Kurt Helin

Suns’ Mirza Teletovic drains game winning three to lift Suns past Timberwolves

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Mirza Teletovic gives Phoenix about 20 minutes and 11 points a night off the bench, giving them solid minutes at the four.

Plus now he’s hit a couple of game-winners this season.

This latest one was a fading three as the clock wound down to lift Phoenix past Minnesota. Teletovic was one of the primary options on the play; he ‘d come off a couple of screens along the baseline to cut up along the arc. With 4.6 seconds on the clock when the ball was inbounded, there was time for very little play development, and it ended up being Teletovic with a contested three over Karl-Anthony Towns.

It worked. Phoenix got the 107-104 win.

Stephen Curry scores 27 points playing on 28th birthday, Warriors win 60th

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry had 27 points, five rebounds and five assists on his 28th birthday, and the Golden State Warriors beat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-107 on Monday night for their record 49th straight regular-season home victory.

Draymond Green added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors (60-6), who are 31-0 at Oracle Arena this season. With 16 games to go, they remain one game ahead of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ pace in their record 72-win season.

Birthday songs, MVP chants, and a serenade and piece of cake from his toddler daughter, Riley, made it a great day for Curry – all after his fifth Western Conference Player of the Week award this season and second in two weeks.

He shot 4 for 9 from 3-point range and 10 of 16 overall.

Anthony Davis had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, while Toney Douglas drew the tough task of defending Curry.

Klay Thompson added 18 points for Golden State, which swept the teams’ first-round playoff series last year 4-0.

The Warriors clinched the Pacific Division during their off day Sunday, giving the franchise back-to-back Pacific titles for the first time since the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons.

“It’s going to go unnoticed for the most part because of our record and because of our goals,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s a major accomplishment.”

The Pelicans opened the season at Oracle Arena on Oct. 27 and New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry received his championship ring after serving as Warriors associate head coach last season as the franchise captured its first title in 40 years.

The teams played twice in five days to start the season.

“I told the guys: `This is a game you should embrace. They’re doing something special,”‘ Gentry said of Golden State.

The Warriors trailed 40-38 with 7:18 before halftime, then went on a 19-6 run late in the second quarter for a 59-50 lead at the break. Marreese Speights had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Anderson Varejao scored seven during the second quarter in another productive night by the reserves.

MOST 3-POINTERS BY TEAMMATES

Curry (322) and Thompson (209) have the most combined 3s by teammates during a single season in NBA history with 531, topping their previous-best mark of 525 from last season.

Curry played on his birthday for the third straight year and fourth time overall.

KERR CREDITS GENTRY

Kerr was on a leave of absence for the season opener last fall while recovering from complications after two back surgeries, so he didn’t get to coach opposite good friend Gentry that night – or in the second game four days later.

Gentry meant so much to the then-first-year coach last season as his right-hand man on the bench.

“Alvin was just huge given that it was my first year coaching,” Kerr said. “His impact no doubt helped us win the championship and helped me kind of settle in to my new job.”

Gentry isn’t surprised by Golden State’s success under Kerr.

“Steve is a terrific leader,” Gentry said. “This isn’t anything that’s new. He’s been preparing for this for a long time. He put in so much work. When we worked together in Phoenix, he would ask questions. He wanted to know about specific plays. I didn’t have any doubt he was going to be a great coach. He worked at it so hard. I learned so much from him just being here the one year that I was.”

TIP-INS

Pelicans: New Orleans hasn’t won on the Warriors’ home floor since April 24, 2012. … The reeling Pelicans used their 33rd different starting lineup. … New Orleans is 6-17 on the road against the Western Conference.

Warriors: C Andrew Bogut had a 3-pointer on one end and a block on the other in one third-quarter sequence. It was his third career 3. … The Warriors moved to 2-2 in four games with Curry playing on his birthday. … Golden State has a seven-game home winning streak against New Orleans and three in a row overall.

 

Channing Frye, Trey Lyles ejected after late-game incident

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It got chippy late in Monday’s game, with Cleveland trailing Utah, because both teams were playing with “the playoffs are coming” desperation.

Then this incident happened. Trey Lyles had played well (he had a dozen points on the night) and got the ball out by the three point line with Channing Frye on him tight. Lyles swings elbows through trying to catch some space so he can face up, but one of them catches Frye right in the family jewels. Frye takes exception, and after the play walks over and head butts Lyles.

The referees ruled it was a flagrant 2 foul on Lyles for the unnecessary elbow, and he was ejected for it. Frye was given a technical, his second of the game, so he was gone. The bottom line is the refs got both guys off the floor following the incident.

My problem with this is that an official had called a foul on Lyles for the elbow already — a common foul. If Frye had not headbutted Lyles and just gone back up the court, this would have been forgotten. But once Frye upped the intensity, the referees seemed to look for a way to balance the scales.

It didn’t change the outcome, Utah hung on for a 94-85 win over Cleveland, which is huge considering the Jazz’s leading scorer Gordon Hayward sat this out with a foot issue.

Allen Iverson has nothing but praise for Stephen Curry

Allen Iverson
Associated Press
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Don’t put Allen Iverson in with those “get off my lawn” former NBA players more concerned about trying to protect the image of their era — and their egos — rather than enjoying what Stephen Curry is doing with the Golden State Warriors.

Iverson loves what he sees.

Iverson was at a Sixers Youth Foundation event and spoke to Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com about Curry.

Here’s the money part of the quote:

“He’s incredible. He’s different. He’s different. He’s something we’ve never seen. We’ve never seen this. It’s crazy to me, like just me being the biggest Michael Jordan fan, to see somebody come around like this. I have my idea of me being incredible, you know what I mean? But this dude right here, like it’s different. It’s a whole different monster, as far as his handle and the way he shoots? C’mon. You know you ain’t never seen nothing like this.”

We haven’t.

Barack Obama put it well, saying he’s having the most fun watching Curry that he’s had watching anyone since Jordan. That doesn’t mean that Curry is better than Kobe Bryant or Shaq or Tim Duncan or whoever, but he’s the most entertaining, engrossing player on the court since then.

Guys like this don’t come along often, and we should savor it.

Jamal Crawford says he would have signed to play in Seattle, but team moved

Seattle SuperSonics v Denver Nuggets
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In Seattle, plenty of fans are still angry that their NBA team was bought and moved to a smaller market. They rightfully feel screwed over by callous ownership, shortsighted local politicians, and NBA league office happy to make a point to other cities about helping fund new arenas.

Among those angry fans, Jamal Crawford.

The Clipper swingman and multiple time Sixth Man of the Year wrote and essay for The Cauldron at Sports Illustrated on how Seattle still misses a team — and how he wanted to play there.

“When the Oklahoma City Thunder played the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals, I was actively rooting for Miami. It had nothing to do with the Heat. It had everything to do with how much it stung to watch my hometown team, the Seattle SuperSonics, in the NBA Finals representing a different city.

“Since then, I’ve developed a strong friendship with Kevin Durant, so now I root for him to succeed — unless he’s playing my Los Angeles Clippers, of course. But back then, the pain of losing the Sonics was still fresh, and I couldn’t help but feel deep dislike for the entire Thunder franchise. I can tell you that most Seattle fans still feel that way….

“I was playing for the Knicks in 2008 when Seattle’s relocation to Oklahoma City was made official. I remember being in total disbelief. Sure, there had been rumors that ownership might sell the team if it didn’t get a new arena, but I never thought it would actually happen. The fans in Seattle are too passionate, too loyal — and the team had just been to the NBA Finals in 1996.

“It dawned on me immediately that I had already played my last professional game in the city of Seattle. It was an emotional moment, but mostly because it also sunk in that I’d never get a chance to actually suit up in a Sonics jersey. I just kind of took it for granted that my playing for the franchise was meant to be. At that point in my career, I had never even experienced free agency. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would’ve signed with Seattle had the team not relocated, but once again, it wasn’t meant to be.”

Nobody speaks for everyone, but Crawford sentiment is that of a lot of Seattle fans — they want the Sonics back.

Most of Crawford’s article is a plea for a team to return to Seattle. That almost happened when the Maloffs sold the Kings, but led by Adam Silver behind the scenes there was a push to give mayor Kevin Johnson a chance to save the team in Sacramento, and he did. Silver, and most owners, do not want to see teams move. I’m not sure if the Seattle/OKC situation would play out the same way today. Stern handled things differently.

There are no plans for expansion in the NBA. While some owners are listening to offers for their teams, those talks come with stipulations that the team remain in that market (and some of those markets new owners wouldn’t want to move out of anyway). All of which is to say, I’d love to see a team back in Seattle, I just can’t see it happening for a long time.