Warriors vs Lakers

Warriors vs Lakers: he Golden State Warriors lost their first preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers, 113-123. Get ready for five probably premature matchup observations! … Although the Lakers may not seem to be the top threat to the Golden State Warriors, I came into this game hoping to get a basketball game.ORK — LeBron James’ first game against the Warriors as a Laker drew nearly 2 million viewers, making it ESPN’s most-watched preseason game ever.

The Lakers’ 123-113 victory Wednesday night in Las Vegas was watched by 1.98 million viewers, the network said Thursday. A spokesman says that is the most viewers for an NBA preseason game on any network since at least 1994, which is as far back as the records go.

This story appears in ESPN The Magazine’s NBA Preview issue. Subscribe today! Watch Pablo S. Torre and Bomani Jones debate hoops every day on “High Noon.”

Here’s a riddle: If the Warriors winning a title is a foregone conclusion, why has the NBA never been more popular? Answer: Because the NBA isn’t just a basketball league — it’s a network of 30 prestige television dramas. The spats! The rumors! The infighting! The subtweets! Whiteboard-smashing! Crotch-kicking! Players-only meetings!

This season, all your screens will be tuned to the NBA. It’s showtime! Eric Heintz
So this year we’re treating the coming NBA season as what it truly is, by finding the TV drama at the heart of each team and ranking all 30 by how must-watch they will be. Will the Lakers be great? Certainly not! But they will be the highest-rated 7-seed ever. Will Houston’s offense be better with Melo? No way! But, hey, tragedy is the new comedy. Can the Sixers stick to the script? Will OKC’s buddy comedy click? Will the Warriors jump the shark?

With that in mind, we give you the 2018-19 NBA season, TV-guide-style.

It’s an ensemble cast that could lead to high jinks. But neither Magic Johnson nor LeBron James is here for jokes. The Lakers aren’t a contender, but Michael Beasley is right … at least about his teammates. Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee have played big minutes in big games. They can win. It’s just more fun to watch when they don’t. –Bomani Jones

The Quote: “If everybody … stops judging some players, me mainly, you’ll figure out that guys like me and … Lance know how to play.” –Michael Beasley, to the LA Times
Team president Masai Ujiri has eight months to make the relentlessly silent Kawhi Leonard fall in love with him, which feels like both a rom-com and a horror movie. Imagine if Leonard winds up worse than DeMar DeRozan, the beloved spokesman Toronto shipped out for him. Far more heartrending, though, is the more likely reality: Leonard is every bit the superstar the Raptors have lusted after — but he still loves LA. –Pablo S. Torre

The Quote: “We don’t want to be the ones that are felt sorry for anymore. We want to belong.” –Masai Ujiri

The Number: 263 (Raptors’ wins since 2013-14, Ujiri’s first season as GM, fourth best in the league)

No. 3: Minnesota Timberwolves
If Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins really want Jimmy Butler gone, it’s an indictment of them. Butler’s presence made the Wolves one of the better teams in the West, and his absence almost kept them out of the playoffs. Butler has to go, but you’ve got to wonder what it says when the Wolves want to build around two guys who seem happy with getting worse. –B.J.

The Quote: “Ain’t no coach in the world that can make somebody play hard. Ain’t no coach in the world that can make anybody want it.” –Jimmy Butler

The Number: 47 (Wolves’ wins last season, their most since 2003-04)

Houston’s plans for toppling the Warriors depend heavily on how Melo will fit in with the team’s well-oiled offense. Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports
No. 4: Houston Rockets
If you ever come across a time machine, consider going back to 2012 and telling Mike D’Antoni and Carmelo Anthony they’ll be together in 2018. D’Antoni straight up quit the Knicks because of Anthony, who rejected his offensive scheme. But in Houston, which hungers for another scorer, the scheme is different: efficient but remarkably iso-heavy. Enter Anthony, who at least remains the latter. –P.S.T.

The Quote: “Whether he starts or doesn’t start — and he said it — is a moot point.” –Mike D’Antoni, to The Houston Chronicle

The Number: 12.7 (Anthony’s PER last season, the worst of his career)

No. 5: Washington Wizards
Here’s how this might go right: Scott Brooks managed the chemistry around Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant for years; it’s the best thing he did while he was in OKC. But what happens when John Wall, the one guy who wants to play with Dwight Howard, is the guy the other Wizards don’t seem to want to play with? –B.J.

The Quote: “I know I’m a team player. I average almost 10 assists a game. I’m very prideful in finding my teammates and getting guys easy shots.” –John Wall

The Number: 7.9 (Drop in Wall’s net rating last season when playing without Bradley Beal)

With Kawhi Leonard gone, how much longer will the Pop era last in San Antonio? Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports
No. 6: San Antonio Spurs
Zoom out on NBA history and Gregg Popovich has nothing to worry about. Zoom in on San Antonio, though, and you see anxiety everywhere. Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker are gone. Manu Ginobili retired. Pop still hasn’t missed the playoffs since his first year, over two decades ago. But now, at 69, retirement looms. One way or another, a historic run will be over soon. –P.S.T.

The Quote: “I am not too interested in talking about the past. I don’t even want to talk about Tim Duncan.” –Gregg Popovich

The Number: 9 (Players to win multiple Defensive Player of the Year Awards, including Leonard)

No. 7: New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans finally got a second star to pair with Anthony Davis, but the team was actually better after DeMarcus Cousins got hurt. Cousins is now in the Bay, and Davis has a player option in 2020. How good must the Pelicans be this season to stop Davis from exercising his free agency option two summers from now? –B.J.

The Quote: “You’re wondering if you’re following in that same path.” –Anthony Davis on Kevin Garnett, who got a ring in Boston after exiting Minnesota

The Number: 27.1 (Davis’ PER since 2013, trailing only LeBron and KD)

No. 8: Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have hit their ceiling. Damian Lillard aired grievances to ownership. If the Trade Machine were a jukebox, CJ McCollum would be “Free Bird.” The two guards are gifted scorers who give gifts on defense. So if insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results, the question now is simple: Does Portland like being insane? –P.S.T.

The Quote: “It’s not like we’re a destination. It’s tough to get players.” –Damian Lillard

The Number: -2.42 (Combined defensive RPM of Lillard and McCollum)

Will the Paul George-Russell Westbrook buddy comedy have a happy ending? Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
No. 9: Oklahoma City Thunder
We can no longer say, “No one wants to play with Westbrook.” And while watching Russ take 43 shots in a Game 6 loss to Utah might have infuriated some, it made us forget that Paul George was awful that night, with five points on 16 shots. Westbrook will have to share the ball — but George must give him reason to do so. –B.J.

The Quote: “I know who I am as a player. I just want to help a team win, and I feel comfortable doing that with Russ.” –Paul George

The Number: 20.2 (Westbrook’s field goal attempts per game over the past seven seasons)

No. 10: Golden State Warriors
All that hubbub about adding DeMarcus Cousins is old news. The NBA’s most widespread rumor now centers on the Warriors’ most infuriating luxury. Spoiler alert: Kevin Durant is destined, allegedly, to leave Golden State for NYC. The Warriors may not need KD to stay dynastic. But we’ll find out how badly they want to keep him. –P.S.T.

The Quote: “Draymond probably had the worst pitch. He was like, ‘Cous, I’m pretty sure me and you are going to fight.'” –DeMarcus Cousins

The Number: 118.5 (Points per 48 minutes the Warriors scored last season with Durant on the floor. Without: 105.6.)

No. 11: Philadelphia 76ers
Why do things feel so uncertain with the Sixers? Their best player’s quote about his new GM was that he used to dunk on him. Their two No. 1 picks were scared to shoot jumpers last year. And last season’s performance has created the expectation that the team will make a big leap. Shaq and Penny had only three years together. Same for Durant, Westbrook and Harden. The future is now. –B.J.

The Quote: “It was hurtful because of the stuff that was said. But at the end of the day, I know who I am as a person, as a player.” –Joel Embiid on the burner accounts tied to Bryan Colangelo

The Number: +7.0 (Philly’s plus-minus per game with Embiid and Simmons both on the court last season)
Like a No. 23 Cavs jersey on a clearance rack, the Cavs are now ignored, depressing and heavily discounted. Cleveland already knows to expect tumbleweeds in Quicken Loans Arena. A healthy Kevin Love might even help them move on. But J.R. Smith, still employed, remains a city’s sorrowful reminder: Do not take your time with LeBron for granted. Especially in the Finals. –P.S.T.

The Quote: “Now it’s going to be on my back in a lot of ways, and I’m ready for it.” –Kevin Love, to Cleveland.com
Once upon a time, “Grit and Grind” was an ideal slogan for this team’s prideful physicality. Now the motto is less about what the Grizzlies do to their opponents and more about what Grizzlies fans do to their teeth. The good news is that Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are healthy. The bad news? They’re 33 and 31, respectively — and most useful as trade bait. –P.S.T.

As org charts go, there’s no outdoing the one-two punch of Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and GM Vlade Divac. An optimist would call their stockpiling of big men and divestment of wings “countercultural.” A realist would wonder if they’re elaborately tanking. The question isn’t if the NBA’s longest-running playoff drought will hit a 13th year. It’s how weird it’ll get. –P.S.T.

The Quote: “My team is a superteam, just young.” –Vlade Divac, via ABC10 in Sacramento, after drafting Marvin Bagley III

No pressure, Luka Doncic. All you have to do is take the torch from Dirk Nowitzki, sell tickets immediately, be worth the trade for Trae Young and a 2019 first-rounder, justify those European accolades and help fans forget the workplace sexual harassment scandal that resulted in your owner getting grilled on The Jump. Then, and only then, may you turn 20. –P.S.T.

The Quote: “If you think he’s a game-changing player for you, a franchise-changing player, you don’t care about your next pick. You just want that player.” –Owner Mark Cuban on Doncic

The Number: 31.75 (Doncic’s regular-season index rating, a EuroLeague metric for quantifying a player’s total performance, the highest there in a decade)

Fred Hoiberg was once nicknamed the Mayor; he literally received write-in votes during the 1993 mayoral election in Ames, Iowa. But in Chicago, the Mayor’s approval rating has hit an all-time low. The Bulls had hoped Hoiberg was a guru; what they got was 110 wins in three seasons. There should be an offensive revolution coming. It just might not be the kind the Mayor survives. –P.S.T.

There aren’t many one-year wonders in the NBA, but are we a little carried away about a team whose second option behind Victor Oladipo is Bojan Bogdanovic? That second option should be Myles Turner, but it isn’t yet, and it won’t be until we see it happen. –B.J.

The Hawks don’t want 6-foot-2 Trae Young to compare himself to Steph Curry — despite the fact that his new GM, Travis Schlenk, used to work for the Warriors and chose to trade Luka Doncic, the best Euro prospect ever, for Young, the fifth overall pick in June. Good luck! No, seriously — good luck: Young shot 27 percent from 3 in summer league. –P.S.T.

Nikola Jokic is loved by those who watch way more basketball than the average fan. And the strategy for the Nuggets has always been to use home-altitude advantage and outscore teams. If Jokic can help with that, defense will be the trade-off — and he has a contract that suggests the Nuggets have made peace with that. –B.J.

The Lakers and Clippers share the same arena in the same way that Iron Man and Street Pedestrian #2 are both in Infinity War. Can you name a Clipper at this point? Would you recognize one on the street? Their biggest draws — besides Boban Marjanovic — are location and cap space. A great formula for an A-lister who doesn’t mind feeling like a B-minus. –P.S.T.

