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: 2/11/2020 as reported by Aram Hanessian
- Last night in Boston, Russell Westbrook and James Harden showed why the idea to remove all the centers from the roster and open up as much space as possible to operate might just work. Even as non-Harden members of the Rockets only went 6/29 from three, the five-out offense enabled Westbrook to take 17 shots in the restricted area. He made 12 of them on his way to 36 points and 10 rebounds. Harden seemingly used the threat of his three (7/16) and emptiness in the paint to repeatedly get to the FT line, where he went 17/18 while scoring 42 points to go along with 8 boards and 7 assists as Houston beat Boston 116-105.
- Stan Van Gundy made a point on the broadcast last night about Ben Simmons’ free throw shooting over the last 10 games. He noted that Simmons was up to almost 75% from the line over the last 10 games after being at about 57% up until that point. SVG added that being unafraid of being fouled was leading to a more aggressive Simmons. That was really on display last night in Philly as Simmons took 22 shots, all but 3 of which were in the restricted area on his way to 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists as the 76ers beat the Clippers 110-103.
- So far in his career, Zion Williamson has been held in check by one team and the Bucks are one of the best defenses of all time with multiple enormous people blocking off the paint. Portland is 26th in the league in defense and 24th in percentage of shots given up at the rim per Cleaning the Glass, so not as well equipped to deal with Zion. He took one three-pointer and 16 shots in the restricted area along with 14 free throws on his way to 31 points, 9 boards, and 5 assists as the Pelicans beat the Blazers 138-117.
- Dejounte Murray is a player that I think should get a little more attention. He’s a 23 year old point guard in only his third season, coming off a devastating injury. This year he’s shooting 38% from three (albeit on only about 2 per 36 minutes), his eFG% is above average for a point guard per Cleaning the Glass, he’s a fantastic rebounder, and his steal rate is absurdly high. It’s very rare that a point guard steps into the league and becomes a star right away like Ja. Murray is a very good player and is still very young. Last night in Oklahoma City, Murray led the way for the Spurs with 25 points on 9/12 shooting and added 9 rebounds and 3 assists in San Antonio’s 114-106 win.
Quirks of the Night
- This one really surprised me. With his 31 points last night, Zion has now gone over 14 points in each of his first nine career games. He is the first rookie since Dikembe Mutombo in 1991 to accomplish that feat. He is also the first rookie ever with seven 20-point games in his first nine.
- With 9:30 left, down 24 points, Terry Stotts emptied his bench. The Blazers bench would score Portland’s final 27 points, after the game was already decided. In the competitive portion of the game, they scored 8. Dame’s crazy ridiculous hot streak of 2020 has sort of obscured how little depth this team has. I could rattle off a bunch of stats about Portland’s bench, but instead I’ll just list the names of the guys who played non-garbage time minutes last night off the bench: Wenyen Gabriel, Caleb Swanigan, Gary Trent Jr. (who has actually shot the ball very well this year), and Anfernee Simons.
- Yesterday was 81 degrees and sunny in Miami and 42 and raining in OKC, so maybe Danilo Gallinari is still a little upset that some combination of the Heat, Thunder and Gallo himself couldn’t figure out a way to get him traded to South Beach. Last night Gallo went 4/16, including 0/5 from the paint (pretty impressive for a guy 6’ 10’’) as OKC lost to the Spurs.
NBA Twitter Table Talk
- Joel Embiid and Marcus Morris had a little bit of a tussle
- Then Morris tried to get a little payback on the court, which was a mistake