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The Tip Off – February 26, 2020 NBA Basketball 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: 2/26/2020 as reported by Aram Hanessian

Honor Roll

  • I’m not convinced a 5-game sample is enough to make “the leap” as some have suggested, but Jayson Tatum is certainly getting close to convincing me. Over his last 5 games, the last 4 of which have been on the road without Kemba Walker, Tatum is averaging 35.4 PTS and 8 REBS with a true shooting of over 72%. Last night in Utah he had 33 PTS and 11 REBS as Boston won 113-103. 
  • I don’t think anybody was worried about how the Houston offense would look after the Capela/Covington trade, but the level they’re playing at would be unheard of if it continues. Since the trade deadline Houston’s offensive rating is 120.2, over 3 points better than Dallas’ season-long league-leading figure. Over that same time period, Russell Westbrook and James Harden have been going absolutely crazy. Wesbrook is averaging 34 PTS, 7.3 REBS, and 6 ASTS on 61% true shooting while Harden is at 31.3/6/7.3 on 67% true shooting. Last night vs Memphis, Russ put up 33/9/8 while Harden chipped in with 30/7/3 as Houston won 140-112. 
  • Some unexpected things happened at the end of the Minnesota/Miami game last night. First down 1 with under 14 seconds left, the Wolves seemingly ran a play to get undrafted rookie Jordan McLaughlin iso’d up on Bam Adebayo. McLaughlin blew right by Bam and laid it in to give Minnesota the lead with 8.5 seconds left. Then, on the ensuing Miami possession, Jimmy Butler got by his man, Malik Beasley, only for noted defensive specialist/rim protector D’Angelo Russell to block his attempted game winner (with some help from Beasley and Jake Layman). For the game, Russell had 27 PTS, 5 REBS, and 6 ASTS on 9/18 shooting, including 7/14 from three, in Minnesota’s 129-126 victory in Miami.

Quirks of the Night

  • Luka Doncic had a triple double last night with 36 PTS, 10 REBS, and 14 ASTS, giving him 21 career triple doubles. That tied Jason Kidd for the Mavericks franchise leader. It took Kidd 500 games to reach that mark, while Luka did it in just 119. 
  • I talked about Jayson Tatum’s recent hot streak above, but here is some historical context. Tatum has now scored over 30 points while shooting at least 60% from the field in three straight games. The last Celtic to accomplish that feat was Kevin McHale in March 1987 per the Elias Sports Bureau. 

Needs Improvement

  • Joel Embiid got hurt early on in the Sixers game in Cleveland last night and with Ben Simmons already out for awhile with a back injury, Philly’s other high priced players are going to need to step up. Instead, Josh Richardson, Al Horford, and Tobias Harris floundered. The trio combined to shoot just 12/35 for 30 points as Philly put up a meager 100 offensive rating (last in the league for the year is over 104) against the league’s 2nd worst defense as the 76ers lost in Cleveland 108-94. 
  • Dillon Brooks signed his 3 year/$35 million extension on February 6th, but since then his efficiency has kind of gone in the tank. Brooks had 22 points last night, but was just 9/26 from the field. Before extending, Brooks had a true shooting of almost 54%, but that has dropped to under 32% since. With Jarren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke out injured, Memphis will need more from Brooks if they hope to hold onto the 8th seed. 

NBA Twitter Table Talk                                                                                            

  • The last two plays of the Heat game show that the unexpected can always take over an NBA game, but Derrick Jones Jr. doing crazy stuff in the air should always be expected. 

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