Luc Longley blames Philippines coach for World Cup violence

Associated Press
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia assistant coach and former NBA star Luc Longley has accused Philippines coach Chot Reyes of inciting the violence that marred a World Cup qualifying match between the teams on Monday.

The former Chicago Bulls player described the bench-clearing brawl which saw 13 players, including four Australians, ejected from the match as the worst thing he had seen on a basketball court.

Longley, who has been praised for his efforts to protect Australian player Chris Goulding from a large group of Philippines players, said Reyes had called on his players during a time out to “hit somebody, put somebody on their …”

Reyes has defended the comments, which were picked up by television microphones, as a routine instruction to his players to foul on fast breaks.

Speaking to media on Wednesday, Longley rejected Reyes’ comments and criticized the Philippines players for posing for a group selfie after the brawl had abated. Basketball Australia has sought to limit further comment on the brawl which is being investigated by world governing body FIBA.

But Longley was eager to speak, condemning what he called the “gangster” behavior of some Philippines players.

“I do believe their coach Chot Reyes incited them to come out and thug us,” Longley said. “There’s video evidence of that.

“Then he substituted a thug out there who took three or four cheap swings at (Goulding). This is out of the party line but I’m most disturbed with their head coach. I think he was embarrassed by the way his team was playing. I think he was embarrassed by the shape they were in. I think he was embarrassed by how they fought.

“He wouldn’t look me in the eye at the end of the game when I shook his hand. I think he was embarrassed and that’s where a lot of it came from. I’m upset with him more than anybody. To let his team take gangster selfies on the baseline after something like that, that shows a total lack of control and respect.”

Longley said he felt he had no choice but to come off the bench to defend Goulding when he saw the Australian pinned under a pile of Philippines players.

“Those are the sorts of images you hope you never see, one guy lying on the ground covering up his head and being kicked and beaten by the other team, players and officials and guys from the crowd,” he said. “It was horrifying. I wasn’t supposed to come off the bench. It was really disturbing.

“I went onto the court to protect our guys, with the idea of not hurting anyone, just putting my big body in the way.”

Basketball Australia was expected to make Goulding available to speak to reporters Wednesday but withdrew him, saying he would speak “at a better time.”

Australian veteran Daniel Kickert who was seen to elbow a Philippines player in response to a foul on Goulding before the brawl erupted, described the violence as “regrettable.”

“I was put in a position where I made an action that was unfortunate,” he said. “I think I overstepped a little bit in my response to the escalation in the game.

“I’m going to let FIBA do everything they need to do and come to the answers they see fit.”

Australia coach Andrej Lemanis said he feared the brawl would make it more difficult to call on Australian NBA players for international duty.

NBA teams are often reluctant to release players as it is for the two FIBA windows, in June-July and September, that fall in the league’s off-season.

Two current NBA players, Milwaukee Bucks pair Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavadova, were on Australia’s roster for the match. Maker is facing a possible FIBA suspension after he attempted numerous fly-kicks on Filipino opponents.

“Obviously that’s one of the concerns … what it means generally in terms of players willingness to participate and put their hand up,” Lemanis said.

“We’ll see. Hopefully there’s good learnings out of this for everybody in terms of the safety and security required around the game.”

Curry drains 7 3-pointers, Nets start homestand with win over Blazers

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NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Seth Curry added a season-high 29 off the bench and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 111-94 on Sunday.

Curry was 7 for 10 on 3-pointers and had his highest point total with the Nets and the most by a Brooklyn reserve this season.

“I’ve always felt like if I get good shots I’m going to make them at a high clip,” Curry said. “Our offense was flowing pretty well. Guys found me open early on to start the game and I felt pretty good, aggressive.”

Kyrie Irving added 22 points for the Nets. Ben Simmons took just three shots but had 12 rebounds and eight assists.

“Ben did a great job of getting downhill,” Curry said. “He’s a great passer (and) he knows how to find me out there on the floor.”

Jerami Grant scored 29 points for Portland. Jusuf Nurkic had 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Anfernee Simons added 15 points and Justice Winslow had 14.

The Nets have won four of their last six games, while the Trail Blazers, who are playing without Damian Lillard, have dropped five of six.

“Tough little stretch that we’re in right now,” Portland coach Chauncey Billups said. “It is what it is. Every team goes through it.”

Brooklyn made 52.6% of its shots from the field overall, and 42.9% from 3-point range, in the second matchup between the teams in 10 days.

“It’s a make-or-miss league,” Durant said. “It’s about baskets.”

With the Nets leading by four entering the fourth, Curry scored Brooklyn’s first eight points of the quarter. Royce O'Neale‘s free throw gave the Nets a 93-87 lead and following a Portland turnover, Curry made a 3 that extended the advantage to nine.

Nurkic sandwiched a hook shot and free throw around two free throws by Irving to cut Brooklyn’s lead to 98-90. However, after a timeout, Durant hit a 3 to push the lead to 101-90.

Brooklyn led 58-57 at halftime, and 84-80 after the third quarter.

T.J. Warren targets Dec. 2 for return to court for Brooklyn Nets

2022-2023 Brooklyn Nets Media Day
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
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T.J. Warren was a breakout star in the bubble, averaging 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers.

Warren has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.

The Nets signed him this season hoping he could get healthy and provide some depth off the bench at the four. We’re about to find out if that can happen on Dec. 2, with Warren targeting his return then Toronto, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Nets have not confirmed this timeline. However, coach Jacque Vaughn has recently talked up Warren’s workouts and hinted that a return is getting close.

A healthy Warren could be a big boost for a Nets team looking for more of a spark off the bench.

 

LeBron becomes oldest player with 39 points, 11 boards, seven 3-pointers (he’s also the youngest)

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The first question after LeBron James put up 21 and 8 to help the Lakers beat the Spurs Friday night was whether he would play in the back-to-back Saturday. He had just missed five games with a groin strain, after all.

Not only did LeBron play Saturday, he had a historic night.

LeBron had 39 points, 11 rebounds, and shot 7-of-12 from 3 — making him the oldest player in the history of the NBA with a 35+, 10+ with seven 3-pointer game.

The youngest player ever to put up that stat line? Also one LeBron James.

The 39 points were also the second most points ever scored by a player in his 20th NBA season, trailing only Kobe Bryant gunning his way to 60 in his final game.

The Lakers got the second straight win over the Spurs on Saturday behind LeBron, 143-138, a game more likely to be remembered for Zach Collins getting ejected for a foul that left Russell Westbrook bloody. The Lakers have won three straight and 5-of-6 but have done it against a very soft part of the schedule (three of the wins were over the tanking Spurs). Los Angeles beat the teams in front of it and started to show signs of life this season, but now they have to carry that over into a stretch against better teams, beginning Monday against the Pacers.

Watch Deandre Ayton put up 29 points, 21 rebounds, lead Suns past Jazz 113-112

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PHOENIX — There was much debate during the NBA offseason about whether Deandre Ayton was worth a max contract.

On nights like Saturday, the answer is a resounding yes.

Ayton notched season highs with 29 points and 21 rebounds, Devin Booker added 27 points and the Phoenix Suns held on for a hard-fought 113-112 win over the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz led 81-78 after three quarters, but the Suns pushed ahead 99-93 by midway through the fourth. The game remained tight through the final minutes, but Phoenix never lost the lead. On top of Ayton’s scoring and rebounding, he also had a crucial steal in the final minutes that helped thwart a final Jazz rally.

“I don’t know what he ate for Thanksgiving,” Booker said. “I should have been over there.”

Ayton grabbed his 21st rebound of the game on the final possession, securing Booker’s miss off a 3-pointer to keep the Jazz from a final possession. Ayton signed a four-year, $133 million deal during the offseason after the Suns matched an offer sheet from the Indiana Pacers.

“That young man has been coming to the gym at crazy hours, lifting with (coaches), so that he can be prepared for moments like this,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “It’s just good to see the work pay off. It’s good to see him have monster games against really good teams on a back-to-back. That’s pretty impressive.”

Ayton was the first player to have at least 28 points and 20 rebounds in a game for the Suns since Amar’e Stoudemire in 2007. He shot 11 of 19 from the field and added three assists and two blocks.

“I want to do more, I feel like I can do more,” Ayton said. “I’m just trying to do what I can to contribute to my team.”

Curiously, the Jazz didn’t foul the Suns on their final possession, essentially allowing them to run out the clock. Utah coach Will Hardy said the last play simply didn’t unfold like the team expected and there was some miscommunication.

“We wanted to get the ball out of Booker’s hands, and then foul,” Hardy said.

Ayton scored a season high for the second straight night. He poured in 28 points against the Pistons in a 108-102 win on Friday. Booker had a tough night shooting, making just 8 of 27 shots.

Utah was one of the NBA’s surprise teams in the first few weeks of the season, starting with a 10-3 record. The Jazz are just 3-7 since that point.

“One game, one stretch of the season doesn’t define your season,” Jazz forward Kelly Olynyk said. “You’ve got to go through ups-and-downs. Adversity – learn from it and come out the other side better for it.”

The Suns have an 11-1 record at home this season and have won four straight games.

Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points for the Jazz. Collin Sexton added 20 while Lauri Markkanen had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Jazz had a 54-51 lead at halftime. Clarkson led the Jazz with 12 points while Ayton had 11 points and seven rebounds.