HOOP HANGOUT • NBA GAMEDAY POST • February 11th 2019

USA Today Sports

Westbrook’s triple-double streak at 10, Thunder beat Blazers

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook set an NBA record with his 10th straight triple-double, Paul George scored 47 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Portland Trail Blazers 120-111 on Monday night.

Westbrook broke a tie with Wilt Chamberlain, who had nine straight triple-doubles in 1968, by finishing with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. He clinched the record on an assist to George for a 3-pointer with 3:52 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was his 23rd triple-double of the season and the 127th of his career.

George had 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the third triple-double of his career. Rookie Deonte Burton had a career-high 18 points and Raymond Felton added a season-high 15 for the Thunder.

Damian Lillard scored 31 points and Jake Layman added 17 for Portland.

ROCKETS 120, MAVERICKS 104

HOUSTON — James Harden scored 31 points for his 30th straight 30-point game despite dealing with a shoulder injury, leading Houston over Dallas.

Harden, who had eight rebounds and seven assists, seemed to be a bit slowed early by the strained left shoulder that he injured on Saturday against Oklahoma City, making just one of his first seven shots. But he warmed up after that and finished 9 of 23, capped by his sixth 3-pointer with less than a minute left to put him over 30 and keep the streak going. Fans chanted “MVP! MVP!” after he sunk the step back over Dorian Finney-Smith.

He’s now just one game from tying Wilt Chamberlain for the second-longest streak of 30-point games in NBA history. Chamberlain also holds the top 30-point game streak with 65 in a row.

Luka Doncic had 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Mavericks, who lost for the first time this season to Houston after winning the first two meetings.

Chris Paul added 17 points with 11 assists, and Gerald Green scored 19 points with five 3-pointers to help Houston to its fourth win in five games.

CAVALIERS 107, KNICKS 104

CLEVELAND — Collin Sexton scored 20 points and Cleveland held off a late rally and sent New York to its franchise-record 17th straight loss.

Sexton hit two free throws with 17 seconds remaining to put Cleveland up by three. John Jenkins missed a 3-pointer from the right corner, but Dennis Smith Jr. grabbed the rebound and dribbled to the corner. He also missed a 3-pointer and Larry Nance tapped the rebound to midcourt as time ran out.

Nance and Jordan Clarkson each scored 15 points. Kevin Love had 14 points and nine rebounds in his second game since returning from foot surgery. The All-Star forward played 16 minutes, all in the first half. Love was 4 of 10 from the field, including two 3-pointers, and had nine rebounds.

Kadeem Allen scored a career-high 25 points for the Knicks. New York (10-46) has the worst record in the league, and has lost 25 of 26 and 30 of its last 32 games.

RAPTORS 127, NETS 125

TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard banked home the tiebreaking basket with 4.2 seconds remaining and Toronto edged Brooklyn.

Leonard scored 30 points, Serge Ibaka had 18 points and12 rebounds and Pascal Siakam scored 17 for the Raptors, who have won eight straight home meetings with the Nets.

Raptors center Marc Gasol scored 16 points, 11 in the fourth quarter, in his home debut after being acquired in last Thursday’s trade with Memphis.

D’Angelo Russell scored 28 points and had a career-high 15 assists for Brooklyn. Joe Harris scored 24 points and made a career-best seven 3-pointers, but the Nets lost for the fifth time in six games.

BUCKS 112, BULLS 99

CHICAGO — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points and had 17 rebounds, Eric Bledsoe added 19 points and Milwaukee outlasted pesky Chicago.

Malcolm Brogdon added 17 points and Khris Middleton had 16 to help league-leading Milwaukee win for the seventh time in eight games and improve to 13-2 over its last 15.

Antetokounmpo recorded his 39th double-double of the season in his return after sitting out his fourth game of the season Saturday, against Orlando in Milwaukee, due to right knee soreness The Bucks had their lowest scoring output of the season in that one as their six-game winning streak ended in a 103-83 loss to the Magic.

Zach LaVine finished with 27 points after scoring 17 in the first half, and Lauri Markkanen had 20 points and 17 rebounds to help Chicago stay close until the end.

NUGGETS 103, HEAT 87

DENVER — Denver snapped a three-game skid by beating Miami behind 23 points and 12 rebounds from Nikola Jokic and 20 points from Malik Beasley.

