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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

Take a look inside Anthony Davis’ home on Animal Planet’s “Tanked”

Take a look inside Anthony Davis’ home on Animal Planet’s “Tanked”

Anthony Davis was the special guest on the latest episode of the hit television show Tanked on Animal Planet. The show follows the operations of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing as it builds extravagant aquariums in the homes of celebrities, which, in this past episode, took viewers inside Davis’ home in Metairie, Louisiana.

For fans of the former Kentucky national champion, it was a pretty neat glimpse inside how he’s living as an NBA superstar with the Pelicans. Tanked gave us a small peek at his home, and I captured some of the shots while watching the episode last night.

You can see the full episode online here or on Animal Planet On Demand on your DVR box. Until you find the time to do that, check out some of what the episode teaches us.


This is what the front of his house looks like….

He has to duck to get through his front door…

He has a movie theater room…

The theater room has a painting of Bruce Lee fighting Muhammad Ali…

His pool is massive…

It has a lazy river…

It also has a grotto…

This is his dining room, where he wanted his aquarium…

It’s a nice dining room…

And this is the finished product…

Watch the entire episode here to see more of Davis’ home and a surprise house guest at the end.


Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Adebayo’s Career High 19 is not enough in Heat’s loss to Cavs

Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cat, Bam Adebayo turned in a career high 19 points in the Heat’s loss to the Cavaliers. His performance, however, was not the storyline of the game. LeBron James was ejected for the first time in his NBA career. Other notable performances include a double-double for Willie Cauley-Stein off the bench for the Kings. Devin Booker returned from his injury to score 33 points in a win over the Bulls. Karl Towns brought down 17 rebounds and added 20 points, but it was Jodie Meeks’ hot shooting from three that proved to be a difference in the Wizards’ three-point victory over the Timberwolves. Now for your complete stats:

Stats

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Bam Adebayo108-97 L vs. Cle197-762010+1318
Tyler Ulis104-99 W vs. Chi145-9 (1-1) 56104+231
Devin Booker104-99 W vs. Chi3310-23 (5-9)94113-533
Jodie Meeks92-89 W vs. Min124-6 (4-6)00000+1218
Karl-Anthony Towns92-89 L vs. Was209-19 (2-5)170104+340
Trey Lyles106-77 L vs. Utah62-6 (0-2)20101-1718
Jamal Murray106-77 L vs. Utah105-13 (0-6)12103-2129
Eric Bledsoe112-87 W vs. Sac217-10 (3-4)55300+2724
DeAndre Liggins112-87 W vs. Sac21-2 (0-1)12102-125
Skal Labissiere112-87 L vs. Mil114-860000+024
De'Aaron Fox112-87 L vs. Mil42-10 (0-3)12002-2424
Willie Cauley-Stein112-87 L vs. Mil105-10 (0-1)101004-1324

Highlights

Bam says NO


Bam goes behind the back


LOB CITY


Devin Booker had yet another good night


Transition 3 ball for Jodie!


Jodie Meeks at the buzzer!


WHAT A PASS FROM KAT


“Who said Foxes couldn’t fly”

Highlight of the Night

That was the 4,000th point for Karl-Anthony Towns in his young career!

Tonight in the NBA

  • Suns (Ulis and Booker) at Pistons- 7pm
  • Thunder (Johnson and Patterson) at Magic- 7pm
  • Wizards (Meeks) at 76ers- 7pm NBATV
  • Heat (Adebayo) at Knicks (Kanter)- 7:30pm
  • Hornets (Monk and Kidd-Gilchrist) at Raptors- 7:30pm
  • Pacers (Poythress) at Rockets- 8pm
  • Timberwolves (Towns) at Pelicans (Rondo, Cousins, Davis and Miller) 8pm
  • Nets at Mavericks (Noel) 8:30pm
  • Grizzlies (Harrison) at Spurs- 8:30pm
  • Warriors at Lakers (Randle)  10:30pm NBATV

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

BBNBA: Willie Cauley-Stein stuffs the stat sheet

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Recap

There were 16 teams in action last night in the NBA, but only a few of them featured former Kentucky players. Enes Kanter was kept out due to back spasms while Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress were also kept out for non-injury issues. Luckily, the Sacramento Kings and their three Cats were in action along with Julius Randle out in Los Angeles. Willie Cauley-Stein was easily the most impressive Wildcat from last night, posting 19 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists on 8-9 shooting. His play helped his team take down the Curry/Durant-less Golden State Warriors in a game where WCS showed his potential and versatility.

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)SAC @ GSW 110-106 W198-9 (0-0)86122+429
Julius Randle (LAL)LAL @ LAC 115-120 L112-5 (0-2)31013+1124
Skal Labissiere (SAC)SAC @ GSW 110-106 W94-7 (0-0)41022-515
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)SAC @ GSW 110-106 W63-7 (0-0)44202-323
Enes Kanter (NYK)POR @ NYK 91-103 LDNP (Back Spams)----------------
Alex Poythress (IND)ORL @ IND 121-109 WDNP-CD----------------
Nerlens Noel (DAL)DAL @ SAS 108-115 LDNP-CD----------------

Highlights

Tonight in the NBA

Busy Tuesday night filled with plenty of Kentucky action. Wizards-Timberwolves will showcase the most star power with John Wall and Karl-Anthony Towns going at it. If you’re looking for your fix of Kentucky players, Bucks-Suns should provide you exactly what you’re looking for.

7:00 (NBATV): Heat (Adebayo) @ Cavaliers

8:00: Suns (Booker, Ulis, Knight) @ Bulls

8:00: Wizards (Wall, Meeks) @ Timberwolves (Towns)

10:00 (ESPN): Bucks (Bledsoe, Liggins) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere) 

10:00: Nuggets (Murray, Lyles) @ Jazz

Player to watch

Karl-Anthony Towns is my player to watch tonight. He’s been underwhelming over his past 10 or so games, especially on the defensive end. In his most recent game against the Phoenix Suns, he seemed to return to the KAT we are used to, but going up against the Wizards brutal frontcourt tonight won’t be nearly as easy of a challenge.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


BBNBA: Karl Towns leads Timberwolves in win over Suns, presented by Anthem Medicaid

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Some highlights from Sunday’s BBNBA focus on Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns scored 32 points in the Timberwolves’ win over Tyler Ulis and the Phoenix Suns. Ulis started for the Suns and played 20 minutes in defeat. Devin Booker missed the game with a sore right big toe. They do not expect him to miss an extended period of time.

Complete Stats

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Bam Adebayo100-93 W vs. Chi
DNP- Coach's Decision
---------
Devin Booker119-108 L vs. Min
DNP- Right Toe
---------
Tyler Ulis119-108 L vs. Min42-6 (0-1)14003-2120
Karl-Anthony Towns119-108 W vs. Pho3212-26 (2-6)122011+1339
Andrew Harrison98-88 L vs. Nets72-5 (1-2)01002+07

Highlights

Karl Towns and one!


Complete Highlights from KAT


Highlight of the Day

Games Today

  • Magic at Pacers (Poythress) 7pm
  • Cavaliers at 76ers- 7pm
  • Pistons at Celtics- 7:30pm
  • Trail Blazers at Knicks (Kanter)- 7:30pm
  • Nets at Rockets- 8pm
  • Mavericks (Noel) at Spurs- 8:30pm (NBA TV)
  • Kings (Labissiere, Cauley-Stein, Fox) at Warriors- 10:30pm
  • Lakers (Randle) at Clippers- 10:30pm

Karl-Anthony Towns says Wisconsin loss was “the one that got away.”

Karl-Anthony Towns says Wisconsin loss was “the one that got away.”

PHOTO: Jack Pilgrim, Kentucky Sports Radio

While most Kentucky fans were watching the Wildcats take on Fort Wayne in Rupp Arena last night, I had the opportunity to watch one former Cat put up yet another impressive performance in the NBA.

The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Orlando Magic 124-118, where Karl-Anthony Towns managed 18 points and 13 rebounds in the team’s eleventh win of the season.

After the game, I sat down with Towns to talk about his time at Kentucky, what he learned from John Calipari, the Wisconsin loss, and the relationship he has with his former Wildcat teammates.

When asked about his team’s historic run in 2014-15, the former Wildcat star said the Wisconsin loss in the Final Four to end the “perfect” season still lingers in his mind.

“Hell yeah it’s on my mind. It’s on my mind all the time. That’s the one that got away from me in college. I didn’t have another chance to do it again. It’s the biggest game I lost, and it was the only game I lost,” he said.

Despite the loss, Towns’ Kentucky team will go down in the record books and the minds of Wildcat fans forever. When I asked about what it means to play for one of the most historic basketball teams in school history, Towns jumped in and corrected me.

We weren’t just one of the most legendary teams in the history of our school, but in NCAA history too,” he said.

Towns said they were able to accomplish what they did because of the team’s seasoned veterans and how they took the freshmen under their wing to become one cohesive unit. With that, they all learned how to play winning basketball, and the rest is history.

“We were one of the most experienced Kentucky teams (during the Calipari era.) We had Willie (Cauley-Stein), Alex (Poythress), Aaron (Harrison), and Andrew (Harrison), all guys who had been to a Final Four and a National Championship,” he said. “They understood, and we were very fortunate to ride on their coattails with their experience of games.”

With a team as talented as theirs, playing for the name on the front of their jerseys instead of the back was crucial for reaching their goal of making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. The individual stats may not have been like they were in high school, but they grew as a team and got better as a result.

“We understood early that not everyone is going to be “the man” every night. We all came from backgrounds where we were “the guys” for our high school teams and our respective programs. We all had that alpha dog mindset,” said Towns.

Former players have talked about John Calipari and the lasting impression and advice he leaves on them after heading to the NBA. For Towns, the biggest takeaway from Coach Cal was to appreciate the historic team they had and live in the moment.

“Play in the present. He always had that on our wall going into the film room,” he said. “He understood how rare and special our team was. We all knew it, but he didn’t want us to take it for granted. He always told us to play in the present, play in the now, and to not have any regrets.”

As a team, they took that mentality to heart, as they knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity they would never get to experience again as a collective unit.

“We took that to heart as a team because we understood that after that year, there was no way that all of us would be together again and we had to make the most of that opportunity. There wasn’t going to be another chance,” said Towns. “Unfortunately we came up short, but I can definitely say that we cherished every single moment that we had with each other and that’s why our bonds now are so strong.”

With those bonds, Towns says he keeps up with his former Kentucky teammates on a regular basis, and that he gets “choked up” every time he sees them.

“I love all of them. Every time I see them, it’s almost like I choke up a little bit because that time was so special to me,” said Towns. “I try to keep up with them all the time. I was just talking to Derek (Willis) the other day, now he has a beautiful wife, he’s doing well. I talk to Alex (Poythress), talk to Willie (Cauley-Stein), talk to (Devin) Book(er), talk to Tyler Ulis, Marcus Lee, I try to talk to everyone. Even the guys that didn’t get much playing time like Tod Lanter and Sam Malone.”

When he sees not only his former Kentucky teammates, but all former Wildcats thriving in the NBA and making names for themselves, Towns said there is only one explanation for it all.

It must mean Coach Cal is doing something right. That’s an easy question to answer. Cal is doing something right. You can’t make any excuses for his success, it’s written down on paper, it’s written in stone.”


Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR


Julius Randle’s intense offseason translating onto the court

Julius Randle’s intense offseason translating onto the court

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Through his first two full NBA seasons, Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle had hardly shown that he had star potential. He would show flashes of brilliance only to follow it up with unnecessary mistakes. He constantly struggled to make shots. He has always been big enough to get to the basket, he just lacked that finishing ability necessary to make himself a legitimate threat. The 2017 offseason is when Julius forced critics to find someone else to tear down.

Julius Randle entered his third (technically fourth) season in the NBA as a completely different player, and he owes it all to his offseason workouts. Randle saw this offseason as a challenge to better himself, but not solely through playing more basketball. He spent the offseason getting shredded, and I mean absolutely shredded.

Randle went through an insanely rigorous workout program that saw him transform from a hefty athlete into a walking, talking six-pack. The above picture is after only five weeks of intense workouts with professional trainer Amoila Cesar, who works with NBA players and celebrities. As you’ll see below, Randle was doing workouts that made my muscles scream just by watching him.

