Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while watching Jeopardy to see what all the Arthur Chu fuss is about….
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. If you are going to win the MVP award you need a couple monster games on national television. Durant delivered that on Sunday — 41 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Thunder beat the Knicks. Durant would have had a triple double if Serge Ibaka could have finished a dunk. Durand has seven 40-point games this season. He is your MVP, having pulled away in the race while Russell Westbrook has been out.
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers. He’s back. After missing 18 games with a separated shoulder CP3 was returned to the court in the Clippers powder blue (they wore the sleeved throwbacks). That’s not the reason the Clippers utterly destroyed the Sixers on Sunday night, but he did look solid with 7 points and 8 assists for Los Angeles. The Clippers went 12-6 without him and Blake Griffin among others stepped up their game, now can they take the next step with him in the lineup.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers. He certainly was making plays – 28 points on 17 shots, including the game-tying layup that sent the game to overtime, then he had four points in OT to lead the Cavs over the Grizzlies. He also had six assists. Still, I watch him play and I wonder how much better he would look in a different offense — he looks good, better than he did earlier in the season when he was forcing shots and plays, but he still doesn’t seem to be on the career trajectory expected of his this season (despite the fans voting him an All-Star starter). I just wonder how much of that is the offense he is playing in right now.
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic. Orlando came from behind to upset the Pacers in large part because of the rookie — he had 12 of his team-high 23 points in the first minutes of the fourth quarter when the Magic went on a 17-2 run to come back and take the lead from a Pacers team that had been up 16 in the third quarter at one point. (To be fair, Indiana helped out that comeback with some uncharacteristic sloppy play, and when Orlando went smaller with Tobias Harris at the four the Pacers chose to settle for jumpers rather than attack.) What I really liked about Oladipo’s game is that he kept relentlessly attacking the rim — which resulted in him getting five shots blocked and shooting just 3-of-7 inside 8 feet, but he kept attacking. He plays with an aggressive energy that is infectious.
Trade talks for Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler have apparently gone dormant. Things fell through with the most likely deal between the Wolves and the Miami Heat earlier in October, and now we are in sort of a weird limbo state where Butler is still playing for Minnesota.
The season has started, the Timberwolves have new jerseys, but everyone knows what is coming.
It certainly doesn’t mean that interest in Butler’s services have waned. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, four teams still have adding Butler at the top of their list.
Windhorst appeared on Alex Kennedy’s podcast this weekend and said that the Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets are still gunning for Butler.
Windhorst gave a caveat for both Dallas and the Clippers, who have the ability to sign Butler this offseason through free agency. That makes a trade between the Timberwolves and those teams less likely, especially because Minnesota’s asking price for Butler apparently keeps going up (rather than down) as time goes on.
No doubt this saga will continue for some time until Butler eventually gets traded to somewhere strange, like the Milwaukee Bucks.
Much like the Kawhi Leonard situation last season in San Antonio, we could be waiting all season for something to happen on the Butler front.
Things aren’t pretty with the Minnesota Timberwolves right now. The team is still trying to figure out what to do with Jimmy Butler, and a willing trade partner doesn’t seem available at the moment.
But that doesn’t mean that the Timberwolves can’t still look good.
On Tuesday, some of Minnesota’s alternate uniforms for this season leaked on Reddit. They of course made their way to Twitter, and they have a very specific theme: “Purple Rain”.
The jerseys are of course based on Prince’s iconic 1984 album/film combo. Prince, a Minneapolis native, passed away in 2016.
Meanwhile the Wolves may be bad, but at least their uniforms will rock.
DETROIT (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons is out Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons because of back tightness.
76ers coach Brett Brown says Simmons is questionable for Wednesday at Milwaukee after he left Saturday’s game in the first quarter against Orlando and did not return. Brown says Simmons wasn’t fully comfortable and that resting him Tuesday boosted the chances he could play Wednesday.
Simmons, the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year, was averaging 16.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 9.5 assists in the first two games before playing just eight minutes Saturday.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A museum is being planned to tell the story of basketball great Larry Bird, an Indiana native.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Saturday that the museum will be located in a new convention center that’s being built in Terre Haute in western Indiana. The Tribune-Star reports Bird plans to donate personal items and memorabilia from his career with the Boston Celtics, Indiana State University, the U.S. Olympic team and beyond.
Holcomb predicts the museum will be a global draw, describing Bird as “Larry the Legend – Indiana’s favorite son.”
Details about the museum are still being developed, but plans include interactive displays to detail Bird’s life and career. He won three NBA championships with the Celtics.
Construction on the convention center is expected to start in the spring.