Spurs beat Pelicans, set NBA record with 38-0 start at home

Associated Press
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Manu Ginobili scored 20 points and the San Antonio Spurs beat the injury-depleted New Orleans Pelicans 100-92 on Wednesday night for their NBA-record 38th straight home victory to open a season.

San Antonio topped the 37-0 start by the Chicago Bulls during their record 72-victory season in 1995-96. Golden State (67-7) has an existing 36-game home winning streak to open the season, giving the Warriors a chance to end up with the record.

San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard had 16 points in his return from a three-game absence, showing no discomfort after bruising his right quadriceps on March 23. The 6-foot-7 forward hit three long jumpers to open the game, including his only 3-pointer in five attempts.

Alexis Ajinca had 18 points for New Orleans, which was without nine players due to injury. Jordan Hamilton added 14 points in his first start in his third game with the team.

Leonard also had a pair of assists to Danny Green in the first 6 minutes of the first quarter. The first came on a fast-break layup after Leonard corralled a turnover and the second came after he spun into the lane and tossed out a pass to Green for a 3-pointer.

Green finished with 16 points, going 4 for 6 on 3-pointers on a hot-shooting night behind the arc for San Antonio. The Spurs were 12 for 24 on 3s.

Data curated by PointAfter

New Orleans remained within seven points throughout the first half, but San Antonio wore down the short-handed Pelicans in the second half. The Spurs had 13 players log at least six minutes against the Pelicans’ nine-player bench.

San Antonio outscored New Orleans 27-16 in the third quarter, picking up assists on eight of its 12 field goals.

LaMarcus Aldridge dunked off a bounce pass in the lane from Boris Diaw to give the Spurs a 66-49 lead with 3:31 remaining in the third quarter. The large lead did not keep San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich from hastily calling a timeout a minute later when Hamilton’s fast-break layup cut the lead to 66-55.

Aldridge finished with 11 points.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: The Pelicans signed James Ennis to a 10-day contract on Wednesday after receiving a hardship exemption from the NBA. The 6-foot-7 forward was averaging 18.8 points and 6.0 rebounds for Iowa in the Development League. . New Orleans was without six of the 10 players who participated in its last game against San Antonio on March 3. Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon and Norris Cole, who accounted for 51 points in the Pelicans’ 94-86 loss, were among those missing Wednesday’s game. . New Orleans has used 36 different starting lineups this season.

Spurs: Popovich sat David West for rest, marking the first time all season the 35-year-old veteran has taken a scheduled night off. The 6-foot-9 forward was in uniform but did not play Jan. 12 at Detroit and March 28 at Memphis due to a coach’s decision. . Entering Wednesday’s game, Aldridge was averaging 23.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game through 13 games in March. . Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Ginobili played their 775th career game together. . San Antonio’s previous best after 75 games was 59-16 in 2013-14.

 

Steven Adams inks two-year, $25.2 million extension with Grizzlies

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Steven Adams signed a two-year, $25.2 million contract extension with Memphis, which will keep him tied to the team through the 2024-25 season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski broke the news on Saturday.

Adams has been crucial to the Grizzlies’ recent success. He’s coming off his first season with the team, where he averaged career-highs in rebounds (10.0) and assists (3.4). He also helped them lock up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference and make it to the Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the eventual-champion Warriors 4-2. Despite the improved numbers, a lot of his value is from intangibles that don’t show up in the box score.

Adams spent the first seven years of his career with the Thunder before being traded to New Orleans in the four-team deal that sent Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. Adams was moved again to Memphis in a package for Jonas Valanciunas.

Adams has found a new home with a young Grizzlies team that is looking to win a championship. The team is built around Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, but Jackson Jr. is expected to miss time after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. Memphis will rely on Adams more than ever to begin the season.

Watch Curry, Klay in 3-point shooting contest in Japan. Yeah, they’re good at this.

NBA Japan Games Saturday Night
Jun Sato/WireImage
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The NBA went to Japan to promote the brand, play a few games in a huge market — Japan specifically but Asia as a whole — and put on a show.

Is there a better show than Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson draining 3s? Here they are in a 3-point contest during a basketball exhibition (there were some pro dunkers) in Tokyo on Saturday.

Stephen Curry, was there any other possible outcome?

It’s preseason and they are the defending champs — they should be having fun, playing with some joy.

Thompson took part in the shooting contest but is not playing in either of the exhibition games in Japan as the Warriors ease him back into play this season. It’s a marathon of a season and the Warriors need the best version of Klay starting in April, not October.

Report: Pelicans, Nance agree to two-year, $21.6 million extension

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Larry Nance has been a stabilizing influence in New Orleans since coming over mid-season as part of the trade for CJ McCollum. Nance is a versatile player who can play the four or the five, knocks down his threes, is very strong on the glass, can be a disruptive defender in passing lanes, and fits in — and he has the veteran attitude of work this team needs.

So the Pelicans have reached an extension to keep the 29-year-old around for two years past this coming season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This is a signing that should make Pelicans fans happy. Importantly, it makes CJ McCollum happy — they are tight and this is something McCollum wanted to see. The money on this deal seems fair, about the league average for a solid rotation player.

Nance is the kind of veteran this team needs considering its young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram (just turned 25), Herb Jones, and guys like Trey Murphy III, Jose Alvarado, and others. Nance compared it to the young Lakers teams he was on, but noted that team lacked the same level of veteran leadership this Pelicans team has.

We may see more Nance at the five lineups — small ball with Zion at the four — to close games this season in New Orleans, that could be their best lineup because Nance can defend but also spaces the floor for Zion on offense. Coach Willie Green has a lot of different players and matchups to experiment with.

And now he has the stability of Nance for a few more years.

Durant tired of talking Nets dramatic offseason: ‘I didn’t miss any games’

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No team had an offseason quite like the Brooklyn Nets. First, they would not give a long-term extension to Kyrie Irving, which sent the star guard looking for a new team (but there were no offers that worked for everyone, so he opted in with Brooklyn). Then Kevin Durant asked for a trade, and to gain a little leverage reportedly threw down an ultimatum of him or the coach and GM. No trade could be found — how much the Nets wanted one is up for debate — so he is back in Brooklyn. And all that is not even getting into the return of Ben Simmons, a trade for Royce O’Neal, or anything else.

The Nets drama and how they move past it has been the talk of training camp. The only talk at training camp, it feels like.

When asked Friday if there were any inaccuracies in the reporting of the Nets summer he would like to clear up, Durant sounded weary of rehashing the summer.

The only thing that will start to move the conversation in a new direction is the Nets playing and winning games (they open the preseason Monday against the 76ers). And even those wins will have the shadow of the offseason cast over them. Durant and Irving made this bed.

Part of the fascination is the Nets remain the team hardest to predict in the league. They arguably have the most talented roster in the league and, if everything comes together just right, they can contend for a title. It’s also possible the wheels fall off early and by Christmas the Nets are looking to trade Durant again. Both things feel possible (even if reality most likely lands somewhere in the middle).

That uncertainty about the Nets’ future is the drama that will keep eyeballs on them — which also means more questions about this past offseason. Durant can choose not to answer them, but the questions aren’t going away.