Kurt Helin

Throwback Kobe Bryant drops 34 on Celtics, but Boston still gets win


LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant admitted was up for his last game ever against the Boston Celtics.

Bryant dropped 34 points on his long-time nemesis in green, looking like his old self with fadeaways, threes, and hitting contested shots. He was 11-of-28 shooting, but he was putting on a show that the crowd at Staples Center ate up.

“He looked like old Kobe,” Boston’s Isaiah Thomas said (he had 26 points on the night). “From the jump, from the first play, he just had a different energy about him.”

“Two things crossed our staff’s minds,” Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens said. “Number one is, as much as we enjoy watching him on TV, I’m glad that we never will (see him in person) again. Number two is, I can’t imagine what he was like 10 years ago because he looked like he was 29 out there.”

It wasn’t enough, the Celtics executed better in the fourth quarter and got a 107-100 win, clinching a playoff spot officially.


Stephen Curry with postgame, no-look towel toss that knocks water bottle out of Draymond Green’s hands


Even after the game, Stephen Curry couldn’t miss.

He dropped 39 on the Trail Blazers in the Warriors bounce-back win Sunday, then during his on-air postgame interview Curry make a no-look, towel toss at Draymond Green — and knocked the water bottle right out of his hands. There is video above, but you can see it better in this Vine.


Is there anything Stephen Curry can’t do?

Stephen Curry hits Warriors’ 1,000th three pointer. This season.


In the flood of ridiculous stats that come out of Warriors’ games, this one stands out:

The Warriors have now hit more than 1,000 three pointers. This season.

The old record came from last season’s Rockets with 933 (that was 50 more than the Warriors last season). Stephen Curry hit that three and now has 378 of those himself.

Warriors bounce back from loss to thump Blazers 139-111, Stephen Curry has 39


In case you were worried, the Golden State Warriors are just fine.

For the eighth time this season, they bounced back from a loss with a win (and they have won those by an average of 15 points — when they bounce back they bounce back). Stephen Curry put up 39 and looked like vintage Curry. It was one of the highlights of the night — Curry and Damian Lillard (38 points) going back-and-forth at each other.

The difference was Curry had a lot more help — Draymond Green had 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists (his 13th triple-double this season, second most in the NBA), Klay Thompson added 21 points, and Leandro Barbosa helped out with 13.

The Warriors are now 69-8 with five games left to play, and they are still going after a record 73 wins (the 1996 Jordan-era Bulls hold the current mark with 72 wins). If the Warriors can win their next three games, they will go for record win 73 in San Antonio next Sunday (April 10), where the Spurs are currently 39-0 this season.

This Sunday’s game was a defense-free zone early, Portland had 37 points in the first quarter, but the Warriors buckled down and got serious in the second quarter holding the Blazers to 19 points. The Warriors pulled away in the second half and by the end it was never in doubt.

By the way, the Warriors have now hit more than 1,000 three pointers. This season.

Report: Highly touted prospect Thon Maker to petition for NBA draft, skipping college

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, NOV. 8-9 - In this Aug. 23, 2014, file photo, Team Freedom's Thon Maker  is shown in action against Team Liberty during the Under Armour Elite 24 Game in New York. The Great White North is now the Great Frontier in college basketball. After No. 1 draft picks Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins proved there’s plenty of game in Canada, college coaches are looking north of the border for the next star. They may have located him in Thon Maker.  (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)
Associated Press

Thon Maker is a guy that has been on NBA teams’ radar for years, because 7-foot guys with the potential to play like a point forward are hard to come by. However, there have been plenty of questions about his ability to live up to his early hype. Teams thought they were going to get at least another year to evaluate that and his game before having to make a call on how high he would go in the draft.

Nope, he is petitioning to enter the NBA Draft this year, reports the very well-connected Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com.

Thon Maker, a Sudanese 7-footer by way of Australia who plays his high school basketball in Canada, will attempt to enter the 2016 NBA Draft, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told DraftExpress.

The 19-year old Maker believes he has a strong case to be considered draft eligible, since he reportedly graduated high school in Canada in June of 2015, and is now technically in his fifth year of high school.

The official NBA collective bargaining agreement rule states that a player can be eligible for selection in the NBA Draft if “the player is or will be at least nineteen years of age during the calendar year in which the Draft is held, and, at least one NBA Season has elapsed since the player’s graduation from high school.”

It is unclear if the NBA agrees with this interpretation of the rules, it is just looking into the issue.

Judging how a player would leap from Canadian high school basketball to the NBA is the kind of thing NBA owners want to avoid, and if Makers’ petition is approved expect Adam Silver to push even harder for a 20-year-old (two-and-done) age limit in the next CBA.

I saw Maker play in person more than a year ago at Adidas Nations and my impression was that he certainly had potential in his game, you can see a big who fits with the way the NBA is trending, but he was so skinny and so incredibly raw that it was too early to say just how good he could ultimately be. When I bounced that impression off an NBA scout Sunday, the response was “not much has changed.”

PBT’s NBA Draft expert — and Rotoworld writer — Ed Isaacson saw Maker play far more recently and sent this analysis of his skills:

“Maker has been a big name on the high school circuit the past few years, even after choosing to move and play the last couple of seasons in Canada. It’s easy to see why some people instantly like him due to his size, 7’0, with an over 7’3 wingspan, as well as his the energy he plays with on the floor. Still, even though he looks like he has added some weight and strength, his frame still has a long way to go if it’s going to fill out. 

“Even if his name has been known and lauded by many at the high school level, his game has never come close to matching the hype. Though he often has a big size advantage in the low post, he rarely dominates, especially when matched up against other high-level high school players. Maker’s game in the low post is still a bit raw, with very few reliable moves. He can also knock down mid- and long-range jumpers, though the consistency isn’t there yet, and while Maker is a decent ballhandler for his size, he’ll often try to force drives right into the defense. Maker is at his best when he can get out in run the floor in transition, usually heading straight to the rim for a lob pass. Defensively, Maker can be a good shot blocker, if he’s camped around the rim, and he will battle against stronger players in the post, but he’s not a very smart defender and lacks the awareness you would hope for from a top-level big man prospect. Even if he continues to develop his skills on both ends of the floor, his understanding of the game is still way behind. He will be a project for any NBA team that picks him, and I don’t know if he’ll ever meet the early hype on him.”