Ham’s Hoops Roundup Tuesday 11/14 — The Old King vs. The French Prince

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Frank Ntilikina and the Knicks punked LeBron (for three and half quarters), The Process Sixers have themselves a “we got next” night in LA, and the Atlanta Hawks continue to run the cleanest tank job these eyes have ever seen. It’s the Ham’s Hoops Roundup for Tuesday, November 14th. Let’s get it…

Scores from Monday, Nov. 13th

Sacramento 92  –  Washington 110
Cleveland 104  –  New York 101
Memphis 103  –  Milwaukee 110
Atlanta  105  –  New Orleans 106
LA Lakers 100  –  Phoenix 93
Minnesota 109  –  Utah 98
Denver 82  –  Portland 99
Orlando 100  –  Golden State 110
Philadelphia 109  –  LA Clippers 105

Sacramento 92  –  Washington 110

Washington  (8-5)
Sacramento  (3-10)

John Wall hit 8 of 9 shots, including all four of his threes, on his way to a 21/9 night in an easy Wizards W. The Wiz face a home-and-home with Miami this week before heading out for a three games in four days road stretch at Toronto, Milwaukee, and Charlotte.

Kelly OUB drops the hammer

Cleveland 104  –  New York 101

Cleveland  (7-7)
New York  (7-6)

Things were going really great. The Knicks were blowing Cleveland out of the building. The entire Cavs team looked disengaged. The ball was flying around the court. The rest of the team was more than making up for a poor shooting night from KP. Tim Hardaway Jr. was passing the ball a ton and being karmically rewarded by hitting shot after shot. Frankie Smokes a.k.a. The French Prince was swiping everything in sight, including LeBron’s dignity. The Garden was absolutely LIT. Knicks Twitter was jumping all of the guns. The Knicks were back. It was magical…

…Until it wasn’t.

LeBron flipped a switch. Kyle Korver went unconscious from three. The ball stopped moving on offense. And before I could even finish cropping Frank’s head onto the Night King’s body, the game was over.


And I kind of just sat there on my couch vacillating between stunned disbelief and untethered rage for the next half hour.


But you know what? Now that a few hours have passed… I’m actually okay with that. I’m okay for three reasons.

One… Despite things falling apart to the tune of a 23-point on-court collapse, there’s an actual culture and chemistry being built here. These guys like each other and like playing for each other and that’s a real credit to what Hornacek is doing. They’re moving the ball and making the extra pass and not settling for bad shots in a way that we haven’t seen from the Knicks in… what… two decades? Tim Hardaway Jr. loves taking the ball up more than you love anything and he was throwing full court outlet passes last night. If that’s not a sign that this team is headed in the right direction I don’t know what is.

Two… yeah, maybe this whole Enes Kanter vs. LeBron thing is a little much. But it does feel like there’s a level of pride–genuine, uncontrived pride–coming back to this team. These guys really give a shit and are completely unafraid. And to see The French Prince go at the Old King like this made my heart grow ten sizes last night.

That fearlessness starts at the top with KP. Even on a cold shooting night, with the best basketball player in the world guarding him, he kept calling for the ball. So he had a bad night? It’s fucking LeBron playing all out in the Garden. All that matters right now is seeing him put his hand up after misses and take LeBron to the paint to draw fouls. Watching LeBron give KP the respect of going into full LeBron mode defensively–something he almost never does in the regular season–shows that LeBron can already see how good KP is. There are maybe ten guys LeBron would do that for at this point. That matters. And watching him not shy away from the spotlight and not slink into the corner on a 7-21 shooting night with LeBron checking him only further confirms that KP is that dude and is totally unafraid.

Three… I cared way too much. I cared about that Knicks loss more than I’ve cared about a Knicks loss in five years. I was absolutely furious – cursing at the TV and tossing my hands up and reacting like it was the goddamn playoffs. And not once… not one single time during that game did I think about tanking. I’m still all in on the tank and yet I didn’t even consider that until I started writing about tonight’s college games (bottom of the blog) a half hour after the Knicks game. I can’t even tell you the last time I didn’t immediately think about a Knicks loss as an ultimately good thing. You know what that means? That means the Knicks are BACK.

(Not really but not thinking about tanking is pretty cool for once)

Hey pal… you didn’t need to pull a phone out to watch someone get fucked tonight. Folks,,

Knicks Twitter forever.


Memphis 103  –  Milwaukee 110

Milwaukee  (7-6)
Memphis  (7-6)

Giannis very casually posted 29/9/7/2/2 and tacked another few highlights on the reel.

And the Bucks held off Tyreke Evans (!) (27/6/3 on 11-16 shooting) and the Grizz late for their third straight win since trading for Eric Bledsoe, who’s been fitting in just fine (15/7/4) thus fa.

Atlanta  105  –  New Orleans 106

New Orleans  (8-6)
Atlanta  (2-12)


While the Draft is on my mind (bottom of the blog) I just want to quickly shoutout the Hawks, who are in the midst of one of the cleanest tank jobs in recent NBA history. They’re competitive and well coached and they’re hanging around in these games juuuust enough that I feel confident in saying we won’t be reading stories about them quitting on Budenholzer or shutting guys down like Phoenix last year. They’re in line for five first rounders (both their own, Minnesota 2018 top-14 protected, Houston 2018 top-3 protected, Cleveland 2019 top-10 protected) over the next two years, including what will likely be a top three pick this year. Throw any one of the top five prospects (Doncic, Porter, Bagley, Ayton, Bamba) on this team with John Collins and Taurean Prince and all of a sudden that’s a really nice young frontline to build around with a good coach in Bud and a ton of cap space in the summer of 2019. Outside of John Collins dunks I feel pretty confident saying I won’t write about Atlanta a ton this year, so I figured I’d sneak this in while it was on my mind.

Speaking of John Collins dunks…

New Orleans squeaked this one out behind a career night from Darius Miller, who went for 21 off the bench and hit two of his five threes in the final two minutes to save the Pels on low-scoring nights from Davis (13/10/7) and Boogie (22/16/7).

LA Lakers 100  –  Phoenix 93

LA Lakers  (6-8)
Phoenix  (5-10)

Some guys play for the fame… some play for the glory. Some play for their teammates. Absolutely nobody plays for the fans. And some play simply for the love of the game. Jordan Clarkson? Jordan Clarkson plays for something greater…

Hey man… whatever works…

Devin Booker went for 36 on 14-27 shooting in the loss. I don’t exactly think it’s the best thing for his development to just chuck up thirty shots a night for a bad team. But there’s no denying the kid can rack up with the best of em.

And even in the loss, Phoenix did get a chance to bully Lonzo a little bit, both on the court and off it…

Minnesota 109  –  Utah 98

Minnesota  (8-5)
Utah  (6-8)

Minnesota got themselves back on track after back-to-back L’s behind Towns (24/13 with 4 threes on 10-15 shooting), Butler (21/4/10), and Taj Gibson (15/10).

Utah got 24/4/4 with 4 steals from Donovan Mitchell, but continued their downward spiral a day after learning they’ll be without Rudy Gobert for 4-6 weeks with a bone bruise on his right knee

That’s six losses in their last seven, lowlighted by Ricky Rubio coming cratering back down to earth after his scorching hot scoring start to the season. Maybe hold off on the threes for a little while Rick.

Denver 82  –  Portland 99

Portland  (7-6)
Denver  (8-6)

Remember when Jusuf Nurkic took his trade out of Denver very personally and lit them up for 33 and 15 in his first revenge game last season? Well he followed that up with 17-5 while putting the *clamps* on Nikola Jokic (6 points on 2-9 shooting) tonight and leading an uncharacteristically defensive-oriented win for Portland – holding Denver to 35% to snap their three game win streak.

Caleb Swanigan had a nice night in his first career start, going for 6/5 with 2 blocks including this YEETER into the Paul Allen seats. Still very much riding on the Caleb Swanigan bandwagon. #BigBoyGang for life.

Orlando 100  –  Golden State 110

Golden State  (11-3)
Orlando  (8-6)

The Warriors continue to play good basketball even without a red-hot Steph Curry tonight, cruising to their seventh straight win behind 21/7/8 from Durant and 20/4/5 from Draymond.

Also big shoutout to known Warriors killer Mo Buckets with the SAUCE here. Turn em like a top big fella.

Philadelphia 109  –  LA Clippers 105

Philadelphia  (6-6)
LA Clippers  (5-7)

One of my favorite things about the NBA are the “he’s got next” games from young stars. Giannis goes for 36-9-8 with five “how did a human being just do that” plays. Porzingis goes for 40 with 6 blocks and takes over in the fourth. Towns dominates a quality big man for 35-15. Lonzo goes 3 for 12 but has a bunch of rebounds or something.

You see these guys… these singular talents… show flashes of what they’ll eventually fully blossom into by carrying their team on a given night. As an NBA fan those are some of the coolest games to watch. The games where you say, “that one guy could dominate the league some day.” 

The fucking Sixers are now the team version of that… and that’s absolutely terrifying.

32/16 and utter domination from 23-year-old Embiid.
22/12/4 with great defense and uncanny command from 21-year-old Simmons.
31/6/4/4 as the perfect third banana from 26-year-old Covington.

All while the consensus number one pick of this draft sits in street clothes (with a broken shot, or confidence issues, or both… and with each passing day it gets more suspicious… but for now we’ll assume he’ll be fine).

Three (really four) core guys, all locked up (Covington is set to sign an extension Wednesday) for the foreseeable future, not even in their primes yet. Putting on performances like this in the same night…

Wolves fans have had a taste of two young stars with Towns and Wiggins, but we all know Wiggins’ ceiling at this point. Bucks fans have seen bit and pieces from Giannis and Jabari, but Jabari’s durability is too concerning at this point. Knicks fans have started to get a small, small taste with Porzingis and Frankie Smokes, but Frank is still an 19-year-old rookie.

The Sixers might have a Giannis and a Porzingis on the same goddamn team with these two… Plus the perfect third banana in Covington. And good fucking lord if Fultz becomes even 80% of what he was projected.

We’re gonna have to come up with some kind of name for these types of Sixers games. The games where the league poops it’s collective pants at how astronomically high their ceiling is. I’m not saying it’s guaranteed to work (see: Thunder). But the thought of what could be after games like this is simply astounding. Yes, The Process has had it’s flaws (there is zero reason to trust Philly’s medical staff) and mistakes (they actually could have had Giannis and Porzingis, which is still insane). But those flaws and mistakes are why you do what Hinkie did in the first place. You can’t avoid those. But what you can do is give yourself the most chances so that the mistakes didn’t bury you. They went 2 for 4 with two strikeouts (MCW, Okafor), 2 home runs, and a potential third home run along the way. And even if Fultz never pans out they still have two of the five best under-23 building blocks in the NBA.

Ben Simmons made nine shots tonight and I’m almost positive that eight came on dunks.

And Embiid is already approaching Hall Of Fame troll levels at this point. It’s immaculate.

Also, again, he’s very good.

Blake posted 29/5/6. And Lou Will had himself a night with 31/7/6/5. But the Clips dropped their sixth straight and continue to slide their way down the Western Conference standings. They’ve got a three day break here before heading to Cleveland on Friday. But things are not looking great in LA.

Other Than That It Was Perfect: The Story Of Ham.

Around The Association

The NBA is the best

Even when it’s the worst…

Schedule for Tuesday, Nov 14th

7:00   Boston  @  Brooklyn
8:00   Toronto  @  Houston     NBATV
8:30   San Antonio  @  Dallas

More important though… the slow Tuesday night NBA slate makes way for two awesome Top Five matchups on the College side – kicking off with a Duke-Michigan State game that features five of the top eleven 2018 NBA Draft prospects.

7:00   #1 Duke  vs.  #2 Michigan State     ESPN
9:30   #5 Kentucky  vs.  #4 Kansas     ESPN

Big night if your team is headed towards the lottery. Here are the players to watch (and their ESPN 100 Draft Ranking)

Marvin Bagley III  #35  6’11”  PF/C   (3)
Wendell Carter Jr.  #34  6’10”  C   (10)
Trevon Duval  #1  6’3″  PG   (11)
Grayson Allen  #3  6’5″  SG   (28)

Michigan State:
Miles Bridges  #22  6’7″  SF   (6)
Jaren Jackson Jr.  #2  6’11”  PF   (9)

Kevin Knox  #5  6’9″  SF   (14)
Hamidou Diallo  #3  6’5″  SG   (18)
Richards  #4  6’11”  PF   (22)
PJ Washington  #25  6’7″  SF   (32)

Devonte’ Graham  #4  6’2″  PG   (42)
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk #10  6’8″  SF   (53)

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