Kurt Helin

Chandler Parsons, Mavs start fast in 128-101 win over Timberwolves

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DALLAS (AP) — Owner Mark Cuban believes boos from the home crowd during a bad start in the last game for the Dallas Mavericks probably got the attention of his team.

Maybe so.

Chandler Parsons scored 29 points as the Mavericks started fast after a woeful opening half two nights earlier and rolled to a 128-101 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.

“This was a mature win for us,” said Parsons, who scored 13 straight Dallas points over the second and third quarters to help restore a 20-point lead built in the first 11 minutes of a sixth straight victory against Minnesota. “Obviously we haven’t been perfect and we’ve had some inconsistencies, but we are sticking together.”

Two nights after scoring 27 points to help Dallas rally from 23 down in the second quarter of an overtime victory against Denver, Parsons was 10 of 15 from the field, made four of seven from 3-point range and hit all five of his free throws.

“We went to him a lot and he delivered,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He played a really smart game.”

Shabazz Muhammad scored 24 points to lead the Timberwolves, who used nine players and dropped to 1-10 on the second night of a back-to-back after rallying for a win at New Orleans.

“We get tomorrow off, but we just look like a tired basketball team,” interim Minnesota coach Sam Mitchell said. “You could see it in their eyes.”

Dirk Nowitzki and Parsons sparked the quick start, both scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range, in the first quarter. The Mavericks went up 39-19 on Nowitzki’s layup for his last points of the game with 1:15 left in the first quarter.

The 7-foot German left early in the third quarter with his fourth foul, and the Mavericks were up by 26 points when he finally came back late in the quarter. Apparently realizing they could rest the 37-year-old, the Dallas coaches pulled him again 24 seconds after he returned.

With Nowitzki and all but one starter for both teams sitting the entire fourth quarter, Dallas’ lead reached 31 as Parsons had to settle for finishing two points shy of his season high while getting six rebounds and four assists.

Wesley Matthews scored 15 points, and backcourt mate Deron Williams had 10 points and nine of the Mavericks’ season-high 34 assists. Dallas had its largest margin of victory a week after beating Philadelphia by 26.

“We’ve been emphasizing getting off to some better offensive starts, and us five collectively had to make a decision to get us going in the first and third quarter,” Parsons said. “We’ve been straggling a bit there with our spacing.”

Muhammad scored 11 points in the second quarter and the Timberwolves got as close as seven before the Mavericks pushed their lead back to 65-54 at halftime when Parsons hit a pullup jumper over Karl-Anthony Towns from just inside the arc.

Andrew Wiggins scored 15 points, and Towns had 12 points and 11 rebounds a night after getting 30 and 15. Zach LaVine, the only starter for either team to play in the fourth quarter, had 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting with nine rebounds after scoring 25 against the Pelicans.

BASEBALL NIGHT IN TEXAS

Newly elected baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. and former Texas Rangers star Michael Young both had front-row seats. Both got loud ovations when they were shown on the video board during a timeout.

FINALLY COOLING OFF

The Timberwolves shot 38 percent after three straight games of at least 50 percent shooting – the second time they’ve had a streak that long in February. “We all pretty much felt like we had the energy to do it,” Towns said. “Sometimes you don’t realize how much your body has taken a toll until it’s actually going through something rigorous again.”

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: The Timberwolves won for the 17th time in franchise history at New Orleans when trailing by at least 10 points in the fourth quarter. Their record is 17-562 in such games. … Ricky Rubio had 14 points and five assists. … Towns had the 34th double-double, tops among NBA rookies.

Mavericks: Dallas shot 64 percent in the first quarter with 13 assists on 16 baskets. … The Mavericks have played a league-high 10 overtime games coming off a stretch of four in six games. That included a franchise-record three straight. Dallas is 7-3

 

Warriors clinch NBA playoff spot with 6 1/2 weeks to spare

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have clinched a playoff spot with more than six weeks to spare.

The defending NBA champions became the first team this season to wrap up a berth when the Houston Rockets lost Saturday night to the San Antonio Spurs. That assured the Warriors will finish among the top eight teams in the Western Conference.

