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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Jamal Murray Posts Career-High in Assists

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Jamal Murray set a new personal high for assists in a game – in the first half. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

Mavericks – 118 @ Nuggets – 126

  • Jamal Murray recorded 11 assists in the first half against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, breaking his career-high on his way to 15 total assists. He technically set his new personal best with roughly five minutes remaining in the first half. Murray was channeling his inner Canadian and showcasing his passing wizardry with the same flare as Steve Nash. In the second half, he returned to form and Jamal ‘Curry’ Murray lit the Mavericks up. Murray ended the night with 22 points on 10-18 shooting while also grabbing seven rebounds and one spectacular block. It was his best statistical night all season long but an even bigger win for Denver.

  • Trey Lyles had his first productive outing since the injury to Paul Millsap saw him placed into a higher usage role. Lyles scored 16 points on 5-7 shooting (3-4 from three) and also pulled down three rebounds. In his first on-court action of the night, Lyles immediately scored eight points in about 65 seconds – hitting two threes and slamming home a beautifully timed fastbreak alley-oop.
  • The Nuggets have now won four straight games – all at home – and have sole possession of the top spot in the Western Conference. Their 21-9 record matches their best start in franchise history from way back in the 1976-77 season.

Other notes

  • Trevor Ariza played in his first game with John Wall and the Wizards since being traded from Phoenix. Ariza scored 19 points while adding eight rebounds and four assists on 6-17 shooting (4-11 from three). Unfortunately, the Wizards lost another game, this time to the now 7-23 Atlanta Hawks – who are only a half game above the Knicks for the worst record in the NBA. Wall scored 15 points on 6-18 shooting (3-11 from three) and dished out six assists. He was held scoreless in the first half before scoring 10 in the third quarter. But, as with most Wizards losses this season, the team showed minimal effort and lost to a severely inferior opponent.
  • Alex Poythress (ATL), who has been dealing with an ankle injury that has sidelined him for the previous 13 games, has been sent to the Hawks G League affiliate – the Erie BayHawks – as a part of his rehab. There is still no official date for his return, but getting back into game action means we should expect to see him back sooner rather than later.
  • Rajon Rondo (LAL), who has already been rehabbing in the G League following hand surgery, was recalled by the Lakers on Tuesday. If everything continues according to plan, Rondo should practice with the team on Thursday.
  • Check out the full stat lines below.
  • Also, NBA League Pass is still running a free preview through Thursday. If you have the chance, tune into the Pelicans-Bucks game at 8 p.m. Five former Wildcats will be featured in that one.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Jamal Murray (DEN)126-118 W vs. DAL2210-18 (1-4)715115-639
Trey Lyles (DEN)126-118 W vs. DAL165-7 (3-4)30000+721
John Wall (WAS)110-118 L @ ATL156-18 (3-11)06003-1226
Alex Poythress (ATL)118-110 W vs. WASDNP-Ankle----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)110-115 L @ BKNDNP-Hand----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)126-118 W vs. DALDNP-Foot----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

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

7:00: Spurs @ Magic (Briscoe)

7:00: Knicks (Kanter, Knox) @ 76ers

7:30 (NBATV): Suns (Booker) @ Celtics

7:30: Pacers @ Raptors

8:00: Nets @ Bulls (Ulis)

8:00: Wizards (Wall) @ Rockets (Knight)

8:00: Pelicans (Davis, An. Harrison, Miller, Randle) @ Bucks (Bledsoe)

8:00: Pistons @ Timberwolves (Towns)

9:00: Warriors (Cousins-out) @ Jazz

10:00: Grizzlies @ Trail Blazers

10:00 (NBATV): Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Booker Drops 38, SGA Sets Career-High

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Turns out, when your best player is healthy, your team actually has a chance at winning. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

  • Los Angeles Clippers rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had his best scoring night as a pro against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. SGA poured in a career-high 24 points on 9-15 shooting (2-7 from three) in addition to two rebounds and two assists. Unfortunately, another loss pushes the Clips losing streak to four games and they’ve now lost seven of their last nine games after an excellent start to the season. They desperately need Lou Williams back, but more importantly, they need to stop allowing the opponent to rip off double-digit runs during key points of the game. But SGA looked amazing. He missed a couple of big threes that could have helped late in the game, but when he got into the paint with a defender on his hip, he never missed from 10-12 feet away.

