Marc J. Spears

  • James Harden, Rockets fumble away chance to steal Game 2 from the Warriors

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Stephen Curry pumped his fist hard in the air as the crowd released a scream of relief with him. As the Golden State Warriors celebrated their victory over the Houston Rockets, James Harden could only kneel and slowly lay his head on the Oracle Arena court in disappointment.

    Harden was mostly magnificent for the Rockets, pouring in another near triple-double with 38 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night. But he was left regretting the one shot he did not take after fumbling away the ball on the game's final possession to allow the Warriors to escape with a 99-98 victory and a 2-0 series lead.

    After Harden finally rose to his feet, the frustration of two blown games against Golden State boiled over as he yanked down a curtain on his way to the locker room.

    "It's frustrating," Harden said. "Frustrating to give the game away like that for myself."

  • Stephen Curry outduels James Harden again as Warriors win West finals opener

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Dwight Howard spent much of the final quarter of the Western Conference finals opener sitting on the bench with a knee injury. If nothing else, it gave him a good view of the battle between Houston Rockets guard James Harden and the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry.

    "Well, you got two chefs going at it and we can see who will make the best dish," Howard said.

    Curry had the right recipe on Tuesday night by leading the Warriors to a 110-106 win in Game 1.

    Curry's biggest challenger for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award was Harden, and neither player disappointed in Game 1. Curry finished with a game-high 34 points and made six 3-pointers in 39 minutes. Harden was also spectacular, nearly posting a triple-double with 28 points, a playoff-career-high 11 rebounds and nine assists.

    "It's entertaining basketball, but we're both supposed to help our team win and do what we can to impact the game," Curry said.

    Curry said that Harden's play helped push him this season.

  • Dwight Howard injures knee, but hopes to play in Game 2

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Nearly an hour and a half after watching the Houston Rockets fall in the Western Conference finals, injured center Dwight Howard slowly walked out of the locker room.

    Howard suffered a bruised left knee that limited him to 26 minutes during the Rockets' 110-106 loss in Game 1 on Monday night. He is expected to have an MRI on Tuesday, a source said. Howard described the injury as "nothing major" and said he expects to play in Game 2 against the Warriors on Thursday night.

    "Hopefully, I can play," said Howard, who had seven points and 13 rebounds. "I will get some rest and come back."

    Howard was injured midway through the first quarter when he collided with teammate Josh Smith. Howard departed with 5:50 left in the first quarter and returned at the 1:26 mark after testing his knee by jogging on the baseline. He played about nine minutes in each of the next two quarters, but departed for good after playing 51 seconds in the fourth quarter.

  • Potential No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns has his eye on the Knicks

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Karl-Anthony Towns and his family couldn’t afford to buy tickets for him to see his beloved New York Knicks during his youth. But if the Ping-Pong balls bounce the right way during Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery in New York, the potential No. 1 pick could end up playing for the rebuilding franchise that he has watched since he was a child.

    “I’ve always been a Knicks fan,” Towns, 19, told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview. “I never was able to afford passes to the games. We were able to afford cable and got the MSG channel so I could watch every Knick game. It made me more of a fan because I could watch every big game.

    “My best friend was a Nets fan so it made for a cool rivalry. My favorite player for the Knicks is a tie between Walt Frazier and Patrick Ewing, but I liked Patrick Ewing a lot. But I’ve never been to a Knicks game. I could never afford to go there.”

    Towns should soon be able to afford to see the Knicks or any NBA game because he is projected by DraftExpress.com to be the top player in the June 25 draft in New York.

  • How the Clippers suffered one of the most stunning playoff collapses in NBA history

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – Chris Paul, equal parts stunned and frustrated, stood by himself near the center of the Staples Center floor late Thursday after the final buzzer sounded on one of the most epic collapses in NBA playoff history. Paul's teammates quickly headed to the locker room, but he lingered before darting to the scorer's table to have some words with a referee. Clippers coach Doc Rivers yelled for him to let it go and leave the floor.

    After blowing a 19-point lead in a game in which they were just minutes from securing the franchise's first trip to the Western Conference finals, Paul and the Clippers had much bigger problems than the referees following their 119-107 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the best-of-seven second-round series.

    "It's awful to watch," Rivers said. "It's awful for our team, and we have to figure out in the next 48 hours how to get [the players] back because we can't get this one back. We gave this one away."

  • As Warriors push Grizzlies to brink of elimination, Tony Allen vows to play in Game 6

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Tony Allen sat helplessly while watching his struggling teammates on Wednesday night. A hamstring injury that has lingered more than a week forced Allen to stay on the sideline as his Memphis Grizzlies lost 98-78 to the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal.

    When the series resumes for Game 6 on Friday, the Grizzlies' season will hang in the balance. Allen, regardless of whatever pain he's feeling, has vowed he'll be back on the court.

    "Looking at how we lost today, I want to be out there with my teammates," Allen told Yahoo Sports late Wednesday. "… I am doing this for the guys in that locker room. I've been there with them since Day One. I'd rather be in there in that battle.

    "If they say our season is on the line and we need everybody, I'm one of the troops, I'm riding out."

    "We really missed Tony tonight," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said.

    With Allen gimpy since, Joeger broke down how much the injury hurts his team.

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  • Rockets' Hack-A-Jordan strategy backfires in Game 4 loss to Clippers, proving Shaq's theory

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – With a little more than five minutes left in the Los Angeles Clippers' blowout victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, the video scoreboard camera zeroed in on DeAndre Jordan, who sat comfortably on the bench after shooting 34 free throws. The Clippers' fans roared in delight. Jordan responded by licking his fingers, smoothing out his eyebrows for the camera and smiling brightly.

    Jordan had reason to smile after the Rockets' frequent Hack-A-Jordan strategy backfired and the Clippers rolled to a 128-95 Game 4 victory. Jordan shot an NBA playoff-record 28 free throws in the first half and made 14 of his total foul shots in the game to finish with 26 points and 17 rebounds. The Clippers lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and will try to close it out in Tuesday's Game 5 in Houston.

    "I know I got to shoot them. I can't run around the gym," Jordan told Yahoo Sports. "I got to shoot them and not think about it too much."

  • Grizzlies' 'Masked Assassin' stuns Warriors and upstages MVP Stephen Curry

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – The Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry was given the NBA's Most Valuable Player award by league commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday night before Game 2 of their playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies. For the Grizzlies, however, the true MVP of the night was the man in the mask standing across from Curry for much of the game: point guard Mike Conley.

    "What I had to endure the past week, I don't think people really understand what I was going through physically," Conley told Yahoo Sports after he scored 22 points in a 97-90 Game 2 victory that evened the second-round series. "And then mentally with the pressure of playing and knowing that the team needed me to just find a way. And that was the biggest … finding a way regardless to how I was feeling."

    Conley's teammates told him he should play in Game 2. His parents, however, wanted him to rest another game.

    Then the game started.

    Said Grizzlies guard Tony Allen: "He came out there and surprised me."

  • The story of how Stephen Curry's agent and dad didn't want the Warriors to draft him

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – As Stephen Curry took snapshots with the NBA Most Valuable Player trophy on Monday, the man who tried to keep him from the Golden State Warriors shook the hand of the man who refused to let that happen.

    "I didn't see him until Steph called him out [in his acceptance speech]," Curry's agent Jeff Austin said of former Warriors general manager Larry Riley, "and I was glad that he was here."

    Said Riley: "It's been fun to sit back and watch this whole thing develop."

    Curry was regarded as a top-10 NBA draft prospect after averaging 28.6 points per game his junior year at Davidson College during the 2008-09 season. The Los Angeles Clippers were set on drafting then-Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin with the top pick. Austin's hope was that his client would land with the New York Knicks with the eighth overall pick. Curry and his father, former NBA player Dell Curry, were on board with the plan as well.

    Still, Austin knew the Warriors had strong interest a pick before the Knicks.

    "I thought they would take Rubio and see Steph as a [shooting guard]," Riley said.

  • Warriors roll to Game 1 victory as Grizzlies hope for Mike Conley's return

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – The bright lights of Oracle Arena, the screaming by the Golden State Warriors fans, even the sound of the buzzer – all of it was bothersome for Mike Conley Jr. What was even more painful for the injured point guard was seeing his Memphis Grizzlies struggle without him.

    Conley missed his third straight playoff game during the Grizzlies' 101-88 loss to the Warriors in Game 1 of the second-round series on Sunday. This much was evident: If the Grizzlies hope to make this a series, they're going to need Conley back on the floor.

    Conley has not played since suffering a facial injury in Game 3 of Memphis' first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 25, but he sat on the bench on Sunday. Memphis has lost two of its past three playoff games without him and it's uncertain when he will return.

    "Today was a big step being able to go in front of the crowd and the loud noise," Conley told Yahoo Sports. "I did all right. All the horns and stuff really aggravated it. But it was all right.