Kurt Helin

Stephen Curry scores 37, Warriors turn showdown with Spurs into 120-90 laugher

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The Spurs got to find out what it’s like to be one of the other 28 teams in the NBA for a night.

San Antonio and its league-best defense had no answers for Stephen Curry, who scored 37 points and abused both Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills with highlight-reel moves. The Warriors gambling defense forced Spurs turnovers on nearly one in four trips down the court (22.2 percent of Spurs possessions), which let the Warriors get out and play the game at their pace (103 possessions). As the other 28 teams could have told the Spurs, let the Warriors run and they put up points in waves, before a team can set their defense. The Warriors relentless pace overwhelmed the Spurs and turned the most anticipated game of the season into a blowout.

The Warriors dismantled the Spurs 120-90. What had been billed as a showdown between the two best teams in the NBA into another Golden State tour de force.

Manu Ginobili put it well (via Jabari Young of the Express-News): Right now the Warriors are the better team.

The Spurs vaunted defense — clear and away the best in the NBA this season — was undone in part by a sloppy offense. San Antonio turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter and 25 times for the game — 15 of those on Golden State steals, live ball turnovers that allow the Warriors to get out and run.

Five of those steals were by Curry, who was leading the relentless assault and had 15 first-quarter points as Golden State shot 55 percent in that first frame. Even when Golden State put their best defender — reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard — on Curry it didn’t matter.

It also didn’t matter when the Warriors did defend Curry well and get a hand in his face — Curry hit 7-of-12 contested shots (according to the NBA.com Sports VU camera data).

But it wasn’t just Curry. Klay Thompson both got loose and made some smart passes, and the Warriors posted up 6’7″ point guard Shaun Livingston on both Tony Parker and Patty Mills when they tried to defend him (Livingston had 13 points on the night). The Warriors killed the Spurs on back-door cuts. Golden State gave the Spurs a lot to think about.

The Spurs were without Tim Duncan, but he would not have changed the outcome. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 16 points.

The outcome of this game doesn’t impact a potential playoff meeting between these teams, or even the next three regular season meetings these teams have before the playoffs even start. But it did show that the Warriors have another gear that the Spurs (and Cavaliers, as evidenced by a game last week) can’t match. At least not yet. But anyone who counts the Spurs out does so at their own risk.

Report: Blake Griffin suffers broken hand, could miss considerable time

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Blake Griffin has missed the Clippers last 15 games with a partial quad tear, but as Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times told us in a PBT Podcast, he was expected to return Tuesday night when the Clippers visited the Pacers.

But he’s going to be out a while longer, according to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin returned home early from the team’s five-game road trip after suffering a suspected broken right hand in an undisclosed team-related incident, ESPN.com has learned.

Sources told ESPN.com that the hand injury — unrelated to the torn quadriceps muscle that has sidelined Griffin since Dec. 26 — is expected to keep him out “a matter of weeks as opposed to days.”

“Undisclosed team-related incident” is an interesting phrasing. I’ll leave it to you to speculate on what that means.

While the Clippers are 12-3 without Griffin, the team’s bench has struggled of late (in Toronto Sunday it cost Los Angeles the game) and the return of Griffin would have helped stabilize the rotations again.

There is no word on how long he will be out, but this is his right — shooting — hand so it has to fully heal.

Griffin is averaging 23.2 points and 8.7 rebounds a game, he can knock down threes and finish at the rim with authority. He’s one of the game’s best power forwards, and the Clippers need him back. They are going to have to learn to be patient for a while.

Stephen Curry shakes, bakes Kawhi Leonard for bucket (VIDEO)

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Kawhi Leonard is the best on-ball defender in the NBA and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

Stephen Curry shook him like he was on the playground.

That play pretty much summed up a night where the Warriors offense toyed with the best defense in the NBA, eventually winning 120-90. Leonard did better than most on Curry, but even he is made to look bad at points. There is nothing a mere mortal can do against Curry at this point.

Just ask Patty Mills.

Elbow from Tyreke Evans gives Anthony Davis concussion, leaves game

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Because the basketball injury gods are not done with New Orleans…

With just less than two minutes remaining in the first half of the Rockets visiting the Pelicans, Houston’s Josh Smith missed a jumper (shocking, I know) and as Tyreke Evans and Anthony Davis both went for the rebound, Evans elbows Davis in the head.

Davis went to the ground, stayed there for a while, went back to the locker room, where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

Davis now has to clear the NBA’s concussion protocol before he can return to the Pelican’s rotation. New Orleans is off until Thursday when they host Sacramento.

Kyrie Irving shows off Globetrotter dribbling, hits step-back three (VIDEO)

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Tayshaun Prince isn’t what he once was, but he’s still a long and reasonable defender.

Kyrie Irving turned him into a highlight package.

Irving goes behind his back away from the screen, and then throws in a crossover before he stepped back and drains the three. That is a thing of beauty.

What you see here seemed to be the Cavaliers’ offense a lot of the night — using their athleticism and skills, but doing it earlier in the clock. It wasn’t about system. It wasn’t always pretty either, particularly on defense, but it worked, Cleveland got the 114-107 win (the first for Tyronn Lue as coach). Irving had 17 points on the night but needed 18 shots to get there.