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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

BBNBA: Fox and the Kings Fall Late Against Warriors

(Photo via NBA.com)

Good afternoon, folks. De’Aaron Fox scored 25 points and the Phoenix Suns don’t know how to read. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

  • Before we get into the BBNBA chit-chat, let’s quickly talk about what happened with Trevor Ariza and the Washington Wizards on Friday. It was reported that a trade was being executed that would send Ariza from the Suns back to the Wizards, where he spent two years of his career playing alongside John Wall. The Wizards would send Kelly Oubre to the Grizzlies and Austin Rivers to the Suns, but the deal was killed at the last minute. Why? Because the teams were confused over which “Brooks” was also being added into the trade. Some teams thought that Memphis was dealing Dillon Brooks, while others thought they were including MarShon Brooks. It’s all quite hilarious, really, and you can read ESPN’s report that more thoroughly explains everything here.
  • If the trade does eventually follow through, I really like Ariza going back to Washington. Ariza was a part of the Houston Rockets team last season that took the Warriors to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Without him, the Rockets have been struggling and his services could be much better used in literally any place not named Phoenix. A solid 3-and-D player is perfect next to Wall. Ariza can float along the perimeter and wait for Wall to kick out for open threes and he would bring a much-needed defensive presence (and hopefully some energy) to the Wiz. I hope this happens.
  • *Update* Not even an hour after I finished writing up this post, the trade became official. Ariza to the Wizards.

Knicks – 126 @ Hornets – 124 (OT)

  • Kevin Knox played a season-high 42 minutes in the Knicks overtime victory over the Charlotte Hornets. He dropped in 20 points on 7-15 shooting to go along with three boards and three assists. His teammate Enes Kanter only played in 23 minutes, but still added 15 points and eight rebounds on 6-10 shooting from the field.

  • For the Hornets, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Malik Monk scored two and nine points respectively as they witnessed a 20-point lead crumble at the hands of Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay finished with 34 points to lead a short-handed Knicks team to the win. Also for New York, Lexington Catholic product Luke Kornet scored 13 points with three made three-pointers in 24 minutes.

Thunder – 98 @ Nuggets – 109

  • The Thunder’s Wildcat trio of Hamidou Diallo, Nerlens Noel, and Patrick Patterson was unproductive in their loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday. Diallo and Noel both didn’t score a single point – although Noel did pull down five rebounds – nor did they play more than 10 minutes each. Patterson hit a three and pulled down two rebounds in only five minutes of action.
  • For the Nuggets, Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles had to be productive in order to give their team a chance. Murray scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds *coughs* with five turnovers *coughs* on 8-15 shooting. He was also 0-4 from three and is now 11-43 (25.6 percent) from deep over his last 10 games. In only one of those 10 games has Murray shot above 50 percent on his three-point attempts. He’s in a bit of a shooting slump right now, but the Nuggets are also 8-2 in their last 10 games, so the good news is the team is still effective despite his shooting woes. Lyles added nine points, six rebounds, and three assists on 4-10 shooting in 30 minutes. Lyles has now played 30 or more minutes in two of his last three games due to Paul Millsap’s absence. Lyles hadn’t played over 30 minutes in any game prior this season.
  • Murray also got into a tiny scuffle with Thunder guard Russell Westbrook over what appeared to be absolutely nothing. Murray has a history of egging on the opponent – as does Westbrook – and this ultimately amounted to nothing, but it sure does spice up a game a bit.

Warriors – 130 @ Kings – 125

  • The Kings lost a close one to the defending champs despite De’Aaron Fox leading the BBNBA in scoring with 25 points. He also contributed six rebounds, nine assists, and two steals but couldn’t slow down a 17-2 Warriors run in the final three minutes that put the Kings away for good. That’s the issue with young teams, finishing close games against superior opponents. The Kings head coach reiterated that after the loss.
  • ”They just got us with their experience at the end,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. ”We struggled to finish some shots once a lot of their switching happened. They made some plays but we made some mistakes and they made us pay.”
  • Willie Cauley-Stein was right behind Fox, pouring in 22 points on 7-11 shooting while also grabbing 11 rebounds for his 10th double-double this season.

Other notes

  • Hassan Whiteside returned to the Miami Heat for Friday’s game after missing the previous four due to personal reasons. Turns out, he was welcoming the birth of his child, so I can put the tin foil hat away regarding all of my Whiteside conspiracy theories. However, Bam Adebayo did play more minutes (26) than Whiteside (21) despite losing the starting spot, plus, his team got the win. Adebayo scored four points on 2-2 shooting but also recorded nine rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.
  • Check out the rest of the stats below, including the lines of John Wall and Eric Bledsoe.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)125-130 L vs. GSW259-19 (1-4)69204-734
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)125-130 L vs. GSW227-11 (0-0)113010-1733
Kevin Knox (NYK)126-124 OT W @ CHA207-15 (3-6)33110-942
Jamal Murray (DEN)109-98 W vs. OKC198-15 (0-4)91005+433
John Wall (WAS)118-125 L @ BKN177-16 (1-7)113102-535
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)114-102 W @ CLE166-19 (1-8)56013+830
Enes Kanter (NYK)126-124 OT W @ CHA156-10 (0-1)81002-1523
Malik Monk (CHA)124-126 OT L vs. NYK93-4 (2-3)25003-711
Trey Lyles (DEN)109-98 W vs. OKC94-10 (0-4)63023+330
Bam Adebayo (MIA)100-97 W @ MEM42-2 (0-0)95022+526
Patrick Patterson (OKC)98-109 L @ DEN31-3 (1-2)20000-15
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)124-126 OT L vs. NYK21-6 (0-1)42001+515
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)98-109 L @ DEN00-1 (0-0)00001-53
Nerlens Noel (OKC)98-109 L @ DEN00-1 (0-0)50010-710
Skal Labissiere (SAC)125-130 L vs. GSWDNP-CD----------------
Alex Poythress (ATL)108-129 L @ BOSDNP-Ankle----------------
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)130-125 W @ SACDNP-Achilles----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)109-98 W vs. OKCDNP-Foot----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

5:00 (NBATV-Mexico City): Jazz @ Magic (Briscoe)

7:00: Lakers (Rondo-out) @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk)

7:00: Celtics @ Pistons

8:00: Rockets (Knight) @ Grizzlies

8:30: Bulls @ Spurs

9:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson)

9:00: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Suns (Booker-questionable)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was nearly teammates with another former Kentucky star

@LAClippers

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander may be thriving with the Los Angeles Clippers right now, but did you know he was almost part of a draft-day trade that would have had him teaming up with another former Wildcat star?

According to Bob Young of The Athletic, the Phoenix Suns had a trade in place for Gilgeous-Alexander, but upper-management overruled it at the last minute in favor of another deal.

The move would have been for the No. 16 pick and another future selection. Instead, they opted to trade the rights to Zhaire Smith and a future pick for Mikal Bridges.

It’s worth noting that the Suns wouldn’t be in this fix if Robert Sarver, the club’s managing partner, had not reportedly overruled his then-general manager, Ryan McDonough, on draft night.

McDonough reportedly planned to package the club’s pick from Milwaukee and a player taken with the 16th pick to move up and draft Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a point guard from Kentucky.

When Philadelphia offered the rights to Mikal Bridges for the rights to Zhaire Smith and Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick, Sarver pushed for that deal. So the Suns moved up six spots to add their fourth young wing player.

Devin Booker and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the same team? That’d be one heck of a way to make up some ground with the BBN after  cutting ties with Tyler Ulis.

Instead, SGA has started in 19 of 28 games for the Clippers, leading the team to the fourth-best record in the west at 17-11.

Meanwhile, the Suns are stuck with no answer at the point guard position and four wing players. Oops.

(The Athletic)


(Photo via Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Brandon Knight Makes Long-Awaited Return to Court

(Photo via Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Brandon Knight played in an NBA game for the first time since February 15, 2017. He played less than four minutes. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

  • In Houston, Brandon Knight finally returned to the court after over a year and a half of being sidelined with a devastating ACL injury. He came in for a stint towards the end of the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers and it was one of those situations where I had to do a quadruple take just to make sure what I was seeing wasn’t a mirage. But there he was, sporting the red number two for the Rockets. His debut, however, could have gone better. As part of being eased back into basketball after going 18-plus months on the bench, Knight played only the final three or so minutes of the first quarter and that was it. He recorded a rebound and an assist while missing both of his shots – one of which was a catch-and-shoot guarded three-point attempt that missed the entire rim and slapped the side of the backboard. It’s a process, people! Expect Knight to progressively receive more and more minutes as we venture into the new year. It shouldn’t take long for him to replace Michael Carter-Williams’ value of nothingness.
  • As for the other games on Thursday, it was actually quite a slow evening. Only four games were in action – one of which was Magic-Bulls down in Mexico City – and outside of Knight, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the only other member of the BBNBA who played. SGA was impressive despite his Clippers team being blown out for the second consecutive game (they lost to the Raptors in Toronto by 24 on Tuesday) as he scored 13 points on 6-8 shooting to go along with two rebounds and two assists. I don’t want to say that I’m totally worried about the Clippers current skid, but it’s definitely concerning. They’ve now lost four of their last five games with the one win coming against the Phoenix Suns in overtime. They lost by 10 the Grizzlies and by 23 to the Heat before the game against Phoenix. They currently sit at 17-11 – fourth in the West – but appear to be struggling at the moment.
  • Devin Booker sat out his sixth straight game due to a hamstring injury and his Suns actually got the win, too. Booker is expected to make his return soon.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)87-125 L @ SAS136-8 (1-2)22103-1328
Brandon Knight (HOU)126-111 W vs. LAL00-2 (0-1)11000+13
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)97-91 W vs. CHIDNP-CD----------------
Devin Booker (PHX) 99-89 W vs. DALDNP-Hamstring----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)111-126 L @ HOUDNP-Hand----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Hawks (Poythress-out) @ Celtics

7:00: Knicks (Kanter, Knox) @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk)

7:30: Wizards (Wall) @ Nets

7:30: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Cavaliers

7:30 (ESPN): Pacers @ 76ers

8:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Grizzlies

10:00 (ESPN): Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt-out)

10:00: Raptors @ Trail Blazers

10:00: Warriors (Cousins-out) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Anthony Davis continues to dominate

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Recap:

  • If the New Orleans Pelicans are going to make a push in the Western Conference, it is going to be behind huge performances from Anthony Davis, like the one he had last night. Davis finished with 44 points and 18 rebounds in the Pelicans win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Brow has now scored 36 or more points three separate times in December alone, including scoring over 40 twice. Davis now sits at 28.1 points per game, ranking fourth in the NBA, 12.4 rebounds per game which is 6th in the NBA, and 2.8 blocks per game, coming in at third in the NBA. If he keeps up this level of play, Anthony Davis is looking to be near the top of MVP voting come season end.
  • On the flip side, in the Eastern Conference, John Wall and Washington Wizards continued to struggle. They managed to take the mighty Celtics to overtime, but fell short in the extra period. Wall did about as much as he could to try for the victory, but his 34 points, 13 assists, and 6 boards were not enough to get the Wizards back on track.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns went up against fellow former Cats De’Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein last night as the Kings outlasted the Timberwolves in a high scoring affair. Towns finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Fox had 13 points and 8 assists and Cauley-Stein had 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Sacramento wins 141 to 130 over Minnesota.
  • With Kristaps Porzingis out through this first half of the year rehabbing his ACL injury, the New York Knicks appear to be headed back to the tank in hopes for a top-5 pick in the draft. However, the lack of Porzingis in the lineup has opened up time for both Enes Kanter and Kevin Knox to put up better numbers. Last night, in a loss to the Cavaliers, Knox scored 19 points and pulled down 7 rebounds, while Kanter had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Stats:

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis118-114 win over Thunder4416-32 (1-3)182213+740
Julius Randle118-114 win over Thunder229-16 (0-2)123013+1532
Darius Miller118-114 win over Thunder104-6 (1-2)22302+124
Andrew Harrison118-114 win over Thunder00-0 (0-0)01000-97
Nerlens Noel118-114 loss to Pelicans41-3 (0-0)32011-211
Patrick Patterson118-114 loss to Pelicans31-4 (0-3)30200-618
Hamidou Diallo118-114 loss to Pelicans00-2 (0-1)00000-65
John Wall130-125 loss to Celtics3414-26 (1-5)613215-241
De'Aaron Fox141-130 win over Timberwolves135-9 (1-2)28104-332
Willie Cauley-Stein141-130 win over Timerwolves145-9 (0-0)83121+230
Karl-Anthony Towns141-130 loss to Kings198-15 (2-5)114032-135
Enes Kanter113-106 loss to Cavaliers208-12 (1-1)103001+1033
Kevin Knox113-106 loss to Cavaliers197-15 (3-6)71021-1533
Eric Bledsoe113-97 loss to Pacers2611-15 (2-5)16212-833
Malik Monk108-107 win over Pistons71-3 (0-1)10013-811
Bam Adebayo111-84 loss to Jazz31-5 (0-0)53121-1427

 

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Los Angeles Lakers (Rajon Rondo) at Houston Rockets (Brandon Knight), 8pm ET
  • Los Angeles Clippers (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) at San Antonio Spurs, 8:30pm ET
  • Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic (Isaiah Briscoe), 9:30pm ET
  • Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns (Devin Booker), 10:30pm ET on TNT