Being bad and playing in the Mountain time zone is a great way to get forgotten; if you’re looking for Tyson Chandler, he’s here. But are these youngsters up for playing a game of Survivor? At some point, some of that potential must be converted into success, and that usually requires a few credible adults. –B.J.

Teams dream of landing a young guard like Donovan Mitchell and a young big like Rudy Gobert. But they have nightmares about those same two players failing to coexist. In theory, it should work: Gobert prides himself on defense, while Mitchell is volume-scoring his way to stardom. But for two aspirational alphas, celebrity can be a zero-sum game. –P.S.T.
“You don’t have to be best friends. The goal is to win a championship.” –Rudy Gobert, to The Salt Lake Tribune

It must be someone’s job to make sure no one tells the boss that Jimmy Butler is interested in coming to Brooklyn, because there’s no telling what Mikhail Prokhorov would give up to get a star in his prime. The question is how long it’ll take the Nets to do so, since it feels like their last first-round pick was Kerry Kittles. –B.J.

“What bothers me sometimes are the compliments you get after: ‘Oh, they played so hard.'” –Nets coach Kenny Atkinson

The greatest trick the Magic ever pulled was convincing the league they didn’t exist. While Philly got obliterated for tanking, Orlando’s best season of the past six peaked, quietly, at 35 wins. The difference? The Magic didn’t want to lose. I think. Orlando cycled through four coaches in that span, which m

Trail Blazers vs Kings

Trail Blazers vs Kings, Get a summary of the Portland Trail Blazers vs. Sacramento Kings basketball game.The Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers meet Friday in NBA preseason action at the Moda Center. The Sacramento Kings finish up …with results and the evolution of their head-to-head record.

Trail Blazers vs Kings, The Sacramento Kings are based in the Western Conference of the Pacific Division and were founded in 1945, entering the NBA in ’48. They wear purple, black and silver and have picked up one NBL championship and one NBA.with results and the evolution of their head-to-head record.

The Utah Jazz did most of their domination in the first half as they quickly got out to a 39-10 lead after one quarter. If there were any worries about the Utah Jazz starters after games against playoff competition like the Raptors and Trail Blazers, those are completely gone after Utah came out and throttled the Kings. Donovan Mitchell finished the game with 13 points in only 6 FGA and 17 minutes played. He left with a +/- +30.

The real domination was Rudy Gobert. Rudy Gobert absolutely dominated with a +/- +30 as well. He had 18 points on almost all lobs with 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block in 17 minutes of play. As evidenced by the score at halftime (71-35), the Sacramento Kings could not get anything against the Jazz when Rudy Gobert was in the game.

The rest of the Jazz’s starting lineup was great. Joe Ingles had 6 points and 5 rebounds. Derrick Favors had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Ricky Rubio got his teammates good looks, but his shooting woes continue as he only made 1 of his 6 attempts.

The Kings were atrocious. They struggled every step of the way. Luckily, it’s preseason, but the Jazz had to wonder if they were playing the Sydney Kings instead of the Sacramento Kings.

Alec Burks most likely has earned his spot in the rotation as he had YET ANOTHER good game off the bench. He had 17 points on 10 shots. Jae Crowder who had struggled through preseason with his shot seems to have found his rhythm. He finished with 12 points on 4 shots. He was active on defense and displayed his patented hustle.

At the moment Grayson Allen (14 points) and Dante Exum (6 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists) are housing the Sacramento Kings’ bench and Tony Bradley is even getting minutes. This is over. Jazz won.

The Kings are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 0 days rest and the under is 4-0 in Kings last 4 road games. The Trail Blazers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Friday games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall. The Kings are 1-3-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings and the under is 30-12 in the last 42 meetings.
One more game left, Kings fans. That is until the regular season starts for your team and their games will count towards their 2018-2019 season record. But until then, the purple and white will go through 48 more minutes of basketball tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers.

