Curry starts 2017 as Western Conference Player of the Week

Curry starts 2017 as Western Conference Player of the Week

NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2017The Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry Monday were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan. 2 through Sunday, Jan. 8.

Butler led the Bulls to a 3-0 week, averaging a league-leading 38.0 points to go with 9.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists. He opened the week by scoring 52 points in a 118-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets, the second 50-point game of his career and the first by a Bull at the United Center since Michael Jordan in April 1997. Butler was prolific at the free throw line, making 21-of-22 against the Hornets and closing the week by shooting 18-for-20 from the stripe on his way to 42 points in a 123-118 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 7.

Curry led the Warriors to a 3-1 week behind averages of 31.8 points (third in the West), 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds. He scored at least 30 points in three of his four games and logged his second 40-point outing of the season when he finished with 40 points in a 128-119 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 6. Curry, who became just the seventh player in Warriors history to score 12,000 career points, shot 50.0 percent from the field, 89.5 percent from the free throw line and 39.1 percent from three-point range.

Here is a recap of the week for Butler and Curry:

Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

Jan. 2 vs. Charlotte: Scored a season-high 52 points and added 12 rebounds and six assists in a 118-111 win over the Hornets.

Jan. 4 @ Cleveland: Tallied 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds in a 106-94 victory against the Cavaliers.

Jan. 7 vs. Toronto: Finished with 42 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals in a 123-118 overtime win over the Raptors.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Jan. 2 vs. Denver: Registered 22 points and five assists in a 127-119 victory against the Nuggets.

Jan. 4 vs. Portland: Recorded 35 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a 125-117 win over the Trail Blazers.

Jan. 6 vs. Memphis: Scored 40 points, dished out six assists and grabbed four rebounds in a 128-119 overtime loss to the Grizzlies.

Jan. 8 @ Sacramento: Finished with 30 points, six assists and four rebounds in a 117-106 victory against the Kings.

Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Dennis Schröder, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Houston’s James Harden, Indiana’s Paul George and Jeff Teague, the LA Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers, Memphis’ Mike Conley and Zach Randolph, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe, Portland’s C.J. McCollum and San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge.

NBA media services

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

OAKLAND -- Even though Draymond Green still would like to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, winning a championship with the Warriors has quenched much of thirst for the honor.

“I don’t really care that much anymore,” Green said after participating in the JaVale McGee Celebrity softball game Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum benefitting the Jug Life Foundation, promoting a healthy lifestyle around water consumption.

“I cared before,” Green added. “But we won the NBA championship now. I don’t care about what happened in the regular season any more at this point. I think I would have cared if I found out in Round 1 or Round 2 (of the playoffs).

“But at this point . . . I don’t even care any more.”

This is in marked contrast to what Green expressed early in the regular season, when he acknowledged the DPOY award is the only individual award he actively cared to win.

As recently as two months ago, in discussing his defensive performance in a season during which he made numerous memorable plays, including some game-saving defensive stands, Green let his words speak on his behalf.

“It is the best defensive season I’ve had, because I’ve continued to grow,” he said at the end of the regular season. “When I look at the last couple years, I think each year I got better defensively. And I think this year I’ve gotten better. So I do think it’s my best season, defensively -- but just not numbers-wise. The numbers are up a little bit more. But I actually feel better about what I’ve done on the defensive end than I have in any other year.”

Winning a championship apparently has an impact on the significance of individual awards.

A finalist for the award for which he finished second in each of the past two seasons, Green said Saturday that his plan is to leave for New York on Sunday and be in attendance when the awards are presented Monday night.

The other finalists for the award are Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who won it the last two seasons.

All three players will be among those at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York for the inaugural telecast of the NBA Awards on TNT.

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Kevin Durant didn't forget about the taunts.

In February, when Durant returned to Oklahoma City for the first time as a member of the Warriors, Thunder fans heckled him with t-shirts featuring cupcakes, a reference to Durant being soft for joining the 73-win Warriors.

On Saturday, the cupcake graphic made a return with one slight change.

Durant, playing in JaVale McGee's JugLife Celebrity Softball game at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, showed up to the stadium wearing a cupcake hat. But instead of a cheery on top, a championship ring was superimposed on top of the cupcake.

So Durant, an NBA champion, got the last laugh.