Lakers' D'Angelo Russell is lost, and Byron Scott isn't helping

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NBA You have to feel for D’Angelo Russell. Every rookie struggles at times, it’s the natural order of things. But it’s hard to remember a rookie who has taken as much criticism from his coach as Russell has.Lakers coach Byron Scott has been on Russell pretty much since the beginning of the season, calling him out on the media for being ” too loose with the ball,” for ” trying to take over the game,” and for making ” a mistake over and over again.” Scott’s logic for his handling of Russell has been, at times, almost nonsensical. It’s not surprising that Russell finds himself unsure of exactly what he is supposed to be doing to get better. MORE: NBA scout breaks down top rookies, including RussellSo Aldridge just said D’Angelo has no idea what to ask Byron in order to improve and is completely lost as a point guard currently. Amazing.— Drew Garrison (@DrewGarrisonSBN) January 29, 2016Russell has some obvious holes in his game at this point. He is turnover prone but, with a true turnover percentage of 10.6 percent, not absurdly so. His mark in that metric, which looks at turnovers as a share of possessions and potential assists, is comparable to players like Nicolas Batum and Paul George. His shot selection leaves much to be desired, a few too many mid-range jumpers, but it’s not like those shots are taboo in Scott’s offense. Russell can get lost on defense but his steal percentage ranks fourth among all rookies and he’s been[……]

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How Canada became basketball's next great power years before 2016 NBA All-Star Game

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NBA The NBA descends on Toronto this weekend to celebrate all that’s grown from a seed planted more than 20 years ago, one that changed what was possible for a new generation of Canadians looking to build greatness from the sacrifices of their parents.You’ll see Drake, Toronto’s most famous son and Raptors ambassador, at the front of all that is cool about basketball in The 6, and old montages of Vince Carter flying through the air. It’ll be a continuation of the party started by the raucous swells outside Air Canada Centre during last year’s playoffs. (Paul Howe/SN Illustration)(Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/7a/f3/team-canada-083115-getty-ftrjpg_1v5g6ri1ez2881w33kuhovpy6k.jpg?t=-2080948649&w=500&quality=80 MORE: Ranking every NBA All-Star, from Curry to Kobe But beyond the temporary bashes and congratulations on a successful franchise lies a movement that was stunted until the Raptors and Carter gave it the fuel to thrive.There were 12 Canadians on NBA rosters to start the 2015-16 season, tied for the most ever; miles away from the sporadic one-offs like Bill Wennington, Jamaal Magloire and Steve Nash. Eight of the 12 are from the Toronto area. The boom is the culmination of circumstance, opportunism and nurturing over — depending who you ask — 20, 30 or even 40 years. “It’s not a fad,” longtime Canadian youth basketball coach Ro Russell[……]

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Jay Williams wants the NBA to stop punishing players for marijuana use

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NBA 夜网论坛 Basketball Jay Williams says it’s time for the NBA to accept that its players use marijuana. The former Bulls guard and current ESPN analyst told FoxBusiness.com  that 75 to 80 percent of NBA players use the drug.“You see pictures of guys in California going in and getting their medical marijuana cards. And I’m not just saying athletes, let’s talk about society,” Williams said. “I know a lot of people that use it. It’s something that the whole world is becoming more progressive with.  “I know so many athletes that play on Percocet. Have you ever taken Percocet by the way? It makes you way more groggy than rubbing cannabis oil into your skin. [Marijuana is] demonized in society too. Oh, he’s a pothead. No, I actually just use cannabis oil because it helps with inflammation and takes away some anxiety.”MORE: The 23 best free agents who might change teams While prescription opioids are legal for use in the NBA, prescription medical marijuana is considered a banned substance. After a positive marijuana drug test, a player is required to enter the league’s marijuana program. A second offense will result in a $25,000 fine and the third will be a five-game suspension. “I’m not condoning for anyone under 18 to use cannabis or marijuana,” Williams said. “But from a medical perspective, it’s about time some of these brands like[……]

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Damian Lillard takes Blazers' leadership with an Oakland swagger

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NBA NEW YORK — Damian Lillard wears No. 0 for the Portland Trail Blazers because O stands for Oakland, his hometown and the basketball hotbed that gave the NBA a couple of elite playmakers named Jason Kidd and Gary Payton.So maybe it’s not exactly a coincidence that Lillard is doing the kinds of things that Kidd and Payton did when they were establishing themselves as future Hall of Famers. MORE: Best active NBA player of every age, 19 to 39“With those three guys, I don’t know if it’s Oakland, but there is a similar thread that goes through them,” said Portland coach Terry Stotts, who coached Payton in Seattle when he worked for George Karl, and later won a title under Rick Carlisle in Dallas when Kidd played a prominent role in helping Dirk Nowitzki get his championship in 2011. “I don’t like to stereotype players, but there is a toughness there with the three. They all have it. They have the mental toughness and a winning mentality.” Lillard has the Blazers winning plenty these days, which is one of this season’s great, if undiscussed, surprises. There’s so much talk about his hometown team, and rightfully so. As Stephen Curry has turned the MVP competition into a one-man race, his Warriors are busy making a mockery of the league with their nightly assault on the Bulls’ 72-win record.But the other big story out on the Left Coast is what Lillard and Portland have done after the Blazers blew up their perennial p[……]

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The psychology behind slapping hands after free throws

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NBA  Why do NBA players always slap teammates’ hands after foul shots and wait for someone to help them off the floor when they fall? Originally answered on Apr. 19th, 2015This question originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More from Quora: Why do basketball players voluntarily raise their hands after committing a foul?Answer by Kelvin Ho, lifelong Golden State Warriors fan: Making free throws in the NBA is more about psychology (confidence, dealing with pressure, not over-thinking it) and consistency (muscle memory, routine, repetition) than it is about ability. All NBA players have the ability–even horrendous free throw shooters like Shaq and Dwight Howard can shoot free throws at a high percentage in practice.  Slapping hands after every foul shot helps with both the psychology and the consistency. It subtly signals that your teammates support you no matter the outcome, so there isn’t an added social pressure on top of the pres夜网论坛sure of in-game consequences. It also helps to establish your routine and muscle memory to have your body go through the same motions every time. This is similar to how players have a consistent pre-free-throw ritual (e.g. the Kevin Durant shimmy), or batters in baseball have a pre-pitch ritual.Helping each other off the floor has simila[……]

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Oddsmakers project Warriors’ run to 73 wins to end Sunday in San Antonio

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NBA null null Basketball To keep their chances of a record 73-win season alive, the Warriors have to do something Sunday they haven’t done since 1997 — win at San Antonio (7 p.m. ET, NBA TV).The betting marke夜网论坛t, according to the point spread in Las Vegas, sees Golden State’s dream ending here, as the Spurs are 5-point favorites on most oddsboards. MORE: Most hated players in NBA history | Warriors should shoot for immortalityThe Spurs, by the way, are aiming for a record of their own — becoming the first team in NBA history to go undefeated at home for an entire season. They’d also have to beat the Thunder — the third-best team in the Western Conference — on Tuesday to accomplish that feat. The bigger motivation for the Spurs, though, could be in upending the Golden State’s aspirations to top the regular-season record the Bulls put together in 1995-96. Playoff position is not a factor, as the Warriors and Spurs are locked into the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds in the Western Conference, respectively.For what it’s worth, ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight gives the Warriors just a 31 percent chance of winning Sunday in at AT&T Center. A loss today may not necessari[……]

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Doris Burke shows off ball-handling skills

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NBA null Basketball null Doris Burke has mad ball-handling skills, and got the chance to show them off while working as a sideline reporter during Saturday night’s Warriors-Grizzlies game.The most impressive part? She did it in heels. MORE: Teams’ worst first-round matchups | Warriors Kobe’s final game to ESPN2 doris!! pic.twitter.com/mCoVfivm8夜网论坛a— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) April 10, 2016Burke, a standout point guard at Providence College in the ‘80s, catches the ball with one hand and bounces it around her back as she quickens her pace to a jog, all while carrying game notes in the other hand and wearing a skirt and heels. Nice work.[……]

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Suns GM says trading Isaiah Thomas was his biggest mistake

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NBA null null Basketball While the Celtics are enjoying a fantastic season and sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference, the Suns are 14-44 and riding a 13-game losing streak.And as the losses continue to pile up in Phoenix, general manager Ryan McDonough is wondering what could have been if the team held on to All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas last season instead of shipping him to Boston. MORE: Top candidates to be n夜网论坛ext Suns coach“I think in retrospect, trading Isaiah Thomas when we did was a mistake,” McDonough told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I think sometimes in the recruitment process things sound better in July (luring Thomas in free agency) than they do in November. “He wanted more, he wanted a bigger role and I understand why: He’s a talented player,” McDonough added. “In retrospect, we should have carried him into the summer. If there’s one (decision) that stands out, if I could get a mulligan, that’d be it.”MORE: These Suns don’t need to be burned downIn the Thomas trade, the Suns got what will result in the Cavaliers’ first-round pick in the upcoming draft, which will presumably be at the tail end. First-round picks are nice,[……]

