No more Mr. Nice Guy: Kevin Durant’s new role as NBA villain



cheap custom basketball jerseys

LAS VEGAS — The family vacation was planned months in advance. As soon as free agency was over, DeAndre Jordan was heading to a resort in Jamaica where — theoretically — he would put his phone in airplane mode, surround himself with family and friends, and all the noise would stop.

cheap nba jerseys 365

That was the plan, anyway.

If you followed NBA free agency in the slightest last July, you know what actually happened. Three days after committing to the Dallas Mavericks Jerseys, Jordan had a stunning change of heart and returned to the Los Angeles Clippers Jerseys.

cheap jerseys direct nba

In the time it took to fill out a customs form on the flight to Jamaica, Jordan became a villain in Dallas, an accidental hero in Los Angeles and the butt of jokes on late-night talk shows, social media and sports talk radio.

He tried to keep his phone off, but there was no escaping the fallout.

One day as he was sitting on the beach, he got a text from Kevin Durant. They’d been close since high school when Durant tried to persuade Jordan to attend the University of Texas with him. Jordan instead chose Texas A&M, so they drifted apart for a few years. Eventually they reconnected during summer workouts. And in the past few years, they’d grown much closer. So close, in fact, that the Mavericks hoped landing Jordan in free agency would give them an edge in the Durant sweepstakes the following summer.

cheap nba jerseys 5xl

DeAndre Jordan, left, knows a thing or two about handling life as an NBA villain. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Durant said his message to Jordan was simple: “I just let him know, ‘Man, whatever you do. You’ve got people that love you.'”

It was the kind of thing you say to a friend to let him know you can’t make things better for him, but you’re still in his corner.

“I feel like the people who talked to me afterwards are my real friends,” Jordan said this week, after a training session with Team USA cheap jerseys. “The people who stopped texting me afterwards, the ones who said stuff like ‘we’re family and all that’ while I was deciding, that wasn’t real. I realize it was only a basketball decision for them.

“You find out who is really on your side. And Kevin was like, ‘Man, you can’t worry about what other people think. You’ve got to worry about you and what makes you happy.'”

Fast-forward a year and Durant is the one who spent his summer in the middle of a free-agency squall and made a stunning decision that brought withering criticism from fans, peers and media critics.

No, he didn’t commit to one team and then renege a few days later. But after eight years of telling the fans in Oklahoma City that he loved them and wanted to retire there, his departure for the Golden State Warriors Jerseys came as a cruel shock.

Had he misled them all those years? Did he fall out of love? Or was his love never that pure to begin with?

Durant felt all of it. If he’s being honest, knowing how much he was about to hurt the fans in Oklahoma City was one of the things that nearly held him back from following his gut and signing with the Warriors. For 48 hours after picking the Warriors, he said he stayed inside the house he’d rented in the Hamptons while receiving free-agent pitches wholesale jerseys from the Warriors, Celtics, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder and Heat.

“I didn’t leave my bed, because I was like, ‘Man, if I walk outside somebody might just try to hit me with their car or say anything negative to me,'” Durant said. “I just stayed in and tried to process it all. … It felt different.”

Very different.

“He played his heart out for that team. If they can’t respect that, if other players can’t respect it, that’s their decision.”

DeAndre Jordan, on Kevin Durant leaving Oklahoma City

Durant hasn’t been the boyish, backpack-wearing homegrown superstar most people first came to know him as for a while now. First he went through the “KD is not nice” phase where he was like a child star trying to break out of a wholesome, prepubescent box by releasing a song about being naughty (See: Selena Gomez, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber).

Then he started copping an occasional attitude at the media for perceived slights to him, his teammates or any player in the NBA who he thought was getting unfair treatment.

But there was always something about Durant’s defiance that felt a little forced. Like he was just pushing boundaries or asserting his independence from the nice-guy image that had gone way too far and escaped reality a long time ago.

He is nice. He’s just not the saint people projected him to be.

For example: Last fall he turned down a half-dozen requests for an ESPN The Magazine story. He’d decided to stay silent until he could explain his feelings about free agency on The Players’ Tribune. Fine. Totally his prerogative. He believed in the Tribune’s business model and message of player empowerment. I can respect that. But when we saw each other at Thunder media day, he came over to explain himself in person.

How many NBA superstars do that? Most tell an agent or publicist to deliver their bad news and never address it personally. And yet because we’d always had a good professional relationship, Durant felt compelled to explain himself in person. It was an incredibly self-aware, sensitive thing to do.

Editor’s PicksWhy Kevin Durant stayed in bed after choosing to leave OKC

At Team USA camp in Las Vegas, new Golden State Warriors Jerseys star Kevin Durant talked about his initial reaction of staying in bed for a few days and finally facing his decision.

Which star will take a back seat in the Warriors’ Big Four?

With four-time scoring champ Kevin Durant in the mix, Golden State’s incumbent stars are in for reduced roles. Which Warrior is equipped to handle the biggest sacrifice?

1 Related

That’s just a small example without much consequence. So how in the world was he going to handle breaking the hearts of a city that loved him? Of going from hero to villain? Of being criticized by Hall of Famers like Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley for taking an easier path to a championship?

This week in Las Vegas has been Durant’s first taste of life as a heartbreaker, and it appears he’s only allowing himself to feel it in doses.

The full weight of the fallout is too much to process all at once.

“I just try to be the man in the arena,” Durant said. “It’s easy for the critics on the outside to tell you what to do or what decisions to make, but they weren’t just out here with me, putting in work.

“I can’t really worry about the outside noise. I have to go to work. The work don’t stop. The love of the game doesn’t fade. Everything stays the same no matter where I play.”

This has become one of Durant’s refrains. A self-affirmation of sorts.

Some players would get off on being disliked — whether the sentiment is real or just a projection — and use it as motivation. But that’s not Durant’s nature.

“Guys like Kobe [Bryant] thrive on it,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, a longtime Team USA assistant. “I don’t think Kevin will thrive on it. But I do think he will immerse himself into the [Warriors] team.”

Another key difference?

“When you come into town as the villain like Kobe, everybody’s focused on him because he was the best player. But when Golden State comes in, they’re not going to just focus on one guy,” Boeheim said.

That was clearly part of the appeal to joining the Warriors. After years of being the face of his franchise, with the hopes and dreams of a city all on his shoulders, Durant was drawn to the idea of being just one of the guys.

That’s part of what he said he’s always loved about Team USA and what helped him this week as he adjusts to this new reality.

This uncomfortable period may be good for Durant in the end. Making a decision he knew would be unpopular? Maybe that’s the personal evolution and growth he needs. Maybe it won’t be. In hindsight, Jordan said that he’s found the entire process to be clarifying.

“It definitely makes you tougher,” Jordan said. “I still joke around like a little kid, but I don’t get as mad as I used to about things, I don’t let stuff affect me like I used to, because I’ve gone through that crap.”

He hopes it’ll be that way for Durant as well.

“When I found out he was going to the Warriors, I texted him, ‘Man, I’m happy for you. This is going to be big. I can’t wait to kick y’all’s ass,'” Jordan said.

