MIAMI (AP) — Chris Bosh had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Miami Heat beat Sacramento 116-109 on Thursday night, taking advantage of Kings star DeMarcus Cousins‘ one-game suspension.
Cousins, averaging 30.8 points in his last five games, was suspended for hitting Atlanta’s Al Horford in the head with a forearm Wednesday night in the Kings’ loss to the Hawks. The Kings are 0-5 without Cousins this season and 11-38 since he joined the team in 2010.
Dwyane Wade added 22 points, and Tyler Johnson had 19 for Miami. The Heat have won four of five during their seven-game homestand that wraps up with games against Philadelphia and New York.
Sacramento’s Rajon Rondo had a season-high 18 assists, 14 points and nine rebounds after having three triple-doubles in his previous four games. He’s averaging 14.2 points, 14.2 assists and 9.8 rebounds in his past five games.
Marco Belinelli led the Kings with 23 points.
The Heat had a 10-point advantage at halftime and an 82-76 edge at end of the third quarter. Unlike their 103-91 loss Tuesday night to Minnesota, which outscored Miami 41-22 in the final quarter, the Heat pulled away from the Kings in the fourth.
Gerald Green and Goran Dragic hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Justise Winslow slammed home a dunk for a quick 8-0 burst and a 97-81 lead. The Kings would get as close as five with a minute left.
Kings forward Rudy Gay strained his left shoulder in the third quarter and did not return. Gay was hurt driving to the basket when Winslow took a swipe at the ball.
Amare Stoudemire sparked the Heat with 10 points off the bench in the first quarter. Stoudemire had not played in the last eight games due to soreness in his knees, but the 33-year-old forward showed flashes of his days when he was a six-time All-Star with a dunk and jumper on back-to-back possessions.
LOS ANGELES — Chris Paul, who had missed the last couple Clippers games with a groin strain, will suit up and play against the Golden State Warriors in a much-anticipated showdown on Thursday night.
After playing down his chances the last couple days, Doc Rivers said pregame that Chris Paul had “looked normal, looked great” in practice Wednesday and went through shootaround on Thursday. He was on the court 90 minutes before tip-off at Staples Center going through his usual warmup routine.
CP3 needs to be on the court (and Austin Rivers needs to be coming off the bench) if the Clippers are going to hand the Warriors their first loss of the season. The Clipper offense settles down and is much smarter with Paul running the show — the Clippers score 14.1 more points per 100 possessions when he plays than when he sits. The Clipper defense is also 1.2 points per 100 better when he plays.
The Warriors are off to a 12-0 start. The fastest start for a defending champs in the ’95 Rockets, who started 15-0. If the Warriors win Thursday, they face a difficult back-to-back against the Bulls on Friday.
While CP3 is suiting up, J.J. Redick is “most likely” out for the Clippers, Rivers said. Rivers is still recovering from back spasms. Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton wasn’t buying it, saying he was prepping as if Redick would play — and Redick was on the court 45 minutes before the game getting up some shots. If Redick does not play it means extended minutes for Jamal Crawford, something that could be a defensive challenge for the Clippers against the NBA’s best backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
The Warriors will be without Shaun Livingston, their backup point guard.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are off to an 8-3 start without their All-Star point guard, and they have a top-10 offense and defense.
That’s impressive. While LeBron James himself doesn’t think it’s “send Bruce Willis to blow up the asteroid” worthy, he still expects more.
Here is what LeBron said, as reported by Dave McMenamin at ESPN. And whatever you do, don’t try to lay this at the feet of coach David Blatt.
“I’m not sitting up here saying it’s Armageddon or anything like that,” James said as the Cavs prepared to host the Milwaukee Bucks. “But we need to play better ball. Until we own that, we won’t get better….
“Coach got on us pretty well, rightfully so, which he should have,” James said of David Blatt. “We spent about 45 minutes in the film room, so [Wednesday] was not a day off. It was a day off from the court but not from us preparing and still getting better….
“He does his job as great as any coach can do in this league,” James said. “It’s up to us to go out and produce.”
Any time LeBron throws praise toward David Blatt, it’s news. Sure, if LeBron wants to run a play/choose a defensive set/coach the team then he will get his way. LeBron has the power in this relationship. But watch the Cavaliers at the end of games this season and they are running more Blatt-like sets than LeBron isolations, and there seems to be an understanding between LeBron and his coach.
That’s one of the things that needs to happen if the Cavaliers are going to contend for a title.
Within six months, Ty Lawson suffered two DUI arrests — one in Denver and one in Los Angeles. The combination sent hm into rehab.
This week Lawson pled guilty to the Denver incident, reports TMZ.
The Rockets point guard was arrested in January after he was pulled over by police in Denver. The cops smelled alcohol and said he had slurred speech … Ty ultimately failed his field sobriety test. Ty pled guilty to driving while ability impaired, as well as failure to drive in a single lane. He faces up to 180 days in jail.
Despite the multiple DUI arrests, I would be surprised if Lawson does any jail time for them, the fact he apologized and went to rehab should keep him a free man. Whether that is fair or not is a very different question. In an overcrowded court system, a guy who looks like he is trying to right the ship gets the benefit of the doubt.
Lawson has struggled in Houston, where he has shot 31.8 percent overall and been part of the problem with the Rockets’ slow start. He is shooting 25.7 percent from three and has not meshed with James Harden at all. New coach J.B. Bickerstaff took Lawson out of the starting lineup on Wednesday, then when Lawson started 1-of-8 shooting benched him for the fourth quarter. He’s going to have to earn his minutes now.
Kevin McHale is out of work — but not for long.
The Rockets fired McHale on Wednesday, but the sense around the league is he will have another job sooner rather than later. He was a great fit before doing television at NBA TV and other networks and could be back as an analyst as soon as he wants the gig.
But if he intends to stay on the basketball side of operations, Boston’s Danny Ainge has already offered McHale a front office job, Ainge told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
“I’ve always tried to get Kevin to come work with me and work with my big guys,” said Celtic president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Herald….
“I told Kevin that today,” said Ainge, who is on the road scouting college games. “We’ve got a spot for him. I know we could figure something out for him in some capacity, but I think he’s just in a wait and see mode.
“He appreciated me reaching out to him, but I think he’s just going to lay low. He’s probably got bigger and better things to do — or more relaxing things to do.
“He’ll have some opportunities in TV, and maybe when the dust settles I can get him out to teach the slippery eel to Kelly [Olynyk] and Sully [Jared Sullinger] and Amir [Johnson],” Ainge added with a laugh, referring to one of his old Celtic teammate’s inside moves.
McHale should work with some of the young centers in Boston and around the league — his footwork as a big man was as good as you will ever see. That said, everyone expects him to slide into a television role, relax for a little while, and then pick his spot if he returns to an NBA team in some capacity.