If you were watching the Super Tuesday results roll in and shaking your head at America, I fully understand. And we’ve got you covered for missing a night of NBA action, here’s what you need to know from around the Association.
1) No Curry, not exactly no problem but Golden State grinds out a gritty win over Hawks. Without Stephen Curry and his disruptive gravity that warps defenses, the Golden State Warriors are not the same team. The passing isn’t as crisp, the spacing just isn’t quite there, and it feels like a grind to watch them score half the time. But the Warriors can grind. That’s what they did Tuesday night, needing overtime to keep their perfect home record and pick up a 109-105 win. But they got there. Golden State did it with hustle — they got the offensive rebound on 34 percent of their missed shots on the night. Andrew Bogut was at the heart of it all in this kind of game with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Then, when the Warriors needed a clutch three late, there was Draymond Green, Mr. Grit on this team.
The Warriors remain just ahead of the Bulls’ record win pace (and next up is a rematch with Oklahoma City Thursday).
2) Carmelo Anthony had a rough night. First, he got blocked by the rim.
Then late in the game, ‘Melo was being heckled by a fan who was saying he sucked, and Anthony told him to ask James Dolan for his money back. Then he pointed to where the owner was sitting. That’s going to go over well in Madison Square Garden. Oh, and Portland easily handled New York by 19.
3) Lakers’ rookie D’Angelo Russell scores 39 in Lakers’ win. This is the most a Laker rookie has scored in a game since Elgin Baylor in 1959. Which is some pretty nice company. Russell was always going to take time to come around — his game isn’t based on explosive athleticism, he was never going to come into the league and just dominate. He was going to have to figure out how to use angles, create space, and bring more of his old-man game to the NBA. And he is figuring it out. Russell’s change of pace, his hesitation moves are impressive for a rookie. His passing is improving and he’s finding those angles. He’s looking strong running the offense and using pick-and-rolls to set everything up. And, as he showed Tuesday, his shot is coming along nicely.
4) Derrick Rose is back but Heat still smack struggling Bulls around; Chicago falls out of playoffs. The Bulls got Derrick Rose back and he was still attacking with speed and trying to get to the rim. Rose had 17 points on 11 shots. But the Bulls’ defense was terrible and Miami shredded it on the way to a 129-111 win. That loss drops Chicago to the nine seed — if the playoffs started today Chicago would be golfing. Except for Pau Gasol, he’d be at the opera.
Miami set a record shooting 67.5 percent on the night. Hassan Whiteside owned the fourth quarter and had 26 on the night, while the newest Heat member Joe Johnson added 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting. It all started with penetration — Miami formed a conga line into the paint where they either got to the rim, pulled up for a wide-open midrange jumper, or kicked out to a wide-open three-point shooter. Miami did whatever it wanted on offense. Chicago put up points but they had no answer on defense for the small-ball Heat (without Chris Bosh).
If Chicago doesn’t find it’s defense soon, it will miss the playoffs in the first year of the Fred Hoiberg era. And that would and should raise a lot of questions about the team’s front office competence.
5) Dwyane Wade can still get up and dunk. Barely. This is not exactly the most impressive of throwdowns, but it still counts for two.