Best game of the night was in Dallas, and we’ve got two from that game. Plus the hot hand that did in Boston.
Third Star: Chris Paul(33 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists)
For much of the game Dallas took the strategy of making Chris Paul the scorer for the Clippers. This is the same strategy teams used against Steve Nash at his peak — yes, he’s going to score a lot of points but his team is more dangerous when he is dishing and getting everyone involved. So Paul put up big numbers, eventually all the way to 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting. At the end Dallas went to double-teaming him 30 feet from the basket, and he still scored the Clippers final 10 points in regulation.
Second Star: J.R. Smith (32 points, 7 rebounds)
When that ridiculous 27-footer to end the third quarter fell, you knew it was Smith’s (and the Knicks) kind of night. Smith was aggressive and attacking, getting shots in the paint and knocking down jumpers. The Knicks cannot survive on ‘Melo alone, they need someone else to step up to have a chance in big games. Tonight it was Smith.
First Star: Dirk Nowitzki (33 points, 9 rebounds)
The biggest key was the eight points in overtime — Nowitzki stepped up when Dallas needed him Tuesday. Dirk is back to being his fluid, smart and unguardable self. Dallas needs to get him the ball in the crunch — not go with Vince Carter or O.J. Mayo isolations (although that worked out pretty well for Dallas this time around. The Mavs they did a better job of that Tuesday. Especially in overtime. And the result is a Mavericks team right in the middle of a playoff hunt.
Report: Mavericks banned fan who heckled Patrick Beverley
Sources told ESPN that Don Knobler, a fan known for his flamboyant wardrobe who has long sat courtside at Mavericks home games, was banned from the arena for the remainder of the season after an investigation by the organization confirmed Beverley’s account of their interaction.
According to sources, fans complained that Knobler had inappropriately heckled opposing players on other occasions as well.
Good for the Mavericks for investigating. They’ve lost the benefit of the doubt on their investigations being thorough, but hopefully this one was.
Luka Doncic fined $10k for kicking ball into stands (video)
Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić has been fined $10,000 for kicking the game ball into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident, for which Dončić was assessed his second technical foul and ejected, occurred with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter of the Mavericks’ 111-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 19
But the Rockets had to open a roster spot for Faried. Their clear preference was trading Carmelo Anthony. Failing that, they’d release James Nunnally.
Houston agreed to deal Anthony to the Bulls but couldn’t complete the trade because the league office was closed, as is the norm on weekends and holidays (in this case, Martin Luther King Day). So, the Rockets dropped Nunnally, eating the remaining salary on his 10-day contract, increasing their luxury-tax bill and costing him the opportunity to play for a team that could use him.
“I don’t think it’s right,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of having to terminate Nunnally. “There’s ways (the league) could have facilitated it.”
What happened to the Rockets was fair in that the rules were clear and applied equally to each team.
But I agree with D’Antoni. Games don’t stop for weekends and holidays. The league office shouldn’t, either.
Teams should have more ability to change their rosters on the fly, because games come so quickly. Halting business for weekends and holidays is antiquated. This is a global, multi-billion-dollar operation now.
The NBA can afford to employ enough people who review trades not to overwork any of them. It’d create a better product and make the sport operate more smoothly.
Stephen Curry slips and falls on wide-open fastbreak, gets ball back, air-balls 3-pointer (video)