#1 in season openers.NO DUNCANYou bet it was strange for Po von mary123 17.04.2019 10:10

SALT LAKE CITY -- Becoming road warriors marks the latest sign that the Utah Jazz are evolving into a true NBA playoff contender this season.The Jazz wrapped up a five-game eastern road swing with a 4-1 mark, capping it off with an impressive 102-91 victory over Miami on Saturday. Utah never trailed in the second half and handed the Heat their fourth consecutive loss.Once again, Gordon Hayward is a big catalyst behind the success. Hayward scored 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting against Miami -- his fifth consecutive 20-point outing since returning after missing the teams first six games with a broken finger. The 26-year-old forward averaged 24.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists during the road trip.Im trying to help us win games, Hayward said. Its a huge road trip for us. Its been a while weve been this successful going out east.Utah (7-4) looks to continue that momentum at home when it hosts the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. If the Jazz can keep up their recent level of defensive play, it shouldnt a problem. They have allowed just 92.4 points over their last five games and 93.1 points over the entire season. Only the Los Angeles Clippers are allowing fewer points than the Jazz.With a 99.4 defensive rating (based on points per 100 possessions), Utah is emerging as one of the top 5 defensive teams in the entire NBA. It will present a stiff challenge for a Memphis team struggling to generate offense.The Grizzlies (4-5) scored 100 or more points just once in their last six games and won twice in that stretch. They are averaging just 97 points per game, the fewest of any Western Conference team. Mike Conley (18.8 points), Marc Gasol (18.1) and Zach Randolph (13.8) are not getting much help in the offensive production department.A 106-96 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday offered a microcosm of whats gone wrong for Memphis on offense this season. The Grizzlies shot 20 percent (6-of-30) from the perimeter and endured several cold shooting spells each time they rallied to get back in the game with the Bucks.We had a lot of really rushed possessions with no detail, Memphis coach David Fizdale said after the game. We were kind of sporadic and scattered. I was proud of the way we fought back like we always do but at the end, we just didnt execute at a high level.Both teams have had to deal with the injury bug early in the season. Tony Allen (groin) and Chandler Parsons (knee) have both seen limited action early in the season for Memphis. Utah has been without George Hill (thumb) and Boris Diaw (leg) for several games and Derrick Favors missed the final three quarters of the Miami game with knee soreness.The Jazz won the season series 2-1 over the Grizzlies last season. Utah won both games played in Salt Lake City. 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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs put on such a basketball show they sent the loyal Golden State fans to a rare early exit. What a strange sight at Oracle Arena for opening night and Kevin Durants long-awaited Warriors debut.Leonard scored a career-high 35 points and the Spurs emphatically spoiled KDs first game for Golden State in a 129-100 rout Tuesday that the Warriors could hardly believe had just happened.We got punched in the mouth, Draymond Green said. I dont know if it was quite a bad thing for us.Durant had 27 points and 10 rebounds, but little looked in sync for MVP Stephen Curry and the reigning Western Conference champions in a forgettable first game -- and quite a different one after the Warriors dominated at home and came out of the blocks last season with a record 24-0 start.Leonard scored 31 points by the end of the third, LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points and 14 rebounds and Gregg Popovich thoroughly outdid a couple of his close friends on the opposite bench in reigning NBA Coach of the Year Steve Kerr and top assistant Mike Brown.Yes, San Antonio sent quite a message to the West.If there was an outcome I wasnt expecting, it was this one, San Antonios Manu Ginobili said. A 29-point lead against a team like them? I truly didnt expect it.Curry, last seasons first unanimous MVP, scored 26 points but was just 3 for 10 from 3-point range. Green had 18 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, while Klay Thompson was limited to 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting.The star-studded Warriors were sloppy, committing 16 turnovers, and got outrebounded 55-35. They are clearly still finding themselves just as Kerr expected -- though maybe not quite like this while.No, I didnt see losing by 29 points, Kerr said. Its going to be an ugly tape to watch. ... I think our guys were embarrassed tonight. I know I was.San Antonio exhibited smooth, crisp ball movement and looked polished in a game that had a playoff feel on Day 1.Two-time Defensive Player of the Year Leonard shot 10 for 21 and made all 15 of his free throws.Jonathon Simmons came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points, including a 3 to beat the halftime buzzer for a 64-46 advantage. His status had been in doubt for the opener because of a calf injury.Green dunked off a pass from Curry early in the third to get Golden State within 10, only to pound his chest and yell before being hit with a technical.The Warriors had flurries of greatness trying to get back in it. San Antonio answered each time -- like when Golden State pulled within 50-42 in the second quartter before the Spurs closed the half on a 14-4 run.ddddddddddddts a nice little slap in the face, Curry said. First game you want to come out and protect your home court and have the energy of the home opener live throughout the game. We didnt do anything to let that happen.Durant made a 14-footer 65 seconds into the game and hit his first four shots. But he didnt have much help early.San Antonio led 31-20 after the first, when the Warriors shot 7 for 20 with four baskets by Durant. Golden States other players were 3 for 15, and the Warriors got outrebounded 17-9.Durant, whose former Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals, wants to make sure this result doesnt start a trend.What we cant do is let these games pile up, he said. We cant panic. Its Game 1 of 82.TIP-INSSpurs: Pau Gasol had two points in 18-plus minutes of his debut for San Antonio. ... The Spurs won at Oracle Arena for the first time since a 113-110 victory on Nov. 11, 2014. ... Leonards previous career high was 33 on April 2 at Toronto.Warriors: Durant has scored 20 or more points in 65 straight games. ... C Zaza Pachulia scored two points in his Warriors debut. ... Golden States three-game home winning streak against the Spurs was snapped along with its run of four straight victories in season openers.NO DUNCANYou bet it was strange for Popovich to play the first real game without Duncan. Its the first time since Popovichs initial season as head coach of the Spurs in 1996-97 to be exact.He was like a security blanket for everybody. Even if things went awry, Popovich said. He was like the center of the universe and everybody knew how to act around that. With that pivotal guy gone, well have to wait and see who accepts that role.SAGER STRONGA special giveaway T-shirt with Craig Sagers likeness hung on every seat for the sellout crowd to honor the eccentric, beloved TNT sideline reporter as he fights leukemia. Warriors coach Steve Kerr wore a different colorful version earlier, then a wild tie for the game.Popovich offered a caring thought after Curry sent his best over the mic.Hes just an iconic and weird and wonderful guy all at the same time, and I mean that lovingly, he said.UP NEXTSpurs: They visit Sacramento on Thursday as the Kings open their new arena, Golden 1 Center.Warriors: Golden State plays at New Orleans on Friday to begin a stretch of three straight on the road and four of five away from Oracle. ' ' '

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