Kurt Helin

Stephen Curry

Curry has 25, Warriors rout Rockets in West finals rematch

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HOUSTON (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 25 points and the Golden State Warriors beat the Houston Rockets 112-92 on Friday night in a rematch of the Western Conference finals.

Curry listened to the crowd frequently rain down “MVP! MVP!” chants on Rockets guard James Harden. But Curry outscored him 25-16 and got the win again, just as he did in the real MVP vote and in the Warriors’ five-game victory that sent them to the NBA Finals.

The reigning champions improved to 2-0 while the Rockets fell to 0-2.

Harden struggled with his shot for a second straight game. The MVP runner-up finished 4 of 18, including 1 of 10 from 3-point range, but added seven rebounds and five assists.

Dwight Howard had nine points and seven rebounds for Houston in his first game after serving a one-game suspension for getting a fourth flagrant foul in the postseason.

Emotions ran high in a game that felt more like a playoff game than the second one of the season. The frustrated Rockets were called for two technical fouls, while the calm and collected Warriors cruised to their second straight victory under interim coach Luke Walton, who is filling in for Steve Kerr as he recovers from back surgery.

Curry added seven rebounds and six assists. Marreese Speights had 14 points, Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes both had 12, and Klay Thompson had 11.

Barnes set the tone early when he drove around Trevor Ariza and slammed a powerful one-handed dunk over Howard. Golden State led 30-29 after a physical first quarter behind Curry’s 12 points.

The Rockets missed six of their first seven shots and turned the ball over five times in the opening five minutes of the second. Draining one jumper after another and pouring on points in transition, Golden State ran off to a 57-44 halftime lead.

The Warriors finished the third quarter with a thunderous block from Festus Ezeli, denying Corey Brewer a layup with less than 5 seconds remaining. A desperation 3-pointer from Harden clanked off the rim, and the Rockets entered the fourth quarter in a 16-point deficit.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Houston committed 16 turnovers, while Golden State had just seven. Rookie PF Montrezl Harrell had 11 points and three rebounds off the bench. . PF Donatas Motiejunas remains out indefinitely after back surgery in April.

Warriors: C Andrew Bogut did not travel with the team after suffering a concussion in the season opener. Bogut received stitches for a laceration above his right eye after the opener. … Rookie F Kevon Looney sat behind the team in a suit as he continues to recover from right hip surgery.

 

Bulls pick up options on Snell, McDermott for 2016-17

Doug McDermott
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The Chicago Bulls have picked up team options for the 2016-17 season on guard Tony Snell and forward Doug McDermott.

The Bulls announced the moves Friday before their game at Detroit.

Chicago drafted Snell in the first round in 2013, and McDermott went in the first round the following year.

Snell has been in the starting lineup for the Bulls this season. He averaged 10.5 points over the first two games. McDermott played in 36 games last season as a rookie, averaging 3.0 points.

Harrison Barnes dunks all over Dwight Howard (VIDEO)

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Harrison Barnes, that is nasty.

Dwight Howard was so late on this rotation there was no possible outcome but for him to end up in Barnes’ poster.  Barnes has a great first step to get by Trevor Ariza and from that the dominoes are falling and the outcome is determined.

Behind plays like this Golden State controlled the first half against Houston.

Russell Westbrook 40-foot three forces OT, Victor Oladipo answers forces second

ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 30:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against the Orlando Magic on October 30, 2015 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. 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 Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
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This is why League Pass is so addicting — Oklahoma City and Orlando played the first wild barn-burner of the season.

The two teams were playing fast, showing their athleticism, hitting shots, and putting on an entertaining show all night — and that could not compare you for what was to come. After a Kevin Durant catch-and-shoot three had tied the game late in regulation, the Magic had the chance to win and thought they had. Then Russell Westbrook happened.

In OT, the Thunder raced out to a five-point lead, but Orlando wouldn’t go away and gave themselves one last shot to tie it, and with the game on the line Orlando went back to Oladipo.

In the second OT, Oklahoma City raced out to a five-point lead again, but this time they didn’t let it slip away completely.

Russell Westbrook finished with 48 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, Kevin Durant had 43 and 12, and the Thunder got the 139-136 win. Oladipo had 21, Tobias Harris 30, and Nikola Vucevic had 26 to lead the Magic.

Marc Gasol’s free agent recruiting technique on Mike Conley? Be nice.

Mike Conley
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Marc Gasol was a free agent last summer and if he had decided to leave Memphis, it would have been a massive setback for the organization. Point guard Mike Conley digitally hounded Gasol through the early summer while the big man was back in his native Spain, all but begging him to stay with the Grizzlies. Fortunately, that was never in doubt.

This coming summer, Conley is the free agent and while he’s not the name that Gasol is it would be equally devastating for Memphis. Conley may be the most underrated player in the league.

So what is Gasol doing to recruit Conley? Just being too nice, Conley told Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports.

“I’m not going to lie. He’s been nicer to me than I’ve ever seen him, so I think it’s already starting,” Conley told Yahoo with a laugh. “Normally, he’s yelling and he’s really hard on me, so he wants me to be great. I’ll make a mistake and he’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s all right, Mike.’ Normally, he’s like, ‘Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! Bleep!’ All at me. Now, he’s smiley, laughing. I’ll make a joke about him and he won’t get mad. He’ll just laugh. I see him changing, just trying to get me to come back.”

The fact Conley worked so hard to keep Gasol, it’s hard to imagine Conley leaving. There isn’t a sense around the league he has a desire to bolt (although a few other teams will at least make a call).

On another note — and he is trying to play this down — it will be interesting to see if Conley can finally make the All-Star team this year.