November 2, 2018, 6:24 am
It was a rough and tumble, and to say the least, rather odd Thursday night. Well at least as far as a few NBA games were concerned. We had six games on tap and at least a couple of which yielded unlikely results. What a way to welcome November.
The Clippers threw everything they had at Joel Embiid and almost threw out a near-useless Marcin Gortat out with the bathwater, so to speak. They started Boban Marjanovic in the third quarter over Gortat in a desperate attempt at throwing the biggest able-bodied big man at Embiid with the hopes of slowing him down. It was a valiant yet futile attempt as Embiid tore up the box scores with 41 points, 13 boards, three triples and four blocks. The man was simply unstoppable. Concerns arising from his injury history kept his ADP hovering somewhere in the second round of most drafts but Embiid is currently clocking in with top-10 value for the season. The only that can slow him down at this point is exactly what people fear, an injury. Should he stay healthy, Embiid is going to be such a dominant big man in this league people should be afraid. Just ask Clipper giant, Boban what it’s like to be featured on the wrong end of an Embiid poster.
The Clipper duo of Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari was unable to fuel enough offense to match Embiid’s impact. They combined for 49 points, just eight more than the Man-Beast. Remember how dominant DeMarcus Cousins was last season before he ruptured his Achilles? It’s that kind of overwhelming force that Embiid can add to tip a game in the Sixers’ favor. Scary. The Sixers took the road win 113-122.
Here we go. The Nuggets-Cavs game was one for the books. The Nuggets were in such complete control of this game that it produced some unlikely results in the box scores. Nikola Jokic finished with four points, six boards and assorted peripherals. Season-lows obviously for the first-round stud. An unlikely Juancho Hernangomez, of all people, wound up with a game-high 23 points. If those two players’ end-game stats don’t scream outlying statistical anomaly, then I don’t know what does. So no, Jokic won’t be this bad again anytime soon and sadly neither will Hernangomez be this good. This game will surely mess with the per-game averages of both players, resulting in not-so-smart decisions.
The recently hot pickup from the Cavs’ Sam Dekker logged a team-high 35 minutes but did not have anything much to show for his time on the floor other than three steals. He’s still someone to watch and is apparently the interim gatekeeper to Larry Nance‘s fantasy value, with Nance scoring eight points and recording three steals of his own but in just 19 minutes on the court. Odd indeed. Let’s not forget, however, that the boys from The Land are still adjusting from a recent coaching change. Bye, Tyronn Lue! #sorrynotsorry
The one thing to seriously take into consideration in the midst of this 110-91 win by the Nuggets is that Mason Plumlee put up his second straight, albeit low-end stat-sheet-stuffing performance. He’s worth an add in deep leagues, if available.
The Hornets’ sneaky attempts at going ultra-small-ball didn’t fool the Thunder. Surprise performances from Alex Abrines and Dennis Schroder, who added 25 and 21 points off the bench, respectively, helped the Thunder punish the Hornets. The Thunder are finally back on track with a 111-107 victory.
Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams played well with a semi-mixed bag of leftover candy from Halloween kind of way. Some stats were sweet, while others just stuck to your gums and you wished you could brush your teeth.
The Kings played like madmen in their 146-115 win over wing-clipped Hawks. Not the John Hamm kind, but more of the King Lear kind. It’s quite astonishing to see what they’re capable of when De’Aaron Fox goes off as he did. The Fox man had a career night with a monster 31-10-15 triple-double. Folks, let’s not get too excited now, ok maybe just a little, but this could very well be Fox’s coming out party – yes, suspend disbelief and forget for a second that it WAS against the Hawks. Sometimes all it takes is for a player to realize, “Hey, I can do this!” and it becomes a habit. He was more Russell Westbrook than Russell Westbrook was against the Hornets. Buddy Hield had a sublime game as well with his 27 points and impressive marksmanship.
At the end of the day, it wouldn’t be a 2018-19 Kings game without a nice line – out of nowhere from, you guessed it, Nemanja Bjelica, who had 19 points and other very desirable peripheral contributions you can gladly write home to your mother about.
Good news is that Bogdan Bogdanovic could play next week. So stash him now. Yes. Now. He’s an under-the-radar producer who can sneak his way into the top-100 if he’s 100 percent healthy.
The Boston Celtics put on full display why they’re considered the top team in the Eastern Conference as they defeated the Bucks 113-117. Kyrie Irving caught fire from downtown (6 3-pointers) and dropped 28 points on the Bucks. It also didn’t help the Bucks’ chances when Brook Lopez put up a fugly 2-point dud of a game.
Oh, Giannis Antetokounmpo cleared concussion protocol and was back to his old tricks with a 33 and 11 double-double performance.
I’ve balked at and even made fun at his expense in the past but I must admit Marcus Morris – yes you read that right – has been quite, uh, good, this season so far. He led the Celtics bench with 17 points and five treys – his best game of the season. I’m personally using him in our 12-team Hoop Ball staff league and am kicking some serious behind this week. Marcus, if you’re reading this, which I doubt, “I’m sorry” – with feelings (as we Filipinos like to add jokingly)
Onto our last game. No Anthony Davis (sore elbow), no Elfrid Payton (sprained ankle), and yes, no win for the Pelicans, who fell to the Blazers 119-132. As expected, Jrue Holiday and Nikola Mirotic did their respective thangs with their own double-doubles, but it was not enough to beat out the Lillard-Nurkic-Aminu(?) Show.
On the Zach Collins-watch front, he had a sub-par game with nine points, two treys and one block. Maybe it was that 17 & 10 double-double from Aminu that kept Collins from shining like the star in the distance we keep on wishing upon over the last several games. Still, I’m an optimist – or deluded – depending on whether I wind up right or wrong – that Zach Collins will resume his breakout season soon.