Sharks G Niemi is NHL's 1st star of the week

Sharks G Niemi is NHL's 1st star of the week

Feb. 22, 2011SHARKS PAGESHARKS VIDEO

NEW YORK, NY -- San Jose Sharks goaltenderAntti Niemi, New Jersey Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg and Edmonton Oilers right wingAles Hemsky have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Feb. 20.FIRST STAR -- ANTTI NIEMI, G, SAN JOSE SHARKS Niemi posted a 3-0-0 record, 0.98 goals-against average, .963 save percentage and one shutout as the Sharks (33-21-6) climbed to fourth place in the Western Conference standings. Niemi stopped 78 of 81 shots last week, beginning with a 30-save performance in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Nashville Predators Feb. 15. He recorded 23 saves in a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals Feb. 17 and stopped 25 shots for his fifth shutout of the season in a 4-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche Feb. 19. Niemi improved his season record to 20-15-3 with a 2.43 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 39 appearances. The 27-year-old native of Vantaa, Finland has started each of the Sharks' past 15 games, posting an 11-2-1 record in that span. SECOND STAR -- JOHAN HEDBERG, G, NEW JERSEY DEVILSHedberg posted a 3-0-0 record, 1.00 goals-against average, .956 save percentage and one shutout, helping the Devils (25-30-4) push their record over the second half of the season to an NHL-best 15-1-2. Hedberg stopped 65 of 68 shots last week, beginning with a 25-save performance in a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Feb. 16. He recorded 16 saves in posting his second shutout of the season, a 1-0 win over the New York Rangers Feb. 19, and stopped 24 shots as the Devils defeated Carolina 4-1 on Feb. 19. The 37-year-old native of Leksand, Sweden improved his season record to 12-10-2 with a 2.45 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and two shutouts in 29 appearances. He has won each of his six starts since Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur suffered a knee sprain Feb. 6 at Montreal.THIRD STAR -- ALES HEMSKY, RW, EDMONTON OILERSHemsky led all scorers last week with seven points (four goals, three assists) as the Oilers (19-32-8) posted three consecutive victories. Hemsky tallied multiple points in each game, beginning with one goal and one assist in a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars Feb. 15. He notched a pair of goals in a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens Feb. 17 and recorded a goal and two assists, all in the third period, in a 5-3 comeback win over the Atlanta Thrashers Feb. 19. Playing in his ninth NHL season, all with the Oilers, the 27-year-old Pardubice, Czech Republic native leads the Oilers in scoring with 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 42 games. He has 11 points in his past eight games (4-7--11) and is seven points shy of 400 for his career (113-280--393).

Courtesy NHL Media services

NBA Gameday: Warriors test offense against Clippers' top defense

NBA Gameday: Warriors test offense against Clippers' top defense

LOS ANGELES – In opening a five-game road trip Wednesday night, the Warriors are going right into an NBA war zone they know all too well.

They’re invading Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Clippers.

The teams, along with the San Antonio Spurs, are expected to battle for Western Conference supremacy. The Warriors (18-3) are 12 days removed from overtaking the Clippers (16-6) for sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division. Though LA started fast, winning 14 of 16, it has since lost four of six.

The game is Kevin Durant’s introduction to the agitation that tends to accompany Warriors-Clippers, and he’ll see plenty of LA defensive ace Luc Mbah a Moute.

The Warriors are reuniting with popular former teammate Marreese Speights, who after three seasons in the Bay Area signed with LA in July.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 4

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul. Several matchups deserve attention, but it begins with the two fabulous point guards. Paul’s task is to slow Curry, and he occasionally does. Curry simply wants to make sure Paul doesn’t impose his enough to supervise the action. The winner of this matchup tends to dictate the winner of these games.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 9-1. Clippers: 6-4.

INJURY REPORT:
Warriors: No injuries listed.

Clippers: F Brice Johnson (lower back herniated disc) is listed as out.

ROSTER NOTE:
Warriors C Damian Jones is on assignment with D-League Santa Cruz.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have won six in a row and seven of the last eight, and are 24-12 over the last nine seasons against the Clippers.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
Tests for the best. The Warriors lead the NBA in scoring and overall offensive rating, while the Clippers are tops in overall defensive rating. Conventional wisdom is that good offense beats good defense. It’s certain that each team’s “1” is under the gun.

LA loves charity: No team in the NBA shoots more free throws than the Clippers. The Warriors won’t mind sending DeAndre Jordan to the charity stripe, maybe even intentionally, but they want to avoid fouls that give Jordan’s teammates easy money.

From the jump. While the Warriors are downplaying the significance of the game, the Clippers are not. So LA definitely will make an effort to make a statement in the opening minutes. Will they? And what happens if they don’t? The Warriors will be on alert.

Draymond's thought on Curry's alley-oop to Durant: 'Not about to work'

Draymond's thought on Curry's alley-oop to Durant: 'Not about to work'

With 9:25 remaining in the third quarter on Monday night, Zaza Pachulia and Pacers forward Paul George engaged a jump ball near the basket the Pacers were shooting at.

Pachulia won the toss by tipping the ball back to Draymond Green, who channeled his inner quarterback by throwing the ball down the court to Steph Curry, who promptly tossed the ball backwards for an alley-oop dunk to Kevin Durant.

Is that one of the coolest places Draymond Green has ever been involved in?

"Yeah, that was amazing," Draymond said on 95.7 The Game on Tuesday. "It was funny because before the tip, I looked at Steph and I just gave him a head nod to the left just to take off. And he just shook his head back, so as I soon as I caught it I was already in motion throwing the ball.

"And when I saw him throw it back I'm like, 'Whoa. That's not about to work.' And my man Durantula caught it and that was incredible.

"For Steph to have the mind to throw that pass back like that and for KD -- it was off center, way to the left -- and for him to catch it and dunk that basketball ... that was an incredible play. I couldn't believe it happened."