Sunday, January 21, 2018

Warriors tired of old-timers' talk

The Warriors are the reigning champions, are on pace for the best record in league history and have the reigning MVP in Stephen Curry.

So they're a little tired of hearing criticism from former NBA greats.

"It's starting to get a little annoying just because it's kind of unwarranted from across the board," Curry said Friday on a San Jose Mercury News podcast. "We have a very competent group, and we have fun when we're out there on the floor, and it shows, obviously."

Golden State was 52-5 going into late Saturday's game at Oklahoma City; the .912 winning percentage puts the Warriors on pace for 75 wins, three better than the record 72 by the 1995-96 Bulls.

"We enjoy what we do," Curry said. "But for the most part, you don't hear us talking about, you know, comparing ourselves to other great teams and 'We could beat this team, we're better than this team.' We're living in the moment."

Recently, Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson told ESPN that today's style of play in the league, less physical than in the past, is part of the reason the Warriors are thriving. All-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, appearing on an ESPN game telecast of a Grizzlies-Lakers game last week, said he agreed with Robertson but also said Curry "can absolutely shoot the lights out."

Isiah Thomas and Stephen Jackson are among others who have criticized the Warriors recently.

"I just think it's preposterous to say that somebody who's playing now could not have succeeded 20 or 30 years ago," Warriors coach and former NBA player Steve Kerr told San Francisco radio station KNBR-AM, according to the Mercury News.

Center Andrew Bogut was more pointed in his response.

"They obviously want to get in the media and have their name heard again," Bogut said. "I just hope I'm not a bitter old man in my 50s and 60s."

Health concerns draw players to screenings

ATLANTA — Bernard King hopes regular health screenings will prevent his basketball friends from dying prematurely.

Heart disease is a prominent topic now among retired NBA players.

"Obviously we've lost a lot of our brethren — Moses Malone and Darryl Dawkins recently and Pat Cummings, Marvin Webster and Jerome Kersey over the last few years," King said. "We're in a situation where we'd like to stem that tide."

King and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Dominique Wilkins joined longtime stars Dale Ellis and Grant Hill in undergoing physical exams Saturday on the club level at Philips Arena.

Organizers estimated that 22 retired players from the Atlanta area participated in the screenings. Former coach and player Johnny Davis drove four hours from North Carolina to learn more about his body, too.

Following the heart-related deaths last year of Malone, 60, and Dawkins, 58, the NBA partnered with the players association and retired players association to hold events in different cities. Houston was the first stop in December. The Hawks hosted Saturday's clinic.

"It's an unfortunate set of events that you've seen far too many of our former, retired players die because of heart disease," said Hill, a Hawks minority owner and a seven-time All-Star with Detroit and Orlando. "From what I'm hearing, some of it maybe could've been avoided if the players knew or were aware of what they were dealing with."

Hill, 43, has been retired only three years and still looks slim and trim. Even so, he wants as much information as possible about his condition.

"I'm at that age, over 40, when you shouldn't take anything for granted and check these things out," Hill said.

Game highlights: Marcus Smart had 15 points and six rebounds as the Celtics held off Miami 101-89 for their 10th straight victory at home. Boston led by two going into the fourth quarter but seized control 93-84 with 2:45 to play after three free throws by Smart. … Karl-Anthony Towns had 30 points and 15 rebounds and Andrew Wiggins hit two free throws with 3.6 seconds left as the visiting Timberwolves rallied to beat the short-handed Pelicans 112-110. Pelicans forward Anthony Davis sat out after injuring his right foot during warmups. The All-NBA first-team selection from last year is averaging 24 points and 10.3 rebounds.

Johnson joins Heat: Joe Johnson signed with the Heat and might debut with his new team tonight on the road against the Knicks. The Nets bought out Johnson's contract last week, and he cleared waivers Saturday afternoon. Atlanta, Johnson's former club, and Cleveland were among the teams also expressing interest in the 15th-year veteran.

Around the league: Bulls star Derrick Rose (right hamstring) missed his third straight game. Jimmy Butler (left knee) had an MRI exam that showed his swelling was "significantly down," coach Fred Hoiberg said, but there's no timetable for his return.

Celtics 101, Heat 89

MIAMI (89): Winslow 3-10 0-0 6, Deng 5-13 1-5 11, Stoudemire 3-7 0-0 6, Dragic 9-15 2-2 21, Wade 7-19 5-7 19, Green 0-6 0-0 0, Whiteside 5-9 3-3 13, Richardson 3-4 5-6 11, McRoberts 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 36-87 16-23 89.

BOSTON (101): Crowder 6-15 2-3 14, A.Johnson 2-5 1-1 5, Sullinger 5-13 2-2 12, Thomas 4-17 3-4 12, Bradley 3-8 2-2 9, Turner 6-12 2-3 14, Smart 5-9 4-5 15, Zeller 5-12 2-2 12, Jerebko 3-5 0-0 8, Rozier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 39-96 18-22 101.

Miami 26 23 21 19— 89

Boston 18 28 26 29— 101

3-Point GoalsMiami 1-13 (Dragic 1-4, Wade 0-1, McRoberts 0-1, Richardson 0-1, Winslow 0-1, Green 0-2, Deng 0-3), Boston 5-16 (Jerebko 2-2, Smart 1-2, Thomas 1-3, Bradley 1-3, Crowder 0-6). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMiami 62 (Whiteside 15), Boston 57 (Sullinger 12). AssistsMiami 19 (Dragic 5), Boston 26 (Turner 9). Total FoulsMiami 19, Boston 19. TechnicalsWhiteside. A18,624 (18,624).

Timberwolves 112, Pelicans 110

MINNESOTA (112): Wiggins 5-15 10-10 20, Dieng 6-10 0-0 12, Towns 13-20 4-8 30, Rubio 2-5 5-5 9, LaVine 11-17 1-1 25, Muhammad 3-11 1-2 8, Prince 0-2 0-0 0, Jones 2-4 1-2 7, Payne 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 42-84 23-30 112.

NEW ORLEANS (110): Cunningham 3-9 2-4 8, Anderson 10-18 8-9 31, Ajinca 0-2 0-0 0, Cole 3-9 0-0 7, Gordon 9-17 9-10 31, Gee 1-3 0-0 2, Holiday 8-13 3-3 20, Perkins 1-5 0-0 2, Douglas 2-3 0-0 4, Babbitt 2-5 0-0 5. Totals 39-84 22-26 110.

Minnesota 25 20 31 36— 112

New Orleans 26 30 30 24— 110

3-Point GoalsMinnesota 5-15 (Jones 2-3, LaVine 2-4, Muhammad 1-3, Rubio 0-1, Towns 0-1, Wiggins 0-3), New Orleans 10-27 (Gordon 4-9, Anderson 3-7, Babbitt 1-2, Cole 1-2, Holiday 1-3, Gee 0-1, Cunningham 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMinnesota 49 (Towns 15), New Orleans 49 (Anderson 14). AssistsMinnesota 28 (Rubio 10), New Orleans 22 (Holiday 8). Total FoulsMinnesota 21, New Orleans 24. TechnicalsMinnesota Coach Mitchell, New Orleans defensive three second. A17,338 (16,867).

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