No team has a better time with Western Conference opponents than the Chicago Bulls. No team has had a better time on the road recently than the New York Knicks. No team is winning with greater frequency than the San Antonio Spurs. And a notable coach reached a notable winning number on a busy NBA Friday.
Home Sweet Home
Bulls in 2010-11
The Bulls improved to 10-4 against the Western Conference, beating the Lakers, 88-84. Their 10 wins over Western Conference teams are twice as many as that of any other Eastern Conference team. In fact, they're one of only two Eastern teams (along with the Celtics) to have a winning record against the West.
The Bulls have now beaten the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder this season, winning all four games by single digits. Close games have been a specialty of late for Chicago, which has won four straight overall, also all by single digits.
Derrick Rose led the way with 29 points, including three 3-pointers. That gave him 32 3-pointers, matching the total number of trifectas he made in his first two seasons combined.
The Bulls forced 19 turnovers Friday and outscored the Lakers 18-9 in fast-break points. That's a significant key to the home success for the Bulls, who entered the day ranked eighth in the NBA in fast-break points at home.
The win actually overshadowed some NBA history. Kobe Bryant scored 23 points for the Lakers, giving him 26,398 for his career. He surpassed John Havlicek's record for most points for players who spent their entire careers with one franchise.
Meanwhile, the Knicks continued to win, beating the Wizards 101-95 in Washington for their eighth straight road triumph (the second-longest streak in club history). Amare Stoudemire tied the club record for consecutive 30-point games with his seventh but did so in extremely unusual fashion. According to Elias, which has been tracking turnovers since the 1977-78 season, Stoudemire's 11 turnovers tied Micheal Ray Richardson's club record (set during the 1981-82 season) and marked the fourth 30/10/5 game (30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) since 1990, the first since one by Bryant for the Lakers in 2007-08.
The Spurs didn't have any sloppiness issues, save for Manu Ginobili, in a 108-92 win over the Hawks. The usually reliable Ginobili tied for the team high in points with 18 but had no assists and six turnovers. The Hawks outscored the Spurs by four points with Ginobili on the floor. It was a sharp turn in performance for Ginobili, who had 34 assists and seven turnovers and was plus-101 when on the floor in his previous six games. (The Spurs were minus-24 with him off the court in that span.) It was not an issue for San Antonio, whose 19-3 mark is the best 22-game start in team history.
Last but far from least, George Karl earned his 1,000th win as an NBA coach as the Denver Nuggets beat the Toronto Raptors 123-116. Karl is the seventh coach to win 1,000 games, the third to do so without winning an NBA title, along with Don Nelson and Jerry Sloan. It's more impressive considering that in his first two coaching stops (Cleveland and Golden State), Karl was 119-176.