NBA

Curry reveals hand injury update after Warriors' demolition of Bulls

By Sports Desk January 15, 2022

Stephen Curry was "a little concerned" about a hand injury he sustained in the Golden State Warriors' thrashing of the Chicago Bulls on Friday but declared: "I'll be all right."

Curry fell on his right hand during the Warriors' 138-96 rout of the Bulls at United Center – their 10th consecutive victory over Chicago.

The seven-time NBA All-Star, who scored 19 points, was initially worried about the damage he may have done, but says the pain did not last for long.

He said: "Anything that involves the hands, especially the right one, you're a little concerned. But the feeling came back, the strength came back. It hurts, but I'll be all right."

Curry added: "I have some PTSD from [a hand injury sustained] two years ago. When I landed, it felt kind of the same, but we'll get it looked at and figure it out. Should be all right."

Rookie forward Jonathan Kuminga top-scored with 25 points in 26 minutes for Golden State, with Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins finishing with 22 and 21 points respectively.

Klay Thompson was rested as he eases his way back from a long injury lay-off, while Draymond Green could return from a calf injury against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

The Warriors' demolition of Eastern Conference leaders Chicago (27-13) was only their second win in six games and moved them to 31-11, sitting second in the Western Conference behind the 32-9 Phoenix Suns.

 

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    Chris Paul vowed to carry on playing after the Phoenix Suns suffered more playoff heartbreak by going down to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semi-finals.

    A year ago, the Suns blew a 2-0 lead to lose the NBA Finals to the Milwaukee Bucks but responded by recording the best regular-season record in the league this campaign.

    Once again the Suns were heavily fancied and even more so after taking a 2-0 lead against the Mavs.

    But on Sunday it was a feeling of deja vu as the Suns were blown out of the water in a 123-90 defeat to crash out of contention.

    At one stage the Mavs led by 46 points, while the Suns had just 27 in a disappointing first half – veteran Paul not registering his first field goal until the third quarter.

    With Paul now 37 years of age, and reportedly playing with a quad issue, naturally there was talk of retirement, but the 12-time All Star plans to continue as he chases that elusive first NBA championship.

    "You play long enough and you don't win, every time you lose, they're going to say it was your best chance," Paul told reporters.

    "But I think for me, us, it's we'll be right back next year. I'll tell you that much.

    "I'm not retiring tomorrow, thank God. Hopefully, I'm healthy coming back. But I'm [going to] keep playing."

    Paul's series mirrored the Suns' fortunes. He averaged 23.5 points and had just two turnovers in the Suns' opening two victories but in the following five that slipped to just 9.4 points and an average 3.6.

    Paul said now the Suns simply have to "get back to work".

    "It was just a tough game. All season long, we tried to lean on our defence and tonight our defence wasn't there and our offence wasn't there either," Paul said. 

    "I think coach [Monty Williams] said a lot of it. You play all season to be in this situation and it didn't work out for us.

    "There's probably no greater message than get back to work. At the end of the day you at least had a shot at it, one of 16 teams in the playoffs and a great regular season, but we didn't reach our goal.

    "I don't think anything matters except everybody just trying to get a little bit better for next season.

    "It's tough. Obviously we got further last year, but we didn't reach the goal. We've got a lot of young guys on our team and I think, even just this experience of this playoffs is better than not. It's unfortunate in the fashion that we lost, but we've got to try to figure out ways to get better.

    "At the end of the day, they just executed better than we did. Defensively, we just never caught up with the ball.

    "They were making tough shots, they were getting threes, lay-ups, a little bit of everything and we never made the game competitive."

  • From Manchester to Seville: Rangers' 14-year journey back to a European final From Manchester to Seville: Rangers' 14-year journey back to a European final

    None of us truly know where this life is going to take us, and what highs and lows we will experience along the way.

    That is especially true for anyone associated with Rangers Football Club if you had told them after the 2008 UEFA Cup final they would next reach another European showpiece 14 years later.

    As the Gers players trudged off the field at the Etihad Stadium having been thoroughly outplayed by Zenit, the disappointment was tempered with a belief that at least this was a team that had made a final and may have been on the way to more.

    It took nearly a decade and a half, but on Wednesday they find themselves heading to Spain to line up opposite Eintracht Frankfurt to contest the Europa League final.

    Here, Stats Perform takes a look at how Rangers got from Manchester to Seville, with one of the bumpiest rides football has ever seen.

    A night to forget in Manchester

    Under the guidance of legendary manager Walter Smith in 2007-08, Rangers were looking to overthrow rivals Celtic in the league, having been bested by the Hoops the previous two seasons.

    It was no good as Celtic made it a third Scottish title in a row, beating Rangers by three points, but there was a silver lining for the blue half of Glasgow.

    Having finished third in their Champions League group behind Barcelona and Lyon, Rangers found themselves in the UEFA Cup.

    They overcame Panathinaikos on away goals first up, before beating Werder Bremen 2-0 at Ibrox in first leg of the last 16, one of only two wins they actually managed in their entire run.

    After getting past Sporting Lisbon in the quarter-finals, a penalty shoot-out success after 210 goalless minutes against Fiorentina sent Smith's side to the final.

    However, it was a step too far for Rangers as they succumbed to defeat in Manchester, losing 2-0 to a Zenit team containing Andrei Arshavin and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, and managed by former Gers boss Dick Advocaat.

