Post Up: Rockets Win In Historic Fashion And Jazz Stunningly Beat Up OKC

Donovan Mitchell

Rockets 119, Timberwolves 100 (Rockets lead 3-1)

It took the Rockets 3.5 games to really get going in this series but when they finally did, it was in record-setting fashion. After scuffling through the opening 24 minutes, Houston led just 50-49 at the break following a Derrick Rose second quarter resurgence than made the score a little more competitive.

Then, in the third quarter, the Rockets did what they’ve done all season: dominate. Houston scored 50 points — a NBA playoff record for points in a third quarter, just one point short of tying the record for points in any quarter — in the frame to completely take advantage of a pivotal Game 4, and now can clinch at home. James Harden (36 points on the night) scored 22 of those points, outscoring the entire Timberwolves team by two.

The Beard #Rockets his way to 22 in the 3rd as HOU scores 50!#NBAPlayoffs

— NBA (@NBA) April 24, 2018

Chris Paul (24 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals) and Clint Capela (14 points, 17 rebounds) had big games too, but it was really a team-wide effort to bury the Timberwolves in that crazy third quarter. It just felt like Houston couldn’t miss, at all, and Minnesota just couldn’t keep up. Karl-Anthony Towns (22 points, 15 rebounds) bounced back and played well, as did Rose (17 points, 6 rebounds) off the bench. But with the Rockets up 3-1 and headed home, Minnesota has a huge uphill climb ahead of itself and probably blew its best chance to win this series by not evening it up on Tuesday.

Jazz 113, Thunder 96 (Jazz lead 3-1)

This Jazz team is something else. It took …read more

Source:: SLAMonline

Jazz blow out Thunder to take commanding 3-1 series lead

SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell scored 33 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 113-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.

Joe Ingles scored 20 points while Rudy Gobert added 16 points and 10 rebounds. Ricky Rubio chipped in 13 points, eight assists and six boards. Utah takes a 3-1 series lead back to Oklahoma City. Game 5 is on Wednesday night.

Paul George scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Thunder. Oklahoma City lost its third straight in the series after shooting just 39 per cent from the field.

The Thunder opened up a 26-19 lead late in the first quarter when Carmelo Anthony capped a string of three straight Oklahoma City baskets with an alley-oop layup. They held onto the lead for much of the second quarter until Utah finally woke up on offence.

Starting with Rudy Gobert cutting to the rim for a dunk with 3:45 left in the second quarter, the Jazz scored on 11 straight offensive possessions to blow the game wide open. Ingles fueled the surge by hitting three straight 3-pointers to put Utah in front 58-52 before halftime.

It finally culminated in another Gobert dunk that punctuated a 20-3 run extending over the second and third quarters that gave Utah a 67-52 lead. The Jazz led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter. Utah went up 87-68 when Mitchell drained a jumper and then fed Ingles for a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.

Physical play and heated emotions characterized the game. Both teams picked up two technical fouls before halftime. Then …read more


Donovan Mitchell explodes for 33 points to help Utah Jazz take commanding 3-1 series lead against OKC Thunder

SALT LAKE CITY — Fans showered Russell Westbrook with deafening boos as his named was called during the starting lineups ahead of Game 4 at Vivint Arena.

The Oklahoma City star was viewed as public enemy number one in Salt Lake City after making his bold declaration Saturday directed toward Ricky Rubio following OKC’s Game 3 loss against the Utah Jazz.

“He made some shots,” Westbrook said of Rubio. “Too comfortable, but I’ma shut that (expletive) off next game, though. Guarantee that.”

Jazz players, notably Rubio, shrugged off Westbrook’s postgame comments then went out and played team basketball.

Utah took a commanding 3-1 series lead with Monday’s 113-96 victory using that team-first approach.

Rubio ended with 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds after logging the franchise’s first playoff triple-double since 2001, but it was rookie guard Donovan Mitchell who dominated the Thunder in Game 4.

Mitchell went off for a new career playoff high 33 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. He passed Karl Malone’s Jazz rookie postseason single-game scoring record of 31 points in 1986. The rising star is averaging 27.5 points in his first four postseason games.

“We don’t quit,” Mitchell said. “The big fella (Rudy Robert) said we’ll be fine. … It’s just a testament to the character of this team.”

Westbrook played with black KT tape on his upper body, despite being a full participant during practice and shootaround throughout the day. He struggled with 23 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and five turnovers while going 7-for-18 from the field.

“Nothing has been brought to my attention of what he may be dealing with,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said beforehand. “Nothing has limited him from doing the things that we’ve don in practice or shootarounds.”

From the opening tip, both teams were extremely aggressive as Westbrook took on the personal challenge of defending Rubio, even …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Michigan State kept ties to coach accused of sexual abuse

CHICAGO — Michigan State University, already reeling from the scandal involving a gymnastics doctor who molested young athletes, has maintained ties to a prominent volleyball coach for decades after he was publicly accused in 1995 of sexually abusing and raping six underage girls he trained in the 1980s.

Letters obtained by The Associated Press from advocates for the accusers reveal the school has been under pressure for at least a year to sever its relationship with Rick Butler. He runs training facilities in suburban Chicago that for decades have been a pipeline for top volleyball recruits, including Michigan State. MSU also held exhibition games for successive years at his facilities, at least through 2014, according to online records.

Butler’s accusers say Butler threatened to use his national influence to thwart their college prospects if they didn’t accept his advances.

Questions about ties to Butler add to the scrutiny of Michigan State that began when Dr. Larry Nassar was charged in 2016 with abusing scores of gymnasts over 20 years while he had an office on campus. A former dean, William Strampel, was recently charged with failing to protect patients from Nassar and with sexually harassing female students.

Unlike Nassar, who will spend the rest of his life in prison, the 63-year-old Butler has never been criminally charged and has denied sexually abusing anyone. The conduct in question occurred more than 30 years ago and was already beyond the statute of limitations for prosecution when the first three accusers came forward in 1995. Three others came forward more recently.

One of the initial accusers, Sarah Powers-Barnhard, said Butler molested her hundreds of times over two years starting when she was 16 and he was around 30. …read more