Damian Lillard’s future goal: MVP

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At some point during the NBA award season, Damian Lillard is going to pick up the Rookie of the Year hardware. It is the biggest lock of the award season (even ahead of the inevitable LeBron MVP).

The question with Lillard — who is older than most of his draft class after a four-year college stint — is how good can he be in a few years? What is his ceiling?

Lillard is thinking high — very high — he told CSNNW.com’s Chris Haynes.

“I think I can be a first team All-NBA, I think I can be an All-Star, I think I can be an MVP,” Lillard told CSNNW.com. “That’s just my opinion. I don’t know when, but how I plan to work and how much better I want to be, I feel like anything is possible.”

That’s exactly what you want your stud rookie to say. That’s not to say his ego is getting too big.

“I’m not saying I deserve those things right now. That’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is that I set high standards for myself,” he said. “I’m not going to come out and try to force myself to be an MVP next season, I’m going to be myself and hopefully all the hard work that I put in will get me to that point. I can get a lot better.”

Lillard had advantages this year that Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond did not. First, he stayed healthy. Second, he had the ball in his hands (and a coach that would play him big minutes, unlike Drummond). Finally, Lillard had veterans like LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum around. He was on a better team, got better matchups than those others.

Not to take anything away from Lillard’s 19 points and 6.5 assists per game. Or that his 169 three pointers this season beat Stephen Curry’s rookie record. Lillard has earned everything he has gotten this season.

But there could be a lot more hardware coming. And his head is in the right place to get there.

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.