What does New Orleans 54-point preseason loss mean?

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We keep telling you not to read too much into preseason games — coaches are resting key players, experimenting with lineups, giving quality minutes to D-League guys and there just generally is not a sense of urgency. It’s a scrimmage, not a game.

But when you get really blown out by a high school like score, is there something there?

That’s what the Hornets and they fans are asking themselves after the Magic beat them by 54 points Sunday. There were mitigating factors with the loss — David West did not play, and the Magic were opening their new Amway Center so they had genuine motivation. But still, 54 points.

FanHouse had some of the reaction:

“It was all bad,” Paul said Sunday night after his Hornets were thrashed like an overmatched high school team, 135-81, by the Orlando Magic. “It’s definitely a concern, a concern on how we react.”

“There have been a lot of good things taking place off the court (in New Orleans). It’s a different culture. We’re building an identity,” he said. “If it translates onto the court, it should be a good season. It’s up to the players now.”

Read whatever “Chris Paul wants a trade” implications you wish into that sentence. We’re done with that game for a bit.

But the game seemed to signal the gulf between where the Magic are and where Paul wants them to be. It is a wide one. One GM Dell Demps is going to have a real challenge closing.

It is not the only total blowout this preseason — Golden State destroyed the Clippers by 40, the Raptors beat the Suns by 51. In those cases it seemed more like the fluke preseason game of more evenly matched teams.

Orlando’s throttling of New Orleans did not feel that way. It that feeling is correct, it may be a rough sign for the Hornets season.

Jazz have one of worst offensive showings ever, score 68 in 50-point loss to Mavericks

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NBA scoring is exploding. Defenses are getting less leeway for physicality. Offenses are more efficient than ever. Pace is at its highest mark in decades.

Except for the Jazz last night.

Utah scored just 68 points in a 50-point loss to the Mavericks. And even that undersells the Jazz’s offensive woes. They played reasonably fast, getting 101 possessions. Their offensive rating – 67.3 – shows just how inept they truly were.

In all, Utah shot 42% on 2-pointers, 17% on 3-pointers and 63% on free throws and committed 22 turnovers.

The Jazz set several milestones for offensive futility:

  • Fewest points in a game (68) in nearly two years (68 by Hawks vs. Jazz on Nov. 25, 2016)
  • Lowest Basketball-Reference estimated offensive rating in a game (68.8) in more than three years (68.2 by Grizzlies vs. Warriors on Nov. 2, 2015)
  • Fewest points in a second half (22) in nearly five years (19 by Rockets vs. Thunder on Jan. 16, 2014)

Comparing across eras can be difficult, but here’s one measure: The Jazz scored 68 points in a season teams are averaging 110.4 points per game.

That output relative to average – -42.4 – is one of the lowest of all-time:

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Kevin Durant’s brother posts: ‘just follow along before the greatness is done rubbing off on you and people see you for what you really are’

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Kevin Durant and Draymond Green are feuding, the possibility of Durant leaving the Warriors in free agency next summer hanging over everything.

Now comes Durant’s brother, Tony – intentionally or not – throwing gasoline on the fire. Again.

Tony posted and deleted these comments on Instagram, via Bleacher Report:

Read too much into vague social-media content at your own peril.

But, man, that sure looks like Tony advising Green just to enjoy Durant masking Green’s problems until Durant leaves the Warriors and leaves Green exposed.

Andrew Wiggins simultaneously dunks on, kicks nuts of Nikola Mirotic (video)

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Andrew Wiggins keeps besting Nikola Mirotic.

Wiggins won Rookie of the Year over Mirotic in 2015.

In the Timberwolves’ win over the Pelicans last night, Wiggins had the dagger dunk on Mirotic – and made sure Mirotic felt it. Ouch.

Hamidou Diallo blows open, big windmill dunk (video)

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Ahead on a fastbreak late in the Thunder’s 128-103 win over the Knicks last night, Hamidou Diallo had a great opportunity to showboat. He went for a big windmill dunk.

And missed.

It seems the scouting report on the rookie hasn’t changed much since the draft: “He is incredibly athletic and also incredibly raw.”