Author: Kurt Helin

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets

Dwight Howard rejects Andrew Wiggins at the rim (VIDEO)


The Minnesota Timberwolves gave Andrew Wiggins his chances Wednesday. With James Harden guarding him the Timberwolves isolated Wiggins on the wing or in the post and let him go right at Harden one-on-one — and predictably that led to some good things for Minnesota. There were dunks.

But Dwight Howard was there to clean up some messes, too.

Wiggins got to see first hand what a former Defensive Player of the Year can do (and why sometimes you may want to dump that one off to Nikolas Pekovic). Howard had four blocks on the night and the Rockets picked up a comfortable 113-101 win.

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PBT’s Wednesday Night NBA Winners/Losers: Davis, Morrow, just good night for anyone named Anthony

Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans

Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while spending $24 million on a watch….

source:  Anthony Davis. He’s been the best player in the league so far this young season. Better than LeBron James, better than Chris Bosh, better than Stephen Curry. Davis has a PER of 35.7 so far. At age 21. In his third NBA season. He had 25 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks against the Lakers Wednesday night — and that’s pretty much been a standard night for him. He’s a defensive force, he runs the floor, he’s got a midrange game, there’s not much he can’t do. Oh, and he can dunk, too.

source:  Anthony Morrow. The Thunder need scoring without Durant and Westbrook, and in his second game back Morrow provided it. He had 19 points in the fourth quarter, 28 for the game on 11-of-15 shooting, plus he was 4-of-5 from three. Oh, and the Thunder won, they are now 3-6 on the young season and just trying to keep their heads above water until the cavalry coms charging over the hill next month.

source:  New York Knicks. We all knew there was going to be adjustments to be made: The triangle offense takes time to learn, Derek Fisher is learning on the job as coach, the roster just does not have that much talent on it… but wow they have looked bad during this six-game losing streak. And never worse than in this loss to the Magic on Wednesday night at home. I’ll grant you that J.R. Smith’s last shot was not a wise choice (and not what Fisher drew up, you could see that on Carmelo Anthony’s face) but this loss was more than that. It was some odd player rotations and lineups from Fisher (no Tim Hardaway Jr. in the first half?). It was poor defense again — the Magic scored a high 106.5 points per 100 possessions in this game, but that is still berter than the Knicks season average of 108.4 (25th in the league). I wish I had a bright spot for Knicks fans, but this is going to be a long season.

source:  Paul Millsap. Normally he’d slide into the loser category because the Hawks misspelled his name on the back of jersey, but the man and too big a night to ignore — 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting, plus 17 rebounds and a couple of blocks. He carried the offense for stretches and the Hawks needed every bit of that to hold off the Jazz 100-97 (Utah’s shot to tie it late was not exactly pretty).

source:  Denver Nuggets. There was a time when the second night of a back-to-back up in the altitude of Denver was seen as a schedule maker’s loss — no team expected to win that game. Not any more, and not with these Blazers scoring at will in the first half — Portland led Denver 84-50 at halftime. Brian Shaw looked for what would work, throwing 13 different players on the court, and every single one of them has a negative +/- at the half. Kenneth Faried told ProBasketballTalk that the early-season problems are tied to the team just not meshing yet because of guys missing time due to injuries. That’s part of it, but there is a lot more going on here. And the Nuggets are digging the kind of early-season hole that will be hard for them to climb out of in the West.

source:  Brandon Jennings. Any night he is efficient it is actually news, and he was on Wednesday with 32 points on 11-for-19 shooting, plus 10 assists to just two turnovers. But it wasn’t enough to get the Pistons a win over the Wizards because Detroit just can’t get stops. However, Jennings is mostly here in the winner category because he did this:

Andrew Wiggins blocks James Harden off the backboard (VINE)

Brooklyn Nets vs Minnesota Timeberwolves

The Rockets are the better team, they pulled away in the second half and won handily over the Timberwolves 113-101.

But Andrew Wiggins made a few plays at the expense of James Harden and looked like a player. For example, blocking him off the backboard.

Or there was the spin move and dunk.

Michael Jordan part of five of 20 biggest moments at United Center

Michael Jordan dunk

If you’re a basketball fan and you think of the United Center, you think of No. 23. Or later No. 45. Same guy.

Michael Jordan’s shadow still looms large over Chicago basketball and over the United Center. Literally — he has a statue of his flying dunk in front of the United Center that occassionally casts a shadow over the building.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the United Center, and with that Jeff Nuich at put together the 20 biggest moments in the arena’s history. Jordan was part of five of those — more than Oprah (her farewell event was there), more than any one other person. The five events where he is mentioned are:

His jersey retirement/statue unveiling (November 1, 1994). This happened during the “baseball retirement” break in Jordan’s career, the arena sold out to celebrate him, raise his jersey to the rafters and put a statue of him in front of the building. It was a huge event, but not as sweet as 16 months later when he was back playing again.

Bulls clinch fifth NBA title (June 13, 1997). Of the six titles the Bulls got in the Jordan era, only one — the 1997 title, in the middle of the second threepeat, took place at the United Center. (The 1992 title in the first threepeat was clinched at the old Chicago Stadium.) This was the win over the Jazz where Jordan passed up the big shot to get the rock to a wide open Steve Kerr who drilled the game winner.

Jordan’s final home game as a Bull (June 12, 1998). You’d expect this to be a win, everyone going to the game did — the Bulls were up 3-1 on Utah in the Finals and this was to be a corronation. Except Karl Malone and John Stockton had other plans and Utah won 83-81. Jordan would hit his legendary shot (after pushing off on Byron Russell) to seal the win in the next game, in Utah.

Jordan’s return to the NBA in a No. 45 jersey (March 24, 1995). He’s back. Jordan returned from his baseball exile close to the end of the 1995 season and there was some serious rejoicing in Chicago. As noted in the story: “(When) Ray Clay launched into his “From NORTH CAROLINA!!!!….” intro, the roof nearly blew off the building. The Bulls lost this game and it was apparent that Jordan may have had a few butterflies as he shot 7-23 from the field, but he still scored 21 points, to go along with eight assists and five steals in 44 minutes of action.”

Wizards Jordan comes to the United Center to play the Bulls (January 24, 2003). It was just weird. The entire Jordan with the Wizards experience was that way but him in blue going against the Bulls just felt like a crime against nature. He got a four-minute standing ovation pregame, but this was a different Jordan who finished 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting.

More clips from Dwight Howard documentary (like how he wanted to be Magic Johnson)

Dwight Howard

Good on Dwight Howard. His new documentary “In the Moment” airs for the first time tonight on EPIX (8 p.m. Eastern)  and instead of letting it be a public relations whitewashing of his NBA career, he was pretty honest about trying to get Stan Van Gundy fired and not getting along with Kobe Byrant. No real surprises there, but at least he was honest.

We’re bringing you a couple other clips to whet your appetite for this. Above you get Howard talking about how he wanted to be like Magic Johnson growing up.

Below, Howard talks about the Superman nickname.