Good afternoon, folks. We have trades to discuss and a podcast to listen to. Let’s talk NBA.
“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.” — Kobe Bryant
Thursday sure was a busy day.
The 3 p.m. trade deadline came and went in the NBA and there were several surprise deals, including a few that featured some former Wildcats. I hopped on the Sources Say podcast with KSR’s own Jack Pilgrim and we broke down everything you need to know about each member of the BBNBA that was on the move. Jack and I are test-running a BBNBA-focused podcast, so make sure to leave any feedback. You can listen through the link below on Spotify or on iTunes by clicking here.
Here are some of the highlights from the deadline.
Skal Labissiere was traded from the Portland Trail Blazers along with $1.9 million in cash to the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are not expected to waive Labissiere but with his current injury, it’s hard to say if he’ll have a spot in the rotation after the Hawks added center Clint Capela via the Houston Rockets. The Blazers literally attached almost $2 million just to get rid of Labissiere. That stings.
Brandon Knight was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Detroit Pistons as a smaller piece of the Andre Drummond deal that sent him to Cleveland. Knight has also battled injuries this season and the final year of his contract is set to expire this offseason.
Karl-Anthony Towns finally has his co-star and he couldn’t be happier. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded away Andrew Wiggins to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for one of Towns’ best friend, D’Angelo Russell.
You think KAT is happy? I haven’t seen him smile like that in 2 years… That should buy the Wolves at least 6 months of time.
The official rosters for the 2020 NBA All-Star game were also drafted on Thursday. Bam Adebayo is on Team Giannis and Anthony Davis is (obviously) on Team LeBron.
As I said, it was a busy day.
Now let’s talk about the games from Thursday night.
Small ball Rockets surprise Lakers
As I briefly mentioned, the Houston Rockets traded away center Clint Capela – the team’s tallest player – to the Atlanta Hawks ahead of the final deadline. Without the 6-foot-10 big man, the Rockets are seemingly embracing an ultra-small ball lineup featuring 6-foot-5 bruiser P.J. Tucker as the starting center. They did not start one player over 6-foot-6 – and beat the tallest team in the NBA in the process.
Houston took advantage of the extra floor spacing and shot the lights out, connecting on 42 percent of its 42 attempts from beyond the arc. Russell Westbrook popped off for 41 points while the recently added Robert Covington (traded from Minnesota and one of KAT’s good friends) two clutch shots down the stretch coming off the bench in his first game for the Rockets.
Anthony Davis finished the night with a BBNBA-high 32 points on 14-21 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals, and three blocks. Rajon Rondo went for two points on 1-5 shooting in 14 minutes. Even with the serious edge in size behind players like Davis and JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, the Laker bigs couldn’t keep up with the smaller Houston lineup. Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has been known to try and innovate offenses with never-before-seen styles, so it’ll be interesting to see how he handles this unique situation. They can still add a big body in the buyout market, but after the deadline passed and they didn’t trade for another center, it feels like they’ve decided to go all-in on small-ball.
Trey Lyles’ big night
Trey Lyles went off for his best scoring night of the entire season, pouring in 23 points on a 9-11 shooting clip that included a 4-6 mark from beyond the arc. He also hauled in 10 rebounds to record his first double-double of the season. Unfortunately, the Portland Trail Blazers took down Lyles and San Antonio Spurs by a final score of 125-117.
‘It took me a little bit while longer than I expected to get comfortable (in San Antonio),” Lyles said following the game. ”I just continue to be myself, not settle, just find my niche where I could help impact on the court.”
The former Wildcat has struggled in a starting role with the Spurs as an undersized big man. However, as he alluded to, Lyles has been slowing coming into his own. Over the last six games, he’s averaging 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting nearly 59 percent from the floor and connecting on 11-24 shots from deep.
- The New York Knicks earned a tight 105-103 win over the Orlando Magic thanks to 22 points, eight rebounds, and four assists from Julius Randle. The win marked the third in a row for New York, just the second time they’ve done so all season long. Kevin Knox was held scoreless in 15 minutes on a 0-5 shooting clip.
- In the Milwaukee Bucks 112-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, Eric Bledsoe contributed 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two steals in 32 minutes while shooting 6-14 from the floor.
Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Anthony Davis (LAL)||111-121 L vs. HOU||32||14-21 (0-0)||13||3||3||3||0||-4||40|
|Trey Lyles (SAS)||117-125 L @ POR||23||9-11 (4-6)||10||0||2||0||0||+5||33|
|Julius Randle (NYK)||105-103 W vs. ORL||22||10-16 (0-1)||8||4||1||2||2||+1||30|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||112-101 W vs. PHI||14||6-14 (1-3)||8||6||2||0||4||+9||32|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||111-121 L vs. HOU||2||1-5 (0-3)||0||1||0||0||4||-14||14|
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||105-103 W vs. ORL||0||0-5 (0-1)||2||0||0||0||1||-10||15|
|Wenyen Gabriel (POR)||125-117 W vs. SAS||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Darius Miller (NOP)||125-119 W @ CHI||DNP-Achilles||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Keldon Johnson (SAS)||117-125 L @ POR||DNP-Inactive||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Grizzlies @ 76ers
7:00: Mavericks (Cauley-Stein) @ Wizards (Wall-out)
7:30: Hawks @ Celtics (Kanter)
8:00 (ESPN): Raptors @ Pacers
8:00: Pistons @ Thunder (Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel)
9:00: Rockets @ Suns (Booker)
10:00: Heat (Adebayo, Herro) @ Kings (Fox)
10:30 (ESPN): Trail Blazers (Gabriel) @ Jazz