ALL BALL ALL BALL GROUP CHAT #2

NBA Restart Week Two (8/2 – 8/8)


Wizards 110 @ Nets 118 (8/2)

Mike Ellis

Rui realized giving the Wizards 20 is misspent youth and accordingly gave them nine instead. #freeRui

Jericho Vilar

Folly of youth, dawg. #FREERUI

Mike

Bubble Math: The Magic—who are the seventh seed—had the Nets by 30 at one point and the Nets—the eighth seed—beat the Wizards of purgatory—the ninth seed—by eight.

The Wizards somehow let Levert get 34, Joe Harris got 27, and Jarret Allen dunked in 22. None of these numbers should make sense, and yet, they feel comfortably familiar in Washington.

Can we consider this the play-in game, but send them both home?

Jericho

Reading that makes the Jonathan Isaac injury even more frustrating. 

Mike

Meanwhile, The Magic torched Sac Town by 16 #magicMissile

Jericho

LOLOLOL


Kings 116 @ Magic 132

M

Jer entirely skipped this game. He’ll say it’s because I’m a Magic fan and he left it for me, but I’m only a Magic fan because I like the pain. 

This game was irrelevant. Or it would have been if JI’s cursed left knee didn’t get spooked on a routine drive. This was heartbreaking. Beyond how talented JI is, or how much upside he’s got, to be 22 and to have a knee that’s clearly snakebit, damn.

The Human Torch scorched the nets for 25 on 60%. Double Zero added 23, and Vooch grabbed another double double with 22 and 12.

The Kings are young and fun with Fox, Hield, Bogdan, but they’re still very bad, and their coach is worse. They’re here as part of the Zion Refugee Fund, and even they know it. That 16 point margin at the end was very kind to Sacramento. Magic were up by 36 late in the third.

If you’re gonna watch anything from this game, make sure it’s Fultz splashing from the opposite key.


Mavericks 115 @ Suns  117

M

Pepperidge Farm remembers that look on Luka’s face at the end of regulation when the Rockets somehow took it to overtime. He knew they were gonna lose that game then. I’m not sure that face was him recognizing they were going to drop their next game, again letting a team come back when it should have been buried six feet deep. This time it’s the Suns. Whether he did or didn’t know then, doesn’t really matter. Dallas has now lost a quarter of its Restart games, in pretty much the only way Dallas loses games: comebacks. This team is the kind of haunted Netflix turns into a ten episode series that suffers pacing issues all through the middle.

J

Luka’s international. He knows all about short television seasons. Eight episodes is the new ten. Is it also weird that I somehow thought that THIS was the game where the Indiana Pacers’ TJ Warren dropped 51? 

“Man, that guy’s good. Hope they don’t trade him.” 

M

All of Boban’s highlights are in slow motion.


Celtics 128 @ Blazers 124

M

Oh god, someone woke up the Celtics. 

J

Woke up and got a haircut.

M

Hayward did Hayward things (22 on 60%). And this is where it gets nutty… On a day where Kemba had 14 on 83%, he wasn’t even the hot hand. Jaylen Brown had 30 on 56% and The Green Mamba (just go with it) put in 24 on 50% which he and the Celtics desperately needed after the last game.

J

When Tatum, Brown and Hayward all have above average stat lines on the same night there’s one image that always pops up in my head, it’s of an ornate brass plaque placed on the doorway of an elegantly appointed mansion hidden somewhere in Westchester County. It reads: BRAD STEVENS’ SCHOOL FOR GIFTED WINGS. 

M

And to escape with a win against a revitalized PDX that can go with anybody on any given day (especially when Nurk opts to stop playing with his food, and goes for 30 on 60%). A big statement win for the boys from Boston.


Spurs 108 @ Grizzlies 106

J

So let’s just say that The Commish’s Zion stimulus plan doesn’t fly, what’s the next logical step? Ja, ja? These Spurs, I’m sure, are coming into each and every one of these games with one thing in mind: TO FUCK YOUR PLAN B IN THE A. 

And I love them for it.

M

We’re realistically looking at a world where we don’t get Ja in the playoffs either. The Grizz have only snagged one dub in Orlando, and this is all heartbreaking. Ja’s easily the most electric player not comfortably in the playoffs, even if he hibernates for three quarters a game, and then wakes up in the fourth to stuff his gullet. It’s a bear joke, because Grizzlies. Get it?


New New Balance man Dejounte Murray had 21, with ten boards and two steals to lead his team in those categories. Anyone else feel an odd sense of deja vu?


Bucks 116 @ Rockets 120

J

Because I know how much he’s got personally invested in this game, I’m going to clear out and let my guy Mike go iso on this one (very apropos). 

I hope you don’t mind, dear reader, that I recuse myself briefly from our narrative and join you in the stands for a better view of the show. 

M



There’s no reason the Bucks should have lost this game. Just send big man Antetokounmpo to stuff it on the Bottle Rockets. The man’s arms are longer than the Rockets starting lineup is tall. Don’t believe me? Check out the play in the first quarter when Giannis was held up at the stripe—and then in one motion—simply turned and slipped the ball into the hoop Space-Jam style. Or, you  know, this:

That’s some bully shit right there.

DiVincenzo has extreme Scalabrine energy.

You know how in Star Wars, the Millennium Falcon gets caught in the Death Star’s tractor beam, and old-man Kenobi knows he’s inevitably gonna have to die at the hands of Vader? That’s playing the Rockets when they’re on. It doesn’t matter how many points you’re up, they’re gonna reel you in and snatch your whole soul.

I, uh, may have mentioned how nerve-wracking it is to understand that the Rockets are only about 2% more makes on their threes from closing any gap. They are also 2% fewer made threes from blowing any lead. Basically, being a Rockets fan is 2% joy and 98% existential dread.

In a game when the Rockets casually tossed 61 big-boy shots at the hoop, and made barely a third, it was their defense that won this game *chills*


Raptors 107 @ Heat 103

M

Fred Van Vleet had a third of his team’s points, Jimmy Buckets did not.


Nuggets 121 @ Thunder 113

J

Let me ask you this, if things go according to plan (which looks like they are so far) has there ever been a taller Big Three in NBA history than 7’0 Nikola Jokic, 7’2 Bol Bol and 6’10 Michael Porter Jr? 

And on top of that, Jokic is the PG!

M

I was thinking the Bucks give them a run for it, but Middleton is only 6’7”.

The Sixers have 6’10” Ben Simmons, 7’0” Embiid, and 6’9” Al Horford on the court together.

Historically, The Rockets (I know, I know) had 7’0” Hakeem at center, 7’4” Ralph Sampson at forward, and while he primarily was a backup for The Twin Towers, “The Ivory Tower” Jim Petersen was 6’10”.

I’m very keen to see if this gambit pays off for the Nuggets. While a majority of nba lineups are continually shrinking like they nipped from a bottle marked “drink me,” this massive-guy lineup feels inspired by actual damn mountains. 


Pacers 111 @ Wizards 100

J

Caught a tweet from the Wizards’ team account hyping up this game with Wizards PF Isaac Bonga and Pacers PF TJ Warren as the featured matchup of the night.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

And then TJ Warren activated his Galaxy Opal card. 

LOLOLOLOL  

M

Bloody hell. How are we already on the third Wizards game?

How many games before TJ Warren is too good for the Pacers and goes west in search of adventure and a big three?


You already know, Rui Time: another unspectacular night for the rookie trapped in the basketball nether realm. He somehow managed to find six people on the Wizards to pass it to. #freeRui


Grizzlies 99 @ Pelicans 109

J

Here’s a featured matchup of the night for you. How about 2006 Most Hated NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Player JJ Redick taking on 2018 Most Hated NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Player Grayson Allen in a No Holds Barred, Winner Buys Brunch Match? There was no way the old gunslinger was losing this one days after a pouty picture of him on the bench turned into a meme and the announcement of the launch of his new podcasting company. There was no getting away from that buzzsaw, kid.

The Thicc God also had one of his signature “bursts” to help secure the win (FYI, I’m going to call them “thursts” from here on out). The fact that he had to do it in 25 minutes instead of the corporate mandated 15 is beside the point.

M

If you had told 2006 me—back when I had knees that would let me hoop—that I would appreciate a grizzled, surly JJ Reddick at any point, I would have TYPED SOME VERY AGGRESSIVE TWEETS IN ALL CAPS.

But here we are. Now that we’ve lived through Reddick for thirteen seasons, I get the sense that he very well could have done more than be a situational sniper, but he didn’t. Out of spite. I can appreciate that. Plus he has a pretty okay podcast where hoopers get to be slightly less sanitized. Alternatively, fuck Grayson Allen.

They took the handcuffs off Thicc God so he could thurst his way into 23 on mediocre shooting, getting blocked by JJJ, and, an alley-oops-he-did-it again before getting subbed for jogging. Jogging! Banner day for the guy that the NBA and Pels may have to acknowledge has a Blake Griffin ceiling. #BLobCity 

J

OMFG #BLobCity

M

The worst part of this game is that Ja and the Grizz are 0-3 during the restart, and they lost in those amazing Vancouver throwbacks.


Spurs 130 @ Sixers 132

M

Come for the Dejounte updates, stay for the…nothing. Don’t know who cared about this game, but it wasn’t us.

Dejounte had a down game: 13 points, six rebounds, and two steals.

San Antonio almost fucked up another real playoff team’s day.

J

It would be a travesty if the Spurs didn’t leave the bubble with “WENT TO DISNEYWORLD TO FUCK SOME TEAM’S HOPES UP & ALL I GOT WAS THIS SHIRT” shirt. 


Lakers 116 @ Jazz 108

J

Lakers clinched the #1 seed in the Western Conference. Okay cool, glad that they can ease up on the throttle and let The Caru-Show get some more rest before the playoffs. 

M

The love Lake fans have for Caruso befuddles me.

J

Clearly I’m not going to break any new ground with this buuut all of the Alex Caruso love most likely comes down to the “She’s All That” theory. Caruso is the frumpy student in the corner of the classroom, the normie that everyone knows or is themselves in real life. There’s an audience surrogate appeal to him, which the not so subtle bald spot and junkyard dog approach to the one facet of the game that any scrub off the street can make a difference at (DEFENSE!) only exacerbates. Who in their life hasn’t wanted the King to look past their first impressions, gently stroke their cheek, have their horn rimmed glasses pulled off their nose while a timely gust of wind shakes the various ponytails and bobby pins off their surprisingly luscious  supermodel hair and be told “Yeah, thug. You can run with us.” 

He’s Laney Boggs with hops. What’s not to love?

M

That’s a very long-winded way of saying male-pattern baldness is relatable.

Somewhat related: do you think they have hair dye in The Bubble or has LBJ’s beard found the fountain of youth?

J

I’m sure they have hair color products in that NBA2K Neighborhood Barbershop somewhere.

M

The sunset jerseys weren’t enough to grab Utah a win, and keep the restart from sunsetting on them a little. Like, the Jazz aren’t gonna fall out of the playoffs, but this is one team that needs to grab some dubs during the do-over. They’ve looked godawful in their one win (against the lowly Gulls), and have been woefully inconsistent in their loses. At least Donovan Mitchell finally went off. Gobert didn’t miss a shot, and Mike Conley prefers playing in the starting lineup. Imagine that.

LBJ had his first truly complete game in Orlando, and AD dropped 42, which pretty much means the Lakers win. That’s expected. What I found most interesting though, is that Kuzma seems to have found a three ball in his bag. He’s shooting it pretty well in The Bubble, and while it wasn’t volume shooting (the game plan was feed the Brow), he was two for three this game and is 56% combined in the three restart games. Contrast that to a soul searing 16% back in March.

Waiters finally returned to reality. Still a dude.


Nets 119 @ Bucks 116 (8/4)

J

It was bound to happen. After almost a week of high intensity competition preceded by four months of quarantine induced inactivity, it looks like the league has finally hit a wall. Can’t blame anyone for it. The adrenaline rush from The Restart wasn’t going to last forever. When we started this project, Mike and I were basically live blogging each game in real time we were so hyped for the NBA to be back. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for the players living in this new normal of playing what could potentially amount to be playoff games every other day away from your home and family and the basic ability to whatever it was you used to do to decompress. Heaviest is the heads that wear the crowns, so of course the teams who were favorites going into the bubble were more than likely to get tripped up first. Looking at all of today’s box scores, things might get weird for the next couple of days and if you’re teams like the Nets, the Suns, the Pacers and players like Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Devin Booker, TJ Warren maybe weird is exactly what the doctor ordered.  

The other, higher ranked teams? Their prescription may be for the return of the load management DNPs. Ah, just like the good old days.

M

Do you think Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot needs a nickname? Is he there yet? I can’t see his name and not think “The Parrot.” So, congrats, Timothe, that’s your nickname now. At least on this blog.

J

Other options I workshopped were Play TLC and Timothe “Call Me By All Three Names” Luwawu-Cabarrot.

M

I await the inevitable “chasing waterfalls” jokes at the expense of TLC.

All right, so, you know how I said we were gonna see a lot of the comfy teams doze while hungry bottom feeders play to keep their seasons alive? The Bucks ladies and gentlemen, went full Bambi mode and let the Nets take one off of them. Are the Deers dusted? Are The Parrot and co. better than we thought? No, of course not. The Bucks weren’t exactly going full energy, were playing with their rotations, and still put up 116 and could have won.

The only take away from this game is that the Bucks still can’t defend the three, and that’s one thing the Nets are pretty good at (21 made threes on 57). This after a game where the Rockets shot more threes than anyone EVER. Watch everyone gameplan for the Bucks exactly this way: install a blind beyond the arc, and lob shots.


Mavericks 114 @ Kings 110

J

Can’t be a good sign when you’re playing a must win game against the Kings and it took going into overtime and a historic triple double by triple double enthusiast Luka Doncic to secure the W. 

Could it be that the only reason Kings head coach Luke Walton still has a job is because it’s really super fucked up to fire someone during a pandemic in the bubble?

M

I hated this game. Or rather, I hate the storyline that came from this game. It’s all “Luka did that triple-double thing he loves so much, in a big win for the Mavs.” It’s only a big win because The Mavs are bleeding out late in games, and it took a close, over time win over the miserable Kings and their heavy-headed coach to staunch it. As bad as the Kings are, they almost came back to win. And they should have. That would be the juicier storyline. But no, the Sac Lunch Boys had to screw that up, too.