Suns – 128 @ Knicks – 110

  • Well, well, well. Looky at what we have here. A three-game winning streak from the depressing-as-hell Phoenix Suns. Fans can thank Devin Booker for the most recent two victories. In his second game back after missing the previous six, Booker tied his season-high and led the BBNBA with 38 points on 11-23 shooting. He also tacked on seven rebounds and was a demoralizing 14-15 from the free throw stripe. After losing their previous 10 games, Phoenix now has consecutive wins over Dallas, Minnesota, and New York. They’ve now won three straight games after this fed up elderly fan absolutely destroyed the Suns’ owner Robert Sarver.

  • Booker also doesn’t forget…

  • As for the Knicks, Kevin Knox scored in double figures for the fifth straight game, tacking on 17 points on 6-16 shooting for New York to go along with five rebounds. Knox is averaging 19.4 points per game over his last five. Teammate Enes Kanter recorded his second straight double-double and 21st of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Kings – 105 @ Timberwolves – 132

  • The lopsided final score of this game doesn’t tell the entire story. Monday night’s game for the Sacramento Kings was their third in four nights and after they gave the Timberwolves a substantial early lead, head coach Dave Joerger elected to rest his starters for the remainder of the game. De’Aaron Fox played all of six minutes and was held scoreless while Willie Cauley-Stein played seven minutes and hit one free throw.
  • But the blowout did have one upside for the Kings. Skal Labissiere saw the most on-court action he has since the end of the 2018 season. Labissiere played in 28 minutes against mostly the Timberwolves reserves, scoring nine points on 3-6 shooting (2-3 from three) and pulling in five boards.
  • ”I commend those guys for going out there, being professional, playing hard and taking the minutes,” Joerger said when referring to playing the reserves more minutes. ”We got off to a slow start, and I didn’t think putting those guys (the starters) back in was going to be worth it.”
  • For Minnesota, Karl-Anthony Towns only had to play 21 minutes before he was able to rest, but still managed 14 points and 14 rebounds in that span.

Other notes

  • Brandon Knight scored his first points since 2017 on this assisted three by Chris Paul. Knight was 1-5 from the field in eight minutes.

  • For Milwaukee, the Bucks won a close game over the Detroit Pistons as Eric Bledsoe scored 17 points while also securing three rebounds and dishing out nine dimes.
  • And finally, in Oklahoma City, Hamidou Diallo and Nerlens Noel continued their streak of positive production. Diallo went for 10 points on 4-5 shooting in 17 minutes while Noel added five points, four rebound, and two blocks. Patrick Patterson contributed two points, three rebounds, and three assists in 18 minutes.

  • DeMarcus Cousins also shared a bit of an update on his injury status…

  • Check out the full stat lines below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)128-110 W @ NYK3811-23 (2-7)72201+1037
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)127-131 L vs. POR249-15 (2-7)23002-337
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)107-104 W @ DET177-16 (1-2)39201+834
Kevin Knox (NYK)110-128 L vs. PHX176-16 (2-7)50001-237
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)132-105 W vs. SAC145-11 (2-3)143031021
Enes Kanter (NYK)110-128 L vs. PHX134-11 (0-1)104111-427
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)121-96 W vs. CHI104-5 (0-0)10102+317
Skal Labissiere (SAC)105-132 L @ MIN93-6 (2-3)51012-928
Nerlens Noel (OKC)121-96 W vs. CHI51-3 (0-0)41123-117
Brandon Knight (HOU)102-97 W vs. UTA31-5 (1-3)10000+28
Patrick Patterson (OKC)121-96 W vs. CHI21-4 (0-2)33000+718
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)105-132 L @ MIN10-0 (0-0)01100-57
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)105-132 L @ MIN00-4 (0-2)10001-116
Tyler Ulis (CHI)96-121 L @ OKCDNP-CD----------------
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)110-93 W vs. MEMDNP-Achilles----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Cavaliers @ Pacers

7:30: Wizards (Wall) @ Hawks (Poythress-out)

7:30 (NBATV): Lakers (Rondo-out) @ Nets

9:00: Mavericks @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt-out)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via Getty Images North America)

BBNBA: John Wall Torches Lakers for 40 Points

(Photo via Getty Images North America)

Good morning, folks. John Wall is ready for the new-look Wizards. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

  • John Wall led the BBNBA in scoring on Sunday night, posting a season-high 40 points in a huge win over the Los Angeles Lakers. This was the first game following the trade that will send Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers to Phoenix in return for Trevor Ariza, although that trade has yet to officially go through, so the Wizards were actually down a couple of their role players. So Wall decided to fill the void for everyone. He also added six rebounds, 14 assists, three steals, and two blocks. The Lakers – who were playing the second game of a back-to-back – were not able to match the Wizards intensity and Wall was barrelling into the paint all game long with little resistance.

Kings – 120 @ Mavericks – 113

  • Well would ya look at that, it’s the middle of December, the Sacramento Kings are still good, and De’Aaron Fox is an All-Star. Fox led the Kings to their third victory in four games, scoring 28 points on 11-19 shooting to go along with three boards and five assists.

  • The Kings were in a similar situation to the one on Friday night where they blew a late lead to the Golden State Warriors. With a solid lead late in the game against Dallas, Sacramento learned from their past mistakes and made sure to close this one out. The Kings are now 16-13 and have the sixth-best record in the West. I’ll say it again. The Kings are good.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein contributed 12 points and eight rebounds, as well.

Heat – 102 @ Pelicans – 96

  • Bam Adebayo only scored five points in his 25 minutes but added eight rebounds and five assists for the Miami Heat in a big team win over the Pelicans.
  • As for the Pellies, Anthony Davis was unstoppable as usual, scoring 27 points on 10-19 shooting including 12 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and three blocks. Unforutnealy, losses like this are murdering his MVP chances. This loss drops the Pelicans to 15-16 and 12th in the West. They’ve gone 5-5 over the last 10 games and that’s with the majority of their roster looking healthy. It might be time to think about making some roster moves such as adding a more imposing wing player.

  • Julius Randle recorded a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds but left the game halfway through the fourth quarter after rolling his ankle. Darius Miller scored three points and shot 1-8 from three while Andrew Harrison scored six points and dished out four dimes in 14 minutes.

Other notes

  • Kevin Knox scored 15 points for the New York Knicks while teammate Enes Kanter recorded his 20th double-double of the season with 20 points and 15 rebounds.

  • For the Denver Nuggets, Jamal Murray posted 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists as his team knocked off the East-leading Toronto Raptors. Trey Lyles was less productive, scoring only four points on 1-6 shooting in 13 minutes.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
John Wall (WAS)128-110 W vs. LAL4016-27 (4-8)614325+2542
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)120-113 W @ DAL2811-19 (0-3)35312+333
Anthony Davis (NOP)96-102 L vs. MIA2710-19 (2-3)127331-238
Enes Kanter (NYK)99-110 L @ IND207-11 (1-1)150005-635
Jamal Murray (DEN)95-86 W vs. TOR197-16 (3-8)54111+1337
Julius Randle (NOP)96-102 L vs. MIA176-13 (1-1)102111-930
Kevin Knox (NYK)99-110 L @ IND156-15 (3-9)41203-535
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)120-113 W @ DAL124-10 (0-0)83111032
Andrew Harrison (NOP)96-102 L vs. MIA62-7 (1-6)24000014
Bam Adebayo (MIA)102-96 W @ NOP51-2 (1-1)85014+125
Trey Lyles (DEN)95-86 W vs. TOR41-6 (0-3)42110+813
Darius Miller (NOP)96-102 L vs. MIA31-9 (1-8)24101+230
Skal Labissiere (SAC)120-113 W @ DALDNP-CD----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)110-128 L @ WASDNP-Hand----------------
Alex Poythress (ATL)127-144 L @ BKNDNP-Ankle----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)95-86 W vs. TORDNP-Foot----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Pistons

7:30: Suns (Booker) @ Knicks (Kanter, Knox)

8:00 (NBATV): Jazz @ Rockets (Knight)

8:00: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere) @ Timberwolves (Towns)

8:00: Bulls (Ulis) @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson)

8:30: 76ers @ Spurs

10:30 (NBATV): Grizzlies @ Warriors (Cousins-out)

10:30: Trail [email protected] Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


BBNBA: G League Update

BBNBA: G League Update

With the BBNBA, there is hardly a lack of storylines. 28 former Kentucky players have appeared in at least one NBA game this season, from superstars such as Anthony Davis and Devin Booker to role players such as Darius Miller and budding prospects such as De’Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein, there is always something to discuss and debate.

