Rockets use strong defense to move a win from NBA Finals

HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Rockets are so full of physical defenders that Golden State coach Steve Kerr said many look like they could play football. And with three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt watching from a courtside seat Thursday night, this team long known for its powerful offense relied again on its defense to beat the Warriors 98-94 and take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals. ”Both teams are playing their guys heavy minutes so shots will fall or not,” James Harden said. ”But I…

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Another day, another Oladipo honor: All-NBA third team

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo keeps racking up the awards. Wednesday, it was the NBA All-Defensive first team. Thursday, it is the 2017-18 All-NBA third team. Oladipo, a first-time NBA All-Star in February, averaged 23.1 points (10th in the league), 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and a league-high 2.4 steals per game in his first season with the Pacers. He led Indiana to a 48-34 record and a No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs in Game 7 by Cleveland.…

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Celtics, Cavs scuffle in first half of Game 5

BOSTON (AP) Boston’s Marcus Morris and Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. had to be pulled apart in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night after a hard defensive play by Morris sent Nance to the floor. Morris and Nance both went up for a pass, and the Cavaliers forward wound up crashing into the first row of seats. Morris appeared to wander over and say something, prompting Nance to jump up and body check him; Morris responded with a one-handed shove to the face. Aron Baynes and Jaylen Brown…

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Harden scores 30, Rockets even series at 2 games apiece

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Chris Paul pounded the ball down demonstratively on Stephen Curry‘s home court in sheer delight. And maybe he sent a little message: These Rockets are for real and very much remain in the championship chase. Houston handled the defending champions in their hostile, imposing home arena and sustained the latest second-half flurry by Curry, getting 30 points from James Harden and another 27 from Paul to even the Western Conference finals at two games apiece with a 95-92 victory Tuesday night. Curry scored 28 points and…

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Blowouts have been main theme (so far) in Western Conference Finals

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — One thing is clear through three games of the power-packed Western Conference finals between a Golden State team that has won two of the past three championships and a Houston team that had a league-best 65 wins. If either team is off its game, a blowout could ensue. The Rockets found themselves on the wrong end of that equation in a 126-85 defeat in Game 3 that was the most lopsided loss in their postseason history and the biggest win ever for the Warriors, who took…

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Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41, take 2-1 series lead

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry got his groove back to score 35 points with five 3-pointers, shooting over James Harden and driving past the Houston star as the Golden State Warriors made a second-half statement to beat the Rockets 126-85 on Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals. Kevin Durant added 25 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Draymond Green grabbed 17 rebounds to go with 10 points and six assists. The Warriors won an NBA-record 16th consecutive home postseason game, surpassing the Chicago…

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Basketball great Bill Russell hospitalized briefly

SEATTLE (AP) NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell has been released from a Seattle hospital after an overnight stay for an unknown condition. Russell confirmed on Twitter on Saturday that he went to the hospital late Friday. He doesn’t say why. Russell says in the light-hearted message, ”As my wife likes to remind me, I don’t drink enough.” Article continues below … He thanked fans for their concern and appeared to dismiss reports that the hospital visit was due to heart troubles. Russell says in the message that his friends…

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Warriors ‘unconcerned’ with Curry’s shooting troubles

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry has absolutely no concerns about his 3-point touch, so he’s counting on the first one he takes going in. “I have confidence in myself and my teammates have confidence in me to do what I need to do,” the two-time MVP said Friday. “Never worry about it because I know how hard I work at it. It’s not a false sense of confidence. I know how hard I work at what I do.” His teammates and coach also say enough with the panic about…

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