The NBA is simply the best professional sports league in the world (yes, I checked every league on the face of the earth) and wouldn’t you know, there’s quite a lot to cover lately. While we’re mostly obsessed with the Detroit Pistons here, it never hurts to take a closer look at the competition.
Thanks a bunch, Mavericks. BTW can we have a point guard?
The 11-25 Dallas Mavericks beat a Victor Oladipo-less Pacers in Indiana on Wednesday night and, fun fact, the Mavs did not have a player score more than 15 points in the game. The Mavs are just weird like that. Plus, recently they beat the Toronto Raptors and you can’t forget the beat down they laid on the Pistons about a week ago. Anyway, I was thinking, since Dallas has three decent point guards on their bench - J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, Yogi Ferrell - maybe they would trade one to Detroit? Yogi Ferrell is probably in their long term plans as a supplemental guard (their new Barea) to Dennis Smith Jr., so that’s that. Barea is 33 and Harris is 34, so that might not interest too many people. However, if Stan Van Gundy and company are truly serious about trying to win a playoff series THIS season, why not consider one of the veterans to form a respectable two-headed point guard rotation with Ish? Barea and Harris can still play. I’m not confident that Langston Galloway and Dwight Buycks can pick up the extra point guard slack for the 6-to-8 weeks that Reggie Jackson may be out.
The Washington Wizards just don’t make much sense
Washington seemed locked-in on a Christmas Day win versus the Celtics in Boston - then two days later they lose by 14 to the Atlanta Hawks, the East’s worst team record-wise. The Wizards now sit at 19-16, tied with the Pacers.
Just remember, it’s Washington D.C. — not much sense happens there these days.
Ersan doing his thing
Ersan Ilyasova scored 20 points in 29 minutes in the Hawks’ win over the Wizards Wednesday night. Beautiful play here by ghostface:
Some show and go and Euro from Ersan Ilyasova! pic.twitter.com/WoK6wemMNp— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 28, 2017
Do the Chicago Bulls realize what they are doing?
The Bulls are 9-2 in their last 11 (just beat the Knicks again) and unless they start trading some of their more competent veteran pieces real quick, they might as well kiss any top five 2018 draft pick that management was hoping for goodbye. For those of you who keep up with emerging prospects, you’ll know that the draft next year is pretty loaded again (I’ll spare you my draft analysis this time). Though, looking at the Bulls right now, you’ll see that second-year point guard Kris Dunn is an emerging difference maker. Rookie big Lauri Markkanen shows signs of being a high-level player in the not too distant future. Veteran Nikola Mirotic is, by far, playing the best ball of his career after recovering from the Bobby Portis’ punch prior to the season (since Mirotic has returned the Bulls are 9-2). 22-year-old Zach LaVine is apparently supposed to be back soon.
Knew the Knicks wouldn’t last
The .500 Knicks are starting to Knick again (losers of three straight and have the Spurs twice in the next three games). Would you look at this “defense” against the Bulls in crunch time...
The dunk that blew the roof off the UC: pic.twitter.com/ALDde0sCfm— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 28, 2017
Vince Carter scored a bunch to help beat Cavaliers by 14 Wednesday
Firstly - thanks, Kings! Please feel free to take down other Eastern Conference teams (besides Detroit) why don’t you. Secondly - damn, Vince! He scored 24 points in 30 minutes on 10-for-12 shooting (4-for-5 from downtown) and had a block and a steal to boot. And you may know, Vince is less than a month away from turning 41 years old. Vince has been banged up the last few games and didn’t play, but through most of this season he has been in the Kings’ rotation, yet is averaging less than three points and two rebounds in 13.9 minutes per game. Well, Vince still has something left (and also, I don’t think Jae Crowder and co. were respecting him quite enough). Watch Vince get buckets:
Vince Carter was feeling it in the Kings' win over the Cavs!— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 28, 2017
4-5 3PT pic.twitter.com/9PaeF0Toto
Rajon Rondo sets career-high for assists
Rajon’s New Orleans Pelicans handily beat the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday - but the real story was Rajon’s career-high 25 assists. He’s the seventh player in NBA history to record that many assists in a game (the last since Jason Kidd did it in 1996).
Rondo joined some elite company on a night when he finished five assists shy of Scott Skiles' NBA record of 30 set in 1990. He probably could have broken the record on a night when some assists turned into "should've been assists" that his teammates were unable to finish.
"I kinda felt bad because I blew a couple shots," said DeMarcus Cousins. "He could have easily had 30 plus. Congrats (to him) but I kinda feel bad at the same time."
This is not one of Rondo’s 25 dimes, but a fun and successful possession nonetheless for the currently relevant 18-16 Pelicans:
just your typical NBA possession with Rondo and Boogie Cousins pic.twitter.com/9b4UxfCuQx— me (@calnewby) December 28, 2017
Rookie flat gets it
Rookie forward Jordan Bell (at Oregon and now in the NBA, Bell reminds me a lot of Ben Wallace and the energy and tenacity he displayed with the Pistons) on his role with the Warriors:
The Pistons better take care of business against the Nikola Vucevic-less and potentially Aaron Gordon-less Orlando Magic Thursday evening! 20-14 looks a ton better than 19-15.