Ham’s Hoops Roundup Friday 12/22: M-V-BEAS. M-V-BEAS. M-V-BEAS

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Michael Beasley aka Super Cool Beas aka The Walking Bucket aka 11% of the brain aka Your favorite player’s favorite player got MVP chants at the Garden last night. And they were oh so deserved. It’s the Hoops Roundup for Friday, Dec. 22nd. Let’s get it…


Scores from Thursday, Dec. 21st

Chicago 112  –  Cleveland 115
Toronto 114  –  Philadelphia 109
Boston 93  –  New York 102
Memphis 95  –  Phoenix 97
San Antonio 89  –  Utah 100


I usually go in order here from the early games to the late ones but I think we all know what has to start the Roundup today…


Boston 93  –  New York 102

Boston  (26-9)
New York  (17-14)

Mike Beasley. Super Cool Beas. The Walking Bucket. 11% of the brain. Your favorite player’s favorite player. MVP.

TATTOO THIS ON MY FACEEEEEEE

32 points. 12 rebounds. 3 MVP chants. 1 of the most memorable nights in Madison Square Garden history.

 

 


Mike Beasley was obviously the story last night. But just as important was the defense. Yes… the 17-14 ninth best record in basketball New York Knicks are playing actual, good, league average defense (15th in the league with a 105.0 Def Rtg) for the first time since… I shit you not… since ’03-’04. Fourteen years.

Hornacek and the staff deserve credit for making it a priority. Team leaders like KP and Courtney Lee deserve credit for setting the culture. Offensively-oriented guys role players like Healthy THJ and Doug McDermott deserve credit for buying in.

But the biggest difference from years past to now is right at the top…

(shoutout to The Knicks Wall for this video)

Writing the Hoops Roundup is a long, busy ass process. Two games on TV, one eye on the scoreboard to check the other games, Tweetdeck rolling like a slot machine. While everything is happening I try to jot down tiny notes here and there to remember stuff I might go back to.

Knowing I was going to write about Frank Ntilikina guarding Kyrie like a military convoy, I jotted down “Frankie Smokes monster on d”

And holy shit… Frank is the Smoke Monster. He is literally the smoke monster defensively. He is EVERYWHERE. He’s up in Kyrie’s grill. His hands are on the ball. His arms are in every passing lane. His feet are shifting right there with every move Kyrie made. He’s busting his ass to get over and around screens. He’s recovering. He’s got a great feel for the game already.

Frank is going to be… shit, he already is… an absolute monster defensively. He’s the Smoke(s) Monster.

Oh and he’s already starting to blossom offensively. He’s getting better in the PNR. He’s more confident in his shot behind the arc. He’s getting more aggressive every night. And he’s got this sneaky little midrange pull up game where he’ll get to the lane, stop on a dime, let his defender fly past him, and knock down a little 12-15 footer.

And last point before we get to the rest of the games…

This team genuinely loves each other and that’s so fucking awesome to finally see. LOOK AT THIS:

These guys are genuinely thrilled for Beasley, especially KP on a night where he went 0-11 and played his worst game ever.

Ian Begley wrote a big piece yesterday about how “everyone just seems a little lighter” now with the Knicks. The crux of the whole thing is that the Phil-Melo drama is gone. And obviously that’s true.

But just getting rid of those guys doesn’t automatically infuse chemistry into the team. It takes stuff like Kanter standing up to LeBron for Frank, like O’Quinn playing with childish joy, like Beas not causing a stir when he was getting DNP’s and earning his minutes, and like the face of the franchise on the bench during his worst game ever being visibly thrilled for his teammate. They’re a fun, young team and I can’t remember ever saying that about the Knicks before.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”

-Wayne Gretzky

-Michael Scott

-Kobe Bryant

-Kristaps Porzingis


Chicago 112  –  Cleveland 115

Chicago  (10-21)
Cleveland  (24-9)

The scorching hot, undefeated with Nikola Mirotic Chicago Bulls finally took an L last night – just barely losing… on the road half of a back-to-back… which was their third game in four nights… to the best player in the world…

Hottest team in the world had to lose at some point. All it took was a “yo we are not losing this fucking game” performance from LeBron (34p/6r/9a/3s on 12-23 shooting) to finally do it.

