All the need-to-know info from Wednesday’s slate.
It was Australian Heritage Night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. Fans ate beef pies during a halftime competition. The media were given beef pies in the press room, while Ben Simmons fittingly ate the Chicago Bulls like they were the beef pies themselves.
Ben Simmons in the first quarter— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 25, 2018
· 8 pts
· 5 assists
· 11 rebounds
AND THIS DUNK pic.twitter.com/u6a2Ez7pLM
It took Simmons 22 minutes to get a triple-double. He finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds, 14 assists, and two blocks. When he’s on a roll like he was against the Bulls, Simmons plays like an unstoppable bowling ball with just enough restraint to affect the game with both his passing and his scoring. It had been over a month since Simmons recorded a game with either double-digit assists or rebounds. After Wednesday’s game, which the Sixers won 115-101, Simmons has five triple-doubles this season. More importantly, in just half a season, he’s already got people talking about him as an All-Star snub—and deservedly so.
For the eighth time this season, and the 19th time in the Mike D’Antoni era, the Rockets took 50 3s on Wednesday night. Fifty-one, to be exact—and out of 82 field goals, no less. I’m no math expert, but I did take AP Statistics in college, so I am qualified to tell you that that’s quite a lot. They made 21 of them for a cool 41.2 percent. And even when they weren’t shooting from deep, they were, of course, dishing from deep.
Harden flips a 45-foot lob to Capela pic.twitter.com/ibTfFxVh0S— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) January 25, 2018
Houston handled Dallas, 104-97.
Damian Lillard had 31 points and six assists to lead the Blazers to a 123-114 win over the Wolves on Wednesday night in Portland, just a day after being selected to the All-Star Game as a reserve. Lillard, who plays with a chip that’s been hot glued onto his shoulder, had preemptively gotten ahead of the game by claiming his rightful spot, probably because he expected to be snubbed. Meanwhile, Paul George was actually snubbed, which didn’t please Russell Westbrook, who stood up for George and said he should have been in at the expense of either the “four people from one team” or the “guys complaining about getting snubbed until they get in.” You can infer from there.
Anyway, of course Lillard responded to the response saying it was “disappointing” to hear Russ’s comments, and that he “earned” his spot. And I’m sure tomorrow, we’ll get a response to the response to the response from Russ. Let’s end this. It’s an All-Star Game, a meaningless exhibition, not the NBA Finals.
SMH Millennials, Am I Right?
Dipo to Domas
Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis combined for more than a third of both the Pacers’ points and assists on Wednesday against the Suns, whom they beat 116-101. The two continue to work together in the pick-and-roll/pop like they’re long-lost friends reuniting at summer camp. The development has been endearing, and it’s produced an All-Star selection for Oladipo, and it’s quickly redeemed Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard’s Paul George trade. For now, at least.
A Plumhouse Production
Does Paul George Know What He’s Saying Here?
Pray for Lakers fans. Or for OKC fans. Both, actually.
Poetry Pat in Motion
Pat Connaughton's two handed reverse slam on the alley-oop pic.twitter.com/kXTikb2a6K— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 25, 2018
Let’s Talk About Jrue Holiday
First, let’s get this out of the way. DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis are the best players on the Pelicans, and on Wednesday, they grazed the cover of Slam in a homage to the gaudy Pen & Pixel No Limit album covers.
Incredible. OK, now on to Holiday. Holiday isn’t talked about much, and if he is, it’s only about his pricey $25 million-per-year contract. But on Wednesday, he was a team-high plus-12, scored 19 points (tying him for a team high with Davis), and tacked on four assists. Where he did his more crucial work was defending Kemba Walker, whom he limited to an 8-for-21 shooting night, coaxing him into a team-high six turnovers.
The Pelicans won 101-96, their third straight victory, and though most have been fueled by Davis’s and Cousins’s offense, this one was anchored by Holiday’s defense.
On Tuesday, Drummond took to Twitter to express his discontent over being left out of the All-Star Game. On Wednesday, he brought it onto the court.
Andre Drummond is playing like he's got something to prove. pic.twitter.com/CCIyyNMWx4— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) January 25, 2018
Drummond tallied the first 30-point, 24-rebound, six-block game since Shaq in 2004. Somehow, it wasn’t enough. The Pistons fell to the Jazz in overtime, 98-95, despite Drummond’s domination. At least Drummond can still stay angry.
Lob City (Barely) Lives (for Now)
The Clippers lost 113-102 to the Celtics, their third straight loss. DeAndre Jordan returned from an ankle injury on Wednesday, and for whatever time he has left as a Clipper, the good thing is he can still dunk:
DeAndre Jordan pulled the ball out of the sky for this dunk pic.twitter.com/3zpw1lOwCN— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 25, 2018
The bad thing? His lobbing mate continues to be fed up with the refs, who continue to be fed up with him:
Blake to ref after getting a tech: “So I gotta pay money cause you can’t f—king catch?" *NSFW* pic.twitter.com/e8r7Xnx8GW— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 25, 2018
Who Let These Guys Back on the Court?
Gordon Hayward getting shots up pic.twitter.com/SVkhTh3Gg9— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) January 25, 2018