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Golden State Warriors players celebrate after Game 5 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The Warriors won 104-90 and advanced to the NBA Finals. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After a generation of wishing and waiting, the Golden State Warriors have finally arrived on basketball's biggest stage again.

Stephen Curry had 26 points and eight rebounds, Harrison Barnes added 24 points and the Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in 40 years with a 104-90 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

"Why not us?" Curry said to a roaring, golden-yellow shirt wearing crowd after the Warriors received the Western Conference trophy from Alvin Attles, the coach of their last championship team in 1975.

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Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson lies on the court after being injured during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, May 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

The Golden State Warriors' backcourt duo known as the Splash Brothers now have something more than long-range accuracy in common.

Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson left Wednesday night's Game 5 with a lacerated ear after being accidentally kneed in the head by Trevor Ariza of the Houston Rockets.

It was Ariza whom Golden State point guard Stephen Curry flipped over in Game 4, which led to a nasty fall that temporarily knocked Curry out of that game.

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Scott Skiles has a longtime admirer in the New Orleans organization in Pelicans general manager Dell Demps, who played for Skiles when he coached in Greece. Pat Lovell/USA TODAY Sports

Scott Skiles has unexpectedly emerged as a candidate for the ‎New Orleans Pelicans' vacant coaching position, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that Skiles -- widely reported to be the front-runner for the Orlando Magic's coaching vacancy -- has joined Golden State Warriors associate head coach Alvin Gentry and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy on the list of coaches who have been interviewed by the Pelicans for the position.‎

Although the Magic have backed off their expected pursuit of Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau to focus on trying to hire Skiles, sources say New Orleans has simultaneously added Skiles to its short list of top targets.

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Dudley: 'Most guys don't want to play with Kobe' (May 28, 2015)
Baxter Holmes [ Source: ESPN ]


Milwaukee Bucks forward Jared Dudley said Kobe Bryant’s refusal to defer to his Los Angeles Lakers teammates at this late stage in his career is why “most guys don’t want to play with Kobe.”

As a comparison, Dudley referenced the final years of Michael Jordan’s career with the Washington Wizards.

“If you saw Jordan when he played with the Wizards, he started toning it down a little bit,” Dudley said in a radio appearance with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd. “He knew he didn’t have it. Kobe is the opposite. He wants to show everyone so much. I remember seeing Kobe, I think it was 70 games in [this past season] and he had out-shot the whole Lakers team by like 100 shots. C’mon now. We love you, Kobe, but c’mon. It’s, like, it’s now time to start giving up. Most guys don’t want to play with Kobe."

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Romeo Travis pulls up against Joe Devance Photo by KC Cruz

The Alaska Aces bounced back from their first loss of the conference with a 92-86 win against the struggling Star Hotshots on Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Romeo Travis led Alaska with 27 points, 14 boards, seven assists, five steals, and a block, while Vic Manuel provided quality minutes off the bench, scoring 10 points. It was a team effort for the Aces, as all 12 players fielded in by head coach Alex Compton scored at least three points.

"With Purefoods, you have to grind it out," said Compton after the game. "Players ng Alaska, I think defensively they won the game. I never wanna underestimate my players. It's a pleasure to coach them."

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Getting drafty: How Celtics prep for their picks (May 28, 2015)
Chris Forsberg [ Source: ESPN ]


WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics knew that Marcus Smart might be their guy when he worked out for the team two weeks before last year's draft, which is why members of the team's front office cringed a bit when he labored through what Celtics assistant general manager Austin Ainge bluntly described Wednesday as a "horrible" workout.

"We liked Marcus. We were like, ‘Wow, that was bad,’" Ainge explained Wednesday while offering a recent example of how one workout doesn't make or break the team's evaluation of a player. "So we called him and his agent again and said, ‘Look, we know you can play better than you did.’ And we probably would have still drafted him anyway, but we convinced him to come back, just so we could all feel more comfortable about it.

"He came back and he played great and that kinda put everybody at ease."

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It's looking like Tom Thibodeau's eventual exit from Chicago is only a matter of how and when. Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls are giving increasing consideration to firing coach Tom Thibodeau and absorbing the corresponding financial hit, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that the prospect of Chicago simply terminating its highly successful but often contentious relationship with Thibodeau, as the days pass, is growing in likelihood, even with nearly $9 million left on the coach's contract over the next two seasons.

The reality, sources say, is that the Bulls believe there is little chance they would have to pay that whole amount, since league rules on coaching contracts would inevitably see that figure reduced by set-off provisions once Thibodeau lands a new job.

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Barako Bull forward Rico Maierhofer made an unorthodox defensive play in his team’s game against San Miguel on Wednesday, contesting a shot attempt from Beerman Gabby Espinas with his shoe in his hand.

Though play was allowed to continue, PBA operations manager Rickie Santos admitted after the game that the action was definitely illegal though league officials were still planning on revisiting the rule book to see what the corresponding sanction should have been in the specific case.

“No, it’s not (legal),” Santos told InterAksyon.com in an exclusive interview. “Kasi, para kang dumampot ng stick nun tapos pinang-palpal mo.”

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DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler could trade places (May 28, 2015)
Tim MacMahon [ Source: ESPN ]


Why would Tyson Chandler, who departed from Dallas due to the cold business of basketball once before, wait patiently for the Mavericks' pursuit for his potential replacement to play out?

Perhaps the Mavs can make Chandler a promise: They’ll eventually sign him to a market-value deal, whether it’s with the intention to keep him in Dallas or send him to a contender.

That contender would be the Los Angeles Clippers. Of course, the Clippers would prefer to keep DeAndre Jordan, the third-team All-NBA big man who ranks right up there with perennial All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge as the Mavs’ top targets in free agency. However, Jordan intends to consider all of his options and has privately made it clear that he’s highly intrigued by the possibility of coming to Dallas as a featured attraction for the Mavs.

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FIBA World Cup

THE SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will have three months to come up with a presentation that needs to impress officials of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in the Central Board meeting in Tokyo on Aug. 8.
SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios told BusinessWorld in a text message that the group has already complied with the requirements needed for the 2019 World Cup bidding. The Philippines and China are the only two countries angling for the hosting rights of the biggest basketball event in the world.

The documents were sent via DHL and a copy was e-mailed.

“Basically, the documents contained arrangements on hotel, venues, local transportation, security and other important matters needed for the hosting rights,” Mr. Barrios added. “We didn’t go to Switzerland, but we sent the documents via DHL and a soft copy via Internet.”

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