Regular-season NBA basketball in April is both the best thing (Denver and Minnesota in what was basically a play-in game on the last day of the season in 2018, tonight’s Pacers-Celtics tilt, and David Robinson and Shaquille O’Neal vying for the scoring title in 1994) and the worst thing (every dull game between two teams already eliminated from the playoffs.)
This is especially amplified on nights like Thursday night, where there were three games in the entire league, two of them were meaningless blowouts…
…but the third was a closely-contested potential Eastern Conference Finals preview on national television and involved the player who in a just and ordered universe would be the unanimous MVP showing the world why he is worthy of that honorific. That’s right, its…
Greekazoid had 45 points on 13-of-22 from the field, 3-of-7 from long range, and 16-of-21 from the line. He added 13 rebounds, six assists, five blocked shots, and zero turnovers to the stat line.
And oh by the way, if you think James Harden‘s ability to get to the free throw line is somehow impressive, consider that for every field goal attempted this season, Giannis has .547 made free throws.
Harden, who is a more efficient free throw shooter (87.9 percent to the Freak’s 73), nonetheless has only .451 free-throw makes per shot he’s hoisted up from the field.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is out-Hardening James Harden, and he’s doing it with a much more aesthetically pleasing style on a team that is eight games ahead of Houston in the standings.
The MVP race? In the words of Kenny Smith, it’s over, ladies and gentlemen.
Milwaukee ended up winning this ballgame 128-122, and they won despite Eric Bledsoe getting ejected three minutes into the game for whipping a ball at Embiid…
Tensions are flaring early!
Bledsoe is ejected for this tussle with Embiid. pic.twitter.com/4aSkElWhCz
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 5, 2019
…and also despite a triple-double, albeit a wildly inefficient one (34 points on 12-of-31, 13 rebounds, 13 assists) from Embiid.
But the man of the match wore the visiting team’s uniform, and he is the MVP (not to spoil a later Is He Any Good column or anything…)
The MVP dominated in the WIN:
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 5, 2019
The Golden State Warriors have not yet clinched the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, still sitting on a magic number of 3 to close out the Denver Nuggets.
The Lakers are a garbage fire with nothing to play for and no LeBron James after the team shut him down for the rest of the season.
So the Dubs won 108-90 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score; it was 94-66 after three quarters…and 39-12 after one.
How the Lakers held the Splash Brothers to nearly nothing and still got blown out is a sign either that the Warriors really are that deep or the Lakers really are that bad.
Probably both. Steph, after all, was plus-32, and Kevin Durant was plus-37 while scoring 15 points on 5-of-7.
But for your man of the match, time to Boogie on down:
— NBA (@NBA) April 5, 2019
Cleveland Cadavers and Sacramento Peasants
The Kings beat the Cavaliers 117-104 in what I guess you could call a battle of rookies.
Collin Sexton had 19 points and almost nothing else (one board, three assists, one steal, five turnovers, and minus-15 in 38 minutes, basically the Wiggins Special), while Marvin Bagley III had 15 points on 7-of-16 and eight rebounds to go with a plus-3 in 21 minutes.
When your readers helpfully provide your Twitter notifications with highlights, you’ve got good readers, and I have good readers:
Like this one for instance. pic.twitter.com/bKslDmumVF
— Ben Simmons is just a tall Rondo (@micheal_SLC) April 5, 2019
Buddy Hield led the Kings with 23 points, Bogdan Bogdanovic led the plus-minus charge at plus-14 while adding 18 points on 7-of-13, and the Kings won the turnover battle 20-6 to put a stamp on this one and watch the Cavs mail it in.
Which makes Hield the man of the match:
— NBA (@NBA) April 5, 2019
That’s all you get for breakfast. Three games. How dreadful. Is it the playoffs yet?
But hey, there’s a new Is He Any Good on this here site, examining Paul George‘s MVP case, so go enjoy that, stay tuned, and thanks for reading!