Spurs set NBA record for home wins

The Spurs have set an NBA record with 39 consecutive home wins to start a season, leaving them two victories from the first perfect home regular-season record in league history. San Antonio’s final two home games are Sunday against the Warriors and Tuesday, April 12 against Oklahoma City (8 p.m. ET, TNT). Overall, the Spurs have won 48 straight home regular-season games, the second-longest streak in NBA history behind 54 games by the Warriors, whose run ended with a loss to Boston on April 1. The Spurs’ last regular-season home loss was March 12, 2015, a 128-125 overtime defeat to the Cavaliers in which Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving scored 57 points, an NBA high for the 2014-15 season.

Tonight marks the first meeting in NBA history between two teams that enter with at least 65 victories each. If the Warriors prevail, they would clinch the best record in the Western Conference (and in the NBA) and become the second team in NBA history to win 70 regular-season games. Golden State, coming off an overtime loss to Minnesota on Tuesday, has not lost two in a row all season. No team has ever gone an entire season without losing back-to-back games. (San Antonio, riding a four-game winning streak, also hasn’t lost consecutive games this season.)

The Warriors and Spurs have a combined winning percentage of .865. The highest combined winning percentage among the top two teams in one season is .829 in 1995-96. In that season, the Bulls finished an NBA-record 72-10 and the SuperSonics were 64-18; Chicago went on to defeat Seattle in The Finals. Golden State can surpass Chicago’s single-season record of 72 victories by winning its last four games – the two against the Spurs and two against the Grizzlies (Saturday in Memphis at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and Wednesday, April 13 in Golden State at 10:30 p.m.).

– NBA News

The Philadelphia 76ers have signed forward Christian Wood to a contract for the rest of the season, which for the league ends this coming Wednesday, April 13.

Wood, who went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft, signed with the 76ers last September 14. He has appeared in 16 career NBA games with the Sixers, averaging three points and two rebounds per game. Wood registered career-highs of 15 points and eight rebounds on November 13 at Oklahoma City.

Wood appeared in 32 games with the NBA Development League Delaware 87ers this season, averaging a team-high nine rebounds, as well as 17 points on 53% shooting in 29 minutes per game.

The Memphis Grizzlies today waived center Ryan Hollins, and signed guard Xavier Munford to a multi-year contract.

Hollins (7-0, 240) appeared in 32 games (nine starts) for the Grizzlies this season and averaged 3.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 12.9 minutes. The 31-year-old has averaged 3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11.8 minutes in 518 games (76 starts) over a 10-year NBA career with the Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies.

Munford (6-3, 180) has appeared in 10 games (zero starts) with the Grizzlies and has averaged 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 14.2 minutes after signing with the team to the first of two 10-day contracts on March 16. The 23-year-old played 41 games (37 starts) for the NBA Development League’s Bakersfield Jam, averaging 20.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.00 steals in 33.7 minutes, and was recognized as a 2016 D-League All-Star.

Undrafted in the 2014 Draft, Munford averaged 17.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 35.5 minutes in 61 games (all starts) in his final two collegiate seasons at the University of Rhode Island. The New Jersey native led the Rams in scoring in each of his two years with the program.

Alec Burks should return soon for Jazz

The 39-39 Utah Jazz have gotten just 28 games of action from shooting guard Alec Burks this season, but he will reportedly soon make his return. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

Alec Burks should return soon for Jazz

More than three months after he went down with a broken left fibula that was only supposed to keep him out for a couple of months, Alec Burks will finally be returning to the Jazz lineup for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, according to sources in the Jazz organization.

The 6-foot-6 fifth-year guard out of Colorado is expected to play limited minutes Friday just as Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors did after sitting out for extended times earlier this season. The hope is that Burks can contribute to the Jazz playoff push over the next week and to the playoffs, which would start next weekend if the Jazz were to qualify in the Western Conference.

The Chicago Bulls were a banged-up disappointment this season and with a 39-39 record, they may miss the playoffs. Chemistry never fully developed. Key guys were always in and out of the lineup. For more, here’s ESPN.com:

Fred Hoiberg remains convinced that Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler can thrive together for the Chicago Bulls, but the first-year coach acknowledged Wednesday that — given the rash of injuries — “it’s been tough” getting the pair to play well together at the same time this season.

“We’ve had some really good moments with those guys on the floor together this year,” Hoiberg said Wednesday. “It’s been a tough dynamic.

“Derrick will miss three or four games and then put him back in and then just the style of play that you have is different. You have to integrate him back into the lineup. And then Jimmy misses a few games and then gets back in. So it’s been a tough dynamic, and I think you saw a little bit of that [Tuesday] night with Derrick coming back for the first time.

“As far as anything between the two of the them? No. And I think if you asked those two guys, they’d tell you the same thing.”

Here’s the Denver Post blog reporting on a key young member of the Nuggets:

Emmanuel Mudiay

The education of young Denver Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will likely continue in Las Vegas this July as a member of the team’s summer league roster, head coach Michael Malone said.

And if that’s the case, it’s fine by Mudiay.

“I don’t have a preference,” Mudiay said. “Regardless, I’m just going to work on my game.”

The rookie had an up-and-down season, but did appear to improve over time. In March, Mudiay averaged 15.8 points, 4.8 assists, 3.9 rebounds and shot 39.1 percent from the field, including 38.9 percent from the 3-point line.

The New York Knicks are 31-47 this season, and led in scoring by Carmelo Anthony (22.0 ppg) followed by rookie Kristaps Porzingis (14.3 ppg). While Melo should see action as the season wraps up, the big rook may or may not return to action. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Unclear if Kristaps Porzingis will play again this season

And in the 78th game, he rested — for the first time all season. But Carmelo Anthony said he would return for the final four Knicks games.

Or at least three of them.

Though Anthony is expected to play Wednesday against Charlotte at the Garden, rookie teammate Kristaps Porzingis remained “doubtful” for the game as he rehabs a right shoulder sprain. Interim coach Kurt Rambis reiterated that Porzingis, on whose 7-foot-3 frame so much of the Knicks’ future resides, must be completely healthy before he even sees the floor again.

“He’s doubtful for [Wednesday],” Rambis said of Porzingis who did not practice Tuesday after missing the three previous games. “He is improving and that’s about where it’s at.”

josh richardson

Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.

Richardson helped the Heat go 10-5 in March by ranking second among East rookies in scoring (12.0 ppg) and assists (2.1 apg), and leading the conference’s first-year players in field goal percentage (53.7), three-point field goal percentage (58.9) and steals (1.3 spg). He averaged 29.1 minutes for the month and scored in double figures in eight of 10 games from March 9-28. His versatility was on full display March 14, when Richardson posted 17 points (including 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range), four rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals in a 124-119 win over the Denver Nuggets.

karl-anthony towns

Towns, the West winner for the fifth month in a row, ranked second among rookies in scoring (21.9 ppg) and led all first-year players in rebounding (10.5 rpg) and field goal percentage (58.2). He scored in double figures in all 15 of Minnesota’s games and posted 11 games with 10 or more rebounds, adding to his franchise rookie record for double-doubles, which now stands at 48. On March 23, Towns accounted for 26 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks during a 113-104 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis, Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Toronto’s Norman Powell.

lebron

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.

James ranked second in the East in scoring (25.6 ppg) and fifth in assists (7.1 apg) as the Cavaliers went 11-5 for the month (10-4 with James in the lineup). He added 8.2 rebounds and shot 53.8 percent from the field. James was the only player in the NBA to average at least 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists in March. He posted seven double-doubles and recorded two triple-doubles. In a 107-87 win over the Brooklyn Nets on March 31, James scored 24 points to move into 12th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (he is now 11th).

russell westbrook

Westbrook led the Thunder to an 11-5 record behind averages of 21.7 points, 10.6 assists (third in the NBA) and 8.3 rebounds. His seven triple-doubles in March were the most in a calendar month since Michael Jordan had seven in April 1989. Those performances increased Westbrook’s season total to 16 triple-doubles, the most since Magic Johnson had 17 in 1988-89. Westbrook scored at least 20 points in 11 of 16 games for the month and logged nine games with double-digit assists, including a career-high 19 in a 120-109 win over the Clippers on March 9.

Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Houston’s James Harden, Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Portland’s Damian Lillard, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

Security shakeup at Pelicans arena

Here’s the New Orleans Times Picayune with an update on the Pelicans’ arena security situation, which received a slight wakeup call recently as a young kid was able to wander onto the court, hug a player and return to his seat:

An usher lost her job and a New Orleans police officer will no longer be hired by SMG to work security details for Pelicans games because of a breakdown that enabled a young boy to run onto the court to hug New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony during a game last week at the Smoothie King Center.

Superdome/Smoothie King Center general manager Alan Freeman said the retractable tensile or crowd control barrier was not in place and the usher who should have been watching the aisle was not in place either.

”Then, there is a police officer stationed in that general area also, and he was not doing his job,” Freeman said. ”So essentially what happened there is that you get two people who were not doing their responsibilities and that led to a black eye for us as the building operator.

”So what we have done since then is first of all, we obviously replaced those two people who failed to do their jobs - the usher and the police officer.”

Blake Griffin set to return for Clippers

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News reporting on the Clippers and power forward Blake Griffin. It’ll definitely be worth keeping track of how Griffin fits back in with the squad as he makes his long-awaited return:

Blake Griffin set to return for Clippers

Blake Griffin will not have played for three months and a week when he takes the floor with his Clippers for a game against the Washington Wizards on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center.

He had a partially torn left quad tendon. He still does, actually. He had a fractured right hand because he punched team assistant equipment manager Matias Testi on Jan. 23. For that, he served a four-game suspension, and also lost a fifth game’s pay for his punch-related injury.

Griffin, who has apologized for his actions, was asked Saturday what he’s learned about himself through this ordeal.

“Yeah, I learned a lot,” he said before practice. “But those things are for me. You learn a lot about a lot of people and you kind of figure out a lot of things. But those are things, like I said, for me.”

The Denver Nuggets are 32-45 this season and got 19.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game from forward Danilo Gallinari, who will have played 53 games this season. As expected, he isn’t returning from injury until next season. Here’s the Denver Post blog reporting:

Danilo Gallinari will not return this season

Though he continues to make good progress on a badly injured right ankle, Danilo Gallinari said he will not play another game for the Nuggets this season.

“No,” he said after the team’s shootaround on Saturday morning.

So, he’s done?

“Yes,” he said.

He’s recovering from two torn lateral ligaments in the ankle — the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular — and has a sprained deltoid ligament as well.

NBA notes from around the league, March 31

Warriors forward Draymond Green is on pace to become the first player to average at least 13.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists since Grant Hill in 1996-97.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry needs eight three-pointers to pass Glen Rice (1,559) for 20th place on the NBA’s all-time list.

Heat center Hassan Whiteside has come off the bench in his last 24 games to average 17.2 points, 12.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks in 29.5 minutes.

Kings rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein recorded the first two 20-point performances of his career in back-to-back games on March 25 and 27.

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas is averaging 26.2 points in his last 13 games, scoring at least 20 in each contest.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tied an NBA record for the most regular-season games played at one venue in the Lakers’ overtime win over the Heat at the Staples Center on Wednesday. Bryant has played 595 games at the Staples Center, matching Hakeem Olajuwon’s mark at The Summit (later known as Compaq Center).

Wizards guard John Wall has 187 assists in March, tying the franchise record (Wall also had 187 in December 2015). It is the highest total in a month for any player this season. You have to go back to March 2012 to find the last time a player accumulated that many assists: Rajon Rondo (219) and Steve Nash (188).

Nuggets guard Will Barton has come off the bench to lead or tie for the team lead in scoring 20 times this season, tops in the NBA. Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson is second on the list with 10 such games.

Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson appeared in his 362nd consecutive game on Tuesday against Houston, surpassing Jim Chones (361) for the longest streak of consecutive games played in Cavaliers history.

The Raptors won their 50th game of the season Wednesday, the first time the franchise has reached that milestone. Every current team has now produced at least one 50-win season.

– NBA News

DeAndre Jordan is above 70% FG this season

DeAndre Jordan is above 70% FG this season

In addition to his rebounding prowess, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan also leads the NBA in field goal percentage (70.2). The 6-11 center, who also led the league in field goal percentage last season (71.0), is seeking to become the first player in NBA history to hit the 70 percent mark twice in a career. Wilt Chamberlain shot an NBA record 72.7 percent in 1972-73. Jordan isn’t the only Clipper scorching the nets. Jamal Crawford leads the league in free throw percentage (91.4), while J.J. Redick is pacing all players in three-point percentage (47.1). No team has ever had all three leaders at the end of a season since the three-point line was introduced for the 1979-80 season.

– NBA News

Detroit Pistons on a hot streak

The Pistons (40-35) have won six of seven games to move into seventh place in the East, a half-game ahead of the Pacers (39-35) and two games in front of the Bulls (37-37). Detroit needs two wins to secure its first winning season since 2007-08. Stan Van Gundy’s crew is seeking its first trip to the playoffs since 2008-09. Andre Drummond, who leads in the NBA in rebounding (14.9 rpg) and double-doubles (62), is on pace to average at least 13.0 rebounds for the third consecutive season. The last player to accomplish this feat was Dwight Howard, who did it in five straight seasons with the Magic (2007-12). The Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, who ranks second in the NBA in rebounding (13.9 rpg), is also on pace to average at least 13.0 boards for a third straight season.

– NBA News

Spurs set an NBA record for home wins

With their win on Wednesday over the Pelicans, the Spurs set the NBA record for most consecutive home victories (38) to open a season. San Antonio also tied the franchise record for wins in a season with 63, set in 2005-06. For Tim Duncan, it was his 998th win as a member of the Spurs dating back to 1997. Duncan is poised to join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,074) and Robert Parish (1,014) as the only players in history with 1,000 victories. Duncan holds the record for most victories with one team, ahead of John Stockton, who won 953 games with the Jazz. The Spurs host the Raptors on Saturday before embarking on a three-game road trip against the Jazz, Warriors and Nuggets.

– NBA News

jordan farmar

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guard Jordan Farmar for the remainder of the 2015-16 season.

Farmar (6-2, 180) has played five games (three starts) for the Grizzlies since signing a 10-day contract on March 21 and has averaged 10.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 25.6 minutes. The 29-year-old has appeared in 495 games (33 starts) across nine NBA seasons and averaged 7.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 19.5 minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies.

Originally from Los Angeles, Farmar was selected by the Lakers in the first round (26th overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft following a standout collegiate career at UCLA, where he averaged 13.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists in a total of 66 games. As a sophomore, he was named to the All-Pac-10 First Team and guided the Bruins to the NCAA National Championship game.

The following, as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, is a completely understandable move on the part of young Rodney Hood:

Rodney Hood got his shoes signed by Kobe Bryant

Rodney Hood got everything he wanted in the first half of Monday night’s win over the Lakers. He got exactly what he wanted after the game was over, too.

The Utah Jazz sharpshooter, who dropped 30 points on 11-of-13 shooting in a blowout win, made sure to track down his childhood idol, Kobe Bryant, and secure a precious memento after one of Hood’s best games as a pro.

“I wanted a picture with him,” Hood said. “My whole family is Kobe fans, so I wanted them to get a picture. Just wanted to see him. I know (the Jazz’s last meeting with Lakers laters this month in Los Angeles) is going to be hectic; we probably won’t see him after the game or get a chance to speak to him. So I waited. He just congratulated me on a good game. He signed my shoes. It was a great moment for me.”

Nic Batum gets triple-double vs Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers are technically an NBA team, so no matter what you think of their roster, getting a triple-double against them is still a solid achievement. Here’s the Charlotte Observer reporting:

Nic Batum gets triple-double vs Sixers

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford hasn’t always thought his team scored in the lane enough this season.

Tuesday they sure did, pummeling the shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers in the paint for a 100-85 victory at Wells Fargo Center.

This victory get the Hornets ever closer to their third playoff berth since the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004.

Small forward Nic Batum (19 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists) completed his second triple-double as a Hornet and center Cody Zeller had a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nba/charlotte-hornets/article68919517.html#storylink=cpy

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