LAST NIGHT IN THE ASSOCIATION: A commanding run at home was ended while another team made a fun bit of NBA history.
🔥 The Heat went into Philadelphia and became the first team to beat the 76ers at home, snapping a perfect 14-0 run of dominance for Joel Embiid and Co. Bam Adebayo (23 points, nine boards and five assists) and Kendrick Nunn (26 points and five assists) led the way for Miami, which was needed considering Jimmy Butler (14 points on 5-of-11 shooting) was quiet in his second return game to Philadelphia. By winning last night’s game, the Heat became the first team in league history to snap multiple nine-game home win streaks to open seasons (they also ended Toronto’s perfect home record a few weeks ago). Random stat but impressive nonetheless.
⚡ For the second time in two games, the Thunder fell behind by 24 points, and for the second time in two games, they won. They’re the first team to do that in the last 20 seasons. Oklahoma City wound up beating the Grizzlies 126-122 behind 31 points from Dennis Schroeder and 20 points apiece from Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
DSJ ON THE MOVE? The Knicks reportedly might trade Dennis Smith Jr., who was a healthy scratch for three straight games recently. The point-guard needy Minnesota Timberwolves are one team that has already inquired about him.
💰 Smith could be an intriguing gamble for teams, as his potential coupled with his team-friendly salary (he’s the 221st highest-paid player this season) make him a solid value target.
MORE POTENTIAL TRADE TARGETS: We broke down the five players who have been mentioned the most in trade rumors over the past week. In what should come as no surprise, Kevin Love tops the list
ANOTHER COACH ON THE HOT SEAT? The Hawks have been a pretty huge disappointment this season, even when factoring in John Collins’ suspension-related absence most of the year. And when a team disappoints like that, the blame usually falls at the feet of the coach. This instance is no different.
😬 Lloyd Pierce is in Year-2 of leading Atlanta, and boasts a 35-75 record in that stretch. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes is reporting that Pierce isn’t fully on the hot seat yet, but things aren’t great in Atlanta, and if they don’t turn it around when Collins returns, then Pierce’s job security could be in serious jeopardy.
HAPPY IN DC: Davis Bertans has become one of the best shooters in the league in 2019-20, which is good timing since he’ll be a free agent this summer. According to his agent, though, the sharpshooter wants to stay with the Wizards, so it’ll take a pretty penny to pry him out of the nation’s capital.
DISAPPOINTMENT CONTINUES: Mike Conley has had a brutal first year in Utah, and things aren’t getting better. The veteran floor general is set to potentially miss another few weeks of action after re-aggravating a hamstring injury.
ALIEN GOAT: Ahead of the much-anticipated Lakers/Bucks game tonight, Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked about the level LeBron James is at despite being 34. Giannis’ response? He expects LeBron to be at that level, since, well, you know, he’s an alien. He might not be wrong, to be honest.
KG WILDIN’: Kevin Garnett (and Adam Sandler) joined the Bill Simmons podcast, and KG absolutely went off, saying that he and his Celtics broke LeBron James in 2010, and that the league had an agenda, which helped LeBron and the Heat beat Boston in seven games when the two teams met in the playoffs in 2012.
👂 Tell us how you really feel, KG.
SUSPENSION APPEALED: The NBPA is appealing Dion Waiters’ third suspension of the season, just as they appealed his first two suspensions. Their goal isn’t to get him back on the court, however, but to help him recoup the money he’s lost (which is a lot).
BLATT BACK: The Knicks announced they are hiring former Cavs head coach David Blatt to join their front office in a role where he’ll be scouting and evaluating talent for New York and their G League team. Blatt had to retire earlier this year from coaching due to an MS diagnosis.
REVISITING FREE AGENCY: Jabari Parker says he had a decent amount of suitors as a free agent this summer prior to signing with Atlanta for two years and $13 million, but that he chose the Hawks because they were the main team prioritizing playing time to him.
INSIDE THE LIFE OF A UNICORN: Bleacher Report spent some time with Karl-Anthony Towns recently, and went in-depth on his upbringing, his routine these days and how Minnesota is getting the most out of him.
RJ ACCLIMATING: Knicks rookie RJ Barrett says it was tough to see David Fizdale and Keith Smart go, but thanks to the guidance of veteran Taj Gibson, he’s focusing on moving on and continuing to ball.
IG KING: LeBron James used to not like how invasive Instagram felt, but now he embraces it. James joined the New York Times to talk about what he likes about the app and how he uses it. (He doesn’t have a social media person running his Instagram.)
SNEAKER PASSION: Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell claims he owns around 3,000 sneakers, and considers buying new shoes a “thrill”. What’s more, he changes sneakers at halftime of every game, even if he played well in the first half.