Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) Brooklyn Nets grabbed the headlines Wednesday when they traded for James Harden, in a 4-way deal that had to have the salary cap guys recharging their iPhones a couple times.

— Nets get James Harden
— Pacers get Caris LaVert and a 2nd round pick
— Cavaliers get Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
— Rockets got four 1st round draft picks, four pick swaps with Brooklyn, plus:
Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurcus

Very unusual for a blockbuster like this to happen during the season. 

12) Harden and Kevin Durant have won 7 of the last 11 NBA scoring titles; Nets become the first team ever with two players who have won 3+ scoring titles each.

Why is that? Because there is only one basketball in a game; to win a scoring title, you have to have that ball a great deal of the time. It is going to take a lot of cooperation for this to work. 

11) Put yourself in Steve Nash’s shoes; after a Hall of Fame playing career, Nash is a rookie head coach at age 46, charged with coaching a team with:
— 32-year old Kevin Durant coming off an achilles injury
— 31-year old Kyrie Irving, who missed the last two weeks for personal issues
— and now a thinned-out roster after acquiring the prolific Harden, who is 31.

Nets need to add three more players before the playoffs start, in order to contend for a title. One has to be a backup center. 

10) Wednesday morning, Nets were +$550 to win the NBA title; now they’re +$300.

9) Texas Tech 79, Texas 77:
— High-level game, could’ve been an Elite 8 or Final Four game.
— Tech was 22-28 on foul line, Texas 18-31
— Longhorns led 48-38 at halftime.
— Texas had 15 turnovers, Red Raiders 7
— Teams meet again in the last regular season game, February 27

8) Saw something in that game I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a real game before; have seen it on the playground a few times, but never in a serious game.

Tech’s Mac McClung, who transferred to Tech from Georgetown, was driving towards the hoop, about 12 feet from the basket on the left side of the lane and he leaves his feet while throwing the ball off the backboard- to himself, where he grabbed it and got fouled trying to score.

You have to be pretty damn sure you’re not getting taken out of the game if you do stuff like that; McClung scored 22 points for the 11-3 Red Raiders, playing 36:00. He doesn’t come out often. 

7) UConn star James Bouknight is out indefinitely after having surgery on his left elbow; he hurt the elbow diving for a loose ball the other night. Bouknight is averaging 20.3 ppg. 

6) How are NBA teams on the second night of back/backs?
— Road team that played at home night before: 4-4-1 ATS
— Road team that also played on road night before: 11-8 ATS
— Home team that played at home night before: 10-6 ATS
— Home team that also played on road night before: 5-4 ATS

That adds up to 30-22-1 ATS, surprisingly good. 

5) JaKarr Sampson is a forward for the Indiana Pacers; at age 27, he is already on his fifth NBA team. This is another guy who must be good at packing:

2014-16: played 121 games for the 76ers, scored 5.2 ppg in 15.1 mpg.
2016: finished that season playing 26 games for Denver, scoring 5.2 ppg in 18 mpg
2016-17: Played in the G-League.
2017-18: Scored 4.7 ppg in 15.6 mpg in 22 games for Sacramento.
2018-19: Played only four games for Chicago.
2019-20: Scored 4.9 ppg in 13.6 mpg in 34 games for Indiana
2020-21: Is scoring 2.5 ppg in 6.7 mpg for Indiana.

Sampson played two years at St John’s, scoring 13.9 ppg; he played in the Chinese league a couple times too, for a team in Shandong. He is on his way to writing an interesting book. 

4) Dallas 104, Charlotte 93:
— Kristaps Porzingis made his season debut, scoring 16 points in 21:00.
— Charlotte’s Gordon Hayward strained his hip, left the game early. 

3) Florida State 105, NC State 73:
— Seminoles hadn’t played in 15 days; they played really, really well.
— FSU shot 72.5% inside the arc, made 12-18 shots on the arc.
— Seminoles’ 1.52 ppp is highest ppp I’ve ever seen. 

2) Why do people wear watches? Everyone carries cellphones, which obviously have clocks in them. Seems like a waste of money to buy a watch. 

1) If you’re a football coach for the Cal Bears, I’m guessing you’ll be on the phone making recruiting calls Saturday afternoon, seeing how the Rams-Packers playoff game has couple of Cal Bears playing quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, Jared Goff. Good advertising for the program. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.