What I don’t do nearly as often as I should is talk about the rest of the former Wildcats, the ones who either haven’t yet made it to the NBA or are trying to make their return. So what I’m going to do here is give a brief update on the former Wildcats who are currently in the G League.

In the future, I hope to do a more comprehensive and in-depth look at some of these players – along with some of the overseas players such as Aaron Harrison and Dakari Johnson – but for now, this update should at least give you a bit more information on who can potentially still make the jump to the NBA this season.

There are seven former Kentucky players who either currently play in or have played in the G League this season:

Wenyen Gabriel (2017-18)

Gabriel hasn’t played a game yet for the Sacramento Kings but is one of two Kentucky players who are currently on a two-way contract, meaning he can be called up to the big leagues if his organization so chooses to. In the meantime, Gabriel has appeared in 14 games for the Stockton Kings and has averaged 10.1 points and 7.9 rebounds in 23.6 minutes per game.

DeAndre Liggins (2009-11)

Liggins is no stranger to the G League, as he’s appeared in 105 total games spread across several teams –  more than any former Kentucky player currently in the G League. This season, he’s back on the Sioux Fall Skyforce, the Miami Heat affiliate located in South Dakota (imagine playing G League games in South Dakota and being called up to move to Miami, Florida only to be sent back to South Dakota). Through 10 games this season, Liggins has averaged 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. Liggins has always been known as a stingy defensive brute and often finds himself being called up to the pros. If there is anyone on this list that has a chance to make it back to the NBA this season, Liggins is my guess to be at the top.

Isaac Humphries (2016-17)

Humphries is currently a member of the Erie Bayhawks – the Atlanta Hawks affiliate. In 15 games this season, he’s averaging 8.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in over 20 minutes per game. After winning NBL (the National Basketball League located in Austrailia) Rookie of the Year last season, Humphries has returned to the states as he hopes to make the jump to the NBA.

James Young (2014)

Similar to Liggins, Young is a G League veteran at this point. He’s appeared in 84 total games, including 14 this season for the Wisconsin Herd – the Milwaukee Bucks affiliate. Young has averaged 19.9 points (22nd most) and 6.0 rebounds while playing over 32 minutes per game (26th most). He’s attempting right at seven three-pointers game and has converted on nearly 44 percent of them, an impressive clip. I’m not sure if Young will ever receive the call-up, but he’s definitely one of the better pure scorers in the developmental league.

Mychal Mulder (2016-17)

Mulder has quietly solidified himself as a legitimate prospect in the G League. His name doesn’t get brought up often, but he’s played in a total of 67 G League games, 19 of them coming this season for the Windy City Bulls – the Chicago Bulls affiliate. In those 19 games, Mulder is averaging 12.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 40 percent on seven three-point attempts per game.

Tyler Ulis (2015-16)

An obvious Kentucky fan favorite, Ulis joins Gabriel as the other former Kentucky player on a two-way contract with the Windy City Bulls alongside Mulder. Ulis has appeared in only four G League games this season, averaging 23.3 points, 8.8 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. It’s clear that Ulis is a player too good for the G League, but his physical limitations may never allow him to prove just how good he could be at the next level. He’s spent the majority of the season with the Chicago Bulls but appeared in only the first regular season game for less than a minute. He’s missed time with an undisclosed injury as of late, but other than that, there really doesn’t appear to be a good reason as to why he doesn’t play.

Terrence Jones (2011-12)

Jones joins Humprhies on the Erie Bayhawks, appearing in 11 games this season while averaging 24.4 points (7th most), 8.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.7 steals in close to 32 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 54.4 percent from the field and has made 40 percent of his three-pointers this season on 3.2 attempts per game. Jones is another guy who is clearly too talented for the G League, but just below the talent threshold of being a valuable NBA player. He’s had some chances in the past to prove his worth at the next level and it wouldn’t shock me if he got another opportunity by season’s end.


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via Getty Images)

Julius Randle Wins Bet After Kentucky Beats Utah

(Photo via Getty Images)

New Orleans Pelicans and former Kentucky Wildcat forward Julius Randle hasn’t forgotten where he came from.

Randle had a friendly wager going with Kyle Kuzma – his former teammate from his time in Los Angeles and current Laker – that his alma mater of Kentucky would beat Kuzma’s former college of Utah.

Unless you’ve decided to hibernate until Christmas, you know how that game ended. Kentucky dismantled Utah 88-61 and played their best game of the season. So now it’s time for Kuzma to pay up.

