Basketball manufacturer, Molten, have announced that they have renewed their sponsorship of the British Basketball League for another 5 years.
The new deal will start in September 2015 and run through to 2020, meaning that the distinctive Molten basketball design that we've come to know through the use of the Molten GG7 basketball in the BBL, with it's 12-panel, orange and tan look, will be with us for a while longer.
As part of the new arrangement, Molten has agreed to bring a new basketball to the market, the new ground-breaking GG7X basketball. Little is known about the new GG7X basketball at this stage, other than it will be used at BBL clubs for all BBL games, cups game and championship finals.
Edward Lowry, the MD of Molten UK has said;
"We are thrilled to sign the sponsorship of the British Basketball League for a fourth term. Molten is fully committed to supporting basketball in the UK and Ireland and helping to develop the game into a fully-fledged, major team sport. Over the past nine years we have established an excellent relationship with BBL and this latest agreement means we can continue to build on our achievements to date and work on developing new projects and partnerships with the organisation."
Adding; "It is so important that the top UK professional teams play with the latest basketball equipment and can compete internationally on an equal footing."
The Chairman of the BBL, Ed Percival, said;
“The Basketball League is delighted that Molten have renewed our relationship for another five years. We really value this long term partnership with such a prestigious international sporting brand. The high quality balls that Molten provide fit perfectly with our premium sporting position and the Molten range allows easy access to branded balls for every member of our basketball family. The people in the Molten team are truly sporting professionals and also contribute valuable ideas and support to our league.”
The new Molten 'X' basketball series is due out in the Summer, with exact dates to be confirmed. In the meantime, the BBL will continue to use the Molten GG7 basketball as the official matchball as we finish up the 2014-15 BBL season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder had to beat the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves last night to have any kind of chance of getting through to the NBA play-offs. After they managed that, they just had to rely on the New Orleans Pelican's losing to the San Antonio Spurs.
As it turned out, it wasn't to be for the Thunder. The Pelican's beat the Spurs and won the tiebreaker with the Thunder, leaving OKC to languish in 9th place in the Western Conference.
The Thunder really weren't messing around in their game with the T-Wolves. Russell Westbrook went 7 of 8 in the first quarter and had 23 points. OKC as a team set a new franchise record of 47 points in the first quarter, and Westbrook set a franchise record for 34 personal points in a half.
The Thunder would blaze to a 138-113 victory. They couldn't have done anything else as the scoreboard showed the Pelican's doing what they needed to do to send the Thunder home anyway.
The only consolation for the Thunder is that they kept the NBA scoring title in the family. Kevin Durant has won the title 4 times in his career, including last year, when he was also awarded the season MVP. This year, it was Westbrook's turn, and means that the scoring title has staying in Oklahoma for the 5th time in 6 years.
Westbrook was awarded the scorning title after finishing the season with a 28.1 points per game average. He beat the guy who was favourite to win the title for much of the season, James Harden, who finished on 27.4ppg.
Despite rounding off an incredible year, which included 11 triple-double performances, with the scoring title, Westbrook was not a happy man. When asked what the scoring title means to him he responded:
"Sh*t. It doesn't mean nothing. Good Job, Hooray, I'm at home watching other teams play. It doesn't mean nothing."
His team-mate Durant was quick to step onto Twitter to make light of the situation saying;
The Thunder have struggled with injuries this season. They've missed Durant for the majority of the season, and Westbrook even missed a stretch early on. The loss of Serge Ibaka has also knocked the teams efforts this year.
Despite Westbrook's response, he's achieved a lot for his team this year, and he's bound to come to realise that.
Earlier in the year it didn't look like OKC would get anywhere near the play-offs, it has only been because of Westbrook's crazy outburst of determination since the All-Star break that has carried them up the conference standings.
Westbrook is also the first point guard to win the scoring title since Allen Iverson won it with Philadelphia in 2005.
The New Orleans Pelicans had to beat the San Antonio Spurs to go to the play-offs, it was as straightforward as that. Well it would have been, had it been just about anyone apart from the Spurs.
San Antonio were fighting it out last night to get the second seed in the Western Conference, and having won 11 straight games, your money was likely to be on them, right?
Wrong. Anthony Davis led his Pelicans to a 108 - 103 over the Pelican's which put them through to the play-offs in the 8th spot.
There was no question as to who wanted the win more last night out of these two teams. The Pelican's came out blazing, shooting 61% from the field in the first half. They ended the 1st quarter on a 14-1 run and led by as many as 23 points.
The 63 points that the Pelican's had racked up by half time (to the Spurs 47) was the most that San Antonio have allowed against them this season.
The reigning Champs weren't about to be walked over though. The Spurs rallied in the second half to close the gap, and with 7:38 left in the 4th quarter the Spurs were back within 4 points at 86-82.
No doubt there were a few nervous New Orleans fans in the house, but the Pelican's held on and pulled off their most important win of the season, and probably Davis' most important win of his NBA career so far.
Davis had 31 points (including the slam below!) and 13 rebounds to take the Pelican's to the play-offs for the first time since 2011, and to secure his first ever trip to the post-season.
His team was right there with him too, Tyreke Evans had 19 points and 11 assists, while Eric Gordon added 14 points. Jrue Holiday made an important return to the Pelican's line up as well after missing 3 months with a leg injury. He scored 11 points, and dropped some clutch free throws with just 9.5 seconds left in the game.
There was an extra amount of pressure on the Pelican's last night as they were tied for the last play-off spot with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder won their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, ensuring that it was win or go home for the Pelicans.
New Orleans owned the tie break in the situation, so their win sent the Thunder home, and so the Pelicans can now go ahead and get prepared to take on the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA play-offs.
Check out Davis' full highlights from last night's game.
Our home town Newcastle Eagles notched up another major milestone in front of an emotional crowd at Sports Central last night.
In beating the Manchester Giants 107-97, the Eagles grabbed their 31st win of the season, and their 7th BBL Championship. The Eagles have won over 20 trophies in a period of 10 years. This season alone they have won the BBL Trophy and BBL Cup, on top of the Championship title.
You might think that the Eagles might be used to winning by now, and perhaps take it for granted, but you'd be wrong. An emotional Fab Flournoy addressed the crowd after last nights game, saying;
"I feel so much joy and this is a landmark moment in my estimation of everything that I have achieved. Really - I can't express the amount of joy that I feel."
The Eagles started the season with a relatively unknown team, in terms of how they would perform together and what they could achieve. But once again, Flournoy has proved that the can lead a special group of people to do special things.
In last night's game, Eagles veteran, Charles Smith, played the full 40 minutes, racking up 27 points and 7 rebounds. In just under 39 minutes of play, Andy Thomson added points 22 and 9 rebounds, while his brother Stu put up 23 points to go with 6 rebounds.
Rahmon Fletcher was again instrumental in getting the Eagles where they needed to be, hitting a double-double with 11 points and 13 important assists.
Despite struggling with injuries to the likes of Darius Defoe, who is always going to be a big miss for the Eagles, as well as Flournoy himself, who tore his Achilles in the Trophy Final in March, the Eagles are going to try to keep focused, and try to continue their success in the BBL Play-Offs, to go for the clean sweep on the season.
The Boston Celtics managed to lock in the 7th place play-off spot last night, by beating the Toronto Raptors, thanks to a last second bucket from Jae Crowder.
The Celtics put together a solid team effort that means they're heading into the post-season to match up with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Four of the Celtics starters scored in double figures.
Evan Turner had 14 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Brandon Bass had 13 points and 9 rebounds. Tyler Zeller had 12 points and 8 rebonds and Avery Bradley had 14 points.
Marcus Smart just missed out on double figures, with 9 points including an emphatic slam with just 1.6 seconds left in the 2nd quarter and a big put back dunk mid way through the 3rd. Isaiah Thomas had 11 points and 6 assists in yet another game where he shone for the Celtics.
The talk of the night, however, was Crowder, who had 9 points on the game, including a hail Mary two pointer from the corner that dropped, putting Boston up by 95-93 with just 0.8 seconds on the game clock.
At the other end, the Raptors inbounded to Kyle Lowry who tried to put up a three before the time was up, but Turner swooped in for the Celtics and blocked the shot, putting a cap on the win.
Having picked up their 5th straight win, the Celtics are going to be hoping to go into the play-offs with some momentum to go up against the Cavs.
The Raptors, who are locked into the 4th seed in the East, will face the Washington Wizards in the post-season.
The New Orleans Pelicans are playing to stay in the last play-off spot in the West right now, and their win over the Minnesota Timberwolves last night helped them close in on that goal.
Anthony Davis led the Pelican's with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks to a 100-88 victory, meaning that they're still tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder (who also won last night). The Pelican's hold the tie breaker to sit above the Thunder in the standings.
That means the fight for the final play-off spot in the West is going to go down to the final night of the regular season. The Thunder can only jump above the Pelicans and steal the last spot if they win and the Pelicans lose. Any other situation would result in the Pelican's going through.
The Pelican's have a tough game against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday to finish the regular season, while the Thunder have a slightly easier look, playing the Timberwolves.
While the Twolves might have the worst record in the league at 16-65, that hasn't stopped the no.1 draft pick, Andrew Wiggins, having a solid bash at wrapping up the Rookie of the Year award. He put in another bid last night with 15 points, 6 rebounds and a high-flighing slam over the Pelican's Omer Asik. Check it out:
Davis wasn't letting Wiggins have all of the highlight reel action though, having a few monster blocks to keep his Pelicans moving forward. Davis was backed up by teammates Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon, who both had 22 points.
Now we'll have to wait until Wednesday night to see whether the Pelican's can hold onto that coveted 8th spot or whether the Thunder will steal it in a last ditch attempt on the final day of the season.
The Golden State Warriors have already got the top spot in the West, and guaranteed home-court advantage for the play-offs, but that didn't stop them putting one over on the Memphis Grizzlies last night.
The win was in part, thanks to another night where Klay Thompson lit things up at the Oracle Arena. Thompson scored 26 points in the 2nd quarter alone, including a run of 23 straight points for the Warriors.
Thompson shot 15 of 21 from the floor, including 8 of 10 from three point range for a total of 42 points on the game. His span of 26 points n the second quarter came in all forms, including some nice runs to the basket - check out the video below.
Earlier this season, Thompson set a new NBA record after scoring 37 points in a quarter, speaking after the game about last nights performance, he said; "It felt different. I don't think I'll ever get 37 points in a quarter again."
The Warriors led the Grizzlies by 32 points before finally sitting their regular players in the 3rd quarter. Memphis then went on to outscore the Warriors reserves by 41 - 18 in the fourth quarter to create a little drama, but Golden State hung on for the win.
While the result didn't matter too much to the Warriors in terms of the play-offs, it did matter to the Grizzlies, and a 107 - 111 loss wasn't the result that they needed.
The Grizzlies have now slipped to the 6th spot in the Western Conference, and have fallen one game behind the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets in the Southwest Division, meaning that they might just have thrown away their first chance to win the Division title.
Grizzlies centre, Marc Gasol, who played despite having a sprained ankle, said of his teams performance; "We didn't compete. I don't know if everybody realised how important that game was."
The Grizzlies host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday in what is likely to be a tough game, as the Pacers will be fighting to keep a play-off spot in the East.
The Warriors will host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday in their last regular season game and their final chance to fine tune before the play-offs get underway.
The Milwaukee Bucks have revealed a new set of logos, and colour scheme, which will make it's debut in the 2015-16 NBA season. Check it out below.
The new logo has been described as a more imposing looking Buck, staring dead ahead, looking focused on the job at hand. The logo also features the new colours of green and cream. There's also going to be some blue in the colour scheme, as you'll see below.
The secondary logo pulls in the date that the Bucks joined the NBA, playing more on the heritage of the franchise.
Another secondary logo features an outline of Wisconsin, the state where the Bucks play their home ball. Here you can see a hint of the blue that will feature throughout the Bucks new branding, and represents the great lakes that are a big part of the culture in Wisconsin.
Also take a look at this cool little video introducing us to the new look Bucks, where their message is clearly looking to the future, and building on whatever success the Bucks have been able to pull out of the current NBA season.
Russell Westbrook continued to sizzle last night and scored a career-high 54 points, but despite having more than half of his teams points, his efforts weren't enough and the Thunder lost to the Indiana Pacers.
The game was important for both teams in terms of whether or not they would be going to the play-offs this year. The Thunder are sat at ninth in the West, and the Pacers are ninth in the East, putting them both one place outside of the play-off picture.
The Thunder have the same record as the 8th spot New Orleans Pelicans in the West, but the Pelicans have the tie breaker advantage. New Orleans lost their game in Houston last night, which could have given the Thunder the jump into 8th, had they beaten the Pacers.
What's perhaps worse for the Thunder than the loss last night, is that Westbrook picked up his 16th technical foul of the season, meaning that he will miss the next game automatically. There's still the opportunity for the league to rescind the technical, if it's thought to have been to harsh, and unnecessarily costly to the team in question, but with just 2 regular season games left it's not guaranteed.
For the Pacers, the win means that they close the gap on the Brooklyn Nets who currently sit in 8th place in the East. The Nets were beaten by the Milwaukee Bucks last night, who managed to secure a play-off position. The Pacers now have the same record as the Nets, but Brooklyn hold the tie breaker between the two.
Westbrook did everything that he could to propel his team to victory against the Pacers, but it wasn't enough. As well as his career-high 54 points, he also had 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
Thunder starters Enes Kanter and Dion Waiters both scored in double-figures, with 13 and 16 respectively, while Steven Adams had 10 rebounds. The Thunder got very little production off the bench which ultimately hurt their efforts.
The Pacers on the other hand pulled off a solid team effort. C.J. Miles led their scoring with 30 points to go with 10 rebounds for a double-double. Roy Hibbert also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Pacers recently returned star, Paul George, came off the bench and had 8 points and 6 rebounds in 14 minutes of play. The Pacers have gone 4-0 since George came back after snapping his leg during a Team USA scrimmage last year.
The Thunder and Pacers have 2 games remaining to have a final push for a play-off spot. The Thunder are at home to the Portland Trail Blazers tonight, while the Pacers will host the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.