Winderman: ‘Melo trade means Knicks now target Chris Paul, Dwight Howard

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Don’t even think about exhaling.

The trade of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks does not, finally, put the focus back on the court.

Not in today’s NBA, or, more specifically, in tomorrow’s NBA.

Think these past months were lessons in abject cruelty in Denver?

Then consider what now follows in Orlando and New Orleans.

While pundits no doubt will offer their instant analysis on this mega-Melo monstrosity (we’ll offer our kudos here to Denver for maximizing the possibilities), this deal, at least from a Knicks outlook, deserves an incomplete, nothing more.

The make-or-break portion of this trade from a New York perspective comes down the road, with the potential 2012 free agency of both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Through this latest machination, and through a Chauncey Billups contract that has one remaining year, the Knicks should be positioned to make runs at Paul and Howard just over a year from now.

Where the Anthony trade now most resonates is in New Orleans and Orlando. The Knicks are coming for their stars next.

And when Paul and Howard reflect on what currently is alongside, and then look at the possibilities with Stoudemire and Anthony, how can their wanderlust clocks not start ticking a bit faster?

Perhaps the Knicks capitulated to such a severe degree with their trade package because they feared the introduction of a “franchise” tag in a new NBA collective-bargaining agreement, one that could have kept Carmelo out of their free agency clutches.

But such a franchise tag ultimately could cost the opportunity for a follow-up move for Paul and Howard.

No, for the Knicks — after absolutely ravaging a playoff roster — to make sense of this move, it means starting to put the moves on Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. (And who is to say the two weren’t having dinner at Isiah Thomas’ South Beach place on Monday night?)

For Denver, the nightmare is over.

For Orlando and New Orleans, it seemingly only is beginning.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Stephen Curry’s 32 lead Warriors over Rockets 113-106

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HOUSTON (AP) Stephen Curry scored 32 points, Klay Thompson had 25 and the Golden State Warriors built a big lead early and held on for a 113-106 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

The Warriors scored 37 points in the first quarter and never trailed on the way to their eighth straight victory and 60th this season.

Golden State led by eight after a pair of free throws by Curry with just over three minutes left. Patrick Beverley countered with a tip-in layup for Houston, then was fouled when he was knocked to the ground on a screen by Draymond Green seconds later.

James Harden missed a layup on the next possession before Green added a shot on the other end to put the Warriors up 107-99.

Another layup miss by Harden followed, and Curry made a 3-pointer with 1:46 left to send fans streaming to the exits.

Warriors F James Michael McAdoo leaves game vs. Rockets with head injury (VIDEO)

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There was a scary moment during the matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. During a change of possession, Houston’s Trevor Ariza and and Golden State’s James Michael McAdoo got tangled up and fell together on the floor.

McAdoo was under Ariza and wound up getting his head slammed into the hardwood. He was immediately taken off the floor and sent to the locker room.

Via Twitter:

The NBATV broadcast said McAdoo received stitches but did not test positive for a concussion. He is averaging 8.7 minutes, 2.9 points, and 1.7 rebounds per-game for the Warriors.

Jusuf Nurkic trolls Nuggets, tells former team to enjoy their summer (VIDEO)

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Jusuf Nurkic did not enjoy his time as a member of the Denver Nuggets. His trade to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee was a welcome change of scenery.

On Tuesday night, Nurkic got to take on his old team with huge playoff implications at stake. Portland beat the Nuggets, 122-113, moving a game ahead of their rivals in the race for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and giving them the best tiebreaker between the two.

Nurkic was impressive, blasting his old squad with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting, adding 16 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.

Nurkic was interviewed in the arena after the game, and he was obviously happy he helped his team while also sticking it to Denver. Speaking with Portland reporter Brooke Olzendam, Nurkic took one last shot at the Nuggets, telling them to enjoy their summer.

Via Twitter:

Nurkic quite possibly sent the Nuggets packing for the year with the game at the Moda Center on Tuesday, so he might have been the guy who helped start their summer.

Still, that is ice cold.

James Johnson decimates Marcus Morris with huge one-handed dunk (VIDEO)

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Miami Heat forward James Johnson is one of the NBA’s best in-game dunkers. On Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, he yammed down a huge one-handed slam that embarrassed Marcus Morris and drew gasps from the crowd at the Palace.

The play came midway through the fourth quarter with Johnson at the top of the key. After a quick pass over to him, Johnson gave a quick hesitation before driving to his left and past his defender.

With the quick step, Johnson’s only remaining opponent at the basket was Morris, who was unfortunate enough to find himself between the high-flying Heat and the rim.

This is what happened next:

Morris was whistled for a foul on the play.