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Brandon Rush, overtime Warrior, helps take down Heat on Tuesday
Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) scored eight points with four rebounds and three assists as the Warriors overcame the Miami Heat in overtime, 111-106. Rush added a steal and three blocks — including one on a Chris Bosh dunk attempt — in 26 minutes (full stats here). He also tried a monster dunk on Heat guard Dwyane Wade. Thisclose, Brandon.
Rush really got a chance to shine late in the game. Warriors coach Mark Jackson subbed Rush in for the final four minutes of regulation, when the Warriors were down eight and making a run. Rush had a rebound, an assist on a crucial three-pointer and a block in that stretch as the Warriors tied the game. With 16 seconds left in the fourth, Rush defended Heat all-everything scorer Dwyane Wade as Wade shot a potentially game-winning 18-footer. He then started and played all five minutes of overtime. Of the Warriors’ first nine points of overtime, Rush scored or assisted on six of them, including an assist on the three-pointer that put Golden State up for good.
After the game, Golden State blogger Adam Lauridsen wrote:
His line is nothing special, but Rush completely changed the Warriors’ defensive energy with his fourth quarter play on Wade. After seemingly getting to the rim at will against Ellis, Wade had to work harder for clean looks against Rush. He started settling for deeper shots. And eventually those shots stopped falling. This is precisely the type of performance the Warriors wanted from him when they acquired him — make an impact on defense, but don’t hurt the team on offense. He’s not a great two-way player, but by Warriors’ standards, he’ll do.
- Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) entered the game on the injury report after hurting his shoulder in Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Nets. Chalmers started out slow (four points, two missed threes, one assist, two turnovers in 15 first-half minutes), but he picked up his scoring in the third-quarter and finished with 12 points (5 of 11, 2-7 from three) in the Heat’s overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors. Chalmers added three steals, a rebound, two assists and four turnovers in 34 minutes (full stats here). Chalmers played 3:44 of the five overtime minutes (because of defense/offense substitutions) and missed a three-point attempt.
Highlight of back-to-back-and-behind-the-back Chalmers steals on Tuesday:
Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) played 16 minutes as the Suns lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, 99-83. He scored only two points (0-4 free throws, 0-1 threes, 2-2 free throws), but he had four steals, three rebounds, an assist and just two fouls (full stats here). Markieff played a sliver of the first quarter and chunks of the second and third quarters before sitting out the fourth. Starter Channing Frye, who was shooting the ball particularly well, played the final 12 minutes instead.
Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) played just 13 minutes on Tuesday night as usual starting center Andrew Bogut returned from a multi-game absence. Gooden scored just two points off 1 of 4 shooting (and a full-court heave of a three-pointer) with two rebounds and two assists as the Bucks beat the San Antonio Spurs, 106-103 (full stats here). Interestingly, in his limited time on the floor, he registered the highest plus-minus (+9) for any player on either team.
Gooden only saw time at backup center for the Bucks, as starter Ersan Ilyasova and rookie Jon Leuer (who started the second half) saw 48 minutes at power forward. If that trend continues, Gooden might be destined for a bit role, barring an injury or another leave of absence.
Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) put up his usual low-scoring, highly effective/entertaining line on Tuesday as the Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 100-95. Collison played 22 minutes and had three points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal (full stats here).
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) was not with the Thunder on Tuesday night. According to the Oklahoman, Aldrich was absent for “personal reasons” and his status for tonight’s game is unknown.
Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) did not play (coach’s decision) against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday (game stats here). It was his fifth DNP of the season. Selby last played on Jan. 3.
NBA D-League Showcase
Brady Morningstar (NBA D-League - Tulsa 66ers) shot the ball just two times and went scoreless in 25 minutes on Tuesday in Las Vegas. Morningstar added four rebounds and an assist with no fouls or turnovers (full stats here).
Greg Ostertag (NBA D-League - Texas Legends) scored eight points on 4 of 5 shooting in 10 minutes on Tuesday against the 66ers. Ostertag also grabbed three rebounds and a steal (full stats here).
In his team’s first game in Vegas on Monday, Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets/Rio Grande Valley Vipers) tried to carry the load but came up short. Marcus shot the ball 27 times in 30 minutes, scoring just ten times for 24 points. He added nine rebounds, an assist, a block and four turnovers as his team lost, 116-99 (full stats here).
There was just one shot of Marcus from the video highlights of Monday’s game — a putback dunk at :25.
Also of note: Before the game, Marcus switched his Vipers jersey to the No. 22 he wore at KU. If/when Marcus is recalled to the Rockets, he will have to change back to No. 2.
Fun with numbers
Before Tuesday’s games, three former Jayhawks were in the top tier of NBA three-point shooters, percentage-wise. Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) was tied for third place with 57.1 percent (12 for 21), Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) was in seventh with 52.4 percent (11 for 21), and Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) was tied for 13th with 48.4 percent (15 for 31). By Wednesday morning, Markieff had dropped to fifth (54.5 percent), Rush had dropped to 12th (47.8 percent) and Chalmers had slipped to 19th (44.7 percent). Still, three top-20 three-point-shooting 'Hawks isn’t anything to scoff at.
Not surprisingly, Markieff leads all rookies in three-point percentage AND overall field goal percentage (48.4 percent). Markieff’s overall field goal percentage had him tied for 24th in the entire league before Tuesday’s games, 41st afterward.
Chalmers was seventh in the NBA in steals rate before a three-steal game on Tuesday (steals figures hadn’t been updated when I wrote this). He averaged 1.89 steals through nine games.
If you want even more number-y goodness, you can experiment with the NBA stats index yourself at www.NBA.com/statistics.
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) was mentioned in the same sentence as NBA MVP runner-up Dwight Howard. If there was ever an appropriate time to make a “Cole’s stock is rising” joke, this might be it.
The Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman wrote a short piece examining how important Mario Chalmers’ health is to the Miami Heat. Chalmers, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury since Saturday, is just one of two point guards on the Heat roster.
Apparently KU assistant coach Danny Manning put in a good word to the Phoenix Suns about Markieff Morris before the draft. From ValleyoftheSuns.com:
“Obviously we spent time visiting with Danny about him,” (Phoenix coach Alvin) Gentry said when asked whether Morris’ three-point range was surprising. “He said he thought he could be a trail guy on the break and make three-point shots. He proved he could do that.
“I think he’s been a little better defensively than we anticipated from the standpoint of playing and not getting himself in foul trouble lately,” Gentry added.
Gentry and Manning, Morris’ assistant at Kansas, go way back and were both with the Jayhawks when they won the 1988 NCAA Championship. Gentry was an assistant under then-head coach Larry Brown and Manning was the star forward for Kansas.
Jayhawks in upcoming NBA games
7 p.m., ESPN, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the Dallas Mavericks
7 p.m., Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the New Orleans Hornets
9:30 p.m., Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Los Angeles Clippers