Most nights, we have the game’s biggest stars lighting up the scoreboard while leading their teams to victory. That wasn’t the case on Monday, as the leading scorers on the winning side of things were largely unheralded players.
Third Star: Kosta Koufos (Game-high and career-high 22 points, 10 rebounds in win over Suns)
Koufos isn’t known for his offense, but after a 13-point first quarter in Phoenix, it seemed more than likely he’d have a shot at a career night — especially against a Suns team playing Hamed Haddadi as its only true center.
Nuggets coach George Karl was quick to say “no” when (jokingly) asked if he’d consider featuring Koufos offensively in the future, and Koufos himself couldn’t have been more joyless in the locker room afterward about his scoring output, giving answers to reporters about team and winning above all else while refusing to crack a single smile.
Second Star: Spencer Hawes (24 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists in win over Nets)
Yeah, I don’t know how this happens, either. But apparently Hawes took it to the Nets all night long, and lead a Sixers team that had lost five straight — most recently to the dismal Orlando Magic — to a win over the four-seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
First Star: Tiago Splitter (Team-high 21 points on 9-11 shooting, 10 rebounds in win over Thunder)
In a battle of the top two teams in the Western Conference, the Spurs made sure it wasn’t much of a contest at all. A bad Russell Westbrook game plus a typically stellar balanced attack from San Antonio had the Spurs up by as many as 18 after trailing by 13 early, and Splitter’s presence inside, along with his team’s overall defensive effort on OKC, were huge reasons why.
Union: Joakim Noah would not have been suspended under next CBA
SARM LGD-4033 (Ligandrol) was added to the banned list after the current CBA was signed in 2011. The drug is also banned by the next CBA, which will take effect July 1.
But the next CBA would also allow Noah an opportunity to contest his suspension – which his union says he would have done successfully..
National Basketball Players Association:
“After a thorough investigation, the National Basketball Players Association believes that Joakim Noah did not intentionally or knowingly violate any policy of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Under the recently negotiated CBA effective July 1, a player’s unintentional ingestion of a prohibited substance would be taken into consideration, and we believe the conduct here would not result in discipline. Unfortunately, the current CBA does not permit such consideration.”
“Joakim was completely forthcoming and cooperative throughout the investigation and we believe that this isolated occurrence was a regrettable mistake. Joakim has offered his deepest apologies for this infraction, and neither he nor the NBPA will pursue an appeal.”
Unlike the current CBA, the new CBA allows a player to challenge a suspension if he “did not know or suspect, and could not reasonably have known or suspected, even with the exercise of considerable caution and diligence, that he was taking, ingesting, applying, or otherwise using” the drug. He must also establish how the drug entered his system.
That’s obviously a high burden. The CBA even defines it as an “unusual circumstance.”
Could Noah have presented such convincing evidence? Maybe, but it’s far easier to make that claim in a statement than actually convince an arbitrator.
Stephen Curry with touchdown pass to Andre Iguodala, who finishes with reverse lay-up (VIDEO)
The 49ers may want to give Stephen Curry a call, because I’m not sure Brian Hoyer can throw that pass.
Curry showed a soft touch on a touchdown pass over a defender to the streaking Andre Iguodala, who had to finish with the reverse layup, a little no-look flip. It was vintage Warriors, a little playground in transition.
The Warriors beat the Kings 114-100 behind 27 from Curry. With the win the Warriors are 2.5 games up on the Spurs for the best record in the West, but Golden State has a tough road back-to-back this week in Houston than San Antonio. Get at least a split there and the Warriors will be tough to catch.
LeBron James says he has scratched cornea, could sit Saturday vs. Wizards
LeBron James said he suffered a scratched cornea in his right eye in Friday’s 112-105 win over Charlotte after being examined by a Hornets team physician.
James, who scored 32 points in 40 minutes, could not keep his right eye open during his postgame interview session and said his vision was blurry… Summing it all up, James said “if coach decides to give me a game off (Saturday), it’s not because I’m resting. It’s because I’m banged up.”
He was treated by the Hornets’ team doctor who administered eye drops, but the Cavaliers will make the call closer to game time depending on how LeBron is feeling.
The Cavaliers are 0-6 without LeBron this season. They also have just a one-game lead over the Celtics for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. (Boston beat Phoenix on Friday, despite Devin Bookerdropping 70, and they have a key game with the Heat on Sunday.) That said, the Cavaliers are two games up in the loss column on the Celtics, which is a decent lead, but the Cavs need to start winning consistently.
And beating a hot Washington team will not be easy even with LeBron.
NBA reacts to Suns’ Devin Booker dropping 70 on Celtics
The 20-year-old Suns’ guard — who never scored more than 19 points in a game at Kentucky in college — dropped 70 on the Boston Celtics in a losing effort. He becomes only the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 in a game. At the end the Suns were fouling and calling time outs to stop the clock and get the ball back to Booker, but as Phoenix coach Earl Watson said to those who complained, “You got a problem with that? Do something. Simple as that.”