@BrettBibbinsKSR


(Photo via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America)

BBNBA: Some Quick Thoughts on a Slow Night in the BBNBA

(Photo via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America)

Good afternoon, folks. It was a very, very slow night for the BBNBA, which means it’s time for another installment of me spurting out basketball nonsense. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

  • Just to give a quick recap of Tuesday night, Brandon Knight (HOU) and Devin Booker (PHX) both sat out. Knight continues to rehab his ACL injury and expects to return to the court sometime next week. Booker has missed the last five games with a hamstring injury, but has started practicing with the team and should return soon, as well.
  • The one former Wildcat that did play was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. SGA scored seven points for Los Angeles to go along with two rebounds and two assists, but his Clippers were ripped apart by the East-leading Toronto Raptors – who were also without superstar Kawhi Leonard.
  • So, on to a few topics of discussion that I’ve been meaning to talk more about.

Where is Skal Labissiere?

  • I’m not entirely sure even he knows where he is. If you haven’t heard me reference Labissiere’s name much this season it’s because I haven’t. He’s been relegated to the very last seat on the Sacramento Kings bench – maybe even into the second row of the crowd. Labissiere has made a total of seven appearances for the Kings this year, averaging a mere 5.7 minutes in those games – most of which have been at the end of blowouts. He’s recorded a total of 17 points and nine rebounds in 40 minutes this season. Spoiler alert: that is not good. I feared at the beginning of the season that the Kings loaded frontcourt could pose to be an issue for one of Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Harry Giles, or rookie Marvin Bagley III. There was obviously never going to be enough minutes for all four of them and Labissiere has been the odd man out to begin the season. The Kings even reassigned forward Zach Randolph’s role from the team’s leading scorer last season to a strictly locker room/mentoring type presence. Randolph hasn’t even appeared in one game this season yet Labissiere still finds himself on the pine. As we know, WCS has had a breakout season, clearly separating himself as the top big man Sacramento employs with Bagley following him and Giles soaking up the remaining minutes. If you remember correctly, this is the same Harry Giles who is essentially playing on two chopsticks instead of actual bones. Giles has had, like, 45 knee surgeries since he was a sophomore in high school, but still plays more minutes than Labissiere. The former Kentucky forward is still only 22 and in his third NBA season, but it might be time to put him in a different situation. Labissiere will be a restricted free agent this summer and I wouldn’t expect the Kings to offer him much of anything. It wouldn’t be shocking to see them decline his qualifying offer altogether and allow him to be an unrestricted free agent. At this point, that may be his only hope of finding some playing time. That or a trade, which hypothetically could happen before the deadline in February.

How good is Kevin Knox?

  • I’m not sure just yet, but I will say he’s had spurts that show he’s capable of being a legitimate NBA player. The early season ankle injury threw off his development a little bit, but he’s hit double figures in 10 of his 21 games played, including two different 26-point outbursts. Not shockingly, Knox hasn’t been ultra-efficient shooting the ball, as with most rookies. In his 26 point games, he shot 9-20 in the first one (acceptable) and 10-25 in the second one (gross). But what frustrates me the most is the games that follow where he shoots 3-11 or 4-12. He’s only knocking down 35 percent of all his field goals this season. His 41.8 effective field goal percentage ranks him in the 6th percentile among all NBA forwards. To put it plainly, he’s not very good right now, but that’s okay. The Knicks are bad. Terrible, actually. Knox is being given free rein to play loosely and his head coach is encouraging his aggressive play. It’s going to be a process for Knox. I’d also like to note that Knox has a relatively high usage rate (20.9 percent) coupled with a low turnover rate (8.8 percent), so it’s not like he’s playing out of control, he’s just still learning how to find his shot. It’s going to take the entire season for him to feel comfortable getting to his spots. Although, first he needs to find his spots. Once he can be confident doing that and begins to understand how to let the game come to him, that shooting percentage should spike a bit. I wouldn’t put too much stock into Knox’s rookie stats, he’s going to be all eye-test and potential the rest of the season.

A brand new KAT

  • Before the Jimmy Butler trade, the Minnesota Timberwolves were 4-9 and Karl-Anthony Towns was playing like a pissed off sack of insecurity. Since Butler was shipped off to Philly, the Wolves have gone 9-5 and KAT is back to looking like the transcendent offensive flamethrower that we know and love. Here’s a little before and after of Towns’ stats pre- and post-trade.
  • Pre-Butler trade (13 games): 19.9 PPG/10.8 RPG/2.1 APG/2.1 BPG/45.9 FG%/40.6 3PT/91.7 FT%
  • Post-Butler trade (14 games): 23.1 PPG/12.8 RPG/2.6 APG/1.3 BPG/52.6 FG%/40.0 3PT/80.8 FT%
  • With the departure of Butler, Towns became energized and reengaged. He’s taking more shots and making them at a considerably higher clip, especially working within the paint. At the beginning of the season, you’d often catch Towns settling for threes without hesitation, now, he’s abusing the block and demanding the ball in the post more than he ever was just a few weeks ago. Towns is averaging 6.4 paint touches per game since the Butler trade and he’s converting on 71 percent of shot attempts in that area. Before the Butler trade, Towns was only averaging 5.2 paint touches per game while shooting a measly 52 percent on those shots. Watching Towns now is night-and-day compared to when the season began. It’s also helped that the two players brought over in the trade – Dario Saric and Robert Covington – have meshed with the team seamlessly. The frontcourt duo of Saric/Towns has been an optimistic pairing so far and Covington has filled the defensive void left by Butler quite nicely. Before the Butler trade, the Wolves ranked 17th in offensive rating 28th in defensive rating. Since the trade, they’ve ranked 16th in offensive rating and 6th in defensive rating. I’m still not exactly sure if this is a team that can sneak into the playoffs when considering the other 13 Western Conference teams that surround them with playoff aspirations, but there is no denying at this point the Butler move was anything but necessary. KAT is back and the Wolves are fun again.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)99-123 L vs. TOR73-6 (1-2)22102-2921
Devin Booker (PHX)86-111 L @ SASDNP-Hamstring----------------
Brandon Knight (HOU)111-104 W vs. PORDNP-Knee----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Pistons @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk)

7:00: Knicks (Kanter, Knox) @ Cavaliers

7:00: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Pacers

7:00: Nets @ 76ers

7:00: Celtics @ Wizards (Wall)

8:00: Trail Blazers @ Grizzlies

8:00 (ESPN): Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Pelicans (Davis, An. Harrison, Miller, Randle)

8:30: Hawks (Poythress-out) @ Mavericks

9:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Jazz

10:00: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere)

10:30 (ESPN): Raptors @ Warriors (Cousins-out)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Boogie Nearing Return, Fox Takes Down Bulls

(Photo via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. DeMarcus Cousins is practicing again right as the Warriors are returning to full health. Buckle up. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

  • DeMarcus Cousins is inching closer and closer towards his return. He recently returned to practice and has been working with the Golden State Warriors G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors – the same team that rosters his brother, Jaleel Cousins. While Boogie isn’t expected to play in any of these games, it’s a sign that his return is right around the corner. Now let’s get into the games from Monday night.

Pelicans – 100 @ Celtics – 113

  • Anthony Davis was questionable before the start of this game after suffering a hip contusion in Sunday’s matchup against Detroit but was able to give it a go in Boston. So, of course, he dropped 41 points on 17-34 shooting to lead the BBNBA in scoring. However, a couple of late scoring bursts by the Kyrie Irving-less Celtics outlasted Davis’ efforts. Go ahead and add “scores 40-plus with an injury” to Davis’ MVP belt.

  • Julius Randle got the start again in place of Nikola Mirotic, scoring 20 points on 7-13 shooting and also grabbing 11 rebounds in the process. Darius Miller added seven points on 2-4 shooting from three.

Kings – 108 @ Bulls – 89

  • The Sacramento Kings came out flat. They allowed the Bulls to build an early lead while the Kings searched for their shot. The first two quarters were a mess for Sacramento, from defensive breakdowns to simply missing open shots they normally make. And then De’Aaron Fox decided to take over. After shooting 0-5 in the first half, Fox went 8-11 in the second half, scoring 23 of his 25 points. He rattled off eight straight points at one point for the Kings that ignited the offense and injected life into an otherwise unconscious squad. Fox made two things incredibly clear in the second half. One is that he’s the type of player who can take over games and swing an entire outcome by himself. And the second is that the Bulls are very very bad. Watching Fox decimate an entire team like it was a solo mission was so impressive and mystifying that it’s making me reconsider just how high his ceiling is. Yeah, the Kings only beat the Bulls, but you can’t ignore the spectacle that Fox put on display in Chicago on Monday night.

  • It felt like the Bulls were up 8-10 points for most of the game until Fox decided to take over. Once he found his groove late in the third, the Kings went up by double-digits themselves and that was all she wrote.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein may not be receiving the same type of hype that Fox is, but he still had another great night. WCS pulled in a season-high 16 rebounds to go along with 11 points, three assists, and three steals for his ninth double-double of the season. He continues to have a spectacular year.

