HOOP HANGOUT • NBA GAMEDAY POST • February 2nd 2019

USA Today Sports

Associated Press

Warriors beat Lakers 115-101 as LeBron James sits out

OAKLAND, Calif. — Klay Thompson returned from a one-game absence with an illness to score 28 points and light up the Lakers for the second time in 13 days, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 115-101 victory Saturday night over a Los Angeles team again missing LeBron James.

Splash Brother Stephen Curry missed his first eight shots before a layup with 6:20 remaining and still wound up with 14 points, two days after going off for 41 in a loss to the 76ers when he hit 10 3-pointers. Andre Iguodala hit a go-ahead 3 in the final minute of the third, and two more early in the fourth as Golden State pulled away and finished with 17 points. DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points and 10 rebounds in his second home game and seventh in all since coming back from a nearly yearlong recovery from surgery for a ruptured left Achilles tendon. Kevin Durant added 21 points and 11 of the Warriors’ 31 assists.

The Lakers hung tough without James just as they did here in a 127-101 victory Christmas night. They lost James in the third quarter of that game to a strained left groin. He returned from a 17-game absence Thursday night against the Clippers only to sit again Saturday.

James’ rest was for what coach Luke Walton called “load management.” The four-time MVP had been set for his second game back but woke up Friday “very sore” after playing 40 minutes in the 123-120 overtime win against the Clippers. He finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.

SPURS 113, PELICANS 108

SAN ANTONIO — LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 14 rebounds and San Antonio withstood another bat intrusion — with a nifty play from the team’s coyote mascot — and held off the depleted New Orleans.

The bat began hovering above the court three minutes into the game, causing officials to delay play. It was the second straight home game delayed by the winged intruders, with three bats buzzing the court Thursday night against Brooklyn.

An arena official walked onto the court with a net, but missed the bat on his first attempt. Almost on cue, the mascot charged onto the court dressed in a Batman costume with a net. He missed his first swipe at the bat, then dove near the scorer’s table and caught the bat in his net to huge cheers from Spurs players and fans. The worker placed the bat into a towel and took him from the court, with play resuming after a delay of only 1 1/2 minutes.

Rudy Gay and Marco Belinelli added 17 points each for San Antonio.

Frank Jackson had a career-high 25 points to lead New Orleans.

ROCKETS 125, JAZZ 98

SALT LAKE CITY — James Harden had 43 points for his 26th straight game with at least 30 points in Houston’s victory over Utah.

Harden’s 30-point streak is the third-longest in NBA history, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain‘s runs of 65 and 31 games. Harden also had 12 rebounds, six steals, five assists and four blocks. He was 12 of 22 from the field, making 4 of 12 3-pointers, and made all 15 of his free throws.

Gerald Green added 25 points, and Kenneth Faried had 16 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out with 5:07 remaining. Houston snapped a two-game losing streak, holding the Jazz to 36 percent shooting and forcing 23 turnovers. Donovan Mitchell had 26 points and nine assists for Utah.

BUCKS 131, WIZARDS 115

WASHINGTON — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 37 points, making all of his season-high 17 free throws in a perfect night at the line for Milwaukee, and had 10 rebounds to help the NBA-leading Bucks rout Washington.

Two games ahead of Toronto for the Eastern Conference lead, the Bucks have won three straight, nine of 10 and 20 of 24.

Brook Lopez added 21 points, and Khris Middleton had 20. Starting point guard Eric Bledsoe sat out to rest a sore left Achilles.

The Bucks were 24 of 24 from the free-throw line. They had a 17-2 run late in the second quarter, led by 23 at halftime and 32 early in third quarter. Antetokounmpo scored seven of the last 10 points in big second-quarter run, including a thunderous slam over Jeff Greenthat led to a three-point play.

Bradley Beal scored 24 points for Washington.

NUGGETS 107, TIMBERWOLVES 106

MINNEAPOLIS — Nikola Jokic had his 25th career triple-double with 13 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, including a late full-court pass that set up a key basket to help Denver beat Minnesota.

The Nuggets won their sixth straight game, and added another accolade by ensuring that coach Mike Malone will head to the All-Star game with Jokic by virtue of their NBA franchise-best 37-15 start.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 31 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Minnesota.

MAVERICKS 111, CAVALIERS 98

CLEVELAND — Rookie Luka Doncic matched his season high with 35 points and did a little bit of everything for Dallas, and Harrison Barnes scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead the undermanned Mavericks past Cleveland.

With a contingent of fans waving Slovenian flags to support Doncic, the 19-year-old showed why the Mavericks are so excited about their future. He added 11 rebounds, six assists and made a couple long 3-pointers that drew gasps from the Quicken Loans crowd.

Barnes finished with 17 points. The Mavericks played their second game since acquiring star Kristaps Porzingis from New York in a blockbuster trade. Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burkealso came in the deal, but are not eligible to play until their physicals are completed.

