10/20/17 – Weak-ass M—– F—–s

ABOUT LAST NIGHT

The TNT doubleheader looked good in theory. Carmelo Anthony was facing the Knicks right off the bat after his tumultuous time with them came to an end. In the late game, Lonzo Ball would be making his anticipated NBA debut against the Clippers. Reality set in quickly. The Knicks and Lakers are garbage. The two teams combined for 44 turnovers and barely 40% shooting. While the Thunder and Clippers were certainly fun to watch, having to suffer through the Knicks and Lakers back to back was a tall order. Not that anybody was forcing me to stay up past 1:00 am to watch. I understand both teams hail from big markets, and have huge fan bases that span the globe, so we’re going to see them on national television a lot, but for the love of the Basketball Gods, please not again in the same night.

As for the competent teams, both showed good signs. The new Big Three of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony got off to an encouraging start, and seemed to have a lot of fun playing with one another. Paul George led the way with 28 points, and Carmelo added 22, but it was Russell Westbrook who remains the most impressive. He notched yet another triple double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists, but the best part about it was his efficient shooting. While George and Anthony combined to shoot 17-43, numbers that Westbrook could put up by himself last season, the Thunder point guard shot 7-12, and set the tone for the offense more than he forced the issue. If their stars can align this way on a consistent basis, the Thunder are going to have a very good season. The game also officially closed the Knicks chapter in the book of Carmelo Anthony’s life. As he himself declared, “No more Knicks talk.

We should mention that Kristaps Porzingas did well in his first game as the THE MAN on the Knicks. He ended the night with 31 points and 12 rebounds, but got little help in New York’s 104-85 loss in OKC.

The Clippers looked encouraging themselves, especially in their new blue jerseys. Patrick Beverley went out of his way to ensure that Lonzo Ball had a miserable experience in his first NBA game, hounding him defensively and mouthing off at every opportunity. Ball shot just 1-6 in 29:21 of action, finishing with just three points, nine rebounds and four assists. Brandon Ingram also shot a ghastly 3-15, so the young Laker tandem looks to have a lot of work left to do.

Meanwhile, the Clippers looked great, with DeAndre Jordan racking up 14 points and 24 rebounds. More importantly, Blake Griffin looked like his old self, finishing with 29 points and 12 rebounds, leading them to a 108-92 victory against their cross-court rivals. With the new intensity that Beverley brings, I think the Clippers are going to be fine, as long as everyone stays healthy.

After the game of course, Lonzo Ball’s father, LaVar had some things to say about Patrick Beverley, who feistily shut down his son, and apparently declared him to be “a weak-ass mother fucker.”

Quote the elder Ball, “Yeah, you shut the mother fucker down, and your check still ain’t going to go no higher than what it is. Yeah, you shut him down. OK … Who is Patrick Beverley?” Then, as far as we’re concerned, Ball issued a challenge.

“Let’s see what you do the next five games, if you are going to be pumped up toward everybody like that and go back to your 0-for-5 shooting and your two or three rebounds. Nobody is going to care about you.”

Well, we here at The Bonus are here to help you, LaVar. We’ll keep an eye on Beverley’s next five games, and to be extra helpful, we’ll compare them to your son’s, in an attempt to discover who the weak-ass mother fucker really is. (It’s LaVar.)

In perhaps one of the early season’s least surprising developments, it only took one game for LaVar Ball to say some stupid-ass shit.

THE NIGHT AHEAD

GAME OF THE NIGHT – Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks (7:00 pm, ESPN)

In a matchup of the two teams that have played the Celtics, and division rivals, LeBron James leads the Cavs into Milwaukee to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Both are coming off big opening games against the Celtics, and the two stars will likely spend a lot of time guarding one another. It’ll be a great battle between the best player in the game, and someone who is fixing to one day take that torch and own it himself.

Ricky Rubio makes his return to Minnesota tonight as the Jazz drop in on the Timberwolves. Rubio spent his first six seasons with the Wolves, and was coming off perhaps his finest season when they traded him to Utah this summer as part of their roster revamping. While Minnesota lacked success during his time there, Rubio proved to be a popular player. He should get a nice welcome from the fans when the game gets underway at 8:00 on League Pass.

Elsewhere, the Sacramento Kings visit the Dallas Mavericks in what should be, at the very least, a fun matchup between two rookie point guards that actually looked good in their debuts: Dennis Smith Jr and De’Aaron Fox. That one tips off at 8:30 on League Pass.

LONZO BALL vs PATRICK BEVERLEY FIVE GAME CHALLENGE

Ball has a quick chance to put everything behind him in what should be a dreadful game between the Lakers and the Suns. Now, thanks to LaVar Ball us, there’s actually a reason to watch it. Patrick Beverley is off tonight, hopefully laughing his ass off.

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10/19/17 – First Impressions

Before a busy night got underway, the Chicago Bulls suspended Bobby Portis for eight games for landing a punch on teammate Nikola Mirotic. “Both players owned responsibility in the incident itself,” said Bulls VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson, “But only one player threw a punch. And that punch connected and for us that is inexcusable. It’s not who we are. It disappoints us in terms of what happened, and because of that we’ve determined that we’re going to suspend Bobby for eight games.”

“Bobby Portis is not a bad person,” added Paxson, “He’s a good kid. He’s a competitive kid, but in this instance he made a mistake. And as we all know when you make mistakes you got to suffer the consequences.” He also went on to note that Portis’ punch wasn’t a cheap shot. Well thank God for that.

Mirotic suffered a concussion and facial fractures and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT

Almost every team in the league made their season debut last night. Amongst the most anticipated, the Philadelphia 76ers, who are finally playing at full strength. Ben Simmons showed he’s worth the wait, finishing his first NBA game with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists against the Washington Wizards. However, the Wizards backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal carried them to a 120-115 victory over the plucky Sixers, combining for 53 points despite some lackluster shooting. Joel Embiid played 27 minutes, eclipsing his minutes restriction of 15-20 minutes, finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds. It’s a promising start for the Sixers, who hung tough against one of the better teams in the East.

In Detroit, the Pistons opened their new stadium, the Little Caesars Arena, with a 102-90 victory over the Hornets, despite 0-13 shooting from Stanley Johnson. The Pacers and Nets treated us to a high scoring affair, with Indiana winning 140-131. Eight Pacers scored in double figures, led by 22 points from newcomer Victor Oladipo. D’Angelo Russell scored 30 in his debut with the Nets, but they were dealt a blow, losing Jeremy Lin to what is feared to be a significant knee injury.

DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis combined for 61 points, 28 rebounds and 8 blocks for the New Orleans Pelicans, but the rest of their squad combined for just 30 points, 23 rebounds and 4 blocks in a 103-91 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. I have a feeling things like this are going to happen a lot to the Pelicans. In another strong game that went for naught, Hassan Whiteside sprung for 26 points and 22 rebounds, coming close to equalling the totals of the entire Pelicans roster aside from Cousins and Davis. However, it wasn’t enough to lead the Miami Heat to victory. They were defeated by the Orlando Magic, 116-109. The Denver Nuggets seemed in control all night, but were then outscored 28-13 by the Utah Jazz in the fourth quarter. Utah came away with a 106-96 victory.

The Phoenix Suns kicked off their 50th season with not only their biggest loss in franchise history, but also the biggest opening night loss in the history of the NBA. The highlight of their night was the pregame video montage of memorable players throughout their history. Apparently uninspired by their legends of yesteryear, the Suns went out and were soundly defeated by the Portland Trail Blazers, 124-76.

Without Kawhi Leonard or Tony Parker, the Spurs still went out and looked like themselves, securing a 107-99 victory over the new-look Timberwolves. LaMarcus Aldridge, fresh off a contract extension that surprised a lot of the league, led the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Aldridge looked like his old self after what’s been, at times, a disappointing first couple of seasons in San Antonio. Whatever him and coach Gregg Popovich talked about at their preseason meeting seems to have made an impact. The game also marked the debut of Minnesota’s new Big Three of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler. Butler was quiet, finishing with 12 points, Towns had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Wiggins led the way with 26 points.

Last but not least, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Bucks to a 108-100 victory over the Celtics in Boston. Many think Antetokounmpo will be the MVP of the league someday, but that day may come sooner if he can make performances like last night’s a common occurrence. A night after suffering his terrible injury, Gordon Hayward addressed the Boston crowd via a recorded statement before the game. He underwent surgery last night, and it’s unlikely he’ll suit up this season.

THE NIGHT AHEAD

GAME OF THE NIGHT – New York Knicks at Oklahoma City Thunder (8:00 pm, TNT)

There’s only three games tonight, none more anticipated than the Knicks visit to OKC. It marks not only the regular season debut of the Thunder’s Big Three of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, it’s also Melo’s first game against his former team. He recently discussed his departure from New York, saying that “There was no support from the organization…When you feel like you’re on your own and then on top of that you feel like you’re being pushed out,” among other things, including that his own ten year old son advocated for him joining the Thunder. His fresh start begins this evening.

If you feel like staying up late, the second game in TNT’s doubleheader sees Lonzo Ball making his NBA debut as the Lakers take on the Clippers, who begin life after Chris Paul.

LATE BREAKING NEWS

No sooner did I publish this post when the Nets worst fears about Jeremy Lin were confirmed…

Already, Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Lin have been removed from this NBA season, which really sucks. Hopefully we can make it more than a day before the next big injury happens.

10/18/17 – Hayward Down

ABOUT LAST NIGHT

If Opening Night was a tone setter for the entire season, it’s going to be a ridiculous and harrowing ride for everyone involved. Before the games even started, we learned that the Bulls Nikola Mirotic suffered a broken face after an altercation at practice with teammate Bobby Portis. Chicago’s going to be bad on the court this year, and they’re looking like a mess off the court as well. Mirotic is one of their key players, and he’ll be out indefinitely. No word yet on if Chicago plans on disciplining Portis.

Just over five minutes into the first game of the season, it was overshadowed by Gordon Hayward’s unfortunate and gruesome injury. After crashing into LeBron as he soared towards the hoop, he landed wrong on his leg, fracturing his ankle. Immediately, the joy and excitement of having the NBA back was washed away. An ominous murmur filled the Quicken Loans Arena, and NBA Twitter quickly became a somber place.

The Celtics fell behind, trailing by as many as 18, but they fought back and nearly stole the game, showing that all was not lost as they fell, 102-99. However, Hayward’s injury overshadowed everything: LeBron’s monster game, rookie Jayson Tatum’s solid debut, Kyrie Irving’s return to Cleveland. A mournful pall had fallen on the proceedings, though it was nice to see the outpouring of support from players and other figures all across the league. Hayward’s slated for surgery today, and we wish him a speedy and strong recovery.

The late game was ridiculous as well. The Warriors received their new rings and championship banner, and looked unbeatable for most of the game, with Nick Young coming off the bench and scorching the Rockets from beyond the arc. Then, Draymond Green missed the entire fourth quarter after straining his knee. The Rockets crept back into the game, and eked out a 122-121 win down the stretch, with Chris Paul, who may have been hurt himself, sitting on the bench. It included them having to sweat out a last second shot from Kevin Durant that went through the hoop, but came just a fraction of a second after the buzzer.

Paul, in his Rockets debut, was unusually ineffective, and was seen limping towards the Rockets bench during a timeout. It was just one game, but the certainly seemed stronger with Paul on the bench. It’s a situation worth monitoring.

After its dire start, we actually got two really great basketball games. The NBA landscape might have already changed thanks to Hayward’s injury, but the Celtics showed that they are scrappy enough to hang in there. In just a matter of minutes, an entirely new storyline was added to an infant NBA season already bursting with intriguing storylines to follow.

THE NIGHT AHEAD

GAME OF THE NIGHT – Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards (7:00 pm, ESPN)

Most of the rest of the teams in the league get their seasons underway, so feel free to take your pick. It’s hard not to want to watch the Sixers visit the Wizards, though. Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz make their NBA debuts, while Joel Embiid is still living under his bullshit minutes restriction (his words). The Wizards come into the season with high expectations, and are one of the teams that could see their position in the conference improve in the absence of Gordon Hayward. John Wall and Bradley Beal should have big seasons as they work towards trying to make the Conference Finals for the first time.

There’s lots of other great games on tonight too. The Celtics are right back in action in their home opener against the Bucks. In the back end of ESPN’s doubleheader, the new-look Timberwolves visit the Spurs, who will be without the services of both Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker.

Get well soon, Gordon.