Nuggets run win streak to 14 straight games with late comeback over Sixers

10 Comments

This was the type of game that shows how win streaks usually come to an end. The heavily-favored team comes out with a lack of energy, the underdogs pounce early, and the home team lets its opponent hang around longer than it should, and is unable to put it together in time to keep the streak alive.

A lot of that happened in Denver on Thursday, except for the way things ended over the game’s final few possessions. The Nuggets came from eight points down with under two minutes to play, and five points down with 14 seconds remaining to steal the 101-100 victory, which stretched the team’s winning streak to 14 straight games.

Corey Brewer scored a career-high 29 points on 10-18 shooting, to go along with five steals to lead all scorers. He scored 11 of his points in the fourth, and was the one making the huge plays for his team down the stretch that ultimately paved the way to victory.

With Denver down five and inbounding the ball with 14 seconds remaining, the ball went to Danilo Gallinari, who found Brewer on the wing. Brewer knocked down the open look from three to cut the lead to two, and as it turned out, he was just getting started.

Evan Turner of the Sixers was fouled on the other end to stop the clock, but he missed both of his free throw attempts. That left the door open for the Nuggets, and Brewer was the one who took advantage.

With 6.8 seconds remaining, Denver inbounded the ball once again, and this time, Gallinari found Brewer curling from the wing to the top of the three-point arc. As Brewer rose up for a long three-point attempt, Damien Wilkins fouled him with 2.1 seconds remaining.

Brewer hit all three free throws to give the Nuggets the 101-100 lead, which was ultimately the final margin of victory.

It’s worth noting that Wilkins led the Sixers with 24 points, but committing the foul in that situation undid all of his positive contributions in one single play. Turner shares just as much of the blame if not more, because as a career free throw shooter of close to 75 percent, there’s no excuse for missing two when the game is on the line.

Brewer normally plays between 20-25 minutes per game, but saw more action than usual thanks to Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler both sitting out this one due to injury. It turned out to be a positive for the Nuggets on this night, who were able to run their win streak to 14 straight games thanks in large part to Brewer’s heroics.

Kemba Walker on his future: ‘I just can’t see myself in a Knicks jersey’

Associated Press
3 Comments

When Mitch Kupchak came in as GM in Charlotte it led to a lot of speculation — and a lot of other GMs calling in to check — were the Hornets going to blow it up, trade Kemba Walker, and start to rebuild?

No. Walker is still there, Tony Parker is now backing him up, and new coach James Borrego is talking about upping the pace, getting the Hornets on the run. Walker, heading into the last year of his contract, has consistently said he does not want to leave Charlotte.

That has never stopped fans from his native New York from begging him to come home and lead the Knicks. Walker, talking to Don Amore of the Hartford Courant, reiterated he does not want to leave Charlotte.

“I’ve been hearing it for years,” Walker said Thursday, after working with youngsters at the National Basketball Players Association summer camp. “Every time I come home, ‘When are you going to come home and play for the Knicks?’ I know it’s a special place, I was a Knicks fan growing up, always rooted for the home team. But I just can’t see myself in a Knicks jersey, only because I’ve only been in one jersey.”

“I just want to do something special in Charlotte,” Walker said. “I’ve been there eight years now, and we haven’t really been consistent as far as winning. I just want to try to establish that culture at some point. That’s what I want to do, I just want to make it a winning organization.”

This season, the Hornets are going to try to win, be a playoff team and a threat once there. In a smaller market (one that took owner Michael Jordan a long time to rebuild after what the previous owner had done there), rebuilding can be hard on the bottom line, and the competitive MJ does not want to go there. He wants to keep Walker and build a steady playoff team, and Kupchak has said the same thing.

However, if that doesn’t happen this year, the calculations for the organization and Walker could be different next summer. Could.

For now, Walker just does not see himself if blue and orange.

Stephen Curry entertained by Draymond Green, Steve Kerr arguments

Getty Images
1 Comment

Steve Kerr and Draymond Green have had their come-to-Jesus meeting (or, meetings) and have found their way to a place of mutual respect.

That doesn’t mean they don’t still argue. Plenty.

All this amuses Stephen Curry, who talked about it on The Bill Simmons Podcast when asked about his favorite Draymond story. (Hat tip Bleacher Report.)

“Probably the times him and Coach Kerr get into it,” Curry said. “And you’re inside of practice and you don’t know whose side to take. Just like, “I guess they’re both right, but they’re both wrong….

“They argue about a play call or maybe something Coach Kerr has been thinking about for a couple games. … And [Draymond’s] like, ‘Don’t over-coach. We know what we doing.’ And coach is like, ‘Well, I know you know what you’re doing, but let me just help you as I’m supposed to do. That’s what my job is, to point out things that could be important for us to win a championship.’

“But they have a real—the respect level between those two is at an all-time high, but they have their moments and it’s just amazing entertainment to watch in practice.”

It’s a long grind of a season, you’ve got to take your entertainment where you can find it.

Green’s passion is a challenge for Kerr, but he can’t snuff out that flame because Green would not be the same player without it. It’s about managing it, showing Green the coach has his back, and Green maturing (something he said happened more quickly after his 2016 Finals suspension). It’s worked the past two years and led to two more rings.

Kevin Love on LeBron James: ‘He’s playing chess and everyone else is playing checkers’

Getty Images
4 Comments

Kevin Love is the man in Cleveland now, with LeBron James having gone to Hollywood.

But it’s not going to be the same, and Love knows it. The best player of his generation is gone, and Love had nothing but praise for LeBron and his willingness to take on a challenge in a sit-down interview with ESPN.

Love is right, LeBron loves a challenge, but the one with the Lakers is unlike anything else in his career. Expectations are through the roof for a team that has undergone a roster upheaval, and while those kinds of teams can take a little bit to come together, if that happens and the Lakers get off to a slow start in the West it will be a lot harder to dig out of it than it was after the Cavs’ annual mid-season slump in the East. LeBron is on a team with young players and a lot of stop-gap one-year contracts set up to help them get another star (at the trade deadline or next summer). That makes they dynamics of this season different for LeBron (although he would never admit to it, saying winning was the goal from the start).

Love has got his own challenges. He may not be able to lead the Cavaliers to the playoffs this season. However, he could be a sneaky good fantasy pickup now that he’s going to get a lot more touches.

 

Rumor: Timberwolves bypassed Stephen Curry in draft because Minnesota is too cold for year-round golf

AP Photo/Jim Mone
7 Comments

Timberwolves general manager David Kahn infamously drafted two point guards – Ricky Rubio No. 5 and Jonny Flynn No. 6 – before the Warriors took Stephen Curry No. 7 in the 2009 draft.

Curry, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“My guy David Kahn. I don’t know where he’s at right now,” Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “I don’t know if that ever came out — there’s a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf — play it in my spare time and what not.

“I think the word on the street was that he didn’t draft me because in Minnesota it’s cold and I wouldn’t be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable.”

A shocked Simmons asked Curry: “Is that true?”

“I hope it’s true because that’s hilarious (laughter),” Curry said. “That’s hilarious.”

If this is why Minnesota passed on Curry, it was a huge mistake. Better to take the best prospect available and hope for the best. Curry probably would have learned to appreciate Minnesota. There’s plenty of room to golf elsewhere in the offseason. Remember, Golden State was seen as a low-rung destination just a few years ago. Curry helped transform the franchise’s perception.

Mostly, though, I’m with Curry. This would be a hilarious story if true.

But that doesn’t mean we should just assume it’s accurate. Plenty of teams underestimated Curry, who looked like an undersized score-first guard when he entered the NBA. He just beat the odds and made everyone who passed on him look silly.