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MessagePosté le: 07/09/2018, 09:49    Sujet du message: s and downs, they've Répondre en citant

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So far the trade for Chris Paul to give the Houston Rockets another superstar to help James Harden has worked famously.

Now the two Rob Havenstein Jersey , who have both had their fair share of playoff disappointments, will try to carry their regular-season success into the postseason when the Rockets open a first-round series with Minnesota on Sunday night.

The guards have been effusive in their praise for one another, with Harden recently joking that his relationship with the nine-time All-Star was ”love at first sight.” Paul didn’t go quite that far, but a huge smile crossed his often serious face when asked how their pairing has worked.

”Unbelievable,” he said. ”You just (don’t) get this opportunity too often in a career to play with somebody like James … you get a chance to appreciate greatness.

”What he’s doing on a nightly basis and stuff like that, it’s crazy and I’m in awe,” Paul continued. ”I’m grateful I get to play alongside him.”

When told of what Paul said about him, Harden was quick to answer.

”You can tell,” he said. ”It feels like it’s been forever but it’s not even been a year yet.”

Their work in the regular season led the Rockets to a franchise-record 65 wins, their first No. 1 seed and sixth straight playoff appearance. They are looking to win the title for the first time capturing back-to-back championships in 1994-95.

For the 32-year-old Paul, it’s a chance for him to finally shake off years off playoff woes after making nine playoff trips without advancing past the second round. But if he is haunted by the ghosts of playoffs past, he wouldn’t acknowledge it and was dismissive when asked if he thought this was his best chance to win it all.

”I don’t know,” he said. ”I don’t think about all that.”

What he and the Rockets do know is that they’re facing a talented team in the eighth-seeded Timberwolves Brad Nortman Jersey , who had to win their last regular-season game to get into the postseason. They ended the NBA’s longest active playoff drought with their berth, putting them back in the postseason for the first time since 2004 when they lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

Getting the Timberwolves into the playoffs is a huge accomplishment for the entire team, but might mean just a little more to star Karl-Anthony Towns, who made a vow the night Minnesota selected him with the top overall pick in the 2015 draft.

”It means more than I think words can express honestly,” he said. ”I made a promise to … Flip Saunders and it meant a lot to me that I was able to keep my word.”

Some things to know as the Timberwolves and Rockets open their series:

BACK HOME

The series is a homecoming for Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler, who grew up in Tomball, a suburb about 35 miles from downtown Houston. But he insists he won’t have any time to get back out there this week.

”Nope,” he said. ”Zero (time). I ain’t even going home. I’m here to work.”

But he did spend a little time on Saturday reminiscing about his high school days when he idolized a former Rockets star.

”I used to walk around the hallways and in the gym thinking I was Tracy McGrady,” he said. ”I remember it like it was yesterday. He was my favorite player. I wanted to wear his number, wear his tennis shoes, all of that good stuff.”

Butler, who returned on April 6 after missing 17 games with a knee injury, said he’s fully recovered from his injury and is ”well-rested” entering the playoffs.

PLAYOFF HISTORY

This is the second time these teams have met in the playoffs. Their other meeting came in Minnesota’s first trip in 1997 Kyle Williams Jersey , when the Timberwolves were swept in three games. That Houston team was led by Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Charles Barkley, and the Wolves featured Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury and Tom Gugliotta.

LIMIT KAT FROM LONG RANGE

The Rockets are resigned to the fact that Towns, who led the NBA in double-doubles, will get his points under the basket and plenty of rebounds.

”He’s going to get a double-double,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said. ”That’s who he is.”

However, they are not OK with letting him shoot 3-pointers. The 7-foot Towns ranked 14th in the league with a 42 percent average from 3-point range and knocked down a career-high 120 3-pointers this season.

”We (can’t) leave him open or let him walk into a 3 because we’re not guarding him,” D’Antoni said. ”We have to be aware of that. You can’t take away his post-ups and his moves in there. He’s going to score on anybody, but you can do a really good job on the 3s.”

HARDEN’S MOTIVATION

Despite finishing as the runner-up for MVP last season and being a front-runner for this year’s award, Harden still faces plenty of criticism for some of his past performances in the playoffs, notably, a terrible performance in an embarrassing 114-75 elimination loss to San Antonio in the conference semifinals last season.

But he has never been motivated by criticism Jeff Allen Jersey , and he finds his drive in a far different place.

”Just going out there and being the best that I can be,” he said. ”There’s no negativity that someone can say that can motivate me. Some people can get motivated by that. I don’t really care.”



Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce got plenty of attention for his salty language during the Super Bowl celebration parade. The All-Pro says he tried to tone it down when he spoke inside the Phillies clubhouse on Monday.

But once Kelce started his speech, he found that old habits die hard.

"I probably cursed a little more, actually," Kelce said. "At least through the start of the speech I made an effort to not curse and then that quickly faded."

Wearing a red No. 62 Phillies spring training jersey, Kelce was the main guest during the first official day of team workouts.

"I played baseball all the way up until high school," Kelce said. "I threw my elbow out when I was like 12 years old, tore the plate off my bone, I didn't play baseball after that."

Kelce spent a lot of time watching pitchers throw their side sessions and said there was plenty he could take away from watching them interact with catchers.

"Baseball is an awesome sport," Kelce said. "I've just been picking up some of what goes on between the pitcher and catcher because I think there are a lot of similarities between the mental chess game going on there as there is with me and Carson (Wentz) kind of assessing defenses and stuff like that."

New Phillies manager Gape Kapler said that he spoke with Kelce separately and discussed the rapport Eagles players had with head coach Doug Pederson and the coaching staff.

"Jason and I discussed that and talked about how that communication was the two-way street," Kapler said. "He shared what a good communicator coach Pederson was and how that communication was critical in establishing and maintaining trust throughout the season."

Kapler said he felt the message Kelce gave his players was one that will inspire them and one they needed to hear as they begin the season.

"I think there were 8 to 10 (things) to take away, but the No. 1 was it is OK to fall down, be fearless Myles Garrett Jersey , get back up, be bold and do it all over again," Kapler said. "Champions have stories to share and they're effective for a reason.

"Because they've been through the ups and downs, they've displayed courage, they've come together as units, they know what it feels like to have people count them out and then to prove people wrong," he said.

Kapler said the Phillies' video production staff put together a piece for the team over the weekend that included some highlights from the other sports teams in the city, as well as some footage from the movie "Rocky" spliced in and some highlights of their own players.

The relationship with the city is something Kapler wants the Phillies to embrace.

"We feel like we're in a partnership with the city of Philadelphia, the fans of Philadelphia and certainly the sports teams of Philadelphia," he said. "You saw it today with Jason. He felt like he was a part of the Phillies family. He wore that 'Be Bold' T-shirt proudly, then he put on a Phillies jersey and a Phillies cap.

"This is an All-Pro center on the best offensive line in football from a Super Bowl championship team. And here he was in our clubhouse today sort of backing the Phillies. I thought that was pretty remarkable," he said.

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MessagePosté le: Aujourd’hui à 17:31    Sujet du message: s and downs, they've

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