Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.





Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

Karl-Anthony Towns: “Damn.”

Karl-Anthony Towns took to Twitter for a reaction to his alma mater’s loss.

“Damn….. I mean… Damn,” the former Wildcat tweeted.

As a member of Kentucky’s 38-1 team, Towns isn’t used to seeing a loss of any kind for the Cats, especially one of this magnitude. He was on the other end of a beating during the 2014 Champions Classic when he and his teammates beat No. 6 Kansas, 72-40.

“Damn,” is all the Timberwolves star can say now.


(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Jamal Murray Drops 48, Randle Goes Perfect

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good morning, folks. Jamal Murray was the featured player in the game of the year. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

Thunder – 122 @ Pelicans – 116

  • Julius Randle had himself a perfect game of basketball on Monday night. The former Kentucky brute scored 26 points on 10-10 shooting (him shooting 2-2 from deep is the real surprise in all this, actually) to go along with eight rebounds in 28 minutes of action. Unfortunately, the Pellies could never put together enough stops at the end of the game to squeak this one out despite Randle’s perfection.

  • Anthony Davis continues to not look like his regular self. He scored 20 points but on 7-20 shooting with five turnovers and once again struggled to find a rhythm throughout the game. It’s either his elbow is bothering him or he’s just not as fluent within the game quite yet because of a couple missed games. He’s just missing shots I’ve seen him make time and time again. However, it’s not something I’m too worried about in early November.
  • In his second game back from a quad injury, Darius Miller finally found the basket. He actually found it three times, shooting 3-4 from deep for nine points.
  • As for the three Wildcats on the Oklahoma City sideline, Hamidou Diallo had a couple impressive fastbreak dunks on back-to-back possessions and should start to see more clock in the coming weeks due to unfortunate circumstances. Russell Westbrook literally folded his ankle in half last night after landing on it awkwardly and had to be helped off the court. His X-rays were negative, but he’s expected to miss time and Diallo should see some of those extra minutes come his way.

  • Patrick Patterson was a perfect 3-3 from deep to add 10 points for the Thunder while Nerlens Noel pulled down five rebounds in 11 minutes.

Celtics – 107 @ Nuggets – 115

  • Jamal Murray did a thing last night. He went scorched earth on everybody’s ass. The blue arrows were pouring down in the Mile High City as Murray surpassed his previous career-high of 42 with a 48-point (19-30 shooting) work of art. Attached were five silly turnovers, but his shot-making was something to marvel at. Runners, pull-up jumpers, acrobatic finishes, doing actual circles in half-court sets to pop open for wide open shots while his winded defender failed to keep pace. There wasn’t anything the Celtics could do to stop him. There were times where everyone knew Murray was going to get the ball to score and he still couldn’t be stopped. It was a spectacular performance, easily the best overall game I’ve watched this season. Watching Murray and Kyrie Irving battle back-and-forth is a special scoring exhibition fit for royalty.
  • Behold…

  • But not everyone was exuberant about Murray’s brilliance. In an effort to break that 50-point plateau, Murray launched up a three as time expired and the game already decided. The shot missed, but the Celtics sure weren’t happy about it.

  • Irving also later called it a “bulls**t” move, but honestly, I don’t see the big deal. I can understand why one might call it unprofessional. There was absolutely zero reason for that shot going up other than Murray simply wanting 50 points. Murray said after the game he shouldn’t have done it and he genuinely sounded like he would have taken it back, but I say the environment allowed it. It was a home game, a gigantic win for the Nuggets, and the best game of Murray’s young career. Maybe if the Celtics didn’t want to see Murray go for 50 points they should have, uh, I don’t know, not allowed him to score 48 in the first place?? I think it’s more salt than anything spilling out of the Celtics mouths. That March 18th rematch in Boston is going to be a must-watch.
  • Not to be forgotten, Trey Lyles had another solid game, going for 13 points on 4-10 shooting (3-7 from deep) with three rebounds. You hardly see young guys such as Lyles who have as little fear as he does when it comes to firing up shots. He may take a bad shot or two, but for the most part, he’s always attacking and taking shots both he and the coaches know he can make.

Timberwolves – 109 @ Clippers – 120

  • Karl-Anthony Towns recorded his fifth double-double of the year, but in a losing effort to the Clippers. Towns scored 20 (8-13) points to go along with 13 rebounds, but the Wolves struggled to keep up with the Clippers throughout the second half. This game was more of the same routines we’ve seen from the Wolves this season. Towns settling for jumpers, his team failing to involve him in the post, Jimmy Butler being forced to take over in the fourth quarter. The result was another loss, putting the Wolves at 4-7. Just trade Butler already.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a quiet six points and five assists. He’s still incredibly hesitant to make plays on his own but learning valuable in-game lessons. He looks more like a player trying not to screw up rather than one who can attack the basket at will. But, just like his time at Kentucky, it’s going to be a year-long process for SGA. The Clippers are giving him the minutes he needs (he started his first NBA game against the Wolves). The more comfortable he gets, the more confident he’ll become. It’s going to be fun to watch that first 20-point, 10-assist breakout game. It’ll happen by February, mark it down.

Other notes

  • Enes Kanter decided he wasn’t playing around anymore when the Chicago Bulls came to town. Kanter went for 23 points and 24 (TWENTY-FOUR) rebounds. It’s sucks that the Knicks suck because we could see nights like this from Kanter regularly, but the tank is on which means Kanter will be off.

