Kurt Helin

at Pepsi Center on November 9, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Blazers 108-104. 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.
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Wizards sign forward J.J. Hickson for remainder of season

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Wizards have signed J.J. Hickson for the remainder of the season after the forward was bought out by the Denver Nuggets earlier in the week.

Hickson averaged 6.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 20 games for the Nuggets this season. In 519 NBA games with Cleveland, Sacramento, Portland and Denver, he has averaged 9.7 points and 6.9 rebounds.

The 27-year-old joins Markieff Morris among Wizards newcomers. Washington acquired from the Phoenix Suns at the trade deadline.

Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld says Hickson is a solid veteran who will bring more depth to the frontcourt.

Five Takeaways from NBA Wednesday: Too much fourth quarter Splash Brothers for Miami to handle

in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest during NBA All-Star Weekend 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 13, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. 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.
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If you missed the NBA’s Wednesday night slate because you got sucked into the last season of American Idol, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know from a Wednesday around the Association.

1) Miami played well, but in the fourth quarter there was too much Splash Brothers for anyone to contain.
In the NBA, talent wins out. Poor coaching can limit that talent and hold it back a little. Bad locker room chemistry can hurt a team for a season or two. But in the end, the most talented team wins the most games.

Golden State has most talented backcourt in the NBA. In Miami Wednesday that got Golden State another win — Stephen Curry had 42 points, and Klay Thompson had 33 — that’s 75 of Golden State’s 118 points (64 percent of them). In the fourth quarter of a close game, Thompson scored 15 points in a row at one stretch, and then Curry hit a couple of late threes that helped the Warriors come from behind in the final minute. When those two are going like they were, beating the Warriors becomes even that much harder.

Their scoring exploits overshadowed the fact that less than two minutes into the game Curry hit a three, giving him one in 127 consecutive games, tying Kyle Korver‘s all-time mark. Curry will set the record Thursday in Orlando.

2) No Derrick Rose, no Jimmy Butler, scrappy Bulls still beat Warriors and get tighter grip on playoffs. This was one the Wizards needed. They entered the game three back of Chicago for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, win here and not only are they just two games back but the Wizards would also own the tiebreaker. Washington was on a back-to-back, but the Bulls rested Rose and Nikola Mirotic (plus Jimmy Butler is still out) and had to start a lineup of E'Twaun Moore, Tony Snell, Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy, and Pau Gasol. In the second quarter, the Bulls actually had a Justin Holiday and Christiano Felicio pick-and-roll going.

That was enough. Taj Gibson had 17 first half points, the Bulls guards waltzed into the paint at will, and then started the third quarter hitting their first eight shots. Combine that with a flat effort from the Wizards (again!) the Wizards suffer a setback in any playoff dreams. Then again, if Doug McDermott is doing this, maybe it’s just the Bulls’ night.

3) Lance Stephenson being Lance Stephenson. The Grizzlies were able to beat the defenseless Lakers, but the game also gave us a vintage Lance Stephenson moment.

4) Kawhi Leonard returned to Spurs lineup. The Spurs out-executed the Kings down the stretch and easily picked up the road win 108-92. That’s about as surprising as finding a good microbrew in Portland. What mattered on Wednesday is that Kawhi Leonard returned to the Spurs lineup, scored 18 points, and as a team they are close to whole again. They remain just 3.5 games back of Golden State, which is ridiculous.

5) Chris Copeland waived, claimed off waivers, instantly waived again. It’s all about the Benjamins. Earlier this week, the Milwaukee Bucks waived veteran forward Chris Copeland to make way for the addition of Steve Novak to the roster. A respected veteran on a minimum contract, would someone snap Copeland up?

Yes, Orlando. Then they turned around and instantly waived him again.

Why? Money. The Magic are below the salary floor by more than $600,000, meaning at the end of the season the Magic would have to cut a check for that amount, and it would be divided amongst all the players on the team. By grabbing Copeland, his $325,000 goes on their books, but by instantly waiving him again they don’t have to pay Copeland a dime. This is just a financial move to save them money. Bobby Marks of the Vertical explained it here.

Doug McDermott threw down a surprisingly ferocious dunk (Jimmy Butler approves)

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Doug McDermott has started to figure out his niche, his role in the NBA through two seasons as a Bull. He’s a real threat as a shooter from distance and that fits well with Fred Hoiberg’s offense. However, his defense limits how much and when he can be on the court.

But I didn’t know he had this in him.

Jimmy Butler apparently didn’t know either.

(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant both drain buzzer-beating 40 footers (VIDEOS)

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If the NBA were to put in a four-point line (they’re not), it would already be is Stephen Curry‘s range. And maybe Kevin Durant.

Curry is shooting 45 percent on shots beyond 30 feet this season, and he drained another one against the Heat Wednesday night on his way to 42 points and another Warriors’ win.

But Durant can shoot from there and did it against the Mavericks in a Thunder win.

Makeshift Bulls lineup outlasts Wizards 109-104

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CHICAGO (AP) —  Taj Gibson and E'Twaun Moore each scored 17 points, Tony Snell added 16 and a thrown-together roster of Chicago Bulls backups beat the Washington Wizards 109-104 on Wednesday night.

Three of the Bulls’ top four scorers missed the game and the fourth was sick.

Pau Gasol, who missed practice on Tuesday and was playing with the flu, narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 15 rebounds, 10 points and nine assists in the Bulls’ third straight victory.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 19 points. Garrett Temple scored 18 and Ramon Sessions and John Wall added 16. Markieff Morris had 10 rebounds for the Wizards.

Chicago’s Derrick Rose was a last-minute scratch with right hamstring tendinitis, while the Bulls’ leading scorer, Jimmy Butler, missed a seventh game with a left knee strain. Nikola Mirotic is out because of appendicitis.

Mike Dunleavy and Doug McDermott each had 14 points for Chicago. Aaron Brooks finished 11.

The Bulls also have been without Joakim Noah because of a shoulder injury since Jan. 15.

The teams played fairly evenly in the first half with Chicago taking a 57-55 halftime lead. The Bulls then went on a third-quarter run that had them up by as much as 15 in the period.

TIP-INS:

Wizards: Alan Anderson returned to the lineup for the Wizards, playing for the first time this season after surgery on his left ankle. He finished with nine points in 16 minutes. … Gary Neal missed his seventh straight game with right leg soreness.

Bulls: Despite the makeshift starting lineup, all five Bulls starters scored in double figures. … Since Jan. 9, the Bulls have had eight players miss games for a total of 60 lost games, tied for second-most games lost to injury over that span. …The Bulls are 6-1 without Rose in the lineup.