Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 4th 2018 Contents sports A31
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Thomas makes winning
return to Cavs
CLEVELAND—Isaiah Thomas showed flashes of what made
him an All-Star in his long-awaited Cleveland debut as the
Cavaliers snapped a three-game losing streak with a
127-110 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on
Thomas scored 17 points and played
19 minutes in his first game in seven
months, an impressive return to ac-
tion for the dynamic point guard.
Thomas added three 3-pointers
and three assists before leaving
with 8:10 left and the Cavs up
LeBron James scored 24
points, Kevin Love had 19 and
Jae Crowder added 15 for the
Cavs, who were coming off
losses at Golden State, Sacra-
mento and Utah.
Damian Lillard scored 25 for
the Blazers after missing five
games with a hamstring injury.
Jusuf Nurkic added 23 and CJ
McCollum had 19 for Portland.
The Cavs were unable to
separate from the Blazers until
Thomas and Dwyane Wade
teamed up in the fourth quar-
SPURS 100, KNICKS 91
NEW YORK—LaMarcus Aldridge
scored 29 points, Kawhi Leon-
ard had a season-high 25 and
San Antonio beat New York to
give Gregg Popovich sole pos-
session of fifth place on the
NBA’s coaching wins list.
Manu Ginobili finished with
12 points — three of them com-
ing on what appeared to be a
pass that went into the basket
without everyone noticing.
Popovich has 1,176 victories, all with the Spurs.
The five-time champion broke a tie with his friend
The Spurs beat the Knicks for the second time in
six days and won for the fourth time in five games.
They beat New York 119-107 on Dec. 28.
Michael Beasley had 18 points for the Knicks,
who were playing one of just four home games this
month. They play 12 times on the road.
Kristaps Porzingis shot just 5 for 19 and was one
of three Knicks to finish with 13 points.
SUNS 104, HAWKS 103; HORNETS 131, KINGS 111
CLIPPERS 113, GRIZZLIES 105
Hard to believe, but Pop
was once unwanted
Gregg Popovich was the coach nobody wanted.
It’s hard to fathom now, after five NBA championships as coach
of the San Antonio Spurs and with him now alone in fifth place on
the league’s all-time victory list. But it’s true — Popovich’s decision
to fire Bob Hill and make himself coach and general manager in
December 1996 was horribly received at first, leaving even some of
his own players baffled.
The San Antonio Express-News took a poll after that season and
found that 92 percent of Spurs fans wanted Popovich fired.
“The pressure is always there for any coach,” Popovich said.
“You’ve got to get the job done.
Popovich now has 1,176 wins. He’s 34 away from No. 4 Pat Riley,
45 shy of No. 3 Jerry Sloan, and should catch both next season. He
would need 156 to catch No. 2 Lenny Wilkens, and 159 to match No.
1 Don Nelson’s record of 1,335.
NEW KING OF NY
Indiana’s Lance Stephenson is about to lose a record.
Stephenson is the all-time leading scorer in New York
high school basketball, with 2,946 points — tops in a
state that produced Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pat Riley,
Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair, Christian
Laettner, Kenny Anderson and so many others.
Joseph Girard III of Glens Falls High School —
only a junior — is on pace to pass Stephenson
later this month. JG3, as he’s known, has 2,592
career points and is averaging 48.3 per game
this season. In December he broke the school
record that was held by Jimmer Fredette, who
played with four NBA teams over five seasons
and is now scoring at will in China.
“I might definitely give him some props,”
said Stephenson, who set the mark in 2009. “It
was tough scoring all those points and helping
my team win, and he’s about to do it as a jun-
ior. That’s incredible.”
“I’ve been seeing this kid, he’s been doing
really good,” Stephenson said. “I’ll give him the
LeBron James turned 33 last week. Here’s an
alarming stat: 93 percent of the players in the
league are younger than he is.
Out of the 476 players who appeared in at
least one NBA game this season, only 34 are
older than James. And of those, a mere 11 are
But it also bears noting that James is still just the
fifth-oldest player on Cleveland’s roster, behind Kyle Korver,
Jose Calderon, Dwyane Wade and Channing Frye. And as the sea-
son nears the midway mark, James is looking good as ever.
“I’m fresh,” James told Dennis Scott during NBA TV’s Players Only
broadcast after Cleveland’s win over Portland on Tuesday night. “I’ve
always tried to stay fresh throughout the course of the game. Our
bench has been very dynamic this year.”
Warriors star Kevin Durant should soon become the second-young-
est player in NBA history to score 20,000 points, behind only LeBron
Durant is currently at 19,950 points, needing 50 (in the next four
weeks or so) to bump Kobe Bryant down to the third-youngest spot
on that list.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, left, talks to referee Pat
Fraher during the NBA game against the New York Knicks on December
28, in San Antonio. PICTURE AP/DARREN ABATE
Cleveland Cavaliers’ Isaiah Thomas is congratulated by
teammates as he walks to the bench during their NBA game
against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, in Cleveland. The
Cavaliers won 127-110. PICTURE AP/TONY DEJAK
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