The Clippers essentially didn’t bother to show up Friday night in Toronto, falling behind by as many as 31 points before eventually losing 98-73.
Caron Butler shot just 3-of-12 from the field in 37 minutes, which may explain why he attempted to trick Jonas Valanciunas into getting one more chance to score as the clock was winding down, and after both teams had a tacit agreement that the game was in the books.
As Valanciunas crosses half court and terminates his dribble, Butler approaches him and offers up a friendly, sportsmanlike handshake. Once the Raptors rookie relaxes and accepts, Butler grabs the ball and heads down the floor on the break, before he’s caught from behind and fouled with 2.8 seconds to play.
The Clippers were down 27 points at the time.
This is more hilarious than it is infuriating, because with the only thing at stake being Butler’s personal statistics, he’s entitled to keep playing until the final buzzer sounds. I guess. I mean, no one got hurt, and the final outcome remained unchanged.
If anyone is going to be upset at Butler’s antics, it’s likely to be his own teammates. Extending a humiliating loss longer than necessary isn’t likely to sit well in the locker room or with the team’s head coach.
At least it shouldn’t.
Jonas Valanciunas hits game-winning free throw, spoils James Harden’s 57-point night (video)
The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.
But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.
Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.
Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.
But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.
The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.
It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.
Marcus Smart shoves down Joel Embiid from behind, gets ejected (video)
After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.
Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.
Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.
Before James Harden, how many players scored 30 points against every other team in a season?
But the NBA has had 30 teams for just 15 of its 73 seasons.
Obviously, the larger league makes Harden’s feat more impressive. He had to score 30 against more teams. The Rockets also play most opponents, those in the Eastern Conference, only twice. In previous eras, players had more cracks at scoring 30 against fewer teams.
Still, anyone to score 30 points against every opponent has a certain immunity to bad matchups. It’s special.
How many players have done it?
We must start with Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 30 points against all nine teams in the 1964-65 NBA. He began the season with the San Francisco Warriors and, with them, scored 30 against the 76ers. Then, he got traded to Philadelphia and scored 30 on the Warriors. He also dropped 30 on every other team.
Including that season, there have been 85 times a player scored 30 points in a game against every opponent in a season.
Only Harden, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird have done it since the NBA-ABA merger. Jordan (1986-87) and Bird (1984-85) did it against 22 teams.
Everyone else did it against 17 or fewer teams.
Here’s everyone to score 30 in a game against every opponent in a season with the player’s highest-scoring game against each team listed, starting with Chamberlain doing it against every team then following in chronological order: