There are still some things to wrap upfrom the Monta Ellis-Bogut trade and other Warriors related matters headinginto Fridays game against the Milwaukee Bucks.--- There are a lot of people wonderingwhy the Warriors also acquired the retired T.J. Ford in the RichardJefferson-for-Stephen Jackson trade that included a pick.Heres my understanding: the tradewould have worked salary-wise whether Ford was included in the deal or not. TheWarriors took on Fords salary, a little over 1 million, because getting theSpurs pick was worth it from Golden States point of view.As far as the Spurs, they could very well be a luxury tax team and would be penalized a dollar-for-dollar amount at the endof the season. So, by moving Ford to the Warriors, they take more than 1million off their books now, but also will save themselves another million inpenalty money down the road.Moving Ford also gives the Spurs moreroster flexibility in terms of possibly adding a player down theline.As for the Warriors, theyre notexactly on the hook for all of Fords salary anyway. Insurance will take careof most of it.--- Warriors general manager Larry Rileysaid the team, doctors and Stephen Curry are still working on a course ofaction for the rest of the season regarding his injured anklefoot.It is possible and some would sayexpected that the Warriors will soon announce they are shutting Curry downfor the rest of the season. In the short term, Riley said earlier this weekthat Curry would definitely not play in either of this weekends games vs.Milwaukee on Friday and at Utah on Saturday.--- At this point the Warriors will haveat least three picks and possibly four in the upcoming 2012 NBA draft. TheWarriors now own San Antonios conditional first round pick, which would be theNo. 27 overall pick right now.The Warriors also have the New JerseyNets second-round pick, which would be the No. 36 pick overall right now. Andthey also own the worst of Atlantas two second-round picks, which at thispoint would fall between the Nos. 45 and 50 picks.Of course, the most important pick forthe Warriors is their own. If the Warriors wind up with a top-seven pick in thedraft, they will keep the pick. If the Warriors end up with the No. 8 pick orworse, the pick will be conveyed to Utah.
Superman has his phone booth, Popeye his spinach and Ali had his rope-a-dope. The greats often have a secret weapon to be unleashed upon opponents who dare pose a threat.
The Warriors of the NBA have the third quarter.
Twelve masterful minutes, customarily the third quarter, is all they need to turn all anxieties to swagger and perspiration into perfume.
It was, on cue, the third quarter that doomed the temporarily uppity Magic in a 118-98 victory on Sunday at Amway Center in Orlando.
Tied 50-50 and down five (55-50) 90 seconds into the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 19-2 tear to go up 12 with 6:54 left. Orlando, which had been encouraged by outplaying the Warriors for the first 25-plus minutes, was powerless to prevent the onslaught.
“We found our energy and execution and stopped turning the ball over,” Stephen Curry, who scored a game-high 27 points, including 7-of-13 shooting from deep, told reporters in Florida. “And after that, we got stops and our talent plays over on the offensive end. It is nice to see shots going in obviously, but you have to get stops and take care of the basketball to get that done.”
The Warriors (38-6) shot 41.9 percent for the field and committed 12 turnovers in the first half, leading to 13 Magic points. Only one Orlando starter, point guard Elfrid Payton, shot less than 50 percent and he was 3-of-8.
So the Warriors, whose sloppy first half could be attributed to the usually early start (9 a.m. Pacific), reached for the prescription that best cures their every ailment. They turned to ferocious defense, which generated torrential offense. They outscored the Magic 42-24 in the third quarter, pretty much putting away the game.
“For whatever reason, we’ve had a bunch really good third quarters in the last couple of weeks,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It seems to be the time when we pick up our defense and it translates into some transition hoops and 3-pointers. I don’t know why, but that seems to be the key time for us these days.”
The third-quarter blitzes are more than a trend. It’s becoming an almost predictable act of magic.
The Warriors have outscored opponents in the third in 17 of their last 19 games -- with the margin double digits on nine of those occasions. In seven of those 17 games, they were tied or trailing at the half. They lost only two of those games, to the Cavs and the Grizzlies, to both of whom they blew sizable fourth-quarter leads.
Furthermore, the Warriors’ plus-268 points differential in the third quarter is by far the best in the NBA.
It was, indeed, the third quarter that shook them from the stupor of those early Sunday wakeup calls.
“There was no morning,” Draymond Green said. “It was wake up, grab some food, put on some sweats, and get out of there. I think my bus was 9:30 a.m. That’s 6:30 a.m. West Coast time . . . it was brutal.”
Must be nice to know that even on brutal days, and even after a throwaway first half, they can usually find enough lightning in the third quarter to find victory.
DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks had something to prove on Sunday following two straight tough losses.
Coming off a three-point effort in an overtime loss on Friday, Nowitzki scored all 13 of his points in the first half and Dallas gave the Los Angeles Lakers the worst loss in their history, 122-73.
"We didn't show up to play," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "It's embarrassing for us as a team and for us as an organization. The effort just wasn't there tonight, which I don't understand."
The 49-point defeat just edged Los Angeles' two previous worst losses at 48 points, most recently 123-75 at Utah on March 28, 2016.
Lakers scored 73 points, lost by 49 (worst loss in franchise history) on 11th anniversary of Kobe Bryant's 81-point game pic.twitter.com/L3KbG3808L— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 22, 2017
The Mavericks' winning margin was the third-largest in their history.
It was Dallas' 13th straight win over the Lakers, who have lost six of their last seven games overall.
After a season-best three-game winning streak, the Mavericks had blown a nine-point halftime lead at Miami on Thursday and lost to Utah on Friday.
Nowitzki was 1 for 13 against the Jazz, including a missed 3-pointer that would have tied the game in overtime.
"I looked sluggish the other night on that back-to-back," Nowitzki said, "but took a day off yesterday, didn't do anything. Felt a lot better today."
The game was close for 10 minutes, with Dallas leading 23-22 before the Mavericks scored the next 15 points to blow it open. Nowitzki had seven points during the run. He played just 20 minutes.
Justin Anderson led seven Mavericks in double figures with a game-high 19 points in 16 minutes, his most playing time since Dec. 27.
The Mavericks led 67-33 at the half and never looked back. They both scored their most points and allowed the fewest in a half and a game this season. The 34-point halftime lead was the third-largest in franchise history.
The Lakers scored their fewest points in a quarter, a first half and a game.
"What's deflating is that we didn't guard anybody tonight," Lakers forward Julius Randle said.
Lou Williams led the Lakers with 15 points.
Dallas' Seth Curry scored 14 points, including seven straight in the first quarter.
Lakers: They played without D'Angelo Russell, second on the team at 14.3 points per game. An MRI taken Saturday showed a mildly sprained right MCL and strained right calf. That left the Lakers with rookie Brandon Ingram starting at point guard, and they had a season-low 10 assists. ... Larry Nance Jr. (bone bruise, left knee) returned after missing 16 games and scored four points.
Mavericks: Dallas' record winning margin was 123-70 win at home over the 76ers on Nov. 13, 2014. They beat the Knicks 128-78 in New York on Jan. 24, 2010. ... J.J. Barea missed his 26th game this season because of a strained left calf aggravated on Friday. Coach Rick Carlisle said he didn't expect Barea back until after the All-Star break (Feb. 24 at the earliest). Andrew Bogut (strained right hamstring) could return this week, according to Carlisle.
LENDING A HAND:
Mavericks G Deron Williams moved into 20th place in NBA history with 6,715 assists, passing Kevin Johnson. Williams has had at least seven assists in seven straight games; on Sunday, he had eight, seven by halftime.
Nowitzki tied J.R. Smith for 15th place in 3-point field goals by making one for a total of 1,729.
Lakers: Travel to Portland for the second game of a three-game trip on Wednesday night.
Mavericks: Complete a three-game homestand on Wednesday night against New York.