For all of the people bleating that there are too many games in an NBA season, and that may be all of you, there are occasional reminders that the randomness that comes with playing 1,230 games over 174 nights may be savored as Someone Else’s Problem, reminiscent of this moment from Memphis’ Dillon Brooks:
This happened in a game that allegedly can be considered excessive by the standards of the We Must Preserve The Integrity Of The Game As Defined By Me Collective, a 133-100 win by Sacramento over Memphis in a game that promised to be a hell of quite a bit more competitive than it turned out to be. The Kings, who’ve been on their first real heater since 2005 and more specifically since Jan. 7, laid 133 on the Grizz to not only consolidate their grip on the otherwise viciously unremarkable Pacific Division but to return to the heady days of averaging 120 points per game, a feat that has not been achieved in a full 82-game season by anyone since 1985.
Now we don’t desire to rob Comrade Redford of his increasingly crowded place on the helm of the USS Beamtown—well, actually, after all we do because years of being on the incorrect side of history has made him tetchy now that the Kings have course-corrected and have embraced a more universally accepted definition of fun—however the Kings at the moment are one-tenth of the option to becoming the early ’80s Denver Nuggets, the one biggest examples of the philosophy generally known as The Only Bad Shot Is The One That I’m Not Taking. Between 1981 and 1984, the Nuggets each averaged and allowed 120 a game, mostly because head coach Doug Moe believed that the trail to winning was in making the opposite poor bastard chase you. They did this by cheerfully jacking up greater than 97 shots per game over that stretch, which didn’t seem all that unusual provided that teams within the ’60s routinely took 100 and more, but now looks as if games played by drunks at a fitness gym.
But enough with the musty old history. Now that teams have gotten more comfortable within the 90-plus shot range, whether or not they’re good shots or the things the Lakers take, teams just like the Kings are going to thrive, and nights like last night are going to proliferate. By game:
Bucks 150, Pistons 130: Nothing particularly unusual here except that Milwaukee won the primary quarter, 49-24, and the 2 teams just blithely ignored any defensive sets once that they had mutually agreed with 40 minutes left in the sport that when Giannis hits a 27-foot pull-up jumper to make it 40-12, there’s not much point in GAFFF (giving a flying flaming fuck) any longer.
Blazers 147, Spurs 127: There’s not much a foul team can do when a mediocre team has shooting splits of 59/61/73, and their center and two starting guards mix for 88 in 86 combined minutes. You possibly can’t even depend on them having a hangover from losing by nine to the Lakers the night before despite outscoring them 45-12 within the second quarter, which the Blazers did in a nine-point loss without advantage of load management.
Rockets 119, Timberwolves 114: Jalen Green unclogged his nose on Houston’s otherwise impressive Brick For Vic campaign by chunking up a career-high 42 in a game that was mostly unnoteworthy. But with only the Celtics and 76ers content to win every night and the Western Conference being an entire pigpile, the true fun is at the underside of the table, where the Rockets, Pistons, Hornets and Spurs are frantically burrowing their way toward the Patriot League. And speaking of which …
Jazz 120, Hornets 102: Charlotte maintained its pride of place in Dumpster Flats by going 2-of-16 from three-point range. I mean, it’s advantageous to lose and all because we get that the games are increasingly played for the comfort of general managers and their eight seconds of fame on draft lottery night reasonably than for players or fans, nevertheless it’s not unreasonable to expect a bit more GAFFF than this. Sixteen threes is what you are taking while you’re telling the night janitor on the gym, “Just two more and you then can lock up, I promise.”
Clippers 112, Mavericks 98: One other game within the ’90s, so you realize the possibilities of exemplary moments are just about nil, especially by two an identical teams within the casual and unedifying debate for spots 4 through 12 within the mostly depressed and depressing Western Conference. Kawhi Leonard played. Woo-hoo.
Raptors 125, Knicks 116: Your run-of-the-mill please-make-it-stop Knicks game against a Raptors team which will as well be the Ottawa Senators. However the Raptors announced a non-sellout crowd for the primary time all yr, meaning that even management is losing the desire to pretend any longer. Also, that the weather is simply too crap even for Canadians.
In all, a goofy enough night that did not appear like much but turned out to have greater than you thought. Try getting that with a 66-game schedule. It is not fewer games the NBA needs, because it seems. It’s more Sacramento. And more beams. Definitely more beams.