Growing up in the 90’s (don’t date me bro!), it would have been hard to imagine not just the mediocrity that would follow the next two decades (okay, I’ll add the qualifier “measured” mediocrity for all those Noah/Rose fanboys out there), but also feeling some sort of compassion for hanging out near the bottom-half of the league for longer than it takes to legally drink.  Truth be told, it’s not like the Bulls have been, say, the Kings over the same span. (I’d feel sorry for making fun of the Kings if they had more than a dozen fans.) But there’s definitely been a markable difference between the Michael Jordan Bulls and everything that came afterwards. I also go by the name: Captain Obvious. And while it’s been a long wait for those in Chitown, there’s a lot to like with this team, especially building off a successful season that led to the first round of the playoffs, fruits of their previous active off-seasons. Sure, it’s not the chips we middle-aged men were used to seeing from this team a long time ago, but as someone great once said, time is flat circle… (Don’t worry, I prefer the McConaughey quote over Nietzsche too. Actually, after typing that sentence out, I prefer neither since it took me a few hours for spellcheck to agree.)

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Crazy fourth quarters and Devin Booker, name a more iconic duo. While last night’s game against the Nuggets was on Chris Paul’s return after 15 games due to a thumb fracture, Booker continued to perform like he has most of the season putting up 49 points, 4 rebounds and 10 assists, leading the Suns to their 60th win. And with that win, the Suns have now clinched first place overall (home court advantage through the playoffs) and are now on pace to become the 14th team ever in the history of the NBA to win more than 67 games. And if you didn’t believe me about Booker, the Suns, and the fourth quarter, they are now 44-0 when leading after three quarters. I’m not even sure how to live in a world where the Suns are this good.

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One has been helping seafood everywhere reach its full flavor potential (their words, not mine!) and one just had a 51-point performance. I’ll let greater minds figure out which one is worth more, but with a win last night, the Pistons find themselves within reach of .500 basketball by some time next season. Maybe. And what a coincidence, as something similar could be said of the team that lost, the Orland Magic. Sitting now at an 18-53 record, last night’s only scheduled game did at least provide us with the above-mentioned monster effort by Saddiq Bey and that’s. About. It.

Did I see anything else in this game last night? Maybe. Should I talk about it? Double-maybe.

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While the day’s headlines will surely focus on the Kyrie Irving’s score-la-palooza right after KAT’s err, score-stock, right after Lebron went on Fyre? I think I’m running out of festivals. Regardless, with there being only 16 50-point games this season, with half of them coming in the last 17 days, today’s content will not focus on any of that. Shunning the SEO gods, that always works… but Tyler Herro’s recent performance deserves at least some attention. And positive metrics! Coming off the bench against the Pistons, Herro managed 29 points on 8-15 field goals and 9-11 from the free throw line. Obviously it’s hard to apply the sixth man label here when Herro is averaging the same minutes played as Giannis Antetokounmpo, but not only is he a huge part of the Heat right now, the future remains bright for this young point guard.

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While the trade deadline is now a distant memory as we quickly head toward the play-ins, playoffs, and… play-ons? Yeah, why are there no play-ons or even play-outs? Maybe we just haven’t evolutionized (totally a word) enough yet? Regardless, for those of you who remember (where were you when the Kings were peak Kings?), Sacramento ended up trading their most cost-controlled asset in Tyrese Haliburton (along with Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson) for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and a 2023 second-round pick. And it just so happens that right after the trade, I took a look at Sabonis and the Kings separate from any analysis of the trade itself. Basically, Sabonis is a big man with some big skills that would continue being that. And while the Kings haven’t really succeeded with their “win-now” strategy (2-8 in their last 10, 4 losses behind the 10 seed), there’s been nothing but confirmation that the Pacers made out like gangbusters (dated reference ftw) with Tyrese flourishing with his new team.

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I’m no doctor (sorry mom!), but in my professional opinion (in which my profession is nothing besides maybe making a lot of parentheses), I believe (and feel!) that whatever injury Harden was coming back from, well, it seems to have miraculously solved itself and this is the most 100% I’ve seen James Harden in a long time, not counting the strip clubs, of course. And that’s not to act glib, anyone can smirk injury statuses, it’s pretty much tradition in all sports leagues in this day and age. But I guess it’s always nice to see the confirmation right before your eyes, so without incredulously referring to Harden’s previous injury, I think after last night’s performance scoring 29 points, grabbing 10 boards and providing an easy breezy smorgasbord (totally a phrase) of 16 assists, I think we can say that whatever ailed him does no longer. Probably his previous injury was playing with Kyrie Irving…
Here’s what else I saw during yesterday’s “truncated” basketball schedule:

