Watch: 'It's quite jolly, innit?' Festive Steven Adams reflects on OKC's Christmas Day win over Rockets

Oklahoma City Thunder centre Steven Adams was fully in the festive spirit following his team's 112-107 win over the Houston Rockets on Christmas Day in the US yesterday, describing the occasion as "jolly" while wearing some equally festive clothing.

Adams, who scored 15 points and 10 rebounds in the match, told reporters after the game there's still a lot to work on in certain areas but they were happy with the win.

"It's quite jolly, innit?" he said.

"Everyone's in good spirits - it's a fun time mate."

Russell Westbrook had 31 points and 11 assists to help Oklahoma City to its fifth straight victory.

Paul George scored 24 points and Carmelo Anthony added 20 for the Thunder, who shot 54.4 percent from the field.

James Harden led the Rockets with 29 points, but he made just 7 of 18 field goals. The league's leading scorer was coming off back-to-back 51-point games.

Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon each scored 20 points and Clint Capela added 19 points and 10 rebounds for Houston, which lost its third straight.

Houston point guard Chris Paul was sidelined by a groin strain. The Rockets are 15-1 when he plays and 10-6 when he sits out.


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'It was best for me to go' – Reformed Corey Webster leaving troubled past behind in second Breakers stint

Corey Webster is back at the Breakers and ready to prove he's grown up.

Webster's returned to his home club after more than a year away in Perth, Israel and China and while he's got the same scintillating skills, there's something new about him.

After going out of his comfort zone overseas, the 29-year-old is adamant he's learned from his mistakes and ready to lead by example.

"I had some personal things to work on and I think it was best for me to go away at that time and work on myself as a person and my game and I think I've come back better than ever."

He’s now determined on proving just that.

Webster's off-court indiscretions, including his discharge without conviction in an assault case last year, have been well publicised but he's put those firmly in the past.

The guard says his move overseas helped him do move forward.

"It was just something that I had to do.

"This is my life. Basketball is my life and I'm a professional and it's something that had to be done."

Webster and the Breakers begin their season next month at Spark Arena when they host the Brisbane Bullets on Thursday 11 October.

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Breakers sign former NBA big man Shawn Long with final import slot

The New Zealand Breakers have been quick to re-fill their final NBL import slot by signing American Shawn Long.

Versatile big man Long replaces compatriot Jerrelle Benimon, who was released from his contract two days ago.

Specialist centre Benimon never arrived in Auckland, having requested a release for personal reasons.

Long, 25, had a brief stint in the NBA with Philadelphia two years ago.

"I had a number of options on the table but after speaking to the Breakers I felt as though they'd provide the best situation for me to improve all around as a player, but most importantly a chance to win a championship," Long said.

"I look forward to making the best of it and filling whatever role the team needs."

The former University of Louisiana player has been most prominent as a scorer in the NBA reserve leagues in recent years.

Long will join the Breakers ahead of this month's NBL Blitz and the October 3 pre-season game against the Phoenix Suns in Arizona.

Philadelphia 76er Shawn Long.
Philadelphia 76er Shawn Long. Source: Getty

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NBL expansion team to be located in Melbourne, join competition in 2019

The NBL has confirmed that the ninth team in the competition will be based in south east Melbourne.

The yet to be named franchise will play games at Melbourne Arena starting in the 2019/20 season.

"This is an exciting moment for the NBL as we announce a second team in Melbourne," NBL chief executive Jeremy Loeliger said on Sunday.

The NBL announced in July that Romie Chaudhari, co-owner of English Championship soccer team Swansea City, had been awarded a licence.

"We said when we granted the licence for a ninth team that its location would depend on having access to first class training, administrative and playing facilities," Loeliger said.

"The investment in the State Basketball Centre and Melbourne Arena makes south east Melbourne the ideal location for the next NBL team."

A deal has been agreed to move the Australian Basketball Centre of Excellence from Canberra to Melbourne's south east - with the Victorian Government on Sunday committing $82 million funding for expansion of the State Basketball Centre if re-elected and Knox City Council promising $25 million to the expansion project.

The Victorian Government will also add a further $13 million to upgrade Melbourne Arena if re-elected.

The newest NBL team will be based at the State Basketball Centre and play two regular season games there each season once the planned expansion has been completed.

"We are delighted to have chosen south east Melbourne as the location for our club," Tommy Greer, general manager of the team, said.

Rob Loe
Rob Loe Source: Photosport


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Webster, Abercrombie to miss next round of World Cup qualifying as Tall Blacks name experienced squad

The Tall Blacks have named an experienced squad for the next phase of World Cup qualifying but will be without proven veterans Corey Webster and Tom Abercrombie.

Abercrombie hasn't been considered due to a hamstring injury he sustained while training for the Breakers this week while Webster has been given time off due to personal issues.

The star shooting guard has only just returned to New Zealand after playing in China and has been given a break to settle back in and prepare for the upcoming NBL season with the Breakers.

As a result, Ethan Rusbatch and Dion Prewster have been called into the squad which will be led by Mika Vukona.

The team also has the talents of overseas-based players such as Isaac Fotu and Tai Webster at their disposal.

Coach Paul Henare said the team is looking to send a message in the next round of qualifying after passing the first round with a record of five wins and one loss.

"We will not take anything for granted, that is a recipe for disaster. The fact is we are not yet qualified and must continue to pick up wins to keep pace at the top of the group.

"We know how tough these road trips are going to be and the hurdles we will have to overcome, we cannot and will not let our guard down for one moment.”

The will play Syria, Lebanon and Jordan twice over the next six months with the top three teams in the group qualifying for the World Cup in China next year.

Tall Blacks

Guards: Shea Ili, Breakers; Jarrod Kenny, Cairns Taipans; Ethan Rusbatch, Bay Hawks; Tai Webster, Galatasaray (Turkey);

Forwards: Reuben Te Rangi, Brisbane Bullets; Dion Prewster, Bay Hawks; Jordan Ngatai, Breakers; Isaac Fotu, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany); Finn Delany, Breakers; Mika Vukona, Brisbane Bullets;

Centres: Rob Loe, Cairns Taipans; Tohi Smith-Milner, Melbourne United

Finn Delany, Tall Blacks in action during the FIBA Asia Cup 8-20 August 2017 in Lebanon. Photo: FIBA
Finn Delany, Tall Blacks in action during the FIBA Asia Cup. Source: Photosport


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