NBA News & Notes: Curry becomes first unanimous MVP

May 13, 2016

In the DSH's latest NBA News and Notes report, we take a look at Stephen Curry's historic MVP season, as well as other league news:

Draft Lottery 2016 order to be determined on May 17

The NBA Draft Lottery 2016 will be held Tuesday, May 17, in New York.  ESPN will televise the lottery at approximately 7:45 p.m. ET, revealing the order of selection for the first 14 picks of NBA Draft 2016 (Thursday, June 23).

The actual lottery procedure will take place in a separate room just prior to the national broadcast on ESPN. Select media members, NBA officials and representatives of the participating teams and the accounting firm of Ernst and Young will be in attendance for the drawing.

The order of selection for the teams that do not win one of the top three picks will be determined by inverse order of their regular-season record.

The lottery should be of particular interest to Lakers fans, who after a watching a disastrous, vaudeville-like Kobe Bryant farewell tour this past season, must hope the Lakers land a pick within the first three selections.  If the Lakers fall out of the top three, they will lose the pick due to the team's prior trade for Steve Nash.

Talkin' Smack
  • Erik Spoelstra, Heat coach: “[Stephen Curry] is redefining how this game is being played right now, not only league-wide but at the youth level. … I think that’s his greatness – the impact of change that he’s making on the game. It’s exciting for the game.”

  • David Steele, Sporting News: “[Stephen] Curry, the first unanimous MVP in NBA history, is in destroy-your-sleep mode, the way Magic and the Showtime Lakers were. He’s in rearrange-your-life-to-watch-him mode, the way Michael was.”

  • Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers guard: “I started getting worried already. I was sitting on the plane [after being eliminated from the Western Conference Semifinals] like, we had some success this year, it was unexpected, it was no pressure. People are going to expect a little bit more, and I started to get worried about too many pats on the back. But we don't have those kind of guys. We've got hungry guys, we've got humble guys that work hard. We had a taste this season as a young group of how well we could do, and what it takes.”

  • Pete Evans, CBC News: “The Raptors have become the most multicultural team in the league – and it's no accident that the fan base largely shares that diverse nature.”

Warriors, Thunder set to battle in Western Conference Finals

The Warriors play host to the Thunder in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday, May 16, at 9 p.m. ET on TNT. This is the franchises’ first playoff matchup since 1992, when the Seattle SuperSonics defeated the Warriors in the first round.

Golden State swept the three regular-season meetings, including a 121-118 overtime victory Feb. 27, when Stephen Curry made a tie-breaking three-pointer with 0.6 seconds left in OT to give him a record-tying 12 for the game.

The Warriors (114.9 ppg) and Thunder (110.2) were the league’s top two scoring teams in the regular season. This marks the first playoff series between teams that each averaged at least 110 points since Phoenix and Portland met in the 1992 Western Conference Semifinals.

Curry and Klay Thompson (52.2 ppg) were the NBA’s highest-scoring duo, followed closely by the Thunder's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (51.7).

The Numbers

Toronto and Miami have played three overtime games in their playoff series, one shy of the NBA record. Bulls-Celtics in the 2009 first round and Thunder-Grizzlies in the 2014 first round had four overtime games each.

Cleveland is the first team to win its first eight games of a postseason since the Spurs started the 2012 playoffs 10-0.

The Cavaliers’ Tyronn Lue is the second coach in NBA history to win his first eight playoff games. The other is Pat Riley, who won his first nine postseason games as Lakers coach in 1982.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade has made more three-pointers in 12 playoff games (nine) than he did in 74 regular-season games (seven). He hit seven threes in a row at one stage of the playoffs, the longest streak of his career in either the regular season or postseason.

Stephen Curry has made a three-pointer in 44 straight playoff games, tying Reggie Miller for the NBA record. Curry has hit 178 threes during his streak while Miller connected on 111.

Kevin Durant is averaging 33.2 points in 10 career series-clinching victories.

Stephen Curry becomes NBA's first unanimous MVP

The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, who led the team to the best regular-season record in NBA history, has won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for the second year in a row, the NBA announced.  In Warriors' franchise history, only Curry and Wilt Chamberlain (1959-60) have earned the honor.

Curry swept all 131 first-place votes (1,310 points), including 130 from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters in the United States and Canada, and one from the MVP fan vote. He is the first unanimous winner in the award’s 61-season history.

"This is an unbelievable honor," said Curry.

Curry, the 11th player to win back-to-back MVP awards, joins Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Steve Nash as the only guards to earn the honor in consecutive seasons.

The San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard finished second with 634 points, and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James was third with 631 points.  The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook (486 points) and Kevin Durant (147) rounded out the top five.

The 28-year-old Curry helped the Warriors finish a historic 73-9 by leading the NBA in scoring (30.1 ppg), three-pointers made (an NBA-record 402), free throw percentage (90.8) and steals (2.14 spg), along with averaging 6.7 assists and a career-high 5.4 rebounds in 79 games.

"Regardless of what happens down the stretch of the season, we will be a team that will be remembered for what we accomplished," said Curry.

Curry shot a career-high 50.4 percent from the field, the NBA’s highest mark among guards, and made 45.4 percent from three-point range, good for second in the league.  Curry became the seventh qualifying player in NBA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from beyond the arc, and 90 percent from the foul line.

Behind Curry, the reigning champion Warriors opened the season with 24 straight victories – one of many NBA records they broke on their way to the all-time single-season wins mark.  They set NBA records for single-season road victories (34) and consecutive home regular-season wins (54, including 18 to finish last season).  Golden State also became the first team in NBA history to go an entire season without losing back-to-back games or losing to the same team twice.

In yet another NBA record, the Warriors made 1,077 three-pointers, becoming the first team with 1,000.  Curry powered the attack with his 402 three-pointers, shattering his own single-season league record of 286 set last season – an increase of 116.

Along with leading the NBA in three-pointers made for the fourth season in a row, Curry extended his streak of regular-season games with a three-pointer to an active league record of 152 straight games.

Curry’s other accomplishments this season included:

  • He became the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 30 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals in a season, joining Rick Barry (1974-75), Michael Jordan (three times) and Dwyane Wade (2008-09).
  • He became the first Warriors player to lead the NBA in scoring since Barry in 1966-67.
  • He improved his scoring average by 6.3 points from last season (23.8 ppg), the largest year-over-year increase in league history for a reigning NBA MVP.
  • He matched the NBA single-game record for three-pointers made, hitting 12 (including the last-second game-winner) in a 121-118 overtime victory over the Thunder on Feb. 27.

Below is the list of all-time winners:

1955-56 - Bob Pettit, St. Louis
1956-57 - Bob Cousy, Boston
1957-58 - Bill Russell, Boston
1958-59 - Bob Pettit, St. Louis
1959-60 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1960-61 - Bill Russell, Boston
1961-62 - Bill Russell, Boston
1962-63 - Bill Russell, Boston
1963-64 - Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati
1964-65 - Bill Russell, Boston
1965-66 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1966-67 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1967-68 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1968-69 - Wes Unseld, Baltimore
1969-70 - Willis Reed, New York
1970-71 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1971-72 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1972-73 - Dave Cowens, Boston
1973-74 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1974-75 - Bob McAdoo, Buffalo
1975-76 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, L.A. Lakers
1976-77 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, L.A. Lakers
1977-78 - Bill Walton, Portland
1978-79 - Moses Malone, Houston
1979-80 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, L.A. Lakers
1980-81 - Julius Erving, Philadelphia
1981-82 - Moses Malone, Houston
1982-83 - Moses Malone, Philadelphia
1983-84 - Larry Bird, Boston
1984-85 - Larry Bird, Boston
1985-86 - Larry Bird, Boston
1986-87 - Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers
1987-88 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1988-89 - Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers
1989-90 - Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers
1990-91 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1991-92 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1992-93 - Charles Barkley, Phoenix
1993-94 - Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston
1994-95 - David Robinson, San Antonio
1995-96 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1996-97 - Karl Malone, Utah
1997-98 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1998-99 - Karl Malone, Utah
1999-00 - Shaquille O'Neal, L.A. Lakers
2000-01 - Allen Iverson, Philadelphia
2001-02 - Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2002-03 - Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2003-04 - Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
2004-05 - Steve Nash, Phoenix
2005-06 - Steve Nash, Phoenix
2006-07 - Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
2007-08 - Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
2008-09 - LeBron James, Cleveland
2009-10 - LeBron James, Cleveland
2010-11 - Derrick Rose, Chicago
2011-12 - LeBron James, Miami
2012-13 - LeBron James, Miami
2013-14 - Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
2014-15 - Stephen Curry, Golden State          
2015-16 - Stephen Curry, Golden State

WNBA kicks off 20th season

The WNBA’s historic 20th season begins Saturday, May 14, with five games, including an ESPN telecast showcasing a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals as the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx plays host to the Phoenix Mercury at 7:30 p.m. ET. WNBA President Lisa Borders will present Minnesota with championship rings before the game.

The 2016 season includes a more balanced regular-season schedule featuring additional cross-conference games and a new playoff format in which the eight teams with the highest winning percentages regardless of conference qualify for the postseason.

By Staff of and news services

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