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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

Enes Kanter Discusses Travel Issues in Interview With BBC

(Photo via Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Kentucky and current New York Knicks center Enes Kanter did not travel with his teammates as they embarked to London in the NBA’s first game of the season in England.

The Knicks lost, 101-100, to the Washington Wizards on a game-winning shot that was ruled a goaltend, but it was Kanter’s reasoning for remaining back home in the United States that rightfully stole the headlines.

In a sit-down interview with BBC, Kanter explains his situation with the Turkish government, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and why he stayed in America out of fear rather than because of travel issues.

The full article can be found here, but Kanter posted the interview in two parts to his Twitter account.

Here are some of the more chilling quotes from Kanter from the interview.

“If I step outside of America I’m not feeling safe. I don’t feel safe.”

“If I step in Turkey, you probably won’t hear a word from me ever again…. I don’t know what would they [Erdogan supporters] do, but I know it will be very ugly”

Those are some frightening quotes. Kanter won’t be able to obtain American citizenship until 2021 and said he doesn’t plan on leaving the country until he is a full United States citizen. If the NBA continues to expand their reach outside of the United States and into countries across Europe, this could be a reoccurring problem for the Switzerland native.


(Photo via Getty Images)

What to Expect From DeMarcus Cousins’ Debut With Golden State

(Photo via Getty Images)

Former Kentucky and current Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousin is set to make his team debut tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Cousins has not played in an NBA game since tearing his Achilles tendon late last January and after nearly a full year of recovery and controversy, Boogie is ready to take the big stage yet again.

So what should we expect from Boogie’s first game back? Will he play more than 15 minutes? What lineups will head coach Steve Kerr slot him into? Is he going to bust out for a 40-point triple-double?

The correct answer is I have absolutely zero ideas, but let’s speculate anyway because I’m so so excited to watch Cousins play basketball again that I might cry.

So let’s start with the most glaring question. How will Cousins – a six-time All-Star who is often the man with the ball in hands – handle playing second, third, fourth, or even fifth fiddle to one of the most talented collections of players in NBA history?

It’s no secret that Cousins is a bit of a hot-head. I think even he would openly admit that at this point. From what I can tell from him and on social media, he’s bonded with fellow Warriors teammate and another notorious trouble-maker, Draymond Green. While that relationship off the court might be a match made in heaven, I’m skeptical that they can work together on the court. They counter each other’s strengths and weaknesses well, however. Draymond is the playmaking, defensive-minded – yet undersized – power forward while Cousins can dominate on offense from every area of the court. In strictly basketball terms, they should theoretically mesh well on the court, but in terms of their personalities and passion, we might see some colorfully worded arguments during games.

But it’s not like the Warriors aren’t used to that at this point. Kevin Durant and Green had some public beef the other month and that seems like news from seasons ago. Golden State’s front office didn’t sign Boogie to a one-year, $5.3 million steal of a contract hoping that he would come in and balance out the chemistry. They signed him because they had the power to do so and didn’t have to worry about working out the specifics of how they’ll integrate him until now. So any potential beef between Cousins and his new teammates is something that was surely expected. Now it’s just a matter of when (or if) it happens and how every side will deal with it.

Aside from Green – and sometimes the insecure Durant – the Warriors don’t really have any other players that might clash with Cousins. Now, in terms of how he’ll work playing alongside Curry, Durant, and Klay Thompson, that’s where things get a bit foggier. During his time in New Orleans, Cousins had Anthony Davis by his side and those two acted as twin towers on wheels, forcing opponents to stretch open the floor entirely and pick their poison of who they prefer to double-team. In Golden State, that’s going to be even more exaggerated. You can’t double Cousins with Curry and Thompson roaming the perimeter, that’s asking for death. Cousins is an incredibly competent playmaker for his size. Even if Cousins doesn’t come back at 100 percent, he should still be a viable force in the paint and whenever he decides to step out for a three. His reputation alone will attract defenders and open up action for one of the four other All-Stars.

The Warriors have never had a dominant center since they began their reign of terror on the NBA a few seasons ago. How they incorporate one of the most unique big men to ever play the game should be interesting. They can’t hold Cousins to the same type of game that they have done with some of their other centers such as JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia, Jordan Bell, or Kevon Looney. Cousins needs the ball to be effective and the reality of the situation is he won’t be getting it nearly as much as he’s been accustomed too, even if the Warriors go out of their way to feed him the ball. I expect the Warriors to run a few plays for him early against the Clippers to test himself against L.A.’s slow-footed big men. But once the game gets going and into a flow, it’s going to be hard to argue for force-feeding the ball to Cousins if Curry has hit two straight threes on back-to-back possessions.

So therein lies what will most likely be the biggest issue between the short marriage of Cousins and Golden State. Can they keep him happy long enough? Can they get him to buy in long enough to finish out the season without being a featured proponent? Remember, Cousins is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s coming off a torn Achilles, an injury that has derailed the careers of several big men before Cousins. He wants to get paid. He would have received a max contract had he not torn gone down the injury. Now his future is completely unclear and his play for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs is going to be a giant indicator of how much money he might earn. The Warriors won’t be able to resign Cousins next season (that is, if they intend to keep their core together, which I’m sure they do) and he’s essentially auditioning for 29 other franchises on a team where he’s maybe the third best player when fully healthy.

So is he going to be a major part of the rotation early? Steve Kerr recently told reporters that Cousins will start, but it is unclear exactly how long he’ll play. “I’ll start him [Cousins]. After that, everything’s on the table,” Kerr said. “We have to figure out what the rotations will look like, how many minutes he can play. We’ll have to play around with the minutes, the combinations, the sets.”

That reads to me as Kerr struggling his shoulders. I don’t think even he has any idea of how this experiment is going to work. I don’t think anyone in the known universe can predict how this all might end. There hasn’t been a situation like this in recent NBA memory. But I’ll tell you one thing, I haven’t been this excited to watch the Warriors play since they blew a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals with the first-ever unanimous MVP to LeBron James and my Cleveland Cavaliers. *now I’m shrugging my shoulders*

Welcome back, Boogie. We’ve missed you so, so much.


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle)

BBNBA: It’s DeMarcus Cousins Day

(Photo via Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle)

Good afternoon, folks. Our beloved DeMarcus Cousins will make his long-awaited return to the basketball court tonight and officially turn the Warriors into the Monstars. Let’s talk NBA.

Reminder to vote to send the BBNBA to the 2019 All-Star game. Another friendly reminder that NBA League Pass is free through Jan. 20.

RECAP

  • The day of reckoning is here. We must all pay for our past grievances in the form of an NBA super team being created in the middle of January. DeMarcus Cousins is expected to take the court for the first time since tearing his Achilles tendon almost one year ago. It’ll be his first game in a Golden State Warriors uniform and the first time ever that one team can trot out five All-Stars at once that isn’t actually the All-Star game. The Warriors visit the Los Angeles Clippers for Boogie’s debut, so he’ll be going up against notoriously slower big men Marcin Gortat/Boban Marjanovic. I was curious as to why the Warriors didn’t want to have Cousins make his return on Wednesday’s game against his former team, the New Orleans Pelicans, but matching up with Anthony Davis on day one might have been a bit much. Against the Clippers, he’ll have a much more favorable matchup. We are just hours away from watching Boogie take the national stage on ESPN (10:30 p.m. EST), don’t you dare make any evening plans.

