Show Recap: December 6, 2018

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Opening Tip
Should Blake blame Hezonja for this dunkface?

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Today’s Panel:

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First Half

Monologue: PG-13 kept the faith and it paid off

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PG in OKC.JPG
PG decided to spend the next three years in OKC, one of the smallest cities in the NBA
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PG’s co-star, Russell Westbrook has been described by some other players as suffocating
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Since that 0-4 start, the Thunder have won 6 of their last 7 games

Paul George scored 25 points, while hitting 4 three pointers in the 4th quarter in their comeback win over the Nets

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With a minute left in regulation vs the Nets, George’s hot hand went cold
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In clutch situations, Westbrook is the one used to trying to play hero. That wasn’t the case against the Nets

Two Nets players load up on him defensively:

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PG-13 entered this game vs the Nets going a career 0-14 on go-ahead shots in the final 10 seconds of games

Russ passed the ball and PG hit a dagger!

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Even though it was just a December win over the Nets, this will be looked back as something more than that. If it can become a tempo moment in the season where the Thunder exceeded expectations

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How dangerous are the Thunder?

“They’re pretty dangerous. Outside the Warriors, they are the only team that can put two superstars on the court. They will be dangerous come playoff time because these two (Westbrook and PG) are building their chemistry and are having fun again” – Pierce

“Thunder are the #1 defensive team in the league (without Andre Roberson). That speaks to good coaching and really good team discipline” – Windhorst

“I don’t LeBron wakes up in the morning and fears the Thunder. He thinks they have a shot against them” – Windhorst

“Designing that play for George shows that the team is functioning” – Windhorst

“They’re getting along and their chemistry is coming together when both can have monster games like that, that goes a long way” – Pierce on Westbrook and PG–13

Confidence builder for Lakers last night?

“If you watch the game, LeBron was so in his element. It was a nice win for the Lakers. It was a great moment for their entire team” – Windhorst

“By no means was this a barometer to where they are or how high a level they should be competing, It’s hard to figure out who the Lakers are and who they’re going to be right now from a win vs San Antonio” – Pierce

LaMarcus Aldridge closeout on Brandon Ingram a dirty play?

From 2017:

“It’s a similar style play [Zaza stepping on Kawhi’s ankle in the 2017 WCF]” – Windhorst

“It doesn’t look dirty. That’s the most natural injury for a basketball player is an ankle sprain. It happens” – Pierce


Replay
December 6, 2003 – Jamal Crawford throwing the ball through Steve Smith’s legs and finishing the layup!

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Make or Miss League Kawhi

Make Logo
Coordination; Reminder: Aaron Gordon is still ridiculously athletic

Miss Logo
Plans; Do you wish we saw more alley-oop jumpers?

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Intentions; Better to be lucky than good sometimes?

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Selfishness; Ever seen Kawhi this aggressive?

Let’s…

Run it Back

Best coast-to-coast dunks of all-time

3) 2001: Shaq vs Clippers
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2) 1988: Barkley vs Bullets
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1) 1993: Kemp vs Lakers
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Moving on…

Was Butler trade addition by subtraction for Timberwolves?
9–3 since trading you know who!

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“Robert Covington is playing awesome defense for them. He’s got the rest of the guys playing better defense, especially Karl-Anthony Towns. I’ve asked people there [in Minnesota] ‘Why is Karl Towns is now playing better just because Jimmy left?’ They said: ‘These guys are playing for each other'” – Windhorst

“Jimmy just zapped the energy out of the young guys. They tried to force it. It took the life out of the players” – Pierce

“Karl-Anthony Towns is back to playing at an MVP level” – Pierce


Second Half

How did Raptors shut down Embiid and Simmons?

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“They have a plethora of defenders, role guys, who play well in the passing lanes. On top of what Kawhi brings, Lowry takes charges and it’s easy to smother a big man” – Pierce

“Could you believe how Jonas Valanciunas dominated Joel Embiid yesterday? I’m just going to take an educated guess: Embiid is very proud that he has been able to play in every game, he is in the top 4 in the league in minutes. I wonder if he’s a little fatigued? Maybe he’s focusing more on whether he could play these minutes as opposed to whether he should play these minutes” – Windhorst

Explanation for Embiid’s recent struggles?

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“This is one game. He just hasn’t been playing well, but as a team, they’ve been playing well. Roles got redefined. Jimmy Butler is going out here and giving you 38 [minutes] now. It’s taken away from Embiid’s offense, it’s taken away from Simmons offense when you hand some of it over to Jimmy Butler and that’s what they have to adjust to” – Pierce

More bullish on Kawhi or Curry’s MVP stock?
Since returning from his groin injury, Curry is averaging 33.0ppg!

“Curry has the edge right now because the numbers don’t lie. The Warriors are clearly a different team when Steph Curry’s out there and even more fun to watch. It energizes the whole league” – Pierce

“I’m with Kawhi right now. You look at what he does: He just elevates the Raptors so much. Kawhi is needed more for his team” – Windhorst


RecommendsCarmelo Anthony is the last great American ball hog by Kirk Goldsberry


Any use for mid-range game in modern NBA?

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Credit: Kirk Goldsberry/ESPN

“The reason the mid-range game is gone is because most of the guys who shoot threes can’t get to the basket” – Pierce

“You’re so used to seeing a three pointer like every other time down the court. When you see LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay repeatedly taking eighteen footers, it’s lights a shock to the system and it’s one of the reasons why Pop has sort of pushed back on that” – Windhorst

More confident in Rockets or Jazz at this point?

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“Utah. They’re younger, they have more depth. They don’t have more experience than the Rockets, but the Rockets are a different team this year than they were last year. Utah is going to be there at the end, with the addition of Kyle Korver. I can see them getting into the 8th or 7th slot in the playoffs” – Pierce

“Houston. I know that James Harden and Chris Paul are going to bring it. If they’re healthy, that just gives them more top end ability” – Windhorst

LA Sparks hire Derek Fisher as head coach (Per Woj)

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Replay
December 6, 1996 – Latrell Sprewell with the monster two-handed dunk!

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Think Jaylen Brown will thrive coming off the bench?

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“Bringing him off the bench is finally going to give him a defined role. Last year, he had a lot of responsibility each and every night” – Pierce

“This is going to be really interesting the way Brad Stevens handles this. He’s in a contract year at the end of the season” – Windhorst

Game of the Night
Suns at Blazers

Suns Coach: Ayton “Didn’t come ready to play” (vs Kings Wednesday) | How will Denadre Ayton respond after criticism from coach?

“This is just simply a case of mental drainage. Rookie wall when you can’t get right. Phoenix can’t get right. He’ll get it back. He’s a rookie, he wants to make a name for himself. He will bounce back from this” – Pierce

Finally…

“We’re back on the MVP hunt” – Nichols

Best Player | Best Season

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Welcome to The Jump's fanpage, a daily program focused on the NBA. The fast-paced, 1 hour show originates from Los Angeles and features appearances by current and former players and a rotating cast of ESPN analysts, reporters and insiders providing commentary. Tune in weekdays from 3-4pm ET on ESPN with Rachel Nichols and company where they analyze each day's games and discuss the latest news from around the association.

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