Kevin Durant’s 37 leads Warriors past pesky Suns 106-100

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PHOENIX (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 37 points, Stephen Curry added 28 and the Golden State Warriors held off the pesky Phoenix Suns 106-100 on Sunday.

The Warriors didn’t seal the victory until Curry’s two free throws with 12.9 seconds to play. Durant added a pair of free throws with seven seconds left to provide the final margin.

T.J. Warren scored 26 points and Eric Bledsoe had 21 for the winless Suns, who took the Thunder into overtime in Oklahoma City on Friday night. Tyson Chandler grabbed 18 rebounds for Phoenix.

The Suns led by as many as 13 in the first half. The Warriors finally took somewhat shaky control midway through the final quarter.

The game looked well in hand for the reigning Western Conference champs when Durant took a lob pass from Andre Iguodala, dunked and was fouled. The three-point play put the Warriors up 102-94 – their biggest lead of the day – with 1:19 to play.

But Phoenix got consecutive driving layups from Bledsoe, Warren and Jared Dudley to cut it to 102-100 with 14.8 seconds remaining. The Suns had to foul Curry, and arguably the best free throw shooter in the game made them both to put away Golden State’s second victory after a loss in its home opener.

The Suns used a 22-2 run to take the big early lead. Durant scored five points in the final 30 seconds of the first half to cut Phoenix’s lead to 57-55 at the break.

Phoenix’s last lead was 84-83 on Alex Len‘s inside basket with 10:15 to play

SUNS RUN

Phoenix scored 16 straight points in what became that 22-2 run to lead 30-17 when Alex Len sank a pair of free throws with 38.4 seconds left in the first quarter. Six Suns scored in the run.

TEENAGE FAREWELL,

The Suns’ Devin Booker had a rough day on the court on his 20th birthday, but he did some serious damage in the NBA as a teenager.

Booker scored 1,078 points in 78 games as a teen. The only teens to score more are LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmello Anthony, Durant and Dwight Howard. Booker had six 30-point games as a teenager, one fewer than Durant.

He missed six of his first seven shots Sunday and wound up 3-for-12 for seven points.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Curry drew his fourth foul with 7:51 left in the third quarter but didn’t get his fifth until there was 3:22 to play. … Golden State beat the Suns for the eighth straight time. … Golden State swept the four-game series with the Suns two of the last three years.

Suns: Warren has 56 points in his last two games. … Rookie Marquese Chriss drew his third technical foul of the season. He had two and was tossed from the previous game at Oklahoma City. … Booker was 0 for 6 from the field before sinking a 3 at the shot clock buzzer to tie it at 62.

 

Just a reminder, after draft and free agency Wizards have still not named official GM

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When Wizards owner Ted Leonsis finally ended Ernie Grunfeld’s run as team GM back in April — to the joy of Wizards fans everywhere — it was expected they would have a new head of basketball operations in place by the draft.

Nope.

So by the start of free agency, to guide the Wizards through this tumultuous summer?

Nope.

Tommy Sheppard has been doing the job on an interim basis, and as Jeff Zillgit of the USA Today points out a lot of league talk in Las Vegas was about why Leonsis just hasn’t given Shepard the job.

Team executive after executive had the same question when the Washington Wizards’ unresolved top front-office job opening came up. “Why not just give Tommy the job?”

Tommy is Tommy Sheppard, the Wizards’ longtime exec, who has been running basketball operations since owner Ted Leonsis decided not to bring Ernie Grunfeld back. Sheppard ran the draft, free agency and the Wizards’ Summer League team, but he doesn’t have the full-time job.

A couple of more prominent names were linked to the Wizards job at points. There were reportedly talks with Tim Conley, who built Denver into a real threat, but he decided to stay in the Rockies. There were rumors of Masai Ujiri, but he has chosen to stay in Toronto after winning a title.

At this point, after Sheppard has built the team for this coming season, is Leonsis really going to bring in someone else?

The Wizards have decisions to make. This is a young roster not ready to be a threat in the East, but with Bradley Beal and the injured John Wall (likely out for the season after tearing his Achilles), they also are capped out. So far they have turned away calls from other teams about a Beal trade (nobody is calling about a Wall trade with his max contract extension just kicking in).

Come July 26 the Wizards can offer Beal a three-year, $111 million extension, both sides are talking and the offer is expected to be made. That’s when the big decision comes — if Beal doesn’t sign that offer the Wizards have to look at trading him. Beal has spoken numerous times in the past about wanting to stay with the Wizards, but there was plenty of informed league speculation at Summer League that he is frustrated with the franchise and may not sign the extension, essentially forcing his way out. It’s something to watch in the coming weeks.

It probably would be nice to have a locked-in head of basketball operations by then, but who knows what Leonsis will do.

Cameron Payne reportedly agrees to partially-guaranteed contract with Toronto

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Cameron Payne was the starting point guard at one point early in the season in Chicago (until Kris Dunn returned), it didn’t last long, and by the middle of the season he was waived. The Cavaliers picked him up in a limited role at the end of the season.

Payne played for Dallas at Summer League and needed to impress there to have a shot a roster spot for next season. He did, averaging 20 points per game on 51 percent shooting, and he had one 32-point game.

The Toronto Raptors will bring Payne and let him compete to be the third point guard, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Raptors have Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet at the point, there are not a lot of minutes to be had there. However, both men are in the final year of their contracts. Plus, he brings some pregame dancing that every team needs.

The Raptors now have 16 potential NBA contracts coming into training camp, which means there will be cuts. The fact Payne has a decent guarantee his first year means he’s going to get a real look.

Payne, the No. 14 pick of the Thunder back in 2015, has struggled to find a fit in the NBA. While his skill set should fit the modern game, he doesn’t quite shoot or distribute well enough to earn a coach’s trust. He will try to change that with Nick Nurse.

Enes Kanter trolls (jokingly) Kyrie Irving on why Kanter will wear No. 11 with Boston

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Kyrie Irving is off to Brooklyn, which opened up the No. 11 jersey in Boston.

New Celtics center Enes Kanter will wear it, and his answer as to why is an awesome joke and troll of Irving.

You have to love the smile before he makes the joke, he has planned this out.

If you don’t get the “I want to be the reason no one else will” wear No. 11, you have to remember this Irving/Nike ad from Boston.

Well played Kanter, well played.

Report: Knicks’ Reggie Bullock could miss first month of season with injury

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On Tuesday, the Knicks made it official, they had signed sharpshooter Reggie Bullock to a two-year contract.

It had been a strange negotiation. Bullock had initially agreed to a two-year, $21 million contract with New York but after that (during the physicals) an injury of some nature came to light and the contract was re-negotiated down to two-years, $8.2 million (part of the room exception), money freed up allowed the Knicks to chase and land Marcus Morris.

Now comes a report Bullock will miss the start of the season with an injury. From Ian Begley of SNY.tv

There is no specific timetable for Bullock to be on the court at the moment. But, per SNY sources, Bullock is expected to miss at least a month of the regular season due to his ailment…

The medical issue that caused the hiccup is unclear, but Bullock has dealt with plantar fasciitis in the past.

Plantar fasciitis is something generally healed with rest, which Bullock should be getting plenty of this summer, making it a little unusual for it to extend into the season.

Bullock has a history of injury issues, having played 62 games two seasons ago in Detroit, then 63 last season between the Pistons and Lakers.

Bullock averaged 11.3 points and shot 37.7 percent from three last season. He will provide some much-needed floor spacing in New York, once he gets on the court.