Kurt Helin

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson’s 27-point third quarter leads Warriors past Suns

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Klay Thompson scored 27 of his season-high 43 points in the third quarter and the Golden State Warriors responded after their first loss following a record 24-0 start by beating the Phoenix Suns 128-103 on Wednesday night.

Stephen Curry added 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting and seven assists as Golden State returned home from its two-week road trip that ended with its lone defeat, 108-95 on Saturday at Milwaukee. That also ended a 28-game overall winning streak by the Warriors, second-longest in NBA history.

Draymond Green had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his fourth triple-double this season, while Thompson hit 15-of-22 shots and 8-of-13 3-pointers in his first 40-point game this season.

Mirza Teletovic scored 24 points off the bench for the Suns, whose poor showing sent the sellout crowd to the exits midway through the fourth.

Thompson’s big quarter was reminiscent of his NBA-record, 37-point outburst in the third quarter of a career-high, 52-point performance on Jan. 23. He helped the Warriors turn the game into a rout with a remarkable 67-23 run, making 9 of 11 shots in the third and 4 of 6 3s.

Golden State’s 46-point third quarter is the largest in any quarter in the NBA this season. With the starters resting down the stretch, the Warriors just missed a new largest win ever against the Suns – Golden State had a 133-103 victory on March 18, 1975.

In the team’s first game at Oracle Arena in 18 days, Golden State warmed up with a big run stretching from the second quarter to the third. The Warriors used a 58-19 run over 14:01 to turn a 42-38 deficit with 5 minutes left in the first half into a 96-61 advantage.

Golden State won its eighth in a row at home against Phoenix, fifth straight overall and 13th in 16. The Suns sit in third place in the Pacific Division behind Golden State and the Clippers.

The Warriors now will get a shot at Milwaukee again when the Bucks visit Oracle Arena on Friday. The Warriors ran their regular-season home winning streak to 29 dating to Golden State winning its final 18 here last season.

REFLECTION

During Golden State’s long flight home from Wisconsin late Saturday, interim coach Luke Walton could finally take a breath and reflected on the remarkable start his team had before the Warriors’ unbeaten run ended.

“Obviously it doesn’t feel great to lose but it was a good time to reflect on what our guys had just done and what they accomplished,” Walton said.

Now, Walton and his staff will make sure the Warriors get some much-needed days off while continuing to work on areas that need attention.

They began a stretch with just five games in two weeks and all at home, which includes a highly anticipated Christmas Day home game and NBA Finals rematch with LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

“It’s a fine line because of what our schedule’s been like and our belief in resting players and keeping them fresh,” Walton said.

 

TIP-INS

Suns: Phoenix surrendered 15 3-pointers this time after giving up a Golden State franchise-best 22 from long range – and NBA-record 15 in the first half – in the first meeting with the Warriors on Nov. 27. … Brandon Knight with 17 points was the lone Suns starter in double figures.

Warriors: Green shares the NBA lead for triple-doubles with Sacramento’s Rajon Rondo. … Harrison Barnes missed his sixth straight game with a sprained left ankle. … Curry hit a 3-pointer in his 99th straight regular-season game and 49th consecutive at home. … Golden State is 11-0 at Oracle for its best home start since a franchise-best 12-0 to begin the 1975-76 season. … Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and rapper Drake were among the celebrities in attendance.

 

AP Report: Timberwolves looking to trade Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin
Associated Press
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Minnesota Timberwolves are making veteran scorer Kevin Martin available in trade talks.

With second-year guard Zach LaVine showing promise as a scorer and Andrew Wiggins playing more at the shooting guard position, the Wolves are looking to move Martin to free up more playing time for their youngsters. The person requested anonymity because the team does not publicly discuss trade discussions.

The Wolves have had conversations with two teams about Martin early this season.

Martin is averaging 12.7 points in 26 minutes this season. He has struggled with his shot while recovering from a wrist injury that kept him out of the game against the Knicks, but has earned a reputation in 12 seasons in the league as one of the league’s most efficient scorers.

PBT Extra: New York big enough for two stars, but are they ‘Melo and Porzingis?

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The question isn’t “is New York big enough for two stars?” Of course it is. This is an entertainment town, a theater town that has been drawn to the pairing of big stars on stage and screen since half of Manhattan was still farmland.

Now whether those to stars for the Knicks are Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis is another question. One we tackle in this latest PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

Carmelo Anthony says nothing will come between him and Porzingis. He’s wrong; Father Time will. If they were closer in age you could make ‘Melo and Porzingis work in a modern NBA, with Porzingis at the five and Anthony at the four. But Anthony is on the downhill side of his career while Porzingis is a raw rookie. Those different arcs make the timing of a great team difficult and even in a best-case scenario very short-lived. The Knicks need to be thinking long-term.

Harrison Barnes says he wants Warriors to chase 72 wins

Harrison Barnes, Stephen Curry
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The streak is over, the Golden State Warriors are human after all and will not win 33 straight games. So now they settle in for the grind of the regular season, getting healthy, working on building good habits, and focusing on the postseason, right?

Not if you ask Harrison Barnes — he wants 72 wins this season.

Barnes was at a charity event Tuesday — a “Sports Matter” holiday shopping event Tuesday working with Dick’s Sporting Goods — and told Adi Joseph of the Sporting News he wants to chase Jordan and the 1996 Bulls.

“I don’t know how other guys feel, but to me, being able to win 67 games last year, that just meant so much,” Barnes said. “A year ago, we thought 50 games was a lot. The fact that we hit 50 wins was so big! Then to hit 67, it’s like, ‘Man, we got to 67 games, and think about the games we let slip away? Could we have gotten to 72?’ Seventy-two is like that magical number, so if you can get to that point, it’d be special. And it’s a little competition, too, because Coach Kerr was on that team.”

I don’t think they ultimately get there, only because they will rest Stephen Curry and other key players to have them peaking for the playoffs.

No doubt 72 wins would be huge for a team trying to establish a legacy as one of the great teams of all time — and make no mistake, that is the goal of the Warriors. But here is the key thing about the 1996 Bulls — they won the title. As much as a team’s legacy should be more than rings, that remains a baseline and the Warriors know that to reach the heights they want, they need more than one. That will be Steve Kerr’s focus, not 72 wins during the season.

But if they get close, they may well chase it.

 

Pistons’ Brandon Jennings targets Dec. 29 for return

Detroit Pistons v Milwaukee Bucks
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With all the talk the past couple days of guys who could be traded in the next couple of months, one name that didn’t come up enough was Detroit’s Brandon Jennings. The Pistons seem committed to having Reggie Jackson at the point — he has real chemistry with Andre Drummond — and while Jennings could play a little at the two that’s not a long-term answer.

Why didn’t Jennings’ name come up? He hasn’t been on the court, still recovering from his torn Achilles. But that’s about to change according to Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.

Jennings also said he would be shaking off some rust by playing in the D-League for a few games before that date.

Jackson and Jennings both played well for Detroit last season. Jackson put up more points per game, Jennings shot better from three, and their PERs were almost identical (19.8 and 19.7). But Stan Van Gundy gave Jackson an $80 million contract this summer because of his chemistry with Drummond (the Pistons are +9.2 points per 100 possessions when they are on the court today). Van Gundy has said he thinks Jennings and Jackson can play together, where Jennings can play more of the two on offense because he has the shot to space the floor, while Jackson is solid enough defensively to guard twos.

That said, look for Jennings to get run at the point as he returns and Stan Van Gundy tries to showcase someone he would trade. Jennings is in the last year of his contract, so he would be a rental, but off the bench that could work for some teams. Something to watch.