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The Rundown w/T-Money

The Rundown – 12/5/19: The One That Got Away, Bucks win 13th in a Row, and L.A. Drowns Out Jazz

Does Sam Presti wish he had Domantas Sabonis back? Also, L.A. is speed metal to Utah's Jazz, Bucks win 13th straight, and Portland has its best game to date.

The One That Got Away

Every general manager has that one player that they wish they could have kept ahold of. 

For Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti, that player has to be Domantas Sabonis.

Sabonis’ brief stay with the Thunder began when his draft rights were traded to the Thunder along with Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova for Serge Ibaka, after being selected 11th overall by the Orlando Magic. A year and two weeks later, Presti dealt Sabonis and Oladipo to the Indiana Pacers for what amounted to be a two year rental on Paul “I’m here to stay” George.

Though Sabonis and Oladipo never outwardly voiced any displeasure with the Thunder for the move, Sabonis has let his play do the talking.

This season, he’s running over his career averages, currently posting a 18.4 ppg, 13 rebound average, and 3.8 assists, up seven plus points, up nearly six rebounds, and double his assists.

Against the Thunder, he’s played very consistently well, though he was used sparingly at first, due to his lack of experience under head coach Nate McMillan. But in 2019 – adjoining this season and last season – you’d have to be blind not to see Sabonis’ improvement and his value as an asset.

October 25, 2017
First game facing OKC after being traded
4 points
11 rebounds
2 assists
December 13, 20178 points
6 rebounds
1 assist
March 14, 201926 points
7 rebounds
4 assists
March 27, 201918 points
10 rebounds
2 assists
November 12, 201918 points
16 rebounds
2 assists
December 4, 201917 points
13 rebounds
2 assists

You’d have to think that Presti would want those stats, that grit and determination, and improvement like that back in Thunder blue.

Of course, he’d like to have had James Harden’s production and numbers too, but didn’t think Harden was worth the money he was asking. (Harden is the fourth highest paid player in the league at $38,199,000 this season and set to crest $41 million next season).

Sabonis is 248th in the league in salary at $3,529,554, but set to make $18.5 million a year over the next three seasons. If Indiana is foolish enough to underappreciate him or let him hit the trade market, Presti has to consider bringing him back to OKC.

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Milwaukee Bucks  127
Detroit Pistons  103

The Detroit Pistons got a taste of their own medicine, getting throttled by 24 points in their own crib by the NBA best Milwaukee Bucks. Detroit only scored 24 in each of the first three quarters, while Milwaukee put together 92 points in that time frame to take a very comfortable 20 point lead into the fourth. Milwaukee has won 13 games in a row.

BUCKS (19-3)PISTONS (8-14)
Giannis Antetokuonmpo
35 points – nine rebounds – two blocks
Andre Drummond
23 points – 14 rebounds – five assists – two steals – three blocks
Khris Middleton
17 points – eight rebounds – five assists – one steal
Langston Galloway
20 points – one rebound – one assist
Eric Bledsoe
13 points – six rebounds – six assists – one block
Blake Griffin
16 points – 10 rebounds – three assists

NEXT UP
Clippers at Bucks – Friday
Pacers at Pistons – Friday

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Phoenix Suns  114
Orlando Magic  128

Despite losing Nikola Vucevic until about Christmas, the Orlando Magic are on a mission, winning their fourth of their last five games. The Magic shot 57 percent to Phoenix’s 48 percent to get within a game of .500 last night. Both teams are eighth in their respective conferences.

SUNS (9-11)MAGIC (10-11)
Frank Kaminsky
23 points – five rebounds – three assists – one steal
Aaron Gordon
32 points – five rebounds – five assists – one steal
Devin Booker
17 points – three rebounds – five assists
Terrence Ross
22 points – three rebounds – one assist – two steals
Cheick Diallo
16 points – four rebounds – two steals
Evan Fournier
21 points – two rebounds – four assists – one steal

NEXT UP
Suns at Pelicans – Thursday
Magic at Cavaliers – Friday

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Golden State Warriors  91
Charlotte Hornets  106

D’Angelo Russell returned and the Golden State Warriors jumped out to an early lead and a respectable fight, but a 37 point second half left the crack in the door the Charlotte Hornets needed to swarm the Warriors, sending them to their 19th loss of the season.

WARRIORS (4-19)HORNETS (9-14)
D’Angelo Russell
18 points – two rebounds – two assists
Devonte’ Graham
33 points – seven rebounds – nine assists – two steals
Eric Paschall
16 points – six rebounds – one assist
Terry Rozier
25 points – seven rebounds – seven assists – three steals
Alec Burks
15 points – four rebounds – two assists – two steals
Miles Bridges
10 points – two rebounds – one assist – two blocks

NEXT UP
Warriors at Bulls – Friday
Nets at Hornets – Friday

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Brooklyn Nets  130
Atlanta Hawks  118

Atlanta treated the home fans at State Farm Arena to a nice first quarter, but let a 13 point surge by the Brooklyn Nets in the second quarter take the wind out from under their wings as they plummeted to their 17th loss this season and there wasn’t a damn thing State Farm could do about it as all five starters for the Nets hit in double digits.

NETS (11-10)HAWKS (5-17)
Garrett Temple
27 points – four rebounds – three assists
Trae Young
39 points – three rebounds – 10 assists – one block
Spencer Dinwiddie
24 points – six rebounds – five assists – two steals
Cam Reddish
25 points – six rebounds – three steals – one block
Taurean Prince
23 points – six rebounds – four assists – two steals
Damian Jones
20 points – eight rebounds – one assist – one block

NEXT UP
Nets at Hornets – Friday
Hawks at Hornets – Sunday

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Miami Heat  93
Boston Celtics  112

The Boston Celtics improved to 8-0 at TD Garden last night as Jaylen Brown scored a season high to push the Celtics a few notches above the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference standings, despite a strong night from Jimmy Butler. The C’s are now second right behind the Milwaukee Bucks as Miami falls to fifth in the East.

HEAT (15-6)CELTICS (15-5)
Jimmy Butler
37 points – six rebounds – four assists – two steals
Jaylen Brown
31 points – four rebounds – one assist – one steal
Kelly Olynyk
12 points – four rebounds – two assists – one steal
Kemba Walker
28 points – four rebounds – seven assists – two steals – one block
Justise Winslow
10 points – seven rebounds – four assists
Jayson Tatum
19 points – five rebounds – three assists – one steal – three blocks

NEXT UP
Heat at Wizards – Friday
Nuggets at Celtics – Friday

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Memphis Grizzlies  99
Chicago Bulls  106

A strong second quarter by the Chicago Bulls and all of Chicago’s starters hitting in double digits helped the Bulls vanquish the visiting Memphis Grizzlies last night in the Windy City.

GRIZZLIES (6-15)BULLS (8-14)
Jonas Valanciunas
32 points – 13 rebounds – one assist – three steals – one block
Zach LaVine
25 points – six rebounds – three assists – one steal – one block
Jaren Jackson, Jr.
15 points – seven rebounds – one assist – one steal – two blocks
Wendell Carter, Jr.
16 points – 13 rebounds – four blocks
Jae Crowder
15 points – six rebounds – four assists – one steal
Lauri Markkanen
15 points – five rebounds – one assist – two blocks

NEXT UP
Warriors at Bulls – Friday
Grizzlies at Jazz – Saturday

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Indiana Pacers  107
Oklahoma City Thunder  100

With the game on the line, Terrance Ferguson needs a little more practice at shooting in crunch time … or at least head coach Billy Donovan could have called a time out. Instead, the Indiana Pacers used a strong(er) 58-50 second half to down the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena last night. Seven Pacers ended up in double figures.

PACERS (14-7)THUNDER (8-12)
T.J. Warren
24 points – four rebounds – one assist
Steven Adams
20 points – nine rebounds – three assists – two blocks
Domantas Sabonis
17 points – 13 rebounds – two assists – two steals
Danilo Gallinari
18 points – seven rebounds – two assists
Doug McDermott
14 points – two rebounds – 0 assists
Dennis Schroder
18 points – four rebounds – one assist – one block

NEXT UP
Pacers at Pistons – Friday
Timberwolves at Thunder – Friday

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Minnesota Timberwolves  114
Dallas Mavericks  121

The Dallas Mavericks continue to assert themselves as one of the teams in the NBA to be reckoned with, behind strong play from Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell, as well as 41-30 closeout quarter last night against the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves.

TIMBERWOLVES (10-10)MAVERICKS (15-6)
Karl-Anthony Towns
26 points – nine rebounds – seven assists – one steal – one block
Dwight Powell
24 points – five rebounds – four assists – one steal – two blocks
Andrew Wiggins
26 points – five rebounds – one assist – three blocks
Luka Doncic
22 points – seven rebounds – six assists
Robert Covington
22 points – six rebounds – one assist – one steal
Kristaps Porzingis
19 points – six rebounds – one block

NEXT UP
Timberwolves at Thunder – Friday
Pelicans at Mavericks – Saturday

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Los Angeles Lakers  121
Utah Jazz  96

If Utah is the Jazz, then the Los Angeles Lakers is speed thrash metal. Duke Ellington, meet Cannibal Corpse. L.A. cranked out a 65-47 first half to drown out the Jazz and never looked back in their start to finish 25 point beatdown last night in Salt Lake City.

LAKERS (19-3)JAZZ (12-10)
Anthony Davis
26 points – six rebounds – one assist – one steal – three blocks
Donovan Mitchell
29 points – four rebounds – five assists
LeBron James
20 points – four rebounds – 12 assists – one steal
Bojan Bogdanovic
23 points – three rebounds – three assists – one steal
Rajon Rondo
14 points – nine rebounds – 12 assists – two steals
Rudy Gobert
13 points – 1o rebounds – two assists – one steal

NEXT UP
Lakers at Blazers – Friday
Grizzlies at Jazz – Saturday

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Sacramento Kings  116
Portland Trailblazers  127

Their record at 9-13 may look uglier than Sacramento’s tidy 8-12, but the Portland Trailblazers’ percentage looks cleaner at .409 to Sacramento’s .364 after last night’s Blazer win in Portland, and it vaults the Blazers up to ninth place in the Western Conference standings. They’re headed in the right direction. Carmelo Anthony shot 50 percent for 20 points – and he was the fourth leading scorer on the team.

KINGS (8-12)BLAZERS (9-13)
Richaun Holmes
28 points – 10 rebounds – one steal
C.J. McCollum
33 points – four rebounds – four assists – one steal – four blocks
Buddy Hield
23 points – seven rebounds – seven assists – one steal
Damian Lillard
24 points – four rebounds – 10 assists – two steals – one block
Nemanja Bjelica
17 points – seven rebounds – four assists – one steal – two blocks
Hassan Whiteside
22 points – 16 rebounds – seven assists – three blocks

NEXT UP
Kings at Spurs – Friday
Lakers at Blazers – Friday

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THURSDAY’S LINEUP / MY PICK ‘EMS
Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards – 7 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Washington
Denver Nuggets at New York Knicks – 7:30 p.m. EST – Altitude 2
Houston Rockets at Toronto Raptors – 7:30 p.m. EST – NBATV
Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Pelicans – 8 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Arizona

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The Rundown w/T-Money is a daily column “all things NBA” that will run through the entirety of the season, and the playoffs through the NBA Finals
Tracy Graven is a Senior Analyst for BackSportsPage.com.
He has written the NBA for the last two decades and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and 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.
He currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife and five children.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia 

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