Kurt Helin

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson heads off the court after missing a last-second, three-point shot against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Denver. The Nuggets won 112-110. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Associated Press

Five Takeaways from NBA Wednesday: No Draymond Green, no win for Warriors

1 Comment

What you need to know from a Wednesday night around the Association.

1) No Draymond Green, no win for Warriors. It’s one difference between the Spurs and Warriors — when Gregg Popovich sits Tim Duncan or Kawhi Leonard or whichever key player for a night of rest, San Antonio is just as dangerous. Remove one of the key cogs of the Warriors and their machine sputters a little.

Draymond Green may have had his All-Star case made for him Wednesday night in Denver when Luke Walton told him to sit and rest a “pretty beat up” body for a night. Without Green, the Warriors were not the same. It was particularly noticeable on defense, where the Warriors’ ability to switch virtually every pick and still defend at a high level was compromised, and it led to the Nuggets getting the shots they wanted too often. On the offensive end, the ball seemed to stick for a second, the passing wasn’t as crisp, plus the Warriors did not push the pace the same way. It took 20 from Stephen Curry in the fourth to make it a game (although he hunted a game-winning three at the end when he could have driven for two or found Klay Thompson or Andre Iguodala, who were open.) Curry had 38 on the night. Curry went the first 37 games of the season always on the plus side of the +/- stat, but he’s been in the negative two games in a row.

Give the Nuggets credit here. Danilo Gallinari had 28 and played hard on defense, Gary Harris added 19. Nikola Jokic did a fantastic job against Andrew Bogut, and that tweak lets Darrell Arthur be a beast off the bench with 18 points and 11 boards. Will Barton did his thing with 21 points. We know how a seven-game series between these two would end, but for a night Denver did what it needed to do.

2) Russell Westbrook gets ejected; Kevin Durant drops 29 and Thunder win anyway. J.J. Barea got under Russell Westbrook’s skin. Westbrook was having a bit of an off night and didn’t score for the game (seven assists and eight rebounds, though), and this happened.

Later Westbrook picked up a second technical and was sent to the showers early. Not that it mattered. Kevin Durant dropped 27, the Thunder were in complete control of this game from the middle of the second quarter on, and OKC got the win 108-89.

3) DeAndre Jordan’s streak of consecutive games ends at 360 due to pneumonia, but Clippers still win 10th in a row. At 360 games, DeAndre Jordan’s streak had come full circle. (Sorry, I had to.) The man with the longest active consecutive games streak in the league was felled by some germs in his lungs and had to sit Wednesday when the Clips played the Heat. (Taking over that streak is Tristan Thompson at 324.)

Not that it mattered for the red-hot Clippers. Good defense forcing 24 Miami turnovers, plus 19 points from Jordan’s replacement Cole Aldrich, led the Clippers to a comfortable 104-90 win. That’s 10 in a row for the Clippers, nine of those without Blake Griffin. The Clippers seem pretty solidly locked into the four seed in the West now, although maybe they could catch the Thunder and be the three seed.

4) Bradley Beal returns for Washington Wizards, who pick up the win. For four consecutive seasons, Bradley Beal has missed games for the Wizards due to a stress reaction in his lower right leg. While the numbers have not shown it this year yet, Washington needs his shooting and skill next to John Wall to open up the offense and create options for others. Beal started 3-of-3 from the field and finished with 11 points in 23 minutes. He will be on a maintenance program the rest of the season trying to keep him healthy.

Washington held off a late charge to beat the Bucks 100-92. At 18-19 on the season, the Wizards are just 1.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the East. They have been inconsistent all season long, but string together a few wins in a row, and suddenly things start to look different in our nation’s capital.

5) The Knicks’ Derrick Williams was a dunking machine against the Nets. Not one, not two, not three, but four big dunks from Williams against the Nets (it wasn’t enough as Brooklyn upset New York 110-104).

Clippers win 10th straight, beat Heat 104-90 without DeAndre Jordan

Miami Heat's Gerald Green, right, misses a dunk attempt while Los Angeles Clippers' Cole Aldrich, left, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Associated Press
Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Backup center Cole Aldrich had 19 points and seven rebounds in place of ailing DeAndre Jordan, and the Los Angeles Clippers used a thunderous third-quarter surge to beat the Miami Heat 104-90 Wednesday night for their 10th straight victory.

