The NBA season is in full swing, and we will be here each weekday with the NBC Sports daily roundup Three Things to Know — everything you might have missed in the Association, every key moment from the night before in one place.
1) Kyrie Irving pushing hard for Kobe Bryant NBA logo
The Jerry West inspired NBA logo is iconic. It’s instantly recognizable — both here in the United States and internationally. Maybe just as important to the NBA, West never asked for a penny in compensation (he doesn’t even like it and would prefer the league change it).
Kyrie Irving has an idea for what that change would look like.
He backed that stance after the Nets blew out the Magic Thursday night, as Malika Andrews reported at ESPN.
“Kobe Bryant. Logo. Yes. Needs to happen. I don’t care what anyone says…
“I want that to be something in history that is changed forever, that our generation was part of that change. And if that means that I have to lead that forward and get the conversation going, then great.”
“I think he deserves it,” Irving said. “I think his family deserves it. I think we deserve it as seeing greatness personified as Mamba. And anyone that’s coming into the league should know that that’s the example that was set.”
This idea came up a year ago in the wake of Bryant’s tragic death, but the traction didn’t last. Irving is working to revive it.
Successful major international business brands — and make no mistake, that is what the NBA is first and foremost, a business — are hesitant to change their logos. The NBA will be no different. It feels it has its “golden arches” or Apple logo — one look and you instantly recognize the NBA logo. It also doesn’t cost the league a cent. The NBA has something it feels works.
There may be a change, but it’s going to take a huge groundswell and a long time to push change on a league that likes to bask in its traditions — it still has divisions, even if they don’t matter in the final standings. Change will be slow. But not impossible.
2) Denver loses in the most painful way possible
“What are you doing?”
That cry rang out across Denver as fans watched the final seconds of their team’s latest loss — this one felt like a punch to the gut.
The Nuggets were down by two against the Wizards, 112-110, in the final :30 seconds. However, Denver got a stop, then Nikola Jokic made the smart play tipping the ball out to Jamal Murray, who led a 3-1 break with five seconds remaining. Denver just needed a lay-up to send the game to overtime.
Instead, this happened.
This Nuggets end of game sequence 😅
They were down by 2 pic.twitter.com/Hd2CwjcL1d
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 26, 2021
To his credit, Murray owned his mistake.
My fault Nuggets nation.. on to the next one.. STICK WITH US!!
— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) February 26, 2021
This angle.. pic.twitter.com/VBCpMqTcEZ
— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) February 26, 2021
Murray had 34 points and shot 6-of-11 from three in the game. None of that is what we will remember.
3) Ja Morant is special, and if you don’t play defense in front of him he’s amazing
Get Paul George a membership to the Ja Morant fan club.
“He’s just fun to watch,” George said after Morant led Memphis to a 122-94 rout of the Clippers. “There’s no other explanation. He’s so athletic, gifted, agile. I could compare him to like Derrick Rose with his explosiveness & ability to shift his body & move in the air. He just makes highlight plays after highlight plays.”
High praise. Morant looks especially good against the matador defense the Clippers played all night — Memphis had 72 points in the paint. Through his mask, you could see how angry Clippers coach Tyronn Lue was postgame.
“They got downhill on our pick and rolls all night,” Lue said. “We tried to blitz, we tried to zone. They just constantly got into the paint — 72 points in the paint, that’s gotta be a damn-near record…
“We gotta [play better defense] and the guys that don’t do it, we’re gonna get somebody in that’s gonna do it.”
The Clippers are finally healthy and rolling out their preferred lineups but have gone 1-2 with that group (to be fair, one loss was to an outstanding Brooklyn team). Lue knows his team needs to build chemistry and grow in a way last season’s team did not. Lue is going to push them.
Memphis looked rested and it showed. They had a balanced attack, and Tyus Jones dropped 20 off the bench.
The teams play again tonight in Memphis, a back-to-back. We’ll see how the Clippers come out.