Kurt Helin

Record-setting, better-than-video-game Stephen Curry beats Thunder in OT

18 Comments

That. Was. Insane.

Just when you think Stephen Curry can’t do anything else to blow your mind, he reaches another level and drops your jaw like you’re in a Tex Avery cartoon.

Such as nailing a 32-footer with less than a second to go in overtime to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. Which is exactly what happened and gave Golden State a 121-118 win in OKC.

That shot was Curry’s 12th three of the night, tying the record for most in a game (he’s equaled Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall for that honor).

That was Curry’s 288th three-pointer of the season, breaking his own record for most threes made in a season.

Curry is now the first player in NBA history to hit 10 or more threes in consecutive games.

It took every bit of that and Curry’s 46 points — and more, like key Andre Iguodala free throws — to lift the Warriors past a Thunder team looking to establish its credentials as a contender.

OKC looked the part early, racing out to a double-digit lead behind Kevin Durant‘s hot shooting and an “anybody but Curry” defensive strategy. It worked at first, but you can only contain Curry for so long. While Curry had four threes in the first half, the rest of the Warriors had zero. The Thunder led by 10 after one quarter and 11 at the half. The Thunder were getting their shots in the paint, owning the boards, and on defense OKC’s length bothered Golden State.It all worked. In spite of how the game ended, there was a lot Billy Donovan and the Thunder could take away from this game as positive. They were able to pound the Thunder inside and control the tempo for large stretches.  Durant finished the game with 37, Russell Westbrook 26.

But the Thunder also had to leave the game asking: “Can we beat this team four times in seven games?”

Eventually, Klay Thompson (32 points) and the other Warriors started to find their groove, and they closed the gap on the Thunder. And once Curry got going, his range seemed infinite. The only thing that slowed him down was when Russell Westbrook unintentionally landed on Curry’s ankle, turning it in the third quarter. Curry asked out of the game and limped straight back to the locker room. However, he got it retaped and came back in the game a few minutes later, draining threes like nothing ever happened.

Still it looked like the Thunder were going to win in regulation until, in the final seconds, the Warriors made a steal and got the ball ahead to Iguodala, who missed the shot but was fouled by Kevin Durant. Iguodala hit both to force overtime.

Which was all just setting up Curry’s overtime heroics.

Blake Griffin doing “some shooting,” still no return date

2 Comments

The Clippers have kept right on winning without Blake Griffin, but they are not going to be the same threat in the playoffs without him. The question is how many games he would have back before the end of the season for the team to readjust to him in the lineup.

No date is set, but Dan Woike of the Orange Country Register reports it is getting closer.

Remember, once medically cleared to return Griffin has to sit out a four-game suspension for the league from the incident where he broke his hand punching a Clipper employee during a dinner in Toronto.

The rumored target is to have him back in time for a rough five-game road trip that starts March 15 in San Antonio (the game on March 13 has the Clippers hosting Cleveland). If he returns for that game, he would play in 17 games before the end of the season, certainly enough time to shake off the rust and get his wind back.

Just something to watch as we move forward. The Clippers are not in a huge rush as they have not lost consecutive games since his injury.

Mark Cuban thinks NBA should consider moving three-point line back

15 Comments

On average, the NBA is shooting 35.2 percent from three this season. In the past 15 years, both players and game strategy have evolved to take advantage of the extra point afford a three. Teams are both taking more threes and becoming m0re efficient at making them. It has opened up the floor, especially now with big men who need to be respected all the way out to the arc.

Is the 23’9″ that the NBA three-point too close for a modern NBA player?

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban thinks maybe. Here is what he told Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Mark Cuban says the NBA should consider moving the 3-point line back to open up the court more. He thinks it would also encourage players to develop a midrange game.

Stephen Curry says to ahead and move it to 28 feet, he’ll just keep shooting. And hitting.

There are logistical questions here, such as do you take away the corner three or just extend the top of the arc out higher? How much farther back? But the bigger questions are philosophical — d Is there a tipping point where it becomes bad for the game and it’s entertainment value? Are we anywhere near that point?

The change may have players shooting a few more midrange jumpers as they adapt to the new distance, but there would be unintended consequences as well. It’s the kind of thing we would see in the D-League for a season or two before it was considered for the NBA.

Watch Kyle Lowry drop career-high 43 on Cavaliers in Raptors win

Leave a comment

The Toronto Raptors have beaten the Cleveland Cavaliers two out of the three times they have met this season. I’d be careful trying to extrapolate from regular season matchups what would happen in the playoffs, but if these two meet in the Eastern Conference Finals it may not be the whitewash some fans expect.

To get the Raptors win Friday night took a career-high 43 points from Kyle Lowry. He did everything for Toronto, including defending Kyrie Irving well and dishing out nine assists. It was a monster performance.

I know there is a “wait and see” attitude with some about the Raptors, who have won just one playoff series in their franchise history (back in the Vince Carter era), but this is the season they should advance to the second round. Or beyond.

Watch Kemba Walker split Indiana defense for game-winning lay-up

1 Comment

This is well played by Kemba Walker, who uses his speed to split the Pacers’ defense and get the layup that gave the Hornets a needed win in their fight to make the playoffs.

However, this also is bad Indiana defense — from a couple usually good pick-and-roll defenders. Ian Mahinmi should not have shown out and extended that far from the basket (this isn’t Stephen Curry with the ball) and by doing so he created a lane for Walker to drive. To his credit, after the game Mahinmi owned up to his mistake. But I’m not letting George Hill completely off the hook, he got hung up on Cody Zeller‘s screen and could never recover.

Walker and the Hornets are now tied with Chicago for the final two playoff spots in the East, just half a game behind Indiana.