Brandon Rush cools off a bit; Marcus Morris nears return from ankle injury
- Brandon Rush’s NBA-leading three-point percentage went down on Thursday night for the first time in a long while as the Golden State Warriors swingman hit just one of his four attempts for five points against the Utah Jazz. Rush also had three rebounds, a steal and zero turnovers in 17 minutes as the Warriors used a strong second half to put away the Jazz, 119-101 (full stats here).
Before the game, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said that although Rush has played well enough to start, previously slumping starter Dorell Wright has been better lately, and Jackson values Rush’s consistency off the bench.
Even so, Rush’s play is still preferable to some Golden State fans.
During the game, a GoldenStateofMind.com blogger noted on Twitter:
That's the difference betw Brandon Rush and Dorell Wright. Rush got a free reb, had 5 Jazz looking at him, waiting to shoot. Reset to top.
Other Thursday games
Kirk Hinrich (Atlanta Hawks) played 19 minutes in the first three quarters, sinking just one three-pointer, as the Hawks were blown out at home by the Memphis Grizzlies, 96-77. Hinrich took only four shots on Thursday and added a rebound, a steal and three assists to three turnovers (full stats here).
Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) did not enter the game on until four minutes left in the fourth quarter on Thursday against the Atlanta Hawks. Selby’s backup point guard duties went instead to Grizzlies sixth man OJ Mayo, a shooting guard. Selby entered the game with a healthy 30-point Memphis lead and turned the ball over twice, stole the ball and had his only shot attempt blocked. The Grizzlies blew out the Hawks, 96-77 (full stats here). Mayo’s stint at backup point guard is something the Grizzlies have considered in the past, so it’s not necessarily an indictment of Selby’s play. It’s certainly not encouraging for the rookie though.
Xavier Henry (New Orleans Hornets) did not play (coach’s decision) on Friday against the San Antonio Spurs. The Hornets lost, 93-81 (full stats here).
A few more notes
Brady Morningstar (NBA D-League - Tulsa 66ers) scored 10 points in 27 minutes on Thursday in an 85-79 win over the Reno Bighorns. Morningstar made just 3 of 10 shots, including a three, but he also had two rebounds, three assists, two steals and two turnovers (full stats here).
Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets) went through his first full practice with his team since injuring his ankle playing for the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Jan. 12. The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, who reported the news, wrote that Marcus would likely be sent back down to the D-League soon.
If Marcus does play for the Rockets on Friday (doubtful as that might be), it would be against the Phoenix Suns and twin brother Markieff, setting up the first (-ever?) Morris v. Morris battle. If not, at least the twins got some quality time together on Thursday.
- Jason Friedman of Rockets.com recently sat down with the Houston Rockets’ vice president of player personnel, Gersson Rosas, to break down some film on Marcus Morris. The writeup is full of great quotes and analysis, but here’s a short excerpt:
“We feel like he can be a good player as a power forward in our league,” says Rosas. “But he’s got the potential to be a great player in our league as a small forward.”
And later, when asked about Marcus’ future in the D-League:
“We’re investing a lot in his defense as a small forward and want to make sure that he gets enough opportunities to guard smaller players off the dribble, to chase guys off screens and to be more effective,” Rosas says. “But we feel good in that he’s a guy who works hard, values the game and is just tough; anybody’s who been around him knows he’s got an edge to him. He’s tough, he doesn’t back down and that shows up in his defense and in his rebounding – he’s a guy that will go out and get it.
“We feel as though he’s got some unfinished business left in the Valley. We had some objectives and some goals that we want him to accomplish while he was there. Unfortunately the injury slowed that down a bit but, again, our focus is on developing through playing. He’s worked hard and gotten healthy to a point where he’s going to be back on the floor but he’s a player that, for the objective and goals that we have for him, he’s got to get on the floor and play and there’s only so much you can do in practices here at the NBA level. We don’t want to stunt his growth and we’ve done this time and time again with the Patrick Pattersons of the world, with Aaron Brooks, with guys who need to play to develop and get better so that when they get an opportunity at the NBA level, they’re much more productive and effective NBA players.”
- Carl Steward of the Bay Area News Group wrote up a feature on Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors). In the article, Steward notes:
Rush not only leads the NBA in 3-point percentage (32 for 54, 59.3 percent), he is on league-record pace. Only six players have ever shot better than 50 percent for an entire season -- Steve Kerr did it three times with Chicago -- and Chicago's Kyle Korver holds the league mark for a full campaign (59 for 110, 53.6 percent, with Utah in 2009-10).
Steward also quoted Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who said:
"I think people are getting caught up in his shooting, but he's also been an outstanding rebounder and defender for us, and he's had a calming effect on our offense," the coach said. "He was bad in the first half (Tuesday night). He made mistakes and had breakdowns probably for the first time since he's been here. But when I put him in in the third quarter, I just said to him, 'OK, make it right.' And he did. He's been great since we've had him."
ESPN Stats & Info’s Ernest Tolden analyzed Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce’s recent revitalization — he notes Pierce has averaged 22.9 points a game in his last seven games, after averaging 14.6 in the first 11.
The starters for the Feb. 26 NBA All-Star Game were announced on Thursday night. No former Jayhawks were among the honorees, but there’s always the chance that Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) will be selected as an Eastern Conference reserve. And who better to participate in the All-Star Weekend Three-Point Shootout than the NBA’s leading shooter, Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors)? We’ll have to wait until next Thursday to find out, though Rush told the Bay Area News Group that he’d love to go to Orlando:
"Definitely ... I really want to go," he said. "I want to represent this team."
Jayhawks in upcoming NBA games
6 p.m., Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Philadelphia 76ers
6:30 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Detroit Pistons
7 p.m., ESPN, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the New York Knicks
7 p.m., Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. Marcus Morris (likely designated for D-League assignment) and the Houston Rockets
7 p.m., Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Josh Selby and the Memphis Grizzlies