Kurt Helin

Joel Embiid dunks, scores 12, puts up highlights vs. Cavaliers

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Joel Embiid is still on a serious minutes limit — his 13:23 Saturday was the most he’s played — but he’s also putting up some highlights.

He had a dozen points against the Cavaliers Saturday night, including a powerful dunk and a three ball, plus he had a block. The Cavaliers won the game 115-112, Kyrie Irving was making plays, but give Embiid his due.

In case you need to see the dunk again, we got you covered.

Irving shows of wicked handles, scores 15 in preseason debut as Cavs beat 76ers

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CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each scored 15 points, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-105 on Saturday night.

Irving made his first appearance of the preseason after sitting out Cleveland’s opener.

Jordan McRae came off the bench for 20 points, including the clinching free throws.

Joel Embiid had 12 points in 13 minutes of his third preseason game.

76ERS: Rookie Dario Saric shot 1 for 7 and had four points. … Richaun Holmes had 19 points and Sergio Rodriguez added 15 points and eight assists.

CAVALIERS: Kevin Love had two points on 1-for-7 shooting. … Channing Frye was 4 for 4 from 3-point range off the bench, finishing with 14 points.

 

Watch Jabari Parker throw it down — then hit head on rim

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I have this problem all the time.

During Saturday night’s preseason game, the Bucks’ Jabari Parker got the ball and had a straight-line drive to the basket, which he wisely took.

Then he threw it down with authority. Two hand dunk.

Then he hit his head on the rim.

Damn.

Parker had 21 points in 24 minutes on the night.

Utah Jazz look to future without injured Gordon Hayward

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz began life without Gordon Hayward on Saturday with the first practice since the franchise player broke a finger on his non-shooting hand. There is no set timetable for his return.

Hayward went down Friday when his finger got caught in another player’s jersey during practice. Coach Quin Snyder was already tinkering with lineups with the addition of veterans George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw and now must be even more creative.

Snyder explained that everyone and everything can be impacted, from Rodney Hood to Johnson to Dante Exum. How Snyder can put together situation-specific lineups, such as small-ball, will also be affected.

“You don’t want to wallow over things you can’t control,” Snyder said. “More than anything I feel bad for Gordon. It’s not a pity part for the team. Guys have to step up. We’ve got good players and they’re capable of picking up the slack collectively and individually.

“But that doesn’t change the fact that Gordon’s been our best player.”

The ninth overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft led the team with a 19.7-point average and 3.7 assists last season. Hayward also averaged 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 2015-16.

The 26-year old missed just two games in 2015-16 and total of 13 in the last three seasons combined. Hood may be most affected as the team’s second-best perimeter scorer. He could slide to small forward in the starting lineup with Hill and Exum starting at the guard positions. Johnson could start at small forward with Hood remaining at shooting guard. Either way, Hood will likely need to pick up some of the offensive load.

“I’ve got to be more aggressive, I think that’s obvious for our team,” said Hood, who averaged 14.5 points in his second season. “Everybody’s got to do more on both ends. We’ve got some time to figure out before the actual season hits.

“Scoring is not really the focus. … It’s about defense and scoring off our defense and doing the little things.”

Injuries are nothing new to the Jazz in the last 12 months. The team lost starters Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors and Exum and top wing reserve Alec Burks for long stretches last season. Favors is currently dealing with knee soreness and missed the last preseason game. Burks still hasn’t returned from arthroscopic surgery to his knee and ankle in June.

Fortunately for the organization, the Jazz have four more preseason games and don’t start the regular season until a road game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 25.

Hill played the last five seasons with the Indiana Pacers and was on the roster when their franchise player, Paul George, missed most of the 2014-15 season with a broken leg. Hill averaged a career-high 16.1 points that season.

“It’s just a feel thing,” Hill said. “You don’t try to come in and say, hey, I’m going to do this or that because someone went down. You take what’s there. If the feeling’s there that they need you to step up and score some more points, then that’s what you have to do.

“But it gives everybody a good opportunity to come out and improve their game a little bit more and expect a lot out of other players. … It’s going to take a group effort.”

Entering 17th NBA season, Metta World Peace says he wants to play 20

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Metta World Peace is a longshot to make the Lakers roster this season. Los Angeles already has 14 guaranteed contracts plus the very team friendly deal of Yi Jianlian, who has looked good in camp and will almost certainly make the roster. That makes 15, the max the Lakers could carry into the season. Meaning World Peace only sticks with the Lakers if there is a trade or the Lakers cut someone with a guaranteed deal to keep him.

But World Peace wasn’t expected to make the Lakers roster last season and did. If he sticks, this would be MWP’s 17th NBA season, and he told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News the real goal is 20 years.

World Peace, 36, enters his 17th NBA season and 18th playing professionally overall hoping he can log at least three more years on the hardwood.

“I want to finish off strong,” World Peace said. “It’s not about what it will mean to me. It’s about, ‘Can I get there?’”

World Peace said he isn’t worried about making the Lakers’ roster.

“My concern is having a good time. There’s nothing to overcome,” World Peace said. “I’m a hell of a basketball player. That’s the hard part, becoming a good basketball player. Once you do that, you don’t have to worry about nothing else.”

That’s one less thing to worry about.

World Peace got in just 35 games for a 17-win Laker team last season. He did start the first last Laker preseason game with Luol Deng out but didn’t score in limited minutes. One way or another I expect World Peace will get paid to play basketball this season, just not sure it’s with the Lakers. Or maybe in the NBA (remember he did spend a season overseas before the Lakers brought him back last season).

But if he’s not in the NBA the league is less interesting, so I’m rooting for him to stick around.