LOS ANGELES — Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.comEvery weekday morning you can catch up on what happened the night before and the drama, rumors, and dunks that make the NBA great.
1) John WallWants to be back on the court but how will that look?
John Wall is tired sitting still. There is no trade. A buyout isn’t happening (unless you think he wants to give up a big chunk of the $91 million he is owed). Wall may have previously agreed to sit out, but he has been following the Rockets’ struggles and wants to return to the court.
Wall could help the 3-16 Rockets — he averaged 20 points a game for them across 40 games last season. He’s not All-Star John Wall anymore (at least right now), but on a young team that has looked overwhelmed and disorganized at points, he’s a veteran who can organize an offense and get some buckets.
What would a Wall Return look like? This is the problem.
Wall spoke to Rockets officials and stated his desire is to play, have a starting role and compete to maintain it, but the franchise informed him that they want him to come off the bench, and not start, in order to play, sources tell The Athletic. Sources said that Wall will continue to be absent from games while remaining professional and engaging with the team.
The Rockets are currently rebuilding and have invested in their young backcourt Jalen Green Kevin Porter Jr.Wall, who plays 30+ minutes per game. Wall is likely to be taken over by the Rockets. DJ Augustin‘s 12.5 minutes a night off the bench (maybe that gets bumped up to 15-18 a night). Wall is a five-time All-Star player and wants to be respected for starting and getting a decent run.
The sides seem to be in an impasse
Wall will ultimately need to accept a smaller position and learn from it. If he wants a playoff (or contending) team to find a way to trade for him — a long shot with that massive contract, but if he wants it — he’s going to have to prove he can accept and thrive in a smaller, different role than he is used to. Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle’s editor, points out, Derrick RoseWall is the ideal example of former All-Stars who have successfully adapted their games. Wall can begin that transformation in Houston and then hope to share it with another team.
Wall will continue to sit for now while the Rockets focus on the future. But this situation isn’t going away.
2) The Clippers would appreciate referees not pissing on Stephen CurryIn the future
It was a battle between the best two defenses in the NBA and the Warriors at Clippers game Sunday afternoon reflected that. Apart from the Clippers’ turnovers, it was a well played game. It was difficult to find offense.
Stephen Curry attacked and thought he was fouled at the rim, then he attacked the rim early in the fourth. Terance MannHe was, but there was no call. Curry snapped, and drew a technical.
This lit a fire under an unstoppable offensive power.
Curry responded with 13 points in quarter four, hitting 3-of-4 (3 from 3) and giving the referee a good measure. “T” after draining a 3.
Steph made his own T😂 pic.twitter.com/xLVFBwEjNO
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 28, 2021
Curry finished with 33 points, 7-of-13 on 3-pointers, and the Warriors got the win, 105-90.
Remember this win was all about the defense — the Clippers scored less than a point per possession in this game.
The Warriors have played 20 games this season.
They have held their opponents under 50% shooting in all 20 games.
They have the best defensive rating and opponent FG% this season. pic.twitter.com/PbHYxr1NAK
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 28, 2021
3) Frank Vogel, Lakers still searching for right formula
The Lakers right now will take their wins where they can get them. Even if it’s by four points at home against a 4-16 Pistons team they had down by 19 in the third. Which is what happened Sunday night. It’s still a win and pulled the Lakers up to 11-11.
What is obvious to everyone — coaches, players, fans, and haters — is that the Lakers are a work in progress. As LeBron James noted postgame, the Lakers had nine new players in training camp this year, guys have missed time with injuries (including LeBron), and everyone is still figuring things out.
Coach Frank Vogel may be feeling the pressure, but for whatever reason he is undoubtedly throwing a lot of things out there to see what works. Among the things the Lakers have done recently:
• LeBron at center lineups. For a couple of stretches Sunday night, the Lakers went small and played Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, Wayne Ellington, with LeBron at the five. Vogel preferred the term “centerless lineup.”
“I feel this is part of our evolution as a team and what our lineups are going to look like,” Vogel said. “We played a second unit that basically closed the game out in Indiana, with LeBron and ‘Melo at the four/five. Call it a centerless lineup. There is a lot more space for Russ, ‘Bron has a lot more space to be a roller going to the basket, which was effective, and we just have more switchability on the defensive side of the ball.
• The Lakers started big with DeAndre Jordan at center and he played 20:38, but in the other 27:22, it was either Davis or LeBron at center — the smaller lineups that have looked better for them. Vogel is looking for the line where he isn’t overtaxing his stars, but he is getting them more in the 4/5 role.
• There was an obvious effort to attack the rim and play inside out — and the Lakers finished with a strong 58 points in the paint. It helps that the Pistons don’t have a real shot blocker, so guys have cleaner looks, and that meant Davis could overpower guys on his way to 24 points, but it still was a step in the right direction as they were aggressive, playing downhill, and trying to play fast.
The paint does get clogged with Jordan on the court, which is why the smaller lineups can be so effective.
• The Lakers’ defense may be improving… slowly. The Lakers held the Pistons to a 101.9 offensive rating in this game, which is good, but this is the 30th ranked Detroit offense scoring below a point per possession coming into the game. There has been a sense among Lakers’ watchers that the defense has looked better through stretches of both the loss Friday to the Kings in triple-overtime and against the Pistons, but it’s not been consistent.
“That’s why our lives are hard right now. Because we’re not fully committed,” Vogel said.
The Lakers remain in the bottom 10 in the league in defense for the season, and that has continued over the last eight games.
• The Lakers have gotten better with their third quarter problem. That quarter was their undoing for a while. The Lakers have focused more on winning the third and they have won 5-of-8 thirds, including going on a 16-0 run against the Pistons on Sunday. That stretch essentially decided the game.
Highlight of the Night:
LeBron and Davis recreated a little Showtime for the Staples Center crowd (which felt appropriate on the night the team honored the legacy of Chick Hearn):
LEBRON TO AD 🤝 pic.twitter.com/TT2G4k6tIp
— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 29, 2021
Last night’s scores:
Golden State 105, LA Clippers 90
Milwaukee 118, Indiana 100
Boston 109, Toronto 97
Memphis 128, Sacramento 101
LA Lakers 110, Detroit 106