Associated Press

Nick Young eager to help champion Warriors in any role


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nick Young passed up a shot, and then another, uncharacteristic of the charismatic guard with a sweet stroke.

That’s when he heard from Andre Iguodala. And Steve Kerr.

Just shoot it.

Regardless of how large his role or his number of minutes on the loaded NBA champions, the Warriors want Young looking to score whenever he sees a chance he likes.

“We had to remind him, like, `Listen man, you’ve gotta shoot, be you,”‘ Iguodala said. “Shaun Livingston and myself are going to put him in a position where he won’t have to worry about where his shots are going to come from or if he’s going to be able to get as many attempts as he would like. We’re going to make life a lot easier for him and we’re going to make basketball fun for him, too.”

That’s already clear, given Young’s big grin and playful nature his first few days on the job.

Kerr took a turn getting on him, and Young is already used to a full-court press from the reigning NBA champions: His new coach, Finals MVP Kevin Durant and Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green all went to Los Angeles to take “Swaggy P” to lunch and recruit him to Northern California.

Young called their efforts “very persuasive,” and he’s still appreciative.

“They took me out on the town a little bit. I like to go out a little bit,” he said. “They just knew me. They just get me.”

Now, they all are eager for him to get comfortable – and fast. The Warriors open the preseason schedule at home Saturday against Denver before a trip to China to face the Timberwolves twice, Oct. 5 and 8.

“I’ve been saying the same thing to Nick, `Shoot it, shoot it, shoot it,”‘ Kerr said. “The whole thing for any of our new guys is to understand that we want the first good shot we can find. If we don’t have a good shot, try to get a great shot but let’s keep the ball moving but be aggressive and find that balance. I don’t want Nick out there thinking. He’s one of the best shooters in the league and he should let it fly every time he’s open. And then as he gets more comfortable with the guys he’ll understand where those opportunities will come, when to move the ball on and when to shoot it.”

Young played for former Warriors top assistant Luke Walton last season with the Lakers, so he got a bit of a glimpse at how Golden State might operate with its music-filled practices and focus on fun.

The 32-year-old Young in June declined the player option in his contract for this season with Los Angeles that would have paid him more than $5.6 million. He had said in April that it was “60/40” he would leave the Lakers in hopes of joining a playoff team.

Then a free agent, Young received a $5.2 million, one-year contract in July.

Hard to beat the star-studded defending champs featuring Durant and Stephen Curry – even if Young is finding his way initially.

“The more I get used to the plays, the more the shots will be open. I’m just in everybody’s way right now,” he said, then laughed while adding: “I was with Draymond and Steph a little bit today, I found myself passing a little bit more than normal. It felt good. I’m all about getting some assists.”

He averaged 13.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 60 games for the Lakers. He will provide the Warriors with the kind of depth Kerr loves to have as he regularly mixes and matches rotations.

Young is ready to do whatever is needed for the Warriors and Kerr, who rotates lineups often.

“Nick’s going to fit in great,” Iguodala said. “The thing with our team is that guys come in from different places and they don’t want to try to disrupt any of the flow. I saw it the first day. He didn’t want to disrupt the flow, but we encouraged him to shoot, we encouraged him to be aggressive, just have good intentions. I know Nick and JaVale (McGee) knows Nick and we know he’s a great person, he’s a funny guy. If you’re a good guy, a naturally good person, like to play basketball, you’ll fit in perfect.”


LeBron James’ triple-double lifts Cavaliers past Bucks

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CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 40 points as part of his third triple-double in four games and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 124-117 on Monday night as coach Tyronn Lue began his leave of absence to address health issues.

Lue said Monday in a statement he been dealing with chest pains and loss of sleep, and that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is. Associate head coach Larry Drew will run the team in Lue’s absence.

James scored 17 points in the third quarter and finished with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his 16th triple-double this season and 71st of his career.

The four-time MVP took over in the third beginning with back-to-back 3-pointers. After not getting a foul called on a third attempt, he finished Cleveland’s next possession with a massive dunk. He was fouled attempting another dunk and made both free throws the following time down.

Milwaukee cut a 17-point lead to 117-109, but James drove the length of the floor for a dunk with just over a minute left.

Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love returned after missing six weeks because of a broken left hand and scored 18 points in 25 minutes. He sparked a 10-0 run in the second quarter with two 3-pointers

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points and went 11 for 11 at the foul line for Milwaukee, which is seventh in the Eastern Conference. Khris Middleton had 30 points, making 11 of 16 from the field.

Milwaukee guard Jason Terry was given a Flagrant-1 foul for hitting Ante Zizic in the face with an open hand while the rookie center was putting up a shot in the lane. Zizic made both free throws, helping spark a run that built a double-figure lead.

Lue, 40, led Cleveland to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season.

The Cavaliers (41-29) are third in the Eastern Conference and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to reach the NBA Finals for the fourth straight time.

No timetable has been given for when Lue will return. He missed the second half Saturday, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn’t feeling well. Lue also sat out a game against Chicago at home in December.


Pelicans rookie Frank Jackson has another surgery, will miss entire season now

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans say rookie guard Frank Jackson won’t make his NBA debut this season after having follow-up surgery to remove residual scar tissue from earlier right foot operations.

The Pelicans say Jackson also received an injection in his foot.

The club says a specialist in New York handled Jackson’s latest procedure.

The Pelicans acquired the 6-foot-4 Jackson through a draft-night trade with the Charlotte Hornets, who selected the former Duke player with the first pick of the second round last summer.

Following the draft, the Pelicans signed Jackson to a three-year contract at the NBA minimum with two years guaranteed, but Jackson needed a second foot surgery last summer to address a setback following his initial surgery last May.

Jackson spent one season at Duke, averaging 10.9 points.


Giannis Antetokounmpo turns bad pass into ridiculous alley-oop (VIDEO)

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That is just not fair.

Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe threw an alley-oop pass to Giannis Antetokounmpo that was off the mark — high and behind him — but it just doesn’t matter. The Greek Freak gets up and throws it down.

It’s early, but it’s going to be hard to beat that one for dunk of the night.

League’s Last Two Minute Report backs referees (mostly) in Raptors/Thunder game

Associated Press

Anyone who watched the Thunder’s win over the Raptors Sunday afternoon in Toronto — especially the final few minutes — thought it was not referee Marc Davis and crew’s finest hour. There were missed calls and three-straight ejections of Raptors players, which all seemed rather hair-trigger (especially coach Dwane Casey, who was tossed for something a fan behind him said).

The NBA’s Last Two Minute report doesn’t see it that way — it says the referees nailed it.

According to the report, there was only one missed call in the final two minutes: Carmelo Anthony held Pascal Siakam as a pass came to him with 11.7 seconds left, and that should have been called.

What about the play that set DeMar DeRozan off and ultimately got him ejected, the drive to the basket with 33 seconds left (and the Raptors down two) where DeRozan thought Corey Brewer fouled him? The report said that was a good no call:

DeRozan (TOR) starts his drive and Brewer (OKC) moves laterally in his path and there is contact. The contact is incidental as both players attempt to perform normal basketball moves….

RHH shows Brewer (OKC) make contact with the ball and the part of DeRozan’s (TOR) hand that is on the ball. The hand is considered “part of the ball” when it is in contact with the ball and therefore, contact on that part of the hand by a defender while it is in contact with the ball is not illegal.

(I didn’t see it that way, I think the contact was more than incidental, and to me looking at the replay Brewer catches some wrist and impedes the shot in a way that was not legal. Just my two cents.)

The report does not cover the ejections, which are reviewed by league operations but not part of this report.

Three thoughts out of all this:

1) Raptors fans/management/players have every right to feel the calls went against them in this game. As for calls always going against them — as DeRozan complained about after the game — 29 other teams and fan bases are convinced the officials have it out for them, too. I never bought that.

2) The Raptors didn’t lose this game solely because of the officiating. Russell Westbrook was clutch down the stretch, the Thunder were part of it, and the Raptors had other issues, too (Serge Ibaka had a rough game, for example).

3) This loss also does not say a thing about the Raptors in the postseason (even if they went a little too much isolation at the end) — this was their third game in four days, they looked tired and flat at the end. That will not be the case in the playoffs.