What you missed while falling asleep during the Pro Bowl….
Our man Matt Moore gave you breakdowns on the big games Sunday with the Heat beating the Thunder and the Celtics knocking off the Lakers.
Suns 104, Hornets 102: The Suns were the better team for 47:40 but in those final 20 seconds they almost choked it away. The Suns were up 8 when Chris Paul knocked down a three (because he’s clutch). Then Trevor Ariza got a steal and CP3 lured Channing Frye into fouling him as he shot a three. Been a rough weekend for Frye. Anyway, Paul sank all three free throws and it was a two-point game. Then Grant Hill threw the ball out of bounds on the inbound pass. Hornets ball with a chance to tie or win — and Hill made up for his error by blocking Marcus Thornton at the rim. Chris Paul got one last desperation three but he was more trying to draw another foul and didn’t have any luck. Suns escape with a nice win — and Marcin Gortat is really starting to give them a presence at center.
Sixers 110, Nuggets 99: Remember the theory that Denver could keep Carmelo Anthony around if they could show him the Nuggets were contenders? Contenders play defense. Denver does not. Andre Iguodala had 24 points on 12 shots and the Sixers shot 55.1 percent as a team.
Magic 103, Cavaliers 87: This makes 20 losses in a row for the Cavs, and it was simply a matter of the superior talent on Orlando overwhelming Cleveland. That was particularly true in the paint and on the glass — Orlando had 24 offensive rebounds, with Ryan Anderson leading the way with 9. They grabbed the offensive rebound on 45 percent of their missed shots. Orlando was not particularly sharp, but they didn’t have to be.
Knicks 124, Pistons 106: With Shawne Williams suspended for the night Timofey Mozgov got his first run since Jan 8 — and he looked good. Like what a lot of us expected of him this season. He rolled to the hoop well on picks, showed off a midrange game and filled the paint up well for the Knicks. Mozgov finished with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting (he missed his first four then got hot), plus grabbed 14 boards. It will be interesting to see what Mike D’Antoni does with him now, but Mozgov earned more burn.
Warriors 96, Jazz 81: How bad is the Jazz’s offense without Deron Williams? The put up a pathetic 91 points per 100 possessions pace on the Warriors. The defense-averse Warriors.
Russell Westbrook led a double-digit comeback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Been there done, that.
Westbrook hit a defining buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Been there done, that.
Westbrook posted a historic triple-double. Been there, done that.
All three in one game?
That’s a new level for Westbrook, who lifted the Thunder to a 114-106 win over the Magic tonight while posting an incredible stat line: 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
James Harden scored 53 in a triple-double just this season, and Westbrook has already one-upped that record.
This MVP race is one for the ages.
The Thunder trailed the Magic by 21 points in the second half and 14 points midway through the fourth quarter.
Russell Westbrook capped the incredible comeback with this 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.
This becoming the norm for Oklahoma City.
Paul George expressed extreme dismay after the Pacers’ loss to the Timberwolves last night — the latest cause for concern in Indiana with its biggest star just one season from free agency.
But perhaps George wouldn’t have sounded so disillusioned if that game featured correct officiating down the stretch.
Minnesota’s Kris Dunn got away with fouling Jeff Teague by disrupting the Pacers guard’s speed/quickness/balance rhythm with 21.6 seconds left, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Dunn (MIN) makes contact to Teague’s (IND) arm that affects his SQBR and causes him to lose control of the ball.
Because the Timberwolves were in the penalty, a correct would’ve sent Teague — who’s making 86% of his free throws this season and 84% for his career — to the line. He would’ve had two attempts to build on Indiana’s two-point lead.
Instead, he forced an off-balance shot, which Minnesota rebounded. Ricky Rubio drew a shooting foul on a 3-pointer on the other end, and his three free throws lifted the Timberwolves to a 115-114 win.
The two-minute report featured a few other missed calls: George getting away with pushing off then Wiggins getting away with fouling George on a possession where George missed anyway, Andrew Wiggins getting away with a travel on a possession where Minnesota turned the ball over anyway. But those were effectively wash’s. Dunn’s uncalled foul was the one of consequence — especially if it contributes, even in a small way, to George’s exit from the Pacers.
Edmond Sumner has grown about five inches since high school.
That has helped turn the 6-foot-5 Xavier point guard into an intriguing NBA prospect — but also seemingly contributed to physical complications. Sumner missed nearly all of his freshman year with knee tendinitis. Then, after a promising second season and start to his third, he tore his ACL in January.
Still, he’s entering the NBA draft.
Rick Broering of Musketeer Report:
Like with Duke’s Harry Giles, medical testing will be huge with Sumner. But at least Giles ended the season on the court. Sumner might not be healthy at all during the pre-draft process.
Sumner looked like a borderline first-round pick before the injury. This probably pushes him into the second round.
His long strides provide impressive speed and quickness, and he’s still shifty. Add quality court vision, and his ability to drive by defenders is even more valuable.
A 6-foot-8 wingspan and good lateral mobility also help make him a quality defender.
But it’s also concerning that so much of his positives could be undermined by his knee issues, especially considering his unreliable jumper. If Sumner can’t move like he did before getting hurt, I don’t see how he sticks in the NBA.
If Sumner’s knees check out, it’s worth rolling the dice on him and hoping his jumper develops. He might even be OK without shooting range, though that’d lower his ceiling considerably.
Again, though, the first thing is examining his knees.