What you missed while watching your bracket go up in flames….
Knicks 120, Grizzlies 99: This was an offensive showcase for the Knicks. They knocked down a franchise record 20 threes, led by Toney Douglas who had five in the first half and finished 9-of-12 from deep for the game. The Knicks scored at a 134 points per 100 possessions pace, they shot the lights out all game. The Grizzlies are a solid defensive team, but there are just nights when there is nothing you can do.
Bulls 84, Nets 73: New Jersey closed a 10-point deficit to tie it up midway through the fourth quarter. But then the Bulls clamped down on defense again and the Nets could not get clean look. While they struggled the Bulls were able to find room to get their shots off and started to pull away. Even when Deron Williams made a fantastic play — a sweet no-look backwards pass — to get Kris Humphries a wide-open 15 footer, the shot would not fall. So the Nets tried to press full court, the Bulls broke it easily and Kyle Korver gets a good look at a three (and he doesn’t miss a lot of shots like that). Ballgame. Also of note, Omer Asik got his first ever double-double 11 points, 16 rebounds.
That’s eight wins in a row for the Bulls.
Trail Blazers111, Cavaliers 70: This game was about as interesting as this score makes it look. It was a thumping. Gerald Wallace continues to fit in well and had 17 in this on 8-of-14 shooting, plus had six rebounds and six assists.
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.