Good afternoon, folks. How am I suppose to talk to my children about the 2018-19 Sacramento Kings being good at basketball? Let’s talk NBA.
Pelicans – 126 @ Raptors – 110
- That sure is one way to get back into your winning ways. After losing six games in a row, the Pelicans finally have a healthy Anthony Davis and damn do they look dangerous again. Even without Nikola Mirotic (ankle) and Elfrid Payton (ankle) – two starters – Davis was all they needed. Well, and E’Twaun Moore, too, who had 30 points for only the third time in his career.
- I’m going to spew a bunch of numbers and streaks regarding Davis because he accomplished a lot on Monday night. His 25 points (on 11-20) shooting and 20 rebounds was the fifth 20/20 game of his career. He added two blocks, which brings his current streak of games with at least one block up to 30. The Pelicans win over the previously 12-1 Raptors ends Toronto’s six-game winning streak and marks the third win in a row for New Orleans. AD is right back in the early MVP conversation.
- That Jrue Holiday guy is also unreal and probably my current favorite for Defensive Player of the Year.
- Julius Randle contributed 17 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists on 7-12 shooting. I cannot stress how efficient Randle is when he gets to the rim. Sometimes it looks like he just flings the ball sideways into the air but it also lands perfectly in the basket. He’s turned it into an art form. He’s hitting 69 percent of his shots that come at the rim this season, according to Cleaning the Glass.
- Darius Miller was 2-7 from deep, adding six points. While I love Miller to death and he was one of the first Kentucky players that I grew up idolizing – the first being Gerald Fitch – he sure does struggle as an NBA player. One thing that can’t be denied is Miller is an elite outside shooter. He can stop and pop from three with the best in the league and his numbers back that up. But, man, in practically any other situation in an NBA game, he looks completely lost.
- In any event, though, Miller knows his job and doesn’t try to overexert himself. The Pelicans are back over .500 at 7-6.
Nets – 113 @ Timberwolves – 120
- The first Timberwolves game post-Jimmy Butler was a tragic one, but not for anyone on Minnesota’s side. Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert landed severely on his ankle after going for a chase down block late in the first half. If you haven’t seen the video yet I would highly advise against it. It’s reminiscent of Gordon Hayward’s leg injury from last season. It really is a shame, too. LeVert has been overcoming injuries since he was at Michigan and after finally getting back to full strength, having a breakout season at 24, being the front-runner for Most Improved Player, he had it all yanked away in one unfortunate moment. I watched the fall live and it made me sick to my stomach. LeVert was a player I was closely monitoring this season. Injuries suck.
- But a basketball game still had to be played and Karl-Anthony Towns led the Wolves to victory. Without Butler – or the new additions from the Butler trade that will likely play for the first time on Wednesday – Towns went to work, but with plenty of miscues along the way. He put up 25 points and a season-high 21 rebounds (not quite the 40/20 stat line I predicted, but close enough) in addition to 10 ugly turnovers. The devil’s triple-double is what I’m going to call it (or maybe the anti-triple-double?). He shot 9-11 from the field including 2-2 from three and was incredible in the first half. The second-half was a bit of a different story as Towns played more reluctantly, but a win is a win and it snapped the Wolves five-game losing streak.
Suns – 101 @ Thunder – 118
- The Phoenix Suns may somehow be worse than last season – when they won only 21 games. I almost feel bad for Devin Booker at this point (but then I don’t because I remember that gargantuan contract he received not long ago). The Suns suck. They’re 2-11. You know the front office is looking over at the Dallas Mavericks and watching Luka Doncic play like the Rookie of the Year and thinking in the back of their head “did we screw this up, again?”. The answer could very well be yes, but we’ll still give Deandre Ayton more time to improve and come into his own. Booker was 7-18 from the field for 19 points to go along with four rebounds and five assists. I guess having no real point guard and overpaying for one-year of Trevor Ariza isn’t the move… Huh.
- As for the three Kentuckians on the Oklahoma City side, Nerlens Noel was the best of the trio, scoring nine points and pulling down six rebounds in only 15 minutes of play. Hamidou Diallo also added nine points in 13 minutes while Patrick Patterson was 2-3 from the field for five points in 15 minutes of his own.
Spurs – 99 @ Kings – 104
- These are the games the Sacramento Kings aren’t supposed to win. But these aren’t the Kings of olden times, who have been cast under a 15-year shadow of doubt and misery. De’Aaron Fox is the most exciting player in basketball right now. The Kings are the most exciting team in basketball. Go debate someone else if you disagree. They beat the San Antonio Spurs for the first time in FOURTEEN tries to bring their season record to 8-6.
- When Gregg Popovich is saying these like this about your franchise, things are going in the right direction: ”Their culture is changing,” Popovich said. ”Guys are committed, guys are physical, taking some pride in defense. They look really good.”
- Fox was spectacular – again. He scored 19 points on 7-9 shooting (he was 3-4 from three and now sits at 19-43 from deep on the season – 44.2 percent) plus three rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. His intensity on defense is growing every game and there may not be a player in the league who can stop and chop their feet quicker than Fox.
- Willie Cauley-Stein was special, too. He added 13 points and 13 rebounds, two of those points coming off this acrobatic alley-oop finish from Fox that all but put the game away.
Willie Cauley-Stein got Sacramento lit tonight ??? pic.twitter.com/jxSK82apxJ
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) November 13, 2018
- First of all, how in the hell did he manage to dunk that? That looked like a layup the whole way and then Cauley-Stein just decided to grow his arms several inches in a matter of seconds.
- I got as hype watching that beautiful display of basketball as I did when WCS was finishing the same kind of emphatic dunks during his tenure in Lexington. This is my favorite team to watch in the NBA right now. They just keep getting better and I can’t explain it. The schedule is going to stay rough for the next eight or so games, so I’m not going to get too ahead of myself, but they sure are fun and good. Something is brewing in Sactown. My Kings hoodie is already in the mail.
Warriors – 116 @ Clippers – 121 (OT)
- Just like the Kings improve with every game, so does Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. After putting up 18 points on 8-11 shooting against the freaking Golden State Warriors – albeit, without Steph Curry who is out with a groin injury – SGA has now put up 18 points, 16, and 19 in his previous three games. He’s averaging 14.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 52.4 percent from the field over his last four games – all as a starter. He’s unbelievably crafty driving to the rim and already coming into his own as an excellent defender, especially with that insane wingspan poking at every single pass or dribble. Poor Quinn Cook stood absolutely no chance.
- Make sure to watch the play 52 seconds into this highlight video.
- As a Kentucky fan, nothing makes me happier than watching SGA continue to prove his slew of doubters wrong. As a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, nothing upsets me more than a bunch of those doubters being the people who run my favorite franchise. I’ll still never understand comparing SGA and Collin Sexton side-by-side then picking the one who went to Alabama. I never understood it in June, I don’t understand it now, and I won’t understand it as long as SGA outplays Sexton.
- This was actually a huge overtime win for the Clippers over the defending champs. It bumps the team up to 8-5, something no one would have thought to be possible after they drained their core of Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and Blake Griffin all within a year of each other.
- The Washington Wizards have now won two games in a row after taking down the Orlando Magic. John Wall had 25 points and 10 assists. The Wizards are back, baby!
- They’re not.
- Bam Adebayo had eight points and four rebounds as the Miami Heat fell to the Philadelphia 76ers. Neither one of Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk, or Hassan Whiteside could stop the Shaq-like beast that currently is Joel Embiid.
|John Wall (WAS)||117-109 L vs. ORL||25||9-15 (2-3)||4||10||1||1||2||-3||33|
|Anthony Davis (NOP)||126-110 W @ TOR||25||11-20 (1-2)||20||6||0||2||4||+17||39|
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||120-113 W vs. BKN||25||9-11 (2-2)||21||3||1||2||10||+7||37|
|Devin Booker (PHX)||101-118 L @ OKC||19||7-18 (1-4)||4||6||0||0||3||-32||37|
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||104-99 W vs. SAS||19||7-9 (3-4)||3||7||2||1||4||+4||30|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||121-116 (OT) W vs. GSW||18||8-11 (0-3)||5||3||2||1||4||-3||38|
|Julius Randle (NOP)||126-110 W @ TOR||17||7-12 (0-1)||12||4||0||0||2||+15||35|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||104-99 W vs. SAS||13||6-14 (0-0)||13||3||0||0||1||_7||32|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||118-101 W vs. PHX||9||3-6 (0-0)||6||1||0||1||0||-6||15|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||118-101 W vs. PHX||9||3-7 (0-1)||1||0||1||0||2||-6||13|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||114-124 L vs. PHI||8||3-6 (0-0)||4||2||0||1||2||+1||19|
|Darius Miller (NOP)||126-110 W @ TOR||6||2-8 (2-7)||3||1||0||1||2||+6||22|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||118-101 W vs. PHX||5||2-3 (1-2)||1||1||0||0||0||-2||15|
|Skal Labissiere (SAC)||104-99 W vs. SAS||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)||109-117 L @ WAS||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||116-121 (OT) L @ LAC||DNP-Achilles||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Wenyen Gabriel (SAC)||104-99 W vs. SAS||DNP-G League||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Tyler Ulis (CHI)||98-103 L vs. DAL||DNP-G League||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00 (NBATV): Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Cavaliers (An. Harrison)
9:00: Rockets (Knight-out) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt-out)
10:30 (NBATV): Hawks (Poythress) @ Warriors (Cousins-out)
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan