Klay Thompson scores 40, Draymond Green with triple-double in another home Warriors win

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Klay Thompson scored 40 points in consecutive games for the first time in his career, Draymond Green posted his franchise-best 12th triple-double and the Golden State Warriors beat the Philadelphia 76ers 117-105 on Sunday night.

Stephen Curry had 20 points and eight assists and Green contributed 13 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists as Golden State (66-7) stayed a game ahead of the pace set by the 1995-96 Bulls’ during their record 72-win season. Chicago was 65-8 through 73 games.

Backup big man Marreese Speights added 17 points and seven rebounds in the Warriors’ 53rd straight regular-season victory at Oracle Arena and 35th consecutive at home this season.

Carl Landry scored 22 points for the lowly Sixers, who lost their ninth in a row and 22nd in 23 while playing a back-to-back.

When coach Steve Kerr took the Golden State job before last season, he challenged Speights to extend his range by a foot. It was a slow process that didn’t happen during the championship run, but the 6-foot-10 center has done it this season all right.

The Splash Brothers set the example for a guy they’re considering giving “Splash Cousin” status.

Curry (350) and Thompson (253) have 603 combined 3s, the most by a pair of teammates in a season. Reigning NBA MVP Curry, already the first player in NBA history with 300 3s in a season, has nine games left to chase 400.

Thompson shot 15 for 27 and had his fourth 40-point game this season and eighth of his career, all coming at home. Speights hit his first six field-goal tries, including a pair of 3-pointers, and finished 7 for 10.

Ish Smith added 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting and 10 assists for the 76ers, who rallied from 24 points down and 19 in the fourth quarter before losing 108-105 to Golden State in the first meeting Jan. 30 on Harrison Barnes‘ game-winning 3 with .2 seconds left.

On Sunday, Curry started 1 for 6 and missed his initial four 3-point tries before connecting 4 minutes before halftime – running his NBA record to 143 straight games with at least one 3.

GETTING DEFENSIVE

With 20 games remaining, Kerr challenged the Warriors to clean up the turnovers and take it up a notch defensively. The first task has been far better down the stretch, but Golden State’s coach is still calling for more on the defensive end.

After Friday’s win against Dallas, he called the defense “horrific.”

“We have been paying close attention to our defensive numbers the last 10 games,” Kerr said. “What we are really trying to reinforce with our players is the idea that come playoff time that we better be sharp and we have to start building those habits now in order to be sharp in the postseason.”

TIP-INS

76ers: Coach Brett Brown is unsure whether F Richaun Holmes will return from a right Achilles tendon strain before season’s end after he re-injured it Saturday at Portland. “I worry. You don’t want to mess around with Achilles injuries,” Brown said. “You go overboard with your conservative approach.” Brown is not as concerned with F/C Nerlens Noel‘s status as he nurses a bone bruise on his right knee. He missed his third straight game. … The Sixers called up F Christian Wood from the Delaware 87ers and signed him to a 10-day contract. … Philadelphia hasn’t beaten Golden State since a 104-97 win on March 2, 2013.

Warriors: Speights hit his 20th and 21st 3s this season in the second, topping the 19 total he had his first seven seasons. … Shaun Livingston got a night off to rest. … If C Festus Ezeli does fine scrimmaging 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 in the coming days, he could return from left knee surgery later next week – but not in Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s games, Kerr said. G Andre Iguodala (sprained left ankle) is further behind. … Golden State swept the season series 2-0 for the third straight year. … The Warriors are 8-7 on Easter Sunday, including 5-1 at home. They hosted on Easter for the first time since 2004.

 

Markelle Fultz will miss start of training camp, at least, with broken toe

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The basketball gods continue to turn their backs on Markelle Fultz.

A torn ACL had limited him to 26 games over the past two seasons, but he was healthy and ramping up to a larger role this season with a young and interesting Magic team. Then came the news he fractured his left big toe during a training session. As a result, he will be out for at least the start of training camp, the team announced. From the official announcement:

“He has been placed in a walking boot and his return to play will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment. Fultz suffered the injury during a preseason workout prior to returning to Orlando and imaging confirmed the fracture.

