Warriors vs. Bulls (8pm ET Wednesday, ESPN)
The Golden State Warriors gave notice on Monday that they have zero intention of surrendering their title without a fight, dropping a 132-98 beatdown on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Chef Curry put up 35 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including 7 of 12 from downtown, center Draymond Green scored 16 and added 10 assists, and Andre Iguodala scored 20 in just 24 minutes by making 7 of 8 shots. It was a team effort that left LeBron James calling it what it was: “a good old-fashioned A-kicking.” The Warriors are now 38-4 and lead the Spurs by 2 games for the top spot in the West.
The Bulls have had a tough go of late, losing four of their last six to bring them to 24-16, good enough to be tied for 3rd in the East. They did win on Monday, however, beating the Pistons 111-101, led by Pau Gasol’s 31 points and 12 rebounds. Detroit won the battle of the boards, 50-38, including 20 offensive rebounds, but when you make just 5 of 26 from 3-point land, it doesn’t much matter. Guard Derrick Rose appears to finally be finding his shot, having hit 48.9% over his last 9 games for 18.4 points a game. Unfortunately, backup big man Joakim Noah was lost for the season – and maybe forever with free agency looming – to a separated shoulder.
Hawks vs. Trail Blazers (10:30pm ET Wednesday, ESPN)
The Hawks defeated the Orlando Magic 98-81 on Monday, as six guys recorded double figures and Paul Milsap led the way with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists. The Magic, on the other hand, couldn’t hit the ocean from a boat, making just 30 of 87 shots. The Hawks are now 25-17 and tied for 3rd in the East, despite being one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, by doing a lot of things well, ranking second in assists, steals, 2-point field goal percentage and opponents’ turnovers.
After winning four of five (how do you lose by 25 to Philly?!?!?!), including their last game on Monday against the Washington Wizards, the Trail Blazers are 19-25, just a half-game out of the 8th seed in the West. They feature a brilliant young backcourt with CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard, who combine to average 45 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists a game. But the most interesting stat out of Portland is 127.8, the offensive rating of Portland’s Ed Davis. “Offensive rating” is a stat from Basketball Reference that attempts to measure “points produced per 100 possessions,” and it says that Davis is the most potent offensive force in the NBA, more so than Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard… so that formula may need a little tweaking. Or maybe that Blazers head coach Terry Stotts should play Davis more than 21 minutes a night.