Warriors

Curry starts 2017 as Western Conference Player of the Week

Curry starts 2017 as Western Conference Player of the Week

NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2017The Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry Monday were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan. 2 through Sunday, Jan. 8.

Butler led the Bulls to a 3-0 week, averaging a league-leading 38.0 points to go with 9.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists. He opened the week by scoring 52 points in a 118-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets, the second 50-point game of his career and the first by a Bull at the United Center since Michael Jordan in April 1997. Butler was prolific at the free throw line, making 21-of-22 against the Hornets and closing the week by shooting 18-for-20 from the stripe on his way to 42 points in a 123-118 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 7.

Curry led the Warriors to a 3-1 week behind averages of 31.8 points (third in the West), 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds. He scored at least 30 points in three of his four games and logged his second 40-point outing of the season when he finished with 40 points in a 128-119 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 6. Curry, who became just the seventh player in Warriors history to score 12,000 career points, shot 50.0 percent from the field, 89.5 percent from the free throw line and 39.1 percent from three-point range.

Here is a recap of the week for Butler and Curry:

Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

Jan. 2 vs. Charlotte: Scored a season-high 52 points and added 12 rebounds and six assists in a 118-111 win over the Hornets.

Jan. 4 @ Cleveland: Tallied 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds in a 106-94 victory against the Cavaliers.

Jan. 7 vs. Toronto: Finished with 42 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals in a 123-118 overtime win over the Raptors.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Jan. 2 vs. Denver: Registered 22 points and five assists in a 127-119 victory against the Nuggets.

Jan. 4 vs. Portland: Recorded 35 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a 125-117 win over the Trail Blazers.

Jan. 6 vs. Memphis: Scored 40 points, dished out six assists and grabbed four rebounds in a 128-119 overtime loss to the Grizzlies.

Jan. 8 @ Sacramento: Finished with 30 points, six assists and four rebounds in a 117-106 victory against the Kings.

Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Dennis Schröder, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Houston’s James Harden, Indiana’s Paul George and Jeff Teague, the LA Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers, Memphis’ Mike Conley and Zach Randolph, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe, Portland’s C.J. McCollum and San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge.

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After leaving season opener early, Draymond, Casspi miss Warriors practice

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After leaving season opener early, Draymond, Casspi miss Warriors practice

The Warriors opened their season Tuesday night with a loss in which they looked considerably worse than what is expected of a defending champion.

What’s worse is that they also feel it.

Though Andre Iguodala’s back strain recovered enough for him to participate in practice for the first time in a week, Draymond Green’s right knee sprain and Omri Casspi’s left ankle sprain kept them on the sideline Wednesday.

While Green awaits the results of an MRI test, Casspi was limited to individual shooting drills. The availability of both is in doubt for the game Friday night against the Pelicans in New Orleans.

Casspi, a reserve forward, has sustained injuries to both ankles in a five-day span and even if he’s able to play he won’t be at full strength.

Green simply will not return to the lineup until he’s able, though Kerr sounded optimistic about his chances this weekend.

“I don’t think it’s serious,” Kerr said. “But we’ll see.”

If Casspi can’t play, the bench thins along the front line. It would mean more minutes for the likes of Kevon Looney and Pat McCaw.

If Green can’t play, well, that makes a massive impact that runs from the starting lineup all the way through the reserves. His intensity, production and communication are important to the Warriors at both ends of the court.

Some of that would be mitigated by the return of Iguodala, who may be more optimistic than Kerr about his chances of playing Friday.

“If Andre is banged up, he won’t play,” Kerr said. We’ll just make do with what we have.

“Hopefully, Andre will be OK. He’s been getter better every day. He’s pretty confident that he’s on the right track. So hopefully, he’ll play.”

Considering there is a game against the Grizzlies in Memphis less than 20 hours after the final buzzer in New Orleans, the issue is not whether the defending champs will have their roster taxed but to what degree.

Bulls forward Bobby Portis suspended multiple games for punching teammate

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Bulls forward Bobby Portis suspended multiple games for punching teammate

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls have suspended forward Bobby Portis for the first eight games for injuring teammate Nikola Mirotic during a fight at practice.

Mirotic suffered multiple broken bones in his face as well as a concussion on Tuesday. He will likely need surgery and is out indefinitely.

The team announced the suspension on Wednesday. Chicago opens the season at Toronto on Thursday.

A 2015 first-round pick, Portis has averaged 6.9 points and 5 rebounds. He will be allowed to practice with the team while he is suspended.

Mirotic averaged 10.8 points over his first three seasons with Chicago. A restricted free agent, he signed a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million in September. The club holds an option on the second season.