He will not need surgery, according to the team.

Fultz was set to split point guard duties with Cole Anthony, this injury means RJ Hampton could see more run at the point for now. Fultz should be able to return either during the end of the preseason or early in the season.

Fultz was the No.1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but never found his footing with the 76ers (in part due to injury). However, since getting out of that spotlight and allowed to develop in Orlando he’s been a solid rotation point guard when healthy. Last season in 18 games he averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 assists a game, and while he’s still not an efficient shooter he can run a team.

How Anthony and, eventually, Fultz will work off the ball as rookie Paolo Banchero gets the opportunity to create more offense will be just one of the interesting things to watch with this Magic team this year. We’ll have to wait a little while to see Fultz.

 

Vintage Kobe: Redeem Team recalls him running over Pau Gasol

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If the goal of a trailer is to get you to want to see the movie, then well done Netflix. I’m in.

Netflix released a trailer for its upcoming Redeem Team documentary on the 2008 Olympics, featuring some vintage Kobe Bryant. Just as a quick refresher, in 2008 the USA’s toughest opponent would be a deep Spanish team led by peak Pau Gasol but also with Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, José Calderón, Rudy Fernández, Juan Carlos Navarro and more. This was a legitimately dangerous team and one the USA would face first in group play.

Kobe wanted to set a tone — and did by running through his friend Gasol. (Warning: There is NSFW language in the video clip below.)

“‘First play of the game I’m running through Pau Gasol.’ And we was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘First play of the game, I know what they’re gonna run.’ And he knew Pau was gonna be the last screen and he said ‘I’m running through him,'” Dwayne Wade said

Spoiler alert: The USA thrashed Spain in group stage play. However, come the Gold Medal game it was a lot tougher for the Americans to beat the Spaniards, with Kobe having to have a big fourth quarter and — what often goes unremembered — a master class from Chris Paul in game management to control the tempo and flow.

I’m all in for the documentary, which drops on Oct. 7 on Netflix.

Spurs’ Keldon Johnson to miss start of training camp with shoulder injury

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Keldon Johnson is poised to have a monster season on a rebuilding Spurs team.

Except he’s going to miss the start of training camp and the team’s preseason games. And could be out longer.

Johnson suffered a “right shoulder posterior dislocation during Spurs open gym” the team announced Saturday. Posterior dislocations are rare (less than 5% of all dislocations) and are usually from a fall on an extended arm. Recovering from the injury depends on many factors but can extend out for months. However, the Spurs said Johnson is expected to be available for the start of the regular season less than a month from now.

Johnson averaged 17 points and 6.1 rebounds a game last season, and is an elite perimeter shooter off the catch-and-shoot (39.8% from 3 overall), who also can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. He was the team’s second-leading scorer last season (to Dejounte Murray, who is now in Atlanta).

The Spurs will be cautious with bringing Johnson back. Even in what could be Gregg Popovich’s last season as coach the Spurs are looking more to be part of the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes than push for a playoff spot. Johnson is a quality player who helps San Antonio win games, which both is why they want him back healthy and why they are not going to rush him.

Cavaliers reportedly extend Dean Wade for three years, $18.5 million

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This could be a steal for the Cavaliers — Dean Wade could be the starting three for the Cavaliers by the end of this season and he’s got a genuine upside.

The Cavaliers have extended Wade for three years, $18.5 million, a story where multiple sources were on top of it, including Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Wade’s counting stats aren’t eye-popping — 5.3 points a game and shooting 35.7% from 3 — but he is a quality wing defender who has improved as a floor spacer (sometimes setting picks and popping out). He’s a two-way player who has put in the work and could pass Isaac Okoro on the depth chart this season.

The Cavaliers have four All-Stars who will undoubtedly be starting for them — Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley up front — and the looming question is at the three. Wade has a chance this season to step into that role.

Which makes extending him at a little over $6 million a season a potential steal for the Cavaliers.