  • Bam Adebayo dropped in 11 points and eight rebounds in his first start of the season (Hassan Whiteside sat out with a knee injury, but shouldn’t be sidelined much longer).

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Jamal Murray (DEN)115-107 W vs. BOS4819-30 (5-11)54005-438
Julius Randle (NOP)116-122 L @ OKC2610-10 (2-2)81121+228
Enes Kanter (NYK)115-116 2OT L vs. CHI238-14 (0-1)247104+740
Anthony Davis (NOP)116-122 L @ OKC207-20 (0-1)81015-1837
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)109-120 L @ LAC208-13 (1-3)122343-535
Trey Lyles (DEN)115-107 W vs. BOS134-10 (3-7)32021+923
Bam Adebayo (MIA)120-115 OT W @ DET114-5 (0-0)81310029
Patrick Patterson (OKC)122-116 W vs. NOP103-4 (3-3)21000-316
Darius Miller (NOP)116-122 L @ OKC93-4 (3-4)11002+117
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)120-109 W vs. MIN62-6 (0-1)35112+724
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)122-116 W vs. NOP42-4 (0-1)00200+210
Kevin Knox (NYK)115-116 2OT L vs. CHI21-2 (0-0)00101-14
Nerlens Noel (OKC)122-116 W vs. NOP10-2 (0-0)51110-1611
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)117-101 W vs. MEMDNP-Achilles----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)115-107 W vs. BOSDNP-Foot----------------
Brandon Knight (HOU)98-94 W @ INDDNP-Knee----------------
Tyler Ulis (CHI)116-115 2OT W @ NYKDNP-G League----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

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

8:30 (NBATV): Wizards (Wall) @ Mavericks

9:00: Nets @ Suns (Booker)

10:00: Bucks (Bledsoe, Meeks-suspended) @ Trail Blazers


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Wall and Booker help struggling teams to wins

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Recap:

  • It is no question that the Wizards are struggling to start the year, gathering only one win through their first eight games. Last night, however, John Wall was able to lead to lead them to a double digit victory over Enes Kanter and the New York Knicks. Kevin Knox continued to sit out, rehabbing his ankle injury.
  • Different team, same story. The Suns are going to struggle for a while in the loaded Western Conference. Devin Booker was able to do just enough to beat out the now Andrew Harrison-less Memphis Grizzlies. Booker finishes with game highs in points and assists, and hit two big shots in the final minute to seal the victory. His jumper with less than 3 seconds left proved to be the difference.
  • As Jimmy Butler continues to be a diva in Minnesota, the Timberwolves are playing with an incomplete team and it isn’t working out well on the scoreboard. Karl-Anthony Towns may have been able to score 23, but the rest of the team only combined for another 58 as the Wolves lose by 30 to the Trail Blazers.
  • Eric Bledsoe is a part of one the budding teams trying to take over the throne left in the East when LeBron headed out to Los Angeles. Now sitting at 8-1, the Bucks are steamrolling through teams, including a 35 point win over the Kings last night.
  • Isaiah Briscoe received the dreaded DNP – Coach’s Decision in Orlando’s 117-110 win over the Spurs.

Stats:

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
John Wall (WASH)108-95 win over Knicks269-16 (3-6)27504+2438
Enes Kanter (NYK)108-95 loss to Wizards188-14 (0-1)120001+224
Devin Booker (PHX)102-100 win over Grizzlies257-17 (2-8)07004+335
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)111-81 loss to Trail Blazers237-13 (2-4)53001-1625
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)144-109 win over Kings176-11 (1-5)61012+1122
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)144-109 loss to Bucks156-14 (3-5)66002-1826
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)144-109 loss to Bucks62-3 (0-0)41123-1919
Skal Labissiere (SAC)144-109 loss to Bucks20-1 (0-1)01101-78
Rajon Rondo (LAL)121-107 loss to Raptors104-9 (1-1)13001-1325

 

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Miami Heat (Bam Adebayo) at Detroit Pistons, 7pm ET
  • Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers, 7pm ET
  • Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic (Isaiah Briscoe), 7pm ET
  • Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks (Enes Kanter, Kevin Knox), 7:30pm ET
  • New Orleans Pelicans (Anthony Davis, Darius Miller, Julius Randle) at Oklahoma City Thunder (Patrick Patterson, Nerlens Noel, Hamidou Diallo), 8pm ET
  • Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets (Trey Lyles, Jamal Murray), 9pm ET
  • Toronto Raptors at Utah Jazz, 9pm ET
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns) at Los Angeles Clippers (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander), 10:30pm
  • Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors (DeMarcus Cousins), 10:30pm ET

@BrettBibbinsKSR


(Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Pelicans Struggling While Hornets Bench is Thriving

(Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Did anyone else waste their extra hour? Welcome back to standard time. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

Cavaliers – 94 @ Hornets – 126

  • The super subs were at it again for the Charlotte Hornets. The team’s bench as a whole scored 64 points thanks to 16 points from Malik Monk and 10 points from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Hornets second-unit currently ranks second in the NBA in bench scoring at 50.0 points per game and the two former Wildcats are a big reason why. MKG added four rebounds and two blocks while Monk contributed five assists – a season-high – and shot 7-14 from the field. Monk still has yet to miss a free-throw, either. He’s 14-14 on the season.
  • While the Hornets didn’t need much to take care of the complicated Cavaliers, the bench was the reason the game took a lopsided turn in Charlotte’s. Not one Hornets starter – excluding Kemba Walker – finished with a plus/minus over plus-6. Five bench players for Charlotte registered a plus/minus of at least plus-23.

  • The Hornets currently sit with a 5-5 record, which is on pace for what I projected their final record to be, and still don’t look to be a serious playoff threat, but they’ve made some major progress in 10 games. Four of their five losses have come against the Bucks (8-1), Raptors (7-1), Thunder (4-4), and 76ers (6-4). Monk has clearly been much more involved in the offense. MKG is thriving in his sixth man role as the off-the-bench bruiser. Each player appears to have an established identity and it’s creating a team atmosphere where everyone knows their part and does their best to execute it.

Pelicans – 95 @ Spurs – 109

  • The New Orleans Pelicans have now lost five straight games – all by double-digits – after starting the season 4-0. Anthony Davis continues to be fluxed in and out of the rotation due to minor injuries, but it’s clearly affecting his ability to get into a quick rhythm. Davis did stuff the stat sheet, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, and five blocks, however, he shot 5-13 from the field (0-2 from deep). Davis missed the previous game due to the same elbow that has been nagging at him for several games now and he even had a brief scare during this game after knocking his knee into San Antonio’s Dante Cunningham (he was fine, though).
  • Julius Randle struggled a bit, as well, posting 10 points and six rebounds on 3-9 shooting.
  • While the Pelicans current skid is depressing, it’s not too concerning. Davis hasn’t been 100 percent and they’re still trying to work out the best way to incorporate all three of Davis, Randle, and Nikola Mirotic effectively, which can be difficult when the best of that trio is missing every other game. Once the continuity returns, so will the wins.
  • Darius Miller returned to action after missing the previous four games with a quad injury. Miller played 14 minutes but did not register a point.

Jazz – 88 @ Nuggets – 103

  • The Denver Nuggets continue their scorching hot start to the season, jumping to an 8-1 record after taking down the Utah Jazz. Jamal Murray led all former Kentucky players Saturday night with 19 points on 7-16 shooting including five rebounds and four assists. Trey Lyles added eight points and six rebounds.
  • Normally for the Nuggets, it’s been the supernova offense that guides them to wins. This year, the defense has finally started to catch up. They currently have the third best defense in the NBA (after finishing 25th last season). Everyone expected this Nuggets team to make improvements, but not to this extent, they look like one of the top-five teams in the NBA right now. There’s still a lot of season left, but it’s been an encouraging start for the promising Nuggets.

Other notes

  • Rajon Rondo had his best game of the season thus far, dropping 17 points in addition to 10 rebounds, six assists, and three steals as he helped his Lakers beat the Trail Blazers. On a night where the Lakers younger players struggled, Rondo stepped in to fill the void.

  • Bam Adebayo played his most minutes of the season (30), but could only manage two points and seven rebounds. While Adebayo’s stats don’t look too fancy, he was a key member of a run that rallied the Heat in the fourth quarter from a double-digit deficit.
  • Alex Poythress finished with five points (2-3 shooting) and three rebounds for the Atlanta Hawks.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Jamal Murray (DEN)103-88 W vs. UTA197-16 (1-3)54002+1835
Anthony Davis (NOP)95-109 L @ SAS175-13 (0-2)83253-539
Rajon Rondo (LAL)114-110 W @ POR178-10 (1-1)106304+2825
Malik Monk (CHA)126-94 W vs. CLE167-14 (2-6)15001+2321
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)126-94 W vs. CLE105-7 (0-0)40020+2818
Julius Randle (NOP)95-109 L @ SAS103-9 (0-2)62112-1426
Trey Lyles (DEN)103-88 W vs. UTA83-8 (0-3)63001+1620
Alex Poythress (ATL)123-118 W vs. MIA52-3 (1-1)31000-79
Bam Adebayo (MIA)118-123 L @ ATL21-2 (0-0)72122+1130
Darius Miller (NOP)95-109 L @ SAS00-1 (0-1)11000-1314
Brandon Knight (HOU)96-88 W @ CHIDNP-Knee----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)103-88 W vs. UTADNP-Foot----------------
Tyler Ulis (CHI)88-96 L vs. HOUDNP-G League----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

3:30: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere) @ Bucks (Bledsoe, Meeks-suspended)

6:00: 76ers @ Nets

6:00: Knicks (Kanter, Knox-out) @ Wizards (Wall)

7:00: Magic (Briscoe) @ Spurs

8:00: Grizzlies @ Suns (Booker)

9:00: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Trail Blazers

9:30: Raptors @ Lakers (Rondo)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via NBA.com)

BBNBA: De’Aaron Fox is Your 2018 NBA MVP

(Photo via NBA.com)

RECAP

Thunder – 111 @ Hornets – 107

  • Five former Wildcats saw the floor as the Oklahoma City Thunder won their third straight game after starting the season 0-4. Hamidou Diallo and Nerlens Noel combined for 10 points on 5-6 shooting, including this impressive offensive rebound leading to a dunk for Diallo.

  • Patrick Patterson was 0-3 from the field in only seven minutes. It was his fewest minutes played of the season thus far as the Thunder elected to go with Jerami Grant down the stretch.
  • As for the Hornets side, Malik Monk went out looking to take any shot that came his way. He finished with 21 points on 7-15 shooting (4-12 from deep) with some impressive “no-no-yes!” type finishes. The dude is an acrobat dressed with a jersey on.

  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist brought in another modest nine points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes, including this chase down block leading to a dunk.

Nuggets – 110 @ Cavaliers – 91

  • The Nuggets didn’t need much to make quick work of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jamal Murray played only 22 minutes and none of the Nuggets starters played more than 28 minutes. Murray still managed 10 points on an efficient 5-8 shooting. As a result of the game being a blowout for the majority of the second half, Trey Lyles played 24 minutes – a season-high for him. He added 12 points of his own but had to attempt 13 shots to get there (5-13 from the field). A lot of Lyles’ shots weren’t even close if we’re being honest, and he continues to struggle to knock down shots from the perimeter (0-3 on Thursday night). I will say this, though, his head coach must obviously have supreme confidence in Lyles and it’s clear he still has the green light. It’s only eight games into the season so there’s plenty of time to recover. He rarely settles for jumpers and continues to attack the paint if he sees an opening. His confidence is glowing, the shots will start to fall eventually.

Kings – 146 @ Hawks – 115

  •  Look, I get that the Sacramento Kings beat the lowly Atlanta Hawks, probably the worst team in the NBA not located in Cleveland. I get that their front office knows nothing other than how to screw this up. I get that this could all be short-lived. And I really don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but the Sacramento Kings are winning the NBA Finals this year. Golden State is getting swept. The Raptors forfeit before Game 1 of the Finals even begins. A 15-year dynasty is in its earliest of stages.
  • De’Aaron Fox went absolutely dumb stupid last night, recording a 31-point, 10-rebound, 15-assist triple-double, the first of his career. This game is normally a battle to see who is the second-worst team in the league. Fox ran around those poor Hawks all night and made them look like they didn’t even belong in the same league in the second half. After the game, Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce said, “Fox is one of the, if not the, fastest guys in the league,”.
  • The only other player in NBA history to record a triple-double before their 21st birthday is that LeBron James dude. It’s no longer a question of if Fox has taken the leap, but it’s now a matter of figuring out just how high his ceiling reaches. He’s not overthinking. He’s making the easy passes. He went 3-4 from deep. When he’s clicking, he’s unguardable. Just watch the highlights.

  • But let’s also not forget about Willie Cauley-Stein who, like Fox, is playing the best stretch of basketball he ever has in his life. WCS brought in 12 points and six rebounds on 6-8 shooting and outhustled every single person on the court. If he stays committed to this level of intensity with a blazing quick point guard who loves to find the open man, WCS is on his way to a Most Improved Player type season.
  • Lost in the Fox frenzy was Alex Poythress on the Atlanta side. Poythress missed the previous two games with a knee injury, but came back strong, posting nine points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes.
  • Skal Labissiere was able to register some clock in the blowout, scoring six points on 2-3 shooting.

Pelicans – 119 @ Trail Blazers – 132

  • Anthony Davis sat out for the third time in four games to nurse his nagging elbow injury. Which means the New Orleans Pelicans lost. The injury isn’t too severe, however, and had the game been in the playoffs, Davis would have played. Him sitting was more precautionary than anything, no need to risk your star player’s health over a few games in late October/early November.
  • What did happen in Davis’ absence was an explosion of scoring from Julius Randle, who scored a season-high 29 points on 9-16 shooting, including six rebounds and three assists (and 11-12 from the free throw line).

  • Darius Miller also sat out due to a quad injury that has now caused him to miss four straight games.

*Other Notes*

  • Eric Bledsoe scored 13 points to go along with seven assists in a close loss against the Boston Celtics.
  • Shai Gilegous-Alexander added seven points on 3-8 shooting for the Los Angeles Clippers.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)146-115 W @ ATL319-13 (3-4)1015103+3433
Julius Randle (NOP)119-132 L @ POR299-16 (0-2)63103-1325
Malik Monk (CHA)107-111 L vs. OKC217-15 (4-12)02103-323
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)113-117 L @ BOS133-9 (1-2)17102-1232
Trey Lyles (DEN)110-91 W @ CLE125-13 (0-3)81112+1024
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)146-115 W @ ATL126-8 (0-0)60302+2325
Jamal Murray (DEN)110-91 W @ CLE105-8 (0-1)13001+1022
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)107-111 L vs. OKC93-10 (0-2)90101-2524
Alex Poythress (ATL)115-146 L vs. SAC93-6 (0-0)80000-616
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)113-122 L @ PHI73-8 (0-0)22011-1817
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)111-107 W @ CHA63-4 (0-1)20000010
Skal Labissiere (SAC)146-115 W @ ATL62-3 (0-1)40001-35
Nerlens Noel (OKC)111-107 W @ CHA42-2 (0-0)20110-58
Patrick Patterson (OKC)111-107 W @ CHA00-3 (0-3)30000+27
Anthony Davis (NOP)119-132 L @ PORDNP-Elbow----------------
Darius Miller (NOP)119-132 L @ PORDNP-Quad----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)110-91 W @ CLEDNP-Foot----------------
Wenyen Gabriel (SAC)146-115 W @ ATLDNP-Inactive----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Magic (Briscoe)

7:30: Rockets (Knight-out) @ Nets

8:00 (ESPN): Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Wizards (Wall) 

8:00: Pacers @ Bulls (Ulis)

8:30: Knicks (Kanter, Knox-out) @ Mavericks

9:00: Grizzlies @ Jazz

10:00: Raptors @ Suns (Booker-probable)

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


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports)

Memphis Grizzlies Waive Andrew Harrison

(Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports)

This felt like it was becoming inevitable with every passing game. The Memphis Grizzlies have waived former Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison just six games into their season.

Harrison assumed the primary point guard duties last season after Mike Conley was sidelined with an Achilles tear, but the team waived him after he appeared in only one game, in which he played just five minutes.

He appeared in 129 total games for the Grizz, starting 64 of them, and there was a bit of an expectation that he would be the backup point guard for this season’s team.

After the team signed Lexington native Shelvin Mack to a deal back in August, that expectation became a bit cloudier, but for Harrison to be completely wiped out of the rotation was a shock, especially when considering how improved he looked from his rookie season to year two.

I wrote last week about how Harrison wasn’t playing without any true explanation as to why and that question still hasn’t been wholly answered.

Harrison apparently doesn’t fit into the longterm plans that head coach J.B. Bickerstaff wants to instill in his first full season as the Grizzlies head coach. It’s unfortunate for Harrison, but now he’s on the open market.

Thanks to his strong play from last season, Harrison will definitely receive interest from teams looking for a young backup point guard with plenty of NBA experience. Think Phoenix Suns (HELLO, PHOENIX, PICK UP THE PHONE) or possibly a team such as the San Antonio Spurs.


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via Layne Murdoch Jr./Pelicans)

BBNBA: Davis Returns From Injury and KAT Scores 28

(Photo via Layne Murdoch Jr./Pelicans)

RECAP

Pacers – 107 @ Knicks – 101

  • Enes Kanter was limited to 21 minutes in the Knicks Wednesday night loss to the Pacers, as he brought in seven points and six rebounds on a disappointing 3-11 shooting. This was Kanter’s third consecutive game coming off the bench. The Knicks have favored rookie Mitchell Robinson (Remember him? The Western Kentucky University “enrollee” who never played a game before declaring for the NBA Draft) over Kanter for the last three games. Robinson – who is a legitimate prospect despite what I’m about to say – did not score a point in 17 minutes.
  • Kevin Knox was with the team Wednesday but did not play. He’s expected to fly with the team when they begin their road trip on Friday, although his exact return date is still murky.

Nuggets – 108 @ Bulls – 107 (OT)

  • The Denver Nuggets squeaked out another tight victory after failing to land a knockout punch on the Chicago Bulls in the fourth quarter. A game-winning tip-in shot with .01 seconds left on the clock by Paul Millsap in overtime secured the victory for Denver. Jamal Murray was 0-4 from deep with only 12 points, but still made a significant impact on the game with his eight rebounds, six assists, and only one turnover. The Nuggets also picked up Murray’s team option for next season.
  • Trey Lyles added nine points of his own on 4-9 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds.

Jazz – 125 @ Timberwolves – 128 

  • With no Jimmy Butler in action on Wednesday night (supposedly due to rest, although we have a better idea as to why), Karl-Anthony Towns had to step up. And step up he did. Towns tallied 28 points and 16 rebounds on 9-17 shooting (4-9 from deep) in a big win over the Utah Jazz – who have looked a bit suspect to begin the season after finishing last season as one of the best teams in the entire league.
  • It was arguably the biggest win of the season for the Wolves, as they were missing Butler along with both their primary point guards, Tyus Jones and Jeff Teague. But, the return of Andrew Wiggins from injury and one of KAT’s best games of the young season allowed them to pull off the win.
  • The ghost of Derrick Rose scored a career-high 50 points, too. When media outlets are blindly praising a player like Rose, we also shouldn’t discount his past and the upcoming court hearing.

Pelicans – 121 @ Warriors – 131

  • Anthony Davis made his return to the court after missing two games due to a sprained elbow but did not look to be 100 percent. For the first three quarters, Davis seemed unengaged and could never find a rhythm. Jrue Holiday and Nikola Mirotic had to do the bulk of the scoring and ball-handling while Davis tried to work his way back in. Davis finished with 17 points on 6-16 shooting as he finally got some shots to fall late in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Warriors season-high 39 assists. In addition to his 17 points, Davis also grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out seven assists.
  • Julius Randle was extremely limited against the Warriors frontline. He was hounded all night when he got the ball in the paint, scoring only 11 points on 3-6 shooting, but he also added 10 rebounds.
  • Darius Miller missed his third straight game due to a quad injury. He’s questionable to return for Thursday’s matchup against Portland.
  • There was also plenty of sideline interactions involving former Pelican and current Warrior DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins made it a point to his teammates that he wanted to beat the Pelicans and beat them badly, for not offering him the contract in the offseason that he expected. He chit-chatted with Davis during the game, as well, discussing god knows what.

  • I will spend the rest of my life searching for that teddy bear shirt Boogie is sporting.

Mavericks – 113 @ Lakers – 114

  • Rajon Rondo was hardly impactful in this game, scoring only five points on 2-7 shooting with zero rebounds and three assists, but it was the blunder from Wes Matthews that secured the win in the end for Rondo and the Lakers.
  • Matthews inexplicably fouled LeBron James with only seconds left and the game tied. Why you might ask? Well, I have literally no explanation.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)128-125 W vs. UTA289-17 (4-9)164223+1040
Anthony Davis (NOP)121-131 L @ GSW176-16 (1-4)127012-241
Jamal Murray (DEN)108-107 OT W @ CHI125-13 (0-4)86011+943
Julius Randle (NOP)121-131 L @ GSW113-6 (0-0)102004-2322
Trey Lyles (DEN)108-107 OT W @ CHI94-9 (1-3)103112-620
Enes Kanter (NYK)101-107 L vs. IND73-11 (0-0)62002-421
Rajon Rondo (LAL)114-113 W vs. DAL52-7 (1-3)03202-2117
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)131-121 W vs. NOPDNP-Achilles----------------
Kevin Knox (NYK)101-107 L vs. INDDNP-Ankle----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)108-107 (OT) W @ CHIDNP-Foot----------------
Darius Miller (NOP)121-131 L @ GSWDNP-Quad----------------
Devin Booker (PHX)90-120 L vs. SASDNP-Hamstring----------------
Tyler Ulis (CHI)107-108 (OT) L vs. DENDNP-Inactive----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk)

7:00 Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt-out) @ Cavaliers

7:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ 76ers

7:30: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Gabriel, Labissiere) @ Hawks (Poythress-probable)

8:00 (TNT): Bucks (Bledsoe, Meeks-suspended) @ Celtics

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


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Wizards Collapse and the Kings are Good?

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

RECAP

Heat – 113 @ Hornets – 125

  • The Charlotte Hornets have found their go-to bench duo. Malik Monk and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have thrived as the team’s leaders of the second unit, especially MKG, who has seemingly redefined his career in only eight games.
  • Monk followed up his 1-8 shooting performance on Saturday with a lethal 20 points on 7-10 shooting, including 4-6 from deep. Alongside veteran Tony Parker, the Hornets have a viable backcourt duo off the bench that is capable of putting up points in a hurry. Monk even got some run during a critical stretch in the fourth quarter playing next to Kemba Walker and Parker. Perhaps the Hornets picking up Monk’s third-year team option on his contract had something to do with him shooting with no remorse.

  • MKG had his best outing of the young season, adding 14 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes.
  • Bam Adebayo had another solid game, scoring eight points and bringing in six rebounds in 15 minutes, but he can’t seem to escape that 15-20 minute range. Adebayo’s counterpart, Hassan Whiteside, has played rather well to start the season, so it’s understandable as to why Adebayo hasn’t received more minutes. But, Adebayo is consistently bringing at least eight points and five rebounds per game while Whiteside has been a bit more erratic in a higher dosage of playing time. If Miami’s 3-4 record doesn’t see an improvement, this playoff hopeful team might be willing to make some minor changes and it could start with Adebayo and Whiteside (or trading for Jimmy Butler?).

Kings – 107 @ Magic – 99

  • Well, I’m not sure what else to say about the Sacramento Kings. Through eight games they have proved me wrong in every possible fashion and I am 100 percent okay with that. It’s about time they tasted some success and I couldn’t be happier that it’s happening in the arms of Willie Cauley-Stein and De’Aaron Fox.
  • Are the Kings going to make the playoffs? No. Are they going to win 40 games? I still highly doubt it. But are they going to be one of the most exciting teams to watch? Absolutely. Their current success is based off sneaking up on the opponent and straight up out-running them. If the Kings don’t tire out midway through the season, then they might be able to keep some of this going, but that’s to be determined. But right now, who cares. The Kings are 5-3 with plenty of impressive wins.
  • Fox scored 14 points on 6-13 shooting to go along with five assists. He was scoreless in the first half before pouring it on in the second. He almost didn’t even suit up for the game because of a sore back. WCS was dominating against everyone not named Mohamed Bamba (Bamba surprisingly locked down WCS every time he touched the ball) and registered another double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. That’s now four straight double-doubles for the big man.

Wizards – 95 @ Grizzlies – 107

  • John Wall led his Wizards team with 22 points on 9-15 shooting (4-7 from deep) in addition to his five rebounds and seven assists but turned the ball over nine times. The Wizards took their fourth straight loss Tuesday night and oh boy, things just continue to get worse in the nation’s capital.

  • The Grizzlies opened the second half on an 18-1 run and never looked back. The Wizards look defeated, dead in the water, out of answers, only seven games into an 82-game season. The postgame quotes from Wall and Beal just continue to paint the picture of ineptitude that surrounds them. They share some of the blame, too, but this team just needs to make some changes. It’s been years now with this roster construction and it’s clear things are only going to continue to get worse before they get better. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear murmurs about a players-only meeting or head coach Scott Brooks getting canned.
  • Your daily reminder that Dwight Howard still hasn’t even played a game for the Wizards this season. He’s expected to make his season debut on Friday night.

