March College Basketball Insanity is upon us (not copyrighted). However, there is still pro hoops happening as well. I cover March Madness in my other article. Thus, I’m going to continue to look on the pros side of things since some people may have missed the goings on in the NBA.
LeBron James’ high ankle sprain was the biggest thing to happen this weekend, by far. It was gross. He is so rarely hurt, so superhuman, it is startling to see him listed as “out indefinitely.” The ramifications around the league of his injury are startling. For one thing, the Lakers are not very good when he is on the bench. Combining his absence with the fact that they were already missing Anthony Davis, the Lakers could be a train wreck.
Right now, they are the third seed in the West. How far will they plummet in the ultra-competitive conference? Then there’s the MVP race. LeBron was one of the top candidates. Joel Embiid was another. Both are now hurt. The field is now wiiiiide open. Who will step in? Jokic? Giannis? Harden? Dame? Donovan Mitchell??? This will be a fascinating subplot for the rest of the season. Now to the numbers you may have missed while watching the zany college hoops weekend.
- Keldon Johnson dropped 23 PTS and 21 REB in a Spurs win over the Cavs. He’s become an invaluable member of this Spurs team.
- T.J. McConnell had 16 PTS and 15 AST in 29 minutes. He’s the type of guy that, to me, every contender should have been trying to steal (steal being a play on words because he leads the NBA in the category).
- Nikola Jokic, potentially improving that MVP case I hinted at, keeps the Nuggets winning with a 34-15-9 in an OT win against the Bulls on Friday.
- Missing both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons on Saturday, the 76ers still smashed the Kings. Tobias Harris led the way with 29-11-8 on just 18 shots in 30 minutes.
- After beating the Nets, the Orlando Magic came back to earth against the Celtics. Jaylen Brown hit 10 threes on his way to 34 points to pace Boston.
- Blake Griffin’s debut with the Nets was…what we all really knew it would be? He had 2 PTS and 2 REB in 15 minutes. Bruce Brown is a better player right now and we knew that.
- The Nets still beat the Wizards despite Russell Westbrook throwing up a 29-13-13. The quintessential Westbrook performance for the last five years of his career.