The Houston Rockets tie the NBA record for most 3-pointers, blow past Golden State

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We thought Rockets-Warriors might be a shootout, but this was more like the grand finale of a fireworks show for a full 48 minutes. Behind a record trying 3-point performance, the Rockets issued a 140-109 beatdown of the Golden State Warriors in Houston. Let’s allow the numbers to tell the story:

77

We probably should have known something was up when the Rockets dropped 77 points by halftime. So far this season, 45 teams have scored less than 77 points over the course of an entire game. It took the Rockets just 24 minutes to hit that mark on Tuesday night.

14

The Rockets shot a ridiculous 14-for-18 from behind the arc in the first half, peppering the ball around the perimeter and playing drive and kick basketball. The 14 3-pointers in a half tied an NBA record.

17

You would think the Warriors would start chasing shooters off the line a little better, but the Rockets just kept on firing in the second half. Houston eclipsed the previous franchise record of 17 3-pointers when Toney Douglas nailed one from the corner….in the third quarter. It’s not very often you see a prominent NBA franchise snap a single-game record in the third quarter, but the Rockets didn’t stop there.

23

The 2008-2009 Orlando Magic club held the NBA record for most 3-pointers in a game. The Magic hit 23 shots from behind the arc in a 139-107 win over the Sacramento Kings on January 13th of 2009. While Jeremy Lin, James Harden and Chandler Parsons combined for 13 3-pointers on their own, it would be up to Houston’s reserves to try and break the NBA record, mainly because Golden State couldn’t quite keep pace. With the starters out, seldom used backup big man Donatas Motiejunas nailed a 3 with 3:41 left in the game to tie the NBA record.

24?

With ample time left on the clock, the Rockets had a few shots at the record. Patrick Beverley missed a 3-pointer on the very next possession, and then Marcus Morris missed one on the offensive rebound. After that, Golden State decided they wouldn’t have an NBA record set against them, and they started letting Houston do anything but shoot 3-pointers. Beverley, who was likely happy to just be out there, took full advantage of the open lanes by driving to the rim again and again. Things started to get a bit testy though…

:34

With 34 seconds left, Beverley went to attempt a record-breaking 3-pointer at the urging of the crowd. However, Warriors forward Draymond Green didn’t take too kindly to it all and committed a hard foul to prevent the attempt. Words were understandably exchanged, and Green and Marcus Morris were both ejected from the game. Houston would end up getting one more possession, but Golden State intentionally fouled right away to deny the Rockets of their shot at history.

5

Jeremy Lin set a new career-high with 5 made 3-pointers. Lin is just a career 29.7 percent 3-point shooter, but he connected on 5-for-8 in the win over the team he started his career with.

140

The 140 points scored by the Rockets is the most by an NBA team this season, and the most points in regulation by any team since 2010, when the Pacers defeated the Nuggets 144-113.

35

The Rockets tied the NBA record for most 3-pointers by going 23-of-40 from the land of plenty, but they also set a team season high for assists with 35. The fact that the Rockets assisted on 35 of 46 made field goals and turned it over just 8 times should give you a sense of just how dominant of an offensive performance this was. Oddly enough, the Rockets had more assists (35) than points in the paint (34). How often does that happen?

Marcus Smart returns, helps Celtics win Game 5 over Bucks

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Marcus Smart returned to the Boston Celtics after suffering a thumb injury earlier in the year, and boy was it just in time.

The Celtics guard came off the bench, doing what he does best: attacking opposing guards, grabbing rebounds, and making hustle plays for his squad. Smart thoroughly annoyed the Milwaukee Bucks, and as Giannis Antetokounmpo failed to make a push in the second half (and as Khris Middleton‘s shooting slowly deteriorated) it was Boston who came out with a win in Game 5, 92-87.

Milwaukee’s offense failed to show up early. According to NBA TV, it was the second-lowest halftime total for the Bucks this season, and the away team scored just 37 points at the break. Milwaukee struggled mightily as a team, shooting just 21 percent from 3-point range. Despite the issues, both Antetokounmpo and Middleton had 11 points by half.

Boston’s attack was balanced, with nine players scoring in the first half but none reaching double figures. Smart was effective off the bench, playing 12 minutes in the first half. Smart’s presence was felt elsewhere on the floor as well; in those minutes he racked up two blocks, two rebounds, and two assists.

The Celtics stalled to start the third quarter, at times going several minutes between baskets. The intensity level was still high, particularly during one tussle with 9:33 left in the third. Eric Bledsoe and Terry Rozier got into a bumping match on the baseline away from the ball, resulting in one player getting pushed into an official. Bledsoe earned a Flagrant 1 for his efforts, and Rozier was assessed a technical.

Milwaukee began to battle back on surprising baskets by Shabazz Muhammad. The former Minnesota Timberwolves wing dropped two 3-pointers to help the Bucks make a run at the Celtics all the way into the fourth quarter.

The critical play of the game came with 80 seconds left. With the shot clock winding down, Al Horford was allowed by officials to shoot a long jumper. The refereeing crew didn’t blow the whistle, and Boston took a second possession after a backtip.

Then, with 28 seconds left as the Bucks were trying to steal or foul the Celtics, came the play Boston fans had been waiting for from Smart. At first it appeared Milwaukee had shot at a turnover as they hustled Smart to the floor on a trap. Thinking quickly, Smart leapt on the lost ball, flipped over, and sent a pass to a wide open Horford for the basket, all but sealing the game.

Milwaukee tried to play the foul game in the final minute or so, but weren’t able to come up with a win. Antetokounmpo finished with just 16 points and Middleton with 23. Horford led the Celtics with 22 points, 14 rebounds, and three assists.

Boston now leads the series, 3-2, as they head back to Milwaukee for Game 6 on Thursday.

Meek Mill gets out of jail, takes helicopter to 76ers-Heat, rings bell pregame

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Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid had been one of the most notable NBA players leading the charge for the #FreeMeekMill movement. The rapper Meek Mill, a Philadelphia native and Sixers fan, has been incarcerated for violating the terms of his probation multiple times.

At the heart of the movement to free Meek Mill is the idea of comparative justice, that he has been unfairly targeted because of his race as an absorber of punishment from the penal system despite it being a decade since he committed his crime. People from Embiid to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft have made their voices heard on the subject.

Today, Meek Mill was released from prison and was sent a special gift: the opportunity to fly via helicopter, provided by 76ers minority owner Michael Rubin, to Game 5 between the Sixers and Miami Heat.

When he arrived at the game, the rapper rung the ceremonial bell before tip-off.

Not a couple of hours fresh out of the joint.

Russell Westbrook fined $10,000 for confrontation with Gobert, no suspension

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The rule in the NBA is clear and strictly enforced (just ask Amar’e Stoudemire and the Suns): Leave the bench during an altercation and you get suspended for a game.

Monday night, in the fourth quarter of the chippy game Monday where the Jazz beat the Thunder, Russell Westbrook was set to check into the game when there was a little dust-up between Rudy Gobert in Raymond Felton, and Westbrook came in and escalated it. Did he leave the bench, or was he coming into the game and that’s different.

The NBA decided he was coming into the game already — Westbrook got a $10,000 fine and an after-the-fact technical, but no suspension.

OKC needs Westbrook — and an aggressive Westbrook who is knocking down his midrange shot — to have a chance to avoid elimination in Game 5 Wednesday. The Thunder have had their strengths turned against them, and have not shown the versatility to adjust in this series, and if Westbrook and company cannot change that Wednesday their season will end.

Nets hire Pablo Prigioni as assistant coach, Tiago Splitter as scout

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets have hired former NBA player and Argentine guard Pablo Prigioni as an assistant coach.

The Nets also announced Tuesday that former Spurs center Tiago Splitter was hired as a pro scout.

Prigioni spent most of his professional career in Spain and won a bronze medal with Argentina in the 2008 Olympics before coming to the New York Knicks in 2012 as a 35-year-old rookie. He spent four years in the NBA with the Knicks, Rockets and Clippers.

Splitter helped San Antonio win the 2014 NBA championship before spending the final two seasons of his seven-year career with Atlanta and Philadelphia. The Nets said Splitter, who also played for Brazil’s national team, will have added duties related to player on-court development.