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Tal Ben Haim has been one of the top defenders
Joined: Oct 10 2014
22:53, Oct 13 2014
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons are a much-improved team after Joe Dumars rebuilt the roster once again over the summer. That doesnt mean they are ready to knock off teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder. Detroit played the Thunder tough into the third quarter Friday night, but Oklahoma Citys superior depth took over down the stretch, especially once Andre Drummond and Josh Smith got into foul trouble. Rookie Steven Adams finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while fellow post reserve Nick Collison had nine points and four rebounds in a 119-110 victory. "We were just trying to keep it simple and try not to make mistakes," Collison said of his partnership with the New Zealander. "I thought we were really locked in defensively. It was a different situation than most nights, but our bench played really well." Thunder coach Scott Brooks thought his entire second unit played a key role in the victory. "Nick, Steven, Derek (Fisher), Jeremy (Lamb) and Reggie (Jackson) did an outstanding job," he said. "They gave us a great effort, they moved the ball and took care of it. Steven and Nick did a really great job of playing together and understanding what we needed them to do. They protected the paint and they took care of the pick-and-roll. Detroits biggest problem, though, was trying to stop Kevin Durant. Their only hope of that was Smith. He sat out large portions of the second half and Durant finished with 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. "We werent hitting shots and they were hurting us on the offensive glass, but it is really hard to adjust your lineup to fix those things when you are facing Kevin," said Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks, who spent the last four years as an assistant with the Thunder. "You always have to have someone on the floor that can guard him, so that limits your options when you want to change things." Smith finished with 25 points for Detroit before fouling out, while Greg Monroe (20 points, 15 rebounds) and Brandon Jennings (22 points, 11 assists) added double-doubles. "Its always tough against that team, but especially when you get into foul trouble," said Monroe, who found himself playing with Kyle Singler, Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko instead of Drummond and Smith. "They kept making plays, and they kept getting to the free-throw line. It is hard to win games like that." Leading by 10 early in the fourth, the Thunder struggled to put Detroit away. The Pistons got within 88-84, but didnt have an answer for Durant down the stretch. Smith committed his fifth foul trying to guard him with 5:07 left, and Durant hit both free throws to give him 30 points and move the Oklahoma City lead to 101-89. Smith fouled out moments later, and picked up a technical foul on his way off the floor. Oklahoma City threatened to break the game open in the second quarter, leading by as many as 11 as the Pistons continued to struggle to score from outside. Jennings and Monroe, though, combined for 10 points in the final two minutes of the half, pulling Detroit within 55-51. Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 27 points in the half, while Monroe had 13 points and eight rebounds for Detroit. The Pistons went ahead on back-to-back three-point plays by Monroe and Smith midway through the third, but Smith immediately committed his fourth foul and had to join Drummond on the bench. Six straight points by Durant forced Drummond back in with four fouls, but Lambs 3-pointer at the buzzer let Oklahoma City take an 84-76 lead into the fourth. Westbrook scored 20 points despite missing 14 of his 19 field-goal attempts. NOTES: Detroit Tigers President Dave Dombrowski had one of the best seats in the house, sitting courtside just two spots away from the halfcourt line. ... Cheeks got an enthusiastic pregame welcome from the Thunder. Durant grabbed Cheeks in a playful headlock, while Thunder coach Scott Brooks and several players rushed over to embrace him. ... Durant earned a spot on the nightly blooper reels when he lost his grip on the ball while driving for a baseline dunk. As Durants empty hands came down on the basket, the ball looped over the Pistons bench and into the stands. David Amerson Jersey . The Texas Rangers right-hander will probably reconsider now. Wolf pitched five strong innings for his first big league win in his first start in the majors, David Murphy and Adrian Beltre homered in a three-run first inning, and the Rangers avoided a sweep with a 3-1 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. Sean Taylor Jersey . -- Whenever a Royals pitcher has issued a walk lately, the runner has usually scored. http://www.shopredskinsus.com/. -- Chris Wondolowski scored his 10th goal of the season and the San Jose Earthquakes made it stand for a 1-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday. Trent Williams Jersey . Not exactly bursting with sentimental feelings, Matthew Lombardi makes an odd return to the state of Tennessee on Thursday night. Andre Roberts Jersey . While the spotlight has been on potential first overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney and his 40-yard time, and top quarterback prospect Blake Bortles during the throwing drills, top prospects Greg Robinson and Sammy Watkins have impressed scouts enough to solidify or even boost their spots on draft boards.TORONTO -- Ryan Nelsen has added former Queens Park Rangers teammate Tal Ben Haim to Toronto FCs roster. The 31-year-old Israeli defender joins Toronto on loan from the English Premier League club, where he made six appearance since he signed in January. Ben Haim played on the QPRs back line with Nelsen before Torontos rookie head coach retired in January. "Tal Ben Haim has been one of the top defenders in the EPL for nearly a decade. He captains his national team and Ryan thinks the world of him," Toronto FC president and GM Kevin Payne said in a statement. "Hes exactly the sort of veteran defender we need." Ben Haim has made oover 300 appearances during nine seasons in England, eight of which have been in the EPL.dddddddddddd Ben Haim played for Israeli Premier League club Maccabi Tel Aviv, making his pro debut in April of 2001 and earning the captains armband in 2003-04. He went on to play three seasons with Bolton Wanderers, a season with Chelsea where he was a part of the clubs second place finish in the Premier League in 2007-08. He also spent time with Manchester City, Sunderland, Portsmouth and West Ham United. Ben Haim has earned 71 caps for the Israeli national team, his most recent coming in a World Cup qualifier versus Northern Ireland in March. ' ' '