Celtics-Warriors: What to watch for


Celtics-Warriors: What to watch for

Oh, by the way, the Warriors still have plenty of games toplay, and the Celtics are coming to Oracle on Wednesday.While the trade of Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown tothe Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson is the big news, the remainingWarriors will have to deal with Boston, currently playing its third game of aneight-game road trip.The Warriors are coming off a surprising win on Tuesdaynight against the Kings in Sacramento, but they will likely be short offirepower for the rest of the season.
Theyve lost their best player and leading scorer in Ellisand their starting center in Udoh. In addition, Stephen Currys status remainsin limbo.Here are some things to watch for during the Celtics-Warriors game:Offense issues: Without Ellis, theWarriors are going to need other players to step up with their scoring, and itlikely starts with Dorell Wright and Nate Robinson.Wright has been in a shooting slump much of the season, butthere are signs hes coming out of it. As for Robinson, hell likely get moreplaying time now that Ellis is gone, and hell have more of a free reign thanbefore.The Celtics have been playing better of late, and theirdefense has picked up. It will be interesting to see how the Warriors scoreifwhen Boston really bears down on defense.Lets see about Klay: The player whostands to benefit most from the trade of Ellis is rookie shooting guard KlayThompson. It seems apparent that the Warriors believe he can be the two guardof the future, and the future starts now.RELATED: Klay Thompson game logs splits news
Thompson struggled from the field against the Kings onTuesday night, but righted himself some in the second half. It will be worthnoting how Thompson handles his extra minutes for example, how will he bounceback against the Celtics after playing a career-high 42 minutes againstSacramento.Effort and energy: The Warriors obviouslygave up a lot of talent in this trade and Bogut doesnt figure on playing therest of this season. It alsoremains unclear what role if any Jackson will have with theWarriors.Against the Kings, the Warriors got after it defensively andwon going away. Some of that was the Warriors effort level and some of it wasthe Kings being flat.If the Warriors want to have any hope of winning some gameson the way toward the end of the season, theyre going to have to getconscientious efforts from most of their players each and every night.

In first game without Durant, Westbrook's monster night lifts OKC to win

In first game without Durant, Westbrook's monster night lifts OKC to win


PHILADELPHIA -- Russell Westbrook had 32 points, 12 rebounds and took over late to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-97 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Westbrook scored the decisive points on opening night for the Thunder in their first game since franchise star Kevin Durantleft in free agency and signed with the Golden State Warriors.

Joel Embiid scored 20 points in 22 minutes in his first game for the Sixers since they made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft. Embiid had sat out the last two seasons with foot injuries. He received a roaring ovation when he was introduced and fans went wild on every shot.

The 76ers had a tripleheader of image faux pas on opening night: The scheduled anthem singer says she was booted because she wanted to wear a "We Matter" jersey; a fan was kicked out for extending two middle fingers at Westbrook; and halftime singer Desiigner was booed off the court for a shirtless performance where he dropped his pants to his ankles.

Westbrook and Embiid swapped jumpers that tied the game 97-all. Westbrook sank two free throws with 35 seconds left for a 99-97 lead in front of a raucous crowd. Enes Kanter silenced them for good and sent them toward the exits with a putback layup after the Sixers missed a shot on the other end.

Yes, it was another loss for the Sixers, but one that came with a 7-foot-2 asterisk.

Embiid's performance largely stole the show from the opening-night shenanigans that otherwise tarnished the night.

Sixers fans who had been waiting to cheer for Embiid for more than two years went wild every time he touched the ball. A group of fans held a sign that read, "In Embiid We Trust."

The Sixers just might prove they made the right decision to trust in Embiid.

The crowd of nearly 20,000 fans erupted when the "7-foot-2 center from Kansas, Joooooel, Embiiiiid" was introduced during game introductions. They stood and gasped when Embiid attempted his first shot of the game - a missed 3-pointer.

He grabbed a defensive rebound, pushed the ball up the floor and it helped lead to an alley-oop to fellow newcomer Gerald Henderson. He had a nifty spin in the post and a bucket for a quick 10-2 lead.

The Sixers, yes, the 10-72 Sixers, at last had a dose of good news.

Coach Brett Brown said he would limit Embiid to four, 5-minute spurts and the center spent at least one game break in the locker room on an exercise bike to stay loose.

Embiid starred on a nationally televised performance and gave a teasing glimpse that he just may be the franchise cornerstone player that can help shift the franchise toward respectability.

Westbrook, now The Man in OKC, refused to cede the spotlight entirely to Embiid. He scored 12 points in the first quarter and 22 through three to keep the Thunder within striking distance entering the fourth.

He closed the game with the jumper and free throws and showed life without Durant might not be so bad for the Thunder.