Jordan Clarkson scored 19 points for Cleveland.

CLIPPERS 111, PISTONS 101

DETROIT — Lou Williams scored 16 Los Angeles points in a row during a torrid fourth-quarter stretch, and the Clippers overcame a 25-point deficit to beat Detroit.

The Clippers trailed by 25 in the second quarter and were down 83-60 in the third before storming back to tie it 89 in the fourth. It was 91-all before Williams scored every Los Angeles point during a decisive run that put the Clippers up 107-96.

Williams finished with 39 points. Detroit’s Blake Griffin had 24 points and 11 rebounds against his former team, and Reggie Jacksonadded 29 points for the Pistons.

KINGS 115, 76ERS 108

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Buddy Hield scored 34 points and set a career high for 3-pointers with seven, and Sacramento weathered a fourth-quarter flurry from Jimmy Butler to beat Philadelphia.

Sacramento (27-25) matched its win total from last season. De’Aaron Fox had 19 points and eight assists, Willie Cauley-Stein also scored 19 points.

Joel Embiid had 29 points and 17 rebounds for Philadelphia. Butler added 29 points, 18 coming in the fourth quarter when he made two four-point plays.

PACERS 95, HEAT 88

MIAMI — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 31 points, Darren Collison added 20 and Indiana had a big third quarter to beat stumbling Miami.

Indiana ended a season-long four-game losing streak, which started in the game immediately following the one where All-Star Victor Oladipo left with a season-ending knee injury.

Dwyane Wade scored 21 points for Miami.

HORNETS 125, BULLS 118

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kemba Walker had 15 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter and the Charlotte Hornets pulled away to beat Chicago for its fifth straight victory.

Walker had 10 assists and finished 5 of 6 from the field in the fourth quarter, sparking an 18-4 run to hand the Bulls their fifth loss in six games.

Bobby Portis led Chicago with 33 points, and Lauri Markkanen had 30.

HAWKS 118, SUNS 112

PHOENIX — John Collinsmatched his career high with 35 points and fell one shy of his career best with 16 rebounds, and Atlanta handed Phoenix its 10th straight loss.

Trae Young scored 17 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter.

Devin Booker scored 32 points for Phoenix.

MAGIC 102, NETS 89

ORLANDO, Fla. — Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Evan Fournier added 16 points and Orlando beat Brooklyn.

D’Angelo Russell had 23 points for Brooklyn, and Shabazz Napieradded 15.

Knicks Fans Chant ‘We Want Kyrie’ During Celtics Game Amid Rumored Unrest

ROB GOLDBERG | Bleacher Report

New York Knicks fans have already begun their recruitment of Kyrie Irving.

The Boston Celtics guard was seemingly the most popular player in Madison Square Garden on Friday night despite representing the road team. The fans even serenaded him with a “We Want Kyrie” chant during the game:

Irving can become a free agent this summer if he declines his $21.3 million player option for 2019-20, and it no longer seems like a guarantee he will re-sign with Boston.

“At the end of the day, I’m going to do what’s best for me and my career,” the All-Star said before Friday’s 113-99 victory, per Barbara Barker of Newsday.

Sam Amick of The Athletic also reported it’s possible the Knicks could sign both Kevin Durant and Irving this summer thanks to the newly created cap room from Thursday’s Kristaps Porzingis trade.

Although it’s a long time until July 1, when Irving will officially become a free agent, the Knicks fans have made their preference clear. 

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2818862-knicks-fans-chant-we-want-kyrie-during-celtics-game-amid-rumored-unrest

Charles Barkley wants Adam Silver to veto any trade of Anthony Davis to the Lakers

Andrew Joseph • USA Today Sports

From the moment LeBron James started discussing his desire to play alongside Anthony Davis, the NBA was wary about possible tampering. That escalated this week when Davis publicly requested a trade, which resulted in a $50,000 fine.

Still, the entire ordeal has pointed to Davis ending up on the Lakers, and Charles Barkley would like NBA commissioner Adam Silver to step in and put a stop to any trade that would send the Pelicans big man to Los Angeles.

During Thursday’s Inside the NBA, Barkley pointed at Davis’ shared representation with LeBron (agent Rich Paul) and claimed that it was “collusion” to create a superteam with the Lakers.

Barkley said:

“Adam Silver needs to block that trade. I don’t like what the Lakers are doing. I don’t think it’s right … It’s collusion, and you know it’s collusion. Let me tell you something, Rich Paul got mad at me when I said a month ago, ‘Oh, the fix is in. Anthony Davis is going to the Lakers.’ This was before all these rumors started. And he didn’t like me saying the fix was in. The fix has been in! I think Commissioner [Silver], who I like a lot, needs to come out and say, ‘Hey, we can trade Anthony Davis, but he cannot go to the Lakers. We cannot have players and agents colluding to stack superteams.”

While Barkley probably was mixing up collusion with tampering, the point was valid. Davis and his agent have seemingly leveraged the Pelicans to trade him to the Lakers, and it’s a practice that potentially undermines the competitive balance of the league.

But could you imagine if another blockbuster trade to the Lakers gets blocked? That would be the kind of thing that could only happen in the NBA.

Original Article : https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/01/charles-barkley-anthony-davis-trade-block

DEBATE: Is the NBA inviting Dirk Nowitzki & Dwyane Wade to the All-Star Game good or bad?

Nate Scott & Charles Curtis • USA Today Sports

In this edition of Point-Counterpoint, which is a thing we just made up, Nate Scott and Charles Curtis will debate the inclusion of Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade in this year’s NBA All-Star Game.

Nate: Charles, we are here to debate the NBA’s inclusion of Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade in this year’s All-Star Game, who will play in the game after being granted special roster spots. They would not normally appear in an All-Star Game due to the fact that they’re both some combination of old, washed, and injured, but in what appears to be their final seasons, they’re getting a swan song appearance.

You think this is silly and sets a bad precedent, I think it’s awesome and hilarious. Let’s talk it out.

Charles: This is absolutely silly and sets a bad precedent. We all love Dirk. We all love DWade. We don’t need to carve out special all the feels All-Star spots to prove that. Have them be special assistant coaches. Let them get a tribute at halftime of the game. Whatever! Just don’t touch my All-Star spots. Do these count toward their career totals? The NBA is the only sports league where ASG appearances actually mean something!

And what if there’s a less obvious fringe future Hall of Famer who DOESN’T get this treatment? It’s gonna set NBA Twitter on fire.

Nate: These are all good points, so let me counter them one at a time.

  1.  We do need to carve out special all the feels spots, because feeling anything is good in 2019.
  2. I don’t care if they count toward their career totals, though I suspect they won’t.
  3. All-Star Games are inherently meaningless.
  4. I welcome them giving a spot to, like, Rudy Gay, because that would be hilarious.
  5. NBA Twitter is only fun when it’s burning.

Give them more spots. Get Ray Felton in next year’s All-Star Game. I want to see Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol take turns jogging up the court and bricking hook shots. Make it a joke, for I will watch and laugh.

Though, in one nod to your point, uh … why wasn’t Vince Carter invited?

Charles: EXACTLY NATE. What if Vinsanity retires after this season (please don’t, Vince) and he didn’t get his pity invite? However, your first point is the most salient.

I am all for good feelings especially in 2019 and particularly in sports. Heck, I’m the guy who wrote that participation trophies are a good thing, so I get it. And No. 5 is also very true. Raymond Felton though? Really?

Nate: Raymond Felton once told an interviewer he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about his weight because “I had one year when I was out of shape, now everybody wants to talk about my weight every year.”

This man’s job relies on him being in shape and he’s mad because people seized on that one year he wasn’t in shape. IT WAS JUST THE ONE YEAR, CHARLES. For that interview answer alone he deserves a spot in an All-Star Game. Put him in the Hall of Fame, too. What a legend.

I don’t even know what we’re talking about anymore, but to make an actual point: No one actually cares about the All-Star Game. No one plays defense. The score is 98 hajillion to 95 hajillion every year. The only thing that mixes it up is when something different happens. There was that play when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant squashed their supposed feud by running a play together in the first minute. That was awesome. I remember that! I do not remember who won that game.

I will not remember who wins this year’s game. I will remember a standing ovation for old ass Dirk and old ass Dwyane coming in together.

Charles: Oh yes, that Felton quote was GOLD, JERRY, GOLD. Thank goodness he got into shape to play with the Knicks before they shipped his fit self over in the Carmelo deal. But I digress.

It’s not about the game here, this is about principles. Spots – whether they’re in the Super Bowl or Hall of Fame or whatever – are earned, not given.

At least we can agree on one thing: We’ll both take a minute think about the careers of Dirk and Dwyane and watch as their rivals fawn over them and we’ll think about how cool that moment was (even though it could have been done without these spots) until Pau Gasol doesn’t get the same treatment next year.

Nate: That is well thought out and smart. I will counter by saying that All-Star Games are meaningless, I don’t care what is earned, and I mostly want to see the day when Nene gets invited to make a special guest appearance at the ASG and NBA Twitter spontaneously combusts. Let’s do it, Adam Silver.

Original Article: https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/02/dirk-nowitzki-dwyane-wade-all-star-game

MOVE WATCH: Curry & Boogie Fake a Pick and Roll & Reveal Influences From Coach Kerr’s Spurs Days

The Golden State Warriors are adjusting some classic plays for their new big man DeMarcus Cousins. Here’s a play that looks like a pick and roll for Stephen Curry, which turns into a sneak attack for Cousins. But what if Cousins wants to share and confuses everyone instead? Co-starring Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston and 1999 Steve Kerr on the Spurs. By @EricApricot.