was it great for the players, but it

The Charlotte Hornets are hoping to continue surging against the floundering Minnesota Timberwolves when the two teams square off Saturday at Charlottes Spectrum Center. Cheap Avalanche Jerseys .After a four-game losing streak ended a week ago, the Hornets have won three of their last four games to boost their record to 11-8. Charlotte is in the midst of a stretch in which it plays five of six games at home -- and seemed to have found some flash from 7-2 center Roy Hibbert in a 97-87 victory over Dallas on Thursday.Hibbert hit 5-of-7 attempts for 11 points against the Mavericks with four rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes. He missed five games at the start of the season for right knee soreness, but Hornets coach Steve Clifford called his performance against Dallas one of his top two outings of the season.Im not 100 percent yet, but Im getting there, Hibbert told reporters after the Dallas victory. Its come slower than I would have liked, but its a long season.While Hibbert continues to work out kinks, the Hornets have continued to rely most upon Kemba Walker. The point guard hit two 3-pointers in the final four minutes to help seal the triumph over the Mavericks.Walker leads Charlotte with 23.9 points per game, and his average of 24.4 points per game in November set a franchise record for that month.Forward Marvin Williams has missed the last four games with a hyperextended left knee, and is expected to be out until next week, Clifford said.The Timberwolves, meanwhile, are hoping to bounce back from back-to-back losses to the New York Knicks. In all, Minnesota has lost its last four games, and seven of the last eight games. They dropped to 5-14 with Fridays loss.Zach LaVine led the Wolves with 23 points in their 118-114 loss to the Knicks. Karl-Anthony Towns added 20 points while Andrew Wiggins chipped in 19.The thing about them is they have so many talented scorers who can have big nights, Hornets center Cody Zeller said. We have to come out and play defense right from the start and not really let them get into a flow.Minnesota will be trying to snap its losing streak on the second night of a back-to-back. The Timberwolves are 2-1 in such games this season.A hopeful spot of late was Towns performance Wednesday in a 106-104 loss to the Knicks. The 7-foot center had 47 points and 18 rebounds in the loss, numbers that set historic marks.Since 1963-64, only three players have scored 47 points or more at a younger age than the 21-year-old Towns -- Brandon Jennings, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. He also joined Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love as the only other Wolves to have a game with at last 45 points and 15 rebounds.It was a monster game, Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters. Its unfortunate that we couldnt pull out the win. Cheap Colorado Avalanche Jerseys . -- Jimmie Johnson held off a teammate, passed a pair of Hall of Famers, and dominated once more at Dover. Cheap Avalanche Jerseys Authentic . JOHNS, N. . In the lead up - which seemed to begin the moment Mike Geiger blew the whistle in Houston last Thursday night - the Impact rumour mill went into overdrive. The speculation went into meltdown mode, of the golden nugget variety. With NBA free agency winding down, we asked our experts:Who were the big heroes and villains of the offseason?Which players and executives are being praised for their dazzling moves? And which ones are getting the most criticism -- fairly or unfairly? Heroes of the offseason came off looking like winners, but villains seemingly lost the offseason. And surely the salary cap and parity played a part in how teams and players fared.As Kevin Durant said during his introductory press conference with the Golden State Warriors, We live in a comic book world where either youre a villian or a superhero if youre in this position.5-on-5 also welcomes two guest panelists -- Zhang Weiping, former player for and head coach of the Chinese mens national basketball team and current NBA commentator for Tencent, and Marc Spears, senior NBA writer of The Undefeated.1.?Who is your top hero of the offseason?Ethan Sherwood Strauss, Tim Duncan, whose quiet exit helps the Spurs move forward while allowing a platform for us to praise all that he has been. Its not necessarily morally superior for a player to take team-friendly contracts in his waning years (one could argue that making as much money as possible can reflect loyalty to family), but for Spurs fans, its an act of heroism. Duncan played well forever, and he left at the right time. People in San Antonio should be thankful for that.Mike Mazzeo, : Jerry West, Bob Myers, Steve Kerr and the Warriors, who?emerged from the Hamptons with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Thank you so much, added national TV money. The pressure on these guys is going to be immense, but theyre certainly going to be a marvel to watch.Justin Verrier Kevin Durant, for making a reasonable decision. Its hard to fault KD when the Warriors positives column is replete with all the ingredients for entertaining basketball: a large passionate crowd; a free-flowing, exciting style of play; and teammates who also do amazing things. And all talk of inevitability to next season ignores the 73-win team that just blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.Zhang Weiping, Tencent: The Golden State Warriors. They just had 73 wins in the regular season, and now Durant is on board. Now the Warriors can provide more options on the offensive end, allowing them to better distribute the firepower. This will tremendously help them in the championship run next year. As a Warrior, Durant can reduce his chance of getting injured by playing fewer minutes, which will benefit his career in the long run.Marc Spears, The Undefeated: The Utah Jazz. Theyve made some very surprising moves in the offseason. Theyve constantly been beaten up for being a small-market team that cant get any free agents, but they convinced Joe Johnson to sign and traded for Boris Diaw and George Hill. To me, the only thing that kept Utah from making the playoffs last year was a lack of talented veterans, especially at point guard. Hill allows Dante Exum to grow. I really feel the Jazz have solidified themselves as a playoff contender.2. Who is your top villain of the offseason?Strauss: I suppose its the Warriors, for -- as David Stern once coined the term --basketball reasons. Adding Durant to this mix just comes off as decadent, and many will choose to root against Goliath. Ironically, Goliath lacks a hulking rim protector, but thats another matter for another day.Mazzeo: Parity. The Warriors are going to be compelling and people will watch, but how many fan bases have realistic hopes of a championship? Not that this is any different from past years or anything, but arguably, two of the top three players in the entire league now play on the same team. Meh.Verrier: Pat Riley, and not just because his trademark slick, manicured look evokes Al Pacinos character in The Devils Advocate. The Heat have been the subject of league-wide grousing over the years for rumored handshake agreements and transactions that exploit gray areas in the collective bargaining agreement, but the departure of?Dwyane Wade?