Clippers – 110 @ Thunder – 128

  • The Los Angeles Clippers held a 67-54 lead at halftime. By the time the third quarter was over, they were losing 77-93. The Thunder ran off a 39-10 run in the third quarter and crushed the spirit of every single Clippers player on the court in the process. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander recorded only five points on 2-4 shooting in 22 minutes while the Clippers starting point guard was getting into needless scuffles with Russell Westbrook. Those two have a complicated history together and rehashed some of it Tuesday night, with Westbrook ultimately leading his team to the win.
  • Patrick Patterson was 3-3 from the floor, including 2-2 from deep and a nice fast break dunk. Hamidou Diallo added four points in 10 minutes while Nerlens Noel brought in two points and two rebounds in only eight minutes.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
John Wall (WAS)95-107 L @ MEM229-15 (4-7)57309-1434
Malik Monk (CHA)125-113 W vs. MIA207-10 (4-6)21001+123
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)125-113 W vs. MIA145-9 (0-0)81000+1925
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)107-99 W @ ORL146-15 (0-0)111101+1329
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)107-99 W @ ORL146-13 (0-2)25205-1330
Bam Adebayo (MIA)113-125 L @ CHA84-5 (0-0)62000015
Patrick Patterson (OKC)128-110 W vs. LAC83-3 (2-2)20101+120
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)110-128 L @ OKC52-4 (0-1)03012-1022
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)128-110 W vs. LAC41-5 (0-1)30101-410
Nerlens Noel (OKC)128-110 W vs. LAC21-3 (0-0)20100-58
Andrew Harrison (MEM)107-95 W vs. WASDNP-CD----------------
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)99-107 L vs. SACDNP-CD----------------
Wenyen Gabriel (SAC)107-99 W @ ORLDNP-CD----------------
Skal Labissiere (SAC)107-99 W @ ORLDNP-CD----------------
Brandon Knight (HOU)85-104 L vs. PORDNP-Knee----------------
Alex Poythress (ATL)
114-136 L @ CLEDNP-Knee----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:30: Pistons @ Nets

8:00 (ESPN): Pacers @ Knicks (Kanter, Knox-out)

8:00: Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt-out) @ Bulls (Ulis)

8:00: Jazz @ Timberwolves (Towns)

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

10:30: Mavericks @ Lakers (Rondo)

10:30 (ESPN): Spurs @ Suns (Booker)

Update: Devin Booker has been ruled OUT for tonight’s game on ESPN.


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via AP/Wilfredo Lee)

BBNBA: Fox and Cauley-Stein Are Taking the Leap

(Photo via AP/Wilfredo Lee)

RECAP

Kings – 123 @ Heat – 113

  • De’Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein have come out of the gates this season on fire. Fox has clearly taken some sort of leap. His outside shooting has still been a concern this season (4-17 from three) and the turnovers (3.1 per game) are a result of playing an incredibly fast pace, but his numbers have skyrocketed across the board from his rookie year. He’s become fearless attacking the basket, but more importantly, he’s become consistent with hitting shots following contact, something he shied away from last season (Fox averaged 2.7 free throw attempts per game last season, he’s up to 7.0 per game through seven games this season). His 20 points, four rebounds, and eight assists from Monday night may have been his best game of the young season. He led the Kings to their third straight win and only the team’s second winning record after seven games in the past 12 seasons. It’s still early, but Fox looks redefined as a player.

*The pass Fox makes at the 1:25-ish mark just gets more ridiculous every time I watch it. Seriously, that’s an insanely difficult play to execute*

  • Fox’s counterpart, Cauley-Stein, has followed in his point guard’s footsteps, seemingly taking the infamous leap, as well. For WCS, it’s been a long time coming, but he appears to have found his game. He’s topped at least 10 points in every game this season and Monday night’s 26 points and 13 rebounds was his third straight double-double. Since the beginning of last season, I’ve preached that inconsistency has always been his downfall, now he’s coming into his own as a playmaking big man who’s dominating every night out.
  • So before we jump to the next game, why have the Kings been so successful early in the season? The simplest answer is upping the pace. Flooded with young athletes, the Kings can literally run up and down the court for an entire 48 minutes and it’s killing the opponents. Here’s what Cauley-Stein said after Monday night’s win: ”We ain’t had this energy in a while here, so this energy is just refreshing,” Cauley-Stein said. ”It’s fun to play like this, playing fast, everyone getting the touches, everybody sharing the energy. It’s just fun to play.”
  • The league is transitioning to constant, fast-paced action and getting as many shots up as possible. The Kings might actually be the biggest beneficiary of this change thus far and even good teams are having troubles keeping up with them.
  • Wenyen Gabriel and Skal Labissiere were DNPs for Sacramento while Bam Adebayo registered eight points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes for the Miami Heat.

Lakers – 120 @ Timberwolves – 124

  • Rajon Rondo recorded 13 points, six rebounds, and eight assists in his second game back from a suspension that caused him to miss three games. The Lakers decided to run with Lonzo Ball as the starting point guard following Rondo’s suspension – which is the correct move, especially considering how good Ball has looked so far  – but he still played more minutes than the former UCLA product for the second straight game (31 minutes to Ball’s 23). Rondo coming off the bench is a smart move, anyways. This way, there is a floor general veteran on the court with the second unit that can create looks when LeBron James isn’t in the game.
  • The qualms in Minnesota have been momentarily hushed, but that doesn’t mean things still aren’t as ridiculous as they are. Karl-Anthony Towns finally had himself another respectable game, finishing with 25 points and 16 rebounds in a big team win over the Lakers. Funny enough, Jimmy Butler was the one who hit the big shots and secured the victory, receiving the most awkward of cheers from a home crowd that a majority of would like to see him play elsewhere.
  • While KAT has appeared mostly disinterested this season, there are some upsides that I’ve noticed while watching him play. First, his shot-blocking has clearly evolved. His four blocks Monday night was the second time he’s hit that mark this season and he’s patrolling the paint with purpose, timing weak-side blocks to perfection. And second, his three-point shooting is way up. He’s shooting 45.2 percent on 4.4 attempts per game, although I believe this has more to do with him settling for threes instead of attacking the paint (His overall field goal percentage this season – 42.1 percent – has tanked from last season, when he hit 54.5 percent of his overall shots).

