Kurt Helin

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, center, shoots past New Orleans Pelicans' Toney Douglas, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 14, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Warriors just keep on winning, now fastest to 60

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Here’s what you missed Monday night while putting a business suit on a horse….

1) Another milestone as Golden State becomes fastest to 60 wins, remains undefeated at home. The injury to Andre Iguodala — out a few weeks with an ankle sprain — gave a lot of pause to the “Golden State will get to 73 wins” bandwagon. He’s a Sixth Man of the Year candidate because he stabilizes their second unit, and he’s a vital part of their “death line up” when they go small with Draymond Green at the five, providing great defense on the wing plus another ball handler and scorer. With three games against the Spurs, some other tough matchups, and a few back-to-backs still to come, going 14-3 the rest of the way was not going to be easy.

Make that 13-3 now as the Warriors steamrolled a struggling New Orleans team 125-107 Monday night. That has the Warriors at 60-6 on the season, they are the fastest team to 60 wins in NBA history and remain ahead of the Bulls’ pace.

Stephen Curry had 27 points on 16 shots, on a night he drained threes but also continues to finish in the paint (6-of-7). Klay Thompson added 18, while both Draymond Green and Marreese Speights had 14.

2) East playoff chase: Good night for the Bulls, not for Detroit. Chicago started the night out of the playoffs looking in, while Detroit held down the eighth seed in the East. The Bulls also had the daunting task of facing a good Raptors team and doing it without Pau Gasol — but with the return of Jimmy Butler and a huge 29-point night from Doug McDermott, Chicago got the upset win over Toronto, 107-105. That despite Drake getting in Justin Holiday‘s ear and forcing a five-second violation.

Detroit was facing the Washington Wizards, a team two games back of them and this was a chance for the Pistons to slam the door on the Wizards. Instead, Washington owned the game winning 124-81.

That puts Chicago back in the eight seed but in a virtual tie still with Detroit (Chicago is one game up in the loss column), and the Wizards are looming two games back still. Statistical site fivethirtyeight.com still gives the Pistons a 56 percent chance of making the playoffs, Chicago is at 35 percent, and the Wizards are hanging on at 17 percent.

3) West playoff chase: Good win for Mavericks, better one for Jazz.The Dallas Mavericks entered the night two games ahead of the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot in the West, but entering a brutal stretch of their schedule — the next six games are a gauntlet, and it started with the red-hot Hornets. But Dallas went into Charlotte and picked up the 107-96 upset win behind 24 points from Chandler Parsons (he’s played well of late) and 23 from Dirk Nowitzki. It’s the kind of win that improves a team’s odds of making the playoffs, and gives Dallas confidence heading into the next stretch.

Then Utah went out later that night on national television, without its leading scorer Gordon Hayward, and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 94-85. That is a huge win for the Jazz. Both teams were on the second night of a back-to-back, but on the fourth game of a road trip the Cavaliers’ legs seem tired, and they shot 10-of-42 from three — and against the massive front line of Utah it’s tough to make up for those buckets by driving the lane and scoring. Rodney Hood stepped up and had 28 points for Utah.

Because of Dallas’ brutal schedule the rest of the way, statistical site fivethirtyeight.com still has it as a 71 percent chance the Jazz catch and pass the Mavericks to get the final playoff spot in the West. But Dallas is not going to make that easy if they get more wins like this one.

4) Russell Westbrook with 12th triple-double of the season in Thunder win. Just another day at the office for Russell Westbrook: 17 points, 16 assists, and 10 rebounds as the Thunder handled the Trail Blazers 128-94. That is Westbrook’s 12th triple-double of the season, and he did it in 21 minutes of playing time.

5) Andrew Bogut with as bad a free throw as you’re going to see. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say the ball slipped out of his hands because Bogut is a career 55 percent free throw shooter — not good, but not this bad.

Later Bogut did show some range draining a three up against the shot clock.

LeBron James finishes J.R. Smith alley-oop with authority (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is still a beast in transition.

Tyronn Lue is trying to get the Cavaliers to run more and when they do it can be impressive. On this play, J.R. Smith throws a rainbow alley-oop that LeBron gets up and just powers down.

It was not enough; the Jazz upset the Cavaliers 94-85 in a game that is a boost for Utah’s playoff dreams.

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.