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2016-17 NBA Regular Season  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Thu Nov 10th, 2016 06:17 pm
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lobo316



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The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to visit President Obama at the White House on Thursday, but NBA analyst Jalen Rose thinks these types of visits will see fewer players participating during the upcoming Donald Trump presidency.

“While personal politics in general can be a divisive topic. And for Donald Trump, during his candidacy, he became a polarizing candidate, which included along the way, insulting a lot of people," Rose said, via Sports Illustrated. "So those same people today as American citizens have to digest that he’s going to be the next president of the United States. How it’s going to affect sports?

"Unlike Tom Brady, when his team won the championship, and he chose not to go to the White House, saying it was a scheduling conflict when Barack Obama was in office. What we’re going to see in professional sports - NBA and NFL - mark my words, there will be players that decline the opportunity to visit the White House under his presidency.”

Both the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos accepted invitations to visit the White House. The Chicago Cubs, who just won the World Series earlier this month, haven't announced plans to make the trip, though President Obama tweeted an invitation.

The refusal to attend a White House meeting wouldn't be entirely new. Several athletes and managers have refused to go in past presidencies, whether or not they've cited political differences or "scheduling conflicts." Former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols and manager Tony LaRussa, who both participated in Tea Party events, did not travel with the Cardinals to visit Obama after winning the World Series in 2011.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 03:41 am
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lobo316



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The Denver Nuggets have a bone to pick with the NBA.

Though it's unlikely to amount to more than a symbolic gesture, the Nuggets have filed an official protest with the league over their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, in which the league admitted to the officials having wrongly awarded possession to the Grizzlies before they scored the game-winning bucket at the buzzer.

The Grizzlies, trailing by one point, got to inbound with 0.7 seconds left, after a replay review seemed to confirm the on-court call that the ball had gone out of bounds off the hand of Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay. The NBA's Last-Two-Minute Report would later indicate otherwise, but the Grizzlies took advantage of the mistake, winning the game on an alley-oop layup by Marc Gasol.

Thing is, the Nuggets shouldn't necessarily have been in the precarious position they found themselves in, anyway. With 12 seconds left, Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley was stripped of the ball, and though the refs swallowed their whistles, the report showed Conley had been fouled Gary Harris.

Even if that hadn't been the case, the Nuggets would be hard-pressed to reverse the game's outcome. According to research gathered by USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt in 2014, the NBA has upheld just three protests, with over 30 having been filed since 1952.

The most recent protest to be upheld was filed in 2008, when the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat replayed the final 51.9 seconds of a game in which the official scorer had incorrectly ruled that Heat center Shaquille O'Neal had fouled out.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 02:13 pm
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Kevin Durant's streak of consecutive 20-point games came to an end during Thursday's victory over the Denver Nuggets, as Durant finished with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting.

Had the contest been more competitive, there's little doubt Durant would have reached the 20-point mark for a 73rd straight game, but Steve Kerr wisely pulled KD with the Golden State Warriors up 112-86 and only 5:50 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The 72-game streak, which Durant extended 24 hours earlier in a win over the Dallas Mavericks, tied Michael Jordan for the fourth-longest such streak in NBA history.

Only Wilt Chamberlain (twice) and Oscar Robertson have produced longer runs, with Chamberlain holding the record of 126 games from 1961-63.

Prior to Thursday, Durant's last game with less than 20 points came on Nov. 10, 2015, while he was still a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

That was the lone game out of the 72 Durant appeared in last season that failed to see him reach the 20-point plateau, though he was held below 20 a couple of times during the 2016 postseason.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 02:15 pm
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Steve Kerr -- "this is my rant" -- for 2+ minutes on the presidential election: "Maybe we should've seen this coming" pic.twitter.com/MJOcSdXxHH

— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 10, 2016
Following in the footsteps of fiery comments from Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr also took his turn Wednesday to rant about his disappointment with Tuesday's election.

Kerr spoke without stopping for two minutes about what, in his opinion, was a farcical election that saw Republican nominee Donald Trump snatch a shocking victory over Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

"Maybe we should have seen it coming over the last 10 years," Kerr said. "You look at society, you look at what's popular, people are getting paid millions of dollars to go on TV and scream at each other, whether it's in sports or politics or entertainment. I guess it was only a matter of time before it spilled into politics.

"Then all of a sudden you're faced with reality. The man who is going to lead you has routinely used racist, misogynist, insulting words. That's a tough one. That's a tough one.

"I wish (Trump) well. I hope he's a good president. I have no idea what kind of president he will be because he hasn't said anything about what he is going to do. We don't know.

"But it's tough when you want there to be some respect and dignity and there hasn't been. And then you walk into a room with your daughter and your wife, who have basically been insulted by his comments and they're distraught.

"Then you walk in and see the faces of your players, most of them who have been insulted directly as minorities. It's sorta shocking. It really is. We talked about it as a team this morning. I don't know what else to say - the whole process has left all of us disgusted and disappointed. I thought we were better than this.

"I thought 'The Jerry Springer Show' was 'The Jerry Springer Show.' But watching the last debate, Trump would make a crack at Clinton, and fans in the stands would say, 'OOHHH, NO HE DIDN'T!' Like, yeah, he did. This is the presidential election, it's not 'The Jerry Springer Show.'

"I'm sorry. This is my rant," Kerr concluded. "I'm disappointed in the lack of respect and dignity that is involved. That's the way it goes."

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 Posted: Sat Nov 12th, 2016 11:10 pm
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WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross' passion for Oklahoma Sooners football is widely known in the world of wrestling, but he also has a soft spot for NBA basketball - and the local Oklahoma City Thunder.

The major offseason talking point in the area was whether or not former league Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant was going to sign elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent, which he ultimately did when he took his talents to the Bay Area to join the Golden State Warriors.

Talking with theScore on Friday about his one-man show "Ringside with Jim Ross" which takes place on Nov. 20 in Toronto, Ross mentioned how Durant's departure to the enemy Warriors wasn't much of a surprise to him or anyone in the OKC community.

"I don't think anyone was totally shocked. That doesn't say that we're happy that he left," Ross said. "It's like getting jilted by your significant other. He was here, and he was the face of the franchise. I met him a couple of times. He's a nice guy, and big wrestling fan. He'd come down to the O.U. basketball games from time to time, and I'd chat with him and say hello. We felt badly that he left, but it wasn't a total shock."

The Thunder have started off the 2016-17 regular season strong with a 6-3 record sans Durant, although a majority of their wins have come against several of the league's bottom feeders. Nevertheless, Ross is optimistic about the team's chances moving forward, especially if they can reach the postseason.

"Can we win the West? I don't know if we're going to win the West this year," Ross said. "Can we get into the playoffs? I think so. Once you're in the playoffs, everything starts all over. It's a succession of seven-game series' with your adversary. You win or you go home. If we can get into the playoffs with some momentum, and these young guys come together as a unit, we can give people some problems. Especially when you have a healthy (Russell) Westbrook, who's a conundrum to anyone he plays."

The Warriors already own a convincing 122-96 win over the Thunder on Nov. 3. The two parties will meet three more times this season, with Ross - who holds no ill will toward Durant and his decision - hoping for a much more positive result for the Thunder.

"Hopefully he'll (Durant) do well. I'm not a hater," he added. "I don't have enough fuel in my tank to use part of it for hate and issues. I hope he does well. But, at the same time, I hope we beat their ass every time we play them."

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 Posted: Sat Nov 12th, 2016 11:11 pm
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A wave of peaceful protests have broken out across cities in the United States in response to Donald Trump being named the 45th president-elect.

In Portland, however, anti-Trump protests have been accompanied by property damage and violence, and that isn't the way to protest, says Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.

"I think it's very unfortunate that people have done some of the things they have done during the protest. A lot of harm and damage has been done," Lillard told ESPN's Chris Haynes on Saturday.

"I do understand their frustration, and I commend people wanting to come together for some kind of change. Tearing apart your own city just isn't the place to begin, and also making your own city less of a safe place isn't the answer."

Incidents of vandalism and assault prompted police to take action against crowds by using flash bangs and tear gas. A male protester was shot on Friday, although his injuries aren't considered life-threatening.

"For someone to be shot on the bridge lets you know it has gone too far," Lillard said. "That could have been a kid out there or any person catching a stray bullet."

Lillard added that Oregon voted heavily against Trump, which only makes violence all the more senseless.

"Especially when the majority of the people here voted for Hillary. So if this is an anti-Trump rally, then you're probably harming the people that you side with in most cases. So again I share the same worry, but I don't think this is the solution."

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 Posted: Sat Nov 12th, 2016 11:13 pm
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DeMar DeRozan crossed another team off his hit list Friday night, pouring in 34 points - including 10 big ones in the final five minutes - to help the Toronto Raptors put away the Charlotte Hornets.

That's now seven 30-plus-point outings in the first eight games of the season for DeRozan, a feat that hasn't been accomplished in 30 years. The last guy to do it? None other than Hornets owner Michael Jordan, whose team could do nothing to stem the tide down the stretch.

With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sidelined, DeRozan took advantage of his smaller (and, in the case of rookie Treveon Graham, inexperienced) defenders, either shooting over them or posting them up or power-stepping his way to the rim. The Hornets had built a 10-point fourth-quarter lead on the strength of an incredible 18-0 run, but the Raptors clawed their way back, and then let DeRozan take over late.

After sitting for the first six minutes of the final frame, he re-entered with the Raptors trailing by four, and promptly knocked down five jumpers - each of them at least partially contested - including a pair of 20-foot daggers in the final minute. The last one, off a ridiculous pirouetting pullup, put the Raptors up seven with under 30 seconds to play, and they held on for a 113-111 win.

DeRozan is now averaging 34.1 points, the most through the first eight games of a season since - you guessed it - Michael Jordan in 1989. As part of another running theme, he did it all without hitting a three. Of his 273 points so far this season, only six have come from beyond the arc.

His late-game heroics helped the Raptors overcome a searing performance from Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, who had no such compunction about bombing away from deep. He dropped 40 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the field and 7-of-12 from 3-point range. The Raptors had a similarly impossible time stopping Walker, who hit Steph Curry-like threes off the bounce no matter how little airspace they gave him. When Raptors bigs lunged out to challenge his shot off screens, Walker scooted past them and scored at the rim.

Alas, he didn't get quite enough help, and his remarkable effort went for naught. The Raptors, who'd lost nine of their previous 10 games in Charlotte, pulled level with the Hornets and Atlanta Hawks at 6-2, good for second in the Eastern Conference.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 12th, 2016 11:14 pm
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Chosen with the first overall pick in the 2007 draft, few players have struggled to live up to their hype more than former NBA center Greg Oden.

With injuries holding him back, Oden played in just 105 games throughout his brief career, averaging eight points and 6.2 rebounds on 57.4 percent shooting.

"I'll be remembered as the biggest bust in NBA history," Oden told ESPN's Outside the Lines. "But I can't do nothing about that."

Oden will best be remembered as the player chosen ahead of Kevin Durant, making the Portland Trail Blazers' decision even harder to swallow.

While still only 28 years of age, Oden reiterated that his playing days are over as he continues to battle multiple knee injuries.

"Don't get me wrong," Oden said. "If I was healthy, I would love to continue playing, but I'm not healthy."

With his basketball career officially over, Oden opted to enroll as a sophomore at Ohio State University, taking classes in the sports industry program.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 12th, 2016 11:15 pm
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While admitting he was disappointed with Tuesday's result, TNT broadcaster Charles Barkley urged U.S. citizens to give Donald Trump a chance as president-elect.

"I was in shock, I'm not gonna lie. I was totally surprised at the election results," Barkley said on TNT's "Inside the NBA" on Thursday. "That being said, we've got to move on. I was disappointed because my candidate didn't win, No. 1. But like I said, it's over now. (Trump) is going to be the president of the United States. We've got to respect the office, and we have to give him a chance. That's the bottom line."

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers echoed similar sentiments earlier this week, saying he believes in the American system.

"Somebody always loses an election. We've been fortunate that we've won the last couple with President Obama. We didn't win this one," Barkley added. "But like I said, I respect the office of the president of the United States, and we have to give him a chance.

"Everything he's said in the past, that's water under the bridge. We have to give him a chance, and we have to support him because he's the president of the United States of America."

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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2016 04:48 am
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Michael Jordan, Rick Barry, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, World B. Free, Tiny Archibald ... and DeMar DeRozan.

The Toronto Raptors' - or, on this night, the Toronto Huskies' - All-Star shooting guard has been tearing through opposing squads on offense to open the 2016-17 regular season. In Saturday's 118-107 victory over the visiting New York Knicks, DeRozan placed himself among an esteemed group of legends when he exceeded the 300-point mark through his first nine games of the season with a 33-point performance.

After competing on the road Friday against the Charlotte Hornets, the scapegoat of a back-to-back was available if the 27-year-old struggled to shoot the rock against New York. Rather than allow fatigue to settle in, though, DeRozan once again carried Toronto's offense by dropping over 30 points for the eighth time in nine outings.

The last player to accomplish that feat was Michael Jordan in 1986-87.

While it's easy to heap praise onto DeRozan, he alone did not fend off a game Knicks squad at the Air Canada Centre - five other Raptors scored in double figures. Norman Powell dropped 19 points in the starting lineup in a resting DeMarre Carroll's stead, while Terrence Ross and Patrick Patterson had 11 and 10 off the bench, respectively.

It's unreasonable to think DeRozan can maintain this torrid pace for the entirety of the season, but for now, his sensational run has the 6ix buzzing in anticipation to see just how long he can keep it going.

With the next two games a back-to-back against the Golden State Warriors and reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, Raptors fans can only hope DeRozan has at least two more outbursts left in the tank.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2016 05:03 pm
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Marcin Gortat isn't interested in making friends with his Wizards teammates.

The Polish center did not hold back when asked about the performance of Washington's bench this season, believing that they may be one of the worst second units in the entire NBA.

"I think right now, as far as I know, I think we've got one of the worst benches in the league right now," Gortat told Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.

While Gortat's assessment was certainly harsh, it wasn't that far off. Washington's bench currently ranks just 23rd in net rating and dead-last in points per game. However, the Wizards' starters haven't fared much better, sitting 19th in net rating themselves.

After last season's disappointing campaign, general manager Ernie Grunfeld worked hard to revamp Washington's second unit this summer, bringing in Trey Burke, Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson, and Jason Smith. So far, none of those players are averaging more than 5.3 points per game, playing a large factor in the team's 2-7 start.

"We can't get used to it. We can't get comfortable with that. We've got to do something about that right now. It's not fun anymore," Gortat said.

The Wizards and their second unit will have plenty of time to work out their issues, as they don't play again until Wednesday night.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2016 05:04 pm
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It appears the Sacramento Kings may prefer to keep Willie Cauley-Stein after all.

While recent reports have suggested otherwise, the Kings apparently view their young big man as one of the best defenders on the team and intend to keep him going forward, according to James Ham of CSN Bay Area.

With DeMarcus Cousins getting the bulk of the minutes at center, the 23-year-old has struggled to carve out a defined role under new head coach Dave Joerger. Cauley-Stein has appeared in just 13.8 minutes per game this season, averaging 4.7 points and 1.8 rebounds, while shooting an impressive 57.6 percent from the field.

"Just trying to figure out where you fit in with our team, we've got a lot of vets and I'm still young, so it's different," Cauley-Stein told Ham. "You've got to try and gain everyone's trust again with new coaches and new players."

After a slow start to the season, Cauley-Stein has seen an improvement in his play over the last week, averaging 6.3 points on 75 percent shooting over the past three games.

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 Posted: Mon Nov 14th, 2016 02:20 pm
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Andrew Wiggins is blossoming right in front of our eyes.

The third-year forward added a masterpiece 47-point performance on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers in a continuation of his breakout campaign.

Wiggins hit 14-of-21 from the field and made 17-of-22 from the line to shatter his previous career-high of 36 that he set in Tuesday's loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

To put his 47 points into perspective, it matches Kevin Garnett's career high. Only three players (Mo Williams, Kevin Love, Corey Brewer) have scored more in a Timberwolves uniform.

Or put it another way: Wiggins single-handedly matched the combined scoring total of the Lakers' starting five.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 16th, 2016 04:20 pm
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A minimum of three NBA teams - the Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks, and Memphis Grizzlies - have chosen to stop staying at Donald Trump-branded hotels while on road trips, according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Zach Lowe.

The Trump luxury hotels in question are located in New York and Chicago. Another Eastern Conference team plans to terminate its contract with the Trump SoHo in Lower Manhattan by next season, according to the report. Seven other unnamed teams told ESPN they plan to stay at Trump-branded properties this season.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been an outspoken critic of the president-elect and many of the policies Trump campaigned on. Trump seemed to be aware of the blowback to his election win when he told "60 Minutes" over the weekend that he's not concerned about negative impact on his corporate brand.

"Who cares? This is big league stuff," Trump said, according to CNN. "We're going to save our country. I don't care about hotel occupancy. It's peanuts compared to what we're doing."

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 Posted: Wed Nov 16th, 2016 09:50 pm
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The San Antonio Spurs are wasting no time in honoring their franchise's greatest player.

Tim Duncan will have his No. 21 retired on Dec. 18 when the Spurs take on the New Orleans Pelicans at the AT&T Center.

The 15-time All-Star stepped away from the game earlier this year after 19 seasons with the silver and black. The 40-year-old finished his career as the franchise leader in games, minutes, points, field goals, rebounds, blocks, win shares, and VORP.

The 6-foot-11 big man carried the Spurs to five championships during his time in San Antonio, while also collecting 15 All-NBA selections, two MVPs, three Finals MVPs, and over 1,000 regular season wins.

Duncan will become the eighth Spur to have his number retired, joining David Robinson, George Gervin, Sean Elliott, Bruce Bowen, Avery Johnson, Johnny Moore, and Paul Silas.

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