Sunday night NBA grades: Tony Parker is back and looks good

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Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while thinking “I really should see that movie”….

source:  Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs. In case you forgot, he’s really good at basketball. He wasn’t really getting going in transition yet, but he was dominant in the half court, scoring 10 of the first 17 Spurs points. He finished the night with 22 on 10-of-15 shooting and completely orchestrated the Spurs offense as they beat the Mavericks. Everyone is healthy in San Antonio now; let’s see how they start to look.

source:  Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls. Chicago has won four in a row and the Bulls are 9-1 in their last 10 — you need to score to do that and the Bulls have broken 100 in four straight games. Noah is the heart of what the Bulls do and he had a triple double — 13 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists. Yes, it still counts if you do it against the Knicks.

source:  Jimmer Fredette, Chicago Bulls. Well, he signed and got out there. Three minutes of garbage time but he got out there and the Chicago fans welcomed him warmly. Fredette (and his supporters) feel like he never got a real shot in a system that shoed off what he can do. The fact the Kings couldn’t get a second round pick for him at the trade deadline shows how the rest of the league felt. If he is going to prove them wrong, the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau’s system is where he has to do it.

source:  DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors. Maybe his best game of the season — 32 points with Andre Iguodala assigned to stop him. What worked in this game for him is what worked for the Raptors and made them better since the trade — he got the points in the flow of the offense. No forcing things, rather work the offense and let the game come to you. It works for the Raptors, who beat the Warriors with better execution late.

source:  Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers. He didn’t have a great game — 17 points but on 20 shots, plus 11 assists. What he did was completely outplay Victor Oladipo, the only guy in a race with him for Rookie of the year. Carter-Williams did enough to distance himself in the race tonight, the award should be his.

source:  Tobias Harris, Orlando Magic. He is the reason the Magic beat the struggling Sixers, finishing with 31 points on 20 shots. The Magic are without Aaron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson, so Harris has to carry more of the offense and he attacked from the start, scoring 8 of the first 10 from Magic. He is the biggest steal the Magic have gotten in a couple years.

Warriors’ rookie Jordan Bell goes off the backboard to himself for dunk

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The best part of this is the stunned reaction of the Warriors bench.

The Warriors had taken total control of the game against Dallas in the second half, and with a few minutes left Steve Kerr emptied his bench in garbage time. That’s when rookie Jordan Bell made the play of the night: He blocked Dwight Powell‘s shot then leaked out, JaVale McGee batted the ball ahead to him, and Bell threw the ball off the backboard for a self alley-oop. He got an and-one on the play.

The move didn’t sit well with everyone, there is an unwritten rule about showboating in a blowout game. Draymond Green had thoughts on that — he has thoughts on everything and isn’t afraid to share them — and he came to Bell’s defense speaking to NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Listen man, when you get on the basketball floor, I don’t care if you get out there with two minutes to go up 25 or with two minutes to go down 25, somebody is evaluating you. So you gotta play the game just like it’s tied up or if you’re up four or if you’re down four. You gotta play the game the same way. Somebody is evaluating you. So if you want to throw it off the backboard, feel free and dunk the ball. He got an And One. It was a great play. So, I got no message for him. Do what you do. Play basketball. That’s what he did. I don’t get all up into the whole ‘Ah man, they’re winning by this much, that’s bad.’ Says who? Dunk the ball. What’s the difference between if he threw it off the backboard and dunked it as opposed to grabbing it and dunking it?”

Or, put another way, if you don’t want a player to throw down the massive alley-oop dunk on you, play better defense in the first place.

Mario Chalmers trips James Harden, Harden shoves him back (VIDEO)

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Memphis came back on an 18-2 run late to in the fourth quarter to knock off the Houston Rockets, a very impressive road win that reminds us Memphis is not a team to be written off.

This is the play everyone will be talking about — James Harden squared up looking for a fight.

Mario Chalmers got knocked down by a Harden screen, and while on the ground tries to trip up Harden, and Harden turns around and shoves him. Harden squared up, but as happens in the NBA everyone stepped in, and nothing actually happened.

Neither man was ejected. The referees called it an offensive foul on Harden for the pick, then there were double technicals. Fines may follow from the league.

Metta World Peace joins Lakers’ G League team as ass’t coach

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Metta World Peace has joined the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA G League affiliate as a player development coach.

The veteran NBA forward was added to the South Bay Lakers’ staff Monday.

World Peace played 16 NBA seasons for six franchises, including six years with the Lakers from 2009-10 and 2015-17. He was a standout defensive player who won a championship alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2010.

While he hasn’t publicly retired, the forward formerly known as Ron Artest will assist South Bay Lakers head coach Coby Karl and his staff.

World Peace earned the longest suspension in NBA history for his role in the Indiana Pacers’ infamous brawl in the stands at Detroit in November 2004, but he matured into a valued veteran leader for the Lakers.

LaVar Ball calls out Wizards, Marcin Gortat doesn’t think that was smart

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“I told him after the game, due to all the riffraff his dad brings he’s going to get a lot of people coming at him. He’s got to be ready for that, and I let him know after the game… (I had to) welcome his little young a** to the NBA.”

That was the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley after he tormented Lonzo Ball on opening night, and he speaks for a number of other players I have heard from who said father LaVar wrote checks that Lonzo is going to have to cash, and guys were going to go at him. Not every night, but enough.

Since that rough opener the rookie has had a decent couple of games — averaging 18.5 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds a night, not efficient but playing better — going against Eric Bledsoe (a capable defender who had checked out mentally in Phoenix) and Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans. Wednesday night John Wall and the Wizards come to town, and that’s another level of competition.

My least favorite thing about this Lakers season is the way the L.A. media sticks a microphone in front of LaVar Ball after every game. I don’t care about LaVar, in the same way I don’t care about the Kardashians.

But what he said has become a thing. After the Lakers loss to the Pelicans LaVar said, “[The Wizards] better beware cause Lonzo ain’t losing again. Not in the same week!”

Wizards’ center Marcin Gortat thought that was funny.

First off, Lonzo is going to lose twice in a week a lot this season — the Lakers are not a good team.

Second, Wall is a top-five NBA point guard by any standard, an All-NBA player who is far more than just quick (although he is that, too). He can shoot, he’s an aggressive defender, and he knows how to set up teammates. He’s going to be more than a handful for Ball. To put it kindly.

Whatever happens Wednesday night (most likely Wall smokes Lonzo) we know one thing for sure: LaVar will say something outlandish. And it will become a thing. The game is secondary for that marketing effort.