Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) channeled his inner Wilt Chamberlain on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, leading his team in assists from the center position and recording the second TRIPLE-DOUBLE of his career. Gooden’s 15-point, 10-rebound, 13-assist effort was all the more impressive considering he did it in 29 minutes and just three quarters — Gooden sat out the entire fourth period. He shot 7-for-12 from the field (including 1-for-3 on three-pointers) and threw in a steal and two blocks for good measure (full stats here). Gooden also turned the ball over five times, but, hey, that’s almost expected when a career 1.1-assists-per-game forward/center ties his career high with 13 dimes. It still didn’t stop Bucks teammate Mike Dunleavy from having fun at Gooden’s expense after the game. From BrewHoop.com:
“Yeah, well some nights he is tragic, and some nights he is Magic (Johnson). Tonight he was Magic, with a little tragic sprinkled in. Five turnovers, come on.”
What was really magic was this: Gooden’s TRIPLE-DOUBLE has been accomplished by just seven other players this season. Heck, it’s something that future Hall of Famer and fellow Jayhawk Paul Pierce has done only six times in his career.
It’s not completely surprising though, as Gooden previewed his big night with 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists on Monday in a 105-99 win vs. the New Jersey Nets. In that game, Gooden shot 11-for-19 and scored 15 of his 23 points after halftime (full stats here).
Gooden’s been an assist animal lately, recording five or more in four straight games. That’s impressive in itself. He’s now had 17 such games in almost 10 years in the NBA, and six of those have come this season. All of that has upped his assists-per-game to a career-high 2.4 mark.
But back to that TRIPLE-DOUBLE...
Gooden’s only other career trip-dub came a year ago, on April 9, 2011, against — who else? — the Cleveland Cavaliers (whom Gooden played for from 2004 to 2008). Last year’s performance was eerily similar — 15 points (on 6 of 12 shots) with 13 rebounds, 13 assists, two blocks and four turnovers. The biggest difference? Gooden needed 37 minutes for the feat in 2011 and fouled out. On his second go-around on Wednesday, Gooden pulled it off in 29 minutes and with just two fouls. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the 21-minute triple-double in spring 2013.
During Tuesday’s game though, the few weaknesses in Hinrich’s final line had a huge influence on the outcome of the game — a 118-117 loss to the Denver Nuggets, in overtime.
With the Hawks down by a point at the end of the fourth quarter, Hinrich drove in and drew a foul with 1.1 seconds left on the clock. He hit the first foul shot but missed the game-winner, sending the teams to overtime.
During OT, Hinrich made up for his gaffe with some big plays — nailing a three, hitting two more free throws and assisting on a three-pointer — but he also drew a costly shot clock violation with 35 seconds left and the Hawks up by just one. Two Denver foul shots and two Atlanta misses later, the game was over.
After the game, Kirk took responsibility for the loss, which, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Michael Cunningham, stemmed from a host of Hawks miscues. From the Journal-Constitution:
“It’s tough. I had a chance to win it. I made the hard one, the first one, and I missed the second. I’m very disappointed.”
A night later, Hinrich didn’t get the chance to win or lose the game for the Hawks, as the Los Angeles Clippers ran away with a 96-82 Wednesday win. Hinrich once again started, but he scored just four points (1-for-5 shooting) and chipped in five rebounds, two assists and two turnovers in 35 minutes (full stats here).
Against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, Pierce didn’t shoot the ball any better (5-for-17, 0-of-4 threes, 15 points) and had six turnovers, but the Celtics won on a late basket, 105-103. Pierce added six rebounds, six assists and two steals in that game (full stats here).
After the game, Adam Lauridsen of the Bay Area News Group’s Warriors blog wrote:
… Rush’s shooting touch was dead-on consistent the entire night. The three pointers that cracked open the lead in the third quarter were just beautiful basketball plays — created thanks to unselfish passing and well-executed rotations.
On Wednesday, Rush couldn’t connect on either of his threes and he finished with seven points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal, a block and an uncharacteristic three turnovers in 29 minutes against the Boston Celtics. The Warriors lost, 105-103 (full stats here).
Incredible work by Nick Collison to secure a defensive rebound then acrobatically pitch it ahead to Harden ...
Great work to draw a charge by Collison on Goran Dragic ...
Good job by Mohammed and Collison to stick with the play and get an offensive rebound in addition to saving a loose ball ...
Beautiful interior bounce pass from Collison to Mohammed in the lane ...
