Associated Press

Aldridge’s double-double helps Spurs rout Suns 112-79

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 12 rebounds and the Spurs routed the Phoenix Suns 112-79 on Wednesday night for their 19th straight home win to start the season.

San Antonio successfully rang out an eventful 2015 that saw them add Aldridge in free agency after being bounced from the opening round of the playoffs and open the season with a franchise record home winning streak.

The Spurs also extended their franchise-record home winning streak to 28 straight games dating to last season by holding the Suns to several season lows.

Phoenix, which has lost six straight, had season lows for total points, first-half points (33) and points in the opening quarter (12).

Kawhi Leonard had 19 points, Manu Ginobili added 13 and Tony Parker had 12 points and seven assists for San Antonio (28-6).

Tim Duncan missed his third straight game due to right knee soreness, but he wasn’t needed in a game where Aldridge, Leonard and Parker all sat out the fourth quarter.

San Antonio led by as many as 38 points and never trailed after Phoenix scored the opening basket. The Spurs shut down the Suns’ defensively while exploiting them offensively in their second game since losing Eric Bledsoe to a season-ending knee injury.

Leonard did not have a field attempt in the first 8 minutes of the game as the Spurs instead took advantage of mismatches for Aldridge and David West. In those opening 8 minutes Aldridge had eight points and West had two points and three rebounds. It resulted in two early fouls each Alex Len and Jon Leuer each had two early fouls, forcing Suns coach Jeff Hornacek to go to his bench in the first four minutes.

At other times San Antonio had Phoenix fruitlessly chasing the ball.

Aldridge handed the ball off to West, who tossed the ball cross court to Danny Green. Green drove to the paint from the 3-point line and tossed the ball back to West, who flipped the ball back to Leonard for a corner 3-pointer for a 48-20 lead.

On another possession Boris Diaw lobbed an entry pass to Leonard, who tossed a bounce pass to Aldridge who scored an open layup after throwing Mirza Teletovic off balance by faking an outlet pass.

San Antonio finished with 26 assists and did not commit its first turnover until 2 minutes into the second quarter and finished with 13.

TIP-INS

Suns: Phoenix’s previous low for points in a quarter was 14 on Nov. 6 against Detroit.

Spurs: The Spurs’ 19 straight home wins is the third best start in Western Conference history, trailing the 20 wins by the 1986 Houston Rockets and 26 consecutive by the 1978 Portland Trail Blazers. … The Suns’ 12-point first quarter matched the season low for a Spurs’ opponent set by Philadelphia on Nov. 14.

 

Dion Waiters comments on Instagram after suspension about Erik Spoelstra winning because of Big Three

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The Heat suspended Dion Waiters for (at least) their season opener due to “a number of unacceptable incidents this week, culminating with his unprofessional conduct on the bench last night.”

Then, Waiters got going on Instagram.

He apparently laughed at the idea of preseason standout Tyler Herro being better than him and dismissed Miami coach Erik Spoelstra’s success due to having LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

(Warning: profanity):

To the content of Waiters’ points:

Coaches need talent to win championships, and Spoelstra undoubtedly benefited from having three elite players. But coaching superstars – particularly LeBron – brings its own challenges. Spoelstra aced those tests.

Herro must still prove himself beyond exhibition games. His defense in particular could be a liability. But Waiters has set such a low standard. It wouldn’t be surprising for Herro to eclipse him, even as a rookie.

That’s the bigger problem beyond these latest incidents. Waiters is a substandard player due major money ($27.5 million over the next years). His attitude only makes the situation worse, but there’s no easy way for the Heat to handle him.

Our Eastern Conference predictions: Philadelphia or Milwaukee, who ya got?

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The NBA season tips-off Tuesday night, and that means one thing:

It’s predictions time.

We’ve run through some postseason awards — MVP, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year — and now we stick our neck out and make our predictions on how the Eastern Conference will shake out.

As a disclaimer, we get it: making NBA preseason awards predictions is like nailing Jell-O to a tree. We’ll be wrong. But it’s fun, so the NBA staff here at NBC is making our picks.

THE EASTERN CONFERENCE

Kurt Helin
1. Milwaukee
2. Philadelphia
3. Boston
4. Toronto
5. Brooklyn
6. Indiana
7. Miami
8. Orlando
Eastern Conference Finals: Philadelphia over Milwaukee.

While there are some interesting storylines up and down the East, this is ultimately a two-team race and the only way Boston or anyone else gets into the mix is thanks to an in-season trade. Milwaukee is a legitimate favorite, but I like Philadelphia’s length and defense to smother Milwaukee in the playoffs. Yes, that means I am making a big bet on Ben Simmons taking a step forward as a shot creator and leader, but I believe that by April the Sixers will have figured out their offense. After the top four in those standings, things could shake out in almost any order and there’s a legit chance Chicago or Detroit cracks the top eight too. Boston and Toronto are good and should advance out of the first round of the playoffs, although Indiana could crack that group if Victor Oladop returns to his old form once healthy.

Dan Feldman:
1. Milwaukee
2. Philadelphia
3. Boston
4. Toronto
5. Miami
6. Orlando
7. Brooklyn
8. Indiana
Eastern Conference Finals: Milwaukee over Philadelphia

With all its new pieces, Philadelphia should get better as the season progresses. The 76ers also matchup well with Milwaukee. That sets up to be a great Eastern Conference finals. In the end, the Bucks look primed.
There’s a glut of teams from about fourth through 10th. I think the Pistons will make the playoffs, but with several teams barely over 50% playoff odds, Detroit still finishes ninth in my predicted standings. The Bulls aren’t far behind, either.

Dane Delgado:
Eastern Conference Finals: Milwaukee over Philadelphia

The Eastern Conference is more wide open this season… or is it? The same four teams are expected to be battling for a top spot, and we don’t know who will be the best come next spring. A rise through the postseason won’t necessarily be predicated on regular-season success. The Sixers, Bucks, Raptors, and Celtics will all be vying for the final spot, and all four teams will be looking to capitalize on three main factors: health, depth, and star power. Milwaukee has the best chance of having all three thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. They’ll have their challengers, but I’m betting on the ECF loss from last season galvanizing last year’s MVP.

 

LeBron James’ high school jersey goes for $187,500 at auction

AP
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We got word that LeBron James’ jersey from high school was going to be headed to auction soon, and rumors were that it would fetch a high price thanks to the phenomenon that was “The Chosen One”.

LeBron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary’s uniform has now gone through the process at Goldin Auctions, and it’s reportedly set a record for a James-worn jersey at $187,500.

Via Twitter:

This seems like a ridiculous price for a piece of sports memorabilia that wasn’t even part of James’ impressive NBA run. Something from his time as a member of a championship team has to be worth more, no? Then again, one of those might not ever become available. This might be the best you can get if you’re a diehard LeBron fan.

I wonder if the owner of this new jersey will show up wearing it at Summer League next year? No better way to top the constant oneupsmanship of obscure jerseys in Las Vegas by showing up in a kit that cost more than a three-bedroom ranch home in Northeastern Ohio.

PBT Podcast: Our NBA predictions for MVP, Rookie of the Year, Champion, and more

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Who will take home the NBA MVP hardware this season: Giannis Antetokounmpo? James Harden? Stephen Curry?

What about Rookie of the Year? Can anyone top Zion Williamson? What would it take for Ja Morant or anyone else to get into the conversation?

Finally, what team will hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the season? Will it be a team from Los Angeles? What about Philadelphia? Milwaukee? Can Houston or Utah get in on the conversation?

Dan Feldman from NBC Sports joins me in the latest PBT Podcast and get into all of that, making their season predictions for this NBA season.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.