Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) put on quite the fourth-quarter show on Tuesday, scoring 15 of his season-high 20 points in the period as the Warriors edged out the Sacramento Kings, 93-90. Rush hit 4 of 5 three-pointers in the game (three in that fourth-quarter run) and added a team-high six rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes (full stats here).
Tuesday’s monster performance pushed Rush’s three-point average to an NBA-best 59.3 percent for the season. He's also an unreal 14-for-17 from three in his last six games.
Rush’s percentages have steadily improved in his four years in the league, from 37.3 percent his rookie season to 41.1 percent to 41.7 percent last season. And as for the big leap this season? Rush told reporters after the game:
"I think I'm getting better looks. Guys are really looking for me. It just comes from working out, this entire summer and during the lockout. I was able to get in the gym and work on my shot. [My] confidence is high."
Kirk Hinrich (Atlanta Hawks) played 16 minutes and hit just one shot for two points on Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors. Hinrich took six shots (including two threes) but also grabbed two rebounds, passed out two assists and didn’t turn the ball over (full stats here). The Hawks beat the Raptors, 100-77.
Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) went scoreless on Tuesday for the third game in a row (and the fifth time in seven games). He played just two minutes and turned the ball over once as the Grizzlies came back from 10 down in the fourth quarter and won, 100-97, in overtime against the Denver Nuggets (full stats here).
Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) made his shots count on Monday, sinking 3 of his 6 three-point attempts and a driving layup for 11 points in just 24 minutes. He added two rebounds, a steal and three assists to just one turnover as the Heat beat the New Orleans Hornets 109-95 (full stats here). All of Chalmers’ made three pointers, two of his assists and four fouls came in his nine third-quarter minutes.
Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) scored 16 points (on 7-for-9 shooting and a couple free throws) with five rebounds in 24 minutes on Monday night. Gooden missed his only attempted three-pointer, snapping his four-game triple streak. He also played just three minutes in the fourth quarter as the Bucks blew out the Detroit Pistons, 103-82 (full stats here).
Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) came off the bench again on Monday and put up seven points with four rebounds in 20 minutes against the Dallas Mavericks, who won 122-99. Markieff hit the only three-pointer he attempted and made 2 of 7 shots overall, sinking 2 of 3 free throws (full stats here).
Markieff, who started several games in January, talked to the Arizona Republic about why he feels more comfortable (for now) with a bench role in Phoenix:
"I was kind of deferring to (Marcin) Gortat and Steve when I was playing with them," Morris said. "I was used to the second unit. I was more useful coming off the bench. I had to be aggressive, because I was one of the go-to guys coming off the bench.
"I felt like I wasn't doing anything (as a starter)."
Xavier Henry (New Orleans Hornets) scored three points (off of a three-pointer) with two rebounds, one assist and two turnovers in 15 minutes against the Miami Heat on Monday (full stats here). The Hornets lost, 109-95.
Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) had a quiet night as the Thunder lost a sad showing against the Clippers, 112-100, in Los Angeles. Collison hit all his shots from the field and foul line, but he only had four points to show for his 15 minutes on the court (full stats here).
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) played just one-and-a-half minutes in the fourth quarter of a 112-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. Aldrich’s one contribution in garbage time was a dunk with seven seconds left (full stats here).
Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) missed his only shot (a three-pointer) and went scoreless in eight minutes on Monday. Selby also committed one foul as the Grizzlies lost 83-73 to the San Antonio Spurs (full stats here).
Hornets.com writer Jim Eichenhofer tweeted on Monday that he still thinks Xavier Henry (New Orleans Hornets) could overtake current starter Marco Belinelli once Henry gets in better shape.
GQ.com published Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison’s latest guest blog on Monday. This time around, Collison talks about “The Exquisite Art of Rookie Hazing.” Here’s an excerpt about his rookie season:
I was actually one of those guys who kind of skated by. Three days into training camp during my rookie year with the Seattle Supersonics, I dislocated my left shoulder and needed surgery. I then needed the same surgery on my right shoulder in February to correct a chronic subluxation, which if unfixed would eventually lead to a dislocation of that shoulder. Since I barely traveled with the team and rehabbed with a separate physical therapist most of the time, it almost felt like I was only halfway on the team. I was in a sling, and I think our vets (guys like Ray Allen, Brent Barry and Danny Fortson) felt sorry for me. And so I was spared most of the usual rookie stuff. Still, I did have to sing at a dinner once. I chose "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot, since he's a Seattle guy and because I had memorized it via my Walkman when I was 12. I also had to carry bags on the few road trips.
For comparison, here’s Cole Aldrich’s account of his rookie hazing experiences.
Attention stat geeks: Hoopdata.com now has up-to-date “charges taken” stats for this NBA season. Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) is tied for ninth with 10 charges. Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder), who’s known for taking his share of charges, only has seven in 19 games this season.
Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) is stuck at No. 7 on Grantland.com’s NBA rookie rankings. This week, Sebastian Pruiti writes:
Morris also needs to be a better defender. As impressive as he has been as a low-post scoring threat, Morris has been equally bad at defending the post. At the time of this writing, Morris was giving up 1.185 points per possession, which puts him in the bottom 6 percent of all NBA players. Opponents are shooting 63.2 percent against him. To make matters worse, Morris fouls and sends his man to the free throw line 18.5 percent of the time when he defends the post. Morris doesn't have great size for a big man, and while that hasn't hurt him on offense, it's killing him on defense.
6:30 p.m., Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the Toronto Raptors
7 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat
7 p.m., Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets vs. Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns
7 p.m., ESPN, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Dallas Mavericks