The Nuggets swept the season series from the Heat for the first time since 2008-09 and improved to 18-1 when holding opponents under 100 points.

This marked the first time they did that since a 105-99 win at New Orleans on Jan. 30.

Denver pulled away in the third quarter to avoid matching a season-worst four-game skid it had in November before recovering in a big way to soar into the upper echelon on the Western Conference.

PISTONS 121, WIZARDS 112

DETROIT — Andre Drummond had 32 points and 17 rebounds, and Detroit extended its winning streak to four with a victory over Washington.

Blake Griffin had 20 of his 31 points in the first half for the Pistons, who haven’t lost since blowing a 25-point lead in a home defeat against the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 2. Detroit began Monday tied with Miami for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Wizards, who are without injured John Wall and Dwight Howard, traded Otto Porter Jr. away last week. Nevertheless, they came into the game on a two-game winning streak before falling short against Detroit.

Bradley Beal had 32 points and 10 assists for the Wizards.

PACERS 99, HORNETS 90

INDIANAPOLIS — Myles Turner scored 16 points and Thaddeus Young added 11 points and eight rebounds to help Indiana hold on to beat Charlotte.

The Pacers have won six straight — all without two-time All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, who will miss the rest of the season with an injured right knee.

Kemba Walker scored 26 of his 34 points in the second half when the Hornets stormed back from a 16-point halftime deficit. Jeremy Lamb added 21, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Charlotte from losing for the third time in four games.

TIMBERWOLVES 130, CLIPPERS 120

MINNEAPOLIS — Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague gave a beleaguered backcourt a needed boost and lifted Minnesota over Los Angeles.

Rose scored 22 points and Teague added 19 for the Timberwolves, who played without the ill Andrew Wiggins. Rose and Teague both have missed significant time with injuries recently.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, while Dario Saric had 19 points.

Lou Williams scored a season-high 45 points off the bench for the Clippers, making a season-best 16 free throws while going perfect from the line.

Knicks use Kevin Durant photo in ticket pitch to fans, later remove it

NBC Sports

Kevin Durant doesn’t want speculation that he’s signing with the New York Knicks to spread, and he made that clear in an explosive press conference last week. 

Good luck with that after what happened over the weekend.

The Knicks posted a website for season-ticket holders, asking them to commit to renewals by Feb. 28. A bold move, considering the team’s Eastern Conference-worst record of 10-45, but business is business.

Even bolder? The Knicks including a picture of KD in their pitch.

Seriously. They did that.

Needless to say, Durant’s inclusion in a Knicks season-ticket renewal campaign raised eyebrows, and the team quickly moved to remove the photo as tampering talk swirled. After all, KD very much is under contract with the Warriors right now, and he was the hero in Sunday’s comeback win over the Miami Heat.

“Game action photos are used all the time for marketing purposes, but given everything going on, we took the precaution of taking the photo down,” the Knicks said in a statement provided to the New York Daily News. “To be clear, it was one of several rotating photos on the website.”

Intentional or not, the photo flap is just the latest Knicks misstep. They’ve traded stars Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in the past two years, and while you could argue the former was on the decline anyway, you can’t argue with other facts. As the Daily News pointed out, the Knicks will post their fifth consecutive season with at least 50 losses, thanks to their current franchise-record 16-game skid. Attendance at Madison Square Garden is down, as are TV ratings, according to the Daily News.

So, yeah, the Knicks need some reason for fans to get excited about the 2019-20 season. Putting KD in a season-ticket renewal is sneaky and subliminal, tugging at the emotions of a fan base that would love such a superstar still in his prime.

The Knicks seriously didn’t think rookie center Mitchell Robinson, who also was in the photo, would be enough to entice ticket buyers, did they? The second-round draft pick has started in just 12 of 38 games played this season, and averages 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per contest. Step right up, Knicks fans!

Of course, KD’s free-agency decision remains five months away, so no one knows what will happen. But the Knicks clearly see a future that includes Durant, whether they meant to announce that or not with this photo.

https://www.nbcsports.com/bayarea/warriors/knicks-use-kevin-durant-photo-ticket-pitch-fans-later-remove-it

Ben Simmons wants to meet with Magic Johnson this offseason

Dane Delgado NBC Sports

Fire up the Conjecture Machine! This one’s coming in hot.

