Michael Jordan says Tiger Woods Masters win was ‘the best comeback I’ve ever seen’

Bruno Manrique | Clutch Points

Very few sports outstage the NBA playoffs when action is in full tilt, but this weekend’s broadcast of The Masters Tournament did, with a healthy Tiger Woods completing an epic comeback by earning his fifth green jacket — his first major win in 11 years.

It takes a GOAT to know another, they say — so it isn’t much of a surprise that Michael Jordan, known as the greatest in a sports he left 16 years ago, was closely watching his friend Woods defeat the odds and complete a comeback story which he deems even more impressive than his own.

“I took two years off to play baseball, but nothing like that,” Michael Jordan told David Aldridge of The Athletic. “I’m pretty sure he questioned himself, whether he could get it back, and he had to put a lot of work in. But he took it head-on. He had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit. To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen.”

Matter of fact, Jordan himself doubted Woods, and didn’t have the heart to face his friend and tell him what was in the minds of most who had watched him struggle through a torn ACL and multiple back procedures, often taking one step forward only to take two more backward.

It was only three years ago that Jordan told ESPN The Magazine’s Wright Thompson: “The thing is, I love him so much that I can’t tell him, ‘You’re not gonna be great again.’”

Oh boy, was he wrong.

And it’s not often that a guy so great at his sport, and a ruthless golfer on his own right, makes such a bold statement on a talent the sport of golf has seen nothing like through the modern era.

“I never thought he’d get back physically,” said Michael Jordan. “He didn’t think he’d get back physically. But he did it. No one expected him to be back the way he is now. He’s probably the only person who believed he could get back. To me, that’s a major accomplishment. To me, it’s unbelievable. Mentally, you always think you can. But you can’t answer to what your body has to deal with.”

It was that way that Eldrick Tont Woods, known to the world of golf by only one name — Tiger — dissolved every doubter and naysayer; Jordan included, to his own delight.

Much like Jordan after his return to the NBA, Tiger returned a changed man, a wiser one; a man that learned not only of the limits his now battle-tested body could offer him, but also the wisdom of an older golfer, one more focused on the task at hand than testing the limits of his talent.

When the likes of Francesco Molinari, Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka hit into the water on the 12-hole, Woods hit into the middle of the green instead of the flag, forced to keep his poise and play his cards wisely. Every par a tactical decision to make.

Jordan, who watched the event in a watch party with Luke Donald, the former No. 1-ranked golfer, who finished third in the 2005 Masters, couldn’t help but admire the road traveled for Tiger to get to this point.

“There were so many people that were doubting him,” said Michael Jordan. “You can think about the physical. But he overcame a lot of mental things, too. Not just the physical aspects, but all the scandals, too. I was watching TV and they were congratulating him, but the first thing they bring up is the negative aspect. That’s what he had to deal with. Granted, we all make mistakes. But for him to come back and be able to win again, it’s far tougher than anything I think anybody’s had to deal with.”

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😄D-Wade appears to already be taking this retirement thing VERY seriously! 😂

Needless to say, D-Wade is wasting no time when it comes to wasting time, chugging his own rosé from the passenger seat of a golf cart while his former trainer (because who needs one of those when you’re retired?) laughs hysterically behind him. If you’re still wondering what “livin’ la vida loca” looks like 20 years later, well folks, this is it.

Coleman Bentley | GOLF DIGEST | Read more…

HOOP HANGOUT • NBA PLAYOFFS • GAMEDAY POST • April 17th 2019

Celtics beat Pacers 99-91 to take 2-0 series lead

Associated Press

BOSTON — Kyrie Irving scored 37 points and the Boston Celtics rallied late in the fourth quarter to beat the Indiana Pacers 99-91 on Wednesday night for a 2-0 lead in the first-round series

Coming out of a timeout with a chance for Indiana to tie it, the Pacers’ Wesley Matthews threw an inbounds pass into the bench on the other side of the court with 12.1 seconds left. On the ensuing play, the Celtics’ Al Horford passed to Jayson Tatum, who was fouled on a two-handed dunk. He completed the three-point play to make it 97-91 with 8.8 seconds left.

The Pacers turned it over again and the Celtics were able to close out the game at the free throw line.

Tatum scored 26 points, including a thunderous dunk down the stretch to help punctuate a 10-0 run by Boston over the final five minutes. Bojan Bogdanovic led Indiana with 23 points, and Thaddeus Young had 15.

Game 3 is Friday night at Indiana.

ROCKETS 118, JAZZ 98

HOUSTON — James Harden put on an MVP performance with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Houston to a second straight rout of Utah for a 2-0 series lead.

Harden had his third career playoff triple-double. He had 25 points in the first half.

