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The Rundown w/T-Money

Rundown v01.19.20 – Celtics on Skid Again, Magic and Rockets Need Answers, Blazers and Kings Trade

Devin Booker send the Celtics to their third straight loss, Lou Williams is the most under appreciated guy in the game, Fred VanVleet is all about grit, Zach LaVine joins Michael Jordan, and Kyrie Irving is begging for help.

Did Portland improve in the Kent Bazemore-Anthony Tolliver for Trevor Ariza-Wenyen Gabriel-Caleb Swanigan trade?

Obviously, it remains to be seen as even the principals in the trade were still on their respective original rosters through last night’s Sacramento Kings-Utah Jazz and Portland Trailblazers-Oklahoma City Thunder games.

From Portland to Sacramento:

Kent Bazemore7.9 ppg4.0 rpg1.4 apg34.7 percent
Anthony Tolliver3.9 ppg3.3 rpg0.9 apg36.8 percent

From Sacramento to Portland:

Trevor Ariza6.0 ppg4.6 rpg1.6 apg38.8 percent
Wenyen Gabriel1.7 ppg0.9 rpg1.3 apg35.3 percent
Caleb Swanigan0.7 ppg1.0 rpg0.3 apg50.0 percent

All principals involved are posting numbers under their career averages. A couple of players – Tolliver and Swanigan – are returning to their former teams. But the kicker in this swap may be Ariza, who if he can resurrect his deft shooting touch, could open things up for Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony.

Ariza’s best years lie in his past, but something tells me that a fresh start in Portland may bring about the guy we saw in New Orleans and Houston. At least, that’s Portland’s hope.

There also may be pieces in there for salary reasons or otherwise that may end up landing Kevin Love in his hometown. Of course, that’s selfish, wishful thinking on both my and Love’s part. Swanigan returns to the Rose City after being traded for Skal Labissiere, which has arguably been a bust of a move.

Bazemore can hopefully become more the contributor he was in Atlanta for four years, the best of his career. 

Who got the best of this trade?

  • Portland Trailblazers
  • Sacramento Kings

Hit me in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter here.


Los Angeles Clippers  133
New Orleans Pelicans  130

It’s nice that the NBA has an award for off the bench contribution every season, called the NBA Sixth Man Award. And Lou Williams has a few of them. But there should be a bigger, more gratifying award for Williams, as he has been instrumental in keeping the Los Angeles Clippers afloat when stars have been in and out, traded, etc. Last night, he was Kawhi Leonard’s wingman in the fourth quarter, when Williams scored 14 of his 32 and the Clippers outscored the New Orleans Pelicans, 31-20, to come back and nail down their 30th win of the season. 

CLIPPERS (30-13) 3rd in the WestPELICANS (16-27) 12th in the West
Kawhi Leonard
39 points – six rebounds – six assists – five steals – one block
Derrick Favors
22 points – 11 rebounds – three assists – one steal
Lou Williams
32 points – four rebounds – five assists – two steals – one block
Brandon Ingram
21 points – seven rebounds – six assists – one steal
Montrezl Harrell
24 points – two rebounds
J.J. Redick
19 points – two rebounds – two assists

Pelicans at Grizzlies – Monday
Clippers at Mavericks – Tuesday


Milwaukee Bucks  117
Brooklyn Nets  97

Kyrie Irving said he needs help, but it doesn’t speak much to his leadership when he only musters 17 points on 40 percent shooting to ‘lead’ his team. Meanwhile, if he wants to know what leadership looks like, he only needs to watch game tape of the Milwaukee Bucks soundly defeating his Brooklyn Nets by 20 points last night. Not only does Giannis Antetokuonmpo lead with his play on the floor, but the team follows that grit and determination when he’s out of the lineup as well. It’s why he is the reigning MVP. The Bucks’ supporting cast was just as anonymous a few years back as Irving’s is today. It’s what you do with it that makes you a champion. 

BUCKS (38-6) 1st in the East, NBANETS (18-23) 8th in the East
Giannis Antetokuonmpo
29 points – 12 rebounds – four assists – one steal
Kyrie Irving
17 points – six rebounds – six assists – four steals
Khris Middleton
20 points – four rebounds – four assists – three steals
Nicolas Claxton
14 points – six rebounds – one assist – three blocks
Brook Lopez
12 points – seven rebounds – four assists – five blocks
Taurean Prince
13 points – one rebound – two assists

Sixers at Nets – Monday
Bulls at Bucks – Monday


Phoenix Suns  123
Boston Celtics  119

The Boston Celtics suffered their first three game losing streak of the season a week before last. That included losses to Washington, San Antonio, and Philadelphia. There was a ripple of panic amongst Celtics fans, but Boston bounced back and beat non-playoff contenders like New Orleans and Chicago. With last night’s loss to the Phoenix Suns, they’ve now suffered their second three game losing streak in two weeks’ time. They lost to Detroit and Milwaukee earlier this week, with the Los Angeles Lakers visiting tomorrow evening. On national TV no less. Boston had a 43-36 fourth quarter, but it was too little too late as the Suns outscored Boston in quarters one, two, and three.

SUNS (18-24) 9th in the WestCELTICS (27-14) 4th in the East
Devin Booker
39 points – 10 rebounds – nine assists – two steals
Marcus Smart
37 points – five rebounds – eight assists – four steals
Deandre Ayton
26 points – 15 rebounds – two assists – two blocks
Jayson Tatum
26 points – 10 rebounds – two assists – three steals – one block
Mikal Bridges
26 points – three rebounds – two assists – two blocks
Gordon Hayward
22 points – seven rebounds – seven assists – one steal – one block

Lakers at Celtics – Monday
Spurs at Suns – Monday


Detroit Pistons  136
Atlanta Hawks  103

It’s almost as if the Atlanta Hawks are okay being average, being the second worst team in the league. As if they’re waiting on a chance to draft James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball, or keep Anthony Edwards in the State of Georgia after these young men declare themselves eligible for the NBA Draft. Meanwhile, the Pistons are in sniffing distance of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, just three games behind the flailing Brooklyn Nets. About the only bright takeaway from last night’s game was the reintegration of Jeff Teague to the Atlanta roster. He finished with 15 points, three rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a block in his first game back in an Atlanta uniform.

PISTONS (16-27) 9th in the EastHAWKS (10-33) 15th in the East
Derrick Rose
27 points – two rebounds – nine assists – one steal
John Collins
20 points – five rebounds – two blocks
Svi Mykhailiuk
25 points – two rebounds – three assists – one steal – one block
De’Andre Hunter
19 points – five rebounds – three assists – one steal – one block
Markieff Morris
22 points – one rebound – two assists – one steal – one block
Trae Young
16 points – eight rebounds – seven assists – one steal

Pistons at Wizards – Monday
Raptors at Hawks – Monday


Philadelphia 76ers  90
New York Knicks  87

There are those out there that are perpetrating trade scenarios for Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, with no basis or foundation that he is not an asset to the 76ers. One only has to look at last night’s game as an example that Simmons can lead the Sixers, and lead them to victory. One can also easily note that his averages through 42 games – that means he’s played every game this season – he’s averaging 15.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 8.4 assists per game. Though the points are .7 down from his career average and his rebounds are .6 lower, his assists are .4 up and his 42 games are about one fifth of the amount of games he’s played overall since coming into the NBA. He’s not only becoming a better leader, but he’s feeding his team, that has had a half a dozen people come and go since he’s been here. Keep on, Ben Simmons. There are many more that believe in you than don’t. 

