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For a speedy and full recovery to Kelly Oubre Jr. Prayers.
Clips are cut again
You can’t win with a beard
A slow start doesn’t make me angry, but the James Harden era of the Clippers is off to a shockingly bad start. Let’s face it, the season is only about 10 percent of the way through, and getting chemistry on the fly isn’t flawless. Now that we have those required qualifications out of the way…
Clips, what is it? They’ve lost five straight and are 0-4 since getting Harden and just lost to Bismack Biyombo’s 2-8 Grizzlies, who are on their 10-game hitting streak in over 20 years! Did you know Biyombo is with the Grizzlies? Well, he is. He had 13 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in a 105-101 win over LA.
Biyombo had this block on Harden’s lowlight that perfectly encapsulates his rough Clippers tenure of late.
Here are notes on the Clippers’ big four from Harden’s team debut:
Harden: 13.5 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.5 turnovers, 47.2/36.8/100 shooting split, minus-67 on the court. Kawhi Leonard: Before: 23 points, plus-80| Since: 18.8 points, minus-35 Paul George: Before: 28.8 points, plus-87 | Since: 17 points, minus-26 Russell Westbrook: Before: 57.2 true shooting percentage, plus-64 | Since: 48.2 true shooting percentage, minus -28
Through week one, the Clippers’ starting lineup (with Ivica Zubac) has a minuscule -19.5 net rating per 46 minutes. Everything is bad for them, but you can only imagine that they will improve over time. Fortunately for AA, not many people saw that Grizzlies loss, Sunday at 12:30pm local prime time.
On Friday, Harden reminded reporters that it was the third game of the season with no training camp or preseason. Yes… we know. We watched you sit that thing down to shop yourself. Harden said he needs a 10-game window to see where he is. Maybe the Clippers can win one more time then?
The latest from Shams
Blazers make backcourt adjustments
ICYMI, a few items of note outside of Portland in recent days, the biggest regarding their top pick from June’s draft:
League sources tell me that starter Scott Henderson is expected to miss two more weeks with a sprain in his right ankle. The 19-year-old boy He is dealing with discomfort after spraining his ankle Nov. 1 against the Pistons. Henderson had nine points and five assists in his first five NBA games. The injury prompted the Blazers to make some changes in the backcourt, as the team converted Skylar Mays’ contract to a regular deal and signed Jarami Buian to a two-way deal. I’ve also been told that veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon could miss several games due to a concussion he suffered in Sunday’s game against the Lakers. The Blazers are 3-6 after three straight losses and face the Jazz on Tuesday, while the Cavs visit Portland the following night.
Weekend stock report
The Bucks are in trouble, the Rockets are on fire
Every Monday, The Stock Report gives you morning accuracy on how teams and players are looking after the weekend’s NBA action.
📉: LA Clippers. See above and below.
📉: Milwaukee Bucks Milwaukee has been without Damian Lillard for the last two games, which resulted in losses to Indiana and Orlando. Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 44.5 points in those losses. Bucks deep and learned – amazing! – Cameron Payne is not the right fill-in for Dem. They have to win four of the next five, but we will have to see.
📈: Houston Rockets. Don’t look now, but the Rockets are the hottest team in the West (one game behind Minnesota for third place). They have won six games in a row. Houston has a plus-15.1 net rating in this span, with Alperen Shengun playing like a mini Jokic.
📈: The Minnesota Timberwolves are on a 6-game winning streak and the best defense in the league. Karl-Anthony Towns’ offense is going strong, with Anthony Edwards and Rudy Gobert leading the way. Minnesota beat Denver, Boston and Golden State in the series.
📉: San Antonio Spurs Victor Wembanyama is great and worth the price of admission, but the rest of this team has been terrible, losing five straight by a total of 81 points.
📈: Jalen Suggs. Over the last four games, Suggs is averaging 15.0 points, shooting 45.5 percent overall and 41.2 percent on his 3s. This is the idea we have been waiting for.
📈: Tyrese Maxey. He dropped 50 points in the 76ers’ 137-126 win over the Pacers yesterday, Philly’s eighth straight win. Maxey closed out the fourth quarter with 16 points. This season, he is averaging 28.6 points on a 50-40-90 shooting split.
The Mavs spread Harden
The Mavericks defeated the Clippers 144-126 on Friday night. However, the worst part of the match happened before tipoff. On BallySports Southwest’s pregame show, Brian Damaris went in for business questions on Harden’s prowess. We will break down this download:
Strong Opening Jab: Begins, “I hope you’re taking notes. I’ll tell you in advance that you’re welcome to the wisdom I’m about to spew. Big hook with the body: “Every night I’m on my knees praying that someone will believe in you like Daryl Morey believed in you.” Jab, straight, hook. Jab, straight, hook: He recaps every Harden question, from Mike D’Antoni’s coaching to style and the comings and goings of three stars (Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook). No, Dios Mio! Damaris even mentioned hitting Vegas on the off days when the Rockets looked the other way.
We weren’t even out of Houston at this point, so he mentioned Harden against Brooklyn a year later before complaining about his lack of power in Philly.
There is a lot to digest. Check out that full rant if you haven’t. Unsurprisingly, Bally Sports’ South West account deleted their tweet of this video, but these moments will live forever on the internet.
David Aldridge is asking the NBA not to shove the competition down our throats this season. It makes sense!
Bilal Koulibaly is enjoying himself with the Wizards.
Draft-wise, this might not be a good season to be a bad NBA team.
Screenplay (All Time Eastern)
Main Screen: Knicks-Celtics (7:30 p.m. NBA TV). A great measuring stick for the Knicks who tested Boston on opening night. Second Screen: Cavs-Kings (10pm NBA TV). With a healthy De’Aaron Fox, this will be even more interesting. League playoff night game: Bulls-Bucks (8 pm). Dare I say it… do the Bucks really want this game? Full schedule here.
(Top photo: Adam Pantozzi / Getty Images)