Minnesota is fun to watch. They’re not very good, but they are entertaining.
Zach LaVine is at the top of that entertaining list and he did not disappoint on Monday, finishing a three-quarter court alley-oop pass from Andre Miller. LaVine doesn’t guide it in, he finishes it with authorithy.
How did Curry become the most dominant player in the NBA? Eating fast food growing up, apparently.
During the Comcast Sportsnet broadcast of the Warriors win, they unearthed and showed a couple of vintage Burger King commercials with Curry and his father, former NBA star Dell Curry. Enjoy, these are awesome.
Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Kyrie Irving, Brandon Jennings look like old selves
1) Kyrie Irving looks like dominant self again, drops 25 on Toronto. At the end of the third quarter, LeBron James took control of the game, scoring nine points in a little over three minutes to put Cleveland up by double digits. It’s what he does.
Then Irving blew the game wide open. With LeBron on the bench during part of the fourth, Irving scored nine straight points. This was not the somewhat tentative, getting used to his trusting his knee again Kyrie Irving, but the full speed ahead, wicked handles, can make plays wherever he wants Kyrie Irving. He was stroking threes with confidence; he was blowing past his defender and getting into the lane at will then finishing over bigs. It was fun to watch. Kyrie Irving is back, and that should worry the rest of the NBA.
2) Brandon Jennings has turned Detroit’s bench around. The Pistons have developed a fairly predictable game plan: Have the starters build a lead and hope the reserves don’t blow it.
Brandon Jennings turned it on its head in Detroit’s 115-89 win over the Magic last night.
Recently returned from a torn Achilles, Jennings scored 17 points and dished six assists while the Pistons outscored Orlando by 25 points in his 18 minutes.
Detroit also outscored the Magic by five points with Reggie Jackson on the floor, the first time both Jackson and his primary backup (whether it was Jennings, Steve Blake or Spencer Dinwiddie) were each +5 or better in the same game. In fact, it’s just the fifth time all season both Jackson and his backup had positive plus-minuses at all in the same game.
Jennings breathed life into a listless reserve unit even beyond his scoring. His six assists created four 3-pointers, a dunk and a layup. Jennings drew so much attention, three of his four misses were offensively rebounded.
“When you’re out there with me, just run,” Jennings said. “I’m going to get it to you.”
Nobody — not even Jennings — reasonably expected him to look this good this soon. Four games into his return from such a serious injury, there will still be ups and downs.
But if this is a sign of the peaks to come, the Pistons should be dangerous in the Sub-Cavaliers portion of the Eastern Conference. —Dan Feldman
3) Draymond Green records third straight triple-double in Warriors win. Draymond Green will be an All-Star this season, the coaches will vote him in as a reserve. Right now, every team is looking for their Draymond Green. The versatile big man is at the heart of Golden State’s success, and the triple-doubles are a reminder why — he can put up points, set up teammates, and he just outworks everyone. Against Charlotte Monday Green had 13 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists, helping lead Golden State to a 111-101 victory. That’s 32-2, for those of you keeping track of such things.
4) Dwyane Wade‘s driving layup forced overtime, where Heat eventually gets the win. Miami had been down 18 points in the third quarter to Indiana, but Wade’s 13 points in the third quarter started to turn things around. It can be frustrating at the end of games when Miami devolves into running Wade hero-ball sets rather than plays, because when they run ones like the inbounds that allows Miami to tie the game, it’s pretty. With just 2.7 seconds left Paul George wanted to be aggressive and deny Wade the ball, but he fell behind and was trailing Wade coming off a Chris Bosh screen and when Wade turned toward the rim nobody between him and the rim. Straight line drive, and the defensive rotation couldn’t stop him. The Heat went on to win 103-100.
5) DeMarcus Cousins scores 33, grabs 19 boards, Kings win first game in Oklahoma City. The Sacramento Kings were 0-14 in Oklahoma City going into Monday night. It helped that OKC was without Kevin Durant, but it helped more that DeMarcus Cousins was in beast mode. Remember Cousins was getting ejected and not playing great ball last week, but he brought it Monday. The points were nice, but the Thunder are one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA and Cousins owned the glass. Steven Adams couldn’t slow Cousins without fouling him, and no other OKC big could even do that much. It was an impressive night for Cousins.
Draymond Green’s triple-double leads Warriors past Hornets 111-101
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — For five straight trips down the court, Draymond Green knew he needed just one more assist for a triple-double.
When he got the ball to Stephen Curry behind the 3-point line, Green made history.
Green became the second Warriors player ever to post three straight triple-doubles and Golden State rolled to its 35th straight regular-season home win, 111-101 over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.
“Oh man, it was hard to come by,” Green said. “When you start looking for it, it’s impossible to get.”
But Green managed to do it again.
He had 13 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists to join Tom Gola in 1959-60 as the only Warriors players ever to get triple-doubles in three straight games. The last player in the NBA to do it was Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, who had a four-game streak last season.
“He’s playing at a very, very high level,” Curry said. “His consistency is just off the charts. … It’s amazing how he can impact the game.”
Curry and Klay Thompson scored 30 points apiece and Marreese Speights had a season-high 15 off the bench to help the Warriors sweep the season series from Charlotte.
Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb each scored 22 points for the Hornets. Charlotte has lost a season-high four straight games.
“We did do some good things but we did a lot of things that we shouldn’t have done as well,” Walker said. “We are short-handed but we’ve got guys that are capable of playing big games as well. We do have to get better. We’re in a tough stretch. We just have to be better.”
The Hornets cut a 12-point lead down to one following back-to-back 3-pointers from P.J. Hairston and Jeremy Lin early in the third quarter. But Thompson answered with a layup and a 3-pointer to restore the lead to 71-65 and start a 12-0 run that put Golden State in control.
A jumper by Harrison Barnes early in the fourth expanded the lead to 20 points and the Warriors cruised from there.
Hornets: Lamb left the game briefly to undergo X-rays on his bruised right hand and wrist. … Swingman Nicolas Batum sat out with a sprained toe on his right foot. He could also miss Wednesday’s game in Phoenix. … Big man Spencer Hawes returned after missing five games with a back injury.
Warriors: Green is the 15th player in NBA history to have three straight triple-doubles. He has seven overall this season. … Barnes returned from a 16-game absence from a sprained left ankle. He got a standing ovation when he checked in for the first time since getting hurt Nov. 27 at Phoenix. Barnes scored eight points. … G Leandro Barbosa (left shoulder sprain) and F James Michael McAdoo (sprained toe, left foot) remain sidelined.
76ers roll past Timberwolves 109-99 for 3rd win in 6 games
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — From anguish to flourish, the 76ers are suddenly a better team with Ish Smith.
Chalk up another win to Smith’s double-double.
Credit Philadelphia’s hot streak – by the franchise’s feeble standards, not the rest of the NBA’s – to Jerry Colangelo’s first shrewd deal.
Smith had 21 points and 11 assists and Richaun Holmes scored 17 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to 109-99 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.
Still the worst team in the NBA at 4-33, the Sixers have won three of six games and have a new confidence since they named Colangelo chairman of basketball operations last month.
Colangelo’s first big move was acquiring Smith from New Orleans in a Dec. 24 trade that cost them nothing but second-round draft picks. Smith averaged 13.4 points and 7.6 assists since the deal and has made his teammates feeling bullish of late.
He may have been at his best against the Timberwolves, with eight points in the decisive fourth quarter.
“We’re young, we play fast,” Smith said. “We’re constantly trying to get better. Good win, let’s celebrate the night, let’s move on to the next game.”
Smith, 9 of 16 from the field with three steals, keyed a fourth-quarter run that helped the Sixers push the lead to double-digits and broke open a game that had 21 lead changes and 12 ties.
The 76ers won with leading scorer Jahlil Okafor on the bench. With the team rolling, coach Brett Brown had Okafor watching the white towel in support of his teammates.
Trying to keep a recent hot streak alive, Smith’s 14-footer late in the fourth gave the Sixers a seven-point cushion. Jerami Grant blocked Shabazz Muhammad‘s layup and Nerlens Noel, who scored 10 points, capitalized on the other end with a dunk. Carl Landry added another dunk off an assist from Smith for a 103-92 lead.
Smith, who was not re-signed by the Sixers in the summer, hit back-to-back 19-footers and the Sixers suddenly pulled away to another win.
“I think we have such a young team that his personality pairs up with their youthful spirit a lot,” Brown said.
The Sixers won two games on a five-game road trip that not only gave them a needed dose of confidence, but inched them closer toward the 10-win mark needed to keep them from going down with the worst record in NBA history.
Muhammad led the Timberwolves with 20 points and Gorgui Dieng had 14 points for Minnesota.
Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins was held to 16 points on 4 of 9 shooting after scoring 32 in the season’s first meeting. … Minnesota has lost four straight road games. … The Timberwolves have lost six of the last eight against the 76ers in Philadelphia.
76ers: Looking to add some veteran leadership in the locker room, the Sixers signed forward Elton Brand. “I know I can affect change and be a part of something,” the 36-year-old Brand said. Brand played for the Sixers from 2008-2012. … The Sixers also waived forward Christian Wood. … Okafor and guard Kendall Marshall distanced themselves from recent comments made by their fathers. Marshall’s dad tweeted white players are getting more chances under Brown even when they aren’t playing well. Okafor’s father was accused by fans of heckling Brown during a recent road trip. Marshall said he did not share his father’s opinion. “That’s not coming out of my mouth. That’s not my social media,” he said.