Maybe it’s the remnants of the tryptophan talking, but I am handing out nothing but “A” grades tonight… except for the Knicks. I’m feeling generous.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. How about this line for KD: 32 points on 66.7 percent shooting, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, 4 steals, 4 blocks. He did pretty much everything at the Chesapeake Energy Arena except change kegs out behind the beer concession… and he may have done that too. I could gush about him here for another 3,000 words, but you know how special he is — and he was on tonight.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. Curry was in vintage form as the best shooter in the game: 36 points on 24 shots, 5-of-8 from three, plus he had 12 of those points in the fourth quarter including two free throws with 8.3 seconds left to give the Warriors a 115-113 win over the Kings. He was doing more than just scoring as he chipped in 10 assists, too. It was a gutty performance.
Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans. No Anthony Davis, no problem. Anderson is going to get a lot more time on the court with Davis down and he looked good filling in Sunday — 31 points on 21 shots, and hitting 7-of-11 from three. He had 14 points in the third as the Pelicans took the lead in the game.
The New York Knicks. Ugh. At home against a team without their best player most of the night and… ugh. The issue just isn’t how much Tyson Chandler means to this team, it’s also that management built a team where Tyson Chandler means that much.
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons. Another guy with a monster 31 points but also 19 rebounds and six assists to lead the Pistons to a win over the Sixers. Philly didn’t defend him well and every one of his makes came right at the rim. One on a devastating alley-oop. Good to see him have a breakout game.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.