NBA Las Vegas Summer League schedule announced

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In the same way if you are a baseball fan you owe it to yourself to one year make it out to Spring Training, if you are an NBA fan you owe it to yourself to make it out to NBA Summer League one year.

It’s NBA rookies and guys hoping to make it onto the back end of an NBA roster (or get a good contract in Europe) balling in a setting where you can get Jack Nicholson quality seats at an affordable price. This is where you can see and fall in love with the 10th player down the bench, giving you reason to say the coach needs to play them more come January. You are on top of the action, and while it’s not the level of basketball you see in the playoffs it is entertaining. You get to see guys up close and really get a feel for them.

And it’s casual and laid back.

After a year hiatus — thanks again lockout! — the NBA Summer League is back in Las Vegas this summer, starting July 13 (the day after Team USA breaks camp in Vegas to head east). It takes place at the adjacent Cox Pavilion and Thomas & Mack Center. Tickets are on sale now.

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets (you can bank on that pick) will start play Sunday night and a majority of NBA teams will be represented there. Here is the full schedule. And when Summer League gets here be sure to check back with PBT as we will be on scene and giving you all the reports and a lot of interviews from there.

Friday July 13
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Atlanta vs. Washington
3 PM – Houston vs. Toronto
5 PM – Golden State vs. LA Lakers
7 PM – Sacramento vs. Charlotte

Saturday July 14
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Memphis vs. New York
3 PM – Golden State vs. Denver
5 PM – LA Lakers vs. Sacramento
7 PM – Houston vs. Washington

Sunday July 15
COX Pavilion
1 PM – New York vs. Phoenix
3 PM – Denver vs. Dallas
5 PM – San Antonio vs. Atlanta
7 PM – Washington vs. NBA D-League

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Toronto vs. Miami
5:30 PM – Cleveland vs. Charlotte
7:30 PM – New Orleans vs. Portland

Monday July 16
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Atlanta vs. Boston
3 PM – Dallas vs. Toronto
5 PM – Cleveland vs. NBA D-League
7 PM – LA Clippers vs. Minnesota

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Houston vs. Sacramento
5:30 PM – LA Lakers vs. Miami
7:30 PM – Milwaukee vs. New Orleans

Tuesday July 17
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Denver vs. New York
3 PM – Washington vs. Memphis
5 PM – Portland vs. Houston
7 PM – Chicago vs. Boston

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – San Antonio vs. LA Lakers
5:30 PM – Cleveland vs. Phoenix
7:30 PM – Minnesota vs. Charlotte

Wednesday July 18
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Milwaukee vs. Washington
3 PM – Chicago vs. Houston
5 PM – Atlanta vs. Dallas
7 PM – San Antonio vs. LA Clippers

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Sacramento vs. Toronto
5:30 PM – New Orleans vs. Phoenix
7:30 PM – Golden State vs. Miami

Thursday July 19
COX Pavilion
1 PM – New York vs. Toronto
3 PM – Portland vs. Atlanta
5 PM – Cleveland vs. Minnesota
7 PM – NBA D-League vs. Milwaukee

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Boston vs. Sacramento
5:30 PM – LA Clippers vs. LA Lakers
7:30 PM – Charlotte vs. Denver

Friday July 20
COX Pavilion
1 PM – New York vs. Cleveland
3 PM – Denver vs. Portland
5 PM – Miami vs. San Antonio
7 PM – NBA D-League vs. Phoenix

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Memphis vs. Charlotte
5:30 PM – Chicago vs. Golden State
7:30 PM – Dallas vs. New Orleans

Saturday July 21
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Portland vs. Miami
3 PM – Dallas vs. San Antonio
5 PM – NBA D-League vs. Minnesota
7 PM – Memphis vs. Phoenix

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Golden State vs. New Orleans
5:30 PM – Chicago vs. LA Clippers
7:30 PM – Milwaukee vs. Boston

Sunday July 22
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Chicago vs. Milwaukee
3 PM – Boston vs. LA Clippers
5 PM – Memphis vs. Minnesota

Warriors-Rockets features one of biggest game-to-game swings in NBA playoff history

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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In Game 2, the Rockets handed the Warriors their biggest playoff loss with Kevin Durant.

In Game 3, the Warriors earned their biggest playoff win and gave the Rockets their biggest playoff loss in each franchise’s history.

Quite the turnaround.

The 63-point swing from Houston’s 127-105 Game 2 win to Golden State’s 126-85 Game 3 win is one of the largest reversals in NBA playoff history.

It’s been a decade since the last larger game-to-game swing. The last series to have one as large as these Western Conference finals was the 2016 NBA Finals, when the Cavaliers began their comeback against the Warriors after getting blown out in Games 1 and 2.

Here are the biggest game-to-game swings ever in the NBA playoffs:

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That’s a lot of momentum moving against the Rockets. Can they recover?

Warriors post longest playoff home winning streak in NBA history

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You remember the Warriors’ last home playoff loss.

Golden State hasn’t lost a playoff game in Oakland since signing Kevin Durant. The Warriors went 9-0 at home last year and are 7-0 at home this year. Their Game 3 win over the Rockets last night gave Golden State a record-breaking postseason home winning streak.

The Bulls (1990-91) previously held the record. The leaderboard:

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Are the Warriors atypically good at home? The more accurate answer is they’re just atypically good.

They’re 10-4 on the road the last two postseasons, an incredible mark in its own right. Like most teams, they’re better at home.

That presents a tough challenge for Houston with Game 4 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday in Oakland.

