The weeks coming out of the All-Star break typically tell us a lot about the teams we still have lingering questions about. This season, some of those — like the Cleveland Cavaliers — saw so much change so recently that we won’t be able to answer those…
Category: Houston Rockets
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San Antonio star forward Kawhi Leonard is still battling injury and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Wednesday he’d “be surprised” to see him return this season. “On Kawhi, I’d be surprised if he returns this season,” Popovich told reporters as the Spurs returned to practice in the wake of the NBA’s All-Star break. “There are only X number of games left in the season and he’s still not ready to go,” added Popovich, whose remarks were posted on NBA.com.
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Golden State and Cleveland are used to looking down at the rest of the NBA, though it’s Houston and Toronto enjoying that view at the All-Star break. The Rockets and Raptors are the conference leaders and will try to keep rolling when play resumes. Houston has won 10 straight to edge past the Warriors, and Toronto is two games up in the East after seven consecutive wins.
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Toronto is trying to rewrite their history, Cleveland has re-tooled through trades and Boston’s cooling off as the NBA enters the final seven weeks of the season following the annual all-star break. The Toronto Raptors lead the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference by two games while the Houston Rockets sit atop the West with the best record in the league at 44-13. The NBA regular season resumes on Thursday after Sunday’s entertaining all-star game which saw LeBron James score 29 points, including the go-ahead layup with 34 seconds left, as his hand-picked team rallied to beat Team Stephen 148-145.
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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan Sports Analytics Conference being held this week in Boston will feature one very unique speaker, former President Barack Obama. For a lot of people, he’s a surprising choice to attend a sports analytics conference, but for the organizers who convinced him to attend, it’s a no-brainer. “We know he’s a huge sports fan and he’s done a lot on tactical decision making leveraging analytics,” said Jessica Gelman, the conference’s co-founder. “On the team and business side, that’s exactly what we’re about.” Gelman is the CEO of Kraft Analytics Group, which was formed in 2016 after being spun out of the Kraft Sports Group, which owns the New England
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Slovenia’s Goran Dragic competed in his first NBA All Star Game on Sunday, completing a 15-year journey in professional basketball involving thousands of games played in arenas around the world and a handful of individual awards. When the 31-year-old entered the game as a Team LeBron member during the first quarter, he became the first ever player from Slovenia to achieve the honor. “For me it means a lot,” the Miami Heat guard told Reuters on Saturday following a practice with his Team LeBron mates.
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In celebration of basketball’s biggest weekend, Rémy Martin hosted a special concert Friday night featuring rapper/producer/new dad, Travis Scott. The event went down at Los Angeles’ Avenue nightclub, where Scott performed in front of a star-studded crowd that included athletes like Houston Rockets’ James Harden and Cleveland Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson, as well as fellow celebrities like French Montana, Future, Nicole Scherzinge, and Chanel Iman. There was also a random, but much-appreciated, appearance by Flavortown mayor Guy Fieri.
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Basketball great Charles Barkley fears the NBA’s popularity could be in jeopardy if the trend of top players gravitating towards a handful of franchises continues unchecked. Barkley, 54, said he was alarmed by the increasing disparity of rosters across the league, and warned that LeBron James’ possible move to an already powerful team this summer could exacerbate the problem. James has the option of entering free agency this summer, and has been linked to a possible move to the Houston Rockets, where he would strengthen an already formidable roster spearheaded by James Harden and Chris Paul.
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He doesn’t have the in-your-face Instagram game of Joel Embiid, or play under the lights at Madison Square Garden like Kristaps Porzingis. He doesn’t even have a ubiquitous nickname like The Brow, aka Anthony Davis. But he’ll don his first NBA All-Star uniform this weekend, so it’s time to pay attention: Karl-Anthony Towns has arrived. Towns, in just his third season, is the most underappreciated player in the NBA. The Dominican-American 7-footer is an efficiency monster on offense and a wall on defense. In just over 220 games, Towns has proven himself to be a true franchise centerpiece, and one who — barring a free agency departure — should anchor his Minnesota Timberwolves for the next decade.
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Damian Lillard said it may have been Portland’s best win of the season. Lillard had 44 points and eight assists, and the Trail Blazers overcame Kevin Durant’s 50 points to snap a seven-game losing streak to the Golden State Warriors with a 123-117 victory on Wednesday night. CJ McCollum added 29 points for the Blazers (32-26), who go into the All-Star break six games over .500.
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With one game left before the All-Star break, the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves are hoping to rediscover some of what worked during the league’s unofficial first half. Los Angeles heads to Minnesota on Thursday after a 139-117 loss in New Orleans in which coach Luke Walton and new point guard Isaiah Thomas were ejected, and the Lakers gave up a season-high point total for an opponent in a regulation game. It was Los Angeles’ second straight loss after eight wins in the previous 10 games.
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The NBA will reach the All-Star break with conference races that are too close to call. The Toronto Raptors take a one-game lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference into Wednesday, the last full night of play before a week off. In the West, the Golden State Warriors’ lead is down to a half-game over the surging Houston Rockets, who have won nine in a row.
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