Kurt Helin

Warriors ready for shot at revenge against Bucks Friday

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The Golden State Warriors have built the best 26-game start in NBA history with a businesslike approach.

The next game will be a little personal, however.

The Warriors get a chance to avenge their lone loss when the Milwaukee Bucks limp into Oakland for Friday night’s matchup.

Milwaukee sent shock waves throughout the league by ending the Warriors’ 28-game regular-season winning streak with Saturday’s 108-95 victory. Michael Carter-Williams capped the upset with a late dunk he followed by glaring at the Golden State bench, a move which drew the ire of several Warriors.

“We remember what happened less than a week ago,” Stephen Curry said following Wednesday’s 128-103 bounce-back win over Phoenix.

Even if Golden State didn’t have that additional motivation, Milwaukee (10-17) faces an uphill task in achieving a season sweep. The Bucks have lost 11 straight on the road and won’t have top scorer Greg Monroe for a third consecutive game due to a Grade I MCL sprain in his left knee.

Monroe played an integral part in the victory over the Warriors, tallying a season-high 28 points along with 11 rebounds and five assists.

The Bucks have averaged 89.0 points during their road skid. Including playoffs, Golden State (25-1) hasn’t scored fewer than 90 at home in 70 straight outings. The Warriors have won 29 straight in Oakland in regular-season play.

Having Klay Thompson at full strength also figures to hinder Milwaukee’s chances. The All-Star guard was held to 12 points and 4-of-14 shooting as he dealt with a sprained ankle in last week’s meeting, but scored a season-high 43 against the Suns.

“It’s good to have a few big-scoring games here or there just to let teams know they can’t focus so much on Steph,” said Thompson, who went 8 of 13 from 3-point range. “Just (to) give him some balance out there because he’s going to get every team’s greatest look every night.”

The Warriors also should be more fresh for the rematch. Last week’s loss was the finale of a grueling seven-game, 13-day road trip, but they’ll play for just the second time in six days Friday.

Milwaukee has dropped the first two games of a four-game western swing. After opening with a lackluster performance in Tuesday’s 113-95 defeat to the lowly Los Angeles Lakers, the Bucks showed more will Wednesday but lost 113-90 to the Clippers.

“The fight was there and the intent was right,” coach Jason Kidd said. “The guys played hard, but the ball did not fall for us. The effort was extremely high, but we just could not make the plays when we needed to.”

Carter-Williams had 17 points in the latest defeat and has averaged 17.7 in a three-game stretch, a result of his increased role with backcourt mates Greivis Vasquez and Jerryd Bayless sidelined by ankle injuries. The point guard totaled 17 points, seven assists and five steals against Golden State.

With Monroe out, the Bucks will lean more heavily on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, who scored a season-high 19 on Saturday.

Milwaukee had lost four straight to the Warriors.

Ellie Day on hit from LeBron James: Sore, exhausted, but okay

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This is great news. It could have been a lot worse. It certainly didn’t look good when she was being wheeled out of Quicken Loans Arena on s stretcher to the hospital.

But Ellie Day, the wife of golfer Jason Day, is doing alright a day after she was run over by LeBron James as he went for a loose ball.

First off, if you thought Jason Day should have somehow saved her, you’re a fool. If you think the wife of the wealthy young golfer is going to make a money play, you’re a fool. I shouldn’t have to say these things but, well, Twitter.

There are reports she suffered a concussion, which wouldn’t be a surprise. But she is smart enough to understand that sitting courtside comes with a lot of perks and a few risks. Same with having good seats for a baseball game or being on the sidelines of a football game. Things happen.

At least nobody was seriously injured.

Jimmy Butler, Damian Lillard John Wall give five-star NBA product reviews

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You just cannot trust online reviews (but we all tend to anyway).

That includes ones from Jimmy Butler, John Wall, Andrew Wiggins, Damian Lillard and others as part of the NBA’s latest holiday ad campaign. But the videos are pretty funny to watch.

And you know you want a Chicago Bulls argyle sock monkey. Admit it. You might want the fanny pack, too.

Report: Sixers hire Mike D’Antoni as associate head coach

Mike D'Antoni
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Jerry Colangelo was brought in and given power over Philadelphia to shake things up and speed up the rebuild — at 1-26 in year three of “the process,” even the owner on board with the long-term taking plan is uncomfortable. With this move, Colangelo is going to speed up the tempo, at least.

As has been expected, the Sixers have reached a deal to bring in Mike D’Antoni as associate head coach. Keith Pompey at the Philadephia Inquirer broke the news.

Veteran NBA coach Mike D’Antoni is now the associate head coach of the 76ers, two league sources said Thursday night….

Sixers coach Brett Brown said last week that he would welcome D’Antoni’s addition to the staff because he would add a veteran presence.

