Warriors trying to keep perspective after dramatic week

Nov 19, 2018

SAN ANTONIO — Kevin Durant and Draymond Green sat just a locker stall away from each other on the Golden State Warriors‘ Texas trip from hell. A few days after an emotional blowup in Los Angeles that caught the entire league’s attention and caused many to speculate about their futures, there the All-Star teammates were prior to Sunday night’s latest setback, doing exactly what the basketball world thought they would be doing.

Well, not exactly.

Instead of the iciness many predicted following the ugly episode on Monday, Durant and Green found themselves having the same conversation that many sports fans were having all across the country: They were discussing Alex Smith’s gruesome leg injury during Sunday’s game between the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans. Durant, an ardent Redskins fan who wears the team’s hat during many of his postgame news conferences, and Green were just

Brad Stevens says Celtics need 'tougher' mindset

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens and All-Star Kyrie Irving expressed frustrations with the team after they fell to 9-7 on the season with Saturday night’s 98-86 loss to the Utah Jazz.

“We have to build a tougher team mindset than we have,” Stevens said. “We just don’t have that mindset yet that we need.”

“I think last year, the young guys that are in the locker room now, some of the guys that are playing, they were a little bit younger,” said Irving after he scored 20 points in the loss to Utah. “They weren’t expected to do as much, and I think that the amount of pressure that we put on them to perform every single night is something that they have to get used to, being part of a great team like this.”

Jayson Tatum, one of the Celtics’ young stars, finished the game with 10 points. But no other player besides him

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NBA Power Rankings: More Jimmy drama and a rising OKC

9:17 AM ET

The Blazers are on top of the Western Conference, the Celtics wouldn’t have home court if the playoffs started today and the Grizzlies are a half-game behind the defending champs, who have just lost three straight! We’re a month into the 2018-19 season, and things are … odd.

Throughout the regular season, our panel (ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, Tim MacMahon and Andre Snellings, The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears and FiveThirtyEight’s Chris Herring) ranks the league’s 30 teams from top to bottom.

Previous: Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Camp | Free agency

1. Toronto Raptors
Record: 13-4

PREV. RANK LAST WEEK THIS WEEK 1   1-3 @ORL, @ATL, WAS, MIA

The Raptors took out their frustrations from their three-game losing streak — including an excruciating overtime loss at Boston on Friday — on a hapless Chicago team on Saturday. The

The Celtics need some soul-searching after another listless offensive showing

Nov 18, 2018

Tim BontempsESPN

BOSTON — After Celtics head coach Brad Stevens watched Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors slam home three thunderous alley-oop dunks early in the fourth quarter here at TD Garden on Saturday night, he decided he had seen enough.

Out came Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown, joining Jayson Tatum on Boston’s bench.

In came Brad Wanamaker, Guerschon Yabusele and Daniel Theis — the three players who typically sit at the end of the bench and watch.

This is arguably the most passive offense in the NBA.

The Lakers are starting to find calm within the chaos, while the Sixers and Wolves have brand-new concerns. Who’s acing and who’s failing their chemistry exams?

After scoring 23 of his 43 points in the fourth quarter and overtime Friday against the Raptors, Kyrie Irving stressed the

Hornets honor 30th anniversary team

The best of purple and teal basketball took to the court on Saturday night to mark 30 years since NBA basketball arrived in Charlotte. Many of the names and and faces are iconic to the franchise, especially during their well-regarded mid-90s era that saw them earn three 50-win seasons.

From 5-foot-3 Muggsy Bogues to 6-foot-10 Alonzo Mourning to current All-Star point guard Kemba Walker, Hornets fans were treated to seeing a generation’s worth of talent and nostalgia gathered in one place for a halftime ceremony. Other members of the anniversary team included Kendall Gill, Larry Johnson, Al Jefferson, Dell Curry, Glen Rice, Baron Davis and Gerald Wallace.

⭐️WHAT A CREW! ⭐️

The Hornets 30th Anniversary Team comprised of the ten players voted on by the fans was honored at halftime of tonight’s game. #Hornets30pic.twitter.com/u7AIvlLX7P

— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) November 18, 2018

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Raptors' Leonard, Bulls' LaVine to sit out game

CHICAGO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors and Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls are being held out of Saturday night’s matchup between the teams.

Leonard isn’t injured. The Raptors don’t want to overextend him early in the season, so he’ll sit after logging 43 minutes Friday night at Boston. He has not played back-to-back games this season and is averaging 24.8 points and 8.4 rebounds.

Fred VanVleet will start in Leonard’s spot. OG Anunoby (sprained right wrist), C.J. Miles (right abductor strain) and Norman Powell (left shoulder) also won’t play for Toronto.

LaVine is sitting out due to an illness. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said LaVine first started feeling the symptoms on Thursday night and was affected Friday night at Milwaukee.

Cameron Payne will start in place of LaVine, who is averaging 25.3 points.

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Victor Oladipo exits game with sore right knee

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo exited Saturday’s game against Atlanta with a sore right knee. The one-time All-Star asked to be substituted out less than halfway through the first quarter.

Injury update: Victor Oladipo (sore right knee) will not return to tonight’s game.

— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) November 18, 2018

Oladipo leads the Pacers in points (22.7), assists (4.9) and steals (1.7) per game.

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Who had the best sneakers of Week 5 in the NBA?

Nov 18, 2018

Nick DePaulaESPN

This season, more than ever before, players can make a statement on the court simply through loud, clashing colors at any point of the season. For Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard and Brooklyn Nets guard-on-the-rise Spencer Dinwiddie, they’ve been telling stories and themes through their footwear, perhaps better than anyone else across the league.

Can’t get enough kicks coverage? SneakerCenter is ESPN’s Facebook group where fans can celebrate all things around sneaker culture, find the latest sneaker news and check out the freshest sneaker photos and videos. Join on Facebook »

Lillard’s latest edition of his fourth Adidas signature shoe sends a message to the naysayers he has faced on the road early in the season. During a late-October matchup against the Orlando Magic, a slow start brought out the wrath of a courtside fan.

About Last Night: Kyrie cooks Raptors

As an NBA champion and three-time Finalist, Celtics All-Star Kyrie Irving has ample experience on the brightest stage professional basketball has to offer. 

And yet here he was in mid-November, five months before the playoffs even begin, licking his chops over a regular-season matchup. 

For good reason: The Raptors were bringing their NBA-best 12-3 record to Boston for a potential — if ridiculously early — preview of the Eastern Conference finals.

“I’m excited for that game,” Irving said before Friday’s game. “Obviously one game at a time, but that’s just a competitor’s dream to be going against the best of the best.”

As he’s done so many times over the years, Irving rose to the occasion with one of the best games of his career, piling up season-highs of 43 points and 11 assists in a thrilling 123-116, overtime victory. Per Elias Sports, Irving is the first Celtic with 40-plus points

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Warriors didn't know Klay Thompson, Anderson Varejao were best friends

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Amidst reports of chemistry issues surrounding the Golden State Warriors, we learned about a time Klay Thompson was particularly distraught due to a decision by the team’s front office.

Amin Elhassan noted that Thompson was tremendously upset when the Warriors parted with big man Anderson Varejao (via House of Strauss):

“Someone told me that when Varejao got cut, Klay went into this deep depression and at that time, that was the first time that anyone on the team realized that that was Klay’s best friend. No one even knew until he got cut and Klay was all sad, and they were all like, ‘Oh snap, that’s your boy?’ And it turns out, that was his on-the-road buddy. Like, they’d go to dinner together and they’d have a couple of drinks together and stuff like that.”

Varejao was

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