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doing better this time around. Also See: Changing the game

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:03 am    Post subject: doing better this time around. Also See: Changing the game Reply with quote

Portland, OR (SportsNetwork. Fernando Valenzuela Jersey .com) - Life without Kevin Durant was fine for the Oklahoma City Thunder through three quarters. Then the Portland Trail Blazers got red hot in the fourth. LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and the Blazers pulled away for a 106-89 win over the Thunder in the season opener for both teams on Wednesday night. The Thunder led 77-75 after three quarters, but Portland outscored them 31-12 in the final frame. Russell Westbrook, who had 36 points through three, netted just two points on 1-of-6 shooting in the fourth. Wesley Matthews nailed five 3-pointers and finished with 22 points, while Damian Lillard netted seven of his 10 points in the fourth for Portland, which went 54-28 a year ago and fell to eventual-champion San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals of the playoffs. Nicolas Batum tallied 16 points, six assists and five rebounds in the triumph. Westbrook posted 26 of his 36 points in the first half, ended 11-of-26 from the field and sunk 15-of-16 foul shots for the Thunder, who lost to San Antonio in the West Finals last season. The reigning NBA MVP Durant, who led the league in scoring for a fourth time in the last five seasons, will miss the start of the year after undergoing surgery Oct. 16 to fix a bone fracture in his right foot. Portland led 85-81 with 8:13 left before putting the game away with an 18-4 run. Matthews knocked down back-to-back triples to highlight the surge, which was capped on a Thomas Robinson pull-up right elbow jumper for a 103-85 advantage with 1:31 to play. Portland shot 54.5 percent (12-of-22) and limited the Thunder to just a 26.3 percent clip (5-of-19) in the final stanza. Earlier, OKC led 34-29 following a quarter of play. Lance Thomas hit all five of his shots for a 10-point opening frame, while Westbrook added 11. Right after Batum found Matthews for a dunk with 2.8 seconds left in the half, Westbrook received Darren Collisons ensuing inbounds pass near midcourt and raced the rest of the way before finishing with an emphating one-handed dunk right just prior to the horn for a 54-49 OKC lead going into the locker room. Game Notes Westbrook was 7-of-13 in the first half and sunk 12-of-13 from the charity stripe ... Portland put in 20 points off 15 OKC turnovers ... The Thunder were just 2-of-16 from beyond the arc. Maury Wills Jersey .com) - James Harden put the Houston Rockets on his back and willed them to an overtime victory on Thursday. Andre Ethier Jersey . Costa Rica followed up its wins over Uruguay and Italy by holding England to a dour 0-0 draw on Tuesday, enough to finish first in Group D. . She was 30. The former British No. 1 died peacefully surrounded by family and friends, the Womens Tennis Association said on its website. The Kyiv-born Baltacha, who represented Britain at the 2012 London Olympics, was diagnosed with the illness in January, two months after retiring from tennis and only weeks after she married her long-time coach Nino Severino.The NBA play-offs begin on Saturday night. We examine the eight Western Conference teams to reach the post-season, identify their key players and analyse their title hopes. Golden State Warriors How good are the Warriors? Assessing a record-breaking 73-9 season Regular season record: 73-9, Pacific division championsWestern Conference play-off seeding: 1 Star man: Steph Curry - last seasons MVP raised the bar again this term, cementing his status as the greatest shooter in the history of the game. Curry smashed his own regular season three point shooting record, rattling home 402 baskets from beyond the arc. He surpassed the previous mark (286) with 24 regular season games to spare. Add to that an array of spectacular half-court shots and the fact that he ended the season as a member of the elite 50/40/90 club (thats 50 per cent successful shooting on field goals, 40 per cent on threes and 90 per cent on free throws for a season - only six other players have ever managed it in NBA history), its safe to say hell be celebrating a second regular season MVP award in due course. Changing the game Steph Curry and the Warriors are changing the face of basketball Season in summary: The greatest season in NBA history. The Warriors won 39 of their first 43 games, all while head coach Steve Kerr was absent though ill-health. Games were routinely finished as competitive contests after three quarters with Klay Thompsons scoring and Draymond Greens hard-nosed defence augmenting Currys offensive excellence.Play-off prognosis: Overwhelming favourites to repeat their 2015 triumph. Unquestionably the team to beat. To paraphrase former Chicago Bulls guard Ron Harper, 73-9 wont mean a thing, without that Championship ring.San Antonio Spurs San Antonio Spurs are the likeliest threat to the Warriors dominance Regular season record: 67-15, South West division championsWestern Conference play-off seeding: 2Star man: Kawhi Leonard - Leonards evolution from defensive specialist into one of the top five all-round players in the league was fully realised in 2016. In typically efficient fashion, the Spurs small forward topped 20 points per game for the first time in his career and, allied with the successful free agency acquisition of LaMarcus Aldridge from Portland, allowed coach Gregg Popovich to successfully reinvent the Spurs style of play. Kawhi Leonard will lead the Spurs play-off push Season in summary: The Spurs ended the season with a 40-1 home record, their sole defeat coming at the hands of the history-making Warriors. While the world was being wowed by Golden State, the Spurs went about their business in typically understated fashion, somehow remaining under the radar as they won 67 games, the most in franchise history.Play-off prognosis: The team with the best chance to upset Golden State. Just how much did the shrewd Popovich hold back in the Spurs regular season meetings with the Warriors?Oklahoma City Thunder Can Oklahoma improve their ability to close out games Regular season record: 55-27, North West division championsWestern Conference play-off seeding: 3Star men: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook - Durant bounced back from an injury-riddled 2015 in style, averaging 28.2 points per game and narrowly missing out on the second 50/40/90 season of his career. Westbrook was no less statistically impressive, racking up 18 triple doubles (games with double figure points, assists and rebounds), including one in just 18 minutes against the hapless Los Angeles Lakers.Season in summary: All-stars Durant and Westbrook are acknowledged as two of the leagues 10 best players. Given that, shouldnt the Thunder have won more than 55 games? Their Achilles heel? Poor execution in the final minutes of games. And that is sure to be a problem in the post-season. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will lead the Thunders hopes Play-off prognosis: The Thunder should cruise through the opening round of the play-offs but its hard to see them getting the better of San Antonio over seven games in second round.LA ClippersRegular season record: 53-29Western Conference play-off seeding: 4Star man: Chris Paul - with All-Star forward Blake Griffin out with an injury suffered in an off-court altercation with a member of the Clippers own support staff, veteran point guard Paul ensured the forwards long-teerm absence did not derail the Clippers season. Curtis Granderson Jersey. Thanks to Pauls leadership and ability to control the pace and flow of games, they didnt miss a beat, and arguably looked more effective without Griffin than with him. Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers will be outsiders for a run at the Conference crown Season in summary: Another 50-win season for the Clippers, with Paul well supported by the sharpshooting of JJ Redick and the defence of DeAndre Jordan. The acid test for LAs best team awaits: can they finally get beyond the opening rounds of the play-offs and into the Conference finals? If they cant, dont expect to see Paul, Griffin and Jordan together next season.Post-season prognosis: Likely to renew their rivalry with Golden State - who they ousted from the post-season in 2014 - in the second round of the play-offs. A hard-fought series is certain, but a repeat of their 2014 success isnt likely, especially with the returning Griffin looking some way short of his best.Portland TrailblazersRegular season record: 44-38Western Conference play-off seeding: 5Star man: Damian Lillard - Portlands point guard enjoyed a strong first half of the season yet, after being snubbed for a spot in the All-Star game, elevated his game again, dragging an unfancied Rip City squad into the post-season.Season in summary: Losing power forward LaMarcus Aldridge to San Antonio in last summers free agency looked like consigning Portland to the lower reaches of the Western Conference. But the determined Lillard, the emergence of shooting guard CJ McCollum and a solid season from head coach Terry Stotts has confounded those expectations. Damian Lillard is Portland Trail Blazers star man Play-off prognosis: No one expected the Blazers to be a play-off team this year, but their Cinderella story will end with a first round exit at the hands of the Clippers.Dallas MavericksRegular season record: 42-40Western Conference play-off seeding: 6Star man: Dirk Nowitzki - now in the twilight of his career, the former league MVP is a long way from the player who led the Mavericks to the title in 2012. However, the 37-year-old still found a way to lead Dallas into the post-season, lifting his scoring to 21.8 points per game in March when it was most needed. Evergreen Dirk Nowitzki continue to lead Dallas Mavericks bid Season in summary: With a roster full of veterans (Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, David Lee, Raymond Felton) backing up Nowitzki, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle found a way to lead his team to a post-season spot for a third successive season.Play-off prognosis: Not good. The Mavs dont match up well with first round opponent Oklahoma City. They dont have anyone able to repel the scoring threat of Westbrook and Durant. Dirk and Co could be heading home after a one-sided first-round series.Memphis GrizzliesRegular season record: 42-40Western Conference play-off seeding: 7Star man: Zach Randolph - Bruising veteran power forward Z-Bo epitomises the Grizzlies old school grit and grind ethos. With All-Star team-mates Mike Conley and Marc Gasol absent with long-term injuries, Randolph carries even more responsibility on his shoulders in this post-season.Season in summary: Injury ravaged. The Grizzlies limped into the post-season after the loss of their two best players, point guard Conley and centre Gasol, winning just 11 of their 28 games after the All-Star break.Play-off prognosis: Without Conley and Gasol, a quick exit to the Spurs beckons for the Grizzlies.Houston Rockets Houston Rockets and James Harden are the eighth seed and face the unenviable task of the Goolden State Warriors Regular season record: 41-41Western Conference play-off seeding: 8Star man: James Harden - the owner of the NBAs most famous beard led the Rockets to the Western Conference finals last year and pushed Steph Curry all the way for MVP honours. But this season hasnt gone well. Harden still got his numbers (29 points per game, 7.5 assists per game) but his ball-dominant play has frustrated his team-mates, most notably centre Dwight Howard.Season in summary: Coach Kevin McHale was fired three weeks into the season, but that didnt resolve the Rockets on-court chemistry issues which persisted throughout the campaign. It took until the final night of the season for the Rockets to book their place in the post-season, as victory over Sacramento (combined with Utahs loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Kobe Bryants final game) earned them the eighth seed.Play-off prognosis: The Rockets sub-par season resulted in them facing the Golden State Warriors in the first round. They surrendered 4-1 to the Dubs in last years Western Conference finals. Its tough to see them doing better this time around. Also See: Changing the game Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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