Thunder: Coach Billy Donovan said the Thunder will win without Durant, just "do it in a different way." "It will be a constant process throughout the season to get everyone to understand." ... Donovan said Westbrook can't try and play as a one-man show or else "it's just going to wear him out."

76ers: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard rang the ceremonial opening bell. ... UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez was at the game. ... Fans chanted "Trust The Process" when Embiid was at the free-throw line. The catchphrase became a rallying cry under former team president Sam Hinkie.


Philadelphia 76ers national anthem singer Sevyn Streeter says she was told by the team she could not perform because of her "We Matter" jersey. Streeter wrote on Twitter, "Was suppose to sing the anthem at (at)sixers & (at)okcthunder game but mins b4 (at)sixers said I couldn't because I was wearing a "We Matter" jersey.


The Sixers ejected a portly fan in an Allen Iverson jersey who directed both middle fingers toward Westbrook from his courtside seat. The fan raised his arms in triumph and high-fived fans as he was escorted out of the arena.


Rapper Desiigner was booed off the court for a halftime performance where he ripped off his shirt and left with his jeans down to his ankles and his boxers exposed.


No. 1 overall draft pick Ben Simmons says there is no timetable for his return to the Sixers from a broken bone in his right foot. He said he has not discussed the possibility of sitting out the season.

"I'll come back when I'm ready," Simmons said.


Thunder: Host Phoenix on Friday in their home opener.

76ers: Host Atlanta on Saturday. They open with three straight and five of their first six at home.

Ahead of facing Warriors, Pelicans' Davis drops 50 in loss to Nuggets

Ahead of facing Warriors, Pelicans' Davis drops 50 in loss to Nuggets


NEW ORLEANS -- Jusuf Nurkic scored 23 points, Will Barton added 22, and the Denver Nuggets survived a dominant performance by Anthony Davis to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-102 in both teams' regular season opener Wednesday night.

Davis had 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and four blocks. His production helped New Orleans trim a deficit as large as 14 late in the second quarter down to two points in the waning minutes. He simply didn't have enough help.

The rest of the Pelicans combined to shoot 21 of 58. Tim Frazier scored 15 for the Pelicans. E'Twaun Moore added 10 points, but missed a 3-point attempt that could have tied it with 24 seconds left.

Danilo Gallinari scored 15 for Denver and Wilson Chandler added 12 points.

Denver built its largest lead when Barton hit a 3 and a layup to spark a 9-2 run that made 60-46 in the final minute of the second quarter.

The Nuggets still led by 10, at 87-77, when Kenneth Faried's hook shot from 5 feet opened scoring in the fourth quarter, but New Orleans managed to keep its deficit within single digits for most of the final period, pulling as close as 98-84 on Frazier's driving layup. A few possessions later, Davis cut into the lane for a layup that pulled the Pelicans to 100-98 with 2:32 to go and brought the crowd to its feet.

Denver, which had shot 46.9 percent (30 of 64) through three quarters, made just seven of 19 field goals in the fourth quarter as New Orleans turned up its defensive intensity. But the Nuggets played solid defense of their own, forcing a pair of missed shots and a Davis turnover in the final half-minute.

Denver also made seven of eight free throws in the final 1:39.

Nuggets: Rookie guard Jamal Murray, who was taken seventh overall in last summer's draft - one spot behind Hield - played 13 minutes and was 0 of 2 shooting, finishing with a point on a free throw. "For me, tonight's focus isn't Jamal Murray's debut. That's the least of my worries," Denver coach Mike Malone said. "My worry is trying to get a damn win." ... Between Gallinari, Nikola Jokic and the 7-foot- Nurkic, Denver opened the game with three players 6-10 or taller on the floor at a time when a number of teams are favoring smaller lineups to in order to feature the quicker, more versatile players on their rosters. "Obviously the trend is going away from what we do, but we're not worried about what the trends are," Malone said. "We're going to do what we think is best for us, but within our game you'll see a lot of different lineups. ... We feel like we have guys like Kenneth FariedWilson Chandler off the bench who can play meaningful minutes as well if we decide to go small."

Pelicans: Before the game, the Pelicans wore black T-shirts during warm-ups honoring Bryce Dejean-Jones, who was fatally shot last May when he forced his way into an apartment that he had mistaken for that of his girlfriend. The shirts had the letters "BDJ" on the chest with Dejean-Jones' No. 31 underneath. "It's unfortunate what happened the fact that he's not with us any longer, but he was part of our family and we just wanted to do something to pay tribute to him," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. The team also held a moment of silence in Dejean-Jones' memory before tip-off. ... Davis had 28 of his points on 11 of 22 shooting in the first half, when the rest of the Pelicans were 9 of 31 collectively (29 percent). ... Hield missed the first three shots of his NBA career before scoring his first points on a driving layup. He finished with four points on 2 of 8 shooting.

Nuggets: Host Portland on Saturday night.

Pelicans: Host Golden State on Friday night.