Jordan was sidelined because of pneumonia, ending the NBA’s longest active consecutive games played streak at 360.

The eight-year veteran, who led the league in rebounding the past two seasons, had the second-longest streak in franchise history behind Randy Smith’s 595 straight games with the Buffalo Braves.

Chris Paul had 15 points and 12 assists for Los Angeles. Aldrich, a five-year veteran making his first start in 17 games with the Clippers, made seven of 14 shots while playing a season-high 24 minutes.

The winning streak is the Clippers’ third of 10 or more games during the past four seasons. They also had an 11-game run in 2013-14 and won a franchise-record 17 straight in 2012-13 – going 16-0 in December.

Miami (22-17) is the only team the Clippers have faced during their streak that currently has a record of .500 or better.

Reserve guard Gerald Green led the Heat with 19 points and Dwyane Wade added 16 points and eight assists. Miami’s third straight loss equaled its longest skid of the season and kept the Heat a game behind first-place Atlanta in the Southeast Division.

Hassan Whiteside, who had 23 points and 16 rebounds against the Clippers the last time the Heat faced them, came off the bench for the first time this season and had 10 points and 11 boards after sitting out Monday’s loss at Golden State because of pain in his right knee.

Miami point guard Goran Dragic was sent home from the team’s road trip to get an MRI on his lingering left calf strain and is expected to miss at least three games.

Paul Pierce hit a pair of 3-pointers to help the Clippers end the first half on a 14-5 run and slice a 16-point deficit to 52-45. They opened the third quarter with 13 unanswered points and extended that run to 24-5 for a 69-57 lead with 6:11 left in the period.

Miami got as close as 74-68 on two free throws by Whiteside with 2:32 left in the third, but the Clippers’ bench controlled the fourth quarter and built the margin to 94-75 on Jamal Crawford‘s 3-pointer with 5:46 to play.

Jordan missed a game for the first time since March 23, 2001. On that occasion, the Clippers beat Washington 127-119 in double overtime at Los Angeles after Jordan was diagnosed with a mild case of pneumonia.

Los Angeles is 9-0 since leading scorer Blake Griffin went down with a partially torn tendon in his left quad. Overall, the Clippers are 21-8 when the five-time All-Star has sat out due to injury or suspension – including a 9-6 mark last season.

TIP-INS

Heat: Miami committed a season-high 24 turnovers, compared to eight for the Clippers. . Wade, who turns 34 on Sunday, has not recorded a double-double in his last 71 games since Jan. 11, 2015, when he had 17 points and 10 assists against the Clippers. . No player on the team has had a double-digit assist game this season. . Chris Bosh, whose career-best streak of 13 straight games with a 3-point basket ended in Monday’s loss at Golden State (0 for 5), was 0 for 4 from behind the arc against the Clippers and finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Clippers: Now that Jordan’s streak is over, Cleveland F Tristan Thompson has the NBA’s longest active consecutive games streak at 324. . All 18 of Aldrich’s previous starts in the NBA came with the New York Knicks. . Paul has been on the winning side in 10 of his 16 career head-to-head matchups against Wade. . Reserve guard Pablo Prigioni had a career-high eight steals, one shy of the franchise record held by coach Doc Rivers. . Crawford scored 15 points on 4-for-15 shooting. He set career highs with 52 points, 20 field goals and eight 3-pointers against Miami on Jan. 26, 2007, while playing for the Knicks. . The Clippers are 17-2 when allowing fewer than 100 points.

 

Stephen Curry scores 38 but Warriors lose to Nuggets, 112-110

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry reacts after turning the ball over to the Denver Nuggets late in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Denver. The Nuggets won 112-110. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Associated Press
Leave a comment

DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari scored 28 points and the Denver Nuggets withstood a 38-point performance by Stephen Curry to hand the Golden State Warriors their third loss of the season, 112-110 on Wednesday night.

The defending NBA champion Warriors (36-3) had won seven straight since their previous defeat, 114-91 at Dallas on Dec. 30.

Harrison Barnes added 18 points and Klay Thompson had 17 for the Warriors.

Will Barton scored 21 for the Nuggets, who snapped a four-game losing streak to the Warriors. Gary Harris added 18 points.

A dunk by Brandon Rush gave the Warriors a 68-64 lead, but Denver outscored Golden State 19-5 over the last 5 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to take a 10-point lead into the fourth.

Layups by Curry and Andrew Bogut cut the deficit to 102-97 with 2:05 remaining. Curry, who scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, and Barton then traded 3-pointers before Darrell Arthur hit a jumper with a minute left for a 109-102 Denver lead.

But the Warriors fought back, getting a layup from Barnes and a 3 from Curry sandwiched around a Nuggets turnover, pulling to 109-107 with 37.1 seconds left.

With the Warriors in position to tie or go in front, Gallinari stole the ball from Curry, prompting a fast break that ended in Gary Harris being fouled and making a pair of free throws.

Thompson hit a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining to pull the Warriors to 111-110. They fouled Gallinari intentionally and he made one of two free throws, but Thompson missed a long jumper at the buzzer.

The Warriors, who trailed by as many as 10 earlier, pulled to 55-54 at halftime on Barnes’ jumper in the final seconds of the second quarter.

Gallinari had 15 points in the first half, including a reverse layup that preceded Barnes’ final shot in the second quarter to keep the Nuggets on top at the break.

TIP-INS

Warriors: F Draymond Green was not available because of a scheduled rest day. … Curry hit a 3-pointer in his 93rd consecutive road game, extending his NBA record. … Leandro Barbosa returned from a shoulder injury, seeing his first game action since Christmas. … Barnes scored in double figures for a third straight game.

Nuggets: F J.J. Hickson was sidelined after undergoing a root canal earlier in the day. … Denver added depth at guard by signing Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract.

 

Report: Players’ Union files grievance for Matt Barnes due to suspension

Matt Barnes
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Matt Barnes was suspended two games by the NBA for a ridiculous altercation with Knicks’ coach Derek Fisher back during training camp at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife. Consider it a time out for childish behavior.

That’s not how Barnes saw it — he said Fisher should have handled it like a man and ranted about it on Instagram — and now, on his behalf, the NBA players union has filed a grievance, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The National Basketball Players Association has filed a grievance on behalf of Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes to get his two-game suspension without pay rescinded, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

Barnes served a two-game suspension in late December, but NBPA executive director Michele Roberts is appealing to an arbitrator to spare Barnes the loss of $64,000 in salary, sources said.

The NBA has a history of suspending guys for embarrassing or illegal off-the-court activities. By all accounts — including Barnes’ texts — he was the aggressor. However, no criminal charges were filed over the incident.

The Knicks travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies Saturday night. Barnes sat out the first meeting between the teams.

NCAA finally pushes back NBA draft withdrawal until after combine

Leave a comment

This isn’t going to matter for Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram this coming June, or the future versions of Simmons and Ingram that will go high in the first round of the NBA draft. Those guys know their status and make their decision about entering the NBA Draft knowing they will go high and guaranteed money is coming their way.

However, there are other more bubble first-round picks — or second-rounders — who get bad advice from family, unscrupulous agents (and those around them), and just hangers-on who pump the player full of unrealistic expectations. Those guys leave college before they are ready and struggle to find a foothold in professional basketball.

Finally, the NCAA has done something about that — something that should have been done long ago.

This means a player can declare for the draft, go through the NBA Draft Combine, get feedback from teams on where he might go in the draft, then pull out and return to college if he wishes (so long as he doesn’t sign with an agent). Former Brooklyn Nets executive Bobby Marks explained it well.

The NBA Draft Combine in Chicago will take place May 11-15 this year, meaning players will have until May 25 to make a decision.

The withdrawal date had been pushed forward back in 2009 and it benefited coaches in this sense — the player had to decide to stay or go before a major recruiting signing period, allowing a coach to target holes. However, in practice it left coaches watching their best players struggle with decisions in part because some of them didn’t have the best information.

Let’s be clear — plenty of young men are going to hear the NBA’s feedback, know they are not going high, and still keep their names in the draft. That could be because of financial hardship, disliking the college experience (or his coach), just a desire to start getting paid even if it is overseas, or some old-fashioned stubbornness.

Hopefully, for a handful of players a year, this does make a difference — guys will choose to stay in school (ideally getting an education) and come out when they are ready. For those guys, this rule change is both good and long overdue.