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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

Lavar Ball says Julius Randle is Lakers’ best player, not Lonzo

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent interview over in Lithuania or wherever the baby Balls are playing pro basketball these days, LaVar Ball made a shocking statement when he named Julius Randle, not Lonzo Ball, the Lakers’ best player.

“Julius Randle, in the beginning, they was ready to trade him,” Ball told Delfi TV. “I told them from the beginning, ‘He’s your best player on the team on the fact that he stronger and faster than everybody on the team.'”

He would add, “You gotta let him loose. Just because he make a few mistakes, don’t be like, ‘Hey, you gotta get out, you got an attitude. I’ma bring you off the bench.’ Now, he’s starting and doing wonders.”

It’s really hard to believe that Ball, who still claims he can beat Michael Jordan, would say any Laker is better than his son, Lonzo.

He’s not wrong, though. It’s just shocking to hear him say it.

[MSN: LaVar Ball picks Lakers’ ‘best player’, and it’s not Lonzo Ball]

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Towns’ monster night ends in a loss

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Timberwolves are going through the hardest part of their schedule through the first three weeks after the All-Star break, and the meniscus injury to Jimmy Butler has made the task even harder. Karl-Anthony Towns has tried to step up in Butler’s absence, but teams will collapse on him in the paint in the fourth quarter. If the Timberwolves want to keep their spot at the 3 seed in the Western Conference, they’ll need to find another serviceable wing player outside of Andrew Wiggins until Butler can return.

Last night, Towns was a beast through three and a half quarters, but he was clearly worn out by the end of the game. In typical Tom Thibodeau coaching fashion, the Timberwolves only had three guys play minutes off the bench, which is the exact opposite way to coach a playoff team. Towns played 41 minutes and racked up 34 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough as the Wolves were outlasted by the Portland Trail Blazers.



PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Karl-Anthony Towns108-99 loss to Trail Blazers3411-19 (1-3)172231-641
Julius Randle131-113 win over Heat258-13 (0-1)62112+1534
Bam Adebayo131-113 loss to Lakers156-7 (0-0)101021+530
De'Aaron Fox103-100 win over Nets178-15 (1-2)11223+326
Willie Cauley-Stein103-100 win over Nets177-14 (0-0)76001-1429
Skal Labissiere103-100 win over Nets115-10 (0-0)42211-825




  • Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic, 7pm ET
  • Charlotte Hornets (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Malik Monk) at Philadelphia 76ers, 7pm ET
  • Golden State Warriors at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30pm ET
  • Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards (John Wall, Jodie Meeks), 8pm ET on ESPN
  • Dallas Mavericks (Nerlens Noel) at Chicago Bulls, 8pm ET
  • Denver Nuggets (Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles) at Memphis Grizzlies (Andrew Harrison), 8pm ET
  • Indiana Pacers (Alex Poythress) at Milwaukee Bucks (Eric Bledsoe), 8pm ET
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (Patrick Patterson, Dakari Johnson) at Phoenix Suns (Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis, Brandon Knight), 9pm ET
  • New York Knicks (Enes Kanter) at Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30pm ET
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns) at Utah Jazz, 10:30pm ET on ESPN


The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E25: Earl Watson

Earl Watson joins the latest episode of the Aaron Torres Sports podcast to discuss his illustrious NBA career.  From playing alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, to coaching Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis, Watson discussed it all. But first, Nick Coffey and Aaron get to the madness that has developed throughout college basketball over the last week:

— The guys record just minutes after Sean Miller announces he will return as Arizona’s head coach! They talk about why it seems obvious that an FBI wiretap with Miller’s voice on it doesn’t exist, and how this story could have possibly gotten out with all the facts.
— The hot take parade that has overwhelm college basketball since the latest FBI probe. Why Jalen Rose and Jayson Williams are wrong to say “boycott the NCAA Tournament” and why Louisville fans are losing their minds.
— Plus a chat on Kentucky’s win over Ole Miss, Duke’s loss to Virginia Tech and why the season itself feels as wide open as ever before.
Next up, Aaron welcomes on former NBA head coach Earl Watson to the show. The pair have a 45-minute, in-depth hoops talk that includes the following subjects:
— Earl’s roots in hoops – how he grew up in Kansas but rooted for UCLA, before transitioning to the NBA. He also discusses his first impression of former teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, who he played with in his rookie year.
— His time coaching Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis. He goes in great detail on the night Booker scored 70 points, and how a pep talk from Kobe Bryant motivated it. Also the guys share stories about Ulis trying to fight players signficantly bigger than him.
— What is Earl’s future? He was linked to the UCLA job last year when Steve Alford nearly left for Indiana. Will he coach college hoops?

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

NOTE: Sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast for a special price if you sign up by March 15th. Email to learn more.

Anthony Davis is putting up monster numbers while leading his Pelicans team to the playoffs. (Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Anthony Davis: NBA MVP Candidate

Anthony Davis is putting up monster numbers while leading his Pelicans team to the playoffs. (Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Anthony Davis, man. It’s difficult to describe the performances that the former Wildcat has been putting on display. 40-point games are hardly a shock at this point. Honestly, it’s becoming a disappointment when he doesn’t score at least 30. The season-ending Achilles injury to DeMarcus Cousins could have stuck a fork in the rest of the New Orleans Pelicans season, but that hasn’t been the case in the slightest bit.

Let’s start by taking a look at some of Davis’ numbers since the Cousins injury. In 13 games without his partner in crime, Davis has averaged 33.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.3 steals, and 2.4 blocks per game. He’s doing all of this while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from three.

His last seven games are somehow even more impressive, averaging 39.3 points (uh, what?), 15.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.9 steals, and 2.7 blocks during that span. To describe these as video game numbers would be an insult to his greatness.

I mean, seriously, he’s 6-foot-10 and doing things like this?

Davis has entered the field of MVP candidates, something that was long overdue. He’s easily in the discussion now and it would be hard to argue he’s not in the top 3 at this very moment (trailing only Giannis Antetokounmpo and current frontrunner James Harden). There may not be enough season left for Davis to overtake Harden, he’d have to continue this hellfire to reach that point, but there’s at least a non-zero chance he could get it done. It helps Harden’s case that he’s the best player on the hottest team in the NBA, but if Davis can will this team to the fourth or even third seed out West, the conversation will surely be a valid debate.

Davis has the Pelicans riding a six-game win streak, something that seemed improbable after Cousins’ injury. But when you’re the heart, soul, bones, skin, and blood of this team and on a streak that can best be described as Kevin Garnett going super-Saiyan, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Davis’ 53-point performance against the Phoenix Suns on Monday was the moment where everyone collectively went “Wait, what? He scored how many? AGAIN??”. With no Cousins to help share the brute of opposing defenses, there is no need to focus defensive effort anywhere else except for Davis, but it doesn’t seem to matter. He’s hitting contested pull-up jumpers in the eyes of seven-footers. Easily skying over big men for tip-ins with a touch so soft you’d think he’s trying to pet a sleeping kitten. Throwing down alley-oops where at first the ball looks like it might fly into the fourth row only for Davis to go-go-gadget extendo arm, grab the ball, and slam it home.

Now, to play a little bit of devil’s advocate, the Pelicans schedule hasn’t exactly been challenging. During their seven-game winning streak, their opponents have a combined winning percentage of .56 (195-232) as of March 1st. Two of those games (Miami and Milwaukee) went into overtime and another (Brooklyn) went into double overtime. Yes, the Pelicans are winning – and that’s all that truly matters – but by slim margins against subpar teams.

The Pelicans only have 21 games left on their schedule and several of them come against the likes of the Houston Rockets (twice), the Golden State Warriors (on the road), the Cleveland Cavaliers (on the road), the Boston Celtics, and the San Antonio Spurs (twice). They’ve built a nice cushion during this win streak, moving up to fifth in the Western Conference standings and 2.5 games ahead of the ninth spot. In the West, that’s hardly comfortable, but it’s much more manageable than if they had only gone 4-3 or even 3-4 over their last six. Also, there are plenty of games left against the likes of the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, and Memphis Grizzlies, so it could all cancel out in the end.

Now back to the positives, Davis isn’t necessarily doing this alone. He’s 100 percent the main concern for defenses, especially with Cousins out, but Jrue Holiday has done his part, too. Holiday is averaging 25.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 7.6 assists over the team’s last seven games. A subtle reminder that Holiday was once an All-Star and still an incredibly talented (yet overpaid) player.

Rajon Rondo may not be a good fit for most teams, but it appears New Orleans may be the closest thing. Rondo is a professional assist hunter, which can work when someone such as Davis is constantly cutting towards the rim (if the term “assists-hunter” were in the dictionary, a picture of Rondo passing up an open layup to kick it out for a contested three would be the only thing that pops up). Davis ranks in the 94.3 percentile on cuts, averaging 1.57 points per possession. Someone who cuts as much as Davis is an “ideal” counterpart for Rondo, who will gladly toss it in Davis’ vicinity whenever they lock eyes. None of this is a knock on Rondo, per se, but a testament to what Davis is doing that makes everyone around him better.

Davis is taking a page out of the ole’ book of Russell Westbrook tactics. In an interview with Rachel Nichols, Davis was open about how he’s approaching each game now that his All-Star teammate is on the bench. “You kind of have that Russell Westbrook mentality when [Kevin Durant] went out,” Davis said. “Russ just went out there and played, and he shot 40 shots sometimes, you know, whatever it takes to help your team win, and I’m kind of taking that approach.”

To be fair, that approach won Westbrook an MVP (no matter how much I disagreed with it) and Davis really has no other option at this point. The difference is that Westbrook shot 42.5 percent from the field last season. Davis is currently shooting 53.6 percent. Harden still has a healthy lead over both Davis and Antetokounmpo, but another 10 to 15 games stretch of averaging 35-plus points per game will convert some Harden haters.

Every time I write about Anthony Davis I feel the need to reemphasize this fact. He is only 24 YEARS OLD. He can’t even rent a car yet but he can drop 45 points on your favorite team.


Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Booker goes for 30+ in third straight game

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven’t been paying much attention to the NBA since the All-Star break, you’ve missed two former Kentucky Wildcats putting on a show night in and night out. We’ve mentioned on KSR how incredible Anthony Davis has been in the month of February, but on top of his performances, Devin Booker has been a walking bucket, despite the Phoenix Suns’ struggles in the win-loss column.

Since the All-Star break, Booker has scored 30+ in three of the four games, and he had 27 in the fourth game. He’s averaging 32.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists, while hitting 32 of his 37 attempted free throws. If Booker was on a playoff caliber team, he would be talked about as one of the best scorers in the league.



PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker110-102 win over Grizzlies3412-29 (1-6)61302+1039
Andrew Harrison110-102 loss to Suns205-11 (3-5)57212-1938
Anthony Davis121-116 win over Spurs269-19 (0-0)151204+537
Rajon Rondo121-116 win over Spurs136-13 (1-4)812101+132
Darius Miller121-116 win over Spurs114-8 (3-5)33100+1233
Eric Bledsoe110-87 loss to Pistons195-10 (2-4)64101-1530
Jodie Meeks109-101 loss to Warriors83-6 (0-2)72210+1016
Patrick Patterson111-110 win over Mavericks42-5 (0-3)20101+016
Nerlens Noel111-110 loss to Thunder42-4 (0-0)31113-516
Malik Monk134-106 loss to Celtics31-7 (1-3)02100-719




  • Los Angeles Lakers (Julius Randle) at Miami Heat (Bam Adebayo), 7:30pm ET
  • Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers, 8pm ET on TNT
  • Brooklyn Nets at Sacramento Kings (De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere), 10pm ET
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns) at Portland Trail Blazers, 10:30pm ET on TNT


BBNBA: Cauley-Stein’s Double-Double not enough for Kings

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Willie Cauley-Stein’s double-double was not enough as the Sacramento Kings fell to the Trail Blazers. The former Cat had 17 points, while also pulling down 10 rebounds. De’Aaron Fox also added 13 points and 8 rebounds in the loss.

In other BBNBA news, Jamal Murray scored 18 points, but the Nuggets lost to the Clippers. Murray is turning in a nice sophomore campaign and is being rewarded with a lot more playing time.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist left the Hornets win over the Bulls after suffering a hamstring strain. Anyone that has had that injury knows how painful it is, here is to hoping that MKG can make a quick recovery.

Here are your full BBNBA stats:

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist118-103 W vs. Chi00-000100+36
Malik Monk118-103 W vs. Chi00-1 (0-1)00000+01
Bam Adebayo102-101 W vs. Phi00-2 40021-177
Jodie Meeks107-104 W vs. Mil83-5 (1-2)00000-716
Eric Bledsoe107-104 L vs. Wsh176-15 (3-7)13204-935
Willie Cauley-Stein116-99 L vs. Por178-13101212-231
De'Aaron Fox116-99 L vs. Por135-15 (1-4)38303-933
Skal Labissiere116-99 L vs. Por61-530010-1726
Jamal Murray122-120 L vs. LAC187-11 (0-2)25105+733
Trey Lyles122-120 L vs. LAC00-3 (0-2)00110-15

The Kings Social Media department ha!

This look familiar to anyone?

Jamal Murray starts off a good possession with a DIRTY pass

The Bucks call it a “Bled-Show”

Today’s Games

  • Bucks (Bledsoe) at Pistons- 7pm
  • Raptors at Magic- 7pm
  • Pacers (Poythress) at Hawks- 7:30pm
  • Hornets (Monk and MKG) at Celtics- 7:30pm
  • Warriors at Wizards (Meeks) 8pm (ESPN)
  • Suns (Booker and Ulis) at Grizzlies (Harrison)- 8pm
  • Thunder (Patterson and Johnson) at Mavericks- 8:30pm
  • Pelicans (Miller, Davis, Liggins, and Rondo) at Spurs- 8:30pm
  • Rockets at Clippers- 10:30pm (ESPN)

Not NBA, but the one that really matters:

  • Ole Miss at Kentucky- 7pm (ESPN2)

Anthony Davis continues his reign of terror on the rest of the NBA, posting 53 points in a win over the Phoenix Suns. (Tyler Kaufman/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Anthony Davis is Making My Brain Hurt

Anthony Davis continues his reign of terror on the rest of the NBA, posting 53 points in a win over the Phoenix Suns. (Tyler Kaufman/NBAE via Getty Images)


There isn’t an adjective in the English dictionary that can properly describe what Anthony Davis is doing to the rest of the basketball world. If anyone thinks of one that can accurately sum up his play over the last two weeks, try again, because it isn’t good enough.

Here’s a quick overview of Anthony Davis’ last six games:

That is insane. I have no words (although I will soon). Davis is amazing, an MVP candidate, and basketball king.

Before my infatuation with Davis goes too far, he wasn’t the only former Wildcat with a big game last night.

Devin Booker, who dropped 40-points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists performance AGAINST Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, is the forgotten man of the night. Booker had one of the best night’s of his career, but it doesn’t matter when Davis is doing what he’s doing (okay I promise I’m done talking about AD).

The Sacramento Kings trio of Cauley-Stein, Fox, and Labissiere scored a combined 50 points in a losing effort to Karl-Anthony Towns (who posted 26 points and 17 rebounds) and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Check out the rest of the stats below.


PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis (NOP)125-116 W vs. PHX5316-29 (0-1)183151+938
Devin Booker (PHX)116-125 L @ NOP4014-28 (3-10)107103-340
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)118-100 W @ SAC269-10 (0-0)174225+2138
Skal Labissiere (SAC)100-118 L vs. MIN208-11 (1-3)40100-2031
Julius Randle (LAL)123-104 W @ ATL198-13 (0-0)102113+1529
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)100-118 L vs. MIN177-13 (0-0)53002-629
Andrew Harrison (MEM)98-109 L @ BOS144-12 (0-5)77001-132
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)100-118 L vs. MIN135-9 (3-4)25002-1327
Patrick Patterson (OKC)112-105 W vs. ORL114-4 (2-2)23001+1216
Enes Kanter (NYK)111-125 L vs. GSW105-9 (0-0)70001-1517
Rajon Rondo (NOP)125-116 W vs. PHX62-9 (0-2)512005+1835
Darius Miller (NOP)125-116 W vs. PHX52-6 (1-5)33101+226
DeAndre Liggins (NOP)125-116 W vs. PHX31-1 (1-1)11000-77
Alex Poythress (IND)103-109 L @ DALDNP-CD----------------
Dakari Johnson (OKC)112-105 W vs. ORLDNP-CD----------------
Tyler Ulis (PHX)116-125 L @ NOPDNP-Back----------------
Nerlens Noel (DAL)109-103 W vs. INDDNP-Thumb----------------
DeMarcus Cousins (NOP)125-116 W vs. PHXDNP-Achillies----------------


Tonight in the NBA

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

7:00: Nets @ Cavaliers

7:30: Sixers @ Heat (Adebayo)

8:00 (TNT): Wizards (Meeks) @ Bucks (Bledsoe)

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

10:30 (TNT): Clippers @ Nuggets (Murray, Lyles)

Player to watch

Tonight’s player to watch is Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo. Adebayo is playing superb basketball for a rookie, slowly moving his way up the Heat player power rankings. Averaging 9.3 points and 6.3 rebounds over his last 10 games, Adebayo is quickly becoming a fan favorite in Miami and a realistic piece they can build their future around. A matchup against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers should be an exciting test for the 20-year old. But, honestly, I wouldn’t blame you if you spent all day watching Anthony Davis highlights (which is exactly what I’ll be doing).


