VIDEO: Highlights from games played Nov. 24
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Warriors bask in NBA’s first 16-0 start — What was pondered a day ago has become fact today — the Golden State Warriors are the sole owners of the best start in NBA history. Last night’s romp against the Los Angeles Lakers moves the Warriors to 16-0 and, perhaps, increases talk that they could challenge the 1996 Chicago Bulls’ 72-win mark come season’s end. At any rate, the team is soaking in this moment — as much as they’ll allow themselves — writes Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle:
No matter what happens the rest of the season, the 2015-16 Warriors will be remembered for what they accomplished Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors dominated the Lakers 111-77 for their 16th consecutive victory to open the season — something no other team in the history of the league has achieved and something that seemed unfathomable three weeks ago.
The Warriors have been so forceful during their record-breaking run that imaginations are running wild with fantasies about winning 34 in a row, finishing with 73 victories and building the foundation of a dynasty.
“Eventually, we will lose,” said Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton, who watched his players’ subdued celebration on the postgame court and then matched their tone in the locker room.
Walton congratulated each player for entering his name into the NBA record books, and then he reminded the entire team that it’s November. There are still 66 regular-season games to play over the next 4½ months.
Beating opponents by an average of 15.6 points per game, the Warriors are drawing comparisons to the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. The Michael Jordan-led team won 72 of 82 regular-season games, and the Stephen Curry-led Warriors appear capable of making a run at the feat.
Curry had 24 points and nine assists without stepping onto the floor during the fourth quarter, other than to celebrate the highlights of the reserve players and to toss candy into a sellout crowd of close to 20,000.
Draymond Green, who started the night by taking a microphone to midcourt and saying, “Let’s make history,” added 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. The Warriors also got 13 points from Leandro Barbosa, 11 from Klay Thompson, nine from Festus Ezeli and eight apiece from Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes.
But their defense was even more impressive than their No. 1-ranked offense. As if things weren’t bad enough already for the Lakers (2-12), they were limited to 37.8 percent shooting and had nearly as many turnovers (15) as assists (16).
Kobe Bryant had four points on 1-of-14 shooting, perfectly illustrating the shift of power in the NBA’s Pacific Division. The Oakland arena, which used to be split close to 50-50 when the Lakers were in town, included only a handful of purple and gold jerseys and got playoff loud every time Bryant missed.
“The challenge for (the Warriors) is going to be conflict,” Bryant said. “You’ve got to have some kind of internal conflict thing. It keeps the team on edge. If not, it becomes so easy that you just kind of coast. You kind of fall into a malaise.”
VIDEO: Warriors.com recaps Golden State’s historic win
No. 2: Butler: Plumlee should pay for my fine for tech — Things got heated down the stretch in last night’s Blazers-Bulls game in Portland, especially in the fourth quarter as the Blazers were trying to make a late push for their third straight win. After C.J. McCollum nailed a 3-pointer to trim Chicago’s lead to 80-79 with 4:33 left, the Bulls brought the ball up and ran their offense. Chicago’s All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler set a free-throw line screen for Nikola Mirotic, who was guarded by Mason Plumlee. Plumlee fought through the Butler screen and ended up getting tangled up with him, setting off a brief fracas and Butler got a technical foul. Afterward, Butler wasn’t happy about any of it and wants Plumlee to pay the fine associated with the technical, writes Nick Fridell of ESPN.com. :
Bulls All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler plans to ask Trail Blazers big man Mason Plumlee to pay his fine after Butler was called for a technical foul during the fourth quarter of Chicago’s 93-88 win over Portland when the two got tangled up.
The play in question came with 4:17 left in the game and the Bulls leading 80-79. Butler tried to set a pick and it appeared Plumlee dropped a shoulder into Butler that knocked him over. Butler responded by tripping Plumlee and going head-to-head with him as the pair exchanged some heated words before being separated.
The referees reviewed the play, giving Plumlee a flagrant foul 1 and Butler a technical foul.
