NBA Sitrep – Blake to Detroit, injuries savage the East and a thriller in the Mile-High City

A weekly post wrapping up all the action from around the association over the last seven days.

Welcome to Detroit

Just months ago, the Clippers went all out to re-sign Blake Griffin as the face of their franchise.

Last week they shipped him and his $171 million dollar contract off to the Detroit Pistons and in doing so, signaled the end of Lob City.

Blake recorded a double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds) in his first game with the Pistons, before dropping 16 points and 9 boards in his second game for the team.

The Pistons are 2-0 with Griffin in the line-up and have climbed to just half a game out of the playoff seeding in the East.

The Clippers are 1-1 since the departure of their superstar, with Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley both impressing in their debut game for LA (Harris had 24 points, Bradley tallied 8).

Nikola Mirotic was dealt to the Pelicans in a deal that saw Omer Asik (and his unattractive contract), Tony Allen, Jameer Nelson and a first-round pick join the Bulls.

Mirotic has been a spark-plug for the Bulls this season, averaging 16.8 points per contest and striking from beyond the arc at an impressive 43%. In his debut game, he put up 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Pelicans loss to Minnesota.

Team LeBron curse?

First DeMarcus Cousins and now Kevin Love and John Wall.

Team LeBron has been decimated by injuries, however the Pelicans, Cavs and Wizards have been left to deal with the real headaches.

Kevin Love suffered a fracture in his left hand that will see him miss six to eight weeks.

Love doesn’t require surgery, but will be racing the clock to return and re-integrate into the Cavs disheartened line-up before play-off action begins.

Fellow All-Star John Wall will also miss six to eight weeks after undergoing an arthroscopic cleanup of his left knee.

Wall banged knees with Dennis Smith Jnr in early November and has been bothered by the niggling injury ever since.

The Wizards are 4-0 since Wall’s surgery, which has put John and his teams ‘supposedly’ strained relationship back into the spotlight.

The Bucks will be without Malcolm Brogdon for six to eight weeks after he suffered a left quadricep tendon injury against the Timberwolves.

It’s been an up-and-down week for the Bucks, who saw Jabari Parker play his first game since February 2017, but then saw Giannis Antetokounmpo leave the court early after an ankle injury against the Nets today.

Giannis is expected to be available for selection in the Bucks next game.

Unleash the Beard

With Chris Paul and Eric Gordon on the sideline, James Harden had the spotlight all to himself as the Magic came to town.

60 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists later and the NBA had its first ever 60-point triple-double.

Throw in four steals and a block and you have one of the most complete single game performances of all time.

It was the most points ever scored by a Rocket, the most by any player in the NBA this season and the ninth-time Harden has topped the 50-point barrier in his career.

Game of the Year?

There have been plenty of classics this season, but the Nuggets vs Thunder clash deserves its place amongst the top echelon of 2017-18 contests.

The Nuggets threw the first swing, posting an incredible 40-point first quarter that led them to a commanding 72-57 half time lead.

Jamal Murray was on fire, dropping 33 points and Steven Adams with this vicious step-back three.

https://twitter.com/ComedyWorIdStar/status/960320827941154816

Nikola Jokic played the role of Robin to perfection, working seamlessly with Murray and tallied his third triple double of the season (29 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists).

Enter Paul George.

George took over the game, dropping 43 points on ridiculous 73% shooting, culminating in a nasty step-back three to tie the game with mere seconds remaining.

Then come the finale, and what a finish it was.

Harris called game, Jokic called Westbrook out for falling asleep on the final play and Russell retaliated by shoving an overly eager fan.

https://twitter.com/jtylerconway/status/959306032282349569

What a game.

Sliders/Risers

standings - week 4

Photo credit: ESPN

Riser

No Wall, no worries.

The Wizards have knocked off the Hawks, Thunder, Raptors and Magic without their All-Star point guard and currently sit in the fourth seed in the East. Rumours of a rift between ‘Wall and Beal’ and ‘Wall and the entire Wizards team’ have been rife this season, which hasn’t been helped by the team’s success without their point guard. Despite Wall averaging 9.3 assists per game, the Wizards lead the league in assists since Wall’s absence began and the results speak for themselves.

Slider

The Miami Heat were always going to hit adversity at some point. For a team led by consistent, all-around effort and devoid of superstars, this slump was just par for the course. After falling to the Cavaliers by two points, consecutive losses to the 76ers and Pistons have seen the Heat slump from the fourth seed to the seventh seed. They are 4-6 over their last ten and will likely need to fend off the Griffin led Pistons if they want to hold onto their playoff spot.

Heat Check

CJ McCollum

vs. Clippers – 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals

vs. Bulls – 50 points, 5 rebounds, 6 three-pointers made

vs. Raptors – 21 points, 2 assists, 1 block

vs. Celtics – 22 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists

CJ McCollum had an average week, until you glance at his box score against the Chicago Bulls. He became the first player to reach 50 points in under 30 minutes since Klay Thompson scorched the Pacers for 60 in 29 minutes back in 2016. McCollum had 28 points in the first quarter, setting up his first career 50-point game and leading the Trailblazers to an easy win over Chicago.

Highlights

Mike Muscala, welcome to your Kodak moment.

Dwight making his second appearance for all the wrong reasons.

The Greek Freak added to his collection of game-winners with this dagger against the Knicks.

Al Horford called game with one of the rare highlights for Boston on Super Bowl Sunday.

As if he hasn’t made it obvious enough, Jaylen Brown is angry he isn’t an All-Star.

Whoopsie Watch

Nobody loves Lance more than Lance.

Except maybe for Nikola Jokic. This was Lance’esque.

This man is just living all our dreams.

 

Boban > Blake

Blake Griffin is gone.

After just coming to terms with losing Chris Paul, Clippers fans now have to face the harsh reality of life without Blake.

This means life without State Farm and Kia commercials, life without never ending injuries, life without first-round playoff exits, life without whinging like babies and life without Kendall Jenner.

It’s a cold, bleak future for the baby brother of LA.

Except, there is a beacon of hope in the distance.

The Clippers have acquired Tobias Harris, who is averaging an impressive 18.1 points this season, in addition to Avery Bradley, one of the leagues premier defensive guards.

Neither of them are the shining light the Clippers desperately need though.

Just when all hope seemed lost, Stan Van Gundy relented and handed the Clippers the keys to their future.

Introducing Boban Marjanovic.

Casual NBA fans may have never heard of his name, let alone witnessed his incredible abilities, but Boban is the future of the Clippers next championship roster.

He is the hero that the Clippers don’t deserve, but the one they so desperately need.

Here are ten reasons why Boban will become the first Clipper to have his jersey raised up amongst the rafters.

To share the honour with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Taylor Swift.

10. Boban is an actual giant

Boban stands at 7-foot-3 tall, with a standing reach of 9-foot-7! To put that into perspective, thats a higher standing reach than Yao Ming and Wilt Chamberlain.

This means that he can basically put the ball into the basket without even leaving his feet.

9. Boban has big feet, big ears and even bigger hands

Boban has size 19 shoes, which is dwarfed only by the size of his ears, which is once again dwarfed only by the size of his hands.

Honestly, look at them!

8. Boban is already ready for those Blake Kia commercials

boban

Someone give this man an Oscar already!

7. Boban can dance

No words, just no words.

6. Boban is the most efficient scorer in NBA history

No, I’m not making this up.

Screenshot 2018-01-31 11.27.22

No player in the history of the entire NBA has been able to match Boban in points per shot attempts.

Nobody.

5. Boban can break a rim.

Alright, so it’s not as dramatic as a Shaq ring break, but it still counts.

4. Boban can make grown men wet their pants.

3. Boban is a three-time MVP

Boban won three straight Serbian League MVP awards between 2013-15.

Has Blake won an MVP award. No, didn’t think so.

Boban > Blake.

2. Pain is no barrier to Boban

Jordan may have had his flu game, but it pales into insignificance when compared to Bobans heroics.

boban.0.0.jpg

Boban had a broken foot, but still played for the Red Stars in the 2015 Serbian Championship and led his team to its first title since the 1997-98 season.

1. Get you a man who can do both

Boban is a man of many talents.

He can put in the work and finish with strength.

Or he can dazzle you with his skills and craftiness.

The dawn of the Boban era has just begun.

Remember the name.

Bye, Bye Blake

It was looking bleak as the clock ticked towards the February 8 deadline, but the silence has been broken on the trade-deadline watch.

Blake Griffin has been traded to the Detroit Pistons for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjonovic, a 2018 first-round and 2019 second-round draft pick.

The Pistons 2018 first-round pick is protected, while the Clippers are including Brice Johnson and Willie Reed in the trade.

Griffin had spent his entire eight-year career in LA and just signed a five-year contract to stay with the Clippers as the face of the franchise.

Blake is averaging 22.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists through his 33 games this season.

Detroit will be hoping the pairing of Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson can push them into contention in an open Eastern Conference.

The ‘Big 3’ will have to wait though, as Reggie Jackson is still recovering from an ankle injury and isn’t expected back until after the All-Star break.

The Pistons currently sit in the ninth seed in the East, largely behind an eight-game losing streak that has seen them plummet down the standings.

While the Clippers and Pistons both sit in the ninth seed in their respective conferences, the two teams have taken different approaches to their immediate and long-term future.

Despite currently sitting just one game behind the eight seeded Nuggets, the Clippers have clearly taken the rebuild option.

DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams have both been linked to possible trade rumours, which will surely now be thoroughly explored by the Clippers front office.

In the space of one season the Clippers have blown up their entire roster, with DeAndre Jordan the only remaining starter from last season’s starting line-up.

Chris Paul and Luc Mbah a Moute are now both in Houston, J.J. Redick is casting up three balls for The Process and Blake Griffin will be hoping Kendell Jenner likes Detroit.

Not to mention that Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton, Mareese Speights, Brandon Bass, Paul Pierce, Alan Anderson, Diamond Stone and Brice Johnson are no longer on the roster.

DeAndre Jordan, Austin Rivers and Wesley Johnson are the only Clippers from last season’s roster remaining.

DeAndre will likely find himself at a new home in the coming weeks, while Rivers is currently doing his best work from the sideline in a moon boot.

With Chris Paul at the helm and Brake Griffin as his sidekick, the Clippers had won over 50 games in its previous five seasons.

Before those five seasons, they had never passed the 50-win count in their franchise history.

How quickly things change.