Pelicans – 111 @ Nuggets – 116

  • This game had the potential for some intense BBNBA action, but Anthony Davis (elbow) and Darius Miller (quad) both sat out for the second straight game. In their absence, however, Julius Randle helped forge a comeback. The Nuggets completely dominated the first half but got complacent in the second half with a substantial lead (one of their most glaring issues from last season). Randle dropped in 24 points on 8-13 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. His signature style of bully-ball was in full effect and there wasn’t much any of Nikola Jokic or Mason Plumlee could do about it for Denver. Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough.

  • Jamal Murray poured in 23 on 9-19 shooting in addition to five rebounds AND five steals. This was the second game in a row I’ve seen the opposition put major pressure on Murray as he brings the ball up the court. Lonzo Ball constantly pestered Murray in their matchup the other night – often blowing up entire plays – and the Pelicans took a page out of that playbook, harassing Murray every time he came up the court. It’s not that Murray is a poor ball-handler (because he’s not), but the pressure is clearly affecting him and it’s costing his team valuable time out of their possessions. Murray has to break down the defenses and burn them if they continue to stick on him like they have the previous two games.
  • Trey Lyles shooting woes to start the season continued, as he shot 1-6 from deep (he’s now 2-18 on the season). However, he was still surprisingly aggressive in his 21 minutes, scoring 17 points on 6-14 shooting. When his shot didn’t fall, he had no problem backing into the post and knocking down a hook shot or slashing to the rim for a dunk. His one rebound on the night is inexcusable for him, but Lyles had a solid game despite a poor shooting night.

Other notes

  • In a game that was missing both Giannis Anteotkounmpo (concussion protocol) and Kawhi Leonard (rest), the Bucks and Raptors both came in with a 6-0 record. While the game could have been much more exciting had those two played, Eric Bledsoe still held down the fort for Anteokounmpo as they knocked off Toronto 124-109. Bledsoe brought in 17 points and eight assists on 7-15 shooting.
  • Enes Kanter came off the bench for the second straight game for the New York Knicks, adding 15 points and 15 rebounds for his fifth double-double in seven games.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)123-113 W @ MIA2611-17 (0-0)131010+2333
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)124-120 W vs. LAL257-18 (3-6)166145+532
Julius Randle (NOP)111-116 L @ DEN248-13 (0-0)86115-226
Jamal Murray (DEN)116-111 W vs. NOP239-19 (2-5)52513+438
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)123-113 W @ MIA208-15 (1-2)48216+2534
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)124-109 W vs. TOR177-12 (2-5)28013-125
Trey Lyles (DEN)116-111 W vs. NOP176-14 (1-6)11200+421
Enes Kanter (NYK)115-96 W vs. BKN157-13 (0-0)152106+626
Rajon Rondo (LAL)120-124 L @ MIN136-9 (1-2)68004031
Bam Adebayo (MIA)113-123 L vs. SAC82-5 (0-0)90102-618
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)149-124 W @ CHIDNP-Achilles----------------
Kevin Knox (NYK)115-96 W vs. BKNDNP-Ankle----------------
Skal Labissiere (SAC)123-113 W @ MIADNP-CD----------------
Tyler Ulis (CHI)124-149 L vs. GSWDNP-CD----------------
Wenyen Gabriel (SAC)123-113 W @ MIADNP-CD----------------
Anthony Davis (NOP)111-116 L @ DENDNP-Elbow----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)116-111 W vs. NOPDNP-Foot----------------
Alex Poythress (ATL)92-113 L @ PHIDNP-Knee----------------
Darius Miller (NOP)111-116 L @ DENDNP-Quad----------------
Jodie Meeks (MIL)124-109 W vs. TORDNP-Suspended----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

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

7:00: Hawks (Poythress-out) @ Cavaliers

7:00: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Gabriel, Labissiere) @ Magic (Briscoe)

7:30: Pistons @ Celtics

7:30 (NBATV): 76ers @ Raptors

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

8:00: Wizards (Wall) @ Grizzlies (An. Harrison)

8:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Noel and Patterson help fuel a Thunder win

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Recap:

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder were looking for their first win of the season last night against the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately for the Suns, their best player, Devin Booker, was sidelined with a strained hamstring, giving the Thunder the advantage and eventually the W.
  • Two former Cats played extremely well for the Thunder, as Nerlens Noel and Patrick Patterson combined for 37 points, 19 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists, and a block.
  • Hamidou Diallo did not play because he missed the morning team walkthrough. A rookie mistake that Diallo will need to learn from going forward.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers and rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander took home another victory, this time over the struggling Washington Wizards. SGA flirted with his first career triple-double, but came up just short. John Wall and Brad Beal need some help, and it is clear that the Wizards’ front office isn’t going to give it to them.

Stats:

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Nerlens Noel (OKC)117-110 win over Suns209-14 (0-0)152411+1926
Patrick Patterson (OKC)117-110 win over Suns176-10 (2-5)40000-830
John Wall (WASH)136-104 loss to Clippers188-20 (0-2)35401-628
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)136-104 win over Wizards104-8 (1-1)87201+2428

 

Highlights:

(more…)