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The Tip Off – January 1, 2020 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: 1/1/2020 as reported by Aram Hanessian, video by Jerin Varghese

Honor Roll

  • The top spot in the Honor Roll today is reserved for David Stern. The former commissioner died yesterday as a result of a brain hemorrhage suffered three weeks ago. There’s no shortage of great writing around the internet, either written yesterday or reposted, about the impact he had on basketball, both in the NBA and especially globally, so check some of that out if you don’t realize how important he truly was for the growth of the game. RIP Commish.  
  • As much as I want to make this entire section all about Carmelo Anthony and his season high 26 points in his second game back at the Garden, I can’t do that when the Blazers lost by 24. Instead, I’ll focus on Mitchell Robinson. Robinson took 11 shots, all within a foot of the basket and all went in. He had 22 points and 8 boards and was +22 in the Knicks 117-93 win over Portland.  
  • Giannis had 32 points on 13/22 shooting and 17 boards and the Bucks won. Yawn. 
  • Even on a night with only four games, none of which involved two teams going anywhere this year (sorry Suns fans), I couldn’t bring myself to watch any of Magic/Wizards, but it seems DJ Augustin and Markelle Fultz took advantage of whatever Washington is doing at PG these days. Fultz had 16 points and 8 assists while Augustin had 25 and 9 off the bench as Orlando won 122-101. Also, hopefully Jonathan Isaac’s injury isn’t as bad as it looked. 
  • I don’t know why he played 38 minutes – the Lakers could have not blown a 36 point 2nd-half lead with him on the bench – but LeBron James had a huge night against Phoenix. James scored 31 points and added 13 boards and 12 assists for his 8th triple double of the season. Amid all the normal Lakers and LeBron level craziness, I think it might be getting lost how great a passing season he’s having.  He had double digit assists before half-time last night and his assist percentage for the year right now is 48.4%, which would be the highest of his career by over 5 percentage points per Cleaning the Glass.  

Quirks of the Night

  • As noted above the Knicks beat the Blazers by 24. The win was the Knicks third in a row. That’s New York’s first three-game winning streak of the season, leaving just four teams without such a streak: Hawks, Wizards, Pistons and Bulls. 
  • I alluded to it above, but the Lakers largest lead last night over the Suns was 36 points. The final margin of victory was just 10. That 10-point margin is the lowest ever in the 653 games where one team led by 36 or more. 

Needs Improvement

  • Obviously when you get blown out by the Knicks, you wind up with some representation in the Needs Improvement section and the Blazers bench as a collective, was awful last night. Two different Knicks bench players outscored the entire Portland bench and the overall scoring margin was 64-14. This is not a new problem, and using Anfernee Simons as a proxy for Blazers bench minutes (basically all of his most frequent lineups include at least two other bench players) shows the depths of the issue. Portland is over 13 points worse per 100 possessions with Simons on the floor per Cleaning the Glass, with a net rating of -7.6 per 100. With Zach Collins out another two months or so, Neil Olshey may need to make a move to add something to his bench. 

NBA Twitter Table Talk                                                                                            

  • Jarrett Culver stood up for mascots everywhere. 
  • The Garrison Matthews experience has been fun so far, but I don’t think he has a future checking point guards on the perimeter.

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