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Zach LaVine throws down flawless 360 dunk with ease

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NBA Someone tell Zach LaVine the Slam Dunk Contest is over — actually, no. Just keep letting him do all those cool things he does. The Timberwolves high-flying guard pulled out a ridiculous 360 jam Monday night against the Hornets. He made it look way too easy. MORE: Best NBA free agents actually available this offseason Brings back great memories. Who is already pump夜网论坛ed for next year’s All-Star Weekend?[……]

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NBA 2K17 special edition celebrates the career of Kobe Bryant

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NBA Kobe Bryant’s career comes to a close Wednesday night and video game publisher 2K Sports has made a special announcement to coincide with the event. Bryant will be featured on the NBA 2K17 Legend Edition which will release this fall. The five-time NBA champion is a former cover athlete for the series. He appeared on the NBA 2K10 cover. The special edition of the game will be sold for $80 and include bonus digital and physical content. Amazon Prime members can pre-order it for 20 percent off that price on both Xbox One and PS4.  “It’s a great honor to partner with 2K on the NBA 2K17 Legend Edition,” said Kobe Bryant, whose retirement tonight marks a storied 20-year career. “As I walk off the NBA court for the final time, it’s exciting to know my fans can continue to celebrate my lifelong career as a Los Angeles Laker.” The Legend Edition package will provide a Limited Edition Kobe poster, Black Mamba controller skin, and two Panini trading cards. Extra in-game digital content will be in the form of 30,000 in Virtual Currency, a MyTeam bundle of three card packs, Kobe XI shoes, Kobe No. 8 Mitchell & Ness jersey, Kobe hoodie, and more to be revealed later. MORE: Curry changing game for NBA 2K | Curry or Jordan?While Bryant will be on the cover of the Legend Edition, another NBA star will grace the cover of the standard edition of NBA 2K17. That announcement is expected to be made in June. Bryan Wiedey posts[……]

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76ers' Joel Embiid went to Qatar for his foot rehab, report says

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NBA Basketball null Sixers big man Joel Embiid has taken his twice surgically repaired right foot to Qatar to start his next phase of rehabilitation, The (Doylestown, Pa.) Intelligencer reported.Embiid, 21, is reportedly in the capital city of Qatar, Doha, working with specialist at Aspetar, which according to the clinic, “provides the best possible medical treatment and services to all athletes and sports players in a state-of-the-art hospital.” MORE: Every NBA team’s greatest draft regretAs source for The Intelligencer said Embiid is undergoing  “evaluation, consultation, training and meeting with lots of specialists” while in Qatar, but clarified the 7-2 center is not receiving any st夜网论坛em-cell treatment or any other treatment not approved in the U.S. by the FDA. The 76ers’ third overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft is underwent a bone graft surgery on his right foot in August and will, hopefully, return to action by the time training camp rolls around next offseason.[……]

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When Stephen Curry was Canadian: Warriors' MVP dominated Toronto's 8th-grade scene

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NBA TORONTO — The first time Casey Field met Stephen Curry, he found him sitting alone against the wall during eighth-grade recess. The school year had started at Queensway Christian College in Toronto, but this was Curry’s first day. Field remembers his basketball coach James Lackey telling him that a new student was joining the class. His dad was an NBA player, Field was told, maybe he could help him feel comfortable.So Field approached Curry and asked if he played basketball. “Yeah, I play a little bit,” Curry replied. MORE: Classic photos of Curry through the yearsCurry returns to Toronto this weekend for the NBA All-Star Game. He is the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, and his Warriors are on pace to set the all-time regular-season wins record. Every night, Curry seems to be putting together an individual highlight reel, whether he is shaking defenders with his handles, finishing majestically at the rim, or displaying his shooting range that seems to extend toward halfcourt. When father Dell Curry played with the Raptors, Curry spent one year of his childhood in Toronto, playing basketball and making friends such as Field. Teammates, opponents and coaches from back in eighth grade spoke to Sporting News recently, and their testimonials sound like descriptions of Curry in the present day told in past tense.’The ultimate green light’Curry was the smallest player on Queensway’s Grade 7 and 8 boys basket[……]

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Lakers, Kobe Bryant wear Kobe Bryant-themed socks against Warriors

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NBA null 夜网论坛 null Basketball When Kobe Bryant takes the court against the Warriors on Sunday, he will be wearing some interesting socks.In fact, the entire Lakers team will be sporting Kobe Bryant-themed socks as Bryant faces Golden State one last time. MORE: Classic photos of Kobe Bryant | MVP Ladder: Curry blitzes the competition Lakers will wear Kobe Bryant-themed socks against the Warriors today. (via Stance)A photo posted by SportsCenter (@sportscenter) on Mar 6, 2016 at 9:47am PSTBryant has been hampered by a shoulder problem, which forced him to leave after just 11 minutes in his last game. But he will give it a go against Stephen Curry and the Warriors on Sunday. Here is his full shoe-sock combination:The Mamba’s shoe/sock combo for today’s matchup with the Dubs pic.twitter.com/jwhH09N795— Ty Nowell (@tynowell) March 6, 2016[……]

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LeBron James' Cavaliers don't scare the East's other contenders this year

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NBA BOSTON — Celtics big man Jared Sullinger cocked a smile and shrugged slightly. The Celtics had given the Trail Blazers — winners of 14 of their previous 16 games — a thorough 116-93 drubbing, spurred in part by Sullinger’s 15 points and 11 rebounds. The win was the Celtics’ 12th straight at home, running Boston’s record to 15-4 since January 22.This one was an attention-grabber. Right? “Hmm,” Sullinger said. “We’ll constantly keep flying under the radar.” MORE: Best player of every age | Biggest draft regretsThat’s been the case for those other teams in the Eastern Conference all season. Some decent groups, a deeper bunch than in previous years, but let’s face it: It’s the Cavs and everyone else in the East. Except that Boston has the kind of depth and versatility that could potentially give the Cavs fits in a seven-game playoff series. And except that the East’s other up-and-comer — Toronto — also has the ability to attack Cleveland in its weak spots.And the Cavaliers have, at times, appeared to be a team unable to get out of its own way, conjuring adversity out of thin air and displaying a certain squishiness when it comes to mental toughness. They夜网论坛 fired coach David Blatt at midseason, creating the impression that star player LeBron James was calling the shots. There were rumors swirling around Kevin Love in the weeks before the trade deadline, and no matter how real or imagined a potential move was, that[……]

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Kobe Bryant turns to 'Yoda' role as he prepares to walk away from Lakers' turmoil

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NBA LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant sat at the end of the Lakers bench, his left knee draped in heating pads and bandages, his right knee wrapped the same way, his left shoulder also wrapped. If his other shoulder had been wrapped, too, he could have passed for the Michelin Man.This was the net effect of a nine-minute night in an overtime win over the Heat on Wednesday night here at Staples Center, one in which Bryant scored two points on seven shots. If there had been doubt about whether Bryant’s decision to retire after this year was either prudent or immutable, the sight of Bryant coping with nearly head-to-toe pain would have extinguished it. MORE: Greatest Lakers ever | Weird fan smells Kobe’s arm sleeve“I was trying to loosen up, so there were a lot of heat pads,” the 37-year-old said. “I was trying to loosen up the muscles and get them firing. But there was no hope tonight. My back, my shoulders, my knees.” Across the court, maybe 40 yards away, Bryant’s former teammate, Lamar Odom, sat watching the game, wearing sunglasses and camouflage pants, having walked in and taken his seat just like the other 19,000 fans in attendance. Six months ago, Odom had been in a coma after he was found unconscious and having overdosed at a brothel outside Las Vegas. Many feared he and carry on would not live much longer, let alone walk and carry on a cogent conversation. Bryant had gone to see 36-year-old Odom then.Seeing him no[……]

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Warriors are the NBA's real throwbacks because they care about every game

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NBA The NBA world is stark-raving mad when the Sacramento Kings are resting players 17 days before their summer vacations begin.Imagine: Boogie, Rajon and all the guys are headed for another early offseason — this makes 10 consecutive years that the Kings won’t be making the playoffs — and they’re getting time off. To do what? Rest up for their trips to Cabo San Lucas? Well, at least they’ll be nice and fresh for their vacations. MORE: Best active NBA players by age  | Best NBA draft prospects in Final FourSure, Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay have minor ailments now. That’s the logic for resting them against the Trail Blazers, at least. But resting players has become such an accepted practice these days that no one seems to have an issue with it. “I think it will happen some more,” Sacramento coach George Karl said. “I don’t think there’s an exact schedule yet, but I think you’ll see us do it a little bit more, especially in back-to-back situations.”It’s that kind of thinking that gets the NBA on the wrong side of scores of loyal fans, especially the ones who remember the days when stars prided themselves on playing all 82 games. Whether the season needs to be shortened or whether the 82-game schedule needs tweaking, starting with the elimination of some pre-season games, the rest issue is going to have to be addressed by Adam Silver and the National Basketball Players Association in the next labor d[……]

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Draymond Green: Warriors won't 'just tank' away chance at record

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NBA Basketball The Warriors have talked about “the record” all season long, but now things get a bit interesting.After picking up win No. 70 on Thursday, Golden State gets one day of rest Friday before back-to-back games Saturday (at Memphis) and Sunday (at San Antonio). Playing three games in four nights can take a toll, especially at this point in the season, but the key play夜网论坛ers don’t want to quit now. MORE: Warriors’ historic streak | Even when Curry doesn’t score, he helpsIn order to pick up 73 wins, which would set the record, the Warriors need to win the rest of their games. If the players rest, it would hurt their chances — so they don’t want to rest, even if coach Steve Kerr would prefer it. “I think everything is gravy from this point for Coach Kerr, because all he wanted was the No. 1 seed,” Green said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “I think (for) a lot of guys in the locker room, it’s not gravy. We put ourselves in position all year.”So think about the year we had. Started 24-0. Haven’t lost two in a row all year. Have had several streaks of seven-plus wins in a row. Yet we’re sitting here needing three in a row. That tells you how hard this is to do. So to get this far and kind of tank it and say, ‘Aw, never mind’? Let’s face it, we’ll probably never get to this point again. That’s why it’s only been done one[……]

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NBA trade market is set up for summer blockbusters, even for All-Stars

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NBA As trade deadlines go, what we saw last Thursday might look like the inevitable result of an NBA media and fandom that has been all-too seduced by the allure of the rumor. A slew of big names were ground through the mill—from Jahlil Okafor to Dwight Howard and back to Al Horford—only to have virtually no action taken on those names.Seldom in NBA history has so much smoke been generated from so little fire. MORE: Winners and losers at the trade deadline | All 10 trades, rankedLest you wonder if it was all idle chatter, there comes this note from an Eastern Conference general manager: “I think it is safe to say that what you saw (last week) was more exploratory-type stuff, getting the lay of the land with certain players and teams and what they are thinking. There was a lot of groundwork laid down, I think, and a lot of those discussions, you know they are going to come back up in just a few months anyway. You’re going to see all those names back out there this summer, and you’re going to see more of them actually go somewhere.” For many teams, the league’s new TV deal and the cap space that comes with it will help fuel these trade rumors. This summer, teams that have angled to create cap space are going to find that the league’s free-agent pool gets very thin very quickly beyond the first handful of players. (LeBron James is not going anywhere, but Kevin Durant, Howard, Horford, Harrison Barnes and DeMar DeRo[……]

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Russell Westbrook grabs MVP honors in highest-scoring NBA All-Star Game on record

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NBA Basketball We knew it was going to be hard to top Saturday night’s dunk contest, but the All-Star Game didn’t even come close.The West beat the East 196-173 in the 65th All-Star Game in Toronto on Sunday in a match that was a solid, if unspectacular, ending to the NBA’s signature weekend. MORE: Sting’s halftime performance draws mixed reviews | Best photos of the All-Star GameRussell Westbrook was named MVP for the second consecutive year after scoring 31 points, and the 369 combined points were the most in the game’s history. The previous high was 321, set in 2015. Paul George scored a game-high 41 points, one behind Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star Game record of 42 points. George’s nine 3-pointers were an All-Star Game record.Kobe Bryant, making his final NBA All-Star Game appearance, was the night’s foca夜网论坛l point from start to finish. He scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out seven assists and  exited to a standing ovation a little over a minute before the end the game.[……]

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With Spurs next, 69-win Warriors look out for No. 1

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NBA null null Basketball The 69-win Warriors are shifting their focus from a single-season record to a different kind of No. 1, the top seed in the Western Conference, if for no other reason than to break the monotony.“Every day, it’s the same questions,” Andrew Bogut said (via the San Francisco Chronicle). “Every day, it’s the same thing on TV. Every day, it’s the same article. Every day, it’s a new former player who has a comment. It’s just something you’ve got to deal with, but it’s no excuse. MORE: LeBron can’t avoid small-ball revolution much longer “We’re going for the record, but if we don’t get it, it’s not the end of the world.” The Warriors face the Spurs at 10:30 p.m. ET Thursday, the first of three games in four days, including two against their nearest rivals in the Western Conference.Golden State has to win out to reach 73 victories and break the single-season record set by the 1995-96 Bulls.Of m夜网论坛ore immediate importance, the Warriors’ magic number to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West — and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs — is two, meaning they would clinch it with a win Thursday.“We’re still trying to get the No. 1 se[……]

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