Warriors beat Spurs for first time since 2008, snapping a 16-game losing streak against them

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It’s got to be the jerseys.

The Spurs came into Friday night’s game against the Warriors having won 16 of their last 17 games, and were coming off of a thorough shellacking of the L.A. Clippers just the night before. San Antonio also hadn’t lost to Golden State since 2008, holding a streak of 16 consecutive wins over the Warriors franchise since then.

None of that mattered to Jarrett Jack, who hit a ton of big shots in the fourth quarter and overtime to lift the Warriors to a huge 107-101 win over the top team in the Western Conference.

Golden State debuted their alternate jerseys for the first time, ones that have short sleeves attached instead of the traditional tank-top look that’s been a staple in the league essentially forever. The look took some getting used to, and may have been more successful had the color of the shorts matched exactly, instead of being a shade darker and featuring pinstripes that were absent from the jerseys themselves.

The Warriors will likely sign up to wear them every night, however, if this is going to be the result.

After battling closely all night with the Spurs, San Antonio did what it always seems to, which is continue to execute to perfection while waiting for you to eventually make some mistakes.

The Spurs opened the fourth quarter on a 12-0 run, gaining their largest lead of the night at 13 points with under nine minutes to play. That’s usually game over for most teams, but the Warriors came back relatively quickly, and tied the game less than three minutes later.

Jack hit a big-time three with seven seconds left in regulation to give his team a two-point lead, before Harrison Barnes got lost on the ensuing Spurs out of bounds play, and allowed Manu Ginobili to receive a pass cutting to the basket for a layup which set us up for the overtime session.

Jack made the biggest play in overtime, breaking away for a reverse layup after a steal from Stephen Curry that put the Warriors up for good with a minute and a half remaining. According to ESPN Stats and Information, he was the first player with at least 30 points and 10 assists off the bench in a game since Magic Johnson did it back in 1996.

The Spurs might have run out of gas on the second night of the back-to-back, and may have been stunned by how quickly and effectively the Warriors were able to respond to that fourth-quarter run. Tim Duncan looked old in this one, and made some mistakes we’re not used to seeing him make, and Jack was phenomenal, as he’s been all year for this Warriors team.

Or, it might have been that the whole jersey thing simply threw them off. Either way, it was a huge win for the Warriors to notch their second straight after suffering a six-game losing streak, and the Spurs, still three games ahead of the Thunder atop the Western Conference standings, probably aren’t going to lose any sleep over it.

Bobby Portis apologizes for punching Nikola Mirotic in the face (VIDEO)

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As if this season wasn’t going to be hard enough for the Chicago Bulls, it started off on the wrong foot when Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic got into a fight during practice. That fight resulted in a facial fracture for Mirotic, putting one of Chicago’s best players out for multiple weeks.

Portis addressed the issue this week by apologizing to fans, the team, and Mirotic. However, Portis said that he has not heard from Mirotic since the fight, and that he did not respond when he tried to call his teammate.

Video of Portis’ apology is interesting if only because it’s a bit hard to discern the level of sincerity.

Via Twitter:

Chicago is 0-2 on the season. Portis is in the middle of serving an 8 game suspension for the incident.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores career-high 44, dedicates game to father

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — After scoring a career-high 44 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo wrote a note on the game ball.

“This is for daddy. We got a win tonight,” the 22-year-old Milwaukee Bucks player said, remembering his father, Charles, who died last month at age 54.

Antetokounmpo scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a dunk that put Milwaukee ahead 111-110 with 11 seconds to go.

After a timeout, Damian Lillard found Jusuf Nurkic running open down the lane, but Antetokounmpo blocked his shot at the basket, sending the 7-foot center crashing to the floor.

Antetokounmpo, starting his fifth NBA season, made 17 of 23 shots with eight rebounds and four assists as Milwaukee kept pace with a Portland team that had dominated its first two opponents. The Bucks star is averaging 38.3 points through three games, up from 22.9 last year, 16.9 in 2015-16 and 12.7 in 2014-15.

“Seventy-nine more. This is just the beginning,” he said, thinking about how many regular-season games remain.

After Nurkic was rejected at the basket, Khris Middleton was fouled and made both free throws.

“They committed two guys to Dame, so somebody was going to be open,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said, referring to Lillard. “Turned out to be Nurk but they made a really good defensive play.”

Lillard scored 26 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter. CJ McCollum also scored 26, and Nurkic had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Tony Snell scored 17 points and Middleton added 16 for Milwaukee.

 

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant ejected at end of loss to Grizzlies

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Stephen Curry is going to get fined for this.

The former MVP was frustrated, his team losing and thinking he was fouled by Mike Conley as he attacked the rim late in the Warriors loss in Memphis Saturday night. Curry threw his mouthpiece at the referee, which deservedly got him ejected instantly.

Durant followed him to the locker room, making a gesture that will earn him a fine as well.

The Warriors are 1-2 to start the season and there are a lot of factors at play. The China trip does this to teams, and throw in three straight trips to the Finals on top of it and it has an impact. The team is a little banged up. However, the biggest issue is their defense is a mess right now.

The Warriors will straighten it out eventually, but the start of the season could be a rough one for them.

Pacers owner says team not for sale, will not be moved from Indianapolis

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There are more than a few NBA owners who are seeing the prices teams are being sold for — the Rockets just sold for a record $2.2 billion — and considering their options. Some other billionaires are looking for teams, several with the goal of packing up the franchise and moving it to their respected hometowns.

Those billionaires need not call Herb Simon. The Pacers owner said the team is not going anywhere, speaking to Gregg Doyel of the IndyStar.

“I want to leave my legacy: This team permanently in Indianapolis,” Simon told IndyStar Friday in an interview at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “That’s my No. 1 goal.”

Simon bought the Pacers in 1983 with his older brother, Melvin — who died in 2009 at age 82. He told IndyStar the team someday will be owned by his 53-year-old son, Steve. Behind the scenes, Steve Simon has been working closely with Pacers Sports and President Rick Fuson for five years — “He knows more about the dollars and cents than I do,” Herb said of his son — and met this week with several department heads.

“If anything happens to me, he’d be taking over,” Herb said, adding that father and son are on the same page: The Pacers are staying in Indianapolis.

Good. That is as it should be.

Indiana is part of America’s basketball heartland, and it should have a team. Pacers fans are smart and loyal, and the team has a long history going back to the ABA, running from Mel Daniels and George McGinnis through Reggie Miller and up to Myles Turner (hopefully he can be on the level of the rest of them someday). They play in the coolest basketball building in the league, one with the history of the sport wolven in.

Indy is the nation’s 27th largest television market, bigger than San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City and other successful NBA franchises. There is no reason the Pacers cannot thrive, so long as ownership is committed.

They are. Which is excellent news for Pacers’ fans.