Kurt Helin

Watch Russell Westbrook rack up third straight triple-double


Russell Westbrook now averages a triple-double — for the season.

Westbrook put on a show at Madison Square Garden recording his third-straight triple-double with 27 points, 18 assists, and 14 rebounds leading the Thunder to a 112-103 win against the Knicks. Westbrook was 9-of-23 shooting, but he got some help from Enes Kanter who had 27 points on 17 shots off the bench.

Westbrook needed 11 rebounds in this game to average a triple-double on the young season, and he got there. Officially he is at 30.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game. The last person to average a triple-double for a season was Oscar Robertson, but ESPN’s Ryen Russillo makes a good point about the comparison.

Toronto’s Pascal Siakam with as fierce a blocked shot as you will see

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It’s a common line on a big block: “He sent that into the fourth row.” It’s a colorful bit of hyperbole.

Toronto’s Pascal Siakam literally sent Philadephia’s Gerald Henderson‘s shot into the fifth row (by my count on the video). That is a vicious rejection by the rookie.

With no Joel Embiid in the game tonight (rest on a back-to-back, glad someone picked up the slack and got us some blocks. Toronto led by 11 at the half.

Isaiah Thomas is getting texted by Allen Iverson — and he is pumped

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Newly minted Hall of Famer Allen Iverson is the patron saint of undersized NBA players.

Boston’s All-Star Isaiah Thomas is the current leader of that movement. In Toronto last All-Star weekend, Iverson sought out Thomas at an NBA event and talked to him, saying he liked his game, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN. They have stayed in touch, up through Thomas’ effort to spur a Boston comeback against Minnesota last week and get the win. Which led AI to reach out again.

Thomas told ESPN the entire conversation went more like this:

“It was real early in the morning that he texted, like 8:30, so he must have been watching highlights [of the Minnesota game] or something,” Thomas said, unable to muffle a smile. “I told him, ‘I appreciate it and that I’m just trying to be like you.’ He was like, ‘Say no more.’ Those texts man, it just motivates me to keep going. Someone like that is watching me without me even reaching out to him, so I guess I’m doing something right.”

Thomas is averaging 26 points a game this season, he is doing something right. He’ll also have a lot more space to operate and do more things with Al Horford back in the lineup.

Report: Despite slow start, don’t expect Wizards to make move

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If you’re going to list the most disappointing teams to start the season, the Washington Wizards would be at the top of the list. A team with playoff aspirations, the Wizards are 5-10, they have a pedestrian offense and bottom 10 defense to this point, John Wall and Bradley Beal have been good but not great when paired (+3.1 per 100 possessions, via NBA.com), the bench has been a mess, they’ve had a few injuries (what team hasn’t?), and we could go on but you get the idea.

Is it time to think major changes in our nation’s capital — and not just at the White House?

Don’t bet on it. From J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com, via the insider’s report at CSNNE.com.

The chances that the Wizards make a roster move now? Despite a sub-.500 record, that still remains very unlikely.

League sources told CSNmidatlantic.com that the Wizards had discussions about Archie Goodwin, released by the New Orleans Pelicans, but that didn’t go anywhere…

The defensive effort has gotten better and with Ian Mahinmi back to help bolster the second unit, team president Ernie Grunfeld doesn’t seem likely to make a decision this early. Giving up on rookies such as Danuel House, Sheldon McClellan and Daniel Ochefu, all three on non-guarantees that are a minimal hit on the salary cap, to clear a roster spot wouldn’t make sense at this stage either.

The Wizards are about a year away from being in the Sacramento Kings’ shoes, where their star may be looking to bolt and they have a decision to make. John Wall has two seasons left on his contract after this one, and Bradley Beal just re-signed this summer. They have time to put other pieces around those two and see of Scott Brooks can work his magic.

If the Wizards don’t make the playoffs this season, then start next season slowly again, the conversation starts to take on some urgency. But don’t expect a bold move at the trade deadline.

If the Wizards don’t make the playoffs, the pressure — and maybe ax — will fall not on Brooks but on Grunfeld.

Mark Cuban says despite rough start to season Mavericks not tanking

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On the bright side, Dallas moved out of the bottom slot in our NBA Power Rankings — they are now 29th. But the Mavs are still 3-13 — the worst record in the NBA — and Dirk Nowitzki still isn’t healthy. Their offense is a mess, despite the fact Harrison Barnes is playing well and Rick Carlisle is a genius, they just don’t have the pieces.

Is it time for the Mavericks to tank ahead of what is projected by many to be an excellent draft?

Not if you ask owner Mark Cuban. He spoke before a recent game, as reported by Tim Cato of SB Nation’s Mavs Moneyball:

“We’ll play it by ear. The one thing you don’t do is panic,” Cuban said. “If we just can’t get healthy, that will tell us one thing. If we can, and we’re just not any good, that will tell us another thing. If we can, and we start rolling along, and we think we can get a lot better, then that tells us what we do there. The crazy thing you don’t do is panic….

“We’re still trying to win,” Cuban said. “You see teams out there, and they’re doing everything possible to lose in the fourth quarter. I don’t think that’s good for the players, good for the team, good for the culture. I just don’t like that. You never say never if it came down to it, but I just don’t see that helping any of our young guys at all.”

He’s also not as high on this draft as some others, “I don’t see any Shaq’s or LeBron’s or Tim Duncan’s in this draft.” Well, that’s a crazy high standard, those kinds of guys are rare period. Most of the guys named near the top of this draft class now — Markelle Fultz, Dennis Smith, Lonzo Ball, Malik Monk — are guards, which fits the way the league is trending, but they are not the kind large of athletic freaks that Cuban listed (or that other GMs have at the top of their lists to build around, like Anthony Davis or Karl-Anthony Towns). But it’s far too early for draft talk here.

Cuban also said in another recent interview he’s not worried about trying to tank because if his team isn’t good, the bad record will just come naturally. He’s not going to force it, but the Mavs may end up with a high draft pick anyway.