Andre Iguodala scores 24 to lead Warriors past Hawks, 119-111

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ATLANTA (AP) — Andre Iguodala scored a season-high 24 points on a subpar shooting night for the Splash Brothers, carrying the Golden State Warriors to a 119-111 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

Bouncing back from their first regular-season losing streak in nearly two years, the Warriors won for the second day in a row without Kevin Durant, who is out indefinitely with a left knee injury.

Stephen Curry had 24 points on 8-of-20 shooting, while Klay Thompson was held to 13 after a scoreless first half. But Iguodala and the Warriors bench picked up the slack, outscoring the Atlanta reserves 55-37.

Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 23 points – 19 coming in the first quarter, the highest-scoring period of his career. But Schroder went to the bench with 8:41 left in the third quarter and, mysteriously, never returned. There was no indication he was hurt.

Led by Schroder, the Hawks raced to a 42-35 lead in a run-and-gun first quarter – matching their highest-scoring period of the season.

Atlanta was still ahead 66-61 at the half, but it was clear the home team had missed a chance to push the margin even higher.

Thompson was scoreless over the first two quarters, missing his only two shots while picking up three fouls. Draymond Green also spent extended time on the bench with three fouls. Curry had just seven points on 2-of-6 shooting.

But the Warriors got it going in the second half, and the Hawks went most of the way without their point guard.

SORRY ABOUT THAT, JOSE

Warriors coach Steve Kerr sympathizes with point guard Jose Calderon, who had planned to join the Golden State until Durant’s injury forced the team to sign Matt Barnes instead.

The Warriors waived Calderon just a few hours after he signed with them, so he would remain playoff eligible, and he was claimed by the Hawks. In an interesting twist, his second game with Atlanta was against the team he was supposed to be with to finish out the season.

“I’m happy for him that Atlanta picked him up. He’ll get a chance to play in the playoffs, which I know is important to him,” Kerr said. “I feel bad the way things turned out with us, but I know he understands that’s the way the NBA works. It’s kind of a strange place.”

DURANT’S REPLACEMENT

Patrick McCaw took over Durant’s spot for the night, giving the rookie his sixth start of the season. He had nine points and seven rebounds.

Kerr has been impressed with the second-round pick out of UNLV.

“He knows exactly what he’s doing out there,” Kerr said. “I mean, he’s still learning the NBA game. But he’s just got a natural feel for the game – cutting at the appropriate time, hitting the right man, taking the shot when it’s there, defending and understanding angles defensively. He’s a really good player. We’re lucky.”

THE PRINCE OF ATLANTA

Rookie Taurean Prince has become a bigger part of Atlanta’s playing rotation in recent games, even drawing some tough assignments such as guarding LeBron James and Paul George.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said the team wants to speed up Prince’s development after playing him sparingly much of the season. He was the 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft.

“To some degree, he’s earned it,” Budenholzer said. “But he needs to follow up a game good with another one. His attention to detail, his alertness. As a rookie, he’s been learning the last couple of nights. But he’s good the size, he’s got the athleticism, and we want to push his growth, push his development.”

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry.

Patrick Beverley reportedly gloated to LeBron James about Kawhi Leonard signing

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The NBA has decided to change how they regulate tampering. Whether those harsher rules will lead to real change or simply to different circumvention is still yet to be seen.

Meanwhile, we have heard all the stories about how the Los Angeles Clippers landed both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Leonard was of course a major Los Angeles Lakers target, and it was disappointing for those in Lakerland that they didn’t land him.

Of course, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley was probably pretty happy about how things went, and now we have a story to back that up.

Speaking on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast this week, Brian Windhorst relate a story that he heard about Beverly celebrating around LeBron James after his team snagged Leonard.

As Windhorst tells the story, there were several groups of NBA players in private dining rooms at a restaurant in Las Vegas during summer league. Paul George was in one room, and James was in another. After hearing the news that the Clippers landed Leonard, Beverley walked into several rooms containing NBA players to gloat.

Via Woj Pod:

And so the deal actually gets done. [Adrian Wojnarowski reports] that Kawhi has not only agreed to sign with the Clippers, but the Clippers are trading half their future for Paul George, it’s a stunning development. And it all goes down while those players are at the same restaurant in various private rooms.

The story that I heard was that Patrick was making a beeline down the hallway of private rooms — sticking his head into all the rooms gloating about the Clippers’ giant haul — including into LeBron’s room.

This feels like it’s right on brand for Beverley.

Now the Clippers will need to prove they’re better than the Lakers on the court (and not just on paper).

Collin Sexton says he’s going to wear fan-designed shoes this season

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Cleveland Cavaliers second-year point guard Collin Sexton is already a fan-favorite in northeastern Ohio. This year, it appears that Sexton is trying to deepen that connection.

In a message posted to Twitter on Sunday, Sexton reached out to his followers to design a new set of shoes for him this year. The Cavaliers sophomore said that he will take the top five designs that fans submit and then wear them throughout the course of the upcoming 2019-20 NBA season.

Via Twitter:

This is a pretty cool idea, and a great way to have a direct link between fans and players. Social media is in an era of extreme personal branding, and even if this is a thinly-veiled Nike marketing thing, it at least has a twinge of genuineness to it.

The only thing left now is to see what designs people submit, and whether Sexton’s taste is any good.

James Harden plays in Rico Hines games at UCLA and destroys people

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Elite NBA defenders, with a team and a game plan behind them, can’t slow down James Harden.

So imagine what happens when he shows up for an open run.

One spot a lot of NBA players head in the summer to get some games in is Rico Hines’ games at UCLA. Harden showed up and, well, you know what comes next. Via Ball is Life.

The man is so smooth, so under control, and just able to get buckets however he wants. It’s just fun to watch. Unless you’re an opposing coach.

Could Kevin Durant return from torn Achilles, play for Nets this season? Maybe…

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Every case is different, but many players return from a torn Achilles in about nine to 10 months. Kobe Bryant pushed and did it in eight. Other players will take a full year.

If Kevin Durant returned in nine months it would be March, enough time to get in game shape and be ready for the Nets’ playoff run.

There’s a growing sense from teams we could see just that scenario, and Spencer Dinwiddie talked about it with Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Though Nets GM Sean Marks refused to rule Durant out for the season, the feeling within the league is trending toward him potentially playing this season.

“I know KD is taking the rehab process ultra-serious. He wants to come back as soon as it’s appropriate, and healthy and the right decision for him, and then also subsequently that would also be the right decision for,” said Dinwiddie, who points out that even a slightly-diminished Durant could still be a superstar.

“The beautiful part about this is, the man is 7-foot and one of the best shooters of all time. At worst you get Dirk [Nowitzki], and Dirk was a monster. So we’re ready for him to come back whenever he wants to and whenever he’s ready to do so, and we know that he’s going to be a phenomenal major piece of our roster.”

Durant is an intense competitor who wants to get back on the court. He pushed to get back from a calf injury and play in the NBA Finals only to suffer the Achilles tear. He’s smart enough to be sure he’s all the way back before he steps on the court, if that means he sits out a full season so be it. However, he absolutely could return this season.

If he’s back, the Nets go from interesting team to potential threat to the Bucks and Sixers at the top of the conference. Durant was the best player in the world the past couple of years and he could return to that status quickly, and lift Brooklyn up with him.