NBA

Is Buddy Hield's taking the correct approach in his wage dispute with the Sacramento Kings?

By October 18, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • NBA Heat Check: Milton thrives in 76ers shake up, Huerter and Hunter hurt Hawks NBA Heat Check: Milton thrives in 76ers shake up, Huerter and Hunter hurt Hawks

    It was far from business as usual in the NBA again last week.

    A total of 11 games were postponed due to stringent COVID-19 protocols, making it tough for some players and teams to find their rhythm early in the season.

    Others have taken full advantage of opportunities presented to them by teams having to go deep into their rosters in order to fulfil fixtures.

    We take a look at the players who had the biggest increases and decreases in production over the previous week.

     

    RUNNING HOT…

    Shake Milton

    The Philadelphie 76ers have seen their roster badly affected by COVID-19 protocols and results over the past week have been a little patchy as a result – a pair of wins over the Miami Heat ended a run of three straight defeats but were followed by a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. One who man stepped up, though, was Milton, who was averaging 14.1 points per game up to January 10. Last week he averaged 29.5 – a difference of 15.4, the highest in the league. 

    Duncan Robinson

    Last season's beaten finalists the Heat are in somewhat of a rut having lost four of their past five to slip to 4-7 for the season. Robinson has done his best to help reverse the fortunes, though, having averaged 23.3 points last week – his improvement of 12.1 from his average at January 10 was second only to Milton. Part of the improvement can be attributed to his prowess from three-point range over with Robinson averaging five per game, compared to 3.1 for the season prior to the week. Team-mate Tyler Herro has also impressed – averaging 25.5 points per game for the week, a +9.9 difference to his average leading into it.

    Bruce Brown

    With the Brooklyn Nets trading away Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Caris LeVert and Rodions Kurucs – as well as a ton of picks – to acquire James Harden, Brown received greater minutes in Steve Nash's rotation. He shot 8-of-11 from the field for 16 points in a win over the Denver Nuggets and had a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds against the New York Knicks the following day. However, when Kyrie Irving returns, Brown can expect to see a significant reduction in his time on the floor.

    Luka Doncic

    The Dallas Mavericks star started to find his range from three over the past week, going 5-of-9 from beyond the arc against the Charlotte Hornets and 6-of-11 versus the Chicago Bulls. He averaged four three-point makes per game last week, a significant improvement on his figure of 1.63 on the season he went in with. Doncic also had 16 rebounds and 15 assists against the Bulls to record his 29th triple-double, surpassing the legendary Michael Jordan on the all-time list. However, he ended up on the losing side against Chicago and blamed himself: "That's on me, that game. I was being selfish a little bit because I had 30 points in the first half. That wasn't me in the second half."

    GOING COLD...

    Fred VanVleet

    Four years after going undrafted, VanVleet was rewarded for his role in the Raptors' recent success as he signed a four-year, $85million deal to stay with Toronto ahead of this season. His performances have not yet justified that outlay, however, and the past week was a particularly disappointing one. The struggling Raptors actually enjoyed a minor upturn in form, winning back-to-back games against the Hornets to improve to 4-8, but VanVleet scored just 14 points per game, 8.1 down on his prior season average of 22.1. There was at least some solace in a first double-double of the season as he stacked up 10 assists in the second Hornets game.

    Kevin Huerter and De'Andre Hunter

    It was not a good week for the Atlanta Hawks, their shock 3-0 start long since forgotten. Three Atlanta players were at least 6.0 points down on their prior scoring average for the year, yet it was the decline in three-point shooting that really stood out. Huerter and Hunter had each impressed from beyond the arc in the early weeks of the campaign, making 2.4 and 2.1 threes per game respectively. But a remarkable drop-off saw both make just two across three games - two of which were defeats - to each average 0.7. It meant the team as a whole made just five threes in the loss to the Utah Jazz and six as they went down to the Portland Trail Blazers.

    George Hill

    The Oklahoma City Thunder again traded assets for picks ahead of this season but have still managed to operate at .500 so far, beating the Bulls after defeats to the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Hill's outstanding early form is showing signs of tailing off. A new arrival this year, the 34-year-old point guard was outperforming his career average of 1.2 threes made per game heading into the week (1.9) but did not make a single one of his seven attempts from beyond the arc against the Spurs, Lakers or Bulls.

    Terrence Ross

    After a strong start to the season with the Orlando Magic, Ross went into last week averaging 17.9 points and 2.44 three-pointers made per game. However, in meetings with the Nets, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, he shot 3-of-15 from beyond the arc – an average of just one make per game. It's therefore unsurprising he also suffered one of the biggest decreases in points per game to 11, with 23 of his 33 total points coming against Brooklyn.

  • George sees a change in Clippers: The chemistry is amazing George sees a change in Clippers: The chemistry is amazing

    Paul George believes the Los Angeles Clippers have found the right formula for success after stretching their winning run to four games with victory over the Indiana Pacers. 

    Despite being without Lou Williams and Serge Ibaka on Sunday, the Clippers eased to a 129-96 triumph that improves their record to 10-4 this season. 

    George was one of seven players to reach double figures for points, Marcus Morris Sr and Luke Kennard also matching the six-time NBA All-Star's tally of 20. 

    The Clippers sit behind Los Angeles rivals the Lakers in the Western Conference standings and, after a difficult 2019-20 season that ended with a playoff collapse to the Denver Nuggets, they are "locked in" for this campaign, according to George.  

    "The chemistry is amazing," he said after the win over the Pacers, according to quotes on ESPN. 

    "It's a real bond. It's fun, with this team, it's locked in, we are together; it is one of the best locker rooms I have been around and been in. 

    "Hopefully, you guys see it, just how well we are meshing. 

    "We are going to continue to build off of that. We like where we are at and like where we are heading, we want to see this thing play all the way through."

    Following the signings of George and fellow superstar Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers were considered among the title favourites last year. 

    An all-Los Angeles Western Conference Finals appeared on the cards when the Clippers led the Nuggets 3-1 in their series in the Orlando bubble, only to then lose three games on the spin and crash out of the postseason.

    Morris was part of that roster but sees differences now, insisting all those on the team are working in the same direction. 

    "I feel like our energy is way better this season," Morris said. "Guys are buying in and enjoying playing the game." 

    The Clippers appeared in danger of letting slip a big lead against the Pacers, who pulled within two points of their opponents early in the third quarter. 

    However, the home team responded with a 37-14 run, moving clear as they coasted to victory. They are back in action on Wednesday, taking on the Sacramento Kings.

  • Knicks humble Celtics in blow-out win as Doncic eclipses Jordan Knicks humble Celtics in blow-out win as Doncic eclipses Jordan

    The New York Knicks routed the Boston Celtics 105-75 in a stunning upset in the NBA on Sunday.

    Julius Randle (20 points and 12 rebounds) and RJ Barrett (19 points and 11 rebounds) came up big to help the Knicks snap a five-game losing streak.

    The Celtics had the best record in the Eastern Conference following five successive wins, but the hosts suffered their biggest loss of the season and had their lowest scoring output in 2020-21.

    Luka Doncic posted his 29th career triple-double in the Dallas Mavericks' 117-101 defeat against the Chicago Bulls.

    The All-Star moved above Bulls and NBA great Michael Jordan and into 15th position on the all-time triple-double list after finishing with 36 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists.

    Doncic put up the fourth 35-plus point, 15-plus rebound and 15-plus assist game in NBA history, while he joined Oscar Robertson (five times), Wilt Chamberlain (1968) and James Harden (2016) as the only players with that stat line.

     

    Career-high night for Fox

    The Sacramento Kings lost 128-123 at home to the New Orleans Pelicans, but De'Aaron Fox posted a career-high 43 points and 13 assists. Sacramento team-mate Marvin Bagley III also had a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds.

    Nikola Jokic (35 points and 14 rebounds) and Jamal Murray (30 points) combined for 65 points, but the Denver Nuggets still went down 109-105 to the Utah Jazz.

     

    Walker returns but struggles

    Kemba Walker made his season debut after missing the opening 11 games of the 2020-21 campaign due to injury. But the Celtics star was just three of 13 from the field and one of eight from three-point range for nine points in 20 minutes before exiting in the third quarter with a rib problem. Boston team-mate Semi Ojeleye attempted six shots from beyond the arc, however, he missed all of them.

     

    Zion flexes his muscles

    Former number one draft pick Zion Williamson put on a show. The Pelicans star had 31 points on 13-of-15 shooting from the field, including a couple of monster dunks.

    Sunday's results

    New York Knicks 105-75 Boston Celtics
    Chicago Bulls 117-101 Dallas Mavericks
    Utah Jazz 109-105 Denver Nuggets
    New Orleans Pelicans 128-123 Sacramento Kings
    Los Angeles Clippers 129-96 Indiana Pacers
    Cleveland Cavaliers-Washington Wizards (postponed)
    Philadelphia 76ers-Oklahoma City Thunder (postponed)

     

    Bucks at Nets

    James Harden will look to follow up his historic debut when the Brooklyn Nets (8-6) host reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (9-4) on Monday.

     

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