It’s all coming up rosy early days for the new Cavs outfit, with defense, smiles and wins aplenty. However, do the new additions catapult the Cavs back into the front-runner for the East and make them a genuine contender against the Warriors? (1:00). We then debate whether the Thunder have found the blueprint to beat the Warriors (11:20), before breaking down the Jazz’s ten game winning streak (19:40). Finally, we discuss the impact of Isaiah Thomas’ move to LA on Lonzo, the Lakers and IT himself (24:30).
A weekly post wrapping up all the action from around the association over the last seven days.
Cavs hit Control-Alt-Delete
The 2018 trade deadline was seemingly quiet, so Koby Altman dialed up the phone and decided to spice things up a little.
What followed was an avalanche of trades resulting in a complete roster rebuild in the middle of February.
Only six other teams in the last ten years have dealt away six players in the same month as the trading deadline.
Cleveland became number seven and has given LeBron the pieces for what could possibly be his last title run with the Cavs.
Clarkson, Nance, Hood and Hill all made their Cavs debut against Boston today and the immediate results were promising.
The Cavs trounced the Celtics 121-99, but more impressive was the enthusiasm and energy displayed throughout the game.
George Hill had 12 points, Nance provided a spark off the bench, Hood dropped 15 and Clarkson left LeBron in raptures on the bench with his entertaining 17-point outing.
LeBron sat for the entire fourth quarter for the first time since late November in a clash against Miami.
Yes, it was only one game. But for a franchise that was limping towards the All-Star break broken and bruised, it was a much-needed dose of hope.
The after-thought trades
The Cavaliers held a monopoly over trade deadline talks, but there were numerous other deals that slipped through the cracks before the Thursday deadline.
Elfrid Payton and his hair made their way to the Suns for a 2018 second-round pick. The former first-round pick made his Phoenix debut on Sunday and finished with 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds in a loss to the Nuggets.
Emmanuel Mudiay joined Payton as another first-round point guard to find a new home before the trade deadline. Mudiay made his debut for his new club today, scoring 14 points and dishing out 10 assists for the Knicks.
Jameer Nelson joined the Pistons, who also secured James Ennis from the Grizzlies. Former Clippers Brice Johnson and Willie Reed both departed Detroit, Johnson to Memphis and Reed to the Bulls.
Dante Cunningham joined the Nets, Noah Vonleh was shipped to Chicago and Sheldon Mac joined the Hawks as we start scraping the bottom of the trade deadline barrel.
Isaiah Thomas impressed in his debut game for the Lakers, scoring 22 points, dropping six assists and four three-balls along the way.
Thomas’ former teammate, Dwayne Wade received a standing ovation from the Miami faithful as he returned to his former playground.
Who shot Bambi?
You could almost hear a pin drop inside Madison Square Garden as Porzingis lay in agony, slamming his fist into the hardwood.
An MRI confirmed the worst, Porzingis has torn his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.
He was having a career year, averaging 22.7 points and an NBA-high 2.4 blocks per game for the Knicks faithful.
With their captain fallen, the Knicks slight playoff dreams seem crushed along with the hearts of their loyal fans.
Photo credit: ESPN
The Utah Jazz are flying up the standings behind a nine-game winning streak that has seen them knock off contender after contender. The Pistons, Raptors, Spurs, Pelicans and Trailblazers have all fallen to the Jazz, who also just happened to hand the Warriors a 30-point thumping. The Jazz have the second best defensive rating in the league over their nine-game winning streak and are using their defensive calling card to make a genuine late push for the playoffs.
The New York Knicks are 0-2 without Porzingis and are have slumped into a six-game losing streak. Unfortunately, the Knicks are likely to struggle for the remainder of the season with Porzingis looking on from the sidelines. It’s time to hand the keys to Frank Ntilikina and attempt to unearth another young talent to play alongside Kristaps when he returns next season.
vs. Warriors – 38 points, 5 rebounds, 6 steals, 6 three-pointers made
vs. Lakers – 29 points, 9 rebounds, 5 three-pointers made
vs. Grizzlies – 33 points, 8 assist, 3 steals, 5 three-pointers made
Is Paul George the best two-way player in the NBA right now?
It’s a contentious question, but George’s recent stretch has seen him dominate teams on both ends of the floor with a ‘Kawhi’ like tenacity. Westbrook may be the OKC’s Batman, but George is the perfect Robin to challenge the Warriors in the playoffs. The Thunder have handled the Warriors comfortably in both their regular season matchups, which is largely due to George’s ability to guard every Warrior on the floor. The Thunder may still be having a roller-coaster season, but George has certainly found his groove after struggling early days.
Dunk of the Year. Giannis is just absurd.
He actually just jumped clean over a 6-foot-6 Hardaway.
It’s been a big week for Zach LaVine, who not only led the Bulls to a win over his former team, but also did this to Jakarr Sampson.
Moments after blocking Jimmy Butlers game-winning attempt, LeBron showed him how it was done with this step-back dagger.
Now would be the time to look away Julius Randle.
Here comes the Bam!
Cedi Osman with the wide open …
Someone is getting the dreaded call to Mark Cubans office this week.
No chair is safe around an angry Robin Lopez.
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.