We may not find out how fucked up it is to fire someone during a pandemic with Walton, but hopefully we have a shot with that asshole football guy from WSU. Walton is—for better or worse—kind of basketball royalty, and as problematic as he and Pops are, they still have jobs. I don’t think that’s gonna change because he’ll inevitably piledrive every ounce of the Kings’ potential into the dirt.


Suns 117 @ Clippers 115

J

Was going to make a stupid crack about Magic City chicken wings here but I can’t even front. Devin Booker has been unconscious since he got here, the Suns are 3-0 happily nestled on his shoulders and he won this game with a look you in the eyes dagger straight to PG and Kawhi’s chests. Ain’t nothing funny about things if things are all business. 

M

Full disclosure, I have a friend that is a die-hard Suns fan. That’s like staring into an existential void, and saying “please sir, may I have some more?” Which is to say, this is nice. And it could have been so awful. There was a possibility where TJ Warren goes all “I’m the juggernaut, bitch,” for Indiana while Los Suns do very Sun-like things and blink out of relevancy. Instead, Book has gone Super Saiyan, but instead of contrived, lengthy diatribes before ultimately downing his foes, he’s gone punch for punch with some of the game’s most feared, or just flat out knocked them into the dirt. And the shot… It’s not quite Dame’s “bye bye,” but for a franchise like the Suns, it’s already legend. Lie down a minute, young man, you’ve earned it.

J

Who’s more “hello darkness, my old friend” Suns fans or Knicks fans? Has to be Knicks fans, right?

M

Gotta be the Knickerbockers. The garbage men have been on strike for thirty years at MSG because they are traaaaaash. Not only are they trash, but they think they’re supposed to be good! They’re not even the best NBA team in the Boroughs! And name that team’s starting lineup from memory, go! Any team starting Julius Randle is automatically the People Under the Stairs of the NBA (the cannibal kids, not the dope rappers). Plus, unis suck. I feel so bad for Mitchell Robinson.


Magic 109 @ Pacers 120

J

In the past week, no one has made themselves more money in Orlando NOT smuggling coke in a high speed cigarette boat than the Pacers’ TJ Warren.

M

Who do you think HAS smuggled the most cocaína into The Bubble?

J

Honestly? I don’t even think it’s a player per se? My money is on it being a long term (or short term, really) girlfriend when everyone’s friends and family are allowed into the bubble. 

M

Warren shot 76.5% from the floor while still yakking up 17. And on a night where the Magic were in fact, terribly mundane, that’s a dub.


Celtics 106 @ Heat 112

J

Speaking of fast moving cocaine, how all time are those Miami Vice uniforms? Even though Bam and Duncan Robinson (surprisingly not a Spur) held things down with Jimmy Butler out, I’m going to have to give the game ball to wily veteran Andre Iguodala for showing these youngsters the importance of having an adult in the room. It can’t all be about Tik Tok and copping drugs from some strange sea vessel parked in the marina, boys.

M

I’m obviously a bigger fan of the black Vices, but these cotton candies are still a driiiiiiip. Who needs Butler when you have Kelly Olynk? No stat will back me up on this, but he’s the key to them winning. In the same way that Ray Allen was key to the Heat toppling the Celtics way back when. Yeah, I just equated Kelly Olynk to Jesus. I’m not happy about it. Double blackjacks for Bam and adult male named Duncan. Goran Dragic poured in 20 off the bench. Also, Razor-Ramon cosplaying Tyler Herro “Hey-yo’d” some guy named Grant Williams with a step back three which you will see in exactly eleven highlight reels; one for every real point he scored this game. Dear god, that dunk Bam had on two Celtics players whose names you definitely know (before being reduced to two jobbers on a poster) was filthy. 


Rockets 102 @ Trailblazers 110

J

A tradition unlike any other, the obligatory “Jeff Green fools you into believing in him again because he had a good game” game. Another player really taking advantage of whatever the hell’s in the bubble’s water supply is Portland’s Gary Trent Jr. Keep going, man. When Carmelo eventually retires and you being in the starting five pushes CJ to small forward, the people of Portland will definitely love leading the league in starting guards that no one thinks can win together but don’t have the balls to trade.

M

I’ve fallen in the “Jeff Green is an absolute dude” trap since we (Seattle) swapped for him on draft night 2007. It’s only fitting that he’ll haunt my team now. If we made an NBA All-Bubble Team, Gary Trent Jr. would be on it. Maybe even first team. As for PDX eventually going island-of-misfit guards 1-8, missing from the Bubble but of that mold are Rodney Hood and Trevor Ariza. Good news, stockpiling legit talent absolutely no one wants is so predictably Portland, the fans don’t really know better.

From the Houston vantage point, this was a very encouraging loss for them. It wasn’t a game they NEEDED, but they played like it, and the rag-tag bench of small lads played a potent Portland team tough, matching them shot for shot, even with Harden and Westbrook warming pine for a practical eternity compared to what they’re used to.

All that said, Jer and I are desperate to have Dame and the Blazers into the playoffs.

It’s funny to hear the players shout “and one,” so clearly like this a 2K team practice.


At one point in this game, Harden was almost exclusively guarding Nurk and had ALL of Houston’s offensive rebounds. 

Harden with five fouls halfway through the third. Apparently you can finesse a finesser.

Dame felt Westbrook was getting a little too chatty with the refs, and offered him his ear instead. Best of buds, these two.

J

Houston’s Daniel House Jr. with the headband and Marge Simpson beehive hair combo. My hat’s off to you, sir.

M

M-I-C-K-E-Y H-O-U-S-E.


Grizzlies 115 @ Jazz 124 (8/5/20)

J

What the fuck else can possibly happen to the Grizzlies? They haven’t won a single game in the bubble, they lost Triple J for the season after tearing up his knee and all signs are pointing to them having to go against either Portland or possibly the red hot Suns in a play-in game for THE GODDAMN EIGHTH SEED! If you told me that the Grizz were suffering from impostor syndrome, I wouldn’t disagree with you. They just let themselves get beat by a sputtering Jazz team led by Mike Conley and Joe Ingles, that’s them telling on themselves enough.  

M

I wanted to watch this game live. The Van Citys versus Purple Mountain Majesty! I’m really glad I didn’t though. I texted Jer at half asking if the Grizz were gonna blow another game. Predictably, Ja went hard in the second half finishing with a respectable 20. Which is exactly the same amount as that Duke asshole. Grizzlies are 0-4, in full panic mode, and yet that loss meant nothing compared to JJJ going down with a torn left meni. Knee betrayals are treacherous and progressive. Sending good vibes and well wishes to the big guy.

I’m not gonna harsh Memphis too much for Conley going off. The dude has always been a supremely overpaid all-star adjacent guard, who is back into the starting lineup, catching rhythm and had something to prove against the old ball club. Ingles, though, is Utah Alex Caruso. 

I have a solution for the Grizzlies/Blazers/Suns conundrum, albeit an unconventional one: put all three teams on the court at the same time for four quarters of King of the Court.

J

I SECOND THAT!


Sixers 107 @ Wizards 98

M

Even with Simmons’ knee going day-to-day on them, Sixers should have won by at least 20, but in typical under-performing fashion, they scraped out a nine point win on the creaky back of Joel Embiid.

Thybulle put in a routine, strong defensive performance and Shake started!

In the ultimate act of defiance, Rui shot 18% from the floor. Good job, young buck. #freeRui


Nuggets 132 @ Spurs 126

J

Must be nice having a young buck like Michael Porter Jr. to hand the scoring baton off to when your whole starting backcourt is out with injuries. Jokic has to be thrilled with the coming out party MPJ’s been having (with his assistance, of course) the past couple games.

What isn’t thrilling, however, is Bol Bol’s DNP – COACH IS A COWARD.

M

I’ve known about MPJ since he was a teen, hooping it up on Brandon Roy’s Nathan Hale team, and balling with Trae Young. He’s an absolute bucket, and his production shows that, for sure. The two things that I’m really interested to see is: 1) How do the Nuggets and MPJ play when their back court gets right, and have Will Barton and Jamal Murray back. Right now play goes through Jokic, and points go through MPJ. Junior’s a rookie and his production will drop off here and there, so when this happens, and the guards are back, do the Nuggets return to reality? 2) What happens if Bol Bol absolutely emerges? Do you run a lineup of Murray, Barton, MPJ, Jokic and Bol? If you thought the Bucks struggle guarding the perimeter… this could be a death sentence in the West, no matter how much talent.

In this game, Jokic was still chasing down absolute legend Fat Lever in all-time Nuggets triple doubles. Shout out to Fat Lever.


Thunder 105 @ Lakers 86

J

How good is this Thunder team, you ask? They’re so good that even the mere hint of them pulling away with it (like when they went up 26-18 to end the FIRST QUARTER) is reason enough to ease up on the starters’ minutes and give them some *wink wink nudge nudge* in game load management. Might as well sit back and relax because the Point God was definitely in his bag today.

M

Yeah, yeah, Point God. He’s earned it, but uh, while he was unconscious from the floor, he only had five dimes. I have much deeper thoughts on CP3’s career, but I’ll save them. 

The Lakers were just that bad. And they pretty much have been. Brow only had, what, nine points? On sub thirty-percent shooting? That happens, the Lakers lose. It doesn’t help that the rest of the team spent the night trying to square peg the round hole.

J

Glorious Basketball Names From Around the World (Mail In Ballot): Thunder SG Luguentz Dort, originally from Montreal, QC, Canada. Fucking epic.

M

I always want to call him Sgt. Luguentz Dort.


Raptors 109 @ Magic 99

M

The Rap Gods continue to play the best team ball in Orlando, this time, against Orlando. Sure VanVleet is going off, but, there aren’t particularly devastating individual performances for Toronto. Just really strong defense, and efficient shooting to go perfect from The Bubble.

