Scores and ATS Results:
New York 101 – Washington 117 (Washington -8.5)
New Orleans 106 – Toronto 108 (OT) (New Orleans +7.5)
Sacramento 83 – Houston 105 (Houston -12)
Oklahoma City 94 – San Antonio 108 (San Antonio -9)
Charlotte 98 – Portland 115 (Portland -3)
Denver 116 – LA Lakers 120 (Los Angeles +2)
Have A Night Kawhi Leonard
I might have jumped the gun on those MVP discussions yesterday. A day after I post my top five Kawhi comes busting through my wall like the goddamn Kool Aid man. 36-8-4-2, out-dueled Russ from start to finish, and looked all the part of someone who belongs in that top five MVP discussion. Save for the back-to-back he sat out last week, Kawhi has been on an absolute tear in January. 28.6 points per game, outdueled Lebron and Russ over the last week, and has this Spurs team firmly positioned in the two seed – something that will mean a lot in that second round vs. Houston.
It’s easy to forget about the Spurs. They’re the Spurs. They just keep chugging along game after game after game. And after two bad losses at New Orleans and home for Dallas this weekend, they got back on track win a dominant win last night.
Have A Night Kyle Lowry
Big time game from Lowry last night. Big time. Raps are sliding, lost 5 of their last six, no DeRozan, and Kyle Lowry stepped the hell up. 33 and 10. 45 minutes. Some monster three pointers. And dropped the dagger with four seconds left in overtime. Last night was just another example of how ridiculous it is that he’s not the Raptors guard starting the All Star Game.
Have A Night Bradley Beal
Beal, Wall, and the Wiz remained scorching hot last night with a 117-101 win over the Knicks. Winners of 15 straight at home and 12 of their last 14 overall, they sit tied for 4th in the East and just 1.5 games out of third. They’re
Take Of The Night
Knicks need to make a decision here. Yes, they’re just 2.5 out of the 8th seed. But they’re also just 2 games from the number four seed in the lottery.
And while there are 7 teams between them and that fourth seed, there’s plenty of potential to reverse-jump them in the lottery. Minnesota, New Orleans, and Sacramento are all within range of the 8th seed in the West and genuinely want to make the playoffs. Philadelphia is young and hungry and, very quietly, might have their sights set on a playoff push. And while Dallas started off terribly, they’ve now won 7 of 10 and are entirely too well coached to tank on purpose.
Yes, Orlando and Miami will likely sell at the deadline and tank for the bottom. Yes, Phoenix and Los Angeles are bad teams with plenty of incentive to keep losing. And the Nets are the Nets. They’ll try hard every night because they have no incentive to otherwise, but they will still have the league’s worst record come April.
But if the Knicks can fall their way to the sixth spot? That’s a franchise-changing pick in a draft loaded with lead guards. Fultz, Smith, and Ball are potential superstars. Josh Jackson is a superstar wing with the playmaking ability of a PG. Malik Monk is a transcendent scorer who can play either guard position. De’Aaron Fox and Frank Ntilikina are great athletes and playmakers with superstar potential.
Melo isn’t dropping his No-Trade Clause. I wrote about that yesterday. But that doesn’t mean they can’t start selling guys off. Plenty of contenders could use a three-and-D vet off their bench like Courtney Lee. Justin Holiday, as much as I love him, is a free agent this summer and could provide great value for a team in need of wing depth. And if nobody wants Derrick Rose? Well then just buy him out. He’s caused multiple controversies and doesn’t make his teammates better. What’s the incentive to keep him around for the last three months if you’re not making the playoffs? Buy him out, sign a D-League PG on the cheap, and ride out the season with Jennings and Baker actually passing the ball in PNR situations. And you sit Kristaps as much as possible. Sore Achilles, shoulder pain, feeling a little sick? DNP, DNP, DNP.
So Carmelo is still there? He’s not single-handedly carrying a depleted roster to anything more than 25 wins. You bottom out, draft whatever guard falls to you, make it clear that you’re rebuilding around Porzingis and [Rookie Guard X], and see if Melo wants to stick around for that. Is it the best gameplan ever? No. But it’s the best they can do in their current state.
Around The Association
PUT HIM ON A POSTER NORM
Ron Baker: gritty, smart, first one in, last one out, coaches son, grab your lunch pail, plays a thinking man’s game, extra effort
Portland has sneaky won four of it’s last five, the lone loss to Golden State. And while their defense is still bad, they’re starting to look more like last year’s Portland team. The eighth seed stinks. Whoever gets it will get absolutely steamrolled by Golden State. But for a Blazers team that spent a TON of money this offseason, it would at least mean they got back on track. They’ll have decisions to make this offseason on the direction of their franchise, but finishing the season on the 45-win pace they hoped for before the season would at least prevent this season from being a total loss.
*extreme Stephen A voice* The Dis-RESPECT
Yes this was a nice spin move but what makes it even better is that it was done against an incredible defender like Jennings. Hell of an effort here. Sometime great offense just beats great defense.
Throw it down kid.
Ryan Anderson 25 points, 6 threes, carried the offense on a night where James Harden didn’t have to do much. Incredible how much he’s meant to this Rockets team.
Schedule for February 1
Minnesota – Cleveland (-7) 7:00 ESPN
Indiana – Orlando (-2.5) 7:00
Atlanta – Miami (+2) 7:30
New York – Brooklyn (+2.5) 7:30
New Orleans – Detroit (-6.5) 7:30
Toronto – Boston (No Line) 7:30
Philadelphia – Dallas (-6.5) 8:30
Milwaukee – Utah (-8) 9:00
Memphis – Denver (No Line) 9:00
LA Clippers – Phoenix (+4) 9:00
Chicago – Oklahoma City (-3.5) 9:30 ESPN
Charlotte – Golden State (-15) 10:30