Kurt Helin

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson combine for 15 3-pointers in rout of Blazers

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 34 points, Klay Thompson had 37 and the Golden State Warriors avenged their worst defeat of the season by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 128-112 on Friday night, extending their record regular-season home winning streak to 47 games.

The Splash Brothers combined to shoot 15 for 25 on 3-pointers and went 26 for 45 overall, with Thompson joining Curry as the only players with 200 3s in four straight seasons. They scored 30 or more points in the same game for the sixth time in their careers.

Draymond Green added 17 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists while making all nine of his free throws.

CJ McCollum scored 18 points and Portland topped the defending champions with 19 3s to Golden State’s 18 as the teams combined for the most 3s in NBA history – on 37-for-76 shooting.

From the tip, the defending champion Warriors were out to bury the Blazers after an embarrassing 32-point defeat in Portland last month coming out of the All-Star break. Golden State lost 137-105 at Portland on Feb. 19 – its largest margin of defeat since a 39-point setback to Denver in 2012 – before an impressive seven-game winning streak.

Curry scored 18 of his points in the opening period after going scoreless in the first two nights earlier against Utah, helping the Warriors improve to 29-0 at Oracle Arena this season.

On Monday, Curry became the first player in NBA history with 300 3s in a season and his seven against the Trail Blazers pushed his total to 311.

Damian Lillard returned to his Oakland roots to score 17 points on 5-of-19 shooting after missing 15 of his first 17 shots. Lillard made four 3-pointers and has the most 3s of any player in his first four seasons, topping Thompson’s 784.

Playing in his hometown, it was a far cry from how he lit up the Warriors for a career-high 51 points in that February rout.

Lillard had 91 points in the first two games against Golden State this season, including a career-high 51 in the rout of the Warriors last month.

He was averaging 45.5 points on 54.5-percent shooting and 8.5 assists in the first two meetings and missed scoring 20 or more points in a fifth consecutive game against Golden State.

The first half was a quite an offensive display by both teams. Portland scored 61 points and still trailed by 20 at intermission.

Andre Iguodala hit two quick 3-pointers midway through the second quarter as the Warriors connected on 10 of their first 16 3-pointers and 14 of 25 by halftime.

STEPH COMPARISONS

Lillard was so good against Golden State the last time it prompted Steve Kerr to say, “He looked like Steph Curry out there.”

“Honestly, I really appreciate it,” Lillard said before the game. “I forget who I said it to earlier this week, I loved Steve Kerr growing up with Bulls and with the Spurs. My second All-Star game in New York, he was the coach. I really appreciated his speech to the team before the game, how he took the time to learn about each player.”

Kerr recalled Lillard hitting “like five shots from about 40 feet.”

“He was pulling up from so deep behind the line. I was being complimentary,” Kerr said. “When Steph makes 40-footers and then somebody else does that, it reminded me of Steph.”

Not this time.

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: Portland is 5-18 on Golden State’s home floor since the beginning of the 2003-04 season. … The Blazers still must come back to Oracle Arena on April 3.

Warriors: X-rays on Iguodala’s sprained left ankle were negative. He is questionable for Saturday’s game. … Curry has scored 20 or more points in 10 straight games against the Blazers. … Golden State beat Portland at home for the third straight meeting.

 

James Harden’s 32 help Rockets end Celtics’ home streak 102-98

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BOSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 32 points, including Houston’s final eight, and the Rockets snapped the Boston Celtics’ 14-game home winning streak with a 102-98 victory on Friday night.

Michael Beasley added 18 points and eight rebounds, and Dwight Howard finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for Houston, which has won three straight – all on the road.

The Rockets led by as many as 11 in the third quarter, before seeing that cushion cut to two points in the fourth.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 30 points, but had six turnovers. Jared Sullinger added 24 points and 12 rebounds.

Boston struggled from the field all night, shooting just 37 percent and committing 15 turnovers. The Celtics were also outscored 60-46 in the paint in their first home loss since Jan. 6.

