NBA

NBA Heat Check: Curry serves up points aplenty, Herro goes cold in Miami

By Sports Desk April 19, 2021

Stephen Curry has been lighting it up in the NBA of late.

The two-time NBA MVP is seemingly trying to make up for lost time after injury wiped out the vast majority of his 2019-20 season. 

However, Curry is not the only player in prime form. As the regular season hurtles towards a conclusion, Stats Perform data highlights who is on fire and who needs to find a spark around the league.

Time to dip into the numbers with the latest edition of Heat Check...

RUNNING HOT...

Stephen Curry

To say Curry is on a hot streak is an understatement. In four games between April 12-17, the guard scored 175 points for the Golden State Warriors. That astonishing scoring run saw him hit 10 or more three-point attempts in three of those outings; no other player in NBA history has had three or more such games in an entire season, let alone a week.

Luguentz Dort

Dort was averaging 12.62 points heading into the week. The second-year guard then upped that number with 42 against the Utah Jazz and while he sat out a game against the Warriors, he followed up with a combined tally of 55 when facing the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors. Despite his scoring heroics, the Oklahoma City Thunder lost all three.

Landry Shamet

The Brooklyn Nets have been hampered by injuries this season, with James Harden sidelined in recent times. However, Shamet has stepped up to help fill the void, managing a career-high 30 points on Sunday against the Miami Heat, including tying a franchise record with seven successful three-point attempts having come off the bench. 

GOING COLD...

Lonzo Ball

Ball's decreased production should come as no surprise, considering he is easing his way back into action following a hip injury. He played just under 20 minutes against the Washington Wizards and while his involvement was greater against the New York Knicks, 2017's second overall pick managed nine points from 19 shot attempts across both games.

Tyler Herro

A low-key week for Herro, who failed to reach double digits for points in outings against the Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Nets. The shooting guard - such a key figure in the Heat's run to the NBA Finals in the 2019-20 season - landed two of his 11 attempts from beyond the arc in those games. Surprisingly for someone based in Miami, Herro has gone cold.

Chris Paul

The veteran point guard has been outstanding for the Phoenix Suns, who remain in the running to finish the regular season as the top seeds in the West. However, the bigger picture means minutes must be managed, with Paul seeing a drop in his workload. While buckets have been in short supply - he averaged 8.25 points per game across last week - there were still 26 assists.

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    Jayson Tatum scored 19 points and Derrick White contributed 13 for the league-leading Celtics, winners of 10 of 11.

    Jalen Brunson scored 34 points and Josh Hart was next with 16 for the Knicks, who were swept in the four-game season series by Boston.

    Porzingis ignited a 10-0 run with a 3-pointer and Brown closed it with a layup to give the Celtics an 88-71 lead with 3:53 left in the third quarter.

    New York got the deficit down to 99-90 with 9:17 to play, but the Celtics took advantage of three turnovers and six missed shots to go on a 10-0 run for a 19-point cushion.

     

    Banchero’s last-second 3-point play lifts Magic

    Paolo Benchero converted a 3-point play with 0.8 seconds remaining to snap a tie and give the Orlando Magic a 112-109 win over the Detroit Pistons.

    Banchero made an 18-foot jumper and the ensuing free throw for the winning points before Cade Cunningham hit the rim on a 70-plus-foot shot at the buzzer.

    Banchero finished with 15 points as each Orlando starter scored in double digits in the Magic’s third straight win.

    Cunnigham led NBA-worst Detroit with 26 points.

     

    Timberwolves pull away from reeling Nets

    Anthony Edwards scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and the Minnesota Timberwolves assumed sole possession of first place in the Western Conference with a 101-86 victory over the reeling Brooklyn Nets.

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    Cam Thomas scored 18 points for Brooklyn, which fell to 0-2 under interim coach Kevin Ollie and dropped to 1-7 in its past eight games.

  • Warriors win after 'incredible' Kerr contract extension Warriors win after 'incredible' Kerr contract extension

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    The new deal, which is not yet formally signed, will reportedly pay Kerr, who has guided the Warriors to four NBA championships, $17.5 million a year.

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    San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is reported to make more annually than Kerr, but he also serves as the team’s president.

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    "I think it's incredible," added Green. "I wouldn't want to finish my time here with any other coach. 

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    Kerr will also coach Team USA in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. He said he felt "really good" about the team's future but could not comment on the deal until it was officially signed and announced.

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    Stephen Curry had 15 points and five assists in a game that saw him take on his younger brother Seth, with their father Dell on commentary to make it a special night for the family.

    The Warriors' Curry (23,160 points) moved past Elgin Baylor (23,149) into 33rd place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. 

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    "I don’t really understand why people get so mad at somebody scoring at the end of the game," added Green.

    "It’s like this dumb, unofficial, unwritten rule. If you all were winning by 13 points would you get mad if he laid a ball up? I doubt it. So it's kind of like a sore loser type thing."

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    However, his efforts proved fruitless for the San Antonio Spurs, who lost 113-108 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

    Wembanyama finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals and five blocks. He is just the 15th player in the NBA to record a 5x5.

    But for the overall number one draft pick, wins are the priority.

    "To me, it's secondary," Wembanyama said. "Hopefully in the future, and think this is a good performance, but as of today, I can't be satisfied with a loss."

    LeBron James returned from injury to score 30 points for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis had 28 points and 13 rebounds.

    "Of course it was challenging [going against] one of the best duos in the league," Wembanyama said of facing two of the NBA's star players.

    "But still, I think it's a lot of teams we beat if we play this way.

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    Even though the Spurs have lost 10 of their last 11 games, James believes the sky truly is the limit for Wembanyama.

    "He doesn't have a ceiling," James said.

    "He can do whatever he wants to do with his career. It seems like he enjoys the game. It seems like he puts in the work. Just from the outside looking in, I'm not with him on a day-to-day basis, but I said a long time ago how special he was, and it's literally that simple.

    "There are guys in our league that you have to account for any time you get around the rim or around the perimeter in our league history, and he sits right at the top of it, [if not] around the top, with all the greats.

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    The Lakers returned to winning ways following their loss to the Golden State Warriors, but coach Darvin Ham was not entirely satisfied with the performance.

    "You want your team to constantly look within and try to make plays and force the other team to put you in uncomfortable positions," Ham said.

    "Not you put yourself in those uncomfortable positions, whether it's not sprinting back in transition or allowing teams to get two or three offensive rebounds. Or, you know, fouling because we're not in position because we're not doing our work early. And then going down the other end and not trusting the execution.

    "We've got a bunch of weapons, but they're useless if we don't do the little things, sprinting hard when we get the ball in transition, not turning it over, maintaining spacing, making sure we get hits on screens to create an advantage and making the simple, easy play."

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