Dabei seit: 24. Aug 2018
Now that five-time All-Star Anthony Davis has his first taste of a playoff triumph Gabe Jackson Jersey , he sounds eager to see what’s next.
Davis’ Pelicans looked like anything but a shoo-in for the postseason after fellow All-Star DeMarcus Cousins was lost for the season in late January with an Achilles tear. They needed 81 games just to clinch a playoff spot. They ran the table during a pressure-packed final five games of the regular season, climbing to sixth in the Western Conference.
Four games later, New Orleans is on a nine-game winning streak and moving on to the second round of the playoffs for only the second time in 16 seasons since the NBA returned to the city in 2002.
”A lot of people counted us out after the injury to DeMarcus, so this is amazing,” Davis said following Saturday’s series-clinching, 131-123 victory over third-seeded Portland. ”But we have to get ready for the second round.”
The Pelicans appear destined to play second-seeded Golden State in Round 2. The Warriors entered Sunday with a chance to sweep their first-round series against San Antonio.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry figures that facing the defending champs will be no easy task, even if Stephen Curry struggles to come back from his knee injury.
”If it is Golden State, we’re playing the NBA champs and we understand that,” said Gentry, adding that he’s a little amused by hearing his former boss, Steve Kerr, talk about the ”turmoil” the Warriors endured this season. ”I don’t think it’s turmoil if you win (58) games.”
The Pelicans would not be the favorites against Golden State. But given how they’ve played lately, another upset bid isn’t entirely out of the question – particularly with Curry’s injury casting doubt on when he’ll return and how effective he’ll be.
New Orleans’ current winning streak included a victory at Golden State. In their first-round series against Portland, the Pelicans proved they could get considerable scoring from players other than Davis when they needed it.
After Davis led the Pelicans with 35 points in Game 1 Sam Mills Jersey , Holiday scored a team-high 33 in Game 2. When the series shifted to New Orleans for Game 3, forward Nikola Mirotic had a team-high 30 points.
Then in Game 4, a determined Davis and Holiday combined for 88 points, with Davis scoring a franchise playoff-record 47 and Holiday capping his 41-point outing with a clutch 3 and 18-foot jumper in the final minutes.
”Hats off to New Orleans. They played really well,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. ”Their stars put on a show. … They had different people step up at different times.”
Having a veteran guard like Rajon Rondo to run the offense helped.
Pushing the pace, Rondo racked up 53 assists in four games and mixed in his share of slashing layups when defenses over-committed to Davis or Holiday.
”I came here to win a championship. I didn’t come here to beat a team in the first round or the second round,” said the 32-year-old Rondo, who won a title with Boston in 2008. ”My expectations were high coming in, knowing the talent I was playing with.
”We were able to come together as a team that plays for one another. We believe in each other,” Rondo continued. ”This is just one check mark of the bigger goal that we have in mind. We are going to try to get a couple of days of rest and come back locked in and ready to go.”
When the final horn sounded on the Blazers’ season, Portland star guard Damian Lillard exchanged a long hug with Davis. Afterward, Lillard discussed his appreciation for the Pelicans star, who needed six seasons to experience his first playoff victory with New Orleans, and who didn’t even get to participate in the playoffs in four of his first five years in the NBA.
”He’s had it hard. I couldn’t imagine what it’s like going all those years not being able to compete in the postseason when you’re that level of player Nick Vannett Jersey ,” Lillard said. ”I congratulate him. … You’ve got to give credit where it’s due. I give him credit for his performance and their team. And he’s also a great dude. So, you can’t be mad at him.”
Perhaps even the Pelicans next-round opponents will be happy for Davis. But one can bet they won’t be all that happy to have to play against him.
Kevin Durant is staying put for now. So are Paul George and Chris Paul.
Meanwhile, LeBron James‘ next move remains unclear.
Durant has decided to sign a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the deal cannot become official until the league’s offseason moratorium ends on Friday. The deal comes with a player option for 2019-20, so Durant can – and likely will – become a free agent again next summer.
So much for the notion that stars would wait for James to decide his future before they would decide theirs.
Things went a very different way.
Durant, Paul and George all knew what they were going to do even before the NBA’s moratorium – and the start of free agency – officially kicked in at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Sunday. So did plenty of other players, and by the time the moratorium was 2 hours old nearly $700 million worth of deals had been agreed upon, based on figures confirmed to AP by people involved in the various decisions.
Durant’s move is a win on multiple levels for the two-time defending NBA champion Warriors. Not only do they get to keep the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals MVP, but they also get some financial flexibility in the deal.
Durant will be paid about $30.5 million this coming season, about $5 million less than he could have commanded if the deal was structured differently. That savings will give Golden State options for other moves this summer, as the Warriors look to bolster their bench for a run at what could be a fourth title in a five-year span.
They might need the boost, because the Western Conference is going to be loaded again.
George took the stage at a party in Oklahoma City on Saturday night and announced that he will be staying with the Thunder, a move that might have been unexpected a year ago when he was traded away by the Indiana Pacers – presumably because of the belief that he was already focused on joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.
That move isn’t happening.
Not now, anyway Barkevious Mingo Jersey , and barring a trade not for at least three years in what will be considered a massive victory for the Thunder and general manager Sam Presti. George agreed to a four-year deal that will be worth roughly $135 million, though he can opt out of the final season, according to a person familiar with the terms.
”I’m here to stay,” George told the crowd at the party.
Down in Houston, Paul has told Rockets fans the same thing.
”UNFINISHED BUSINESS,” Paul wrote on Twitter at the exact moment that the calendar flipped to July 1 in the East, meaning the NBA’s free agency frenzy was officially open for the summer.
His meaning was clear. The Rockets were tantalizingly close to a trip to the NBA Finals this spring, and Paul’s coming back to get over that hump.
Houston took Golden State to seven games in the Western Conference finals back in May. Paul missed the last two games of that series with an injury, and the Rockets wasted big leads in both of those games – then had to watch the Warriors sweep Cleveland for the NBA title.
Paul averaged 18.6 points and 7.9 assists last season with the Rockets, who went 65-17 led by Paul and newly minted NBA MVP James Harden. ESPN reported he is signing a four-year deal that will be worth $160 million.
Meanwhile, James created a frenzy on Saturday without saying a word.
James spent the week vacationing in Anguilla, and hopped aboard a private Gulfstream jet in the morning to fly to the Los Angeles area. By the time he arrived around midday – after his flight plan was tracked online – reporters and at least one news helicopter were waiting for the Cleveland Cavaliers star, who decided to become an unrestricted free agent and not opt-in to a $35.6 million deal for this coming season.
The Lakers have long been mentioned as a top destination for James, and they have more salary cap space this summer than any team in the NBA. But going to L.A. on Saturday doesn’t necessarily provide any hint about his team for next season Antonio Garcia Jersey , since James has homes in Southern California.
But if James is going to be the next superstar to follow in the legacy that Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson built for the Lakers, it’s already fairly evident that not everyone in the NBA will be thrilled by the development.
”The Lakers are FOREVER gonna be Kobe’s and Magic’s team…. Process that,” Philadelphia star Joel Embiid wrote on Twitter.
Philadelphia has been one of the teams often mentioned as a club that would pursue James this summer, and that still may be the case.
With Durant, George and Paul off the board, James is the biggest name left to decide his intentions when it comes to free agency. His agent Rich Paul was expected to meet by phone with Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman early Sunday, and there has been no indication when James will announce his plans for next season and beyond.
For Dallas, persistence paid off. The Mavs finally are getting DeAndre Jordan.
Jordan agreed to sign with Dallas three years ago, then changed his mind and social media went beyond abuzz over what happened next. Former teammate Blake Griffin and coach Doc Rivers were part of a contingent that went to his house and stayed with him until the deal was official.
But he agreed quickly this time to a one-year, $24.1 million deal and will finally be part of the Mavericks.
Denver added to the huge night of spending out West when it got Will Barton to commit to staying in what will be a f Authentic Womens Chris Herndon Jersey