LJWorld.com weblogs 'Hawks in the NBA
Saturday/Sunday recap: Markieff Morris sets career-high in points; Paul Pierce plays some 'D'
- Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) didn’t have an All-Star-caliber Sunday (9 points, one rebound, two assists in 36 minutes), but his teammates (Rajon Rondo: 32-10-15 triple-double) picked up the slack and the Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls, 95-91. Pierce did not attempt a free throw for the first time all season. And — expert analysis alert — the rest of his stat line was full of fours: 4-for-10 shooting, four steals, four turnovers and four fouls (full stats here).
SBNation.com Celtics blogger Gethin Coolbaugh noted that Pierce’s biggest contribution to the game didn’t necessarily show up in his stat line:
Pierce's biggest impact came on the defensive end, where he virtually shut down Luol Deng (10 points, five rebounds in 42:43), who is making his first All-Star appearance this year. In the last meeting with the Celtics, Deng dominated Pierce and company, putting up 21 points while grabbing 16 rebounds in a Bulls win at TD Garden.
Kirk Hinrich (Atlanta Hawks) didn’t have the shooter’s touch on Sunday against the Miami Heat, as he missed all four of his three-point attempts and finished with just six points. The Heat handled the Hawks easily, 107-87, and Hinrich had one rebound, one assist and a turnover in 19 minutes (full stats here).
Meanwhile, Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) almost couldn’t miss on Sunday against the Hawks. Chalmers made 6 of 7 shots and was perfect from distance with two three-pointers. He had 15 points as the Heat overwhelmed the Hawks, 107-87. Chalmers added a rebound, a steal and two assists to just one turnover in 27 minutes (full stats here). Ten of Chalmers’ 15 points came in the third quarter, and he sat on the bench for the fourth as the Heat led by as many as 30 points.
Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) hit 2 of 3 three-pointers and had 10 points on Sunday in a 106-97 win over the Houston Rockets. Rush also had two rebounds in 22 minutes (full stats here).
Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) did not play (coach’s decision) on Sunday in a 98-88 loss to the Utah Jazz (game stats here).
- Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) set a new career-high for scoring on Saturday night, as he sank 7 of 13 shots for 18 points against the Sacramento Kings. The Suns won, 98-84. Markieff did most of his damage in the fourth quarter, when he scored 10 points in 10 minutes. He finished the game with six rebounds, a steal and three blocked shots in 26 minutes (full stats here). Markieff attempted five three-pointers in the game, but he made just one. After starting December and January off on fire from beyond the arc — hitting 55 and 46.6 percent, respectively — Markieff has made just 5 of 17 triples (29 percent) in seven February games.
After Saturday’s game, Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry was pleased with Markieff’s performance but had some advice for the rookie:
" ... I told him he needs to spend some time in the weight room because (DeMarcus) Cousins was bouncing him around like a rag doll," Gentry said. "The thing I like about Markieff is he'll compete and stick his nose in there. He'll continue to get better."
- Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) scored 21 points on 21 shots on Saturday as the Bucks lost to the Orlando Magic, 99-94. Gooden played 42 minutes against the Magic and finished with a full stat line, as usual. He shot 9-for-21 overall and had eight rebounds, four assists, a steal, a block and one three-pointer (full stats here).
BrewHoop.com’s Alex Boeder praised Gooden for his defense on Magic All-Star Dwight Howard:
Drew Gooden. During halftime, I watched him practice (just once) the infamous off-the-back-board-pass-to-himself. But for all of his charming and maddening basketball eccentricities, now is the time to seriously recognize Gooden as someone who has consistently stood out since Andrew Bogut went down -- on a team where everyone seems to blur together.
At one point, he stripped Howard on the defensive end and then called for the ball and spun around Ryan Anderson for a pretty basket on the offensive end. Another time, he sunk a jumper over Howard that may have caromed off the ceiling into the basket. And it is not like he was getting the benefit of calls against the NBA's only superstar center.
Gooden's defense on Howard (5-15 shooting for 11 points in 42 minutes) was one of the most impressive performances at the Bradley Center this season. That he had the leftover energy and skill to lead the team with 21 points along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists after all of his work on the defensive end only makes his night more monumental.
Other KU pros
Marcus Morris (NBA D-League - Rio Grande Valley Vipers) hit just 4 of 13 shots but made 8 of 9 free throws for 17 points on Saturday. The Vipers lost, 109-101. Marcus had six rebounds, three steals, two blocks and an assist in 36 minutes. He also hit one three-pointer (full stats here).
Brady Morningstar (NBA D-League - Tulsa 66ers) scored 12 of his 14 points before halftime but the 66ers lost, 107-96 on Saturday. Morningstar hit 5 of 8 shots, going 2-for-2 from three. He also had two assists and zero turnovers in 20 minutes (full stats here).
Mario Little (Ukraine-Superleague - SK Dnipro Azot Dniprodzerzhynsk) hit the boards hard on Saturday and finished with six points, four assists and 10 rebounds in a four-point loss (full stats here). Little misfired on all three of his three-point attempts and both of his free-throw attempts in 31 minutes on the court.
Sherron Collins (Turkish Basketball League - Hacettepe University) made 2 of 3 three-pointers on Saturday for six points in a 78-73 loss. He had just one assist and one rebound in 17 minutes (full stats here).
Sasha Kaun (Russia PBL - CSKA Moscow) had 12 points, four rebounds, a steal and a block in 24 minutes on Saturday. His team won its regular season game, 87-70 (full stats here).
Russell Robinson (Turkish Basketball League - Trabzonspor) scored seven points in 32 minutes on Saturday as his team won, 75-67. Robinson made just 1 of 5 three-pointers but added three rebounds, four assists and two steals (full stats here).
Aaron Miles (Russia PBL - Krasnye Krylya) dished out a game-high seven assists on Saturday, but his team lost, 67-59. Miles scored six points and also had four rebounds (full stats here).
The contestants for the All-Star Weekend three-point competition have not been officially announced yet, but several former Jayhawks could make a case to shoot for the trophy. Heading into Sunday’s games, Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) was still leading the NBA in three-point shooting percentage with a crazy 55.9 percent. Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) was tied for ninth with 45.2 percent. And Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns), who will already be in Orlando for the All-Star festivities, is tied for 20th with 42.9 percent shooting. One thing is certain, though: Chalmers’ teammate James Jones (16th, 43.2 percent) will be in the contest after winning the event last season. Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics), who won the competition in 2010, probably won’t make the cut in 2012 — he’s 51st in the NBA with a 38.1 percent shooting percentage.
Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) told the Oklahoman’s John Rhode that he’d consider going into broadcasting when his playing days are over. Collison, who appeared on an ESPN show last week, joked that he’d only do broadcasting “if the money is right."
Jayhawks in upcoming NBA games
7 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat
7 p.m., Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets vs. the Utah Jazz
9:30 p.m., NBA TV, Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors vs. Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns