All the need-to-know info from Sunday’s slate.
OKC Closed Out a Game. Yes, I’m Serious.
Oklahoma City won its third single-digit-decision game of the season on Sunday, beating San Antonio, 90-87. (They’ve lost 10 such games.) The Spurs were missing Kawhi Leonard, of course, but a win’s a win! (The Spurs were also missing LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, Rudy Gay, Manu Ginobili, and, at the end of the third quarter, Kyle Anderson, but a win’s a win!)
An encouraging footnote for suffering Oklahomans out there: The Thunder’s second single-digit win came in their previous game, a 111-107 victory over the Wolves on Friday.
PG13 or PG-2-for-17?
Paul George’s shot took a sick day against the Spurs as he finished with eight points on 12 percent shooting. But you’re fine, bud—that or worse has happened on 17-plus shots to LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, and Bill Russell. Sunday was a big step for your future. Lookin’ bright.
All was forgotten with this, anyway:
More Like Damn Adebayo, Amirite?
Bam Adebayo locks down Stephen Curry on the perimeter pic.twitter.com/Gx6gKYLHZN— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) December 4, 2017
Let Him Livingston
It took Shaun Livingston 13 seasons to get thrown out of a regular-season game. During the second quarter of Golden State’s 123-95 win over Miami on Sunday, the 32-year-old was ejected after confronting baseline referee Courtney Kirkland for a no-call on his defender, Tyler Johnson. Then he (nearly? kinda?) head-butted him:
Shaun Livingston has been ejected after making contact with an official while arguing a call pic.twitter.com/PtdovqSz6j— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) December 4, 2017
Kirkland appears to have leaned in toward Livingston as well, so how the NBA will proceed—potentially slamming Livingston with a fine or determining he wasn’t solely at fault—is something to keep a close eye (not a head!) on.
Livingston’s only other career ejection came in the second round of the Warriors’ 2016 playoff run. (It led him on a journey to find inner peace.)
Luka Sync Battle
Raymond Felton will always be relevant pic.twitter.com/GXu9gZtBYx— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) December 4, 2017
Buckets, Jimmy Buckets
Jimmy Butler on Sunday saved the Timberwolves from being forced to strip naked and follow a shame bell around Lake Minnetonka by scoring 20 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter. The Wolves edged the Clippers, 112-106; have a serious—and hoarse—speech on defense coming their way from Tom Thibodeau; and probably have another prepped for him about fatigue.
Butler and Taj Gibson played 40 minutes a piece; Jeff Teague (35 minutes) was on the court the least of all Wolves starters. Four of Minny’s seven reserves finished with a big old Did Not Play—Coach’s Decision where a stat line should have been.
But back to Butler:
Gorgui with the feed, Jimmy with the hoop & the harm pic.twitter.com/jdJ6iKE2u1— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) December 4, 2017
Through 24 minutes of Minnesota–Los Angeles, Austin Rivers had the best scoring half of his career—20 points in 19 minutes. By the start of the fourth quarter, Rivers had hit more 3-pointers (six) than the entire Timberwolves team (five). By the end, Rivers finished with a season-high 30 points and seven makes from deep.
(Somehow, it was more disturbing that the Wolves couldn’t pull away until the final minute than it was impressive that the Clippers—without Blake Griffin, Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic, and Danilo Gallinari—almost beat them. Los Angeles lost.)
Minnesota almost had you celebrating Austin Rivers. Think about that.
Rivers has hit 4 of 5 s taken pic.twitter.com/x4eIme4xLQ— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) December 4, 2017