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A play on words to describe Domantas Sabonis or what essentially translates to Domino’s Pizza in Latin… you decide! As the fallout dust settles from a wild trading deadline (and that’s just in New Jersey and Philly!), a lot of focus on the winners and losers has been discussed, pontificated, bantered, repartee’d? Repartaid? Reparty? Whatever, you get the point… maybe. And while there’s plenty of analysis of the players, generally it’s within the scope of the trade itself and lends itself to being contextually trapped. This statement probably makes way more sense in my head, so a prime example of what I’m speaking of is embodied best by Domantas Sabonis, newly acquired by the Kings in what is probably one of the more questionable trades last week. In a deal that also included Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday, the overall conclusion was that the Pacers came away with not just the best return, but the best player as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m on the Tyrese Hailburton hype train as much as anyone, but the acquisition of Domas Sabonis might just be exactly what Sabonis and the Kings needed…

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While the title is a bit clunkier than my normal “flowful” (totally a word) attempts, I feel the metaphor carries some extra oomph, if only so I can type out the word oomph. Keep in mind that the pun is based on power hour, a term loosely defined as the last part of an investor’s trading day and with the recent Clipper’s acquisition (fleecing?) of Norman Powell (and Robert Covington) from the Trail Blazers, it seemed apt to sacrifice flow for accuracy. (That’s what she said.) So many parenthetical statements, so little time! And with Powell’s debut last night to the tune of 28 points on a 56/50/86 split in just 23 minutes, we’ll take a look at Powell, the Clippers, and try and answer the question why anyone still picks up the phone when Jerry West calls…

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In the game this past Saturday against the Washington Wizards, Ja Morant scored 34 points. Yeah, nothing super spectacular about that. I mean, 30+ points are still 30+ points, it’s obviously a good thing, say better than 29 points so says me, Captain Obvious. But when you look deeper at the stats, this was the 13th time this season that Morant has scored 20+ points in the paint. He’s the first guard to achieve that in the last 25 years, eclipsing both Russell Westbrook (19-20) and Dwayne Wade (05-06) who previously held that mantle. And it should be pointed out that there are still 31 games left this season. Often compared to the likes of Allen Iverson and Derrick Rose, Morant has earned that comparison by being an absolute beast, aggressively attacking the rim at all times. But is such a thing meant to last? Is there regression in store for this young star? That and more after the jump!

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At this point, I’m just going to assume everyone here knows what love is, what it does, and how it both can be both the sweet and the sour. And of course you’d never know what sweet is unless you tasted sour, which is why Chinese food is just so darn good. Having a problem? Feeling down? Feeling up? Feeling all the directions? Just eat some Crab Rangoon, easy. But despite getting myself hungry just now (eternal life struggle), we have to move forward and make the pun work, so therefore, I insert one Kevin Love into this content. And discussing his season thus far seems apropos based on last night’s performance where he led the Cavs in scoring with 20 points in a game that he only played 24 minutes and literally just shot threes. I’m not quite sure what a figurative three is, but since all of his field goal attempts (12) were beyond the arc, my statement still stands true. A relief to everyone, I’m sure…

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Despite the continuing drama in La La Land and the conversions it would bring writing about, I’m going to spend a bit of time on Devin Booker who dropped 48 points, six assists, five rebounds, and three steals in a win against the Spurs last night. Mmm, those sweet sweet unique hits from Phoenix… all 12 of them. I’m kidding, there’s actually a lot of people out there in the tri-state area, just too old to understand anything digital that’s not Facebook, so here we are. And even though Booker tried for 50 (was pulled with the Suns up by 10 and missing his last two shots), the stat line last night was downright dominant when you realize it may all be happening because he pointed at the Raptor. (Suns are 4-0 now since that incident by the way.) During the same span, Booker has been averaging 32.3 PPG and has carried the Suns a few times this past week all by himself, including last night’s win against the aforementioned Spurs. Best player in Arizona currently wearing #1? Don’t tell Razzball Football, but I think so…

Here’s what else I saw during last night’s games:

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As has been recently reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Detroit Pistons are finalizing a deal to acquire Forward Bol Bol from the Denver Nuggets for Rodney McGruder and a second-round pick. While the trade hasn’t officially gone through of this writing, it’s quite nice to see a news item and an easy pun meet, like Sonny and Cher, peas and carrots, Jet Li and Delroy Lindo… but besides making the title gods weep from joy, we must also understand that there’s a lot here to talk about with Bol Bol’s trade, and I honestly can’t wait to type my Bol Bol’s out. Literally and figuratively…

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