Welcome to The Rundown! Today, we discuss the top stories from around the NBA, pick our Player of the Night and make predictions for tonight’s action.
Lakers/Sixers round 2
Nick Billion: This game was a fun one, as the future of the NBA squared off. We saw Embiid go for 33 and 5 blocks, Simmons get a triple double, a solid game from Randle and Ingram drill the game winning 3 for the Lakers. It doesn’t get too much better than that for two young talented teams looking to make a statement this season.
Craig Brallier: I had a blast watching this game. Brandon Ingram, who has a had an awesome last few couple of weeks was everything the Lakers need him to be, dropping 21 points 7 rebounds and 6 assists, and of course the game winning shot. Lonzo Ball had a hand in that game winner, hitting Ingram on the wing after a drive to the hoop. Ingram bailed Ball out, as he threw up a terrible three up on the previous possession early on in the shot clock. I also loved the battle between Joel Embiid and Julius Randle down the stretch. They were going at each other with everything they had, and you could feel the intensity. And aside from Embiid and Simmons having fantastic games, Richaun Holmes came off of the bench and had a great game, bringing a ton of energy and a few highlight dunk. This isn’t a good loss for Philly, as they lost to the Suns earlier this week as well, but it was a fun game for sure. I fully believe that we could see an NBA Finals between these two teams someday.
Brad Beal with another big night
NB: Coming off a record night, Beal had a fantastic follow up performance. Beal had 34 points in the win over the Suns. Beal is leading the Wizards the last few games is just what this team needed. If he cans stay out, the league might have a new problem to deal with.
CB: No doubt Beal is doing a great job in John Wall’s absence, and we know he’s capable of these types of performances. He has been awesome ever since being drafted, and he’s just continuing to make strides. If he can keep up this high level of play until Wall comes back, they’ll be just fine.
What is going on with all of these ejections?
NB: This season it seems that player’s tempers are getting the best of them. It seems that in these first few months that the ejection numbers are high. Players are getting tossed every night it seems like. My reasoning behind it is that with the way the league looks now, we have stars trying to get that playoff spot and young talented teams proving they also have what it takes. It’s a competitive season, despite how the conferences may line up. It also seems the refs aren’t going to let it slide. As we saw, no one is safe as even LeBron was tossed from a game for the first time in his career. This makes for great basketball and even better television when this happens, but it also hurts the teams. If I’m a coach, I’m telling my players to use that energy and emotion to play the game. We can’t always agree with the refs, but it’s not wroth the early trip to the locker room.
CB: We’ve seen a lot of ejections, and honestly quite a few of them have been questionable. LeBron’s was a questionable one, as I didn’t feel like he didn’t step over any boundaries, but I can see why he was tossed. And if you recall, Kevin Durant has been ejected several times this season, but I feel like his have been warranted. I’m cool with going out and getting a tech, because sometimes that’s the spark your team needs. It gets the team and the crowd hyped up, and it can sometimes change the momentum in the game. But some of these ejections have been silly. I think the officials just need to chill a little. There’s no doubt this is the most competitive season we’ve had in a few years, but there’s no reason to pull the trigger so quickly. Tempers flare, things are said and sometimes it’s better to play on rather than give a tech for something small.
Player of the Night
Bradley Beal – 34 PTS, 4 AST, 13 of 22 FG
That’ll do it for today’s Rundown! Come back on Monday, where we’ll discuss the top stories from the weekend.