August 3, 2020 | 7:05 pm EDT Update
Kendra Andrews: Nuggets beat the Thunder 121-113. Nikola Jokic finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists. Michael Porter Jr. with a career-high37 points and 12. rebounds. Monte Morris and Paul Millsap add 17 points each.
Scott Agness: Pacers earn their 41st win of the season, 111-100 over the Wizards. Now 2-0 in the restart. Pacers used runs of 20-2 and 22-2 to grow their lead, as large as 22. T.J. Warren had 34/11/4/4. Brogdon added 20/7/6. Up next: vs Orlando tomorrow in their only b2b.
August 3, 2020 | 5:46 pm EDT Update
Michael Singer: That’s 20 first-half points for Michael Porter Jr. His career-high is 25. He’s also a rebound shy of a first-half double-double. This is like his breakout game in Indiana. Except it’s coming two weeks before the playoffs.
Anthony Chiang: Heat now 1-13 this season in games that it shoots 32 percent or worse from three-point range in. Bam Adebayo: “We were getting good looks. We were just missing shots. That’s the bottom line.”
August 3, 2020 | 5:12 pm EDT Update
Josh Lewenberg: Fred VanVleet on his career-high 36 points… and scoring 3 more points than Lowry did on Saturday: “That’s a double whammy right there. I’ll take that.” He joked that he was disappointed he couldn’t top the 37 that Powell scored earlier this season.
August 3, 2020 | 4:42 pm EDT Update
August 3, 2020 | 3:32 pm EDT Update
“Zion is not on their injury report,” said Brian Windhorst on his podcast. “They are treating him as though he’s coming back from an injury, but he’s not on their injury report. I cannot make an assumption as to what’s going on there. When you watch him play, he clearly is not in condition to compete at the highest level. As I’ve watched him play two games, I don’t actually think they should have played him at all with the way he’s playing. I talked to a scout who said to me he shouldn’t be out there right now with the condition he is in. He said to me, ‘He’s moving worse than he did in Summer League last summer when he got hurt in his first or second game.’ “I don’t know if that’s because he’s out of condition, or that’s because he’s got something that they’re not discussing. This is one of the things that the Pelicans have to deal with… this is a guy who has a history of knee injuries and is not right either because of conditioning or because of something else.”
Williamson was gone from the Pelicans for over a week and then was under quarantine for a few days when he returned to Orlando. “He does not look right,” said Kirk Goldsberry. “It does not look good. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say he shouldn’t be out there because I don’t know… Something smells fishy here. I don’t know what’s going on. He does not look like the kid that was dominating the league in March.”
Now that the Wizards have lost their first two games at Disney World, that rule is coming back into the forefront. The Wizards are currently tied in the loss column with the Hornets, who aren’t in Orlando but are locked in with the eighth-best lottery odds. What that means is if the Wizards continue to lose, they can’t gain more ping-pong balls for lottery night, which is set for Aug. 25. And now there is a distinct possibility they could have worse odds than a team with a better win percentage than them.
It would be a cruel twist for the Wizards, who need as much help as they can get in this year’s draft as they hope to find another blue chip prospect to add to their burgeoning young core. Making that pick count is especially important given their salary cap situation with John Wall and Bradley Beal on the books, which has left them with fewer resources to work with. They could get another key rotation player on a rookie contract. The good news is that the lottery rules were changed more permanently before last year’s drawing in order to create more parity in the annual event. It smoothed out the odds to discourage tanking and the results in its first year were as-intended.
August 3, 2020 | 2:49 pm EDT Update
Brandon Rahbar: Dennis Schroder is officially out of the Bubble with his wife for the birth of his new baby. Terrance Ferguson is also out with a leg contusion. Good news: Schroder, assuming he comes back, will definitely be back for the playoffs.
Brandon Rahbar: Donovan on Schroder’s time being out: “It happened this morning. He’s with his family. I’ll talk to him later today or tomorrow. He’s out this game and we’ll gather more info from him when we talk to him on the phone.”