“He cost me $2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. I’m going to ask him to pay me back — and I’m not playing.”
Butler seemed more upset about the fine for the impending technical than he did about the actual play.
“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said after the game. “It’s all good though, man. I almost had to let the Fort Greene projects out of me, Brooklyn.”
Butler’s mention of Fort Greene was in reference to teammate Taj Gibson‘s hometown. Gibson was standing next to Butler as he spoke to the media. After a couple moments of laughter, Butler said, “Basketball, emotions — that’s part of the game.”
VIDEO: Plumee, Butler scuffle after foul
No. 3: LeBron: Appreciate, don’t compare, all-time greats — It’s a guilty pleasure of NBA fans worldwide (and something we’ve gotten into on this very website, too) — comparing today’s players to those in the past and deciding who is greater than whom. LeBron James has heard that chatter, of course, but has some good advice for all of us hoop heads out there — enjoy who you’re watching while they’re playing and forget about comparing eras or players as you do so. ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin has more:
LeBron James joined Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson on Monday as the only players in NBA history to rank in the top 25 in both points and assists.
James joined the elite company when he found Kevin Love for a corner 3-pointer with five minutes left in the second quarter. It was his fifth assist of the game and 6,387th of his career, which put him ahead of Norm Nixon at No. 25.
James said he didn’t want the accomplishment to spark a conversation comparing his career with the Big O’s.
“I think what we get caught up in, in our league too much, is trying to compare greats to greats, instead of just accepting and acknowledging and saying, ‘Wow, these are just great players,'” James said after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 117-103 win over the Orlando Magic. “I think in the NFL, when you talk about great quarterbacks, they don’t really compare great quarterbacks. They say, ‘Oh, Joe Montana is great.’ You know, ‘Tom Brady is great. Aaron Rodgers is great. Steve Young is great.’ [Terry] Bradshaw, all those great quarterbacks, they never compare them as much.
“But when it comes to our sport, we’re so eager to say, ‘Who is better: Oscar or [Michael] Jordan?’ or ‘Jordan or LeBron or Kobe [Bryant] or these guys?’ instead of just accepting greatness. And if you understand the history of the sport, then there is no way you could ever forget Oscar Robertson. This guy, he averaged a triple-double for, like, forever.”
James finished Monday night’s win with 13 assists, which tied a season high. He scored 15 points and needs just six more to pass Reggie Miller (25,279 points) for No. 18 on the all-time scoring list.
When asked at shootaround Monday whether he had any fond memories of Miller’s playing career, James said, “Uh, no,” rather abruptly. When Robertson’s name came up, James was more than happy to expound.
“Any time we get an opportunity to either see each other or talk to each other, it’s always respect,” James said. “He’s a guy who laid the foundation, and I’m just trying to carry it on. How guys can be triple threats, play for the team first, and then hopefully, someone else can take the example that I took from him and keep it going.”
James — sometimes reluctant to delve into his personal achievements, often going back to the refrain that he and his good friend, Maverick Carter, will talk about all that over wine someday when he’s retired — gave credit for the mark to those he has suited up with on the Cavs and Miami Heat.
“I’ve been very blessed to be with a lot of great teammates and two great organizations that allowed me to do some unbelievable things,” James said. “And obviously with the assists, without my teammates over the years and them making shots, then I don’t get the assists. So it is very humbling to see my name linked with Big O, someone that I’ve always kind of admired.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Golden State Warriors interim coach Luke Walton had his Mercedes Benz stolen last night … Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant reveals his four closest teammates of all time … Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has a message for those who keep on intentionally fouling him: ‘Bring it on’ … San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green is trying to find his way (and shot) in the team’s new offense … Amar’e Stoudemire says the Knicks’ coaches never used he and Carmelo Anthony together right when they were both in New York … Could the Detroit Pistons be mulling a lineup change? …
ICYMI of the Night: Yes, the Warriors made history last night. But don’t sleep on how great Paul George is this season …
VIDEO: Paul George drops 40 points on Wizards