The captain displayed the full brunt of his offensive game in the opening period, as his first bucket came on a cut to the basket off of a feed from Kevin Garnett on the right side, and he followed that up with a 3-pointer from the left wing, and then another jump shot off of a screen on the right side. Pierce tallied 11 points in the first quarter (helping to jump-start Boston's offense), 10 in the third, and four in the final frame, with all of them coming during Boston's 16-6 game-changing run.
Pierce’s pursuit of a spot in the NBA’s Top 25 scorers might be a bit tougher to predict. San Antonio Spurs big man Tim Duncan currently holds 25th place with 22,282 points. Pierce’s Celtics teammate Ray Allen sits at No. 24 with 22,884 points.
On Wednesday, against the Orlando Magic, Keef had nine points, with one three-pointer, and three rebounds to three personal fouls in 26 minutes. The Suns lost to the Magic, 103-93 (full stats here).
Xavier was really quiet in the first half, but in the second he did some damage all over the place. He brought his normal aggression, and fitting with his name, he gave it to the Clippers. 12 points on 4 shots? I’ll take that with a side of BBQ sauce please. He was really active on the boards also, even if he didn’t get many of them.
Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets) did not play (coach’s decision) on Tuesday in a 107-104 Rockets win over the Los Angeles Lakers. On Thursday, Marcus played almost eight minutes toward the end of a 109-83 Rockets victory over the Golden State Warriors. Marcus hit 3 of 6 shots (no threes) and was 2-for-2 from the foul line for eight points — a new career-high. He also had two fouls and a turnover (full stats here).
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) did not play (coach’s decision) as the Thunder lost to the Utah Jazz, 97-90 (game stats here). Aldrich did play, however, at the end of a 114-91 shellacking of the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. He scored two points off of his only shot attempt (an eight-foot hook shot) and blocked one shot in his four minutes at the end of the game (full stats here).
Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) played just over a minute on Tuesday as the Grizzlies lost to the Sacramento Kings, 119-110. Selby missed his only shot, a three-point heave at the final buzzer (full stats here). He did not play on Thursday (coach’s decision) as the Grizzlies lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, 97-93 (game stats here).
Julian Wright (NBA D-League - Austin Toros) had 10 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes as the Toros won, 113-103 on Wednesday. Wright, who committed four fouls and turned the ball over twice, also registered two steals and two blocks (full stats here). In nine games with Austin, Wright has averaged 12.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 steals, .8 blocks and nearly 62-percent shooting.
Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) will soon have more competition in practice, as the Grizzlies just signed veteran and former All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas. But that could be a good thing for Selby, a seldom-used rookie. From a Q&A with Arenas in the Commercial Appeal:
Q. What are your expectations for this situation in Memphis?
A. To get better, have fun and enjoy it. You know, I don't expect to take over. This team is well built. If I get some time, I get some time. But I also want to help Josh (Selby) and (Jeremy) Pargo learn the game a little better so when their careers take off they've gotten some good advice from a veteran.
… Collison remains a Thunder essential. Tough defense, screens galore, occasional scoring touch. The Thunder always seems to play better with Collison on the floor. Which is no coincidence. Teams often try to keep their stars as the core, and rotate role players in and out of the roster over a period of years. But the Thunder has made Collison a virtual lifer; he’s under contract through summer 2015. Sam Presti gave Collison a huge signing bonus in November 2010, which basically made Collison a $13-million player for that season. But the payoff was that Collison would remain a Boomer the next four years, making $3.2 million, $2.9 million, $2.5 million and $2.2 million.
You give a bonus like that to guys you can count on. And the Thunder can count on Collison. This organization has counted on him, for longer than all but a handful of players in the NBA.
Instead, Markieff went 16th to the Philadelphia 76ers, where Thorpe wrote:
Either Morris twin would work here, simply because Philly needed perimeter shooting heading into the draft. With Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young at the power forward spot, Markieff makes more sense than Marcus. He's an excellent shooter, he's from Philly and he's the kind of guy Doug Collins would love to coach.
Marcus went 18th to the Washington Wizards:
Morris hasn't done anything yet as a pro, but the young man is stuck with a coach who does not believe in him. In Washington he'd have been playing from day one and would be the surprise guy of this draft. In Leonard and Morris, the Wiz would have two solid rotation players with at least one starter.
Both brothers shared time on and off the court Sunday, and the two sat next to each other for several minutes before team warm-ups.
“It was great moment,” Marcus said of the time spent with his brother. “It was a time to catch up with him.”
The conversation consisted of more than just catching up, however.
“We were talking about the Kansas game,” Markieff said. “We were both trying to figure out how we could keep track of the score of the game.”
“I think when you are sent to the D-League, it makes you more hungry because a lot of guys down there want your position, and they are going to come at you like you are the prize,” Hornets point guard Jarrett Jack said. “For him, it was kind of a wake-up call.
“Since he came back, it seems like he has had a fire beneath him, showing a little more effort. The thing with younger guys is getting them to play hard all the time.”
(Hornets coach Monty) Williams said he plans to extend Henry’s playing time, starting with tonight’s game against the Golden State Warriors, as long as he continues to make progress.
“There are a lot of teaching points, and I have to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes twice,” said Henry, who has a year remaining on his rookie-scaled contract after this season.
We’re only at the Sweet 16 and my Kansas guys already have me on the edge of my seat! That game against Purdue was intense. They were really handing it to us, but we were able to keep our composure and make a late comeback to pull it out in the end.
Hummel really had it going, but Coach Self made some great adjustments and it paid off. Basketball is all about rhythm and getting it going at the right time, and that’s exactly what KU did. That’s what you’ve got to do during March Madness, its win or go home and watch the rest of the action from your couch.
This year’s tournament has been great with all the upsets and surprises. While it’s been exciting to watch, it’s also got my bracket a little out of whack. No one could have predicted some of these outcomes, and I’ve got to say, as the competitive guy I am, I’m not too happy about being less than 50 percent with only seven of my picks making the Sweet 16. The great news though is that there’s a lot of unbelievable basketball being played.
6 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Charlotte Bobcats
6 p.m., Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. the Indiana Pacers
6:30 p.m., Kirk Hinrich and the Atlanta Hawks vs. the New Jersey Nets
6:30 p.m., Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Detroit Pistons
7 p.m., ESPN, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the Philadelphia 76ers
7 p.m., Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves
2 p.m., Josh Selby and the Memphis Grizzlies vs. the Los Angeles Clippers
6 p.m., Kirk Hinrich and the Atlanta Hawks vs. the Washington Wizards
7 p.m., Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets vs. the San Antonio Spurs
7 p.m., NBATV, Marcus Morris and the Houston Rockets vs. the Dallas Mavericks
7:30 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Indiana Pacers
9:30 p.m., NBATV, Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors vs. the Sacramento Kings