Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks going that make the NBA great.
1) Warriors offensive slump continues in loss to Pacers
Over their last 10 games, the Golden State Warriors have the second-worst offense in the NBA, with a 104.2 net rating.
That was the case Thursday against a shorthanded Pacers team (no Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Domantas Sabonis or Myles Turner, four of their regular starters). The Warriors scored 117 in the overtime game but had a 105.4 offensive rating for the night. Steve Kerr said the Pacers’ defense sped them up, leading to a 9-of-42 night from 3 for the team, he said the team’s execution was off and blamed himself.
Curry scored 39 points, but none in overtime.
The Warriors are without Draymond Green, whose role as a secondary playmaker who keeps the ball moving and finds open guys is underrated on the offensive end (his minutes have gone to rookie Jonathan Kuminga). Klay Thompson understandably is still trying to find his shot after more than two seasons away from the game (6-of-17 against the Pacers, he is shooting 37.2% overall and 30.2% from 3 since his return).
Plus, even the best teams go through slumps. It’s part of the marathon of an NBA season. It’s not a reason for panic in the Bay Area, but it’s something to watch for a team that just looks a little tired.
Credit to the Pacers, who won both ends of a tough West Coast back-to-back, coming from behind to beat the Lakers then toppling the Warriors the next night. Rookie Chris Duarte had 27 points and continues to impress.
2) Suns top Mavericks in meeting of NBA’s hottest teams
Luka Doncic can just break an opponent, he’s done it a few times during this Mavericks’ hot streak, and he tried with a brilliant final seconds of the first half against the Suns.
Phoenix, however, does not break.
They dominated the fourth quarter 35-19 and swept a five-game road trip by beating Dallas 109-101 Thursday. Devin Booker scored 28 points, but Chris Paul took over late and scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. CP3 also finished with 11 assists with no turnovers.
It’s January, not June, but the Suns are the best team in basketball right now. Those slumping Warriors have some work ahead of them to get to Phoenix’s level.
3) All-Star starters largely set after latest voting returns
The latest returns from the fan voting for All-Star are in and, to be honest, we have a pretty good idea who most of the All-Star starters will be.
First, we know LeBron James will be a captain and one of the starters (the two captains are the players with the most fan votes from each conference). It looks like Kevin Durant will be the other captain out of the East, even though it’s questionable at best if he will play in the game (if not him, Giannis Antetokounmpo will get the captain nod).
We also know basically who the starters will be, but first a reminder: These fan votes account for 50% of the total for a player. Another 25% comes from votes from NBA players, and the final 25% from votes of select media members.
• The East frontcourt of Durant, Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid is locked in. The fans voted them in and the players and media will follow suit. They were an easy call.
• The East backcourt will likely stay as the fans voted it in, with Trae Young and DeMar DeRozan. It is possible the players and media could slot James Harden above Young, but more than likely Harden’s slow start to the season means Young gets the nod. (And yes, DeRozan gets the start in the backcourt despite only playing the three and four for the Bulls this season, he deserves to start, and he’s listed as a guard on the ballot. We can debate how the All-Star selections should be positionless, let’s just get the best players out there, but we have to play by the NBA’s rules here.)
• The West backcourt has one lock in Stephen Curry. The fans have slid Ja Morant into second over Luka Doncic, with Klay Thompson somehow fourth. Some media and player voters may want to recognize Devin Booker (fifth in fan voting) or more likely Chris Paul (seventh), but they are both too deep in the fan voting to vault into the top two. Doncic’s slow start to the season (by his standards) will keep him from being a starter.
• Two-thirds of the West frontcourt is set, LeBron and Nikola Jokic have the most fan votes, and they will get the backing of the players and media. However, the fans have Andrew Wiggins in third, and he’s not going to get a lot of fans or media votes. Paul George is fourth and Anthony Davis is fifth in fan voting, but both are injured and will not get the player/media support to jump into the top three. The most likely guy to move up is Daymond Green (sixth in fan voting), although Rudy Gobert (ninth) has an outside chance (his play has earned it).
Highlight of the Night: Gary Payton II does George Bitadze wrong
This is just nasty, and the staredown makes it.
OMG GP2 😱 pic.twitter.com/XELP7xei2k
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 21, 2022
Last night’s scores:
Phoenix 109, Dallas 101
New Orleans 102, New York 91
Indiana 121, Golden State 117 (OT)