Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while flipping out over those extra $4 the Chinese restaurant charged you…
Golden State Warriors. And the train kept a rollin’… that is 14 in a row. If you were trying to knock the Warriors during this run you’d say that they haven’t played a lot of the West’s best in this stretch, but they got a quality win over the Rockets 105-93. Quality because the Rockets have still been rolling teams this season without Dwight Howard and they could have done it again with the way James Harden was playing. Harden had 35 points and he was getting into the paint and knocking down contested threes. Basically he was the full Harden but the Warriors absorbed that and won anyway. Second, the Warriors did it without Andrew Bogut — they missed his defense in the paint, they missed his passing, how he moved the ball from strong to weak. But they got 20 points on 9 shots from Harrison Barnes and a balanced scoring night (despite a rough start where they couldn’t buy a three in the first half).
Andre Miller, Bradley Beal. It was the shot of the night, the game-winning tip in as the clock expired that gave Washington a big win on the road in Orlando. Beal rightfully gets a lot of credit for an athletic play at the rim (and he got a nice pick from Paul Pierce to create that space). But to me what makes this play is a perfect lob from Andre Miller — the professor threw the perfect pass.
Derrick Rose. That was the attacking, aggressive Rose we have been waiting to see again. The one Tom Thibodeau has been asking to see. Rose was 5-of-6 in the paint, but also 3-of-7 from beyond the arc on his way to a a team best 23 in a Bulls win over Brooklyn. Rose was getting into the lane when he wanted, and he was putting pressure on the Nets defense, which is what he does best. It’s been a process with Rose getting back to being his old self, but when he plays like this the Bulls are so much more dangerous.
Cory Jefferson’s jump shot. That was not the Bulls’ defense. Jefferson in his limited minutes as a rookie had taken just four three pointers this season. He might want to work on that a little before he breaks it out in a game again.
Al Jefferson. The Hornets need some wins and Jefferson got them one against the Celtics Wednesday, putting up 23 points overall and getting 11 of them in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. What Jefferson — and Lance Stephenson and Kemba Walker — seemed to do more was attack the rim. Jefferson was getting the ball on the left block where he likes it and is nearly impossible to stop. That and stretches of good defense from the starters were what Charlotte needs more of to turn this thing around.
Portland Trail Blazers. What. Was. That. The Timberwolves were the more physical team. The Blazers seemed disinterested early and never were able to get out of that funk. And when you shoot 10-of-35 from three (28.6 percent) you can’t just shoot your way out of it. Minnesota picked up the win 9–82. The Blazers had won five in a row coming in, we’ll consider this a one-off. But in the brutal West you can’t have many of these nights without hurting your seeding.
Carmelo Anthony, Tim Hardaway Jr. deny any lingering friction
“Me and Tim have no problems,” Anthony said before the Knicks’ 109-95 loss to the Spurs. “…. Tim is a guy who I always wrapped my arm around and put under my wing from Day 1, helped him through times when he’s been down, and I will continue doing that.”
Added Hardaway Jr.: “We’re brothers. Brothers argue in the heat of the moment and then they make up. It’s just that simple. I look at Melo as a mentor.”
Of course there is some tension in the Knicks locker room — they are 4-20. If they were all good with that, if it were all puppy dogs and rainbows, if they were not in each other’s faces a little, then I’d be worried. A lot of the players don’t like the triangle? Shocking. It doesn’t fit most of their games, of course they don’t. Along those same lines of course they don’t like the culture change and getting called out. There are a lot of flaws on this roster. This team lacks defenders. It also lacks the unselfish players the triangle offense needs to work. That has included Anthony for portions of this year, he has not bought in like Derek Fisher needs him to on the court.
Things are not likely to get better for a while. Anthony was out Wednesday night to rest his troublesome knee, and the rest of the Knicks could not beat a Spurs team sitting its top four players. The Knicks have players that are simply a terrible fit for the offense and systems Derek Fisher wants to install. It’s going to take a couple years of Phil Jackson the front office wizard to turn this roster into something that can really compete. Even in the East.
In the meantime, the Knicks can just have more team meetings. The Knicks had one last Saturday. Befitting the Festivus season, there was the airing of grievances.
“It was a very productive meeting. Everybody had a platform to say how they felt about what was going on,” said Anthony. “It wasn’t about the system or anything specific like that. It was about what we all can do to be better as a team and get over this hump.”
Bradley Beal tip in as time expires gives Wizards win (VIDEO)
Orlando had played well all night, right down to the final seconds when Victor Oladipo took his shot at a game winner and missed, but left the Wizards just 0.8 seconds left to avoid overtime.
That was enough.
Bradley Beal rubbed off a Paul Pierce screen and rolled to the rim where a perfect lob pass from Andre Miller — maybe the best lob passer in the league — was waiting. Beal tapped it in and Washington picked up a dramatic road victory, 91-89. It was a well designed play by Randy Wittman, one that the Wizards executed perfectly.
Defensively, I know with .08 they have to cover for a catch-and-shoot, but I’m surprised when teams don’t zone off the paint with a big man in these situations, just taking the lob at the rim out of the picture. Oladipo got just half a step behind Beal off the pick and that’s all it took.
Warriors unveil designs for new arena in San Francisco
The Warriors and Manica Architecture released a series of images and an update of what the new arena in the Mission Bay area of San Francisco will look like and contain on Wednesday. It’s easy to make an idealized drawing of the building look good but… those look good (see more below). CSNBayArea.com has more details.
“We believe this plan is a perfect fit for Mission Bay, for San Francisco, and for the entire region,” Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob said in a released statement. “Our goal is to not only build a world-class arena for our team and our fans, but also create a vibrant place that residents and visitors will want to enjoy, whether on game days or any other day.”
From the press release, the arena will have:
• 18,064 seat multi-purpose arena
• More than 100,000 square feet of retail space, mostly food-oriented
• 3.2 acres of plazas and public space – approximately 30% of the total site
• A 35,000 square foot public plaza on 3rd Street, larger than Union Square
• A 24,000 square foot public plaza of open space on the southeast side of the project
• A view deck with newly opened vistas to San Francisco Bay
• Approximately 580,000 square feet of office/biotech/lab space
• Approximately 950 Parking spaces (in three concealed/underground levels)
• 300 spaces of permanent bike valet parking
If that doesn’t sound like a lot of parking, the Warriors say it is more than their current Oracle Arena has. The project will be built on 11 acres of privately held property and still going through the approval stages with the city government.
Expect this to mean more minutes for J.R. Smith — although he was seen limping in the arena Wednesday — and Tim Hardaway Jr., among others.
The Spurs are expected to be without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, and Manu Ginobili for this game (Duncan and Ginobili are resting, the others have injuries). So the fans are really going to get their money’s worth tonight in San Antonio.
Anthony is averaging 22.9 points a game with a true shooting percentage of .540 (above the league average) and is the fulcrum of the Knicks triangle offense. He’s put up numbers but he hasn’t moved the ball as well as coaches would like, nor is he consistently committed on the defensive end.
Still they are going to miss him — when Anthony is on the court their offense is 14.3 points per 100 possession better. That’s hard to replace.