YESTERDAY IN THE ASSOCIATION: A struggling team pulled a huge upset while a couple of contenders made major statements against conference rivals.
🔥 Despite trailing by as many as 15 points, the Clippers came alive in the fourth quarter, taking down the Lakers 111-106. Kawhi Leonard had 35 points on 19 field-goal attempts while Pat Beverley had the game-sealing block on LeBron James that sealed things. In the East, the Sixers smashed the conference-leading the Bucks 121-109 for their most impressive win of the season. Joel Embiid was huge, scoring 31 points and securing 11 rebounds, all while spending a lot of the game slowing down Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 18 points on 8-for-27 shooting for his worst outing of the year.
😲 The super depleted Warriors took down the Rockets 116-104 for their best win of the season. Draymond Green led the way for the Dubs with 20 points and 11 boards while Damion Lee had 22 points and 15 rebounds of his own. Russell Westbrook was a mess for the Rockets, scoring 32 points on 11-of-32 shooting and 0-for-8 from three.
LEBRON TO MISS TIME? ESPN is reporting that several members of the Lakers’ organization approached LeBron about sitting out to rehab his groin injury, which he re-aggravated during the team’s loss to the Clippers on Christmas. Concerning, considering L.A. is on a four-game losing streak as is, but the Lakers would be smart to look at the big picture here.
IGGY ON THE MOVE? There’s no doubt Andre Iguodala isn’t long for Memphis. The Grizzlies are in the midst of a complete rebuild, and Iguodala, 35, doesn’t come close to fitting that timeline. Iguodala is on the final year of his current contract, one that pays him $17.2 million this season.
That large price tag has contenders hoping that Memphis will come to an agreement on a buyout with the 2015 Finals MVP, but according to the latest reports out of Tennessee, the Grizzlies remain confident they won’t have to do that, and that they’ll be able to find a trade destination for Iguodala.
KAT TO NYK? The New York Knicks are reportedly monitoring Karl-Anthony Towns in case he becomes disgruntled with the Timberwolves, who are – yet again – struggling in the Western Conference Playoff race.
JACKSON MOVING AGAIN? After declining his team option for 2020-21, the Grizzlies reportedly could decide to trade Josh Jackson merely half-a-season after acquiring him from the Suns.
😕 There’s no doubt Jackson, the No. 4 overall pick in 2017, has been a bust to this point in his career, but he’s averaging 12.3 rebounds and 4.5 rebounds through two seasons, so if he can get his head on straight, there’s a chance he’ll be able to turn things around. Jackson has yet to play a minute for Memphis this season.
CHRISTMAS RECORDS: Here’s every team’s winning percentage on Christmas, the all-important NBA day. The Miami Heat lead the way with a 10-2 record and 83.3 win rate on Christmas.
JR WANTS WORK: Someone please sign JR Smith so he can stop having to pitch himself to teams on Twitter. Thanks in advance.
CHRISTMAS CHEER: Kyle Kuzma spent Christmas with his family for the first time in seven years. Kuzma opens up about what it was like to constantly be in trade rumors over his first two seasons in that piece.
BOWMAN BALLING: Warriors guard Ky Bowman is playing great basketball, especially considering he’s a rookie on a 2-way deal earning under $80,000 this year. Bowman has been forced into action this year due to injuries, and he only has 13 NBA days left before Golden State has to send him to the G League for the rest of the year.
🤔 If the Warriors want to sign Bowman to a regular deal, they’ll have to cut someone else on to open up the necessary roster spot. A tough decision looms in Golden State. Bowman discusses the tricky situation here.
ALL-STAR RETURN DATE SET? Woj is reporting that Pacers All-Star 2-guard is expected to return to action by late January or early February. This is the firmest timeline we’ve gotten for Oladipo’s return yet.
KIDD/VOGEL DYNAMIC: Many thought Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd would be a source of controversy on the Lakers bench, especially after he tried to lobby for the head coaching job when Luke Walton got fired. That hasn’t been the case, though, as Kidd and Frank Vogel have a solid relationship thus far this season.
FINDING RELIGION: Amidst a very difficult season for the Blazers, Damian Lillard says getting closer to God since the summer has helped him keep peace of mind.
TURNING TO CANNABIS: 16-year NBA veteran Al Harrington has a new business venture, a cannabis company called Viola. The former big man is now championing for the NBA to allow players to use cannabis as a pain reliever, since studies say it’s the healthier option to opioids, which can be addictive.
DAVID ‘BEETHOVEN’ ROBINSON: David Robinson’s dad was a pianist who loved to play the music of Beethoven as a young Robinson would watch along. Now, Robinson has been tapped as the honorary chairman of the Gurwitz International Piano Competition, a very cool honor for the Hall-of-Fame big man.
NEW HOMEOWNER: Hawks point guard Trae Young has purchased his first home, a $1.5 million crib with 8,100 square footage.
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
Click here for the answer.
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