On a day with few games on the slate, we had an eventful day in the National Basketball Association. There was some movement in the coaching ranks. Steve Nash was dismissed by Brooklyn after only seven games. Rumors were rampant in the offseason that Kevin Durant wanted Nash fired. As life would have it, that happened. Whether or not Durant had any involvement is unknown. The two-time league MVP, Nash, in all his professionalism, thanked the city of Brooklyn, the players, and the organization for the opportunity. Nash exits, leaving the Nets 2-5, currently sitting at 13th in the Eastern Conference. The only way is up, right?

Chicago Bulls: 108 – Brooklyn Nets: 99

The Nets have bigger problems than Steve Nash. They are said to be eyeing former Boston Celtics head coach, Ime Udoka. Hopefully, Udoka can teach this team how to play defense. The Bulls scored a game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter to the Nets’ 19.

Kyrie Irving: With Irving’s final point total, you would assume he either came off the bench in limited minutes or left the game early. Nope, Kyrie played 33 minutes, finishing with a whopping 4 points. He did contribute in other ways – 6 rebounds and 7 assists, but his 2-for-12 shooting performance may be the straightest line to placing blame for the loss.

Nic Claxton: Claxton finished 4 for 4 from the field with 10 rebounds. The faster the Nets can integrate him into the offense as an actual option, as opposed to an opportunistic, put-back guy, the better this team will be. He is very efficient from close range and loaded with hops. He can out-jump most and is strong around the rim. A message to the new Nets coach: run some sets for Nic.

Royce O’Neale: O’Neale was a pleasant surprise. He scored a season-best 20 points. The 4 from 6 from downtown has Royce at 37% from behind the three-point line. Royce has snagged 5 or more rebounds in three of his last four games. Solid numbers from the shooting guard position. The Nets are more than pleased with O’Neal’s production, subbing for the injured Seth Curry.

Zach LaVine: LaVVine was an absolute bucket in the fourth quarter, closing the show for Chicago. LaVine scored 18 in the deciding quarter, including four three-point makes. He also connected on all four of his free throw attempts.

DeMar DeRozan: DeMar did his usual thing, scoring at will from mid-range. LaVine’s performance allowed DeMar to take a back seat and serve as a complementary player in the fourth quarter, as opposed to his standard role as the closer.

Ayo Dosunmo: “Ayo (DMX Voice) What you ____ really want from a ____?” This. Exactly this Dosunmo. 7 for 11 from the floor, 3 steals, and 4 assists. The flexibility the Bulls have with Alex Caruso is a direct reflection of Ayo’s production. An improved defensive player year-over-year, the second year Dosunmo is the full-time floor general the Bulls need.


Miami heat: 116 – Golden State Warriors: 109

The Miami Heat needed this game. The Heat looked like the Heat, doubling up the Warriors in the fourth frame, 30-15, sending Golden State to their third straight loss.

Jimmy Butler: As star marquee players go, Butler marqueed, scoring 5 of the last 7 points for Miami. He finished with 23 points, 8 assists, and 6 boards, including 3 of the offensive variety.

Max Strus: Max hit his season-high in points with 24 and connected on 4 of his 10 three-point attempts. Shooters shoot. Strus’ third straight 30-minute game coming off the bench. The minutes are paying off, helping the Heat avenge their loss to Golden State five days ago.

Tyler Herro: Strus’ long distance was especially useful, as Tyler Herro had to leave the court after nine minutes of action. Herro caught a finger in his left eye. He was visibly shaken as he left the game and needed to be helped off the court with his vision blurred. Something to monitor moving forward.

Bam Adebayo: One of the better overall stat lines for Bam. He checked many boxes in yesterday’s win. Abedayo finished with 19 points, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 7 rebounds. Bam made the most of his attempts, shooting 53% from the field.

Stephen Curry: Steph was effective, going 7 for 14 from the field, shooting 40% from the three-point line, and distributing 13 assists. Unfortunately, Steph is not the catalyst for a defensive movement in San Fran. The Warriors know how to score, but they have allowed 498 points in their last four losses. Golden State has a defense problem, not an offensive one.

Jordan Poole: The Warriors live by the three, and they died by Poole’s 14% three-point shooting last night. When he is one, he is on. He was not able to flip that switch against Miami. Jordan logged 30 minutes and had more turnovers (5) than he did made field goals (3). A forgettable game for Poole. Don’t worry, he won’t stop shooting.

Andrew Wiggins: Wiggins was 8 for his last 28, but he rebounded from two rough shooting performances – converting on 8 of his 12 shot attempts. When the hand is that hot, you would like to see him shoot more. The Warriors are programmed to squash leads in chunks – often defaulting to a heavy three-point bag, pushing the offense to guards. If Wiggins can continue to shoot a high percentage, he will find himself more involved in games down the stretch.


Oklahoma City Thunder: 116 – Orlando Magic: 108

Who’s hotter than the OKC Thunder? If you guessed anything other than no one, you would be wrong. Okay, the Bucks, Suns, and Cavaliers are hotter, but the young gunners are gunning, winning their fourth straight game. The Thunder have scored 117 points or more in three straight games. No one expects much from them, so they are playing with house money.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: My weekly placeholder. Just copy and paste: Shai is the most underrated offensive player in the NBA. You cannot convince me otherwise. 34 points while adding 2 blocks, 6 assists, 3 steals and 4 rebounds. Equally as important, he sank 10 of his 11 free throw attempts. People are starting to notice. Shai is a legitimate MVP candidate and seemingly gets better every game. Not to mention an absolute fantasy/DFL dynamo.

Tre Mann: Through five games, Tre only has one game shooting less than 41%. Playing only 26 minutes, Mann finished with 13 points, shooting 40% from the three-point line, adding 5 boards and 3 assists. All of Mann’s rebounds came in the fourth quarter.

Paolo Banchero: The first overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, Banchero played 37 minutes. The biggest piece of this young Magic team showed why the organization is so excited about his potential. They may be in last place, but they have a great, young nucleus in Orlando. Paolo was 6 for 13 for 15 points and 8 rebounds.

Wendell Carter Jr: Carter Jr. had a day with 30 points and 12 rebounds. He posted his season-high in points, rebounds, and three-point baskets. Unfortunately, it came in a loss, but this is exactly what the Magic need to compete.

Franz Wagner: Franz wants to pump you up. An off-shooting night from behind the arc, Wagner still managed 20 points and 7 assists over 36 minutes, The assists were a season-best for last year’s first-round draft pick.


Phoenix Suns: 116 – Minnesota Timberwolves: 107

The Phoenix Suns won their fifth consecutive game, placing them atop the Western Conference. An impressive note on the five-game winning streak is the quality of the opponent. The Rockets aside, the Suns have notched wins against the Clippers, Warriors, Pelicans, and Timberwolves.

Cameron Johnson: What a game for Cam Johnson. 10 for 17 from the field, he picked up all the slack left behind by Devin Booker. The Suns needed a scorer to step up and Cam did just that. 29 points, including 7 for 11 from deep, and 3 steals.

Mikal Bridges: Steady Eddie, the consistent Bridges was all over the place. His defense won’t show on the state sheet, but that is where some of his best work was done. This season, now getting a consistent 30-plus minutes each night, Bridges is a legit fantasy/DFS add. 19 points, perfect from the line, and 4 assists.

Chris Paul: Chris did what the best point guards do, finding open teammates all game. 12 assists coupled with 8 rebounds. Paul, the king of positioning, boosted his rebounds per game to over 5 per for the season. Paul also scored 15 points and added 3 steals. A great overall line for the Point God.

Anthony Edwards: Ant-Man did not have his best shooting night, but he did hit on 50% of three-point attempts (5-10), along with 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Always a solid play in fantasy and DFS.

Karl-Anthony Towns: KAT posted another quality stat line, nearly a triple-double – finishing 9 of 18 from the field, with 7 assists and 10 rebounds. Unfortunately, the bulk of his missed field goals came down the stretch in the fourth quarter.

Naz Reid: In limited minutes Reid quietly had a solid outing. He went 5 for 6 from the floor, converting on both free throw attempts. He pulled in 3 boards and finished with 13 points in only 15 minutes. I didn’t go to MIT, but the math says that is almost a point per minute. He is a player to watch. With Rudy Gobert’s inability to score and make free throws, Naz may find more minutes, as he can flex at center or power forward.

D’Angelo Russell: A dismal performance, Russell continues to lose more minutes each game. I am not sure if he has lost a step, is banged up, or what, but his offensive contribution is required, as an additional scorer alongside Towns and Edwards. Russell finished 2 for 8 from the field with 4 turnovers in 22 minutes. He is shooting less than 30% in his last three games.