Kurt Helin

Dirk Nowitzki, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul

Seven Takeaways from NBA Wednesday: DeAndre Jordan booed, Nets win


It was one crazy day and night in the NBA — too big for five takeaways, so we’re going with seven (and still left some good stuff out). Here is what you need to know from a wild day around the Association:

1) Mavericks fans let DeAndre Jordan hear it, enjoy a side dish of revenge. If this were any other game in Dallas, we would be talking about Dirk Nowitzki‘s 31 points and how the veteran is shooting 55.3 percent (a career high) and hitting 51.6 percent from three so far this young season. But that’s not what this game was about in Dallas — this was the night that traitor DeAndre Jordan came back to town (that’s how they saw it in Dallas). As promised he was booed like the devil himself.

What Mavs’ fans enjoyed more was the 25 points from Wesley Matthews and the way he overpowered J.J. Redick much of the night. That and the 12-2 run late in the fourth that gave Dallas a quality win. It was pretty close to an ideal night for Mark Cuban and his team.

2) LaMarcus Aldridge‘s return to Portland was a very different experience. Unlike Jordan in Dallas, LaMarcus Aldridge was greeted with a mix of cheers and boos on his coming back to Portland.

Portland fed off the energy of the crowd, went on an early 14-2 run and led 18-10 early, but the relentless execution of the Spurs eventually overwhelmed them and by the middle of the second quarter the Spurs were in control. They never really pulled away, Portland made runs, but it just felt like the Spurs were going to get the win and they did, 113-101. The game was a perfect example of what Aldridge gained on the court by leaving: He had 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting, but he never had to just carry the load, it was a team effort (Kawhi Leonard had 20, Manu Ginobili 14). Midrange jumpers Aldridge had to take in Portland are now passes to an open Danny Green for a three (if not Green, someone else). Portland, even last year when it was deeper with talent, just never played that way

More bad news for Portland: Sharpshooting big man Meyers Leonard dislocated his shoulder in this game and is going to miss some time (how much is not yet known).

3) Kings win, DeMarcus Cousins drops 33, and George Karl is reportedly safe (for the season). So everything is just peachy in Sacramento now, right? Okay, maybe not. But it appears that for one night at least the Kings’ team meeting worked as they came out and played with some real fire and energy and that got them a nice win at home over Detroit. DeMarcus Cousins outplayed Andre Drummond, Boogie put up 33 points and played quality defense on the Pistons’ lynchpin all night. Rajon Rondo was solid and had a triple-double of 14 points, 15 assists, and 11 rebounds. It was the kind of effort and win the Kings needed.

GM Vlade Divac finally got around to backing his coach, saying George Karl will coach the Kings through the end of this season. None of this means all the drama is gone, or that next summer owner Vivek Ranadive won’t try to lure John Calipari or someone else in to take over the franchise, but the Kings needed a win for stability and they got one.

4) Stephen Curry is just flat our ridiculous. First he did this:

Then he did this. It’s just not fair.

5) Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis‘ game-winning shot overruled by replay. The fast-growing legend of Kristaps Porzingis in New York — he’s contributing more than expected as a rookie, and showing some real toughness — almost grew by leaps and bounds on Thursday when he appeared to hit a game winner to beat the Hornets in Charlotte — but replay showed he just didn’t get the ball off in time.

6) Game winners galore: Cody Zeller, Nikola Vucevic, and Kenneth Faried each drop one. There were huge game-winning shots everywhere you turned on Wednesday night. We’ll start the tour in Charlotte — since Porzingis’ shot was late, this one by Cody Zeller is your game winner.

The Lakers visited Orlando, Kobe Bryant sat and D'Angelo Russell looked the best he has all season, but the Lakers couldn’t execute with the game on the line. Los Angels got the ball in a tie game with 25.5 seconds left, tried to take a late shot, but the play of Lou Williams in isolation led to a shot that didn’t even it the rim and a shot clock violation. That left 1.5 seconds for Nikola Vucevic to do this:

Denver drew up a final play that got Danilo Gallinari the last shot, and just like the Lakers’ Willaims he airballed his chance — but this is why you have to put a body on Kenneth Faried.

7) Nets win! Nets win! Theeeeeee Nets win! I don’t know if this model is sustainable for Brooklyn, but for a night they hit their threes (8-of-17), knocked down the midrange jumpers they take too many of, and played their best defense of the season. Of all the games they were going to get their first win of the season, on the road against a good Rockets team would not have been my prediction, but here we are as the Nets triumphed 106-98. Bojan Bogdanovic had 22 off the bench, Joe Johnson had an inefficient 16, and the Nets will take it. My guess as to what was different? Lionel Hollins shaved off his beard.

That leaves the Sixers as the only winless team in the NBA.

Bogdanovic leads Nets to 1st win, 106-98 over Houston

Jarrett Jack, Brook Lopez
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HOUSTON (AP) — Coach Lionel Hollins and the Brooklyn Nets have been working hard all season with nothing to show for it.

That work finally paid off Wednesday night with their first win of the season.

Bojan Bogdanovic came off the bench to score a season-high 22 points with nine rebounds and lead the Nets to a 106-98 victory over the Houston Rockets.

The Nets entered the game 0-7 and the Rockets had won four straight after opening the season 0-3.

“When you get a win it validates all the preaching and all the working that you’re doing,” Hollins said. “When you do get a victory you can say: `Hey, this is what we’re talking about.’ Because in that victory there’s a lot of things that I’ve been preaching and other coaches have been preaching.”

Brooklyn scored six straight points to turn a tie game into a 99-93 lead with 3 1/2 minutes remaining. Thomas Robinson led the way in that stretch, scoring four points highlighted by a dunk after a steal.

Marcus Thornton made a 3-pointer for Houston, but Bogdanovic hit one with 1:37 left to stretch the lead to 102-96.

