Getty Images

Three Things we learned Sunday: Warriors break out of “slump,” or just beat Knicks

2 Comments

A key thing to life going the way you want and hope is to be prepared. Know what you’re doing, be prepared for the moments you have to go off script. For example, if you’re going to steal a car, know how to drive a stick shift. (Not that we recommend stealing a car, don’t do it.) If you need to be prepared for today by knowing a little more about the NBA and what happened Sunday, we’ve got you covered.

1) In Madison Square Garden things were quiet. Too quiet? If you want to know what people are talking about around the NBA, it was the quiet of Madison Square Garden for the first half Sunday against the Warriors. Knicks game operations were turned off for the first half — no music played (even during timeouts), no sound clips, no dance teams or T-shirt giveaways. Nothing. Just the sounds of hoops. No “every body clap your hands” to be heard.

The reaction? Mixed. Draymond Green for one hated it (although if you watch the video he was being at least semi-facetious). Here is a sampling of the reaction to the move on Twitter.

Whether this comes back for other games or not, know the Knicks will still be the Knicks.

2) As for the game at Madison Square Garden, Stephen Curry makes some noise and out of shooting slump. Warriors win. If the Warriors are going to hold off the Spurs and maintain their No. 1 seed, they are going to need MVP level Stephen Curry to show up for the team’s final 20 games. Then put him in a lot of pick-and-rolls so he can do damage.

Cold-brewed Curry played in the quiet first half at MSG Sunday, scoring 12 points on 4-for-13 shooting. Then in the third quarter, he found his stroke, scoring 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting (3-of-4 from three), and with that the Warriors pulled away for a victory (ending a two-game losing streak that had been overblown). Curry finished with 31 points, Klay Thompson had 29, and while not exactly a dominant performance, after losing two in a row picking up a road win is all that mattered.

The Warriors now head to Atlanta for the second night of a road back-to-back that would have been tough even with Kevin Durant.

3) Sunday was “Day of the Game Winners”: Rudy Gobert, Glenn Robinson III, Tyler Ulis all knock them down. You want game winning shots? We got ’em.

Utah’s Rudy Gobert forced OT hitting a driving layup off a pick-and-roll with Gordon Hayward in regulation, then in OT he tapped in the game winner.

Paul Goerge had a monster game against the Hawks with 34 points, so not surprisingly when he drove the ball looking to force OT Sunday the Atlanta defense collapsed on him, so George whipped the pass to Aaron Brooks, who found Glenn Robinson III wide open in the corner and… splash.

Usually, it’s Boston’s “little man” Isaiah Thomas who comes up big in the fourth — and he certainly made some plays — but it was the Suns’ undersized point guard Tyler Ulis who knocked down the game winner in Phoenix.

Karl-Anthony Towns shoots down trade rumors, and was that a dig at Jimmy Butler?

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Karl-Anthony Towns was back on the court for the first time in a month Friday night, dropping 27 on the Pacers and looking every bit one of the best big men in the game (even as he shook off a little rust).

Towns’ name was in the news while he was out, with reports about how the Knicks dream was to trade for him and Warriors were monitoring his situation. There has been zero Towns trade talk around the league — he is in the first year of a five-year contract extension and wants to give the new Timberwolves’ new management a chance to build around him — but that hasn’t squashed the speculation.

So Towns tried to do that after Friday night’s game — and takes a little dig at Jimmy Butler in the process. Via Chris Hine of the Star Tribune.

“I think you’ve been around me long enough to know I don’t go for all the s***,” Towns said. “I just do my job, go home and I know what the real story is. There’s a reason those stories are made because people need to sell papers, sell links and clicks, whatever the case may be. I’m here to be a Minnesota Timberwolf. Very fortunate I have a head coach like [Ryan Saunders], a President and friend like [Gersson Rosas]. I’m not worried about all that nonsense.

“Whatever we have to deal with in house, we’ll deal with in house, but this ain’t the circus like it used to be. This is something that’s going to be done as a family. If we have a problem or anything, we’ll deal with it internally. We won’t have any external forces here adding anything.”

The circus/family comments are clearly a little dig at Jimmy Butler.

The circus was at the start of the 2018-19 season, when Butler wanted out of Minnesota and went full diva to create a massive distraction and force then coach/GM Tom Thibodeau’s hand. Butler was traded to the Sixers, and then last summer left Philadelphia for Miami (where he has played at an All-NBA level). Butler may not have loved how he perceived Towns (and, more so, Andrew Wiggins) commitment to the game, but Towns was no fan of how Butler handled his business. Towns doesn’t like things dealt with that publicly.

Towns was playing at an All-NBA level himself this season before his injury, including shooting 41.5 percent on 8.5 threes a game — KAT has been an offensive force. Rosas, however, has a lot of work to do to build a quality team around Towns. Towns committed to Minnesota with this new contract and, while he may be frustrated with the losing this season, he’s not going Anthony Davis.

A couple of years from now… who knows? That’s a couple of lifetimes away in the NBA. Until then, teams will monitor Towns’ situation and mood, he will shoot down trade rumors, and the cycle will go on.

Somehow, Ja Morant highlights keep getting better (video)

Ja Morant
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ja Morant is special.

He has already produced a few amazing plays during his rookie year. He has even taken over full games with his flashy play.

But the performance he put on during the Grizzlies’ win over the Cavaliers last night was something else.

Thrice, Morant elevated for show-stopping dunks. He scored only once. But each time, something incredible happened.

First, Morant way up to catch a lob from Jae Crowder, adjusted mid-air and found Jaren Jackson Jr. for a dunk:

Then, less than a minute later, Morant finished a lob from Crowder with a beautiful one-handed slam:

Finally, Morant leaped to posterize Larry Nance Jr., realized that wouldn’t work then threw a spinning behind-the-back pass to Jackson. Though Alfonzo McKinnie blocked Jackson, Morant’s move was dazzling:

If Morant is going to keep putting on shows like this during games, maybe we can forgive him for skipping the dunk contest.

Trae Young gets ankles absolutely destroyed by Dejounte Murray (video)

Leave a comment

The Hawks got Trae Young his desired help, trading for Jeff Teague.

Maybe Young will do his part and step up on defense.

That didn’t happen on this possession against Spurs guard Dejounte Murry.

At least Young continued his breakout season on the other end, scoring 31 points and dishing nine assists in Atlanta’s rare victory in San Antonio.

Tristan Thompson slaps Jae Crowder’s rear end, gets ejected (video)

Leave a comment

What is it about Cleveland athletes slapping butts and getting in trouble?

Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. faces a simple battery charge for slapping a police officer’s backside in LSU’s locker room after the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Last night, Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson got ejected for slapping Grizzlies forward Jae Crowder‘s behind.

Thompson and Crowder got double technical fouls earlier in the game. So, Thompson got ejected with a tech for this incident between free throws.

Though the two are former Cleveland teammates, Crowder didn’t look amused. Crowder doesn’t play.

The Cavs rallied without Thompson, but Memphis won, 113-109.