Ham’s Hoops Roundup Friday 2/2: GARY. HARRIS. BALLGAME.

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Gary Harris calls game right is Russy’s grill. Blake makes his Detroit debut. Houston makes a statement in San Antonio. And are the Wizards better without John Wall? MY COLUMN: It’s the Hoops Roundup for Friday, February 2nd. Let’s get it…

Scores from Thursday, February 1st

Memphis 102  –  Detroit 104
Toronto 119  –  Washington 122
Milwaukee 89  –  Minnesota 108
Houston 102  –  San Antonio 91
Oklahoma City 124  –  Denver 127

Schedule for Friday, February 2nd

7:00  Indiana  @  Charlotte
7:30  Atlanta  @  Boston
7:30  LA Lakers  @  Brooklyn
7:30  Portland  @  Toronto
8:00  Miami  @  Philadelphia    ESPN
8:00  New York  @  Milwaukee
9:00  New Orleans  @  Oklahoma City
9:00  Utah  @  Phoenix
10:30  Golden State  @  Sacramento    ESPN

Around The Association

The fields for All Star Saturday Night were announced, highlighted by Oladipo, Gordon, Nance, and Smith in the Dunk Contest. Awesome, awesome field. I’m a little worried that Nance is gonna be that token big guy who’s more of an in-game dunker and doesn’t bring a ton to the table, but hopefully I’ll eat my words on that. Otherwise, Oladipo and Gordon are proven greats here and I think they’ll take it up even more this year. And we’ve all seen what Dennis Smith can do.

The Three Point Contest is great no matter the field. And the Skills challenge has become a lot more fun these last few years with the bigs involved. I’ll have a big preview going into All Star, so we’ll save any predictions now.

Otherwise there wasn’t much in the news. After the insanity of the last few days, things calmed down and the games took over last night. Blake made his debut. Houston made a statement. And Gary Harris made a BIG TIME shot. I covered the Nikola Mirotic trade in yesterday’s Roundup if you want to go back and read that. The only two other things that stood out were about the Cavs… because of course they were.

First, Derrick Rose apparently got married during his “leave of absence”. You know, his now annual move of running away from the team and from his problems like a twelve year old.

I want to hate Derrick Rose with all my heart. I really do. But he’s so helplessly stupid that I just feel bad. I genuinely think he just does not understand anything he does and how it affects anyone around him. Some people are assholes. Some are ignorant. He simply can not process what anything he does actually means. He has no idea why he shouldn’t be able to just runaway from his team. He has no idea why he can’t have someone else do his SATs. He has no idea what consent is. He’s just a completely helpless, clueless human being who is wandering through life completely oblivious to everything around him. If anything I’m almost jealous.

It’s actually funny to think of what Derrick was doing during that Cavs team meeting. Some players are getting on Kevin Love for getting sick. Others were responding with why are we getting mad about one game when some players get special privileges like getting to disappear for a month. And all I can think of is Derrick Rose sitting there with everything going over his head. Like in Arrested Development when they’re talking about Buster and the camera pans back and he’s right there in the room.

The other Cavs story wasn’t even a story. It was just this post from NBA Reddit about LeBron.

I’ve never been more jealous of a take in my life.

Otherwise, today is about the games. Let’s get after it…

Memphis 102  –  Detroit 104

Memphis  (18-33)  13th in West
Detroit  (24-26)  9th in East

This is weird.

You know what’s crazy… this is actually the most rattled I think I’ve ever been to see someone in a different uniform. And it’s not that I couldn’t picture Blake as not a Clipper… it’s the uniform itself. Same color scheme, very similar style, and Blake flipped his number from 32 to 23. In a weird way having such a similar but slightly altered look made it feel that much crazier. Like it was an alternate reality or something. I don’t know, I’ve been wired this whole morning so maybe none of this makes sense. But seeing Blake in that uniform got me more than Melo in OKC or Pierce in Brooklyn or Wade in Chicago or anything. Wild.

Anyway… he had a great debut. 24p/10r/5a/2b on 6-12 shooting. Got to the line 13 times and hit 11. No turnovers. And flashed a little big-to-big chemistry with Drummond (14p/15r/3a/3s) – who still got the most shots for Detroit (15 for AD, 12 for BG).

Maybe these guys will be good after all.

And yes, that uniform is still bugging me out.

Toronto 119  –  Washington 122

Toronto  (34-16)  2nd in East
Washington  (29-22)  5th in East


Brad Beal (27p/6r/6a/3s on 9-20 shooting) was on one in the third, going for 17 of his 27 in the quarter. And Otto Porter stepped up again with 16p/11r/6a on 6-11 shooting.

And no, the Wizards are not better without John Wall. But what’s already pretty clear and what I think these next six weeks will show is that Brad Beal is very much ready to be The Guy. I can say without one shadow of a doubt that four weeks from now we’re gonna be talking about Beal as a top 15 player and every show will go through their “Are the Wizards better without John Wall?” routine.

Which of course will follow with “should they trade John Wall?” Which will lead back to LeBron because it always does. And all of a sudden we’re talking about trading Wall to LA for LA’s young guys so that Washington can rebuild around Beal and LeBron has another star locked up with him in LA.

Give me chaos. Give me all the Chaos.

Milwaukee 89  –  Minnesota 108

Milwaukee  (27-23)  7th in East
Minnesota  (33-22)  4th in West

I was more excited about this game than any of them last night aaaaaaaand Milwaukee decided not to show up.

Absolutely putrid effort. 37.6% from the field. 20.7% from three. 39 first half points. Just awful.

Jimmy (28p/4r/6a) and Karl (24p/11r/3a) did whatever they wanted and cruised to an easy win.

Houston 102  –  San Antonio 91

Houston  (37-13)  2nd in West
San Antonio  (34-20)  3rd in West

No Eric Gordon or Trevor Ariza, but it didn’t matter for Houston. Harden followed up his 60/10/11 with a measly 28p/11a night, but took over down the stretch with some surprisingly good defense, outrageous passing, and two big time threes – one of which was proooobably a travel. But hey, who cares.

Well actually Steve Kerr. Steve Kerr cared a lot.

I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was caught up in the moment, wanted to say something, and then deleted it because he regretted it. I’d like to think 52-year-old Steve Kerr was not doing the same burner account move that his star player JUST got caught doing this summer.

But either way, I do think the Warriors are a little more worried about Houston than any opponent in the last two seasons. And for good reason.

Oklahoma City 124  –  Denver 127

Oklahoma City  (30-22)  5th in West
Denver  (27-25)  8th in West

I said yesterday that in a night of awesome matchups, this could be the most fun.

And god DAMN did it deliver.

One of the games of the year out in Denver. Big shot after big shot down the stretch. Four guys having themselves preposterous statistical nights to make for a delicious box score. One dude having his signature game in a new uniform, with a signature moment to top it off. And Gary motherfucking Harris, catching Westbrook ball watching, grabbing a LAZER from Jokic and hoisting it up to send everyone home. What a moment.

Jokic (29p/13r/14a) and Murray (33p/3r/5a) went bonkers for Denver.

And despite having his signature night spoiled, Paul George was a beast. 43p/5r/5a/2s on 19-26 shooting, 5-8 from three, and weirdly enough 0 trips to the line.

Dude carried OKC back in the fourth and made play after play after play to keep them in it, all right up to the game-tying three

But then Russ fell asleep on defense and gave the game away. Sad. Would hate to hear about a locker room fight and tons of drama. That would be a real shame.

But actually though Russ was great (20p/9r/21a/2s) despite a poor shooting night. And even though that shot was his fault I would very much like the Thunder to not have beef and to keep playing well. A fun and competitive Thunder team is very good for the league. And Cleveland has enough drama for everyone.

Kudos for Russ not taking this dudes head off. If I just fucked up like that and lost on a game winner I would, at the very least, toss that dude across the court like Bobby Knight’s chair.

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