This game does not matter for both teams as this is a preseason contest. But with that said, here are some things to look out for tonight if one is a Sacramento Kings fan.

Another reason to keep in tune with this game is to see more of how the Kings’ young talent is developing. Players like De’Aaron Fox, Harry Giles, and Marvin Bagley III have shown flashes of their potential this preseason, and it will be fun to see if they continue to make strides tonight.

Tonight will be the last time the Kings hit the court before playing in their season opener against the Jazz. This game is not a must watch by any means, but it can be a fun game to witness if you are a fan of the Kings. Especially if you want to vehemently follow the development of the team’s young core.
Kings coach Dave Joerger tipped his hand in Monday’s game against Maccabi Haifa. He will likely present a clearer picture of his regular-season rotation when the Kings play the Utah Jazz on Thursday night at Golden 1 Center before concluding their preseason schedule on the road Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Joerger used 14 players in a 132-100 victory over Maccabi Haifa, but only nine saw significant minutes. De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason III started in the backcourt with Justin Jackson, Nemanja Bjelica and Willie Cauley-Stein. Buddy Hield, Yogi Ferrell, Harry Giles III and Marvin Bagley III played key roles off the bench.

Joerger indicated that those players would make up his core rotation until guard Bogdan Bogdanovic returns from knee surgery in the coming weeks.

“It may not come out exactly like it did tonight, but it’s pretty much the candidates going forward,” Joerger said after the game. “I’ve had a good chance to see guys in different roles and we’ve got two more games to look at some different combinations of guys.”

Most notable among those who could be left out of the rotation: Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos and Skal Labissiere. Randolph, the team’s leading scorer last season, and Koufos have yet to appear in a preseason game. Labissiere, who started two of the first three preseason games, averaging 8.0 points and 3.7 rebounds, logged only six minutes against Maccabi Haifa.

Mason appears to have played his way into the rotation – at least to begin the season – despite the fact that Sacramento added another backup point guard when it signed Ferrell as a free agent. In four preseason games, Mason has averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 assists. He is shooting 61.9 percent from the field and has made 4 of 7 from 3-point range.

“Frank does what Frank does,” Joerger said. “He’s hard-nosed and he’s a good guy that the coach always knows he can go to and you’re going to get 110 percent from him. He gets to the paint and he fights for every inch of the court, and I think that’s what people respect about Frank.”

Bogdanovic will likely be inserted in the starting lineup when he returns, which could cut into Mason’s minutes. It is unclear whether Joerger plans to start Hield or use him in a backup role as he did last season. Hield started the first three preseason games, averaging 9.7 points on 11-of-33 shooting. He came off the bench against Maccabi Haifa, posting 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting.

“That’s on me to make a decision (based) on what I see,” Joerger said when asked about Hield’s role after Wednesday’s practice, declining to elaborate.

The Utah and Portland games will represent the Kings’ second back-to-back this preseason. Last week, they suffered a 128-123 loss to the Lakers on Thursday and a 122-94 loss to the Warriors on Friday. Sacramento was 5-11 on the second night of a back-to-back last season.

“We have 14 back-to-backs throughout the course of the year, so we’ve got to get better,” Joerger said. “That first back-to-back wasn’t great for us, so we definitely have to perform better in those situations.”

Joerger said he doesn’t know how much the Kings will learn about Utah when they face the Jazz on Thursday, six days before they meet again in the season opener at Golden 1 Center.

“It’s hard to say because you don’t know who they’re going to play,” Joerger said. “I know who we’re going to play. If you’re them and the experience they’ve got, you might not show a lot. If you’re us, we’re so young, we need to get better. Whatever it is that we can work at, we’re not going to be secretive about stuff. We’ve just got to play and continue to improve.”

Rockets vs Grizzlies

Rockets vs Grizzlies: et a summary of the Memphis Grizzlies vs. Houston Rockets basketball game.Search and see a list of all events for the Houston Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies matchup with results and the evolution of their head-to-head record on will be on your Tv Channel

The Houston Rockets start their quest for an NBA championship tonight in Houston Memphis Birmingham, Alabama. It will be Houston fans’ first chance to see some of the new acquisitions in Rockets red.

