About Last Night
About Last Night: Kelly Oubre Jr. helps keep Suns rolling
Rockets set 3-point record, George goes off and Westbrook responds to Fox
Khari Arnold, NBA.com
Before Kelly Oubre Jr. made his Phoenix Suns debut, he gave insight on how he found out he was traded, not traded, then traded again during a bizarre saga that will go down in NBA history.
“After the game, it was some speculations on Twitter,” Oubre said during a pregame interview with NBA TV. “Everybody was talking about it and I’m getting ready to get in the shower, and I go in the shower and everybody is just looking at me with this look and I feel the energy, and I’m like, ‘What’s going on? Why y’all looking at me like that?’ Guys told me ‘You got traded to Memphis.’”
Finding out you’ve been traded in the team showers is certainly awkward and not ideal, but it’s probably happened before at some point. Finding out moments later that the trade is off because two players with the same last name were mixed up for each other is unprecedented.
“I’m on the bus, on the plane and everybody’s just like, ‘Man, that was messed up,’” Oubre said, referring to comments made by his Wizards teammates.
“Next morning I get a call from Tommy [Sheppard] and Ernie [Grunfeld] saying you’ve been traded, and honestly I was super numb at that time so I didn’t have any feelings towards it.”
Well, Celtics fans still have feelings towards Oubre, greeting him to a cacophony of boos in his Phoenix debut despite the 23-year-old wearing a different uniform. Oubre was suspended one game with the Wizards for shoving then-Celtic Kelly Olynyk during a feisty seven-game playoff series in 2017.
The Suns’ newest forward fueled Boston fans’ disdain by blowing kisses to the crowd and delivering some impressive highlights, including a block on Kyrie Irving and a clutch 3-point shot with 50 seconds remaining to put the Celtics away.
“I did a little extra today cause they don’t really like me here,” he said after the game.
The Suns are — don’t look now — riding a four-game winning streak.
3-point barrage in Houston
The Rockets set a new NBA record with 26 made 3-pointers en route to a 136-118 victory over the Wizards.
With just under three minutes to play, Gary Clark drained a deep 3 to tie the record previously set by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017. The Houston crowd chanted “3” on every following Rockets possession and erupted the moment Michael Carter-Williams set his feet and drilled 3-pointer No. 26 with 31.1 seconds left.
James Harden poured in 35 points and hit six 3-pointers to lead the deep-ball avalanche. Chris Paul added five while Eric Gordon and Gerald Green each made four to help lead Houston to its fifth straight win.
The Rockets’ offense is clicking on all cylinders, scoring 118.4 points per 100 possessions — third best in the NBA — during their winning streak. The team’s engine is on a torrid pace as Harden is averaging 38 points, 7.8 assists and 6.4 rebounds over that span.
Ariza makes return
Wizards forward Trevor Ariza made his return to Houston for the first time since he left in free agency this summer. The talented wingman who played two stints and five total seasons for the Rockets was welcomed to a tribute video and ovation at Toyota Center.
One night after becoming one of the rare players to deny LeBron James at the rim, Jarrett Allen threw down a nasty poster slam in Chicago. It’s shocking that Wendell Carter Jr. wasn’t able to stuff the attempt considering what he did to Westbrook a few weeks back.
It may be time to retire the saying “vintage Derrick Rose” and just appreciate this greatness we’re witnessing on a consistent basis.
Giannis Antetokounmpo intentionally tried to make a highlight-reel play on Anthony Davis, only to realize why Davis is one of the league’s preeminent shot-blockers. While the dunk wasn’t successful, Antetokounmpo is hoping his recruitment pitch to Davis could be.
Wild finish in Minny
The most entertaining game on Wednesday came out of Minnesota, where Blake Griffin and the Pistons escaped with a 129-123 win over the Timberwolves in overtime.
A thrilling fourth quarter featured Griffin and Reggie Bullock (10-14 FG) exchanging tough baskets with Derrick Rose and Robert Covington (9-14 FG). The frame ended with Andre Drummond hitting a last-second tip-in to force overtime. Then, the league’s rebound leader drilled a 3-pointer in the extra period to preserve Detroit’s comeback win.
Griffin finished with 34 points and Bullock scored a career-high 33. Rose paced Minnesota with 33 points and Covington added 22.
Top performer of the night
All-Star voting opens up next week and Thunder forward Paul George should be on your ballot right out the gate (last season George was a replacement addition).
George dismantled the Sacramento defense, picking his spots and finishing with a remarkable line of 43 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in Oklahoma City’s 132-113 win.
Fox and the hound
De’Aaron Fox made headlines this week when the Kings point guard proclaimed he was the fastest player in the league, even name-dropping Russell Westbrook as someone he’d leave behind in a race baseline to baseline with the ball in their hands.
Clearly, the 2016-17 Kia MVP heard those remarks and was hunting for a chance to show off his speed against the Kings. Westbrook shouted “Too fast! I’m too fast” after going coast to coast and driving past Fox to the rim.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 20, 2018
He’s fast too, but…
Fox also mentioned John Wall as one of the league’s fastest players. That’s undoubtedly factual, but it’s hard to tell on plays like this.
While Wall is a prodigious All-Star talent, he invites criticism at times. ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote last season the Wizards point guard “has spent 76.57 percent of floor time either standing still or walking, the largest such share among all rotation players, according to tracking data from Second Spectrum.”
- LeBron gives a motivating speech to his son Bryce
- Congrats to JJ Redick, who surpassed 10,000 points
- Make it seven straight wins for the Brooklyn boys
- Durant passes ‘The Glove’ for No. 32 on scoring list