First Cup: Wednesday

  • Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: The victory was a timely reaffirmation of Jason Kidd’s growth as a coach on the same night he won the Coach of the Month, becoming the first Net coach to win it multiple times in one season. Kidd picked up the honor for going 12-4 in March — all games without injured Kevin Garnett — and he predictably downplayed it, saying it’s not one of the three milestones he recognizes from his career. “The ones that I really treasure are the Olympic gold medals I have (in 2000 and 2008), representing our country, and winning the championship (with the Mavs in 2011). Those are the ones I really recognize,” said Kidd, who was also honored for January. “The rest is just part of the game. This Coach of the Month is great, but it’s about those guys in the locker room. Those guys are playing at a high level.” The Rockets (49-24), who battered the Nets by 19 points in November, were without Dwight Howard (ankle) and Patrick Beverly (knee). Brooklyn didn’t have Garnett (back spasms), Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) and Marcus Thornton (back). “It means a lot to clinch the playoffs. We’ve come so far,” Joe Johnson said. “We’ve been on an uphill climb pretty much the whole season, so we’ve been basically playing catch-up. It’s somewhat of a relief. But we understand there’s more work to do.” Like beating the Knicks? “We want to win,” Johnson said.

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: Aiming to be 100 percent by the playoffs, center Dwight Howard said Tuesday he had fluid drained from his left ankle for a second time but that he is “not worried at all” that the issue will linger through the remainder of the Rockets’ regular-season schedule. “There was more fluid in there the next time I saw the doctor,” Howard said. “It was best I get the fluid out and just rest. I’m not worried.” Howard, who missed four of the Rockets’ past six games, has no target date to return, but he won’t play Wednesday in Toronto. Forward Terrence Jones sat out Tuesday with flu-like symptoms. Coach Kevin McHale said a timetable has not been determined on point guard Pat Beverley’s return, saying the Rockets will “play it by ear.” “(Howard) had a shot in the back of his ankle to ease some of the pain,” McHale said. “He had some swollen soft tissue in there. When that calms down, he’ll go.” Howard missed three games last month before returning to play against Charlotte and Philadelphia.

  • Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle: The indelible highlight from the game will be Stephen Curry's game-winning 21-foot jumper with 0.1 seconds on the clock, but the superstar point guard wouldn't have had a chance at the game's last shot if it wasn't for Jermaine O'Neal, Jordan Crawford,Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights, Klay Thompson, etc. ... Curry used a between-the-legs dribble to start left and then stepped back and launched the game-winner over the two-handed contest of Jose Calderon. After the ball swished through the net, Curry sprinted to the opposite baseline, pounded his chest and repeatedly yelled to the 512th consecutive sellout crowd at American Airlines Center, "We out." "The atmosphere was crazy so I was just celebrating," said Curry, who had 23 points and 10 assists for his league-leading 15th 20-and-10 game. "It was a big road win, and we play (Wednesday) so we wanted to get out of here as quick as possible." ... The Warriors (46-28) have won five of their past seven and 10 of their past 14 to stay two games back of fifth-place Portland.

  • Diamond Leung of The Oakland Tribune: What Jermaine O’Neal is sick of seeing is negativity surrounding the Warriors and coach Mark Jackson that the veteran big man finds unfair. O’Neal has pointed out that some in the media and along some Warriors fans have gone too far with it. He mentioned those concerns last week while strongly defending Jackson. And Tuesday, O’Neal brought up the issues himself when Warriors TV host Laurence Scott asked about Jackson saying the team was “tied together.” “We’re tied together, especially when so many people around us are trying to tear us apart,” O’Neal said. “I’ve never seen even in your own town so much adversity and so much negativity around a team that’s really striving to do special things. It baffles you a little bit, but it says a lot about our head coach and our staff and our organization. ... The negativity that’s out there in our home city, I’m just asking for people to hold their evaluation until the end of the year when the season’s over with. We’re going down the stretch run when we need all our fans.”

  • Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: No time now for the Dallas Mavericks to lament Tuesday's critical 122-120 overtime loss to the Gokden State Warriors at American Airlines Center. They don't have time, either, to lament the poor 4-4 record they put up on this crucial eight-game home stand. A home stand which could have put the Mavs in great playoff position had they handled their business properly. "I think we have to keep fighting," guard Jose Calderon said. "We have seven more to go -- we can't look back now. "We could have played much better, but it's not the time to worry about what happened," Calderon said. "It's about seven more, and we have to keep looking ahead." The Mavs (44-31) open a crucial four-game road trip in Los Angeles on Thursday against the Clippers. They'll stay in LA to play the Lakers on Friday, then play at Sacramento on Sunday and at Utah on Apr. 8.

  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: The eight teams the Dallas Mavericks played in their long home stand averaged 25.9 points in the third quarter. The Mavericks averaged 22.8 points. In the four losses on the home stand, the Mavericks averaged 23 points in the third quarter and surrendered 27.8. That discrepancy was capped by Tuesday’s loss to Golden State, in which the Mavericks were outscored 32-19 in the third frame. “I think what’s been hurting us is the third quarters,” Dirk Nowitzki smartly deduced. “Teams have been crushing us even if we do have the lead at the half. The third quarter for some reason has been a tough quarter for us and we’ve been letting teams back in. We got to be better early in the game and better coming out of halftime.” The Mavericks for the season have been outscored in the third quarter by nearly a point a game. They have, on average, won the other three quarters.

  • Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com: Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and adidas are on the cusp of finalizing a multiyear, lucrative shoe endorsement deal barring any hiccups, a league source informed CSNNW.com. Once official, an announcement is expected in the coming days. “We’re close,” Lillard told CSNNW.com on Tuesday. “Nothing final yet. I'm excited." Adidas had a 30-day exclusive window to reach an agreement with Lillard and that period was set to expire on April. 1, according to another source briefed on the situation. If a deal was not reached, conversations with Nike and other shoe rivals would have commenced as soon as this week, we’re told. However, the talks have progressed to the point where adidas is in the driver’s seat.

  • Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News: For all the glitz and glamour surrounding the Lakers’ franchise, their current practice facility does not exactly exude such a mystique. The Lakers have only one basketball court and its office space is somewhat cramped. So in an effort both to expand room for their day-to-day operations and provide a mechanism to lure free agents beyond their storied championship history, the Lakers plan to build a modern practice facility in El Segundo. The Lakers did not provide any details on the beginning or completion date. But they announced entering an agreement with CDC Mar Campus, LLC to purchase a five-acre undeveloped portion at Campus El Segundo near the northwest corner of Mariposa Avenue and Douglas Street. The completion of the purchase hinges on the City of El Segundo’s approval. ... The Clippers opened a $60 million practice facility in Playa Vista in 2008 that includes two basketball courts, spacious offices and expansive video and weight rooms.