Kuzma is in his second year with the Lakers and spent three seasons in college at Utah where he averaged 10.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. He was the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and played with Randle in L.A. last season.


(Photo via Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Rajon Rondo Cleared to Resume All Basketball Activities

(Photo via Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has been cleared to resume all basketball-related activities as of Saturday.

Rondo hasn’t played since Nov. 14 and has missed the Lakers last 15 games due to a broken hand he suffered during a matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers. Rondo fractured the third metacarpal on his right hand after punching the floor and underwent surgery the following day.

A few days ago, it was reported that the swelling in his hand had gone down and he was ready to be reevaluated within the next 48 hours. He’s been cleared now but, according to ESPN, Rondo is not expected to join the Lakers on the rest of their road trip to Washington D.C. and Brooklyn.

The Lakers next home game is Dec. 21 against the New Orleans Pelicans, so look for that date to be Rondo’sfirst possibility of returning.

Since his injury, Lonzo Ball has assumed the starting point guard duties and has faired quite nicely, including a triple-double performance in Saturday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets. I would expect Ball remains as the starter – considering the public praise he’s received from teammate LeBron James – and for Rondo to come off the bench and direct the second-unit.

In 11 games this season, Rondo is averaging 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game. The Lakers are 11-5 since Rondo’s surgery.


(Nola.com)

Anthony Davis Hosts Shopping Spree for Kids

(Photo via Jonathan Bachman/NBAE/Getty Images)

Anthony Davis took some time out of his busy schedule to host his annual shopping spree for underprivileged kids on Thursday evening.

Kids that were selected from two non-profit groups, the Kingsley House and Raintree Child Services, were given $200 gift cards to Target, two tickets to a Pelicans game, and a pair of Beats headphones.

(Nola.com)

After six years, Davis’s favorite part of the Holiday tradition is spending time with the kids, telling Nola.com, “just to see the smiles on their faces, it means a lot to me, I can’t wait to go out there and shop with them, interact with them.”

Good on AD for using the fortune he’s earned to give the less-fortunate a Holiday to remember.


@EMitchKSR

 


(Photo by Barry GossageNBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Booker Scores 28 in Return From Injury

(Photo by Barry GossageNBAE via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Devin Booker returned to action on Saturday night after missing seven straight games, so he proceeded to go for 28/7/7. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

Clippers – 104 @ Thunder – 110

  • The Clippers have officially hit a rut. After losing another game – their third in a row and losers of five of their last six – in Oklahoma City, LA has hit their worst skid of the season and it may not get better any time soon. Their next eight games in order are against the Trail Blazers (16-13), Mavericks (15-12), Nuggets (19-9), Warriors (20-10), Kings (15-13), Lakers (18-11), Spurs (15-15), and finishes with the 76ers (19-11). That is a schedule from the deep, dark depths of hell. They should count themselves winners if they can come out of that messy stretch with a 4-4 record. It also doesn’t help that their third-leading scorer, Lou Williams, has sat out the previous three games and could miss up to another week with a hamstring injury.
  • As for their game last night, it could have looked a lot worse on the surface had the Clippers not made a couple runs towards the end. The Thunder controlled this game throughout the majority of the night thanks to an elite all-around defensive performance. They specifically put the clamps on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who couldn’t get anything going against OKC’s backcourt, scoring only two points on 1-4 shooting in 21 minutes.
  • For the Thunder, Hamidou Diallo and Nerlens Noel had solid outings. Diallo went for 10 points on 4-5 shooting and was aggressive attacking the basket, making a couple of his shots through contact at the rim. Noel added four points, four rebounds, two steals, and two blocks in 16 minutes and was his usual high-energy self. I’m realizing more and more that Noel might be a perfect backup center for today’s NBA. He’s still incredibly eager to block shots – especially when it pulls him out of position – and that sometimes gets him into trouble, but he has clear value as an off-the-bench big man on a team with championship aspirations. Patrick Patterson played in 13 minutes but failed to register a point.

Timberwolves – 99 @ Suns – 107

  • A battle of former Kentucky superstars went down in Phoenix on Saturday between Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns with Booker’s Suns squad getting the best of Towns and the Wolves.
  • Booker missed the previous seven games due to a hamstring injury but looked anything but rusty in his return. He scored 28 points to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists. He started the game off 9-11 from the field and finished 10-16 (3-6 from deep), curling off screens for knockdown jumpers like he never even left. Booker also might be one of the best players I’ve seen this season at making cross court swing passes. He may not be an actualized playmaker just yet, but my goodness, his precision on these one-handed sling passes to teammates on the opposite side of the floor is something to marvel at.

