There were a couple of great storylines from last night’s NBA games. How would Lonzo perform after his abysmal debut? A matchup between the best player in the East and the future best player in the east. The continuation of the Boston/Philly rivalry. Does Golden State go into “we’re about to embarrass you” mode because they’re coming off a loss? And, let’s start with none of these storylines.
Atlanta Hawks (91) vs Charlotte Hornets (109)
- The Dwight Howard Revenge Game! Sort of. Dwight played well though, scoring 20 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, but he needs to cut down his turnover count if he wants to remain an effective offensive player.
- Ersan Illyasova had zero points in 21 minutes. I get that the Hawks want shooting to pair with Dewayne Dedmon, but you drafted John Collins for a reason and he’s your best young player. Give him some more minutes. Who cares if you lose games as a result?
- Frank Kaminsky had 21 points in 33 minutes off the bench. The Hornets will need his production and outside shooting (40% from three in the game) to continue as they push for the playoffs this season.
Portland Trail Blazers (114) vs Indiana Pacers (96)
- C.J. McCollum seemed unaffected by his one-game suspension for running off the bench, as he finished the night with 28 points on 67% shooting and seven rebounds.
- Domantas Sabonis made his first start of the season with Myles Turner out last night, and the second year player out of Gonzaga didn’t make much of an impact, totaling three points, eight rebounds, and three turnovers in 28 minutes.
- Al-Farouq Aminu dominated the glass last night for Portland, pulling down 16 rebounds and helping to make up for Jusuf Nurkic’s off night (11 points on 30% shooting with two rebounds and six turnovers).
Boston Celtics (102) vs Philadelphia 76ers (92)
- Ben Simmons became the first rookie since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Connie Hawkins in 1969-70 to post two consecutive ten-point, ten-rebound, five-assist games to start a season (from Elias Sports). He’s looking like the real deal.
- Shane Larkin sparked the Celtics fourth-quarter run that allowed them to pull away from the Sixers, scoring eight of his ten points in the fourth quarter.
- Joel Embiid looked fatigued and not himself tonight. A line of 11 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks doesn’t seem too bad, but he shot 25% from the field, missed all six of his three-point attempts, had three turnovers, and seemed content to settle all night.
Detroit Pistons (111) vs Washington Wizards (115)
- The combination of Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson combined for 12-30 shooting, aka 40%. Are we convinced they’re the two best players on the Pistons? Don’t Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris have cases? I’m worried about where Detroit is headed
- In direct contrast to the performance by Detroit, the combination of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter combined for 79 points while every one of them shot 50% or over from the field. If the Wizards play like this, they’re the second-tbest team in the conference.
- A guy who’s seemed to be in the midst of a breakout season is Kelly Oubre Jr. He looked terrific against the 76ers on Wednesday, and while he only scored four points, he finished with the second highest plus/minus on the Wizards. He’s becoming a really interesting piece for the Wizards (maybe makes them more comfortable moving Porter?)
Cleveland Cavaliers (116) vs Milwaukee Bucks (97)
- Man, what else can we say about Giannis Antetokounmpo? 34 points on 68% shooting, eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals and a block all while guarding LeBron James. He needs to be the MVP conversation right now.
- I like the idea of moving Kevin Love to center. The Cavs can finally run a small ball line-up with the addition of Jaw Crowder, and Tristan Thompson works much better as an energy big off the bench. Now, if only they’d play LeBron at PF.
- After Giannis’s 34, the only other Buck to score over ten points was Malcolm Brogdon with 16. I hate to break it to Buck’s fans, but Malcolm Brogdon can’t be the second highest scorer on your team if you want to go far in the playoffs.
Brooklyn Nets (126) vs Orlando Magic (121)
- What the hell happened to Nikola Vucevic? Yeah sure, 41 points and twelve rebounds on 77% shooting is good and all. But, the man hit six threes. NIK VUCEVIC HIT SIX THREES! We found our new candidate for the Brook Lopez award for Big-Man-Who-Couldn’t-Shoot-Threes-Yet-Now-Suddenly-Can.
- Hey, Brooklyn won a game early in the season! Guys, honestly, they’re not that bad. If I’m running the Cavs, I’m looking to dump that Nets pick for some all-star as soon as humanly possible.
- Maybe all DeMarre Carroll needed was a change of scenery. 17 points, 8 rebounds and shot 75% from three, while also getting two steals. He looked like a solid player back in Atlanta and it’s possible he could regain that form again in Brooklyn.
Utah Jazz (97) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (100)
- I trashed Jamal Crawford before the season started. I thought he was cooked and was riding by on the memories of older GMs. 17 points on 60% shooting and a go-ahead three to win the game later and I might have to consider apologizing.
- Rudy Gobert is the best player on the Jazz and he only took ten shots. I understand that they might not consider him their number one option on offense, but I’d like to see what happens when he takes more shots.
- Andrew Wiggins had what I consider the ultimate Andrew Wiggins game: 21 points, five rebounds, zero assists, two turnovers and shot 36% from the field. These kinds of games are why I’m worried about giving him a max contract.
Sacramento Kings (93) vs Dallas Mavericks (88)
- Time for your daily “Why aren’t the Kings starting De’Aaron Fox over Justin Jackson?” update. Jackson: two points and four rebounds. Fox: a very inefficient nine points, six rebounds, ten assists and only two turnovers. Explain this to me.
- On the flip side, I guess Rick Carlisle reads this website because Nerlens Noel started the game last night! Another night of 100% from the field with three steals and two blocks. Thank you for figuring it out.
- George Hill has been a really solid player these past couple of years. And to the surprise of nearly anyone who has followed the NBA during that time frame, someone became a good free agent signing for the Kings! It happened! Buy some lottery tickets!
Golden State Warriors (109) vs New Orleans Pelicans (98)
- Forget Kevin Durant’s scoring numbers last night. They’re irrelevant on a team with this many offensive weapons. What you should be focusing on are the eight rebounds and SEVEN BLOCKS. Durant is evolving right in front of our eyes. Let’s make sure we don’t miss it.
- AD and Boogie’s combined numbers tonight: 70 points, 31 rebounds, ten assists and six steals. And the Pelicans lost. I feel so bad for them. What does it feel like when you know you can’t count on your teammates to be passible?
- Can Golden State beat their own record and win 74 games this year. I doubt it, yet it still feels possible somehow.
Los Angles Lakers (132) vs Phoenix Suns (130)
- To his credit, Lonzo Ball bounced back in a big way last night with a near triple-double: 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. He shot the ball well from three tonight too. I’m still not convinced he’ll be able to get the shot off consistently, but I’ll give him a pass with no hesitation.
- Much more efficient games from Bledsoe and Booker. Both scored over 25 points and shot over 50% from three. The scoring is there, but Phoenix is going to struggle on defense this year if they’re giving up 132 points to the Lakers.
- Brandon Ingram also bounced back from a weak debut, scoring 25 points on 64% shooting. He still desperately needs to hit the weight room, but if he can get the shot to fall consistently, he’ll be playable as the strength develops.
(Feature Image by Michael DeMocker)