VIDEO: Highlights from Tuesday’s games
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Green saves day for Warriors vs. Hawks — The reigning Kia MVP (Stephen Curry) and the Finals MVP (Andre Iguodala) both missed the Golden State Warriors’ game against the Atlanta Hawks last night. On the surface, news like that would seem to give the Hawks a leg up on beating the NBA’s best team. But do-it-all forward Draymond Green wasn’t about to let that happen. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Rusty Simmons details how Green put the Warriors on his back to move Golden State to its 43rd straight home win:
Draymond Green had nothing to apologize for Tuesday.
On a night when injuries sidelined regular-season MVP Stephen Curry and NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, Green did his best MVP impersonation, making a seemingly impossible overtime three-pointer and leading the Warriors to a 109-105 victory against the Hawks at Oracle Arena.
Green apologized Monday for a locker-room tirade during halftime of Saturday’s overtime win in Oklahoma City. If they ever really stopped being the most joyous squad on the planet, the Warriors quickly returned to that designation as Green led a total team effort with 15 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and four steals.
“What can you say?” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said, searching for words to describe how Green willed the Warriors to a victory without their captains. “Another near triple-double. Point guard. He was our point forward tonight.
“It was a brilliant performance from Draymond.”
Along with Green’s huge game, the Warriors got 26 points from Thompson, a season-high 19 from Andrew Bogut, 12 from Harrison Barnes and a combined 21 from Leandro Barbosa and Marreese Speights off the bench.
“A night like this should be fun, right?” Kerr said. “Everybody should be aggressive. There’s nothing to lose. … I thought everybody was aggressive. Aggression without turnovers: That was important.”
“I just wanted to come out and play hard for my team,” Green said. “That’s what I’m going to do each and every day. Every time I step on the floor, I’m going to give 110 percent for my teammates.
“I wasn’t worried about what people were saying about me or this, that or the other. I know what I try to bring to this team.”
VIDEO: Golden State escapes Hawks in OT
Days of protracted talks between the sides ultimately resulted in an agreement that has been submitted for league approval and will position Martin, 33, to be pursued by a number of playoff-bound teams once he clears waivers later this week.
The San Antonio Spurs, as ESPN.com reported over the weekend, have already emerged as strong contenders to sign him.
But sources said late Tuesday that the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets have joined the Spurs in the Martin hunt.
Sources say the Spurs have made a particularly strong pitch to Martin, whose agent, Dan Fegan, had to negotiate a complicated settlement of the player option on Martin’s contract that was scheduled to pay him $7.4 million next season.
Martin, in a message sent to multiple media outlets, thanked Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and his wife, Becky, for their support over the past two-plus seasons in Minnesota, saying they provided “first-class treatment” since his first day with the team.
No. 3: Rockets add Ray to coaching staff — During his early years with the Orlando Magic, center Dwight Howard had several big man coaches, one of whom was Clifford Ray, the defensive anchor of the Golden State Warriors’ 1975 championship team. Ray is back working with Howard again, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle as well as with the Houston Rockets’ other big men to sharpen their skills as the season enters its final month or so:
While the Rockets dropped another player, Ty Lawson, from their roster, they added to their coaching staff on Tuesday, bringing in former NBA center Clifford Ray as a consultant. The former Warriors and Bulls defensive stalwart had worked with Dwight Howard in Orlando and off-and-on over the years.
“I’ve known him for a long, long time,” Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He’s here to help our big guys. His depth of knowledge will be good for all of us. His energy, his enthusiasm was evident already today on his first day on the job. He’ll be a lot of help for us.
“He’s really good at what he does. All the big guys that I’ve known that worked with him have a lot of respect for him. Through the times we’ve been together, just as a person, he’s a great, positive person. I just thought the timing was right and he’d be the guy for the job.”
“Cliff’s a great guy,” Howard said. “We worked together in Orlando. He really pushed me to the limit every day. I’m excited to have him back here with me again. He’s been great. Even though he was not here all season, he was a guy who was always texting me after games, telling me to do more, be more of a leader and a teammate.
“Guys have been saying already – his energy level, he’s probably the oldest guy (67-years-old) in the building, but he has the most energy. It’s great to have that. Cliff’s played against some of the best to ever do it, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar). He really knows the position well.”
No. 4: Anthony to heckler: Ask Dolan for your money back — A rough season in New York marches along as the Knicks close in on the end of the season and, more than likely, no shot at the playoffs. The Portland Trail Blazers routed the Knicks at Madison Square Garden last night, 104-85, marking the team’s 12th loss in its last 15 games. During the blowout, a heckler got on superstar forward Carmelo Anthony about the team’s performance. Anthony had a quick retort for the fan, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post:
It was an ugly Garden night filled with boos, relentless “We want Jimmer’’ chants in the fourth quarter and a wild exchange between Carmelo Anthony and a heckler.
With the Knicks star watching from the bench during the final stages of a disgraceful 104-85 loss to the Blazers, a frustrated Anthony told the fan he should ask owner James Dolan for his money back and leave him alone.
It was rock bottom for the Knicks on a night Anthony showed he had lost his hops, even if it was a practice dunk, then lost his cool on the bench. It was a night of shame for Knicks fans — three of whom wore bags over their heads.
Another fan got into it with Anthony and wound up being escorted from his seat by security.
“He kept calling my name, calling my name, said you guys suck, you guys suck,’’ Anthony said. “At that point, I was trying to gather myself. I turned around and all I did was pointed to Dolan. I told him, ‘look, the owner’s right there, ask for your money back.’ At that point, he told me he wasn’t coming to another game. You just don’t want to hear that. I pointed to the owner and told him, ‘look, you deal with that with him and see if you can get your money back.’ ’’
The Knicks fell to a season-worst 12 games under .500 at 25-37, amid a 3-15 stretch and dropped to 2-6 under interim coach Kurt Rambis.
In a further indictment, Anthony said things feel worse than last season’s 17-65 debacle.
“It’s tougher now,” he said. “At least last year we were starting from the bottom. This year we got off to a good start. If I had the answers it would be a lot different.’’
This wasn’t one for the Anthony highlight reel.
Anthony scored 23 points but will be remembered for his after-the-whistle dunk attempt. After getting blocked inside, the ball went out of bounds. Anthony picked it up and tried to dunk it. The ball slammed off the front rim and he tumbled hard to the court. He laughed it off, but the 31-year-old’s hops aren’t what it used to be, especially coming off left knee surgery.
“I was trying to figure it out,’’ Anthony said. “My mind and body were telling me two different things. You got to laugh at yourself.’’
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose liked how he played against the Miami Heat on Tuesday night … Houston Rockets star James Harden may soon see some time at point guard … A 94-year-old fan got to attend her first Golden State Warriors game last night … The Portland Trail Blazers pursued a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks for big man Greg Monroe …