Connect with us

The Rundown w/T-Money

Rundown v12.20.19 – Bucks Show Who’s Best, Rockets Soar Past Clippers, Role Reversals?

Giannis Antetokuonmpo and Milwaukee's Best showed who's No. 1 in the NBA last night.

Roles Reversed?

As I watched the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets battle last night, I noticed a continuance of a trend – role reversals, if you will. 

Interchangeable parts in the dynamic duos of these two teams.

Four Southern California boys. Two of them get to play at home, in or near the cities where they grew up. The two others visited home last night.

James Harden recruited Russell Westbrook to be a part of the Rockets in Houston.
Kawhi Leonard went to great lengths this summer to get Paul George traded to L.A. to be a part of his Clippers.

But in the past couple of games, Westbrook – not Harden – has led the Houston Rockets.
George has done the same with the Clippers – not Leonard – some of the time due to Leonard’s load management.

The intention was to get some top level help on each team and chase a championship. George wants to get to that level. Westbrook and Harden got close – together – in 2012 by playing in an NBA Finals and winning only one game. Leonard won a ring last year while in Toronto.

But the other benefit is if one guy has a bad night, a couple, a few, then there’s the other guy stepping in his sneakers, even though you have two Nike guys, an Adidas guy, and the guy who brought a New Balance to the NBA this summer (yes, New Balance, I’m still seeking compensation of a pair of Kawhi’s shoes for that marketing nod).

Here’s a look at the production numbers these four bring to the table:

James Harden38.5 ppg5.8 rpg7.5 apg44.5% shooting
Russell Westbrook23.5 ppg8.2 rpg7.1 apg42.5% shooting





Kawhi Leonard25.5 ppg7.9 rpg4.9 apg45.2% shooting
Paul George25.2 ppg6.1 tpg3.7 apg45.2% shooting

Harden is a pure scorer who gets to the line more than anyone in the league, while the other three have similar numbers. Leonard and George get the nod for consistency, while Harden and Westbrook may be the most fun two to watch. Last night, George and Leonard probably didn’t think so.

But these four young men from all parts of the Los Angeles area probably got together for some grub before lacing up the sneaks … and those friendships are some of the best and most competitive rivalries. Houston has owned the Clippers this season, still a lot of games to go, including the playoffs.

This weekend in a feature, I will be taking a look at all the league’s dynamic duos.

Who’s your favorite and why?

********************

Utah Jazz  111
Atlanta Hawks  106

The Atlanta Hawks lost their sixth straight game last night, even though Trae Young and Donovan Mitchell played each other to a dead even stat sheet. The difference was in the paint, where perennial defensive specialist Rudy Gobert dominated Bruno Fernando (4-6-1). The Jazz won the rebounding battle 52-39 as they improved to their 17th win of the season.

UTAH (17-11)ATLANTA (6-23)
Donovan Mitchell
30 points – five rebounds – five assists – one steal
Trae Young
30 points – five rebounds – eight assists – one steal
Rudy Gobert
20 points – 13 rebounds – one assist – three blocks
Jabari Parker
23 points – nine rebounds – five assists – one steal
Bojan Bogdanovic
19 points – nine rebounds – two assists
Kevin Huerter
17 points – four rebounds – two assists – one steal

NEXT UP
Jazz at Hornets – Saturday
Hawks at Nets – Saturday

********************

Los Angeles Lakers  104
Milwaukee Bucks  111

One of last night’s games determined who the best team in the NBA is … and it ain’t the Los Angeles Lakers, at least not last night. The Milwaukee Bucks prevailed, despite a combined 78 points from Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Danny Green. Milwaukee, coming off a loss to Dallas after an 18-game winning streak, used a 65-46 first half to keep the Lakers at arm’s reach to get back on track and travel to New York to possibly begin another win streak. The Bucks had five players in double digit scoring; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the only other Laker to score anything significant with his 18 point night. 

LOS ANGELES (24-5)MILWAUKEE (25-4)
Anthony Davis
36 points – 10 rebounds – five assists – one steal – three blocks
Giannis Antetokuonmpo
34 points – 11 rebounds – seven assists – one steal – one block
LeBron James
21 points – 12 rebounds – 11 assists
George Hill
21 points – three rebounds – one assist
Danny Green
21 points – four rebounds – one block
Khris Middleton
15 points – six rebounds – two assists

NEXT UP
Bucks at Knicks – Saturday
Nuggets at Lakers – Sunday

********************

Brooklyn Nets  105
San Antonio Spurs  118

Game No. 17 without Kyrie Irving came at a price as the Brooklyn Nets took on the Spurs in San Antonio last night. Spencer Dinwiddie continues his shine, but his career high 41 points went for naught. The Spurs, who set a team record for points in the first half the other night with 73, nearly did it again in the second half of last night’s game with 68 versus Brooklyn’s 49 to seal the deal at home.

BROOKLYN (15-13)SAN ANTONIO (11-16)
Spencer Dinwiddie
41 points – one rebound – five assists
Patty Mills
27 points – one rebound – two assists
Jarrett Allen
19 points – 13 rebounds – six assists – one steal – one block
LaMarcus Aldridge
20 points – 10 rebounds – two assists – one steal – four blocks
Garrett Temple
10 points – three rebounds – two assists – three steals
Dejounte Murray
13 points – six rebounds – five assists – three steals

NEXT UP
Hawks at Nets – Saturday
Clippers at Spurs – Saturday

********************

Houston Rockets  122
Los Angeles Clippers  117

A couple of former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates – besties, if you will – went at it last night in L.A., and Russell Westbrook outdid Paul George as he did many times while wearing the same uniform over the last two years. The Los Angeles Clippers had an opportunity to make a move on the Lakers with the Bucks winning their 25th game of the season, but came up short. L.A. had a strong second quarter, outscoring the Rockets, 41-27, but wilted in the second half as Westbrook and the Rockets exploded for a 68-48 second half.

HOUSTON (19-9)LOS ANGELES (21-9)
Russell Westbrook
40 points – 10 rebounds – five assists – one steal
Paul George
34 points – nine rebounds – three assists – two steals – two blocks
James Harden
28 points – one rebound – 10 assists – two steals – one block
Kawhi Leonard
24 points – nine rebounds – four assists – one steal
Clint Capela
16 points – eight rebounds – one assist – four steals – one block
Montrezl Harrell
19 points – six rebounds – one assist – one steal – one block

NEXT UP
Rockets at Suns – Saturday
Clippers at Spurs – Saturday

********************

FRIDAY’S LINEUP / MY PICK ‘EMS
Memphis Grizzlies at Cleveland Cavaliers – 7 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Southeast
Sacramento Kings at Indiana Pacers – 7 p.m. EST – NBC Sports California
Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics – 7:30 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Boston
Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors – 7:30 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Washington
New York Knicks at Miami Heat – 8 p.m. EST – SUN Sports
Dallas Mavericks at Philadelphia 76ers – 8 p.m. EST – ESPN
Phoenix Suns at Oklahoma City Thunder – 8 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Arizona
Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets – 9 p.m. EST – Altitude
Orlando Magic at Portland Trailblazers – 10 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Florida
New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors – 10:30 p.m. EST – ESPN

********************

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 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Featured Articles

Featured Writers

More in The Rundown w/T-Money