Associated Press

NBA Three Things to Know: What will snap the Warriors out of funk? The Clippers.

2 Comments

Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. We bring you tonight’s Three Things straight from Staples Center in Los Angeles.

1) Warriors snap out of their malaise to throttle Clippers. Surprisingly, the Los Angeles Clippers came into Monday night’s game with best defense in the NBA, having only given up 92.8 points per 100 possessions, and allowing a true shooting percentage of 53.9 against them. With DeAndre Jordan anchoring the paint, and Patrick Beverley and Austin Rivers on the perimeter, the Clippers were forcing teams into midrange shots, protecting the rim, and just getting stops.

Then the Warriors came to town.

Golden State snapped out of its early-season funk (starting 4-3) just in time to drop 74 points on Los Angeles in the first half, shooting 60.5 percent overall. Stephen Curry hit threes — 7-of-11 for the game — but it was him, Draymond Green, and the rest of the Warriors getting shots at the rim at will that was the difference. Golden State turned the fourth quarter into garbage time and won 141-113. Curry had 31 points to lead the way, while Kevin Durant had 19, and Green had 16 while shutting down Blake Griffin on the other end, blowing up the Clipper attack.

“We gave up too many easy baskets,” Griffin said after the loss. “They ran their offense and got open shots and layups. They pushed in transition, I think the transition points at halftime were 18-4, which is never a good.”

The Warriors had twice as many transition possessions as the Clippers for the game.

“Defensively, I thought our offense deflated us in some ways and offensively, they had a field day,” Clippers coach Doc River said postgame. “They moved the ball wherever they wanted.”

What shook Golden State out of its funk? The Warriors always get up for the Clippers, and even with Chris Paul gone that didn’t change. Also, the Warriors may have played their worst game of the season the night before against Detroit and are a proud team not about to repeat that disaster.

What we learned in this game is there is a massive the gap between Golden State and Los Angeles when the Warriors are at their peak. Then again, if the Warriors are out of their funk there’s a a gap between them and everybody.

“I don’t think we are better at all right now,” Green said comparing last year’s title team to the current Warriors. “We have a long ways to go…. Do I think we have the potential to be better? Absolutely. I think we have a lot more depth, a lot of guys have gotten better individually, we are more familiar with each other, but we are nowhere near where we are going to have to be or where we can be. It’s a long road.”

2) Not having Kawhi Leonard caching up with Spurs, team drops third straight. When the Spurs started the season 4-0, and the only time we saw Kawhi Leonard was him struggling to board a plane, it was fashionable to say “well, that’s the Spurs.” LaMarcus Aldridge stepped up, Dejounte Murray looked like a find, and everything Gregg Popovich touched turned to gold.

However, a 108-94 loss to Boston Monday night was San Antonio’s third in a row, and it reminded everyone much the Spurs miss their MVP candidate. They needed his defense on the Celtics’ star, Kyrie Irving, who was aggressive from the opening tip and finished with 24 points and six dimes to lead the Celtics to their fifth straight win. The Spurs also missed Leonard’s shot creation.

To be fair, the Spurs looked tired, like they were on the final game of a road trip — which they were. Aldridge didn’t score at least 20 points for the first time in six games, and Murray had as many turnovers as assists. Now the Spurs are home for 8 of their next 10, and expect them to pick up some more wins and keep their head above water until Leonard can return.

3) Kristaps Porzingis fully unleashed on Nuggets, scores career-high 38. I’m not the biggest fan of the nickname “The Unicorn” for Kristaps Porzingis. I get why it came about, but a mythical creature idolized by 5-year-old girls is not the most intimidating of creatures.

Whatever Porzingis’ spirit animal is, it was fully unleashed on Monday night as he dropped a career-high 38 points on the Denver Nuggets, taking advantage of a porous defense to shoot 14-of-26 overall and 4-of-7 from three. He scored from everywhere, see for yourself.

Russell Westbrook hits game-winning 3-pointer to beat Kings (VIDEO)

2 Comments

Welp, looks like Russell Westbrook is re-energized after All-Star Weekend.

As the first night of games after the break got underway on Thursday night, it was Westbrook who gave us a jolt as he helped the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Sacramento Kings on the road.

With just a second to go, Sacramento’s Justin Jackson had tied the game up at 107-107. This came after Vince Carter pulled up confidently from nearly 30 feet out, missing badly. Sacramento missed another follow, and then Jackson put home the final try.

Via Twitter:

That left the Thunder to advance the ball with just one second left.

Oklahoma City ran a simple play with Westbrook running near-to-far across the arc from the inbounder, eventually settling at the top of the 3-point line.

He let it fly, and that allowed OKC to come away with a win, 110-107.

Bulls find way to lose despite being up by 5 with 35 seconds left

AP
Leave a comment

CHICAGO (AP) Ben Simmons scored 32 points, making two free throws with 5.6 seconds left to complete Philadelphia’s rally from five points down in the final minute, and the 76ers beat the Chicago Bulls 116-115 on Thursday night.

Joel Embiid had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Simmons added 11 assists and seven rebounds as Philadelphia won its sixth straight and snapped a four-game road losing streak.

Bobby Portis had a career-high 38 points and Zach LaVine added 23 for the Bulls, who were 18 for 34 on 3-pointers.

Chicago had a 115-114 lead and the ball with 8 seconds to go before Embiid deflected an inbounds pass to create a turnover. Simmons came up with the ball near half court and was fouled by Denzel Valentine. He made both free throws.

Portis had a chance for a game winner, but his short attempt – with Embiid defending – just missed.

The 76ers raced to a 25-7 lead midway through the first quarter before Portis got hot and Chicago started making 3s.

Philadelphia’s lead was down to 33-29 at the end of the quarter and the Bulls busted out for 40 points in the second to take a 69-67 halftime lead. Chicago was 9 of 12 on 3-pointers in the quarter, including 4 for 5 by Portis.

The 76ers were up by five early in the fourth before Portis scored six straight points – on a 3-pointer and a three-point play – to put the Bulls on top 101-100. A few minutes later, Portis dunked over Embiid to stretch the lead to 111-106 with just over four minutes to play.

LaVine hit a 3-pointer to make it 115-110 with 1:02 left.

TIP INS

76ers: C Embiid has nine straight double-doubles . Simmons has six triple-doubles this season, which ties him with Wilt Chamberlain (three times) and Billy Cunningham for most in a season in team history.

Bulls: To look at some younger players during the final 25 games, C Robin Lopez and G/F Justin Holiday were removed from the starting lineup. Both were inactive on Thursday as Cristiano Felicio and David Nwaba (21 points) started; Also, Cameron Payne – who played in his first game on Thursday – will replace Jerian Grant as the backup point guard.

“It really is hard,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “It’s hard for Robin, it’s hard for Justin and it’s hard for Jerian, who’s probably making as big a sacrifice as anybody.”

UP NEXT

76ers: Host Orlando on Saturday.

Bulls: Visit Minnesota Saturday night.

Kelly Oubre gets caught untying Rodney Hood’s shoes (VIDEO)

Getty
2 Comments

The NBA seems to have a secret obsession with tying and untying shoes mid-game. J.R. Smith once got a warning for doing as much, finally earning himself a $50,000 fine after doing it multiple times. Likewise, other players like Rajon Rondo and Danny Green have pulled down the shorts of opponents while the clock was rolling.

Perhaps that emboldened Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre on Thursday night as his team took on the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio.

During the game, game operations crew at The Q ran a video on the big board that appeared to show Oubre untying the shoes of Cavaliers guard Rodney Hood.

Via Twitter:

These guys have so much to think about during a game I’m honestly impressed that they have the time to remember to do petty stuff like this.

I suppose it worked?

Oubre had 17 points off the bench, adding five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Hood had just eight points in 27 minutes on the floor.

The Wizards beat the Cavaliers on the road, 110-103.

Report: Warriors will spend trip to D.C. with kids, not Trump

AP
8 Comments

Donald Trump decided to disinvite the Golden State Warriors to the White House despite team winning the 2017 NBA Championship. Many members of the Warriors have been critical of Trump during his short tenure in Washington D.C., which the former mail order steak salesman has not taken lightly.

With no invitation to the White House on hand, and considerable doubts that the team would go even if the opportunity resurfaced, the Warriors have decided to take a private tour around the nation’s capital instead.

According to a report from ESPN, the team will take a trip with just players, coaches, and some kids to a discreet location as part of a tour.

Via ESPN:

Head coach Steve Kerr left it up to the players to determine how they wanted to spend their time, and the players selected a venue in which local kids would join them. It will be closed off to the media, sources said.

The players wanted the outing to be a personal, intimate experience.

“It’s their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it’s up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans,” Kerr told ESPN. “I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they’re doing.”

Golden State will be in D.C. to play the Washington Wizards on February 28. They will reportedly take their trip — sure to be fun for the kids — the day before.

Meanwhile, you have to wonder if an NBA team will ever visit the White House while Trump lives there. People from LeBron James to Gregg Popovich have spoken out about their disagreements with him, and the Warriors were pretty vocal about not attending a ceremony with Trump.