Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers. This was as good an offensive performance as Griffin has had in the pros — 37 points on 14-of-16 shooting. After the game Chris Paul said he felt bad he didn’t get Griffin the ball more. This wasn’t Griffin finishing alley-oops, this was him knocking down jumpers from the elbow and showing off his Tim Duncanesque 16 foot bank shot from the wing. Check out his shot chart.
Of course, there were dunks, too.
By the way, he gets an A- because he fouled out late and without him the Clippers almost blew a late lead.
Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks. This is why everybody wanted him in trades at the deadline, this is why the Knicks wouldn’t give him up. After a prolonged slump (rookie wall?) Hardaway had 29 points on 9-of-13 shooting, knocking down 5-of-7 from three as he was just bombs away. Amar’e Stoudemire and Hardaway won the Knicks this game, a sentence that will never again be typed in all of human history.
Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers. It was in a losing cause to the suddenly hot Knicks, but the rookie got his second career triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. He was attacking the rim and aggressive from the start (as was Tony Wroten), when that happens good things follow. His coach Brett Brown said after the game MCW is “starting to figure stuff out.” By the way, he has pretty much wrapped up the ROY.
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks. The streak may be over but Korver is still making plays — it’s not that he had 26 on the night on 8-of-12 shooting and going 4-of-4 from three (well, partially it was), it was that with the game tied late he had five straight to put Atlanta up 101-96 with 1:36 to play. The Hawks held on for a much needed victory (it keeps the Knicks 3.5 back for the final playoff spot in the East).
JR Smith on Phil speculation: "I've been watching the Golf Channel."
“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”
“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”
LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.
Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)
But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:
Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.
That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.
The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.
Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to the league:
Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.
But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.
Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.
Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)
Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.
The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.
It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.