“I’m happy for him. He gave those guys [in Oklahoma City] nine great years of MVP-level basketball, a Finals appearance. He played his heart out for that team. If they can’t respect that, if other players can’t respect it, that’s their decision. At the end of the day, he’s happy and that’s the only person he has to satisfy.”

Durant was sitting one seat away from Jordan as they each spoke after practice on the third day of Team USA training camp. There was plenty of room on either side of them. But the two old friends seemed more comfortable crowding each other’s personal space.

If things were destined to be uncomfortable going forward, they had might as well lean on each other.

Warriors, Spurs on historic winning paces this season

wholesale nba jerseys

MIAMI (AP) — There’s never been an NBA season where two teams both won at least 80 percent of their games.

blank basketball jerseys wholesale

Golden State and San Antonio might change that.

thanksgiving-day-nba-shop

basketball jerseys for cheap

With the season now past the midway point the Warriors are chasing a repeat title, the Spurs are chasing the Warriors, and they’re both chasing history. When the teams meet Monday at cheap jerseys Golden State for the first of their four regular-season matchups, the Warriors will enter with a .909 winning percentage – on pace to be the best in NBA history – while the Spurs are at .864.

authentic nba jerseys wholesale

Chicago’s mark of .878 (72-10) from 1995-96 is the NBA’s single-season best.

Win or lose Monday, Golden State will remain ahead of that pace.

And while San Antonio almost seemed like an afterthought amid Golden State’s 24-0 start, the Spurs are merely on pace for the third-best record ever.

”The Warriors go on a 55-game winning streak and they’re only two games ahead of them,” said Miami’s Chris Bosh, slightly overstating Golden State’s winning streak. ”That’s crazy.”

While this meeting is being touted as a potential Western Conference finals preview – as will the other Warriors-Spurs games on March 19, April 7 and April 10 – it lost some star power Sunday when San Antonio ruled Tim Duncan out with right knee soreness.

But Bosh didn’t think the teams would take a true playoff-type approach anyway, not this early in the season. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Warriors coach Steve Kerr know that no matter how important Monday seems, much bigger nights await before the Larry O’Brien Trophy gets awarded again.

”I don’t expect anybody to show their hand early,” Bosh said. ”They might play psychological games. Pop might rest the first 10 guys and sign eight D-League guys and send them out there. You never know.”

THE WEEK AHEAD

There are other NBA games this week and here’s five to keep an eye on:

– Minnesota at Cleveland, Monday: New Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue’s first game as an NBA player was against Minnesota. He’ll hope his first win as an NBA coach is against the Timberwolves, too.

– Oklahoma City at New York, Tuesday: Madison Square Garden was the only arena Thunder coach Billy Donovan called home as an NBA player, albeit for a mere 24 games as a Knick in 1987-88. (But the Knicks were 19-5 in those games.)

– Washington at Toronto, Tuesday: Wizards swept the Raptors 4-0 in last season’s first playoff round. Raptors looking for a 4-0 sweep of the teams’ regular-season series this year, winning first three by two, three and nine points, respectively.

– San Antonio at Cleveland, Saturday: The second installment of ABC’s Saturday night broadcasts this season should be another good one. LeBron James has walked off a winner in only two of his last nine games against the Spurs.

– Atlanta at Miami, Sunday: This will be only the second home game for the injury-riddled and slumping Heat in a span of 25 days. Hawks and Heat have split two games this season, both winning on the road.

ALL-STAR RESERVES

The coaches’ picks for the NBA All-Star reserves get released Thursday. Who might get a call:

– Eastern Conference: DeMar DeRozan and John Wall at guard. Chris Bosh, Andre Drummond and Pau Gasol in the front court. Jimmy Butler and Paul Millsap as wild cards.

– Western Conference: Chris Paul and and James Harden at guard. DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis Jerseys and Draymond Green in wholesale nba jerseys the frontcourt. Klay Thompson and Damian Lillard as wild cards.

It’s possible there could be an All-Star Game without Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge.

STAT LINE OF THE WEEK

Kemba Walker scored 52 points against Utah, Stephen Curry was plus-34 against Cleveland and plus-36 against Chicago two nights later, and James Harden had two triple-doubles. But this week’s call goes to DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins’ line against Indiana on Saturday: career-best 48 points wholesale nba jerseys on 17-for-29 shooting, and 13 rebounds as well. He is averaging 26.7 points and 11.4 rebounds this season. The Kings are on a five-game winning streak and in line for their first playoff berth since 2006.Sports & RecreationBasketballGolden StateSan AntonioNBAChris BoshSpurs

Cavs bounce back after LeBron rebuke

cheap basketball jerseys

Los Angeles (AFP) – LeBron James scored 25 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys bounced back from their shock defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies Jerseys with a 120-111 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

nba clearance

James had been scathing in his assessment of the Cavaliers’ readiness for the play-offs after Monday’s upset loss to Memphis, warning that his team were a long way from postseason form.

nba-shop-free-shipping-coupon-code

college basketball jerseys cheap

However the Cavs made sure there was no repeat defeat against Sacramento, who remain in the lower reaches of the Western Conference with a lot of ground to make up if they are to force their way into the play-offs.

cheap youth nba jerseys

Kyrie Irving top scored for the Cavaliers, while James also finished with 11 rebounds and six assists to go with his 25-point haul.

The key moment came when Kevin Love drained a crucial three-pointer late in the fourth quarter before drawing a foul.

Love converted the four-point play to give Cleveland wholesale jerseys a seven-point lead with 1:32 left that they never looked like relinquishing as they held on to win and improve their record to 45-18. View gallery Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys overcame the absence of Dion Waiters (L) after the tragic death of his brother …

Tristan Thompson also chipped in with 18 points and 15 rebounds as Cleveland went 2 1/2 games clear of the Toronto Raptors Jerseys at the head of the Eastern Conference.

– Quiet Curry night –

In Oakland meanwhile, Stephen Curry had a relatively low-scoring night cheap basketball jerseys but still managed to produce some game-changing long-range magic with team-mate Klay Thompson to help the Golden State Warriors pull clear of the Utah Jazz Jerseys in a 115-94 victory — their 46th consecutive home win.

Curry, who finished with 12 points, and Thompson (23 points) both produced three-pointers in the final 58 seconds of the second quarter which helped the Warriors take cheap nba jerseys a stranglehold on the contest.

Utah had remained firmly in the hunt heading towards half-time with the Warriors — who are now 56-6 — holding a slender 43-41 lead. View gallery The Thunder looked to their linchpins Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (L) to provide leadership a …

But Curry connected with a three-pointer from halfway and Thompson sank another basket from 29 feet which suddenly put the Warriors eight points clear.

Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys meanwhile overcame the absence of Dion Waiters after the tragic death of his brother to romp past the Los Angeles Clippers with a 120-108 victory.

Waiters’ 21-year-old sibling Demetrius Pinckney was found dead in Philadelphia on Tuesday night in what is being investigated by police as a homicide.

