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Cats in the NBA

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Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: December is a hot month for Jamal Murray

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Murray has been heating up as of late. Last night, he posted a double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with 4 assists and 3 steals. This marks his second straight 28-point performance and his third in the month of December.

This month, through 7 games, he’s scoring 19.4 points per game and shooting 52% from 3-point land. Compare those numbers to the entire regular season, and they are both huge improvements, with his season averages tallying at 14.4 and 32% respectively. Also seeing improvements, albeit smaller ones, are his rebounds, assists, steals, and free throw shooting.

The Jamal Murray we saw night in and night out at Kentucky is starting to take form for the Denver Nuggets, alongside an emerging Trey Lyles.

Numbers:

 

 

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Jamal Murray124-118 loss to Celtics289-17 (4-8)104305+836
Trey Lyles124-118 loss to Celtics94-6 (1-2)62101+833
DeMarcus Cousins115-108 win over Bucks2610-16 (2-4)137019+437
Anthony Davis115-108 win over Bucks2510-16 (0-1)102042+1136
Darius Miller115-108 win over Bucks93-6 (3-5)14010+423
Rajon Rondo115-108 win over Bucks52-5 (1-2)33213-318
Eric Bledsoe115-108 loss to Pelicans145-14 (3-8)35405+332
DeAndre Liggins115-108 loss to Pelicans73-4 (1-1)00000-1218
Andrew Harrison93-87 loss to Wizards206-9 (1-2)37102-330
John Wall93-87 win over Grizzlies136-15 (1-3)14212+1128
Jodie Meeks93-87 win over Grizzlies52-7 (1-4)71100+1019
Tyler Ulis115-109 loss to Raptors166-8 (0-1)58000-1729
Bam Adebayo102-95 loss to Trail Blazers123-3 (0-0)72003-1030
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist108-96 loss to Rockets188-12 (0-0)112100+029
Malik Monk108-96 loss to Rockets62-2 (2-2)00000-55
Patrick Patterson100-95 win over Pacers82-4 (2-3)11000+413
Dakari Johnson100-95 win over Pacers00-0 (0-0)00000+00

 

 

Highlights:

 

Schedule:

  • Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30pm ET
  • New York Knicks (Enes Kanter) at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30pm ET
  • Sacramento Kings (De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein) at Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns), 8pm ET
  • Los Angeles Lakers (Julius Randle) at Cleveland Cavaliers, 8pm ET on TNT
  • Dallas Mavericks (Nerlens Noel) at Golden State Warriors, 10:30pm ET on TNT

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Anthony Davis surprises family with new car for Christmas

Anthony Davis surprises family with new car for Christmas

How about a feel-good story for the holiday season? Today, Anthony Davis surprised a family in New Orleans with some toys and — allow me to cue up my best “Price is Right” voice — a NEW CAR! Watch below as the mom absolutely loses it when she realizes Anthony Davis just handed her keys to a new SUV:

Clearly, that little boy is not happy with his mother’s outburst.

Last week in New Orleans, fellow “Pelicat” DeMarcus Cousins took some lucky children on his annual “Santa Cuz” shopping spree:

Boogie will do the same thing in Mobile, Alabama tonight.

It’s no coincidence that Cousins and Davis are spending their holiday season giving back; both have won the NBA Cares Community Assist monthly award several times. Cousins won the offseason version of the award a few months ago, and in 2016, Davis was up for the season-long award, but came in second to…John Wall.

John Calipari’s not joking when he says servant leadership is a cornerstone of his program; it’s nice to see his biggest stars continuing to make it a priority once they have the means to really make a difference.


BBNBA: Andrew Harrison gets a career-high

BBNBA: Andrew Harrison gets a career-high

We start our daily rundown of Kentucky players in the NBA with Andrew Harrison, who had a career-high 16 points in Memphis’ 107-82 loss to Miami last night. Harrison was 5-6 from the floor, 2-2 from three, and 4-4 from the free-throw line, and also chipped in four assists and two steals. Check out how tough he was on this play:

Full highlights:

On the other side of the ball, Bam Adebayo came off the bench to score 14 points, along with four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Rajon Rondo had a triple double for the Pelicans — the 30th of his career — with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists:

DeMarcus Cousins got close to a triple double himself, with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 assists:

Darius Miller chipped in ten points, three rebounds, and four assists. Unfortunately, the Pelicans — who are still without Anthony Davis (left abductor) — still lost, falling 130-123 to the Rockets.

The Charlotte Hornets upset the Thunder thanks to 17 points, four rebounds, and four assists from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who unfortunately was on the wrong side of this dunk by Russell Westbrook:

I can’t end this with MKG getting dunked on, so here’s him dunking on Alex Abrines:

Tonight’s schedule:

  • 7:00 PM: Nuggets (Trey Lyles, Jamal Murray) vs. Pistons
  • 7:00 PM: Lakers (Julius Randle) vs. Knicks (Enes Kanter), ESPN
  • 7:30 PM: Wizards (John Wall [injured], Jodie Meeks) vs. Nets
  • 9:30 PM: 76ers vs. Timberwolves (Karl Towns), ESPN
  • 10:00 PM: Suns (Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker, Brandon Knight [injured]) vs. Kings (Skal Labissiere, De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein [injured])

Word is John Wall (knee) could return to action tomorrow night vs. the Grizzlies.


Anthony Davis played a big role in bringing Darius Miller back to New Orleans

Anthony Davis played a big role in bringing Darius Miller back to New Orleans

We’ve written several articles on the site over the last few weeks about Darius Miller’s resurgence in the NBA and how important he has been for the New Orleans Pelicans this season.

Last week, Miller led the entire NBA in three-point percentage for players with over 75 attempts from the field. With no minimum criteria, Miller was No. 2 in the league behind Boston’s Jayson Tatum

On tonight’s John Calipari call-in show, Coach Cal talked about Darius Miller’s dominant three-point shooting in the league and how proud of him he was for leading the NBA.

Jerry Tipton (being Jerry Tipton) released a tweet immediately afterward with a stat-correction for Calipari, saying Tatum is the NBA leader in 3P%, not Miller.

After seeing Tipton’s tweet, Calipari then (obviously) joked the show was pre-recorded in the first week of December to make the statistic still relevant. Tipton, not understanding what sarcasm is, then released this tweet.

After busting some numbers, Miller is actually sixth in the league for players with at least 80 attempts at 46.4%.

For players with 100 three-point attempts, Miller is third in the NBA behind just Klay Thompson and Buddy Hield. Higher efficiency on more shot attempts for the former Wildcat.

And if you want to be super nitpicky, we can just go to the very top of the list and see who owns the No. 1 spot with no minimum shot attempts.

Take that, Jerry.

Coach Cal went into detail about how proud he was of Miller for grinding it out and making a name for himself after his brief stint overseas.

“Every kid you have has a different path. Some kids are having to play through the D-League, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. You have to go down there and be hungry and humble and not think it’s beneath me because this is my launching pad. Darius did it.

“He’s doing great. Even when he was here he was in the D-League and stayed. It shows the character of Darius Miller,” said Cal.

Caught in the middle of the three-point statistics and Miller’s journey in the NBA was how exactly he ended up back in New Orleans. Calipari told Tom Leach that one former Wildcat was instrumental in bringing Miller back from Germany and giving him a big role on the Pelicans.

You know who wanted him on that team? And I called him and thanked him. Anthony Davis,” he said. “Anthony Davis had a lot to do with that. He also gave Terrence Jones a chance. At the end of the day, when you’re as good as Anthony Davis, you have to sign off on some of that stuff. Anthony is one of those great guys.”

Another day, another story of former Wildcats putting in work in the NBA.


BBNBA: Enes Kanter Arrives at Arena in Crutches, Still Plays

Bill Kostroun

Enes Kanter has quickly become a fan favorite in New York City.  What Kanter did yesterday is exactly why Knick fans have learned to love him.

Kanter showed up to Madison Square Garden in crutches.  He needed the crutches after he took a knee to the hip in a loss to the Bulls on Saturday.  It was difficult for Kanter to walk and stand, but when doctors said he could play if he wanted to, he pushed through the pain.

“If we’re going to make the playoffs it makes sense to sacrifice,” Kanter said before the game.

Kanter started, played 18 minutes, scored 8 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in a 111-107 win over the Hawks.  The Knicks are now .500 and are tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference.

The Best from other Cats in the NBA

—  The Denver Nuggets fell to the Indiana Pacers in overtime, but Trey Lyles earned the right to celebrate in his hometown.  Lyles made five threes and scored a career-high 25 points in 26 minutes of action.  He chipped in 5 rebounds and a steal in the best performance of his young career.

The Nuggets’ other Cat, Jamal Murray, scored 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

—  Karl-Anthony Towns did Karl-Anthony Towns things last night.  The Big KAT had 28 points (10-15 FG) and 12 rebounds to carry the T’Wolves to a 97-92 victory over the Mavericks.

—  The Kings got torn apart by Dwane Casey’s Raptors 102-87, but there is a bit of good news to share: Skal Labissiere returned from the G-League to start for Sacramento.  Skal had 6 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes.  His point guard, De’Aaron Fox, did not fare much better.  Fox finished with more turnovers (7) than points (6).

—  The Pelicans took out the 76ers 131-124 to move over .500.  The playoffs are a long way away, but the Pelicans would be the seven seed if the season ended today.

Anthony Davis led all scorers with 29 points, Boogie scored 23 and Rajon Rondo posted 13 points and 18(!) assists in the victory.  This beautiful lob to Davis might have been Rondo’s most impressive assist.

Darius Miller pitched in 5 points in the Pelicats’ win.


@Lakers

BBNBA: Lakers roll past struggling Charlotte Hornets

@Lakers

Las Angeles Lakers 110 Charlotte Hornets 99

— Julius Randle: 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 26 minutes

— Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:9 points and 6 rebounds in the Hornets’ loss

— Malik Monk: 2 points in 20 minutes of play

Las Angeles Clippers 113 Washington Wizards 112

— Jodie Meeks: 0 points and 2 assists in eight minutes of play

— The Wizards are still without John Wall who has been sidelined with a left knee injury. There is no definite timetable for his return, but reports say he’ll return sometime this week.

Chicago Bulls 104 New York Knicks 102 

— Enes Kanter: Records a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds

Oklahoma City Thunder 102 Memphis Grizzlies 101

— Patrick Patterson: 6 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes of play

— Andrew Harrison: 3 points and 4 assists in 26 minutes of play

San Antonio Spurs 104 Phoenix Suns 101

—Tyler Ulis  4 points and 2 assists in 19 minutes of play

Miami Heat 101 Brooklyn Nets 89

— Bam Adebayo: 2 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes of play

 


Do Andrew Harrison and Russell Westbrook have beef?

Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America

The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated Andrew Harrison and the Memphis Grizzlies 102-101 in overtime on Saturday.

Harrison was given the task of guarding Russell Westbrook. Westbrook shot 7-of-29 (24%) from the field, but still finished with a triple-double (20/11/14).

Harrison blocked Westbrook’s game winning shot attempt and then had some words for the OKC guard.

After the conclusion of the game, Westbrook and Harrison continued to have some words. Westbrook told Harrison to “Go home!”

First Drew Franklin, now Andrew Harrison. What does Westbrook have against Kentucky people?

https://twitter.com/BDawsonWrites/status/939716389732081664


BBNBA: DeMarcus Cousins Flirts with 40 Points vs. the Kings

DeMarcus Cousins got a chance to take down his former team, the Sacramento Kings.  He did not leave the arena with a win, but he did just about everything else.

Boogie had 38 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, but the Pelicans still fell to the Kings 116-109.  Cousins didn’t get a ton of help from his banged up Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis, who chipped in 18 points and 6 rebounds.  Darius Miller added 7 points and made just one-of-four three-point attempts.

Cousins did everything he could to will the Pels to victory. It didn’t happen, but it did create some spectacular highlights.

Cousins’ vengeance vs. the Kings wasn’t the most entertaining part of the matchup.  Cousins and Zach Randolph went back and forth the entire game.  Cut from the same cloth, there was a respectable amount of trash-talk exchanged.

“Where we from, bullies get bullied.”

On a roster normally filled with Kentucky players, De’Aaron Fox was the only one who played for the Kings.  Willie Cauley-Stein is nursing a back injury and Skal Labissiere was recently demoted to the G-League.  Fox finished with 14 points and 4 assists vs. the Kings.

More Highlights from UK in the NBA…

—  It was a long slow grind for the Milwaukee Bucks, but they found a way to take down the Dallas Mavericks 109-102 with a little help form Eric Bledsoe.  The former Kentucky point guard finished with 24 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots.

—  The Hornets lost an overtime thriller 119-111 to the Chicago Bulls.  Dwight Howard stole the show on his birthday with 25 points, 20 boards and 5 blocks, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist managed to make some noise too.  MKG scored 15 points, grabbed 7 boards and threw down one ferocious dunk.

In 11 minutes off the bench, Malik Monk made one of his three three-point attempts and finished the game with just three points.

—  Jamal Murray could not find his shot in the Nuggets’ 103-89 win over the Magic.  The former arrow-flinging shooting guard hit just one-of-six shots for two points.  Trey Lyles didn’t score much either, but did spread the wealth around the stat sheet: 3 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists.

—  Andrew Harrison got the start for the Grizzlies last night.  He only scored 6 points, but he had 7 assists and zero turnovers in a loss to the Raptors.


RUMOR: LeBron James, Nerlens Noel plotting to team up?

Is Nerlens Noel’s weird behavior in Dallas part of a plot to team up with LeBron James in Los Angeles? According to DallasBasketball.com’s Mike Fisher, it could be.

After news that Noel will undergo surgery for a thumb injury many players play through, leaving him out for 4-6 weeks, Fisher speculates that the former Cat is just biding his time until he can head to the Lakers with LeBron:

Where is Noel going to have the surgery? In Cleveland, hometown of LeBron James and a headquarters for agent Rich Paul, who reps both LeBron and Noel and yeah, it’s kind of an open secret now that the fellas are plotting ways to end up together, maybe next July 1 via free agency to the Los Angeles Lakers.

From turning down the Mavericks’ $17.5 million qualifying offer this summer to last week’s “Hot Dog Gate,” it’s clear Nerlens ain’t happy, and I fully believe he’s counting down the seconds until he can get out of Dallas; however, do we really think Nerlens is the first pending free agent LeBron would approach about going to LA? I love the big guy, but come on.

[DallasBasketball.com]


Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Randle and the Lakers top “The Process”

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Last night was a slow night for former Cats in the NBA, as only five ex-Kentucky players took the court. Julius Randle and the Los Angeles Lakers traveled to Philadelphia to take on “The Process” and the 76ers. Despite the Lakers’ struggles this season, they put together a really well-rounded game in Philly, with seven different players scoring in double-digits. In contrast, the 76ers only had six players score at all.

Fortunately for Philadelphia, Joel Embiid had another huge game, scoring 33 points, to go along with 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 blocks. The game came down to the wire, with Embiid taking on Randle in the post with the game on the line. Randle’s solid defense forced a miss, and the Lakers raced back up the floor to set up a Brandon Ingram buzzer-beating three for the win.

Take a look:

Numbers:

 

 

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Julius Randle107-104 win over 76ers167-15 (0-3)34112-530
Tyler Ulis109-99 loss to Wizards135-9 (2-3)46005+634
Jodie Meeks109-99 win over Suns72-5 (1-3)20001+714
Patrick Patterson100-95 loss to Nets73-3 (1-1)21201+220
Dakari Johnson100-95 loss to Nets00-0 (0-0)00000+00

 

 

Highlights:

Watch Julius throw the hammer down around Embiid, as well as the rest of his highlights.

Schedule:

  • Chicago Bulls at Charlotte Hornets (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Malik Monk), 7pm ET
  • Golden State Warriors at Detroit Pistons, 7pm ET on ESPN
  • Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers (Alex Poythress), 7pm ET
  • Denver Nuggets (Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles) at Orlando Magic, 7pm ET
  • Toronto Raptors at Memphis Grizzlies (Andrew Harrison), 8pm ET
  • Dallas Mavericks (Nerlens Noel) at Milwaukee Bucks (Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Liggins), 8pm ET
  • Sacramento Kings(De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein) at New Orleans Pelicans (Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Darius Miller), 8pm ET
  • Boston Celtics at San Antonio Spurs, 9:30pm ET on ESPN

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Cousins goes for 40 and 22

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

With Anthony Davis sitting out a week or two with a groin injury, the door was open for DeMarcus Cousins to step up for the New Orleans Pelicans. Cousins did just that, finishing with a monster night of 40 points, 22 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks. That line is reminiscent of his Sacramento days, except the Pelicans picked up the win last night, and the Kings would’ve lost by 15+ on a big Boogie night.

There have only been two 40 or more point and 20 or more rebound performances in the NBA this season. Both of those games have come from Cousins. The only other player to do it twice in one season is Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.

In other news, Karl-Anthony Towns is now leading the NBA in double-doubles, getting his 20th of the year last night. He’s had a double-double in all but 6 games this season.

Watch the big fella work:

Numbers:

 

 

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
DeMarcus Cousins123-114 win over Nuggets4012-25 (2-6)224046+140
Rajon Rondo123-114 win over Nuggets115-7 (1-1)67002-326
Darius Miller123-114 win over Nuggets93-7 (2-5)21100+827
Jamal Murray123-114 loss to Pelicans155-11 (1-1)14212+1223
Trey Lyles123-114 loss to Pelicans103-9 (1-3)114111-1027
Karl-Anthony Towns113-107 win over Clippers219-14 (0-2)124244+939
Eric Bledsoe104-100 win over Pistons229-21 (2-6)43112-1031
DeAndre Liggins104-100 win over Pistons21-3 (0-2)41210+924
Enes Kanter99-88 win over Grizzlies124-10 (0-0)121014+228
Andrew Harrison99-88 loss to Knicks51-6 (0-2)15213+1629
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist101-87 loss to Warriors63-11 (0-0)30010-925
Malik Monk101-87 loss to Warriors00-1 (0-1)00001+05
De'Aaron Fox101-95 loss to Cavaliers63-6 (0-1)12014-329
Bam Adebayo117-105 loss to Spurs63-4 (0-0)30122-1218

 

 

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Los Angeles Lakers (Julius Randle) at Philadelphia 76ers, 8pm ET on TNT
  • Washington Wizards (John Wall, Jodie Meeks) at Phoenix Suns (Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis), 9pm ET
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (Patrick Patterson, Dakari Johnson) at Brooklyn Nets, 10pm ET
  • Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz, 10:30pm ET on TNT

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Darius Miller has found a familiar home in the NBA

Darius Miller has found a familiar home in the NBA

(David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)

Darius Miller was an all-time fan favorite during his four years at Kentucky. He experienced a tumultuous freshmen season when Billy Gillispie was head coach, which eventually ended with a third round NIT loss. Coming off his senior year of high school, where he led his team to a Kentucky state championship along with winning the Kentucky “Mr. Basketball” award, Miller wasn’t used to losing. Lucky for him (and an entire fanbase worth of people), Gillespie was fired following the season to end a two-year coaching run that felt like 100. Coach Calipari took over in 2009 and Miller saw his production take a leap over the course of the next three seasons. He became one of the deadliest shooters in the SEC (shooting 44.3 percent from three in his junior season on 131 attempts) and all-around player who was notorious for making plays on both ends of the court when Kentucky needed him the most.

*My favorite Darius Miller moment. I still remember the exact moment it happened and the days that followed where I couldn’t and wouldn’t stop watching it, even if my life was in immediate danger.*

The 2012 Kentucky team was unbelievably good, but most importantly, Rupp Arena doesn’t proudly hoist the University’s eighth national championship without everything Miller did in his four seasons. He was a homegrown Kentucky hero who was treated by fans and media as such. Not many University of Kentucky players receive the praise and recognition that Miller did and still does. Current and former players still receive plenty of glory, but not many to the extent of Darius Miller. He is a Kentucky icon. The first Kentucky born player to win Kentucky “Mr. Basketball”, a Kentucky state championship and an NCAA national championship. He exemplifies what young basketball players growing up in Kentucky idolize.

 

(Photo: Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports)

Miller was never an elite NBA prospect. He was lost in the shuffle, in that regard, to his Kentucky counterparts. The one-and-dones began to dominate college basketball and the NBA draft. Miller was always an excellent player, but not a high-enough caliber talent. He was no John Wall, or DeMarcus Cousins, or Brandon Knight, or Anthony Davis. He was a four-year college player, and the reality of the situation is that 22-year olds won’t make it to the NBA as often as 19-year olds. Miller spent his rookie season with the then New Orleans Hornets and then his second year in New Orleans when they rebranded to the Pelicans. During those two years, however, Miller could never separate himself from the pack. He played 97 games during his first two seasons in the NBA, starting nine of them. He averaged 14.6 minutes per game during that span, but his 3.3 points per game were never going to be enough. His third season in New Orleans saw him play a total of 43 minutes across five games. He was constantly in and out of the D-League in his first three seasons and it wasn’t long into his third that the Pelicans ultimately decided to waive him in late November.

He then decided to try his luck overseas. He went to Germany where he signed to play for EuroLeague team Brose Bramberg. Bramberg plays in the highest level of basketball competition in Germany, known as the BBL (Basketball Bundesliga). He played there for about two and a half seasons, returning to his college form as an elite shooter. He joined the team during the season in 2015, but that didn’t stop him helping his team to a Bundesliga title where he averaged 12.4 points per game during the Finals. But the championships didn’t stop there.

Per basketball-reference, Miller averaged 9.4 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting from deep (31-77) in 24 games during his first full season in international play. Miller was a key proponent on a Bramberg team that won their second consecutive league title, being named Finals MVP as he averaged 18 points per game. Miller and Bramberg would win the Bundesliga title once again the following year. He averaged 12.2 points per game during his 2016-17 campaign shooting, 41.1 percent from deep (62-151) in 27.1 minutes per game. Not even three full seasons in international competition and Miller already had three league championships, adding to an already impressive trophy case. Miller was a proven winner in high school, college, and in overseas play, now there was only one place left to return, the place where winning eludes him. The NBA.

Miller was a college basketball rarity. He played four-years in college, but with an almost entirely different set of teammates every season. He proved he could adapt, but when he returned to the NBA and signed once again with the New Orleans Pelicans this past summer, he looked around and saw he was surrounded by family. The Kentucky atmosphere was all too familiar. He played with Anthony Davis in 2012 and DeMarcus Cousins in 2010 at Kentucky, who now form the best frontcourt in the entire NBA. Point guard Rajon Rondo played for Kentucky from 2004-2006, not long before Miller arrived. The Pelicans are the only team in the NBA who have at least four players from the same college on their active roster. Miller is once again surrounded by the Kentucky effect, even years after leaving the state he accomplished so much in.

So far, Miller’s 2017 NBA campaign has gone better than anyone would have expected. Much better, in fact. Through 24 games, Miller is averaging 7.7 points per game on 47.5 percent from three. He takes 4.1 threes per game and is an impressive 47-99 on the season. Miller is fourth in the entire NBA in three-point shooting percentage. He’s scored in double digits in 10 games, including a 21-point outburst against the Atlanta Hawks where he shot 5-8 from deep.

Miller’s most valuable asset is his deep threat and he’s become a legitimate concern for opposing defenses. The NBA is becoming a league filled with versatile big-men and elite shooting. Miller isn’t the former, but he’s definitely the latter. Per Cleaning the Glass, Miller ranks in the 100th percentile in percentage of shot attempts that are threes and ranks in the 97th percentile in terms of percentage of three-pointers made. This is across the entire NBA. Continuing with the flood of stats, Miller ranks in the 98.7 percentile on spot-up attempts, according to NBA.com, where he averages an absurd 1.56 points per possession. He also ranks in the 85.1 percentile in shot attempts where he comes off a screen. All these stats do is help reemphasize what has already been stated a few times before, Miller is currently an elite shooter and one of the most efficient in the NBA.

*Above is Miller’s shot chart for the current season. That is a tonnnn of green, folks.*

Miller is 27 years old now, in the early stages of what is considered to be a basketball players prime. The Pelicans are playing solid basketball and are poised to make a playoff run, especially if Davis can get back to full strength. Davis and Cousins will surely handle most of the dirty work, but Miller’s value will not be underestimated. He hit plenty of big shots in college and will likely do the same this season. He’s been a winner his entire life and winning on this stage is the last test for him. He’s finally found a home in the NBA, and it’s not too much different to the home he will always have in Kentucky.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


BBNBA: Booker leaves game early with injury

Brian Babineau/Getty Images

On a really quiet night for the Cats in the NBA, Devin Booker was your leading scorer with 19 points on a rough shooting night. Booker did leave the game early with what the Suns say, “is a strained left adductor” He will be further evaluated when the team returns to Phoenix. An adductor strain seems very similar to what we might know as a groin strain.

Tyler Ulis had a rough night as well as the Raptors outscored the Suns by 23 while he was on the floor.

In more disappointing news, former Cat Skal Labissiere was demoted to the “G-League” yesterday. Skal had made 10 starts and had some flashes of brilliance this season. Here is to hoping it is a short stop in the G-League.

Complete Stats

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker126-113 L vs. Tor194-15 (1-5)58211+239
Tyler Ulis126-113 L vs. Tor52-5 (1-1)13013-2321
Patrick Patterson100-94 W vs. Utah21-350101+113
Dakari Johnson126-113 L vs. Tor
DNP- Coaches Decision
---------
Jodie Meeks106-92 W vs. Por10-000001+25

Highlights

Video from the Booker injury


Before the injury… Booker takes it to the rack

 

Today in the NBA

  • Kings (Fox and Cauley-Stein) at Cavaliers- 7pm
  • Bulls at Pacers (Poythress)- 7pm
  • Hawks at Magic- 7pm
  • Mavericks (Noel) at Celtics- 7:30pm
  • Grizzlies (Harrison) at Knicks (Kanter) 7:30pm
  • Warriors at Hornets (Monk and Kidd-Gilchrist)- 8pm ESPN
  • Pistons at Bucks (Liggins and Bledsoe) 8pm
  • Nuggets (Lyles and Murray) at Pelicans (Davis, Rondo, Cousins and Miller) 8pm
  • Heat (Adebayo) at Spurs- 8:30pm
  • Timberwolves (Towns) at Clippers- 10:30pm ESPN

Skal Labissiere gets Demoted to the G-League

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Former Kentucky center Skal Labissiere has been demoted from the Sacramento Kings’ roster down to the Reno Bighorns, the King’s G-League affiliate.

In his second NBA season, Skal has started ten of 23 games for the Kings and is averaging 7.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in 17.1 minutes.  Labissiere seemed to be finding his fit in Sacramento, but over the last ten games he’s only scored in double figures once.

To add insult to injury, Skal’s demotion comes as Willie Cauley-Stein is sidelined for at least the next two games with a lower back strain.

Here’s to hoping Labissiere can regain some confidence in the G-League.  His former Kentucky teammate Derek Willis is making the most of his time in the NBA’s developmental league.  Last night he had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals for the Grand Rapids Drive.


(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

BBNBA: Devin Booker drops 46 while Ulis records double-double

(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

Recap

There were 11 games in action last night in the Association and a few former Wildcats were dazzling fans with their high-level play and potential. Devin Booker put up 46 points on 32 total shots while his Kentucky counterpart, Tyler Ulis, contributed 12 points and 12 assists, his first double-double of the season. Anthony Davis sat out in the New Orleans Pelicans loss to the Golden State Warriors due to an ankle injury he suffered in the previous game. He is listed as day-to-day and expected to return soon. John Wall also sat out his fifth straight game due to a knee injury. The Wizards desperately needed him, too, as the Utah Jazz pummeled Washington by 47 points. Wall should be returning within the next week. Karl-Anthony Towns scored only seven points in 37 minutes in what turned out to be a terrible loss for the Minnesota Timberwolves against a disastrous Memphis Grizzlies team who had previously lost 11 straight games. Check out all the stats.

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)115-101 W PHX @ PHI4617-32 (5-8)81213+1038
Jamal Murray (DEN)105-122 L DEN @ DAL227-12 (4-8)00110-1228
DeMarcus Cousins (NOP)115-125 L NOP vs. GSW197-15 (3-6)117537-3231
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)100-110 L MIL @ BOS186-9 (3-6)33102-334
Tyler Ulis (PHX)115-101 W PHX @ PHI124-10 (1-3)112001+1037
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)104-94 W CHA vs. ORL115-9 (0-0)80211+825
Rajon Rondo (NOP)115-125 L NOP vs. GSW104-9 (2-6)511201027
Darius Miller (NOP)115-125 L NOP vs. GSW93-8 (2-6)21012-734
Andrew Harrison (MEM)95-92 W MEM vs. MIN82-2 (1-1)42103-318
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)92-95 L MIN @ MEM72-6 (1-2)113010+537
Trey Lyles (DEN)105-122 L DEN @ DAL73-5 (1-2)62020-715
Enes Kanter (NYK)97-115 L NYK @ IND73-8 (0-0)61000-3418
Jodie Meeks (WAS)69-116 L WAS @ UTA42-9 (0-3)21001-3522
DeAndre Liggins (MIL)100-110 L MIL @ BOS00-1 (0-0)11100-6+12
Anthony Davis (NOP)115-125 L NOP vs. GSWDNP-Injured (DTD)----------------
Brandon Knight (PHX)115-101 W PHX @ PHIDNP-Injured----------------
John Wall (WAS)69-116 L WAS @ UTADNP-Injured----------------
Nerlens Noel (DAL)122-105 W DAL vs. DENDNP-CD----------------
Malik Monk (CHA)104-94 W CHA vs. ORLDNP-CD----------------

News

DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant got into a not-so-heated exchange in their matchup that resulted in both of them being ejected. The game was practically over, but that didn’t stop Cousins and Durant from getting into each others face, warranting quick ejections.

Ejections are being handed out by referees like candy over the past two weeks. Some of them have been justified, but the trigger to send someone out of the game appears to be quicker than usual. LeBron James was recently ejected for the first time in his career. Kevin Durant was ejected for the third time in his last 18 games last night. Anthony Davis was recently ejected from a game where he got way too close to official and Shaun Livingston was also ejected in the past couple days which resulted in a one-game suspension for him. If anything, referees are stressing that they keep games under control and handing out ejections has been their logic as of late. It’s a trend I don’t plan on seeing continue, but it’s interesting, nonetheless.

Highlights

Rajon Rondo is now 6-14 (42.9 percent) from three over his last four games.

Watch all of Booker’s points from last night. He was literally shooting from wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted. He’s going to be so so good in the very near future.

Tonight in the NBA

7:30: (NBATV) Phoenix (Booker, Ulis) @ Toronto

8:00: Utah @ Oklahoma City (Patterson, Johnson)

10:00: (NBATV) Washington (Meeks) @ Portland

Player to watch

Another slow Tuesday night, but watching Devin Booker is a must. After pouring in 46, it’ll be interesting to see how he responds and if he can go out and have another great game. The Toronto Raptors are a great regular season team and they’re on a roll as of late. Booker has been the majority of the Suns offense for most of the season and he’ll have to put up high numbers to pull off a win tonight.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan