Kurt Helin

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and Draymond Green (23) go for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Associated Press

Five Takeaways from NBA Wednesday: Warriors thrash another top Eastern team


It was a busy Wednesday night around the Association with 11 games, but we’ve condensed it down to the five things everyone will be talking about today. It wasn’t easy, we left off DeMarcus Cousins scoring 36 and DeMarr DeRozan 34. Here’s what you need to know.

1) Golden State thrashed Chicago, just rolled through two of East’s best.
Golden State is better than everyone in the East.

Which is about as surprising a statement as “Donald Trump likes to be the center of attention.” But the way the Bulls did it was impressive. You can play it down if you want — it is just January. These games are just benchmarks; they are not necessarily predictive of future matchups. Throw any other qualifiers you want on it. The fact of the matter is that two days after steamrolling the East’s best team the Warriors did the same thing to the Chicago Bulls, ultimately winning 125-95. Golden State controlled the tempo, shared the ball (38 assists on the night), and looked like a team that has a shot at the 72-win record (I still don’t think they get there).

If you want some good news Bulls fans, Derrick Rose played his best half of the season scoring 21 in the first 24 minutes and looking sharp. It’s something to keep building on. The problem is despite those numbers the Bulls were down by 15 at the break. That’s what the Warriors do — to everyone. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 25.

2) Cavaliers bounce back with win, but bigger test comes Thursday. The Cavaliers needed a palate cleanser after the bad taste the Warriors left in their mouth on Monday. Something sweet and easy. The Brooklyn Nets were happy to roll over and provide just that. It wasn’t the Cavs best performance of the season, but they took a little anger out on the Nets. Kevin Love and LeBron James led the way with 17 points each. The best part of the win may be that the starters (save for J.R. Smith) got to rest the fourth, which is important because the Los Angeles Clippers come to town on Thursday, and they are not such a pushover.

3) Hack-a-Shaq — or hack-a-Drummond — turns Pistons’ win over Rockets into farce. With his team nine points at the half, Rockets’ coach J.B. Bickerstaff inserted K.J. McDaniels into the game as a second-half starter with one job — foul Andre Drummond. Six times in the first minute of the game Drummond was fouled off the ball so that the Pistons were in the penalty, and then the hack-a-Dre continued to parade him to the free throw line eight more times (16 shots) in the first three minutes of the second half. It wasn’t basketball, it was a farce. It was gaming the system. It was embarrassing to the sport. And it worked — Drummond was 5-of-16 from the line, he had to be pulled from the game, but because of this the Rockets not only made up their deficit, they took the lead.

It didn’t last because, well, karma. This was the hacking strategy taken to a logical conclusion, the spirit of the rules be damned. If you’re answer is “Drummond should hit his free throws” I would counter asking you to tell me how a guy getting grabbed 50 feet off the ball is basketball. The only good that comes out of this is that the rapid rise of the hacking strategy — ESPN’s Kevin Pelton said 11.8 percent of NBA games this season have seen “hack-a-whoever” — might finally force Adam Silver and the league do change the rules (as international hoops has done for years) and end this bastardization of the game.

4) Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard leave games with injuries. It was a rough day for shot-blocking big men. An already short-handed Heat team saw things get worse when big man Whiteside cut across the lane and just collapsed grabbing his side. He was down in pain for a couple of minutes, was helped back to the locker room, and did not return due to a strained oblique. Due to injury, Wednesday night the Heat were without Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Goran Dragic, Beno Udrih, Chris Andersen, and then Whiteside. So yes, they lost to the Wizards.

Less than a minute into the Pistons/Rockets game, a little pileup left Dwight Howard with a sprained ankle that sidelined him the rest of the night. The Rockets were pounded inside after this and eventually lost the game — but not before embarrassing the sport.

5) Franchise Value vs. Win percentage. Forbes Magazine released its NBA franchise values report on Wednesday, and the Knicks have moved back into the top spot, worth $3 billion. They were followed by the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics, and Clippers.

But how does all that money relate to wins on the court right now? We have a chart for that.

Stephen Curry scores 25 as Warriors breeze past Bulls 125-94

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CHICAGO (AP) — Stephen Curry glanced at the “72” banner hanging from the rafters during the morning shootaround. A number that for two decades seemed unattainable just might be in reach for the Warriors if they keep playing this way.

Curry scored 25 points, and Golden State made it look easy again, beating the Chicago Bulls 125-94 on Wednesday night.

Curry tied a season high with 11 of his team’s 38 assists and grabbed seven rebounds.

Klay Thompson added 20 points. Harrison Barnes scored 19, and the defending champions simply outclassed Chicago after embarrassing LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Monday night.

That’s two straight dominant wins over two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams after losing at Detroit and dropping two of three.

“Good teams bounce back quick and we were able to do that,” Curry said. “It says a lot about our resiliency.”

The Warriors are more than just a good team. They’re a team that set a league record with a 24-0 start. And they’re a team that could challenge the single-season mark of 72 wins set by the 1995-96 Bulls.

“I feel like we kind of have that chip back on our shoulders,” Draymond Green said. “It kind of fell off a little bit.”

The Warriors built a big lead in the first quarter and never were threatened after that, improving their league-best road record to 20-4.

Derrick Rose scored 29, and Jimmy Butler added 23 points after a slow start for Chicago. Pau Gasol was a nonfactor with one point and the Bulls missed 19 of 20 3-pointers on the way to their fifth loss in seven games.

“It’s embarrassing,” Rose said. “We stopped communicating while we were out there. You could easily tell there was no communication on both sides of the ball. The only thing we can do from it is learn.”


Two nights after they pounded Cleveland in the arena where they captured the championship last spring, the Warriors wasted little time seizing control in this one.

Playing in the shadows of that “72” banner, they continued their assault on the mark.

Golden State was trailing by one midway through the first quarter when a cutting Curry converted a three-point play. Rose, who committed the foul, got subbed out after a strong start. And in a flash, the Warriors broke this one open.

They were up 34-18 going into the second and led by as many as 21 before heading to the locker room with a 63-44 cushion.

Curry had 15 points and seven assists in the half. Barnes scored 11 and the Warriors simply put on a clinic in ball movement that led to 30 points in the paint.

Rose scored 21 for Chicago, but the rest of the team combined for just 23 points in the half. The numbers barely describe how one-sided this was.

There were comical moments like when Chicago’s E'Twaun Moore crashed to the floor in the first quarter trying to defend a crossover by Curry, who buried a 19-foot jumper. There was a neat pass from Shaun Livingston to Leandro Barbosa for a reverse layup that made it 41-20 early in the second. There was also a somewhat scary moment when the Bulls’ Aaron Brooks tripped Rose, sending him into Curry as they raced out to defend a 3-point attempt from the corner with 4:28 left in the half.


The Bulls held a moment of silence before the game for longtime NBA and college coach John Bach, who died this week at age 91.

The funeral was Wednesday, and Hoiberg and his staff attended as well as Golden State coach Steve Kerr and assistant Ron Adams.

Bach’s defensive expertise as an assistant to Phil Jackson helped the Bulls win three NBA titles from 1991 to 1993. He was the head coach of the Golden State Warriors from 1983-86 before joining the Bulls as an assistant.


Warriors: Green said he was fine after taking a shot to the face from Chicago’s Taj Gibson early in the third quarter. He returned to the game in the fourth

Bulls: Coach Fred Hoiberg said C Joakim Noah is “in great spirits” after having what could be season-ending surgery to repair his dislocated left shoulder on Tuesday. He said Noah hopes to rejoin the team this weekend, although he is not sure when and where he will rehab.


Carmelo Anthony helps Knicks beat Jazz 118-111 in overtime

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) heads back down court after dunking the ball against the Utah Jazz during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in New York. The Knicks won 118-111 in overtime. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony had 30 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, leading the New York Knicks to a 118-111 overtime victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

Robin Lopez added 22 points and 12 rebounds for New York, which trailed by as many as 12 in the second half and by eight entering the fourth quarter. Derrick Williams scored 18 points, and rookie Kristaps Porzingis had 16.

Rodney Hood led Utah with 29 points, and Gordon Hayward finished with 27.

The Jazz trailed 99-96 after Porzingis made two free throws with 9.9 seconds left in regulation. But Porzingis committed his sixth foul on Hayward’s 3-point attempt with 2.4 seconds to go, and the Utah forward hit all three free throws.

The game went into overtime after Anthony missed a runner at the buzzer.

Rudy Gobert gave the Jazz its final lead when he opened the extra session with a dunk. New York responded with a 9-2 spurt that included a tiebreaking 3-pointer for Williams.

Hayward’s 3-pointer with 32 seconds left trimmed New York’s lead to 115-111. Following a turnover by Langston Galloway, Hood misfired on a 3-pointer and Utah did not score again.

Trey Lyles had 13 points for the Jazz, who have lost four of five. Trey Burke scored 12 and Gobert finished with 11.


Jazz: The Jazz had beaten the Knicks three straight times, including a 2-0 sweep last season. … Utah is in the midst of a four-game road trip against Eastern Conference opponents. The Jazz is 8-7 against the East this season.

Knicks: Anthony currently holds a slim lead in All-Star voting for the third frontcourt starting spot in the East, 368,336 to 361,307, over the Pistons’ Andre Drummond. The starters will be announced on Thursday. … The Knicks’ six-game home winning streak is their longest since they won their final 10 home games of the 2012-13 season. … Lance Thomas (sore left knee) missed his first game of the season.


Hacking gone mad: Andre Drummond fouled 12 consecutive times to start second half

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 6: Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons attempts a free throw against the Houston Rockets on March 6, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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This isn’t basketball.

But it worked, so we will keep seeing it.

The Pistons were up 56-47 on the Rockets at the half, and Rockets’ coach J.B. Bickerstaff decided to go to hack-a-Dre fouling Andre Drummond intentionally to start the second half — 12 straight times. K.J. McDaniels was inserted into the game, and he was charged with fouling Drummond five times in succession just to get the Pistons into the penalty, then the continued hacking led to free throws. The result wasn’t basketball, it was farce. A mockery of the sport. Which is maybe what needs to happen to force a rule change.

The Pistons didn’t get off an actual field goal attempt in the second half until there was 9:08 left in the third quarter, after Drummond was fouled a dozen times.

But it worked at first — Drummond struggled from the line (5-of-16 on those free throws) and the Rockets closed the nine-point deficit and even took the lead. Eventually, the Pistons had to pull Drummond from the game.

Karma won out — Drummond got back in the game, and with Dwight Howard out with a sprained ankle the Pistons pounded the Rockets inside and regained their lead. Detroit won, 123-114.

From Adam Silver on down when a rule change has been advocated the response has been “make your free throws” or “this only impacts a couple of players.” The second part of that isn’t true anymore, it’s growing, and there have already been more intentional off-the-ball fouls this season than there were all of last season.

What’s more, what you are advocating for is not basketball. It is not in the spirit of the rules. It is gaming the system. And it is painful to watch.

The league needs to make a change (I suggest a simple one — if a player is fouled off the ball the aggrieved team can choose free throws or the ball out-of-bounds). It needs to start with Silver taking the lead.

LeBron James, Kevin Love put on dunking exhibition in win against Nets


The Cleveland Cavaliers needed a palate cleansing bounce-back win on Wednesday. The Brooklyn Nets rolled over and obliged. The Cavs won 91-78.

Kevin Love — who really needed a bounce back game — and LeBron James each had 17 points, and each was throwing down some impressive dunks.

There’s a tougher test ahead Thursday with the Los Angeles Clippers in town Thursday night.