All the need-to-know info from Wednesday’s 10-game slate.
John Wall Did Not Keep Marcin Gortat’s Promise
Like many recent NBA story lines, it all began with a LaVar Ball quote. “Washington coming in here Wednesday?” Ball asked reporters Sunday, after the Lakers lost to the Pelicans. “They better beware, ’cause Lonzo ain’t losing again. Not in the same week!”
Gortat took it upon himself to respond, tweeting that Wall will “torture” his Lakers counterpart “for 48 [minutes].” Wall finished with 18 points and nine assists—a fine stat line, but not the torture Gortat originally prescribed. He did torch one Lakers rookie—
—but also lost, 102-99 in overtime. Lonzo Ball had just six points, but also chipped in 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Simple play by Lonzo Ball on this Kyle Kuzma 3-pointer. But the passing accuracy, velocity, and timing is on-point. It's the little things. pic.twitter.com/4tERz2d0Hs— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) October 26, 2017
As for Gortat, who missed a dunk on Ball, he tried moving mountains (and screens) to make that tweet true for Wall:
Trevor Booker Is Just Here for a Good Time
No one should be surprised that Booker, a father to three kids, loves dad jokes. Creeping over to the Cavs huddle in the first quarter against the Nets just to make Tyronn Lue giggle is more dad humor than a dad joke, but it’s still just as corny and heartwarming as pops telling you that Beethoven’s favorite fruit was a BA-NA-NA-NA.
About That …
It worked! Booker must have seen the master plan written on Lue’s clipboard, because the Nets—without Jeremy Lin or D’Angelo Russell—topped the Cavaliers, 112-107. For Cleveland, now in possession of the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick from the Kyrie Irving trade, the loss stung twofold.
It was the League Pass Twilight Zone: LeBron James and Kevin Love combined for more turnovers (14) than the entire Brooklyn roster (12), though they were also the only Cavs starters to score more than five points. Spencer Dinwiddie made half of the eight deep attempts he took and put up a career-high 22 points. The Nets shot 46 3-pointers, seven more than the Rockets did Wednesday night. LeBron even got rejected by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson:
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with the block on LeBron! ✋ pic.twitter.com/tGxtrjViVM— Leading NBA (@LeadingNBA) October 26, 2017
Just another block, in the Twilight Zone …
You Know That Feeling When Someone Is Following You?
Eric Gordon Has the Right Stuff
For all that is to be cherished in Ben Simmons’s game, his lack of a jumper sticks out like the word jawn in Texas. Gordon capitalized on that during the Sixers’ final possession, stopping Simmons from driving and forcing him to pass the rock. Philly was leading 104-102; the shot clock expired.
This is where shooting with the wrong hand hurts Ben Simmons. He's been impressive again. But to reach the next level, gotta get a shot off. pic.twitter.com/2foU24KYbM— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) October 26, 2017
Gordon camped out in the corner on the other end and hit a hesi pull-up jimbo of his own to keep the Rockets perfect on the road.
Dennis Smith Jr. Is His Own Hype Man
How to defend Dennis Smith, according to Dennis Smith: "you have to send two (defenders)."— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) October 26, 2017
Phoenix Suns Twitter Goes Rogue
Considering how bad things got for the Suns earlier this week, you can’t blame their staff for reveling in the good, such as a second straight win. As Phoenix built its lead in an eventual 97-88 win over Utah, the franchise’s official Twitter account got … interesting. For instance, what if this pass from Tyler Ulis to Josh Jackson was, in fact ... a person?
“[Player X] with the jam!” is a totally acceptable tweet. But on this night, that was tucked away in the account’s drafts for ones like this:
Tyson: Hey Josh, Jay is making pizza rolls for postgame!— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) October 26, 2017
Puns and pizza rolls are good, we’ll allow it.
Eastern Conference Party Crashers
When both Denver and Minnesota pulled much-needed talent away from the Eastern Conference this offseason, reducing its All-Star team to Cavs backups, we wondered which of the two teams would end up seeded higher in the playoffs.
Our Western Conference preseason darlings were both toppled on Wednesday—within minutes of each other—by two of the most blue-collar, middling teams in the East. The Pistons and Hornets beat the Wolves and Nuggets, respectively, by a combined 38 points. (Detroit won 122-101; Charlotte won 110-93.)
The Sixers aren’t the only ones on the East Coast with young talent—
Malik Monk looking to be a wise draft choice by the Hornets pic.twitter.com/J1Kp1xaKyb— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 26, 2017
—or, um, useful veterans.