It was the latest dark turn to the Thunder’s season after assistant coach Monty Williams’ wife was killed in a car crash last month.

Part owner Aubrey McClendon also lost his life in a car accident on March 2. On Wednesday the Thunder looked to their linchpins Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to provide leadership and both stars duly delivered.

Westbrook finished with 25 points, 20 assists and 11 rebounds to complete his 11th triple double of the season.

Durant meanwhile scored 30 and piled up 12 rebounds for the Thunder, his fourth straight game of scoring at least 30 points and 10 rebounds.

The victory was sweet revenge for the Thunder, who last week had squandered a 17-point lead in a defeat against the Clippers.

“We knew we could beat this team,” Durant said. “We knew a week ago we threw it cheap basketball jerseys away. We got great shots and we defended as well (tonight),” Durant said.

“This team is really good at getting back into the game, but we gave them that last game. Tonight we took it.”BasketballSports & RecreationCleveland Cavaliers JerseysLeBron JamesStephen CurryMemphis Grizzlies JerseysSacramento KingsTristan ThompsonGolden State Warriors

Curry leads Warriors to 50th win, 102-92 over Hawks

nba jerseys cheap

ATLANTA (AP) — The Golden State Warriors Jerseys reached 50 wins faster than any team in NBA history.

youth basketball jerseys cheap

Sounds nice.

nba jersey wholesale

Doesn’t mean more than that to this group.

nba-shop-black-friday-sale

nba hats cheap

With their eyes on more than regular-season records, the Warriors improved to 50-5 as Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Golden State bounced back after squandering a 23-point lead to beat the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys 102-92 on Monday night.

authentic cheap nba jerseys

The Warriors eclipsed the mark set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls Jerseys, who needed one more game to win their 50th. Of course, that’s the team Golden State is chasing, moving another step closer to the record 72-10 mark put up by Michael Jordan & Co. at the height of their six-titles-in-eight-years dynasty.

”Fifty wins is great,” Curry said, ”but we’ve got to keep plugging away and staying hungry, because nobody wants to talk about that in June.”

Curry and the defending NBA champions appeared headed for a rout against the struggling Hawks, pushing out to a 70-47 lead approaching the midway point of the third quarter. Atlanta closed the period on a 28-6 run and grabbed the lead briefly early in the fourth, igniting the sellout crowd.

But the Warriors would not be denied cheap jerseys, bouncing back to hand the Hawks their fourth straight home nba jerseys cheap loss.

”I liked our response,” coach Steve Kerr said. ”They were on fire in their home building. Everything was going against us, and we maintained our poise and pulled away down the stretch. It was a really good win.”

Klay Thompson added 27 points for the Warriors. Both he and Curry knocked down five shots from 3-point range. Draymond Green didn’t do much offensively, scoring only six nba jerseys cheap points, but he had 14 rebounds and nine assists.

Al Horford led the Hawks with 23 points.

”The third quarter is something we can hopefully build off of,” said Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, whose team had the top record in the Eastern Conference a year ago but has slipped all the way to sixth this season.

Curry put on a clinic in the first half, thoroughly dominating Hawks point guard Jeff Teague.

Perhaps the best sequence came when Curry swished a towering 3-pointer from the corner, the ball seeming to disappear into the rafters of Philips Arena at the height of its arc wholesale nba jerseys. Then, after posing briefly in front of the Golden State bench, he hustled back to the other end to draw an offensive foul on Teague, who looked befuddled by what he was seeing.

At the end of the half, with the clock running down and Teague right in his face, Curry somehow found just enough space to knock down another amazing jumper from the corner, though this one with his foot on the stripe.

Someone on the Golden State bench threw a white towel high in the air – partly to celebrate, partly in disbelief.

The Hawks could’ve thrown in the towel early in the third.

Instead, Atlanta finally showed some fight against the league’s best team, making five 3-pointers and nearly 60 percent of its shots in the period.

The Warriors regained control in the fourth, helped by Curry’s 3 that left him wiggling his shoulders in front of the Atlanta bench.

”He senses when he needs to take over,” Kerr said.

SHARING THE BALL

Golden State had 30 assists in a game for the 29th time this season, a franchise record.

The previous mark was set last season on the way to the championship.

In addition to Green’s team-high assists, Curry doled out eight, Andrew Bogut had four and Thompson chipped in with three.

”It’s a special group,” Curry said.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Improved to 45-0 when leading after the third quarter. It looked as though the Hawks would have the lead heading to the fourth, but a video review showed Thabo Sefolosha’s jumper left his hand a split-second after the clock expired, leaving Golden State ahead 76-75. … Bogut played 29 minutes with a strained right Achilles, grabbing 11 rebounds. … Newly signed Anderson Varejao watched the game from the Warriors bench but didn’t play. He was signed after being cut last week by Portland.

Hawks: Have lost four straight home games for the first time since March 21 to April 1, 2007, according to STATS. … Tim Hardaway Jr. had some effective spurts off the bench, scoring 12 points. … Atlanta made 10 of 34 from 3-point range and is 19 of 75 from beyond the arc in its last two games.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Travel to Miami to face the Heat on Wednesday.

Hawks: Host the Chicago Bulls Jerseys on Friday.

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .Sports & RecreationBasketballGolden State Warriors JerseysStephen CurryAtlanta Hawks JerseysChicago Bulls Jerseys

Bryant visits Golden State for last time

cheap nba jerseys

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — At every stop, in every road arena, Kobe Bryant is reflecting on 20 years of memories and many great games.

cheap reversible basketball jerseys with numbers

He’s enjoying every second of this farewell ride despite all the losing, which isn’t exactly how he intended to go into retirement.

cheap nba jerseys wholesale

The 37-year-old Bryant returned to Oracle Arena on Thursday night and the site of his first career 50-point game to face the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors Jerseys.

authentic nba jerseys cheap

”It’s really cool. This has been 20 years coming,” Bryant said. ”It’s fun to go cheap nba jerseys to these arenas for the last time and be able to soak it all in and really appreciate the arenas and appreciate the fans and the players from a different perspective versus having blinders on and really just focusing on one thing.”
nba-authentic-jerseys-cheap
During pregame introductions, the Warriors showed a tribute from Lakers Hall of Famer and Golden State executive Jerry West with a highlight video on the main scoreboard as fans in the sellout crowd – including retiring Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson Jerseys, Oakland quarterback Derek Carr Jerseys and Athletics manager Bob Melvin – chanted ”Kobe! Kobe!” before a rousing ovation when his name was called. Bryant waved wholesale jerseys, tipped his head and clapped his hands in appreciation.

In honor of Bryant’s five NBA titles, the Warriors gifted him with a five-day Napa Valley vacation with five wineries and five restaurants included. He also received a five-liter bottle from Amuse Bouche winery featuring a special label with his jersey.

Bryant received many a hug at midcourt from the Warriors beforehand. He started despite a nagging sore right shoulder and a right Achilles strain, and made his first shot.

”He was fixated in not having a career. He was fixated on having an incredible career,” West said in a pregame news conference, recalling the first workout Bryant went through 20 years ago at age 17.

”For someone that age, it was remarkable the skill, the love that he had for the game and the desire to excel. The one thing that was very evident to me right away, this was a player at 17 years old I had never seen someone with the skill that he had.”

Interim Warriors coach Luke Walton won’t get ahead of himself and think about the chance to coach Bryant in his All-Star Game finale next month, though Walton knows that would be a blast – noting, ”I’m not even really a real coach. I have zero wins.”

Bryant left a lasting impression on Walton with his grit to play no matter what body part was hurting or how tired he might be, and they won two NBA championships during 8 1/2 seasons together with the Lakers.

”He was incredible. I’ve never, still to this day, ever seen anyone play through the stuff that he’s played through. Early on in my career, I would think, ‘OK, well he’s not going to be out there tonight and we have to step up and then after a while you just learn that he’s playing no matter what unless someone takes him off the court,” Walton recalled. ”There was a game he couldn’t even lift his right shoulder up above his head to shoot the ball so he started shooting it left-handed and finally that’s when Phil (Jackson) pulled him out.

”That kind of hurt a little bit that he thought him shooting left-handed 3-pointers was more effective than passing me the ball. That’s what made him such a great player.”

Bryant certainly hoped for a better showing in Oakland this time as he departs the Bay Area. In a 111-77 loss here Nov. 24, Bryant shot 1 of 14 for just four points to match the worst-shooting performance of his career in a game when he had at least one basket. Golden State set a record for the best start in NBA history that night, too, improving to 16-0 on the way to a 24-0 mark.

Yet this is also the place where Bryant produced his first career 50-point game, when he scored 51 on Dec. 6, 2000, at Oracle Arena – his highest output ever here. Golden State star Antawn Jamison also scored 51 that night in a 125-122 overtime win against the Lakers.

Whatever Bryant does next, West will remember what he brought to the game.

”He has left a legacy throughout the world. Millions of people love this guy, and millions of people will miss what he was able to accomplish in his career,” West said. ”He’s left a lot of big footprints there. I don’t see anyone there who’s going to be able to step in those footprints.”

That game is one that still sticks out in his mind, and Bryant acknowledged it has been fun to cheap nba jerseys see Golden State grow into a contender again after all the down years.

Oh, and he has no desire to face Stephen Curry and these Warriors in the playoffs. No thanks.

”No, I’m good. They play too well here. I’d rather not,” Bryant said with a grin. ”If I had to and the challenge presented itself, of course I’d rise to the challenge. If I had a choice, absolutely not. I don’t want to deal with this crowd.”Sports & RecreationBasketballKobe BryantGolden State Warriors Jerseys

Pistons rout Warriors despite Curry’s 38

cheap throwback basketball jerseys

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Before the game, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said Golden State simply has more margin for error than other teams, meaning the Warriors can win even when they don’t play their best.

cheap blank basketball jerseys

Not on this night against Van Gundy’s Pistons.

cheap authentic throwback nba jerseys

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope held his own against Stephen Curry for most of the night, scoring 20 points as the Pistons handed the Warriors their second loss in three games, 113-95 on Saturday.
cheap-official-nba-jerseys

cheap authentic nba jersey

Much of the pregame talk centered around how well Caldwell-Pope might be able to defend Curry. The Golden State star scored 38 points, but Caldwell-Pope gave the Pistons a boost offensively.

”I think we know that we’re capable of beating anybody,” Van Gundy said afterward. ”The difference between the Golden States, San Antonios, Clevelands of the world and where we are right now, is you’ve got to do it night after night after night after night after night, and that’s our challenge.”

The Warriors (37-4) reached the midway point of the regular season a win short of the best 41-game start in NBA history. The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys and 1995-96 Chicago Bulls Jerseys started 38-3.

Detroit retired Ben Wallace’s No. 3 jersey at halftime, and by that time the Pistons led 65-49 on a raucous night at the Palace.

Curry scored 16 points in the third, but the Warriors still trailed by 11 at the end of period. Then Detroit started the fourth with a 16-2 run to lead 101-76.

”We’ve been saying it all year, but no matter where we go, teams are going to give us their best shot,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. ”It was a big night with the crowd, it was a sellout, retiring Ben Wallace’s jersey. They were coming after us. … In this league if you’re not ready to fight back, you’re going to get cheap throwback basketball jerseys blown out.”

Golden State was whistled for three technical fouls. Curry and Draymond Green were hit with technicals late in the second quarter, and Walton was called for one in the fourth after a dunk by Detroit’s Andre Drummond. The technical free throw by Stanley Johnson made it 94-74.

Drummond had 14 points and 21 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson scored 20 points for Detroit. The Pistons had six players in double figures, while Golden State had only three. Klay Thompson scored 24 points for the Warriors wholesale jerseys.

Golden State’s Andre Iguodala went scoreless, and Green had five points on 1-of-7 shooting.

The Pistons took an early 10-point lead, and the crowd gave Wallace a standing ovation during a timeout. Golden State rallied to take a 30-27 lead after the first quarter, but backup center Aron Baynes gave Detroit a lift.

Baynes scored 12 points in the second quarter, making all six of his shot attempts cheap nba jerseys.

Caldwell-Pope outscored Curry 16-15 in the first half. View gallery AUBURN HILLS, MI – JANUARY 16: Marcus Morris #13 of the Detroit Pistons Jerseys dunks against the Golden Sta …

SPECIAL GUESTS

In addition to Wallace, several other former Pistons were in attendance, including Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed cheap throwback basketball jerseys Wallace. Larry Brown, who coached Detroit to the 2004 NBA title, was also part of the festivities. It was the type of celebratory night with a big crowd that the Pistons have rarely enjoyed over the last few years.

”The energy was in the building,” Caldwell-Pope said. ”We felt it tonight. We just fed off it.”

NO EXCUSES

In each of their first three defeats of the season, the Warriors were missing key players like Harrison Barnes, Green and even Curry. On Saturday, Golden State had all of its top scorers, and Green thought they could make a run even when they were down heading into the fourth quarter.

”I thought we could, but we still didn’t get stops and scores,” he said. ”We just didn’t get stops and we fouled them a lot.”

TIP-INS

Warriors: Barnes was in the starting lineup for the first time since returning nearly two weeks ago from a sprained left ankle. He scored five points on 2-of-11 shooting. … Golden State shot 37 percent from the field, its worst showing of the season. The Warriors shot 39 percent at Boston on Dec. 11.

Pistons: Brandon Jennings left with a jammed left ankle.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Play at Cleveland on Monday night in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals.

Pistons: Host Chicago on Monday.

Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtristerSports & RecreationBasketballGolden StateStephen CurryPistonsthe WarriorsDetroitKentavious Caldwell-PopeStan Van GundyBen Wallace

Warriors’ Kerr returning to bench Friday

wholesale nba basketball jerseys

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Coach Steve Kerr is returning to the Golden State Warriors Jerseys’ bench Friday night after a leave of absence dating to the first week of training camp in October as he recovered from complications following two back surgeries.

classic nba jerseys cheap

The defending champion Warriors made the announcement Friday morning that Kerr would coach Golden wholesale nba basketball jerseys State against Indiana at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors will try to win their 38th straight regular-season home game to tie the 1985-86 Celtics for third place on the all-time list for such unbeaten streaks. The Warriors went 39-4 in Kerr’s absence. They are 19-0 at home this season and haven’t lost at Oracle since a 113-111 overtime loss to Chicago last Jan. 27.

throwback-nba-jerseys-wholesale

custom nba jerseys wholesale

The 50-year-old Kerr said in mid-December that he was optimistic he would be back in the coming weeks. Kerr had been dealing with headaches and other issues after the operations – the first procedure causing him to leak spinal fluid – that followed Golden State’s first championship in 40 years. He watched the Warriors’ record 24-0 start from behind the scenes.

cheap wholesale nba basketball jerseys

During a shootaround in Cleveland on Monday before Golden State’s 132-98 blowout of the Cavaliers in an NBA Finals rematch, Kerr made an underhanded heave from half court that banked in. He raised his arms in triumph, kicked his right leg out and pumped his fist afterward. That video went out on social media, and had to alert many that he was close to healthy at last.

When he began the wholesale nba basketball jerseys leave of absence, he initially had hoped to return by Jan. 1, but he did begin taking road trips in recent weeks to test his symptoms. He might still require a day off from time to time.

In his first season last year, Kerr guided Golden State to a franchise-record 67-win campaign and its first championship since 1975. Even during his absence, he addressed the team and offered input despite watching the games from an office in the arena or at home depending on how he felt. Being patient tested him, especially when he had to sit out the Oct. 27 opener against New Orleans after taking part in the pregame ceremony celebrating the championship season.

Interim head coach Luke Walton, who admirably led reigning MVP Stephen Curry and the champs in Kerr’s absence, will return to his spot as top assistant and is sure to attract attention as a head coaching candidate immediately when openings emerge. Walton’s father, Bill, broadcast the Arizona-Stanford game on Thursday night for the Pac-12 Networks and offered this message to his son through The Associated Press. ”Tell Luke I love him,” the proud Hall of Famer said.Sports & RecreationGolden State Warriors JerseysSteve Kerrleave of absence

In MVP race (and NBA itself), elite point guards dominate

cheap nba authentic jerseys

Chris Paul’s true value to the Los Angeles Clippers has never been more obvious than during these 19 games Blake Griffin has been out of the lineup.

cheap nba jerseys new zealand

It should not have taken extenuating circumstance to remind the world just how important it is to have an elite point guard in today’s NBA, but it did.

classic-nba-jerseys-cheap

cheap customized basketball jerseys

“People forget, huh?” said Clippers sixth man extraordinaire Jamal Crawford. “People forget what kind of leader he is, and that he’s been right there at the top of the point guard heap for years. He does whatever is needed that night. He doesn’t predetermine what he’s going to do. He plays aggressive, he’s always unselfish and he does whatever is needed to put us in a winning situation. That’s what the great ones do and they do it consistently, whether there is a spotlight on them or not. That’s what CP is all about.”

where to buy nba jerseys cheap

To me, it’s like quarterbacks in the NFL these days. Everybody recognizes the importance of the position.

– Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, on point guards in the NBA

Paul, who has led the Clippers to a 15-4 mark in Griffin’s absence, is one of the marquee players at what is undoubtedly the NBA’s marquee position. In this age of pace and space, where the “traditional” big man has given way to hybrid point forwards like Draymond Green and Paul George, having an elite point guard has become a must for teams with designs on contending.

It’s safe to say that like big men in a bygone era and shooting guards after that, point guards rule the roost.

“No question about it,” said a veteran Western Conference advance scout. “It’s the first item on nearly every scouting report, even for the teams that are struggling. It starts with the head of the snake in this era, especially with the way teams are playing and all of the high pick-and-roll sets teams are running. This is the deepest and best pool of point guard talent I can remember.”

There are five points guards on this week’s KIA Race to the MVP Ladder, led by reigning MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who has held down the No. 1 spot since the start of this season.

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook checks in at No. 4, Paul at No. 6 and we have two newcomers, too: Toronto’s Kyle Lowry at No. 9 and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas at No. 10.

All five are All-Stars, highlighting the quality and depth at the position league wide.

“To me, it’s like quarterbacks in the NFL these days,” Crawford said. “Everybody recognizes the importance of the position. And if you have a Tom Brady Jerseys, a Peyton Manning Jerseys or better yet a Cam Newton Jerseys, your team has a chance to win big. If you don’t have someone of that caliber, it makes it tougher on everyone else. And that’s just reality.”

It starts with the head of the snake in this era, especially with the way teams are playing and all of the high pick-and-roll sets teams are running. This is the deepest and best pool of point guard talent I can remember.

– anonymous Western Conference scout

That reality will be on full display this weekend in Saturday night’s Super Bowl eve showdown between Curry’s Warriors and Westbrook’s Thunder (9 p.m. ET, ESPN), the first matchup between these two teams since Curry snatched the MVP trophy from Durant and the Warriors replaced the Thunder as the new super-team on the block.

The evolution of both players has been nothing short of remarkable. Curry, the league’s leading scorer, is in the midst of turning the basketball world on its head with his cosmic mix of shooting, scoring and playmaking on the runaway best team in the league. Westbrook, meanwhile, is a walking triple-double these days and has redefined his game and silenced all those who doubted his abilities as a facilitator.

“The improvement that Russell Westbrook has made is glaringly different this year,” said TNT’s Kenny Smith. “Because of his ability to rebound and pass the basketball, and get [Enes] Kanter, get [Steven] Adams involved this year, I would say he’s very improved in that area [of getting teammates involved offensively].”

The growth and development at the position league-wide is what’s truly remarkable. And there is nowhere where that is more evident than in Boston, where Thomas has transformed himself from a super sub into an All-Star.

“The right player at just the right time for that team,” Crawford said of his good friend and fellow Seattle-area native. “It doesn’t surprise me at all to see him in the All-Star Game. He’s exactly what you’re looking for in this new generation of point guards. He can do it all.”

The Top 10 in this week’s KIA Race to the MVP Ladder:

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Last week’s ranking: No. 1

Curry Goes Off In D.C.

Check out the best from Stephen Curry’s 51 point performance in super slow motion.

Someone in the Silicon Valley needs to fast track a virtual reality device that would allow the rest of us mere mortals to experience nights like Stephen Curry does on a regular basis. A night like he had Wednesday in Washington (51 points, 11-for-16 shooting on 3-pointers, and a little dancing for good measure) has to be on the high end, even for a player who is running away from the pack in the MVP race this season. Curry scored a combined 50 points in the three games before that rout of the Wizards, his lowest three-game total of the season. He made up for that lull in one night.

2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Last week’s ranking: No. 3

Durant’s Game-Winning 3-Pointer

Kevin Durant crosses-up his defender and sticks the deep triple to take a three point lead with .5 seconds remaining in regulation.

Durant and the Thunder are hitting their stride just in time for Saturday night’s Super Bowl eve showdown against the Warriors at Oracle Arena. His 37 points and game winner against Orlando Wednesday highlighted Durant’s recent tear, he’s averaged 33.8 points on 51 percent shooting (44 percent from deep), 9.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists over the past five games. Durant and the Thunder have designs on doing what no other elite team has been able to do cheap nba authentic jerseys this season against the Warriors. We’ll find out Saturday night if they are up to the task.

3. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Last week’s ranking: No. 4

James Pushes Cavs Past Pacers

LeBron James scores 24 points and adds 12 rebounds as the Cavaliers hold off the Pacers in overtime, 111-106.

The Cavaliers have looked like a completely different team since Tyronn Lue took over for David Blatt, even though LeBron has continued his maestro work (23.8 points on 58 percent shooting, 8.5 assists, 5.3 rebounds in the first week after Blatt) as the catalyst for this crew. He’s helped facilitate the faster pace Lue desires and has made a concerted effort to make sure Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are fully integrated into whatever the Cavaliers are doing. It’s the buy-in Blatt never could get out of this group.

4. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Last week’s ranking: No. 5

Westbrook’s Triple-Double vs. Magic

Russell Westbrook records a triple-double going for 24 points, 19 rebounds and 14 assists in the victory over the Magic.

Westbrook is putting up a monster fight for Draymond Green’s title of “Mr. Triple-Double” this season. He’s currently working on a stretch of three straight triple-doubles and recorded perhaps an even more impressive milestone with his 24 points, 19 rebounds and 14 assists in the win over the Magic. He joined the uber-elite list of Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Elgin Baylor and Larry Bird as the only players to pile up those numbers in a game. And he’s the first to do it since Bird accomplished that feat (with 28, 19 and 15) on Jan. 3, 1982 against Atlanta. Westbrook is averaging a wicked 22 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds and two steals in his last 10 games and is more than ready for his matchup against Stephen Curry on Saturday night.

5. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Last week’s ranking: No. 2

Leonard’s Outstanding January

Spurs’ forward Kawhi Leonard is a nominee for the Kia Western Conference Player of the Month in January.

Leonard has come back to earth a bit recently, averaging 17.5 points on 47 percent shooting in his last 10 games. But the way the Spurs spread the ball around, and as LaMarcus Aldridge gets more and more comfortable, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t need to lean on Leonard (or any other single player) to tote too heavy a load. Managing that balance the remainder of the regular season will be one of the Spurs’ biggest challenges. As expected, there’s been no drop off in Leonard’s defensive focus in the days leading up to his first All-Star Game appearance, where his defense will be the last thing anyone cares about in the big game.

6. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

Last week’s ranking: No. 6

Paul Solid vs. Lakers

Chris Paul leads the way for the Clippers with 27 points 7 assists as they defeat the Lakers, 105-93.

The Clippers’ four-game win streak came to an end Wednesday against a Minnesota team that has struggled mightily on the road this season. The loss came in part due to a technical foul from Paul in the final seconds, which apologized for afterward. But he nothing apologize for with the way he’s performed without Blake Griffin in the lineup. The Clippers are 15-4 without Griffin on the strength of some of Paul’s best work. The Clippers need Paul at his best with a four-game road trip between now and All-Star Weekend, an Eastern Conference jaunt that starts tonight in Orlando, runs through Miami (Sunday) and Philadelphia (Monday) and finishes in Boston Feb. 10.

7. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

Last week’s ranking: No. 8

Green’s Double-Double At MSG

Draymond Green records 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Warriors over the Knicks.

Green blamed himself for the Warriors’ tight finish in Philadelphia last Saturday. He said he was selfishly chasing a triple-double that night. He came up short, of course. But rebounded with triple-doubles in his next two outings for his league-leading ninth and 10th, respectively. He finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, two blocks and two steals in a win over the Knicks and 12 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a win over the Wizards. He followed that up with a trip to the White House to celebrate the Warriors’ championship with President Barack Obama. Saturday night’s matchup against the Thunder is the perfect way to cap off a whirlwind week.

8. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

Last week’s ranking: No. 7

Butler Delivers In Bulls’ Win

Jimmy Butler scores 26 points with 10 assists, Pau Gasol adds 21 with 12 boards as Chicago takes it 114-91.

The minutes grind Butler has been on all season seems to have finally caught up with the All-Star swingman. Butler missed Wednesday’s win over Sacramento with left knee tendinitis. And he’s listed as questionable for tonight’s game in Denver (9 ET, NBA League Pass). The Bulls, who have had to deal with an avalanche of injury issues in coach Fred Hoiberg’s first season, cannot afford to work for any long stretches without Butler. When you check as many boxes a night as he does, there is no one player capable of replacing him in the lineup for an extended period of time. Butler averaged 22 points, 5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals in his last four games.

9. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

Last week’s ranking: Not ranked

Lowry Gets Better Of Blazers

Kyle Lowry has a big night for Toronto, finishing with 30 points and eight assists as the Raptors defeat the Trail Blazers 110-103.

Lowry and the Raptors have quietly gone about the business of separating themselves from the rest of the pack behind Cleveland in the Eastern Conference standings. After Thursday’s win over the Trail Blazers in Portland (where Lowry survived his eight-turnover night to finish with 30 points, eight assists, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals) the Raptors sit two games behind the Cavaliers for the top spot. And that’s due in large part to the consistent work Lowry and fellow All-Star DeMar DeRozan have done leading the way for coach Dwane Casey’s crew. Disappointing performances in each of the past two postseasons has provided the perfect fuel for Lowry and the Raptors’ fire this season.

10. Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics

Last week’s ranking: Not ranked

Thomas, Celtics Handle Pistons

Isaiah Thomas scores 17 points and dishes out 7 assists as the Celtics defeat the Pistons 102-95.

Don’t look now, but here come Thomas and the Celtics, who have moved into the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Thomas is a week away from enjoying his first All-Star Weekend as a member of the Eastern Conference team. And his team is surging with him, having won seven of their past 10 games and two straight heading into tonight’s showdown against the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena (7:30 ET, NBA League Pass). Thomas, who is averaging 19.6 points, 6.7 assists and 3.2 rebounds during that 10-game stretch, will have his hands full with Kyrie Irving and Matthew Dellavedova on the other side tonight. But that’s just the way the Celtics’ catalyst likes it.

