Kurt Helin

Tim Duncan, Kyle Anderson

Who wins a footrace: Kyle Anderson or Tim Duncan?

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Former UCLA Bruin Kyle Anderson has some skills. The reigning Summer League MVP plays a high IQ game and is a forward who can handle the rock, which is getting him a few Boris Diaw minutes off the Spurs bench this season.

But the man is not fast.

After watching him on a “fast” break Monday night, Tim Duncan thought he could take him in a race. Via Jeff McDonald of the Express-News.

Anderson knows he’s not fleet of foot, his twitter handle is “slowmo.”

This harkens back to the “who would win a race between Dirk Nowitzki and Peyton Manning” debate from the preseason. These are races that could be timed with a sundial. Saying there would be winners is a relative term.

But in this case we might actually see the race. I want a Duncan/Anderson race. Charles Barkley and Dick Bavetta can be the honorary timers.

Five Takeaways from an NBA Monday: Durant is back and so are Thunder

Enes Kanter
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It’s Monday, and all you can think about is turkey and football on Thursday. But you have to get through a few work days, and the NBA machine does not stop. Here is what you may have missed Monday night while trying to figure out what to do with 600 Chris Denorfia Padre bobbleheads:

1) Kevin Durant is back and he is still a bad man. Russell Westbrook is elite. Kevin Durant is elite. But pair them and you quickly see why Oklahoma City has to be considered a potential title contender — when Durant and Westbrook are on the court together this season, the Thunder have an offensive rating of 117.5 points per 100 possessions and are beating opponents by 19.1 points per 100. Nobody can stop those two together (throw Serge Ibaka in the mix and it’s +17.1 per 100).

The Utah Jazz couldn’t stop them Monday night. Durant returned from a strained hamstring after missing six games — where the Thunder were an inconsistent 3-3 — and scored 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Behind him, the Thunder had no problem with Utah, winning 111-89 in Utah. KD has returned, and so have the Thunder.

2) Kemba Walker is having a huge season. Just ask the Kings. If you’re looking for a guy having a huge season yet flying under the radar, it’s Kemba Walker in Charlotte. If you don’t believe me, ask the Sacramento Kings, who watched him take over the fourth quarter (9-of-10 shooting, including hitting three threes in the final frame) and finish the night with 39 points. Walker is scoring 16.3 points per game this season, shooting 37 percent from three and is just being more efficient in a more up-tempo system with a little space to work. He’s playing at an All-Star level (whether he makes the game is another matter, the guard spot in the East is loaded). Walker also thought he had the game winner Monday night to beat the Kings, but Rudy Gay had other plans (the Hornets did win in OT).

3) While everyone watches Kristaps Porzingis, the Heat keep right on winning, beating Knicks. Here is your required-by-law Porzingis Hype update — he had 20 points and 14 rebounds, having another impressive game on Monday night. Oh, and by the way, the Heat won the game. Everyone wants to look past Miami but they just went 6-1 on their recent homestand, and while games such as the need to come from way behind to beat Philly raise an eyebrow, the fact of the matter is Miami is 9-4 this season, second best in the East, with the best defense in the NBA allowing just 94 points per 100 possessions (stats via NBA.com). If their offense comes together like you would think it should, the Heat become a dangerous team.

4) LeBron James passes the Big O for another milestone. It happened with five minutes left in the second quarter. LeBron drove the lane and kicked it out to the corner, finding Kevin Love who drained the three. That assist moved LeBron passed Norm Nixon into 25th all-time in scoring.

With that LeBron joined the legendary Oscar Robertson as the only players in the top 25 all-time in scoring and assists in the NBA. Later in the game, LeBron moved past Reggie Miller for 18th all-time on the scoring list. At this point in his career, LeBron is just going to rack up milestones seemingly every time he steps on the court.

5) Just a reminder: Philly has lost 25 games in a row dating back to last season. Nobody is really going to count it because it stretches across two seasons, and we don’t like those kinds of records, but after a loss Monday night to Minnesota (where Jahlil Okafor outplayed Karl-Anthony Towns), the Sixers are now 0-15 this season, which when combined with the 0-10 finish to last season makes them an ugly 0-25. The NBA’s longest losing streak is 26 games. Just consider this a little reminder that the Sixers remain just awful.

Wiggins scores 32 as Wolves drop Sixers to 0-15

Andrew Wiggins, Kevin Garnett
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Wiggins scored 17 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter to help the Minnesota Timberwolves keep Philadelphia winless on the season with a 100-95 victory over the 76ers on Monday night.