SIXERS (28-16) 6th in the EastKNICKS (11-32) 14th in the East
Ben Simmons
21 points – seven rebounds – eight assists – two steals
Marcus Morris
20 points – six rebounds – three assists
#VFL Josh Richardson
18 points – three rebounds – four assists – two steals – one block
Julius Randle
14 points – 12 rebounds – five assists
Furkan Korkmaz
17 points
Reggie Bullock
14 points – three rebounds – two assists – three steals

Sixers at Nets – Monday
Knicks at Cavaliers – Monday


Cleveland Cavaliers  116
Chicago Bulls  118

Fifteen points down at the beginning of the fourth quarter. It’s a familiar position for the Chicago Bulls. Not just this season. Not just last. But for a few years now. What’s not familiar is pulling out a 31-14 fourth quarter to put the opponent down and come away with the win. But this was the friendly confines of the United Center last night and that opponent was the Cleveland Cavaliers, who’ve never seemingly been able to do anything without LeBron James since 2003. Kevin Love led the Cavs, but Zach LaVine was on a different level than anyone else in the building in scoring his 42 points, half of those in the decisive fourth quarter for the Bulls. LaVine is the first Bull since Michael Jordan to have 40 points and five steals.

CAVALIERS (12-31) 13th in the EastBULLS (16-28) 10th in the East
Kevin Love
29 points – five rebounds – six assists – one steal – one block
Zach LaVine
42 points – six rebounds – three assists – five steals – two blocks
Collin Sexton
26 points – seven rebounds – two assists
Lauri Markkanen
17 points – three rebounds – one assist – two steals – one block
Cedi Osman
16 points – three rebounds – two assists – two steals
Coby White
11 points – four rebounds – three assists – one block

Knicks at Cavaliers – Monday
Bulls at Bucks – Monday


Toronto Raptors  122
Minnesota Timberwolves  112

In a game that saw some scratching and clawing in the scoring runs, the team with the more lethal talons came away with the win, with some unlikely heroes for both teams leading the way for their respective squads. Instead of a Pascal Siakam / Karl-Anthony Towns battle, fans were treated to Fred VanVleet’s leadership and grit for the Toronto Raptors, as well as the emergence of rookie Jarrett Culver for the Minnesota Timberwolves last night. Towns, Siakam, Marc Gasol, and Andrew Wiggins all took a back seat to what was a competitive game between the younger generation players.

RAPTORS (28-14) 3rd in the EastTIMBERWOLVES (15-27) 13th in the West
Fred VanVleet
29 points – four rebounds – two assists – four steals
Jarrett Culver
26 points – four rebounds – one assist – one steal – two blocks
Kyle Lowry
285 points – seven rebounds – two assists – one steal
Robert Covington
22 point – eight rebounds – one assist – two steals
Norman Powell
20 points – three rebounds – four assists – two steals
Andrew Wiggins
18 points – 10 rebounds – 11 assists – one steal

Raptors at Hawks – Monday
Nuggets at Timberwolves – Monday


Orlando Magic  95
Golden State Warriors  109

It’s as if the Orlando Magic are satisfied with going on a six game road trip and coming away beating the Los Angeles Lakers was satisfying enough for the entire 12 days away from the Amway Center. Okay they beat the Sacramento Kings, too, but they lost to the Suns (by 4) and Clippers (by 27) on this trip, and just handed the worst team in the league its 10th win of the season, losing to the Golden State Warriors by 14 points. After they return to Orlando, they face the Thunder, Celtics, and Clippers this week. They’re 43 games into the season – when are they going to turn the corner? If they lose to Charlotte tomorrow night, it’s time to openly ask some questions about the current makeup of the Orlando Magic.

MAGIC (20-23) 7th in the EastWARRIORS (10-34) 15th in the West
Markelle Fultz
23 points – six rebounds – four assists – one steal
D’Angelo Russell
26 points – two rebounds – 12 assists – two steals
Nikola Vucevic
13 points – 13 rebounds – three assists – one steal
Jordan Poole
21 points – three rebounds – two assists – one steal
Evan Fournier
12 points – four rebounds – four assists – one steal
Eric Paschall
20 points – nine rebounds – one assist – two blocks

Magic at Hornets – Monday
Warriors at Blazers – Monday


Los Angeles Lakers  124
Houston Rockets  115

With Anthony Davis still resting the back issue, the Houston Rockets had a huge opportunity to exploit the paint, JaVale McGee, and former Rocket Dwight Howard. They failed. Instead, Clint Capela finished eight, 12, and three … and Isaiah Hartenstein did not play at all. Shame on you, Mike D’Antoni. As a result, your Rockets suffered their third straight loss and it is decision like these that may haunt you as you lame duck your way through the remainder of this season and likely lose out on a contract extension. Meanwhile, Frank Vogel looks like a genius, though Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins are on the bench as insurance. Personally, I’d like to see Hollins in Houston next season to guide this guard heavy team to its potential. The bright spot is that Russell Westbrook is the first Rocket besides James Harden to score 30 points in four straight games since Tracy McGrady did it in six games in a row in the 2006-07 season. 

LAKERS (34-8) 1st in the WestROCKETS (26-15) 6th in the West
LeBron James
31 points – five rebounds – 12 assists – two steals
Russell Westbrook
35 points – nine rebounds – seven assists – three steals
Kyle Kuzma
23 points – eight rebounds – one assist
James Harden
34 points – six rebounds – seven assists – one block
Danny Green
20 points – five rebounds – one assist – four steals
Eric Gordon
13 points – three rebounds – one assist

Lakers at Celtics – Monday
Thunder at Rockets – Monday


Portland Trailblazers  106
Oklahoma City Thunder  119

Carmelo Anthony may have crossed the 26,000 point career threshold on Friday night, but he only scored nine points on 30.8 percent shooting in a return to Oklahoma City last night, and the Blazers fell to the Thunder by 13 as a result. He’s not the only one. C.J. McCollum did not play and fellow Blazers Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver were a scratch as they were sent to the Sacramento Kings for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan. The Thunder took advantage, jumping on the Blazers by eight in the first quarter, and then another six point margin in the second half to post the win, Nerlens Noel got involved off the bench for Oklahoma City, which has had most of its success dictated by the play of its three guards. 

TRAILBLAZERS (18-26) 11th in the WestTHUNDER (24-19) 7th in the West
Damian Lillard
34 points – six rebounds – one assist
Chris Paul
30 points – four rebounds – seven assists
Gary Trent, Jr.
30 points – five rebounds – one assist – three steals – one block
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
22 points – 10 rebounds – five assists
Anfernee Simons
12 points – three rebounds – one assist
Nerlens Noel
15 points – five rebounds – two assists – two steals – two blocks

Thunder at Rockets – Monday
Warriors at Blazers – Monday


Sacramento Kings  101
Utah Jazz  123

The 22 point win that the Utah Jazz posted over the visiting Sacramento Kings last night in Salt Lake City was pretty much decided in the 38-22 first quarter Utah margin, the Jazz setting the tempo from the outset. If that wasn’t enough, the Jazz added a 32-28 third quarter for insurance, and went on to their 29th win of the season. Their top three combined for 80 points, and Rudy Gobert set the bar high defensively, grabbing a couple of steals and swatting three shots to go along with his 28 and 15 night. You know it’s a good night and a great team when your leading scorer for the season can score a mere 22, be the third leading scorer in the game, and your team wins by 22 points.

KINGS (15-27) 14th in the WestJAZZ (29-13) 4th in the West
De’Aaron Fox
21 points – four rebounds – eight assists – one steal (fouled out)
Bojan Bogdanovic
30 points – two rebounds – one assist – one steal
Marvin Bagley III
17 points – seven rebounds – one assist – one steal – two blocks
Rudy Gobert
28 points – 15 rebounds – two steals – three blocks
Buddy Hield
14 points – three rebounds – three steals
Donovan Mitchell
22 points – four rebounds – two assists

Pacers at Jazz – Monday
Kings at Heat – Monday


(All Times Eastern)

3 p.m.
Miami Heat
San Antonio Spurs
Fox Sports Southwest
8 p.m.
Indiana Pacers
Denver Nuggets


Tracy Graven is a Senior NBA Analyst for
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, 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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