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Steve Kerr laments Warriors’ ‘lazy’ play vs. Timberwolves in China

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Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors gave fans in China a crowd-pleasing taste of their up-tempo, free-flowing ball movement and explosive scoring.

Jimmy Butler and the re-tooled Timberwolves played a more complete game, however, and moved in front for good in the fourth quarter in Shenzhen.

“We played well for about a quarter and a half and then we started getting careless with the ball,” said Kerr, who suggested his team should have led by 15 at halftime, when Golden State instead led by just five at 55-50.

“We got lazy,” Kerr added.

Stephen Curry was called for five fouls in about 24 minutes on the court, but still managed to score 14 points.

“Hopefully I can get rid of all the fouls in the preseason. That’s what the preseason’s for,” Curry said.

Durant was the most efficient player on the court, hitting an array of mid-range jumpers as the Warriors held the lead for the first three quarters.

Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau sounded pleased by his team’s progression during the game and stressed the urgency of his new lineup, featuring the addition of Butler, getting in synch before the regular season opens this month.

“The second half we played better, moved the ball better, ran better plays,” Thibodeau said. “Obviously with a shortened preseason – we’re only playing three games – we have to move things along a lot quicker.”

TIMBERWOLVES 111, WARRIORS 97

Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns each scored 16 points in 26 minutes apiece for the Timberwolves. Durant scored 20 points in 25 minutes to lead Golden State.

MINNESOTA: Power forward Taj Gibson is looking more with his new team after being reunited with Thibodeau, his old Chicago Bulls coach. Gibson scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds while showing the ability to become more of a “stretch four” in Thibodeau’s system. He hit one of two 3-point shots – not bad for a player who has attempted only 35 3s in his career and made only three last season. … Andrew Wiggins added 14 points on 5 of 11 shooting from the field.

GOLDEN STATE: Curry hit three of six from 3-point range, as did Klay Thompson, who finished with 13 points in 24 minutes.

UP NEXT: The Warriors (0-2) and Timberwolves (2-0) meet again on Sunday in Shanghai, China.

More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.