About an hour later, Golden State improved to 53-5 – the best start in league history – when Curry hit a 3-pointer from well beyond 30 feet with 0.6 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Warriors a thrilling 121-118 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Curry had 46 points and his winning shot was his 12th 3-pointer, tying the NBA single-game record. The reigning MVP also broke his own record for 3s in a season, leaving the new mark at 288.

Watch Stephen Curry’s 12 threes against Oklahoma City

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The Thunder started Saturday night’s contest with an “anybody but Curry” defense against the Warriors — Stephen Curry had just two first quarter shots.

But that strategy didn’t hold up.

By the time Curry drained a 32-footer at the end of overtime to give Golden State he was setting records:

• He hit 12 threes, tying the record for most in a game (Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall).

• He has knocked down 288th three-pointers this season, breaking his own record for most threes made in a season. With 25 games remaining.

• Curry is now the first player in NBA history to hit 10 or more threes in consecutive games.

The man is just ridiculous. And fun to watch.

Record-setting, better-than-video-game Stephen Curry beats Thunder in OT

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That. Was. Insane.

Just when you think Stephen Curry can’t do anything else to blow your mind, he reaches another level and drops your jaw like you’re in a Tex Avery cartoon.

Such as nailing a 32-footer with less than a second to go in overtime to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. Which is exactly what happened and gave Golden State a 121-118 win in OKC.

That shot was Curry’s 12th three of the night, tying the record for most in a game (he’s equaled Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall for that honor).

That was Curry’s 288th three-pointer of the season, breaking his own record for most threes made in a season.

Curry is now the first player in NBA history to hit 10 or more threes in consecutive games.

It took every bit of that and Curry’s 46 points — and more, like key Andre Iguodala free throws — to lift the Warriors past a Thunder team looking to establish its credentials as a contender.

OKC looked the part early, racing out to a double-digit lead behind Kevin Durant‘s hot shooting and an “anybody but Curry” defensive strategy. It worked at first, but you can only contain Curry for so long. While Curry had four threes in the first half, the rest of the Warriors had zero. The Thunder led by 10 after one quarter and 11 at the half. The Thunder were getting their shots in the paint, owning the boards, and on defense OKC’s length bothered Golden State.It all worked. In spite of how the game ended, there was a lot Billy Donovan and the Thunder could take away from this game as positive. They were able to pound the Thunder inside and control the tempo for large stretches.  Durant finished the game with 37, Russell Westbrook 26.

But the Thunder also had to leave the game asking: “Can we beat this team four times in seven games?”

Eventually, Klay Thompson (32 points) and the other Warriors started to find their groove, and they closed the gap on the Thunder. And once Curry got going, his range seemed infinite. The only thing that slowed him down was when Russell Westbrook unintentionally landed on Curry’s ankle, turning it in the third quarter. Curry asked out of the game and limped straight back to the locker room. However, he got it retaped and came back in the game a few minutes later, draining threes like nothing ever happened.

Still it looked like the Thunder were going to win in regulation until, in the final seconds, the Warriors made a steal and got the ball ahead to Iguodala, who missed the shot but was fouled by Kevin Durant. Iguodala hit both to force overtime.

Which was all just setting up Curry’s overtime heroics.

Blake Griffin doing “some shooting,” still no return date

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The Clippers have kept right on winning without Blake Griffin, but they are not going to be the same threat in the playoffs without him. The question is how many games he would have back before the end of the season for the team to readjust to him in the lineup.

No date is set, but Dan Woike of the Orange Country Register reports it is getting closer.

Remember, once medically cleared to return Griffin has to sit out a four-game suspension for the league from the incident where he broke his hand punching a Clipper employee during a dinner in Toronto.

The rumored target is to have him back in time for a rough five-game road trip that starts March 15 in San Antonio (the game on March 13 has the Clippers hosting Cleveland). If he returns for that game, he would play in 17 games before the end of the season, certainly enough time to shake off the rust and get his wind back.

Just something to watch as we move forward. The Clippers are not in a huge rush as they have not lost consecutive games since his injury.