That wasn’t enough for GM Daryl Morey — he fired coach Kevin McHale on Wednesday. The news was first reported Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and has since been confirmed by the team (you can see GM Daryl Morey talking about it above).
The Houston Rockets fired coach Kevin McHale, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
This came as a shock to many both because it came just 11 games into the season — this team had won 56 games last season and made the conference Finals, it’s not like McHale forgot how to coach over the summer — and also because McHale is one of the most liked people around the league. However, reports also say McHale saw this coming after the Denver loss. The Rockets are a win-now team without much patience.
The Rockets host the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night. Houston is entering a softer spot in its schedule which could help J.B. Bickerstaff gain some traction and pick up a few wins.
Bickerstaff was the guy credited with the Rockets’ sixth-ranked defense from last season, he is charged with returning that mindset. The Rockets are giving up 5.4 more points per 100 possessions than they did a year ago, but what was more disturbing was Houston was getting crushed in effort categories — defensive rebounding, contesting shots in the paint and in the rim, just all the hustle stats. The Rockets played listless basketball this season and their body language spoke of a team that was dejected.
That was ultimately what did McHale in — the effort issue suggested he had lost the locker room.
The Rockets’ problems go well beyond defense. Houston has struggled because Ty Lawson has looked a step slow, while James Harden has looked less explosive, and the two have not meshed at all. The Rockets have spent 27.6 minutes a game with Lawson and Harden paired and they are -8.4 points per 100 possessions in that time. The Rockets offense is down 5.8 points per 100 possessions from a season ago.
McHale was certainly not the entire problem in Houston, but management didn’t see him as the solution, either. So he’s gone.
Morey and McHale had their differences early on in McHale’s tenure, but had moved seemed past those problems. The fact McHale was fired with two years left on his contract speaks to how concerned the Rockets were with the start. This is a win-now team that needs to turn this season around — and they decided to shake things up.
Stephen Curry drops 37, Warriors now 12-0 with win over Raptors
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) —Stephen Curry scored 37 points to lead the defending champion Golden State Warriors to their 12th straight win to open the season, a hard-fought 115-110 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.
Klay Thompson added 19 and Andrew Bogut scored 13 for the Warriors, who are off to the best start since Dallas won the first 14 games in 2002-03. Golden State needs just three more wins to equal the NBA record of 15-0 held by the 1948-49 Washington Capitols and the 1993-94 Houston Rockets.
It didn’t come easy as Toronto fought back from an 18-point deficit and trailed by just one late in the game with the ball. But Kyle Lowry was called for an offensive foul and Curry hit two free throws to help seal the win.
Lowry and DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points apiece for the Raptors, who have lost five of seven following a 5-0 start.
Toronto fought back by getting to the foul line and the Raptors took their first lead of the second half on two free throws by Lowry midway through the fourth.
Bogut then then tied it for Golden State on an alley-oop from Draymond Green as Golden State got a fastbreak off the made free throw. After a Toronto turnover, Curry put the Warriors back ahead for good with his fifth 3-pointer of the night to make it 101-98.
Curry’s sneak attack helped key a 12-0 run that gave the Warriors an 18-point lead late in the first half. Thompson started the spurt with a jumper. Curry then pounced when Jonas Valanciunas threw a casual inbound pass to Lowry. With Lowry unaware he was coming, Curry stole the ball and hit the layup.
Thompson then threw an alley-oop to Andre Iguodala before Thompson and Curry capped the spurt by hitting second-chance 3-pointers on successive possessions.
Raptors: Toronto has lost the first two games on a five-game Western swing. … F Terrence Ross (left thumb) did not play.
Warriors: Curry joins Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry and Chris Mullin as the only Warriors in the West Coast Era to score at least 20 points in each of the team’s first 12 games… G Shaun Livingston (left hip flexor strain) sat out the game. … The Warriors wore their “The City” throwback uniforms for the first time since March 29, 2007
Hornets’ Marvin Williams ejected for hard foul on Knicks’ Lou Amundson
The NBA is no longer messing around with blows to the head — hit a guy on the head and you can expect an ejection and fine.
Charlotte’s Marvin Williams can tell you all about it. He went for the hard foul on the Knicks’ Lou Amundson Tuesday night in the Knicks’ win and was given a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected for his troubles. This was a retaliatory play for a hard foul on the other end, so don’t expect a lot of leniency from the league.
This will get Williams a fine (probably, predicting the NBA’s rulings on fines is like predicting a roulette wheel — there’s a lot of chance involved).
Five Takeaways from an NBA Tuesday: Por-zing-is! Por-zing-is! Por-zing-is!
A seven-game slate Tuesday saw a series of upsets across the NBA Wednesday (although not of Golden State, which remains undefeated at 12-0), huge performances, and a couple of surprises. In case you were busy chasing zebras around the streets of Philadelphia, here are five things you need to know from an NBA Tuesday.
1) Knicks’s fans treat emergence of Kristaps Porzingis as greatest thing to hit city since pizza slices. New Yorkers have long been known for their even keel, their measured reactions to things. So the fact that rookie Kristaps Porzingis has emerged as a legit player and a ray of hope for the franchise in his first month in the league — much faster than even his most fervent supporters back at the draft expected — has been greeted in the rational manner you’d expect.
For example, some Knicks fans have taken to calling him “Godzingis.”
Porzingis dropped 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting, plus grabbed 11 rebounds on the Hornets Tuesday night, leading New York to a 102-94 win with his best game to date. He’s the first Knick rookie to put up 27-and-10 since Patrick Ewing — and Porzingis isn’t even 21 yet. While there wasn’t one of his signature putback dunks he showed off a varied and impressive offensive arsenal against Charlotte, scoring on jumpers from the elbow, pull-up jumpers, left-handed floaters, quick-hit elbow jumpers, pick-and-pop threes, baseline moves and jumpers, and most importantly he showed toughness finishing through contact. That was the concern back when Knicks fans booed the pick on draft night — they feared Phil Jackson had drafted a soft Euro. Andrea Bargnani 2.0. But Porzingis has a lot of grit to his game — he wants to defend, to hit the glass, he doesn’t shy away from physical play. He had five double-doubles this season, and while his game has a lot of room for improvement, still he can contribute right now.
He’s a piece the Knicks can use to start really rebuilding with (throw in Langston Galloway and Jerian Grant and you have a few pieces of what could become a good Knicks team in a few years). Which is why the “Por-zing-is Por-zing-is” chants that rang through Madison Square Garden Tuesday night may become a regular thing. New York loves him today.
2) Beasting Andre Drummond leads Pistons come-from-behind win over Cavaliers. Detroit had dropped four straight on a West Coast road swing, but they looked far more comfortable back in the Motor City Tuesday, coming from behind to beat the Cavaliers 104-99. That starts with Andre Drummond, who dropped what seems a routine 25 points on 10-15 shooting, plus grabbing 18 rebounds. The Cavs tried to go hack-a-Drummond, he hit three-of-four free throws and squashed that (intentionally fouling backfired on the Cavs in this one). Drummond also played some good defense down the stretch switching onto LeBron James when the Cavaliers’ tried to post him up. Reggie Jackson returned to form for the Pistons, outplaying the Cavs mix-and-match point guards down the stretch. Cleveland had their chances late in this one but Kevin Love just missed a couple clean looks, and they had a turnover in there when LeBron thought he knew where Mo Williams would be but was wrong. The Cavs did not impress late, the Pistons did and got the W.
3) LeBron James passed Jerry West for 19th on NBA all-time scoring list. With a wide-open corner three late in the first quarter Tuesday, LeBron moved past Jerry West into 19th all-time on the NBA scoring list (LeBron finished with 30 on the night). Next up, Reggie Miller (LeBron is going to move up the ranks fast this season, he could get up to 11 or 12 this season).
4) Anthony Davis suffers apparently minor shoulder. Because the Pelicans didn’t have enough injury issues, their best player in Davis was clearly bothered by his shoulder and had to leave the game in the first half not to return (he just missed another Pelicans loss). Not good, but apparently not as bad as it could have been. After the game coach Alvin Gentry said that Davis will travel with the team to Oklahoma City and he is questionable for Wednesday night. I’d be surprised to see him that soon — the Pelicans will be cautious a year with their star — but it doesn’t sound serious. If Davis sits, expect Alexis Ajinca to get the start (he did in the second half Tuesday).
5) Brook Lopez‘s defense, Thaddeus Young free throws lift Nets over Hawks. Brook Lopez is not a guy with a great defensive reputation… okay, that is far too kind. He’s not seen as a good defender at all. But this season he’s been improved. He showed that at the end of the Nets win over the Hawks — with the game tied 88-88 Lopez twice nicely shut down the Dennis Schroder/Al Horford 1/5 pick-and-roll the Hawks wanted to use to start their play, which forced Schroder to try to create on his own. He slipped, got up, had to force up a shot and missed, but Paul Millsap got the rebound and what looked like an easy putback — and Lopez blocked it. Great defensive sequence by Lopez. All that led to a Nets fast break where Thaddeus Young drew the foul, eventually hit the free throws, and the Nets got the win.
Don’t look now, but the Nets have played better of late — wins over the Hawks and Rockets, with close losses to the Kings and Warriors. Not a bad last four games.
Pistons rally for 104-99 win over Cavs despite James’ 30
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) —Andre Drummond had 25 points and 18 rebounds and made some crucial free throws when he was fouled intentionally, helping the Detroit Pistons rally to a 104-99 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
LeBron James scored 23 of his 30 points in the first half, but the Pistons double-teamed him on a couple of big possessions down the stretch and Cleveland couldn’t convert. The Cavs lost their second straight after winning eight in a row.
Drummond’s free throw with 2:07 left gave the Pistons a 98-97 advantage, and Detroit was able to hold on.
It was 102-99 with 13.8 seconds remaining after Reggie Jackson made two free throws for the Pistons. J.R. Smith then missed a contested 3-pointer from near the top of the key.
Detroit snapped a four-game losing streak despite giving up the first nine points of the second half. Cleveland led 65-55 after that run, but the Pistons were able to stay within striking distance.
The Cavs led 97-93 when they decided to start intentionally fouling Drummond, who came in shooting 40 percent from the line. He made two free throws with 2:58 remaining, and after the Pistons tied it on a basket by Jackson, Cleveland fouled Drummond again. This time he made one of two free throws.
James passed out of a double team to Kevin Love, who missed from the corner, but the Pistons turned the ball over. Then James, double-teamed again, threw the ball away with 48.8 seconds remaining.
Jackson missed a floater, but Cleveland’s Timofey Mozgov missed from the baseline and Cleveland had to foul. Jackson made two free throws with 21.3 seconds remaining.
James answered with a driving layup, but Jackson was fouled again and pushed the lead back to three.
Love scored 19 points, and Smith and Mo Williams had 15 each for Cleveland, which is still without injured star Kyrie Irving.
Jackson had 23 points and 12 assists for Detroit, and Ersan Ilyasova added 20 points.
Cavaliers: James scored at least 30 points for the fourth straight game. In the first quarter, he passed Jerry West to take over 19th place on the NBA’s career scoring list.
Pistons: Drummond has had a double-double in all 11 games this season. … Jackson rebounded after a season-low nine points in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.