Zalgiris big man Jock Landale will be playing in a different team next season. With the request of the player, Jock Landale and Zalgiris have mutually agreed to part ways, as the Aussie continues to seek out his dream of playing in the NBA. A member of the Australian men’s national team signed a deal with Zalgiris last summer and had a running contract for next season. After the two sides reached an agreement, the 24-year-old addressed the fans and the Zalgiris organization. “I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for everything you’ve done for the past year. It was such an incredible experience coming to Lithuania and playing for such a historic club and a legendary coach. To the organization, I appreciate what you guys have done. Everyone’s got goals and ambitions, and you really helped me reach mine. You’ve got a fan in me for life.”
Brandon Rahbar: Abdel Nader on Billy Donovan winning NBCA Coach of the Year: “He’s been huge. He’s been our main leader. He’s kept us on the right path and the right mindset. He’s built an identity for us. It’s good to see him recognized for it.”
August 3, 2020 | 2:11 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: 76ers’ Kyle O’Quinn missed his coronavirus test on Sunday and is not eligible to play today vs. San Antonio, team official confirms to @The Athletic @Stadium. O’Quinn was tested today and will rejoin the team upon negative result.
Jim Eichenhofer: JJ Redick on #Pelicans: “This is a drama-free group. At no point during the season did we point fingers or place blame on anybody. This is a group that’s had each other’s back all year. That’s my expectation going forward. We’re going to make the most out of these six games.”
Duane Rankin: Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer and Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan are the 2020 recipients of the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced today. pic.twitter.com/pkmUQiazWj
Josh Lewenberg: There’s only one official NBA end-of-season award that isn’t determined by media voting: Executive of the Year, which is voted on by the league’s execs. Masai Ujiri finished FOURTH last season despite acquiring Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Marc Gasol.
August 3, 2020 | 12:55 pm EDT Update
The award, named in honor of longtime NBCA executive director Michael Goldberg, is voted on by the league’s 30 head coaches, with each coach voting for a single winner. Among those who also received votes, sources said: Memphis’ Taylor Jenkins, Indiana’s Nate McMillan, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Boston’s Brad Stevens and the Lakers’ Frank Vogel.
While watching Sunday night’s box-office affair between the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks, perhaps the saying speaks more to the mental exercise of what it takes to play defense and get stops. “Heart and will,” James Harden said. “Everybody says we’re undersized — and they got a couple of offensive rebounds on us just cause they have 7-footers and whatnot — but you gotta just keep fighting, keep fighting. Once we get that ball, we’re out, so it just takes good spirit, fighting and making sure we’re communicating defensively and in our right positions.”
Westbrook finished with 31 points, eight assists and six rebounds, but it’s more important to note how he kept Houston afloat while Harden sat with foul trouble. He constantly put pressure on the Bucks’ defense, forcing them to concede open shots to Green, Tucker, Ben McLemore, and others. In addition, it seemed like him and Harden struck a good balance of when to attack versus when to move the ball and look for others. When Harden struggles offensively, Westbrook is more than capable of picking up the slack. “Yeah, I think we’re comfortable now,” Harden said of the pair’s chemistry. “I think with that training camp, we’re in a good place. We found ourselves.”
“We loaded up,” House explained. “We talked. The most important thing was to stop him before he got downhill, of course. We did a good job about locating him before he could get the ball or even after he got the ball to make sure that we were on the help side and that guys were already communicating with one another. That’s been a big help and a big factor for us — communication on defense. So we don’t have those “my bad” moments.” “Very important,” Harden added on their late-game defense. “I think throughout the course of the game we played some really good defense. Obviously, they’re a really good offensive team, but throughout the course of the game we got stops when we needed to.”
Scott Agness: Malcolm Brogdon (sore neck) is questionable for today’s game against the Wizards at 4pm. Victor Oladipo (rehab) is doubtful. This is their only back-to-back in the bubble and he won’t play in both games. They face his first team, the Magic, on Tuesday.