  • For Towns, he also poured in 28 points to match Booker and tie the BBNBA high of the night. He also pulled down 12 rebounds but shot a dismal 11-26 from the field, including 1-7 from three. In the Western Conference where literally every team except for one is fighting for a playoff spot, you cannot afford to lose games to the one team actively trying to lose. This was a bad loss for Minny and hopefully Towns and company can respond when they take on the Kings this Monday. Towns definitely needs to show more effort on the defensive end than he showcased in this game.

Other notes

  • Malik Monk scored 19 points on 7-14 shooting for the Hornets despite his team being blown out at home by LeBron James and the Lakers. James and Lonzo Ball both recorded triple-doubles against Charlotte, which was only the second time a pair of Lakers teammates both recorded triple-doubles in the same game, the others being Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar back in 1982.
  • Brandon Knight played in his second game after returning from his ACL injury but recorded zero stats in only three minutes as the Rockets ease him back into action.
  • NBA League Pass is currently free right now through Dec. 20th, so if you’re trying to get your BBNBA fix in over the next few days, please take advantage of it. We’ve got Kings-Wolves on Monday plus Pelicans-Bucks and Thunder-Kings on Wednesday along with plenty of other exciting matchups. Check it out.
  • Also, check out the rest of Saturday night’s stats below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)99-107 L @ PHX2811-26 (1-7)124220-738
Devin Booker (PHX)107-99 W vs. MIN2810-16 (3-6)77002+235
Malik Monk (CHA)100-128 L vs. LAL197-14 (2-5)51002-527
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)110-104 W vs. LAC104-5 (0-0)10010-911
Nerlens Noel (OKC)110-104 W vs. LAC42-4 (0-0)40221+916
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)100-128 L vs. LAL21-4 (0-0)31101-139
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)104-110 L @ OKC21-4 (0-0)01000-1021
Brandon Knight (HOU)105-97 W @ MEM00-0 (0-0)00000+43
Patrick Patterson (OKC)110-104 W vs. LAC00-0 (0-0)12101+613
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)96-89 W vs. UTADNP-CD----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)128-100 W @ CHADNP-Hand----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

3:00: Hawks (Poythress-out) @ Nets

3:30: 76ers @ Cavaliers

5:00: Knicks (Kanter, Knox) @ Pacers

6:00: Lakers (Rondo-out) @ Wizards (Wall)

7:00: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere) @ Mavericks

7:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Pelicans (Davis, An. Harrison, Miller, Randle)

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


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


BBNBA: Fox and the Kings Fall Late Against Warriors

(Photo via NBA.com)

Good afternoon, folks. De’Aaron Fox scored 25 points and the Phoenix Suns don’t know how to read. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

  • Before we get into the BBNBA chit-chat, let’s quickly talk about what happened with Trevor Ariza and the Washington Wizards on Friday. It was reported that a trade was being executed that would send Ariza from the Suns back to the Wizards, where he spent two years of his career playing alongside John Wall. The Wizards would send Kelly Oubre to the Grizzlies and Austin Rivers to the Suns, but the deal was killed at the last minute. Why? Because the teams were confused over which “Brooks” was also being added into the trade. Some teams thought that Memphis was dealing Dillon Brooks, while others thought they were including MarShon Brooks. It’s all quite hilarious, really, and you can read ESPN’s report that more thoroughly explains everything here.
  • If the trade does eventually follow through, I really like Ariza going back to Washington. Ariza was a part of the Houston Rockets team last season that took the Warriors to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Without him, the Rockets have been struggling and his services could be much better used in literally any place not named Phoenix. A solid 3-and-D player is perfect next to Wall. Ariza can float along the perimeter and wait for Wall to kick out for open threes and he would bring a much-needed defensive presence (and hopefully some energy) to the Wiz. I hope this happens.
  • *Update* Not even an hour after I finished writing up this post, the trade became official. Ariza to the Wizards.

Knicks – 126 @ Hornets – 124 (OT)

  • Kevin Knox played a season-high 42 minutes in the Knicks overtime victory over the Charlotte Hornets. He dropped in 20 points on 7-15 shooting to go along with three boards and three assists. His teammate Enes Kanter only played in 23 minutes, but still added 15 points and eight rebounds on 6-10 shooting from the field.

