Marc J. Spears
- Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports5 hrs ago
LOS ANGELES – The Golden State Warriors captured a surprising and entertaining Game 1 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. Clippers forward Blake Griffin had a great seat to watch most of it.
Griffin played in just 19 minutes of the Clippers' 109-105 first-round series-opening loss. The All-Star forward averaged a career-high 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game while shooting a career-high 71.5 free throw percentage this season. But in Game 1, Griffin was limited to 16 points, three rebounds and three assists, leaving the contest with 48.3 seconds left with it all tied up. The disappointing outing was capped with him tossing water – he says inadvertently – on a Warriors fan.
"I obviously wasn't happy with it," Griffin said of his performance.
- Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports8 hrs ago
LOS ANGELES – The 2014 NBA playoffs didn't get off to the best of starts for Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin. He played just 19 minutes before fouling out with 48.3 seconds left in the Clippers' 109-105 loss to the Golden State Warriors in the opener of their first-round series.
And one of his most effective shots of the game came when he drenched a Warriors fan with water.
Shortly after fouling out, Griffin was watching a replay of the call with a cup of water in his right hand in front of the scorer's table. He threw up his arms in apparent frustration and the water landed directly on Will Meldman, a 22-year-old Warriors fan from San Francisco.
Meldman, who was wearing a yellow "We are Warriors" shirt, wasn't sure if Griffin intentionally tried to douse him. The Clippers gave him a towel to dry off.
"Honestly, I think it fell out of his hand," Meldman said. "He fouled out and he was frustrated, so it just fell out of his hand. It just slipped out.
"It may or may not be on purpose."
Meldman's reaction when the water hit him: " 'Bro, c'mon. I'm trying to watch the game.' "
- Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
LOS ANGELES – Mitch Kupchak talked in-depth about Kobe Bryant's early vacation, Steve Nash's poor health, Pau Gasol's free agency and the Los Angeles Lakers' high draft pick on Friday. But one subject the Lakers general manager provided little clarity into is the future of coach Mike D'Antoni.
Kupchak said he and Lakers president Jim Buss will meet with D'Antoni in the "near future," but didn't give a specific timeline for either the meeting or a decision on D'Antoni's future. Kupchak said D'Antoni is under contract for two more seasons, but wasn't definitive in answering whether D'Antoni would be the coach next season. Kupchak and D'Antoni had exit interviews with players on Thursday and Friday, but did not discuss D'Antoni's future.
"Mike is under contract for two more years," Kupchak said. "If anything changes, we will let you know."
LOS ANGELES – Is 40-year-old Steve Nash confident he will be ready for the Los Angeles Lakers' training camp? Or might his beaten body have a different opinion?
"That's a good question," Nash said. "I think in my mind, yeah, I will be in camp. Who knows? I don't take anything for granted nowadays. I want to work as hard as I can to put myself in a position to compete, succeed and sustain it. At the same time, I got to prove it to myself every day."
Nash had chronic issues in his back, along with hamstring and knee problems this season. The two-time NBA MVP played in a career-low 15 games, averaging just 6.8 points and 5.7 assists. The 18-year NBA veteran also missed 32 games in his first season with the Lakers.
Nash arrived in Los Angeles thinking he would chase championships with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Howard, however, left after last season and the Lakers had just a miserable 27 wins this season.
"We've hit the bottom," Nash said. "We had championship aspirations and nothing's gone right. It's obviously been a disaster individually and collectively."
LOS ANGELES – Pau Gasol felt nostalgic in what he admitted might have been his last day with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. He's also excited about his impending free agency and is open to a reunion with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who now runs the New York Knicks' front office.
"I'm happy for him and the position that he got," Gasol said. "I'm always going to be a big fan and a friend. I would listen."
Gasol completed his seventh season with the Lakers averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 60 games. He won two titles with the Lakers under Jackson, but the latter part of his tenure in L.A. has been clouded by constant trade speculation, including a near-deal to the Houston Rockets. He also didn't fit with coach Mike D'Antoni's offense and had two straight disappointing seasons.
Despite the struggle in recent years, Gasol seemed very much at peace during his postseason media briefing on Thursday. The main reason is because he can help decide his own future as a free agent this offseason.
1. San Antonio Spurs (62-20; last week's ranking: 1): The Spurs have so far impressively responded from their loss in the 2013 NBA Finals. Now, they'll try to use that disappointment as fuel for the playoffs.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (59-23; last week's ranking: 2): Kevin Durant averaged a career-best 32 points this season. He averaged 30.8 in four games against the Grizzlies.
3. Los Angeles Clippers (57-25; last week's ranking: 3): The heated rivalry between the Clippers and Warriors renews in the playoffs. The teams got testy on Christmas, and their tempers don't figure to cool down in the postseason.
4. Miami Heat (54-28; last week's ranking: 4): The reigning NBA champions enter the playoffs with one victory in their past six games. LeBron James averaged 31.1 points in April.
5. Houston Rockets (54-28; last week's ranking: 5): Houston won its season series 3-1 against first-round opponent Portland. Dwight Howard averaged 25.5 points and 13.5 rebounds against the Blazers.Sun, Apr 2010:00 AM PDTDallas at San AntonioPreview Game
- Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
OAKLAND, Calif. – The Golden State Warriors suffered a major blow to their playoff run when they learned Monday that starting center Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely with a fractured rib.
Bogut said he's been advised the rib is too close to his right lung for him to play through the pain because he would risking puncturing the lung. He originally suffered the injury against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday and it became worse in Sunday's overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. He took a pain killer before Sunday's game, but the injury worsened in the fourth quarter.
"I'm going to dedicate the summer to learning how to play while avoiding contact at all costs, I guess – moving out of the way, not taking charges and not trying to block shots," Bogut said. "All of my injuries have been high-impact injuries. I put my body on the line to try to take a charge or a block a shot, and unfortunately, I've been on the tail end of them. There are some players in the league who are very good strategically at avoiding contact, so I guess I need to watch them and bring that into my game."
- Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
University of Arizona freshman forward Aaron Gordon will announce this week he's entering the 2014 NBA draft, source told Yahoo Sports.
Gordon averaged 12.4 points and eight rebounds in 31.2 minutes during his freshman year for the Wildcats. He is ranked as the eighth-best prospect in this year's draft by DraftExpress.com.
- Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
PORTLAND, Ore. – University of Kentucky-bound center Karl-Anthony Towns Jr. met with a kinesiologist last week to learn more about the field he plans on studying in college. The 7-footer, who is already on the NBA radar, walked out of the meeting also having learned he could grow three more inches.
"Growing up, I've always been that tall kid and now I can be that taller kid," Towns said. "If I could play the way I play now with that height, it would be really great."
Towns, 17, was named the 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 21.5 points, 13.7 rebounds and 6.4 blocks as a senior this past season for St. Joseph's High School in Metuchen, N.J. The member of the Dominican Republic National Team played for the World Team during Saturday's Hoop Summit.
Towns' father said it's still undecided as to whether his son will play for the Dominican Republic in the 2014 World Cup in Spain or for Kentucky in an exhibition summer slate in Spain. It appears to be Kentucky coach John Calipari's decision.
- Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports8 days ago
PORTLAND, Ore. – Switzerland could soon land its second player in the NBA.
Clint Capela is expected to announce next week he's entering this year's NBA draft, sources told Yahoo Sports. He's projected to be a first-round pick and would join Oklahoma City Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha in representing the Swiss in the league.
"I'll be happy when he gets to the NBA," Sefolosha said of Capela, who is participating for the World Team in this week's Hoop Summit. "I won't be the only one anymore. It will be real cool for basketball in Switzerland."
Sefolosha was selected with the 13th overall pick in 2006 NBA draft. He was the first player from Switzerland to be drafted and play in the NBA. Switzerland's national basketball team has only participated in the Olympics twice with the last appearance in 1948. Swiss basketball officials had hoped that Sefolosha's arrival to the NBA would spark interest in the game.
Capela, 19, wasn't well-known about 16 months ago. The Geneva native's parents are from Angola and the Congo. Capela first came on the scene as a member of the Swiss national team in the 2013 Eurobasket tournament.