This was Al Horford‘s homecoming to Atlanta, but it was Isaiah Thomas who made the big play.
Tied 101-101 as time ran down, Thomas got the ball in isolation with Kent Bazemore on him, drove right, pulled up at the elbow, and… bucket. Game Celtics.
Thomas was clutch, scoring 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to make sure Horford left Atlanta with the W.
The fans are getting this one right: They are voting Giannis Antetokounmpo into the All-Star Game (he is second in the East frontcourt voting, behind some guy named LeBron).
The guy is a walking highlight, and in a free-flowing exhibition game unencumbered by defense like the All-Star Game, he will be insane. Look what he did against Miami Friday night — and they want to stop him.
What, you expected something different?
The only question is did Mike Budenholzer secretly join in?
Al Horford made his return to Atlanta in a Boston Celtics uniform Friday night, and of course he was booed when introduced to the fans. Horford spent nine seasons in Atlanta and was an All-NBA player and four-time All-Star while there.
The Hawks organization offered a video tribute to Horford, and he was cheered after that.
Joel Embiid is the best.
His introduction in Philadelphia for Friday night’s game vs. Charlotte was a tribute to WWE star HHH.
This is why I want Embiid in the All-Star Game. We can debate whether the rookie has earned it in a crowded East frontcourt (I would say yes, but there are cases for more players than slots) but it is stuff like this that shows how much fun he would have with the experience.
Plus, he can do stuff like this on the court.
Derrick Rose bet on his future last summer, accepting a one-year deal with the Knicks. Play well and he would make his money back next summer. Ideally with a max contract.
The Knicks are unsure if they are going to bring Rose back, but he wants to stay in Manhattan and hopes going AWOL for a game on Monday doesn’t change that, Rose told Michael Lee of The Vertical.
At every chance, Rose has been adamant about wanting to stay in New York after his contract expires this summer. Rose is hopeful that his brief disappearance won’t prohibit the two sides from reaching an agreement on a long-term deal. “When I was in the room, I felt like they understood where I was coming from,” Rose said. “I hope one incident didn’t change their mind. Who knows? This is a business. If it was to happen, I still would want to play the way I normally know how to play wherever I’m at.”
This incident may not be a deciding factor, but it combined with his play make it a question if they bring him back. Or, to be more accurate, how much they are willing to pay him to come back.
Rose is right now an average point guard. He has a PER of 16 and a Value Over Replacement Player of -0.01, both saying he’s in the middle of the bell curve (stats via basketball-reference.com). He’s giving the Knicks 17.5 points per game, but when he tries to dominate the ball too much the team gets in trouble — the Knicks are 2-12 when he takes 17 or more shots per game.
How much is an average starting point guard worth? Certainly not a $30 million a season max, maybe not even half of that. The question next summer for the Knicks is what is their price, and can they get anyone as good or better — somebody younger who has good chemistry with Kristaps Porzingis — for similar money? What other teams may be willing to step in and poach Rose?
A lot of that is on Rose. Play well and within himself the second half of this season and the AWOL issue will get overlooked. Give people reason to doubt him and it will not. He’s really playing for that next contract now.