Who isn’t an All-Star?
Damian Lillard took out his “I didn’t make the All-Star Team” frustration on the Golden State Warriors and scored 51 on Stephen Curry and friends on the way to a 32-point rout of the defending champs. Lillard scored 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the fourth to ensure that the Warriors didn’t find their way back into a game the Blazers had controlled since the opening tip (you can see that video above). The final score was 137-105.
On the night, Lillard also had seven rebounds and six steals.
The win put the Trail Blazers over .500 (28-27) and is a boost of confidence for a team trying to fight its way into the playoffs.
The Warriors have not lost two in a row all season, but they have a tough back-to-back against the Clippers on Saturday. This is just the fifth Warriors’ loss of the season; it comes at the start of a five-game road trip. How they play over the next couple of weeks will help Steve Kerr how hard he pushes this team toward 73 wins and the record down the stretch.
Wearing the best throwbacks in the NBA (the Memphis Sound), the Grizzlies’ Carter drained the three-quarter court shot to end the third. Like he does it every day.
The Grizzlies needed those points — and the 25 from Mike Conley — to beat the Timberwolves 109-104.
It was basically a dunk contest style exhibition dunk, since nobody ran out to challenge Giannis Antetokounmpo on the breakaway.
He didn’t disappoint. That’s an impressive throwdown.
Unfortunately for the Bucks it was not enough — a game the Bucks needed if they were going to climb back into the playoff chase in the East, the Hornets escaped with Milwaukee with a 98-95 road win behind 25 Kemba Walker.
The Cavaliers no longer wanted the Cavalier-for-life that was Anderson Varejao. They traded the Brazilian big man with the Sideshow Bob hair to Portland as part of a three-team trade that netted Cleveland Channing Frye — a peripheral bench upgrade in shooting.
But a lot of other teams, including the other leading title contenders, are interested in Varejao.
Portland has waived Varejao (as was always its plan) and the contenders are lining up, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Warriors are among the playoff teams, along with Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Dallas, currently investigating the prospect of signing Varejao, who is scheduled to clear waivers Sunday after his trade from Cleveland to Portland and subsequent release by the Trail Blazers….
Sources say Varejao, for his part, plans to take the weekend to clear his head before seriously thinking about his next destination. The Cavaliers are the only team Varejao has played for in his 12 NBA seasons, prompting the Brazilian to issue a warm thank you letter to Cavs fans Friday.
Rumors around the league also have the Los Angeles Clippers also interested. Dallas is considered the front-runner for David Lee, it’s unlikely they would ink him and Varejao.
Varejao isn’t going to see a lot of court time with any of these teams (although he could play for Golden State until Festus Ezeli returns from injury). What these teams want him for is his calming, professional influence in the locker room.
Something Cleveland might miss.
ATLANTA (AP) — All-Star guard Dwyane Wade missed Miami’s game Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks because of soreness in the back of his left knee, leaving the short-handed Heat without another key player.
Miami also was without center Hassan Whiteside, who is suspended for one game, and All-Star forward Chris Bosh, who is out indefinitely with a blood clot in his leg.
The Heat traded center Chris Andersen and forward Jarnell Stokes this week as it sought to gain more flexibility under the NBA’s salary cap.
Wade described the pain as “just a little uncomfortable.” He said he will have a MRI on the knee on Saturday.
“I gave it a couple days to see if it would go away,” Wade said. “It didn’t, so I just want to go back and get another, second opinion. But it’s nothing I’m overly concerned about. It’s just some soreness I haven’t felt in a while so I just want to make sure everything’s good.”
Wade’s injury left the Heat with nine healthy players.
“Obviously it’s never a good time but if you say there’s a bad time, this is a bad time,” Wade said.
Guard Gerald Green moved into the starting lineup.
Whiteside was suspended one game without pay for throwing an elbow at San Antonio center Boban Marjanovic‘s head on Feb. 9.
AP freelance writer Amy Jinkner-Lloyd contributed to this report.