Other notes

  • Karl-Anthony Towns had one of his better outings of the season in a loss to the Warriors, scoring 31 points on an efficient 11-14 shooting in addition to his 11 rebounds and four assists.

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Los Angeles Clippers narrowly escaped Phoenix with a victory. Despite Devin Booker sitting out his fourth straight game with a hamstring injury, the Clippers struggled to close out the 4-23 Suns. SGA scored 16 points on 8-12 shooting and stuffed the stat sheet, adding four rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes. He was instrumental in the Clippers overcoming a late fourth-quarter deficit that forced the game to extra time.

  • Eric Bledsoe was ultra aggressive against the Cleveland Cavaliers and rookie point guard Collin Sexton. Bledsoe attacked Sexton – along with every member of the Cavs backcourt – any opportunity he got, scoring a total of 20 points on 8-15 shooting. He also corralled a season-high 12 rebounds and dished out five dimes.

  • Another start for Bam Adebayo equals another double-double. Adebayo was 6-11 from the field for 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Heat fell to the Lakers in the last ever meeting between longtime friends LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

  • For the Denver Nuggets, Jamal Murray posted 16 points, five assists, and four steals while Trey Lyles had another rough shooting night, scoring nine points on 4-15 shooting from the field.
  • Lastly, we’ll quickly talk about the Oklahoma City Thunder and their Wildcat trio. Hamidou Diallo scored nine points on 4-5 shooting in only 10 minutes. Nerlens Noel added eight points and four rebounds on 4-7 shooting in 18 minutes while Patrick Patterson put up another goose egg, going scoreless in 18 minutes. Patterson now has six games this season where he didn’t register a single point while also playing at least 10 minutes.
  • Actually, one more thing. John Wall sat out the Wizards loss to the Indiana Pacers as he’s dealing with a bone spur in his heel, but that didn’t stop Pacers fans from trolling Wall anyways. When a couple different Wizards players were attempting foul shots, you could clearly hear a “John Wall hates you” chant from the crowd.

  • It’s one of those things that doesn’t really make sense but still made me chuckle.
  • Check out the rest of the stats below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis (NOP)100-113 L @ BOS4117-34 (0-2)72400-1837
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)108-116 L @ GSW3111-15 (1-4)114014-734
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)108-89 W @ CHI258-16 (4-6)46414+1733
Julius Randle (NOP)100-113 L @ BOS207-13 (0-0)114005-428
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)108-92 W vs. CLE208-15 (4-5)125001+1928
Jamal Murray (DEN)105-99 W vs. MEM166-10 (1-4)05421+836
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)123-119 (OT) W @ PHX168-12 (0-0)45112+833
Bam Adebayo (MIA)105-108 L @ LAL126-11 (0-0)105224-1028
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)108-89 W @ CHI115-11 (0-0)163301+1027
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)122-113 W vs. UTA94-5 (0-0)11000+110
Trey Lyles (DEN)105-99 W vs. MEM94-12 (0-5)70202+822
Nerlens Noel (OKC)122-113 W vs. UTA84-7 (0-0)40213-1018
Darius Miller (NOP)100-113 L @ BOS72-4 (2-4)21200-527
Andrew Harrison (NOP)100-113 L @ BOS31-1 (1-1)11000+23
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)76-101 L @ DAL31-3 (0-0)1100008
Patrick Patterson (OKC)122-113 W vs. UTA00-0 (0-0)41001-1318
Skal Labissiere (SAC)108-89 W @ CHIDNP-CD----------------
John Wall (WAS)101-109 L @ INDDNP-Heel----------------
Devin Booker (PHX)119-123 (OT) L vs. LACDNP-Hamstring----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)108-105 W vs. MIADNP-Hand----------------
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)116-108 W vs. MINDNP-Achilles----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)105-99 W vs. MEMDNP-Foot----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

8:00 (NBATV): Trail Blazers @ Rockets (Knight-out)

8:30: Suns (Booker-questionable) @ Spurs

10:30 (NBATV): Raptors @ Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) 


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via NBA.com/Knicks)

BBNBA: Knox Scores 26 Points For Second Time

(Photo via NBA.com/Knicks)

Good morning, folks. Kevin Knox has already tied his career-high in points. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

Hornets – 119 @ Knicks – 107

  • The Charlotte Hornets controlled this game from the jump, which allowed Knicks forward Kevin Knox to play as free as he’d like. After setting a career-high with 26 points less than two weeks ago, Knox once again put together another 26-point outing. Knox also played a team-high (and personal season high) of 41 minutes. He shot 10-25 from the field including 4-8 from deep, but most noticeably, he pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds. With the Knicks trailing by 20-plus points for the majority of the game, Knicks head coach David Fizdale gave his rookie the reigns to the offense and told him to go to work. He was attacking the rim, working around screens, crashing the offensive glass, basically showcasing everything that made the Knicks fall in love with him in the first place. Having two 26-point games not even 25 games into your rookie season sure is a good start to your NBA career.

  • As a result of the blowout, Enes Kanter logged only 18 minutes for six points and four rebounds.
  • For the Hornets, Malik Monk contributed nine points and four rebounds on 3-8 shooting (2-4 from deep) while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was his usual swiss-army knife self, scoring eight points to go along with four rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes. The Hornets now move to 13-13 on the season while the Knicks fall to 8-20.
  • There was also this beauty, involving three different Wildcats.

  • MKG has had some nasty chase down blocks this season.

Other notes

  • Anthony Davis missed most of the first half against the Detroit Pistons after colliding with Blake Griffin in the first quarter. He would return in the second half, but was clearly hobbled by the injury and his status for Monday’s game against the Celtics is questionable. With Davis out, Julius Randle once again picked up the slack, scoring a BBNBA high 28 points on 11-19 shooting in addition to six rebounds and five assists. Darius Miller added six points on 1-4 shooting. The Pelicans took down the Pistons on the road to move back to .500 at 14-14.

  • In a huge win for the Milwaukee Bucks over the Toronto Raptors, Eric Bledsoe scored nine points and dished out five dimes on 4-14 shooting. If Bucks-Raptors isn’t the Eastern Conference Finals matchup I will riot in the streets.
  • Check out the rest of the stats below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Julius Randle (NOP)116-108 W @ DET2811-19 (0-2)65021+1833
Kevin Knox (NYK)107-119 L vs. CHA2610-25 (4-8)150100-741
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)104-99 W @ TOR94-14 (0-4)25001-433
Malik Monk (CHA)119-107 W @ NYK93-8 (2-4)41101+220
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)119-107 W @ NYK82-3 (0-0)41022-123
Anthony Davis (NOP)116-108 W @ DET62-7 (0-2)94051+1025
Darius Miller (NOP)116-108 W @ DET61-4 (1-3)04001-622
Enes Kanter (NYK)107-119 L vs. CHA63-6 (0-0)40001-1718
Andrew Harrison (NOP)116-108 W @ DETDNP-CD----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Wizards (Wall-questionable) @ Pacers

7:00: Pistons @ 76ers

7:30 (NBATV): Pelicans (Davis-questionable, An. Harrison, Miller, Randle) @ Celtics

8:00: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere) @ Bulls

8:00: Cavaliers @ Bucks (Bledsoe)

8:00: Jazz @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson)

8:30: Magic (Briscoe) @ Mavericks

9:00: Grizzlies @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt)

9:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Suns (Booker-out)

10:30: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Warriors (Cousins-out)

10:30 (NBATV): Heat (Adebayo) @ Lakers (Rondo-out)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via Will Newton/Getty Images North America)

BBNBA: Wall Scores One Point in Blowout Loss to Cavaliers

(Photo via Will Newton/Getty Images North America)

Good afternoon, folks. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Something is wrong with John Wall and the Washington Wizards. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

  • John Wall was anything but John Wall on Saturday night. He tied his career-low in points with only one made free throw. He was 0-5 from the field in 26 minutes. I’ve watched a lot of Wall over the years and I have to say, this was easily the least interested I have ever seen him look in a basketball game. From the opening tip, you could tell that something wasn’t right. The Wizards as a whole were so unenthused to begin with that they had no real chance of winning this game and it was over after the first quarter. Mind you, this was against the now 6-20 Cleveland Cavaliers. So, naturally, I was eager to hear the reasoning in the post game. Turns out, Wall has been dealing with a bone spur in his left heel that needed treatment after the game. So now my question is…. why? Why did he even play in this game? It was so blatantly obvious within the first few minutes of the game that Wall did not look normal and he had no interest in trying. He played 26 minutes. Cavaliers point guard Collin Sexton – who scored 29 points – had a different excuse for Wall.

  • Sooooo, which is it?
  • But is there a deeper issue here? After the game, Bradley Beal talked about losing one of their teammates Jason Smith in a recent trade that sent him to Milwaukee and how it’s already affecting their chemistry.

  • So in 24 hours, the Wizards’ franchise player played with a bone spur, they were blown out by one of the worst teams in the NBA, and traded away a key locker room figure. Got it. All is well.

Nuggets – 98 @ Hawks – 106

  • I watched this entire game and I still can’t explain what went wrong for Denver other than they were simply outplayed by a much inferior opponent. Despite playing in the second game of a back-to-back on the road, Denver fell back into old habits from last season that often times doomed them. The Nuggets were flat in the second half (they scored a total of 21 points in the second, third, and fourth quarter. For reference, they average 29, 27, and 25 in those quarters, respectively) and couldn’t get anything going on offense.
  • Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles were the worst offenders for Denver, shooting a combined 4-22 and 1-8 from three. Lyles was inserted into the starting lineup due to the Paul Millsap injury and struggled to contain Atlanta’s John Collins, who scored a career-high 30 points. It’s only one game and it was the second night of a back-to-back, but missing Millsap was huge in this matchup. Murray ended up leaving the game in the second quarter after an awkward kick to his shin sent him to the locker room. He did return but was noticeably in pain. An already injury-riddled Nuggets team cannot afford to lose Murray for even one game.
  • Alex Poythress sat out his 10th straight game with a sprained ankle for the Hawks.

Heat – 121 @ Clippers – 98

  • Bam Adebayo got his second-straight start in place of Hassan Whiteside and once again did not disappoint. Adebayo went for 14 points and eight rebounds on 7-10 shooting while also dishing out four assists. In true Bam fashion, he blessed us with another high-flying dunk where he floats through the air like a giant butterfly. He was also a plus-25 in his 29 minutes. #StartBam #TradeHassan

  • For the Clippers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added eight points and three rebounds on 3-9 shooting. The Clips were trailing the Heat by only a slim margin for the majority of the game and there was a point in the third quarter where it felt like they could take over and build a lead, but Miami quickly ended any thought of that. A 21-2 Heat run to open the fourth quarter immediately ended the game.

Other notes

  • New York Knicks center Enes Kanter led the BBNBA in scoring with 23 points on 10-13 shooting while also grabbing 14 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season. His teammate Kevin Knox was 3-6 for seven points in 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the Knicks couldn’t pick up the win against the crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets – who also beat the East-leading Raptors on Friday.

  • For the Sacramento Kings, they couldn’t overcome the Victor Oladipo-less Indiana Pacers on the road. De’Aaron Fox played well – because of course – as he scored 18 points on 7-14 shooting in addition to six assists. Willie Cauley-Stein added 14 points on 6-14 shooting while also pulling in nine rebounds. The Kings do manage to stay above .500, however, and move to 13-12 on the season.

  • Fox also signed autographs for some local Kentucky fans.

  • Lastly, Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves were featured in the most exciting game of the evening as they faced the Trail Blazers in Portland. The entire fourth quarter was back-and-forth scoring with little breaks in the action and it sure was thrilling to watch. The game was neck-and-neck until a big three by Damian Lillard was followed by another three by C.J. McCollum that put the game out of reach with under a minute remaining. Even still, Towns scored 19 points on 6-16 shooting and tacked on 10 boards despite some first-half foul trouble.
  • Check out the rest of the stats below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Enes Kanter (NYK)104-112 L vs. BKN2310-13 (0-0)143100-926
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)105-113 L @ POR196-16 (2-6)102112-230
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)97-107 L @ IND187-14 (0-3)16123-1432
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)97-107 L @ IND146-14 (0-0)92122-1530
Bam Adebayo (MIA)121-98 W @ LAC147-10 (0-0)84110+2529
Trey Lyles (DEN)98-106 L @ ATL92-13 (1-7)102111-738
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)98-121 L vs. MIA83-9 (0-1)32101-919
Kevin Knox (NYK)104-112 L vs. BKN73-6 (0-1)41001+120
Jamal Murray (DEN)98-106 L @ ATL42-9 (0-1)63002-823
John Wall (WAS)101-116 L @ CLE10-5 (0-3)46001-1426
Skal Labissiere (SAC)97-107 L @ INDDNP-CD----------------
Brandon Knight (HOU)104-107 L @ DALDNP-Knee----------------
Alex Poythress (ATL)106-98 W vs. DENDNP-Ankle----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)111-88 W @ MEMDNP-Hand----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)98-106 L @ ATLDNP-Foot----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

3:30: Pelicans (Davis, An. Harrison, Miller, Randle) @ Pistons

6:00 (NBATV): Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Raptors

7:00: Jazz @ Spurs

7:30: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Knicks (Kanter, Knox)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan