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About Last Night: Thunder stars shine in comeback

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Much like a pair of superheroes teaming up to wreak havoc on their foes, Russell Westbrook and Paul George proved unstoppable in the face of a seemingly insurmountable deficit Wednesday at Barclays Center. 

Just how bleak was the Thunder’s situation against the Nets? 

Down 23 midway through the third quarter and as many as 20 in the fourth, they were given less than a 1 percent chance of rallying for victory by ESPN’s Game Probability model. 

But much like Brooklyn’s defense, those odds meant nothing to the Thunder — and more specifically, Westbrook and George. 

Westbrook continued his march up the career triple-double chart, passing Jason Kidd for third with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 17 assists. It was triple-double No. 108 for Westbrook, marking only the 34th time in NBA history that a player has totaled at least 20, 15 and 15 in those categories.

George’s 47 points and 15 rebounds weren’t as rare, but might have been even more impressive. More than half his scoring output (25) came over the final 7:11, including the go-ahead 3-pointer — off a Westbrook assist, naturally — with 3.1 seconds left.

Per ESPN Stats, George had previously been 0-for-14 in his career on go-ahead shots in the final 10 seconds. But having watched George torch his team throughout the fourth, Nets reserve Jared Dudley knew it was down before it left his hand. 

Westbrook then essentially killed the Nets’ final possession with a deflection that left them just 0.1 second to attempt the last shot, completing a remarkable 114-112 triumph for the Thunder. It was a fitting piece of dirty work by Westbrook, who took only two shots while dishing out five assists in the fourth as he gave George plenty of space to sizzle.  

Driven by their two superstars, the Thunder outscored the Nets 39-19 in the final period to register the largest comeback since the team moved to Oklahoma City in 2009. Of more immediate concern, it was also their 16th win in 19 outings following an 0-4 start. 

“This was a special night,” said George, who missed his career scoring high by one point. “We came together when our backs were against the wall and we showed who we are.”

 

Paul George erupted for 47 points, including 25 in the fourth to outscore the Nets by himself.

 

Night of greatness

OKC’s dynamic duo highlighted a score of monster performances: 

* LeBron James scored 20 of his 42 points in the fourth, leading the Lakers past the Spurs 121-113. 

* Stephen Curry lit up the Cavaliers for 42 points, including 25 in the first half. 

* Jimmy Butler outscored Kawhi Leonard 38-36, but Leonard got the last laugh with a 113-102 victory

* Bradley Beal picked up the slack for the absent John Well with 36 points and nine assists against the Hawks. 

* Karl-Anthony Towns overpowered the Hornets for 35 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks. 

And that’s just scraping the surface. Check out NBA.com/stats for a complete rundown on Wednesday’s top performers. 

 

End of an era

Four straight Finals matchups etched the Warriors-Cavaliers rivalry among the best in NBA history. 

”It was historical,” said Curry, whose team claimed three of those four Finals battles, including the final two. ”I’ll definitely sit back on the couch in 10 or 12 years when it’s all over and think about what it was like to play (in Cleveland), and how high the stakes were every time we came into this building.”

But with LeBron James having departed for L.A. over the offseason, there were no stakes to speak of as the Warriors visited Quicken Loans Arena outside another date on the 82-game schedule.

And the defending champions played like it during the first half, trailing by six at the break despite Stephen Curry’s 25 points. 

But as they’re wont to do, the Warriors awoke with devastating results. Curry added 17 more in the second, and Kevin Durant hit a flurry of 3s en route to 25 points for the game as the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers by 30 over the final 24 minutes.

Despite the impressive finish, the Warriors couldn’t help but look back at the way things were.  

”It’s not a rivalry, it’s another game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said wistfully. ”Part of me is a little nostalgic for that.”

 

Stephen Curry leads the Warriors to victory with 42 points.

 

Welcome back

Plagued by injuries in recent years and jobless after being waived by the Knicks in October, former All-Star Joakim Noah wasn’t sure if he would ever play in the NBA again. 

That moment finally came with the Grizzlies in their 96-86 win over the Clippers, more than 11 months after his most recent outing in January. Noah scored only four points in 13 minutes, a far cry from his peak. But at this point, after seeing his career flash before his eyes, he’s just glad to be back on the court in any capacity he can. 

