All the need-to-know info from Tuesday’s slate.
Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo Are Here to Ruin Your Trade Analysis
Remember Domantas Sabonis? When he and Victor Oladipo were traded from the Thunder to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George, the consensus was disbelief at the lopsidedness of the trade. It turns out GM Kevin Pritchard knew the sour reaction might eventually turn sweet.
Both Sabonis and Oladipo can be pretty good once they’re given the space to thrive (a.k.a., not playing with Russell Westbrook).
Sabonis came into Tuesday’s game against the Kings averaging a double-double (13 points, 10.2 rebounds), and in just 16 first-half minutes, he put up 10 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. That’s a triple-double pace for ya. He finished with a 12-16-5—his fourth double-double in five games. Meanwhile, Oladipo put up 14 points and parlayed it with four rebounds, two assists, a block, and a steal in the Pacers’ 101-83 victory.
It’s too early to declare that Indiana did well in the trade given that it lost one of the league’s top 10 players, but if George bolts from Oklahoma City after this season, and both Sabonis and Oladipo continue to thrive in greener pastures, then Pritchard may end up having the last laugh.
Devin Booker’s Candy Bag Has Some Surprises
Booker can shoot, but it turns out he can get it on the fast break, too.
Devin Booker vs. all of the Nets pic.twitter.com/qTuzIZ2htE— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) November 1, 2017
Amid the early-season mess, Booker remains the bright side of the Suns.
Russ Is Still the OG MVP
While Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the early MVP rave so far this season, Russ led the balanced Thunder (17 from Melo, 20 from Paul George, a 12-10-9 from Russ) to a dominating 110-91 win over the Greek Freak’s Bucks.
Westbrook also stole Giannis’s penchant for viral highlights with a few of his own. First came this alley-oop combo between Russ and Steven Adams.
Then he decided halfway through an aggressive layup attempt: You know what? Maybe it’s best to dunk this.
Russ goes up for the lay-in. Dunks instead. Shows the Bucks his hand because it’s way strong. pic.twitter.com/mxzZDafCi8— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) November 1, 2017
The Lonzo Effect Runs Deep—and Maybe the L.A. Nightlife Effect Does, Too
The ubiquitous #LonzoEffect has become a very easy and funny joke to make so far this season, but sometimes, like in Tuesday night’s 113-93 win over the Detroit Pistons (who—important context—spent their off day after beating the Warriors on Sunday in L.A.), it comes through.
Lonzo scored only 13 points against the Pistons on Tuesday night, but he did shoot 46.2 percent from the field—his most efficient shooting game so far. He had only three assists …
This Lonzo pass at the end of some great Lakers ball movement pic.twitter.com/sS5dii1n8Y— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 1, 2017
But he turned them into highlights:
Lonzo Ball nice touch pass to Lopez pic.twitter.com/WlfiAGdfCk— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) November 1, 2017
Lest you think the 20-point win over the surprisingly good Pistons was all Lonzo’s doing, Kuzma Hive received its customary jolt of 16 points and four 3s off the bench, while Julius Randle dominated off the bench in his now-accepted role for 17 points and seven rebounds. Seven Lakers scored in double figures.
Moreover, the Lakers played defense, holding the eighth-most efficient offensive team in the NBA so far to 93 points on 94 shot attempts. The Pistons shot only three free throws! It was a once-in-a-blue-moon night for the young Lakers, but one they can take solace in—a glimpse at the potential heights they can reach when they’re rolling on all cylinders and their opponent is not.
Milwaukee’s Spooky Halftime Entertainment
Fun fact: This is what the Halloween edition of LeBron’s nitrogen freezing chamber looks like.
Trick or Treat: Who Are the Real Brooklyn Nets?
Are the Nets secretly decent? Are they as bad as we thought they would be? So far, few teams have had such highs and lows as the young Brooklyn squad. (They beat the Cavs!)
On Tuesday, they were down by 18 points to the hopeless Suns (trick), but came roaring back thanks to Spencer Dinwiddie, who lit things up once again scoring 15 points off the bench (treat). Once Dinwiddie exited, the Nets lost the lead again and lost the very winnable game, 122-114 (trick), thanks to 32 points from Devin Booker, 41 Suns bench points, and 24 points from Mike James. Yes, that Mike James.
Oh, by the way: D’Angelo Russell scored 33 (treat), but was a minus-22 (trick). Hey, at least they’re fun.