Aaron Harrison Leads Team USA to World Cup Victory


In the final game of Team USA’s World Cup qualifying tournament, Aaron Harrison was the best player on the court.

The former Kentucky Wildcat shooting guard made four-of-seven three-pointers to score a team-high 16 points in the 83-75 win over Puerto Rico.  Harrison came out hot.  He scored his first eight points in the first eight minutes of the first quarter, including this runner down the lane.

Derek Willis did not play against Puerto Rico, but he scored 2 points in six minutes vs. Cuba.  Harrison added nine points in the route.

World Cup qualifiers resume in June, but Team USA will likely look much different this summer.

Today on KSR: Anthony Davis Dropped 50, Again


No Boogie? No problem.  The Brow’s got this.

Last night Anthony Davis out-dueled Devin Booker to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to their sixth consecutive win.  Booker scored 40 points, but he could not keep up with Davis, who finished with 53 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks in the 125-116 win.  Davis is only the second player to ever record a 50-point, 15-rebound, 5-block game.

Davis’ game was great, but The Real MVP is the Pelicans’ social media staff.

Davis has stepped up his game in Boogie’s absence.  Through the six-game win streak he is averaging 41.5 points, 14.8 rebounds, 3.2 blocks and 3 steals per game.  Wow.

Hear from Coach Cal

The Kentucky Wildcats are rolling through a three-game win streak.  This afternoon around 2:00 the head coach will talk about his streaking team as the Cats prepare for the final two games of the regular season.

Clear Bags at the SEC Tourney

The SEC announced yesterday they will continue to have a clear bag policy at all championship events.  If you aren’t prepared for it, you probably haven’t been to a game in two years.  Click here for a clear bag policy refresher.

A Big Night of SEC Basketball

We will have a much clearer SEC Tournament picture after Super Tuesday.  All three teams tied for third place with Kentucky are in action tonight.  If Arkansas, Florida and Miss. State all fall, the Cats are primed to lock up a double-bye in the SEC Tournament.  A complete look at tonight’s packed slate of games:

Time Game Network
7:00 #16 Tennessee at Miss. State SEC
7:00 Florida at Alabama ESPN
7:00 Mizzou at Vanderbilt ESPN2
7:00 Oklahoma State at Iowa State ESPNU
7:00 St. Joe’s at #17 Rhode Island CBSSN
9:00 #14 Auburn at Arkansas SEC
9:00 DePaul at Creighton FS1
9:00 Oklahoma at Baylor ESPN2
9:00 Miami at #9 North Carolina ESPN
9:00 Kansas State at TCU ESPNU


Following a trip to Kentucky for Junior Day, Georgia outside linebacker KD McDaniel committed to Kentucky.  The three-star linebacker is Mark Stoops’ second commitment in the 2019 recruiting class.  For the “wait till Signing Day” crowd, know this: the second player to commit in the 2018 class, defensive end Davaon Hawkins, signed with UK in December and was one of Freddie’s favorite additions in the class.

Stoops Speaks

Spring Practice begins next week (you can now get your Spring Game tickets here).  Before kicking off five weeks of football, Mark Stoops sat down with Matt Jones on Hey Kentucky to reflect on his first five years as Kentucky’s head coach.

Isaac Humphries Named Australian League Rookie of the Year

Former Kentucky forward Isaac Humphries was named Rookie of the Year by Australia’s National Basketball League.

In his first year with his hometown team, Humphries averaged 8.9 points per game on 58 percent shooting.  He also had 3.6 rebounds and one block per game in 26 appearances for the Sydney Kings.

Check out some of his best highlights from this year.

Just before he was named Rookie of the Year, Isaac joined The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast to talk about his time at Kentucky, his first year with the Sydney Kings and much more.