“I’m really happy,” an emotional Noah said. “I don’t expect anything anymore. I’ve been in this league for a while now. Sometimes you take it for granted because there are so many games. Then you (can’t play), it just feels good to be here in a locker room after a win, and feel that energy.”

 

Quote of the Night

“Have you watched LeBron play before?” — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, asked what makes James so difficult to guard.

 

Living it up

No one can accuse Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry of not enjoying his job. 

 

 

 



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Suns’ Holmes arrested for marijuana possession

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MIAMI (AP)  — Phoenix Suns big man Richaun Holmes was arrested for misdemeanor possession of cannabis after a Miami-area traffic stop.

Twenty-five-year-old Holmes was arrested Tuesday night along with former Brooklyn Nets forward James Webb III after authorities say the found a recently used marijuana joint inside their vehicle.

Both men posted bond soon after being booked into a Miami jail.

Holmes became an unrestricted free agent this summer and averaged 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game this past season.

He’s the second Suns player to be arrested in South Florida this month after swingman Josh Jackson was detained when police say he refused to leave a music festival VIP area he had entered without a pass.

It wasn’t immediately known whether either man has a lawyer.

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Warriors’ Durant unlikely to suit up for start of Finals

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The Golden State Warriors announced today that star forward Kevin Durant and center DeMarcus Cousins are not expected to play at the start of The 2019 Finals. However, in a bit of good news on both fronts for Warriors fans, the duo is expected to play in the series at some point.

Durant has been out since suffering a strained right calf in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. The Warriors in their statement said: “Durant, who has not yet been cleared to begin on-court activities, continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation. At this point, it is unlikely that he will play at the beginning of the 2019 NBA Finals, but it’s hopeful that he could return at some point during the series.”

Despite having played in just 11 playoff games this year, Durant leads the Warriors in scoring (34.2 points per game) and is second in blocks (1 block per game) as well. 

The Warriors have been without Cousins since he tore his left quadriceps muscle in Game 2 of the team’s first-round series against the LA Clippers. The Warriors said in their statement regarding Cousins: “Cousins also continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation and practiced with the team today for the first time since suffering the injury on April 16. It’s anticipated that he will play at some point during the 2019 NBA Finals, but the exact date is to be determined and depends on his progress.”

The Warriors said in their statement that the status of Cousins and Durant will be updated next Wednesday. Game 1 of The Finals is May 30.

Cousins appeared in just two playoff games, averaging 5.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.5 apg in 12.5 minutes per game. In 30 games this season, Cousins averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.5 blocks in 25.7 minutes per game. 

The NBA Finals begin next Thursday and will be hosted by the winner of the Eastern Conference finals — either the Milwaukee Bucks or the Toronto Raptors.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Antetokounmpo, Harden lead 2018-19 All-NBA First Team

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Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Houston Rockets guard James Harden have been unanimously selected to the 2018-19 All-NBA First Team.

Antetokounmpo and Harden both received All-NBA First Team votes on all 100 ballots to finish with 500 points each.  This marks the first All-NBA First Team honor for Antetokounmpo, a two-time Second Team member.  Harden earns his fifth First Team nod, including his third in a row as a unanimous selection.

The 2018-19 All-NBA First Team also features Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (482 points; 91 First Team votes), Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (433 points; 71 First Team votes) and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić (411 points; 59 First Team votes).

Curry is an All-NBA First Team selection for the third time.  George, a four-time Third Team honoree, makes his First Team debut.  Jokić has been named to his first All-NBA Team.

* NBA History:  Year-by-year All-NBA teams

Antetokounmpo, Harden and George are the three finalists for the 2018-19 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award.  The winner will be revealed at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on Monday, June 24 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.  The third annual NBA Awards, honoring this season’s top performers, will take place at Barker Hangar in Los Angeles.

The 2018-19 All-NBA Second Team consists of Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (375 points), Warriors forward Kevin Durant (358), Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (306), Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (242) and Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (195).

The 2018-19 All-NBA Third Team is made up of Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (178 points), Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (115), Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (111), Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (89) and Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (51).

James has tied the NBA record for most All-NBA selections with 15, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.  Walker, an eight-year veteran, has earned his first All-NBA honor.

The All-NBA Teams were selected by a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.  The media voted for All-NBA First, Second and Third Teams by position with points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis.  Voters selected two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, choosing players at the position they play regularly.  Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position where they received the most votes.

Complete voting results by media member will be posted at pr.nba.com the night of the 2019 NBA Awards presented by KiaClick here for the list of 100 media voters for the 2018-19 All-NBA Teams.

Below are the voting results for the 2018-19 All-NBA Teams.  The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP.

* * *

2018-19 ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM

Position | Player, Team | 1st Team (5 Pts.) | 2nd Team (3 Pts.) | 3rd Team (1 Pt.) | Total | All-NBA Selections

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee | 100 | — | — | 500 | 3 (one 1st, two 2nd)
James Harden, Houston | 100 | — |  — |  500 | 6 (five 1st, one 3rd)
Stephen Curry, Golden State | 91 | 9 | — | 482 | 6 (three 1st, two 2nd, one 3rd)
Paul George, Oklahoma City |  71 | 25 | 3 | 433 | 5 (one 1st, four 3rd)
Nikola Jokić, Denver | 59 | 38 | 2 | 411 | 1

2018-19 ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM

Position | Player, Team | 1st Team (5 Pts.) | 2nd Team (3 Pts.) | 3rd Team (1 Pt.) | Total | All-NBA Selections

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia | 40 | 57 | 4 | 375 | 2 (two 2nd)
Kevin Durant, Golden State | 29 | 71 | — | 358 | 9 (six 1st, three 2nd)
Damian Lillard, Portland | 8 | 87 | 5 | 306 | 4 (one 1st, two 2nd, one 3rd)
Kawhi Leonard, Toronto | — | 73 | 23 | 242 | 3 (two 1st, one 2nd)
Kyrie Irving, Boston | — | 52 | 39 | 195 | 2 (one 2nd, one 3rd)

2018-19 ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM

Position | Player, Team | 1st Team (5 Pts.) | 2nd Team (3 Pts.) | 3rd Team (1 Pt.) | Total | All-NBA Selections

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City | 1 | 43 | 44 | 178 | 8 (two 1st, five 2nd, one 3rd)
Blake Griffin, Detroit | — | 13 | 76 | 115 | 5 (three 2nd, two 3rd)
LeBron James, L.A. Lakers | — | 13 | 72 | 111 | 15 (12 1st, two 2nd, one 3rd)
Rudy Gobert, Utah | 1 | 5 | 69 | 89 | 2 (one 2nd, one 3rd)
Kemba Walker, Charlotte | — | 4 | 39 | 51 | 1

Below are the other players who received votes for the 2018-19 All-NBA Teams, listed by the position at which they received the most votes.

OTHER PLAYERS RECEIVING VOTES: GUARDS

Player, Team | 1st Team (5 Pts.) | 2nd Team (3 Pts.) | 3rd Team (1 Pt.) | Total

Bradley Beal, Washington | — | 1 | 31 | 34
Klay Thompson, Golden State | — | 3 | 18 | 27
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia | — | — | 7 | 7
Mike Conley, Memphis | — | — | 4 | 4
Donovan Mitchell, Utah | — | — | 4 | 4
DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio | — | — | 3 | 3
D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn | — | — | 3 | 3
Dwyane Wade, Miami | — | 1 | — | 3
Devin Booker, Phoenix  | — | — | 1 | 1
Eric Gordon, Houston | — | — | 1 | 1
Jrue Holiday, New Orleans | — | — | 1 | 1
Kyle Lowry, Toronto | — | — | 1 | 1
Lou Williams, LA Clippers | — | — | 1 | 

OTHER PLAYERS RECEIVING VOTES: FORWARDS

Player, Team | 1st Team (5 Pts.) | 2nd Team (3 Pts.) | 3rd Team (1 Pt.) | Total

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio | — | 2 | 11 | 17
Danilo Gallinari, LA Clippers | — | 1 | 4 | 7
Pascal Siakam, Toronto | — | — | 4 | 4
Luka Donĉić, Dallas | — | 1| — | 3
Tobias Harris, Philadelphia | — | — | 2 | 2
Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento | — | — | 1 | 1
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana | — | — | 1 | 1

OTHER PLAYERS RECEIVING VOTES: CENTERS

Player, Team | 1st Team (5 Pts.) | 2nd Team (3 Pts.) | 3rd Team (1 Pt.) | Total

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota | — | — | 20 | 20
Nikola Vučević, Orlando | — | — | 4 | 4
Andre Drummond, Detroit | — | 1 | — | 3
Anthony Davis, New Orleans | — | — | 1 | 1
Myles Turner, Indiana | — | — | 1 | 1



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