There are great all-around performances, and then there are singular plays which rise above all else to define a day of NBA basketball. DeAndre Jordan’s dunk over Brandon Knight falls into the latter category, and (spoiler alert) it earns him our top spot in the nightly rankings.
Third Star: Dwight Howard (16 points, 21 rebounds, 4 blocked shots in win over Bulls)
Dwight is getting healthier with each passing game, and as a result, he’s looking more and more like the defensive monster he’s proved to be in previous seasons. Howard was active defensively and dominated the glass, while helping the Lakers beat the Bulls and move into the playoff picture officially for the first time all season.
Second Star: Mario Chalmers (26 points on 9 shots, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals)
The Heat won their 18th straight game on Sunday against the Pacers, and anytime the leading scorer in Miami isn’t named LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, you know they turned in a special performance. 26 points on nine shots is about as efficient as it gets, and the fact that guys other than James, Wade, and Chris Bosh can step up like this for the Heat is what makes them heavy favorites to repeat as champions.
First Star: DeAndre Jordan (Soul-crushing dunk that broke the Internet)
DeAndre Jordan finished with 13 points on 5-5 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds and two blocked shots in the Clippers’ 32-point win over the Pistons. But when this happens, not much else matters.
Paul George says OKC feels like “Somewhere I can call home for years”
“Honestly, I’m happy,” he said. “The only thing I wanted out of Indiana was a chance to win my whole career there…That’s really what I want out of this, out of the league. I’m not looking for money. I’m not looking for stats. I want to win, and (to) be able to win at a high level.
“It’s Year One, and (the Thunder have) proven – and I haven’t even gone through a season yet – and they’ve already proven everything on my check list (that) I can check off. That’s what feels good. That’s what makes me feel like, ‘Hey, this can be a landing spot for me, and somewhere I can call home for years.’”
George also told USA Today that winning was above anything else, including joining his hometown team in the Lakers. We’ve heard this from players before, so take it with a grain of salt, but it does appear that the Thunder have a shot of keeping the former Pacers star if George is to be believed.
Of course, Oklahoma City still has some work to do in terms of winning games. There are some serious doubts about the roster they have now with three high usage players that will struggle to find a way to share the ball efficiently.
The Western Conference got a lot tougher this offseason, and both Anthony and George were a part of that. But the other teams have stiffened and appear to have better roster fit at the moment. Thats before we even get to the 2017 NBA Finals champion Golden State Warriors.
There has been significant talk around the NBA about the possibility of LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer.
Specifically, there has been in a lot of chatter about James leaving his home state and heading to be in Los Angeles with the Lakers.
But during NBA media day on Monday, LeBron said that he still plans on finishing his career with Cleveland. What wasn’t explicit is whether that means he will take his next contract elsewhere, or if he simply means to return at a later date.
“It hasn’t changed,” James said, when asked. He also nodded when asked, directly, if he intended to finish his career in Cleveland.
“And that’s why I sit up here today, still in this uniform, still ready to lead this franchise to a championship, put us in a position where we can be successful.”
“Anytime I’m able to be free agent or my contract ends, I’ll approach that when the summer comes,” he said. “At the end of the day I have a contract and I will fill out that obligation, which I’ve always done.
“And if you guys know me, I don’t know if you know me as much, but I’ve always handled it in the most businesslike way. And I will do that with my team, and we’ll handle that in the summertime, as we always have.”
So you there you have it. He is definitely planning on staying. Although he isn’t going to make that plan until the summer.
Should be an interesting one in Cleveland this year.
LeBron, Gregg Popovich among NBA heavyweights to comment on Trump at Media Day
Monday was NBA Media Day and it could not get here soon enough. Yes, the offseason has been an incredible one with many players changing places. But the start of football season always means something important for the NBA diehard: basketball is coming.
Media Day comes with new questions for new players, along with hope that franchises will be able to right the wrongs of seasons past. Plus, we get to see new jerseys on stars. Yet as it always seems these days, the story of the afternoon was gathering how players had reacted to Donald Trump’s recent comments.
Specifically, Trump mentioned that he thought that players who knelt for the national anthem in the NFL were “sons of bitches”. Trump also rescinded a potential offer for a visit to the White House for the Golden State Warriors after Stephen Curry said he would vote “no” on going during a team meeting.
NBA reporters could not help but ask about the comments by Trump and the impact it had on the players, coaches, and executives during their first full scale opportunity to see players in a team setting.
We will be entering our first full season of the NBA with Trump and given how the first eight months of his tenure have gone, it will be interesting to see how the most socially conscious league in America responds moving forward.
Cavaliers expect Isaiah Thomas to play in games by January
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) Isaiah Thomas could be running the point for Cleveland by the end of the year.
The All-Star point guard, acquired from Boston this summer in a blockbuster trade, has made progress with his hip injury, and the Cavaliers expect him to be playing games by January.
Thomas has begun running and doing on-court activities as he rehabilitates the injury, which prematurely ended his postseason with the Celtics. Cleveland acquired him in a trade that sent All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to Boston, its biggest challenger in the East.
Thomas doesn’t need surgery. While the Eastern Conference champions have been encouraged by his recovery, they will not rush him back. While he gets healthy, Derrick Rose, another summer acquisition, will start at point guard.
Thomas averaged 28.9 points last season for the Celtics, who sent him along with forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft to Cleveland.
The Cavaliers were concerned with Thomas’ injury, so the Celtics added a second-round pick to complete the deal.
When they introduced Thomas at a news conference, the Cavaliers were vague about a timeline for his return, mainly because they hadn’t yet worked with him. It’s now possible Thomas could be back and playing by Christmas, when the Cavs visit Golden State.
Thomas is only under contract for the upcoming season and has said in the past he wants a maximum contract.