Harden controlled the game from the start as the Rockets raced to a 39-19 lead after a first quarter where he scored just two points fewer than the Jazz. Houston made 6 of 13 3-pointers in the first and Utah hit just one of its 14 tries. The Rockets didn’t let up in the second quarter and led 70-44 at halftime.

Ricky Rubio and Royce O’Neale each had 17 points for the Jazz.

Game 3 is Saturday night at Utah.

BUCKS 120, PISTONS 99

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 13 of his 26 points in Milwaukee’s big third quarter and the Bucks beat Detroit to take a 2-0 series lead.

Eric Bledsoe led the Bucks with 27 points, and Khris Middleton had 24. Milwaukee is trying win a series for the first time since 2001. Luke Kennard had 19 points for Detroit. Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond each added 18, and Drummond had 16 rebounds. Detroit star Blake Griffin sat out again with a left knee injury, but received a technical for the second straight game for arguing from the bench.

After scoring 10 points and playing only 14 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, Antetokounmpo scored Milwaukee’s first seven points in the third quarter. The Bucks outscored Detroit 35-17 in the period to take a 93-76 lead into the fourth.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Detroit.

Damian Lillard is taking apart Westbrook and the Thunder; Russ responds: ‘The way I played was unacceptable’

Charles Curtis | USA TODAY SPORTS

When you think of the best players in the NBA, it’s a near-guarantee you’d name a bunch of other stars before you’d get to Damian Lillard.

But after the Portland Trail Blazers guard cooked Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder for a second straight game in their first round NBA playoff series, it’s time for us to stop underrating the man known as Dame.

Why do we not talk more about Lillard? I think it’s a combination of factors. It’s partially because he plays for a West coast franchise that’s been good enough to make the playoffs every year but once (but hasn’t gotten beyond the second round) since it drafted Lillard sixth overall in 2012 out of Weber State, not exactly a program that’s considered a college hoops powerhouse. It’s also because a player like Westbrook puts up gaudy triple-double numbers night after night, while Lillard is the model of quiet consistency.

Yet there’s Lillard, picking up a team that lost Jusuf Nurkic and toughing it out on a night with 29 points, six assists, three steals and two blocks. There was this buzzer-beater in which he completely flummoxed Raymond Felton:

What about this ridiculous shot?

He bounced back from a brutal screen from Steven Adams:

Everyone noticed how he outplayed Westbrook, and Lillard wasn’t afraid to be physical with his fellow California native:

That led to these takes:

All I know is Lillard might take down Westbrook, and in the process, he might make believers out of a lot more NBA fans.

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OVERRATED? Stephen A. GOES OFF: “He deserves the insults…”

HOOP HANGOUT • NBA PLAYOFFS • GAMEDAY POST • April 16th 2019

Fox Sports

Leonard, Raptors rout Magic; Murray rallies Nuggets

Associated Press

RAPTORS 111, MAGIC 82

TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points, Kyle Lowry bounced back from a scoreless playoff opener with 22 and the Toronto Raptors routed the Orlando Magic 111-82 on Tuesday night, evening their Eastern Conference first-round series at one win apiece.

TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points, Kyle Lowry bounced back from a scoreless playoff opener with 22 and the Toronto Raptors routed the Orlando Magic 111-82 on Tuesday night, evening their Eastern Conference first-round series at one win apiece.

Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who never trailed and led by as many as 34.

Game 3 is Friday night in Orlando.

Despite playing in foul trouble for much of the night, Leonard finished with a career playoff-high 15 field goals. He made his first nine attempts from inside the arc before missing a layup. He shot 15 for 22 before leaving to a standing ovation with 4:46 remaining and Toronto ahead 104-73.

Lowry, who missed all seven attempts in Game 1, shot 8 for 13 and added seven assists.

Aaron Gordon scored 20 points, Terrence Ross had 15 and Evan Fournier 10 for the Magic, who won Saturday’s Game 1 104-101 on a tiebreaking 3 by D.J. Augustin with 4.2 seconds to go.

NUGGETS 114, SPURS 105

DENVER — Jamal Murray missed his first eight shots before a scorching fourth quarter in which he scored 21 of his 24 points, leading Denver past San Antonio and knotting their playoff series at a game apiece.

The Nuggets were in danger of losing a second straight game at the Pepsi Center after posting the NBA’s best home record (34-7) during the regular season. They trailed 78-59 late in the third quarter before closing the game on a 55-27 run.

The series shifts to San Antonio, where the Nuggets haven’t won since 2012, for Game 3 on Thursday night.

Paul Millsap added 20 points for Denver and Nikola Jokic just missed his second triple-double of the series, scoring 21 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and dishing out eight assists.

The Spurs got 31 points from DeMar DeRozan, 24 from LaMarcus Aldridge and 17 from Derrick White.

TRAIL BLAZERS 114, THUNDER 94

PORTLAND, Ore. — CJ McCollum had 33 points, Damian Lillard added 29 and Portland took a 2-0 lead in its first-round playoff series against Oklahoma City.

Maurice Harkless added 14 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Blazers, who opened a playoff series with two wins for the first time since the 2014 playoffs, when they beat Houston in six games.

Lillard hit a 3-pointer and was fouled to close the Blazers within 48-43. But the game began to get heated, with Lillard and Westbrook getting into it when Lillard tried to strip the ball. The officials reviewed it for a “hostile act” but concluded there were no fouls on the play. There was tension the rest of the way, and frequent jawing back-and-forth.

The series shifts to Oklahoma City for Game 3 on Friday.

Russell Westbrook, who had his ninth career postseason triple-double in Oklahoma City’s Game 1 loss, finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists. Paul George had 27 points despite lingering questions about his right shoulder, which was covered with kinesiology tape.

Do you agree with Max Kellerman that “Kobe Bryant is running – and ruining – the Lakers” ?

Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg weigh in on Kobe Bryant’s continuing influence on the Los Angeles Lakers during retirement. Max claims the Lakers are still feeling negative effects from Kobe’s 2-year, $48.5 million deal he signed at the age of 36 and adds that Kobe’s close relationship with Jeanie Buss may have influenced the hiring of GM Rob Pelinka.

DeMarcus Cousins diagnosed with torn left quad after MRI; likely to miss rest of playoffs

NBC Sports Bay Area staff

The Warriors’ worst fears after DeMarcus Cousins’ Game 2 tumble appear to be coming true.

Cousins has been diagnosed with a torn left quad, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Tuesday morning. Charania reported this injury probably will end Boogie’s season, but the Warriors aren’t fully closing the door yet on Cousins’ possible return.

Earlier Tuesday morning, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported that Cousins is “expected to miss” the remainder of the NBA playoffs. Haynes added, however, that there’s “faint optimism” the Warriors’ starting center could return for the NBA Finals, should the team advance that far.

Cousins left Monday’s game with what Warriors coach Steve Kerr said afterward was a “pretty significant” injury. Cousins will undergo an MRI on Tuesday morning to reveal the full diagnosis, and an official announcement is expected.

Now the Warriors must lean on Kevon Looney, Andrew Bogut and Jordan Bell at center in their NBA playoff first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. Looney, in particular, has played well, with a plus-31 in the first two playoffs. He finished Game 2 with a career-high 19 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes.

Bogut and Bell likely would be more limited. Bogut hasn’t played more than 24 minutes in a game for the Warriors since rejoining the team from Australia, and he has logged 19 total minutes of playing time in the two games against the Clippers. Bell has played even less in the playoffs, with five total minutes. He played 20 or more minutes in just seven of the 68 regular-season games in which he saw action.

Needless to say, none of those three has the credentials of Cousins, a four-time NBA All-Star who averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 30 regular-season games with the Warriors after returning from his torn Achilles.

Cousins’ comeback story cruelly ended early in the first quarter Monday, when he reached out for a loose ball, then grimaced in pain as he fell to the court and immediately grabbed his upper left leg. He went to the locker room, and the Warriors quickly ruled him out for the game.

Cousins tore the Achilles in the same leg in January 2018, while playing with the New Orleans Pelicans. He signed a one-year, $5.3 million contract with the Warriors, in the hopes of winning a championship and then cashing in for a bigger deal, but his latest injury puts his future in doubt.

The Warriors must shake both the emotions of Cousins’ injury and the NBA-record 31-point lead they squandered in a Game 2 loss that evened their best-of-seven series with the Clippers at one apiece. Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday night in LA.

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Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins leaves first quarter of Game 2 with quad injury; to undergo MRI within 24 hours

Brian Witt | NBC SPORTS

The Warriors got a major scare early in Game 2 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series with the Clippers on Monday night when center DeMarcus Cousins went to the locker room with an apparent left leg injury.

Cousins suffered the injury chasing down a loose ball in the frontcourt. As he reached out for the ball, Cousins could be seen grimacing in pain. He immediately grabbed his upper left leg before heading to the locker room.

Cousins, of course, has been working his way back from a torn Achilles in his left leg suffered in January of 2018. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game and will undergo an MRI within 24 hours.

This story is being updated. 

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Zion Williamson Announces His NBA Draft Decision

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Holleran | THE SPUN

Duke star freshman forward Zion Williamson has announced his decision for the 2019 NBA Draft.

No surprise: the Blue Devils’ five-star phenom is heading to the NBA.

Williamson, who racked up several national player of the year awards during his lone season at Duke, is widely projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

The future NBA star announced his decision on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

🔵Thank you Duke🔵#thebrotherhood

A post shared by Zion Williamson (@zionlw10) on

Williamson had one of the most-impressive freshman seasons in college basketball history, averaging more than 22 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists per game for the Blue Devils.

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CBS Sports