--?the franchises native son -- amid reports of?initial lowball offers felt a whole lot like comeuppance.Zhang: The Oklahoma City Thunder. Are the Thunder true villains? Perhaps not. But they definitely lost. The departures of Durant and Serge Ibaka?have triggered a series of issues. They were a championship-level team just a few months ago, but now they face lots of uncertainties. Without Durant, Russell Westbrook now has to carry the entire team by himself, and he only has one year left before becoming a free agent next summer. Now the Thunder really feel the urgency to deal with Westbrooks contract situation and consider whether he will be part of the teams future.Spears: Kevin Durant. Look, I have no problem with his decision, but I think a lot of people see Kevin Durant as a villain by going to the Warriors after having a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals and losing it. I understand why Thunder fans will be upset. But he has earned his right to be a free agent; its his right to do whatever he wants. I dont see this villain as a true villain. Regardless of what I think, however, he and the Warriors will be vilified going into the season.33. Wholesale Avalanche Jerseys. Who could be a potential hero in the remainder of this offseason?Strauss: Can Cavs general David Griffin bring back?J.R. Smith? Those of us who enjoy being entertained?are waiting on that one with bated breath. Theres just something about the J.R. experience in a championship-contending situation thats wonderfully whimsical.Mazzeo:?The Sixers. They could go into the 2016-17 season with?Dario Saric, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid all healthy (hopefully). The team might have struggled during summer league, but they are going to get better as the season approaches. Thats so exciting. Trust the process, indeed.Verrier: Kyrie Irving. The Cavaliers are certainly having a moment, one in which shirts are optional, and Team USA is the last big event on the NBA calendar. The rosters trio of Warriors -- Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson -- figures to dominate storylines, but Irving was at his bucket-getting peak in the NBA Finals. And he has surged past other elite-level teammates on this stage before.Zhang: The Cleveland Cavaliers. The reason is simple: the two best free agents still available --?LeBron James and J.R. Smith -- are almost certain to stay in Cleveland for another season. Any movement of the remaining free agents wont shake up the power landscape of the league. By retaining both, the Cavaliers will be nearly guaranteed to return to the Finals next year.Spears:?Kris Dunn?could end up being a hero. Im probably a little biased, but he has got such a great story. His life has been amazing -- and sad. So I think there are a lot of people rooting for him, and hes in a situation where he very well could be rookie of the year. Dunn is the rookie most ready to make a significant impact immediately, and I expect him to do so.4. Who could be a potential villain in the remainder of this offseason?Strauss: Pat Riley, if he makes the mistake of taking shots at Dwyane Wade. I doubt he will, as the Miami Heat organization tends to keep a tight lid after these separations, but theres the potential for an even messier divorce.Mazzeo: Restricted free agency. In the case of the Nets, things got pretty crazy when the Nets made calculated risks in offering Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson a combined $125 million in offer sheets. Restricted free agent?Dion Waiters is still available. Will he get a similar massive offer sheet from a team? And will it be worth it? Maybe the Heat and Blazers got Nets got off the hook, but those two teams had to spend a lot of extra money to keep players they might have let go otherwise.Verrier: LeBron? Not only because people enjoy being angry at him for various (often silly) reasons, but James, despite publicly declaring that hell re-up with the Cavs next season, hasnt yet made it official. It seems like a formality at this point, but Passive-Aggressive LeBron has raised blood levels before.Zhang: The Cavaliers, but only if they lose LeBron James and J.R. Smith to other teams. This scenario exists only in theory, though.Spears:?Pat Riley. There are a lot of people in Miami who could get mad at the start of the season, especially if this team doesnt do well. This is a franchise that has been spoiled -- they had LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade for so long, and Alonzo Mourning before that. Theres been a Hall of Fame-type face of the franchise for years. And now, they dont have one anymore. So I think Riley could get a lot of, uh, heat.5. Was the salary cap a villain or hero this offseason?Strauss: The salary cap keeps raising its game and making dudes richer than ever before. Though its been villainous in the past, its now more committed than ever to getting guys paid. Hero.Mazzeo: For the players, a hero. For the teams who signed them, well have to wait and see. There had to be some overpays, right?Verrier: Good for NBA players and their agents, with the likes of Kent Bazemore banking nearly $18 million on average, but bad for teams cap sheets to shell out such a premium for league-average quality. Solomon Hill, for instance, will make nearly $1 million for every minute of play he averaged last season (14.7), and that deal seems like a prudent expenditure in this market.Zhang: Both. The increased salary cap is a double-edged sword. Teams are spending more, big contracts get signed and exciting trades occur. So its a hero for players and NBA fans. However, since the new salary cap allows some players to be overpaid while others remain underpaid, this can potentially cause problems for the league. If wealth keeps getting unevenly distributed, we could see another lockout. By then, everybody will be a villain.Spears: I think it was a hero. Not only was it great for the players, but it was great for the owners and the health of the game. If theyre getting this much money, that means the NBA is correspondingly that healthy. Its got a bright future for a long, long time. I daresay besides the NFL, its the second most popular sport in the U.S., and besides soccer, its the second most popular sport worldwide. I think the money is a good thing, because it shows the league is so healthy. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys AuthenticWholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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