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Saturday, February 1st, 2014 at 10:30 am  |  37 responses

Post Up: Curry, KD Get Cooking

Thunder keep rolling, Steph gets hot

by Brett Weisband | @weisband

Magic (13-35) 113, Bucks (8-38) 102

The Magic sprinted away from the Bucks and led by double digits for more than three-quarters of the game. Arron Afflalo paced Orlando with 21 points on 7-13 shooting, leading six players in double figures. Tobias Harris went for 18 off the bench and Victor Oladipo was solid all-around, going for 15 points, seven assists and five boards. Orlando shot 51.8 percent on the night and outscored Milwaukee 30-18 in the paint.

The Bucks had a balanced scoring night themselves, with four starters scoring 10 points even and a total of seven players hitting for 10 or more. Caron Butler continued his relative hot streak with 20 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo tied his career high with 15. The Bucks have dropped five games in a row and 14 of their last 15.

Hawks (24-21) 125, 76ers (15-32) 99

Atlanta dominated the 76ers, forcing countless turnovers and making the home team look as bad as analysts thought they’d be coming into the season. The Sixers hung in for a short while despite committing nine turnovers in the first quarter alone, but they could do nothing to slow the Hawks down. Atlanta shot over 50 percent on the night, racking up 36 assists on their 45 made field goals. Seven Hawks scored 10 or more points, led by Mike Scott and former Sixer Elton Brand, who both came off the bench to score 18. 

With the exception of Thaddeus Young (29 points, 11-19 from the field) and Michael Carter-Williams (17 points on just nine shots) the Sixers were as inept on offense as they were on defense. They finished with 19 turnovers, shot just 36.8 percent and made 6-22 3-pointers.

Grizzlies (25-20) 94, Timberwolves (23-23) 90

Minnesota rallied in the second half to take a late lead, but Memphis was able to churn out another victory. Zach Randolph had 26 points (11-20 shooting) and 12 boards, coming out on top in a battle of two very different power forwards. Kevin Love had the more impressive numbers for Minnesota, going for 28 and 16 despite rolling his ankle in the first half. Love got some help from Kevin Martin (14 points) and super-sub J.J. Barea (12 points).

Memphis was up 16 midway through the third, but Love keyed an 18-4 run, hitting three triples and netting 14 points in that stretch to get the Wolves right back in it. The teams spent much of the fourth quarter on the seesaw, trading leads eight times in the final period alone. Memphis finally buried Minny with a Z-Bo-powered 11-2 run. Courtney Lee had 16 points for the Grizz and played some spot point guard minutes late after Mike Conley left the game with an ankle injury. Memphis has won 10 of 11 and has climbed to within a game of a Playoff spot.

Thunder (38-10) 120, Nets (20-24) 95

The streak is over: Kevin Durant didn’t top 30 points for the first time in nearly a month. The Thunder’s winning streak, however, is still intact at 10 as they demolished the Nets in Brooklyn. The Nets simply couldn’t hang with OKC, as the Thunder shot a blistering 63.6 percent from the field, the highest in the Association this season.

(H/T r/NBA)

Despite losing his ridiculous 12-game 30-point streak, KD didn’t cool off one bit. Durant shot 10-12 in his 30 minutes, hitting an array of flat-out mean shots and scoring 26 points and picking up seven assists before sitting out the fourth quarter. The Slim Reaper finished the month of January averaging 35.9 points on 54.9 percent shooting, along with six boards and six assists. Serge Ibaka caught KD’s fever and literally could not miss, hitting all 12 of his shots en route to 25 points. All three of the Thunder’s young guns – Jeremy Lamb (12), Reggie Jackson (14) and Perry Jones (11) – hit double digits in scoring, with Jackson in particular making several plays for OKC.

The Nets were never close in this one, falling behind by 15 at the end of the first quarter and not getting within 20 after the midway point of the second quarter. Shaun Livingston led Brooklyn in scoring, while Deron Williams came off the bench, netting 14 points. Kevin Garnett went scoreless for the first time since his rookie season in 1996. Due to the Thunder missing just 28 shots on the night, the Nets set a dubious NBA record for fewest rebounds in a game with 17. 

Mavericks (27-21) 107, Kings (15-31) 103

Dirk Nowitzki put the Mavericks on his back down the stretch, carrying Dallas to a narrow victory over the Kings. Dirk scored 12 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, helping to pull the Mavs out of a five-point hole and into the lead. Monta Ellis (20 points, 6-10 shooting) did his part to close out the game, scoring Dallas’ final five points. The Mavericks didn’t shoot well from deep – just 10.5 percent – but made their only two 3-pointers of the game in the fourth.

Rudy Gay went off for Sacto, scoring 35 on 10-16 shooting, while helping to stake the Kings to a 13-point lead late in the third before going cold in the fourth, where they suffered through a three-minute scoring drought. In addition to his efficient scoring night, Rudy pulled down 12 boards and passed out six assists. The Kings got 19 from Isaiah Thomas, but no one else hit double figures in scoring.

Raptors (25-21) 100, Nuggets (22-23) 90

The Raptors picked up their first win in Denver in a decade, using a spurt in the third quarter to pull away. Newly minted All-Star DeMar DeRozan was the game’s top scorer with 19 points, although he shot 6-17 from the field to get there. The final margin is a little misleading, as Toronto went up by as many as 25 in the fourth quarter before garbage time. Kyle Lowry didn’t respond to his All-Star snub as strongly as some of his fellow excluded peers, managing just 13 points and six assists. Terrence Ross went for 18 and showed off some dunk contest-worthy material.

Randy Foye flipped the switch from 3-point gunner to point man with Ty Lawson out again, dishing out 16 assists to go with his 10 points. He struggled with the added ball-handling responsibilities, committing eight of the Nuggets’ 25 turnovers. Evan Fournier had 18 points and seven turnovers, while J.J. Hickson put up 18 and 13 boards.

Bobcats (21-27) 110, Lakers (16-31) 100

Charlotte walked into Staples and dropped the Lakers, led by a dominant effort by another near-miss All-Star. Al Jefferson destroyed the Lakers’ lackluster front court, going for 40 points on 18-32 shooting, tying his career high, along with 18 boards. Charlotte led by double digits for the majority of the second half, holding the Lakers at bay. The one time L.A. got it under 10 in the second half, Big Al scored eight straight Bobcat points to put an end to any thought of a Laker comeback. Gerald Henderson scored 20 in support, while Ramon Sessions handed out 13 assists.

Pau Gasol has 24 for the Lakers, tweaking his groin in the process, while Nick Young netted 21 off the bench. Kendall Marshall continues his career resurrection under Mike D’Antoni, going for a double double with 10 points and 12 assists. L.A. shot just 38.7 percent in dropping their sixth straight and now have the sixth-worth record in the League.

Warriors (29-19) 95, Jazz (16-30) 90

Golden State looked to be in trouble on the second night of a back-to-back, but all is well when Stephen Curry gets hot. Steph went off for 44 points (14-26 shooting, 8-13 from deep), splashing in 17 points in the third quarter and another 13 in the fourth quarter, including three triples in the final frame. The Warriors rode Curry’s hot hand to overcome an eight-point deficit in the fourth. They also had to fight off their own shooting woes; the Warriors hit just 37.5 percent from the field, including a 3-20 night from Klay Thompson (11 points). Luckily, Curry had Andrew Bogut running with him. The Aussie put up 16 points on 8-11 shooting while controlling the paint, corralling 17 rebounds and blocking three shots, including a stuff of Gordon Hayward the preserve the lead in the fourth for Golden State.

The Jazz got a couple of unexpected boosts off the bench. Alec Burks flashed a varied game, hitting for 26 points, while Diante Garrett scored 13 points on 6-8 shooting. Both got heavy minutes in place of Trey Burke, who was saddled with foul trouble all night and fouled out in just 22 minutes. The Jazz honored legendary coach Jerry Sloan on Friday, raising his “jersey” with the number 1223 on it, the number of wins he rang up as coach of the Jazz. 

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  • JJ Jones

    Its kind of scary to think that that isn’t the best of kd. He’s hitting everything like theirlayups right now and he just looks so comfortable with his game right now its too easy for him especially with his improved ball handling.. Also something that people have overlooked during kd’s recent tear is the improvement of serge ibaka. This man has been money from mid range all year and is my pick for dpoy. As young as this team is, they’re going to win multiple titles if not this year then probably next. Imo were watching a dynasty in the making

  • Max

    That KD 3 in Livingston’s grill is so so sweet.

  • Saleem Rainman

    If sacramento fans were wondering why Dirk made the all star game over Cousins…now they know lol

  • Dagger

    This past month has resurrected the NBA season for me. The Atlantic division is no longer a joke, Durant is putting up historic numbers, Lebron seems to be emerging from slumber, the Grizzlies are actually good again: things are looking up.

    And that dunk by Terranosaurus Ross is filthy, by the way.

  • spit hot fiyah

    rudy gay: 35 points on 16 shots. slow….clap…..

  • Nathan Shane Long

    Friday night thoughts

    1.Is anyone aware of the fact that Al Jefferson is the best center in the NBA right now and that he truly was the biggest ALL-STAR SNUB IN THE EAST not Stephenson or Lowry “BIG AL” has been dominate ever since the Kemba Walker injury he is the best post player in the league

    2.Memphis is making a quiet run in the West

    3.Stephen Curry best streak shooter in the world and also an OVERRATED THREE POINT SPECIALIST

    4.Terrence Ross best dunk of the season

  • spit hot fiyah

    speaking of resurrection. rudy gay is now alive in the eyes of the advanced stats community

  • Saleem Rainman

    Best center in the NBA right now? Steph overrated?

    go home, ur drunk.

  • guest

    tell me again why you stat nerds hate jefferson? cuz it seems like he flips into beast mode often when i watch him.

  • guest

    gotta win one before you start with dynasty talk

  • Nathan Shane Long

    I know you don’t watch the Bobcats but have you seen him play lately simply dominate far better than Dwight or Roy and Curry is vastly overrated

  • JJ Jones

    Read what I said again. Look at their roster barring injuries of course this team is going to win titles. Reggie jackson is getting better every year not to mention Jeremy lamb and Perry jones could have possible all star potential. As young as they are its hard to say that they won’t win anything with this roster. Seriously had james harden played just a bit better they might have been champions in 2012 as college age kids. I look long-term not just right now

  • Saleem Rainman

    okay, but do u watch sacramento? lol

  • http://RAPTORS.COM/ BRAVO

    Can’t wait till Raptors face Sacramento.

  • Nathan Shane Long

    Jefferson is far more skilled than Cousins will ever be Demarcus is power player while Jefferson has the best footwork of any post player in the league and straight finesse

  • Saleem Rainman

    LOL, okay.

  • X

    1. Dude, you said ‘dynasty in the making’. That implies that they’ve already won one and are on their way to winning more. You jump the gun a lot. This is at least the third comment I’ve seen where you went overboard with the enthusiasm. I’m a huge Thunder fan, but relax.

    2. Did you watch 2012 Finals? The games were close in OKC, but Harden didn’t just need to play a “little” better in order to beat the Heat. He needed to play A LOT better, and they needed experience. Remember that they lost in 6 games, the last of which was a thrashing. Let’s not act like they lost a game 7 thriller.

  • Happy

    They lost in 5 games actually, but I agree with every thing else you said.

  • pposse

    1. best center in the league is Joakim Noah
    2. yes!
    3. yes!
    4. yes! dunk of the year by far

  • Roy Blumenfeld

    I’m a Bobcats fan and even I disagree with you. Cousins is the best Center in the NBA. Big Al is probably the 2nd best offensive center and top 5 for the position. He deserved a spot in the ASG more than Noah though.

  • JJ Jones

    Read my post again I said that its hard to see this team not win anything considering that they’ve been in contention since 2012 with a freak injury to westbrook being the reason that they didn’t make the finals last year. This year kd is just beginning g to enter his prime and their younger role players are just scratching the surface of their potential if utilized correctly. Im not a thunder fan but seriously who in the west is really going to stop this team for the next few years? U cant really be short-sighted about this using the same “wait and see” cliche its not difficult to see what this team can become long-term(as long as they aren’t cheap like with harden)

  • Happy

    Are you psychic? Can you predict the future? It’s silly to make definitive statements in a league where blockbuster trades and major injuries happen every single season. No one is denying that the Thunder have great potential or a high ceiling. No one said they don’t. The objection is to your jumping to conclusions waaaaay too early. Saying things like ‘dynasty’ is pretty much guaranteeing league domination for years to come without a single championship having been won yet.

  • JJ Jones

    Ive already said “barring injuries”. Youre entitled to your opinion but I have to ask what do u see stopping this team in the near future. Miamiwont contend forever with their aging players and with their roster and no one in the west can contend with their level of talent and athletic ability? Keep in mind that westbrook will be healthier next year unless hes another dwyane wade(hopefully not) and despite that they’re having their best season to date.

  • Happy

    Who is making claims that Miami will contend forever? Stating the obvious isn’t making an argument. All players age, and injury can happen to anyone. I think those 2 points have been well established. To answer your question, the Warriors, Clippers, & Spurs have a half season ahead of them, just like the Thunder. Do you understand the difference between acknowledging potential, & making declarations? You make declarations that no one without psychic powers can foresee. Can you tell me what trades will occur this year or any other? Can you tell me with certainty which free agents will go to which teams? Can you tell me which draft picks will improve next season to be integral parts of their teams? That’s all we’re saying. It’s not even halfway through this season, & you’re talking June and beyond. Just slow down. If you think regular season games in January are Finals previews, then by all means, continue to on with meaningless statements of non-existent dynasties.

  • JJ Jones

    So you expect the spurs to be title contenders this year with countless injuries and a horrible record against contending teams (not to mention never made back to back finals) the 7th seeded warriors and the clippers(lol) Look I understand your a wait and see guy but some things are just common sense. And as for which draft picks will improve I’ve already said which ones have already jeremy lamb and perry jones have shown to be promising. Okc is the most talented team in the west as well as the youngest with an all time great scorer in kd who will continue to improve. Provided that westbrook is healthy in the playoffs they should easily be in the finals

  • Happy

    1. You don’t get extra fan points for declaring that your guesses are facts that just haven’t happened yet. If you know so much about the future, why are you on this comment board instead of making millions in Vegas?

    2. Clearly you don’t understand the words ‘probable’, ‘likely’, ‘maybe’, ‘possible’. Those are words everyone else uses when talking about POTENTIAL. Try them.

    3.Do you think you are a genius who sees the Thunder are talented, and everyone else is just blind? No you aren’t. We all know how talented the Thunder are. We all know how great their chances are. Nothing is already written in stone. In the interest of ending this non-productive conversation let me bottom line what I’ve repeated a gazillion times: Making declarations about events that haven’t happened yet, months and years in advance is silly. No two ways around that. Even if your guesses turn out to be right, it only means you GUESSED correctly. You don’t know some secret that the rest of the basketball world doesn’t.

  • JJ Jones

    What part are PROBABLY do u not understand? Its amazing how some people cant take the TIME to READ (key word ) what was posted before responding. So what do u think their trying to BUILD in okc exactly like I said a dynasty. And like I said before barring some Unforseen injury their set to dominate e the league for a long period of time. An example of someone telling the future miami and indiana in the conference finals being a lock when I’ve said again and again that one of these teams could lose before them. U know damn well if miami was dominating right now everyone would be shouting “THREE PEAT” !! The double standard is ridiculous.

  • Truth2015

    This isn’t the Nfl the nba I’d fairly easy to predict. I guess when miamis big three came together everyone was wrong about them winning multiple titles? In his defense where was he wrong? The fact of the matter is that okcs record has improved EVERY season with a freak injury to westbrook being the reason they didn’t make back to back finals. The fact is that durant, ibaka and their supporting cast is continuing to improve yet you fond it asinine to say that this teams time is coming? Okc was the youngest roster to ever make the finals I’m sure they’ll get at least a couple of rings without injury of course.

  • LakeShow

    How is Steph Curry overrated as a three point specialist?

  • pposse

    i dont know just dont ruin the YES! parade

  • LakeShow

    I had too. Especially when you are agreeing with that foo ;)

  • LakeShow

    This guy… lol…

  • LakeShow

    1)He is highly inefficient at scoring.

    2)He plays very little solid man to man defense.

    3)His blocks are his only defensive contributions and he isn’t all that great of a rim defender.

    I’m in no way a stat nerd. I am the one usually calling people stat nerds.

  • Happy

    Funny you mention the Heat, who every thought would steamroll their way to the no. 1 seed, and beat the far less talented Mavs in the Finals. Thanks for proving my point exactly. As I told the clairvoyant up top, if your argument is that it’s likely, the Thunder will be successful, that is a MOOT point. No one is saying otherwise. Declaring things like dynasties, and free agency before the season is hallway done is stupid. No two ways around that.

  • Happy

    Every successful team is trying to build a dynasty. The Thunder aren’t unique in that regard. You said they are a dynasty in the making, which means they are trying to win more championships. They haven’t even won one yet. You cannot compare a championship-less team to a multiple championship winner when you throw around words like ‘dynasty in the making’. Maybe you just misunderstood what the phrase means, but just say that. Don’t back peddle or start building up a fake argument, which in this case is the Thunder’s chances of winning a championship year. No one was debating that. Just admit you are overly excited and misspoke. Simple.

  • JJ Jones

    Yet they won the next two years did they not?

  • Happy

    That doesn’t negate my point. Like, at all. Don’t cherry pick facts to support your non-argument. Bottom line, stop jumping the gun with the over the top dynasty claims. Your little “not one, not two, not three but 7 championships” talk is more over the top than the Heatles on that stage.

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