It wasn’t all bad for the Celtics against the Heat last night.
Did I mention Smart is a guard, and Adebayo is a center?
Stephen Curry made nine 3-pointers last night – which, hey, happens. The Warriors’ elite offense sometimes spring him for open looks, and he’s the greatest shooter of all-time. He takes advantage.
But that wasn’t the case last night. Curry made some ridiculous deep shots despite the Pelicans contesting well.
Per NBA.com, Curry shot 1-for-1 on 3s against “very tight” defense and 4-for-7 on 3s against “tight” defense. The above video shows those stats sure don’t underestimate the degree of difficulty.
I especially enjoyed Steve Kerr’s in-game interview after Curry shot 7-for-8 on 3-pointers in the third quarter. Kerr on ESPN:
I told him right before all that, “Go make six crazy shots in a row.” So, he’s very coachable.
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) Boston plays up to the level of its competition, which is enough to earn big win over Toronto. Speaking on behalf of basketball fans everywhere, after watching the last two meetings between these teams, I would like to order seven more of these games for late May. Please. This is a playoff matchup that has to happen.
Now, about last night…
“What is wrong with the Boston Celtics” has been a favorite parlor game around the NBA this season, and while the “too talented” theory and others exist, Wednesday night’s performance and win at home against the Toronto Raptors shed light on maybe the real issue:
These Celtics play to the level of their competition. That gets them in trouble against lesser teams, but when the big guns come to town Boston shows up.
One week ago, the Celtics dismantled a strong Indiana team by 27 points. Boston then turned around and lost to Miami, Orlando, and Brooklyn (the Heat and Nets are .500 teams, the Magic are trying to find their way into the playoffs).
Boston came out Wednesday night like none of those losses happened and played one of its best games of the season to beat Toronto, the team with the best record in the NBA. It was a huge effort led by Kyrie Irving, who had 27 points and a career-high 18 assists, and he outplayed Kawhi Leonard down the stretch of the game (the Kyrie vs. Kawhi duel is what the game became at the end). Irving hit all the big shots.
The Celtics have won 2-of-3 against the Raptors and now are 6-3 overall against Toronto, Milwaukee, Indiana, and Philadelphia this season. When the Celtics need to raise their game up, they can, they just don’t do it nightly. After the game, to a man, the Celtics said they need to play like this in their upcoming games (struggling Memphis, then at Atlanta, Miami, and Cleveland).
“We have to play all those teams that aren’t the Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philly 76ers, we have to play those teams like they are,” Smart told NBC Sports Boston. “That only helps us, keeps us in a rhythm, a great rhythm and it holds us accountable for doing the right things.”
Irving took the blame for some of that, admitting he had to call LeBron to apologize and talk leadership.
“It just comes with our maturity as a team,” Irving said. “I did a poor job of setting an example for these young guys of what it’s like to get something out of your teammates. You go and say something publicly and it ends up being received in so many different ways. You never know how fragile or what guys are going through if you say things like that. You’re expecting results but at the same time I should have kept it in-house. Going forward, I want … to get the best out of them but I won’t do it publicly like that.”
Was this win a turning point for Boston? It felt like it, not just in the fact that the had to fight back from behind twice in the game and showed real grit and will, but those postgame comments are a positive. Boston may be learning its lessons and growing into a contender.
Only time will tell. With some soft games on the schedule coming up, we may quickly see if Boston is learning its lessons.
2) Stephen Curry explodes for 23 points in third, Warriors storm back then hold off Pelicans for the win. For the second night in a row, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors put on a basketball fireworks show.
Anthony Davis and the Pelicans were playing maybe their best game of the season and were up 16 on Golden State at Oracle Arena, then Curry went on the kind of run they will show in his Hall of Fame career retrospective video — 23 points on 7 threes in the third.
Curry finished with 41 points on 22 shots, hitting 9-of-17 from beyond the arc. Kevin Durant had 30 points, maybe scariest of all for coaches who have to game plan against the Warriors Draymond Green shot 4-of-7 from three on his way to 17 points (sagging off Green at the arc has been a thing this season, and for a while now).
The Warriors got the win 147-140 in a game with the most threes made in any game in NBA history (43).
It wasn’t a defensive masterpiece by anyone, but the game had amazing shot making all night long.
It was the second night in a row the Warriors looked like the Warriors, and why they are back as the No. 1 seed in the West.
All of that overshadowed a 30 point, 18 rebound game from Anthony Davis, who reminded everyone why he should be in the MVP conversation even if the Pelicans are three games below .500.
