Stephen Curry adds to 3-pointer total with 8 more, Warriors win 50th straight at Oracle

0 Comments

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Here’s an uncanny option for the defending NBA champions: 6-foot-10 Marreese Speights spotting up from deep and getting in on the 3-point fun right alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

“He’s auditioning for that Splash Cousin, maybe,” said Curry, who with Thompson makes up Golden State’s Splash Brothers. “He’s definitely confident out there now. We love that. It adds a new element to our lineup and our rotation when he’s able to step into those 3s and knock them down. We’ll keep feeding him. Definitely a crowd pleaser, and it gets us going on the bench, too.”

Curry scored 34 points in another brilliant 3-point shooting performance and the Warriors extended their record regular-season home winning streak to 50 games with a 121-85 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

Curry shot 8 for 13 from long range and 12 of 20 from the floor overall before sitting out the fourth quarter with his team up big. The reigning MVP hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions late in the first quarter and on two in a row at the end of the third as the Warriors improved to 32-0 at Oracle Arena this season.

Thompson scored 19 points with five 3s and Speights added 13 with three 3s off the bench as Golden State (61-6) stayed one game ahead of the 1995-96 Bulls’ pace in their record 72-win season.

So, how about 50 straight home wins?

“I don’t think any of us are really thinking about numbers,” coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s one of the reasons we’re having such a good season. We’re not paying any attention to anything that doesn’t matter.”

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Knicks.

“It’s unbelievable, the way that they play. The lineups that they mess around with out there,” Anthony said. “Their record, 61-6, we’re witnessing, kind of, history here. It’s hard to give them a pat on the back when you just got your (tail) whipped.”

Curry banked in an off-balance 3 as the shot clock expired late in the third, then hit one from the baseline moments later. Already the first player in NBA history with 300 3s during a season, he has 330 with 15 games to go.

Draymond Green, who had a triple-double at New York on Jan. 31 in which he made all nine of his field goals, finished with six points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

During one stretch, the Warriors had four 3s in five trips down the floor late in the first and made eight straight shots to build a commanding lead they never relinquished in a fourth straight victory against the Knicks. Golden State wound up 18 for 37 from deep, 48.6 percent.

“It’s good to have a green light from the 3-point line when you’re open,” Speights said.

With his 1,518th 3 late in the second quarter, Curry moved past Mike Bibby (1,517) for 24th place on the NBA career list.

PRESSURE COOKER

The second time around is harder, Kerr knows that much. Even with his loose, winning bunch.

Everything was a first for Golden State a year ago, its first title in 40 years during Kerr’s first season as coach.

All the records this season and pressure to win another trophy while getting every team’s best each night, it can be a tough grind for his team.

“This year feels a little more tiresome,” Kerr said. “Trying to give them time off at the right time, trying to keep the practices short and sweet and not overwhelming them with too many film sessions and that kind of stuff.”

TIP-INS

Knicks: New York has lost 21 of the last 27 to Golden State. … Coach Kurt Rambis said G Tony Wroten won’t join the team until after the season. “We’ll see what he can bring in summer league.”

Warriors: Speights hit two or more 3s in a game for the fifth time in his career and fourth this season. … F Kevon Looney had an MRI exam that revealed right hip inflammation. He won’t go on the upcoming three-game road trip. G Andre Iguodala (sprained left ankle) and C Festus Ezeli (left knee surgery) also won’t travel. Ezeli is scheduled to be re-evaluated next week. … Golden State plays at San Antonio on Saturday in a back-to-back during a quick three-game road trip and has lost 32 straight there since 1996 – and hasn’t won on San Antonio’s home floor in the regular season since Tim Duncan arrived in the league. The Warriors return for nine of their final 12 games at home. … James Michael McAdoo hit his first career 3 on his first attempt.

 

Heat, Tyler Herro agree to four-year, $120 million extension (with $10 million in incentives)

Miami Heat Media Day
Eric Espada/Getty Images
0 Comments

Tyler Herro was frustrated — he saw players he felt he was better than getting paid.

Now he has a contract he will have to live up to.

The Heat have signed Herro to a four-year, $120 million extension of his rookie contract, with up to $10 million in incentives) a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and now confirmed by the team.

Herro went to Twitter to confirm the deal himself.

“Tyler is an impact multi-faceted player and we are excited to have him signed for the next five years,” Heat President Pat Riley said in the statement announcing the signing. “His improvement every year since we drafted him has led to this day. We believe he will continue to get better.”

This is a straight four years, no options for either side.

Signing an extension takes Herro off the table for any trades to upgrade the Heat roster this season. Herro had been at the heart of the rumors about the Heat and Kevin Durant, as well as other teams.

Herro’s new contract extension is a big bet on the wing taking another step forward this season and beyond. The deal is a little larger than expected (the conventional wisdom had Herro coming in close to the $107 million RJ Barrett got with the Knicks). Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel and I have discussed Herro’s price before and didn’t quite picture it this high, but with the rising cap over the next few years this deal may not look out of line.

Miami stepped up and paid the reigning Sixth Man of the Year high-level starter money — now he has to earn that job and that paycheck.

Mostly, he has to improve on defense so Eric Spoelstra can trust him at the end of games and deep into the playoffs (while Herro has had big playoff games, his role shrunk deeper in last postseason because of his defense).

Herro puts up numbers — 20.7 points a game on 39.9% from 3 last season — and is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, but does this new deal move him up in the Heat offensive pecking order with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler? Probably not in crunch time (and if Kyle Lowry bounces back this season, there could be games where Herro is option No.4).

This locks up part of Miami’s roster going into the season, but they are still on the look for depth at the four. Don’t consider this roster settled.

 

Watch Celtics shooters look sharp in easy preseason win over Hornets

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images
0 Comments

It’s just one meanless preseason game, but for a franchise that could use some good news the Boston Celtics will take it.

The Celtics’ shooting looked in mid-season form in their preseason opener against the Hornets on Sunday — 57.1% overall and 22-of-47 from 3 (46.8%). Boston just couldn’t seem to miss, especially early.

Jayson Tatum had 16 points in 22 minutes, while Jaylen Brown was the leading scorer with 24 points in 24 minutes.

The one unexpected bright spot was a strong game from Mfiondu Kabengele, who is currently on a two-way contract with the team. He ended up with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and showed some hustle.

Kelly Oubre led the Hornets with 17 points, while LaMelo Ball had 14 points, seven rebounds and four dimes.

It’s just one preseason game, don’t read much of anything into it. But the Celtics will take the good news where they can find it.

T.J. Warren still out for Nets; team to reassess status in November

0 Comments

The Brooklyn Nets bet that the T.J. Warren from the bubble in Orlando — the one who averaged 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers — would re-emerge and give them a quality forward they could mix into a deep rotation.

Instead, so far it has looked more like the Warren who has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.

Warren is improving and the Nets are bringing him along slowly, keeping him off the court until November at least, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Small forward T.J. Warren, who has missed nearly two full seasons following multiple foot surgeries, is “doing some shooting” and “a little bit more movement the last two weeks than he was prior,” Nash said. He added that Warren will be reassessed in about a month.

The Nets can afford to be patient. They have plenty of other questions to answer as a team before worrying about what Warren can or cannot contribute. But in the dream scenario where everything comes together for the Nets this season, Warren gets healthy and becomes a valuable contributor off the bench giving the Nets more versatility, scoring, and shooting along the front line.

For now, the Nets and Warren wait.

NBA returning to Seattle for exhibition game; when will it be more?

Getty Images
0 Comments

SEATTLE — An NBA preseason game may not seem like a benchmark moment, even in a basketball-hungry city like Seattle, but Jamal Crawford believes there’s value even in an exhibition.

“It reignites a whole new generation of kids who need to see this,” said Crawford, a Seattle native who has been a basketball ambassador for the city through a 20-year NBA career and now with a pro-am that brings in NBA players every summer. “They need to be able to dream and know that it’s real.”

The NBA is making its latest brief return to the Emerald City. The Los Angeles Clippers will play the Portland Trail Blazers there on Monday night, the first time two NBA teams will meet in Seattle since 2018, when the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings played a preseason game. That was the last sporting event inside KeyArena before it was gutted and rebuilt into the gleaming Climate Pledge Arena.

There was a warm-up act of sorts Friday when the Clippers played Israeli team Maccabi Ra’anana in an exhibition, one where the most of the Clippers’ big names – Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, John Wall and Reggie Jackson – weren’t participating.

A sell-out crowd turned out for that Warriors-Kings game four years ago, the first one in Seattle since the beloved SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008 after 41 years in the Pacific Northwest. Another big crowd is expected Monday.

“The Sonics haven’t been a team since I’ve been in the NBA. So just to go play in Seattle is cool,” Blazers star Damian Lillard said. “We played in Vancouver a few years back. I think like two or three years ago, we had a preseason game at the (Memorial) Coliseum. So every time we get to do something like that, I always enjoy it because I wondered what was it like when it was a real thing, when the games were played in these different arenas. So I am excited to play in Seattle.”

Someday, possibly soon, the expectations are that Seattle will reclaim its place as an NBA town.

“It’s always been a great city to me,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said Friday. “It’s unfortunate that they lost their team and the team went to OKC. This city definitely deserves a team.”

Speculation is nonstop about when the NBA will choose to expand. Thanks to the resolution of its arena situation, Seattle seems likely to be at the forefront of those expansion talks, with Las Vegas likely right behind it.

But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been noncommittal about a possible expansion timeline, and it seems likely those talks won’t pick up steam until the league deals with the new collective bargaining agreement and television deals that are on the horizon.

The community’s commitment has never been in question. The appetite of Seattle fans hasn’t waned in the years since the Sonics left and as the region became a hotbed for NBA talent, whether it was Crawford continuing to carry the banner for the city, to Zach LaVine of Renton, Washington, to this year’s No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, another Seattle native.

As if any reinforcement was needed, the summer provided a perfect example as fans camped overnight outside Crawford’s summer league venue for the chance to get inside and watch LeBron James make his first basketball visit to the city in more than a decade.

“Anyone that knows Seattle knows what a great basketball city we are,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said this summer when the preseason game was announced.

The idea for having the Blazers and Clippers meet in Seattle was the result of a brainstorm between Lue and Blazers coach Chauncey Billups. The two close friends wanted their teams to meet in the preseason and Lue noted the owners for both teams are Seattle based: Steve Ballmer of the Clippers and Jody Allen for the Blazers.

“I haven’t been back since I played there in 2008, I think it was. So just to be able to go back there and you know, Mr. Ballmer and kind of see his offices and how he lives, and (Chauncey) to get a chance to see his owner, and then to be with my best friend, I thought it would be a great common ground,” Lue said.