‘I don’t ever get gun-shy’: McCollum, Blazers roll past Clippers

But when the fourth quarter arrived, the Portland Trail Blazers guard turned an off night into one of the hottest of his career.

McCollum scored 23 points in the final frame of a 125-104 win over the LA Clippers, his most points ever in the fourth quarter, as he topped his previous high of 16.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Most impressive of all: McCollum outscored the Clippers 23-20 in the fourth.

“I don’t ever get gun-shy,” said McCollum, who finished with a game-high 35 points on 12-of-21 shooting from the floor. “I’ve missed a lot of shots in my career. You’ve just got to stay confident.”12

After his slow start, McCollum finished the night by making 12 of his final 14 shots from the floor and keyed the decisive fourth quarter, in which the Trail Blazers outscored the Clippers 40-20.

“He showed what he’s made of,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “He came in here, never lost confidence, took the shots that were there and got us over the hump.”

Said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, “We made a lot of defensive mistakes, but CJ McCollum was on fire. A lot of that was just shot-making because some were just one-on-ones. You live with it.”

Portland guard Damian Lillard wasn’t surprised by his backcourt mate’s big night.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“I’ve seen that movie,” said Lillard, who scored 20 points to go with 12 assists. “I always tell you guys: When he sees the ball go in a few times, he can get going. At that point, my job is to just make it last as long as possible.”

McCollum said he didn’t know that he started 0-for-7 from the floor.

“I just knew I had missed some easy shots,” he said. “Just a couple minor adjustments, and once one goes in, it’s all downhill from there usually.”


Westbrook not interested in revisiting fan drama

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook declined to share any thoughts Wednesday about the Utah Jazz issuing a lifetime ban to fan Shane Keisel for the incident that occurred during Monday night’s game.

“If you want to talk about tonight’s game, we can do it,” Westbrook said when asked his reaction. “If not, enjoy your night.”

Westbrook was fined $25,000 by the NBA for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

The Thunder did not practice Tuesday, and did not hold a morning shootaround Wednesday. In the locker room before Wednesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets was the first time Westbrook had officially been available, but he declined to talk. (By rule, Westbrook is required to be available at least once on game day before tipoff, whether at shootaround or in the locker room pregame.)11

Thunder coach Billy Donovan called the incident an “unfortunate situation” and credited the Jazz for how quickly they responded with the ban.

“It sheds to light sometimes these things that players have to deal with during the course of games,” Donovan said. “It’s unfortunate because I think a lot of people do come to the games as fans and want to root and cheer their team on, but those situations are really unfortunate. If anything, it brings light to something the league, along with players — everybody can try to make it better.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Westbrook was sensational in the Thunder’s 108-96 victory over the Nets, recording his 26th triple-double of the season with 31 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. After one particularly thrilling sequence late in the fourth quarter that ended with Westbrook drilling a dagger 3 to put the Thunder up 13, he danced and shimmied at half court as the Nets called timeout.

“I’m extremely blessed man, humbled, to go out and hoop,” Westbrook said when asked if playing Wednesday was helpful in moving on from the recent situation. “And that’s that.”


Hayward almost costs Celtics, then hits winner

“I just had to get it up the length of the court,” Hayward said. “I was able to finish the play off, but really just making a play.”

He certainly did that, as his twisting, fadeaway bucket put a dagger in the Kings (32-32), who are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The loss dropped Sacramento four full games behind the LA Clippers and San Antonio Spurs for the final playoff spot.

The Kings have lost six of their past eight games, including three losses by two points (to Boston, the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets) and one in overtime (to the Milwaukee Bucks).

“I’m tired of that s—,” said Hield, who scored 23 points. “It’s life in the NBA, man. It’s hard to win basketball games — especially against good teams.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Boston (40-26) hasn’t always looked like a good team this season, but Wednesday’s win came on the heels of an emphatic 33-point victory over the Warriors on Tuesday — which could be a sign that better days lie ahead for the Celtics.12

Both Hayward and Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after Tuesday’s win that it would require another great effort to beat Sacramento. Sacramento shot 50 percent from the field and 13-for-29 (44.8 percent) from 3-point range to stay in the game and kept the game close throughout the fourth quarter until Hield’s free throws tied things up with 7.6 seconds left.

Boston didn’t have a timeout left, and with Kyrie Irving sitting out with a left thigh contusion, Hayward was the one to take the inbounds pass, bring the ball up the court and — when the rest of Sacramento’s defenders stayed home — went at Hield for what wound up being the game-winning shot.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“You look at the film and you always … when you watch something, you always say, ‘I should have done this, I should have done that.’ He made a fallaway fadeaway,” Hield said. “There’s nothing much you can do about that. I contested it. It’s not like I didn’t contest it. You say pressure him, but sometimes you don’t want to pressure guys way up because they have the lane to go drive full court. I don’t care who you are, you can’t guard nobody full court. I don’t care what fan thinks they can come out here and guard somebody full court. They can’t.

“You can pick and choose your poison. I tried to make it as tough as possible. I could’ve been more aggressive, but he made a tough fadeaway jump shot. Great shot, and hats off to him. It’s a great story for him, the way he’s battled [back] from injury, and so you have to tip your hat to that. Sometimes that’s how it’s going to work.”


Durant: Celtics will be fine once playoffs start

Durant said he thinks the Celtics need time to find a rhythm within their roster. Both Gordon Hayward and Irving missed the Celtics’ strong playoff run last year, and the team has struggled to find consistency at times.

“Everybody else probably thought they were supposed to be clicking and winning 65 games,” Durant said. “Because they had the talent and they went to the Eastern Conference finals last year, Game 7, but it’s a new season. There’s a lot of teams that changed their rosters to play, to stack up in the East, so it’s a different team. So they’re still getting used to each other, getting Gordon Hayward back and Kyrie back, and another year of experience for the guys that went through the playoffs, so it’s going to be throughout the season.”cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Many pundits picked the Celtics to reach the NBA Finals and play against Durant and the Warriors, but the Celtics currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings, with a 38-26 record.11

“It’s just the nature of the game,” Durant said. “They’ve got a bunch of young players, they’ve got a couple veterans that have been through the struggle, so they’re still trying to figure each other out. It takes more than just a half a year or a whole year to figure it out. They’re just going to keep growing, so what you see right now is probably not the finished product.”

Durant, who went through his own growing pains after signing with the Warriors a couple summers ago, believes the Celtics need to have patience as they continue developing their chemistry.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“You can’t accelerate [the process],” Durant said. “I like to compare a lot of people to relationships — would you like to accelerate a relationship that goes straight from dating to marriage in a month? [Building teams is] just the same thing. Over time you got to learn patterns of behavior, how guys like their routines, where they like the ball, all that type of stuff. It’s just from building every day on the basketball court, so it’s going to take some time.”

When the Warriors do face the Celtics, they will do so with several players battling nagging injuries. Backup center Kevon Looney will not play Tuesday after an MRI revealed pelvic inflammation, according to Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Looney took part in shooting drills after Monday’s practice, so the injury does not appear too serious.


The Warriors might have the most talented starting five ever

Steve Kerr is no stranger to being surrounded by Hall of Famers. He was a reserve guard on a 1996-97 Chicago Bulls team that had four players — Michael Jordan, Robert Parish, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman — eventually enshrined in Springfield, along with head coach Phil Jackson and assistant coach Tex Winter. He ended his playing career on a 2002-03 Spurs team that has already seen David Robinson go into the Hall of Fame, with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich certain to follow someday.

But even he has never seen a roster quite like this season’s Golden State Warriors.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“I’m well aware of how lucky I’ve been to basically inherit a team that had multiple Hall of Famers on the roster,” Kerr told ESPN recently with a laugh. “I probably wasn’t aware of it when I took the job, but it quickly became apparent how good these guys were.”12

The Warriors’ starting five of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins has combined for 19 All-NBA selections, 28 All-Star Game appearances, five scoring titles, five Olympic gold medals, three MVP awards and a Defensive Player of the Year trophy. Andre Iguodala comes off the bench with an All-Star appearance, an Olympic gold medal and a Finals MVP in his trophy case.

When Cousins made his Warriors debut on Jan. 18, he was immediately inserted in a starting lineup that bore more resemblance to a Dream Team than a typical NBA lineup.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“I think our starting five could be a Team USA starting five,” Thompson said. “That’s how good it is. I’m very grateful to be in this position, not a lot of players ever experience something like this in any sport.”

For Cousins, who is still trying to get up to speed playing alongside the most talented teammates he has had in his career, the idea of playing with Hall of Famers is something he has come to terms with over the past few months.

“I kind of got past that part of it,” Cousins said with a smile. “Just kind of seeing them in the gym every day and thinking like that when I first got here. It’s fun. It’s fun to play with great players, it’s fun to play with guys with a lot of talent that know how to play the game.”


These step-back 3s are sent from another planet

James Harden is dribbling up to the left wing, and the Houston Rockets are down three with 48 seconds left. Kevin Durant calls off Andre Iguodala. He wants to guard his former teammate in one of the most intense moments of the 2018-19 regular season.

Durant, one of the longest wing defenders this league has ever seen, picks up Harden about 35 feet from the rim. His arms are already raised to prevent even the longest 3s Harden might consider.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

But it’s not Durant’s arms that Harden is focused on — it’s his Nikes. As the pair arrives at the 3-point line, Harden invites his old friend to dance. Harden crouches into his coil and begins to break down Durant. It won’t take long. He’s about to tie the game with the definitive move of the year.11

Harden uses a left-handed dribble to edge toward the 3-point line. With exactly 46.0 seconds remaining, the ball has bounced back up into Harden’s hand. He’s done dribbling, but his unhurried demeanor still gives no hint that a split-second later he’s going to bury the game-tying 3 in KD’s face.

On average the Harden step-back creates about 6 feet of shooting space, per Second Spectrum data. By the time Harden brings the ball through his shot pocket, the defender attempting to close the gap is always too late.

Check out that last still. It looks like a teammate set up Harden for a standard catch-and-shoot 3. But this space was created by the shooter himself, and that’s what makes it so damn dangerous: Harden can create clean 3-point looks at will.

Depending on what you consider to be the beginning of the act, Harden’s step-back jumper takes about one second. In that second, he breaks his defender’s balance, creates the shooting space, brings the ball through his shot pocket and releases it. It’s the most dangerous second in the NBA, and although defenders know it’s coming, they don’t know exactly when. At T-minus-1 they’re still clueless that liftoff is already happening.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Despite the fact that Durant’s wingspan is enormous, despite the fact that he was Harden’s teammate for years in OKC, despite the fact that the stakes were so high, and despite the fact that we all knew what Harden wanted to do — it didn’t matter. He did it anyway. He tied this Jan. 3 game with the step-back 3. The Rockets ended up winning in overtime.


76ers’ Boban Marjanovic to have MRI after injuring right knee

Philadelphia 76ers center Boban Marjanovic had to be helped off the court after he went down clutching his right knee late in Monday night’s 111-110 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Marjanovic had 12 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in less than 22 minutes to help fill the void in the middle created by the absence of 7-foot All-Star Joel Embiid, who has missed all three of Philadelphia’s games since the All-Star break.

But Marjanovic’s right leg got tangled up between Pelicans forward Cheick Diallo’s legs, and both players crashed to the court after pursuing a rebound with just over a minute left. Marjanovic needed assistance getting off the court and later used crutches to get the team bus.

Shortly after Sixers coach Brett Brown sought out Marjanovic in the trainer’s room, a team spokesman said the injury would be further evaluated on Tuesday, when an MRI was scheduled.12

“It was tough to see him go down and be in pain. So I’m praying that everything will be all right for him and we can get him back ASAP,” Tobias Harris said. “He did an amazing job out there when he was playing.”

Philadelphia nearly squandered a 10-point lead after Jimmy Butler’s 12-foot jumper made it 110-100 with 2:48 left. The Sixers missed five shots and three of four free throws, including two misses by Jonathon Simmons with 9 seconds left, allowing the Pelicans a chance to win it with any type of field goal on their last possession.

“My head at the moment is completely with Boban, to be frank,” Brown said when asked about his team’s nearly squandering the lead. “So whatever level of disappointment I may have, I don’t feel it so much now. We won the game, and I’m really thinking about him.’‘china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Ben Simmons echoed that sentiment when asked to sum up the night.

“We wanted to win. We won. We’re happy that we won. A teammate got hurt. … It’s sad to see a teammate go down,” he said.

Marjanovic was acquired Feb. 6 in a trade with the LA Clippers that also sent Harris to Philadelphia. The 7-foot-3 reserve is averaging 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds this season.


Embiid, Marjanovic both ruled out for OKC game

All-Star center Joel Embiid and backup center Boban Marjanovic are both out for the 76ers’ game Thursday against the Thunder in Oklahoma City, the team announced Tuesday.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Embiid is in Philadelphia for rehab on his sore left knee and has not yet been re-evaluated. The Sixers said they expect they will have an update before Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors in Philadelphia.

Last Wednesday, the Sixers announced that Embiid would be out at least a week with left knee soreness.11

Marjonovic was diagnosed with a bone bruise and mild sprain of the right knee and will be re-evaluated in around five to seven days, the team said Tuesday.

Marjanovic injured his knee in the Sixers’ win over the Pelicans on Monday. He underwent imaging, including an MRI and CT scan, that revealed the extent of the injuries.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Coach Brett Brown said results of Marjanovic’s MRI provided “a sigh of relief given what my gut feel was.”

The Sixers last faced the Thunder on Jan. 19, with OKC coming away with a 117-115 win in Philadelphia. In that game, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook took exception to a foul by Embiid with 1:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, leading to a war of words between the two players who ended up on the same All-Star team last week.


Andre Iguodala voted VP of National Basketball Players Association

The National Basketball Players Association elected Golden State’s Andre Iguodala as first vice president during its Board of Player Representatives meeting on Monday.

Iguodala has served as vice president of the Executive Committee since 2013. He will replace LeBron James in his new role. James’ four-year term has expired.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“I am honored to be chosen by my peers to step into this position and take on a larger responsibility within the NBPA,” Iguodala said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing my work with (NBPA executive director) Michele (Roberts), Chris Paul and the Executive Committee to accomplish the best possible outcomes for the union and our future members.”12

In other elections, Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Charlotte’s Bismack Biyombo were elected to serve as vice presidents on the Executive Committee. Brogdon, Brown and Biyombo have all previously served as NBPA team representatives; they will replace Carmelo Anthony, Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Iguodala, whose three-year terms have expired.

“Malcolm, Jaylen and Bismack have all shown a great commitment to the union since they arrived in the league,” NBPA president Chris Paul said in a statement. “I have no doubt they will bring a fresh perspective and passion to the Executive Committee and I am excited to start working with them.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Other members of the Executive Committee include Minnesota’s Anthony Tolliver (secretary-treasurer), San Antonio’s Pau Gasol, Portland’s CJ McCollum and Los Angeles Clippers veteran Garrett Temple (vice presidents).

The Committee will help guide the union in policy-making and decision-making with regard to the current collective bargaining agreement. Each side can opt out of the current agreement in 2022.


Kevin Durant steals the show in Charlotte, wins second All-Star MVP

Durant, who last won the award in 2012, shot 10-for-15 from the floor (6-for-9 from 3) as Team LeBron set an All-Star Game record for most made 3s in a game with 35.

“We just didn’t want to lose,” Durant told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols after accepting the MVP trophy on the court after the game. “We know we had a lot of talent over there that can do multiple things. We just wanted to turn it up a bit on the defensive side. I think the group closed the third quarter really changed the game for us. It is fun being around such greatness. Seeing how these guys operate on the day to day. I’ll miss my time here.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

He added 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks as LeBron James improved to 2-0 as a captain since the NBA All-Star Game changed to a draft format last year. Durant paid off as James’ No. 1 overall pick in the draft.11

“It’s all sweet to me,” Durant said when asked to compare the award to his other career accomplishments. “I mean, it’s hard to rank. Everything’s special. But it’s cool to be out there with some of the best players to ever play the game, and to win an MVP here in front of my family and friends is pretty sweet. I just keep trying to rack them up, I guess.”

The 11-year veteran’s trophy case is getting mighty crowded these days after he took home back-to-back NBA Finals MVP awards for the Golden State Warriors’ championships the last two years.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Durant, who is not expected to opt in to the final year of his contract, worth $31.5 million, with the Warriors and instead test free agency this summer, was asked if there were any teammates in particular he enjoyed playing with on Team LeBron.

Several of his teammates — Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson — are also expected to test free agency this summer. James’ team, the Los Angeles Lakers, will have the salary cap space to sign a max free agent of Durant’s caliber.