LAST NIGHT IN THE ASSOCIATION: One major streak ended and two massive leads were blown.
😲 For the first time since Nov. 8, the Bucks have tasted defeat. Milwaukee fell to the Dallas Mavericks 120-116, a particularly surprising result considering Dallas was without their own MVP candidate Luka Doncic and the game took place in Milwaukee. Kristaps Porzingis led the way for the Mavs with 26 points on 9-of-19 shooting to go with 12 rebounds and four assists. Despite the loss, Giannis Antetokounmpo continued to dominate, scoring 48 points and securing 14 rebounds.
🤦 At one point last night, the Spurs (facing Houston) and Chicago (up against Oklahoma City) held 25- and 26-point leads, respectively. And they both wound up losing. Thaddeus Young recently spoke about the Bulls’ lack of comfort with each other, and that manifested itself in last night’s game. For San Antonio, DeMar DeRozan continues to struggle mightily, and he was benched for the last five minutes of the game against the Rockets. Probably not the ideal time for the former All-Star 2-guard to tank his trade value.
MVP RANKINGS: We have ranked the Top 10 players in the 2019-20 MVP race. Giannis Antetokounmpo still has the top spot firmly in his grasp.
HOT COMMODITY: Davis Bertans has become one of the best shooters in the world this year, and it’s come at the perfect time, since he’s set to hit free agency this summer. Regardless, Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard says Washington plans to keep their sharpshooting wing, and that business will take care of itself.
A NEW DAY: Woj says a major rebuild is coming for the Spurs, who sit at 10-16 and 11th in the West so far this year. That’s particularly interesting considering how much trade scuttle is surrounding LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan recently.
HARDEN SPEAKS: James Harden, Mike D’Antonio and Daryl Morey spoke to USA Today about a variety of topics, including what they think of the criticism Harden receives, how hard he works and his crazy basketball intellect.
ANOTHER KAWHI AWARD: The Athletic named Kawhi Leonard the NBA Person of the Year for 2019.
👀 Interesting tidbit from that article: Kawhi was heavily involved with trying to get Jimmy Butler to join him in Los Angeles before Butler chose the Heat. Paul George was a fantastic consolation prize (it’s unfair to even call him that), but landing Butler wouldn’t have cost the Clippers the enormous haul of draft picks that the Thunder got for George.
NO LOAD MANAGEMENT: LeBron James is looking as fresh as ever, and that’s despite the fact he’s closing in on Kobe Bryant’s career minutes total. Crazy longevity.
🙅♂️ LeBron is also firmly against load management, which is refreshing to hear in the current era of basketball.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Speaking of LeBron, the four-time MVP was named Western Conference Player of the Week yesterday. Miami’s Bam Adebayo won the award for the East. After the announcement, James went out of his way to show the young Heat big man some props on Twitter for the impressive accomplishment.
PROUD FRIEND: JJ Redick is extremely happy to see Markelle Fultz find his footing in Orlando, and spoke glowingly of his former teammate as a person.
NO BEEF: Jaylen Brown doesn’t think Kyrie Irving deserves all the blame he got last year for Boston’s failures, and that more of it should have been placed on the organization and coaching staff. He seriously said that.
ROTATION BIG MAN DOWN: Second-year Boston center Robert Williams will miss at least three more weeks with a hip injury. He’s an important piece for the Celtics.
FASHION KEMBA: Celtics point guard Kemba Walker is big on fashion, but he refuses to blow huge amounts of money for his clothes, so he goes the bargain route.
LIVING THE HIGH LIFE: The Warriors have suites, which are mini furnished apartments, to watch their games from that cost $2 million to rent for a season. The Athletic watched a game from there recently, and reported their findings.
SPEAKING OF GOLDEN STATE: Golden State was named the ‘Franchise of the Decade’ across all sports by the Sports Business Journal, thanks to their innovative business ventures, their three championships and the opening of their new state of the art arena, the Chase Center.
RATINGS CRAZE: USA Today’s Mark Medina makes a strong case for why the NBA’s broadcast partners are wise not to worry too much about the league’s low ratings this season. The main problem, at least in Medina’s opinion, has been how many nationally televised games have featured injured star players. Spoiler alert: It’s been a whole lot of them.
ANOTHER (NEAR) FIGHT! James Harden and Dejounte Murray nearly came to blows last night, or at least that’s what they want you to believe, before refs broke them up.
INSANE LAWSUIT: Remember the fan who was banned by the Utah Jazz for taking his heckling towards Russell Westbrook way too far? Well, he’s suing the Jazz and Russell Westbrook for a total of $100 million, claiming defamation of character and infliction of emotional distress. We’re going to go out on a limb and say he won’t be winning anywhere near that much money.
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