Associated Press

Stephen Curry’s hot hand sends Warriors past Oladipo-less Pacers for 11th in row

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Stephen Curry‘s first-half shooting clinic was virtually flawless.

His championship teammates pitched in, too.

Curry scored 23 of his 26 points in the first half Monday and Golden State ran away with a 132-100 rout at Indiana for its league-leading 11th consecutive victory. The two-time defending champions still aren’t satisfied.

“I feel like we can,” Curry said when asked if the Warriors can get even better. “We’re not playing perfect basketball, by any stretch, but we’re playing consistent, focused basketball and we’re still working out some kinks with rotations and stuff like that.”

It’s a scary thought for the rest of the league, especially after the two-time MVP turned in another head-turning performance.

Curry made his first eight shots and his first six 3-pointers, including a demoralizing 27-foot buzzer-beater that gave the Warriors a 69-48 halftime lead. He finished 10 of 13 from the field with six rebounds, three assists and two steals in just 27 minutes. About the only thing he didn’t do well was celebrate Klay Thompson‘s huge dunk.

DeMarcus Cousins had a season-high 22 points on a night five players scored in double figures and the Warriors had 39 assists.

And all that came on the final leg of a five-game road trip without Draymond Green, who rested, and against the league’s No. 1 scoring defense.

“I was a little worried about this game. Everybody’s anxious to get home,” coach Steve Kerr said. “But we finished off the trip the right way. We’ve been more dialed in the last month than we have all season.”

Golden State has won a league-high 10 consecutive road games and swept a five-game trip for the first time since November 2014.

The Pacers played without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, who had season-ending surgery on his right knee Monday, and Tyreke Evans, Oladipo’s replacement, because of a sore back. But even at full strength, they may have struggled to weather the Warriors’ flurry.

Indiana gave up a season-high 40 points in the first quarter, and never got closer than 16 after Curry broke a 16-16 tie by scoring eight points to start a decisive 24-6 quarter-closing run en route to its most lopsided loss this season.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this team is going on the up track,” Pacers guard Darren Collison said. “I think we saw tonight, playing against a team like that, how to execute and we can take something from that.”

Myles Turner scored 16 points and Bojan Bogdanovic had 15 but Indiana lost for the second straight time since Oladipo was injured last week. It was the Pacers’ worst loss this season.

Report: Luke Walton sued for sexual assault

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Luke Walton is being sued by a female reporter claiming sexual assault from a hotel room incident that dates back to before he was hired as the Lakers’ head coach (he was recently let go from that position and is currently the coach of the Sacramento Kings).

Kelli Tennant was writing a book and wanted Walton to write the forward, according to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ. The two had a business relationship and she agreed to meet him in a Santa Monica hotel to discuss him writing the forward to the book, according to the report. We’ll let TMZ take it from there:

In the suit, Tennant says when she arrived at Walton’s hotel, he convinced her to come up to his room so they could discuss the book. She claims when they got up to his room, Walton suddenly pinned her to the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body.

In the docs, Tennant claims Walton then began forcing kisses on her neck, face and chest. She claims she screamed for him to stop and tried to free herself, but he held her down, groped her breasts and groin, and rubbed his erection on her leg.

She says he eventually relented and let her get up from the bed, but as she was walking towards the door to leave he grabbed her from behind and again forced his body up against hers.

The lawsuit goes on to say Walton and her would interact after that, because of her job, and he would give her exaggerated hugs, kisses, and would make lewd comments to her.

Walton took over coaching the Lakers for the 2016-17 season. The alleged assault took place while Walton was still an assistant coach with the Warriors, however, some of the comments/actions that made her uncomfortable came later while Walton was with the Lakers.

Walton has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

The Sacramento Kings have made a statement:

“We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time.”

The Warriors issued this statement:

“We became aware of the alleged incident and story this evening and are in the process of seeking more information. We’ll have no further comment at this time.”

The Lakers issued this statement:

“This alleged incident took place before Luke Walton was the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers. If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA. Since Luke Walton is now under contract to another team, we will have no further comment.”

NBA fines Brooklyn part-owner Joe Tsai for Tweet backing his GM challenging referees

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I just hope he can afford this.

Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks was suspended and fined by the league for breaking a taboo and going into the officials’ locker room after the Nets’ Game 4 loss at home to challenge the referees. Marks — along with pretty much every Nets’ fan — was livid about how Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid has been officiated in the series.

Brooklyn minority owner (for now) and alternate governor Joe Tsai Tweeted this about Marks.

The NBA has fined Tsai $35,000 for “making public statements detrimental to the NBA.”

Tsai is the second-largest shareholder of online shopping powerhouse Alibaba and is worth an estimated $10.2 billion. He owns 49 percent of the Nets.

Virginia’s Kyle Guy staying in NBA draft, not returning to Virginia

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Virginia is going to lose three starters from its national championship team. De'Andre Hunter is a likely top-7 pick that a lot of teams think can be a good “3&D” NBA player. Ty Jerome is a bubble first-round pick expected to stay in the draft. Mamadi Diakite also has his name in the mix.

Now it’s official, Kyle Guy says he is keeping his name in the mix.

Guy had 24 points in the title game against Texas Tech and was named the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for leading the Cavaliers to a title.

What he brings is shooting — he hit 42.6 percent from three this past season. He moves well off the ball and can catch-and-shoot, skills that NBA teams want. However, while he was a playmaker in college his handles and passing need work to be NBA ready, according to scouts. There also are concerns about his athleticism at the next level, and with that how well he can defend.

Guy is likely a second-round pick if taken at all, but he’s all in and going to take his shot while at the hight of his college career.

Hawks’ Lloyd Pierce replaces Pacers’ Nate McMillan as Team USA assistant coach

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is taking over Team USA, and he has assistant coaches for the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr
  • Pacers coach Nate McMillan
  • Villanova coach Jay Wright
  • Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce

USA Basketball release:

Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce was named to the USA Basketball Men’s National Team coaching staff today. Pierce replaces Indiana Pacers head coach Nate [McMillan] who withdrew because of scheduling conflicts.

This is a pretty big honor for Pierce, who just completed his first season as an NBA head coach. He guided Atlanta to only a 29-53 record.

But the young Hawks, especially Trae Young, improved throughout the season. Atlanta pushed the pace, hoisted 3s and defended aggressively (though not well). An identity is forming.

Though it’s far too early to say much about Pierce’s head-coaching acumen, he acquitted himself well in his first year.

Working with Team USA could even help Pierce ingratiate himself with stars. This could eventually pay off for the Hawks in free agency.