Marc J. Spears
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 11 hrs ago
LOS ANGELES – In between hugging actor Billy Crystal and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, Chris Paul gave the longest congratulatory hug Saturday night to his brother C.J., repeating one word of joy over and over.
"Finally," Chris Paul said. "Finally."
The "finally" was in respect to the San Antonio Spurs. Paul finally took down the reigning NBA champions during a memorable 111-109 Game 7 victory in a thrilling end to a classic first-round series.
The Spurs have been the dominant NBA team during Paul's 10 seasons thanks to a battle-tested core of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and coach Gregg Popovich. San Antonio swept Paul and the Clippers in the second round of the playoffs in 2012. The Spurs also beat Paul and the New Orleans Hornets in seven games during a second-round series in 2008.
Paul was set to go toe-to-toe with the Spurs once again on Saturday only to have a hamstring injury initially limit him. But when the Clippers needed Paul most, he nailed a game-winning 9-foot shot on one leg over two much taller Spurs with one second left.
No Clipper, however, had to fight harder or made a bigger play than the injured Paul.
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 12 hrs ago
LOS ANGELES – The heartache and frustration of having their championship reign end in a last-second Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers had barely begun to hang over the San Antonio Spurs when attention quickly turned to a pertinent question about the franchise's future.
Was this the last game for Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili? And maybe even coach Gregg Popovich?
From the sound of Duncan and Ginobili, they aren't rushing into a decision.
"I'm not making any statements," Duncan said after the season-ending 111-109 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Said Ginobili: "It's not a topic to talk about. It's too soon."
Whenever he decides to retire, Duncan will leave as the greatest Spurs player of all time and also the greatest power forward the NBA has ever known. He is now 39 and admitted this week he sees "the light at the end of the tunnel." But he's also still playing at an elite level: He totaled 27 points and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes in Game 7, his fourth game of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the series.
"It's a little too early to think about that," Duncan said of the possibility he might retire.
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago
SAN ANTONIO – Before tipoff of the opening game of what now seems destined to go down as one of the better first-round matchups in NBA playoff history, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich grumbled to one another with the same complaint.
Why are we playing each other … now ?
"It's ridiculous that it's a first-round series," Rivers told Yahoo Sports late Thursday. "That was the first thing Pop said to me before Game 1, and I said the same thing. But we both decided, 'What the hell, it is what it is.' But this is ridiculous."
Across nearly two weeks, the Clippers-Spurs series has delivered everything as predicted: torture for its two elite coaches, entertainment for everyone else – and now a decisive Game 7 to settle it all on Saturday night at Los Angeles' Staples Center. The Clippers created the winner-take-all event with a 102-96 victory in Game 6 that left Popovich fuming about the Spurs' toughness.
"We should be embarrassed at the way we came out for a closeout game in every regard," said Popovich, who called his team's performance "soft."
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago
Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Andrew Wiggins will be named the NBA's Rookie of the Year during a news conference on Thursday, a source told Yahoo Sports.
Wiggins was the top overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he was dealt to the T'wolves in a trade for Kevin Love before the season. The four-time Western Conference Rookie of the Month averaged 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 36.2 minutes while playing in all 82 games this season.
Wiggins appeared to be the frontrunner for the award from the start, with his competition in the injury-plagued rookie class limited to Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic and Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton.
The news conference to honor the former University of Kansas star will be on the main floor of the Target Center in Minneapolis and open to the public.
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Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago
LOS ANGELES – A few days removed from his 39th birthday, flecks of grey now in his hair and beard, Tim Duncan sat on the Staples Center scorer's table late Tuesday, watching the chaotic scene unfold in front of him in the final seconds of the 239th playoff game of his storied NBA career. The game hung in the balance, the atmosphere thick with tension, and yet in that small moment Duncan looked utterly comfortable – happy, even – at what awaited him and his San Antonio Spurs.
"It's just a realization of mortality, I guess," Duncan told Yahoo Sports late Tuesday. "I know my time is winding down so I'm enjoying it more."
After all these 18 seasons, Duncan's old-school game still looked as timeless as ever for one more night. He totaled 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and one game-changing block, playing all but 10 minutes in a 111-107 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers that left the Spurs with a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and needing one more victory to reach the second round.