“It was the first time we didn’t have black holes in our game,” Bogdanovic said. “That’s the biggest reason why we won.”

James Harden led Houston with 23 points, cooling off after scoring 43 and 46 in the last two games.

The victory was Brooklyn’s first in Houston since March 13, 2006, ending an eight-game skid.

Joe Johnson added 16 points and 10 assists for Brooklyn. Brook Lopez had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

“We responded to their runs,” Lopez said. “We played our most complete game of the season. Obviously it’s good to get that first one. It’s a breakthrough.”

The Nets scored nine consecutive points, capped by a 3-pointer by Wayne Ellington, to take a 91-87 lead with 6 1/2 minutes remaining. Dwight Howard missed two layups on consecutive possessions to leave Houston empty-handed.

Howard had 10 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks.

“I’m worried about our team right now,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “We haven’t caught a rhythm yet. I’ve said it all since we’ve been together. We haven’t been able to put together long runs of just good, solid basketball.”

A layup by Trevor Ariza ended a drought of more than three minutes for the Rockets after that. That was the start of a 6-2 run that tied it at 93-93 with less than five minutes left.

The Rockets trailed by six at halftime but used an 18-6 run to take a 79-68 lead with just more than three minutes left in the third quarter. Harden, Ariza, Thornton and Patrick Beverley all made 3-pointers for Houston in that span.

An 11-4 spurt by Brooklyn cut the lead to 83-79 entering the fourth quarter.

Brooklyn scored the last six points of the first half to lead 55-49.


Nets: Rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson started and played the first 7:49 of the game before sitting out until the fourth quarter. He finished with four rebounds and an assist. …. Thaddeus Young added 13 points.

Rockets: F Terrence Jones returned after missing the last five games with a cut on his right eyelid. He had four rebounds. … Beverley returned after missing the last two games with a concussion. … G/F K.J. McDaniels was assigned to Houston’s D-League Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday. … McHale said rookie Sam Dekker is dealing with a back problem, but will likely join McDaniels with Rio Grande Valley when he gets healthy.


Rockets’ Patrick Beverley arrested for unpaid traffic ticket

Patrick Beverley

The lesson here people: pay your car registration fees and your tickets.

The Rockets’ Patrick Beverley did not, and it led to a silly and avoidable arrest, which was announced by the team. The Rockets released a statement on the matter, which NBA.com’s John Schuhmann took with the appropriate level of seriousness.

As noted above, Beverley is not going to miss any time because of this.

In the words of Chief Wiggum, “Ok folks, show’s over, nothing to see here.”

Grizzlies’ Matt Barnes gets flopping warning for three vs. Clippers


The thing is, it worked.

The Grizzlies were down four with 13.3 seconds left and needed a three, and they got one in practice when Chris Paul was called for a foul on Matt Barnes on the play above. Barnes comes off the screen and sells contact that is barely there. (For the record, the NBA determined this was the correct call, there was a foul, but that Barnes flopped in exaggerating the contact to make sure he got the call.)

The bottom line is it worked; Barnes got three free throws, and the Grizzlies stayed in the game (they eventually lost the free throw battle at the end). And for this flop he got a warning, which means if he flops again this season and is caught he could will a $5,000 fine — or 0.001 percent of his salary this season. That will teach him.


Rumor: DeMarcus Cousins cussed out George Karl in front of team

Atlanta Hawks v Sacramento Kings

James Ham of CSNBayArea.com has repeatedly written that the vibe inside the Kings’ locker room after the team fell to 1-7 Monday, losing to San Antonio, was weird and off.

This would explain why if true — DeMarcus Cousins cursed out coach George Karl in front of the entire team, according to The Big Lead.

After Sacramento was hammered at home by San Antonio Monday night, the Kings’ star, DeMarcus Cousins, stormed into the locker room and cursed out head coach George Karl with a torrent of obscenities, a person close to the situation told The Big Lead.

After Cousins unleashed the F-bombs on Karl, all the head coach – who publicly feuded with the Kings best player last summer – could do was walk away, a source tells The Big Lead. Afterward, Cousins felt some remorse for his actions, asking a couple of teammates if he came down too hard on the coach. They calmly told him, “you can’t scream and curse like that at your coach in front of everyone.”

This is what led to the team meeting Tuesday before the team’s practice, a meeting that resulted in the usual “we’re all on the same page now” quotes, save for GM Vlade Divac admitting that the players have not yet bought into Karl’s system.

But the Big Lead had one other rumor out of that meeting, which I would take with a big grain of salt but speaks to the mess in that organization right now.

What hasn’t been reported is that after the players spoke, Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac and assistant GM Mike Bratz talked to the players and Divac asked the team, “We don’t know what to do with George [Karl], do you think we should fire him?”

I’m not sure Divac would do that. If Divac put that question to the players in a team meeting, he’s making more mistakes than we realized. If you’re not sure about a coach — and Divac the GM inherited Karl — you privately may talk about it with a franchise cornerstone player (like Cousins). But it’s not something where you want the players starting to lobby for or against a coach.

Looming over all of this is owner Vivek Ranadive, who has the patience of a four-year-old. DeMarcus Cousins, for all his flaws, has been undercut by ownership in Sacramento that is constantly changing the front office and with that constantly changing the style of play. The word consistency seems to be banned in Sacramento. Ranadive wanted Karl and got rid of Mike Malone, the guy Cousins’ liked. Ranadive wants an up-tempo team, but does not have a good up-tempo roster built. And looming over it all are the whispers around the league (mentioned by the Big Lead) Ranadive wants to bring in John Calipari and give him all the power. (I’m far from sold Calipari would take it.)

It’s a mess. And if the Kings don’t start picking up some wins, the pressure is only going to build.