Kevin Garnett had eight points and 10 rebounds and the Timberwolves (6-8) won at home for the first time in seven games this season. They dropped Philadelphia to 0-15 and avoided another embarrassing home loss to the Sixers, who snapped an 0-17 start to last season with a win at Target Center.

Jahlil Okafor had 25 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks for Philadelphia and thoroughly outplayed No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns, who played just 19 minutes because of foul trouble. The Sixers led by 13 in the first half and by five with 2:30 to play but once again couldn’t hold on.

Unlike the 76ers, a team filled with youngsters that is built to lose, the Timberwolves have surrounded their young core with veterans Garnett, Tayshaun Prince and Andre Miller, all in an attempt to insulate the kids from the trauma that can come with mass losing in the NBA.

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown admitted to being envious of the Wolves’ roster construction before the game, pointing out that the coach himself had to serve as the veteran guidance for these Sixers.

Garnett was there for the Wolves on Monday night in a throwback performance, scoring six straight points in a 10-0 run to open the third that got a Target Center crowd rendered sleepy by the team’s sluggish play in the first half on its feet.

Philadelphia took the punch and rebuilt a six-point lead with under five minutes to play before Wiggins took over. The reigning rookie of the year – coveted by the 76ers in last year’s draft – scored on a drive, a runner and a three-point play to get Minnesota within two at 91-89.

That’s when Jerami Grant swatted a dunk attempt by Kevin Martin right into Wiggins’ hands. He threw down a thunderous dunk to tie it at 91, and then knocked down two free throws a minute later for the lead and Martin made a 3 with 28 seconds left to ice it.

It was another gut punch in a season full of them for the 76ers, who led by 11 with just over seven minutes to play at Miami on Saturday before the Heat ripped off a 19-2 run.

The Sixers have taken a beating over the last few years under Sam Hinkie’s plan to tank their way back to the top, but Minnesota holds a special place in their hearts. Last year they were one loss away from tying the league record for consecutive defeats to start a season when they won at Target Center.

 

Kemba Walker, Rudy Gay trade big shots in final second to force OT

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The most entertaining, dramatic game of the night was Sacramento visiting Charlotte — a contest that included two wild buckets in the final second.

The game was tied at 110-110 and Charlotte had the ball with 7.6 seconds left. The Hornets sprung Kemba Walker out top (elevator doors!) to get the ball for a last-second isolation set. Normally I’d rather see a set play here, but Walker had the hot hand (he finished the night with 39 points on 23 shots). He drove right, used a little hesitation move to create space, and was able to get a scoop off the glass with 0.7 seconds left on the clock.

The Hornets were all but celebrating the win — until Rajon Rondo found Rudy Gay on an alley-oop where the defender stumbled, and Gay caught and banked in the tying shot.

In OT, it was eight points from Jeremy Lin that sealed the win for Charlotte, 127-122.

 

LeBron James joins Oscar Robertson on elite NBA list

Aaron Gordon, LeBron James
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Make room, Big O.

LeBron James joined Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to rank in the Top 25 in points and assists.

With his fifth assist Monday night against Orlando, James pulled into the elite company of Robertson, the legendary “Big O,” who finished with 26,710 points and 9,887 assists. James entered the game needing 21 points to pass Reggie Miller (25,279) for 18th on the career scoring list. Robertson is 11th.

James reached the milestone with 5:00 left in the second quarter. The Cavaliers’ star drove the lane, jumped and made a quick pass into the corner to Kevin Love, who knocked down a 3-pointer. It moved James past Norm Nixon (6,386) for 25th on the assist list.

Before the game, Magic coach Scott Skiles, who holds the NBA record with 30 assists in a game, said James is more like Robertson and Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan, the player with whom he is most often compared.

“Every time there’s a young great player everybody talks about Michael, but to me he’s always been more like a Magic (Johnson) or an Oscar-type player because of his vision,” Skiles said. “That’s what makes it so difficult. If you think you’re going to give him a steady diet of running and double teaming him, he’s going to carve you up. He’s going to find everybody, find the open man.”

Skiles marvels at how James can take over any game.

“The really great players play at the pace they want to play at in the game,” Skiles said. “It could be fast for a while. It could be kind of slow for a while. It could be they’re in the post. It could be they run pick and rolls. It’s very, very difficult to get them out of their pace. There are a lot of talented guys that can’t go all the way into that upper echelon because they haven’t quite got that part mastered – but he does.

“He’s going to play the game the way he wants to play it, but his vision certainly sets him apart from a lot of the great players.”