HOOP HANGOUT • NBA GAMEDAY POST • Oct. 26th 2019

Dragic scores 25, Heat rally to beat Bucks 131-126

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Goran Dragic scored 25 points off the bench, Bam Adebayo added 19 points and the Miami Heat rallied from a 21-point third-quarter deficit to beat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime 131-126 on Saturday night.

Antetokounmpo finished with 29 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists, but last season’s MVP also had eight turnovers and fouled out with 2:31 to play in overtime. Antetokounmpo also fouled out Thursday night in Houston.

After trailing 74-53 with less than 11:00 to play in the third quarter, the Heat outscored Milwaukee 78-52 the rest of the way, including 49-33 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

With the Heat up 121-119 with 3 seconds to play in regulation, Khris Middleton, who finished with 25 points, shot an air ball and Antetokounmpo tipped it in at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

Adebayo sank four free throws in the extra period and Dragic scored six points in overtime to lift Miami to its second win.

Kendrick Nun scored 18 points before fouling out for the Heat. Miami rookie Tyler Herro, a Milwaukee native, finished with 14.

Heat guard Jimmy Butler missed his second game after he and his girlfriend welcomed a baby on Wednesday.

76ERS 117, PISTONS 111

DETROIT — Tobias Harris scored 29 points against his former team in Philadelphia’s victory over Detroit.

Al Horford added 23 points and Ben Simmons had 13 points and 10 assists to help the 76ers improve to 2-0. Philadelphia had 30 assists to Detroit’s 19.

Derrick Rose led Detroit with 31 points in 27 minutes, but the Pistons missed 15 free throws in a game that was close until the closing moments. Andre Drummond had 11 points and 11 rebounds in Detroit’s second straight loss.

Both teams were missing marquee big men — Joel Embiid was out with a sprained ankle for the 76ers, while Blake Griffin‘s season won’t start for Detroit until November because of knee and hamstring soreness. Detroit also played without Reggie Jackson because of a back injury.

HAWKS 103, MAGIC 99

ATLANTA — Trae Young scored 39 points, including Atlanta’s last eight, in a win over Orlando.

Young took over the game for Atlanta after Orlando led 96-95. His baseline reverse layup gave the Hawk the lead. Following a tying free throw by Aaron Gordon, Young’s layup again gave the lead back to the Hawks.

Jabari Parker and Kevin Huerter each had 10 points for Atlanta.

Evan Fournier paced Orlando with 23 points. D.J. Augustin had 14 and Markelle Fultz finished with 12 points.

CELTICS 118, KNICKS 95

NEW YORK — Kemba Walker scored a season-high 32 points, snapping out of an early season shooting slump with seven 3-pointers, and Boston kept New York winless.

Jaylen Brown added 19 points for the Celtics, who won their second straight after beating NBA champion Toronto on Friday. Jayson Tatum had 15 points and nine rebounds, and 7-foot-5 rookie Tacko Fall scored four points on a pair of dunks in his NBA debut.

Rookie RJ Barrett scored 26 points for the Knicks, who fell to 0-3 in their home opener. Mitchell Robinson added 17.

CAVALIERS 110, PACERS 99

CLEVELAND — Tristan Thompson scored 25 points and made his first career 3-pointer, Kevin Love scored 21 and Cleveland played well in a home-opening win, giving first-year coach John Beilein his first NBA victory.

Love added 13 rebounds and nine assists. Thompson also had 13 rebounds, Collin Sexton scored 18 and rookie Darius Garland 12, making a key 3-pointer down the stretch to slow Indiana’s comeback.

Malcolm Brogdon scored 30 and had 10 assists to lead the Pacers.

RAPTORS 108, BULLS 84

CHICAGO — Pascal Siakam scored 19 points, OG Anunoby added 17 and Toronto spoiled Chicago’s home opener.

The defending NBA champions went on a run in the second quarter to take a 48-40 halftime lead and pulled away for their 10th straight win over the cold-shooting Bulls.

Anunoby hit three 3-pointers, and Serge Ibaka added 18 points and seven rebounds. Fred VanVleet scored 16 as the Raptors shook off a loss Friday in Boston.

Wendell Carter Jr. led Chicago with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Zach LaVine scored 11 after averaging 26.5 over the first two games. Lauri Markkanen struggled again, finishing with nine points for the second straight night.

ROCKETS 126, PELICANS 123

HOUSTON — James Harden scored 29 points, Russell Westbrook added his second straight triple-double with 28 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds and Houston sent New Orleans to its first 0-3 start since the 2016-27 season.

Westbrook hit two clutch free throws to give Houston the three-point lead with 6.1 seconds remaining. Josh Hart missed a 3 at the buzzer to give Houston the win.

Westbrook and Harden combined for 12 turnovers, with Harden leading the game with eight. Harden was 2 of 18 from the 3-point line and 8 for 29 from the field, but was 11 of 12 from the free throw line.

Brandon scored 35 points while adding a game-high 15 rebounds. Lonzo Ball had 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.

SPURS 124, WIZARDS 122

SAN ANTONIO — DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points, including the game-winning basket in heavy traffic in the final seconds, and San Antonio beat Washington.

Davis Bertans, traded from San Antonio to Washington in the offseason, made all five of his 3-point attempts and scored 23 points against his former team.

The Spurs recorded their 20th straight home victory over Washington with some late heroics.

Aldridge led the Spurs with 27 points. Dejounte Murray had 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists and Bryn Forbes added 16 points.

Bradley Beal had 25 points and Rui Hachimura added 16 points for the Wizards.

JAZZ 113, KINGS 81

SALT LAKE CITY — Bojan Bogdanovic hit five 3-pointers and scored 26 points, powering Utah past Sacramento.

Donovan Mitchell added 15 points, while Mike Conley chipped in 12 points and eight assists. Georges Niang added 12 points off the bench. Utah shot 48.6% from 3-point range.

Dwayne Dedmon scored 11 points and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 10 for the Kings, who failed to overcome 37% shooting from the field.

The teams combined for 39 turnovers.

Sacramento coach Luke Walton pulled all of his starters at once with 8:39 remaining in the third quarter after the Kings fell behind by 32 points. Only Dwayne Dedmon returned in the fourth quarter.

SUNS 130, CLIPPERS 122

PHOENIX — Devin Booker scored 30 points, Kelly Oubre Jr. added 20 and Phoenix beat the Clippers for its first win in the series in more than three years.

Phoenix (2-1) snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Clippers and won for the first time since losing starting center Deandre Ayton to a 25-game suspension after he tested positive for a diuretic.

Frank Kaminsky finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Los Angeles (2-1) was led by Montrezl Harrell‘s 28 points. Kawhi Leonard added 27 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists.

SportsLine

NEW FULL INTERVIEW: Kevin Durant aka Easy Money Sniper Returns With Q & D Knuckleheads

Easy Money Sniper is back for his second run in on Knuckleheads with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles. KD gets right into it with details of his injury — why he felt unstoppable the night it happened, what was going through his mind, and how he feels about the entire affair.

He and the guys then get to his free agency, discussing why he left Golden State and what was appealing to him about Brooklyn, as well as his thoughts on the NBA’s most dramatic personnel changes for the 2019–20 season.

Kevin also gives his opinion on former teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden teaming up in Houston, and tells Q and D-Miles why he’s so excited to watch them play together. If you want an expert opinion on today’s players, KD gives the lowdown on which of the younger guys he’ll be watching this year and what he likes about their games.

He also touches on player movement in the NFL and why he believes it’s a good thing for the league. The three then hash out what went on with Team USA not winning gold at the 2019 FIBA World Cup before reaffirming their conviction that the U.S. is still the preeminent basketball nation in the world.

Then they get nostalgic, remembering some of their favorite basketball moments, and Kevin breaks down the games of some of his favorite players in NBA history. To finish he ranks his all-time top five teammates, and also tells the guys what he plans to do after he retires.

There’s no better way to tip-off the new NBA season than by listening to one of the greatest in the game share some of his basketball knowledge.

J.R. Smith on his infamous 2018 NBA Finals mistake: ‘I laughed about that s–t that night’

Ryan Young | Yahoo Sports

It took nearly 18 months, but J.R. Smith is finally opening up about perhaps the most infamous gaffe in recent NBA Finals history.

Smith, of course, appeared to forget the score of Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals with just seconds left in the fourth quarter, and dribbled out to half court instead of attempting a shot that would have given the Cleveland Cavaliers the win at Oracle Arena. The Cavaliers then fell to the Golden State Warriors 124-114 in overtime.

That moment, more specifically LeBron James’ reaction to it, became a viral meme that seemed to last throughout the entire offseason — if not longer.

Smith spoke out about the moment on Showtime’s “All The Smoke” with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on Thursday. He said he thought George Hill had already put the Cavaliers in the lead when he missed that final free throw, and he didn’t expect to get the ball when Hill missed, either.

Warning: This video contains language NSFW

“So I get the ball, nobody called timeout,” Smith said. “So I’m like, ‘Alright, bet. I’m about to dribble it back out then. Game is about to be over.’

“I look at LeBron, LeBron is pointing like this. I’m like, ‘What the f–k is he pointing at?’”

The Cavaliers eventually lost the NBA Finals to the Warriors that year, and Smith was waived by the Cavaliers in July. He only played in 11 games in Cleveland last season, too, before publicly requesting a trade after publicly airing his frustrations with the direction the organization was going after James left for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 34-year-old, who has 15-years in the league with four different teams under his belt, is currently a free agent.

While the mistake made waves across the basketball world, then-Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue wasn’t even upset at Smith that night.

“If it’s my fault and you want to pin it on me? Alright, cool … I hit [Lue] that night and I was like, ‘Bro, I don’t even know what to say,’” Smith said. “He was like, ‘Bro, what are you talking about? You made a basketball play and it didn’t work out. It happens.’”

Lue’s response clearly helped. Smith, though obviously upset at the time, didn’t hold on to the error for long.

“I laughed about that s–t that night … I’m not a person to hold on to s–t,” Smith said. “I’m not going to hold on to no grudges. I’ll never forget it … You f–k up. It ain’t the first time. It just so happened that mine was in the Finals. We’ve all messed up.”

Deandre Ayton Suspended For 25 Games • How Are The Suns Always Like This?

Chris Thompson | DEADSPIN

The godforsaken Suns got their season off to a rare positive start Wednesday, erasing an 11-point first-half deficit and wiping out the visiting Kings, 124–95. Exciting second-year center Deandre Ayton was a huge factor, piling up 18 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks, and finishing a game-high plus-25 in 33 minutes. Excitement! Optimism! Hope! For the first time in a jillion years, real hope! And then Ayton was suspended by the NBA Thursday for more than a quarter of the season. Womp womp.

Aron Baynes is a capable backup center, but it gets real thin from there, with Cheick Diallo and [gulp] Frank Kaminsky the only other interior players on the whole roster. There’s no rule that says the Suns can’t overcome this loss and rip off a decent 25-game stretch, beyond the universe’s determination that the Suns not be allowed to experience any prolonged periods of success, ever again. Also, they are now morally obligated to return this ill-gotten opening night win to its rightful owner, the Kings. Honor demands it!

Let’s take a moment to enjoy Ayton’s promising night against the Kings, since it’ll be mid-December before we see him on the court again, by which time the Suns will somehow be 100 games below .500:

Adam Silver Says Issues Between U.S. And China Have ‘Absolutely Nothing To Do With The NBA’

Gabe Fernandez | DEADSPIN

At the beginning of Inside the NBA on Thursday, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley sat with commissioner Adam Silver just a couple days after the crew tackled the league’s China debacle for the first time this season. As a quick note for context about this segment’s somber tone and pacing, the crew spent the first couple minutes of the show discussing the death of Shaq’s sister, and everyone at the table had literally just sent their best wishes—Johnson sounded particularly shaken—to the analyst and his family.

Silver for the most part repeated talking points that other members of the league had brought up at one point or another. He said his main concern at the time he found out about Daryl Morey’s tweet was the safety of the two teams, the Nets and Lakers, playing a preseason game in China. He tried to claim the league never swayed from their “values of freedom of expression.” When Johnson pushed back on this claim, adding that no one interpreted the first statement that way, Silver tried to push the poor wording of the league’s statement on the fast-paced speed of society before allowing that he’d tried too carefully to “thread the needle” between supporting free expression and respecting China. Denying that the league suppressed any speech, or even hinted at doing so, was a common refrain.

Johnson then brought up comments that the elderly Lego-man vice president made earlier Thursday, when he called the NBA “a wholly owned subsidiary of the authoritarian regime,” adding that the league was “siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech.” Silver had the following response:

“We’re going to double down on engaging with the people of China and India and throughout Africa, throughout the world regardless of their governments. Certainly if we get to a point where the U.S. government tells us we shouldn’t be doing business in certain territories or countries, we won’t. But I’m a firm believer that through sports, independent of governments, you bring people together, they acknowledge that commonality they create empathy. Through personal relationships, there’s no substitute. This league for decades has been on the ground in China, spreading the game, teaching the values of this game, and, again, I think those are core American values and I’ve never wavered.”

It’s this comment in particular that stands out as proof that the commissioner has just not learned any lessons from everything that’s happened. It would be nice to live in a world where the sport of basketball could mend all bridges and heal all wounds—something that Silver pretty much says later in the broadcast—but the fact that one tweet from a general manager nearly caused an international catastrophe shows that there are limits to the sport’s perceived power. Disregarding the kind of government in place when deciding where to expand the league’s reach will only continue to increase the likelihood that something similar to this Morey cycle could happen again. Sure, Silver says that he’ll fall in line with whatever restrictions the U.S. government puts on where the league can and can’t go, but expecting this administration to go out of its way to interfere with an American company’s business overseas—especially on moral grounds—gives the league an awful lot of not-at-all-coincidental breathing room.

Among Silver’s final comments is yet another concerning statement where he tries to de-politicize the league’s international business, saying, “The larger issue between the U.S. and China has absolutely nothing to do with the NBA.” It would be one thing if this comment were being made in a vacuum—though it still wouldn’t be great, as most people who have watched this shitshow unfold from the beginning would tell you—but this came just minutes after Silver had to respond to comments made by the actual vice president of the United States. What long appeared to separate the NBA from most other leagues was always the ability of those at the top to recognize that sports occur within the material realities of people around the world, and not outside of them. As if any more proof was necessary, it’s become clear that that posture was more an expression of business savvy than any real conviction.

You can watch the entirety of the Inside the NBA segment below:

Russell Westbrook and James Harden already got into a heated argument in their first game together as Rockets

James Harden-Russell Westbrook argument goes viral

SARA JANE HARRIS | SPORTING NEWS

The NBA season has just started, and it looks like James Harden and Russell Westbrook are already showing frustration toward each other.

A clip of the Rockets stars appearing to exchange words during Thursday’s game against the Bucks quickly went viral on Twitter.

Westbrook reunited with Harden when the Rockets acquired him in a trade with the Thunder during the offseason.

The two were not only teammates for three years in Oklahoma City, but they have been friends since age 10.

Westbrook downplayed his argument with Harden after the game, suggesting their close relationship will mean arguments such as these will sometimes be on public display.

Earlier this year, Harden predicted in an interview with GQ that things wouldn’t go perfectly at the start of the season.

“It’s like, yo, we’ll figure it out,” Harden said. “Everything isn’t necessarily going to be smooth at first, there are going to be ups and downs, and that’s part of an 82-game season. Hopefully, by the end of the season, we’ve caught a rhythm and everybody is on the same page going into the playoffs. That’s all you can ask for.”

Harden added: “There’s a different kind of relationship and communication that we have, a different type of excitement that we have for each other. We don’t really care or pay attention to what other people say or think.”