We’re pulling the best from across the NBA map. Check back for live updates throughout Friday’s slate of games.
Two Cheers for Giannis
We’re living in the age of premature MVP chants, but if anyone is deserving of them through one and a half games, it’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. Just a minute into the Bucks’ home opener against the Cavs, the antsy crowd showered Giannis with two “M-V-P” chants.
Giannis, being the nice guy that he is, gave the Milwaukee faithful even more to cheer for:
'Bully Ball' brought to you by Giannis Antetokounmpo pic.twitter.com/hWWwAwoVyC— The Ringer (@ringer) October 21, 2017
Can someone win Most Improved Player two years in a row? I guess MVP wouldn’t be too bad, either.
LeBron Stays The King
Despite all the Giannis fanfare in Milwaukee, LeBron wasn’t ready to pass the torch. Antetokounmpo showed out (34 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds), but the four-time MVP racked up 24 points, eight assists, and five rebounds of his own, leading the Cavs to a dominant 19-point win.
“He has the skill set. He has the talent. He has a great coach that can help get him to that point (winning the MVP),” LeBron said about Antetokounmpo before the game.
In other words: Soon, Giannis. But not yet.
John Wall Just Pulled a Jordan
If John Wall had a signature move, it would be the neck-breaking 94-foot sprint he typically takes toward the basket. Amid a 115-111 win against Detroit on Friday, Wall treated us to another mad dash—this time, with a jaw-dropping wrinkle at the end.
Here’s your nightly, “How in the World?” John Wall play pic.twitter.com/XgfNkum8H3— Paolo Uggetti (@PaoloUggetti) October 21, 2017
If you need some game-saving rim protection, John can hook you up with that, too.
The NBA Continues to Speak Out
Before the Detroit Pistons faced off against the Washington Wizards on Friday night, head coach Stan Van Gundy commented on the current political climate. During his pregame media availability, Van Gundy said he didn’t think anything good had come out of what President Donald Trump has said about athlete protests, and he cited both police brutality and the “injustices in our criminal system” as the original intentions behind the wave of activism in sports.
Stan Van Gundy was asked what he hopes comes out of protests by athletes and the conversation around them: pic.twitter.com/JEFnBTdhUh— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) October 20, 2017
Last year, after Trump won the election, Van Gundy called Trump “brazenly racist” and “misogynist.”
Attention, Sixers Fans: This is Not a Dream
Joel Embiid was 4-for-16 from the field and 0-for-6 from downtown, and Markelle Fultz only made two of his nine shots. The Sixers led by as many as nine, but eventually fell to the Celtics. Yet this was the only highlight that mattered. Cherish it.
Somebody Tell Brad Stevens the Regular Season Has Started
Larkin-Rozier-Nader-Brown-Yabu is playing against the 76ers starters right now. Basically the summer Celtics out here.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) October 20, 2017
The Kings Hire Jenny Boucek
The Sacramento Kings hired two-time WNBA champion Jenny Boucek as an assistant development coach Friday. Boucek spent 18 years in the WNBA as both a player and a coach. Since 1999, Boucek has risen through the ranks of WNBA coaching, first as an assistant with the Seattle Storm, Miami Sol, and Washington Mystics before serving as the head coach for both the Sacramento Monarchs and the Storm, and eventually as a head coach of the Storm from 2015 to 2017. She was the first former WNBA player to serve as a coach in that league.
Boucek joins Becky Hammon, an assistant coach for the Spurs, as the only female coaches in the NBA.
Is That Dwight Howard’s Music?!
Dwight Howard's revenge vs. Hawks: 20 points, 8-12 FG, 15 rebounds, +34 in blowout win.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) October 21, 2017