt bridging the first and second quarters, capped by a 19-0 run.

Daye first ran down Carter-Williams, swatting his layup try from behind, resulting in Leonard's driving layup for a 23-19 lead with 3 minutes left within the opening quarter.

Mullens' three-pointer snapped a 6 ½-minute drought, however the Spurs have been up 45-27 with 6:35 left within the first half.

Daye then stole an outlet go on the run, driving instantly at a backpedalling Mullens on a 3-on-1 break. Daye faked a behind-the-back go to Duncan on the left and dished to Joseph on the proper, who fed an open Duncan for a layup and a 47-27 lead.

"He acquired a chance," Duncan mentioned. "He actually stepped up and shot the ball really well. The boy is de facto lengthy. He made some great plays defensively [and] rebounded the ball. He did plenty of good issues on the market."

The Spurs began Ginobili to provide the group another facilitator on the court docket with Parker out. Ginobili did that and extra, scoring seven points and grabbing two rebounds in eight minutes. He drove to the basket for a series of reverse layups, but was blocked by the rim on a one-handed dunk try in starting 2-for-3 from the field.

San Antonio completed with 31 assists while capturing fifty six p.c from the sector.

"It's powerful," Carter-Williams stated. "They transfer the ball really well with the additional pass. They try to transfer the ball and virtually tire you out on defense. You bought to be able to rotate and play all through the shot clock."

The victory did little to satiate the Spurs or Popovich, who're hoping to return to the NBA Finals after falling to Miami final season in a heartbreaking seven-game sequence.

"We're taking part in well by this stretch and winning some video games," Duncan stated. "Pop continues to be not glad, obviously, with what we're doing. We wish to stay wholesome. We need to stay transferring in the correct direction.

"Hopefully we can ride this into the playoffs and feel good going into the playoffs."


Game notes

San Antonio's Large Three of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker have played for 39 seasons, which is seven years more expertise than your entire Philadelphia roster mixed. The 76ers have six rookies on this yr's roster… Former Spurs F Malik Rose, a Philadelphia native, now serves as an analyst for 76ers tv. He stuffed in for the Spurs in the same capacity earlier than joining Philadelphia's broadcast workforce.


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Spurs outlast Warriors for 13th straight win

OAKLAND, Calif. – No matter the lineup or location, the San Antonio Spurs are rolling by way of the NBA once more this spring, simply the way in which they’ve for many of the last two decades.

Particularly against Golden State.

Tony Parker had 20 points and five assists, Danny Green scored 18 points and the short-handed Spurs outlasted the Warriors 99-ninety on Saturday night time for their 13th straight victory.

“I assume they believe in themselves and in the system, they usually just hold working it. Other than that, I do not really know what to tell you,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stated. “They’ve simply obtained great character. They by no means give in, and I feel they like the challenge when guys are out. They seem to take pleasure in it.”

Tiago Splitter added 17 factors and 14 rebounds because the league-leading Spurs (fifty three-16) pulled away with an eleven-0 run early within the fourth quarter. San Antonio, riding its longest successful streak in seven years, is 2 video games ahead of Oklahoma Metropolis for the top playoff seed in the Western Conference.

The Spurs did it even while resting stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. They are 3-0 in opposition to Golden State this season, together with two wins in Oakland without their regulars, after eliminating the Warriors in the second round of the playoffs last yr.

“Everybody stepped up,” Parker stated. “When somebody’s not playing, it’s just different guys who will do it. And we belief one another.”

Stephen Curry scored 20 factors to go with six assists and six rebounds, and Andrew Bogut grabbed 17 boards because the Warriors head into a 5-day break on a bitter observe.

The Warriors (forty four-27) had won three straight but missed an opportunity to move up within the playoff chase after Portland lost at Charlotte. Golden State is still in sixth place in the West, 1 games behind the Trail Blazers and 1 ahead of Dallas.

San Antonio has won 51 of the past 59 conferences in opposition to the Warriors.

“We made some mistakes. It’s a disappointing loss. It’ll make us better,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “Hopefully we see them down the street again, however there is a purpose why they’re the very best staff in basketball.”

After wins at the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night and at Sacramento on Friday night time, Popovich rested two of his veterans as he so typically does all through the NBA’s marathon schedule. Duncan, Ginobili and Parker all sat out San Antonio’s 104-102 victory against the Warriors on Dec. 19.

Jackson has been trying to take an analogous method during the season’s stretch run, although the wins aren’t all the time following. Swingman Andre Iguodala was inactive for the third straight sport with tendinitis in his right knee, and backup middle Jermaine O’Neal returned after sitting out the earlier two video games.

Even with all the lineup adjustments, Jackson noticed the matchup towards the Spurs as a “benchmark” for the place his team stands. He joked earlier than the game that the Spurs are like a bunch of “outdated dudes” at a leisure center whipping a bunch of high school All-People due to their smarts and savvy.

And that’s simply what it looked like firstly.

The Spurs opened the sport on a 22-7 run and held the lead a lot of the means. After the Warriors moved within four within the fourth quarter, Green’s 3-pointer capped an 11-0 spurt that put San Antonio ahead 87-74.

The Warriors made one final push before the Spurs rapidly regrouped. Parker spun for a reverse layup and Green came again with one other 3 to stretch San Antonio’s lead again to ninety four-82 with 2:18 left, sending a lot of the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 headed to the exits.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Popovich said. “Their effort with three games in 4 nights, this late in the season, and the again-to-again tonight, to finish off the three in 4 was real special as a result of everyone came off the bench and they gave the trouble they wanted to offer and I’m simply thrilled for them.”

The Spurs showed off all their best attributes via the game: smothering protection, precision passing and sharp taking pictures. The Warriors lastly discovered their touch late within the second quarter, once they scored 10 straight points and sliced San Antonio’s result in 50-47 at the half.

The teams traded scores for a lot of the third quarter, and the Warriors briefly took a one-level lead. The Spurs put collectively one other surge to go forward seventy six-69 entering the fourth quarter, and held on for their longest winning streak since rolling off thirteen in a row was from Feb. 13 to March 13, 2007.

“You don’t win 50-something odd games at this level and not have a good second unit,” said O’Neal, who had 9 points and seven rebounds. “They actually fly round.”

NOTES: Spurs reserve F Matt Bonner additionally sat out with a strained proper calf… San Antonio (15-1) and Golden State (thirteen-5) have probably the most wins within the NBA since the All-Star break… The Spurs and Warriors meet for the ultimate time this season April 2 in San Antonio.

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Heat seal playoff spot behind Wade, LeBron

Heat Snap Three-Recreation Dropping Streak


MIAMI – LeBron James set the tone pregame. Dwyane Wade took over in the fourth quarter.

And the Miami Heat received a win they desperately needed.

Wade scored 13 of his 22 points within the last period and led a vital 12-0 run down the stretch, James led all scorers with 23 points and the Warmth clinched a playoff spot by beating the Washington Wizards 99-90 on Monday night time to snap a 3-sport dropping streak.

"We would have liked a win," Wade stated. "We would have liked this win."

Chris Bosh scored 22 for the Heat (forty four-17), who moved within one sport of Indiana (46-17) in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio (forty six-sixteen) for the league's best report. Ray Allen added 13 for Miami, which was coming off a visit the place it misplaced at Houston, San Antonio and Chicago, the last of these coming in a late collapse on Sunday.

Dwyane Wade


Dwyane Wade, driving previous the Wizards' Martell Webster, scored 13 of his 22 factors in the ultimate interval and led a vital 12-0 run down the stretch.

Wade hasn't usually performed back-to-backs this season. He did this time, and the Warmth simply rolled with him within the final minutes on the way in which to avoiding what would have been their first 4-sport slide since 2011.

"He made the right performs," James stated.

Bradley Beal scored 18 factors, Martell Webster added 17 and Drew Gooden scored 15 for the Wizards. Marcin Gortat completed with 14 factors and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds – 10 of them within the first quarter alone.

John Wall finished with eight assists for Washington.

"I'm happy with our guys," Wizards coach Randy Wittman stated. "They stored battling, working. We didn't shoot it the way in which we're able to. We bought some beauty. We shared the ball. We attacked the entire game."

Washington led eighty four-eighty three midway by the fourth, when Wade took over.

A three-level play put Miami ahead to stay and he then had assists on Miami's subsequent three baskets – a brief jumper and then a 3-pointer from Bosh, then a layup by James.

Wade capped the run with a score of his personal, on the way to his first thirteen-point, three-assist fourth quarter since Feb. 18, 2009. His thirteen within the fourth marked his highest-scoring quarter this season, and got here with him taking part in consecutive days for the primary time since Jan. 4 and 5. It was solely the third time all season he's appeared in both nights of a back-to-again.

Both teams shot only 9 free throws; despite being in assault mode, James did not shoot one for the second straight sport, simply the second time that's occurred in his profession, the first coming in December 2003, early in his rookie season.

"Very stunned," James mentioned.

James went scoreless for a stretch of almost quarter-hour within the first half, and still easily led everyone with 19 points by intermission. The whole thing of his first-half scoring came in two spectacular spurts – three three-pointers in as many tries over a span of two:forty three early in the sport, then 10 straight Heat points in a stretch of three:23 late in the half.

"I felt good about this recreation the minute, the second I noticed LeBron come into the health club right this moment," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We had an early walkthrough and he ran within the gym. Got here as much as every single individual, participant and coach and shook everyone's hand and stated, `Let's go. Let's prepare for this sport.' That is what leaders do."

Miami's lead was 12 early in the third earlier than Washington went on a ten-zero run, with Gortat scoring the primary eight and Trevor Booker's jumper getting the Wizards within fifty nine-fifty seven. And after Miami rebuilt the result in seven, Washington took off on one other fast burst, this one sufficient to give the Wizards their first lead since 1-zero.

In lower than 2 minutes, Washington outscored Miami 11-zero, Webster scoring six in 25 seconds. He head-faked James in the air to start what turned a 4-point play, then had an alley-oop dunk off a Wall cross on the subsequent possession as Washington took a 65-sixty four lead.

"I think we match up with those guys perfect," Wall said. "We battle those guys."

Allen had two three's for the Heat late within the third, and it was seventy three-all getting into the fourth. The Wizards scored solely 17 factors in the final 12 minutes.

"We saw just a few issues," Wade stated, "and we were capable of take advantage."


Recreation notes

Gortat had never grabbed greater than nine rebounds in a quarter. He is the twelfth participant with 10 boards in 1 / 4 this season… Washington missed its first six pictures, as Miami took a ten-1 lead… March 10 matches the second-earliest date for Miami clinching a playoff spot. The Warmth did it on March eight final season… Warmth F Udonis Haslem made his 700th common-season look… Washington outrebounded Miami 50-33.


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NBA Prediction Tuesday Night Preview- San Antonio vs. Chicago

NBA Free Pick Spurs vs Bulls

San Antonio Spurs (46-16, 23-8 away) @ Chicago Bulls (35-28, 19-11 home) 03/10- 8:00PM EST


Line: SAS -4.0

Over/Under: 188.0


The red-hot San Antonio Spurs will be looking for revenge on the road against another team that has been playing well of late… the Chicago Bulls, as both teams will battle on Tuesday night at the United Center.


All the Spurs have done since the Bulls beat them 96-86 back in January is rattle off 13 of 16 wins and are enjoying a six-game win streak all while going on a offensive surge scoring an average of 106.6 points per game over their last 16 games while allowing 101.6 points per contest.


Last Thursday, the Spurs (46-16) were able to exact revenge on the Miami Heat with a 111-87 home win and will be looking for the same results against the defensive minded Bulls who also defeated the Heat at home on Sunday with a 95-88 overtime win.


Following their big win over the two-time defending champions, San Antonio survived a letdown at the hands of the lowly Orlando Magic on Saturday night with a 121-112 victory to keep their winning streak alive.


It’s always hard after a big win against Miami, the emotions,” Tony Parker said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t come out flat, and Orlando, they came out firing.” They were shooting the ball very well from outside. They are young and wanted to prove something. They made it hard on us but it’s a big win for us.”


As well as the Spurs have been playing since their Chicago defeat, the Bulls (35-28) have also been on fire winning eleven of their last fourteen games and six of seven at home as they have been playing balanced basketball averaging 93.1 on offense and allowing 92.2 on defense.


They are a team with heart that plays hard for all 48 minutes and Sunday’s big win over the Heat as given them more of reason to feel good about themselves as the playoffs near.


I want what they have—a championship,” Joakim Noah said of the Heat. “One day, we are going to have to get through those guys.”


Chicago is in the middle of a challenging six-game stand that has seen them lose to the Memphis Grizzlies and bounce back with a huge win over the Heat, but after the Spurs will still be faced with the likes of the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. Wow… talk about a tough stretch games! No doubt, defense will be the key for the Bulls to contain these high scoring teams in the coming days.


The Spurs have lost five-of-eight to the Bulls in the series, but oddsmakers have given the edge for Tuesday’s game making them a (minus -4.0) point favorite in Chicago where they will be looking for their second straight win in the Windy City. In what promises to be an entertaining well-played game for both teams, stay in the know with all the latest spreads on the game up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.


Tough one to call on this one as both teams are playing great ball, but I will favor the home-town Bulls to win in a close one as they continue to build their confidence as they playoffs near.


Prediction/Pick- Chicago



By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

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

heat vs spurs

Miami Heat (43-15, 19-10 away) @ San Antonio Spurs (44-16, 21-8 home) 03/06- 8PM EST


Line: SAS -3.0

Over/Under: 209.0


The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs will clash for the second time this season on Thursday night in a rematch from last year’s NBA Finals.


The Heat look to bounce back after a tough 106-103 loss at the hands of the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night that saw LeBron James score just 22 points a night after going off for 61 points in a 124-107 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.


Playing on the second of a back-to-back, it is safe say the four-time MVP James didn’t have much left in the tank after having the best night of career the night before. James went only 1 of 7 in the second half and spent most of the beginning of the fourth quarter on the bench.


I fought through it in the first half. Second half it just wasn’t there for me,” James said. “Got out of rhythm.”


Even with an exhausted James unable to perform to his fullest, the Heat (43-15) made a game of it and had their chances in the fourth quarter but just weren’t able to get over the hump as Michael Beasley and Dwayne Wade both scored 24 points apiece to help keep the Heat close.


We were able to push back in the fourth quarter and tie the game up,” Wade said. “But we had to exhaust so much energy trying to come back.”


With a Wednesday day off, Miami hopes to enter Thursday’s contest a little better rested as they look to sweep the regular-season series over the Spurs following a blowout 113-101 win back in Miami on Jan 26 that saw the Heat lead by as much as 29 points.


The Spurs (44-16) hope to have a better showing in the 3-point department come Thursday after going just 6 of 22 from beyond the arc back in Miami. The Spurs will also have a better compliment of starting players against the Heat on Thursday night after missing Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter in the first matchup.


San Antonio is 4-1 is their last five games and have been getting it done from long range distance and sharing the basketball, where in their 122-101 victory at Cleveland on Tuesday night, the Spurs hit 12 of their final 18 3-point attempts and the team combined for 39 assists on 43 field goals.


That doesn’t happen very often,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “We’ve been doing that really well all year long, but that’s a ridiculous ratio right there.”


Those numbers won’t come as easy as they did on Tuesday night for the Spurs but the oddsmakers have given San Antonio the edge making them a (minus -3.0) point favorite but stay up to date on the latest spread up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.


The Heat have dominated the Spurs of late winning their last five regular-season game but I will favor the Spurs to get it done at home in what is expected to be a great game.


Prediction/Pick- San Antonio



By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Parker returns for Spurs, helps take down Dallas

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs are whole for the first time in months and so they carried out in the same efficient model that helped them battle by the rash of injuries.

Tony Parker had 22 factors and seven assists in his return from a six-game absence, main San Antonio’s balanced attack in a 112-106 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday evening.

Parker performed with his traditional relentlessness, ending 10 for 15 from the field on a series of breakneck drives. He also had just one turnover in 32 minutes, and the Spurs had six players score in double figures.

”I thought Parker seemed nice once more coming off a nice little 10-day break they can afford to provide him,” Mavericks ahead Dirk Nowitzki said. ”And he just comes in and appears nice.”

Despite a series of accidents, San Antonio (43-sixteen) remains 1½ games behind Oklahoma City (45-15) for the top seed within the Western Conference.

Tim Duncan scored 17 factors, Kawhi Leonard added 16 and Boris Diaw had 13 factors and 10 rebounds for San Antonio. Manu Ginobili had 15 factors and 7 assists as the Spurs prolonged their profitable streak to three games.

Nowitzki scored 22 points, Vince Carter added 21 and Monta Ellis had 17 for the Mavericks, who’ve misplaced eight straight to the Spurs.

Parker appeared refreshed after not playing since Feb. 10 for what San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich formally listed as `’rest,” but unofficially was resulting from a sequence of lower body maladies.

”I feel it was a bit little bit of [a bodily and psychological rest],” Parker stated. ”Pop, I trust his judgment. I didn’t need to admit it to myself. But possibly I was tired mentally. It is a variety of basketball the last three years with no break; the [French] nationwide group and NBA. It undoubtedly helped, I felt fresh.”

The French point guard made his first shot, and on the following possession, drove into the guts of the paint to attract the protection and fired a go to Leonard for an open 3-pointer that gave San Antonio a 5-2 lead.

”I just try to penetrate and make stuff happen,” Parker mentioned. ”Obviously, I want to score; but I need to do both. I wish to create pictures for my teammates. Myself and Manu [Ginobili], we will create a whole lot of offense, we now have nice shooters all around us. I can’t remember the final time we had everybody.”

Parker punctuated his return with a left-handed layup from the correct aspect of the rim to avoid Dalembert’s attain with forty five seconds remaining.

”He’s been an MVP candidate, really each of the final three, four, five years,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle stated. ”Look, he’s that good and he was clearly contemporary tonight. He hit shots that were the photographs that were there. You’ve got to give him credit for that and we would have liked to be slightly bit better on our coverages.”

The Spurs visibly frustrated Nowitzki, who continually yelled at officials. Popovich alternated Splitter, Diaw and Leonard defensively on Nowitzki, who shot 9 of 17.

”It was just to provide him a unique look,” Popovich stated of the rotations. ”He’s such an ideal player. No person stops him. At the very least giving him a special look makes me really feel higher like I’m trying, like I’m doing one thing.”

Nowitzki additionally committed two early fouls.

”The primary one was silly,” he mentioned. ”I noticed the ball, form of reach for it. By the point I reached for it, the ball was gone and I hit his arm. I missed my first two pictures. I believe I used to be somewhat anxious; I actually needed to play nicely. By the point I settled in within the second quarter, I used to be little too puffed up.”

Carter saved the Mavericks in the recreation nearly single-handedly in the first half, as Dallas trailed just 48-forty seven. Ginobili scored eight straight points, together with a pair of 3-pointers, because the Spurs opened a 78-67 lead with a minute remaining.

Ginobili, who was 2 for five on 3s, was energized by the team’s return to health.

”For Tim and Tony, it has been a while, greater than a month, in all probability without all three enjoying,” Ginobili stated. ”It feels good. As I mentioned the final two video games, it’s very important for us to be healthy, to start feeling assured, to start out enjoying with each other once more over the past stretch of the season.”


The Spurs have had 24 totally different lineups this season… San Antonio has received 12 of 14 regular-season video games against Dallas. The Mavericks haven’t crushed the Spurs since a 106-ninety nine victory on March 17, 2012, in Dallas… Popovich and Nowitzki engaged in somewhat contentious banter through the recreation. When Nowitzki was whistled for fouling Parker on a drive, he yelled at official Derek Richardson as he left for a substitution, ”Just because (Popovich’s) yelling doesn’t suggest there is a foul.”

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NBA Prediction Friday Night Preview/Pick- Spurs vs. Suns

nba free pick and prediction

Free NBA Pick & Prediction Spurs vs. Suns

San Antonio Spurs (40-15, 22-7 away) @ Phoenix Suns (32-21, 18-9 home) 02/21- 6:00PM EST


Line: SAS -1.0

Over/Under: 209.0


The San Antonio Spurs on the heals of two impressive road wins on back-to-back nights against the Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers will look to secure another big road win as they face the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.


It seems the All-Star break did the “aging” Spurs some good as they come out of the break looking for their fourth straight win without injured point guard Tony Parker and look to close out their season-high nine game annual road trip by going seven of nine.


What was impressive about the Portland victory is they did it without Parker… out with Achilles, groin, back and calf ailments and Tim Duncan who got his customary rest on a back-to-back night.


The Spurs (40-15) have gotten a huge lift from reserve Patty Mills as the fifth-year guard went for 29 points in a 111-109 win at Portland without Parker and Duncan.


If it wasn’t for him the last couple of nights, we would have really struggled,” san Antonio forward Danny Green said. “He’s doing what Tony usually does, in taking over in that fourth quarter.”


Mills has responded with his playing time by averaging 21.0 points over his last seven games, including a season-high 32 points against Charlotte back on Feb. 8 in less than 29 minutes of playing time.


For me, it’s just been learning from great guys,” Mills said. “We’ve got three future Hall of Famers and a great coach, so I just sat back and learned.”


The Southwest Division leaders have been battling injuries and age all season but have managed to remain amongst the best in the NBA, are still loaded with talent with the likes of Marco Belinelli, Manu Ginobili, Parker, Duncan and now welcome back the addition of Tiago Splitter who missed the last four games with a calf injury.


San Antonio has dominated the Suns of late, having won eight of nine, including four straight on the road and taking the first two of the season and will face a Suns team that also won on back-to-back nights to improve to 2-0 since the All-Star break.


Coming off back-to-back we were a little tired, a little exhausted,” said Channing Frye who added 15 points and seven rebounds in a 100-94 win over Boston on Tuesday night. “And I think we had some mental breakdowns, but other than that, I think we just battle and grind it out.”


Phoenix is in the midst of a nine game stretch that will only see them travel on the road for one road game on Feb 26 at Utah, so sitting 3½ games behind the Pacific Division leading Clippers… are the Suns (32-21) poised to make a move in the second half of the season as the playoffs approach?


With the way the Spurs have handled the Suns recently, the oddsmakers have made the Spurs a slim (minus 1.0) point favorite on the road, but stay in the know with the latest spread up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.


I like the way both teams are playing this season, but it’s hard to overlook the Spurs and they way they just keep on winning and predict them going into Phoenix and leaving with a close win.


Prediction/Pick- San Antonio



By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

NBA Prediction Friday Night Preview/Pick- Clippers vs. Grizzlies

nba pick & prediction

Los Angeles Clippers (37-19, 14-14 away) @ Memphis Grizzlies (30-23, 15-14 home) 02/21- 8:00PM EST


Line: LAC -2.5

Over/Under: 196.5


Two of the hottest teams over the last six-weeks, the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers will square off in the final regular-season meeting between these two teams on Friday night at FedEx Forum.


The Grizzlies (30-23), winners of 15 of their last 19 find themselves one game out of the eighth position in the tough Western Conference for the final playoff spot while the Clippers (37-19), winners of 14 of 19 lead the Pacific Division.


The Clippers’ Blake Griffin has been a big reason for their success averaging a career-best 24.4 points, while going for a career-high 25 points or more over his last nine games and has posted six double-doubles in seven games, though his last effort of 35 points and 12 boards was not enough to defeat the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night 113-103.


He scored like 60, didn’t he? Blake’s great,” Spurs veteran Tim Duncan said. “He’s been playing the best basketball of us career thus far.”


The Clippers had won three in a row prior to losing to San Antonio but their defense has come into question where they have allowed 110 points or more in four of their last six games… and that must improve if they expect to be a factor come playoff time.


Sometimes you can’t control if you’re shooting the ball well or things like that. But you can always control your energy on defense,” Griffin said. “Even when you’re tired, you can still bring a little bit more.


“…. It’s on me. I think I have got to show a little more energy at the start, especially defensively.”


For the Grizzlies, defense has been a vocal point all season, surrendering only 87.8 points per game since Jan 14. One of only two teams along with the Chicago Bulls (93.3) to allow less than 96.0 points per contest in that span.


The big front line of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have done a stellar job of containing Griffin since the start of last season allowing only 14.3 points per matchup and his 16.5 career average is the lowest against any NBA opponent.


Memphis, winners of three straight will be in search of winning the regular-season series for the first time since the 2008-09 year with both teams winning on each others home court thus far this season.


The Grizzlies have found their groove since dealing with early season injuries which found them four games under .500 in early January, but despite their winning streak and defense… find themselves a (minus -2.5) point underdog to the visiting Clippers. I’m not sold on the spread, but you can stay up-to-date on the latest lines on the game up until tip off right here at Wonder Punter.


I look for the Grizzlies to continue with their tough defense on Friday night, establishing themselves as a team to be reckoned with for the second half of the season and predict a good home win to extend their winning streak to four games.


Prediction/Pick- Memphis



By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Thunder vs heat preview

Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat (-4, 204) Kevin Durant's recent scoring barrage has moved him front and center in the race for the NBA's most valuable player award. On Wednesday Durant will come face-to-face with the greatest challenge to his MVP quest as he leads the Oklahoma City Thunder into Miami to face LeBron James and the powerhouse Heat.

Durant has scored 30 or more points in 11 straight games, the main catalyst behind the Thunder's eight-game winning streak. Durant is on the fast track to his fourth NBA scoring title, but faces one of his toughest assignments of the year – tasked with scoring on, and defending, the four-time league MVP and two-time defending NBA champion. James' numbers have taken a tumble in recent years, but he remains the most productive player on a team that sits second in the Eastern Conference. James will have help, too, as Dwyane Wade returns to the starting lineup.


Miami opened -4. 5 and was bet down to -4. The total opened 204 in Las Vegas and was bet down to 203. 5.


Thunder (-12. 5) – Heat (-14. 3) + Home Court (-3. 0) = Heat -4. 8


Thunder: Russell Westbrook (Out – knee), Heat: Dwyane Wade (Probable – knee)


"Most of the main rival teams at the top – Indiana, San Antonio, L. A. Clippers – would be +5 and bigger in Miami, but Oklahoma City and Durant are getting respect for how they are playing without Westbrook. Even though Durant is getting all the accolades for his recent play, and rightfully so – hes the current MVP frontrunner, the Thunder have the inside matchup edge with Perkins and Ibaka, plus Collison and Adams off the bench. " – Aron Black, Bet365. com.


"A bit surprising that Thunder actually have a better record right now than the Heat, despite playing with Russell Westbrook for the past 18 games. What has been most impressive to me is that OKC is 4-1 SU in their five games as an underdog without Westbrook during those past 18 games, meaning they have played very well against quality teams, even while short-handed. "

Thunder Dancers or Heat Dancers?


WHY BET THE THUNDER (36-10 SU, 27-19 ATS, 22-24 O/U):

Durant isn't just shooting his way to superstardom – he's thinking his way around defensive schemes designed to shut him down. Durant hit the game-winning shot in Monday's narrow victory over the Atlanta Hawks, and said afterward that he was successful because he had seen the game-ending defensive setup before. "This is the third team we played that's been under that San Antonio umbrella, " he said of the Hawks' approach. "They brought that (double-team). And they were bold enough to do it in the fourth quarter. " Durant averages 29. 3 points in 12 career games against the Heat.

WHY BET THE HEAT (32-12 SU, 19-25 ATS, 27-17 O/U):

Wade was given the green light to join the starting five after coming off the bench in Sunday's one-sided win over the San Antonio Spurs. Wade, who scored eight points in 24 minutes in a reserve role, relishes the challenge of facing the team with the best record in the West. "I asked (head coach Eric Spoelstra) to take me out as a starter that one game, but I didn't ask him to do it the whole year, " Wade told reporters Monday. "So we can stop that conversation. " Miami is an Eastern Conference-best 12-2 against West foes.

TRENDS: * Favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.

* Home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.

* Thunder are 0-6 ATS in the last six meetings.

* Thunder are 0-5 ATS in the last five meetings in Miami. CONSENSUS PICK:

54 % on Oklahoma City +4, 75 % on Over 204.


NBA Prediction Tuesday Game Preview/Pick- San Antonio vs. Houston

nba picks prediciton spurs vs rockets

NBA Free Pick & Prediction Spurs vs. rockets 2024

San Antonio Spurs (33-11, 16-4 away) @ Houston Rockets (29-17, 18-7 home) 01/28- 8:00PM EST


Line: HOU -1.5

Over/Under: 212.0


The San Antonio Spurs coming off a bad game loss at the hands of the Miami Heat will try to avoid losing consecutive games as they travel into Houston to take on a Rockets team that will try to avoid their third straight in an important Western Conference showdown on Tuesday night.


The Spurs (33-11) lead the second-place Rockets (29-17) in the Southwest Division by five games, but have dropped three of five while the Rockets suffered back-to-back losses in a home-and-home series matchup against the surging Memphis Grizzlies.


San Antonio was riding a six-game road winning streak before they ran into a buzz saw in Miami that saw them trail by as many as 29 points before losing 113-101 in their first rematch since Game 7 of the NBA Finals.


Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green (hand) and Tiago Splitter (shoulder) are mainstays in the Spurs defense but injuries to these players are beginning to take their toll where they surrendered a season-worst 58.1 field goal percentage to the Miami Heat.


Everybody has injuries. You have to deal with them during the season,” said Tony Parker. “Obviously, it’s hurting us but they’re going to come back. We just have to keep pushing and trying to get better.”


The Spurs, who own a league-best 16-4 mark away from home will look to take advantage of a Houston team in search of their offense after being swept in a home-and-home series to the Grizzlies that saw them shoot 38.8 percent including 23 of 66 from behind the arc in both games. The Rockets went into those games shooting a league-best 47.0 percent while averaging 109.0 points per game. They lost at home 88-87 and in Memphis 99-81.


The last two games we’ve been terrible offensively,” said Chandler Parsons.


Rockets scoring leader James Harden who entered the series averaging 24.3 points per contest this season, totaled just 26 points in both games on 8 of 24 shooting should be able to get back on track scoring wise against the Spurs…. a team in which he is averaging 30.0 points per game over his last five contests against since joining the Rockets prior to the 2012-13 season. He’s also shooting 60.9 percent from behind the 3-point line.


Houston is 2-0 winning both games on the road (112-106 and 111-98) on the season versus the Spurs and oddsmakers like their chances again as they have made them a slim (minus -1.5) point favorite, but stay up-to-date on the latest spread for the game up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.


It’s going to be a tough game,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “The first two games don’t make any difference. We’re a different team. They’re a different team. We’ve got to play really well. That team lost to Miami, they’re going to come in hungry.”


A tough game it is going to be, but I predict the trio of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili each having a great game to lead the Spurs to a big road win in Houston.


Prediction/Pick- San Antonio

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Spurs at Heat: Betting tips


San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat (-4, 204) What might have been an intriguing rematch of last season's NBA Finals has lost some luster as the San Antonio Spurs head to Miami missing several key players for their showdown with the Heat. The Spurs are down three starters — center Tiago Splitter (shoulder), forward Kawhi Leonard (finger) and guard Danny Green (finger) — but still managed a 105-79 win at Atlanta on Friday to open their three-game road trip. The Heat have won four straight regular-season meetings with San Antonio.

The Heat also have been short-handed recently with star guard Dwyane Wade missing the past four contests because of his ailing knees, but Wade is expected to play against the Spurs, allowing Ray Allen to move back to a reserve role. "It's a luxury to have the group that we have, to be able to rely on other guys when we have some of our big guys out, " Heat star LeBron James told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "With D-Wade being out for a period of gime, to be able to have a Hall of Famer backing him up … it definitely helps us. " Miami has won four straight at home, where it boasts an 18-3 record and has won seven of its eight matchups with Western Conference opponents, while San Antonio is 6-0 on the road against Eastern Conference teams.



1 p. m. ET, ABC

ABOUT THE SPURS (33-10):San Antonio has reeled off a season-high six-game road winning streak since its last defeat away from home Dec. 16 against the Los Angeles Clippers. The streak survived a trip to Atlanta on Friday as reserves Boris Diaw (21 points) and Patty Mills (18) were the unlikely stars. "We've got big shoes to fill until everyone gets back, Mills told reporters. "Guys go down and we have to stick to the game plan. "


Miami has won four of five following a season-high three-game losing streak and remains entrenched in the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference. With Wade sidelined, Chris Bosh has been the No. 2 option behind James (26. 2 points, 6. 9 rebounds, 6. 5 assists) and the big man poured in 31 points in Thursday's 109-102 win over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat nonetheless will welcome Wade's return — they're 24-6 when he plays and 7-6 without him. TRENDS:

* Spurs are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 road games. * Heat are 2-5 ATS in their last seven vs. Western Conference. * Under is 6-2 in Spurs last eight overall.

* Over is 9-3 in Heat last 12 home games.


1. James has scored in double figures in 537 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak in NBA history.

2. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is tied with Red Auerbach for 10th place all-time with 938 wins.

3. Miami is 25-1 when holding opponents under 100 points.

Durant keeps rolling as OKC tops Spurs again


SAN ANTONIO – Teams are finding out there's little they can do to stop Kevin pendant.

pendant had 36 points to counteract Tony Parker's season-high thirty seven, and Oklahoma City survived the testy 111-105 victory more than San Antonio on wed night, their third earn this season over the defending traditional western Conference champions.

Durant is hitting 38. 1 points in his last 11 games, assisting the Thunder reclaim the particular Western Conference's record with a five-game winning streak plus an 8-3 mark."Kevin do his thing down the extend, it was pretty remarkable, inch San Antonio Spurs trainer Gregg Popovich said.Durant and Jackson mixed for 22 points upon 9-for-15 shooting in a 35-point fourth quarter for Oklahoma City (33-10).

Jackson had 11 successive points early in the 4th, blowing past Parker with regard to layups to give the Thunder the 94-89 lead with eight minutes left.

"He has had excellent games against the Spurs, inch Oklahoma City coach Scott creeks said. "I can't place my finger on it. We want him to play aggressive golf ball on both ends of the ground. I thought he did a good job of finding spots on the floor that he can finish around the rim. "Jackson averages thirteen. 2 points, but offers scored 23. 7 factors against the Spurs this season.

Durant rebounded up and down excitedly after their second 3-pointer of the one fourth gave Oklahoma City a 108-98 lead with 1 moment remaining.

"Durant hit some difficult shots, he hit a few big 3s down the extend and it just got away from all of us, " Spurs veteran bernard Duncan said. "I don't know how else to explain this. "

Duncan and Boris Diaw obtained 14 points each, Marco Belinelli experienced 13 points and Manu Ginobili

additional 10 points. Duncan added thirteen rebounds, but San Antonio (32-10) struggled to conquer the loss of their top protective stopper, Kawhi Leonard.

Durant finished twelve for 22, but battled to get his shot away against the snug defense of the 6-foot-7 Leonard, who has the 7-4 wingspan. Leonard remaining the game late in the 1st half after sustaining the non-displaced fracture in his correct hand. His status will be unknown, but a similar injuries is expected to sideline Danny Green for a month.

"It's difficult, we're dropping like lures right now, " Duncan stated. "Losing Kawhi was large, especially in a game like this evening. "

Durant scored 24 factors after Leonard left the game with 3 minutes left in the first half.

"I felt earlier in the game the pick-and-roll has been working, " Durant stated. "I was able to go at the bigs a little bit and in the second half I missed a few shots, too. They did a good job of just becoming physical. I think in the 2nd half the defense was a little better. "

With Leonard out, the Spurs rotated and balanced Belinelli, Ginobili and 6-3 former Texas Longhorns teammate Cory Joseph on the 6 to 9 Durant. San Antonio actually attempted a zone in one point to slow pendant to no avail.

"(He guarded Durant) just one time in the zone — he just shot more than me, " Parker stated. "He is on fire right now anyways. He played excellent tonight. You just have to give them credit score. "

The Spurs used a physical defense against Durant along with Leonard out, especially when Ginobili drew the assignment. The tough play angered Durant, that twice lowered his glenohumeral joint and dropped Ginobili. each plays resulted in non-calls, which usually incensed Popovich. The Spurs trainer screamed at officials whilst Durant appeared to yell in Popovich. Popovich was evaluated a technical foul, which usually Durant angrily sank along with 1: 12 to give Oklahoma City a 55-51 lead along with 1: 19 left in the first half. Durant dismissed the particular heated emotion just as rapidly as he did any mental boost the Thunder will get through beating the rival Spurs three times. "I'm sure those men aren't worried that we defeat them three times, " pendant said. "We're just going to keep plugging away. inch San Antonio is 1-9 against the West's remaining top-five groups and the East's best, indianapolis, but they have bigger issues now. After remaining fairly healthy in reaching the NBAfinal season, the Spurs have been plagued by a rash of accidental injuries in the past month. Leonard joins beginning center Tiago Splitter plus former starter Green on the injured list. Parker is also still has a bruised tibia that limits his flexibility and long-range shooting ahead Matt Bonner has to put on a mask after busting his nose Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

"(Losing Leonard) is a big loss for us, " Parker said. "We are already down Tiago plus Danny, but everyone goes through injuries and we have to deal with this. Other guys are going to have in order to step up, but we just have to keep playing. "

Parker had twenty points in the second fifty percent, including 12 in the 4th quarter.

"Offensively, Tony was excellent, but he needed a few help for a little while and we just did not get it in order to him, " Duncan stated.

There were four lead changes plus six ties in the 3rd quarter, but Oklahoma City in no way trailed in the fourth.

Game notes


Splitter (sprained right shoulder) and eco-friendly (broken left index finger) both missed the game… Oklahoma City is 10-4 in back-to-back games, including a 4-3 report on the second night. They have swept three back-to-backs this season. San Antonio has a 54-22 record at home over Oklahoma City… Bonner, the Spurs' fun-loving forward, is playing along with the ribbing he is getting about the face mask he must wear to protect the particular broken nose he continual Friday against the Portland path Blazers. Duncan, who owns a vehicle customization shop, offered the custom-paint job for the obvious mask and Parker joked that Bonner could `'scare Durant" with it. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News jokingly asked if the injuries ends Bonner's hopes of a modeling career once their NBA days are more than. `'I can still be a hands model, " Bonner stated.


Texas megabooster: Strong hire ‘a kick in the face’

Texas booster Red McCombs bashed the hire of Charlie Strong in a radio interview on Monday.
(USATSI)Texas booster Red McCombs bashed the hire of Charlie Strong in a radio interview on Monday. (USATSI)
Texas officially announced the hire of Charlie Strong on Monday, but not all of the school’s major boosters are on board with the former Louisville coach.
In an interview with ESPN 1250 in San Antonio, billionaire booster Red McCombs criticized the Longhorns’ process and suggested that Strong is not on par with the type of candidate that Texas should be hiring to lead its football program.

“I think the whole thing is a bit sideways, ” McCombs said via ESPN. com. “I don’t have any doubt that Charlie is a fine coach. I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator.

“But I don’t believe [he belongs at] what should be one of the three most powerful university programs in the world right now at UT-Austin. I don’t think it adds up. “

According to ESPN, McCombs has donated more than $100 million to the school. His name is on the business school (McCombs School of Business) and he has a statue inside Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. McCombs is also the co-founder of Clear Channel Communications and the former owner of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Vikings.

In his comments to ESPN 1250, McCombs reflected on the hire of Mack Brown in contrast to Steve Patterson’s hire of Charlie Strong.

“I think it is a kick in the face, ” McCombs said. “Beyond the fact of what actually happened. We have boosters that have a lot of knowledge about the game. When we decided to go get Mack – from the time we decided to go get Mack to about 30 hours later to have a press conference here and it was done – we had a lot of input before we went after him.

“So I don’t know what the big rush was. I was kind of pleased that [Texas athletic director Steve] Patterson already said that he’d like to get it done in the middle of January. That seemed logical to me. I’m a team player, but I think they went about it wrong and made the selection wrong. “

Every offseason there are boosters who want to be consulted and involved in a program’s coaching search. But at Texas, those boosters have a little more name recognition and therefore a bigger platform if they are not pleased. Needless to say, it is not the best start for the Charlie Strong era in Austin.

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Stan Van Gundy says Nets are ‘bush league’

Former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy referred to the Brooklyn Nets as a "bush league group" in a radio interview Monday.

The Nets, who entered the season with title aspirations, went into Tuesday's night's recreation towards the Spurs with a 10-20 record, which dropped further after San Antonio cruised to a straightforward 113-92 victory.

Apart from its poor play on the court docket, the Nets had been dealt a devastating blow recently when middle Brook Lopez was lost for the yr because of a damaged foot.

"I feel with all of the accidents it's been onerous to evaluate Jason Kidd. It's been straightforward to jump on him not just due to the document, however the issues coming out of their locker room, the state of affairs with Lawrence Frank, the incident of spilling the drink on the floor," Van Gundy instructed the "Amani and Etyian Show" on NBC Sports Radio.

"I mean this has seemed like a bush league group a lot of the year, they don't play with much effort at all, a very uninspired workforce. However at the same time they'd so many individuals damage you simply do not know. And now they don't seem to be they are not going to be healthy all yr…

"You can do no matter you want with the coaching scenario however it isn't going to vary the situation with their roster. They just haven't got a whole lot of options – they do not have draft picks, they're manner over the wage cap. They're most likely within the worst situation of any group in the NBA right now."

Kidd responded on to Van Gundy's feedback later Tuesday before the Nets confronted the Spurs.

"Properly I feel we've got one of the best homeowners (Mikhail Prokhorov), and so I'm confident," Kidd informed reporters in San Antonio. "We have a bunch of guys in there which might be combating, and we can solely handle one factor that that is tonight's recreation. Everyone has a proper to their opinion, but the guys in that locker room are fighting, and we sit up for tonight's sport."


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Spurs’ Parker says sorry for ‘quenelle’ Salute


SAN ANTONIO (AP) – San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker apologized Monday for a newly surfaced photograph that exhibits him making the same gesture with anti-Semitic connotations that French soccer star Nicolas Anelka displayed whereas celebrating a objective this weekend, creating an uproar in their home nation.

The photograph reveals Parker and a French comedian making a gesture recognized in France as a ”quenelle,” which critics describe as inverted Nazi salute. Parker mentioned in a statement released by means of the Spurs that the photograph was taken three years in the past.

Parker, who was born in Belgium however raised in France, mentioned he did not know at the time that ”it could possibly be in any means offensive or dangerous.” He stated he thought it was part of a comedy act and mentioned he apologized for any misunderstanding or harm.

”While this gesture has been part of French culture for a few years, it was not till just lately that I realized of the very destructive issues related to it,” Parker stated.

The photo surfaced on social media after Anelka made the same gesture celebrating a goal in an English Premier League sport Saturday, causing an outcry in France.

Anelka’s membership, West Bromich Albion, issued a press release Monday saying that Anelka has agreed to not carry out the identical gesture once more. The English Football Affiliation has also begun an investigation and could punish Anelka with a five-match ban.

Anelka has defended his actions, saying he was merely expressing his support for French comic Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who performs the gesture on stage. Dieudonne claims the salute, which entails pointing one straightened arm downward whereas touching that arm’s shoulder with the alternative hand, is anti-establishment and not anti-Semitic.

The photograph of Parker additionally reveals him posing with Dieudonne.

Parker didn’t converse with reporters after apply Monday. He said in his assertion that he would by no means repeat the gesture once more.

”Hopefully this incident will serve to educate others that we should be more conscious that things that will appear innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt,” Parker stated.

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Harden lifts high-powered Rockets past Spurs on road

SAN ANTONIO – James Harden scored 28 points and Dwight Howard had 15 points and 20 rebounds, leading the balanced Houston Rockets to a 111-98 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

Every of Houston’s starters scored in double figures as the Rockets improved to 2-0 in opposition to the Spurs this season, with both victories coming on the street. They also moved within three 1/2 video games of San Antonio (22-7) for the lead the Southwest Division.

Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones each scored 21 points for the Rockets (19-11), who shot fifty two % from the sphere. Jeremy Lin had 13 factors, eight assists and just one turnover.

The Spurs have dropped two of three and break up their last six games. They’re just three-6 over the past month in opposition to groups with a record above500.

Super sub Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 22 points, and Tim Duncan added 11 points and 14 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard had thirteen factors, however Tony Parker was held to 6 points on three-for-eleven shooting.

San Antonio never recovered after Houston raced out to a 27-9 lead. The Spurs had been unable to cease Parsons’ lengthy pictures, Harden’s drives, Howard within the paint or Jones on the boards for observe ups.

After trailing by 18 points within the first half, San Antonio made a couple of fees within the second half but could not get the defensive stops mandatory to complete the rallies.

Leonard’s three-level play on Howard’s fourth foul pulled San Antonio to 71-64 with 4:47 left in the third. The Spurs closed to seventy three-71 earlier than Harden and Lin began draining long jumpers to assist the Rockets pull away once more.

Harden closed out the victory, scoring sixteen points in the final quarter. His second three of the game made it one hundred-ninety with 5 minutes remaining.


Rockets G Patrick Beverley (right hand) and C Omer Asik (thigh contusion) missed the game.. Academy Award winner Tommy Lee Jones sat courtside, a row in front of David Robinson’s customary seats. The actor laughed and applauded when The Coyote, the Spurs’ mascot, snuck beside him disguised as a Christmas tree.. Terrence Jones pushed Matt Bonner after the Spurs’ reserve ahead wrapped up Howard high after the Rockets star grabbed his third offensive rebound on one possession. Duncan stepped between, placing his hand in Jones’ chest and pushing him away before officers broke up the gathering.. While the Rockets obtained smatterings of cheers all through the game, Howard was lustily booed every time he attempted a free throw or entered the game.

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NBA Playoffs: Who Survives the Loaded Western Conference? Predictions

western conference

NBA Prediction Western Conference 2013

On Wednesday, we set our sights on the playoffs by predicting which eight teams comprise the Eastern Conference playoff bracket. As a follow-up, we will now shift our focus to the Western Conference and project the eventual representatives.



The Western Conference is decidedly stronger than the East this year based on team records. As of Friday, the team in ninth overall place in the West, Golden State, boasts a record of 14-13. This record would be good enough for 4th in the East, but unfortunately places the Warriors in the lottery based on the loaded Western Conference.


Were the season to end tonight, the Western Conference playoff representatives would comprise, in order, of Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Los Angeles (Clippers), Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Denver. This current standing is a result of some unexpected early season performances.


Portland has been the most surprisingly upstart team of from the West so far. A balanced rotation and lethal offense has given way to a league-best 22 wins. An equally surprising playoff team, as of today, is Phoenix. Loaded with young talent and playing cohesively under first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek, the Suns appear well-suited to compete for a playoff berth.


It may be easier to predict the playoff representatives by eliminating the teams set on “tanking” this season. Sacramento and Utah, though they both play host to an abundance of young talent in players like DeMarcus Cousins, Ben McLemore, Derrick Favors, and Trey Burke, would be better suited to set their sights on the NBA Draft, when college phenoms Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle are expected to declare for the pro’s.


For four of the teams currently out of the playoff mix, injuries have been a source of collective misfortune. Golden State, at ninth, lost Andre Iguodala to a hamstring injury for 12 games, posting a record of 5-7. The Los Angeles Lakers, 11th with a record of 12-13, have been derailed by injuries to their entire point guard staff, and Kobe Bryant’s latest injury is sure to set them back even further.


New Orleans was without budding star Anthony Davis for seven days after the sophomore power forward broke his hand, and the Pelicans went 3-4 in his absence. Memphis has likely been the most unlucky team out of all of them, as they have had to play without Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol, starters Mike Conley and Tayshaun Prince, and rotational swingman Quincy Pondexter who has been lost for the season.


Of the teams currently outside of the playoff mix, the ones most likely to play their way out of the lottery would have to be Golden State and Minnesota. The Warriors possess possibly the most dangerous offenses led by “Splash Brothers” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Iguodala’s return to the lineup shores up the team’s defense and allows second-year wing Harrison Barnes to return to the bench.


The Timberwolves have lighting it up of the offensive end, coming into Friday scoring the 3rd most PPG at 105.7. Their most apparent struggles have been on the road (5-9) and against other teams in the Western Conference (6-8).


As for the teams most likely to fall out of the playoff picture, Phoenix is definitely the most prime suspect. With the eighth toughest Strength of Schedule in the league, the Suns can be expected to succumb to their lack of veteran leadership, and they would also be better suited to try their luck in the upcoming draft.


We can say with reasonable certainty that there are five locks in the West for the playoffs: Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Houston. Assuming the Suns eventual regression, that leaves three spot for four real contenders in Dallas, Denver, Golden State, and Minnesota. Denver can probably be counted on to stumble a bit without projected starters Danilo Gallinari and Javale McGee, both of whom are without timetables for their returns. They should be able to hang on to one of the last two playoff spots, as fellow competitor Minnesota has the second toughest schedule in the NBA.


We’re counting on the eventual Western Conference playoff bracket consisting of, in no particular order, Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Denver, and Golden State. Look for us to revisit these projections as the season winds on. 


By Austin Murphy – WonderPunter


Griffin, Clips outshine Spurs to win by 23

CP3, Griffin Fuel Clippers Past Spurs

LOS ANGELES : The Clippers told themselves these people couldn’t make any excuses. Did not matter how physically tired or even mentally drained they were from a seven-game trip.

That they had to find a way to win, just like San Antonio – a team Doctor Rivers calls “the gold standard” – typically does.

And the Clippers did, notching their largest margin of triumph ever against the Spurs.

Blake Griffin scored twenty-seven points, hitting 11 of fifteen free throws, in the 115-92 earn Monday night, 48 hours right after returning to Los Angeles.

“The best part about this game has been we knew what we had to do, inch Griffin said. “We executed our own game plan. Even when they made operates, nobody got down. That optimistic attitude is big. ”

Chris Paul additional 23 points, eight rebounds plus seven assists, and Jamal Crawford had 17 points in his 2nd straight start for the Clippers, who else repelled several threats in the 3rd quarter to maintain their lead.

“Another good earn for us coming off the road trip, inch said Paul, who won’t be home on it. “We got to get past this. ”

Bernard Duncan had 17 points plus 11 rebounds for the Spurs, in whose four-game winning streak ended. Parker and eva longoria limped off the court with a correct shin contusion with 5: 2009 left in the third. He completed with eight points and 6 assists in 26 minutes, plus didn’t speak with reporters afterward.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Parker was in discomfort and having trouble walking on the lower-leg, so he had to be taken out of the online game.

“He has got the ball in his hands for a long time, particularly when it counts the most, ” Manu Ginobili said of Parker. “So we couldn’t adjust to it plus it was hard, especially against the team that is aggressive. ”

DeAndre Jordan additional 11 rebounds and Griffin got nine to help the Clippers manage the boards 43-36. Jared Dudley had 14 points, including 4 3-pointers.

La went 4-3 on its trip, closing it out Saturday having a 113-97 victory over the Washington Wizards. The Clippers didn’t practice Weekend before facing off against the Spurs, whose 19-5 record is third-best in the NBA.

“It tells you they’re in it psychologically, ” Rivers said of their team. “Very proud of them. I believe they wanted to win very poor. ”

San Antonio made one last set you back open the fourth, getting consecutive 3-pointers from Patty Mills and Danny Green that drew the Spurs to 86-82.

The Clippers dominated the rest of the method, stretching their lead to 106-86 throughout a 20-4 run that ended along with three 3-pointers in a row: a single by Willie Green and 2 by Dudley.

Crawford put one last dagger in the Spurs as he dribbled over the final seconds before casually taking a deep 3 for the last basket.

“We turned the ball over a lot of (22 times) and went through poor stretches. We just can’t put online games together like that and expect to earn, ” Duncan said. “But really early in the season, and we’ll learn (from) every one of these losses plus continue to grow as a team. Hopefully in late the year, we’re a better ballclub due to it. ”

The Clippers stretched their result in 59-51 early in the third prior to the Spurs cut it to 59-58 after scoring eight straight factors.

Crawford, Griffin and Paul took over the rest of the 3rd, combining to score the Clippers’ final 20 points and stretch their own lead to 78-70 going into the fourth. Crawford launched the 20-12 run simply by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers.

The Spurs got inside three points on a layup simply by Ginobili before Griffin scored 6 of the Clippers’ next eight factors to extend their lead.

“It’s my job to help keep feeding him, ” Paul mentioned of Griffin. “I love it whenever he demands the ball. We’ll keep playing through him every evening. ”

The particular Clippers trailed 28-21 after the starting quarter before unleashing a 19-0 run early in the second. Eco-friendly bookended the spurt with 3-pointers, and in between five different Clippers scored to give them a 40-31 lead. Griffin scored their last eight points to send them directly into halftime leading 55-49.

Game notes

Crawford started for the second directly game and just the second time in 102 games with the team… Clippers Farreneheit

Stephen Jackson

faced his old team the first time since the Spurs released him within April. He was signed with the Clippers lasttogether six points… Popovich and some from the players, including Parker, didn’t appear until about an hour before game period. “The sunset was great more than Santa Monica, so we stayed just a little longer, ” Popovich cracked.

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NBA Prediction Week 7 Game Preview/Pick- Clippers vs. Spurs


San Antonio Spurs (19-4) @ Los Angeles Clippers (16-9) 12/16- 10:30PM EST


Line: SAS -1.5

Over/Under: 201


The Los Angeles are finally home Monday night after a long seven-game road trip and waiting for them will be one of the best teams in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs.


The Clippers (16-9) survived their road trip going 4-3 and now will be met with another challenge at home with their longtime nemesis.


It’s a test, a good test,” forward Blake Griffin said. “To be away for a long period of time and come home and play a top-notch team, a team that always executes and plays the right way, so that’s why I think it will be a good test for us.”


This will be the first meeting for the two teams with the Spurs go in having won four straight and the Clips having won three of their last five, but beating the Spurs is something the Clippers have struggled mightily with losing 34 of 39, with Chris Paul having lost eight of eleven, including a four-game sweep to the Spurs in the 2012 playoffs.


After a slow start in his first 13 games, Tim Duncan has been on his game since November 29 averaging 17.9 points on 56.9 percent shooting with 10.3 boards.


It’s not really that hard to do much better,” Duncan said of his early season struggles. “I’m still not shooting the ball well, but I’m trying to play hard and find ways to contribute.”


Duncan went for 22 and 12 in a 100-84 win over Utah on Saturday and has refused to sit out a game and rest with the road trip coming up.


We were never worried about Timmy. I’ve been saying (it) since the beginning of the season,” point guard Tony Parker said. “He’s the last guy we ever need to worry about. But now he’s getting aggressive and getting his shot back.”


Both teams can put point on the boards, but if the Clippers want to have a better chance to get a victory, they will need a better performance from Blake Griffin, who has been struggling with an average of just 16.0 points on 41.0 percent shooting over his last six games.


The Clippers go in scoring 103.7 points per game and the Spurs put up 103.3 points per contest, but the oddsmakers have made the Spurs a slight favorite of (minus -1.5) point on road with their long success on the Clippers. Get the latest spread on the game up until tip off right here at Wonder Punter.


San Antonio has owned the Clippers in recent years, but I predict the Clips putting together a complete game and sending the Spurs out of Staples Center with a loss.


Prediction/Pick- Los Angeles Clippers

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Spurs pull away from Celtics, push win streak to eight

SAN ANTONIO – Although the San Antonio Spurs seem slightly methodical and downright boring to some, they are having fun with themselves this season and that’s ruining the fun for others.

Tony Parker scored 19 factors before sitting out the fourth quarter and the Spurs beat the Boston Celtics 104-ninety three Wednesday evening, profitable their eighth straight total and remaining undefeated at residence.

San Antonio had 27 assists and six players rating in double figures, rallying from a torpid begin to lead by as many as 19 factors within the second half.

“Those moments when we begin to play better `D,’ push the ball and be more aggressive, then it’s enjoyable to watch, it is exciting and that is what we’d like,” San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili stated. “We’re not exciting in a way that we will have alley-oops and windmills [dunking] and stuff like that, but we pass the ball very well. We penetrate and pitch, and all people gets involved and that is enjoyable.”

Kawhi Leonard had 16 factors and Tim Duncan rebounded from a poor outing in San Antonio’s previous home game to attain thirteen points. Boris Diaw had 12 factors, Tiago Splitter added 11 factors and 10 rebounds and Danny Green 11 points for the Spurs (10-1).

San Antonio shot forty eight p.c from the field and was eight for 21 on three-pointers as Boston struggled to close on the Spurs’ shooters.

“Phew,” Celtics ahead Jared Sullinger stated, exhaling when asked in regards to the Spurs’ ball motion. “They seem to be a powerful workforce to play. On any given night, anyone can go off. Honestly, they transfer the ball. They care less about scoring; they play together as a team.

“They’ve go-to players however they rarely use them because they transfer the ball so well and they play as a staff, so that they’re arduous to guard.

Sullinger, Avery Bradley and Jeff Green each had 19 factors for Boston (4-9), which has lost five straight.

There were 10 lead changes and 14 ties in the first half, as neither workforce was in a position to sustain any momentum.

While the Spurs weren’t proud of the early efforts, first-12 months coach Brad Stevens was pleased with the Celtics forging a 48-all tie at the half.

“The team that played tonight could be a very fun group to construct with,” Stevens mentioned. “I think that is what you take from right here. We talked about this early within the 12 months. There’s going to be nights the place we measure progress a bit bit otherwise.”

That progress was stunted within the second half, as San Antonio was capable of draw back midway via the third quarter behind robust particular person efforts by Leonard, Parker and Ginobili.

Leonard keyed the resurgence, scoring 10 of 12 points, together with a 3-pointer that put San Antonio ahead 61-52 with eight minutes left within the quarter.

“He can do this kind of factor,” Diaw said. “He’s really proficient and he proved that already final 12 months. This year is no completely different. Generally, when he gets it going, it’ll be very laborious to cease [him].”

Leonard had 12 factors, 5 rebounds and two steals in the third quarter, as San Antonio outscored Boston 32-22.

“I’m still having fun; that’s why I’m still taking part in,” Leonard stated. “We’re successful, you can’t have extra enjoyable than that, when you’re winning and on a superb team.”

Parker made two dazzling layups, first presenting the ball along with his right hand to attract a defender out of the lane and spinning again for a layup between defenders and then spinning away from a defender in the lane for a layup on the fitting facet of the basket.

Ginobili actually wrapped a cross round a defender, tossing behind around a charging Brandon Bass to seek out Diaw reducing to the basket for a layup. Ginobili finished with 5 factors and six assists.

After scoring only two points within the Spurs’ previous residence game against Washington, Duncan made the sport’s first two baskets because the group focused him early. He finished three for 13, however was 7 for 8 on free throws while additionally grabbing nine rebounds.


San Antonio is tied with Indiana for the league’s best file, however its victories have come against groups with a combined winning percentage of408 getting into Wednesday’s video games. Only two the Spurs’ wins have come towards groups above500. Their solely loss was against Portland, which is 10-2 after defeating Milwaukee… Boston’s Keith Bogans was not with the staff because of an undisclosed illness… San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was issued a technical foul with four minutes left within the recreation after haranguing referee David Guthrie continually for an absence of calls. Popovich smiled, appearing amused by the technical… The Huge Three of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have performed 629 games together, which is the most amongst lively teammates and fifth all-time. The trio surpassed Derek Harper, Brad Davis and Rolando Blackman of the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday and path the main trio of Robert Parrish, Kevin McHale and Larry Chook by one hundred video games performed collectively.

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