If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while putting Clyde Frazier’s suits in a bracket to choose the best one…
1) Anthony Davis is playing as well as anyone in the NBA. And he’s just 21. Anthony Davis is not going to win the MVP award this season because his campaign doesn’t come with a compelling narrative (I think Westbrook leads there) and the Pelicans likely miss the playoffs. But make no mistake, he’s played as well as anyone in the league this season and gotten it done at both ends. He showed it again Monday night, putting up a huge line against the Bucks: 43 points on 17-of-23 shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists, and a couple blocks. But more than that it was how he did it — he had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the fourth quarter, taking the game over down the stretch by knocking down midrange shots (even showing off a floater) to get the Pelicans the win on the road. He is unreal.
2) Giannis Antetokounmpo just keeps getting better every day. The one guy who could try to challenge Anthony Davis for the “best young player in the game” title is the Greek Freak, and he put up an impressive line against Davis’ Pelicans: 29 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals, three blocks. He’s not Davis, and the Bucks lost, but Antetokounmpo is just fun to watch play the game.
3) Hassan Whiteside is going to get suspended for this. Also, Miami’s playoff dreams are fading. First let’s talk playoffs. This is what the loss of Chris Bosh for the season has done to Miami — they went from being a playoff lock to a team that, even at home, can’t beat the Boston Celtics. Those Celtics are another team in the playoff mix and they have been on a run behind Isaiah Thomas, who closed out this game brilliantly (and the Heat were without Goran Dragic to counter). Miami is just half a game out of the playoffs as of this loss, but watching them play it’s hard to see them catching Indiana or Charlotte.
As for Whiteside, this is his second immature skirmish of the past week, and this one is going to cost him a game or two.
4) The Wizards can beat a playoff team. Sure, it’s a tired Hornets team on the second night of a back-to-back, but the Wizards will take it. No questions asked. John Wall was using his speed to pressure the Hornets defense early. Marcin Gortat was fantastic in the paint (20 points). The Wizards needed a win like this; the question is can they build off it.
5) Even the Nuggets can beat up on the Knicks. Just a reminder that the best thing about the Knicks right now are Walt Frazier’s suits. Denver has been a franchise in disarray of late having lost 14-of-17 and firing their coach (although to be fair, they have played more free under interim coach Melvin Hunt), but they owned New York — the Nuggets went on a 12-0 run late in the second quarter to take charge, outscored the Knicks by 16 in the third quarter and led by as many as 34. At least the Knicks are ensuring good lottery odds. But you can’t underestimate the amount of work that roster needs.