Tuesday night NBA Grades: Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo with dueling rookie triple doubles


If you were busy exploring our galaxy online and not watching hoops Monday then you missed the first time in NBA history that two rookies recorded triple-doubles in the same game. We’re here to help you out with our nightly grades from around the league.

source:  Michael Carter Williams, Philadelphia 76ers. The early leader in the Rookie of the Year race has put it all together this year — he is shooting better than he did in college, he’s getting to the line, he’s passing well and has a real sense of running a team, he is a good rebounder, and he leads the league in steals. So I guess we shouldn’t be shocked that he put it all together in one game for a triple-double — 27 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals. He had 7 of those points plus four assists in the two overtimes to help secure the win.

source:   Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic. Before you go and hand that Rookie of the Year trophy to MCW in Philly, Oladipo would like to have a word with you. The reason Orlando was in this game was the rookie’s first ever triple double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. (To be fair, Arron Afflalo’s 43 points had a lot to do with Orlando’s game too, he was special.) Oladipo had a bit of a rough start to the season turning the ball over too much, but coach Jacque Vaughn has let the rookie learn from his mistakes and lately we’re starting to see the benefits of that. He’s looked good of late.

source:   Brandon Knight, Milwaukee Bucks. The longer the season goes on, the more it becomes clear that Knight’s future in the league appears to be as a reserve. He just lacks the court vision and sense a starting point guard in the league needs and he can’t help carry the Bucks. He had some good moments in the fourth quarter Tuesday, but for the most part Boston’s Avery Bradley won the war — Jennings had 15 points but on 5-of-15 shooting, which is pretty close to his season average of 36.1 percent. He doesn’t seem to recognize open teammates or play strong defense. It’s been a rough year for him.

source:   Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, Josh Smith (Detroit Pistons). We know that the Miami Heat’s weakness is interior defense, and the three bigs in Detroit have started to play better together lately. Tuesday night all of that came together — Drummond, Monroe and Smith combined for 41 points and 28 rebounds, leading the Pistons to the upset win. It wasn’t exactly efficient (Smith was 7–of-21 shooting) but they are getting the job done with that Detroit is climbing the standings in the East.

source:   Toronto Raptors. They blew a 27-point lead in the second half (this grade is not lower because the Warriors can get hot shooting and have a magic at home… but still 27 points). It’s not all on coach Dwane Casey but he had the Raptors doing some odd things like this random double-team traps on the Warriors perimeter players, which a pass later led to a wide open three. Toronto’s defense has been pretty solid most of the season, but things fell apart in the fourth quarter in Oakland.

Dwight Howard posts just second 30-30 game in last 36 years

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Dwight Howard never played for the Nets. He almost got traded to Brooklyn by the Magic, but the deal never happened.

Which puts a dent in Dennis Schroder‘s theory Howard gets up for games against only his former teams.

Howard dominated Brooklyn for 32 points and 30 rebounds in the Hornets’ 111-105 win tonight. That’s just the second 30-30 game in the last 36 years, Kevin Love notching the other in 2010.

All 30-30 games since Wilt Chamberlain, who had a ton:

  • Dwight Howard (Charlotte Hornets, 3/21/2018): 32 points, 30 rebounds
  • Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves, 11/12/2010): 31 points, 31 rebounds
  • Moses Malone (Houston Rockets, 2/11/1982): 38 points, 32 rebounds
  • Swen Nater (Milwaukee Bucks, 12/19/1976): 30 points, 33 rebounds
  • Elvin Hayes (Capital Bullets, 11/17/1973): 43 points, 32 rebounds

Howard helped Charlotte erase a 23-point second-half deficit and a 10-point deficit with four minutes left. The Hornets are playing out a lost season, and Brooklyn has looked overmatched most of the year, particularly at center. But no matter the situation, Howard says he still feels super-sized expectations.

Tonight, he exceeded them by leaps and bounds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo leaves Bucks’ loss to Clippers with ankle injury (video)

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The Bucks lost, 127-120, to the Clippers tonight.

More importantly, Milwaukee lost Antetokounmpo to an ankle injury.

He limped off in the second quarter and didn’t return. The Bucks called it a sprain.

Any more time Antetokounmpo misses would be a huge loss. Hopefully, he recovers quickly.

No matter how many other good players – Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe – Milwaukee has put on the floor, the team has struggled without its star. Antetokounmpo is a commanding force offensively who just does so much, and his defense impresses.

The Bucks (37-34) are eighth in the East. They’re safely in playoff position, five games ahead of the ninth-place Pistons. But this hurts Milwaukee’s chances of avoiding a first-round matchup with the excellent Raptors – though the way Toronto has regressed in the playoffs in previous years, that might not be so bad. Still, the Bucks should probably chase the seventh-place Heat, who are up 1.5 games on Milwaukee, and a likely first-round matchup with the injury-ravaged Celtics.

Obviously, a healthy Antetokounmpo would be central to that pursuit.

Cavaliers beat Raptors, become first team in 27 years to surrender 79 first-half points and win


The Cavaliers haven’t been good enough throughout the season, especially defensively. The Raptors have – offensively, defensively, starters, bench. Hope has grown in Toronto of winning the Eastern Conference after getting eliminated by Cleveland the last two years.

But LeBron James and Cavs showed why it’s hard to pick any other team – even the first-place Raptors – to win the East in a 132-129 win over Toronto tonight.

Cleveland allowed 79 first-half points and fell behind by 15. But a LeBron-led offense was just too potent. This was the first time since 1990 (Nuggets over Spurs after trailing 90-83) a team surrendered so many first-half points then still won.

LeBron finished with 35 points, 17 assists and no turnovers. No forward has ever dished so many assists without a turnover in Basketball-Reference’s database, which dates back to 1963-64.

And LeBron led the Cavaliers to this win despite Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Korver and Cedi Osman being out.

It’s only one game, and it was in Cleveland. But even with home-court advantage in a potential playoff series, the Raptors must grapple with even more lingering doubt now about their ability to beat the Cavs.

Report: Becky Hammon staying with Spurs, not coaching Colorado State men’s team

AP Photo/Darren Abate

Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon was a candidate to coach the men’s team at Colorado State, her alma mater. That would have made her the first woman to coach a Division I men’s team.

Alas, it won’t happen.

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports:

It’s unclear whether Hammon was ever actually offered the job.

She’s still on the right track for a head-coaching job somewhere. Most importantly, by all accounts, she’s doing good work in San Antonio. There’s also more attention on her career because of her pioneering status, and that will appeal to some teams.

This dalliance with Colorado State raises her profile even further and shows just how close she is.