Ham’s Hoops Roundup Tuesday 2/27: Anthony Davis Is In Fact Valuable. Is He… The Most?

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Anthony Davis is the one who will get the old Best vs. Valuable MVP Debate going this year. That, plus Lonzo picking up where he left off, the Knicks losing to perfection, and one of Houston’s best wins yet. It’s the Hoops Roundup for Tuesday, February 27th. Let’s get it…


Scores from Monday, February 26th

LA Lakers 123  –  Atlanta 104
Memphis 98  –  Boston 109
Chicago 87  –  Brooklyn 104
Golden State 125  –  New York 111
Detroit 94  –  Toronto 123
Phoenix 116  –  New Orleans 124
Orlando 105  –  Oklahoma City 112
Indiana 103  –  Dallas 109
Houston 96  –  Utah 85
Minnesota 118  –  Sacramento 110


Schedule for Tuesday, February 27th

7:00  Chicago  @  Charlotte
7:00  Brooklyn  @  Cleveland
7:30  Philadelphia  @  Miami
8:00  Washington  @  Milwaukee  -TNT-
10:00  Sacramento  @  Portland
10:30  LA Clippers  @  Denver  -TNT-


Around The Association

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LA Lakers 123  –  Atlanta 104

LA Lakers  (26-34)  11th in West
Atlanta  (18-43)  15th in East

Lonzo Ball is really fucking good at basketball. I don’t know if everyone totally knows that yet – which is a completely insane thought given his situation. And yes, I get that he’s been out the last seven weeks. But even before then I didn’t see the type of over-the-top praise that you’d expect given the way sports media treats normal star rookies – let alone the son of LaVar Ball.

Because before the knee injury that caused him to miss the last 15 games before the All Star Break, Lonzo had turned a corner.  He was averaging 12.8p/7.8r/7.3a in his last 13 games before the injury. Not only that, but he was shooting 42% from the field and 37% from three. He was playing really, really well. And the only explanation I can think of for him not being the center of attention was the Cleveland drama going on at that time.

He’s only played in two of the three games since the break. 17 minutes on Friday and 24 last night off the bench. But he’s picked up right where he left off.

Last night he went for 13p/7r/5a/3s in those 24 minutes. He hit all four shots he took – three of those from distance. And he’s turned it over just 4 times in these two games.

The Lakers are in this weird no man’s land right now. They’re entirely too far away from getting in the mix for tanking, and they’re too good a team to tank anyway. But they’re also 4.5 games behind 10th seed Utah and 7 games out of a playoff spot with just 22 games to play.

The Lakers might be the only team in the entire NBA not involved in either race (playoffs or tanking) right now. They’re basically this young, fun, exciting team that, short of an outrageous run, will just play out it’s games as a competitive non playoff team. This offseason they’ll be the biggest story – but for now they’re the only team not involved in any sort of narrative.

Which means that there’s a real chance that Lonzo plays very well these last two months and finishes 3rd in ROY and does it all relatively quietly. Think about how crazy that is.

Oh and shoutout to Brandon Ingram who was also great last night. I’m gonna continue to stan for him until he gets the props he deserves.


Memphis 98  –  Boston 109

Memphis  (18-41)  13th in East
Boston  (43-19)  2nd in East

Tank your little fucking hearts out Memphis.


Chicago 87  –  Brooklyn 104

Chicago  (20-40)  12th in East
Brooklyn  (20-41)  13th in East

I’ve watched this 95 times and am still amazed.

Lepää Rauhassa Lauri. Lepää Rauhassa.


Golden State 125  –  New York 111

Golden State  (47-14)  2nd in West
New York  (24-38)  11th in East

*kisses fingers like an Italian chef*

BELLISSIMO! Perfezionare! Questo è il modo in cui lo fai! CARRO ARMATO DEI KNICKS!

Just as good a game as you can ask for as a Knicks fan at this point.

Frank played on of his most aggressive games of the season, actively looking to create for himself and putting up a season-high 12 shots (he hit 6-12 for 13p/5r). Mudiay played with a ton of confidence early, scoring 14 in the first on his way to a 20p/7a night on 8-15 shooting with his first 3 threes as a Knick. And Trey Burke continued this ridiculous run he’s on with 18p/5a on 8-15 shooting.

Yes, the team defense was mostly atrocious as usual. But the effort was at least encouraging up until that 39-18 third quarter. Schematics and technique can be adjusted down the line for guys like Burke and Mudiay – especially if this staff isn’t back. The fact that they were out there fighting through screens and hustling was at least a sign that they give a shit.

And hey – they lost. I’d say it’s VERY unlikely they crack the top 6 at this point. But Brooklyn has no incentive to lose and Chicago is too good to completely fall off. And maybe… just maybe… the Knicks will finally get a little karmic reward for not going completely in the tank here. Since the break they’ve beaten another lottery team and given each conference’s #2 seed as good an effort as they possibly could. And lord knows nobody deserves more of a break than Knicks fans.

Get that envelope in the freezer Adam!


Detroit 94  –  Toronto 123

Detroit  (28-32)  9th in East
Toronto  (42-17)  1st in East

On February 7th the Pistons had won their fifth straight–fourth with Blake in the lineup–and were a game over .500. They looked like one of the five best teams in the East at the moment, and were closing in on Philly for the last playoff spot.

Since then they’re 1-6, the one win coming over last place Atlanta who was on the second night of a back-to-back. They’ve lost all three since the break by a total of 57 points. They’re three games back of Miami–a team that has lost 8 of it’s last 10–for the last playoff spot, and are just a game ahead of 10th place Charlotte.

Last night Blake shot 4-12 for 12 points and took a frustration tech down 19 in the fourth. They ended up losing by 29 points. That Honeymoon stage is O-V-E-R over.


Phoenix 116  –  New Orleans 124

Phoenix  (18-44)  15th in West
New Orleans  (34-26)  5th in West

Coming up on every blog and show and podcast about basketball: Is Anthony Davis the MVP favorite?

Well,, it hard to say,

I don’t want to just gloss over Anthony Davis and the absurdity of this run he’s on. But like… I don’t really know what’s left to add. Is he the MVP? I don’t know. There’s still a quarter of the season left. He’s right there with Harden and this run is awesome and yes if he keeps posting 40+ and 15+ every night he’s going to win the MVP. And I hope he keeps it up because I really like this New Orleans team.

But we’re entirely too far out for me to start diving into the “best player on the best team” or “player who’s most valuable to his team” fight that we have year after year after year.


Related to Davis though… it really sucks that Phoenix is this bad because I want to see Devin Booker in the playoffs in the worst way. Maybe next year is the year he carries them in like Davis did with New Orleans three years ago. Dude is a goddamn assassin


Orlando 105  –  Oklahoma City 112

Orlando  (18-42)  14th in East
Oklahoma City  (35-27)  7th in West

I don’t necessarily think it’s that big a deal… but I’d at least be somewhat concerned that Russ has all of a sudden just stopped hitting shots. Since returning from a two game ankle injury before the break Russ has shot 7-19 (37%),  6-14 (43%),  4-14 (29%),  4-15 (27%),  and now 3-12 (25%) last night. In that span he’s hit 2 of 19 three point attempts.

They still won. He’s still averaging 11.8 boards and 11.2 assists in that span. And maybe it’s not the worst thing for OKC to force the other guys to pick up the scoring slack for a little bit here. But they’re also just 2 games ahead of the 9th place Clippers right now. I don’t know if you can afford an extended swoon from Russ, especially against teams like Orlando that should have no business being within 4 with 1:11 left.

Thank god for Paul George I guess.


Indiana 103  –  Dallas 109

Indiana  (34-26)  5th in East
Dallas  (19-42)  12th in West

Pitiful, Indiana. Just pitiful.


Houston 96  –  Utah 85

Houston  (47-13)  1st in West
Utah  (31-30)  10th in West

I’m gonna save some Rockets stuff for now because I’m gonna have to write about three monster Rockets games in a row (at the Clippers tomorrow, hosting Boston Saturday night, and at OKC next Tuesday) over the next week.

But god damn was that an impressive win. 39 first half points. Can’t get a three to fall. And they come out in the 3rd and scratch out 31 points to flip it from a four point deficit to a seven point lead.

Again, I want to save some stuff… but I’d be lying if I said I was shocked at how much these guys seem to actually like each other. Not just Chris and James but everyone on the roster. Mbah a Moute has some monster fourth quarter buckets and the entire team was fucking juiced for him.

I know it’s easy to be chummy when you’re beating everyone. I know things could change come pressure cooker time in May. But just the fact that these guys all don’t hate each other is impressive as hell.


Minnesota 118  –  Sacramento 110

Minnesota  (38-26)  3rd in West
Sacramento  (18-42)  14th in West

I talked yesterday about the stretch Minnesota is heading into right now.

Eight games. Seven on National TV. Six against playoff teams and the other two against the two trying to steal their spot in the West. Two back-to-backs, one a brutal road trip and the other against the Spurs and Rockets. Absolutely brutal. A stretch that really could decide if there’s even a playoffs for Jimmy Butler to come back for.

I said they needed to come out of there with at least 42 wins to feel safe. I said that assuming they’d take care of business last night in Sacramento.

Thankfully, Towns (26p/17r/4a/2b/2s on 9-10 shooting) and Wiggins (22p on 8-15 shooting) stepped up and made easy and necessary work of the Kings.

Thibs managed to still play Towns 39 minutes and keep him in until there were 2 minutes left despite carrying a 20 point lead into the 4th and never leading by less than 17.

But hey, it’s not like overworking his best player has ever backfired in the last five days, right?

Yes I 1000% blame him for Jimmy’s injury if that’s not clear.

And now my day is ruined.

See y’all tomorrow!



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