Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: Dwyane Wade owns a hot tub time machine

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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 you and your friend argue over which beer is better, Budweiser or Busch, to the point of pulling out a gun

1) Dwyane Wade jumped owns a hot tub time machine, traveled back to 2006. People haven’t given full credit to Dwyane Wade for his best season in years. One where the Heat needed him to step up in the absence of LeBron James, and he has. He fully deserved that All-Star Game invite. And even in that context Monday night was a crazy, throwback game. Wade had 16 points in the second quarter on 6-of-7 shooting and it pushed the Heat up by a dozen at the break as Miami just rolled Cleveland. Wade finished with 32 points on 13-for-18 shooting, the Heat moved the ball, defended, and out hustled the Cavs all game. Call it the second night of a back-to-back and just one of those games for the Cavs, but the Heat needed this to make a push for the playoffs.

2) Dallas has now beaten the Clippers and Thunder in consecutive games. Have we mentioned before the Western Conference playoffs are going to be a bloodbath. Like a Mel Gibson movie level of blood. A week ago Dallas looked like the weakest link in the Western Conference eight, they were struggling on offense, and some wondered if the Pelicans could catch them. Now in the span of a few days they have knocked off the Clippers handily, then ground out a win over a hot Thunder team 119-115.  Chandler Parsons was the big catalyst — he attacked, he created shots, and he ended up with 31 points on 18 shots for the night. He was 7-of-9 at the rim and 3-of-5 from three — notice no midrange shots, just good choices. They need more nights like this out of him.

3) Kyle Lowry drops triple-double, Raptors get much-needed win over Pacers. The Raptors had just won 2 of their last 12 games, but they had a plan for the stout defense of the Pacers: Run. Push the tempo. Kyle Lowry did that and with it had his best game in recent memory with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. He just seemed to do everything. Lou Williams added 24 points, DeMar DeRozan 22, and you got a win. Well, that and this was the best defense the Raptors have played in recent memory. The question now is can the Raptors build on this Wednesday against Minnesota and going forward? They still have a lot to get right before the playoffs.

4) Washington may have its groove back. Washington has now won four in a row, and that includes wins over Memphis and Portland — and the Trail Blazers didn’t rest everybody. Sure, Washington had a 25-point lead that dwindled down to one possession late, and Portland was on the second night of a back-to-back. Don’t spoil this for them. Washington has always been a team that could be dangerous come the playoffs because they can defend, and John Wall can put pressure on a defense with his speed. Both of those things happened Monday night. The Wizards covered the arc better (and Portland just missed some shots), and Wall finished with 21 points. The Wizards now head out of a four-game West Coast swing, but they do so with momentum. You know things are going your way when Nene is making this play.

5) Robin Lopez’s war on all mascots continues. This now is joining some of the all-time great feuds. Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr. Hatfields vs. McCoys. Stalin vs. Trotsky. Montagues vs. Capulets. Robin Lopez vs. NBA mascots.

Bulls’ Otto Porter out at least one more month with fractured foot

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The Chicago Bulls miss Otto Porter. He was a starter on the wing for nine games, scoring 11.2 points per game, hitting 40 percent of his threes, playing solid defense, and the Bulls offense was 8.3 points per 100 possessions better on offense when he was on the court. He’s a steadying influence as a veteran.

However, he has been out the last 16 games with a foot injury, and he’s going to miss at least another month, the Bulls announced Tuesday. The Bulls said Porter saw a specialist and he “confirmed the bone injury and healing response in Porter’s left foot consistent with a small fracture that has become more clearly defined with repeated imaging over the last five weeks.”

What that means for Porter is another month in a boot.

Chandler Hutchison‘s bruised shoulder has him in street clothes, too, which means Kris Dunn will remain the starter for now. Denzel Valentine has used a bump in minutes to show some growth in his game, play fairly well, and make a push for even more run of late.

But without Porter, the Bulls are not the same.

 

 

Report: Kevin Love would prefer to play for Portland if traded

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are listening to trade offers for Kevin Love.

Love’s reaction to this is essentially “whatevs.” He’s been in the middle of trade rumors for four years now, it’s as constant and annoying in his life as taxes.

However, if he is going to get traded, he’d prefer to go home to Oregon and play for Portland, reports Kevin O’Conner at The Ringer.

Love would prefer to play for his hometown Portland Trail Blazers, according to multiple league sources. The Blazers make perfect sense as a destination for Love; they need help for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum after the team has been decimated by injuries….

The Blazers have the salaries to make a deal work with the expiring contracts of Hassan Whiteside ($27.1 million) or Kent Bazemore ($19.3 million).

There were previous reports Love just wants to go to a contender. That said, there is logic to him wanting to go home, and there is a good fit in Portland, a team that needed help at the four before injuries rocked the roster. Love is averaging 16.1 points and 10.5 rebounds a game, is shooting 37.1 percent from three, and remains one of the best outlet passers in the game.

Making a trade work is trickier. Bazemore has to play a much larger role after Rodney Hood was lost for the season with a torn Achilles, his availability is up for debate.

Hassan Whiteside can make the trade numbers work with his expiring contract, and Whiteside won’t be missed once Jusuf Nurkic (and even Zach Collins) returns from injury. However, the Cavaliers are going to want draft picks or young players to help with their rebuild to make this trade. Would the Blazers throw in a protected first to make this happen?

There also is this question any team trading for Love has to ask itself: Do we want to take on the three-plus years remaining on his four-year, $120 million contract? That’s a lot of money and years for an All-Star player who is productive but aging, and also has a lengthy injury history.

Portland can also try to trade for Danilo Gallinari and his expiring contract with the Thunder, which has a lot less risk involved.

Love, however, would be popular in Portland, and he would help the team.

Jaylen Brown: Celtics nicknamed Grant Williams ‘Ben Simmons’ due to missed 3s

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Celtics rookie Grant Williams on 3-pointers in his first 20 games: 0-for-25.

0-for-25!

Nobody else has ever started a season that cold.

Of everyone else to attempt at least 25 3-pointers in their first 20 games, nobody made fewer than two. Of everyone else to miss all their 3-pointers in their first 20 games, nobody attempted more than 17.

Finally, Williams made a 3-pointer in Boston’s win over the Cavaliers yesterday.

Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, via NBC Sports Boston:

We were calling him Ben Simmons for the longest. But he knocked one down, and knocked them down, too. So, shoutout to both of those guys.

Yes, 76ers guard Ben Simmons barely shoots, let alone makes, 3-pointers. But it seems as if Brown realized mid-answer he shouldn’t provide bulletin-board material to a rival.

Too late.

Simmons has gotten called a coward numerous times by people in Boston due to his refusal to shoot 3s. Becoming the butt of the joke with fellow NBA players? That’s something else entirely.

We’ll see how Simmons responds, but many around him – including Philadelphia coach Brett Brown – have been urging him to hoist more 3s. It’s hard to see this inspiring Simmons to actually change his game.

Paul George says there’s more to his Pacers exit: ‘I promise you, I’m not the one to boo’

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In 2017, Paul George told the Pacers he planned to leave in free agency the following year. It wasn’t a trade request, but George knew his message would likely prompt Indiana to deal him. He wanted out.

George said he preferred the Spurs. (Or was it the Lakers?) The Pacers dealt him to the Thunder.

Now with the Clippers, George returned to Indiana and got booed.

George, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:

“You know, someday I’ll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana,” George said. “And I promise you, I’m not the one to boo.”

“… I’m not gonna share the teaser,” George later added. “… I like being the villain. I’m here two nights out of the year. The people they should boo is here a lot longer than I am.”

Maybe George felt he got wronged. Maybe George actually got wronged.

But fans generally side with their favorite team over a star player who chose to leave.

It’s hard to imagine a set of circumstances where Pacers fans would boo someone other than George for his exit. My hunch: His grievances are significant to him but wouldn’t persuade Indiana fans. Still, I’m at least curious about his full story.