From Comcast SportsNetSAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tony Parker swished the buzzer-beater and unleashed a cathartic scream. Under the basket, Kevin Durant stood frozen in disbelief.Throw in the trade that sent James Harden to Houston, and that's two stunners for the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first week of this NBA season.Parker sank a 21-footer as time expired and the San Antonio Spurs won a thrilling rematch of the Western Conference finals, beating Oklahoma City 86-84 on Thursday night without having to chase around Harden this time.Parker scored the last of his 14 points while Serge Ibaka -- the NBA's leading shot-blocker last season -- ran at him full steam. The All-Star guard calmly swished a long jumper from the left wing before breaking into a sustained scream while his teammates mobbed him in front of the Thunder bench."I was like, I have to shoot fast," Parker said about eluding the outstretched arm of the 6-foot-10 Ibaka. "He was coming very fast."Durant led all scorers with 23 points and began his sixth NBA season by becoming the second-youngest player behind LeBron James to reach 10,000 career points. Durant, however, stood silent under the basket for several seconds after Parker's shot before walking off the court."We lost him. We didn't get him in time, but he still made a tough shot over Serge," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "It's not an easy hand to shoot over."The defending West champions broke up their Big Three by trading the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year to Houston on Saturday. Harden had 37 points and 12 assists in a brilliant debut with the Rockets on Wednesday night.Speaking before the season opener, Brooks succinctly acknowledged Harden's performance before saying his team was moving forward.Until Parker's game-winner, it was almost as if nothing had changed for Oklahoma City.Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 20 points and eight rebounds. Parker also had 11 assists and hit a 3-pointer with 28.4 seconds left that tied the game at 84 and set up his buzzer-beater on the next possession.Durant also had 14 rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 18 points but made a poor pass on the Thunder's final possession that gave the ball back to the Spurs with 5.9 seconds left, giving Parker plenty of time to set and release his shot.The Thunder are starting anew with newcomers Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, who along with draft picks, are what the Thunder got in exchange for their third-leading scorer. Small-market Oklahoma City wasn't willing to offer Harden a maximum contract, and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 draft wouldn't accept its lesser offer.By Wednesday, Harden had agreed to a five-year, 80 million extension with the Rockets. That night, he stepped into Houston's starting lineup and became the first player in NBA history to have more than 30 points and 12 assists in a debut with a new team.Asked before Thursday's game whether the second-guessing had begun, Brooks didn't linger on the topic."He's played good basketball. He had a good game," Brooks said. "We're real focused on our group, our guys and moving forward."Westbrook, who took responsibility for losing Parker on the screen on the game's final play, acknowledged the first game without Harden didn't feel the same."It was definitely odd not playing and practicing with him," Westbrook said. "But we still need to find a way to win."Martin had 15 points and was Oklahoma City's only bench player in double figures. But backup Eric Maynor made his own big contribution, hitting a half-court heave to tie the game at the end of the third quarter.Spurs guard Manu Ginobili missed his second game with back problems but could make his season debut Saturday against Utah.Parker played 35 minutes and scored 23 points in Wednesday night's season-opening win at New Orleans. He played another 35 minutes against the Thunder, more than what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would prefer for his Big Three on back-to-back nights this early in the season."Down the stretch, you think he might be getting a little tired on the back-to-back," Popovich said. "Be he had his legs on the shot and did a great job."Notes: Spurs C DeJuan Blair made his season debut after Popovich kept him on the bench Wednesday, which prompted a clearly frustrated Blair to take to Twitter after the game. Blair, who started 62 games last season but was stuck on the bench by the playoffs, insisted he wasn't complaining but at one point tweeted, "I'm might not b tall enough." ... Duncan surpassed Charles Barkley for 17th on the NBA's career rebounding list.
Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.
The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.
But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.
The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.
Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.
Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.
Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.
Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …
The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.
“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park.
“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”
In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.
“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States.
“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”
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