Kyrie Irving & Derrick Rose go head to head in exciting Cleveland Cavaliers Win

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls faced off Monday night at Ohio State University.
A sellout crowd of 19,049 gave Lebron James a standing ovation during the pregame introduction before the Cavaliers went on to defeat the Bulls 107-98. While many were in attendance to witness their hometown hero perform, the real spotlight was on Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose.
Kyrie Irving
The two All-Star point guards went back and forth scoring, showing off skills, and going head to head with one another.
Irving led the Cavaliers in scoring with 28 points, with 20 of those points coming in the second half. This was Irving’s third night leading the Cavaliers in scoring so far during preseason. He put on a show shooting 10 of 19 from the field in the second half and had a game high of seven assists.  One thing he struggled to do was defend Rose, but then again, who on the Cavaliers team didn’t?
Rose scored 30 points in just 24 minutes which is quite remarkable. He showed everyone a taste of what the season wil

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The Most Exciting NCAA Basketball Players from Schools You’ve Never Heard Of

Can a high-scoring player be considered a star if he plays for a school that never plays nationally televised games?

Players like Incarnate Word’s Denzel Livingston and UMKC’s Martez Harrison are the college basketball version of the tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear the sound.

Fortunately, we have the box scores to confirm that these 10 players are actually excelling at No Name Tech and Anonymous A&M.

You might have to find some grainy online feeds to keep up with these guys during the 2014-15 season, but you won’t be disappointed if you make it a point to watch each of these players at least once before he graduates.

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College Basketball Caucus: Which conference tourney’s the most exciting?

USA TODAY Sports asks its network of experts to analyze the biggest topics.

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NBA Celebrity All Star Game 2014: Analyzing Most Exciting Players in Exhibition

The 2014 NBA Celebrity All-Star Game should be another exciting exhibition featuring several celebrities and even former and current professionals taking to the hardwood to strut their basketball skills.

However, there are several notable players who are bound to be more entertaining than others. Whether they’re new to the game, have exceptional trash-talking skills or are flat-out studs on the court, a variety of factors play into the celebrities likeliest to dazzle.

Here is a closer look at the players that should excite crowds and television viewers the most when the game takes place on Friday.

 

Kevin Hart

The two-time MVP of this game happens to be a funny standup comedian with a perpetually rising film career, so all of his antics are going to crack up fans of his, of which there are many.

Hart hasn’t necessarily been the most valuable member of his team over the past two years, and he only scored five points last time around. Others such as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (11 points, seven rebounds and five assists) had superior all-around games, but didn’t take home the prestigious individual hardware.

Duncan played forward at Harvard in college, so we know he’s good. There’s something endearing about Hart’s personality and the fact that he’s only 5’2″—not typical of a basketball standout.

In a recent interview promoting his upcoming movie About Last Night, Hart made light of how prominent of a part he’s become in the game, per Adam Graham of the Detroit News (via the Kitsap Sun):

NBA All-Star Weekend is slowly becoming Kevin Hart Weekend. I love basketball, man. I’m going for my third MVP this year. If I win this MVP it would be huge, it would be colossal. Technically, I’ve shown that I could have played in the NBA if I didn’t choose comedy.

Unless Hart scores in double figures in a winning effort, it would be nice to see someone else win the MVP. In any event, it will still be fun to watch the diminutive comedian roam around the arena.

 

Elena Delle Donne

The Chicago Sky’s reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year and No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft has lived up to the hype in her young career, and will be able to showcase her skills amid a competition predominantly occupied by men.

At 6’5″, Delle Donne has great height as a guard-forward hybrid and shot three pointers at a blistering 43.8 percent clip this past season.

Grantland chief and Celebrity All-Star Game coach Bill Simmons traded for Delle Donne—and wisely so—which the 24-year-old scorer was thankful for:

The former University of Delaware star has the size to give her celebrity counterparts problems and lethal shooting range, and she should have plenty of open looks from beyond the arc with a talented supporting cast.

She cited Hart as the first person that came to mind in her supporting cast, but he should have little to do with Delle Donne’s likely success in this contest.

 

Michael B. Jordan

Can we just look at the man’s name and move on? No? Jordan isn’t named after the Chicago Bulls legend, but the 27-year-old actor is ascending to stardom with his own brand of charisma and ability to perform.

Even though Jordan is coming off an awkward turn in the awkwardly reviews-thrashed comedy That Awkward Moment, he can be forgiven for his extraordinary performance in Fruitvale Station. It was a surprise to a number of critics that Jordan didn’t receive an Academy Award nomination.

Now Jordan will take his talents to New Orleans, where Grantland’s Zach Lowe is already designing plays for him, based on his Friday Night Lights TV show days:

As the quarterback of the show’s football team, Jordan was coached by Eric Taylor (played by Kyle Chandler), which is the genesis for this Lowe-designed scheme.

With a last name like Jordan and a first name Michael, there are certainly standards for Michael B. Jordan to live up to—even in an exhibition. It seemed as though Jordan could pull off acting like a QB, so it will be interesting to see what type of game he brings to the floor.

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Paul George and Damian Lillard Highlight Exciting NBA Dunk Contest Roster

The dunk contest is back.

The last few fields have been rather lackluster, but 2014 is bucking that trend, thanks to the inclusion of three players who will also compete in the actual All-Star Game: Paul GeorgeDamian Lillard and John Wall

Stars make the contest exciting, and it’s hard to deny any of the aforementioned studs that status.

George has been a supremely impressive two-way threat for the Indiana Pacers, quickly developing into one of the few players in the league who seems capable of eventually challenging Kevin Durant and LeBron James for ultimate supremacy. Lillard, meanwhile, has been thriving as a dominant point guard for the upstart Portland Trail Blazers. 

As for Wall, he’s quickly becoming an elite floor general for the Washington Wizards thanks to his dynamic offensive contributions. Jumper or no jumper, he can’t be kept away from the rim. 

And they can all get up to throw down. 

George, one of the few players in the world who can do that (Vince Carter could back in the day), told Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star, “Exactly, I don’t want to add to it (All-Star weekend) by doing extra stuff.”

That came back in January, but fortunately his stance has changed, as reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears

He’ll officially be joined by the man who can do this: 

Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com broke the news that Lillard will participate, and J. Michael of CSNWashington.com confirmed Wall’s entry. You know, the same Wall that has thrown down dunks in this vein:

It’s worth noting, though, that The Washington Post‘s Michael Lee says Wall has neither confirmed nor denied the report that he’s dunking for a trophy: 

We can only hope A) that Wall does elect to participate and B) that the rest of the field is as strong as the first three confirmed players. Rumor has it that our wish will be granted. 

Thus far, a Terrence Ross rumor has been reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein, and James Ham of NBA.com tweets that Ben McLemore could be included as well: 

Three unquestioned stars and two of the NBA‘s youngest highflyers

Yes please. 

Again, the dunk contest is back

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Golden State Warriors: Why Stephen Curry Is the NBA’s Most Exciting Player

As much as the NBA is a sport, there remains a certain “entertainment” factor that is integral to the business side. There is a multitude of players that help in that department, but Stephen Curry is the leading candidate at this point.

Most of the time, entertainment and skill are separate entities. That isn’t to say some players aren’t talented, but some are more renowned for their eccentricities and entertainment factor than for their actual skill.

The Miami Heat‘s Chris Andersen is a prime example. His colorful array of seemingly endless tattoos and his slick mohawk combine to make him an unmissable character. Andersen’s shot blocking and athletic dunks add to this, making him one of the more entertaining players in the NBA.

Curry might look like an average guy walking around Oakland, sans an alarming haircut or extensive body art. But when he steps onto the court, Curry becomes the forerunner in playing entertaining basketball.

His showy ball-handling is the first and foremost component that leads to all that follows. Curry is one of the top point guards at his position, so it’s seemingly expected in some regard. Yet the extent that Curry is able to command the basketball is something to marvel at. 

He’s able to translate that to distributing the ball as well, averaging 9.3 assists per game this season. Curry does turn the ball over 4.2 times per game; however, that’s indicative of the tempo at which the Golden State Warriors play. It does have something to do with Curry’s decision-making, though, but he can likely improve on this over time.

Curry already took some heat for it back in November from head coach Mark Jackson, with Jackson saying “that’s unacceptable to me as his coach,” courtesy of CSNBayArea.com. Curry went on to admit he needed to play “smarter.” 

He’s remained fairly consistent despite upping his turnovers from 3.2 per game last month to 4.7 through December. Curry’s dropping 10.1 assists compared to November’s output of 8.8, so a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio isn’t terrible. 

It’s safe to say most teams would prefer Curry to pass, as his shooting is unstoppable. He’s quickly making a case for being one of the top shooters in NBA history, already having set a record for most three-point shots made in a season at 272 (last season).

Surprisingly, Curry is actually a much better shooter off the dribble than he is as a standalone sniper. According to NBA.com, Curry shoots just 30.6 percent on jump shots (33.1 percent on three-point attempts). 

Yet as a shooter off-the-dribble (theoretically much more difficult), Curry shoots 57.5 on pull-up jumpers. His 54.2 percent from three in the same situation makes containing him a priority, especially on the fast break.

Curry’s jumper could easily be dubbed “the fastest gun in the West,” as his release transitions to a follow-through in mere seconds. NBA fans around the world appreciate different aspects, whether it’s dunking, shot blocking or flashy passing. Shooting is another popular facet fans hone in on, and Curry is second to none in terms of exciting execution. 

In retrospect, the combination of all of these offensive skills makes Curry one of the top scorers in the league. And in turn, he is one of the most entertaining as well.

Few players can execute passing, dribbling and shooting with such speed. Curry is still in just his fifth NBA season, but he is already on track to be a memorable player when it’s all said and done.

Much like Allen Iverson was a fan favorite, mostly because of his reckless abandon and speed with the ball, so too is Curry. He might not have the notable appearance Iverson did, but you can bet Curry is at the top, along with the most entertaining players the league has to offer. 

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Athletic rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo starting to show his exciting game

MILWAUKEE — Close to an hour after practice was over,Giannis Antetokounmpo was still on the BMO Harris Bradley Center court.First it was assistant coach Scott Williams, then Nick VanExel — no matter how physical the opponent, the 18-year-old wasn’t backingdown and certainly wasn’t retiring to the locker room until he had to.If one of the arena workers had been willing to goone-on-one, Antetokounmpo would have taken on the challenge, attempted to talktrash in English and beaten them with a huge grin on his face.The basketball world has gotten a small taste of just howtalented the Greek forward is, glimpses here and there that have left fanslonging for more.”You see some things that certainly put a smile on yourface,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said. “Eighteen years old and where hisskill level is right now, you just don’t see that much.”He does some intriguing things when he’s out on thefloor.”One of those moments came Saturday night, as Antetokounmpohustled back after a

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12 most exciting college basketball players in 2013-14

Think dunking, taunting, and SportsCenter top 10 plays.

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Duke Basketball: Breaking Down Exciting Freshman Class

Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry may all be gone, but the Duke Blue Devils will still be in great shape with their exciting freshman class for the 2013-2014 season.

ESPN had the Blue Devils ranked as the seventh-best recruiting class in the country in 2013 thanks to their exciting young recruits.  It will be hard to match their 30-6 record from last season, but if these freshmen can live up to the hype, then they should be in good position to make another run in the ACC.

Let’s take a look at each current freshman on the team, breaking down their high school careers and the overall expectations for each player.

Note: All information regarding recruit grades is courtesy of Rivals.com

 

Matt Jones, Guard

Coming out of DeSoto, Texas, Matt Jones was a 4-star recruit as a shooting guard and was a McDonald’s All-American.  At 6’4”, he has ideal size at the position, but needs to work on getting stronger.

The good news is that Jones was a terrific scorer coming out of high school, showing some outstanding range and an excellent release.  During his senior season, he averaged 17.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game according to his official bio from the school’s site.  During the exhibition against Bowie State, he had 15 points coming off of the bench.

While it may take some time for Jones to develop as a top-tier scorer, his upside is big.  He has the potential to replace Curry in his role as a spot-up shooter at the position, and that’s great news for a team that’s looking for some go-to scorers.

 

Semi Ojeleye, Forward

The first thing you notice when watching Semi Ojeleye is his athleticism.  At 6’7” and 230 pounds, he is more physically gifted than most freshman as far as strength and toughness, meaning that he can dominate opposing forwards defensively.

Ojeleye was another 4-star recruit for the Blue Devils and the No. 7 small forward in the nation.  He scored 38.1 points per game during his senior season and led his high school team to four straight state championship appearances, according to GoDuke.com.

As good as he was in high school, raw athleticism can only take you so far at the next level.  Ojeleye will need to focus on being an overall more aggressive player and work on polishing his jump shot before he can be a star for the Blue Devils.

 

Jabari Parker, Forward

When it comes to top-tier recruits, the Blue Devils got one of the best in the 2013 recruiting class with Jabari Parker out of Chicago.

As a 5-star recruit and the No. 4 player in the country, Parker has the potential to be a star player in college right away.  He’s 6’8” and 235 pounds yet plays as a small forward thanks to his impressive athleticism and ability to score from almost anywhere on the court.

If you don’t believe me, just watch Parker split two defenders and finish with a monster dunk during the scrimmage against Bowie State.

Like most incoming freshmen, Parker needs to get a bit stronger in order to match up with other elite college players.  He shouldn’t have much of a problem playing either small or power forward, but there’s a chance he could struggle against tougher defenders.

Unfortunately for Duke fans, the odds of Parker staying longer than one year are quite small.  He’s already a legitimate NBA prospect, and he will likely be a lottery pick after this season.

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FIBA Americas 2013: Most Exciting Teams to Watch in Venezuela

Need your basketball fix? The NBA season won’t reignite for another two months, but the FIBA Americas tournament can help mask that emptiness.

Teams squaring off in Caracas, Venezuela may not offer the same vibe as watching LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but many squads are laded with NBA talent. Although the United States’ gold medal victory in the 2012 Olympics excuses them from competing, 10 nations are vying for four spots in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

While the FIBA Americas won’t serve as a platform for All-Stars to show off, quality veterans such as J.J. Barea, Luis Scola and Renaldo Balkman (in all seriousness, he’s cleaning up) are tuning up for the upcoming NBA season while playing for national pride.

For those unsure of where to turn their attention, here are a few noteworthy teams to monitor during the tournament. 

If you can’t wait for the NBA to return, the games are available for streaming at LiveBasketball.tv, for a fee.

 

Canada

Armed with a tournament-high four NBA players, Canada could eventually become a major threat to their neighbors south of the border.

Recent first-round draftees Andrew Bennett and Kelly Olynyk are not participating due to injuries, but that didn’t stop from laying a 21-point whooping on Jamaica to kick off the festivities.

Cory Joseph, who has received the fortune of learning from Gregg Popovich, almost posted a triple-double in a 17-point, nine-assist, eight-rebound outing. Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson will provide a calming inside presence for a team lacking a major playmaker.

Baylor’s Brady Heslip demonstrated his marksmanship from long range, and while Andy Rautins never made the NBA cut, the New York Knicks drafted him alongside Landry Fields for his shooting acumen.

Just imagine what Canada can accomplish once Andrew Wiggins is old enough to represent his native land.

 

Puerto Rico

Dont lie, you laughed when you read “Renaldo Balkman” and “quality” in the same sentence. Well, the joke is on you; he scored 24 points, snagged eight boards and blocked in four shots in Puerto Rico’s 72-65 victory over Brazil.

The former Denver Nugget widened the gap with five straight points late in the fourth quarter. His big game helped them fend off Group A foe Brazil, who are playing without Leandro Barbosa, Tiago Splitter, Anderson Varejao and Nene.

Aside from Balkman, who, all kidding aside, offers great energy and athleticism for Puerto Rico, they are led by veteran floor generals Barea and Carlos Arroyo. The experienced point guards can both distribute the ball while Barea has shown a knack for offering lightning shooting in spurts.

And in ESPN.com’s preview, Jeff Haubner labels 36-year-old wingman Larry Ayuso an a “Puerto Rican J.R. Smith.” You decide whether that’s a compliment or an insult.

 

Argentina

Andres Nocioni won’t offer up his smooth shooting touch, Pablo Prigioni’s video-game-style tenacity won’t be on display and Manu Ginobli is still lamenting an NBA Finals gone wrong.

At least Luis Scola showed up, and at least the other guys aren’t all that bad. Argentina stampeded Paraguay by 35 points, and Scola only logged 10 minutes in the contest. 

Facundo Campazzo, 22, will run the show along with Juan Fernandez, who played college ball for Temple. Marcos Delia never made the pros, but the big man has a chance to play meaningful minutes down low.

Their pristine style of play, highlighted by fluid ball movement, makes Argentina a delight to watch. Just like how the San Antonio Spurs remain competitive even when Ginobli, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan get a night off, nobody should write Argentina off.

 

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