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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t care about disrespect, just wants to win

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

If you ask the casual basketball fan, they’d tell you Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has failed as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Another draft screw-up for Charlotte owner Michael Jordan.

He has averaged 9.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game over the course of his seven-year career, with his best season coming in 2015-16 when he averaged 12.7 points per contest. He’s now coming off the bench, as well.

Kidd-Gilchrist’s teams have been mediocre, with point guard Kemba Walker being the only real star on the team. His jump shot (or lack thereof) has been criticized and mocked.

So why is it that MKG is having “so much fun” on the team and garnering so much respect from his veteran teammates?

Because he’s a winner who puts hustle and effort over numbers, just like we saw in his time at Kentucky.

“He just brings this competitive spirit every time he steps on the floor.,” head coach James Borrego said of Kidd-Gilchrist, via Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. “What he does is infectious: his energy, his willingness to go after every 50-50 ball, every rebound.”

For Kidd-Gilchrist, he understands the frustration. The No. 2 draft pick is usually supposed to be a sure-fire superstar, leading the franchise back to the promise land.

“I’ve been through a lot here in Charlotte – from my (flawed) jump shot to the fans’ (reactions) to old coaches, stuff like that. I just want to be happy,” said Kidd-Gilchrist … “I could easily sit here, holding down my head as an athlete and as a hooper. Sure, I want to start, but it’s not a big deal to me because this is all about my team and my teammates.”

The lead reporter writing the story, Rick Bonnell, has noticed Kidd-Gilchrist’s character off the field, as well.

“Kidd-Gilchrist is an authentic guy with a generous approach to his life and his job. Almost immediately after the then-Bobcats drafted himin 2012, he asked about finding a needy family in Charlotte that he could help sponsor. I’ve seen him at Christmas time paying for underprivileged kids to shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods. He isn’t just writing a check for a photo op, he’s interacting with those kids, teaching them life skills.”

The former Wildcat forward doesn’t care about the negative press about his on-court numbers. He knows what he means to the team both on and off the floor.

“The shade (disrespect) from what people think of me? Whatever. I don’t really care. I just want to have fun with my teammates. And win,” he said.

The entire article is stellar, showing just how much the Charlotte franchise values the former Wildcat. I highly recommend giving it a read here.

Go Cats.


BBNBA: Top 10 Plays of the Week #1

BBNBA: Top 10 Plays of the Week #1

Welcome, to the first edition of the Top 10 Plays of the Week, BBNBA style.

With 29 former Kentucky players listed on active rosters, there is almost always a dazzling highlight courtesy of a Wildcat every single night in the NBA. So, in order to help keep everyone up to date on the latest left-handed John Wall dunk or Anthony Davis chase down block, this should be a weekly post for the remainder of the NBA season.

Here’s hoping I don’t accidentally leave anything otherworldly off the list (Spoiler: I will).

Let’s jump right into it, starting with Enes Kanter at number 10.

#10 – Enes Kanter

#9 – Hamidou Diallo

#8 – John Wall

#7 – De’Aaron Fox

#6 – John Wall

#5 – Eric Bledsoe

#4 – Trey Lyles

#3 – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

#2 – Jamal Murray

#1 – Anthony Davis


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Kevin Knox Could Miss Another 2-3 Weeks

(Photo via NBA.com/Knicks)

According to an article from Marc Berman of the NY PostKevin Knox could miss as much as 2-3 weeks thanks to a sprained ankle he injured on Oct. 20.

Knox’s father, Kevin Knox Sr., told the NY Post that his son is shooting for a return sometime between Nov. 2 and Nov. 10. His father also said the injury was not “a high ankle sprain” but a Grade 2 ankle sprain, which is less severe.

Also included in the article was a mention of Knox Sr. being a huge influence on Knox as a shooter. Apparently, after Knox’s 4-16 shooting performance on opening night – his first NBA game – he and his father spent 90 minutes in the gym later that night getting shots up until 1 a.m.

Knox scored 17 points on 7-14 shooting in his next game.

While Knox’s father has given an estimate on his son’s return, his team has not. The New York Knicks have yet to release an official timetable on Knox and they’ll have the final say in determining when Knox is healthy enough to return. The good news is the injury doesn’t appear to be as bad as it looked.

In three games for the rookie this season, he’s averaged 9.3 points and 2.0 rebounds.


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Nuggets’ Jarred Vanderbilt Still “A ways away” From Making A Return

Denver Nuggets forward Jarred Vanderbilt is still “a ways away” from making a return to the court, according to head coach Mike Malone.

Vanderbilt has been plagued by injuries since before he even stepped foot on Kentucky’s campus and those nagging issues have followed him to the pros.

The second-round pick signed a three-year, $4 million deal back in July with the expectation that his rookie season in the NBA may be a lost one.

The foot/ankle problems that caused him to miss all but 14 games during his freshman year at Kentucky are still affecting him at the next level. It’s unclear at this point what type of player Vanderbilt will be when he does finally get to full health, but there is a sense that the Nuggets want to keep him for the long haul.

Vanderbilt averaged 5.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in 17.0 minutes per game when he was “healthy” at Kentucky and was one of the most unique prospects that has ever come through Lexington.

A healthy Vanderbilt could be perfectly molded for today’s NBA. Despite not having a consistent outside shot, Vanderbilt’s ability to run the floor and pass with both flair and accuracy for a big man is invaluable. He was an elite rebounder during his time at Kentucky and could pair perfectly next to Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic.

At this point, it doesn’t sound too optimistic that Vanderbilt is going to see the court anytime soon or even before the regular season ends. But, the Nuggets don’t necessarily need him right now and appear content with letting him return to full strength before they think about seriously incorporating him into their plans.


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


BBNBA: KAT is Broken, Boogie Ejected and Beefs With Kanter

(PHOTO: Diego Pardo/Players’ Tribune)

RECAP

Bulls – 106 @ Hornets – 135

  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had his best game of the short season thus far on Friday night. His 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench were a huge boost for the second unit. MKG has found a new role this season in Charlotte and has been thriving in it ever since. He’s moved to playing in smaller lineups as the four instead of starting at the three. Last season, MKG played 95 percent of his minutes at small forward. This season, he’s played 84 percent of his minutes at power forward (and the other 16 percent at center), per Basketball-Reference. Normally not a go-to scorer, especially in the starting lineup, coming off the bench allows him to take advantage of having the edge in overall talent against second units and the Hornets are benefitting greatly from it.
  • Malik Monk played 21 minutes and added 10 points (4-10 shooting), but could never get into a good rhythm.

Warriors – 128 @ Knicks – 100

  • So a lot happened in this game, but not on the court.
  • Enes Kanter came off the bench for his first time as a New York Knick and presumably wasn’t too happy about it
  • Before the game even began, Kanter and Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins – who is still recovering from his Achilles tear and, side note, participated in his first practice on Thursday – got into it with each other on the court. Later in the game during the first quarter, Cousins was talking on the sidelines and was promptly ejected. The way Marc Spears of ESPN explained it – who was at the game – didn’t clear up the reasoning as to why, either. The whole situation is weird and seems to be something that only Boogie would get roped into.

  • All that I read here is a bunch of nonsense.
  • Kanter also got into it with Kevin Durant during the game.
  • But, Kanter still played and brought in eight points and 13 rebounds in only 20 minutes. My guess for Kanter being benched? The Knicks have already submitted to the tank card after starting the season 1-4 before Friday nights game.

Clippers – 133 @ Rockets – 113

  • Shai Gilegous-Alexander scored 10 points in 31 minutes as he helped lead his Clippers team to a, somewhat surprising, blowout win over the Houston Rockets. The Rockets were without James Harden for the first time this season due to a hamstring injury, but the Rockets have not been the Rockets even before his injury. They now sit at 1-4 with rumors swirling around them as Jimmy Butler trade talks resurface.
  • So why is this important to us? Well, if an asinine trade involving four future first-round picks is truly in the works (or has at least been discussed), then the players involved would likely be at least one of Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, or Brandon Knight. However, Knight cannot be traded again until Oct. 31, so any potential deal might have to wait until the new month. The sooner this happens though, the sooner this mess can be over with. Speaking of that mess…

Bucks 125 – Timberwolves – 95

  • The Milwaukee Bucks look borderline unstoppable right now. Even with Giannis Anteotkounmpo scoring only 15 points and Eric Bledsoe adding six points – along with six rebounds and nine assists – the Bucks completely blew the Wolves out of the water. This 30-point beatdown tells us a lot about how the Bucks have redesigned their offense centered around outside shooting, but it tells us even more about the dysfunction in Minnesota.
  • Things just keep getting worse for them. Outside of a stretch in the third quarter, Karl-Anthony Towns showed no signs of wanting to be in the game. The man causing all this drama in the first place, Jimmy Butler, nearly missed the game with an “illness” only to play and score four points in 24 minutes. Things are bad in Minnesota. Like, reallyyyyyy bad, folks.

Nets – 115 @ Pelicans – 117

  • Now for some good news. The New Orleans Pelicans squeaked out a win against the forever-pesky Brooklyn Nets to move to 4-0 on the season. It was their worst shooting performance of the short season, but they still managed to take the win, thanks to some next-level stupidity from the Nets.
  • The Nets literally had the game won with only minutes left. They allowed the Pelicans to score nine straight in the final two minutes. They were up one point with time running out and the Pelicans refusing to foul (for a reason I still don’t quite understand) and instead of making simple passes to run out the clock, D’Angelo Russell tossed the ball straight out of bounds without hesitation with only seven seconds left. Jrue Holiday immediately hit a step back jumper to take the lead and Anthony Davis got the game-sealing tip-steal on the inbounds play with only two seconds left.
  • It was a learning moment for the youthful Nets team, but a devastating lesson to have to endure.
  • Davis went silly despite not scoring his “usual” 30-plus points. To go along with 18 points, Davis stuffed the stat sheet with 14 rebounds, three assists, four steals, five blocks, and only one turnover.
  • Julius Randle added 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Darius Miller left the game with a quad contusion and will miss Saturday’s matchup against the Utah Jazz.

Wizards – 112 @ Kings – 116

  • If you think things in Minnesota are bad, avert your eyes. The Washington Wizards may be even more dysfunctional. Their defense was non-existent in the second-half, giving the Kings every and any look they wanted. De’Aaron Fox lit them up for 18 points and nine assists (and he was 2-5 from deep!) while Willie Cauley-Stein had himself another excellent game, one of the best of his career, in fact.

  • WCS posted a stat line of 17 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. He continues to impress as an incredibly improved passer and was knocking down contested hook shots. If he can keep up this consistency, we may finally see the WCS we know is in there.
  • John Wall led the Wizards with 26 points and eight assists, but couldn’t do enough to grab the win.

  • After the game is where the dysfunction we’ve seen from the Wizards over the past couple years rear it’s ugly head once again.

  • You know who could totally help the Wizards chemistry? The Sage Wizard Dwight Howard, who has always been the model of a perfect teammate. When does he come back again??
  • Something else to note, although nothing major, is that the Kings have exercised their team options on both Fox and Skal Labissiere. At this very moment, the Kings are actually kinda sorta not *that* bad.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
John Wall (WAS)112-116 L @ SAC269-20 (1-6)28332-636
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)116-112 W vs. WAS187-14 (2-5)19102+1830
Anthony Davis (NOP)117-115 W vs. BKN186-19 (1-3)143451+537
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)116-112 W vs. WAS177-15 (0-0)117203+1532
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)95-125 L vs. MIL167-16 (2-5)71121-2326
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)135-106 W vs. CHI156-9 (0-0)81110+1819
Julius Randle (NOP)117-115 W vs. BKN147-14 (0-1)73122-1223
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)133-113 W @ HOU103-7 (1-1)11200+1331
Malik Monk (CHA)135-106 W vs. CHI104-10 (2-5)22201+1324
Enes Kanter (NYK)100-128 L vs. GSW84-9 (0-0)132003-1720
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)125-95 W @ MIN63-6 (0-1)69004+2120
Darius Miller (NOP)117-115 W vs. BKN31-3 (1-2)12000+14
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)128-100 W @ NYKDNP-Achilles----------------
Brandon Knight (HOU)113-133 L vs. LACDNP-Knee----------------
Kevin Knox (NYK)100-128 L vs. GSWDNP-Ankle----------------
Jodie Meeks (MIL)125-95 W @ MINDNP-Suspended----------------
Skal Labissiere (SAC)116-112 W vs. WASDNP-CD----------------
Tyler Ulis (CHI)106-135 L @ CHADNP-CD----------------
Wenyen Gabriel (SAC)116-112 W vs. WASDNP-CD----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Celtics @ Pistons

7:00: Jazz @ Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle)

7:30: Bulls (Ulis) @ Hawks (Poythress)

7:30: Pacers @ Cavaliers

7:30: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ 76ers

8:00: Trail Blazers @ Heat (Adebayo)

8:00: Suns (Booker) @ Grizzlies (An. Harrison)

8:30: Magic (Briscoe) @ Bucks (Bledsoe, Meeks-suspended)

8:30: Lakers (Rondo) @ Spurs

*Edit: Rajon Rondo WILL play tonight, as he has already finished his three-game suspension. He is not expected to start*


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


DeMarcus Cousins ejected while wearing a suit on Warriors bench

DeMarcus Cousins has his first ejection of his Golden State career, only six games into the season.

Cousins, who is inactive, was tossed from the Warriors bench for arguing with an official in Madison Square Garden… while wearing a suit. The former Wildcat is now 15 techs away from a suspension.

Maybe he just wanted to get a head start on a night out in New York? I can’t blame him if that was his play.


(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist thriving in new role in Charlotte

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

Since being drafted second by the Charlotte Hornets back in 2012, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has struggled to find his groove in the NBA. MKG’s awkward jump shot has prevented him from living up to the expectations set for him after a year at Kentucky, but new Hornets head coach James Borrego may have found the solution.

This season, MKG is playing the five spot ala Draymond Green and, as The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks writes, is flourishing:

Kidd-Gilchrist is an excellent screener, cutter, rebounder, and interior defender, and he has the tools to be a small-ball 5. He’s about the same size (6-foot-7 and 232 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan) as Draymond (6-foot-7 and 230 pounds with a 7-foot-1 wingspan). Both are built like NFL linebackers, with a thick chest, strong hands, and quick feet. MKG has the same combination of athleticism, tenacity, and basketball IQ that allows Green to bang with bigger players inside and rotate quickly as a help-side defender.

Borrego, still experimenting with his new team after five games, has found something with Kidd-Gilchrist at the 5. The Hornets have a net rating of plus-20.9 in the 36 minutes where he has played without any of their traditional big men (Cody Zeller, Willy Hernangomez, and Bismack Biyombo). It’s much higher than his net rating (minus-13.4 in 59 minutes) when he plays next to Hernangomez on the second unit. While lineup numbers don’t mean much by themselves at this point in the season, MKG’s role makes more sense in the former lineup.

Playing closer to the basket lets MKG focus more on his strengths (finishing at the rim, rebounding, defense) rather than his weaknesses (shooting). The move helps Charlotte, too. So far, having MKG in the middle is more efficient than their other post options and gives wing players like Jeremy Lamb, Malik Monk, and Miles Bridges more space on the perimeter to do their thing.

We’re only five games in to the season, but hopefully MKG has finally found the right fit.

[The Ringer]


(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Thunder Move to 0-4, Murray Drops 22

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

RECAP

Celtics – 101 @ Thunder – 95

  • Another loss for the Oklahoma City Thunder has them at 0-4 on the season and that pairs them with the Cleveland Cavaliers as the only two teams in the league without a win. The Thunder are shooting 39 percent from the field on the season and their two stars – Russell Westbrook and Paul George – are a big reason as to why. I’d expect them to recover rather quickly, however. Westbrook is still being reacclimated to the team following knee surgery and they’re simply missing open shots.
  • After being up by nine points with just over four minutes left, the Thunder crumbled, as they watched the Celtics mount a 16-1 run to win the game.
  • Hamidou Diallo followed up an 11-point performance in 21 minutes in his previous game with six points in 19 minutes while also pulling down five rebounds and blocking three shots.

  • Patrick Patterson added seven points and seven rebounds to Nerlens Noel’s seven points and four rebounds.

Nuggets – 114 @ Lakers – 121

  • Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles made some big plays to help swing things their way, but a comeback run from the Lakers was too much to handle.
  • Murray went for 22 points on 8-17 shooting with 10 rebounds, which somehow wasn’t a career high for him. He had an 11 rebound game last December.

  • Lyles brought in 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists in his 21 minutes, including this sequence against LeBron James on defense that later led to an assist for the big man.
  • Lakers guard Rajon Rondo served the second of his four-game suspension Thursday night.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Jamal Murray (DEN)114-121 L @ LAL228-17 (1-5)101113-1234
Trey Lyles (DEN)114-121 L @ LAL115-12 (1-3)43102021
Patrick Patterson (OKC)95-101 L vs. BOS73-5 (1-2)70001-117
Nerlens Noel (OKC)95-101 L vs. BOS73-4 (0-0)40010-415
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)95-101 L vs. BOS63-7 (0-0)50131+319
Rajon Rondo (LAL)121-114 W vs. DENDNP-Suspended----------------
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)114-128 L vs. PORDNP-CD----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)114-121 L @ LALDNP-Foot----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

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

7:30 (NBATV): Warriors (Cousins-out) @ Knicks (Kanter, Knox-out)

7:30: Mavericks @ Raptors

8:00: Clippers (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Rockets (Knight-out)

8:00: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Timberwolves (Towns)

8:00: Nets @ Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle)

10:00 (NBATV): Wizards (Wall) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Gabriel, Labissiere)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Andrew Harrison Isn’t Playing and I Need an Explanation

(Photo via Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports)

Memphis Grizzlies guard Andrew Harrison has yet to touch the court in the early stages of the 2018-19 NBA season and I would like an explanation, please.

Harrison has been the backup point guard of the Grizzlies for roughly two seasons now, steadily improving as a floor general-esque type backup guard. There’s never been an expectation that Harrison would be a prominent starting point guard in the league, but for him to not play one single minute this season is interesting, to say the least. He’s been on the inactive list since the before the first game.

The Grizzlies star point guard, Mike Conley, has been with the team since they drafted him fourth overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. An Achilles injury last season cost him all but 12 games of his 11th season as a pro and, in his absence, Harrison was thrown into the fire of being the starting point guard. There were no expectations of making a playoff run at that point and Harrison was given a loose leash in order to develop.

At the end of the season, the Grizzlies were rewarded with a point guard they could rely on to run the offense if things got sticky (or if Conley went down again). Going into the new season, there was optimism that Harrison might be their backup for the future.

Through four games, that has been anything but the case. Lexington native and Bryan Station graduate, Shelvin Mack, replaced Harrison. Mack, who is nearly five years older than Harrison, has earned enough respect from the team and coaching staff to completely take over Harrison’s minutes.

Mack signed as a free agent with the Grizzlies in early August – almost a month after they traded for another guard, Garrett Temple, who was a member of the Sacramento Kings – for the league’s veteran minimum. The Grizzlies are his sixth team in eight years in the NBA. Up until the season began, Mack had never played in the type of role he is in now. He’s never been a starting caliber point guard and has only shown shades of being a consistent backup. Last season with the Orlando Magic, he couldn’t manage to separate himself from either of D.J. Augustin or Elfrid Payton.

So it’s difficult to understand why Harrison has been wiped off the grid. The Grizzlies have a culture that is built on “grit and grind”, the same motto used by their wildly successful teams in the early to mid-2000s. While that era may technically be over with, it doesn’t mean the franchise still doesn’t embrace that mantra.

Perhaps Mack played harder in training camp or showed more commitment in this time with the Grizzlies. But he’s been with the team for not even three months. The Memphis organization has watched Harrison improve with their very own eyes for two seasons now.

In his first four games, Mack has scored three, nine, 12, and seven points, respectively. He’s played over 20 minutes in every single game and has finished with a positive plus/minus exactly zero times.

Sitting at 2-2 on the season with early injuries to Marc Gasol, Chandler Parsons, and JaMychal Green, the original goal of making a surprise run to the playoffs seems more like a pipe dream at this point for the Grizz. It’s only four games, but Memphis couldn’t have asked for a more complicated start to the season.

I’m beginning to wonder what direction they’re trying to take. They understandably forfeited last season after early injuries, electing to develop the young guys and tank for a high pick.

Which worked. They discovered they drafted a hidden gem in Dillon Brooks – who averaged over 28 minutes per game last year as the 45th overall pick but is averaging only 14.5 minutes this season. They drafted Jaren Jackson Jr. with the fourth overall pick and he’s averaging 27.8 minutes per game, so they obviously care about some development, still.

But what I don’t understand is trading for Temple and adding Mack. I get that the playoffs are the goal, but they’re in a Western Conference that is expecting 10 teams to fight for eight spots (and the Grizz are not included as one of those 10). Temple is a highly underrated player and it’s great he’s getting some deserved run and exposure in Memphis, but they’re sacrificing valuable playing time for Brooks, an excellent defender with real 3-and-D potential. Mack’s overall underwhelming play through four games just makes things more complicated. Marshon Brooks – who is 30 years old and hasn’t had a legit role in the NBA aside from his rookie season in 2011 – has played in three of the Grizzlies’ games, including one game where he was on the court for 22 minutes.

How is playing Brooks more valuable than Harrison? Did Harrison do so poorly in the offseason that the coaches decided to remove him from the rotation entirely? Do they see more in Mack than we do?

(Spoiler: Mack is already as good as he’s gonna get.)

Even if Mack was added in case of another injury to Conley, there should have never been a reasonable expectation that he could take over the starting role, especially over Harrison.

The Grizzlies have four players under the age of 25 right now and all four either play limited minutes (Wayne Selden and Brooks) or none at all (Harrison, Ivan Rabb, and Jevon Carter, who was recently assigned to the G League). If things continue to slip away from their control (i.e. injuries) then I’d expect them to do something similar to what they did last season and give all the playing time in the world to the young guys. But there’s no way to justify that Harrison can’t help the team win right now. He’s proven he can play in the NBA. He averaged 9.5 points and 3.2 assists last season. His 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio ranked 68th amongst every player in the league, no matter position.

The only explanation I can reasonably come to is that the Grizzlies are simply going with experience over talent. And if their embarrassing loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night – in which they only scored 92 points and were completely outrun – is any indication of how this team is going to play the rest of the season, then they’re gonna need Harrison a lot more than he’ll need them.


(Photo via Kimani Okearah)

BBNBA: Sacramento’s Youth Outpaces Memphis

(Photo via Kimani Okearah)

RECAP

Knicks – 87 @ Heat – 110

  • Enes Kanter’s streak of double-doubles to start the season has ended at four after the New York center could only generate eight points and five rebounds in a blowout loss to the Miami Heat. The Heat lit the Knicks up in the third quarter after it was close at halftime and – as a result – Kanter sat out the entire fourth quarter.
  • Kevin Knox is still recovering from his ankle injury earlier in the week and should return sometime early next week.
  • Keeping score of the non-rivalry that I’m making into a rivalry, Hassan Whiteside took this battle from Bam Adebayo. Whiteside played 26 minutes compared to Adebayo’s 21, scoring 22 points and adding 14 rebounds to Adebayo’s four points and four rebounds.

Timberwolves – 105 @ Raptors – 112

  • Something clearly isn’t right in Minnesota. More specifically, something isn’t quite right with Karl-Anthony Towns. Shocking, right? Towns had another unimpressive (for his standards) performance of 14 points and eight rebounds on 5-17 shooting in 35 minutes. In the first half against the still undefeated Toronto Raptors (who look otherworldly, might I add), Towns could hardly even find a shot. In the second half, he didn’t even want to be in the game.

  • This is, uh, well, not a great look. We obviously don’t know the intimate details as to exactly why Towns decided to pull himself from the game – although we can make some educated guesses – but no matter how we look at it from an outside perspective, this isn’t ideal. The Wolves are 2-3. Andrew Wiggins didn’t even play last night and Towns still couldn’t get the ball on offense. It’s only five games in, but something needs to change. I’m pretty sure there’s a disgruntled star just begging to be traded but *shrugs shoulders*.
  • After the game, Towns said, ”A loss is a loss. It’s about winning. It’s not about the statistical achievements, doing this or that for whoever my fantasy owner is.” Which sounds a whole lot different than what we saw from him on the court.

Hornets – 110 @ Bulls – 112

  • Nothing too exciting from the two former Wildcats on the Charlotte side. Malik Monk scored nine points on 2-8 shooting while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added another six in 16 minutes, shooting 2-2 from three.
  • Bulls guard Tyler Ulis did not play.

76ers – 108 @ Bucks – 123

  • Eric Bledsoe and the Milwaukee Bucks are 4-0 for the first time since the 2001-02 season. Led by superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have been absolutely lethal on offense and Bledsoe is a major complement to that. Wednesday night, he filled up the stat sheet again with 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Through four games, Bledsoe is averaging 15.8/5.5/6.8 (PPG/RPG/APG) while shooting 47.1 percent from the field. It’s amazing what can reenergize a player when a competent offensive scheme is installed.

Lakers – 131 @ Suns – 113

  • Rajon Rondo sat out the first of his three-game suspension as a result of the brawl between the Lakers and Rockets on Saturday night.
  • Devin Booker led all Kentucky players in points Wednesday night, scoring 23 points on 8-16 shooting before leaving the game in the third quarter with a strained hamstring. The Suns are expected to release an update on him sometime Thursday.

  • Also, Booker posted this Nike commercial centered around himself as a cartoon to his Instagram. I’d seen this earlier in the week on TV but hadn’t seen it again until Booker put it on social media. It’s a perfect ad for Booker and will surely put a smile on your face.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I was just a kid with a crazy dream once. #JustDoIt

A post shared by Devin Booker (@dbook) on

  • Nike always has great commercials, especially the ones included with their latest marketing tactic, but this one is up there amongst their best, in my opinion.

Grizzlies – 92 @ Kings – 97

  • Wenyen Gabriel and Skal Labissiere were DNPs Wednesday night, but that didn’t stop the Kentucky effect from still making its mark. De’Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein both had great games in a massive confidence-boosting win over the playoff-hopeful Grizzlies. Fox went silly, putting up 21 points (7-16 shooting), eight rebounds, and six assists including this monster one-handed slam in a close game. 10 of his points came in the third quarter alone.

  • WCS added his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
  • The Kings aren’t more talented than the Grizzlies but still managed to pull off the win thanks to their youth and simply wanting it more. The Grizzlies are a veteran team with veteran players and couldn’t match the speed and intensity of the young Kings players flying up and down the court. Marc Gasol had to leave the game early due to injury and Chandler Parsons missed the game entirely because of knee soreness.
  • This quote from head coach Dave Joerger perfectly encapsulates how the Kings are going to play the rest of the season: ”We made a lot, a lot of mistakes, but we just kept coming and coming and coming,” Joerger said. ”We overcame those mistakes with our effort. They believe that if we play fast we have a chance.” He’s 100 percent right.
  • This will eventually normalize itself (I think?), but teams are needing about 120-130 points just to have a chance to win games in the early stages of this season. Before Wednesday night, the Kings hadn’t scored under 112 points.

Wizards – 122 @ Warriors – 144

  • Well, Steph Curry sure did happen Wednesday night. He dropped 51 points in three quarters. Fifty. One. I mean, he was taking just the dumbest shots possible and they fell straight in. He’s not human. There was literally nothing the Wizards could do to stop him.

  • Like……

  • John Wall went for 13 points on 5-12 shooting, but this game never even had the chance to be close. Curry just had one of those games where he and Oracle Arena were perfectly in sync with each other. I had to include this tweet from several months ago that I saw during the game..

*Side Note* Hawks forward Alex Poythress left the game against the Mavericks in the first half with a knee injury. He’s expected to undergo an MRI Thursday for more information.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)113-131 L vs. LAL238-16 (2-6)77004-1429
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)97-92 W vs. MEM217-16 (0-2)86122+1837
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)123-108 W vs. PHI186-18 (2-7)84112+1233
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)97-92 W vs. MEM156-14 (0-0)102202+1135
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)105-112 L @ TOR145-17 (1-5)81134-435
John Wall (WAS)122-144 L @ GSW135-12 (1-5)26004-2227
Malik Monk (CHA)110-112 L @ CHI92-8 (1-6)23002-1224
Enes Kanter (NYK)87-110 L @ MIA84-7 (0-0)53012-2418
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)110-112 L @ CHI62-3 (2-2)22000-316
Bam Adebayo (MIA)110-87 W vs. NYK41-3 (0-1)43101-721
Alex Poythress (ATL)111-104 W vs. DAL10-0 (0-0)10000-116
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)144-122 W vs. WASDNP-Achilles----------------
Kevin Knox (NYK)87-110 L @ MIADNP-Ankle----------------
Tyler Ulis (CHI)112-110 W vs. CHADNP-CD----------------
Andrew Harrison (MEM)92-97 L @ SACDNP-CD----------------
Wenyen Gabriel (SAC)97-92 W vs. MEMDNP-CD----------------
Skal Labissiere (SAC)97-92 W vs. MEMDNP-CD----------------
Brandon Knight (HOU)89-100 L vs. UTADNP-Knee----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)131-113 W @ PHXDNP-Suspended----------------
Jodie Meeks (MIL)123-108 W vs. PHIDNP-Suspended----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Cavaliers @ Pistons

7:00: Trail Blazers @ Magic (Briscoe)

8:00 (TNT): Celtics @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson, Vanderbilt-out)

10:30 (TNT): Nuggets (Lyles, Murray) @ Lakers (Rondo-suspended)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Davis and Murray Win the Night

(Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

Recap

Clippers – 109 @ Pelicans – 116

  • After taking down the Los Angeles Clippers at home, the New Orleans Pelicans are 3-0 for the first time since the 2010-11 season. The man leading the charge – Anthony Davis – is already gathering his marketing team to officially introduce his MVP campaign. A 34-point, 13-rebound, five block outing is light-work at this point. I hardly bat an eye when he breaks the 30-point threshold anymore, putting up absurdly unique stat lines is synonymous with him now.
  • Davis hit a big three right under the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter that extended his team’s lead to the point of no return. He went 2-3 from deep, in fact, and is 3-4 on the season. There is no logical way to guard Davis without giving up something to his teammates. But at this point, giving his teammates wide open looks may be the most efficient defense to keep Davis under control.
  • The Pelicans had two quarters in this game where they did not score at least 30 points in one quarter. In their first two games, they didn’t have one such quarter. They still scored 126 points against the Kings.
  • Julius Randle put up 18 points of his own on 5-9 shooting (and went 1-2 from three) before fouling out in the final minutes of the game. Darius Miller struggled to get in a rhythm, scoring only two points in 13 minutes. The return of Solomon Hill from last season’s injury has resulted in him soaking up minutes that used to be Miller’s. But, Hill is the better overall player – especially on defense – so we may see continue to see him split time with Miller. Their playing time will likely be distributed based on game-by-game matchups rather than pure talent.

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander “dripped” in nine points and four rebounds in 22 minutes, playing the last two-and-a-half minutes with the finishing Clippers lineup in a close game, the second time this season head coach Doc Rivers has gone with SGA to close a game. There aren’t many rookies that play as level-headed as SGA, the hype surrounding him is only going to build.

Kings – 112 @ Nuggets – 126 

  • A big matchup in the BBNBA community last night as there were seven total former Wildcats between the two rosters. While Wenyen Gabriel did not play, the other six did.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein had the most impressive game on the Sacramento side, putting up 11 points to go along with six rebounds and three assists. The assists are what stood out, though. WCS looks much more comfortable working on the elbows and making passes to cutters with precision. It’s something he flashed last season but is finally looking confident in. The perimeter shot might not be in Willie’s future, so finding another way to impact the game on offense outside of lob-dunks and short hook shots is a major bonus. If he can become a reliable playmaker on the block, he opens up an entirely new playbook of calls that his young and restless teammates will love to be involved in. There’s nothing easier than a backdoor layup off a perfect bounce pass.

  • De’Aaron Fox wasn’t as stellar as his first three games, adding just six points in 20 minutes, while Skal Labissiere couldn’t get anything going as he played only the final four minutes. Through three games, it’s become clear that Labissiere is the odd man out. I was worried going into the season that the Kings crowded frontcourt would cost someone minutes and it turned out to be Labissiere, at least to start the season. However, this isn’t set in stone. There are going to be plenty of opportunities for Labissiere to play himself back into the rotation. But for now, he’s on the outside looking in on a 0-3 team.
  • Jamal Murray followed up a horrendous 0-9 shooting night against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday with a 6-10 performance Tuesday night for 19 points, with 14 of them coming in the third quarter. The Nuggets are now the only 4-0 team in the NBA and they sure can put up a stupid number of points. They’ve scored at least 100 in all four games and the Kings were actually the first team to drop 100 on their defense.
  • Trey Lyles – who is now in the business of trying to steal some of Will Barton’s minutes while he recovers from injury – had 12 points in 23 minutes.

Statistics

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis (NOP)116-109 W vs. LAC3411-21 (2-3)132150+1540
Jamal Murray (DEN)126-112 W vs. SAC196-10 (3-6)14100+1718
Julius Randle (NOP)116-109 W vs. LAC185-9 (1-2)50202-621
Trey Lyles (DEN)126-112 W vs. SAC125-12 (0-3)53014+623
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)112-126 L @ DEN115-7 (0-0)63100-423
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)109-116 L @ NOP93-8 (1-1)42113-1122
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)112-126 L @ DEN62-8 (0-1)14201-2220
Darius Miller (NOP)116-109 W vs. LAC21-2 (0-1)01000-113
Skal Labissiere (SAC)112-126 L @ DEN00-0210000+74
Wenyen Gabriel (SAC)112-126 L @ DENDNP-CD----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)126-112 W vs. SACDNP-Foot----------------

Tonight in the NBA

7:00 (ESPN): Mavericks @ Hawks (Poythress)

7:00: Nets @ Cavaliers

7:30: Knicks (Kanter, Knox-out) @ Heat (Adebayo)

7:30: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Raptors

8:00: Jazz @ Rockets (Knight-out)

8:00: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Bulls (Ulis)

8:30: Pacers @ Spurs

9:30 (ESPN): 76ers @ Bucks (Bledsoe, Meeks-suspended)

10:00: Lakers (Rondo-suspended) @ Suns (Booker)

10:00: Grizzlies (An. Harrison) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Gabriel, Labissiere)

10:30: Wizards (Wall) @ Warriors (Cousins-out)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Wiz Win in OT, Booker Drops 28

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Recap

Hornets 106 – Raptors 127

  • Fresh off being named the first Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the new NBA season, Kemba Walker couldn’t muster up enough offense to take down a stout Toronto defense. Malik Monk scored 10 points off the bench while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added six.
  • We’re only four games in, but Monk has looked much more comfortable working within the offense. His three-point percentage is slightly above 40 percent this season on 6.8 attempts per game (last season he shot 34.2 percent on nearly half the volume). The sample size is small, but it’s enough to remain optimistic that Monk could continue to be a focal point of the offense.

Knicks 113 – Bucks 124

  • Kevin Knox missed his first game for the Knicks since the turned ankle on Saturday. The initial feeling was that Knox might miss extended time, but as ESPN reported on Sunday, it shouldn’t be more than a week of recovery for the forward.
  • As for his fellow Knick teammate, Enes Kanter continued his double-double streak to begin the season, now up to four games in a row as he added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
  • Eric Bledsoe also had himself a double-double, but of the passing persuasion. His 16 points and 13 assists were key in opening up the floor. He’s become infatuated with one of the Bucks offseason additions, Brook Lopez, as he can knock down perimeter shots and spread the floor for Milwaukee – and more importantly, Giannis Antetokounmpo – along with sharpshooter Khris Middleton.
  • The Bucks start their season 3-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Also, Middleton (30 points, 7-8 from three) has slowly been speaking some truth into offseason speculation that he might be ready to make the leap towards an All-Star game appearance.

Pacers 91 – Timberwolves 101

  • It was another less-than-stellar game from Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns (for his standards, at least), who brought in 17 points and 15 rebounds in a win against the Pacers that brings his team back to .500. It was Towns first double-double of the season. Small sample sizes can be dangerous, but it’s telling that Towns is averaging only 11.0 shots per game this season when he averaged 14.3 last season (and 18.0 the year before that). It’s obvious he’s not being used to the highest potential as a feature in the Timberwolves offense and that desperately needs to change. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first game or the 82nd, Towns has to have the ball in his hands in order for the team to be it’s most effective and successful. Andrew Wiggins should not be taking more shots per game than Towns. Not on this team. Not on this earth. Not in this universe should that ever be allowed to happen.

Wizards 125 – Trail Blazers 124 (OT)

  • The Wizards got their first win of the season in thrilling fashion, needing overtime against Portland to make it happen. John Wall played in 41 minutes but added only 16 points on 5-19 shooting to go along with nine assists. He missed some free throws down the stretch but made the game-deciding basket with 10 seconds left in overtime.

Suns 103 – Warriors 123

  • Another Suns-Warriors matchup, another victory in the books for Golden State. In fact, that’s the 16th straight win for the Warriors over the Suns, their longest streak against one team in franchise history. Devin Booker continues to have the greenest light in basketball – literally the second he crosses half-court, there’s no guarantee he won’t fire it right then and there if a hand isn’t directly in his face. His 28 points on 11-21 shooting make him the BBNBA Player of the Night, but it wasn’t nearly enough to beat four opposing All-Stars. We even saw some flashes of Point Booker last night (six assists), albeit, with nine turnovers to cancel it out.

Statistics

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)103-123 L @ GSW2811-21 (3-9)56209-538
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)101-91 W vs. IND176-12 (1-5)150023+332
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)124-113 W vs. NYK166-11 (2-7)413212+1931
John Wall (WAS)125-124 (OT) W @ POR165-19 (0-2)49114+241
Enes Kanter (NYK)113-124 L @ MIL146-12 (0-0)132002-932
Malik Monk (CHA)106-127 L @ TOR104-12 (2-5)23022-1124
Michael KIdd-Gilchrist (CHA)106-127 L @ TOR63-8 (0-0)51100-1016
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)93-90 W @ BOSDNP-CD----------------
Andrew Harrison (MEM)92-84 W @ UTADNP-CD----------------
Tyler Ulis (CHI)109-115 L @ DALDNP-CD----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)142-143 (OT) L vs. SASDNP-Suspended----------------
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)123-103 W vs. PHXDNP-Achilles----------------
Kevin Knox (NYK)113-124 L @ MILDNP-Ankle----------------

Tonight in the NBA

7:00 (NBATV): 76ers @ Pistons

8:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle)

9:00: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Gabriel, Labisierre) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt-out)

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Rajon Rondo suspended three games for role in Lakers-Rockets fight Saturday night

(Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports)

Former Kentucky guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended three games for his role in the brawl between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets last night.

He joins Laker teammate Brandon Ingram (four games) and Houston rival Chris Paul (two games) in the penalty box.

The brawl started when Ingram shoved Houston’s James Harden, followed by a shouting match between both teams. Rondo and Paul were face-to-face when the NBA declared the former Wildcat spit in Paul’s face, resulting in Paul putting his hands in Rondo’s face. The 13-year point guard then threw a punch, leading to chaos.

Take a look at the exchange below:

Regardless of how you feel about the fight between Rondo and Paul, what the hell is up with Ingram shoving Harden and then coming in out of nowhere to throw a punch? Ridiculous.

Not a good look for anyone involved.