The headliner of the group is obviously Carmelo Anthony, acquired as a free agent this summer for a minimum deal after securing a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks. Daryl Morey has been after Melo for years, and tonight he’ll finally see those efforts fully realized on a college basketball court. I’ve expressed optimism regarding Melo’s outlook with the Rockets, and I’ll certainly be watching with a close eye.

Obviously, Melo isn’t the only new toy for Mike D’Antoni and his staff. A lot has been made of James Ennis III and how he fits into this squad as a Trevor Ariza replacement. His transition into that role will be vital to Houston’s success this season. Plus, Ennis has to like the fact that he’s playing the same role as a guy making $15 million this season. If Ennis plays his cards right, he could be moving up a tax bracket or two next summer.

Michael Carter-Williams and Marquese Chriss are less heralded additions, but MCW looks to be the fourth guard that Houston didn’t have last season and Chriss will try to right his career after underwhelming in Phoenix.

Local boy Rob Gray could get some run tonight, as could draft picks Zhou Qi and Isaiah Hartenstein. Vincent Edwards, Gary Clark, and Bruno Caboclo are the other new faces in Houston.

Much will be made of this game despite any caveat I provide, but remember to take everything with a grain of salt. We’re unlikely to see how the rotation will play out since we’re unlikely to see any major pieces on the floor in the second half. Even if Melo starts, will he play heavy minutes in the first quarter or will he play like Chris Paul did last season and go to the bench early in order to help run the second unit? Maybe he’ll go 0-20, but despite what “Russ4Prez420” on Reddit says, that doesn’t mean the entire season is lost for Houston.

Oh, and we get to see James Harden play basketball again. And that’s pretty freaking sweet. He is the best, after all.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Rockets needed to be pushed, or at least they started the night as if they needed to feel as much pressure to get a win as a preseason game could offer.

They were sloppy and foul-prone to open the game, shooting poorly from beyond the arc and trailing the Memphis Grizzlies by nine before they got going.

For all the new faces that fill the roster, the Rockets have not changed that much. They shoot so many 3s, and on Tuesday they launched a typical 46 of them, eventually they catch a wave. They did on Tuesday with Chris Paul and Eric Gordon especially rolling. The Rockets are built to put up numbers and scored at least 31 in each quarter.

They also gave Mike D’Antoni plenty of corrections to address in Wednesday’s video session. But for now, they got out of town in good health, rallied from down nine to up as much as 19, and showcased the potential not just of their returning stars, but of the role players they have put around them.

Chris Paul has insisted he would not look back. He knows of course what had been in reach when he left the floor for the last time last season. He likely is still driven to some degree by what could have been. But after his offseason began with a rehab from the hamstring injury, he had gone to work. On Tuesday, it showed.

From the opening days of training camp, the Rockets have repeatedly cited Paul’s conditioning. It had been striking the way he never looked even winded in the drills and scrimmages in Lake Charles, La. But on Tuesday, he seemed more than healthy again. When the game was ragged and the Rockets were sloppy, Paul seemed to be in complete command.

While James Harden often struggled, committing eight turnovers, Paul ran the Rockets offense sharply and was a force when the Grizzlies were caught in switches. He made 5 of 6 3-pointers, offering a reminder of his phenomenal night in Game 5 before his hamstring betrayed him.

In Paul’s 25 ½ minutes on Tuesday, the Rockets outscored the Grizzlies by 21. Paul had 22 points with nine assists and five steals. He was feisty as ever, growing testy in the second quarter until he received the technical foul he seemed to have on a tee for three minutes.

He looked, in his own way, particularly happy to be back. With his final jumpers and one last steal that led to a fast break dish to Michael Carter-Williams, Paul seemed to have done what he said he had to do. He left last season and the way it ended behind, finally back on the floor and free to move on.

The Brandon Wright era in Rockets basketball does not get much attention. It came and went in one game last season. It did, however, offer a clue to what the Rockets have in mind at center behind Clint Capela.

There will be times that Nene’s muscle and defense will be needed. But Mike D’Antoni wanted the sort of vertical spacing he gets from Capela on the second team, too. That’s why the Rockets signed Wright as a free agent after the trade deadline.

A bad knee ended that experiment quickly. But when the Rockets traded Ryan Anderson to Phoenix in August, they made a move to try that again.

Marquese Chriss had spent his two seasons with the Suns facing the basket. He won’t be posting up with the Rockets, but he will have a clear role and a chance to fill it as a rim runner and dribble handoff center with the second team.

After a ragged start in which he seemed to struggle with the speed the Rockets expect of him, Chriss settled down. He made plays on both ends of the floor. He has tools, the sort that made him the eighth pick of the 2016 draft. The Suns wanted more from those skills than they got consistently or the Rockets will ask. With the Rockets, Chriss has a well-defined role and an apparent determination to fill it.

The pick-and-roll part of his job did not bring much on Tuesday, but Chriss has had little playing time with Paul, the point guard that will drive the offense when Chriss is on the floor, in training camp. When Harden fired a pocket pass his way in the first half, Chriss failed to control it. In his 9 1/2 first-half minutes, Chriss had five turnovers and three fouls.

He also showed his potential. He played above the rim. He put together a run of strong plays defensively. He made all four shots he took, never straying from his new job description. After a tough first half, he played well in the second half.

There is a long way to go, but Chriss just turned 21 in July. Tuesday he took a step in the direction the Rockets have in mind.

In an unwanted return to where they left off, the Rockets were frustrated by officials again in the second quarter on Tuesday. In some ways, however, their complaint should not be with Haywoode Workman, Tony Brown or Brian Forte.

As with the changes in shooting fouls that were often ridiculously difficult for officials to make at high speeds last season, leading to often-maddening inconsistency, the NBA has placed an emphasis on more tightly calling fouls on restricting movement, another call that could be difficult.

The problem with that well-intended point of emphasis could be that it asks officials to determine if a hand on a hip, as with a foul called on Paul on Tuesday, interferes with or just touches an opponent.

There was a series of those calls in the second quarter on Tuesday and the Rockets did not like it. In some ways, however, they should be appreciative. Officials calling those instances tightly in the preseason might help speed the adjustment. Teams will have to adjust. It won’t be easy. And it seems a safe bet that those calls will inspire protests.

The Rockets got their first taste of it. It won’t be the last.

Federer vs Nishikori

Federer vs Nishikori: Head To Head. Roger Federer vs Kei Nishikori all matches, with stats on their H2H rivalry. ATP & WTA Roger Federer head to head tennis search.ederer battled his way into the quarter-finals in Shanghai with a three-set win over Roberto Bautista Agut. It was the second straight match Federer has lost a set ….

Day 4 of Rolex Shanghai Masters had a lot of promise and mostly the big names delivered with some incredible performances, but the ending wasn’t quite what the crowd and fans all around the world would’ve hoped for.

It was another injury scare for Juan Martin del Potro during his 3rd round match against Borna Coric. At 5-4(30-40) in the first set, while returning a rally shot from Coric, del Potro slipped on the court in what looked like a rough fall. He sought medical attention one game later (was uncomfortable and ultimately got broken), and finally retired after he lost the first set 5-7.

This marks a 5th career Masters 1000 quarterfinal for Coric who sets up a quarterfinal against Matthew Ebden. Ebden won his 3rd round against Peter Gojowczyk 6-2 6-3 in just 50 minutes!