The Sixers just extended head coach Brett Brown’s contract by two years, so his seat isn’t getting warm. At least not for a while. But you don’t bring in D’Antoni and not give him some power.

Colangelo was the former owner and guy with the power in Phoenix when D’Antoni was the coach there that pioneered the small ball revolution that has swept the NBA. D’Antoni believes in his system to a fault. Brown has said on multiple occasions he wants to pick up the tempo and run more with the Sixers.

But can they with this roster? Or even the roster that will be there in a year or two? The Sixers best player in Jahlil Okafor needs to score in the post and around the basket. The point guards aren’t good enough to run D’Antoni’s system (Kendall Marshall is not the answer, just a less bad option). The Sixers need more shooting. And if Joel Embiid does come back does he fit with this style of play, or will we once again see D’Antoni trying to fit square pegs in round holes? (Remember New York and Los Angeles, where D’Antoni was never given his roster and how that went.)

This raises a lot of questions, but it does feel like the Sixers are at least trying to do something.

 

Five Takeaways from NBA Thursday: LeBron outduels Durant, Thunder

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 17: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder on December 17, 2015 at The Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
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It felt like a Throwback Thursday around the NBA — LeBron having to do all the scoring, Durant and Westbrook against the world for the Thunder, Kobe Bryant dunking, Linsanity in Charlotte. Only three games on the docket, but the NBA put on quite a show — unless you are Jason Day’s wife. Here’s what you need to know from around the NBA Friday.

1) In a matchup of stars, LeBron James outduels Kevin Durant, Thunder. Kyrie Irving isn’t back yet, Iman Shumpert was out again, so the Cleveland Cavaliers went with the system that got them to the NBA Finals last season — give the ball to LeBron and let him carry the load. It worked again. LeBron had 33 points (12-of-27 shooting), 11 assists, and nine rebounds on the night. (He wanted the triple-double late and told teammates not to go for a rebound on a late free throw so he could get the board, but Kevin Love grabbed it anyway.) It looked like the Finals Cavs from last season — LeBron scores/creates, Tristan Thompson crashes the boards hard, they slow the game down and defend, and that’s enough many nights. This is not how the Cavs will win a title, but for a Thursday night against the Thunder that formula still works.

Oklahoma City had won six in a row coming in, but this loss highlights the problem they will face deep in the playoffs — Russell Westbrook had 27, Durant 25, Serge Ibaka 23, and then it dropped off the map to single digits. The predicted creative new offense of Billy Donovan has not materialized — it’s a lot of Durant/Westbrook isolation or pick-and-roll, and the best teams can defend that. The Thunder big men don’t pass well, so even their shots have to come from those two. Here was Donovan’s other big mistake: it was a close game entering the fourth (OKC up three) when he rested Durant and Westbrook at the same time — Cleveland went on a 9-0 run. He brought Westbrook then soon after Durant back, but that run grew to 17-2 and a double-digit Cavs lead before the bleeding stopped. Ballgame. The Thunder could not dig out of that hole. The Thunder have so much talent but still feel like a clear third best team in the West, and they have work to do if they are going to threaten the Spurs or Warriors in a seven-game series.

2) LeBron James runs over Jason Day’s wife, sending her to the hospital. Ellie Day and her husband — world second-ranked golfer Jason Day — live in Columbus and had a nice date night going without the kids: Courtside seats to see the Cavaliers and Thunder. But in the fourth quarter the 6’8″, 250-pound LeBron James chased a loose ball into the front row and just ran over Ellie. She had to be taken to the hospital on a stretcher. Fortunately, early reports are that she is doing well with no serious injuries.

3) Kobe Bryant was vintage self, but Rockets still get a comfortable win. If you’re paying to see the Lakers at Staples, do you want to see the team win? If you’re a Laker fan, don’t you want to see the team increase the odds of holding on to their pick this June (it is only top three protected). Still, you want a show. You want to see some turn-back-the-clock Kobe. Well, Lakers fans got that Thursday at Staples, Kobe had 22 points, hit some tough jumpers, and even had his first dunk of the season. But James Harden and the Rockets got the win handily, 107-87.

4) Jeremy Lin goes off for 35 and Hornets beat Raptors in overtime. This game was an example of why you need League Pass — you missed a fun one if you weren’t watching. The Hornets led by double-digits much of the game, but Kyle Lowry sparked a 15-3 run that made it close and then DeMar DeRozan (31 points on the night) hit a jumper with 13 seconds left that sent the game to overtime. The Hornets relied on Lin and Kemba Walker — the pair had 24 of the Hornets’ 33 points in the fourth quarter and OT — and that was enough. Walker had nine in the OT, but the big numbers went to the guy with the spiky hair.

5) The Thunder’s Steven Adams dunked on LeBron. You don’t see this every day. (LeBron will take the win and live with it.)