Serge Ibaka built an NBA reputation on swatting shots away from the rim.
But in the Toronto Raptors’ 126-101 humiliation at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night, Ibaka decided instead to swat—and by swat I mean clobber—an opponent instead.
Marquese Chriss ended up on the receiving end of Ibaka’s rage, and Everybody Hates Chriss:
Ibaka and Chriss out here throwing punches 😳 pic.twitter.com/NwRhL6Apw4
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 12, 2019
That’s going to be worth a suspension. Possibly a lengthy one. Nice move for the playoff stretch drive, Serge.
This was a beast of a game for Cleveland, as Kevin Love scored 16 points and yanked down 18 rebounds, Collin Sexton exploded for 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting, and Jordan Clarkson posted 14 points and a sweet plus-18 off the bench.
The Cavs, at 17-50, may be doing tanking wrong in the battle with the Suns and Knicks, but you gotta hand it to a team that can host the Raptors—who had a healthy Kawhi Leonard—and kick their butts back to Canada.
Speaking of Kawhi, his 25 points get him a protest vote man-of-the-match honor because neither the Cavaliers nor NBA TV nor the NBA itself bothered to post any actual highlights of Sexton’s big night to Twitter. No highlight, no breakfast. Now keep Serge in check, Kawhi.
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) March 12, 2019
Racist Fans, Lifetime Bans
Shane Keisel should be forever banned from attending any NBA games or events after the disgusting racist invective he hurled at Russell Westbrook during the Thunder’s 98-89 road win in Salt Lake City. There is no place for that kind of cracker-ass white trash garbage in the NBA or in any other sport. That was trashy by NASCAR standards.
It is not normally my place to get political around here, but “don’t shout racist things at black people” is not a political statement. At least I damn sure hope it isn’t one.
Read all the comments underneath this tweet. Especially if you’re Keisel’s soon to be former employer.
Shane Keisel, the Jazz fan who was involved in a verbal altercation with Russell Westbrook during the Jazz loss to the Thunder, explains his side of what happened. @KSL5TV @kslsports #nba pic.twitter.com/ScCSRttTCg
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) March 12, 2019
Ahem. Now then, on to the game.
Westbrook had another uncharacteristically efficient (by his standards) game, with 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting and 2-of-4 from three, bringing along 11 rebounds and eight assists for the near-triple-double.
Paul George had a weird stat line in which he posted 14 points and 11 rebounds but did it on 2-of-8 shooting from the field and 10-of-12 from the free throw line.
And the Jazz helpfully obliged the Thunder by shooting a paltry 36.4 percent from the field and 30.2 percent from deep themselves.
Westbrook’s the man of the match, and not just because he ripped into the chud who heckled him. If he’d gone full Ron Artest, no court in the land ought to convict him.
Russ & the @okcthunder picked up the big win in Utah! ⚡️
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 12, 2019
The 6 Seed East Race Just Got Fun
The Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons are battling hook and claw for the 6 seed and the difference between getting a beatable Celtics/Sixers/Pacers team in the first round and getting Ibaka’d on the scoreboard by the Raptors.
And the Nets just utterly wrecked Detroit 103-75 at Barclays Center in a Take That Game, which oh by the way means the Nets just won the season series and therefore the tiebreaker 2 games to 1 for that 6 seed.
Andre Drummond had 13 points and 20 rebounds for Detroit but managed a horrific minus-27, while Jarrett Allen had a much more modest stat line—11 points and eight rebounds—but posted an equal and opposite plus-27.
Spencer Dinwiddie led a Total Team Effort off the bench with 19 points, one of seven Nets in double figures, and he rung up a plus-21 of his own.
Detroit shot 27.8 percent from the field, making just 27 of 97 attempts. If that was a Daylight Savings hangover on a SEGABABA the night after a day game, that’s…excusable. Nasty schedule loss with a playoff seed on the line, but you play the games they schedule for you.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 12, 2019
The Kings are dead. Long live the Kings.
Sacramento’s playoff hopes are all but gone after losing 123-115 on the road to the Wizards. They needed a heck of a hot streak and it doesn’t look like one is forthcoming, and after what the Clippers did to the Celtics, it’s not like they’re going to yield (more on this later.)
Bradley Beal led a seven-man Total Team Effort with 27 points, and an otherwise evenly-matched contest was decided mainly out beyond the arc—Washington hit 14 three-pointers, the Kings hit just nine.
Beal also had nine rebounds and nine assists, coming oh so close to the triple-double:
Bradley Beal puts up the near triple-double as the @WashWizards hold off the Kings! 💫
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 12, 2019
Kemba Walker had 40 points. The rest of the Hornets had jack-all. And the Rockets won in Houston over Charlotte 118-106.
The Rockets demolished Charlotte on the boards 55-39, and that’s how you overcome a poor (41.8 percent) team shooting night.
Fear the Beard, who shot 7-of-21 to strike terror into the hearts of efficiency-loving media people who don’t have an MVP vote:
RT if you FEAR. THE. BEARD.
👋 3STL pic.twitter.com/6xRytxSbfA
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 12, 2019
And finally, the Celtics may have won three games on the road in California for the first time since 1966, but efforts to become the first team in NBA history to sweep all four squads in the Golden State, including the eponymous Warriors, the Kings, and the two LA teams ran up against a 140-115 beatdown at the hands of the Clippers.
Lou Williams (34) and Montrezl Harrell (20) combined for 54 points off the Clippers bench, Danilo Gallinari scored 25 to lead all five starters in double figures for the Total Team Effort, and the Clips are making my prediction before the season that they’d go 32-50 look like the most wrong thing I’ve written all year.
Good on you, mates. Keep making fools of us all.
Williams became the leading bench scorer in NBA history, leading the Clips to call him “the underground GOAT” (I like it!), and taking man of the match:
— NBA (@NBA) March 12, 2019
Pacers Tuesday later, and hoo boy, there’s a lot to unpack about this 11-game losing streak (just wait. You’ll see what I mean later today.)
Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!