Although the end wasn’t ideal, the morning session of the day’s play was. 4th seeded Alexander Zverev came out all guns blazing and overpowered his Australian opponent, Alex de Minaur. Zverev blasted his way past De Minaur 6-1 6-4 in just 68 minutes to make his 10th Masters 1000 quarterfinal and become the youngest ever quarter-finalist in Shanghai. On Show Court 3, Kyle Edmund dispatched Nicolas Jarry 7-6(5) 6-3 to set up a tricky quarterfinal against Zverev.

On Center Court, much like Zverev, Novak Djokovic made little work of his opponent as well. In a rematch of their Roland Garros quarterfinal, Djokovic turned the tables against Marco Cecchinato and beat him 6-4 6-0 in 69 minutes to maintain his winning run.

Should he reach the semifinal, he’ll be just 215 points shy of Rafael Nadal. But his road to semifinal won’t be easy, as he faces an ever-improving Kevin Anderson who firmly dispatched Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 7-6(1), winning 82% first serve points and losing serve just once.

During the first night session match, Kei Nishikori delivered a brilliant performance against Sam Querrey to make the Shanghai Masters quarterfinals for the first time since 2011. The win gets him to #9 in the live race rankings, making him a contender to make it to London. Nishikori’s performance is improving ever-so-steadily and he could very well pose as a serious threat against Swiss legend Roger Federer.

Federer’s match against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain was his easiest in the draw in terms of ranking. But a spirited performance from Agut made sure Federer had to toil much harder than expected to get the win. Despite a good serving day, he struggled against a hard-hitting Agut and for the second straight match, got stretched to 3 sets to get the win.

Federer ultimately survived the scare, much worse than his 2nd round match, to advance to the quarterfinals with a 6-3 2-6 6-4 score.

Friday’s quarterfinals involve all potentially tricky match-ups. Zverev leads Edmund 3-0 in their H2H, but Edmund’s recent form has been more convincing than Zverev. Anderson hasn’t beaten Djokovic for over a decade but poses a challenge against Serbian with his current form. In the least-marquee match of the day, Borna Coric and Matthew Ebden face off for the first time ever. And, Friday’s play caps off with a Federer vs Nishikori potential nail-biter.
He could not capitalise, though, and Federer soon gained a 3-1 lead en route to taking the opener.

Federer won an 11-minute game at the start of the second set to break Bautista Agut again before the Spaniard instantly roared back and reeled off four games in a row.

Bautista Agut then forced a decider by breaking Federer for a third time, successfully winning a challenge to bring up set point, which he took when his opponent netted a backhand.

The third set remained on serve until, at 4-4, Federer claimed his first break since the start of the second set, and he capitalised to secure another hard-fought win having also beaten Daniil Medvedev in three sets on Wednesday.

“It was a very tough match, I thought it was a really high level,” Federer said afterwards.

“They’re tough conditions – the ball stays super low, it’s fast, it’s cooler.

“If you want to make the winner you have to take a lot of risks, it seems like. If you find a great groove, it’s hard to go through the opponent.”
Federer went through two complicated matches against Daniil Medvedev and Roberto Bautista Agut winning against both of them in three sets. ‘Federer is going to have to lift his game as he’s done so far in this tournament in each match’, said Rusedski. ‘He’ll know that when he faces Nishikori tomorrow.

Roger said conditions were cold, the ball was heavy. It was tough to move through the court, plus it was fast out there. So the temperature and conditions will make a difference tomorrow. If the conditions are like they are today, they will favour Nishikori slightly.

But does Nishikori believe at this stage he can beat Federer?’ Annabel Croft, who was analyzing the tennis matches alongside Rusedski, added: ‘Kei Nishikori is on fire. He’s playing some great tennis, is very confident.

And his ball striking is phenomenal. He takes the ball extremely early, the movement is superb. And I think the last time they met was in Australia, the five-set thriller. There are a few little question marks with Roger’s game and the confidence isn’t quite there.

And yet, that stubbornness and everything he draws upon from match wins over the course of his career, his reputation for the other guy down the other end, is getting him through. That’s two back-to-back very tricky matches, but he has come through them.’