"He was coming dead at me and my choice was either to go contest the shot or give up a dunk," Duncan said.
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Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago
NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams continued to express appreciation for the franchise’s fans at the end of the season despite hearing boos during introductions at the two home playoff games. But when the boos and heckling were a concern in the regular season, Williams actually told his wife, Ingrid, that it was best that she and their five children stay home.
“It’s weird because I’ve never seen that done in a rebuild,” Williams told Yahoo Sports after a season-ending 109-98 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of a first-round series on Saturday night. “I always try to focus on the people that come every day, the people that support us. I hear that stuff. My biggest worry is my family sits behind me. I don’t want my wife and kids hearing that.
“There have been times where I told her to stay home. And that bothered me that I had to tell my wife and kids to stay home because our fans were booing me and we were winning games. That’s the only time that bothered me.”
“It was an amazing year,” Williams said.
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago
NEW ORLEANS – The 1975 NBA champion Golden State Warriors were a hunted team in 1976 – one that failed to repeat as they were upset by the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals.
No one on the Warriors' current roster was even close to being born then.
But now, 39 years later, today's Warriors are fighting in new territory as the NBA's most hunted team after winning a league-best 67 games. While Golden State passed its first test by completing a sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round on Saturday, they believe the tougher-than-it-looked first-round series offered some lessons that will help them to deal with the unfamiliar bull's-eye.
"We learned about just feeling the pressure both at home and on the road," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We had the best record. This team has playoff experiences the past two years as an underdog. I think it's easier as an underdog because you just come out and play loose. The favorite is a little different feeling."
Kerr believes the Warriors gained valuable experience about the pressure of playing at Oracle Arena in the postseason after being so dominant in the regular-season.
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago
NEW ORLEANS – Not long after Stephen Curry’s remarkable performance in Game 3of the Golden State Warriors’ first-round playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans, the star guard laughed out loud in the Smoothie King Center while watching a video on his cell phone with his somewhat embarrassed father and brother.
No one could blame him for enjoying the moment after the postgame news conference as he looked at some congratulatory messages and videos sent to his phone.
“That was unbelievable. I thought he got fouled,” Dell Curry told Yahoo Sports, chuckling about his son’s timely shot. “Is that being greedy?”
It almost seems greedy that the Curry men have had so much success in the game of basketball.
As the playoff series shifted to New Orleans, the plan was for Stephen to travel without his family so he could focus on the Pelicans. Dell, however, had been champing at the bit since the Warriors’ Game 1 win in Oakland, Calif., and wanted to follow his son. And with dad wanting to visit the Crescent City, of course Seth wanted to roll, too.
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago
NEW ORLEANS – Stephen Curry replayed the shot in his mind over and over, silently shaking his head several times in the locker room late Thursday. Eventually, the triumphant Golden State Warriors guard showered, dressed and walked into a hallway of onlookers before finally uttering a simple word that summed up his memorable night.
Curry completed a jaw-dropping Warriors comeback from 20 points down in the fourth quarter – the third-largest in NBA playoff history – with a stunning corner 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left to send Game 3 against the New Orleans Pelicans into overtime. From there, the MVP candidate finished with a game-high 40 points en route to a 123-119 victory that left Golden State a win away from moving on to the second round. Curry's smooth shot silenced the boisterous Pelicans crowd, and was still the rage long after the game ended.
The Warriors were admittedly awful during the first three quarters as the Pelicans took an 89-69 lead. New Orleans even had a 19-0 run at one point in the game.
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago
OAKLAND, Calif. – Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green searched through his contacts on his cell phone long after a 97-87 Game 2 win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night until he found "Mama." On Twitter, Mary Babers-Green is known as @babers_mary, and she has a growing number of basketball fans and journalists who follow her and can't wait to hear what she has to say next.
Green is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and perhaps the best trash-talker in the league. Judging by reading the tweets of @babers_mary, it isn't hard to tell where he got his skills from.
"I only have to be mindful and respectful of my son and not be belligerent," Babers-Green told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview early Tuesday morning in Saginaw, Mich. "But I am staying in the guideline of the rules. His rules.
"I myself have no rules. I myself will [say something]. But I have to respect him."
When asked if Lloyd deserved that response from his mom, Green said: "Yeah. He was hating."