    It was a blow but Rangers went on to win the next three Scottish titles until things began to unravel in the 2011-12 season, with poor form and a points deduction for financial issues seeing Celtic take the crown back.

    That was far from the worst thing that happened to the club that year, though.

    The fall and rise of Rangers

    The financial issues were worse than first feared. Owing significant money to HM Revenue and Customs, The Rangers Football Club plc entered liquidation on 31 October 2012.

    The club was forced to reform under the new ownership of Charles Green and a vote from other member clubs of the Scottish Football League meant Rangers were forced to begin again at the bottom, in the third division.

    Although they had to sell most of their players to raise money and because few fancied playing in Scotland's fourth tier, Rangers still boasted by far the strongest squad in the third division, while manager Ally McCoist had also stayed on to try and take them back to the top.

    They unsurprisingly won the league by 24 points in their first season, and had even fewer problems in the second division, now called League One, going unbeaten and drawing only three of their 36 games, securing 102 points and promotion at the first time of asking again.

    The Championship was a different prospect altogether, though, as Rangers found themselves in with both Hibernian and Hearts. The two Edinburgh clubs ultimately finished above them, though Rangers beat both Queen of the South and Hibs in the playoffs, before losing to Motherwell in the final, meaning they would have to try again.

    Stuart McCall was in charge by that point, and the former Scotland midfielder was able to get the job done in 2015-16, finishing 11 points ahead of second-placed Falkirk.

    For the first time in four years, Rangers were back at the top table in Scotland, but this was always going to be the biggest leap. Their first Old Firm derby back in the top flight ended in a 5-1 drubbing by Celtic.

    During the winter break, Rangers had played RB Leipzig in a friendly, losing 4-0 to the German side, which was perhaps a prophetic sign of how far they would need to rise to get back to where they felt they belonged.

    Rangers finished third in their first two seasons back in the Premiership and decided to bring in a big name to try and force their way into the title picture. Steven Gerrard.

    The former Liverpool star was new to management but was able to secure second place in 2018-19, though also back in Europe, Rangers were unable to get out of the Europa League group stage.

    They made it to the round of 16 the following season before going out to Bayer Leverkusen, and despite putting up more of a fight in the league, a wobble in the second half of the campaign saw Celtic claim their ninth consecutive title.

    Rangers fans everywhere wanted Gerrard to do everything he could to stop their great rivals from making it 10 in a row, and despite none of them being able to witness it thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Gerrard and his players did just that.

    They had done it emphatically as well, going undefeated and collecting 102 points to win the Premiership, averaging 2.42 goals for per game, and just 0.34 goals against across their 38 league matches.

    Full circle

    It felt like Rangers were ready to take the next step, and many assumed that was by getting back into the group stage of the Champions League in 2021-22.

    However, those plans were scuppered as they were beaten home and away by Malmo in qualifying, so back to the Europa League it was.

    After losing their first two group games to Lyon and Sparta Prague without scoring, few will have had any hopes about making it to the knockout round playoffs, let alone where they ended up.

    Home wins against Brondby and Sparta as well as away draws with Brondby and Lyon saw them advance a point ahead of the Czech side, though they were given a daunting tie against Borussia Dortmund.

    On top of that, Gerrard had left for Aston Villa in November, with former player Giovanni van Bronckhorst taking over.

    A stunning effort in Signal Iduna Park saw them win 4-2, before completing the job with a 2-2 draw back at Ibrox.

    Hard-fought aggregate victories against Red Star Belgrade and Braga sent them to the semi-finals, and a date with more Bundesliga opposition, the very same they had lost convincingly to in that 2017 friendly.

    Leipzig will have been wondering how they only won 1-0 at Red Bull Arena in the first leg, but Ibrox was a different matter, with a raucous crowd again cheering Rangers to a famous 3-1 win, and their first European final since 2008.

    The second leg came nine years and one day after beating Berwick Rangers 1-0 at Ibrox in their final game in the third division.

    It has been quite a ride since Manchester in 2008. Whatever happens in Seville, it is not always about the destination. It's about the journey.

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    Grant Williams scored a career-high 27 points as the Boston Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, defeating the reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks 109-81 in Game 7 on Sunday.

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    The 23-year-old's seventh triple of the night came at an important time, too, with the Bucks starting to gather momentum at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

    Tatum was pivotal on both ends despite seven turnovers, putting up 23 points on 50 per cent shooting, eight assists and six rebounds.

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    Doncic dominates as Mavs demolish Suns

    Both of the contestants in the 2021 NBA finals were knocked out in same night in Game 7s on Sunday, with the Dallas Mavericks blowing out the first-seeded Phoenix Suns 123-84.

    The Suns scored a disappointingly low 27 points on their home floor in the first half, as threes rained in on the other end, and the Mavs went into the main change with a 30-point lead.

    Chris Paul and Devin Booker went missing when they were needed most, generating little in terms of dribble penetration and combining for 21 points on seven-of-22 shooting.

    Conversely, Luka Doncic had come into Game 7 with shooting splits of 45.7 and 29.6 per cent but lit the Suns up with the season on the line, finishing with 35 points on 12-of-19 shooting.

    More importantly, Doncic was able to get his teammates good looks, with Dallas shooting an 48.7 per cent from the perimeter.

    The Mavericks will now face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals. 

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