Ham’s Hoops Roundup Friday 2/23: The NBA Is Thankfully, Mercifully Back

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After three long, cold, dark nights, NBA basketball made it’s triumphant return. Steph clowned on Austin Rivers. Russ drained a game winner. The Bulls defeinitely did not intentionally tank. Brad Beal and the Wizards look incredible in Cleveland. And John Wall is absolutely, positively, totally fine with that. It’s the Hoops Roundup for Thursday, February 23rd. Let’s get it…


Scores From Thursday, February 22nd

Orlando 113  –  New York 120
Brooklyn 96  –  Charlotte 111
Washington 110  –  Cleveland 103
Philadelphia 116  –  Chicago 115
Oklahoma City 110  –  Sacramento 107
LA Clippers 127  –  Golden State 134


Schedule for Friday, February 23rd

7:00  Boston  @  Detroit
7:00  Atlanta  @  Indiana
7:00  Charlotte  @  Washington
7:30  Milwaukee  @  Toronto
8:00  Minnesota  @  Houston  -ESPN-
8:00  Cleveland  @  Memphis
8:00  Miami  @  New Orleans
9:00  San Antonio  @  Denver
9:00  Portland  @  Utah

9:00  LA Clippers  @  Phoenix
10:30  Dallas  @  LA Lakers  -ESPN-


Around The Association

Not the first comp I’d think for Trevor Booker, but I for sure see parts of his game there…

 

 

 

TJ McConnell (and Trevor Booker) would disagree but then again they never fought a picture frame so hey do you Marcus.


Orlando 113  –  New York 120

Orlando  (18-40)  14th in East
New York  (24-36)  11th in East

The good news…

The Bad News

Please stop winning guys.

I didn’t picture writing the sentence “we might have to pull an Eric Bledsoe and create some fake injury for Trey Burke” this season. But hey, here we are.

I’ve watched way too many Luka Doncic videos to have Trey Burke turn into Almost Iverson and play us into the 11th pick. Kevin Knox and Robert Williams do not, in fact, get my blood flowing.


Brooklyn 96  –  Charlotte 111

Brooklyn  (19-41)  13th in East
Charlotte  (25-33)  10th in East

The NBA did not actually return until the start of Cavs-Wizards last night but if we are going to acknowledge the earlier games then let me make sure to congratulate the Hornets on continuing on their path towards being in the worst possible position a franchise can. 13th pick, no cap space, some abhorrent contracts, no real stars (sorry Kemba), and Dwight Howard’s presence. Wooooooaaahhhhhh buddy does that Michael Jordan guy know how to build a winner.

Great win guys. Way to go.

I really hope Kemba makes his way to a contender.


Washington 110  –  Cleveland 103

Washington  (34-24)  4th in East
Cleveland  (34-23)  3rd in East

I put it out there when Wall went for surgery a few weeks ago, and I’m gonna reiterate it now:

We are going to view Brad Beal as a top 20/top 15 player by the start of the playoffs.

He didn’t dominate last night (18p/9a on 8-19 shooting). He had help from Porter (15p/8r/2a/2s on 6-11 shooting), Oubre (17p/5r/2a/2s on 6-12 shooting), and Satoransky (17p/4r/8a/2s on 6-7 shooting) – who has been AWESOME since Wall went down.

But god damn does he look comfortable as hell in the drivers seat. He’s moving the ball, letting other guys get their shine, and patient enough to let things develop before he has to take over. There’s no rush in his game as is. But when he’s the guy out there it’s that much more evident.

I’m not gonna be the guy who piles on John Wall and turns that picture of him looking like a drug dealer at his son’s game (not my joke) into a meme about him plotting to sabotage this whole thing before Washington realizes they’re better off trying to trade him and his increasingly frightening contract for pieces to build around Beal. I’m not gonna do that.

I’m just here to let you know there is a heavy amount of John Wall slander going around these internet parts. As a journalist I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you that many people have–justifiably or not–joked about the likelihood of Wall coming back right before the start of the playoffs and killing the chemistry to lead them to a devastating first round loss to Indiana. That’s just the chatter. From sources.


As for Cleveland, they weren’t going 29-0 with a new team. I know this is an important East opponent and they’re coming off their first real string of practices and all that, but this was far from a bad or concerning loss. All this really came down to was Washington hitting their threes (40% on 12-30) and Cleveland’s triples just not falling (23% on 8-35).

 

When Kevin love got hurt I wrote about the Cavs lack of constants. Long story short it’s basically how many guys give you the same thing every night. Last year they had three (LeBron, Kyrie, Love). This year it was down to two and now down to one. It’s a pretty basic concept. Every team obvious needs and has constants. But for a team like Cleveland filled with old, unreliable vets with no interest in defending, those constants become more important. The non-constant players were as inconsistent, in every facet of the game, as any group in the league.

They still only have one constant until Love returns. But what they have now are guys who will at least defend and give a shit and show up–like literally just show up–every night. Their offensive output will vary. But replacing Isaiah with George Hill, and Wade with Jordan Clarkson, and Jae Crowder with Rodney Hood, and Channing Frye with Larry Nance minimizes the inconsistency everywhere else on a nightly basis. These guys are all gonna give a shit and put in effort on defense. Those other four were a complete toss up on a nightly basis.

And not only that… you already see how that has reinvigorated JR and Tristan, two dudes who were very clearly playing themselves into game shape as the season went along.

Last night the longball didn’t fall. It happens. These guys will be fine.


Philadelphia 116  –  Chicago 115

Philadelphia  (31-25)  7th in East
Chicago  (20-38)  12th in East

I had this on on TV2 last night but kept a relatively decent eye on it. The Sixers had absolutely no business winning this game. Embiid (30p/13r/5a/4b/3s) and Simmons (32p/7r/11a) just willed them to a win, shooting a combined 24-35 (69% <nice>) from the field and taking advantage of the Bulls blatantly tanking the game away mistakes late.

Do I think the Bulls players actually tanked the game? Of course not. I mean that inbounds pass was a little fishy. And Bobby Portis reaching 38 points with 4 minutes left, yelling “I’M GETTING FORTY”, and then proceeding to miss a bevy of makable shots down the stretch was… peculiar. But I don’t think they actually tanked.

And the only reason I’m even giving them shit is because I am incredibly jealous. Watching every Chicago fan, in unison, tweet “PERFECT BULLS GAME!!” got me so jealous and depressed. The Knicks beat another lottery team because a dude who was not even signed to a G-League team at Christmas went for 26 and 6 and has turned into Almost Iverson. One hours later I have to watch the Bulls orchestrate a competitive loss to absolute perfection. It makes me sick Max Kellerman and I will not stand for it.


Oklahoma City 110  –  Sacramento 107

Oklahoma City  (34-26)  5th in West
Sacramento  (18-40)  13th in West

The Thunder Big Three Big Four got off to a nice start to the second half. Russ (17p/15r/11a/2s), George (26p/7r/8a), Melo (23p/4r with 7 threes), and Adams (18p/11r/4b on 9-12 shooting) combined to score 84 of OKC’s 110 and basically do all of the work for an otherwise underwhelming Thunder team.

That triple-double from Russ? Fun fact:

If you counted Russ’s 33 through-three-quarters triple doubles as a completely separate human, that player would be one behind James Harden for 9th on the All Time Triple Double list.

We could argue about the value of the triple double figure all day. I don’t think you can argue how preposterous that stat is.

Oh and hey… by the way… Russ went on to come off a really nice double screen with one second left to hit a game-winning three at the buzzer.

I probably should have led with that.

But if we’re being honest it’s not even close to the best moment in the last ten seconds of that game. That belongs to Vince Carter legitimately pulling up from the lion’s heel with a full 7 seconds left. I mean there was literally enough time for two shots to be taken after he shots that, when they only needed 2 points, and he pulled up from half court like Jamal Crawford at the end of a first quarter.

Quite possibly the most absurd shot I’ve ever seen.

Nothing but respect.


LA Clippers 127  –  Golden State 134

LA Clippers  (30-27)  9th in West
Golden State  (45-14)  2nd in West

I tweeted this last night. I know it’s not a revolutionary take. But every once in a while it’s a fun exercise to write things like this down and remember that he’s doing that to 5 of the 100 best players on planet earth.

He scored 44 points on 19 shots last night. Not 19 made baskets… 19 attempts. He hit 14 of 19 shots, 8 of 11 behind the arc, and all 8 free throw attempts for good measure on his way to a 44p/6r/10a/2s night.

I don’t want to say Golden State needed Curry’s performance last night… but the Clippers did play a fantastic overall game last night. Seven guys in double figures, led by Tobias (22p/6r/5a) and Lou Will (21p/12a). And while it’s hard to say Golden State wouldn’t have figured out another way to win, if Austin Rivers gets over a few screens on Curry late instead of ducking under or chasing him then maybe we’re talking about a very impressive Clippers win. They gave the Warriors a fucking FIGHT last night.

It’s worth the full 10 minute highlight package rewatch, or at least the fourth quarter if you jump to 6:35 in the video.

The shot making and back and forth of the last five minutes was the type of shit that you can think back on when College Basketball Guy who doesn’t even watch that much College Basketball because he’s watching political talk shows at night tells you that the college kids try harder and want it more.



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