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NBA All-Star teams are unveiled, while Warriors pay visit to Obama

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were named All-Star captains.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS superstar LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks big man Giannis Antetokounmpo were named captains of their teams after leading their respective conferences in voting, the NBA announced on Thursday.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers Giannis and LeBron duelling earlier in the season. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Joining James as a Western Conference All-Star are Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, Golden State guard Stephen Curry and Houston Rockets guard James Harden.

Antetokounmpo is joined in the East by Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid in the frontcourt and two guards, Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets and Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics.

Walker is the lone first time starter among the 10 starters.

1 Source: ESPN

This marks James’ 15th All-Star game start, tying him with Kobe Bryant for the most of all-time. He has not played since injuring his groin in a Christmas Day victory over the Warriors.

The starters were chosen by a vote that included ballots from mainly fans, but also players and the media. 

Each of the West’s starters have been named an all-star at least six times.

Irving leads the East starters with a half dozen selections. Antetokounmpo is making his third all-star appearance.

As the captains, James — who earned 4.6 million fan votes — and Antetokounmpo will fill out their teams for the game with a draft on February 7.

James, who was also the top overall vote receiver in 2018, will select first from a pool of players voted as starters and reserves to fill out Team James.

Reserves will be announced next Thursday, and the All-Star game will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina on February 17.

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Warriors Wizards Basketball Steph Curry leaves the court after the game against the Washington. Source: Nick Wass

Warriors switch gears to beat Wizards for 9th straight win

In last night’s action, Curry made a timely return to finish with 38 points as the Golden State Warriors won their season-high ninth straight game with a 126-118 victory over the Washington Wizards on Thursday.

With Curry on the bench in the fourth quarter, the Wizards cut the Warriors lead to just two, 108-106, but the two-time defending NBA champions pulled away after he re-entered the contest.

Kevin Durant delivered 21 points on nine-of-18 shooting from the floor as the Warriors switched gears against the Wizards from their successful three-point attack to an inside game.

“We are trying to create momentum,” Curry said. “We understand what it means to win a championship. There are great challenges for us to focus in on.”

The Warriors had been dominating opponents with their three point shooting but after shooting just one of six from beyond the arc in the first quarter they adjusted nicely, finishing with 70 points in the paint.

Curry sank just two of eight three point attempts but ended up shooting 12-of-16 from the three point line in. Just one game after tying the NBA record by making his first 10 three pointers, Klay Thompson went one-for-four.

Curry said teams are starting to adapt their defence to stopping the three-point attack.

“Teams are adjusting,” Curry said. “We still got good looks.”

Source: NBA/YouTube

Centre DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points in 24 minutes in his third game with the Warriors since being sidelined almost a full year with a ruptured left Achilles tendon.

“It is just amazing. He misses a year and three games back he is starting to pick up his rhythm,” said Curry, who scored 30-plus points for the 19th time this season. “We will continue to get better and he will continue to get better.”

Trevor Ariza led the Wizards with a season-high 27 points and Bradley Beal had 22 points as their two-game winning streak came to a halt.

Obama visit

Before the game in Washington, some of the Warriors met with former President Barack Obama.

“It was amazing,” Warriors Durant said in describing the meeting.

The Warriors did not go to the White House to celebrate their 2017 or 2018 championships. President Donald Trump withdrew the invite in 2017 after several players, including Curry, said they would not go if invited.

Elsewhere, Russell Westbrook scored his NBA-leading 15th triple-double of the season and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the shorthanded New Orleans Pelicans 122-116.

Westbrook finished with 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists for the 119th triple-double of his career. The Thunder improved to 10-5 this season when he gets a triple double.

Paul George had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Steven Adams added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Oklahoma City, who won their fourth straight.

Jrue Holiday scored 22 points and Darius Miller matched a career high with 21 for New Orleans, which has lost four of five. 

The Pelicans were missing centre Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic. Davis missed his third consecutive game with a sprained finger and Mirotic will be out at least a week with a right calf strain.

In the late game, guard Rajon Rondo scored 15 points and had 13 assists in a return from injury as the Los Angeles Lakers lost 120-105 to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Rondo returned after missing 14 games with a finger injury. The Lakers are still without James who missed his 15th consecutive game due to a groin injury.

© – AFP, 2019   

Just over a week out from the 2019 Six Nations openers, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey are joined by Bernard Jackman to look at Ireland’s bid for another Grand Slam:


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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