Welcome to The Rundown! Today, we talk about the top stories from around The Association, pick our Player of the Night and make predictions for tonight’s action.
Is Brandon Ingram ready to step up for the Lakers?
Nick Billion: This man has made big strides this season, as he is scoring more and becoming someone the Lakers can depend on. He has the chance to become a star in L.A. and I say go for it. He reminds me of Kevin Durant to some degree. He’s built about the same and has similar potential.
Craig Brallier: I talk a lot about Ben Simmons on The Rundown, but his counterpart, Brandon Ingram, who was picked right after Simmons doesn’t get brought up a whole lot. I would love to sit here and say that a 32 point game in an OT loss against the best team in basketball is promising, but he just hasn’t been aggressive enough to make that leap to being an elite player, which is sad, because that’s what the Lakers need. It has become evident that Lonzo Ball isn’t going to lead the team in scoring. That’s why they drafted Ingram last year. Because of his Durant like size and similar skill set, they saw an opportunity to draft a shooter. I just want Lonzo to stop shooting, and Ingram to take all of his shots, and maybe a few more.
Aaron Gordon brings the thunder
NB: Gordon went crazy last night against the Thunder, dropping 40 points and grabbing 15 rebound and add 4 steals and a block to that as well. Not only did Gordon stand out, but he had some good support from his team as well. For the Thunder, you have to figure this thing out. Still below .500, they need to make a push.
CB: Aaron Gordon had a lights-out performance, that’s for sure. The best part about it? The big man went 6-12 from behind the arc! AG has been making huge strides in his shooting, and last night, he made the Thunder pay. For OKC, if you look at the box score, the problem is obvious: the supporting cast. They continue to fail to give the Big 3 the support they need, as only Andre Roberson scored in double figures. It’s definitely too early to panic, but the don’t have a lot of time left to figure this thing out.
DeRozan and Lowry tag team the Hornets
NB: Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combine for 66 points as the Raptors blow by the Hornets. This isn’t too much of a surprise as the duo are the top scoring options for this team, but don’t let it take away from their great game. Both shot over 60% on the night, so it was effective scoring. Good all around performance from the duo in Toronto.
CB: These guys are probably one of the top three backcourts in the league, so there’s nothing shocking about this at all. This is what they need to do night in and night out to put this team in a position to win. Both shot great, and love Lowry when he’s confidant shooting from downtown. 8-11 is fantastic, and nothing can go wrong when Lowry is in a groove.
Aldridge goes for 41 in win against Memphis
NB: This is the LaMarcus Aldridge we saw at the beginning of the season. Taking over games and being the main factor for the Spurs. Aldridge had 41, shooting over 70% on the night and showed he can lead this team as Leonard is still out. This is what you like to see if your a Spurs fan. If Aldridge can stay hot, it’ll be fun to watch when Leonard is back.
CB: This is why the Spurs signed LA. They hadn’t seen a ton of it last year, but with Leonard out, he has really stepped up and been a huge factor in their success so far. He shot well from just about everywhere on the floor, and that’s the kind of stuff we saw while he was in Portland, so it’s good to see him back to playing at a high level.
T’Wolves beat Pelicans with team effort
NB: Not one, not two, but seven different Timberwolves scored in double figures last night in their win over the Pelicans. That’s great team basketball. Anytime you have the whole team shooting well, you know it’ll be a good night.
CB: Led by Andrew Wiggins, this Minnesota team had an awesome outing against the Pelicans. They did a solid job of attacking the basket after Anthony Davis was ejected. This is the kind of game Tom Thibodeau likes to play. Multiple guys contributing, very good defensive effort and of course, winning. That’s the culture he built in Chicago, and that’s what he’s trying to do here.
Simmons’ career night
NB: Big night for Simmons as he tore up the game. Don’t think King James slowed the process down too much, as Simmons played like he had something to prove last night, and as far as I can tell, there’s more to come.
CB: I didn’t plan on talking about Ben Simmons today, as I feel like I talk about him as much of the rest of the media talks about LeBron. 31 points and 18 rebounds in 40 minutes is a heck of a game, especially for a rookie. He also shot 29 free throws! The issue with that is, he only made 15 of them. That introduces a new problem for Simmons and the Sixers: The “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy. Now I think Simmons is going to hit his free throws a little more often than Shaq and DeAndre Jordan, but it still poses as a threat. Not only do they have to rely on Simmons, who isn’t much of a shooter, to hit a lot of free throws, but it also slows down the tempo of the game. But either way, this Sixers team is going to continue to make waves, as the duo of Embiid and Simmons continue to play great against the top teams in the East.
Player of the Night:
NB: Aaron Gordon – 40 PTS, 15 REB, 4 STL, 6-12 from 3 in win VS. OKC
CB: Stephen Curry – 28 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST, 13 PTS in OT in win VS. LAL
That’ll do it for today’s Rundown! Come back tomorrow where we’ll discuss the top stories from around the league.