Don Nelson threw a D-League team out on an NBA floor Wednesday night. Almost literally. Anthony Tolliver was playing in Idaho in January. Reggie Williams was playing for Sioux Falls last month. Chris Hunter was playing for Fort Wayne when the season started.
Three guys who were sharing hotel rooms, flying in coach, carrying all their own gear and trying to impress in the D-League this season.
Three guys beat the New Orleans Hornets Wednesday night.
The trio combined for 69 points on 66 percent shooting — 8 of 14 from three — leading Golden State to a 131-121 upset of New Orleans. They helped spark Golden State’s dramatic comeback from 21 down in the third to get that win.
It would be easy to rip the Hornets “defense,” which was downright bad. Without Chris Paul and Peja Stojakovic, plus Emeka Okafor playing limited minutes, New Orleans is not going to be confused with a good NBA team. But give the D-Leaguers some credit, they battled. They earned this.
Tolliver had 30 points in his role as the starting center (even though at 6’9″ he’s no NBA center, he’s more of a combo forward). He showed off his athleticism all night and the man can attack the rim (and dunk).
Chris Hunter is a real center at 6’11” and during the comeback he took charge in the paint (something that likely confused Warriors fans at first as they had not seen someone dominate the paint in a long time, it’s not in Nelson’s playbook). He was grabbing offensive boards and getting tip ins. Reggie Williams was just draining threes (4 of 6) whether there was a guy contesting the shot or not. He seems unphased by hands in his face.
Golden State has more success with D-League call-ups than any other team in the league. Likely because of Nelson’s open system. But the Tolliver/Hunter/Williams trio was moving the ball — and moving without the ball — in a way the Warriors starters never did. The D-League guys were playing right, making the extra pass, finding the open man.
A 21-point comeback in an NBA game is huge. As is scoring 30 like Tolliver did. Don’t care who is defending you (or not defending, as the case may be). You’ve got to earn it at this level.
These three earned it.
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott is expected to play at least two games in the NBA Development League as he comes back from a knee injury that kept him out of training camp and the first 18 games of the season.
Scott played 15 minutes for the Delaware 87ers in Tuesday night’s loss to the Santa Cruz Warriors. He scored four points on 2-of-7 shooting, missing all four of his attempts from 3-point range.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer says the D-League is the best way for Scott to get “meaningful, competitive minutes” after undergoing a non-surgical procedure on his left knee.
Scott has played three games for Atlanta since his return. In 28 minutes, he has two points on 1-of-9 attempts, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.
Carmelo Anthony isn’t young anymore, but he had the bounce to go get this one.
These were your two best players for the Knicks in their win over Miami Tuesday. Kyle O'Quinn was forced into action earlier than expected when Joakim Noah went on a fouling spree in the third quarter, but O’Quinn played well in the role. ‘Melo dropped 35 on 27 shots — he’s not as efficient as he once was, but he can still get some buckets.
The Knicks picked up a needed win, because they play a back-to-back Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a ticked-off LeBron James (New York will pay the price for Phil Jackson’s “posse” comments with a motivated LeBron Wednesday).
Just like coach David Fizdale drew it up.
The shot of Tuesday night went to Troy Williams, the starting Memphis guard who didn’t have a great night in the Grizzlies win over the Sixers but did hit this stumbling, falling, one-handed shot.
By the way, the Grizzlies are now 4-1 since Mike Conley‘s injury with this win. Didn’t see that coming.
Zach Randolph was away from the Memphis Grizzlies and its fans for seven games to deal with the passing of his mother, Mae. When he returned to the floor, something special was waiting for him.
During Z-Bo’s arrival against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, fans at FedEx Forum gave Randolph a standing ovation in support of his difficult time.
From ESPN NBA:
Randolph dropped 12 points, collected 14 rebounds, and added an assist as the Grizzlies beat the Sixers, 96-91, in a game that went down to the wire.
Teammates of Randolph — like Marc Gasol — were glad to have him back and let Randolph know he was being thought about during his absence.
Gasol even took to Twitter after the game in a heartwarming gesture: