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The Spurs have had some incredible offensive performances under Gregg Popovich but nothing tops last night’s 146-125 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. At an offensive rating of 142.3 points per 100 possessions, it was the Spurs’ most efficient offensive performance of the 3-point era. And they didn’t need Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili, David Robinson or Kawhi Leonard to get there. Balance was the key to this offensive explosion — DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 23 points but three of his teammates also topped 20 and seven Spurs finished the game in double-figures.
The Spurs’ shooting, collectively, was simply incredible. They made 17-of-29 from beyond the arc and again, balance was key. Patty Mills made 6-of-9 but five other players attempted at least two 3-pointers and Lonnie Walker (3-of-7) was the only Spur who didn’t make at least half of his attempts. The Spurs also piled up 50 points in the paint and made 60 percent of their shots inside the arc.
Maybe they just got randomly hot and caught the Bucks (a very good defense) on a bad night. But this kind of performance has to build confidence for a team looking to catch lightning in a bottle during the play-in tournament.
The Warriors and Jazz go bricky at the same time
Stephen Curry is in the midst of a transcendent shooting season and has already secured his place as the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history. Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz are on a historic pace of their own from beyond the arc, using an unprecedented level of accuracy and volume to fuel their offense. But even the best shooters can’t stay hot all the time.
In Golden State’s 119-116 win on Tuesday night, the Warriors and Jazz combined for 86 attempts from beyond the arc and they made just 27 (31.4 percent). Curry made just 3-of-13, his second-worst percentage in the 27 games this season in which he attempted at least 13 shots from beyond the arc. On the other side, Jordan Clarkson went 5-of-16 and the Jazz made less than 30 percent of their 3s for just the seventh time in 69 games this season.
Kelly Olynyk could have really helped a playoff contender
Olynyk was moved to the Houston Rockets as part of the Victor Oladipo trade and he has to be wondering what he did to deserve this kind of existential punishment. Olynyk is on the final year of his contract and so the Rocket opted to keep him for the rest of the season rather than try and reach a buyout and let him try to find a home with a playoff team. He’s now played 24 games for the Rockets and Houston has just four wins in that stretch.
Last night’s game against the Trail Blazers was a perfect microcosm of his situation. He was again, terrific, scoring 21 points on just 12 shots and adding 8 rebounds and 6 assists. The Rockets lost by 11.
Since arriving in Houston, Olynyk has averaged 18.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game, shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from beyond the arc. There are at least a half-dozen playoff teams that could use his shooting and offensive versatility right now but he’ll have to wait for the sweet release of the offseason to find his way back to meaningful basketball games.
The WNBA season is fast approaching and you’re curious, ready to dive in and find out what all the hype is about. The first step is to find your team. Matt Ellentuck has everything you need to know to pick your favorite.
Shorting the Lakers’ championship stock seems like the hottest fan investment right now. But it’s a risky play for more than a few reasons.
It’s crazy that the best team in the NBA still needs to convince people they are a legit contender. But, seriously, you can believe in these Utah Jazz.