Playing The Point – May 15, 2017

Stephen Curry; Credit Zimbo

1. Golden State Warriors wins Game 1 vs. San Antonio Spurs – Stephen Curry lead the Warriors with 40 points hitting a tying 3-pointer with 1:48 remaining. The Warriors rallied from a huge deficit after Kawhi Leonard was lost to an ankle injury to beat the San Antonio Spurs 113-111 on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. Leonard had 26 points and eight rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge produced another clutch playoff performance with 28 points and eight boards. Even though the slow start the Warriors found a way to win Game 1. Game 2 in the series is Tuesday night back at Oracle Arena.

2. Spurs rout James Harden, Rockets 114-75 to win series – San Antonio is heading to the Western Conference finals for the 13th time thanks to a player who has never been there. The Spurs eliminated the sluggish James Harden and Houston Rockets with a 114-75 victory in Game 6 on Thursday night behind a season-high 34 points from LaMarcus Aldridge in a game they played without All-Star Kawhi Leonard. Aldridge, who is in his 11th season and second in San Antonio, had failed to get out of the second round in his previous six postseason trips. He added 12 rebounds in his second big game of the Western Conference semifinal series to pick up the scoring slack with Leonard out after rolling his ankle in San Antonio’s overtime victory in Game 5 on Tuesday night.

3. Warriors finish off sweep of Jazz – The Golden State Warriors swept the Utah Jazz to advance to the Western Conference finals for the third consecutive year, following a 121-95 victory on Monday night. Stephen Curry produced a game-high 30 points to go with five rebounds and seven assists. He was 4-for-10 from beyond the arc and connected on all eight of his free throws. Klay Thompson chipped in 21 points to bounce back from a 1-for-9 shooting night in Game 3. Kevin Durant followed his 38-point Game 3 by adding 18 points and six boards.

4. Former NBA coach George Irvine dies at age 69 – George Irvine, who coached nearly 200 games for the Indiana Pacers in the 1980s before working in the front office, has died after battling cancer. He was 69. The Pacers announced the death last Tuesday after speaking with Irvine’s family. Irvine had been living near his hometown of Seattle, where he was a standout player for the University of Washington. Irvine became Indiana’s head coach in 1984 after three seasons as an assistant with the team. He went 48-116 in two seasons and later returned as interim coach in 1988-89. Irvine got a second chance with Detroit in 1999-2000 and stuck around for one more season. He finished his head coaching career with a record of 100-190.

5. Kawhi Leonard will return for Game 1 of Western Conference finals – After Kawhi Leonard sat out the Spurs game 6 victory over the Rockets. There was some concerned would he be able to go in Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors. According to reports Leonard is expected to face the Golden State Warriors on Sunday in the opener of the Western Conference finals. By sitting out, Leonard, who is averaging 27.8 points on 52.4 percent shooting during the playoffs, now has more time to heal before the Western Conference finals.

6. Bryant says he’s willing to help NBA’s stars – Kobe Bryant is arguably the best player in Laker history and one of the best all-around players in league history.  His cold-blooded scoring mentality and overall basketball acumen aren’t easily taught or learned. As Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com reports, though, Bryant recently gave pointers to Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas and is willing to do more of that upon request for others.

7. Former St. John’s star Glen Williams dies at 63 – Glen Williams was selected in the second round of 1977 Draft by Milwaukee Bucks. Williams, a star at St. John’s in the 1970s has died. He was 63. Williams, who had been battling cancer for the last seven years, died last Tuesday, according to Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca. The 6-foot-6 Williams was born in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands and played high school basketball at Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina. He became a starter at St. John’s as a freshman in 1973-74 and played in two NCAA Tournaments and two NITs. Williams is ranked ninth on the St. John’s scoring list with 1,727 points.

8. NBA fines Isaiah Thomas for inappropriate language toward fan – Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas has been fined $25,000 for directing inappropriate language toward a fan, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. The incident occurred during the Celtics’ 121-102 loss to the Washington Wizards in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference semifinals series on May 7 at Verizon Center.

9. Alec Burks looking ahead after three tough years – Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks has been dealing injuries for several years, and he’s hoping to finally be healthy when training camp opens in the fall. “It’s frustrating,” Burks told the Deseret News. “My injury was way more serious than I thought. But I’m a soldier and I learned a lot about my body and the game of basketball during the time out.” Burks suffered a broken left fibula in late December of 2015, and that led to problems with his ankle and knee. Burks, who has two more years and $22.83 million remaining on his contract, believes he can once again play at a high level for the Jazz.

10. Mavericks want Ding Yanyuhang on Summer League team – According to The Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Mavericks are planning to sign Ding Yanyuhang in early July, so the swingman can play for their Summer League team. Ding plays in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Shandong Golden Stars, and this season he won the MVP award for the league. In 39 CBA games, Ding averaged 23.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

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