We know you might have missed some NBA action Monday night as you chased a flock of feral turkeys around New York City, so we bring you grades from the night to help you get caught up.
Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets. Lawson spent the first half of this game deferring (J.J. Hickson had 12 points in the first quarter), but in the third quarter he took charge with 13 points, sparking a 16-4 run that solidified Denver’s eventual win. Lawson finished with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting plus he dished out 11 assists. Denver is playing well again and Lawson is at the heart of that renaissance.
LeBron James, Miami Heat. Just another LeBron James dominant performance — 35 points on 11-of-14 shooting — but this one game is not why he is here. Rather, it is this stat: On the season LeBron is shooting 60.9 percent. That with a usage rate near the top of the league at 28.3 (percent of team possessions he uses). Insane. If you’re a fan of the game of basketball, savor getting to watch him play at this level while we can.
Samuel Dalembert, Dallas Mavericks. He was benched at the start of the Mavericks’ game Monday after sleeping through shootaround. That happens to guys out on the road when in Miami or New York (the night before has something to do with that), but at home in Dallas? Come on, you’re a vet.
The Indiana Pacers defense. Another day, another team with a lot of offensive weapons just shut down. The Timberwolves shot just 32.6 percent overall, and thanks to the “Roy Hibbert effect” they shot just 40 percent inside 8 feet of the rim. Minnesota finished with an offensive rating of 79.8, which is well off their season average of 102. Indiana is 13-1 and while they will not sustain that pace all season with their defense they can sustain winning deep into the playoffs.
Nicolas Batum, Portland Trail Blazers. When people talk about the Blazers hot start it’s all about LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, but people are looking past Batum who is hot and key to all of it — he had 23 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists against the Knicks Monday. In Portland they have been waiting on him to live up to his potential (and contract), well he has been lately.
JaVale McGee hasn’t liked Shaquille O’Neal targeting him, and the Warriors center sure disliked the above video.
Due to the All-Star break, there was no fresh content for Shaqtin’ A Fool. So, TNT ran that spoof video with Shaq mocking McGee lowlights.
After Golden State beat the Clippers, McGee and Shaq engaged on Twitter:
And attention was received by all.
Vlade Divac said the Kings wouldn’t trade DeMarcus Cousins, and then two weeks later, once they dealt their franchise center, the general manager said, “character matters.”
Though he’s clearly trying to move on, Cousins, now with the Pelicans, can’t escape how he was treated in Sacramento.
Cousins, in a Q&A with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
Is there any part of you that wants to talk to Ranadive or Divac?
Nah. For what? It was a coward move, so I’m pretty sure I will get a coward response. For what? And I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve been there through all same types … I was there with [coach] Mike Malone’s [firing]. I’ve seen how they operate. I know what kind of answer I will get anyway. So, what is the point?
When did the Kings tell you that you wouldn’t be traded?
A week before the trade. The sick part about it is that Vlade came in my house with my agent [Jarinn Akana]. We sat in my theater and just talked. That was maybe three weeks ago. We sat there and [he] told me what moves he wanted to make. All of that. I just didn’t understand.
I got a text from the owner right before I went to All-Star. He was asking me about a player, how I felt about him and making a move. The owner! When it happened, I was just in shock. I didn’t understand.
The Kings might differ on how well they informed Cousins of their intentions as the trade deadline approached, and it’s perfectly reasonable of owner Vivek Ranadive to consult Cousins while his front office explores a trade.
But the Kings stated often enough that they wouldn’t trade him, including offering him a designated-veteran-player extension, that he can rightfully feel aggrieved.
The Kings torched Malone after dismissing him, and Cousins has already gotten similar treatment. There’s little reason for Cousins to expect anything other than a rocky relationship with Ranadive and Divac from here.
The Hawks dealt before the trade deadline with an eye on winning this season.
That mission will start without their starting point guard, Dennis Schroder.
Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schröder has been suspended by the organization for one game without pay for failure to report to the team on time after the all-star break. He will serve his one-game suspension tonight when the Hawks host the Miami Heat.
“Dennis has played an important role for our team and been a significant contributor to our success this season,” President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We are disappointed that he did not return to the team on time and we have discussed this with him. We look forward to him rejoining the team in Orlando tomorrow night.”
Schroder missed Wednesday’s practice, and Budenholzer attributed it to a travel issue. The guard corroborated that with this Instagram post:
Ultimately, the responsibility was on Schroder to get back to Atlanta. Extenuating circumstances might have offered him a reprieve, but the Hawks clearly believed he didn’t deserve a break.
The Wizards trading for Bojan Bogdanovic pushes Sheldon McClellan even deeper on the bench.
Actually, “McClellan” is now off the team entirely.
Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
Yes, the player formally known as Sheldon McClellan is now officialy Sheldon Mac. The 24-year-old returned to Houston, Texas over the past week and, with the blessing of his mother, changed his name.
Mac expects to have his jersey changed at some point and he will now be referred to in print as ‘Sheldon Mac.’ He said the reason was because ‘McClellan’ was a name he got from his father, whom he has no relationship with.
“I just added a little swag to it.”
If this makes him happier, I’m all for it.