[10-34] Knicks – 100 @ [19-26] Wizards – 101

  • The NBA’s first game of the season located in London featured the John Wall-less Washington Wizards and the Enes Kanter-less New York Knicks. Wall is out for the season after undergoing heel surgery, but Kanter’s story is a bit different, as you might have heard. Kanter decided to remain in the states instead of flying to London out of fear that he might be injured/captured/killed by the Turkish government. But even without those two, the game was actually quite exciting for a pair of sub-.500 teams.
  • Kevin Knox had an off day playing in another country, shooting 2-11 from the field for only five points in 30 minutes.
  • The Wizards won this game off of a goaltending call, oddly enough. Knicks guard Allonzo Trier was whistled for goaltending with 0.4 seconds left that gave the Wizards a one-point lead and ultimately the win. The Wizards outscored the Knicks 24-11 in the fourth quarter to hand New York their fifth consecutive loss.
  • And don’t look now, but Bradley Beal may be a superstar in the making. After putting up 26 points in London, Beal is now averaging 29.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 2.4 steals per game over his last 10 since Wall was ruled out for the season. The Wizards are 6-4 in those games – albeit against a mediocre schedule. Beal is the real deal (shoutout to his Twitter handle). Now let’s all sit back and watch as the Wizards front office does absolutely nothing with their newfound All-Star.

[23-22] Kings – 95 @ [21-23] Hornets – 114

  • After winning three games in a row, the Sacramento Kings dropped a bad loss to the Charlotte Hornets on the road. De’Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein were hardly their usual, effective selves as they scored 10 and eight points, respectively. Fox also added five rebounds and eight assists but with four turnovers.
  • For Charlotte, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist played his most minutes of the season at 30, contributing 15 points on 4-7 shooting (he shot 7-7 from the charity stripe) and was a team-leading plus-26. Charlotte outscored Sacramento 43-25 in the second quarter to take full command of the game. 13 of those 43 points came from MKG, who was playing excellent defense leading to ample fastbreak opportunities. Malik Monk shot 2-3 from the field for five points in the win.

[25-21] Lakers – 138 @ [26-18] Thunder – 128 (OT)

  • There was no Rajon Rondo or LeBron James for the Lakers still, but the young Los Angeles team pulled out a huge win over Oklahoma City in overtime on the road. Some impressive performances from a trio of youngsters – Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Ivica Zubac – secured a massive victory with James still mending his strained groin.
  • For the Thunder, Nerlens Noel played in his first game since the devastating concussion last week that forced him to sit out three games. He finished with four points, two rebounds, an assist, and a steal in 11 minutes. Patrick Patterson hit 3-4 shots deep and two of them came at big moments in the fourth quarter. Hamidou Diallo did not register a point in 11 minutes.

Other notes

  • Devin Booker led the BBNBA in scoring on Thursday night, pouring in 30 points for his Phoenix Suns team in a close loss to one of the top teams in the East, the Toronto Raptors. Booker shot 10-21 from the field (4-9 from deep) to go along with eight assists (and six turnovers). With the game tied at 109, Raptors forward Pascal Siakim went isolation and hit the game-winning layup as time expired.

  • Lastly, the boys in Denver put a beating on the Chicago Bulls, 135-105. Jamal Murray and company made sure to avenge their 31-point blowout loss to the Warriors on Wednesday with a shellacking of a depressingly sad Bulls squad. Murray dropped in 25 points on 8-16 shooting (he shot 7-11 from three) and hit six three-pointers in the third quarter alone. He also contributed five assists to only one turnover. Trey Lyles made the most of his 21 minutes, scoring 12 points on 5-10 (2-3 from deep) shooting in addition to four rebounds and two assists.

  • Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)109-111 L @ TOR3010-21 (4-9)28006+235
Jamal Murray (DEN)135-105 W vs. CHI258-16 (7-11)25001+2729
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)114-95 W vs. SAC154-7 (0-2)21200+2630
Trey Lyles (DEN)135-105 W vs. CHI125-10 (2-3)42100+321
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)95-114 L @ CHA104-10 (0-2)58114-530
Patrick Patterson (OKC)128-138 (OT) L vs. LAL93-4 (3-4)01000-119
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)95-114 L @ CHA84-6 (0-0)114312-427
Kevin Knox (NYK)100-101 L vs. WAS (game in London)52-11 (0-6)41000-730
Malik Monk (CHA)114-95 W vs. SAC52-3 (1-2)11002+1313
Nerlens Noel (OKC)128-138 (OT) L vs. LAL42-3 (0-0)21101-2011
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)128-138 (OT) L vs. LAL00-3 (0-1)31000-1411
Enes Kanter (NYK)100-101 L vs. WAS (game in London)Did not travel----------------
Skal Labissiere (SAC)95-114 L @ CHADNP-CD----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)138-128 (OT) W @ OKCDNP-Finger----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)135-105 W vs. CHIDNP-Foot----------------
John Wall (WAS)101-100 W vs. NYK (game in London)DNP-Heel----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Grizzlies @ Celtics

7:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Pistons

7:00: Nets @ Magic (Briscoe)

8:00 (ESPN): Spurs @ Timberwolves (Towns)

9:00: Cavaliers @ Jazz

10:30 (ESPN): Warriors (Cousins-he’s playing tonight holy s**t) @ Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander)

10:30: Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle) @ Trail Blazers


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Davis Drops 30, Pelicans Drop Another Game

(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Anthony Davis scored at least 30 points for the fifth straight game. The Pelicans still lost. Let’s talk NBA.

Friendly reminder to vote to send the BBNBA to the 2019 All-Star game and also that NBA League Pass is free through Jan. 20.

RECAP

[21-24] Pelicans – 140 @ [31-14] Warriors – 147

  • This is becoming exhausting. If I have to write about Anthony Davis scoring 30 points in a loss one more time, I’m gonna drive down to New Orleans and kidnap Davis myself before taking him to Los Angeles. Look, I get that the Pelicans lost to the Warriors. I get that Steph Curry scored 25 of his 41 freaking points in the third quarter because he’s freaking Steph Curry. But I don’t care. The Pelicans are finally healthy. Nikola Mirotic and Elfrid Payton are back in the rotation. They’re now three games under .500 and are currently 12th in the West with the playoff picture become clearer by the day. The season is halfway over, New Orleans’ front office knows they’re already working with borrowed time in terms of keeping Davis along for the future. A spark needs to be ignited. It should have been ignited before the season began. Their next nine games are against teams currently in the playoffs or teams fighting tooth and nail to get in. Things could escalate for the worse if the chemistry (and defense) doesn’t set in quickly.
  • Behind 30 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists, and three blocks from Davis, the Pelicans actually held a considerable lead throughout the first half. At one point, New Orleans led by 17 points only for the Warriors to mercilessly inflict utter doom in the third quarter (as they’ve done all season). Once Curry got rolling at home, you could feel the game slipping away from the Pellies.
  • Julius Randle poured in 23 points on only eight shots attempts. He shot 6-8 from the field, including 3-3 from deep, and was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line in only 21 minutes. Darius Miller added nine points on three made threes.

Other notes

  • Eric Bledsoe was the key to a run that ultimately won the game for his Milwaukee Bucks squad. After Memphis took the lead for the first – and last – time all game at 59-58 and with Giannis Antetokounmpo heading to the bench, Bledsoe rattled off nine straight points and fueled a 19-0 run that would win the game for Milwaukee by a score of 111-101. The former Kentucky guard finished with 16 points.
  • For the Orlando Magic, Isaiah Briscoe continues to excel in extended playing time. He dropped in six points, four rebounds, and five assists on Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons. Over his previous five games, Briscoe is averaging 4.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 18.8 minutes per game. What stands out the most when watching Briscoe is how unfazed he appears. He hardly gets rattled when he has the ball and always seems sure of himself with every move he makes. He’s never going to be the most talented guy on the floor, but confidence can turn an average hooper into an impact player.
  • Lastly, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Los Angeles Clippers fell to the Utah Jazz 129-109. SGA added eight points on 4-8 shooting for the Clips.
  • Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis (NOP)140-147 L @ GSW3011-26 (1-4)187132-1240
Julius Randle (NOP)140-147 L @ GSW236-8 (3-3)73001-521
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)111-101 W vs. MEM165-13 (2-7)24301+2324
Darius Miller (NOP)140-147 L @ GSW93-6 (3-5)01101-1032
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)109-129 L vs. UTA84-8 (0-2)12004-1922
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)115-120 (OT) L @ DET63-7 (0-1)45102-620
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)147-140 W vs. NOPDNP-Achilles----------------
Brandon Knight (HOU)142-145 (OT) L vs. BKNDNP-Knee----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

3:00 (NBATV): Knicks (Kanter-out, Knox)@ Wizards (Wall-out) – game in London

7:00: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere) @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk)

7:00 (TNT): 76ers @ Pacers

7:30: Suns (Booker) @ Raptors

9:00: Bulls @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt-out)

9:30 (TNT): Lakers (Rondo-out) @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel-out, Patterson)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Photo via Ride the Pine

WATCH: Anthony Davis Sr. explains his son’s love for basketball

(Photo via Jonathan Bachman/NBAE/Getty Images)

Before he was an NBA superstar, he was a Kentucky wildcat. But before he was a wildcat, he was just a kid who loved basketball.

In a new video produced by NBA TV, Anthony Davis Sr., AD’s father, talks about his son’s success, beginning on the streets of Chicago. They worked as a family to keep Davis out of trouble because, “once you get consumed by the streets of Chicago, it’s tough getting you back.”

The video serves as a sweet reminder of AD’s humble beginnings, loyalty to his family and dedication to creating a better life.

Plus, who doesn’t love the Davis family? This UniBrow mask was everything:

Photo via Ride the Pine


(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Recapping a Night of Blowouts

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Of the six games that were in action on Tuesday night, four of them were won by at least 30 points. Let’s talk NBA.

Your daily reminder to vote to send the BBNBA to the 2019 All-Star game. Also, NBA League Pass is offering a free preview that runs through Jan. 20, so take advantage of that if you choose to do so.

RECAP

  • The lopsided scores from Tuesday night were like something out of a high school basketball box score, except it was more like the Varsity teams going up against the freshman squad without a mercy rule. The Phoenix Suns lost by 34 on the road against the Indiana Pacers despite Devin Booker returning from a back injury that caused him to sit out the previous three games. He probably should have sat out a fourth. Booker scored only eight points in 26 minutes and shot 4-12 from the field.
  • Things only got worse for the BBNBA as the night rolled on. In Philadelphia, the Minnesota Timberwolves visited the 76ers for the first time since the whole Jimmy Butler debacle was finally resolved. And let’s just say Butler was…. eager…. to play his former team. Philly dropped 149 on Karl-Anthony Towns and the Wolves, their most points scored in a game since 1990. Towns only registered 13 points and three rebounds in 28 minutes and was a hideous minus-42 for the night. This quote from Wolves point guard Jeff Teague sums up the night rather perfectly.

  • Yikes. That is never a good thing to hear.
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder managed to avoid being blown out by 30 points, but losing on the road to the 14-30 Atlanta Hawks by 16 points sure did feel like it. Hamidou Diallo contributed only four points for the Thunder in 11 minutes while Patrick Patterson added two points in 13 minutes. Nerlens Noel sat out once again as he remains in the league’s concussion protocol, but Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said before the game that he “is doing a little more each day,”.
  • On to the next blowout of the evening, featuring the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat. Beginning with the Heat, who were torched for 124 points and a 38-point loss on the road. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded a 12-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double in only 24 minutes – the 13th of his career – and the Bucks were up by as many as 26 in the second-quarter before officially running away with this game. Eric Bledsoe scored a team-high 17 points for the Bucks in addition to five rebounds and four assists. Bam Adebayo went 0-6 from the field for two points and five rebounds for Miami.

