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Scores and ATS Results
Portland 126 – Oklahoma City 121 (Portland +7)
LA Lakers 111 – Dallas 122 (Dallas -10)
Washington 131 – Phoenix 127 (Washington -3.5)
Have A Night Dirk Nowitski
This moment is too much man. I don’t want to ruin it. Let’s just move on.
Have A Night Russell Wilson
Have A Night Russell Westbrook
Russ saw what Kawhi did on Monday night. Russ watched that game start to finish. Russ followed the tweets. Russ read all the blogs. Russ saw the “Kawhi might be the MVP frontrunner” takes.
And then Russ went out and dropped 58… in a loss.
Basketball, like life itself, always finds a way to balance itself out. Sometimes it’s karma. Sometimes it’s redemption. And sometimes you’ve just been so potent and so efficient and such a stone cold killer in the fourth quarter over the last month that you were overdue for a choke job.
Russ didn’t lose the clutch gene. Nothing dramatically changed. Shots just stopped falling at a pretty inopportune time to stop hitting shots, magnified exponentially by hitting so many shots leading up to those last few minutes. Nothing about this game boosts or diminishes his MVP case. It’s still the same race it was yesterday. Which means Kawhi is still my MVP. #MyMVP
Have A Night Bradley Beal and the Kentucky Guards
Fun little battle last night between two backcourt combos with a lot of similarities. It’s not hard to imagine this Phoenix team having a similar conundrum moving forward.
Balancing two wildly talented backcourt players in today’s NBA is tough. It’s a good problem to have – but still a problem. There’s so much overlap in how PG’s and SG’s are developed nowadays that you’ll many times find yourself with two of the same player. Point guards are more geared to score than ever before. While shooting guards, who likely grew up handling the ball for their high school and AAU teams, have more distribution and ball handling ability.
There are teams where this can work. Steph and Klay work because Klay is as traditional a spot up/set up shooter as it gets. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands. Whereas, say, in Chicago the last few seasons, Rose and Butler couldn’t coexist because both needed the ball and both were more inclined to score than to distribute. Also because Derrick Rose is trash but that’s besides the point. Portland is facing a similar situation now with Lillard and McCollum. Both of those guys could lead a team. And you’re almost wasting one or the other’s talents by playing them off ball. There are other things like defensive matchups that go into it – but the main point is the crossover of their respective skill sets. Can you build around both?
Phoenix will now have to deal with what Washington has seemed to solve – how to strike the balance between two similar, potentially ball dominant players. How to let Eric Bledsoe run the show while still giving Devin Booker the opportunities he needs. With so much overlap between Wall and Beal – both great penetrators, ball handlers, passers, finishers at the rim – Washington has figured out how to maximize their differentiating qualities in conjunction. Wall is a spectacular distributer in transition and maybe the best cross-court passer outside of Lebron. Beal is a dead eye spot up shooter. The solution: run, run, run, run, run. This Washington team runs as much as any non Golden State team in the league. They’re creating extra possessions and, more improtantly, getting Wall and Beal enough opportunities to maximize their talents that they don’t mind letting the other guy take over at times. Beal knows he’s going to get his shots up in transition. Wall knows he’s going to get those assists up. And on most nights you’re getting 25-5 from Beal and 20-10 from Wall and they’re both going home happy.
Credit has to go to Scotty Brooks, who I’m sure took a ton of lessons from coaching Durant and Westbrook and has been able to tinker with them to handle the Wall/Beal dynamic. I don’t know if Earl Watson is the guy to solve that in Phoenix. And I don’t think Bledsoe is the player that Wall is. But they could really benefit from studying what Brooks has done with these two in DC.
Around The Association
Don’t bring a knife to a finger gun fight. Especially not with Brandon Jennings. Dude can finger bang with the best of t– wait
Stat Line Of The Night… Ian Mahimni goes for 15 and 9 with seven, yes, SEVEN steals and a game-high +38 plus/minus. Yo… what??? I don’t even know which one is weirder. +38 is reserved for guys like Shaun Livingston in a Warriors route or James Harden having some 42 and 16 game where he’s responsible for 85 of the Rockets 105 points. But Ian fucking Mahimni in a four point win? In just 26 minutes, no less? What? That would go down as the weirdest stat of the year if not for the fact that dude had SEVEN steals. Seven steals for a center is not a thing that happens. Historically steal-friendly centers like Hakeem or The Admiral maybe had like four 7-steal games ever. And Ian Mahimni just throws one up in like his fifth game of the season? Basketball is the weirdest.
Fun Fact: CJ McCollum hasn’t missed a floater since 2014. Also, WHOOP
The Suns Gorilla just dove on the court last night for some reason that has yet to be exp– wait…
Wait is that…
OH MY GOD
DILDO ON THE COURT DILDO ON THE COURT
How about Jusuf Nurkic? Stephe– I mean Shannon, while Russell Westbrook was busy CHOKING away that game and his MVP chances last night. Jusuf Nurkic put up a couple of outrageous little shifty, spinning layups in the last few minutes to put the game away for Portland.
I know we’re just a few weeks in to the trade. But I honestly think Portland won it straight up between Nurkic and Plumlee. Dude has been an absolute beast. Gives them so much toughness and a great interior defender that they were severely lacking. And that’s all before you factor in Portland getting back a first round pick. Hell of a job Neil Olshey.
Lil Triple Double from Julius at least deserves some mentioning.
Schedule for Wednesday, March 8th
Chicago – Orlando (+1.5) 7:00
Charlotte – Miami (-4) 7:00
Brooklyn – Atlanta (-9.5) 7:30
New York – Milwaukee (-5) 8:00
LA Clippers – Minnesota (+3) 8:00
Toronto – New Orleans (-2.5) 8:00
Detroit – Indiana (-3.5) 8:00 ESPN
Utah – Houston (-6.5) 8:00
Sacramento – San Antonio (-15) 8:30
Washington – Denver (-1) 9:00
Boston – Golden State (-8) 10:30 ESPN