Boston coach Brad Stevens made an adjustment late in the third quarter, inserting rookie Terry Rozier into the lineup. Rozier started the fourth quarter and was active, knocking down an early 3-pointer handing out a trio of assists before heading to the bench with about four minutes to play.

It helped lessen the damage done by Beasley, who scored 10 of Houston’s first 12 points of the quarter.

The Rockets continued to be aggressive, and a free throw by Harden gave the Rockets a 97-91 lead with 2:33 remaining.

It stayed that way when a missed step-back jumper by Harden led to an inadvertent whistle during a scramble for the rebound at the 1:11 mark.

An ensuing jumpball between Howard and Sullinger was controlled by Houston, and Harden knocked down a 19-footer with less than a minute left that got the lead back to eight.

Both teams were flat offensively in the early going. But Houston cobbled together a 13-4 run late in the first half and led by three at the break.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Have scored 100 or more points in 45 of the 54 games under interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

Celtics: Are 6-21 when trailing entering the fourth quarter.

 

Hassan Whiteside with monster alley-oop finish against Bulls (VIDEO)

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Good luck throwing it too high for Hassan Whiteside to go up and get it.

This was a brilliant alley-oop from Goran Dragic, who had two defenders with him trying to cut off his lane to the rim and he pulled them in deep then threw a rainbow pass back over his head to the rolling Whiteside. Who knew what to do with it.

The Heat rolled the Bulls 118-96, keeping Chicago on the outside looking in at the playoffs in the East right now.

Ricky Rubio knocks down game-winning three to beat Thunder (VIDEO)

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At the end of games (or any possession), there are shots you want to take away and shots you can live with as a defender. Andrew Wiggins driving to the basket, that you want to take away. Ricky Rubio with a jumper? If that beats you, then you tip your cap.

I guess Oklahoma City should just tip their cap.

Just after a Steven Adams putback that tied the game (I’m not getting into that goaltending call and review), the Timberwolves had one last chance to win a tie game on the road. Wiggins came off a Karl-Anthony Towns screen and drove into a wall of defenders in the paint, got in the air, and threw it back to Rubio at the three-point line. For the season, Rubio is 26.2 percent shooting from that area of the arc, basically just one in four falls.

This was the one. Timberwolves get the win.

It felt like the Thunder were looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown with the Spurs, but you can’t take nights off in the NBA.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver shoots down expansion idea. Again.

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Like all the cool kids — well, all the cool kids in 2001, today it’s completely overblown — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is in Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest, or  SXSW.

And one of the many division of the event now is SXSW Sports, where Silver was a keynote speaker. While there he got asked by a Seattle fan about the possibility of expansion, about the only way that city will get a team in the short-term with new arenas coming in Sacramento and Milwaukee.

Silver shot it down in no uncertain terms, saying it isn’t good for the current owners (who would need to approve expansion). From Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com.

“We are 30 partners right now. Thirty teams. Each of those teams own 1/30th of all the global opportunities of the NBA. So the issue becomes, if you expand, do you want to sell one of those interests off to a new group of partners? One reason to do it of course, is that if it’s additive. And no doubt, Seattle is a great market. At the moment, like for me as successful as the league is right now, we (are) not in the position, putting even aside profitability, where all 30 teams are must-see experiences. That’s not a secret….

“There are so many great players in the league,” Silver said. “And that’s one of the issues with expansion. Even putting aside the financial notion of selling equity and whether if it’s additive to the league as a whole to add more teams, the question becomes is it dilutive in terms of talent. And that’s something that I’m focused on as well.”

The bottom line is this: owners currently all get 1/30th of the slice of the financial pie from television, global markets, and the rest of the income beyond ticket sales. They don’t want to make that 1/31st. Mark Cuban has said this before, the short-term bump from expansion fees is not worth the long-term hit from giving up part of that income.

What’s more, this would let 15 more players into the NBA. You can make an argument that the next 15 are no better than the last 15 currently on NBA rosters, but does the league need to put more of those guys who are bouncing between the D-League and the NBA into the league? Does that improve the product?

Silver said eventually the NBA will consider expansion again, it’s the way of any business. But it’s not happening anytime soon.

Sorry Seattle.