Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while watching the King of the Hill/True Detective mashup…
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors. Early in the third quarter Houston took an 18 point lead over Golden State and seemed to be in complete control. Then the shots from Warriors backcourt started to fall and they combined for 30 points in the fourth quarter— the pair were 6-of-9 from three and their midrange shots were falling in the final 12 minutes (the pair didn’t get one basket at the rim in the fourth quarter). This is what’s scary about the Warriors in the playoffs, if they can get these looks and knock them down they can beat anybody on a given night. They just need to find some consistency. But when they get in trouble, they can do this.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans. 40 points and 21 rebounds. That, my friends, is a monster night. Nobody else in the NBA has done that this season. Most importantly he did it down the stretch of a tight game — he hit a couple key shots late in the fourth quarter to help force OT. Then in the extra period he pulled down six boards and owned the glass. Davis is a beast… by the way, it is second year in the league and he is 21 years old. He’s just starting to figure out how good he can be.
Dallas Mavericks’ depth. Monta Ellis struggled (2-of-7 shooting) and Dirk Nowitzki was not special by his standards (17 points on 12 shots). Still the Mavericks started to pull away from the Thunder in the second period and never looked back. Yes, the Thunder were without Russell Westbrook (and Thabo Sefalosha and Kendrick Perkins) but the Kevin Durant led Thunder knocked off a lot of teams without Westbrook. Not this time, it was Dallas’ depth that was the story.
Gerald Green, Phoenix Suns. Phoenix needs wins and to spark a slumping team coach Jeff Hornacek put Eric Bledsoe back in the starting lineup and slid Gerald Green to the bench. Seems to have sparked Green. He knocked down his first five shots and scored 13 points off the bench in the first quarter, then added 10 in the fourth quarter when the Suns pulled away from the Raptors (then the Suns held on for the win). We’ve talked at this site about Green’s long journey — through China — to NBA stardom, but he has found his groove now and is a real weapon for the Suns.
After a promising start to the season, the Pistons have lost three of their last four games and seven of their last 10. And although he’s been outstanding for most of the season, Andre Drummond has not been above receiving criticism from Stan Van Gundy. The coach called out Drummond’s effort on Friday night after a loss to the Thunder.
“I didn’t think he brought much energy to the Milwaukee game, and I didn’t think he brought much energy tonight,” Van Gundy said of the two beatings the Pistons received this week. “Why that is, I don’t know. But we need a lot more from him than we got tonight.”
Calling out your best player in the media is bold, but Van Gundy has enough of a track record and a reputation, going back to his days in Orlando with Dwight Howard, that he can get away with it. It also sends a message to the entire team that Van Gundy isn’t going to hold his star to a different standard than the rest of the team.
Despite a couple of poor performances, Drummond is having a career year, leading the league in rebounding at 17.1 per game while also averaging 17.9 points.
The Lopez twins have always been close. They were teammates at Stanford, they’re both heavily into comic books (and even write their own together), and they both have Instagram accounts for their cats (here’s Brook’s cat, Poupin, and Robin’s cat, Prince Edward Zephyr). So naturally, this summer, when Brook re-signed with the Nets and Robin signed with the Knicks, the logical thing to do would be to live together. Apparently that isn’t happening, because their cats don’t get along.
Via Kirsten Fleming of the New York Post:
“Brook’s cat is very two-faced,” Robin tells The Post. “Everybody loves Brook’s cat. To everybody’s face, he’s such a nice cat. And it may sound like I’m joking, but I am dead serious. He acts like a lazy, sweet cat when everybody is looking. But when their heads turn, he’ll try to chase after [my cat] Edward. The second I lay eyes on him, he’ll act like, ‘I’m a cherub. I’m innocent.’ I’m not buying it.”
Brook agrees that it would be a bad idea.
“We thought about it,” Brook tells The Post. “But the cats really wouldn’t get along. They just wouldn’t allow it.”
This is an extremely valid reason, even though it’s a disappointing. The Lopez twins are two of the most entertaining people in the NBA, and them living together would have had off-the-charts reality TV potential.
A month into the season, the Lakers the only team in the Western Conference that can absolutely be written out of any hopes of playoff contention. They’re in an awkward position with the upcoming draft: they still need talent long-term, and they owe their pick to the Sixers if it’s outside of the top three. Not surprisingly, Byron Scott isn’t thinking about it at all.
Via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
With the Lakers fielding the NBA’s second-worst record, how much effort will the franchise put in retaining its top-3 protected draft pick?
“I don’t think about that whatsoever,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I probably won’t until April. That’s something I can’t control.”
The Lakers are in a precarious position. They appear likely bad enough to lose a lot of games. But will they lose enough to land in the top three? Otherwise, the Lakers owe Philadelphia their first-round pick as part of the Steve Nash trade.
“It’s impossible to think about the team, try to get our young guys better, the team better and also thinking about a pick,” Scott said. “That’s six months away and you might not even get it.”
Given Scott’s mentality, it’s not at all surprising that he isn’t thinking about the draft. But with his insistence on playing Kobe Bryant and Lou Williams more crunch-time minutes on this dismal Lakers team than D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, it’s pretty laughable that he talks about wanting to develop their young players.
Scott may not be thinking about the draft, but with the position the franchise is in and the likelihood that they lose their pick, he should be.
Jahlil Okafor‘s first month in the NBA has been eventful for all the wrong reasons. Early Thanksgiving morning, he was caught on video getting into a fight with a heckler in Boston. Then, a report surfaced of another altercation from October, in which Okafor apparently had a gun pulled on him. Now, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Okafor was recently pulled over in Philadelphia for driving 108 miles per hour:
Four sources independently confirmed to The Inquirer the 76ers center was pulled over on the Ben Franklin Bridge around three weeks ago for 108 miles per hour. Anything over 40 m.p.h. is considered reckless driving.
108 miles per hour in a 40-mile zone isn’t a minor speeding infraction—it’s incredibly dangerous. It might be possible to write off any of these incidents by themselves—particularly the one where he had a gun pulled on him, which doesn’t seem to have been his fault at all. But together, the Boston incident and this speeding report aren’t a good look at all for Okafor. He’s had a solid start to the year for the Sixers, but off the court has been another story.