Kurt Helin

Fans celebrate after Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry scored against the New York Knicks during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Associated Press

Five Takeaways from NBA Wednesday: Stephen Curry on pace for 400 threes this season

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By the time you read this, my bracket will already be busted. I don’t care if games have tipped off or not. Doesn’t matter. Anyway, here’s what you need to know from an NBA Wednesday.

1) With eight more, Stephen Curry on pace for 400 threes in one NBA season. And Warriors have now won 50 in a row at home. The Golden State Warriors thrashed the New York Knicks in a game that went exactly as everyone expected it would, 121-85 Golden State. That makes 50 straight regular season wins at home for the Warriors, extending their record.

And that’s not even the most interesting stat of the night.

In dropping 34 points (in three quarters), Stephen Curry is now on pace to hit more than 400 threes this season. He held the old record at 286, set last season. Curry has 330 threes, and the Warriors have 15 games left, which means he needs to hit 4.7 threes a game to reach 400. Curry has averaged 5.1 threes per game this season. The only question is if Steve Kerr will rest Curry out of the record.

2) Kevin Durant hears “come to Boston” chants as Thunder crush Celtics. Boston misses Jae Crowder, dropping their third game in a row without him 130-109 to Oklahoma City.

The story all day in Boston was how Kevin Durant loves Boston as a city and how Danny Ainge plans to go after KD this summer (if Durant doesn’t just re-sign in OKC, which is still the smart bet). After the Thunder win, Durant raved about the Celtics’ tradition. The Boston fans got in on the act, chanting “come to Boston” during his free throws.

3) After missing four games following death of his brother, Dion Waiters makes emotional return to court for Thunder. It’s amazing that he was back this fast. Waiters’ brother was murdered in Philadelphia and Waiters left the team for a week. Wednesday night he returned to the court during the Thunder win, playing 10 minutes. He looked a bit rusty, but just seeing him back on the court was heartening. Waiters also made some plays.

4) John Wall boost’s Wizard playoff dreams with triple double in win over Bulls. This was a big game for the chase for the final couple seeds in the East — and only one of the two teams looked like they were in a playoff chase. The up-and-down Bulls were down on Wednesday — plus they lost Taj Gibson to a hamstring injury — and that was enough for John Wall lead a blowout win for the Wizards. 117-96. Wall put up his third triple-double of the season with 29 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds.

This leaves Detroit and Chicago in a tie for the last playoff spot in the East (Detroit has the tie breaker), but Washington is now just 1.5 games back and with an easier schedule than either of the two teams they are chasing. This race could go down to the final days of the season. Well, unless Chicago keeps playing like they did Wednesday.

5) LeBron who? Kyrie Irving’s 33 lifts Cavaliers past Mavericks. Tyronn Lue decided to rest LeBron James against Dallas, and suddenly Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love look like they can play together. Now they just have to do that when LeBron is on the court. Irving had 33 points and had the game-saving steal in the final seconds — recognizing Dallas would feed Dirk Nowitzki after Irving got switched on him, Irving jumped the passing lane and got the steal. Kevin Love had 23 points and 18 rebounds on the night.

Dallas and Houston both lost Wednesday, leaving the seven and eight seeds in the East just 1.5 games up on surging Utah. Dallas had a chance to steal one with LeBron out but couldn’t pull it off.

Stephen Curry adds to 3-pointer total with 8 more, Warriors win 50th straight at Oracle

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Here’s an uncanny option for the defending NBA champions: 6-foot-10 Marreese Speights spotting up from deep and getting in on the 3-point fun right alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

“He’s auditioning for that Splash Cousin, maybe,” said Curry, who with Thompson makes up Golden State’s Splash Brothers. “He’s definitely confident out there now. We love that. It adds a new element to our lineup and our rotation when he’s able to step into those 3s and knock them down. We’ll keep feeding him. Definitely a crowd pleaser, and it gets us going on the bench, too.”

Curry scored 34 points in another brilliant 3-point shooting performance and the Warriors extended their record regular-season home winning streak to 50 games with a 121-85 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

Curry shot 8 for 13 from long range and 12 of 20 from the floor overall before sitting out the fourth quarter with his team up big. The reigning MVP hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions late in the first quarter and on two in a row at the end of the third as the Warriors improved to 32-0 at Oracle Arena this season.

Thompson scored 19 points with five 3s and Speights added 13 with three 3s off the bench as Golden State (61-6) stayed one game ahead of the 1995-96 Bulls’ pace in their record 72-win season.

So, how about 50 straight home wins?

“I don’t think any of us are really thinking about numbers,” coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s one of the reasons we’re having such a good season. We’re not paying any attention to anything that doesn’t matter.”

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Knicks.

“It’s unbelievable, the way that they play. The lineups that they mess around with out there,” Anthony said. “Their record, 61-6, we’re witnessing, kind of, history here. It’s hard to give them a pat on the back when you just got your (tail) whipped.”

Curry banked in an off-balance 3 as the shot clock expired late in the third, then hit one from the baseline moments later. Already the first player in NBA history with 300 3s during a season, he has 330 with 15 games to go.

Draymond Green, who had a triple-double at New York on Jan. 31 in which he made all nine of his field goals, finished with six points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

During one stretch, the Warriors had four 3s in five trips down the floor late in the first and made eight straight shots to build a commanding lead they never relinquished in a fourth straight victory against the Knicks. Golden State wound up 18 for 37 from deep, 48.6 percent.

“It’s good to have a green light from the 3-point line when you’re open,” Speights said.

With his 1,518th 3 late in the second quarter, Curry moved past Mike Bibby (1,517) for 24th place on the NBA career list.

PRESSURE COOKER

The second time around is harder, Kerr knows that much. Even with his loose, winning bunch.

Everything was a first for Golden State a year ago, its first title in 40 years during Kerr’s first season as coach.

All the records this season and pressure to win another trophy while getting every team’s best each night, it can be a tough grind for his team.

“This year feels a little more tiresome,” Kerr said. “Trying to give them time off at the right time, trying to keep the practices short and sweet and not overwhelming them with too many film sessions and that kind of stuff.”

TIP-INS

Knicks: New York has lost 21 of the last 27 to Golden State. … Coach Kurt Rambis said G Tony Wroten won’t join the team until after the season. “We’ll see what he can bring in summer league.”

Warriors: Speights hit two or more 3s in a game for the fifth time in his career and fourth this season. … F Kevon Looney had an MRI exam that revealed right hip inflammation. He won’t go on the upcoming three-game road trip. G Andre Iguodala (sprained left ankle) and C Festus Ezeli (left knee surgery) also won’t travel. Ezeli is scheduled to be re-evaluated next week. … Golden State plays at San Antonio on Saturday in a back-to-back during a quick three-game road trip and has lost 32 straight there since 1996 – and hasn’t won on San Antonio’s home floor in the regular season since Tim Duncan arrived in the league. The Warriors return for nine of their final 12 games at home. … James Michael McAdoo hit his first career 3 on his first attempt.

 

John Wall’s triple-double leads Wizards past Bulls 117-96

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The week began with John Wall and the Washington Wizards on a five-game losing streak and facing a daunting margin just to reach the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

After a pair of victories by an average of 32 points over the two teams right ahead of them in the standings, the Wizards are in a far different place.

“Now we’re in it,” forward Jared Dudley said. “Before, if we lose these two, we would have been out of it. We win these two, now we’re in the thick of things.”

Finally playing as if their chance at returning to the postseason was on the line, which it very much is, the Wizards beat Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls 117-96 behind Wall’s third triple-double of the season Wednesday night.

Wall, an All-Star point guard, produced 29 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, outplaying Rose, who returned after missing two games with a strained left groin and finished with 16 points and four assists.

“We just couldn’t really get a stop tonight, so they got us,” said Doug McDermott, who led the Bulls with 20 points as a reserve. “We’ve got to come out with urgency. We didn’t do that tonight. That’s on us.”

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Wall pointed his finger at the defensive side of the ball, saying that the Wizards spent plenty of time watching video of their disastrous recent road trip and focusing on how to improve the way they deal with opponents’ pick-and-rolls.

And, he thinks, the dividends could keep coming.

“We put ourselves in this situation. And if we just keep playing defense this way, we give ourselves a great chance to beat anybody. Simple as that,” Wall said. “We simplified our defense the last two games, it showed up and it’s been a lot better.”

In their previous outing, on Monday, the Wizards beat the visiting Detroit Pistons by 43 points. Detroit lost again Wednesday, 118-114 at Atlanta, meaning Washington is still 10th in the East but now sits only 1 1/2 games behind both the eighth-place Bulls and ninth-place Pistons.

Plus, there is this: The Wizards now own the tiebreakers against both of those teams they’re chasing, 2-1 over Chicago with no games remaining and 3-0 over Detroit with only one to play.

“We knew that the teams that we’re chasing were right here in front of us,” Dudley said. “We knew it was now or never.”

Wall received plenty of help, including 20 points from Bradley Beal and 15 from reserve Garrett Temple.

Chicago got Rose back, and Jimmy Butler scored 17 points in his second game in a row after missing three with an injury. But Joakim Noah is done for the season, Pau Gasol is still out, and Taj Gibson played only 8 minutes Wednesday because he aggravated his right hamstring.

“The challenge is pretty tough right now,” Rose said, “but that’s why we’re pros.”

ROSE’S RETURN

Rose said he expects to face Brooklyn on Thursday. “I wasn’t really trying to force anything,” he said about Wednesday’s return to action. “Just trying to get a groove, get a feel for the ball.” Coach Fred Hoiberg’s take: “I thought his burst looked good, for the most part. We wanted to play him short stints, no longer than 7-minute stints.”

TEMPLE CAN’T MISS

Temple’s points all came in the first half, when he shot 5 for 5 on 3s. “Just taking what the defense gave him,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. The rest of the Wizards’ bench was a combined 0 for 11 in the half.

HOME COOKIN’

The Wizards have won seven of their past eight games in Washington. “Maybe,” Temple joked, “we need to play the rest of our games at home.”

FLAGRANT?

Wall was whistled for a flagrant foul after chasing Butler down and blocking his shot. Wittman’s postgame reaction to the call? “I’m glad I didn’t play in this (era). Jiminy Christmas, if that was a flagrant. But times have changed.”

TIP-INS

Bulls: Have lost nine of 10 on the road. … Cameron Bairstow sat out with a back injury.

Wizards: C Marcin Gortat missed the first quarter because of a sore lower back after tweaking it in warmups. He wound up scoring nine points in 18 minutes. … F Alan Anderson sat out.

 

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Kevin Durant hears “come-to-Boston” chants from Celtics’ crowd

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The game itself was not that interesting. Without Jae Crowder, the Celtics’ defense is not the same and Oklahoma City exploited that cruising to an easy 130-109 win.

What was interesting was Celtics fans with the “come-to-Boston” chant while Durant shot free throws. You can hear it in the video above (if you listen carefully).

It’s worth a shot.

Durant said he likes Boston the city and given the chance Danny Ainge will make a pitch to Durant this summer. I wouldn’t bet the rent — or even enough money for a beer — on Durant choosing Boston, but he could do a lot worse.

DeAndre Jordan dunks, Dwight Howard slides out of poster (VIDEO)

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DeAndre Jordan was running free in the lane and dunking all over the Houston Rockets.

In the one above, Dwight Howard decided not to get put in the poster on a throw down he wasn’t going to stop, and just wisely let him go. By the way, all these Jordan dunks (he had five in the first half alone) were not on Howard — the Rockets’ perimeter defense is terrible and Howard has to help on the penetration, and the Rockets don’t help the helper well at all.

Here’s another Jordan dunk, for fun.