Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks going that make the NBA great.
1) This is now a Ja Morant stan page
Is there anything Ja Morant can’t do?
Early this season, I was saying Ja Morant is the most entertaining player in the league. He is that, but he is also so much more than that. In his second season, Morant is an All-NBA level player, a “think about me for your MVP ballot” player. He has made a massive leap.
He is still the most entertaining player in the league. He almost ended Jakob Poeltl with the Dunk of the Year on Monday night. Then, just 2:17 later, he may have topped it with the Buzzer Beater of the Year off a Stephen Adams length-of-the-court pass.
Morant has set a career-high in his previous game with 46 points, then topped it Monday night with 52 against the Spurs — and the Grizzlies got the win.
If you’re not loving Ja Morant this season, you just don’t love the game.
Unless you’re Jakob Poeltl, he gets a pass.
2) Scottie Barnes makes first 11 shots in Raptors win over Nets
This will not be another “just wait until they get healthy” Brooklyn Nets story — we’ll write that when we see it.
This is a “damn, Scottie Barnes could be very special” story.
Barnes has flown a little under the Rookie of the Year radar, but he has probably had the second-best season of any rookie, and with nights like this he could give Evan Mobley a run for his money.
Barnes made every shot he took in the first half — 10-of-10, the first rookie to have a 10+ shot perfect first half since Derrick Rose in 2009 — and ultimately his first 11 shots on his way to 28 points and a season-high 16 rebounds. What is impressive is the versatility of his game, he can hit from three…
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 1, 2022
Or post up inside.
R.O.Y. HIM pic.twitter.com/Sx5NE6q12S
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 1, 2022
The Raptors blew out the Nets 133-97.
Barnes became the first rookie since Shaq with 25+ points, 15+ rebounds and 5+ steals in a game. He could be something special for the Raptors.
3) Lakers waive DeAndre Jordan (headed to 76ers) to pick up D.J. Augustin
This move by the Lakers was not about DeAndre Jordan, even though he’s the biggest name in the transaction.
It’s really about a bigger name: Russell Westbrook.
Monday, the Lakers waived Jordan to create a roster spot to bring in veteran point guard D.J. Augustin.
A rare DJ for DJ transaction
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 1, 2022
Augustin can shoot the rock from 3, hitting 40.6% this season in Houston, and the Lakers need that.
At age 34 (the Lakers got older with this move) and in his 14th NBA season, Augustin can be a solid floor general but mostly looked like Father Time was winning the race with the Rockets this season (who waived him to create roster space for Dennis Schroder). The Lakers need a player like him coming off the bench behind Westbrook — a shooter and a solid enough playmaker who historically hasn’t turned the ball over a lot (this season in Houston is the exception) — more than they need another traditional big on the roster.
Jordan is going to land on his feet, with Adrian Wojnarowski reporting the 76ers having strong interest. (The reports the 76ers might claim him off waivers is a Lakers’ fantasy, it would cost Philly an extra $2.3 million in luxury tax to do that, so why would they? They will wait a day and sign him as a free agent.)
One thing clear during the two game James Harden honeymoon in Philly is the 76ers need help at the backup five, Paul Millsap is not the answer. Jordan has not looked like the answer at all in Los Angeles, but desperate times call for desperate measure, so…
Highlight of the Night: Markelle Fultz is back on the court
After more than a year out with a torn ACL, Markelle Fultz was back on the court for the Orlando Magic, and that was simply good to see. This is a player who went through a lot in Philadelphia but put in the work out of the spotlight in Orlando to become a solid NBA point guard. Then he tore his ACL
Monday night, he was back.
And he was getting some buckets, he finished with 10 points.
Minnesota 127, Cleveland 122
Orlando 119, Indiana 103
Toronto 133, Brooklyn 97
Miami 112, Chicago 99
Memphis 118, San Antonio 105
Milwaukee 130, Charlotte 106
Sacramento 131, Oklahoma City 110