Meanwhile none of the Magic starters shot above 43% which does absolutely nothing for trying to win basketball games. After starting off as one of the hottest teams and enjoying the home-cooked Disney fair vittles, Magic Missile has gone mundane. To borrow a great sports quote, “they are who we thought they were.”

Agent 00 went down on a flagrant foul, and had to leave the game but not before giving Kyle Lowry one of the meanest injury walk offs ever.

J

I love how Lowry practically threw Gordon his room key in response. 


Nets 115 @ Celtics 149

J

Hey, Nets fans. At least they beat the Bucks yesterday. That was pretty cool.

M

Broken Nets go Soul II Soul, “back to liiiiife, back to reality.”


Pelicans 125 @ Kings 140 (8/6)

M

I got this one, Jericho: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL


Heat 116 @ Bucks 130

M

It cannot be overstated just how abysmally the Heat played in the final quarter. In the final 12 minutes of the game, the entire team only scored 18 points. The Bucks doubled that and walked out with the win.


Pacers 99 @ Suns 114

M

The fact that we got this game instead of a TJ Warren/Book 1v1 burst a lot of bubbles.

J

Next game, each one of those dudes are going to go off for a 40 spot.


Clippers 126 @ Mavericks 111

M

I watched this “playoff tune-up game” buzzer-to-buzzer, and here’s what I learned: if Luka/Kristaps and Kawhi/PG13 cancel each other out, Zubac takes over, and balls out. Mavs play the fourth quarter like its cornhole, the ball flopping all over the boards, but very rarely falling in. This game was tied at 101, and then the fourth quarter happened.

J

Finally, The Ivica Zubac Game. The streets have been waiting.


Blazers 125 @ Nuggets 115

M

Apparently, Dame and Nurk went sub-zero with some ice baths after the Rockets win, and if the brutality of their performances is any indicator, they might have to main them baths. Dame put up a frosty 45 on 62%, 11 FOR 18 FROM THREE, oh, and 12 assists for good measure. He also stroked an utterly abusive charge and pop three that left Torrey Craig in no man’s land for a four point play.

J

Good fucking luck, Lakers.

M

Gary Trent Jr still All-Bubble with 27 on 67%, and shooting 7 for 10 from the arc. The catch and shoot is LETHAL, but the numbers don’t even do this guy justice. He’s zipping up and down the court, ripping balls free, boxing out bigs, keeping play moving down the court, pumping his guys up, feeding dunks, and pestering the opposite team.

J

GTJ 4 MVP

M

Nurk was the goddamn Batman, shutting down The Joker’s schemes before they had a chance to affect Rip City. And any other Denver big got a suplex into the hardwood from the Bosnian Beast for good measure.

And oh god, that dunk on Bol squared… I told Jericho I thought that Nurk called that shot. He went after ANYBODY foolish enough to wander into the paint. That includes a poor, defenseless Mount Bol who was absolutely eviscerated.

J

Is that what conquering Everest feels like? Although, the way Nurkic cocked back for the yammington seems like it was just light work.

M
MPJ: If you don’t know, now you know.


Lakers 97 @ Rockets 113

J

Lakers know the Blazers are coming, right?

M

If I were a Lake homer, I’d say that LBJ’s hammy (and a quarter of their bench) is more important than who they face in the first round. I’m not, so, they legitimately need to worry that Dame will drop more points than their entire anemic offense.

Lakers kept three major players on the pine, while the Rockets only ran EIGHT total. It says a lot about your team when Jeff Green and Ben McLemore outscore pretty much everyone on your team, including the Brow.

A majority of this game was a track meet: Lakers run down the court, clank, Houston run back the other way, shoot a three. Only one team was running a 40m, and the other a 1600m. 

Houston was +45 points from threes alone during this game at one point.

J

Defensive stalwart James Harden’s rejection of Quinn Cook was good, but Kuzma’s savage block on Harden was better. Still, the Beard never gets enough credit for his casual flirtation with playing defense.

M

Kuz threw himself a modest block party, and I am here for it. However, we gotta give love to Danuel House ping-ponging the Kuzma layup off the glass, too.


Jazz 111 @ Spurs 119 (8/7/20)

J

I sure hope Joe Ingles got paid extra for babysitting the Jazz’s triple A affiliate today. I’m sure it did them a world of good, getting all that in game experience. Plus who says no to a free trip to Disneyworld?

M

I would say no to a free trip to Disneyworld.

I just love that the Spurs now have a better chance to make the playoffs then the Pels. Pop giving a big ol’ DX crotch chop to Adam Silver’s golden boy, and the fucking Jazz were complicit in it, tossing out their session players.


Thunder 92 @ Grizzlies 121

J

Yeah, there are reasons for things. Yeah, they did just come off beating the Lakers a couple days ago. Yeah, they didn’t have Steven Adams or Dennis Schroder. Yeah, SGA only scored 10 on a horrible shooting night. Yeah yeah yeah, BUT…

Today was Ja Morant’s daughter’s first birthday.

And he had to miss it because he was stuck in a Bizarro summer camp in Orlando with all them dudes from work.

There was no way this W wasn’t going to get wrapped in a bow and sent home to baby girl. NO GODDAMN WAY. 

M

OKC’s win against the Lakers is looking a whole lot less spectacular these days. 

Shout out to Darius Bazely putting a -23 plus/minus in his 27 minutes of work. I’m not saying he’s the reason they lost, just spotlighting an absolute black hole, for science. 

Jer had it right, there was too much on this game for the Grizz to blow it, and they shot the absolute piss out of the ball. Valanciunas feasted at the rim with Steven Adams absent, and Nerlens Noel could do nothing but trust that process.


Kings 106 @ Nets 119

J

Oh cool. The corpse of the Brooklyn Nets clinched a spot in the playoffs with a win over the corpse of the Sacramento Kings. That guarantees us at least 4 more Brooklyn Nets games in the near future. Tight.

M

Fuck this game. Fuck the Kings. Fuck the Broken Nets. NBA, leave the corpses alone.


Magic 101 @ 76ers 108

J

I’m glad they won considering that Ben Simmons is out indefinitely with a knee. They’re too good not to, especially against the shittier side of the weaker conference. What makes me even happier is the fact that Al Horford had a strong game after being placed back into the starting lineup. He’s been too good a player for far too long to be treated like a bad signing who was unjustly thought of as a detriment to Simmons and Embiid’s development. I hope he has an even better game the next time

M

Ben Simmons and Embiid are detrimental to Horford’s development. Yeah, I said it. And frankly, the Sixers are one Embiid back, knee, ankle…injury from having to put all their roulette chips on Simmons’ ability to develop a jumper, or Embiid’s ability to stay healthy for a championship run. Yes, this team is good. Yes, they are legitimately fun. But they’re also just a placeholder of what this team will actually look like at the end of any, and every regular season, and both aren’t gonna work this dead horse through the Philly Glue Factory much longer (maybe not even next season).

Watch, Simmons leaves to go jumper-less D-Wade for somebody’s big three (Brooklyn’s got some cash below the luxury, so let’s say them in this nightmare scenario), Embiid’s body gives up the ghost and then Horford gets a ring with, like, the Celtics.

There WAS a game that happened (and Philly won, kinda), but being a Sixers doomsayer is way more fun.


Wizards 107 @ Pelicans 118

J

You know how I know that Rui Hachimura loves the game of basketball? The man poured in 23 points with 6 boards and actually helped his team keep things interesting for three whole quarters when he absolutely positively did not have to. He saw that Zion was being load management’d out and thought to himself how much that helped improve his team’s chances of winning even in the slightest. A team that he had no reason to believe even wanted to win, also, in the slightest, but still gave it a go. They all did actually, everyone on that Wizards roster gave it a go when they (being a 24 win team) absolutely positively did not have to. Not to sound too sentimental but they did it anyway, so shout out to them. 

M

Jer beat me to #freeRui, so there’s very little else to this game. The woeful Wizards were rolled out of the playoffs by a team that will no doubt soon join them, which means that Zion probably played his last game of the season Monday against the Grizz.


Celtics 122 @ Raptors 100

J

They had to be cooled off at some point. I mean let’s be real, who do they think they are? The Phoenix Suns?

M

On a night when the Raps shot like the A-Team—missing everything in sight—this game was such a beatdown that what Nick Nurse’s team really needed to call was a doctor.


Clippers 122 @ Trailblazers 117 (8/8/20)

J

NOW WE’RE TALKING. It was a great, very competitive game between two very capable teams. The Clippers really rallied around each other amid Kawhi’s furlough day. Imagine this team at full strength, yadda yadda. Portland continued playing really quality basketball, getting substantial contributions from their supporting cast: Melo, Nurkic and this blog’s adopted son Gary Trent Jr. only to be derailed by some inexplicable misses on the freethrow line from Dame, blah blah blah HEY YOU! YEAH YOU! WHAT’S YOUR NAME?! DAMIAN! FUCK YOU DAMIAN! HEY YOU! WHAT’S YOUR NAME?! PAUL! FUCK YOU, PAUL! FUCK YOU! OH YEAH, SWITCH TEAMS! NICE FREE THROWS, I’M GIVING YOUR ALBUM’S ONE MIC RATINGS! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!

M

Gary Trent Jr. to Anfernee Simons. Google it. Just do it. 

We’ve homer’d pretty hard for Rip City, but this is ultimately a game they gave to the Clippers. The Blazers had the lead basically until the end, and that’s a damn shame. But not as big a shame as The Beast being denied a quadruple double by being one damn assist shy.


Jazz 132 @ Nuggets 134

J

Since my beloved Titan Bol Bol received a cowardly DNP-CD, Denver’s “Big Three” is rounded out by the recently returned Jamal Murray instead. Guess the great basketball minds of Colorado can’t handle the thought of developing a Three Celestials of Death lineup. Whatever, that’s cool. Enjoy the Jamal Murray roller coaster ride (up then down, up then down, up then down, up then…oh shit were you filming this whole time?).

M

A game after Joe Ingles and the Weekend-at-Bernie’s Jazz intentionally crumpled before the Spurs, specifically, and only to have everyone fresh for this game, they, uh, got beat by Jamal Murray’s 25% from three, and the stripe. And like every gamble, it looked good for a while. Then one day some very large men beat down their door, demanded payment, or threaten to get biblical with some knee caps and a baseball bat. Those men were Jokic, MPJ, and, I guess Jamal Murray as their punchy little sidekick. I say that, and yet Murray had 12 boards. One shy of being the rebounds leader for the Jazz. 

Now the Jazz are sitting with the aftermath of a 2OT game, in a position where they’ll be trying desperately to get fresh for the Mavs, who they should really, really want to beat. There’s a very real likelihood that the Jazz go 2-6 in the restart, and for that goddawful showing.


Lakers 111 @ Pacers 116

J

Frame 1: A blurry picture of Kawhi Leonard / Frame 2: A picture of reading glasses / Frame 3: A picture of TJ Warren

M

Hey, the Lakers broke 100! And still lost!

I keep waiting for TJ Warren to have his Icarus moment—yes, another snipe at the Suns—and come crashing down to earth, but that was not this game.

I’ve already made a Weekend-at-Bernie’s reference, which is a shame, because I could really do so again. So instead, can someone just go poke Anthony Davis with a stick?


Suns 119 @ Heat 112

J

Devin Booker and the nuclear hot Suns just going about their beezy while Tyler Herro, who probably hit the vape the wrong way, foolishly tried to make this a rivalry game of some sort? Either way, Coach Cal would’ve been proud of his boys. I’m sure they were in school long enough for him to remember their names, right? 

M

Not sure what Herro’s on, but one does not go to war with Phoenix when your backup is Duncan Robinson and Jae Crowder. – Sun Tzu (noted Suns fan), probably

Duncan Robinson looks like a guy that would make a decent latte while wearing chambray and an apron in a coffee shop that plays The Lumineers slightly above talking level.

In the game to prove whose burning ball is best, Devin Booker went 0-7 from three and still sat the Heat down.


Bucks 132 @ Mavericks 136

J

Granted, he’s had empty calorie triple doubles before but tonight’s Luka triple double feature (36 pts / 14 rebs / 19 asts) was my very favorite kind. The one stat I always pay attention to whenever I hear someone had a triple double is the assists. If a triple double’s assist count is between 10-12, your man was stat stuffing. Someone on the bench told him he dumbfucked his way towards almost getting double digit assists so he might as well make a conscious effort passing to his teammates or figure out if bouncing it off the backboard to himself for the jam counts. In other words, it’s a greedy person turning an unselfish act into a selfish one. BUUUT, if your triple double has an assist count anywhere near 20 then you were just in complete control of the offense, plain and simple. The defense couldn’t fool you, you dictated pace and, most importantly, you had trust in your teammates and they you. Add to that the 36 points and the 14 rebounds and what I got was my favorite kind of triple double hand crafted by my current favorite NBA player: the get the fuck on my back, we’re winning this one variety.

M

Brook Lopez had himself a giant game, but what I’ll remember most is how many times Porzingis cocked back and smashed one in his face.

On a night when Giannis had five blocks, I’m compelled to give the nod to KP’s absolute hall monitor-ing of small child DiVincenzo, sending his ass back to homeroom.

The International Men of Mystery, Dallas Branch took over late in this game, which I’m sure is a welcome sight for their home contingent of digital effigies.


Features

The week’s Almost Valuable Player

Mike

Wes Iwundu’s Phosphor Green Curry 7s, which looked like a goddamn exploding star against the black socks and unis.

ABABCG Roofing’s Employee of Week

Mike

JaMychal Green closed on Tim Hardaway so fast and slapped the ball into the virtual seats so hard, Tim’s gotta drop the Junior because he’s got a new daddy now.

Jericho

Jesus Christ. LOLOLOLOLOL

Glorious Basketball Names from Around the World

Mike

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are a Filipino team that just sounds like they get shit done, no matter what. I have no reason to believe that’s true, but whatever. This name belongs on a team chock full of scrappy big men that just crash the paint, every play. It’s a name for a team like the Nuggets. Could you imagine Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., and Bol Bol suiting up for the Denver Rain or Shine Elasto Painters? Of course you can. With a logo that’s just the Rocky Mountains drenched in paint Sherwin Williams style? Trade for Ben Simmons, and let Brook Lopez play the two, fuck it. Big Men Get Shit Done.


Image by Getty Images & All Ball All Ball Group Chat

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