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Three Things we learned Sunday: Warriors break out of “slump,” or just beat Knicks

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A key thing to life going the way you want and hope is to be prepared. Know what you’re doing, be prepared for the moments you have to go off script. For example, if you’re going to steal a car, know how to drive a stick shift. (Not that we recommend stealing a car, don’t do it.) If you need to be prepared for today by knowing a little more about the NBA and what happened Sunday, we’ve got you covered.

1) In Madison Square Garden things were quiet. Too quiet? If you want to know what people are talking about around the NBA, it was the quiet of Madison Square Garden for the first half Sunday against the Warriors. Knicks game operations were turned off for the first half — no music played (even during timeouts), no sound clips, no dance teams or T-shirt giveaways. Nothing. Just the sounds of hoops. No “every body clap your hands” to be heard.

The reaction? Mixed. Draymond Green for one hated it (although if you watch the video he was being at least semi-facetious). Here is a sampling of the reaction to the move on Twitter.

Whether this comes back for other games or not, know the Knicks will still be the Knicks.

2) As for the game at Madison Square Garden, Stephen Curry makes some noise and out of shooting slump. Warriors win. If the Warriors are going to hold off the Spurs and maintain their No. 1 seed, they are going to need MVP level Stephen Curry to show up for the team’s final 20 games. Then put him in a lot of pick-and-rolls so he can do damage.

Cold-brewed Curry played in the quiet first half at MSG Sunday, scoring 12 points on 4-for-13 shooting. Then in the third quarter, he found his stroke, scoring 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting (3-of-4 from three), and with that the Warriors pulled away for a victory (ending a two-game losing streak that had been overblown). Curry finished with 31 points, Klay Thompson had 29, and while not exactly a dominant performance, after losing two in a row picking up a road win is all that mattered.

The Warriors now head to Atlanta for the second night of a road back-to-back that would have been tough even with Kevin Durant.

3) Sunday was “Day of the Game Winners”: Rudy Gobert, Glenn Robinson III, Tyler Ulis all knock them down. You want game winning shots? We got ’em.

Utah’s Rudy Gobert forced OT hitting a driving layup off a pick-and-roll with Gordon Hayward in regulation, then in OT he tapped in the game winner.

Paul Goerge had a monster game against the Hawks with 34 points, so not surprisingly when he drove the ball looking to force OT Sunday the Atlanta defense collapsed on him, so George whipped the pass to Aaron Brooks, who found Glenn Robinson III wide open in the corner and… splash.

Usually, it’s Boston’s “little man” Isaiah Thomas who comes up big in the fourth — and he certainly made some plays — but it was the Suns’ undersized point guard Tyler Ulis who knocked down the game winner in Phoenix.

DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis combine for 57 points, 24 boards in beating Lakers

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New Orleans has not smoothed out all the wrinkles in the Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins relationship on the court. Not by a long shot. They still play next to each other more than with each other, Jrue Holiday is learning to adapt his game to having two dominant bigs on the court, finding the right tempo for the offense is still a work in progress, and the Pelicans still desperately need more shooting around their stars.

But damn. Have you seen those two play?

Already they are putting up impressive numbers, like the 57 points and 24 boards they did against the Lakers Sunday night. Sure, it’s just the “working hard to keep our top three pick” Lakers, but this is still an impressive performance. And the first win for the Pelicans with Davis and Cousins both playing. Those two are going to do this to a lot of teams going forward.

Watch Miami Heat turn tables on Cleveland, drop 18 three pointers in win

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Friday night in Atlanta, the Cleveland Cavaliers set an NBA record with 25 three-pointers in a game beating the Hawks.

One night later, the Miami Heat turned the tables on the Cavs.

Miami knocked down 18 threes on its way to beating Cleveland handily Saturday night. Granted LeBron James and Kyrie Irving rested this game, but the Heat will take the win — and if they were shooting like this from three, who knows what the outcome would have been anyway.

Report: Festus Ezeli’s upcoming knee surgery to involve cadaver donor

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There are a lot of NBA players who have had knee surgery, maybe even a majority. It’s commonplace.

However, the upcoming surgery for Festus Ezeli — who has yet to set foot on a court for the Portland Trail Blazers this season following an original knee surgery last summer — will be something different. At least for an NBA player. It’s going to involve a cadaver donor, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

The procedure will involve the use of a cadaver donor, league sources said. Ezeli has sought a donor for months, sources said, but due to his 6-foot-11 stature, finding a matching donor was problematic.

A donor was recently submitted, sources said, thus the reason for Ezeli’s pending surgery….

It is unknown exactly how long the recovery process will be, but one source said it could take up to a year.

The report says no known NBA player has ever had this surgery. Carson Palmer, quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, had this done when he was with the Bengals and has bounced back. However, it’s a different sport and role, plus Palmer is not exactly known as the most nimble and quick of quarterbacks (to put it kindly).

Ezeli is just 27, so he could miss time and still play for years afterward (and big men get plenty of chances to prove they can play because athletic 6’11” guys such as Ezeli are rare).

Portland has a $7.7 million team option on Ezeli for next season. With the addition of Jusuf Nurkic, who has played better than expected since arriving in Portland, it is very possible the Blazers will let Ezeli go this summer.

Watch Jamal Crawford drop 25, lead Clippers over Bulls (VIDEO)

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CHICAGO (AP) — A rhythm shooter on a team out of sync, Jamal Crawford and the Los Angeles Clippers broke out on Saturday night.

The veteran reserve came alive late, scoring 25 points to carry the visiting Clippers to a 101-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

“We definitely needed a win,” Crawford said after his 10-of-17 shooting performance. “Everything is better. The food tastes better, the flight will be better, you know, but it’s a total team effort.”

Chris Paul added 17 points and Blake Griffin had 16 for Los Angeles, which lost in Milwaukee on Friday and had fallen to the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings.

Crawford, a former Bulls guard who won his third Sixth Man of the Year award last season, scored 10 points during a 14-7 spurt in the fourth quarter as the Clippers won for just the second time in six games.

“He went 1-on-1 and you can’t do nothing when he is going like that,” said Chicago’s Dwyane Wade, who scored 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting. “When they have guys making shots like that, we are taking the ball out of the basket. Our offensive rhythm is not the same as it was in the first half when we were able to get stops and go the other way.”

Jimmy Butler scored 16 points for the Bulls, who had won five of their last six games, including wins against Cleveland and Golden State.

Chicago led by 10 points five times in the second quarter, but the Clippers took control late in the third. Crawford’s long 3-pointer at the buzzer closed an 18-5 Los Angeles run at the end of the period to go up 82-73.

Los Angeles then extended its lead to 96-80 midway through the fourth.

Crawford, who averages 15.3 points per game in his career and will turn 37 in two weeks, was in single digits in five of his previous six games.

“He’s going to always break out,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I always tell him to give yourself a shooter’s chance. If you don’t shoot it, you have no chance of breaking out of it.”