Thompson scores 38 points, Warriors beat Rockets 114-110

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HOUSTON (AP) Soon after Draymond Green posted his NBA-leading fifth triple-double he was asked whether Stephen Curry should worry that he was trying to steal his job as point guard while the NBA MVP is out with a leg injury.

“I don’t think Steph Curry got to worry about too much of nothing,” Green said, laughing.

Klay Thompson scored 38 points, Green had a career-high 16 assists and added 10 points and 11 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors overcame Curry’s absence to beat the Houston Rockets 114-110 on Thursday night.

“I just tried to step up and make plays,” Green said. “One thing we talked about was kind of trying to slow the pace of the game down and executing our offense.”

Golden State was blown out by Dallas on Wednesday night for just its second loss of the season when Curry missed his first game since March 13 because of a sore left lower leg. But the Warriors were able to outlast the Rockets thanks to the big night by Thompson, who made six 3s.

“Last night was embarrassing,” Thompson said. “We had every excuse in the world, but we didn’t want to come away 0-2 so we figured out this would be a much bigger statement win if we responded like we did and won with playing 10 guys.”

Houston cut it to three with a jump shot by James Harden with about 5 minutes left before Golden State scored the next six points, highlighted by an alley-oop dunk from Andre Iguodala to Bogut, to make it 111-102.

Harden had 30 points for the Rockets. They have dropped seven straight regular-season games to the Warriors.

Shaun Livingston made his second start of the season in place of Curry, who was injured Monday night against Sacramento, and finished with 13 points. Interim coach Luke Walton said Curry was feeling better Thursday, but that he was not ready to play.

The Warriors led by eight entering the fourth quarter and had scored four straight points to extend their lead to 99-87 with about 9 minutes remaining. Houston used a 13-5 run after that to cut the lead to 104-100 with about 6 minutes left.

Houston led by three points with about 3 minutes left in the third quarter when Golden State scored 10 straight points to take a 88-80 lead with less than a minute left in the quarter. Thompson scored five points in that span and Iguodala added a 3-pointer before James Michael McAdoo capped it with a dunk following a turnover by Ty Lawson.

“We’re just inconsistent,” Harden said. “We played a pretty good game up until the end of the third quarter when they went on that run. Just giving up small buckets like that to a really good team (is) something you couldn’t really do.”

TIP-INS

Warriors: C Festus Ezeli (toe) missed his second straight game. … G Leandro Barbosa (left shoulder sprain) and F Harrison Barnes (sprained left ankle) were not with the team. … McAdoo got a cut over his right eye when he was hit by Howard on a dunk attempt in the first half. He received three stitches to close the gash. … Iguodala had 20 points.

Rockets: Harden received a flagrant 1 foul when he elbowed Bogut in the neck area on a charge in the first quarter. … Former Rockets stars Dikembe Mutombo and Tracy McGrady watched the game from courtside seats. … Howard blocked a shot by Livingston into the stands in the first quarter and shook his finger like Mutombo used to when he blocked shots, but the Hall of Famer hadn’t yet arrived. … Howard had 21 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.

WALTON’S FUTURE

Coach Steve Kerr, who has missed all season because of complications from back surgery, made the trip to test how his back would feel with the long travel. The Warriors haven’t issued a timetable for Kerr’s return, but some believe he could be back soon and that Thursday’s game could be Walton’s last as interim coach.

Thompson doesn’t know when Kerr will return but is sure that whenever that is, it certainly won’t be the last time Walton will be in charge of a team.

“It won’t be his last game as a head coach,” Thompson said. “He’s got a great future in this league and his record (shows) that. He’s a lot of fun to play for, he keeps it light around here but you also respect him and him knowledge. There’s a reason we’re 30-2 under him.”

Walton didn’t want to talk too much about the future but did reflect a bit on the season so far.

“It’s been an incredible experience and it’s been a lot of fun,” he said.

 

Heat, Tyler Herro agree to four-year, $120 million extension (with $10 million in incentives)

Miami Heat Media Day
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Tyler Herro was frustrated — he saw players he felt he was better than getting paid.

Now he has a contract he will have to live up to.

The Heat have signed Herro to a four-year, $120 million extension of his rookie contract, with up to $10 million in incentives) a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and now confirmed by the team.

“Tyler is an impact multi-faceted player and we are excited to have him signed for the next five years,” Heat President Pat Riley said in the statement announcing the signing. “His improvement every year since we drafted him has led to this day. We believe he will continue to get better.”

This is a straight four years, no options for either side.

Signing an extension takes Herro off the table for any trades to upgrade the Heat roster this season. Herro had been at the heart of the rumors about the Heat and Kevin Durant, as well as other teams.

Herro’s new contract extension is a big bet on the wing taking another step forward this season and beyond. The deal is a little larger than expected (the conventional wisdom had Herro coming in close to the $107 million RJ Barrett got with the Knicks). Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel and I have discussed Herro’s price before and didn’t quite picture it this high, but with the rising cap over the next few years this deal may not look out of line.

Miami stepped up and paid the reigning Sixth Man of the Year high-level starter money — now he has to earn that job and that paycheck.

Mostly, he has to improve on defense so Eric Spoelstra can trust him at the end of games and deep into the playoffs (while Herro has had big playoff games, his role shrunk deeper in last postseason because of his defense).