  • For the Hornets, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Malik Monk scored two and nine points respectively as they witnessed a 20-point lead crumble at the hands of Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay finished with 34 points to lead a short-handed Knicks team to the win. Also for New York, Lexington Catholic product Luke Kornet scored 13 points with three made three-pointers in 24 minutes.

Thunder – 98 @ Nuggets – 109

  • The Thunder’s Wildcat trio of Hamidou Diallo, Nerlens Noel, and Patrick Patterson was unproductive in their loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday. Diallo and Noel both didn’t score a single point – although Noel did pull down five rebounds – nor did they play more than 10 minutes each. Patterson hit a three and pulled down two rebounds in only five minutes of action.
  • For the Nuggets, Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles had to be productive in order to give their team a chance. Murray scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds *coughs* with five turnovers *coughs* on 8-15 shooting. He was also 0-4 from three and is now 11-43 (25.6 percent) from deep over his last 10 games. In only one of those 10 games has Murray shot above 50 percent on his three-point attempts. He’s in a bit of a shooting slump right now, but the Nuggets are also 8-2 in their last 10 games, so the good news is the team is still effective despite his shooting woes. Lyles added nine points, six rebounds, and three assists on 4-10 shooting in 30 minutes. Lyles has now played 30 or more minutes in two of his last three games due to Paul Millsap’s absence. Lyles hadn’t played over 30 minutes in any game prior this season.
  • Murray also got into a tiny scuffle with Thunder guard Russell Westbrook over what appeared to be absolutely nothing. Murray has a history of egging on the opponent – as does Westbrook – and this ultimately amounted to nothing, but it sure does spice up a game a bit.

Warriors – 130 @ Kings – 125

  • The Kings lost a close one to the defending champs despite De’Aaron Fox leading the BBNBA in scoring with 25 points. He also contributed six rebounds, nine assists, and two steals but couldn’t slow down a 17-2 Warriors run in the final three minutes that put the Kings away for good. That’s the issue with young teams, finishing close games against superior opponents. The Kings head coach reiterated that after the loss.
  • ”They just got us with their experience at the end,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. ”We struggled to finish some shots once a lot of their switching happened. They made some plays but we made some mistakes and they made us pay.”
  • Willie Cauley-Stein was right behind Fox, pouring in 22 points on 7-11 shooting while also grabbing 11 rebounds for his 10th double-double this season.

Other notes

  • Hassan Whiteside returned to the Miami Heat for Friday’s game after missing the previous four due to personal reasons. Turns out, he was welcoming the birth of his child, so I can put the tin foil hat away regarding all of my Whiteside conspiracy theories. However, Bam Adebayo did play more minutes (26) than Whiteside (21) despite losing the starting spot, plus, his team got the win. Adebayo scored four points on 2-2 shooting but also recorded nine rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.
  • Check out the rest of the stats below, including the lines of John Wall and Eric Bledsoe.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)125-130 L vs. GSW259-19 (1-4)69204-734
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)125-130 L vs. GSW227-11 (0-0)113010-1733
Kevin Knox (NYK)126-124 OT W @ CHA207-15 (3-6)33110-942
Jamal Murray (DEN)109-98 W vs. OKC198-15 (0-4)91005+433
John Wall (WAS)118-125 L @ BKN177-16 (1-7)113102-535
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)114-102 W @ CLE166-19 (1-8)56013+830
Enes Kanter (NYK)126-124 OT W @ CHA156-10 (0-1)81002-1523
Malik Monk (CHA)124-126 OT L vs. NYK93-4 (2-3)25003-711
Trey Lyles (DEN)109-98 W vs. OKC94-10 (0-4)63023+330
Bam Adebayo (MIA)100-97 W @ MEM42-2 (0-0)95022+526
Patrick Patterson (OKC)98-109 L @ DEN31-3 (1-2)20000-15
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)124-126 OT L vs. NYK21-6 (0-1)42001+515
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)98-109 L @ DEN00-1 (0-0)00001-53
Nerlens Noel (OKC)98-109 L @ DEN00-1 (0-0)50010-710
Skal Labissiere (SAC)125-130 L vs. GSWDNP-CD----------------
Alex Poythress (ATL)108-129 L @ BOSDNP-Ankle----------------
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)130-125 W @ SACDNP-Achilles----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)109-98 W vs. OKCDNP-Foot----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

5:00 (NBATV-Mexico City): Jazz @ Magic (Briscoe)

7:00: Lakers (Rondo-out) @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk)

7:00: Celtics @ Pistons

8:00: Rockets (Knight) @ Grizzlies

8:30: Bulls @ Spurs

9:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson)

9:00: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Suns (Booker-questionable)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was nearly teammates with another former Kentucky star

@LAClippers

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander may be thriving with the Los Angeles Clippers right now, but did you know he was almost part of a draft-day trade that would have had him teaming up with another former Wildcat star?

According to Bob Young of The Athletic, the Phoenix Suns had a trade in place for Gilgeous-Alexander, but upper-management overruled it at the last minute in favor of another deal.

The move would have been for the No. 16 pick and another future selection. Instead, they opted to trade the rights to Zhaire Smith and a future pick for Mikal Bridges.

It’s worth noting that the Suns wouldn’t be in this fix if Robert Sarver, the club’s managing partner, had not reportedly overruled his then-general manager, Ryan McDonough, on draft night.

McDonough reportedly planned to package the club’s pick from Milwaukee and a player taken with the 16th pick to move up and draft Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a point guard from Kentucky.

When Philadelphia offered the rights to Mikal Bridges for the rights to Zhaire Smith and Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick, Sarver pushed for that deal. So the Suns moved up six spots to add their fourth young wing player.

Devin Booker and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the same team? That’d be one heck of a way to make up some ground with the BBN after  cutting ties with Tyler Ulis.

Instead, SGA has started in 19 of 28 games for the Clippers, leading the team to the fourth-best record in the west at 17-11.

Meanwhile, the Suns are stuck with no answer at the point guard position and four wing players. Oops.

(The Athletic)


(Photo via Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Brandon Knight Makes Long-Awaited Return to Court

(Photo via Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Brandon Knight played in an NBA game for the first time since February 15, 2017. He played less than four minutes. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

  • In Houston, Brandon Knight finally returned to the court after over a year and a half of being sidelined with a devastating ACL injury. He came in for a stint towards the end of the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers and it was one of those situations where I had to do a quadruple take just to make sure what I was seeing wasn’t a mirage. But there he was, sporting the red number two for the Rockets. His debut, however, could have gone better. As part of being eased back into basketball after going 18-plus months on the bench, Knight played only the final three or so minutes of the first quarter and that was it. He recorded a rebound and an assist while missing both of his shots – one of which was a catch-and-shoot guarded three-point attempt that missed the entire rim and slapped the side of the backboard. It’s a process, people! Expect Knight to progressively receive more and more minutes as we venture into the new year. It shouldn’t take long for him to replace Michael Carter-Williams’ value of nothingness.
  • As for the other games on Thursday, it was actually quite a slow evening. Only four games were in action – one of which was Magic-Bulls down in Mexico City – and outside of Knight, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the only other member of the BBNBA who played. SGA was impressive despite his Clippers team being blown out for the second consecutive game (they lost to the Raptors in Toronto by 24 on Tuesday) as he scored 13 points on 6-8 shooting to go along with two rebounds and two assists. I don’t want to say that I’m totally worried about the Clippers current skid, but it’s definitely concerning. They’ve now lost four of their last five games with the one win coming against the Phoenix Suns in overtime. They lost by 10 the Grizzlies and by 23 to the Heat before the game against Phoenix. They currently sit at 17-11 – fourth in the West – but appear to be struggling at the moment.
  • Devin Booker sat out his sixth straight game due to a hamstring injury and his Suns actually got the win, too. Booker is expected to make his return soon.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)87-125 L @ SAS136-8 (1-2)22103-1328
Brandon Knight (HOU)126-111 W vs. LAL00-2 (0-1)11000+13
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)97-91 W vs. CHIDNP-CD----------------
Devin Booker (PHX) 99-89 W vs. DALDNP-Hamstring----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)111-126 L @ HOUDNP-Hand----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Hawks (Poythress-out) @ Celtics

7:00: Knicks (Kanter, Knox) @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk)

7:30: Wizards (Wall) @ Nets

7:30: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Cavaliers

7:30 (ESPN): Pacers @ 76ers

8:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Grizzlies

10:00 (ESPN): Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt-out)

10:00: Raptors @ Trail Blazers

10:00: Warriors (Cousins-out) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan