Wednesday/Thursday recap: Drew Gooden lights up Chicago for season-high 27 points
- Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) scored 12 straight points to start the game and had 16 in the first quarter en route to a season-high 27 points on Wednesday. It wasn’t quite enough, though, and the Bucks lost, 106-104 to the Chicago Bulls. Gooden scored at least 25 points for the third time in four games by sinking 11 of 21 shots, including 2 of 4 three-pointers. He also added six rebounds, an assist, two steals and a block in 37 minutes (full stats here).
Gooden’s 27 points were the most he’s scored in a game in almost four years. Gooden’s last game with at least 27 points was a 31-point outing on March 25, 2008, with — who else? — the Chicago Bulls.
Gooden's two three-pointers were also something of a rarity, though he accomplished that feat back on Feb. 10. On at least one of his triples Wednesday, Gooden benefited from some ... ahem ... questionable defense by Chicago's Carlos Boozer:
- Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) scored a team-high 16 points on Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers, but it wasn’t enough as the Sixers jumped out to a 55-33 halftime lead and beat the Celtics, 103-71. Pierce did not play the fourth quarter and finished with four rebounds and a steal in 26 minutes (full stats here). Pierce missed on all three of his three-point attempts and did not record an assist for the first time all season.
- Kirk Hinrich (Atlanta Hawks) started for the fourth straight game on Wednesday in place of injured shooting guard Joe Johnson. Hinrich put up five points on 2-of-4 shooting (1-of-3 from three) as the Hawks lost to the Miami Heat, 89-86. Hinrich added four rebounds, two assists, two steals and two turnovers in 28 minutes (full stats here).
After the game, Hawks coach Larry Drew talked to reporters about Hinrich, who is shooting just 35 percent overall and 27 percent from three-point range since returning from offseason shoulder surgery at the end of January:
“I think it is just a matter of him really getting his legs under him with his surgery. When he came back we tried to bring him along slowly and we knew it was probably going to take a while for him to really get his rhythm, his timing and really needing time to get his legs under him. He has had some games where he has shot the ball really well and then he has had some games where his shot has been short and off. I still think he is still kind of in that training camp mode.”
Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) missed both of his shot attempts against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, but the Thunder won, 115-104 in a small-ball second-half comeback. All of Collison’s 16 minutes came in the first three quarters, and he finished with two rebounds, one assist, one steal, a block, and two turnovers (full stats here). Collison also drew a charge, according to the official Thunder website’s “plays the boxscore won’t show.”
Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) scored just one point on Wednesday in a 115-104 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he didn’t go down without a fight, blocking three shots in his 13 minutes on the floor. Markieff grabbed a single rebound and also dished out two assists (full stats here).
On Thursday, against the Dallas Mavericks, Markieff saw just six minutes of playing time and didn’t get a shot off. The Suns won, 96-94, and Markieff was replaced down the stretch by Hakim Warrick. Markieff’s only contributions to the stat sheet were a foul and two turnovers (full stats here).
- Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) put up 11 points and six rebounds against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, but the Warriors lost, 110-98. Rush also had two assists to two turnovers in 32 minutes and hit just 1 of 4 three-point attempts (full stats here).
Four of Rush’s five made shots came from inside the arc, something that Warriors coach Mark Jackson doesn’t mind seeing from the three-point specialist. From the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vittorio Tafur:
"He's more than just a stand-still shooter," Jackson said. "He does a very good job picking and choosing his spots and doesn't put himself in position to get hurt and make careless turnovers."
The book on Rush was that he was a poor ball handler at Indiana, but Jackson has his own scouting report since the Warriors traded for Rush in December.
"I like the way he's putting the ball on the floor and making plays, whether it be pick-and-rolls or guys running at him because he's a shooter," Jackson said. "He's certainly showing he's comfortable doing that."
- Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) went through one of his rougher shooting nights on Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks. Chalmers converted on just one his five shots and missed both of his attempts from beyond the arc. He finished with five points (thanks to 3-for-3 foul shooting), two rebounds, three assists, two steals and two turnovers in 25 minutes. The Heat won, 89-86 (full stats here).
- Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) did not play (coach’s decision) against the Phoenix Suns in the Thunder’s come-from-behind 115-104 victory on Wednesday (game stats here).
When it came time for OKC coach Scott Brooks to sub in a backup center in the second quarter, he went with veteran Nazr Mohammed instead of Aldrich. Mohammed played just four minutes, and was scoreless with two rebounds. The three Thunder bigs not named Serge Ibaka played a combined 38 minutes as OKC went with a small lineup in the second half.
Xavier Henry (New Orleans Hornets) hit the only shot he attempted against the Sacramento Kings and finished with two points as the Hornets lost, 99-98 on Wednesday. Henry played 15 minutes and also chipped in one rebound and one assist (full stats here).
Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) went scoreless on Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors, missing both of his shots, but the Grizzlies won in convincing fashion, 110-98. Selby played six minutes and picked up one personal foul in that time (full stats here).
Selby’s seen stints of five, five and six minutes in three of the Grizzlies’ last four games. During that same time, combo guard O.J. Mayo has taken over the brunt of the backup point guard duties. From the Commercial Appeal:
(Grizzlies coach Lionel) Hollins said the decision to go with Mayo has more to do with matchups than his dissatisfaction with Pargo and Selby.
"It depends on the opponent," Hollins said. "Like in the Dallas game (Feb. 29) I didn't feel like they were going to come out and pressure us so we just ran our zone offense. It was no problem. But when you're playing a team that's pressuring you and you're trying to get into good offense then maybe you go with one of the other guys."
- Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets) saw three minutes in garbage time during the Rockets’ 116-98 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. Marcus, who saw NBA minutes for just the fifth game in his short career, missed a jumper with 42 seconds left. He finished with one point (off of 1-of-2 free-throw shooting) and one rebound (full stats here). The fact that he saw the floor at all was an encouraging sign, considering the Rockets’ crowded rotation. Marcus entered the game before fellow benched small forward Chase Budinger, who picked up a DNP-CD.
Julian Wright (NBA D-League - Austin Toros) scored 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting on Thursday as the Toros lost, 105-100 to the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Wright grabbed nine rebounds, including five offensive boards, in 26 minutes. He also had an assist, a steal and three turnovers (full stats here).
Brady Morningstar (NBA D-League - Tulsa 66ers) put together an odd stat line on Wednesday as the 66ers beat the Idaho Stampede, 94-87. Morningstar made just 1 of 8 shots from the field, but he finished with 13 points thanks to a perfect 11-for-11 mark at the foul line. Morningstar added six rebounds and had zero turnovers in 35 minutes (full stats here).
It’s that time of year again. The NBA’s March 15 trade deadline is less than a week away, and two former Jayhawks’ names have cropped up in trade rumors recently. From CBS Sports insider Ken Berger:
The Celtics are prepared to entertain offers for Paul Pierce, whose subtraction from the Boston core would be the most advantageous to the post-Big Three rebuilding effort given his age (34) and the $32 million he's owed over the next two seasons. And for those same reasons, he'll be the most difficult of Boston's top four players to move.
The Hawks won't find a taker for Joe Johnson and the $90 million he has coming to him over the next four years, but rival executives believe Kirk Hinrich could be on the move -- perhaps filling the gaping two-guard hole on the Clippers. That depends on the asking price, as the Clips' assets were diminished in the Chris Paul trade.
- Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post wrote a feature on Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers’ improvement. Skolnick points out that Chalmers is a longshot to win the league’s Most Improved Player award, but notes that his consistency has been a big reason for the Heat’s 30-9 record.
An excerpt from the full story, which you can read here:
During All-Star weekend, he received compliments from some of his colleagues around the league, but nothing that stuck out. He's been more excited to receive text messages offering praise and encouragement from his "other family" at Kansas, especially those from assistant coaches and head coach Bill Self.
Still, Chalmers carries a chip on his shoulder, the one that formed back in Alaska, where he eventually surprised many people by becoming the state's third NBA player.
"Way more people told me I wouldn't make it than that I would make it," Chalmers said.
Now he has.
"They're quiet now," he said. "I don't even see them when I come home."
"They probably hide from me," he said.
Jayhawks in upcoming NBA games
6:30 p.m., Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the Portland Trailblazers
6:30 p.m., Kirk Hinrich and the Atlanta Hawks vs. the Detroit Pistons
7 p.m., Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers
7:30 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the New York Knicks
8 p.m., Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets vs. the Denver Nuggets
6:30 p.m., Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Indiana Pacers
7 p.m., Marcus Morris and the Houston Rockets vs. the New Jersey Nets
7 p.m., Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Charlotte Bobcats
7 p.m., NBA TV, Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m., Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. Josh Selby and the Memphis Grizzlies
9:30 p.m., NBA TV, Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors vs. the Dallas Mavericks