A bit of a departure from the norm this week after the All-Star break this weekend. With fewer games to talk about in this edition it seemed that the time was right to look at the outlook for the remainder of the season with deadline dealings considered while mentioning some of the solid performances last night. As always, feel free to ask questions below and one of the NBA-loving members of the community or myself would be more than happy to try to answer it.
First off, though, is a shoutout to Ben McLemore's Dunk Contest appearance. While the theatricality wasn't exactly my cup of tea, I think Ben did a great job showcasing his athleticism, and I find it hard to imagine anyone was unimpressed by his display. He was by-far the most exciting dunker for the Western Conference (who let Harrison Barnes into that thing?) though he and the rest of the participants were let down massively by the new format. More dunks next time, NBA.
I can't get the ShaqLemore Dunk gif to load, so it's linked HERE.
Sure, dunking over Shaq was cool, but I was honestly more impressed by this hammer:
As for in-game performance, here are Tuesday's and Wednesday's noteworthy events:
Kirk had an uncharacteristic game Wednesday against the Raptors as he went without an assist for just the second time this season. The Bulls will, however, be plenty satisfied with his play as he shot 8-11 from the field, including 3-3 from range in his 28 minutes of play to help the Bulls to a 2-point win.
If you follow me on Twitter then you already know the gist of this recap, but for the unwashed masses I'll go over it again (ugh, plebeians). The Blazers were down a LaMarcus Aldridge, a Joel Freeland, and a Meyers Leonard, last night, meaning they only had Thomas Robinson and Robin Lopez as passable bigs to field against the Spurs (minus Leonard/Duncan/Parker). The Blazers responded by starting Dorell Wright as a small-ball PF in hopes of keeping at least one of their forwards out of foul trouble. In that regard it was successful as Lopez only picked up 2 on the night while Robinson tallied 4. Thomas ended up playing 23 minutes, including some time as the only big on the floor in which the Blazers were unstoppable. Naturally that was followed by traditional lineups and the game got away from the Blazers who had built up an 8-point lead via that 1-in-4-out lineup. As for his line, Thomas went 4-7 from the field and hit 2 of his 3 FTs for 10 total points and added 9 rebounds while posting a +12 on the evening.
The Suns got back to work on Tuesday with an overtime win at Denver's Pepsi Center, a game in which Markieff played 42 minutes, going 4-of-11 and 5-of-8 from the line for 13 points to go with his 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and block. Marcus had a relatively paltry 25 minutes as he put in 10 points on 9 shots. Last night against the Celtics both Morrii were essential to holding of a scrappy Boston squad in Phoenix. Markieff hit 7-of-12 from the field and all 4 foul shots for 18 total points while Marcus went 2-of-3 from 2 and 2-of-5 from 3 for 11 points.
Trade Deadline Deals with Significant Jayhawk Repercussions (pretty catchy, huh?):
Sacramento Kings deal Marcus Thornton to the Brooklyn Nets for Reggie Evans and Jason Terry.
This looks to be great for Ben McLemore as it eliminates an $8M SG from the roster and opens up a bunch of minutes in which he can further integrate into this Kings squad (whether integrating into a Kings team is good or bad is still up for debate). It would be nice to see BMac use his new minutes as a springboard into a great sophomore season, but if he wants to see many he'll have to do a bit better limiting fouls as he had 5 in just 19 minutes last night against the Warriors. At least it looks that he'll get the starts and hopefully some more confidence to go with them. An added bonus is that Jason Terry seems the type of professional that could serve as a mentor to Ben for the short time he is in Sacramento, a seemingly small factor that could pay major dividends.