Last night’s Bulls-Suns game may not have seemed like a marquee match-up, but it went to the wire and held some rather significant playoff implications. That, and Flip Murray decided to throw in 23 points on just 12 shots just for the hell of it.
The Bulls took away the Suns’ early 12-point lead behind the efforts of Murray and Derrick Rose, but because Steve Nash is Steve Nash and because Channing Frye is Channing Frye (this year’s model, at least), Phoenix was able to stage a late-game comeback of their own and lock up the win in the game’s closing seconds.
It’s big for a few reasons. First, Phoenix has officially clinched a spot in the playoffs…even if that hardly qualifies as news at this point in the season. The Suns have been on an absolute tear of late and regardless, their inclusion in the postseason has been more or less a given all year. It does inch them even closer toward a high seed in the West, though, as last night’s win moved the Suns into sole possession of the fourth seed. Phoenix is just a game out of second. Start shaking in your boots, Mavs and Jazz.
Out East, a loss for the 9th place Bulls means that the Raptors, who currently hold a 1.5 game edge over Chicago, are inching closer to securing a playoff spot of their own. They’ll have the distinct pleasure of being swept by the Cavs in the first round if they can hold onto that lead, though it does seem like Derrick Rose really, really wants to lose to LeBron. I’ve never been one for getting completely embarrassed on national TV myself, but hey, different strokes.
The Los Angeles Clippers have 14 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster, plus a partial guarantee for DeAndre Liggins (who likely is on the roster opening day). They also are pretty much set at center with DeAndre Jordan and Willie Reed (plus when they go small they can play Blake Griffin there, something I wish they’d do a little more).
That said, Doc Rivers — just a coach now — needs bodies for camp, so in comes former Duke star and Knick Marshall Plumlee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Plumlee played in 21 games for the Knicks last season, logging a total of 190 minutes. He bounced between New York and the D-League Westchester Knicks, when down he averaged 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.
He’s not making the Clippers’ squad (barring injury), but he could show well and get noticed by other teams. Over the course of a season, there will be a need for bigs as guys go down injured, Plumlee is getting a chance to show how his game has developed. And he makes some money in the process.
Much like Kevin Durant, it appears that Kawhi Leonard is having a great summer.
In fact, this appears to be the Summer of Kawhi Smiling. Which, according to one of his longtime teammates, is a bit confusing.
When the Spurs posted a photo of Leonard with a big old grin on his face to their Twitter feed recently, San Antonio legend Manu Ginobili responded asking the team whether something was up.
Specifically, Ginobili said that he had seen more photos of Leonard smiling in the past two days then he had in six seasons as a teammate.
You can leave an anonymous tip about why Kawhi Leonard is smiling so much by contacting the produce manager at your local H-E-B.
“He played 20 years … I mean, yeah I guess.”
That’s what Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball had to say in this video after learning that Kobe Bryant was the all-time leader in steals for his franchise. You have to hand it to him, it is a little surprising. Even more surprising is that Bryant has 220 more than Magic Johnson at No. 2.
In a video posted to YouTube by Complex on Saturday, rookies tried to answer questions similar to the one Ball pondered over, like what team drafted their head coach, who the NBA all-time leading scorer is, and what day the first game of the season starts on.
A lot of the responses were pretty funny, including the guys getting wrong what year Adam Silver became NBA commissioner. Poor David Stern has already been forgotten about!
Meanwhile, Ball looked the sharpest. He’s going to come in handy when the Lakers play pub trivia.
It’s summertime in the NBA, which means a lot of us are just trying to find ways to keep our minds occupied until training camp starts.
Thankfully, some of us are artists, including u/bbnexus over at the r/NBA subreddit. Apparently they wanted to use some of the free time we have here during the NBA offseason for a little art project. Specifically, turning all of the remaining 29 NBA team logos into one featuring the Toronto Raptor.
The result is a pretty impressive amount of effort having gone into these logos. I personally think the edition for the Hawks, Timberwolves, and Celtics are the best ones.
A fun game to play here is to figure out which logo goes to which team.
Based on how some of the new Nike uniforms have turned out for teams this year, perhaps u/bbnexus should get the job designing a future ones based off of these logos.