NBA News & Notes: Stephen Curry on a tear, Clippers' Lawler gets star on Walk of Fame

February 29, 2016

In the DSH's latest NBA News and Notes report, we take a look at red-hot Stephen Curry, and also examine the Spurs' latest veteran acquisition:

Detroit Pistons and newcomer Tobias Harris on a roll

What a difference a week makes.  Last Sunday, the Pistons surrendered 59 points and 20 rebounds to Anthony Davis in a 111-106 home loss to New Orleans, their fifth straight defeat.

Yesterday, Detroit posted its fourth straight victory, a 114-101 win over the Raptors, in which all five starters scored at least 14 points and the team shot 57.7 percent from the field. Detroit (31-29) moved into a tie with Charlotte (30-28) and Chicago (30-28) for the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference. The winning streak coincides with the insertion of trade-deadline acquisition Tobias Harris into the starting lineup.

In six games (four starts) with the Pistons, the 23-year-old Harris is averaging 17.0 points and shooting 51.3 percent. Detroit will have to continue its playoff push on the road, with six of its next seven games coming away from The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Spurs pick up Andre Miller

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed guard Andre Miller.

Miller, 6-3 and 200 pounds, ranks ninth in NBA history in assists, and has handed out 8,495 assists in his career. The 17-year veteran started this season with Minnesota, averaging 3.4 points and 2.2 assists in 10.8 minutes while shooting .621 (36-58) from the field over 26 games before being waived by the Timberwolves on Feb. 25.

Miller figures to be a reliable insurance policy for San Antonio in the event they sustain any further injuries to their backcourt.  Currently, the team is without the services of injured substitute Manu Ginobili.

Although never a great three-point shooter, Miller has always had the ability to post up smaller guards on the block.  He is also an excellent passer, who is particularly adept at throwing lobs.

Originally drafted by Cleveland as the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 1999 NBA Draft, Miller has played for a total of eight teams, including the LA Clippers, Denver, Philadelphia, Portland, Washington and Sacramento. The former University of Utah guard holds career averages of 12.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.19 steals in 31.1 minutes while shooting .460 from the floor and .807 from the free throw line in 1,291 career appearances, which ranks 20th all-time.

Stephen Curry on a tear

Stephen Curry closed out the Warriors’ six-game road trip in style, averaging 43.8 points and shooting 60.8 percent from the field and 61.1 percent from three-point range in the last four games, highlighted by Saturday’s dramatic game-winning three-pointer at Oklahoma City.

During the four-game tear, Curry shattered his own NBA record for three-pointers in a season (now at 288), tied the record for most three-pointers in a game (12), broke and then extended the record for consecutive games with a triple (now 129), and became the first player to make at least 10 threes in back-to-back games.

This week brings another chance at history for Curry and the Warriors: Golden State has won 42 straight regular-season home games; the record is 44, set by Chicago from March 1995 to April 1996. The Warriors play host to the Hawks on Tuesday on NBA TV (10:30 p.m. ET), followed by a rematch with the Thunder on Thursday on TNT (10:30 p.m. ET).

Damian Lillard playing well

With 33 points in Sunday’s victory at Indiana, Portland guard Damian Lillard capped one of the greatest offensive months for a Trail Blazer. Lillard averaged 29.8 points in 11 games in February, the third-highest-scoring month in franchise history, behind Geoff Petrie’s 30.4 points in March 1971 and Clyde Drexler’s 29.9 points in December 1988. The Blazers won nine of those 11 games, part of a 17-4 surge that has them a season-high four games above .500 (32-28) as they prepare to play four road games this week.

Lillard has raised his scoring average to a career-high 25.4 points, fifth in the NBA.

What to Watch

Tuesday, March 1: Miami (currently fourth in the East) and Chicago (tied for seventh in the East), now separated by only 2.5 games, face each other at 7:30 p.m. on NBA TV.

Wednesday, March 2: The Clippers, who begin the week 2.5 games behind the Thunder for third place in the West, play host to OKC in the second game of ESPN’s doubleheader (10:30 p.m.). In the opener, San Antonio welcomes Detroit as the Spurs (28-0 at home) play their first game at the AT & T Center since Feb. 6.

Thursday, March 3: Before Thunder-Warriors, TNT's doubleheader tips off with Spurs-Pelicans in New Orleans (8 p.m.).

Friday, March 4: Two of the NBA’s most dynamic backcourts match up as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum lead the Trail Blazers into Toronto to face the Kyle Lowry- and DeMar DeRozan-led Raptors (7:30 p.m., NBA LEAGUE PASS).

Saturday, March 5: The Bulls and Rockets, the current No. 8 seeds in their respective conferences, play each other in Houston at 8:30 p.m. on ABC. Also Saturday, the Celtics visit the Cavaliers (7 p.m., NBA LP) for the first time since Avery Bradley’s buzzer-beating game-winner earned Boston a victory in Cleveland on Feb. 5.

Sunday, March 6: Kobe Bryant plays his final regular-season game against Golden State when the Lakers and Warriors match up in Los Angeles at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.

The Numbers
  • San Antonio (50-9) has extended its NBA record for consecutive 50-win seasons to 17.
  • The Celtics have won 10 home games in a row. They play five of their next six games in Boston, starting tonight against Utah (7:30 p.m., NBA LP).
  • Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday has scored at least 20 points in each of his last eight games, averaging 22.1 points to go with 8.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals
  • Jazz guard Shelvin Mack, who was acquired from Atlanta at the trade deadline, is averaging 11.8 points in his first four games (three starts) with Utah.
  • Phoenix’s Alex Len is averaging 18.0 points and 10.8 rebounds in 26.6 minutes over his last four games, a stretch that includes two of the third-year center’s three career 20-point outings.
  • The Hornets have set a franchise record for three-pointers made in a season, needing 58 games to pass the 1996-97 team, which hit 591 triples.
  • The Nets are 2-1 on their nine-game road trip, including Saturday’s victory at Utah.
  • Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons has scored 24 or more points in five of his last seven games.
  • Clippers guard Chris Paul has 37 assists and five turnovers in his last three games.
  • Heat rookie guard Josh Richardson, the 40th pick of NBA Draft 2015 presented by State Farm, is averaging 11.3 points in his last three games.
  • Sim Bhullar, who last April became the first player of Indian descent to play in an NBA game, has recorded six double-doubles in a row for Raptors 905 of the National Basketball Development League. The Canadian-born Bhullar, a 7-5 center, is averaging 9.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in 20.9 minutes over 27 games this season.

Word of Mouth

Here is a sampling of the reaction to Golden State's 121-118 overtime victory against Oklahoma City on Saturday:

Matt Moore, CBS Sports: “What the NBA world witnessed Saturday night in the Golden State Warriors' 121-118 overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder was the single greatest shooting performance in NBA regular-season history.”

Kelly Dwyer, Yahoo! Sports: “We have never seen anything like Stephen Curry before, and Saturday night reminded us we should all thank our lucky stars that we have the ability to watch him nearly nightly.”

Katie Dowd, San Francisco Chronicle: “Steph Curry doesn't just amaze the fans week in and week out – he's also blowing the minds of his fellow professionals. Steph's unbelievable three-point game-winning overtime shot against the Thunder broke sports Twitter, which devolved into a love-fest for the Warriors great.”

Alysha Tsuji, USA Today: “The Oklahoma City Thunder played against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night and gifted us with what may have been the greatest basketball game of the season so far. I say ‘so far’ because they play against each other again on March 3.”

Michael Pina, Bleacher Report: “[Stephen Curry] is pushing the boundaries of imagination, now two (or three) steps ahead of the most effective and innovative defensive strategies that currently exist. There is no blueprint to stop a singular force this unprecedented, a talent so surreal that he’s immune to hyperbole.”

Clippers' announcer Ralph Lawler to get star on Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced that Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler will be honored with the 2,575th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 3, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. PST. The star in the category of Radio will be dedicated next to 33 Taps Sports Bar.

“This is an incredible and well-deserved honor for Ralph, and it is great that we get to acknowledge him in this iconic way,” said L.A. Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers. “I love the passion he continues to bring to the game and Clipper Nation.”

Rivers will help Hollywood Chamber President/CEO Leron Gubler to unveil the star.

“Having Ralph Lawler, our own L.A.-based sportscaster on the Walk of Fame is a coup for this famous sidewalk of stars,” said Gubler. “Fans from this area and from around the country will enjoy posing next to his star at the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine.”

Ralph Lawler is in his 37th year as the “Voice of the Clippers” and his 40th year in professional basketball. Lawler is the third-longest tenured team broadcaster in the league.

Lawler’s long tenure with the club saw him top 2,800 Clipper regular season and playoff broadcasts last season with his enthusiastic calls of “Bingo!,” “Fasten your seatbelts,” and “Oh Me Oh My,” continuing to be favorites for Clippers fans throughout Southern California. Lawler’s active schedule has him handling play-by-play duties for all televised Clipper games on PRIME TICKET as well as on the Clipper’s flagship radio station KFWBAM 980 for all non-televised contests.

In addition to the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Lawler’s long list of honors include three Emmys as a part of Prime Ticket’s Emmy award-winning coverage of Clippers basketball, and a coveted Telly Award for his TV work with the Clippers in 2014. Additionally, he is a member of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

The versatile broadcaster is one of only a handful of announcers who have worked play-by-play in each of the four major U.S. Sports Leagues: NFL (Chargers), MLB (Phillies), NHL (Flyers), and NBA (76ers and Clippers).

His diverse accomplishments also includes broadcasting events as varied as A.B.A. and college basketball, golf, tennis, track and field, pro box lacrosse, auto racing, boxing and college football. Lawler is a graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and was inducted into his alma mater’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.

By Staff of and news services

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