Russell Westbrook has moved into sole possesion of third place on the NBA’s all-time triple-double list.
His 108th career triple-double, which came against Brooklyn on Wednesday night, surpasses Jason Kidd.
The All-Star point guard now trails Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138).
NBA.com will have more on this shortly.
NBA legends hardly a fan of Davis’ trade request
Like Abdul-Jabbar, and like Davis, Barry also forced a trade. Back in his ABA days, he made it known that when the Washington Caps were moving to Norfolk, Virginia, he wanted no part of playing there. So Barry got traded to the New York Nets, the entire trade “saga” lasting no more than a week or two and all done during an offseason.
Davis asking in-season, Barry said, had a negative effect on both the Pelicans and the Lakers.
“Doing it a year before, I don’t understand,” Barry said. “Hopefully they won’t continue doing it that far in advance.”
Actually, that is nothing new.
Kyrie Irving had two years, plus an option year, left on his deal with Cleveland when he asked for a trade and eventually got moved to the Boston Celtics. Paul George had a year left when he told Indiana that he wanted out. Both of those requests went public, and it could be argued that the Cavaliers and Pacers were ailed, at least somewhat, by losing leverage since it was no secret the superstars wanted to be moved.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver doesn’t like trade demands, especially ones that go public. When the NBA adopted its most recent collective bargaining agreement, Silver said the notion was that teams would have the option to extend player deals a year early to avoid being blindsided by requests by those players to leave.
It hasn’t worked that way, with Davis just being the latest example.
“The law of unintended consequences,” Silver said. “It hasn’t worked precisely as we had planned.”
Irving had a title with the Cavaliers. Kawhi Leonard had a championship with San Antonio when he asked to be moved, and ultimately got his way. George still doesn’t have a championship, though flirted with one plenty of times when he was in Indiana only to be thwarted on annual basis by the Miami Heat.
Davis doesn’t have one. He hasn’t been close. New Orleans went to the Western Conference semifinals last year, a great sign of progress. This year the Pelicans have plummeted back toward the bottom of the Western Conference. And Davis realizes that his window for winning and being elite won’t last forever, so mindful of his legacy he wants to be moved.
The great players are rich and going to be rich no matter where they play. The ring is also very much the thing, and Davis knows helping lead a team to a championship is vital to how he will be remembered.
“I just want to win,” Davis said at All-Star weekend.
The Pelicans haven’t done enough of it, and this year was the wrong time for their winning percentage to fall off a cliff. So Davis made the ask, and Hall of Famer Dave Cowens said that’s fine — as long as he accepts whatever comes next, whether it’s good or bad.
“If a player wants to usurp or influence a decision on personnel, then the accountability for that move if it doesn’t work out, that’s what it’s about,” Cowens said. “You can’t have union and management doing the same things. … To me, it starts with the accountability. That’s the biggest thing.”
Abdul-Jabbar said he understands why Davis’ trade request is getting so much attention.
It’s because Davis — averaging 28 points and 13 rebounds this season — is worth it.
“That’s always going to be the case,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “The most talented people out there in the job market are going to get the most attention.”
Power Rankings, Week 19: Urgency rises for Lakers, others after All-Star break
After an entertaining NBA All-Star 2019 in Charlotte and at least seven days off for all 30 teams, the season (which is already 70 percent complete) tips off again on Thursday, with much to be resolved in the next seven weeks.
In the Eastern Conference, the final three playoff spots remain up for grabs, though the competition is a little more inspiring up top, where the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers — currently tied fourth and fifth — would surely like to improve their position. The Eastern Conference arms race heated up at the trade deadline and what happens in the next four months will surely help determine what a lot of big-name free agents decide to do in July.
Who might face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals is as interesting a question as who will represent the East in The Finals. It’s a wide-open race behind the champs, with the Denver Nuggets holding onto second place and the Oklahoma City Thunder looking like the safest pick to win a couple of playoff rounds.
Before we get to the postseason though, there’s a fascinating race for the last two playoff spots in the West, with the San Antonio Spurs’ 21-year playoff streak, LeBron James’ 13-year streak, the Los Angeles Lakers’ five-year playoff drought and the Sacramento Kings’ 12-year drought all on the line. And there’s the season-of-transition LA Clippers still holding onto eighth, too.
Every game counts and the urgency is about to intensify.
- Last week: Sixers surging in wake of deadline-day deals
- This time last year: Spotlight remains on Cavs, Warriors Steve Kerr let his players run the huddle in a 46-point win over the Suns, who were one of four teams that went into the All-Star break with losing streaks of at least seven games. The Raptors, Rockets and Jazz, meanwhile, went into the break with winning streaks of seven, 10 and 11 games, respectively. Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest with a Vince Carter imitation, Devin Booker won the 3-point contest by making 20 of his 25 shots in the final round, and Team LeBron won the All-Star Game when Stephen Curry couldn’t get a shot off on the final possession.
Plus-Minus Players of the Week
Teams of the Week
- Make It Last Forever: Orlando (2-0) — The Magic have pulled to within a game and a half of eighth place in the East by winning seven of their last eight games, and they went into the break by beating New Orleans and Charlotte by a total of 68 points.
- Something Just Ain’t Right: Charlotte (0-2) — The Hornets went into the break having lost four of their last five games (against a not-so-tough schedule) and with a 38-point loss in Orlando on Thursday.
East vs. West
Schedule strength through the All-Star break
- Toughest: 1. Phoenix, 2. New York, 3. Utah
- Easiest: 1. Indiana, 2. Oklahoma City, 3. Boston
- Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
Movement in the Rankings
- High jumps of the week: Minnesota (+3), Orlando (+2), Nine teams (+1)
- Free falls of the week: Dallas (-6), Memphis (-2), Philadelphia (-2), Phoenix (-2)
Week 19 Team to Watch
- Houston — The Rockets are in an interesting spot, just a game behind the Blazers for fourth place in the West, but just three games ahead of the ninth-place Kings. And they begin their post-break schedule (which is right in the middle of the pack in regard to cumulative opponent winning percentage) with two interesting games. They’ll visit the Lakers on Thursday and the Warriors on Saturday, having won all five games they’ve played against those two teams thus far.
* * *
Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
The league has averaged 100.6 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 109.3 points scored per 100 possessions this season.
* * *
NBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.
* * *
Catching up on the 2018-19 NBA season to date
With NBA All-Star 2019 in the rear view and a few days to catch a refresher before the action picks back up on Thursday, let’s take a look at what happened since training camp broke on the season to date.
Harden can’t stop scoring
The last time James Harden scored fewer than 30 points, the Rockets were sitting at 12-14 and No. 14 in the Western Conference. The next game, Harden dropped 50 on the Lakers in a victory. Then he had 32 in the next game and 47 after that … and then 30-plus again and again until he stood alone with Wilt Chamberlain, who had previously owned the four-longest streaks. As we exit the All-Star break, Harden and Chamberlain are tied for second at 31 games; Houston plays the Lakers on Thursday (10:30 ET, TNT).
Harden ran out of real estate this season on a chance to tie the all-time record – Wilt reached 65 straight in 1961-62 – but he stands to finish with the single-highest scoring average the league’s seen since Michael Jordan’s 37.1 ppg in 1986-87. Harden also managed to find a widely lampooned boundary for the outer reaches of his patented step-back jumper:
Giannis levels up
We all realized Giannis Antetokounmpo had made a jump last season, and that the Milwaukee Bucks, under new coach Mike Budenholzer, could be among the Eastern Conference contenders — especially with LeBron James moving out West.
What maybe we didn’t count on was Antetokounmpo taking it up another notch as Budenholzer and GM Jon Horst surrounded him with shooting, shooting and more shooting as they gave him full reign over the offense. Antetokounmpo has averaged an astounding 27.2 points (58.1 field goal percentage), 12.7 rebounds, six assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. The Bucks are an NBA best 43-14 at the break, and Antetokounmpo is the current Kia MVP favorite.
Also, he does things like this:
Kawhi of the North
The Toronto Raptors made a bold move before the season, sending DeMar DeRozan — the homegrown face of Toronto’s franchise revival — to the San Antonio Spurs in a package that returned impending free-agent Kawhi Leonard, who played only nine games last season while dealing with a quad injury.
While he and the team have been cautious about back-to-backs and the overall “load management”, if you thought Kawhi wasn’t still the player who turned back LeBron to win Finals MVP in 2014 before consecutive Defensive Player of the Year campaigns, well …
Here’s Kawhi Leonard doing whatever the robotic equivalent of laughing is. pic.twitter.com/2ZzHM0B7nY
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) September 24, 2018
Leonard is averaging 27.7 points (49.2 field goal percentage, 36.3 3-point percentage), 13.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.9 steals and has led Toronto — with a big supporting nod to breakout starter Pascal Siakam — to the second-best record in the league, just two losses back of leader Milwaukee.
Westbrook’s world? Triple-doubles, daily
Another season, another triple-double average for Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook. And this time, it’s not close:
Westbrook, despite struggling to keep his shot north of 40 percent from the field, 25 percent from 3-point range and 65 percent from the line, is averaging 21.7 points, 11.2 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game. And he’s done it while essentially deferring to Paul George as the team’s No. 1 option — his usage rate (the percentage of his team’s possessions used) is at its lowest mark since his second season.
He has literally entered unprecedented territory, both with this third full season of statistical prowess and the still ongoing streak of 11 games with a triple-double.
The previous record — held, of course, by Chamberlain — was 10. Russ had threatened several times in recent years, stringing together runs as long as seven games. He’s rocking out, indeed:
The Kings are BACK
On no one’s timetable but their own, the Sacramento Kings made a collective leap out of the NBA dungeon to put the league’s longest-running playoff drought in danger. Bolstered by the backcourt duo of speedy De’Aaron Fox and sharpshooting Buddy Hield, the Kings have risen to 30-27, good for ninth in the super-competitive West — just four games back of No. 4 Portland.
They added Harrison Barnes for the stretch run, and should be primed for more fun moments like this Bogdan Bogdanovic buzzer-beater:
The confounding Celtics
Here are some mini-records: 10-10, 15-5, 12-6. All the Celtics! They’re clearly one of the better teams in the East when everything’s firing … but Gordon Hayward hasn’t looked quite right all season, they keep dropping bad losses between the winning streaks. And, every so often, someone seems to pop off about leadership or commitment or fun or some other aspect of “This is off and we can’t quite nail it down.”
Heck, Kyrie Irving even called LeBron to apologize for being a knucklehead in Cleveland after realizing he was running into similar situations, now from the other perspective, with the Celtics’ young core.
If the league’s most famous beef this side of Joel Embiid-Russell Westbrook can find resolution, anything’s possible. Either way, maybe not quite the time to be super confident as a fan of one of the other East contenders until you see the four Ls this spring.
Jimmy Butler is something else
You might have heard Jimmy Butler made a trade request this summer while heading into this contract year that he started with the Minnesota Timberwolves. If you missed that, you probably heard about the practice. Oh, that practice.
Butler showed up for the first time in months, reportedly ran the other starters off the floor while playing with all-reserve teammates and, ah … was maybe not quiet about it.
Four weeks later, he was headed to the Philadelphia 76ers with Justin Patton for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick. Butler promptly hit a pair of game-winners and reportedly stirred the system drink as he attempted to (what’s the oppositie of ease?) impose his way in.
Butler’s impending free agency — for all the chatter about the Sixers’ long-term plans with this “Big 4” — is going to be wild interesting.
Turnover in the ranks
Klay shatters the 3-point record
Out here playing pop-a-shot:
A slip-up for Steph
We all love Stephen Curry around these parts, and have much respect for how this greatest-of-all-time shooter has changed the game. But that this water-slide wipeout didn’t make Shaqtin’ A Fool is tragedy:
A rare humbling moment for the three-time champ. Not expecting many more this year, ha.
Wizards can’t conjure a break
John Wall had season-ending surgery on his heel. Then slipped at home and ruptured his Achilles’ tendon. Dwight Howard has been out with gluteal soreness (12 games) and then lower-back surgery (35 games). Le sigh.
But they’re still only three games out! And Bradley Beal is an All-Star!
Trades, trades and yes, more trades
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