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The Rundown w/T-Money

Rundown v01.10.20 – Cavs Dig it Out, Thunder Blast Rockets, and Do We Care if Kyrie Comes Back?

The Oklahoma City Thunder gave Russell Westbrook a nice tribute - then blasted him and the Rockets, #VFL Josh Richardson sent Boston to its third loss, the Wolves nipped the Blazers, and trade targets Andre Drummond and Tristan Thompson battled in Detroit. #NoThugs

So Kyrie Irving is coming back as soon as next week, especially if he has his way, according to his camp.

But are we all susceptible to the same type of shoulder injury if we all give a collective shrug of our shoulders to this news? I mean, the man has fallen out of favor – much less the rotation – not over a shoulder injury that he didn’t have surgery on (wait, it’s coming about 6-10 games after his return, mark my word), but the lack of locker room, chemistry, and leadership.

You see Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the sidelines, with their team, which is a Western Conference worst nine wins, 30 losses. But they’re there, like rabid cheerleaders.

What do you get from Kyrie? And is it infecting Kevin Durant’s enthusiasm? Will we ever see them playing together?

Head coach Kenny Atkinson seems more excited about Durant’s progress than whether or when Irving will return.

That silence speaks volumes for those that are paying attention.

Who are you most excited to see return to the hardwood?

  • Kyrie Irving
  • Kevin Durant
  • Zion Williamson
  • Klay Thompson
  • Stephen Curry

Sound of with your thoughts – hit me in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter here.

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Cleveland Cavaliers  115
Detroit Pistons  112 (OT)

Their head coach may have apologized for calling them ‘thugs,’ but you can bet the Detroit Pistons are calling them ‘thugs’ after getting beat up by the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. Playing to a 102-102 tie wasn’t enough for the Cavaliers last night in John Beilein’s return to Michigan as an NBA head coach – they wanted more. So with the game reset, the Cavaliers beat the host Detroit Pistons 13-10 in the overtime period to net their 11th win halfway through the 2019-20 season. If anyone’s looking at Tristan Thompson for acquisition through trade, last night’s game was a great audition to put on the resume (if you’re listening, Orlando). Andre Drummond, also the subject of trade rumors, was outstanding as usual, but languishing in a losing system in Detroit.

CAVALIERS (11-27) 13th in the EastPISTONS (14-25) 10th in the East
Tristan Thompson
35 points – 14 rebounds – three assists – one steal – three blocks
Andre Drummond
28 points – 23 rebounds – one assist – one steal – one block
Darius Garland
20 points – two rebounds – seven assists
Derrick Rose
27 points – seven rebounds – five assists
Collin Sexton
19 points – six rebounds – one assist – two steals – two blocks
Bruce Brown
17 points – four rebounds – eight assists – four steals – two blocks

NEXT GAMES
Cavaliers at Nuggets – Saturday
Bulls at Pistons – Saturday

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Boston Celtics  98
Philadelphia 76ers  109

The Boston Celtics have lost three games in a row, causing them to fall behind the Miami Heat to third place in the Eastern Conference standings. Worse yet, they have lost all three contests with the Philadelphia 76ers, including last night minus Joel Embiid, who was in New York set for surgery on his finger. It may seem insignificant, but will count heavily if these two teams stay as close as they are in the second half of the season. It could impact playoff positioning in the East. Boston is only a game and a half ahead of Philadelphia as it sits today.

CELTICS (25-11) 3rd in the EastSIXERS (25-14) 5th in the East
Kemba Walker
26 points – two rebounds – three assists – one steal
#VFL Josh Richardson
29 points – three rebounds – seven assists
Marcus Smart
24 points – one rebound – one assist – three steals
Ben Simmons
19 points – nine rebounds – three assists – one steal
Jayson Tatum
15 points – 10 rebounds – four assists – three steals – one block
Al Horford
17 points – eight rebounds – six assists – one steal – two blocks

NEXT GAMES
Pelicans at Celtics – Saturday
Sixers at Mavericks – Saturday

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Portland Trailblazers  102
Minnesota Timberwolves  116

The Portland Trailblazers have struggled to get to the .500 mark all season long. Nearly halfway through the 2019-20 season, they are still seven games back of that goal. Just when it is in sight, they slip backward. Like last night when they shot 36 percent on the road, Carmelo Anthony shot 30 percent for eight points, and the Blazers fell asleep in the middle periods (second, third), getting outscored 72-40 by the host Minnesota Timberwolves to give Minny the sway in the game’s momentum. Even more concerning, the Wolves are nipping at the Blazers’ heels in the standings, only .05 percentage points behind. Blazers better get it together – time to pull the trigger on the Kevin Love trade. 

BLAZERS (16-23) 10th in the WestT’WOLVES (15-22) 11th in the West
Damian Lillard
20 points – four rebounds – eight assists
Andrew Wiggins
23 points – three rebounds – eight assists
Hassan Whiteside
15 points – 14 rebounds – two blocks
Robert Covington
15 points – four rebounds – two steals – two blocks
C.J. McCollum
15 points – two rebounds – one block
Gorgui Dieng
12 points – 10 rebounds – two steals – one block

NEXT GAMES
Bucks at Blazers – Saturday
Timberwolves at Rockets – Saturday

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Houston Rockets  92
Oklahoma City Thunder  113

Only 3.5 games separate the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder after last night’s rousing win versus Russell Westbrook and the Rockets. On the standings, it looks like an unfathomable chasm, but so did the entire 2019-20 campaign in the Thunder’s eyes when the season tipped off back in October. Oklahoma City welcomed Westbrook with a moving tribute, then played like they used to play when Westbrook was here, with a trio former Los Angeles Clippers doing the bidding, taking the Rockets down 37-21 to start the emotional game and sealing the deal with a 29-19 third quarter. The Thunder’s gray and gold City Edition uniforms worn last night were designed in partnership with the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum to commemorate the upcoming 25th anniversary of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Jerseys aside, last night was a night that former Thunder buddies Westbrook and James Harden won’t soon forget, either.

ROCKETS (25-12) 4th in the WestTHUNDER (22-16) 7th in the West
Russell Westbrook
34 points – two rebounds – five assists
Danilo Gallinari
23 points – 11 rebounds – four assists – one steal
James Harden
17 points – three rebounds – three assists – one block
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
20 points – three rebounds – three assists – one steal
Chris Clemons
14 points – three rebounds – one block
Chris Paul
18 points – six rebounds – five assists – four steals

NEXT GAMES
Timberwolves at Rockets – Saturday
Lakers at Thunder – Saturday

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FRIDAY’S LINEUP
(all times Eastern)

7 p.m.
Atlanta Hawks
Washington Wizards
TNT
7:15 p.m.
New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knicks
ESPN
7:30 p.m.
Miami Heat
Brooklyn Nets
YES
8 p.m.
Indiana Pacers
Chicago Bulls
NBC Sports Chicago
8 p.m.
San Antonio Spurs
Memphis Grizzlies
Fox Sports Southeast
9 p.m.
Orlando Magic
Phoenix Suns
Fox Sports Arizona
9 p.m.
Charlotte Hornets
Utah Jazz
AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
9:45 p.m.
Los Angeles Lakers
Dallas Mavericks
Spectrum SportsNet
10 p.m.
Milwaukee Bucks
Sacramento Kings
NBC Sports California
10:30 p.m.
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
ESPN

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Tracy Graven is a Senior NBA Analyst for BackSportsPage.com.
He has written the NBA, and done NBA radio, for the last two decades for HoopsWorld, Swish Magazine, and HoopsHype, the Coach Scott Fields Show and NBARadioShow.com, and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and will be pinch-hitting on some Major League Baseball coverage for BackSportsPage.
He’s spent 20 years in locker rooms in Orlando, Boise (G League), San Antonio, Phoenix, and Oklahoma City.
A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia 

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