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Thursday/Friday recap: Markieff Morris impresses on national TV; Cole Aldrich sees significant minutes

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Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, shoots as Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, shoots as Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, in Los Angeles. by Nick Gerik

  • Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) put on a nice show on national television, scoring 14 points with a handful of other stats in a 111-99 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Markieff hit 6 of 13 shots (2 of 5 threes) and had four rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks in 24 minutes (full stats here).

  • Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) backed-up his All-Star Three-Point Contest selection, hitting 4 of 6 three-pointers en route to 14 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. The Heat hit an impressive 14 of 21 threes as a team and led by as many as 34 points in a 111-87 victory. Chalmers sat out the fourth quarter of the rout and finished with three rebounds, five assists, two steals and two turnovers in 25 minutes (full stats here).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL89ha9a5mU

New Orleans Hornets' Xavier Henry (4) pressures New York Knicks' Tyson Chandler (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, in New York.

New Orleans Hornets' Xavier Henry (4) pressures New York Knicks' Tyson Chandler (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, in New York. by Nick Gerik

  • Xavier Henry (New Orleans Hornets) missed his only shot of the night on Friday against the New York Knicks as the Hornets won, 89-85. Henry blocked one shot in 10 minutes on the court (full stats here).

Golden State Warriors forward Dorell Wright, left, fouls Oklahoma City Thunder center Nick Collison, right, as he shoots in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. Oklahoma City won 110-87.

Golden State Warriors forward Dorell Wright, left, fouls Oklahoma City Thunder center Nick Collison, right, as he shoots in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. Oklahoma City won 110-87. by Nick Gerik

  • Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) had four points and eight rebounds against the Golden State Warriors in a 110-87 blowout victory on Friday (full stats here). It was Collison’s highest rebound total since he grabbed 10 on Jan. 8. And as always, Collison made plenty of “plays the boxscore won’t show.”

Golden State Warriors forward Dominic McGuire, bottom, rebounds in front of Oklahoma City Thunder centerCole Aldrich, rear, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. Oklahoma City won 110-87.

Golden State Warriors forward Dominic McGuire, bottom, rebounds in front of Oklahoma City Thunder centerCole Aldrich, rear, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. Oklahoma City won 110-87. by Nick Gerik

  • Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) played a career-high 21 minutes against the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Aldrich saw the extended minutes as Thunder starting center Kendrick Perkins sat out with an injury. OKC also ran away with the game, 110-87. Aldrich didn’t do much with his newfound minutes, however, and finished with two points (0-for-2 overall, 2-for-2 free throws), three rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block (full stats here). Although he didn’t blow anyone away in his limited run, Friday night was a good example why Oklahoma City probably won’t send Aldrich back to the D-League anytime soon. The lockout-condensed schedule has decreased recovery time for nicked-up players, and — more than likely — even contributed to some of those injuries in the first place. This probably won’t be the last chance Aldrich gets at extended minutes this season.

After the game, the Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry wrote:

… Cole didn’t do anything to quell everyone’s desire to see him. He wasn’t great. But he just knows how to be active and make his presence felt in ways Perk and Naz don’t seem to do. The thing that shocks me is how much more athletic Aldrich makes the center position look compared to Perk and Naz. Unfortunately, that says more about Perk and Naz than Cole.

  • Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) and his teammates had an off-night on Friday, as the Warriors lost 110-87 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. As a team, Golden State shot just 34 percent from the floor. Rush hit just one of his six shots — a three-pointer — and two foul shots for five points on the night. He also had two rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block in 18 minutes (full stats here).

  • Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) stayed in Milwaukee on Friday while the Bucks traveled to Orlando to face the Magic. Gooden is recovering from wrist and knee injuries and is not on the Bucks’ road trip, which lasts through the weekend. Milwaukee lost to Orlando, 94-85 (game stats here).


Thursday recap

Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) shoots over Chicago Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer (5) and small forward Luol Deng (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, in Chicago.

Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) shoots over Chicago Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer (5) and small forward Luol Deng (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, in Chicago. by Nick Gerik

Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) made just 6 of 16 shots on Thursday as the Celtics lost to the Chicago Bulls, 89-80. Pierce finished with 14 points, two rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes (full stats here). The game marked the continuation of a slight mid-February slump for Pierce, who has averaged just 11.3 points, 3.8 assists and 1.3 rebounds in his last four games. Pierce had averaged 21 points, 7.1 assists and 6.7 rebounds in the 10 games before that.


Other notes

  • Brady Morningstar (NBA D-League - Tulsa 66ers) scored nine points in a 119-114 overtime victory on Friday. Morningstar was 4-for-8 from the floor and hit 1 of 2 three-pointers. He also had three rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes (full stats here).

  • Josh Selby (NBA D-League - Reno Bighorns) struggled with his shot on Friday and had 13 points on 15 attempts as the Bighorns lost, 106-92. Selby grabbed eight rebounds, dished out five assists and hit 2 of 5 three-pointers, but he went 4-for-15 overall in 37 minutes (full stats here).

  • Marcus Morris (NBA D-League - Rio Grande Valley Vipers) put up 18 points in 26 minutes, but the Vipers allowed the Canton Charge to make 19 of 33 three-pointers and lost 136-113 on Thursday. Marcus did his part on the offensive end, hitting 8 of 14 shots. He also pulled down six rebounds and hit a three (full stats here).

  • Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) was “drafted” by Shaquille O'Neal on Thursday for the All-Star Weekend Rising Stars (read: rookie-sophomore) Challenge. Markieff was Shaq’s fifth pick, and he’ll get to play with point guard sensations Ricky Rubio and Jeremy Lin next Friday at 8 p.m. on TNT.

The entire rookie-sophomore selection show, including Shaq mispronouncing Markieff’s name (at 7:40), below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3amy31oyaNg


Video(s) of the year

In Nick Collison’s latest GQ.com blog, the Oklahoma City Thunder forward gave advice on “How To Survive in the NBA When You're Not a Superstar.”

In the post, he wrote:

The hard part is being able to have the focus to do it over and over again, knowing you aren't going to get a lot of credit. Doing a great job of talking on defense won't get you any high-paying endorsement deals. Nobody is making a YouTube mix of all your badass screens with a Rick Ross track playing over it. (I'm not saying I would complain if someone did this for me.)

And, wouldn’t you know it, the Internet delivered:

... twice:


Jayhawks in upcoming NBA games

Saturday, Feb. 18

  • 7 p.m., Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors vs. the Memphis Grizzlies

  • 9 p.m., Kirk Hinrich and the Atlanta Hawks vs. the Portland Trailblazers

Sunday, Feb. 19

  • 2:30 p.m., ABC, Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Orlando Magic

  • 5 p.m., Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the Detroit Pistons

  • 6 p.m., Drew Gooden (wrist injury) and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the New Jersey Nets

  • 7 p.m., ESPN, Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Denver Nuggets

  • 7 p.m., Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. the Los Angeles Lakers

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