[30-14] Warriors – 142 @ [29-14] Nuggets – 111

  • The Denver Nuggets scored 38 points in the first quarter and 60 total for the entire first-half. Jamal Murray was red-hot, Denver made eight threes, shot 49 percent from the field, and was clicking on all cylinders on offense. They still trailed by 19 at halftime.
  • If you ever wanted to know just how easy it is for the Golden State Warriors to rip out your soul and dance on your lifeless body, Tuesday night’s game was the perfect example. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were unstoppable. The Warriors scored 51 points in the first quarter, an NBA record for that frame. They shot 60 percent from the field, dished out 38 assists, and drilled 21 three-pointers. Essentially, they were the Warriors team everyone expects to see come May/June. And it was absolutely terrifying to watch.
  • The Nuggets trailed 51-38 after the first period, but man…. it was easily the most entertaining quarter of basketball I’ve watched all season. If you enjoy watching the very best at their job go out and dominate, then this game was for you. I almost felt bad for Denver. They were fighting, scratching, clawing, doing anything possible to stop the Warriors for even one possession, but just… couldn’t. The Nuggets are one of the top-five best teams in the league and that’s hard to argue against, but they were pummeled by the two-time reigning NBA champs. That’ll bring you back down to earth realllll quick.
  • Murray finished with a BBNBA high 21 points on 8-16 shooting while Trey Lyles added four points and five rebounds in nine minutes.
  • By the way, DeMarcus Cousins is expected to make his Warriors debut on Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers. So there’s that.

  • Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Jamal Murray (DEN)111-142 L vs. GSW218-16 (4-7)34010-2131
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)124-86 W vs. MIA177-15 (2-8)54210+822
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)107-149 L @ PHI134-10 (2-4)32201-4228
Devin Booker (PHX)97-131 L @ IND84-12 (0-4)55004+526
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)126-142 L @ ATL41-4 (0-0)20000-2111
Trey Lyles (DEN)111-142 L vs. GSW42-4 (0-1)52000+19
Patrick Patterson (OKC)126-142 L @ ATL21-2 (0-0)41010-1313
Bam Adebayo (MIA)86-124 L @ MIL20-6 (0-2)52002-3223
Alex Poythress (ATL)142-126 W vs. OKCDNP-G League----------------
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)142-111 W @ DENDNP-Achilles----------------
Nerlens Noel (OKC)126-142 L @ ATLDNP-Concussion----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)107-100 W vs. CHIDNP-Finger----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)111-142 L vs. GSWDNP-Foot----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Magic (Briscoe) @ Pistons

8:00 (ESPN): Raptors @ Celtics

8:00: Nets @ Rockets (Knight)

8:00: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Grizzlies

8:30: Spurs @ Mavericks

10:00: Cavaliers @ Trail Blazers

10:30 (ESPN): Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle) @ Warriors (Cousins-out)

10:30: Jazz @ Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Davis and Randle combine to score 73 in Pelicans win

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Recap:

  • If not for James Harden going for 30+ points in 17 straight games, everyone would be talking about how dominant Anthony Davis has been lately for the Pelicans. Last night, Davis took over yet again, finishing with 46 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. The Brow was 12 for 12 from the free throw line, including four of them in the final 13 seconds to help seal the victory. Starting alongside Davis, Julius Randle had a big night of his own, putting up 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. The two of them have benefitted so much from playing with the other, if the Pelicans had some stronger guard and bench play, they could contend for a top spot in the Western Conference. Darius Miller played nearly 30 minutes tonight off the bench for the Pels, scoring 6 points and channeling his inner Anthony Davis with 4 blocks.

  • The win for New Orleans came at the cost of a poor night for Clippers’ guard Shai Gilegous-Alexander. SGA was held scoreless and played a career-low 13 minutes. Patrick Beverly has all but taken over the main guard spot from SGA as far as minutes played goes, but SGA remains in the starting lineup for now. The “rookie wall” is very real and Gilgeous-Alexander may very well be hitting it as of late.

Stats:

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis121-117 win over Clippers4616-34 (2-5)164311+139
Julius Randle121-117 win over Clippers2710-19 (0-3)65103+2133
Darius Miller121-117 win over Clippers62-3 (2-3)31040-1929
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander121-117 loss to Pelicans00-3 (0-1)02012-1313
De'Aaron Fox115-107 win over Trail Blazers163-11 (1-3)29200+332
Willie Cauley-Stein115-107 win over Trail Blazers124-10 (0-0)83203+329
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist108-93 win over Spurs31-5 (1-3)71011+725
Malik Monk108-93 win over Spurs21-5 (0-3)10001-35

 

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns) at Philadelphia 76ers, 7pm ET on NBATV
  • Phoenix Suns (Devin Booker) at Indiana Pacers, 7pm ET
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (Patrick Patterson, Nerlens Noel, Hamidou Diallo) at Atlanta Hawks (Alex Poythress), 7:30pm ET
  • Miami Heat (Bam Adebayo) at Milwaukee Bucks (Eric Bledsoe), 8pm ET
  • Golden State Warriors (DeMarcus Cousins) at Denver Nuggets (Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles), 9pm ET
  • Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers (Rajon Rondo), 10:30pm ET on NBATV

@BrettBibbinsKSR


(Photo via Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America)

BBNBA: Kevin Knox Sets *Another* New Career-High

(Photo via Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America)

Good afternoon, folks. Just name Kevin Knox the 2023 NBA MVP right now so we can save ourselves the trouble of waiting. Let’s talk NBA.

Reminder to vote to send the BBNBA to the 2019 All-Star game. 

RECAP

  • It was an injury-riddled night in the BBNBA, as eight of the 12 former Kentucky players on active team rosters who played Sunday were sidelined with some sort of discomfort. Enes Kanter (NYK) is still dealing with “flu-like symptoms” that we all know is really just a case of an athlete proving he’s better than us at eatingTrey Lyles (DEN) missed his second straight game with a wrist injury. Brandon Knight (HOU) sat out to rest his knee. And others are dealing with season-long injuries. But the four that did play gave us plenty to talk about.
  • Starting with Kevin Knox, who continues to impress as a rookie in New York. Knox poured in a career-high 31 points on 12-23 shooting (4-9 from three) and pulled down seven boards against the (admittedly struggling) Philadelphia 76ers. The Knicks lost, 105-108, but Knox looked damn good. He also set a new career-high in minutes played at just under 44 for the game. Which is… a lot. In fact, over the last 16 games (the unofficial start of Knox’s hot scoring streak), he’s averaging 36.2 minutes per game and has broken the 40-minute threshold on four separate occasions. Now, he’s a 19-year old rookie, so he can tolerate a larger workload more than most, but for him to rank 10th in minutes played amongst all NBA players since Dec. 9 seems like a bit much. He’s one of two rookies over the last 16 games to rank in the top 50 in minutes played per game – the other being Kevin Huerter of the Atlanta Hawks, who ranks 24th. And all this playing time comes with the front office/coaching staff knowing that Knox suffered an ankle injury early in his career. I get that the Knicks are putting developing players as their focus (for the first time ever), but man, that’s a ton of minutes for a rookie, especially after they watched Kristaps Porzingis tear his ACL last season.
  • Regardless, Knox is still on fire. Just please don’t kill him, Knicks.

  • In Denver, Jamal Murray registered 24 points on 9-18 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three assists as the Nuggets avenged their previous loss to the Phoenix Suns by beating the Portland Trail Blazers. Nikola Jokic posted 40-points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists for the Nuggets. Murray made some clutch shots/free throws to ice the game for Denver, despite dealing with a bloodied lip he suffered after a run in with Jusuf Nurkic’s elbow during the third quarter. Murray would make both his free throws before quickly fixing himself back in the locker room and finishing the game.

  • For the Milwaukee Bucks, Eric Bledsoe also scored 24 points to match Murray, but on a more efficient 9-13 shooting from the field in addition to his 10 assists. The Bucks made light-work of the Atlanta Hawks – who were without Alex Poythress again, who continues to play in the G League – behind 33 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo as Milwaukee cruised to a 19 point victory.
  • Lastly, Isaiah Briscoe received some significant clock against the Houston Rockets, scoring five points on 2-5 shooting. He also recorded two rebounds and an assist in 17 minutes for the Orlando Magic. Over his last four games, Briscoe has averaged 18.4 minutes per game, with those minutes coming mainly as the lead ball handler. At Kentucky, he always played more of a combo guard role, but the Magic know that if they want to put him in a position to thrive, it’s as a full-time point guard and that’s exactly how they’ve been using him. He only has two turnovers compared to 12 assists over his last four outings and has been a plus-3 overall through those games. I haven’t been able to see much of Briscoe this season, but after watching him play on Sunday, I can say he looks more confident with a basketball than I have ever seen him.
  • Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Kevin Knox (NYK)105-108 L vs. PHI3112-23 (4-9)70204+1143
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)133-114 W @ ATL249-13 (2-6)210210+826
Jamal Murray (DEN)116-113 W vs. POR249-18 (1-5)43102-433
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)116-109 W vs. HOU52-5 (1-2)21000-317
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)119-114 W @ DALDNP-Achilles----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)95-101 L vs. CLEDNP-Finger----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)116-113 W vs. PORDNP-Foot----------------
Alex Poythress (ATL)114-133 L vs. MILDNP-G League----------------
John Wall (WAS)138-140 2OT L vs. TORDNP-Heel----------------
Enes Kanter (NYK)105-108 L vs. PHIDNP-Illness----------------
Brandon Knight (HOU)109-116 L @ ORLDNP-Knee----------------
Trey Lyles (DEN)116-113 W vs. PORDNP-Wrist----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:30: Celtics @ Nets

8:00: Grizzlies @ Rockets (Knight)

8:30 (NBATV): Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Spurs

9:00: Pistons @ Jazz

10:00: Trail Blazers @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere) 

10:30: Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle) @ Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Knox goes for 31 in career night for the Knicks

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

One night after former Cat Karl-Anthony Towns had one of the best stat lines in the NBA in the last 40 years with 27 points and 27 rebounds, fellow former Cat Kevin Knox put on a show of his own. The Knicks went down early, losing by 16 at the half, and the deficit was as high as 24 at times during the second quarter. However, New York battled back against Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and the rest of the 76ers. Knox had a huge night and was instrumental in the come back effort that eventually fell short as the Knicks lost to Philadelphia by the score of 108-105.

Knox finished the night with a career-high 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals in a career-high 44 minutes. The rookie even took a page out of James Harden’s book with his patented double step-back three.

Knox has been tearing it up since the beginning of December for the Knicks, averaging 16.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and shooting over 37% from three-point land. The Knicks have been struggling as a team, going just 3-17 since the start of December, but the future does look bright for rookie Kevin Knox. Tonight’s performance puts Knox on a list with some heralded company.

Check out Knox’s full highlights from today’s game below:

@BrettBibbinsKSR


WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns with Isaac, a fan battling Leukemia

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Karl-Anthony Towns was a fan favorite during his time at Kentucky. And while he’s quickly becoming one of the young stars in the NBA, he’s also still shining off of the court.

KAT recorded quite the statistic in last night’s Timberwolves’ win: 27 points and 27 rebounds. And after the game, instead of celebrating his big night, Towns spent some time with one of his biggest fans – Isaac, who is currently battling Leukemia. He gave Isaac several signed jerseys as well as a custom pair of shoes. Towns also says he’s having his friend, Anthony Davis, send Isaac his signed jersey from the game, and he’s reached out to Coach Calipari about getting him some Kentucky jerseys.

Here’s the heartwarming video:

Karl-Anthony Towns is a class act, representing not only the University of Kentucky but the NBA as a whole. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s built a friendship with another Kentucky great, Anthony Davis.

What a transformation.

Towns isn’t the only former Cat making some community-based contributions. Read up on Devin Booker’s 2.5 million-dollar pledge here.


@MaggieDavisKSR