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The Tip Off – December 25, 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: 12/25/2019 as reported by Aram Hanessian, video by Jerin Varghese

Honor Roll

  • Nowhere to start other than the marquee game of the night where the Clippers clearly staked their claim as best team in L.A. and Kawhi Leonard as best player in the city.  Leonard had 35 points on 11/19 shooting, 5/7 from three, 12 boards and 5 assists to go with his usual excellent defense (a lot of which was on LeBron) in the Clippers 111-106 victory. 
  • Other than pelting Santa Claus with snowballs, yesterday’s 121-109 win over the Bucks was probably about as good a Christmas Day experience as Philadelphia sports fans can hope for. Joel Embiid was absolutely dominant with 31 and 11 and excellent defense on Giannis. Ben Simmons showed why he still has a lot of fans despite maybe some stagnation in his development, pushing the ball relentlessly on his way to 15 points, 14 assists and 7 boards. A bunch of the role players had big nights as well, but I want to shout out the Sixers 3-point shooting as a whole.  Entering yesterday, Philly was 26th in the league in 3’s taken per game with season highs of 15 makes and 41 attempts.  Against the Bucks, the Sixers got up 44 threes and made 21 of them, good for almost 48%. 
  • With Pascal Siakam out with a groin injury, Patrick McCaw has entered the Raptors starting lineup. His assignment yesterday was to guard Jaylen Brown. Advantage Jaylen Brown. Brown had 30 points on 10/13 shooting, including 5/7 from three, and added 6 boards and 4 assists in Boston’s 118-102 win in Toronto. 
  • These huge Brandon Ingram games are starting to feel more commonplace than signs of what is possible. Ingram is at almost 30% usage, above league average in eFG% and has a 19% assist rate, which is excellent for a guy 6’ 9’’ and easily a career high. He has made the jump that people think Andrew Wiggins may be making. Last night, while nobody east of the Rockies watched, Ingram had 31 points on 11/18 shooting, 7/9 from three, and 9 rebounds in the Pelicans 112-100 win in Denver. 

Quirks of the Night

  • I’m not going to put the reigning and likely season-to-date MVP in the Needs Improvement category when it’s obviously just an off game. I will however point out that Giannis’ 19 misses against the Sixers yesterday broke his personal record (18), set earlier this year in a win over the Trail Blazers. 
  • In addition to having a big game, Jaylen Brown’s Christmas was filled with quirks. Playing for the Celtics allows for many Christmas games and Brown was happy for an opportunity at some redemption. His 16 third-quarter points were more than the 12 he had scored in his three previous Christmas games combined. His 30 points in the game was the third time this season he’s reached that number, eclipsing the two times in his career he had made it prior to this year. Finally, yesterday was also the first time in his four year career that Brown had won in Toronto. 

Needs Improvement

  • I mentioned it above in passing, but for one day at least, Patrick McCaw replacing Pascal Siakam in the starting lineup did not go well. McCaw scored 2 points on 1/5 shooting and was a -22 while failing to shut down Jaylen Brown. 
  • The Rockets defense has been struggling this season. On the season, they rank 16th in the league, which drops to 20th over just the last two weeks. Yesterday should have been a game to juice the numbers a little bit going against Golden State. The Warriors rank 30th in offense and 30th in eFG%. Instead, they scored at a rate of 111.8 points per 100 possessions, which would be tied with the Clippers for 7th in the league. Not great from Houston. Or maybe it’s just that Jordan Poole didn’t play. 

NBA Twitter Table Talk

  • Should it be out of bounds off the person the ball touches last or second to last? The debate rages on. 
  • It’s Meat Pie Monday!
  • Another rousing round of “I don’t understand how turnovers work hot potato” (this one was even worse because it almost resulted in an actual turnover for Horford, luckily the shot clock went off just in time):
  • Kevin Hart is small, Anthony Davis is big. Hilarious!

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