LAST NIGHT IN THE ASSOCIATION: Two of the top teams in the league continued to roll.
🔥 After dropping a rough game against Dallas on Sunday, some questioned how the Lakers would fare now that their schedule is about to get tougher. Well, after back-to-back convincing victories against the Nuggets and Jazz, both on the road, it’s safe to say: They’re faring pretty well. LeBron James scored 20 points and dished out 12 assists (while getting away with the most egregious uncalled travel of the season), Anthony Davis had 26 points and Dwight Howard hit the seventh three-pointer of his career.
🦌 Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks won their 13th game in a row, blowing the Pistons out 127-103. Giannis, arguably the MVP frontrunner so far this year, scored 35 points on 21 field-goal attempts while chipping in nine rebounds and two blocks. Looking ahead a bit, how insane would a Finals featuring LeBron, A.D. and Giannis be? Because it looks like that’s where we might be headed.
ROCKETS PROTESTING: In the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s night game against San Antonio, the Rockets’ James Harden threw down a dunk that was pretty inexplicably ruled no-good by the officials. Considering the matchup ended up going to double-overtime and Houston wound up losing, one could make the case that the missed call and the lost two points more or less cost the Rockets the game.
🤦♂️ At least Houston seems to believe so, because according to ESPN, they’re leaning towards exercising their right to file a protest on the missed dunk in hopes that the NBA will either reward them the win, or force the Spurs and Rockets to replay the final 7:50 of the game at a later date.
NO SWEAT OFF HIS BACK: Carmelo Anthony won Player of the Week for the West on Monday, something that many protested considering the numbers dropped by Luka Doncic and James Harden, among others, during that stretch. Melo isn’t sweating it, though.
🤔 For what it’s worth, Chris Haynes spoke to league sources about what went into the decision to name Anthony Player of the Week, and there was pretty solid reasoning behind it.
BAD TEAMS, GOOD PLAYERS: We compiled a list of the players with the most points scored on losing teams throughout league history. We were somewhat surprised to see Pete Maravich rank pretty high on the list.
SHOCKED: Just days before trading him, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told Chris Paul he wasn’t trading him, so, logically, Paul was shocked to find out when he got traded anyway. He’s happy to be in Oklahoma City now, at least.
KUZ STRUGGLING: The Athletic goes in-depth with quotes and video breaking down Kyle Kuzma’s shooting struggles since returning from injury. Kuzma had a semi-bounce back outing last night against Utah, making three of his five three-point attempts, but he missed five out of his seven free-throws, so he’s clearly not all that comfortable yet.
ALL-STAR RETURNS: After missing roughly three weeks of action due to a thumb injury, D’Angelo Russell made his return last night for Golden State. Russell didn’t look bad in his return, scoring 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting, but it wasn’t enough to get the Warriors back in the win column, as the former dynasty dropped their 19th game of the season out of 23 chances.
HIGH PRAISE: Reggie Miller thinks Luka Doncic is the best point guard in basketball at the moment. If we ignore the outdated positional labels, that’s a pretty reasonable statement from the Hall-of-Famer.
ELITE MARKS: He still can’t shoot threes whatsoever, but Markelle Fultz is producing elite numbers out of the short mid-range area, knocking down 55.2 percent of his looks from that spot of the floor. Fultz had another solid outing last night, scoring 13 points on 50 percent shooting against Phoenix.
COACHING CHANGE OFFICIAL: Terry Stotts told reporters Pau Gasol will be joining his coaching staff upon his return from Spain. Gasol has always been heralded as a very cerebral player, so this move seems only natural.
A CALMING LEADER: Really cool piece courtesy of the Athletic, where Scott Agness spent an entire game looking closely at the way Nate McMillan coaches, and asked players about some of the things he noticed after the game. Really unique angle.
JOB ON THE LINE: Marquese Chriss’ contract is non-guaranteed until January, and he could lose his job if the Warriors decide they want to promote Ky Boman or Damion Lee from their 2-way contracts to full-time deals. He explains his mindset with the tricky situation here.
UNWISE SPENDING: Klay Thompson reveals some of the unhealthy spending habits he had early on in his career, including buying too many clothes and playing poker for money on team flights.
No. 1 PICK WATCH: LaMelo Ball, younger brother of Lonzo, believes he deserves to go No. 1 overall in the upcoming 2020 draft. And an executive in the NBL agrees with him.
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