#1 reason for optimism around von zhangzk 11.10.2018 05:55

For the Oklahoma City Thunder http://www.broncosauthorizedshops.com/authentic-daesean-hamilton-jersey , clinching night was reminiscent of their season.

Really bad start.

Really good finish.

Paul George scored 27 points, Russell Westbrook got his 25th triple-double of the season and the Thunder ran wild in the fourth quarter on the way to wrapping up a Western Conference playoff berth with a 115-93 win over the Miami Heat on Monday night.

”Half the league gets a chance to play in the postseason,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. ”You don’t want to take things for granted. They should feel good about creating an opportunity to play after the regular season’s over, but the thing I said to them after the game was we want to continue to play well, we want to continue to build, we want to continue to get better.”

That’s what Oklahoma City did all season. They started 8-12, are 39-22 since and got road wins over Houston and Miami in a three-day span to clinch the berth.

”We’re headed in the right direction,” said George, who walked off a winner in Miami for the third time in 21 appearances. ”This is what we wanted. We wanted to come out of this road trip 2-0 and we did that.”

Westbrook finished with 23 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists for the Thunder, who missed their first 10 shots and were down by 18 in the opening minutes before outscoring the Heat 39-12 in the fourth.

It was the third-worst scoring margin for any quarter in Heat history, and the worst ever in a game at Miami.

The Heat were called for 10 fouls in the fourth against three for the Thunder, and Oklahoma City shot 15 free throws in the final quarter – one more than Miami shot in the entire game.

”We had a lot of good things going, and then I think it was a combination of them marching to the free-throw line and us not executing on the other end,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Jerami Grant scored 17 points and Carmelo Anthony added 11 for Oklahoma City, which made 14 3-pointers. Anthony will be playing in postseason games for the first time since 2013, after four consecutive futile seasons with the Knicks.

”Feels good to be back in the postseason and the mindset of not looking forward to another vacation,” Anthony said.

Josh Richardson scored 18 points and Hassan Whiteside added 16 for the Heat, who fell one spot to No. 7 in the East for now. Miami’s playoff seed won’t be decided until the season finales Wednesday.

Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson each scored 12 for Miami, and James Johnson added 11.

”We haven’t done things the easy way,” Heat guard Wayne Ellington said. ”I guess we like the challenge.”

TIP-INS

Thunder: Westbrook needs 16 rebounds in the Thunder finale Wednesday to average a triple-double for the second straight season. He’s also the second player with 2,000 points and 800 assists in back-to-back years. The other is Oscar Robertson Womens Deryk Engelland Jersey , who did it five times. … Alex Abrines was held out of the second half with concussion symptoms.

Heat: Miami outscored Oklahoma City 58-32 in the paint. … The Heat shot 5 for 22 from 3-point range. … James Johnson got poked in the eye and Richardson banged a knee late, but both suggested after the game that they’ll be fine.

QUOTABLE

”We know we can beat anybody when we’re playing our best,” Westbrook said postgame.

WADE HONORED

Heat guard Dwyane Wade was presented with the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for March, recognizing his response to the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union donated $200,000 toward getting students to the ”March for Our Lives” event in Washington last month. ”I came back to this city at a time when I was needed, when my voice was needed,” Wade said.

TITLE WINNERS

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski sat midcourt with Heat CEO Nick Arison, his former manager with the Blue Devils. Coach K was one of three accomplished college coaches at the game; Rick Pitino was also there, near Donovan – who played guard on Providence’s 1987 Final Four team (coached by Pitino), and a two-time NCAA title winner at Florida before going to Oklahoma City.

UP NEXT

Thunder: Host Memphis on Wednesday.

Heat: Host Toronto on Wednesday.




OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Baker Mayfield spun out of sacks and turned them into big plays, led Cleveland to its highest-scoring game in more than a decade and showed why the Browns thought highly enough of him to make him the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

Mayfield’s first NFL start would have gone down as a major success if not for some untimely turnovers and a replay review that allowed the Oakland Raiders to rally for the late tying score before winning in overtime.

Instead, it ended up like so many other games for the hapless Browns since they returned to the NFL in 1999.

Mayfield threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns, but also committed four turnovers that helped the Raiders deny the Browns their first back-to-back wins in four years with a 45-42 overtime victory on Sunday.

“We turned the ball over too many times, gave them a chance,” Mayfield said. “In this league, when you turn the ball over like we did today, like I did, you’re not going to win those games. We saw the end result of that.”

Mayfield put the Browns (1-2-1) in an early hole when his pass on the second drive of the game deflected off receiver Antonio Callaway’s hands and went right to Gareon Conley , who returned the interception 36 yards for a touchdown.

Then he showed the big-play ability that helped him win the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma, become the No. 1 pick and convince the Browns to put him in far earlier in the season than originally planned.

He got his first career TD on a 49-yard pass to Darren Fells in the second quarter and put Cleveland up 28-14 with a 2-yard strike to Jarvis Landry in the third.

But then Mayfield got stripped on a sack by Maurice Hurst and fumbled a snap from JC Tretter to set up two short TD drives for the Raiders http://www.raidersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ryan-switzer-jersey , who then built a 34-28 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“He’s going to learn,” coach Hue Jackson said. “He’s got football intelligence. Today, as he goes through it, he’ll understand, and we’ve talked about it a little bit, just how important those things are. You got to be team-protecting in certain situations, but you don’t want to rein him in, because I like the things he’s doing.”

Mayfield then showed his resiliency, connecting on a 49-yard pass to Callaway that set up Carlos Hyde’s go-ahead 1-yard run. Nick Chubb added a 41-yard TD run and Mayfield seemed poised to become just the third of 30 Browns starting QBs to win his first start with the franchise since 1999 when the defense stopped the Raiders at the 9 with less than two minutes left.

Hyde appeared to seal the game with a third-down conversion only to have it overturned on replay when the officials ruled his elbow touched the ground before he reached the marker.

“It had to be a heck of a review to turn that over on the third and short,” Mayfield said. “I don’t know. Any time you put it in somebody else’s hands, it’s not always going to turn out your way. You’ve got to control what you can control and execute better.”

That forced a punt and Derek Carr led the Raiders on a game-tying drive.

Mayfield got the ball back at the 25 and completed two quick passes to move the ball into Oakland territory before his deep pass was intercepted by Reggie Nelson with 7 seconds left, forcing overtime.

Mayfield got one drive in OT, but threw an incomplete pass on third down and never got another chance. He was unable to back up his comeback win in relief against the Jets that snapped Cleveland’s 19-game winless streak last week with another victory.

“I feel bad for our defense,” Mayfield said. “We gave the Raiders a chance to be on offense too many times. When you give an offense like that, with the players they have, so many chances, it’s not going to turn out well for you.”

Despite the loss, there’s plenty of reason for optimism around the Browns, who believe the two-decade search for a quarterback has finally ended.

“I love Mayfield,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “The way he plays, the confidence that he has. He got out of trouble and made some unbelievable throws under fire today. He has a bright future. Cleveland has their quarterback. They’ve been complaining about not having one for a while. It’s pretty obvious they have one.”

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