Lakers win opener, defeat Rockets, 120-114

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES -- After his first official victory as a head coach in his first game leading the Los Angeles Lakers, Luke Walton hesitated when asked if the win felt good.

"Ummm," Walton began.

Then he conceded.

"It feels good," Walton said Wednesday after the 120-114 win over the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. "It feels really good. The ...Read more

Westbrook-led Thunder sink Sixers, spoil Embiid's debut

Sports / Basketball /

PHILADELPHIA -- Joel Embiid emerged Wednesday night from the tunnel between the baseline and the 76ers bench to thunderous applause.

He surveyed his surroundings and gave his teammates high fives while running on the court during player introductions.

"I try to make it a regular day," Embiid said before the season opener against the Thunder at...Read more

Pistons have no answer for DeRozan, Raptors in 109-91 loss

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TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points in the third quarter on his way to 40 points -- a Toronto Raptors opening-night record -- to send the Detroit Pistons to a 109-91 loss in the opener for both teams Wednesday.

Life began for the Pistons without point guard Reggie Jackson, who is out until next month rehabbing a left knee that received a ...Read more

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade make World Series bet

Sports / Basketball /

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James has plenty of experience wearing Indians jerseys. Now he might soon have to wear a Chicago Cubs jersey. And pants and socks, too.

Hometown pride is on the line between James and his close friend Dwyane Wade, a Chicago native. The two former teammates have finalized their World Series bet, which Wade thought up. The ...Read more

Timberwolves let big lead slip away to undermanned Grizzlies in 102-98 loss

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MEMPHIS -- Beginning a new season in which their accomplished and rich coach seeks consistency and 48-minute performance, the Timberwolves opened the Tom Thibodeau era with a careening 102-98 loss at Memphis on Wednesday night at FedEx Forum.

Before the Wolves finished their second season opener in Memphis in the last three years, they led 20-3...Read more

Heat, Whiteside make opening statement with 108-96 victory against Magic

Sports / Basketball /

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The dunks, aggression, force and fury were front and center, and unmistakable. The team that has been doubted, from the moment Dwyane Wade walked out that door and Chris Bosh couldn't walk back in, had quite the chip on its shoulder Wednesday night at the Amway Center.

But what you could only experience in person was the ...Read more

Clippers hope pain of playoff failures motivates them to greater heights

Sports / Basketball /

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Los Angeles Clippers don't view their season opener Thursday night in Portland against the Trail Blazers as a revenge game.

Rather, they see it as the first step toward their ultimate goal of winning the franchise's first NBA championship.

Portland is where the Clippers' season ended last spring in yet another playoff ...Read more

Cavaliers' Irving honored with Nike banner of game-winner in Game 7

Sports / Basketball /

CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving has a dazzling new look to go with his same sensational game. He's also responsible for two banners now in downtown Cleveland.

Nike plastered the side of a building on East Fourth Street and Prospect with an image of Irving's iconic 3-pointer to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals along with the slogan "TAKE YOUR SHOTS ... I'...Read more

Dwyane Wade is home, a man on a mission for reasons beyond basketball

Sports / Basketball /

During Dwyane Wade's rookie season, way back in 2003-04, he found himself matched against the chatty Baron Davis.

Davis, then with the New Orleans Hornets, kept giving Wade pointers throughout the game -- when to fight over a screen, the angle to best exploit a pick-and-roll, experienced stuff.

Wade, back then a quieter type, couldn't believe ...Read more

Spurs thump Warriors, 129-100

Sports / Basketball /

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Joe Lacob, chest out, was at his seat before tip-off. Jay-Z and Beyonce, just to Lacob's right, arrived fashionably late but in plenty of time to witness the unveiling of this highly anticipated megateam. Forget the World Series. Most eyes in the Bay Area -- and many across the nation -- were fixated on this new, souped-up ...Read more

Bucks' Antetokounmpo tunes out praise, focuses on game

Sports / Basketball /

ST. FRANCIS, Wis. -- Praise and accolades have followed Giannis Antetokounmpo throughout a busy offseason.

A few more dollars -- make that $100 million more -- will be coming the Greek Freak's way after the current season thanks to a contract extension he signed in September.

Teammates and opponents alike have said it's time for the 6-foot-11 ...Read more

Lakers' opening goal is modest

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES--When Los Angeles Lakers Coach Luke Walton walks onto the court where he once played for the start of the regular season, it won't feel for him like just another game.

"The nerves will be running," Walton said. "But that's a good thing. I think that's a good thing. I imagine walking out there tomorrow night at Staples for Game 1 of ...Read more

Cavs rout Knicks after ring ceremony, 117-88

Sports / Basketball /

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James led his pack of teammates toward the banner this city has waited 52 years to see. Then he laid his newly-minted ring finger on the wine-colored banner before it was raised to the sky.

James delivered on his mission to bring a title to Cleveland. Now the Cavaliers are back at work trying to deliver another one.

James ...Read more

Taj Gibson starting at power forward no surprise to Jimmy Butler

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Whenever asked during a preseason in which he thoroughly outplayed Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson downplayed the importance of winning the starting power forward position.

"I don't know what it means to me," Gibson said. "I was starting most of last year. But I would rather make it to the playoffs, excel and win. That's the main job. Anybody can ...Read more

No Bryant, Garnett or Duncan: Mavs' Nowitzki one of the last of era

Sports / Basketball /

DALLAS -- Within a matter of months this past offseason, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett all retired from the NBA.

That trifecta's departure turned the page on three of the most iconic careers in pro basketball annals.

Bryant, Duncan and Garnett combined to earn 48 All-Star berths during their careers: 18 by Bryant and 15 each by ...Read more

What could possibly derail this historic Warriors team?

Sports / Basketball /

OAKLAND, Calif. -- In the second quarter of a random, untelevised preseason game in Denver earlier this month, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic threw an errant outlet pass. It was intercepted by Draymond Green.

Before the other Nuggets could react, Green had already pushed a 4-on-1 Warriors fastbreak back the other way. To his right, sprawled across...Read more

Bulls look to force more turnovers, learn each other's defensive tendencies

Sports / Basketball /

Fred Hoiberg is so fired up over the Bulls' inability to force turnovers last season that he has his details slightly askew.

"We were last in the league in forcing turnovers last year," Hoiberg has said more than once during training camp.

Actually, the Bulls ranked 29th, ahead of only the Knicks, with 11.3 per game, well behind the Celtics' ...Read more

Los Angeles Sparks celebrate WNBA championship with their trophy and their fans

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES -- After snapping a few pictures with his iPhone, Brian Agler turned and pointed up at the big screen behind the stage.

Hundreds of people were gathered at the L.A. Live complex to celebrate the Los Angeles Sparks' WNBA championship Monday and Angler, the team's coach, wanted to remind them all of why they were there. Everyone ...Read more

Timberwolves coach Thibodeau talks about continuing Flip Saunders' legacy

Sports / Basketball /

After practice Monday, Wolves president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau added his voice to the chorus of people remembering the impact Flip Saunders had on the organization.

Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of Saunders' passing, which came less than five months after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

The two were...Read more

Clippers looking for an answer at small forward … again

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES -- Chris Paul is cognizant of the difficulties the Clippers have endured over the years trying to solidify the small-forward position.

"It's been a revolving door," Paul said.

And essentially the same vortex will swirl around three players who hope they can secure the starting small-forward spot this season.

Luc Mbah a Moute, the ...Read more