Others Receiving Consideration: Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons Jerseys; Paul George, Indiana Pacers Jerseys; James Harden, Houston Rockets; DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors; Paul Millsap, Atlanta

Sekou Smith is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

Sacramento days case enough for Webber to be in HOF

cheap college basketball jerseys

On Dec. 21, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will celebrate the birthday of basketball by announcing its list of eligible candidates for the class of 2016. Due to recent modifications to its enshrinement process, players will now become eligible after four full seasons of retirement as opposed to five in years past.

very-cheap-nba-jerseys

cheap 2015 usa basketball jerseys

So, who will be a lock for the class of 2016? Many consider former Philadelphia 76ers Jerseys guard Allen Iverson a shoo-in for the Hall, but due to the new rules Iverson won’t be the only Answer to that question. Four-Time NBA champion and MVP winner Shaquille O’Neal and eight-time All-Star Yao Ming are the most notable beneficiaries of the recent change.

cheap nba jerseys for kids

This news will almost guarantee a star-studded class for 2016, easing the decision making process for voters. However, there’s a chance it will enhance the wait for carryovers such as ex-Sacramento Kings legend Chris Webber.

basketball jersey wholesale

Webber was selected by the Orlando Magic Jerseys with the first pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. The five-time All-Star went on to play for five NBA franchises — the Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards Jerseys, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers Jerseys and Detroit Pistons Jerseys–but remains synonymous with one, the Kings.

Prior to joining Sacramento, the Kings made two playoff appearances and secured one victory in the 13 seasons immediately following their move from Kansas City, Mo. In those 13 years the Kings never produced a winning season and posted a combined record of 386-680 (.362). Needless to say, “C-Webb” put this city and team on the proverbial NBA map. But that doesn’t guarantee a player a seat in the Hall of Fame. Although there’s no clear-cut criteria for enshrinement, many will agree that if an era of basketball cannot be discussed without mentioning a particular player, then he deserves consideration.

Which brings us back to the Kings of the 2000s. From 1998-2005, the Kings made six consecutive playoff appearances, finished with six winning seasons, and peaked during the 2001-02 season with a NBA-best (and franchise-best) 61 wins. During Webber’s tenure in Sacramento, the team won more than 65 percent of its games posting a combined 335-179 record. Unfortunately for Webber and the Kings,they failed to overcome a dominant Los Angeles Lakers squad, with their best chance coming in the 2002 Western Conference Finals (Lakers defeated Kings 4-3).

While player narratives are important so are their numbers. In 377 games with the Kings, Webber averaged 23.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals. Those stats speak volumes for a power forward that ushered in the modern era of power forward plays (as did contemporaries Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki). While some of these players excelled at scoring, rebounding or defense, Webber was doing it all for a fairly young Kings core. During Webber’s six full seasons in Sacramento, he carried the organization on his broad shoulders, emerging as the team’s annual leader in three or more statistical categories.

Categories Chris Webber led team (Sacramento Kings)

Season Categories

1998-99 PPG, RPG*, BPG, Minutes

1999-2000 PPG, RPG, BPG, Minutes, Steals

2000-01 PPG, RPG, BPG, Minutes

2001-02 PPG, RPG, BPG, Minutes

2002-03 PPG, RPG, BPG, Minutes, Assists

2003-04 Missed 49 Games (2nd in PPG, 2nd in RPG) * = Led NBA in Rebounding

Webber’s career is not limited to his production with the Kings. In 1993, he earned Rookie of the Year honors as a member of the Golden State Warriors. In 1997, he represented the Washington Bullets as a first-time All-Star. Throughout his time in the NBA, he was arguably the game’s most versatile power forward.

Webber recorded 21 triple-doubles, the same amount as Kobe Bryant, and more than Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan combined. Overall, Webber played a total of 15 seasons with averages of 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.4 steals. As a result, Webber joins Hall-of-Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Elgin Baylor cheap college basketball jerseys and Billy Cunningham as the only players to average at least 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists for their entire career.

Yet, the most impressive aspect of Webber’s game might have been his passing. His 4.2 assists per game were impressive considering his workload, assisting on 20.2 percent of his teams’ baskets. According to Basketball-Reference.com, there are only three frontcourt players listed at 6-foot-9 or taller that assisted on a larger percentage of field goals than Webber: Larry Bird, Toni Kukoc and Alvan Adams.

NBA Assist Percentage (Frontcourt Players 6’9 or taller)

Rank Player Assist percentage

1. Larry Bird * 24.7

2. Toni Kukoc 23.6

3. Alvan Adams 21.4

4. Chris cheap college basketball jerseys Webber 20.2 * = Hall of Fame

It’s evident that Webber’s NBA career was filled with everything except the elusive NBA title. However, potential hall of famers aren’t judged solely by their professional resume. Which brings us to the maize and blue-sized elephant in the room.

In 1991, Webber arrived on the campus of the University of Michigan as a McDonald’s All-American poised to change the college game. He, along with four other highly recruited freshmen standouts, introduced us to baggy shorts, black Nikes, trash talk and a unique on-court swagger. This collection of talent — best known as the “Fab Five”– became one of the most polarizing NCAA basketball teams ever.

Webber was at the center of it all, averaging 17.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, while shooting 58.9 percent in 70 career games. He was a two-time College All-American and named to the 1993 AP All-American First Team. But despite winning 80 percent of his games at Michigan, and making two straight Final Four appearances, many discredit his play due to an off-the-court controversy. His role in those troubles resulted in Michigan serving a 10-year postseason ban that was lifted as of 2013.

Open Court: Steve Smith Jerseys on Chris Webber

Steve Smith Jerseys recalls going to see a young Chris Webber while he was in eighth grade.

Simply put, Webber had an amazing career. He is one of 12 NBA players with at least 16,500 points and 7,500 rebounds who maintained an assist percentage of 15 or better for their entire career. Seven of those other 12 are Hall of Famers (Bird, Baylor, Chamberlain, Charles Barkley, Oscar Robertson, Karl Malone and John Havlicek). Four are virtual locks for the Hall (Duncan, Garnett, Jason Kidd and Pau Gasol). His stats are obviously Hall-of-Fame worthy and his career is full of memorable moments. The list of Webber’s accomplishments can go on and on supporting his claim as one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of sneakers.

On Monday, when the list of eligible candidates for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is released, some may highlight the likes of O’Neal and Iverson. Rightfully so. Numbers aside Shaq, A.I. and C-Webb did what many former No. 1 Draft picks struggle to do: live up to their top billing. All three led their respective franchises to new heights, making them perennial title contenders. All three produced at a high level for over a decade. All three will forever be remembered as pillars of the post-Michael Jordan era. Making all three worthy of the highest honor. Will all three be named to the Hall of Fame Class of 2016? Like Webber, we’ll all have to wait for the answer. Trending

Five players who have a solid shot at joining 80-point club

throwback nba jerseys cheap

The NBA boasts the best collection of basketball talent the world has to offer with supreme athletes, elite defenders and high flyers marking each team. But there’s nothing like watching a professional scorer enter the proverbial zone.

nba-shop-promo-code-15-off

basketball team jerseys wholesale

On Wednesday night, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry put on a scoring clinic, starting with a 25-point first quarter against the Washington Wizards Jerseys. To say Curry entered the zone would be an understatement. Steph made 9 of his first 10 field goals, including 7 of 8 from 3-point range. By halftime he had 35 points and the Twitter-verse wondered just how many points he would score. 50? 60? 70?

buy nba jerseys online

Curry Explodes for 51 Points

cheap jerseys nba jerseys

Stephen Curry was cookin’ on Wednesday night, scoring 51 points on 11-for-16 from 3-point land.

After the first period, the reigning Kia MVP was on pace to reach 100 but no one really thought it was obtainable. After all, he’s sat out 14 4th quarters this season. Curry would finish halfway to the century mark — 51 points, thanks to an 11-for-16 effort from 3-point land. Steph can score 50 points at any moment, but can he or anyone else flirt with 81?

It’s been 54 years since Warriors legend Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points and 10 seasons since Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys guard Kobe Bryant scored 81. Neither Wilt nor Kobe were prolific 3-point shooters, but they both shared the mentality that the next shot was guaranteed to fall.

“Scoring 100 points is a lot,” Chamberlain once said. “But … I maybe could have scored 140 if they had played straight-up basketball!”

Kobe’s 81 Point Night

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s 81 point game on January 22nd, here’s a look back at that night and what some players around the League had to say about his performance

The thought of one player scoring 100 points is insane, let alone 80. In fact, Chamberlain possessed the ability to score at will and only surpassed the 80-point threshold once in his entire career. Out of the thousands of players to play in the NBA’s lifetime, only five players have scored 70-plus points in a single game. That list does not include three of the top four scorers in NBA history: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan.

Most Points Scored in a Single Game

Player Points scored Year

Wilt Chamberlain 100 1962

Kobe Bryant 81 2006

Wilt Chamberlain 78 1961

Wilt Chamberlain 73 1962

Wilt Chamberlain 73 1962

David Thompson 73 1979

Just last month, Bryant was asked about reliving his historic 81-point performance and, like Chamberlain, he felt he “should have had 90 points or more.” If Bryant thinks 90 is possible, then 81 should be within reason.

Clearly it would take a young player with a true scorer’s mentality. Wilt was 25 years old when he scored 100 and Kobe was 27 throwback nba jerseys cheap when he poured in 81. The player that scores 80 has to be a volume shooter that can get to the free throw line often. He must possess the ability to create his own shot as well as 3-point shooting range.

Using this criteria, many players may fit the mold but five All-Stars — Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins — immediately come to mind. These are the top four scorers in the league who have a total of 13 career 50-point games. Three of the five players (Curry, Harden and Cousins) are responsible for four of the six 50-point games this season. So who’s the most likely candidate for an 80-point game?

The Obvious Picks

Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors): A list that involves scoring can’t be constructed without the “Baby-Faced Assassin.” Curry leads the league in scoring (29.8 ppg), has amassed four career 50+ point games and is the only player with multiple games with 11 3-pointers made. The 2015 Foot Locker Three-Point Champion has been on a tear this season (232 3-pointers through 47 games). He’s the first player to make 200 3-pointers prior to the All-Star break.

Curry Hits 11 3-Pointers

Relive every 3-pointer from Stephen Curry’s incredible night.

While he may be an obvious selection, it’s highly unlikely he’ll reach 81 or more points. The most free throw attempts Curry has in a single game is 14. He’s averaging 5.5 free throw attempts per game this season, a career high.

One would need at least 20 points on free throws to have a realistic shot at 80. Curry knocked down 11 threes on Wednesday and still fell 30 points shy of Kobe’s mark.

Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys): At first glance, Durant was the favorite to score 80. Standing nearly 7 feet tall, Durant can score with ease from anywhere on the court. He has the ball-handling to blow by defenders and the range and scoring arsenal to create jump shots for himself from anywhere.

Durant Scores 54

Durant poured in 54 points in an incredibly efficient performance, helping Oklahoma City beat Golden State 127-121.

Like Curry, Durant’s career high is 54 points and he, too, has four career 50-point games. But what sets the two apart is Durant’s career high 26 free throw attempts.

During the 2012-13 season, Kevin recorded his first 50-40-90 season. A true testament to a player’s shooting ability when they average 50 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent shooting on 3-pointers and 80 percent shooting from the line. With his size and range, there’s no limit to what he can put up on the scoreboard.

But, as long as he shares the load with Russell Westbrook, 80 points appears to be out of reach.

The Longshots

Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors): Thompson is bigger and taller (6-foot-7, 215 pounds) than Curry (6-foot-3, 190) and, some would argue, has a better shooting form than Curry, too. Klay has one career 50-point game — a 52-pointer (where he went for 37 points in a quarter) last season against the Kings. In that magical outburst, Thompson made all 13 of his field goal attempts, nine of which were 3-pointers.

Thompson Dominates Kings

Highlights from Klay Thompson as he hits 13 of 13 shots with 9 triples to notch a NBA record 37 points in the third quarter.

Problem is he only attempted two free throws that period. Thompson’s career high is 12 free throw attempts in a single game. While he may have the height advantage and shooting motion over Curry, he doesn’t get the wealth of touches these players get on a nightly basis. Thompson may have a 60-point effort in his future, but 80 doesn’t seem likely.

DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings Jerseys): “Boogie” is the lone big man to make the list. He has a 56-point game under his belt, which he recorded this season and is tops in 2015-16. An 80-point game would appear to favor a center since most teams play small and offensive rebounds are at a premium. Cousins appears to be developing into an offensive savant game by game. He’s made 45 3-pointers this season after making 11 total in his first five seasons.

Cousins Scores 56 vs. Hornets

DeMarcus Cousins scores a new career-high 56 points and grabs 12 rebounds versus the Hornets.

He boasts a 73 percent career free throw shooting mark and has five career games with 20 or more free throw attempts. All of this makes 80 a possibility, but, unfortunately for Cousins, the NBA is no longer a big man’s game.

The Choice is …

James Harden (Houston Rockets Jerseys): Prior to “The Beard” arriving in Houston, many wondered if he throwback nba jerseys cheap could be a team’s leading scorer. Those questions were quickly answered. In just his second game as a Rocket, he tallied 45 points with an impressive 17 free throw attempts.

Rockets vs. Hawks

James Harden explodes for a career-high 45 points in the big win over the Hawks.

Harden has three career games with 50-plus points and nine games with 20 or more free-throw attempts.

(If you haven’t caught on by now, free throw attempts are key.)

In Bryant’s 81-point game, he went 18-for-20 on free throws and made just seven 3-pointers. Ever since he got to Houston, Harden has mastered the art of drawing the foul. Proof? He has led the league in free throw attempts three times (including this season).

With no true number two scoring threat, Harden is the type of player that can go for 60 or more points and many would shrug at his performance. Along with his ability to cash in at the line, Harden utilizes the 3-pointer as well as anyone (he’s third in the NBA with 140 3-pointers). According to NBA.com/Stats, Harden ranks in the top 15 with 9.3 drives per game. He’s shooting 48.8 percent on those drives and getting to the free throw line nearly four times a game off drives alone. When he’s fouled on penetration plays, he’s making 86.6 percent of his free throws. As a result, Harden scores 75 percent of the time when he drives to the basket.

All those factors mark a player who has the skills to one day deliver an 80-point game. Trending

  • wholesale sports jerseys