Kevin Love is hotter than your Thanksgiving oven.
Which means, Trail Blazers, you may want to stop leaving him open.
Love set an NBA record dropping 34 points on Portland — in the first quarter. Love was 11-of-14 from the floor, including 8-of-10 from three, and seemed like he could not miss. A lot of his shots came on pick-and-pops where both Portland defenders went with the ball, or where Love’s man just flat-out lost him at the arc and couldn’t recover. That said, Love hit some tough fade-aways and made plays in the post. Once he started to see the ball go in nothing was going to stop him. That’s the kind of shooting exhibition that would leave Stephen Curry impressed.
We will note that the Trail Blazers had the second-worst defense in the NBA coming into the game, and they are on the second night of a back-to-back (Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis torched them Tuesday). Still, 34 points in one quarter is flat out ridiculous, and Love earned those buckets knocking down the shots. (Portland did better and Love didn’t score in the second quarter.)
A 360-dunk where you take off from just inside the free throw line, and you do it at the end of shootaround like it’s something you do every day.
Zach LaVine is a freak.
Enjoy the Timberwolves’ dunking machine at practice, courtesy Bleacher Report and Andrew Wiggins‘ Snapchat account.
Do not try this at home. Not even on the Fischer Price rim you bought your toddler.
“Hey Dirk Nowitzki, so happy you’re feeling right after being out the last 10 games, we’ve missed your shot and we’re excited to have you back. Now get out there and cover Blake Griffin.”
Dallas is off to a rough 2-11 start to the season, and there are a variety of reasons they have been the worst team in the NBA so far this season, but missing Nowitzki to a sore right Achilles has been part of that. Wednesday night the Mavericks expect to get Nowitzki back, coach Rick Carlisle said, as reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
Rick Carlisle on Dirk Nowitzki: “Feeling better. I think there’s a good chance he’ll play tonight.” Nowitzki has played only three games this season, primarily due to a sore right Achilles’ tendon.
Nowitzki’s shot creation and ability to hit from the midrange under pressure is going to be a big boost to a Dallas team with the worst offense in the NBA this season scoring 95.7 points per 100 possessions. Last season he averaged 18.3 points per game and shot 36.8 percent from three. Those numbers were down to start the season, but likely a lot of that was due to the soreness limiting his mobility.
Tough spot for a return — the Clippers are playing as well as any team in the NBA right now, and Nowitzki will be forced to match up with one of two freakishly athletic big men, Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan.
Derrick Rose had a throwback night Tuesday — including sinking the dagger as the Knicks beat the Trail Blazers.
Rose is never going to be MVP Rose again, but he can make some plays against the right defense (and Portland’s “defense” against guards is the right one). Rose looked as good as he as all season Tuesday, and that included showing off a couple of vintage reverse layups that were flashbacks.
Courtesy the folks at NBA.com, enjoy them in slow motion.
Portland has the second worst defense in the NBA as you read this, allowing 108.3 points per 100 possessions (to answer your question, Sacramento is worse). Opponents are getting 32.3 shots per game within five feet of the rim and are hitting 56.2 percent of them, and those teams are getting a lot and making a lot of shots in the 5-10 foot range.
Portland has a great offense with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum (and maybe someday Evan Turner will learn to mesh with them), but the defense is an issue. Effort is at the heart of it, but Zach Lowe of ESPN laid out the likelihood that Portland could make a trade before the deadline to get a big.
Portland looks ripe for a trade. Neil Olshey, the team’s one-step-ahead GM, chased Hassan Whiteside in free agency, and has a well-documented fondness for old-school low-post brutes like Brook Lopez, Greg Monroe, Nikola Vucevic and others. (It’s tempting to pitch a (Allen) Crabbe/Lopez swap since the Nets lavished Crabbe with a massive offer sheet, but Brooklyn cannot acquire Crabbe until the offseason — at least under current league rules.)
Portland has long been my favorite Vucevic landing spot, though the Magic should probably just stop taking Olshey’s calls after gifting him Harkless for nothing. Just about everyone is overstocked with centers. Portland might call Denver about Jusuf Nurkic, and it wouldn’t stun me if they expressed some interest in Tyson Chandler — even though Chandler is a decade older than some core Blazers, with two years left on a bloated contract….
Someone should be trying to steal Kosta Koufos from the Kings. As for another popular suggestion, let’s just say the league doesn’t quite know what to make of Nerlens Noel.
That’s a lot of speculation, but Lowe isn’t one to throw random speculation out there, you can bet there is substance to it. The idea also has the force of logic.
Portland needs to do something if they want to take a step forward off last season’s advance to the second round of the playoffs. Evan Turner has not been the answer (his role as a third shot creator when Lillard/McCollum are blitzed in the playoffs still makes a little sense on paper, but during the season the fit has been awkward).