Collison in the right place at the right time to finish up a Westbrook miss ...
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) did not play (coach’s decision) on Tuesday against the Houston Rockets. Oklahoma City lost at home to Houston, 104-103 (game stats here). Aldrich’s competition for minutes at the backup center position, Nazr Mohammed, had what DailyThunder.com’s Royce Young called “probably his best game in a month” — 10 points, six rebounds and a block in 15 minutes. Not great news for Aldrich right now, but nothing to worry about long term.
If you were hoping for encouraging news about Phoenix Suns rookie Markieff Morris’ latest slump … well, skip this blurb. On Monday, Markieff made it into the game at the end of the first quarter and hit two quick jumpers at the start of the second. And then things went downhill from there. Markieff didn’t hit another shot in his 20 total minutes on the floor and finished with four points and four rebounds as the Suns lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 127-124 (full stats here).
Rookie Markieff Morris missed his last six shots Monday night and has made one 3-pointer in the past three weeks. He had signs of a bounce-back game when he made his first two jumpers Monday night and had a big block on Kevin Love, but he was out of place defensively on rotations and didn't challenge Love on 3s. The Suns want to invest in Morris for the future, but Hakim Warrick has outplayed him of late.
On Wednesday, against the Utah Jazz, Markieff didn’t even make it off the bench and earned the first “did not play - coach’s decision” of his career. The Suns won, 120-111 (game stats here).
Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets) did not play (coach’s decision) on Tuesday in a 105-104 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. On Wednesday against the Charlotte Bobcats, Marcus checked in with the Rockets up 27 points and almost eight minutes left in the game … annnd he turned the ball over on his team’s first possession. Annnd then he proceeded to miss two mid-range jump shots and a layup, coughing the ball up one last time before the game ended in a 107-87 Rockets victory. There wasn’t really any redeeming value from his line in the box score (full stats here), but at least he saw time on the court?
Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) saw 17 whole seconds of game time on Tuesday as the Grizzlies lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, 116-111. Selby entered the game at the tail end of the fourth quarter, with the game already out of reach (full stats here).
Julian Wright (NBA D-League - Austin Toros) scored 13 points on perfect 5-for-5 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds Wednesday as the Toros won, 129-116. Wright played 31 minutes and added an assist, three steals and four offensive rebounds (full stats here).
Darnell Jackson (Ukraine-Superleague - BC Donetsk) put up eight points in eight minutes on Saturday in a 98-63 regular-season blowout. Jackson was perfect from the field (3-for-3) and from the foul line (2-for-2), and he collected three rebounds as the BC Donetsk bench played heavy minutes in place of the starters (full stats here).
Mario Little (Ukraine-Superleague - SK Dnipro Azot Dniprodzerzhynsk) pieced together a solid double-double on Saturday, pulling down 13 rebounds to go with 11 points and four assists in 30 minutes. Little went 4-for-8 in the game, including 2-for-3 from three-point range. His team won its regular-season game, 84-73 (full stats here).
Sasha Kaun (Russia PBL - CSKA Moscow) scored six points with three rebounds in 15 minutes on March 7 during a 79-60 regular-season loss (full stats here). Kaun followed that performance up with a nine-point, three-rebound effort in 18 minutes on Saturday as CSKA Moscow won, 62-37 (full stats here). In his third game in a week, on Tuesday, Kaun had his best showing, scoring 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting and chipping in six rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes as his team won, 75-57 (full stats here).
Aaron Miles (Russia PBL - Krasnye Krylya) put up nine points, three rebounds and four assists in a 79-59 loss on March 7 (full stats here). On Saturday, he put up almost the exact same numbers — nine points, four rebounds, three assists — in a 66-55 loss (full stats here). Miles then shared the ball a bit more on Wednesday, as he passed out seven assists to go along with five points and two rebounds in a 62-61 win over a a 1-11 opponent (full stats here). He played just over 30 minutes in each of the three games.
Keith Langford (Israeli Premier League - Maccabi Electra) led his team to a 90-73 victory on Sunday with a team-high 19 points and six assists. Langford shot 7-for-10 from the field and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line, adding two rebounds, three steals and just one turnover in 29 minutes (full stats here). On Tuesday, Langford played just 18 minutes as his team walked away with a 71-53 win. He had seven points and two rebounds in that game (full stats here).
Russell Robinson (Turkish Basketball League - Trabzonspor) is injured and has not played in a game since March 3.
The Milwaukee Bucks traded injured center Andrew Bogut to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday in a move that might eventually pave the way for forward/center Drew Gooden to stick in the Bucks’ starting lineup next season. The Warriors gave up guard Monta Ellis and backup big men Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown in the deal. Gooden’s short-term outlook in Milwaukee shouldn’t be affected, especially not after Wednesday’s triple-double.
Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) might stand to benefit from a Tuesday trade that sent starting shooting guard Monta Ellis to Milwaukee. From the Bay Area News Group’s Warriors blog:
The Ellis trade probably makes it more likely than before that the Warriors will explore re-signing Rush. The price will have to be right, but the team will no longer need to renounce him to make a run at signing a center in the off-season. You always need to be wary of contract year performances, but Rush really seems to have re-invented himself during his fresh start with the Warriors.
The Celtics offered Paul Pierce to Portland -- I'm not sure what they asked for in return -- but the Blazers were not interested because of the two years and $32 million remaining on Pierce's contract.
Wednesday night, less than 24 hours before the trade deadline, Pierce walked through the locker room prior to the Celtics’ game against the Golden State Warriors, joking with media and shouting, “I’m still around! I’m still around!”
On Tuesday, ESPN published a column from writer J.A. Adande titled, “Will Paul Pierce decide his fate?” You can read the column, which summarizes Pierce’s situation, here or take a look at a snippet below:
Pierce, 34, has the longest contract among the Celtics' over-30 set, with two years remaining at $16.8 million and $15.3 million. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are free agents after the season.Rajon Rondo, the 26-year-old point guard with three seasons and $36 million left on his contract, is the Celtics' only long-term obligation who costs more than $2 million a season.
But when I asked Pierce if he wanted to end his career as a Celtic, there wasn't much passion in his response. It's probably a cautionary reflex that comes with being in the NBA long enough to see every possible scenario unfold.
"You ask anybody in the league who's been somewhere as long as I have, why wouldn't they [want to stay]?" Pierce said. "But at the end of the day I know it's a business. There's only so much I control.
GQ.com posted Oklahoma City Thunder big man Nick Collison’s latest blog entry on Wednesday. This time around, Nick wrote about, well, nicknames. From the post, “Why I Take My Nickname-Creation Duties Very, Very Seriously”:
One day back in college, I was riding in my good friend and teammate Kirk Hinrich's car. I didn't think he was watching me—I forgot that guards have great peripheral vision—and he caught me picking my nose. (Oh please. Don't act like you've never picked your nose.) So Kirk started calling me "Booger." To this day, Kirk and some of my other friends call me "Boog" from time to time. I think Kirk wanted revenge because when he first got to Kansas, one of our assistant coaches constantly called him "Curt" instead of "Kirk." He hated it, so naturally we started calling him "Curtis," with a heavy accent on the second syllable. It was more like "Cur-TUSSS." Eventually this was shortened to "Tuss," and it has stuck for more than a decade.
Nicknames among basketball teammates are very common. It's probably because we spend so much time together and because, in general, basketball players are clowns. We like to make each other laugh and have fun. We talk shit and give each other a hard time. It's just what we do.
The entry includes a bunch of great anecdotes, including a line about fellow Kansas center Cole Aldrich:
I am pretty proud to have given Cole Aldrich the nickname "Cole Sore." It's one of my all-time bests. It's just a play on words, but it gets a good reaction.
As for Nick? His nickname isn’t what you’d expect:
… some guys call me "Los." This comes from our center Kendrick Perkins, who found out my full first name is Nicholas and tried to tag me as "Las" (because of the last syllable from "Nicholas"). He quickly realized this was pretty weak, and he switched it to "Los" because he liked it better. I think this has stuck because "Los" is usually short for Carlos, and my name is not Carlos, which makes no sense, which means it makes perfect sense.
7 p.m., Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets vs. the Washington Wizards
8 p.m., Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Denver Nuggets
9:30 p.m., Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. the Los Angeles Clippers
6 p.m., ESPN, Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Philadelphia 76ers
6:30 p.m., Kirk Hinrich and the Atlanta Hawks vs. the Washington Wizards
7 p.m., Josh Selby and the Memphis Grizzlies vs. the Toronto Raptors
8:30 p.m., ESPN, Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the San Antonio Spurs
9 p.m., Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. the Detroit Pistons
9 p.m., Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the Sacramento Kings
9:30 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors