Going to switch up the formatting a bit. I’ll only be doing recaps of games where former Kentucky players are significant figures. So, for example, the Celtics-Raptors game from last night will not be covered. Also, games where a Kentucky player is on a team but did not play or did not play significant minutes will not be covered nearly as extensively, if at all. Enjoy the recap and be stunned by the greatness that is Anthony Davis.
Charlotte 120 – Orlando 88
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist came off the bench in favor of Jeremy Lamb for the second straight game to begin the 2018-19 season, something brand new to him in his still young career. Before the season began, MKG had played in a total of 357 games for the Hornets and started all but four of them. Three of the four games off the bench were following an injury during the 2014-15 season, the other was during his rookie year. Coming off the bench hasn’t appeared to hinder his game, however. MKG put together an all-around stat line of 12 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and two blocks in 22 minutes. Keeping Lamb in the starting lineup gives the Hornets four shooters surrounding versatile big man Cody Zeller inside. Bringing MKG off the bench adds a defensive intensity and veteran presence to the second unit. So far, this plan shows little signs of being a bad decision.
- Malik Monk‘s follow up to an 18-point performance in the first regular season game was rather disappointing, shooting 4-12 for just 11 points.
- As a result of being just an absolutely horrendous basketball team, Isaiah Briscoe was able to run for 10 minutes to end the blowout for the Magic. And he sure did look good against the competition in front of him (which included rotational/starting Hornets players despite them being up 30). Briscoe added 10 points on 4-5 shooting and three assists.
Knicks 105 – Nets 107
- Enes Kanter tried his best at some late-game heroics for the New York Knicks, converting an and-one with 15.9 seconds left to tie the ball game. However, the celebration was quickly spoiled by a Caris LeVert game-winning layup with one second left (LeVert is the “way-too-early” favorite for Most Improved Player). Kanter still dominated the game, scoring 29 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while abusing second-year player Jarrett Allen in the post all game.
- His first game was a dud, but Kevin Knox put together a solid shooting performance in game two. Knox added 17 points off the bench on 7-14 shooting and 3-4 from deep.
- Want an idea of the culture the coaching staff in New York is trying to build? Look no further than head coach David Fizdale lighting into Knox after he drilled a clutch three late in the fourth quarter. Knox was late on a rotation a couple plays earlier and Fiz made sure he knew exactly what he did wrong.
After Kevin Knox hit this three to tie the game, David Fizdale wasn’t celebrating
He waited to chew Knox out for not getting over quick enough on an earlier defensive rotation
Fiz, the teacher pic.twitter.com/Xz6wm3FefR
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 20, 2018
- Personally, I love this. And Knox’s reaction makes it even better. Fizdale is an excellent coach, he’s going to squeeze everything he can out of Knox.
AND-ONE ENES KANTER
The big man hits the free throw to tie the game at 105.
15.9 seconds left in the game, Nets ball.
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) October 20, 2018
Kevin Knox ties the game with the HUGE 3-pointer: pic.twitter.com/LKkgTKmxbk
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) October 20, 2018
Hawks 117 – Grizzlies 131
- Another game for the Memphis Grizzlies. Another game that Andrew Harrison doesn’t play a single minute. Harrison is a bonafide NBA player at this point. Keeping him on the bench is doing no one any favors. This should be an interesting subplot to follow throughout the season if the minutes don’t eventually come.
- How about Alex Poythress? The Kentucky fan-favorite recorded eight points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes for the Hawks. Through two games, Poythress has been a valuable rotational piece for the rebuilding Hawks squad. Hopefully, that continues to hold true.
Cavaliers 123- Timberwolves 131
- Something is going on with Karl-Anthony Towns. Yes, it’s only two games, but not once has KAT looked comfortable on the court. There are literally hundreds of possible explanations as to why, starting with the entire Jimmy Butler ordeal, his new contract extension, tension with the front office, it could be any number of things. Or it could just be the start of the season jitters and he could drop 45 points his next game. However, a 12-point, nine rebound performance last night was nothing short of disappointing (his off-ball defense was tremendous, however). He’ll turn it around eventually, that much I can guarantee. But will it happen sooner rather than later?
- TRADE JIMMY BUTLER
KAT PINNED IT ON THE GLASS ??? pic.twitter.com/PqFqJRifwM
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) October 20, 2018
Kings 129 – Pelicans 149
- There sure is a lot to unpack from this game, so let’s start with the Sacramento Kings. Willie Cauley-Stein and De’Aaron Fox both put together their second consecutive games of great production. WCS dropped in 20 points to go along with seven rebounds while Fox added 18 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Skal Labissiere came off the bench and scored five points in seven minutes. Wenyen Gabriel did not play.
- As for the Pelicans, they look like a team ready to set the entire solar system ablaze. Their 149 points last night was the most in franchise history. Their 280 points through the first two games of the season are the second-most in NBA history. The Pelicans were all about pace last season and they tripled-down on that theory to start this season.
— Machine Pun Kelly (@KellyScaletta) October 20, 2018
- Anthony Davis had another Anthony Davis stat line of 25 points (8-12 shooting), 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks. Julius Randle added another 13 points and 14 rebounds off the bench and is the “way-too-early” front-runner for Sixth Man of the Year. Darius Miller went 3-7 on threes. The entire New Orleans team is clicking so much earlier than anticipated. The losses of DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo have yet to make the type of negative impact some expected. Instead, the Pelicans look like the most dangerous team in the NBA at the moment.
Anthony Davis is ridiculous pic.twitter.com/9YnWKKguLM
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) October 20, 2018
Pacers 101 – Bucks 118
- The Milwaukee Bucks – similar to the New Orleans Pelicans – are experimenting with an offense they aren’t used to. And just like the Pelicans, it’s working. The Bucks are firing up threes like it’s nobodies business. They shot 47 threes Friday night, a franchise record. They attempted 34 in their season opener. They attempted at least 34 threes in only two games all of last season. So why am I telling you this? Because it’s opened things up for Giannis Anteotkunmpo, who should contend with Anthony Davis for MVP by year’s end. Both teams have revolutionized their offense to maximize the production for their superstars and it’s paying dividends.
- As for Eric Bledsoe, a 12-point, six rebound, seven assist, two steals, and two blocks display is exactly what the Bucks need from him on a nightly basis.
Thunder 92 – Clippers 108
- Nerlens Noel had another high-energy game for the Thunder, making hustle play after hustle play that is going to make it impossible for the coaching staff to keep him off the floor. He had nine points and five rebounds in 14 minutes but what has surprised me the most about Noel thus far is how in sync he is with his teammates. It may just be good instincts or even a bit of luck, but Noel has had no problem familiarizing himself with this Oklahoma City team.
- Hamidou Diallo found himself another burst of clock during his second NBA game, although not as productive as his first game. But, he didn’t make any glaring mistakes and played with a level head while attacking the glass. It’s going to be a long process for Diallo, but one that could pay off big time.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander only recorded two points in his second NBA game but was doing so many other things beneficial to the Clippers that they needed him to help close the game. Los Angeles went with SGA over starter Patrick Beverley to finish an impressive win over the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder. There were signs of the floor general we saw late in the season at Kentucky last year. He’s too smart of a player to not have in during important stretches of close games.
|Enes Kanter (NYK)||105-107 L @ BKN||29||12-18 (0-1)||10||2||1||0||0||+2||35|
|Anthony Davis (NOP)||149-129 W vs. SAC||25||8-12 (1-1)||10||6||2||2||4||+21||26|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||129-149 L @ NOP||20||9-14 (0-0)||7||1||0||0||1||-4||25|
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||129-149 L @ NOP||18||6-12 (0-1)||7||6||0||0||4||-8||26|
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||105-107 L @ BKN||17||7-14 (3-4)||6||0||0||0||0||-4||28|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||118-101 W vs. IND||12||5-9 (2-5)||6||7||2||2||0||+17||26|
|Julius Randle (NOP)||149-129 W vs. SAC||12||6-12 (1-2)||14||0||0||0||1||+14||24|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||120-88 W @ ORL||12||5-8 (0-2)||9||5||0||2||1||+24||22|
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||131-123 W vs. CLE||12||4-10 (2-2)||9||2||0||4||4||+2||34|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||120-88 W @ ORL||11||4-12 (2-6)||1||2||0||0||1||+5||23|
|Darius Miller (NOP)||149-129 W vs. SAC||10||3-7 (3-7)||1||2||0||0||1||+9||22|
|Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)||88-120 L vs. CHA||10||4-5 (1-1)||1||3||0||0||0||+1||10|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||92-108 L @ LAC||9||4-5 (0-0)||5||0||1||0||0||0||14|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||117-131 L @ MEM||8||3-4 (1-1)||7||2||1||1||0||-2||21|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||92-108 L @ LAC||5||2-4 (1-2)||2||0||0||1||0||-9||19|
|Skal Labissiere (SAC)||129-149 L @ NOP||5||2-4 (1-3)||1||0||0||0||1||+2||7|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||92-108 L @ LAC||3||0-1 (0-0)||3||0||0||0||0||+1||8|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||108-92 W vs. OKC||2||0-2 (0-1)||3||4||0||0||2||+12||23|
|Andrew Harrison (MEM)||131-117 W vs. ATL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Wenyen Gabriel (SAC)||129-149 L @ NOP||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
Tonight in the NBA
7:00: Nets @ Pacers
7:00 (NBATV): Raptors @ Wizards (Wall)
7:30: Celtics @ Knicks (Kanter, Knox)
7:30: Magic (Briscoe) @ Sixers
8:00: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Heat (Adebayo)
8:30: Pistons @ Bulls (Ulis)
8:30: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Mavericks
9:00: Suns (Booker) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray)
10:00: Spurs @ Trail Blazers
10:30 (ESPN): Rockets (Knight-out) @ Lakers (Rondo)
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan