Category: Basketball

November 22 Injury Update: Suns vs. Warriors Basketball Match Report

November 22 Injury Update: Suns vs. Warriors Basketball Match Report

Catch the Wednesday NBA showdown on November 22 at 10:00 PM ET.

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The Suns, fueled by Kevin Durant’s stellar performance (31 points, four rebounds, nine assists), clinched a 120-107 victory over the Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

Fresh from a 121-116 triumph against the Rockets on Monday, the Warriors, led by Stephen Curry’s 32 points, five rebounds, and one assist, gear up for the upcoming challenge.

Phoenix Suns Injury Update:

NamePositionStatusInjuryPPGRPGAPG
Damion LeeSGOutKnee
Bradley BealSGOutBack
Yuta WatanabeSFOutQuadricep6.03.00.0

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Golden State Warriors Injury Update:

NamePositionStatusInjuryPPGRPGAPG
Gary Payton IIPGQuestionableFoot7.72.01.3

Game Details: Suns vs. Warriors

  • Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2023
  • Time: 10:00 PM ET
  • Location: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona
  • TV Broadcast: ESPN, AZFamily,
  • NBCS-BA Live Stream: Tune in to Fubo for the live game coverage.

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Reference:

https://www.nbc15.com/sports/betting/2023/11/22/suns-vs-warriors-nba-injury-report/

https://www.essentiallysports.com/nba-active-basketball-news-warriors-availability-report-will-draymond-green-play-immediately-after-suspension-steve-kerrs-latest-update-on-troublesome-star/

https://www.nba.com/warriors/news/gameday-preview-20231122

Cade Cunningham candidly addresses challenges facing the Detroit Pistons.

Cade Cunningham candidly addresses challenges facing the Detroit Pistons.

Following two wins in the initial three games, the Pistons suffered an 11-game losing streak. The latest defeat, a 29-point margin in Toronto, highlighted defensive struggles, conceding a season-high 142 points. Despite Coach Monty Williams’ optimistic stance on the team’s progress, point guard Cade Cunningham voiced dissatisfaction, urging a realistic assessment of the Pistons’ situation.

Expressing a candid assessment, Cunningham emphasized the Pistons’ need for improvement. Coach Williams acknowledged the team’s potential beyond their standings, citing a more favorable net rating despite key injuries. However, Sunday’s substantial loss affected that rating, prompting Cunningham to label the team’s competitiveness in Toronto as “unacceptable.”

Cunningham emphasized the importance of inherent commitment from the league’s youngest team, urging a self-driven approach to competitiveness. He highlighted the necessity for every player to bring their best without being prompted, aiming to foster a culture of continuous effort. As reported by Edwards, Cunningham’s leadership, alongside Isaiah Stewart, has played a crucial role in maintaining cohesion within the locker room.

While Cunningham’s forthright comments may serve as a positive catalyst for the team, breaking the losing streak won’t be easy. Facing the defending-champion Nuggets on the second night of a back-to-back presents a formidable challenge for the struggling Pistons.

Reference:

https://www.yardbarker.com/nba/articles/cade_cunningham_gets_brutally_honest_about_pistons_struggles/s1_14822_39560586

https://www.nbcsports.com/nba/news/cade-cunningham-after-pistons-11th-straight-loss-were-bad-we-have-to-address-that

https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/cade-cunningham-candid-place-pistons-bad/story?id=105033515

Clippers Limit Wembanyama to 9, Secure Second Victory with Harden

Clippers Limit Wembanyama to 9, Secure Second Victory with Harden


In Monday night’s game, Paul George notched 28 points, complemented by Kawhi Leonard’s 21, leading the LA Clippers to a decisive 124-99 victory over San Antonio. The win extended the Spurs’ losing streak to nine games.

Contributing to the Clippers’ dominance, James Harden delivered a solid performance with 13 points and 10 assists. This marked Los Angeles’ sixth consecutive triumph against San Antonio.

Securing their second consecutive victory with Harden, the Clippers bounced back from a challenging stretch of five consecutive losses following his acquisition from Philadelphia.

Despite being the top pick in the draft, Wembanyama struggled, managing only nine points and three rebounds. Keldon Johnson stepped up for San Antonio with an impressive performance, contributing 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Cedi Osman added 17 points.

San Antonio’s losing streak now equals the fifth-longest in franchise history, posing a significant challenge for the team.

The Clippers dealt the Spurs a significant blow, reminiscent of their earlier 123-83 victory on Oct. 29. Leonard’s dunk and a Harden-assisted layup pushed the Clippers’ lead to 86-66 in the third quarter, hinting at a repeat performance.

San Antonio, accustomed to trailing by 15 points or more in eight games this season and by 20 in six contests, faced an uphill battle. Their comeback efforts have yielded success only once.

George endured an early setback, exiting after a poke in the eye from Wembanyama in the Clippers’ first possession. He returned in the first half, displaying an impressive 11-for-16 field goal performance, including 4-for-8 on 3-pointers.

The absence of Spurs starting guard Devin Vassell, sidelined with a strained groin, added to their challenges.

Looking ahead, the teams conclude their two-game series in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Reference:

https://www.foxsports.com/stories/nba/clippers-hold-victor-wembanyama-to-9-points-win-second-game-with-james-harden

www.ocregister.com

https://www.latimes.com/sports/clippers/story/2023-11-20/los-angeles-clippers-report-november-20

LeBron James Achieves Career-High Shooting Performance in November: Impressive Stats Propel Lakers' Star Player.

LeBron James Achieves Career-High Shooting Performance in November: Impressive Stats Propel Lakers’ Star Player.

Injuries and altered schedules aside, LeBron James is enjoying a historic shooting month in November 2023. Despite standard statistics, including 28.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game, this stands out for his remarkable efficiency. In his 21st NBA season, James boasts a career-best 61% field goal rate, a feat only matched in three other months. Additionally, his 44% 3-point shooting is matched by just four other months in his career. Notably, he’s attempting more 3-pointers per game than ever before.

These shooting performances have elevated his advanced percentages, with a true shooting percentage of 70.3% and an effective field goal percentage of 68.2%. These figures surpass the benchmarks set by other players, making this month extraordinary. While James has individually achieved some of these milestones in different months, achieving all simultaneously occurred only once in February 2017, albeit with lower free throw percentage and less consistency.

James’ success is attributed not only to his exceptional accuracy but also to improved shot selection. Prioritizing high-efficiency shots, over 74% of his attempts are either in the restricted area or from beyond the arc. The Lakers’ adjustments, providing James with more space, have contributed to his success. The team’s improved 3-point shooting creates a more balanced offensive threat.

While it remains uncertain if James can sustain this level of performance throughout the month, November 2023 stands out as one of the most impressive shooting months in his illustrious career, considering his longevity and the rarity of reaching month No. 88 in the NBA.

Reference:

https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/is-lebron-james-having-best-shooting-month-of-his-career-behind-impressive-numbers-for-lakers-stars-november/

https://www.sportingnews.com/in/nba/news/lebron-james-improved-shooting-health-lakers/3a8a13ff83933c80858f11e2

hoopshype.com

Paul George Unveils Clippers' Resilience Amidst Recent Challenges and Enjoyment

Paul George Unveils Clippers’ Resilience Amidst Recent Challenges and Enjoyment


In their last 11 games, the Los Angeles Clippers faced a challenging stretch, securing only four victories and enduring a six-game losing streak. This unfavorable run coincided with the acquisition of James Harden from the Philadelphia 76ers, concluding with a win against the Houston Rockets.

Despite the team’s struggles, Paul George expressed a positive perspective on the situation during a recent episode of “Podcast P.” According to George, the Clippers’ roster is finding enjoyment in the process of overcoming obstacles.

George remarked, “The beauty in this team is we are enjoying this process. The reason we are not boiling over and not shaking the locker room up (is because) we honestly enjoy trying to figure this out … Obviously (we’re) frustrated, losing six games with the talent and the guys we have in the locker room. As much as we’re positive and optimistic and truly believe that it will work, no one likes going out there competing and coming up with a loss.”

Russell Westbrook’s decision to embrace a role off the bench marks a significant stride in fostering a more balanced rotation for the Clippers. This adjustment has noticeably enhanced team cohesion, portraying a more unified unit.

The shift to Westbrook as the sixth man allows both him and Harden to assume the role of primary ball-handler, leveraging their individual strengths more effectively.

While this strategic move demonstrates progress, the Clippers must address certain areas to contend for the championship this season. Improving consistency on offense and defense is imperative, and integrating role players into offensive strategies is crucial. Avoiding predictability in their gameplay is essential to prevent opponents from easily shutting them down on a possession-to-possession basis.

Despite the ongoing work ahead, it’s increasingly apparent that the Clippers’ star players find satisfaction in sharing the court. A key factor for success lies in putting aside personal egos and collectively striving for the team’s benefit. With this collaborative effort, a positive turnaround in the team’s fortunes appears within reach.

Reference:

https://www.yardbarker.com/nba/articles/paul_george_reveals_clippers_enjoyment_despite_recent_struggles/s1_13132_39563212

https://clutchpoints.com/clippers-news-paul-george-reveals-unique-stance-los-angeles-early-season-struggles

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10098123-clippers-paul-george-the-energy-has-changed-after-harden-helped-end-losing-streak

NBA In-Season Tournament: Lakers Aim for 4-0, Pacers Eye East Group A Clinch in Standings.

NBA In-Season Tournament: Lakers Aim for 4-0, Pacers Eye East Group A Clinch in Standings.

The NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament is well underway, with the group stage reaching its midway point. The Los Angeles Lakers have an opportunity to secure a 4-0 record in West A as they face the Utah Jazz, aiming for an automatic spot in the knockout stage.

Tuesday’s matchups extend beyond the Lakers-Jazz clash. The Indiana Pacers, having already defeated group heavyweights Philadelphia and Cleveland, can clinch Group A by beating the Atlanta Hawks. Simultaneously, the Cleveland-Philadelphia game is crucial for determining second place and a potential wild card slot in the knockout stage.

In the East, the Milwaukee Bucks lead Group B with a 2-0 record and a significant point differential advantage over the Miami Heat. The Boston Celtics, also at 2-0, are poised to win Group C. The Miami Heat currently hold the wild card spot by a single-point point differential tiebreaker over the Philadelphia 76ers.

In the West, Friday’s games could decide group winners. A Pelicans’ victory over the Clippers, coupled with a Rockets’ loss to the Nuggets, would secure the Group B berth for New Orleans. The Kings-Timberwolves contest could determine the winner in Group C, with Minnesota holding a 2-0 record.

Eliminated from the competition are the Pistons, Wizards, Grizzlies, and Spurs, although they will continue to play, as In-Season Tournament games count toward regular season standings.

For those unfamiliar with the tournament format, each conference is divided into three five-team groups, playing group stage games on Tuesdays and Fridays in November. The top eight teams from each group advance to the knockout stage in early December, including six group winners and one wild-card team from each conference.

The schedule, scores, and standings for the 2023 In-Season Tournament are provided below, with all games on ESPN and NBA TV available for streaming on fubo (try for free).

2023 In-Season Tournament Schedule:

Tuesday, Nov. 21:

  • Raptors at Magic, 7 p.m.
  • Pacers at Hawks, 7:30 p.m.
  • Cavaliers at 76ers, 7:30 p.m.
  • Trail Blazers at Suns, 9 p.m.
  • Jazz at Lakers, 10 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 24:

  • Celtics at Magic, 2:30 p.m.
  • Suns at Grizzlies, 5 p.m.
  • Heat at Knicks, 7:30 p.m.
  • Bulls at Raptors, 7:30 p.m.
  • Pistons at Pacers, 8 p.m.
  • Nuggets at Rockets, 8 p.m.
  • Wizards at Bucks, 8 p.m.
  • Kings at Timberwolves, 8 p.m.
  • Spurs at Warriors, 10 p.m.
  • Pelicans at Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 28:

  • Bulls at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.
  • Raptors at Nets, 7:30 p.m.
  • Hawks at Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m.
  • Bucks at Heat, 7:30 p.m.
  • Hornets at Knicks, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thunder at Timberwolves, 8 p.m.
  • Rockets at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m.
  • Warriors at Kings, 10 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 4:

  • Quarterfinal: TBD at TBD
  • Quarterfinal: TBD at TBD

Tuesday, Dec. 5:

  • Quarterfinal: TBD at TBD
  • Quarterfinal: TBD at TBD

Thursday, Dec. 7:

  • Semifinal: TBD vs. TBD at Las Vegas
  • Semifinal: TBD vs. TBD at Las Vegas

Saturday, Dec. 9:

  • Final: TBD vs. TBD at Las Vegas

In-Season Tournament Scores (as of Nov. 17):

  • Bucks 130, Hornets 99
  • Knicks 120, Wizards 99
  • 76ers 126, Hawks 116
  • Cavaliers 108, Pistons 100
  • Celtics 108, Raptors 105
  • Kings 129, Spurs 120
  • Magic 103, Bulls 97
  • Pelicans 115, Nuggets 110
  • Suns 131, Jazz 128
  • Lakers 107, Trail Blazers 95
  • Clippers 104, Rockets 100

… (Continued with scores from previous dates)

Eastern Conference Group A Standings:

  • Indiana Pacers: 2 Wins, 0 Losses, 253 Points Scored, +11 Point Differential
  • Philadelphia 76ers: 2 Wins, 1 Loss, 366 Points Scored, +12 Point Differential
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 1 Win, 1 Loss, 224 Points Scored, +3 Point Differential
  • Atlanta Hawks: 1 Win, 1 Loss, 242 Points Scored, -4 Point Differential
  • Detroit Pistons (E): 0 Wins, 3 Losses, 326 Points Scored, -22 Point Differential

… (Continued with standings for Groups B and C, and Western Conference Groups A, B, and C)

Note:

  • A = clinched berth to advance
  • W = clinched wild card
  • E = eliminated

Reference:

https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/nba-in-season-tournament-schedule-standings-lakers-look-to-go-4-0-pacers-can-clinch-east-group-a/

https://newstral.com/en/article/en/1246378359/nba-in-season-tournament-schedule-standings-lakers-look-to-go-4-0-pacers-can-clinch-east-group-a

newstalk941.com

Michigan achieves historic milestone in victory against Maryland in college football.

Michigan achieves historic milestone in victory against Maryland in college football.

Michigan Makes College Football History with 1,000 Wins

In a historic achievement, the Michigan Wolverines secured their place in college football history as the first program to reach 1,000 victories. The milestone was reached following a hard-fought 31-24 triumph against Maryland on a Saturday afternoon, propelling the Wolverines to an impressive 11-0 record this season with the regular season finale against Ohio State looming.

While the Wolverines faced their highest points conceded this season, the formidable first-half performance of the Michigan offense proved insurmountable for Maryland. Additionally, the Wolverines notched two safeties during the game.

Despite being absent from the coaching role in College Park due to a three-game suspension related to a sign-stealing scandal, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged the historic achievement ahead of Saturday’s game.

Harbaugh expressed his gratitude, stating, “Just really want to shout out the Green Bay Packers, most wins in NFL history: 793. Most wins in high school football, Valdosta, Georgia: 951. Michigan Wolverines: 999. No one has won more. Nobody. I want to thank everyone who has put on the winged helmet.” This landmark win solidifies Michigan’s unparalleled legacy in college football.

Michigan’s football program, which secured its inaugural victory in 1879 against Racine, has reached a significant milestone of 1,000 wins. The Wolverines claimed their first triumph with a 1-0 victory in an era when field goals were the sole contributors to scoring. Fast forward more than 140 years, and Michigan’s 1,000 victories include:

  • 11 national championships
  • 44 conference titles
  • 17 undefeated seasons
  • Eight Rose Bowl victories

Leaders in College Football Wins: Michigan commenced the season at the pinnacle of the list of college football teams with the most wins. Rival Ohio State and Alabama follow in second place. The prospect of either school achieving 1,000 wins looms, with Ohio State potentially attaining this milestone as early as 2024. However, achieving such a feat would necessitate three consecutive undefeated national championship seasons.

Top College Football Teams by Wins:

(Asterisk denotes inclusion of Saturday, Nov. 18 results)

  1. Michigan: 1,000 wins*
  2. Ohio State: 963 wins
  3. Alabama: 963 wins*
  4. Texas: 945 wins
  5. Notre Dame: 945 wins
  6. Oklahoma: 942 wins
  7. Yale: 935 wins
  8. Penn State: 929 wins*
  9. Nebraska: 917 wins
  10. Harvard: 901 wins

This noteworthy accomplishment establishes Michigan as the first college football team to achieve the 1,000-win milestone.

Reference:

https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/michigan-makes-college-football-history-205909282.html

Cavaliers Extend Winning Streak, Dominate Nuggets With Team Effort Again

Cavaliers Extend Winning Streak, Dominate Nuggets With Team Effort Again

The Cleveland Cavaliers secured their third straight win with a convincing 121-109 triumph over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night. In the aftermath of the game, Spencer Davies provides insight into five key observations.

No Hesitation, Just Precision The Cavaliers displayed a remarkable lack of hesitation, executing precise offensive plays throughout the game. Their movements were purposeful, incorporating cutting, handoff plays, drives to the basket, and constant player motion. The team embraced an attack-first mentality, dictating the pace of the game with efficient plays.

Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff emphasized the simplicity of success: “If you just throw the ball to the open man, good things are probably going to happen for you.” He highlighted the importance of working on this fundamental aspect, stressing that with the team’s diverse threats, simplicity becomes a potent strategy.

Efficient Shot Selection Cleveland’s offense capitalized on any open looks, with players taking shots without hesitation. The Cavaliers successfully converted 11 of 27 three-point attempts, often relying on quick-trigger shots from handoffs and drive-and-kicks.

Players like Sam Merrill showcased a relentless shooting mentality, leading the team with nine attempts and hitting three in 24 minutes. Max Strus, Darius Garland, Dean Wade (with an impressive falling-out-of-bounds shot), and Georges Niang also contributed with successful long-range shots.

Bickerstaff highlighted the importance of shot preparation: “When you know you’re going to get the ball and you’re going to get a shot, your shot preparation is key.” The coach emphasized that the team’s trust is growing as players understand their roles, ensuring that shots are a result of well-executed plays rather than impulsive decisions.

In summary, the Cavaliers’ victory was not only marked by efficient offensive plays but also by the team’s commitment to simplicity, trust, and strategic shot selection. This winning formula has propelled them to a notable three-game winning streak.

In a pivotal 29-minute showcase, Jarrett Allen posted an impressive plus-42 on the stat sheet, leaving both fans and coaches astounded by his impact.

Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff couldn’t help but marvel at the extraordinary figure: “That’s an amazing number. I haven’t seen a plus-42 in 29 minutes. That’s a heck of a number.” While typically downplaying the significance of plus-minus, Bickerstaff acknowledged the exceptional nature of Allen’s contribution.

Despite a potentially misleading first-half box score, Allen’s influence on the game was monumental. He significantly disrupted Nikola Jokic, holding his ground, boxing out, and contributing to Jokic’s foul trouble throughout the night.

According to NBA.com’s matchup data, Allen limited the MVP center to a 2-for-5 shooting performance and forced him into two turnovers during the minutes he guarded him. Allen revealed the key to slowing down a player of Jokic’s caliber: “Energy. He can do it all.” Acknowledging Jokic’s near triple-double despite defensive efforts, Allen emphasized the need for unwavering focus on every play.

In the third quarter, Allen rebounded from a challenging first half with an impressive 13-point performance. The Cavaliers strategically exploited Denver’s interior, repeatedly finding success with lob passes to Allen, who adeptly navigated behind defenders.

Downplaying his individual achievements, Allen credited the entire team: “Those are never me. That’s just the whole team moving the ball, making the right passes and being in the right place at the right time.” Bickerstaff echoed this sentiment, highlighting the team’s adjustments to exploit Allen’s strengths in the pick-and-roll game.

“For him, the pick-and-roll game, they changed a little bit how they were covering it and went into a deeper drop, and that allowed him to get the ball in the pocket, and he’s good with both hands in that pocket,” explained Bickerstaff. The synergy between Allen and the guards, particularly Darius Garland, played a crucial role in executing successful plays and securing the Cavaliers’ victory.

After an outstanding performance on his career night, Craig Porter Jr. received the game ball from Donovan Mitchell, who acknowledged Porter’s impressive contributions. Porter recorded 21 points, four rebounds, and four assists in just 25 minutes.

Humorously addressing the unexpected success, Porter remarked in the press room, “I mean, no telling, I might get another career-high soon, so I might have to get rid of that thing.” He expressed surprise at achieving such a remarkable feat against the defending NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets, early in his career.

Reflecting on his performance, Porter stated, “Honestly, it’s crazy. Them being the team they are and having the accolades they have, doing that, it’s surprising to me even up to this point. But at the end of the day, I’ve just gotta go out there and just keep doing what I’m doing. And I understand I’m here for a reason, so I just try to make that known.”

Despite a shaky start, with a missed floater and a turnover, Porter’s confidence remained unshaken. He quickly rebounded, showcasing resilience against the formidable champions. Porter emphasized his focus on driving to the paint and creating opportunities for himself and his teammates. “I just try to live in the paint. Layups are the easiest thing to do in the game of basketball, so I just try to get as many layups or my teammates as many layups as possible.”

Coach Bickerstaff praised Porter’s maturity as a basketball player, attributing his trust in the rookie to his performance in summer league and training camp. Bickerstaff highlighted Porter’s composure, stating, “He is a very mature basketball player and he just has a game. He’s not hunting or searching to figure out who he is. He knows exactly who he is. He knows how to get to his spots and when and how to be aggressive. So you just have belief and trust in a guy who always seems to be composed and never over his skis. And that’s how Craig has been for us since he’s gotten here.”

In recent games, Evan Mobley has seamlessly found his rhythm on the court, receiving well-executed passes from teammates and showcasing his offensive versatility. Notably, he’s displayed adept ball control and the ability to score from close range, demonstrating a knack for finishing around the basket and an improving mid-range shot.

Mobley’s synergy with Jarrett Allen as a dynamic roller has played a crucial role in creating scoring opportunities. Allen, recognizing Mobley’s scoring ability, emphasized the importance of passing to him, stating, “Just pass Evan the ball. He is going to finish it. He is going to find the right pass.” Allen’s effective rolls draw attention, allowing Mobley to capitalize on open looks, particularly towards the end of games.

On the defensive end, Mobley continues to defy expectations, making plays that seem improbable. One standout moment was his clean block on Christian Braun’s dunk attempt, showcasing his athleticism and defensive prowess. Additionally, Mobley has been effective in denying the ball to key Denver players and has contributed significantly by bringing the ball up the floor off rebounds, adding a new dimension to the team’s play.

Mobley’s multifaceted contributions, both offensively and defensively, are proving instrumental in unlocking the team’s potential. As he continues to evolve and refine his skills, Mobley stands out as a rising star, impacting various facets of the game for his team.

Georges Niang has been making a significant impact, showcasing his prowess as a three-point shooter by hitting a pair of triples in three out of the last four games. Beyond his scoring ability, Niang has proven valuable defensively, using his sturdy frame to contribute against bulkier opponents.

A pivotal player for the bench unit, Niang has displayed versatility by seamlessly playing in different positions when the team requires his skills. His consistent three-point shooting and defensive contributions have made him a key asset for the team, highlighting his growing importance as a reliable contributor off the bench.

Reference:

https://www.si.com/nba/cavaliers/opinion/the-spin-cavs-share-wealth-vs-nuggets-in-third-straight-victory

https://www.audacy.com/923thefan/sports/cleveland-cavaliers/short-handed-cavs-crush-the-nuggets-121-109

thepeachbasket.net

Houston Rockets' Road Struggles Continue with Fourth Consecutive Loss to Lakers

Houston Rockets’ Road Struggles Continue with Fourth Consecutive Loss to Lakers

The Houston Rockets suffered their second straight defeat, losing 105-104 to the Los Angeles Lakers at Crypto.com Arena. Dillon Brooks led Houston with 24 points, including six 3-pointers.

Alperen Şengün’s layup tied the game at 104 with four seconds left, but a foul by Brooks sent LeBron James to the line. James made one free throw, giving the Lakers the lead. In the final seconds, Brooks missed a potential game-winner, and James finished with 37 points.

Despite strong performances from Brooks and Şengün, who scored 23 points with 10 rebounds, the Rockets couldn’t secure a win. Fred VanVleet contributed 15 points and 16 assists, while Jabari Smith Jr. added 14 points and five rebounds.

Anthony Davis set the tone for the Lakers with 27 points and 10 rebounds. The loss marked the Rockets’ fourth consecutive road defeat, maintaining a 0-4 record away from the Toyota Center in the 2023-24 season.

Next, the Rockets face the Golden State Warriors on their three-game California road trip, followed by a matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies at the Toyota Center. The Rockets vs. Warriors game is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. CDT at the Chase Center.

Reference:

https://www.si.com/nba/rockets/news/houston-rockets-drop-fourth-consecutive-road-game-in-loss-to-los-angeles-lakers

https://www.yardbarker.com/nba/articles/amp/rockets_drop_fourth_consecutive_road_game/s1_17031_39559646

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/nba/top-stories/houston-rockets-extend-winning-streak-with-commanding-victory-against-los-angeles-lakers/articleshow/105089416.cms?from=mdr

Raptors Dominate Pistons, Establish Franchise Record for Assists in a Game

Raptors Dominate Pistons, Establish Franchise Record for Assists in a Game

The Toronto Raptors achieved a historic milestone on Sunday at Scotiabank Arena, setting a franchise record with 44 assists and securing a dominant 142-113 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Maintaining a substantial lead of at least 30 points throughout most of the second half, the Raptors showcased their prowess, extending their advantage to 40 points in the fourth quarter. Facing the NBA’s lowest-ranked team, the Pistons, Toronto’s 142 total points marked the third-highest in regular-season history for the franchise.

Jakob Poeltl reflected on the exceptional team performance, highlighting the collective effort in ball movement. Rather than relying on a single player with a 20-assist game, the Raptors saw six players contribute at least four assists each.

“It was just one of those games where the ball was on a string for us,” said Poeltl. “Everybody was sharing the ball, moving the ball. You create a lot of easy shots that way, and we found ways to break down their defense.”

Coach Darko Rajaković praised the team’s halftime performance, already boasting 23 assists, urging them to sustain the momentum and not settle for only seven assists in the second half. While emphasizing the Raptors’ proficiency in passing and assists this season, Rajaković stressed the need to capitalize on these passes by attacking the paint.

In Sunday’s game, Rajaković observed a heightened level of aggression, particularly in attacking the rim, resulting in 70 paint points. This aggressive approach disrupted Detroit’s defense and paved the way for open three-point opportunities. The team’s defensive efforts also contributed to effective transitions.

The Raptors initiated a commanding lead, securing a 20-point advantage approximately nine minutes into the second quarter through a 25-6 run. Key contributions from players like Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa fueled this surge. Barnes, in particular, delivered an outstanding performance throughout the game, finishing with 17 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, and an impressive plus-37 rating in just 25 minutes of play.

I just play the game, and whatever comes to me, that’s really what I take… no matter what it is, you know, comfortable doing it, everywhere out there on the floor,” says Barnes, expressing confidence in his versatility, whether handling the ball in pick-n-rolls or playing off the ball.

Rajaković highlights ongoing efforts to identify 2-3 points of emphasis in Barnes’ game to elevate him to the “next level” and achieve All-Star status, recognizing his current strengths as a skilled driver to the rim and effective teammate connection. Rajaković acknowledges the developmental process, considering Barnes’ age (22) and his own status as a rookie head coach.

Post-game, Rajaković playfully mentions the challenge of elite skills and traits, noting that excelling in multiple areas can pose a dilemma, as being extremely good at everything is a rare feat in the NBA. He humorously outlines the progression from survival to potential starting player, All-Star, and the likelihood of playing in Europe when attempting to be proficient in too many aspects.

Barnes expresses his commitment to improving his shot, emphasizing his career-high 39% three-point shooting. OG Anunoby credits Barnes for consistently working on both ends of his game, highlighting his well-rounded skill set.

Anunoby, returning to the Raptors lineup after missing three games due to a finger injury from “household chores,” keeps details private but mentions ongoing improvement. Reflecting on the injury, Anunoby describes needing five stitches and the severity of the laceration, emphasizing the steady recovery of his right shooting hand.

On Sunday, Anunoby concluded the game with nine points on 2-of-11 shooting, but his absence was particularly notable on the defensive end.

Barnes gives special credit to Anunoby for effectively impeding Cade Cunningham, limiting his ability to find his preferred positions. The 2021 first-overall pick wrapped up with 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting, with merely three points added in the second half.

“O.G. helps us so much, being able to have a physical strong presence, that moves his feet really well, defends really well,” Barnes acknowledges. “He guards everybody, one of the best, if not the best defender in the league.”

For the Raptors, this victory is a crucial rebound after dropping the previous two games to formidable Eastern Conference teams. Commencing the game at 4 p.m. on a Sunday, they addressed the challenge of a solid start, a concern from earlier matchups with the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks this week.

“You succeed in the NBA if you’re an everyday guy, if you’re capable of bringing it every single day. If that’s Sunday, 4 p.m., let it be Sunday 4 p.m. You got to be ready to go,” Rajaković remarks. “I thought that we did a really good job. Our starters set the tone, but also guys coming off the bench, everybody really took us to another level.”

The effort was against a Detroit team boasting numerous former top-10 picks, yet they have also concluded with the East’s worst record in two of the past three seasons. The Raptors’ victory extends Detroit’s losing streak to 11.

Rajaković anticipates facing a different Detroit team next time, considering the absence of key players like Jalen Duren, Bojan Bogdanovic, Killian Hayes, and a couple of others.

The win positions the Raptors at 2-2 in the current four-game home stretch and holds a 6-7 record for the season. Their upcoming schedule involves hitting the road for four of the next five games, starting with an In-Season Tournament matchup against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.

Reference:

https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/toronto-raptors-franchise-record-assists-detroit-pistons-nba-recap-235820634.html

Warriors' Season Derails Rapidly: Crisis Unfolds on the Court

Warriors’ Season Derails Rapidly: Crisis Unfolds on the Court

A fortnight ago, the Bay Area exuded optimism. The Warriors, standing at 5–1, painted a picture of early-season dominance, marked by a thrilling victory in Oklahoma City. However, the current narrative tells a different tale.

Golden State finds itself in a disconcerting slump, with only one win in the last seven games leading up to the Nov. 18 clash with Oklahoma City. A five-game losing streak, including four consecutive losses in a six-game homestand, has raised concerns. The absence of Stephen Curry, performing at an MVP level, due to a knee injury, and Draymond Green’s four-game suspension for an altercation with Rudy Gobert, add to the team’s woes.

While the struggle cannot be attributed to one or two individuals, the lackluster performances of Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins contribute significantly. Initially, the Warriors’ success without a strong Wiggins seemed promising at 5–1. However, instead of a resurgence, Wiggins’ subpar form has become a hindrance.

Wiggins is currently recording career lows in points, assists, rebounds, free throw and field goal percentages, shooting a dismal 13.5% from three. Despite needing his perimeter defense, Steve Kerr has reduced Wiggins’ minutes to a career low. Notably, his struggles extend to various shot types, including a perplexing 17.9% on catch-and-shoot threes.

Kerr’s attempt to integrate Wiggins into the system, particularly playing off Steph, has not yielded the desired results. Wiggins’ shooting percentages on open and wide-open threes stand at 13.3% and 23.1%, respectively, reflecting missed opportunities.

Klay Thompson’s performance mirrors Wiggins’ struggles, with career lows in field goal and three-point percentages, alongside his lowest point average since his rookie year. Despite open looks, Thompson’s connection rate on open threes is a mere 20.6%, contributing to the team’s collective downturn.

Credit By www.si.com

The decline in efficiency from Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson has significantly impacted the once-dominant Warriors’ starting lineup. The combination of Steph Curry, Klay, Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney now holds a net rating of minus-14.4 in 87 minutes, displaying mediocrity on offense and vulnerability on defense. In contrast, this lineup was arguably the NBA’s best last year, boasting a remarkable 21.9 net rating in 331 minutes.

Simultaneously, the full five-man bench unit led by Chris Paul has also struggled. Despite reducing Wiggins and Thompson’s minutes, Steve Kerr faces challenges in integrating Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga into the rotation effectively. While both players are crucial, Moody’s size and Kuminga’s shooting limitations have hindered their seamless integration this season.

In the short term, these challenges result in a growing number of losses, squandering another outstanding performance from Curry, who is currently shouldering the burden of leading lineups that struggle both offensively and defensively. Steph remains a formidable force, reminiscent of his leadership during the Warriors’ 73-win season in 2015–16.

Looking ahead, ominous questions arise. Will Moody and Kuminga develop into championship-caliber role players? Can the Warriors trade them to acquire a player of that caliber? Wiggins, at 28 with two more seasons and a player option on his contract, raises questions about his long-term role in the core.

Then there’s Klay Thompson, earning $43 million in the final year of his deal. The absence of a contract extension before the season, coupled with Thompson’s performance, raises concerns about his future earning potential. Could the contract situation be affecting his game? Additionally, Thompson’s expiring contract might serve as a valuable trade asset for the Warriors, though the decision to move him remains a complex one.

These are unsettling considerations, prompted by the Warriors’ recent struggles. As long as this downturn persists, these questions will persist, casting a shadow over Golden State’s season. If the team fails to reverse its fortunes soon, the uncomfortable conversations will only intensify.

Reference:

https://www.si.com/nba/2023/11/17/warriors-struggles-klay-thompson-andrew-wiggins-steph-curry

https://www.hoopsrumors.com/2023/06/2023-nba-offseason-preview-golden-state-warriors.html

Kevin Durant's 39-point performance guides the Suns to a 140-137 victory over the Jazz in double overtime.

Kevin Durant’s 39-point performance guides the Suns to a 140-137 victory over the Jazz in double overtime.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant showcased a stellar performance, contributing 39 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds, guiding the Suns to a thrilling 140-137 double-overtime victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.

This marked Phoenix’s third consecutive win, securing another triumph over the Jazz in the span of three days.

Credit By: www.ctpost.com

Devin Booker made a significant impact, scoring 22 of his 26 points in the second half and adding eight assists. Eric Gordon contributed 20 points, Jusuf Nurkic tallied 18, and Grayson Allen finished with 14.

Durant expressed satisfaction with the team’s offensive momentum, stating, “I thought we had good momentum on the offensive side of the ball all game. We stayed with that throughout the fourth quarter and the two overtimes.”

On the Jazz side, Lauri Markkanen impressed with 38 points and 17 rebounds. Talen Horton-Tucker contributed 25 points, Jordan Clarkson added 22, Collin Sexton had 18, and John Collins finished with 15.

Despite the Jazz holding advantages in second-chance points (27-18) and fastbreak points (26-12), they ultimately fell short.

Durant’s back-to-back baskets and three successful free throws in the second overtime secured a 135-130 lead for the Suns. The Jazz managed to tie the game once again, but Allen’s crucial 3-pointer with 43 seconds remaining prevented Utah from taking the lead.

Referee Ashley Moyer-Gieich initially called a foul on Durant for blocking Markkanen’s shot with less than a second left, a decision that would have given Markkanen a chance to tie the game with three free throws. However, the officials overturned the call upon review, confirming Durant’s clean block.

Durant commented on the overturned call, stating, “It was ridiculous to even call that. I knew I blocked the shot and I knew I didn’t touch him at all. But that’s just how the game is.”

Markkanen expressed surprise at the reversal, believing Durant had made contact. “I thought (it was a foul). I was getting ready to shoot three free throws.”

Utah twice rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit and forced overtime when Markkanen tied the game with a putback layup in the final seconds of regulation.

UP NEXT

Suns: Host Portland on Tuesday in an NBA In-Season Tournament game.

Jazz: Visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday for an NBA In-Season Tournament game.

Reference:

https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/durant-leads-suns-past-jazz-042434380.html

https://www.ctpost.com/sports/article/durant-leads-suns-past-jazz-for-second-time-in-18503072.php

Garaway dominates West Jefferson, securing a spot in the state semifinals for the very first time.

Garaway dominates West Jefferson, securing a spot in the state semifinals for the very first time.

In the wake of their decisive victory over West Jefferson, the Garaway High School football team exuberantly convened in their customary postgame circle on the north side of Sulsberger Stadium. The air buzzed with celebration as fans joined the jubilant moment following the Pirates’ impressive 42-7 triumph in the Division VI regional final.

Amidst the spirited revelry, a cluster of Garaway players proudly accepted the regional championship trophy at midfield, exchanging heartfelt hugs with teammates, coaches, and family members. However, this triumph only fueled their appetite for greater success.

Junior quarterback Brady Geibel articulated the team’s ambitious aspirations, stating, “It’s our goal to win a state championship this year. It’s another game, another step in the right direction. We played well all-around. But we’ve got to get back in the film room tomorrow. It wasn’t perfect. One game at a time. We’ve got Kirtland next week. It’s going to be a tough one.”

Looking ahead, the Pirates are set to face Kirtland in the upcoming state semifinal at a location yet to be determined. Kirtland earned their spot by defeating Mogadore, 42-0, in a commanding display on Friday.

Highlighting the standout performances of the night, junior tailback Dillon Soehnlen left an indelible mark with three touchdowns. His most notable contribution was a spectacular 65-yard reception from Geibel in the second quarter, propelling Garaway to a commanding 28-0 lead.

The Garaway Pirates, with Wyatt Wallick proudly holding the trophy, jubilantly celebrate their 42-7 victory over West Jefferson in the Division VI, Region 23 final on Friday, November 17, 2023, at John D. Sulsberger Memorial Stadium in Zanesville, Ohio.

The team showcased their prowess on offense, defense, and special teams. Wyatt Wallick exhibited his versatility by fielding a low West Jefferson punt, executing a sweeping right turn, and dashing upfield for a spectacular 38-yard punt return touchdown during the second quarter. Additionally, Wallick reached the end zone with a 3-yard scoop and score just 9:48 minutes before the game’s conclusion.

West Jefferson managed to score their lone touchdown with a 29-yard scamper off a shovel pass in the fourth quarter.

Garaway’s head coach, Jason Wallick, expressed the significance of the victory, stating, “It means the world. It means the world because these guys have poured their heart and soul into this program. We’ve been knocking on the door, knocking on the door, and knocking on the door. It’s just unbelievable. It means everything to our kids.”

This article was originally featured on York Daily Record: OHSAA playoffs: Garaway Pirates football crushes West Jefferson.

Reference:

https://sports.yahoo.com/garaway-crushes-west-jefferson-catapult-040633985.html

Duke Basketball Standout Exits Court Due to Evident Injury

Duke Basketball Standout Exits Court Due to Evident Injury

Duke basketball faced a concerning moment as Kyle Filipowski exited to the locker room late in the first half during the match against Bucknell. The Blue Devil sophomore forward and reigning ACC Rookie of the Year fell to the floor with four minutes remaining in the first half, seemingly in pain and clutching his right leg.

In response to the situation, Duke head coach Jon Scheyer promptly crossed the court to assess Filipowski’s condition. With assistance from Blue Devil walk-ons Stanley Borden and Neal Begovich, Filipowski was helped to his feet and escorted off the court, heading straight to the locker room.

Filipowski, a pivotal player for Duke, leads the team in points (21.7 per game), rebounds (7.7 per game), and blocks (1.3 per game) this season, maintaining an impressive 55.6 percent shooting accuracy from the field.

As of now, there is no official update on the 7-footer’s status, and he did not reappear on the court or the bench in the final four minutes of the first half.

UPDATE: Just four minutes before the start of the second half, there was a positive development as Filipowski returned to the court (one minute later than his teammates). He engaged in warm-ups with the Blue Devils and was subsequently in the lineup to commence the second half.

At halftime, the Blue Devils (2-1) commanded a 44-29 lead against the visiting Bison (1-3) at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Kyle Filipowski contributed eight points and five rebounds during his 12 minutes on the court before heading to the locker room.

The upcoming challenge for the second Duke basketball team under the Jon Scheyer era is a home game against La Salle scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.

Reference

www.si.com/college/duke/basketball/duke-basketball-star-leaves-floor-apparent-injury-11-23

Home-Opener Disappointment: Men's Basketball Falls Short Against No. 6 Lincoln Memorial

Home-Opener Disappointment: Men’s Basketball Falls Short Against No. 6 Lincoln Memorial

HUNTSVILLE | No. 23 UAH’s men’s basketball team faced a setback in their home opener against No. 6 Lincoln Memorial, concluding with a 95-90 defeat on Friday night at Kelly Court in Spragins Hall, marking the inaugural day of the 2023 Bill Penney Classic. UAH’s record slips to 1-2, while LMU improves to 3-1.

Junior standout Tommy Murr led the Chargers in the nationally-ranked clash, contributing a team-high 30 points with a 10-for-20 performance from the field, including 3-of-8 beyond the arc. Murr, notching over 30 points in a game for the first time since Max Shulman’s 31 points on Feb. 8, 2023, also recorded four assists.

Under the guidance of head coach John Shulman, three more UAH players reached double-digit points: Luke Burnett (16 points), Daniel Saylor (11 points), and Jack Kostel (10 points).

Kostel showcased a robust all-around performance, leading the team with six rebounds and six assists while logging a team-high 33 minutes on the court.

The Chargers displayed sharpshooting prowess from long range, hitting 16 of 31 three-point attempts on Friday night. Burnett sank a team-high four threes, and Dane Harding was perfect from beyond the arc, going 3-for-3.

Looking ahead, UAH returns to action on Saturday for the final day of the 2023 Bill Penney Classic. The day’s schedule includes Edward Waters and Young Harris tipping off at 2 p.m., followed by UAH facing Fisk at 4 p.m.

Reference

https://uahchargers.com/news/2023/11/17/mens-basketball-slips-in-home-opener-against-no-6-lincoln-memorial.aspx

Basketball's Men's Team Set for Home Opener Against Bryant on Thursday.

Basketball’s Men’s Team Set for Home Opener Against Bryant on Thursday.


Boston University (0-3) is set to go head-to-head with Bryant (1-2) in their home opener at Case Gym – “The Roof” in Boston, Massachusetts, on Thursday, November 16, at 7:00 p.m. This matchup is part of the Scarlet Knight Classic, and both teams are looking to bounce back from road losses, with Bryant recently falling 66-57 to Rutgers, and BU coming off a 64-53 defeat at the hands of Howard.

The Terriers embarked on a challenging three-game road stretch to kick off the season, showing resilience despite not securing a win. Notably, they led Northeastern at halftime and had a competitive first half against Big 10 member Rutgers. BU’s roster has undergone significant changes, with four of the top five scorers being newcomers, including freshman Matai Baptiste leading with 8.3 ppg.

Senior captain Miles Brewster, contributing 7.0 ppg, and sophomore Otto Landrum, leading in rebounds with 5.0 per game, play key roles for the Terriers. Brewster and Baptiste have showcased defensive prowess, each recording seven steals in the early season.

Nine Terriers have been averaging double-digit minutes, with injuries sidelining senior Anthony Morales and sophomore Malcolm Chimezie so far. Despite the challenges, BU remains determined as they face Bryant, a second-year member of the America East Conference.

Bryant, picked third in the preseason coaches’ poll, opened the season with a close 61-59 loss to Manhattan but rebounded with a dominant 140-79 win against Fisher. Fifth-year guard Sherif Gross-Bullock, last year’s America East scoring leader, maintains a team-best 17.1 ppg, while Saint Louis transfer Daniel Rivera contributes 13.0 ppg and 7.7 rpg.

This matchup marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools, and Bryant is the initial of four America East opponents on BU’s schedule. Looking ahead, BU will hit the road to face Davidson on Tuesday, November 21, marking the first meeting between the teams in 68 years since the 1955 Charlotte Invitational, where the Terriers secured an 87-69 victory over the Wildcats.

Reference

Www.goterriers.com

Undefeated streak continues for UWS men's basketball after triumphant victory against St. Scholastica.

Undefeated streak continues for UWS men’s basketball after triumphant victory against St. Scholastica.

In a match held at Reif Gym in the Burns Wellness Commons on Wednesday, the Wisconsin-Superior men’s basketball team secured a hard-fought 68-62 victory over St. Scholastica, extending their unbeaten streak to four games at the start of the season. Despite a spirited second-half effort by the Saints, the Yellowjackets managed to weather the storm and emerge victorious.

UWS head coach Greg Pulkowski acknowledged the challenge posed by their crosstown rivals, giving credit to St. Scholastica for playing a great game. He commended his team’s resilience in the face of adversity, stating, “They took us out of it a little bit. I mean they really brought the fight, but I think for our guys to go through that and just stay with it —that speaks to (our) experience.”

CSS head coach David Staniger, while pleased with his team’s overall effort, identified the Yellowjackets’ physicality as a significant factor in the game. He noted, “They were a little bit more physical, a little bit more aggressive, you know? They did some things that took us out of some offense, but we battled back. I mean we had a three (point opportunity) to take the lead and we just didn’t shoot it well enough.”

The Yellowjackets went into halftime with a 37-30 lead, led by 11-point performances from offensive leaders J’Vaun Walker and Joey Barker. UWS dominated at the free-throw line in the first half, attempting 11 shots compared to the Saints’ one.

Although the Yellowjackets initially built a comfortable 41-30 lead early in the second half, they faced challenges as the Saints fought back, narrowing the gap to two points at 60-58. A layup by Jeff Moore assisted by Andre Crockett Jr. contributed to St. Scholastica’s comeback.

However, the veteran-laden Yellowjackets regrouped and finished strong, outscoring their opponents 8-4 in the remaining minutes. Key baskets from Barker, Walker, and Josef Fahrenholtz secured the victory for the Wisconsin-Superior men’s basketball team.

Credit By Photo:www.duluthnewstribune.com

In the matchup against St. Scholastica on November 15th at Reif Gymnasium in Duluth, Wisconsin-Superior forward Josef Fahrenholtz (15) skillfully maneuvers the ball. Captured by Clint Austin of Duluth Media Group.

Credit By Photo:www.duluthnewstribune.com

In the matchup at Reif Gymnasium in Duluth on Wednesday, November 15, St. Scholastica guard Noah Winesett (12) responds to a foul in close proximity to Wisconsin-Superior guard Joey Barker (12). Captured by Clint Austin of the Duluth Media Group.

Credit By Photo:www.duluthnewstribune.com

In the game held at Reif Gymnasium in Duluth on Wednesday, November 15, Wisconsin-Superior’s Andrew Beers (4) vies for a rebound in a matchup against St. Scholastica. Photo credit: Clint Austin of the Duluth Media Group.

Reference

www.duluthnewstribune.com

Watch: Zion Williamson takes flight on back-to-back dunks in Pelicans return

Zion Williamson’s Explosive Dunking Showcase in His Pelicans Comeback Game

In the Pelicans Season Opener, Zion Williamson’s Impact Soared with Consecutive Dunks, Boosting New Orleans to a 56-47 Lead.

Zion Williamson’s performance in the first half featured his first two field goals. Additionally, he made two trips to the free-throw line, successfully converting three of his four attempts. Notably, he showcased his playmaking skills with an impressive assist to C.J. McCollum, resulting in a three-point play.

The New Orleans Pelicans’ fate has long been intertwined with the performance of their star player, Zion Williamson. A couple of years ago, in his absence due to injury, the team’s core managed to reach the playoffs as the 8th seed, but their journey ended in a first-round defeat after a six-game series.

Last season, the Pelicans got off to a promising start with a 23-13 record. However, their fortunes took a downturn when Williamson suffered a season-ending hamstring injury on January 2 against the 76ers. Over the next 46 games, the team struggled, posting a 19-27 record and eventually falling short in the play-in tournament, losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Williamson, during his 29 appearances last season, showcased his scoring prowess with an average of 26 points, along with seven rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. His remarkable 60.8% shooting from the field only emphasized his impact.

The Pelicans, with a healthy Williamson back in the mix, have the potential to resume their strong performance from January and compete for a coveted top-four seed in the Western Conference. His recent display against the Grizzlies showed a player who seemed to be in peak condition.

The lingering question, however, is whether Williamson can maintain his high level of play over the course of an entire season. It’s a question that remains the central concern surrounding his game.

More must-reads:

https://www.yardbarker.com/nba/articles/watch_zion_williamson_takes_flight_on_back_to_back_dunks_in_pelicans_return/s1_13132_39441840

https://www.espn.in/nba/story/_/id/38497116/can-pelicans-count-zion-williamson-2023-24

Victor Wembanyama's remarkable debut reveals his potential in fleeting moments, but the

Victor Wembanyama’s remarkable debut reveals his potential in fleeting moments, but the

SAN ANTONIO — The anticipation was palpable, set against a backdrop of soaring expectations.

A larger-than-life billboard of Victor Wembanyama, arms outstretched, greeted visitors as they approached San Antonio’s Frost Bank Center. While its actual size remained uncertain, the scene was meticulously arranged, brimming with excitement for Wembanyama’s debut and the swift acclimation to the regular-season basketball stage.

Yet, the unfolding narrative seemed to offer only intermittent glimpses of his potential. Starting and stopping, with a burst of brilliance marred by a few missteps along the way.

Some of the challenges stemmed from Wembanyama himself, as his over-eagerness occasionally resulted in foul trouble, relegating him to the bench for a significant portion of the second half. Others can be attributed to the Dallas Mavericks, particularly Luka Dončić, who seemed less accommodating to their Texas rivals. Additionally, the Spurs players struggled at times to connect with Wembanyama, failing to utilize his towering presence on the court, especially in the final minutes of the game.

Credit By: ca.sports.yahoo.com

“In transition, we missed him. It’s an adjustment. It’s not every day you have a 7-foot-4 guy running down the lane and being able to post up,” reflected Spurs guard Devin Vassell. “We’re all figuring each other out. We need to make sure the game is easy for him.”

While the weight of expectations loomed large in Wembanyama’s inaugural game, the journey ahead remains long and full of potential progress. Despite a shaky start, Wembanyama found his stride in the fourth quarter, contributing nine of his 15 points along with five rebounds, two steals, and a block in 23 minutes.

However, the San Antonio Spurs couldn’t contain the force of Dončić and Wembanyama’s draft counterpart, Dereck Lively II, ultimately succumbing 126-119 on Wednesday night. Dončić delivered his usual stellar performance, tallying 33 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists, while Lively lived up to his name, showcasing his agility and energy with 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

The NBA world seemed to have forgotten about San Antonio since 2018, following the dramatic departure of Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs’ decline as championship contenders. It appeared as though five years of pent-up emotions were stored within the arena, waiting to be unleashed in the form of a soaring dunk or a game-changing block.

Fans eagerly lined the tunnel, with TV cameras and smartphones at the ready to capture Victor Wembanyama’s entrance from the locker room as he prepared for the game. When other Spurs players emerged, polite applause greeted them as they stepped onto the court. But when Wembanyama’s towering figure began to appear, it was met with a thunderous roar, and fans eagerly tracked his every move.

Wembanyama described the experience as surreal, expressing gratitude for being there. He made a shot block within the first minute and even sank two impressive 3-pointers. It seemed like the ideal start, reminiscent of a storybook debut, following in the footsteps of legends like David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

However, foul trouble became Wembanyama’s nemesis, leading to multiple benchings. Two fouls in the first quarter, a third before halftime, a fourth in the third quarter, and a fifth early in the final period. It was a reminder that, despite his professionalism, maturity, and basketball IQ, he was still a 19-year-old rookie. Even the most seasoned players find themselves sitting out when coaches aim to prevent further fouls and damage.

Gregg Popovich, who did his best to conceal his excitement throughout the preseason and on this particular night, refrained from overreacting, and so did the young rookie. Wembanyama acknowledged that while it could be frustrating, he remained positive, stating that they were in a learning process, and it was only their first regular-season game. After reviewing the film, the coaches and players would collaborate to address the challenges and improve their game.

It seemed as though Wembanyama was overly enthusiastic, eager to prove himself despite already showcasing glimpses of his talent. He set firm screens, established his position on the block with a strong hand out, and kept defenders at bay with his opposite hand.

However, the seasoned Grant Williams managed to slip beneath Wembanyama’s arms, drawing some contact and the attention of the officials. Both players were charged with offensive fouls as a result of the physical play and the failure to establish a solid position.

Credit By: ca.sports.yahoo.com

“I was focused on giving my best,” Wembanyama said. “It felt natural, how I always try to play. But I was subbed out shortly after returning because of my fouls. I couldn’t find my rhythm.”

Yet, when Coach Popovich called his name at the 7:12 mark, it was as if a spotlight had been turned on, and a performance was about to unfold. It mirrored a similar spectacle a few years back when the Spurs were present for Zion Williamson’s highly anticipated debut in January 2020 after a prolonged period on the sidelines.

Wembanyama’s performance started with an alley-oop, followed by his third 3-pointer. A transition dunk further showcased his basketball prowess. Then came a remarkable display of skill as he faced up against Williams in the mid-post and smoothly sank a jumper, reminiscent of the spots where legends like Duncan and Robinson made their mark for two decades.

“Since I couldn’t be aggressive in the first half, I managed to surprise the opponent and score a couple of buckets,” Wembanyama noted. “They were more focused on my hot teammates at that moment. That’s how the team operates.”

He appeared to be cognizant of the team’s dynamics and the need for time before everyone could fully recognize his potential. Several players had been part of the Spurs roster before Wembanyama’s arrival, and it was natural for them to desire their moments in the spotlight, considering the team had been relatively obscure in recent years.

Even Dončić acknowledged the electric atmosphere, stopping short of labeling it as playoff-like. He, like everyone else, was curious to witness Wembanyama’s transition, having experienced a similar situation himself a few short years ago.

“It was enjoyable. We knew the entire world was watching,” Dončić remarked. “It was enjoyable.”

Although they had no issue spoiling the moment, they understood that Wembanyama would make a comeback, even better than before. The Spurs, too, were poised to make improvements, whether the scene resembled a circus or not.

Reference:

https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/victor-wembanyamas-surreal-debut-shows-his-potential-in-glimpses-but-the-promise-is-there-070858994.html

https://sportspyder.com/sports/nba/articles/45259822

For Duke’s Jon Scheyer, the Israel-Hamas War Affects Friends and Family

Duke’s Jon Scheyer: Impact of Israel-Hamas Conflict on Loved Ones

Jon Scheyer, the coach of Duke’s men’s basketball team, a former player in Israel, and a Jewish individual, shared his thoughts on the Israel-Hamas conflict during the Atlantic Coast Conference media day. Scheyer, visibly moved, expressed his feelings about the situation.

“It’s been very heartbreaking to see,” Scheyer said. “I did play in Israel, and I have close friends and family over there right now. Our friend sent me a video of sirens going off when rockets were launched. My heart breaks for the people in Israel who have hostages and are mourning the loss of loved ones.”

Scheyer also expressed his empathy for the Palestinians, acknowledging the trauma they are facing. He called the conflict an incredibly tragic situation and urged everyone to pray for peace and freedom.

Having played for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the past, Scheyer still maintains close connections in Israel. He mentioned that former Duke player Justin Robinson, who was playing professionally in Israel when the conflict started, is safe.

Scheyer characterized the situation as a sad and distressing one for all involved.

In addition to sharing his thoughts on the conflict, Jon Scheyer recently agreed to a six-year contract extension with Duke University, following his first season as the head coach. Duke had a successful year under his leadership, winning the ACC tournament and earning a No. 5 seed at the NCAA tournament, though they were eliminated in the second round by Tennessee. The Blue Devils, currently ranked No. 2, are set to begin their 2023-24 season on November 6 against Dartmouth.

Reference:

https://www.si.com/college/2023/10/25/duke-coach-jon-scheyer-speaks-about-israel-hamas-war

knewz.com

https://www.williamsnews.com/news/2023/oct/25/for-jon-scheyer-the-israel-hamas-war-affects-frien/