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The Tip Off – December 4, 2019 Recap

Miss your NBA fix last night? In three minutes or less, TDC’s The Tip Off gives you the brief rundown of the standout stat lines, exciting finishes and some rarities that went down on the hardwood last night. On a busy evening where you miss the live action and/or the scintillating thrill of NBA Twitter scrolling, we have done the work for you and compiled notable lines and events.

Spend three minutes reading this every day to keep up with the Association and have enough knowledge and nuggets to be in the loop with casual fans as well as the ability to toss out a few specific stats and oddities an avid fan may have missed.

B-ball Date: 12/4/2019 as reported by Aram Hanessian, video by Jerin Varghese

Honor Roll

  • Sorting this years Player Impact Plus-Minus (PIPM) by offense only, many of the expected names are near the top.  Luka Doncic, James Harden, Giannis, etc… Sitting at #9 though, nestled between Karl-Anthony Towns and Kyrie Irving, is Devonte’ Graham. Graham has been ridiculous this season as the Hornets have been 19 (!) points per 100 possessions better with him on the court than off. Last night, Graham had 33 points, including 10/16 from three, 9 assists and 7 boards as Charlotte beat Golden State 106-91.
  • 4th Quarters are mostly optional exercises these days in Milwaukee for Giannis Antetokounmpo and last night was no different. Giannis only had to play 28 minutes, but still managed to put up 35 points and 9 rebounds in the Bucks 127-103 win over Detroit. An extra Honor Roll mention for the Bucks in general. They’ve somewhat quietly won 13 straight and 17 of 18.
  • It feels like every year we’re waiting for Aaron Gordon to put it all together and jump into the All-Star conversation. It’s not happening this year as he’s currently posting the lowest field goal and three-point percentages of his career. Last night, however, Gordon was nearly perfect going 13/15 from the field and 5/5 from three en route to 32 points in the Magic’s 128-114 win over the Suns. 
  • It was a huge night for the Mavericks bench generally and specifically Jalen Brunson as Dallas beat Minnesota 121-114.  Dallas’ bench put up 45 points on 18/33 shooting and all five guys were at least +11 on a night where every starter was negative. Brunson took over in a crucial 4th quarter during which Dallas scored 41 points and Brunson had 14 pts and 2 assists. 
  • A very entertaining game in Portland with CJ McCollum leading the way with 33 points on 14/22 shooting and Hassan Whiteside almost putting up a triple double with 24/16/7 but let’s be real, this is the Tip Off, and we know what the people want: Carmelo Anthony. Melo had 20 points on 8/16 from the floor to carry the Trail Blazers to a 127-116 over the Kings. 

Quirks of the Night

  • There wasn’t a lot for Hawks fans to cheer about in the 4th quarter last night as the Nets’ lead was under 10 for less than 30 seconds in the period. Luckily, the Hawks have a promotion this year to keep fans invested during blowouts. All attending fans get a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich if an opponent misses two ft’s in one trip to the line during the fourth quarter. Last night the Nets were 14/14 from the line when 87% free throw shooter Spencer Dinwiddie bricked two in a row with 2:37 left to send the losing fans home at least somewhat satisfied. There was also free Chick-Fil-A in a blowout in Utah (although much more predictably) as Dwight Howard missed two in the fourth quarter. 
  • It’s a very free throw oriented Quirks of the Night section today. Charlotte beat Golden State by 15 but only made five free throws. That’s only the fourth time this year that a team has won a game making five or less free throws and only one of those wins was by more than 10 points. 
  • Hassan Whiteside’s previous career high in assists was four. He had done it twice, most recently on March 29, 2018 against the Bulls. He broke that last night midway through the third quarter on his way to almost doubling his prior best and finishing with seven. 

Needs Improvement

  • I know last night’s games were only on December 4th, but it was Warriors third game in the month and Jordan Poole has not made a shot in any of them. Poole hasn’t exactly been Mr. Efficient at any point this season, but he’s taking it to a new level in December. Poole has played 47 minutes and taken 7 twos and 9 threes and missed every single one. 
  • On Tuesday’s Tip Off, I wrote about how, for one night at least, Evan Turner had corrected the Hawks issues of falling apart whenever Trae Young was on the bench. Last night, things returned to normal as Young was +1 in the Hawks 12 point loss to the Nets while Turner was -19 while going 1/4 from the field for 2 points, 4 assists and 3 turnovers. 
  • The Jazz have now been blown out three games in a row – I know the Sixers game was only a 9 point loss, but they were down 19 headed into the 4th – and are in danger of falling out of the race for a top 4 seed and into a battle just to make the playoffs. The defense has slipped a little, but the real issue is an offense that was 22nd in the league in points per possession before last nights 96 points in 98 possession effort versus the Lakers. A big part of that has been the struggles of Joe Ingles. Ingles has been in at least the 89th percentile in effective field goal percentage for his position each of the past 4 years, never dropping below 56.9%, per Cleaning the Glass. He’s dropped all the way down to 47.5% and the 27th percentile before going 1/5 last night. One big component of his struggles is he is just 3/20 on corner threes so far this year, having never shot below 43% in any previous year. 

NBA Twitter Table Talk

  • Apparently superstar treatment from the refs extends to making dribbling optional for LeBron.
  • Dwight has perfected the jab step to clear some much needed space to launch the three.
  • Giannis learned what it’s like to be on the other side of a poster.

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