Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA, which is longer than I suspect Ivanka Trump’s punk phase lasted.
1) Eric Bledsoe now has all the time he wants to go to a hair salon: Suns send him home, put him on the trade block. On Sunday, Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe Tweeted this.
A day after the Suns fired coach Earl Watson, Bledsoe
got called into the principal’s office was called into the office of GM Ryan McDonough to explain the Tweet and if he wanted to be part of the rebuilding effort in Phoenix. The answer was obviously “no,” but Bledsoe said the Tweet was about being at a hair salon with his girlfriend. McDonough wasn’t buying that (nor should he) and called Bledsoe out for it publicly. McDonough sent Bledsoe home from the team and started actively looking for a trade.
The problem for McDonough and the Suns is they aren’t going to get much — they have no leverage and not many teams are looking for a point guard right now. The market is pretty dry. We know that the Knicks, Bucks, and Nuggets reached out — on paper Denver makes the most sense (they can throw Emanuel Mudiay and other salary such as Kenneth Faried to make it work). The Cavaliers and Clippers get mentioned by fans, but neither has the pieces to pull off a deal. Other teams could be lurking (Orlando has come up, my man Steve Kyler speculated New Orleans would work) and with the price so low some team could snag him on the cheap. One way or another, expect Bledsoe to get moved relatively soon.
Despite all the drama, the Suns picked up their first win of the season Monday, knocking off the Kings 117-115.
2) Grizzlies play a little old-school “grit ‘n grind,” go on 20-2 run to close game, beat Rockets. The book on beating a Mike D’Antoni team hasn’t changed — be physical, slow the game down, contest their threes. Memphis may not be playing “grit ‘n grind” anymore, but they pulled it out against Houston Tuesday night — the Rockets had 93 possessions, six below their season average, and shot 23.7 percent from three for the night. As for physical, we’ll let Mario Chalmers show you how to guard James Harden.
Memphis was still down but closed the game on a 20-2 run to get the 98-90 win and stay undefeated this season. It’s just 3-0, but the Grizzlies have now knocked off the Warriors and the Rockets this young season. Everyone who wrote them off as a playoff team owes Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and the team an apology. Memphis is going to be in the playoff hunt in the West this season.
As for Houston, they are shooting 27.5 percent from three and have missed more threes than 27 NBA teams have even taken this season.
3) Spurs stay undefeated with win over Toronto. Kawhi who? The Spurs are 3-0 to start the season, and now 17-4 the last three seasons without Kawhi Leonard, after a 101-97 win over the Toronto Raptors. The two big keys for the Spurs in this one were, first, the glass, where they grabbed 39.6 percent of their missed shots and got a second chance. That’s a lot of extra shots. The second was the lineup of Dejounte Murray, Danny Green, Kyle Anderson, Rudy Gay, and LaMarcus Aldridge who went on a 19-4 fourth quarter run to pull the Rockets from behind into the lead.
While the rest of the league has gone small ball happy, the Spurs are a big team, and that has advantages — they had 12 blocks against the Raptors. (To be fair, most of the good Spurs lineups in this game were without Pau Gasol.) The Spurs continue just not to beat themselves and in the NBA regular season that is going to get them a whole lot of wins.
Bonus video: Ben Simmons gets his first triple-double. Simmons had 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists as the Sixers got their first win of the season over the Pistons. Enjoy the highlights.