Backed into must-win Game 4, here are three things Rockets must do to even series

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Three years ago, the Houston Rockets came back from 3-1 down in a playoff series to defeat a Los Angeles Clippers (and give that franchise a punch to the gut from which it has not recovered). It was one of the great Rockets’ moments of the last decade.

Houston is not going to be able to do that against these Golden State Warriors. Go down 3-1 after Game 4 Tuesday at Oracle and the series is all but over.

Which means after the Rockets’ blowout loss in Game 3 Sunday night, Houston finds itself in the same must-win spot it did after Game 1. And unlike Game 2, the Rockets will not get helped out by an arrogant Warriors team not playing at its peak — the Rockets are going to need a near perfect game to beat a full-force Warriors team on Tuesday.

Here are the three key areas the Rockets must improve to win Game 4:

1) Just shoot better — finish shots at the rim and hit some threes. It’s rather obvious and simplistic, but it’s the reality: Houston just has to shoot better in Game 4.

The Rockets took a full one-third of their shots at the rim in the restricted area in Game 3, but they struggled with those making just 13-of-27 (48.1 percent). The Rockets took 42 percent of their shot attempts from three but hit just 11-of-34, and they were 7-of-25 on above the break threes. That’s not good enough, the Rockets are going to need at least 15 made threes in a game to win.

“Those are double whammies,” Rockets’ coach Mike D’Antoni said of the missed shots at the rim. “It’s like we missed layups first half especially and they go down and score. So in transition, you’ve got to keep them out of transition, you’ve got to make layups. We didn’t do that. When they did miss, we didn’t box out all the time, and then we turned it over 20 times. It’s a formula for losing, and for us to correct that, we can’t turn it over. Got to make layups for shots, and get back.”

To be fair, the Warriors contested shooters well all game, especially guys driving the basket, but still, the Rockets need to knock down more of their shots contested or not. It’s the most basic premise of basketball.

2) Houston has to play faster. D’Antoni said it above, the Rockets and their missed shots let the Warriors get out in transition and control the pace. It’s also a simple fact that the team that controls the pace — the team that gets transition opportunities and gets into its offense earlier in the shot clock — will win the games.

Golden State had 26 transition opportunities to 12 for the Rockets, according to the Synergy Sports stats breakdown.

Or, look at it this way (via Cleaning the Glass), in Game 3, Houston started just10.4 percent of their possessions in transition (and scored a dreadful 0.89 points per possession on those plays). For comparison, in their Game 2 win, the Rockets started 18.7 percent of their possessions in transition. On Sunday night in Game 3 Warriors started 19.8 percent of their plays in transition, nearly one in five trips down the court, and they scored 1.44 points per possession on those plays.

The Rockets need to make more shots and then, even when they miss, get back in transition and not let the Warriors get rolling early in the clock. Houston also needs to defend better and force more Warriors misses, which will allow them to run. It’s all tied together, the Warriors were making shots so the Rockets were taking the ball out of the basket and coming up against set defenses; the Rockets were missing shots that let the Warriors come up fast and forcing the Rockets to scramble on defense (Golden State tears apart teams in those situations). It’s a holistic thing, but the evidence it’s working is which team controls the pace, and the Rockets need to do that in Game 4.

3) Houston needs more out of Chris Paul. It’s easy to point to the Stephen Curry eruption in the third quarter as the time the Warriors ended the game, and there is truth to that. Golden State started the third on a 10-0 run (where Curry had five of those points) and the fire was lit, then Curry started hitting 30-foot threes and quickly the game was out of reach. Those Warriors runs are crushers.

However, to me the turning point in the game was when James Harden went to the bench for his usual rest with 2:46 left in the first quarter — the Warriors outscored the Rockets by nine before the quarter was up (part of an 11-0 run to end the quarter). By the time Harden returned with 9:16 left in the second quarter, the Rockets were down 10, a hole they never could get out of (they were down 11 at the half).

CP3 has to be better in that stretch. The Warriors threw bigger, switchable guards at him on defense — Shaun Livingston, Nick Young, and then Andre Iguodala — and Paul couldn’t get separation and make plays against them. Without Harden, the Rockets offense stalled out, and doing that led to the Warriors getting to push the pace and get their transition buckets. Paul looked slowed at points, reaching on defense and not as explosive as we’ve seen.

This isn’t the Utah Jazz. Harden was off in Game 5 against Utah, but Paul picked up the slack (his 41-point, 10 assist game) and Houston got the win. Against Golden State, both Paul and Harden must have good games for Houston to have a chance. The Warriors are too good, too deep, there is no margin for error anymore.

The Rockets have an elite game in them — we saw the blueprint of what they have to do in Game 2. Houston can do that again. The only question is can they do it in the face of Golden State’s pressure, because the sharks on the Warriors smell blood in the water and will be coming hard in Game 4.

Shaun Livingston crossed James Harden so hard it made Greg Anthony mispronounce “meme” (VIDEO)

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The Golden State Warriors embarrassed the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. Stephen Curry scored 35 points, didn’t miss a shot in the third quarter, and helped the Warriors win Game 3 and take a 2-1 series lead by a margin of 41 points.

Not too shabby.

But it wasn’t just Curry who turned the Rockets into shrinking violets. Shaun Livingston, who added 11 points off the bench while shooting 4-of-4, took his turn putting Houston to task.

During one play, Livingston crossed up James Harden on his way to a wide-open dunk. Livingston’s crafty dribble moves also shook commentator Greg Anthony’s brain up a little bit, so much so that Anthony forgot how to say the word “meme”.

Via Twitter:

Even during a 41-point decimation the NBA is still the funniest league on the planet.