Stephen Curry’s 43, halfcourt shot help Warriors top Clippers 144-98

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 25 of his 43 points in the third quarter following his first halfcourt buzzer-beater of the season at the end of the first half to lead the Golden State Warriors to their ninth win in 10 games, 144-98 over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.

Curry’s 51-foot shot was the spark on a night that began with his playing status in doubt because of a sore left quad. After testing his leg in warmups, Curry was cleared to play and showed no signs of being slowed by the injury, hitting nine 3-pointers.

Kevin Durant added 23 points and Klay Thompson scored 16 to give Golden State its eighth straight win over its Southern California rival.

Blake Griffin scored 20 points for the struggling Clippers, who have lost four of five since star point guard Chris Paul went down with a torn ligament in left thumb.

The Warriors broke open the game with a 17-6 run over the final 2:14 of the first half. After Durant scored on a bank shot inside, Draymond Green really got it going when he blocked Griffin and then beat him back down the floor for a dunk. After another stop by Golden State, Thompson hit a 3-pointer in transition to make it 62-45.

Curry punctuated the half with his shot from just beyond halfcourt to beat the buzzer to make it 72-51. Curry dove to the floor in celebration before dancing with his teammates. This was his first basket of the year from beyond 40 feet after making four last season.

Curry picked it up in the third, when he outscored the Clippers 25-23. He made back-to-back 3s late in the quarter to make it a 34-point game. His eighth 3 of the night in the final minute of the third made it 117-74 but Curry did miss another shot from beyond halfcourt at the buzzer.

TIP-INS

Clippers: DeAndre Jordan made all four shots and is shooting 82 percent over the past six games.

Warriors: Golden State outshot its opponent for a 21st straight game, the longest streak in the league since Miami also did it 21 straight in 2004-05, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … F Andre Iguodala, playing on his 33rd birthday, recorded his 5,000th career rebound in the first quarter.

HOMECOMING

Clippers forward Marreese Speights played his first regular-season game at Oracle since leaving the Warriors as a free agent in the offseason. He got a warm ovation from the crowd when he checked in for the first time and quickly allowed Curry to blow past him for a layup. Speights finished with five points.

“Mo is one of my favorite people that I have ever been around,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s just got a smile on his face all the time. He loves to play. He loves to shoot, he’s a phenomenal shooter. He was such a pro for us the last couple of years.”

SPEAKING OUT

Kerr, who has been outspoken in his criticism of President Donald Trump, was asked for his reaction to the crackdown on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. He said he didn’t want to distract from the game but did say: “What’s happening right now is really scary and disconcerting.”

 

Report: Mike Woodson close to joining Suns coaching staff

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The Phoenix Suns are bolstering their coaching staff. After spending most the 2017-18 season under interim head coach Jay Triano, Phoenix finally settled on Igor Kokoskov as their top man.

Now, it appears they’re adding some veteran talent to the front row.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Suns are in talks to bring former New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson in as Kokoskov’s right hand man. Meanwhile, ArizonaSports.com is reporting that the decision has already been made to hire Woodson.

Via Twitter:

Woodson, 60, was last on the bench with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2014-2018. He was head coach of the Knicks from 2012-2014, and helmed the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010.

This is a smart hire for the Suns, who have needed some legitimacy after firing Earl Watson just three games into the season this year. Phoenix has been in a bit of a freefall since letting Jeff Hornacek go in 2015. Indeed, despite for one outlying 48-win season in 2013-14, Phoenix hasn’t been a very good team in this decade.

With a solidified coaching staff and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, there’s hope yet for the Suns. Now, the question is who they take with that pick. Luka Doncic? Deandre Ayton? The draft continues to intrigue.

Andre Iguodala out for Game 4 Tuesday vs. Rockets

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“When we’re right, when we’re playing how we are supposed to play, Andre’s right in the middle of it. His defense and being smart, making good decisions. Andre is one of the guys who seems to set the tone for that for us.”

That’s Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Andre Iguodala

The Warriors are going to have to be without that tone Tuesday night, Iguodala will miss the game with a knee contusion.

This is a blow to the Warriors, who have started small with Iguodala through the first three games of this series. The Warriors have been 4.3 points per 100 possessions better with Iguodala on the court through the first three games of this series.

Expect Kevon Looney or Nick Young to start, with the rest of the minutes divided up between Shaun Livingston, Jordan Bell, and David West.

Whatever Kerr and the Warriors go with, expect James Harden and the Rockets to attack it.

 

WNBA team rehearses ring ceremony at practice of team it beat in Finals

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The NBA does petty very, very, very, very, very, very, very well.

The WNBA is trying to give the NBA a run for its money.

The Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have met in the last two WNBA Finals, the Lynx winning last year and the Sparks winning the year before. Minnesota hosted Los Angeles in the season opener Sunday, and the Lynx unveiled their banner and presented players with rings.

Before that, while the Sparks were practicing in Minnesota, the Lynx played their video for the event.

Holly Rowe of ESPN:

The Sparks beat the Lynx on Sunday, but I don’t think that’s enough to override Minnesota’s power move.

Kobe Bryant on Kanye West’s comments: “What the hell are you talking about?”

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Kanye West, the President Trump backing hip-hop star, drew a lot of backlash for his comments on TMZ:

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.” 

Mentally, maybe in some cases. But more so physically, with guns and whips and attack dogs and a whole lot more weapons that were all on one side. Nobody chooses slavery.

Tuesday, Kobe Bryant surprised a group of about 300 high school students at WE RISE — a 10-day pop-up festival dedicated to sparking a movement for change in the mental health system — in Downtown Los Angeles. One of the students asked him about Kanye’s comments. Kobe is not down.

“I’m sure (I feel) the same way everybody else here in this room feels. What the hell are you talking about? I think that was my reaction as is everybody else’s reaction….

“The thing about our country is that you have the right to say whatever it is that you want to say…that’s the beautiful thing about living in a democracy. I think, for him, he’s one of these entertainers that’s always in a constant state of growth, he’s always challenging … himself, doing a lot of questioning internally himself…so I just take it for what it is and completely disagree.”

If I need to explain to you why Kobe is in the right here, you need to take a basic American history course again.

Good on Kobe for his comments. More importantly, good on Kobe for taking the time to promote mental health awareness.

“It’s easy for us as people to kind of ignore the emotional side of it,  especially when it comes to things that deal with negativity, things that deal with insecurity, things that deal with fear,” Kobe said. “It’s very easy to take the fear and just push it down, try to act like it doesn’t exist. The reason why it starts with imagination is because you first must imagine the life that you want to have. You must first imagine what it is you dream of becoming.”

Kobe did that, and now he’s got an Oscar. Oh, and a few basketball awards, too.