The Starting Lineup: Lamar Odom To The D-League

Remember how it would’ve been only a little bit ridiculous if Lamar Odom made the All-Star Team last season?  Yeah, well, about a year later he’s headed to the D-League, albeit for just a game or two.  While it’s obviously rather discouraging that he’s still out of shape at the beginning of March (supposedly, he’s playing in the D-League to “get his legs back under him”), I suppose this is better for the Mavs than what some speculated was going to happen–a buyout of Odom’s contract.  Since Odom has more than three years of NBA experience, he isn’t required to play in the D-League (the Mavs can’t “assign” him, they can only send him there with his consent).  His consent indicates to me that he’s still on board with the Mavs.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see a veteran guy like Odom become offended and overreact to a request to spend time in the D-League, so at least he’s being mature about the whole deal.  So, can a stint in the D-League actually help him get back to being the contributor the Mavericks thought they were getting when they acquired him in December?  We’re getting pretty deep into the spring, so this season may be a lost cause, but like I said… at least his willingness to go play in the D-League indicates the proper attitude.

Quiet night for Isiah Thomas, who’d been averaging about 19 PPG since becoming Sacramento’s starting point guard six games ago.  Thomas scored just 10 points on 4 shots and finished with a 1/1.5 assist to turnover ratio.  I’ve been meaning to watch a Kings game to check this dude out, and I tuned in for the majority of their 100-108 loss to the Clippers last night… yet Thomas was so silent right from the get-go that I forgot to pay attention to him.  Chris Paul (22 PTS, 9 AST) completely micromanaged the game, stealing the show from the league’s hottest young point guard.

As for DeMarcus Cousins, he had 23 points and 10 boards on 9-17… his 22nd double-double.  That’s one more than Blake Griffin has and just seven fewer than Dwight Howard, who has played three more games.  Says Keith Smart, via the Sacramento Bee: “This young man is playing at a great level, and he doesn’t know how to play yet.”

So true.  While he had his moments last night–quite a few of them, as a matter of fact–he’s still far too foul prone and has a tendency to take a regrettable shot or two (or three).  So, I don’t know if you clicked that Sac Bee article, but they need to GTFO with the “who would you rather have, Cousins or Dwight Howard?” stuff.  Come on now, Sacramento Bee.  There is a defensive end of the floor, and Howard dominates it like none other.  DeMarcus can handle the ball shoot from the outside, you say?  Eh… do you really even want him doing a whole lot of that?  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really like Cousins for a variety of reasons, but putting him in the same sentence has Howard at this point… you’re just inviting me to knock the guy down a peg.

Nikola Pekovic… he isn’t playing like the machine that he was for the better part of February.  As a matter of fact, I could argue that he’s been outplayed in four straight games.  He’s playing a little tentatively right now, which is odd.  Everything he did in the post for like two or three consecutive weeks just looked so fluid and polished… yet I recall an instance last night where he traveled, and another where he hesitated and got his sh!t tossed.  This may not seem like the ideal time to call for more touches, but that’s what I’m gonna do.  I think Pek needs more opportunities in the post right now.  I don’t think he’s been getting as many chances on the block lately, and maybe that’s why his game looks a little out of whack.  Feed the Pek-Man, Minnesota.  Love’s post-up game simply isn’t that good.

Has anyone else noticed all of these recent Royal Ivey sightings? Last night he hit a three to put the Thunder up five with under three minutes to go.  They went on to beat Orlando 105-102 (Kevin Durant had 38 points which included a one-footed horse shot to ice the game).  On Wednesday in Philadelphia, Ivey scored all five of his points in a tight fourth quarter.  OKC won by four.  Those are eight big, non-garbage-time points from a guy who had scored TWO points this season through February 13th.  It’s funny… this is Ivey’s 8th year in the league, but only his 4th different team.  That’s not bad for a guy with a career averages of 12 minutes and 3.5 points per game.  I always forget about the dude, and then I’ll be watching a game and I’m like “Oh shit!  There he is!  Royal Ivey!” Also, I can’t help but notice that Ivey’s got very similar career averages to Kevin Ollie (3.8 PPG, 16 MPG), who stuck around for, what was it, 13 years?  If I’m watching a game in 2017 and I see Royal Ivey check in I’m going to be really happy.  For some reason his presence takes me back to my favorite era of NBA basketball.  Maybe I watched the Bucks a lot during the ’07/08 season, back when he averaged a career-high 5.6 PPG.

A statistic that really isn’t alarming, but kind of is: the Suns are 2-17 this season when they trail at halftime.  It isn’t alarming because the Suns aren’t anything like the team they used to be, but it kind of is alarming because I still associate them with the team that they used to be.  Phoenix actually made it 3-17 by coming back to beat the T-Wolves last night.  After a strong first quarter, Ricky Rubio disappeared… as did pretty much everyone but Luke Ridnour, who scored 15 points on 5-9.  Steve Nash showed his Spanish protege how to go about scoring 13 points, grabbing 8 boards, and dishing 17 assists.

With a 93-107 loss to Miami, Portland has dropped out of the playoff race. Although they’re just one game out with half the season to go… did anyone see this team having to fight for a spot?  I had them as one of the West’s best coming into the season, and I think I straight up called them the best a few weeks into the season.  Oops.

Did you know Wilt’s teammates intentionally fouled to help him score 100 points?  That whole article is pretty interesting… I had no idea it went down like that.  According to the article, Wilt wasn’t happy about how it was happening and wanted to check out of the game, but his coach kept him in and pushed him towards the century mark.  Maybe this is common knowledge, but it’s news to me.

Lowlight Recap, Martell Webster Edition: Martell pulls a Josh Powell

I felt kinda bad for the guy.  As soon as it happened Minnesota’s own commentators began to talk about Denver.  Even when Webster went on to complete a very nice dunk a few minutes later, Denver came up again.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but maybe Martell should stick to layups.  Clearly, the dude can’t win with the slam dunk.

Xinjiang beat Dongguan 109-88 to advance to the second round of the CBA playoffs.  Ike Diogu was quiet, but Tim Pickett scored 43 points.  I didn’t write a full CBA recap today for two reasons… there was only a single game, and I wasn’t able to watch it.  Now that only four teams are still alive I’ll probably come up with a new system… maybe series roundups or something.  If you follow my Twitter (@NBA247OFFICIAL) you can get the on-the-spot updates.

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