Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Mount Stephen Curry erupts in win
Here’s what you need to know from a Monday night around the NBA:
1) Stephen Curry broke out of his slump with a volcanic eruption. Curry had been in a slump for more than a week. In his prior five games coming into Monday night, he was shooting 28.1 percent from three (9-of-32). In the first quarter against the Kings Monday night it continued, he was 0-of-4 from the floor overall and 0-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Then it happened. Mount Curry erupted in the second quarter — 17 points in a just over three-minute span at the end of the first half.
So much for that slump. And so much for the Kings, despite Omri Casspi having nine threes of his own on the night. Curry finished with a triple double — 23 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists — while Klay Thompson added 29 points and Draymond green 25 and the Warriors won again 122-103. That would make them 29-1 on the season, for those of you scoring at home. If they want 72 wins it seems a more and more reasonable goal every day.
2) DeMarcus Cousins gets ejected after arguing foul call. He should get his checkbook out now. The Kings fell victim to one of the classic blunders — the most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” — but only slightly less well-known is this: Never get into a shootout with the Golden State Warriors. George Karl wants the Kings to play fast, but once Curry got going (see above) things spiraled downward fast for Sacramento in the third.
Especially once DeMarcus Cousins got ejected for arguing a call.
This was a classic example of a Cousins’ ejection. That questionable call — Cousins does touch Curry but it seemed Ben McLemore commits the foul — was Cousins’ fifth foul of the night. He was frustrated. And when Cousins feels wronged he simply is incapable of letting it go, he needs to feel vindicated (and doesn’t channel that anger into his play). He lets his emotions get the better of him. And he does it without regard to his team — notice in that video the Kings were up two when Cousins got tossed. The Warriors went on a 15-0 run after Cousins was sent to the shower and that was the ballgame.
Cousins can expect a fine for this from the league.
Kings’ fans, if you want more in-depth breakdowns of what is going on in Sacramento I had CSNBayArea.com Kings’ insider James Ham on the PBT Podcast this week and we spent more than an hour talking all things Sacramento.
3) Kemba Walker shreds Lakers “defense” for 38 points. On the list of “most entertaining players in the NBA to watch” Kemba Walker doesn’t get mentioned enough. The man puts up points and puts on a show. Put him against the Lakers “defense” and you end up with him dropping 38 in a win.
4) Chris Paul for the Dunk Contest. The story for the Clippers Monday night should be that Paul Pierce moved into the starting lineup for the injured Blake Griffin and that lineup was +9 on the night and showed promise on both ends of the floor. Or, the story should be that the Clippers actually got good bench play for a night and that is why they beat the Wizards 108-91.
Instead, the story is that Chris Paul threw down his first two dunks of the season. The first came off some cherry picking, and he let the bench know he could do it.
With that Paul was feeling it, so he went for the dunk on a drive and got the And-1.
5) Bulls beat Raptors as parity reigns in the East. The Atlanta hawks had been hot, winners of six in a row, so they got upended by the Pacers Monday. Any team that starts to look like it could break out of the pack in the second tier of the East (it’s Cleveland then everyone else) gets knocked down a peg. Take the Raptors, who finally got healthy with DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunis back in the lineup, so... they get beat by the Bulls Monday, 104-97. The Bulls may have found a bench bigs pairing that works with Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis, and Chicago got a strong game from Tony Snell off the bench with 22. Pau Gasol also had 22. I’d say keep an eye on the Bulls to try to break out of the pack in the East, but the trend is they will come crashing back to earth soon. Everyone does.