Three Stars of the Night: Turn It Around

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How about those road Warriors? They didn’t have Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, Carl Landry, or Harrison Barnes…and they still shot 53 percent in a 108-95 victory in Cleveland. A lot of that credit goes to Klay Thompson, who just missed the cut despite dropping a career-high 32 points. That’s how good our Three Stars were tonight, so let’s get right to them:

Third Star: David Lee – (20 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists)

Lee makes so much of Golden State’s offense work with his high post play and ability in the pick and roll, and tonight no was no exception. Even with the Warriors having to dig deep into their bench, Lee made the offense work by consistently making the right decisions. He’s always been a dogged offensive rebounder and good finisher, but Lee is so much more complete than he was a few years ago. It’s frightening to think how good Golden State can be with Andrew Bogut’s defense filling in the only real gaps in Lee’s game.

Second Star: Brandon Jennings – (30 points in 30 minutes, 6 assists)

Jennings and the Bucks both came out slow against the Pistons, but it didn’t take them long to turn it on. After the Bucks captured the lead with a big second quarter, Jennings sealed the deal with maybe the best short scoring burst we’ve seen this year. Halfway through the third quarter, Jennings scored on six straight possessions. For those scoring at home, it looked like this: Layup-two free throws-3-3-3-3. That’s a 16 point flurry on consecutive possessions with no misses in a little over two minutes of game time. You won’t see a scoring explosion like that again this year.

First Star: LaMarcus Aldridge – (29 points, 13 rebounds, game-tying and game-winning shots)

Never, ever count the Blazers out of a game at home. Dallas probably thought they had it in the bag up 21 in the third quarter, but they didn’t count on LaMarcus Aldridge performing miracles. After climbing all the way back, the Blazers found themselves down just three with about 11 seconds left. Aldridge set a down screen, got the ball, and then stepped back behind the 3-point line like that’s something he regularly does. Aldridge hadn’t hit a 3-pointer all season, but his huge shot from the 3-ball tied the game and sent the Rose Garden into hysteria. Thanks to a drawn charge on the other end by Ronnie Price, the Blazers incredibly got a chance to win it in overtime, and there was no doubt who they were going to. That’s the thing about Aldridge — he has two moves in the post, but because he’s so long, they’re still really tough to stop. Aldridge went to his patented turnaround with the game on the line, and it fell through to give the Blazers a dramatic home win.

Warriors’ rookie Jordan Bell goes off the backboard to himself for dunk

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The best part of this is the stunned reaction of the Warriors bench.

The Warriors had taken total control of the game against Dallas in the second half, and with a few minutes left Steve Kerr emptied his bench in garbage time. That’s when rookie Jordan Bell made the play of the night: He blocked Dwight Powell‘s shot then leaked out, JaVale McGee batted the ball ahead to him, and Bell threw the ball off the backboard for a self alley-oop. He got an and-one on the play.

The move didn’t sit well with everyone, there is an unwritten rule about showboating in a blowout game. Draymond Green had thoughts on that — he has thoughts on everything and isn’t afraid to share them — and he came to Bell’s defense speaking to NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Listen man, when you get on the basketball floor, I don’t care if you get out there with two minutes to go up 25 or with two minutes to go down 25, somebody is evaluating you. So you gotta play the game just like it’s tied up or if you’re up four or if you’re down four. You gotta play the game the same way. Somebody is evaluating you. So if you want to throw it off the backboard, feel free and dunk the ball. He got an And One. It was a great play. So, I got no message for him. Do what you do. Play basketball. That’s what he did. I don’t get all up into the whole ‘Ah man, they’re winning by this much, that’s bad.’ Says who? Dunk the ball. What’s the difference between if he threw it off the backboard and dunked it as opposed to grabbing it and dunking it?”

Or, put another way, if you don’t want a player to throw down the massive alley-oop dunk on you, play better defense in the first place.

Mario Chalmers trips James Harden, Harden shoves him back (VIDEO)

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Memphis came back on an 18-2 run late to in the fourth quarter to knock off the Houston Rockets, a very impressive road win that reminds us Memphis is not a team to be written off.

This is the play everyone will be talking about — James Harden squared up looking for a fight.

Mario Chalmers got knocked down by a Harden screen, and while on the ground tries to trip up Harden, and Harden turns around and shoves him. Harden squared up, but as happens in the NBA everyone stepped in, and nothing actually happened.

Neither man was ejected. The referees called it an offensive foul on Harden for the pick, then there were double technicals. Fines may follow from the league.

Metta World Peace joins Lakers’ G League team as ass’t coach

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Metta World Peace has joined the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA G League affiliate as a player development coach.

The veteran NBA forward was added to the South Bay Lakers’ staff Monday.

World Peace played 16 NBA seasons for six franchises, including six years with the Lakers from 2009-10 and 2015-17. He was a standout defensive player who won a championship alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2010.

While he hasn’t publicly retired, the forward formerly known as Ron Artest will assist South Bay Lakers head coach Coby Karl and his staff.

World Peace earned the longest suspension in NBA history for his role in the Indiana Pacers’ infamous brawl in the stands at Detroit in November 2004, but he matured into a valued veteran leader for the Lakers.

LaVar Ball calls out Wizards, Marcin Gortat doesn’t think that was smart

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“I told him after the game, due to all the riffraff his dad brings he’s going to get a lot of people coming at him. He’s got to be ready for that, and I let him know after the game… (I had to) welcome his little young a** to the NBA.”

That was the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley after he tormented Lonzo Ball on opening night, and he speaks for a number of other players I have heard from who said father LaVar wrote checks that Lonzo is going to have to cash, and guys were going to go at him. Not every night, but enough.

Since that rough opener the rookie has had a decent couple of games — averaging 18.5 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds a night, not efficient but playing better — going against Eric Bledsoe (a capable defender who had checked out mentally in Phoenix) and Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans. Wednesday night John Wall and the Wizards come to town, and that’s another level of competition.

My least favorite thing about this Lakers season is the way the L.A. media sticks a microphone in front of LaVar Ball after every game. I don’t care about LaVar, in the same way I don’t care about the Kardashians.

But what he said has become a thing. After the Lakers loss to the Pelicans LaVar said, “[The Wizards] better beware cause Lonzo ain’t losing again. Not in the same week!”

Wizards’ center Marcin Gortat thought that was funny.

First off, Lonzo is going to lose twice in a week a lot this season — the Lakers are not a good team.

Second, Wall is a top-five NBA point guard by any standard, an All-NBA player who is far more than just quick (although he is that, too). He can shoot, he’s an aggressive defender, and he knows how to set up teammates. He’s going to be more than a handful for Ball. To put it kindly.

Whatever happens Wednesday night (most likely Wall smokes Lonzo) we know one thing for sure: LaVar will say something outlandish. And it will become a thing. The game is secondary for that marketing effort.