All the need-to-know info from Tuesday’s slate.
LeBron Says, “Try Me” ...
LeBron just shook Giannis pic.twitter.com/itDWaQEzfG— Joe L. Kinsley (@highscorehoops) November 8, 2017
… Giannis Says, “Bet”
The Cavs outlasted the Bucks, 124-119, in a battle of underperforming Eastern Conference contenders.
Zinger Has Something Up His (Shooting) Sleeve
Where better than Madison Square Garden, home to the NBA’s riskiest courtside looks, to debut a new look? It’s where Joe Budden wore a waterfall of rayon disguised as a bathrobe-sweater hybrid. It’s a place where Anna Wintour occasionally graces the sideline, for God’s (Kristaps’s?) sake—in Knicks orange, of course. It was the perfect court for young Kristaps Porzingis to debut his new shooting sleeve: a simple, elegant, white statement piece.
Arm Sleeve Porzingis has already passed Hoodie Melo in relevancy. To be quite Frankie Smokes, Arm Sleeve Porzingis has made me forget Hoodie Melo altogether.
Kristaps Porzingis... ALL THE WAY UP! pic.twitter.com/xXGqvrB54G— Andrew Claudio (@Claudio_GSN) November 8, 2017
Porzingis finished with 28 points while shooting 50 percent from deep on eight attempts. One of those 3-pointers came with 1:49 in the final quarter to take the lead for the first time since the first clip. Porzingis ended the game with the most points through 10 games in Knicks franchise history. His shooting was glorious in the Knicks’ 118-113 win over the Hornets; so was his blocking. He and Kyle O’Quinn swatted Cody Zeller repeatedly on one possession:
oh my god kristaps just swallowed cody zeller three freakin times pic.twitter.com/9g0UxObYKG— Matt Ellentuck (@mellentuck) November 8, 2017
By the time the whole debacle ended—this is an absolute fact—three more Zellers were born and drafted.
C.J.’s Got the Ball on a String
CJ McCollum loses the ball on the drive, beats the buzzer anyway pic.twitter.com/glENC7d22f— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 8, 2017
A Pair of Pelicans
There is enough ball and enough court for both DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis to coexist at maximum capability. Here’s a new game: predict which big man will end up with the better stat line on any given night. If you’re a Pelicans fan, you’ll win either way.
In the 117-112 victory over Indiana (that’s three in a row now for the Pels), Cousins finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks. Davis had 37 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Boogie and the Brow put up over half of New Orleans’s end score, which has been the case for six games, including Tuesday’s—two-thirds of their season together, counting only games that Davis was healthy (excludes the Sacramento and Portland matchups).
Lance “David Blaine” Stephenson
honestly this lance stephenson pass was incredible pic.twitter.com/MYUviqZykM— Whitney Medworth (@its_whitney) November 8, 2017
Phoenix Wants to Flip Greg Monroe
The Suns agreed to take on Monroe’s $17.9 million expiring contract as part of a package to deal Eric Bledsoe to the Bucks. The franchise is expected to attempt a buyout to reopen a roster spot. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 27-year-old Monroe is “unlikely” to still be in Phoenix beyond the trade deadline in February, but the Suns will try to trade him first (because Milwaukee had so much luck with that last season).
I’m Not Saying Nikola Jokic Could Beat the Nets 1 vs. 5, You Are
The Joker was facing the other New York team when he scored his previous career high, 40 points, last February. In the 112-104 win over the Nets on Tuesday, Jokic topped that. He finished with 41 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks.
The Nets starting five put up a combined 40.
The Passion of Dario
We could let Saric’s numbers speak for themselves—a season-high 25 points and 10 rebounds on 5-for-9 3-point shooting and a perfect night from the line (6-for-6)—but why miss out on this moment:
THIS DARIO INTERVIEW GOT ME CRIEN DOG LMAOOO pic.twitter.com/zEL4nbi1I5— Drew Corrigan (@Dcorrigan50) November 8, 2017
What if I told you [very low-budget, shot-on-a-cracked-iPhone–30 for 30 voice] that the most confounding aspect of Dallas’s center rotation wasn’t Dirk Nowitzki’s age or Nerlens Noel’s lack of minutes?
What if it was 7-foot-1 Salah Mejri not getting more time on the court? He did start in the loss against Minnesota on Saturday, but he played fewer than 10 total minutes. Tuesday, in 25 minutes off the bench (Mejri’s most all season), the 31-year-old Tunisian had 10 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks—as many as the entire Washington roster finished with in the 113-99 Dallas win.
In 289 fewer minutes than blocks leader Kevin Durant (who has 27 total), Mejri has logged 16. He seems like a potential helping hand in the paint for a team with the NBA’s second-worst defensive rating heading into Tuesday.
Richard Sherman Loves the Lakers Rookie, Too
(Kyle Kuzma, that is.)
The Kings’ Reign
Sacramento broke an undesirable record to kick off the game; per the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones, the Kings’ bench scored the most points (29) in the history of the NBA before a starter contributed. Previously, that was held by the 2010-11 Bucks, whose sixth and seventh and eighth and ninth and 10th men put up 23 points before one of their first five scored. (Those highlights eventually came.)
Sacramento’s bench ended up outscoring its starting lineup 53-41. But the true shooting woes came from the away bench. The Thunder fell for the third straight time, losing 94-86 and finishing 33.7 percent from the field. Carmelo, Westbrook, and Paul George made 15 shots total. They attempted 54.