Marc J. Spears
- Yahoo Sports1 day ago
OAKLAND, Calif. – There has been a big difference this NBA season between the deep Western Conference and the struggling Eastern Conference. Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki broke it down even further Wednesday night, taking a shot at his Eastern foes.
"If you look at the Western Conference, the quality so high. The teams are bunched up right there. We can beat each other every given night. It's not like the Eastern Conference, where you just roll through," said Nowitzki after a 95-93 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Just four of 15 teams in the West have losing records; the only East teams over .500 are the Indiana Pacers (19-3) and the Miami Heat (16-6). Nowitzki's Mavericks (13-10) also have a better record than 13 of the East's 15 teams despite sitting tied for eighth overall in the West.
"We got to compete every night [in the West], especially if you want to win on the road. You're going to be in a lot of close ones," Nowitzki said.
- Marc J Spears at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS – Not long after the Miami Heat eliminated his Indiana Pacers in a tough seven-game Eastern Conference finals, Paul George was back in Miami Beach, strolling down Ocean Drive during the NBA Finals. It was a curious locale for George to pick for some rest and relaxation given that it also was the site of the Pacers' Game 7 loss and the resulting frustration that came with it. Even still, George found the trip into the den of his enemy somewhat cathartic.
"I wanted to put it behind me because I had a whole summer to look forward to," George told Yahoo Sports. "It was just a chance to reflect about what happened out there.
"I let it go there. It carried it over as far as my training, but as far as thinking and being down on myself, I let it go out there."
George and the Pacers met the Heat Tuesday night for the first time since the East finals, and this much is clear: They look as tough a matchup as ever for the three-time defending East champs.Fri, Dec 134:00 PM PSTCharlotte at IndianaPreview Game
- Yahoo Sports2 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS – So what is the best rivalry in the NBA? LeBron James says there is none.
"It's just the truth," the Miami Heat forward said. "I've thought about it. There is no real rivalries. It's the truth. No rivalries. Cowboys-Redskins is a rivalry. Ohio State-Michigan is a rivalry. Duke-Carolina is a rivalry. Bears-Packers is a rivalry.
"I don't know why, but there is no [NBA] rivalry. You see someone year, year, year and year after year and you guys battle it out, that's when it becomes a rivalry."
James made his comments Tuesday night before a game against the Heat's supposed new Eastern Conference rivals, the Indiana Pacers. The reigning NBA champions knocked off the Pacers in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The Pacers and Heat have the East's top two records and will likely compete for the conference's top playoff seed.
Despite last season's series, James scoffed at the talk of the Pacers being rivals.
- Yahoo Sports2 days ago
Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks calls Russell Westbrook the most confident player he's coached. Westbrook knows the reason for that.
"Most of my confidence is because I don't care what nobody else thinks," Westbrook told Yahoo Sports.
Westbrook said his confidence has been shaped because of the challenges he has faced, the most recent being a knee injury that knocked him out of last season's playoffs and kept him sidelined into the start of this season.
After injuring his right knee in Game 2 of the Thunder's first-round series against the Houston Rockets, Westbrook needed surgery to repair torn meniscus. He then needed another procedure on Oct. 1 to alleviate swelling in the same knee. Westbrook was expected to miss the first four to six weeks of this regular-season, including as many as 21 games. He returned after just three games.
- Yahoo Sports3 days ago
The thundering rain didn't make it ideal to go to an outdoor soccer stadium on Tuesday. But considering what the late Nelson Mandela meant to Africa and the world, Amadou Fall, the NBA's vice president of development in Africa, was determined to pay his respects at Mandela's memorial Tuesday in Johannesburg.
"The whole world stopped to pay attention," Fall told Yahoo Sports. "Dignitaries from all over the world, representing countries that have fought, shared the same stage. It was universal. Not just a South Africa moment. Mandela was in prison for 27 years, so I wasn't going to let the rain bother me."
Fall joined President Obama, foreign dignitaries and numerous celebrities at the service at the FNB Stadium in the Johannesburg township of Soweto. Mandela died at his Johannesburg home Dec. 5 at the age of 95. The famous activist, politician and philanthropist focused on dismantling apartheid as the President of South Africa by fighting racism, poverty and inequality.
Of all the speakers at the memorial, Fall was most impressed by Obama.
- Yahoo Sports3 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger said there is a "very good chance" he will make his season debut Friday against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Granger has yet to play in a game this season because of a strained left calf that originally was expected to sideline him for the first three weeks of the season. He also missed all but five games last season because of a knee injury. Granger said conditioning is his only issue now, and he no longer has any problems with his calf or knee.
"There is a very good chance [of a Friday return]," Granger said after shootaround Tuesday. "I'm working on it every day. I'll play [in practice] tomorrow and practice the next day. Hopefully, it will be Friday."
The Pacers host the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat on Tuesday in a showdown pitting the Eastern Conference's best teams. The Heat eliminated the Pacers in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Granger said there was a chance he could have played tonight if the Pacers were facing a lesser opponent.
- Yahoo Sports4 days ago
1. Indiana Pacers (18-3; last week's ranking: 1): The first meeting of the season between the Pacers and the Heat takes place Tuesday in Indianapolis. This is the NBA's next big rivalry.
2. Portland Trail Blazers (17-4; last week's ranking: 3): Portland is off to its best start since winning 27 of 30 to open the 1990-91 season. A home loss to Dallas kept Blazers from moving to No. 1.
3. Miami Heat (16-5; last week's ranking: 2): After Tuesday's meeting with the Pacers, the Heat will face them again on Dec. 18. Luckily for them and Dwyane Wade, neither game will be a back-to-back.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-4; last week's ranking: 5): Lakers star Kobe Bryant will play on the road for the first time and face a big test against the Thunder on Friday.
5. San Antonio Spurs (15-4; last week's ranking: 4): Toronto will play at home for the first time after trading Rudy Gay when they face the Spurs on Tuesday. The Spurs won't be sympathetic after coming off a loss.
6. Houston Rockets (15-7; last week's ranking: 6): The Rockets have a tough upcoming three-game road trip with Portland and Golden State on back-to-back nights and then Sacramento.Fri, Dec 134:30 PM PSTNew York at BostonPreview Game
- Marc J Spears at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
"A lot of times they will stand around and watch him," D'Antoni said at the Lakers' shootaround Friday for a game against the Sacramento Kings. "We have been playing a certain way so we have to guard against that."
The Lakers were expected to struggle without Bryant, but have conjured a surprising 9-9 record. Bryant, 35, averaged 27.3 points per game last season before suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury on April 12 against the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers have used Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks at shooting guard in Bryant's absence.
The Lakers currently have practice scheduled for Saturday in Los Angeles. D'Antoni doesn't sound like he will be holding Bryant back upon return.
"What he brings mostly is one of the best players in the game and down in the fourth quarter you're not searching what you're doing, just his overall ability to be able to play well," D'Antoni said. "He will get guys to load up on him. He's carrying the wagon, let's everybody jump on it …."
Meanwhile, injured Lakers guard Steve Nash took more of a wait-and-see approach.Fri, Dec 135:00 PM PSTLA Lakers at Oklahoma CityPreview Game
- Marc J Spears at Yahoo Sports10 days ago
The San Francisco Pro-Am has allowed fans and families to watch NBA players compete for free every summer during the past 34 years. Golden State Warriors assistant coach Brian Scalabrine hopes to change NBA rules so he can play, too.
Scalabrine would like to play in the San Francisco Pro-Am next summer, but NBA rules state that coaches and front-office personnel cannot have contact with draft ineligible players. Draft ineligible players include participating college and high school players. It will be tough for Scalabrine to get the long-standing rule changed, but he plans to petition the NBA anyway, a league source said.
Scalabrine, like all Warriors assistant coaches, is not allowed to speak to the media.
"It would be good for the league to have someone like him," said Al Gordon, who is coach of San Francisco Pro-Am's Bay Pride. "The Pro-Am is not about people coming in trying to recruit. It's about the fans and family coming in getting to watch good basketball for free, up close and personal.
"It would be a bonus. I'd absolutely want him on my team."Fri, Dec 137:30 PM PSTHouston at Golden StatePreview Game
- Marc J Spears at Yahoo Sports11 days ago
1. Indiana Pacers (16-1; last week's ranking: 1): After a huge statement win at the Clippers on Sunday, Indiana owns the fifth-best start with one loss in NBA history. The 1969-70 New York Knicks opened at 23-1.
2. Miami Heat (14-3; last week's ranking: 3): Miami has the NBA's longest active winning streak at 10 games. Chicago hosts the Heat on Thursday and has played them tough before without Derrick Rose.
3. Portland Trail Blazers (14-3; last week's ranking: 4): Is Portland for real? The Blazers' next two home games against Indiana and Oklahoma City should say something. Portland is 6-1 at home.
4. San Antonio Spurs (14-3; last week's ranking: 2): Tim Duncan went 19 straight games (dating to last season) without reaching 20 points until he scored 20 in a loss to Houston on Saturday.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (12-3; last week's ranking: 5): Oklahoma City has won seven straight games and is 9-0 at home. The Thunder's next home game is against Indiana on Sunday.
6. Houston Rockets (13-5; last week's ranking: 7): The Rockets earned a big confidence-building win when they handed San Antonio its first home loss of the season on Saturday.