Playing The Point – May 8, 2017

By Jay Colby,

1. Houston Rockets tied series 2-2 – James Harden lead the Rockets with 28 points helping Houston rebound from two consecutive losses to beat the San Antonio Spurs 125-104. The Rockets never trailed in this one and pulled away in the 3rd by getting hot from 3-point. Jonathon Simmons lead the Spurs with 17, Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 apiece. Game 5 is Tuesday night in San Antonio.

2. Cavs sweep Raptors – For the second year in a row the Cleveland Cavaliers eliminate the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs. Lead by Lebron James 35 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. The Cavs won their 12th consecutive closeout game, beating the Toronto Raptors on Sunday 109-102. James had one of his best statistical series of his career averaging 36 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists over the four games. Kyrie Irving finished the game with 27 points and some clutch baskets down the stretch. The Cavs will rest as the await the winner of the Celtics and Wizards series.

3. Wizards tie the series 2-2 – John Wall went for 27 points, 12 points, and 5 steals while Bradley Beal added 29 points and Otto Porter added another 18 to help the Wizards beat the Celtics 121-102 and even up their series at 2-2. Boston had no real shot in this one as Wizards came ready to play from the start. Game 5 will be on Wednesday at 8 Eastern Time.

4. Spurs’ Tony Parker has ruptured quadriceps tendon – San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker has a ruptured left quadriceps tendon and will miss the remainder of the playoffs, the team announced last Thursday. The Spurs said a timeline for Parker’s return would be determined at a later date. Parker, 34, had an MRI after suffering the injury during the Spurs’ 121-96 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.

5. Big Baller Brand unveils debut ZO2 shoe for Lonzo Ball – This past week LaVar Ball Big Baller Brand unveiled the ZO2 shoe for his son Lonzo Ball. The shoe cost a whopping $495 a pair on the company’s website. This price has been highly criticized for being overpriced and unattainable for the average family in America.  An autographed pair of the sneakers is going for $995. In recent history, the highest price for a pair of Jordan shoes released to mass public went for $400.

6. Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz: Who should be No. 1 in 2017 NBA draft? – With the NBA draft about a month away many analyst have been trying to predict who will be the No.1 pick in this year’s draft. The two top prospects as of now are Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz both are expected to be standout players in the league, but debate about which one should be picked No.1 is an ongoing debate. With the hype that Lonzo has received due to his father LaVar Ball due to his outlandish comments over the last few months. While Ball is the better passer and floor general, Fultz is bonafided scorer who has the ability to get the basket and hit the pull up jumper. Who will be picked June 22 remains to be seem, but whichever team gets the No.1 spot will have some thinking to do.

7. Bucks plan to re-sign Tony Snell – Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond met with the media on Thursday and one of the topics dealt with the status of Tony Snell, since the guard/forward will become a restricted free agent on July 1. The Bucks acquired Snell from the Bulls on Oct. 17 in a deal that sent Michael Carter-Williams to Chicago. Snell played well for the Bucks this season and could garner some interest from other teams, while Carter-Williams, also a free-agent come July 1, struggled with the Bulls and his future is uncertain. In the six games played against the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the 2017 NBA playoffs, Snell averaged 10 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists. As a restricted free agent, the Bucks can match any offer sheet that Snell may sign with another team.

 8. Is Frank Ntilikina the Knicks’ top draft target? – The New York Knicks will own the No. 7 selection in the 2017 NBA draft, if they don’t move up or down in the Lottery, which will be conducted on May 16th. The Knicks need help at several positions, and president of basketball operations Phil Jackson may focus on the point guard spot during the June 22 NBA draft. With that in mind, French point guard Frank Ntilikina could be the Knicks’ choice with the No. 7 pick. According, to reports the Knicks highly rate Ntilikina, as well as Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox. Both point guards should land between the third and eighth selections in the draft.

9. Dwight Howard’s trade value is very low – Dwight Howard returned home last summer as he signed a three-year, $70.5 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks. Howard doesn’t appear to be a good fit with the Hawks. They may try to trade him, but moving the 13-year NBA veteran could be difficult as his trade value is currently very low.

10. Enes Kanter may be on the trade block – OKC general manager Sam Presti met with the media on last week and discussed several topics regarding the Thunder season. He offered some insight to the Thunder plans moving forward to the 2017-2018 season. “Will we go out and look at every opportunity yes, we will” Presti told The Oklahoman. “Because, you know, that’s what we’ve done over the course of time. But unless somebody is willing to give us exactly what we want, for limited return or for return that we feel comfortable with, we have no alternative other than to continue to be head down, sleeves up, working to get better with this group of players.” One of those opportunities might be backup center Enes Kanter. Kanter absolutely is on the trading block, not because the Thunder has grown disenchanted with Enes the Menace, but because he’s got some value and OKC is overstocked on big men. The Thunder absolutely is in the market for a backup point guard.

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