From Comcast SportsNetCORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- With a steady din coming from the sea of orange behind the visitors' basket, No. 1 Duke had a tough time making a shot.The Blue Devils went more than 8 minutes without a field goal in the first half Wednesday night, and a sellout became a blowout for No. 25 Miami, which delighted a boisterous crowd with a 90-63 victory.The defeat was the third-worst ever for a No. 1 team. The last time Duke lost a regular-season game by a bigger margin was in January 1984."It wasn't demoralizing; they played better," Blue Devils guard Rasheed Sulaimon said. "I believe we have them on the schedule again.""We expected them to be terrific, and we have to match terrific, and then you have a terrific game," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "What you had was a terrific win for them, but not a terrific game. We didn't hold our end of the bargain."Miami (14-3, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat a No. 1 team for the first time, taking control with a stunning 25-1 run midway through the opening half. The Blue Devils missed 13 consecutive shots despite numerous good looks, while four Hurricanes hit 3-pointers during the run that transformed a 14-13 deficit into a 38-15 lead.Duke (16-2, 3-2) fell to 0-2 when playing on an opponent's court. The Blue Devils' other loss came at North Carolina State, a defeat that cost them the No. 1 ranking.They regained the top spot this week but seemed rattled by the capacity crowd, only the 10th in 10 years at Miami's on-campus arena. Students began lining up for seats outside the arena almost 24 hours before tipoff, a rarity for the attendance-challenged Hurricanes."I don't know how you can sit outside for a basketball game for that long," Miami guard Durand Scott said. "That made me want to win for them even more."The Hurricanes, who are alone atop the league standings, won their sixth consecutive game. They beat Duke for the second straight time -- but only the fourth time in the 19-game series.Miami had been 0-6 against No. 1 teams. Coach Jim Larranaga also beat a No. 1 team for the first time."This is a great memory," Larranaga said.Scott scored a season-high 25 points for the Hurricanes, and Kenny Kadji added a season-high 22. Shane Larkin had 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and Durham, N.C. native Julian Gamble had 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.Miami senior center Reggie Johnson came off the bench in his first action since being sidelined with a broken left thumb Dec. 18. He had two points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.The Hurricanes, ranked this week for the first time in three years, improved to 8-0 at home.Seth Curry, Tyler Thornton and Quinn Cook went a combined 1 for 29 for the Blue Devils, who shot a season-low 30 percent. Sulaimon led them with 16 points.Duke went 4 for 23 from 3-point range, while Miami went 9 for 19 and shot 57 percent overall."Especially in the first couple of minutes, we got a lot of great shots," Blue Devils forward Mason Plumlee said. "You're going to miss some, but you have to keep shooting. The biggest mistake you can make is questioning your shot because you're missing open shots."Kadji made two 3s during the Hurricanes' first-half spurt, then capped it with a three-point play. Duke shot 22 percent in the first half, including two for 11 on 3-pointers, and trailed 42-19 at halftime.There was no letup by the Hurricanes to start the second half. They scored the first seven points for a shocking 49-19 lead, and punctuated the drubbing with five dunks in the final 10 minutes."Some teams come out in the second half flat and think they have the game won," Larkin said, "but we stayed with it with the same energy in the second half. We played great the whole game."A Duke mistake -- one in a long series -- early in the second half had Krzyzewski red-faced and on the court, screaming at his team. But he couldn't inspire a turnaround."Over-rated," fans chanted with 3 minutes left. When the game ended, they poured onto the court and mobbed their team."The crowd I'm sure helped them some," Krzyzewski said. "But they didn't need much help."Back in North Carolina, fans of the Tar Heels savored the loss by their rivals. When the final score of the Duke game was posted on the video board at the North Carolina-Georgia Tech game, students chanted, "Go to hell, Duke!"
After years of being handcuffed by the ill-fated Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce trade that cost the Nets’ franchise several prime lottery picks, Brooklyn is starting to come out of the abyss under energetic young coach Kenny Atkinson.
The Nets’ front office was able to absorb the contracts of veteran players like DeMarre Carroll, Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur for draft considerations, while also picking up former #2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell by taking on the massive contract of Timofey Mozgov from the Lakers. In addition, they also traded veterans Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic for 1st rounders that became starters Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen.
Under Atkinson’s direction, the Nets have bought into a culture of hard work and unselfish play. They improved from 20 to 28 wins a year ago, and are currently within striking distance of the final playoff spot in the East.
LeVert is currently sidelined after dislocating his right ankle in a scary fall in early November, but he should return at some point this season. At the time of his injury, LeVert was leading the Nets in scoring at 18.4 points per game while shooting nearly 48% from the field, looking like a candidate for a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. In his absence, the Nets have gone with a share the wealth approach, with Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Allen and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all scoring in double figures.
Dinwiddie is the name that should be familiar to Bulls’ fans. He was with the team during training camp in 2016, but let go when the Bulls acquired Michael Carter-Williams in a deal with Milwaukee. Since that time, Dinwiddie has fully recovered from an ACL injury he suffered in college and emerged as a top candidate for the NBA’s 6th man award, averaging 17.2 points and 5 assists per game while shooting almost 48% from the field. Hindsight is always 20-20, but Dinwiddie would certainly look good in the Bulls’ backcourt right now.
Still, the most exciting thing for Nets’ fans right now is the team’s salary cap situation. Thanks to all the moves made by General Manager Sean Marks, Brooklyn could have the ability to offer 2 max contracts in 2019 free agency. Whether Marks will be able to get a meeting with any of the big names like Durant, Leonard, Irving, Butler and Thompson is still to be determined, but at least there’s finally some hope for a turnaround in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have sunk to 7-24 and have been the league’s least efficient offensive team since Jim Boylen took over as head coach. Boylen wants his shorthanded team to play at a more deliberate tempo in direct contrast to the current pace-and-space trend that’s taken over the league. With leading scorer Zach LaVine out because of injury and Jabari Parker inactive while the front office tries to work out a trade, the Bulls are painfully short on offensive options and need to rely on an improved defense to stay competitive in games.
Like Brooklyn, the Bulls figure to have cap space this summer to pursue free agents, but they’ll need to show improvement and stability over the final 51 games to make their sales pitch effective.
As for Wednesday’s game, here’s what the Bulls need to do to have a chance for a home court win.
1. FAST BREAK POINTS. We know Boylen wants to put the brakes on the Bulls’ transition game, but the Nets come to town after hosting the Lakers Tuesday night which means there could be a few players on the court with tired legs. When the Bulls force a turnover, they need to look for an easy scoring opportunity before the defense sets up. Oklahoma City had a 27-9 advantage in fast break points on Monday.
2. MARKKANEN IN THE POST. The 7 foot forward was extremely effective in the 2nd half of the come-from-behind win in San Antonio by isolating against smaller defenders for drives and step-back jumpers. Markkanen will have a height advantage against Brooklyn’s smaller frontcourt, and he should be able to shoot over the top of Hollis-Jefferson, another former Arizona Wildcat.
3. SHUT DOWN SPENCER. Dinwiddie has been in celebration mode this week after signing a brand new 3 year, 34 million dollar contract extension. Still, Dinwiddie gets pretty serious in talking about the 2 NBA teams that gave up on him (Pistons and Bulls) knowing that all he needed was time to fully recover from a serious knee injury. The 25 year old guard has been providing instant offense off the bench for Brooklyn, and you can bet he’ll have the green light when he enters the game at the United Center.
We hope you’ll join Kendall Gill, Kelly Crull and me for Bulls Pregame Live at 6:30 Wednesday on NBC Sports Chicago and the My Teams by NBC Sports app. After the game goes final, flip back to NBC Sports Chicago for Jim Boylen’s media session and player reaction from the locker room on Bulls Postgame Live, followed by Bulls Outsiders.
On this episode of the CubsTalk podcast, we catch up with new Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy in Las Vegas (1:00). Hottovy discusses his relationships with the current Cubs staff, his biggest challenge in 2019, and his quick transition from playing to coaching.
Later, Luke Stuckmeyer speaks with former Cub and 2016 World Series Champion Matt Szczur, whose painting of the final out from the 2016 World Series is catching eyes all over the internet (15:50). Szczur also details his role in helping Anthony Rizzo get going in the 2016 NLCS, and how he keeps in touch with all his former teammates.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
Cubs Talk Podcast