LeBron was Mic’d Up for the game, and even when there’s nothing interesting I’m enthralled by it. I’ll listen to ten minutes of a mic’d up Kawhi saying less than five words. I don’t care. I’m interested. And even though the first 2:59 of this video gave us nothing, it was all worth it just for the last clip.

IT DON’T MATTER.

This is me I just happen to yell it when I’m ruining my own life.

By the way… IT back.


Toronto 114  –  Philadelphia 109

Toronto  (22-8)
Philadelphia  (14-17)

I understand that we’ve beaten the “NBA talent boom” narrative into the ground, but let me toss a few more punches here…

There are a lot of great players who are all currently great. Player’s “primes” have been extended, both at the end and at the beginning. 32-year-old LeBron is playing at an unheard of level for a 23-year-old. And 23-year-old Giannis is playing at an unheard of level for a 23-year-old. With so many established stars reaching new heights and so many new stars already establishing their place, you can lose a few guys in the shuffle.

DeMar DeRozan has kind of gotten lost in the shuffle. We all had kind of made up our minds on him and on the Raptors. Even last year when he was going bonkers to start the year it was like “yeah this is dope but he plays a certain way so it’s unsustainable”. It was this guy is who he is… I’m as guilty of that as anyone.

But DeMar has been fucking awesome this season. He’s shooting less (three-year low of 17.5 attempts per game) but taking more threes (career-high 2.7 attempts), leading to a career high 58.4% True Shooting Percentage. He’s moving the ball more, with career highs of 5.0 assists per game and a drastically improved 17.8 Assist Ratio (% of player’s possessions that end in an assists). 

And through ten games in December, he’s averaging 27.4p/4.5r/5.7a, slashing 51/40/81 for the now 22-8 and second place Raps.


Memphis 95  –  Phoenix 97

Memphis  (9-23)
Phoenix  (12-22)

*begins lining up trade partners for Conley and Gasol*

TJ Warren led the Suns with 27p/5r on 9-15 shooting and Greg Monroe added a sneaky little Draymond-esque 8p/12r/7a perfromance.

But yeah all in all until the Grizz start exploring trades and until Booker is back for Phoenix these are two of the least interesting teams outside of Atlanta.


San Antonio 89  –  Utah 100

San Antonio  (22-11)
Utah  (15-18)

Rodney Hood really enjoyed the shine without Donovan Mitchell (toe sprain) last night, launching a career high 24 shots and hitting 12 of them for 29 points on the night.

11 of those came in the fourth, as Hood and the Jazz took down a Danny Green and Manu Ginobli-less Spurs team.

Kawhi (10p/5r/2a/2s) played a season-high 20 minutes after resting the front end of the back-to-back in Portland last night. Pop pretty clearly has no intention of rushing Kawhi back, not even playing him down the stretch.

The trend of noticing synchronized NBA players is one of the dumbest and funniest movements in this weird world of NBA Twitter. Tony and Manu clapping and looking directly at one another here is easily my favorite one yet.


Around The Association

And that’s it. No Roundup tomorrow. Loaded Friday and Saturday before a day off for Christmas Eve. We’ll be back Tuesday morning to recap all the Christmas Day action. Five games on Christmas, kicking off with the Christmas day Knicks-Sixers, Porzingis-Embiid, Mike Beasley-Ben Simmons matchup that will melt NBA Twitter to the ground… and ending with a completely random Wolves-Lakers matchup which as far as I can tell has no discernible storyline or connection or even a marketable positional matchup. It has to be the most random Christmas game I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, sandwiched between those two are the two best rivalries in the league and a potentially great rivalry depending which OKC team shows up. If we get a healthy Embiid and a playing well together Thunder team this will be an AWESOME day.

12:00   (ESPN)   Philadelphia  @  New York
3:00   (ABC)   Cleveland  @  Golden State
5:30   (ABC)   Washington  @  Boston
8:00   (ABC)   Houston  @  Oklahoma City
10:30   (TNT)   Minnesota  @  LA Lakers

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. See you right back here Tuesday morning.


Schedule for Friday, Dec. 22nd and Saturday, Dec. 23rd



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