What you missed on Monday around the NBA because you were busy getting in a fight with the Easter Bunny at the mall….
1) Linsanity returns for a night, Hornets come from 23 down to upset Spurs. When the Spurs are playing lock down defense — the Hornets scored just seven points in the first quarter — and get up by 23 in the second quarter, most teams just roll over. But credit Steve Clifford and his feisty Hornets, they didn’t. They picked away and picked away at the lead, until fairly early in the fourth quarter it was tied again.
Which is when Jeremy Lin took over. Lin had 15 of his 29 in the fourth to spark the 91-88 Hornets win. Lin had a good first half (Kemba Walker struggled with six points for the game as the Spurs focused on him) and turned it up late hitting all his threes for the game (4-of-4) but also attacking and shooting 5-of-7 inside eight feet. Lin was draining the big shots in the fourth and carried the Hornets to a win they need as the battle for playoff positioning (they are currently the six seed).
2) Draymond Green lifts Warriors past Timberwolves while Stephen Curry looks like he could use a night off. When Stephen Curry has an off night against the Spurs, you tip your hat to he best defense in the league and figure it was just one of those games. When Curry has an off night against the Minnesota Timberwolves (6-of-17 shooting, and five turnovers in the third quarter), well, with all due respect to Ricky Rubio (one of the better defensive point guards in the game), you think the man might need a little rest.
Fortunately for Warriors fans, they had Draymond Green. The Warriors looked like a team on the last night of a road trip (they were) but Green was the spark they needed. The All-Star forward for the Warriors has seemed frustrated with what the Spurs (and other teams) have done defensively lately, switching the Curry/Green pick-and-roll and daring Green to beat them against a smaller guard. Monday night he did. He took on more of the scoring, he punished smaller defenders then passed out when the defense collapsed on him. Green finished the night with 24 points, and the Warriors avoid back-to-back losses to remain on track to beat the Chicago Bulls record of 72 wins (they need to go 10-2 the rest of the way to make that happen).
3) Andre Drummond tip-in gives Pistons needed win. Detroit is in a playoff chase, currently tied with Chicago for the last slot in the East (and with a hot Wizards team right behind them). The Pistons need all the wins and all the big plays they can get. Enter Andre Drummond, who muscled the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo out of the way to tip in a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope miss and give the Pistons the victory Tuesday.
4) LeBron James throws up triple-double, Cavs win division, but somehow his Twitter feed is the big story. Somehow the big story around the Cavaliers Tuesday was that LeBron James stopped following the Cavaliers on Twitter. Sources told the Cleveland Plain Dealer this was just part of LeBron’s process of tuning out social media as he heads into the playoffs (he unfollowed some Cavs reporters as well). However, some fans seem to want to read into this about LeBron leaving Cleveland again this summer as a free agent. Unless LeBron wants to take his brand and throw it in the incinerator — and LeBron is very, very concerned about his brand and image — he’s not leaving Cleveland this summer. Or likely ever. Unless you think he wants to destroy his Nike sales. LeBron knows he can’t sell the world on going home again then rip the hearts out of Cavs fans again, especially when the organization has done nearly everything he asked and geared up to win now (whether smart or not).
Let’s get back on the court, where LeBron dropped a triple double — 33 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists — and the Cavaliers cruised past Denver 124-91. A division win is not the goal in Cleveland, but it’s a start.
5) Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young under investigation for sexual harassment. There are two parts to developing young players, the on-the-court stuff (improving their skills, getting them experience, teaching them the nuances of the game) and how to handle yourself off the court. How to be professional. As Jahlil Okafor showed the Sixers heading into this season, the second part of that can be harder than the first.
The Lakers’ prized young player Jordan Clarkson, and veteran Nick Young have been accused of sexual harassment for an incident in Hollywood Sunday. A woman and activist on woman’s issues accused the two men (and two others in their Jeep) of saying vulgar and lewd things to her 68-year-old mother, and the woman posted pictures of the men on Instagram from the alleged incident. The Lakers have reached out to her (she said they apologized) and have said they are taking he matter very seriously and are investigating.
Young denied the charge in a tweet which was quickly taken down. I would expect some punishments to follow.