Herro puts up numbers — 20.7 points a game on 39.9% from 3 last season — and is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, but does this new deal move him up in the Heat offensive pecking order with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler? Probably not in crunch time (and if Kyle Lowry bounces back this season, there could be games where Herro is option No.4).

This locks up part of Miami’s roster going into the season, but they are still on the look for depth at the four. Don’t consider this roster settled.

 

Watch Celtics shooters look sharp in easy preseason win over Hornets

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics
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It’s just one meanless preseason game, but for a franchise that could use some good news the Boston Celtics will take it.

The Celtics’ shooting looked in mid-season form in their preseason opener against the Hornets on Sunday — 57.1% overall and 22-of-47 from 3 (46.8%). Boston just couldn’t seem to miss, especially early.

Jayson Tatum had 16 points in 22 minutes, while Jaylen Brown was the leading scorer with 24 points in 24 minutes.

The one unexpected bright spot was a strong game from Mfiondu Kabengele, who is currently on a two-way contract with the team. He ended up with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and showed some hustle.

Kelly Oubre led the Hornets with 17 points, while LaMelo Ball had 14 points, seven rebounds and four dimes.

It’s just one preseason game, don’t read much of anything into it. But the Celtics will take the good news where they can find it.

T.J. Warren still out for Nets; team to reassess status in November

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The Brooklyn Nets bet that the T.J. Warren from the bubble in Orlando — the one who averaged 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers — would re-emerge and give them a quality forward they could mix into a deep rotation.

Instead, so far it has looked more like the Warren who has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.

Warren is improving and the Nets are bringing him along slowly, keeping him off the court until November at least, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Small forward T.J. Warren, who has missed nearly two full seasons following multiple foot surgeries, is “doing some shooting” and “a little bit more movement the last two weeks than he was prior,” Nash said. He added that Warren will be reassessed in about a month.

The Nets can afford to be patient. They have plenty of other questions to answer as a team before worrying about what Warren can or cannot contribute. But in the dream scenario where everything comes together for the Nets this season, Warren gets healthy and becomes a valuable contributor off the bench giving the Nets more versatility, scoring, and shooting along the front line.

For now, the Nets and Warren wait.

NBA returning to Seattle for exhibition game; when will it be more?

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SEATTLE — An NBA preseason game may not seem like a benchmark moment, even in a basketball-hungry city like Seattle, but Jamal Crawford believes there’s value even in an exhibition.

“It reignites a whole new generation of kids who need to see this,” said Crawford, a Seattle native who has been a basketball ambassador for the city through a 20-year NBA career and now with a pro-am that brings in NBA players every summer. “They need to be able to dream and know that it’s real.”

The NBA is making its latest brief return to the Emerald City. The Los Angeles Clippers will play the Portland Trail Blazers there on Monday night, the first time two NBA teams will meet in Seattle since 2018, when the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings played a preseason game. That was the last sporting event inside KeyArena before it was gutted and rebuilt into the gleaming Climate Pledge Arena.

There was a warm-up act of sorts Friday when the Clippers played Israeli team Maccabi Ra’anana in an exhibition, one where the most of the Clippers’ big names – Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, John Wall and Reggie Jackson – weren’t participating.

A sell-out crowd turned out for that Warriors-Kings game four years ago, the first one in Seattle since the beloved SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008 after 41 years in the Pacific Northwest. Another big crowd is expected Monday.

“The Sonics haven’t been a team since I’ve been in the NBA. So just to go play in Seattle is cool,” Blazers star Damian Lillard said. “We played in Vancouver a few years back. I think like two or three years ago, we had a preseason game at the (Memorial) Coliseum. So every time we get to do something like that, I always enjoy it because I wondered what was it like when it was a real thing, when the games were played in these different arenas. So I am excited to play in Seattle.”

Someday, possibly soon, the expectations are that Seattle will reclaim its place as an NBA town.

“It’s always been a great city to me,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said Friday. “It’s unfortunate that they lost their team and the team went to OKC. This city definitely deserves a team.”

Speculation is nonstop about when the NBA will choose to expand. Thanks to the resolution of its arena situation, Seattle seems likely to be at the forefront of those expansion talks, with Las Vegas likely right behind it.

But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been noncommittal about a possible expansion timeline, and it seems likely those talks won’t pick up steam until the league deals with the new collective bargaining agreement and television deals that are on the horizon.

The community’s commitment has never been in question. The appetite of Seattle fans hasn’t waned in the years since the Sonics left and as the region became a hotbed for NBA talent, whether it was Crawford continuing to carry the banner for the city, to Zach LaVine of Renton, Washington, to this year’s No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, another Seattle native.

As if any reinforcement was needed, the summer provided a perfect example as fans camped overnight outside Crawford’s summer league venue for the chance to get inside and watch LeBron James make his first basketball visit to the city in more than a decade.

“Anyone that knows Seattle knows what a great basketball city we are,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said this summer when the preseason game was announced.

The idea for having the Blazers and Clippers meet in Seattle was the result of a brainstorm between Lue and Blazers coach Chauncey Billups. The two close friends wanted their teams to meet in the preseason and Lue noted the owners for both teams are Seattle based: Steve Ballmer of the Clippers and Jody Allen for the Blazers.

“I haven’t been back since I played there in 2008, I think it was. So just to be able to go back there and you know, Mr. Ballmer and kind of see his offices and how he lives, and (Chauncey) to get a chance to see his owner, and then to be with my best friend, I thought it would be a great common ground,” Lue said.