3) James Harden scores 58 but the Rockets still lose to Brooklyn in OT. We could be seeing variations of that headline a lot in the next month — James Harden continues to play at an MVP level, but it’s hard to underestimate just how much Houston is going to miss Clint Capela this season, both on defense and in the overall scheme of how they play. (Capela is out 4-6 weeks with ligament damage in the thumb of his right hand.)
Harden was spectacular again on Wednesday, scoring 58 points.
But the loss of Capela was glaring, and Danuel House Jr. being back in the G-League — because the sides couldn’t agree on how to convert his two-way contract — was a more painful loss than expected.
Also, the Nets just do not quit .
After a P.J. Tucker three, Brooklyn was down eight with 1:02 left in the game. But them Sixth Man of the Year Spencer Dinwiddie drained a key three. Then one more. Then a third — this one to send the game to OT. That’s where the Nets got the win.
Brooklyn is a .500 team with this win — an amazing season considering the roster, the expectations, and the fact this team lost Caris LeVert (their best scorer) for much of the season due to an ankle injury. They are building something in Brooklyn that in a few years could be very special.
The Pelicans scored 140 points last night.
The Warriors’ 147-140 win over New Orleans was the first time both teams scored 140+ in regulation since 1992. And it didn’t even claim sole possession of yesterday’s highest-scoring game. The Nets beat the Rockets 145-142, though that one went to overtime.
It was a wild night throughout the league.
The Rockets attempted a record 70 3-pointers. The Warriors and Pelicans made a record 43 combined 3-pointers. The Trail Blazers played at the equivalent of the NBA’s slowest pace, getting just 94 possessions, and still scored 129 points (137.2 offensive rating).
All in all, teams scored 120.7 points per game yesterday. The full results:
That was just the eighth day teams averaged at least 120 points in the last 30 years. But those other days featured only one to three games. There were eight games last night.
Of the more than 3,000 days in NBA history with a slate so large, yesterday’s 120.7 points per team game were the second-most ever.
Here are the most points teams have scored per game in days with at least eight games:
April 10, 1977
New York Knicks 144, Detroit Pistons 126
New Orleans Jazz 139, Denver Nuggets 125
Milwaukee Bucks 133, San Antonio Spurs 125
Washington Bullets 131, Philadelphia 76ers 121
Phoenix Suns 128, New York Nets 104
Boston Celtics 115, Cleveland Cavaliers 105
Chicago Bulls 120, Buffalo Braves 99
Los Angeles Lakers 113, Seattle SuperSonics 104
Jan. 16, 2019
Golden State Warriors 147, New Orleans Pelicans 140
Brooklyn Nets 145, Houston Rockets 142
Cleveland Cavaliers 112, Portland Trail Blazers 129
Utah Jazz 129, Los Angeles Clippers 109
Detroit Pistons 120, Orlando Magic 115
Boston Celtics 117, Toronto Raptors 108
Milwaukee Bucks 111, Memphis Grizzlies 101
San Antonio Spurs 105, Dallas Mavericks 101
Jan. 29, 1971
Baltimore Bullets 145, Cincinnati Royals 118
Milwaukee Bucks 142, Philadelphia 76ers 118
Phoenix Suns 131, Portland Trail Blazers 122
Los Angeles Lakers 122, Seattle SuperSonics 115
Detroit Pistons 131, San Diego Rockets 104
Atlanta Hawks 119, Cleveland Cavaliers 111
New York Knicks 118, Boston Celtics 111
San Francisco Warriors 106, Buffalo Braves 100
March 12, 1985
Golden State Warriors 145, San Antonio Spurs 122
Houston Rockets 131, Denver Nuggets 129
Phoenix Suns 123, New York Knicks 119
Boston Celtics 126, Atlanta Hawks 115
Kansas City Kings 120, Portland Trail Blazers 114
Los Angeles Lakers 123, Utah Jazz 108
Chicago Bulls 111, Detroit Pistons 110
Indiana Pacers 109, New Jersey Nets 108
March 23, 1979
Los Angeles Lakers 156, San Diego Clippers 119
Indiana Pacers 141, Houston Rockets 134
Denver Nuggets 137, Boston Celtics 113
Detroit Pistons 124, Washington Bullets 114
Phoenix Suns 126, Kansas City Kings 107
Golden State Warriors 116, Milwaukee Bucks 113
Atlanta Hawks 115, San Antonio Spurs 108
Chicago Bulls 116, New Orleans Jazz 99
Philadelphia 76ers 110, New Jersey Nets 98
Dec. 22, 1979
Denver Nuggets 130, Los Angeles Lakers 128
San Antonio Spurs 141, Detroit Pistons 112
Chicago Bulls 126, Cleveland Cavaliers 117
Indiana Pacers 130, Atlanta Hawks 110
Philadelphia 76ers 126, Boston Celtics 113
Washington Bullets 122, Houston Rockets 114
Phoenix Suns 115, Kansas City Kings 111
Golden State Warriors 107, New Jersey Nets 101
April 9, 1978
New Orleans Jazz 153, San Antonio Spurs 132
Detroit Pistons 139, Denver Nuggets 137
Boston Celtics 131, Buffalo Braves 114
Cleveland Cavaliers 120, Kansas City Kings 117
Washington Bullets 123, Philadelphia 76ers 113
Seattle SuperSonics 111, Golden State Warriors 105
Portland Trail Blazers 114, Los Angeles Lakers 99
Atlanta Hawks 99, Chicago Bulls 85
March 16, 1984
Chicago Bulls 156, Portland Trail Blazers 155
Seattle SuperSonics 126, San Antonio Spurs 123
San Diego Clippers 128, Houston Rockets 118
New Jersey Nets 117, Detroit Pistons 108
Denver Nuggets 118, Cleveland Cavaliers 102
Phoenix Suns 110, Washington Bullets 109
Boston Celtics 109, Milwaukee Bucks 99
Atlanta Hawks 105, Philadelphia 76ers 102
Feb. 2, 1983
Indiana Pacers 141, Detroit Pistons 135
Houston Rockets 135, Denver Nuggets 128
Dallas Mavericks 122, Los Angeles Lakers 120
Kansas City Kings 117, Washington Bullets 115
Seattle SuperSonics 117, Milwaukee Bucks 114
Boston Celtics 120, San Diego Clippers 110
New Jersey Nets 118, Cleveland Cavaliers 105
Phoenix Suns 112, Utah Jazz 96
New York Knicks 109, San Antonio Spurs 98
April 6, 1989
Los Angeles Clippers 133, Portland Trail Blazers 123
Denver Nuggets 132, Indiana Pacers 118
Golden State Warriors 132, Boston Celtics 118
Phoenix Suns 126, Seattle SuperSonics 119
San Antonio Spurs 122, Sacramento Kings 116
Detroit Pistons 115, Chicago Bulls 108
New York Knicks 112, Milwaukee Bucks 99
Washington Bullets 101, Miami Heat 93
March 30, 1990
Philadelphia 76ers 149, Denver Nuggets 131
Washington Bullets 143, Orlando Magic 115
Seattle SuperSonics 139, Golden State Warriors 108
Phoenix Suns 126, New Jersey Nets 119
Los Angeles Lakers 135, Portland Trail Blazers 106
Atlanta Hawks 122, Los Angeles Clippers 118
Boston Celtics 123, Detroit Pistons 111
Chicago Bulls 107, New York Knicks 106
Cleveland Cavaliers 105, Miami Heat 104
Minnesota Timberwolves 84, Dallas Mavericks 82
Feb. 14, 1990
Orlando Magic 135, Chicago Bulls 129
Indiana Pacers 133, Cleveland Cavaliers 131
Portland Trail Blazers 132, Los Angeles Lakers 128
Milwaukee Bucks 127, Denver Nuggets 117
Philadelphia 76ers 122, New Jersey Nets 112
Phoenix Suns 114, Utah Jazz 103
Boston Celtics 106, San Antonio Spurs 95
Minnesota Timberwolves 95, Charlotte Hornets 86
Jan. 2, 1980
Washington Bullets 139, Seattle SuperSonics 134
Denver Nuggets 135, Detroit Pistons 116
Kansas City Kings 128, Utah Jazz 121
Los Angeles Lakers 127, Indiana Pacers 120
San Antonio Spurs 118, Phoenix Suns 109
Boston Celtics 111, Houston Rockets 103
Golden State Warriors 111, Portland Trail Blazers 92
San Diego Clippers 103, New Jersey Nets 97
Nov. 3, 1979
Milwaukee Bucks 136, Chicago Bulls 134
San Diego Clippers 126, Utah Jazz 109
Philadelphia 76ers 120, Indiana Pacers 114
Golden State Warriors 130, Denver Nuggets 103
Cleveland Cavaliers 123, Kansas City Kings 110
Houston Rockets 114, Detroit Pistons 111
Atlanta Hawks 110, New Jersey Nets 107
Boston Celtics 118, Washington Bullets 97
Feb. 28, 1978
Milwaukee Bucks 136, Washington Bullets 135
New York Knicks 138, San Antonio Spurs 123
Chicago Bulls 126, Phoenix Suns 115
New Orleans Jazz 125, Buffalo Braves 108
Denver Nuggets 122, Indiana Pacers 106
Seattle SuperSonics 114, Kansas City Kings 107
Portland Trail Blazers 113, Philadelphia 76ers 92
Atlanta Hawks 117, Boston Celtics 85