Magic Johnson already told reporters on Sunday that he felt as though the New Orleans Pelicans didn’t act in good faith when negotiating for Anthony Davis earlier this month. Then Magic proceeded to tell reporters that Philadelphia 76ers point forward Ben Simmons wants to meet with him this offseason to discuss how to play the position as a taller player.

Whoo boy.

Via Twitter:

This would seem relatively harmless save for a couple things. First, Johnson has already been pretty loose with the rules, leading to a tampering fine in relation to some comments he made about Paul George.

Second, there’s been some discussion around NBA types that Simmons could be the odd man out in Philadelphia, particularly if the Sixers re-sign Jimmy Butler to a mega deal this summer. It’s not clear whether Simmons fits long term with Joel Embiid, Butler, and now Tobias Harris. Elton Brand has said that he wants to keep everyone in the City of Brotherly Love, but until the contracts are inked and the trade calls are rejected, that’s just talk.

Simmons, despite all his talent, makes the least sense from a basketball context with the team as it’s constructed now. There’s also the factor of Embiid having already signed his extension, so Philly is already all-in with him from here on out.

No doubt this will fire up the rumor mill about whether Magic could put a bug in Simmons’ ear, or whether Simmons could be restless, or if the Lakers are on the up-and-up. Obviously, any assumptions are pure conjecture, and it’s true that the similarities between Simmons and Magic as players do lend to some benefit between knowledge being shared between them.

The Lakers are nothing if not entertaining. We’ll see if everyone gives the A-OK for these two to meet.

https://sports.yahoo.com/ben-simmons-wants-meet-magic-230057562.html

John Wall plans to graduate from Kentucky while recovering from ruptured Achilles

Ben Weinrib • Yahoo Sports

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall will have over a year to recover from his ruptured Achilles tendon, and he plans to use that time well.

The five-time All-Star told reporters on Friday that he plans to use that time to work towards completing his undergraduate business degree in addition to working on his rehab.

Wall, the first person in his family to go to college, spent one year at Kentucky before entering the NBA Draft, where the Wizards selected him first overall. He will return to Lexington this summer to finish the remaining credits.

Wall has spoken before about his desire to graduate from college. In January 2018, Wall wrote a letter to his late father for The Undefeated in which he talked about the importance of education that was impressed upon him.

“I know you’re proud of the man I’ve become,” Wall wrote. “I’m the first in our family to attend college, and although I have not yet completed my degree, it is a goal that I hope to accomplish. My sister followed behind to become the first in our family to graduate from college and went on to get her master’s.”

Although Wall has not decided what he will do with his degree when his basketball career is over, he wants to keep his options open. In an earlier interview with the Washington Post, Wall spoke about wanting to use his platform to do as much good as possible.

“When our career is over, when we retire and the basketball stops bouncing, we still have to find something else to do,” Wall said. “Whether you want to be a general manager, a doctor, a businessman, whatever, you have to believe on everything you stand on. We’re more than athletes and the stuff that’s going on in our society and in this world, we have to speak on it. I think we have the right to say whatever we want.”

What will the Wizards do without Wall?

Injuries have been an all-too-common part of life for Wall. Over his nine years in the league, Wall has faced 11 major injuries, according to NBC Sports, including a heel surgery that sidelined him before he slipped at home and ruptured his Achilles. But as long as the Wizards are tied to his untradeable four-year, $170 million contract, he will remain a key part of their core.

More: https://sports.yahoo.com/john-wall-plans-graduate-kentucky-recovering-ruptured-achilles-231615337.html

🎷MICHAEL JORDAN and JOHN COLTRANE • The DOMINANT Duo🏀

📺One of the site owner/admistrator’s (at least top 3!) most favorite youtube videos of all-time…👌

(From the youtube liner notes):

” ‘Amen’, from the album Sun Ship…

Revisiting old Jordan clips around the same time as this Trane, I suddenly felt a deep connection there and was curious to see how footage would by chance combine, align and double up in spirit and time with the music. Seeing the moves, invention and control of Jordan alongside the feel, pacing and power of this particular track (one of the last by this quartet, recorded August 26, 1965)… Heroes unstoppable at the top of their game, leading their teams. The message of that zone, rhythm, strength and ORIGINALITY. Athletes of the heart! We indulge…

Amen.

–Ben Gerstein