The last three MVPs were on display in the NBA’s third night of Opening Week, all congregating in Houston, while the Hawks landed in Detroit, and the Clippers and Warriors kept true ballers up late on the East Coast in today’s run down of last night’s games. All road teams win in the three games on the list.
Hawks Soar in Detroit as Young Drops 38
The start of the 2019-20 NBA season couldn’t have been scripted any better for the Atlanta Hawks, who swooped into The Motor City and stole a 17 point win from the 1-1 Detroit Pistons.
- Trae Young – 38 points, seven rebounds, nine assists
- John Collins – 18 points, 10 rebounds, one assist
- Jabari Parker – 18 points, one rebound, 0 assists
- Derrick Rose – 27 points, one rebound, three assists
- Andre Drummond – 21 points, 12 rebounds, two assists
- Luke Kennard – 13 points, four rebounds, three assists
Unlike their nine-point, opening night win against the Indiana Pacers the night before, though they had the same Top Three, Luke Kennard’s shooting fell off against the Hawks at home. Kennard followed one of his best nights in the NBA with one of the worst, shooting just 25 percent on his own floor.
Meanwhile, Derrick Rose and Andre Drummond carried the weight, while the rest of the team barely mustered 39 percent of the point total, on 35-of-85 shooting … again, in their own building.
On the other side, I said in my pre-season preview of the Atlanta Hawks that this young core could be exciting, given the right direction and patience from both head coach Lloyd Pierce and the folks in the front office.
Well, last night, those young birds were chirping, proving my point.
Watching Trae Young shoot with ease from almost 40 feet out and bury the three, it made me hearken back to this summer, when he kept his workouts flowing by going back to Oklahoma and playing all but anonymously in the Skinz League to sharpen his game.
To see that kind of young leadership, to see Jabari Parker bounce back, and to see De’Andre Hunter come out like he did, made me almost overlook the fact that Cam Reddish went 0-for-6 and score one point. Next time, Cam, next time.
- Vince Carter became the first NBA player to have played for 22 seasons when he checked into the game.
- For all of Young’s shooting, the Hawks scored 60 points in the paint, despite a second strong game from Drummond.
- Detroit scored 32 points in the first quarter, 31 in the second quarter, but only 37 total in the second half.
Orlando @ Atlanta on Saturday
Philadelphia @ Detroit on Saturday
Giannis Antetokuonmpo, You’re the Real MVP
In a game where the last three Most Valuable Player award winners were in the house, the most recent winner showed the other two why he’s Most Valuable, as the Milwaukee Bucks stifled a 16-point blast off from the Houston Rockets.
- Giannis Antetokuonmpo – 30 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists
- Wesley Matthews – 14 points, four rebounds, one assist
- Ersan Ilyasova – 13 points, 11 rebounds, 0 assists
- Russell Westbrook – 24 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists
- James Harden – 19 points, seven rebounds, 14 assists
- P.J. Tucker – 17 points, seven rebounds, 0 assists
For anyone wondering how Russell Westbrook and James Harden would gel, one only had to see the dish (Harden) and dunk (Westbrook) at the 7:43 mark of the fourth quarter. Of course, as I mentioned on SB Nation Live on Wednesday night, I think they complement one another, with one able to pick up the slack when the other is struggling.
Such was the case last night as Harden’s second half effort was single digits, while Westbrook caught fire after a single digit first half. Harden spent most of the game in foul trouble, and as Giannis Antetokuonmpo and the Bucks got aggressive in the second half, the Greek Freak eventually fouled out, leaving the burden of winning the game on the shoulders of Khris Middleton (11 points), Ersan Ilyasova and Brook Lopez (11 points).
For anyone watching, the Bucks winning going away means it’s likely that Milwaukee wins the season series when these two play again in Milwaukee on March 25, 2020. By then, both these teams will be well entrenched in their respective conference races.
- P.J. Tucker should be vindicated when NBA officiating looks at the five fouls called on him; three of them were questionable at best.
- It was Antetokuonmpo – not Westbrook – who notched the league’s first triple double of the season.
- Houston plays six of its next nine games on the road, including a return for Westbrook to OKC next Monday night.
- The Lopez Brothers (Brook & Robin), playing together for the first time since leaving Stanford, combined for 13 points; Robin had two.
- Both teams made 16 three-pointers in the game.
- Russ … what’s with the ‘do, man? With the two loose front braids, it looks like Teenage Mutant Ninja Beetle. No need, brother … no need.
Miami @ Milwaukee on Saturday
New Orleans @ Houston on Saturday
Clippers Dominant on Both Sides of the Ball in Rout of Warriors
|Los Angeles Clippers||141|
|Golden State Warriors||122|
The Golden State Warriors got a little dose last night of what they’ve given to the rest of the league the last five years, and judging by the demeanor of the team hosting the game in their new digs last night, the taste is bittersweet at best. What felt like it should have been a good contest was nothing of the sort and L.A. beat the breaks off the home team.
- Lou Williams – 22 points, three rebounds, eight assists
- Kawhi Leonard – 21 points, five rebounds, nine assists
- Patrick Patterson – 20 points, three rebounds, one assist
- Stephen Curry – 23 points, four rebounds, four assists
- D’Angelo Russell – 20 points, 0 rebounds, eight assists
- Eric Paschall – 14 points, four rebounds, three assists
For Golden State to have any shot at all at the playoffs in this highly competitive Western Conference, Stephen Curry is going to have to average about 40 points per night; he fell far short of that last night, hitting 23 on eight-of-20 shooting in the new Chase Center. Jacob Evans III was a team best 55.6 percent, but the Warriors fell worse than the final score indicates by shooting 39 percent as a team, while the Clippers hit for 62 percent on the road.
The Clippers led wire to wire – again, without the services of Paul George – including a 46-33 third quarter that put the game out of reach for Golden State and ruined their home opener in their new arena.
Aside from the Top Three, Ivica Zubac finished with 16 and 10 in 18 minutes, Montrezl Harrell was a beast with 18 and six on 88 percent shooting, and Landry Shamet added 11, Moe Harkless 10.
Kawhi Leonard looks unstoppable after two games, but the reason the Clippers were so sound was because of the play and demeanor of Patrick Beverley. The pesky guard had five steals to match his points output.
The NBA commercial is right, as George says it, “Showtime is in the 213.”
- Golden State was outscored 14-0 to begin the game, setting the tone for a long evening for the Warriors.
- L.A. scored 54 points in the paint.
- Leonard scored his 21 through three quarters.
Los Angeles @ Phoenix on Saturday
Golden State @ Oklahoma City on Sunday
Toronto Raptors (1-0) @ Boston Celtics (0-1) – 7 p.m. EDT – NBC Sports Boston
Minnesota Timberwolves (1-0) @ Charlotte Hornets (1-0) – 7 p.m. EDT – Fox Sports Southeast
GAME OF THE NIGHT
New York Knicks (0-1) @ Brooklyn Nets (0-1) – 730 p.m. EDT – YES
Dallas Mavericks (1-0) @ New Orleans Pelicans (0-1) – 8 p.m. EDT – ESPN
Washington Wizards (0-1) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (0-1) – 8 p.m. EDT – NBC Sports Washington
Chicago Bulls (0-1) @ Memphis Grizzlies (0-1) – 8 p.m. EDT – Fox Sports Southeast
Phoenix Suns (1-0) @ Denver Nuggets (1-0) – 9 p.m. EDT – Altitude
Portland Trailblazers (0-1) @ Sacramento Kings (0-1) – 10 p.m. EDT – NBC Sports California
Utah Jazz (1-0) @ Los Angeles Lakers (0-1) – 1030 p.m. EDT – Spectrum SportsNet
*** 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