Randle is following in the path of several other NBA players who used the offseason as an opportunity to focus on their core. The new trend appears to be less about weight lifting and more about core workouts (and a clean diet). Not surprisingly, it’s working. Randle has completely rebuilt his body over the course of the offseason and he’s unleashing hell on the opposition as a result.

Despite playing less minutes than his career average (more on that in a minute), Randle is producing at a level he nor anyone else has ever seen before from him. Randle is averaging 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game this season playing only 21.2 minutes per game (almost eight less minutes than last season when he averaged 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game). As his opportunities have dwindled to begin this season, he’s putting up more efficient numbers than ever. If we stretch out Randle’s numbers this season over the course of a 36 minute average, his stats improve to 20.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.

One of Randle’s most glaring weaknesses through his young NBA career (and even at Kentucky) has been his inability to finish consistently. He’s always had a unique body that can barrel through the opposition as long as he had a head of steam, but thanks to his offseason workouts he’s now capable of harnessing his explosiveness. Randle used to have a bad habit of needlessly spinning his way to the basket, which got predictable rather quickly as defenses began to study him more. Now, he’s much more agile and quick and those spin moves have turned into typhoons made of bricks that almost no one can stop. Randle is shooting 54.2 percent from the floor this season, up from 48.8 percent last season. His largest deficiency used to be that he simply couldn’t finish, now he’s finishing over multiple defenders.

 

Take a look at Randle’s shot chart for this season. He’s finishing at the rim well-above the league average. In general, when he shoots within 0-3 feet from the basket, he converts on 73.8 percent of his shots. The efficiency he desperately needed is beginning to maintain itself.

Randle has always been a playmaker, someone who can dribble the ball up the court and make plays on his own. His new body-type makes him even more lethal in that regard. Randle typically gets the ball at the top of the key and if he’s presented with a one-on-one opportunity, he’s going to expose the defender, no matter who it is. He can drive straight through contact as if he’s being guarded by a garbage bag full of feathers. If he’s faced against a smaller defender, he can body through them. If he’s faced against a bigger defender, he can swiftly beat them off the dribble.

His signature spin move is still there, but now it’s lightning quick and impossible at times to defend. Even if the opposition knows it’s coming. These are shots Randle missed last season on a consistent basis. He’s so much stronger now that he can contort his body in mid-air and get off shots that almost seem impossible until the ball is suddenly through the bottom of the hoop.

He’s become a deadly pick-and-roll man, as well. Ranking in the 92.4 percentile in that category. He scores 1.41 points per possession as the roll man (some of that praise can be credited to Lonzo Ball’s passing ability) and converts on those scoring chances 66.7 percent of the time.

Randle has also become a criminally underrated passer. Since he can bring the ball up, he allows himself the chance to survey the court and find open teammates and he hits them in stride. He’s a particularly good passer when in the post. His vision has improved and he seems to always have a go-to plan with at least two backups in the back of his mind.

He’s easily been the Lakers second-best passer next to Lonzo Ball and his playmaking ability has been indispensable to start the season. Which is why it’s curious that he’s averaging only 20 minutes per game.  There isn’t a clear-cut reason as to why, but an obvious reason might be that the Lakers have no future plans with Randle. It also may just be that he thrives in his role of coming off the bench. Either way, I’d say there’s a higher chance he’s not a Laker come the start of next season than not. The Lakers are going to push hard towards signing multiple high-profile free agents such as LeBron James and Paul George this summer and they’ll need to clear some space for that to happen. That space will likely include Randle. Which is a shame, considering how much better the team performs when Randle is in the game, which can be shown through the chart below.

The Lakers are a bad team comprised mostly of young and raw talent, so it’s impressive to see that Randle not only has a positive on/off rating (this statistic is the team’s point differential per 100 possessions while that player is on court), but also the highest on his team. When Randle comes in, the entire dynamic of the team seems to change. The Lakers play with more energy and that can be directly correlated to Randle’s uncanny ability to never slow down.

Randle still needs to work on his outside shot. He’s shooting only 25.0 percent from deep and defenders will typically allow him the deep ball rather than letting him easily blow by them. As the NBA landscape moves away from the paint and out towards the three-point line, Randle developing a consistent outside jumper could be critical if he wants to take another leap. Even still, it’s impressive he is devastating opponents almost solely in the paint. If he can add an outside shot to his arsenal, his potential goes through the roof.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


James Young has back-to-back 40-point games in G-League

James Young has back-to-back 40-point games in G-League

Don’t write James Young’s NBA obituary just yet.

After being waived by the Milwaukee Bucks last month, Young has found new life with the Bucks’ G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. Young has turned in back-to-back 40-point performances, putting up 40 points (12-15 FG) vs. the Maine Red Claws on Saturday and 41 points (12-17 FG, 9-11 3 PT FG) vs. the Delaware 87ers last night.

Prior to last night’s scoring flurry, Young was named G-League Performer of the Week. So far this season, he’s averaging 29.6 points, the most of any player in the G-League. Last year, Young averaged 2.3 points in 29 games with the Boston Celtics, who did not resign his contract. After a stint with the New Orleans Pelicans summer league team, he signed a training camp contract with the Bucks, but was optioned to the Herd.

More performances like this and it’s only a matter of time before he gets called up.


Pregame Scouting: Fort Wayne Mastodons

Pregame Scouting: Fort Wayne Mastodons

Tonight is the second game in three days for the Kentucky Wildcats, and the sixth game in the last 13 days overall, so I’m sure one thing these kids are thankful for come Thursday is rest. But we cannot overlook tonight’s match up against the Fort Wayne Mastodons.

Head Coach Jon Coffman brings the 3-1 Mastodons to Rupp Arena for their first ever game against Kentucky. Fort Wayne has won three straight after dropping their first game of the year to Oakland. Their wins are over Defiance, Delaware State, and University of Illinois at Chicago. The Cats take on UIC on Sunday.

Coffman is in his fourth season manning the sidelines for Fort Wayne, following three years as an assistant there. Coffman’s most notable win was over Indiana last season in a shocking upset on national television. Let’s take a look at the probable starting lineup for the Mastodons tonight against the Wildcats:


#1 Bryson Scott, Senior Guard, 6’1″

Bryson Scott is one of three returning starters for Jon Coffman and the Mastodons. After spending two seasons at Purdue, Scott transferred to Fort Wayne where he was named to the Summit League All-Newcomer team last season. Scott was a four-star recruit out of high school and a top 100 player.

The former Boilermaker was one of the top contributors on this Fort Wayne team last year. This year, he’s the top contributor. Scott is leading the team in both points and assists, averaging 22 and 4.3 on the season, to go along with 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals which are both good for second on the team. He’s shooting just under 30% from 3-point range and over 83% from the free throw line.

Another game, another talented and experienced guard for Kentucky’s Quade Green to go up against. Green has been doing a fantastic job on the offensive side of the ball, sticking out as the second best scorer for the Cats lately, but his defensive lapses still occur.

#55 John Konchar, Junior Forward, 6’5″

John Konchar is the second of three returning starters for the Mastodons this season, making this his third year as a starter. Konchar has been named to the All-Summit League First Team in each of the last two seasons. He had the most double-doubles in the conference last season with 15, good for 26th in the country.

The junior has led the team in rebounds from day 1 of his freshman year, and it continues into his third year. He’s averaging a double-double on the season with 11.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per contest, along with 3.5 assists and a team leading 3.3 steals per game. He’s hit a third of his 3’s this season and 6 of his 7 attempted free throws.

Konchar plays a lot bigger than his height with his ability to rebound. At 6’5″, he has a four inch differential  to his match up with Kevin Knox, but only weighs five pounds less. It will be interesting to see how Knox defends Konchar on the glass, given that Konchar will try to body up Knox more so than any player Knox has defended this season.

#32 Kason Harrell, Junior Guard, 6’2″

Kason Harrell is yet another returning starter for Coach Coffman. He started 29 of 33 games last season, scoring in double figures 21 times. Harrell currently sits at fifth in the entire nation in career three point shooting percentage for active NCAA Division 1 players at 45.3%.

The junior is one of three double-digit per game scorers on this Mastodon squad, averaging 12.8 points per game which is good for second on the team. He’s also giving the team 1.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Harrell has made 11 of his 28 attempted three point shots on the season, and has only attempted 16 two point field goals.

Harrell is basically the definition of a shooting guard. He’s not the primary ball handling guard, but will light you up from downtown if given the chance. Hamidou Diallo will need to run him off that three point line to avoid any huge shooting performances.

#22 Xzavier Taylor, Senior Forward, 6’9″

Xzavier Taylor is in his second season playing at Fort Wayne after playing two seasons for Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Despite starting the majority of his freshman season at Bradley, his playing time was reduced his sophomore campaign to just under 10 minutes per game.

The senior is splitting time at the 5 position for Coach Coffman with 6’11” big man Dylan Carl, with both players playing just under 17 minutes per game. Taylor is averaging 6.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while Carl is contributing 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds while leading the team in blocks. Combined, the two post players are 3 for 3 from beyond the arc on the season.

Both Taylor and Carl man the paint for the Mastodons, meaning they’ll match up with the two Kentucky big men of Nick Richards and Sacha Killeya-Jones. The two are very different though, as Taylor is 6’9″ and 255 pounds, while Carl is 6’11” and only 205 pounds.

#5 Jax Levitch, Sophomore Forward, 6’7″

Jax Levitch is actually a Kentucky native, playing his high school basketball at Trinity High School in Louisville. His brother, David Levitch, actually just finished his playing career at the University of Louisville from 2013-2017, playing less than 10 minutes per game his senior season.

The sophomore is taller than his brother by 4 inches and comes with a different skill set. Currently, Levitch is averaging 5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 0.8 steals per game. At 6’7″, he is the second tallest player in the starting lineup, but can step out hit jump shots. He has hit 6 of his 13 attempted threes in the first four games of the season.

At only 210 pounds, Levitch will be outsized by his counterpart in the Kentucky lineup, PJ Washington, who weighs in at 236 pounds. Everyone has been waiting for Washington to show that bulldog mentality in the paint that was promised in the offseason, and this may be the matchup he is able to do it.


The Fort Wayne Mastodons do bring a lot of experience to Rupp Arena tonight, with three returning starters and two seniors in the starting lineup. The Cats can’t be looking forward to Thanksgiving too much, as Fort Wayne does have the ability to knock off high-major schools, like they did to Tom Crean and Indiana last season. Hopefully, tonight is the night we see Kentucky come out and play a full 40 minutes of solid basketball to have a good feeling going into the holiday weekend.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


DeMarcus Cousins distributed food in New Orleans’ 9th Ward for Thanksgiving

Ashley Amoss/Pelicans.com

This weekend, former Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins helped distribute food for Thanksgiving to those in need in New Orleans’ 9th Ward.

The 9th Ward was one of the main areas destroyed by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, and the recovery process to get it even remotely restored has been long and challenging.

Here’s the clip:

This is just one of countless examples of Cousins giving back to the community and donating his time and money. In just a few weeks, we will be seeing “Santa Cuz,” the star center’s annual event where he takes local children out shopping and buys them toys and gifts for Christmas.

But remember, DeMarcus Cousins is a “thug” and only cares about himself.

Keep making us proud, Boogie!


Newspaper mixes up DeMarcus Cousins and Kirk Cousins

Newspaper mixes up DeMarcus Cousins and Kirk Cousins

As we know all too well here at KSR, typos happen, and this one is pretty funny.

DeMarcus Cousins was ejected from last night’s Pelicans/Thunder game for elbowing Russell Westbrook in the head and, in their summary of the incident, one newspaper got their Cousins mixed up, much to Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins’ delight:

Kirk’s street cred just went through the roof.


Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Anthony Davis drops 36, John Wall scores 15 after returning from injury

Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports

Recap

There were 11 total games last night in the Association as plenty of former Wildcats took the floor to start week 6 of the NBA season. Anthony Davis highlights last night’s performances as he scored 36 points and 15 rebounds to secure another victory for the New Orleans Pelicans, who are sitting somewhat unexpectedly at 9-8. John Wall returned from a knee injury last night that kept him from playing in the Wizards last game against the Toronto Raptors. Wall scored 15 points in his return. Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins have consistently been eating up minutes for their respective team. Someone in the comments had asked me a couple weeks ago if Liggins’ minutes would dip because of the Eric Bledsoe trade. Surprisingly, Liggins is averaging eight more minutes per game over his last five. In those five games, he’s averaging 4 points and 1.4 steals per game along with 41.7 percent shooting from deep. Miller is averaging 23.2 minutes per game over his last four, putting up numbers of 12.8 points per game and 63.2 percent shooting from deep (12-19). Check out the rest of the stats.

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)SAC @ GSW 110-106 W198-9 (0-0)86122+429
Julius Randle (LAL)LAL @ LAC 115-120 L112-5 (0-2)31013+1124
Skal Labissiere (SAC)SAC @ GSW 110-106 W94-7 (0-0)41022-515
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)SAC @ GSW 110-106 W63-7 (0-0)44202-323
Enes Kanter (NYK)POR @ NYK 91-103 LDNP (Back Spams)----------------
Alex Poythress (IND)ORL @ IND 121-109 WDNP-CD----------------
Nerlens Noel (DAL)DAL @ SAS 108-115 LDNP-CD----------------

News

DeMarcus Cousins was ejected last night for elbowing Russell Westbrook in the head.

Cousins was adamant that Westbrook flopped, but after a replay, it’s clear that Boogie dinged him with the elbow. Whether or not Westbrook exaggerated the contact is up for debate. I personally believe that Boogie should not have been ejected, but given just a flagrant 1 instead of a flagrant 2. The league will likely review the play and release a statement sometime soon either upholding or rescinding the flagrant 2.

Highlights

Tonight in the NBA

Tuesday nights continue to be the dead day of the week as there is only one game on the schedule. The Bulls-Lakers isn’t anywhere near a must-watch game, but Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and especially Julius Randle have been a lot of fun to watch for the Lakers. The Bulls also have some talented young prospects in Lauri Markkanen, Justin Holiday, and Kris Dunn.

10:30: Bulls @ Lakers (Randle)

Player to watch

Julius Randle is the only former Wildcat in action tonight but he continues to impress in limited minutes. Julius is a redefined player in his third full season in the NBA and watching him play at a high level makes me grin from ear to ear.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Karl Towns named Western Conference Player of the Week

Congratulations to Karl Towns, who was named Western Conference Player of the Week today, the third time KAT has won the award.

Last week, the former Cat and nicest human being alive averaged 20.3 points and 12.3 rebounds, leading the Timberwolves to three wins and one loss. He shot 55.4% (31-56) from the floor, including 9-16 from three-point range. His best game was on Wednesday, when he put up 26 points and 16 rebounds in a win over San Antonio, snapping the Timberwolves’ 12-game losing streak to the Spurs.

Through 16 games this season, Towns is averaging 20.8 points and 11.4 rebounds while shooting 53.8% from the field, including 37.9% from three. He has 12 double-doubles, eight of which are 20-point/10-rebound performances.

Pass the time until tipoff with highlights from KAT’s big week:


DeAndre Liggins has proven his worth for the Milwaukee Bucks

DeAndre Liggins has proven his worth for the Milwaukee Bucks

To say former Wildcat DeAndre Liggins has been a journeyman as a professional basketball player would be an understatement. In just six years since being drafted in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks, Liggins has played for 12 different organizations, both in the NBA and overseas.

This offseason, the Milwaukee Bucks claimed the 6’6 shooting guard off waivers, and he’s been a massive difference-maker for the franchise ever since.

Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently wrote a feature on the Bucks guard and the impact he has made for the team:

“Everybody can score in this league, everybody don’t want to play defense,” Liggins said.  “That’s what I get paid for. I’m not looked at as a scorer. I can shoot the ball — my shot has improved — but my job first is to bring energy, do all the intangibles, take charges, get the 50/50 balls and that’s what I’m going to continue to hang my hat on.”
At Kentucky, Liggins became an elite defender and helped lead the team to a Final Four in his junior year with the team. In the NBA, he has made it his No. 1 priority to do whatever it takes to make sure his man doesn’t score.
“I don’t like to get scored on no matter what,” Liggins said. “Helping a guy then coming back to my man and my man hits a three – I’ve got to do both. That’s what I’ve got to a better job on, just working the floor and getting out to my man and making sure he don’t score or touch the paint.”
A few weeks back, the Bucks traded for former Wildcat teammate Eric Bledsoe, and Liggins told reporters his battles in practice every day remind him of his days at Kentucky.

“It was battles every day,” Liggins said, specifically referring to going against Bledsoe, now his teammate with the Bucks. “Coach Cal told me to pick him up fullcourt like I do now every practice and make him better and that’s what I did. It irritated (Bledsoe) a lot. He wanted to fight me at times, but I had to do my job to earn minutes so that’s what I had to do.”

Bledsoe says that Liggins’ effort is relentless, and it has translated to victories for Milwaukee.

“He’s one of those guys that takes challenges, especially on the defensive end, trying to stop the best player on the team,” Bledsoe said. “He gives effort every single play. No matter if the (offense) scores on him, it’s a tough bucket.”

Bledsoe added that he has a ton of love and respect for a guy that has earned everything  he has accomplished as a professional basketball player.
“DeAndre was in a position where he never gave up on what he wanted to accomplish,” Bledsoe said. “Now he’s here and he’s going to stick here and be here for a while. You can’t do nothing but, like I said, love the guy.”
Liggins is averaging just 2.5 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.5 steals in 12.8 minutes per game for the Bucks, but his contributions on the W/L column are making him one of the most valuable players on the roster.

Keep making us proud, DeAndre!


WATCH: Tyler Ulis gets into Fight, Lonzo Ball Walks Away

@BleacherReport

Tyler Ulis will never back away from a fight.  Lonzo Ball on the other hand…

In last night’s matchup between the Lakers and the Suns, 6’6″ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope eyed down the 5’9″ Ulis after a whistle.  If you know anything about the former Kentucky point guard, it’s that he won’t back down from anyone, regardless of size or circumstance.

As usual, Devin Booker ran into the scrum to help out his friend.  Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball walked away.

Ball said after the game, “It’s the NBA. People ain’t really going to fight. I ain’t trying to get no tech.”  Was Ball not trying to get a tech, or not trying to get worked by another Kentucky guard?

The Cats did work all over Lonzo all night, as of course is tradition.  Booker scored a game-high 33 points and Ulis had 16 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds.  Ball had just 6 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds and the Suns beat the Lakers 122-113.


Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Harden lights up the Suns

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

When I tuned into the Houston Rockets vs Phoenix Suns game last night, it was just starting the second half. I was expecting the Rockets to be winning the game, but I never expected to see a halftime score of 90-65. You read that correctly, the Suns gave up 90 points in the first half of an NBA basketball game. A miserable performance on the defensive end for a team that is in for a long, long season.

James Harden tore apart the all-Kentucky backcourt for the Suns of Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis. Harden had 33 at the half and finished with 48 points, 7 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Numbers:

 

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker142-116 loss to Rockets187-16 (2-5)210005-2330
Tyler Ulis142-116 loss to Rockets83-5 (0-0)24202-1122

Highlights: (With former Cats only playing in one game, there wasn’t much to work with outside of the first bucket of the game.)

Schedule:

  • Detroit Pistons at Indiana Pacers(Alex Poythress), 7pm ET
  • Miami Heat(Bam Adebayo) at Washington Wizards(John Wall, Jodie Meeks), 7pm ET
  • Utah Jazz at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30pm ET
  • Los Angeles Clippers at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:30pm ET
  • New York Knicks(Enes Kanter) at Toronto Raptors, 7:30pm ET
  • Charlotte Hornets(Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Malik Monk) at Chicago Bulls, 8pm ET
  • Oklahoma City Thunder(Patrick Patterson, Dakari Johnson) at San Antonio Spurs, 8pm ET on ESPN
  • Minnesota Timberwolves(Karl-Anthony Towns) at Dallas Mavericks(Nerlens Noel), 8:30pm ET
  • Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings(Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, De’Aaron Fox), 10pm ET
  • New Orleans Pelicans(DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo, Darius Miller) at Denver Nuggets(Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles), 10:30pm ET on ESPN
  • Phoenix Suns(Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis) at Los Angeles Lakers(Julius Randle), 10:30pm ET

@BrettBibbinsKSR