Newswire Notebook: Brad Beal’s Scoring Spree and More

by February 27, 2020
1,274
Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards

Each week here at SLAM we’re going to empty out the notebook and give you some facts and figures about each NBA team. These are meant to give you a one-stop shop for what’s been happening around the league and highlight some things you may have missed!

  • Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks are going to be shorthanded at the center spot once again. Dewayne Dedmon had a non-surgical procedure to help alleviate some right elbow pain. Dedmon is expected to miss at least three games and will be re-evaluated after that. With Clint Capela still out for at least another week due to an injured heel, Atlanta will lean on rookie Bruno Fernando and Damian Jones for minutes at the five.
  • Boston Celtics – The Celtics return home to Boston off a 3-1 trip to west coast. All four of those games were played without Kemba Walker. You probably know all about how Jayson Tatum went off, and you might be aware that Jaylen Brown had a big trip as well. But did you know that Daniel Theis averaged 16.8 PPG on 64.1% shooting and 10.3 RPG out west?
  • Charlotte Hornets – Charlotte has begun to focus on their future, as the 2020 playoffs have slipped out of reach. Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington will all be in the starting five, while rookies Cody Martin, Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels are now rotation fixtures. That means veterans like Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo and Nic Batum will likely see sporadic minutes the rest of the way.
  • Chicago Bulls – There might not be an NBA team more banged-up than Chicago. The Bulls are already without starting big men Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen and now their backup Luke Kornet is joining them on the shelf. Kornet has a severely sprained ankle and a fracture in his foot and will likely miss the rest of the season. The wing group is also struggling, as Kris Dunn is likely out for the year and Chandler Hutchison and Denzel Valentine haven’t been able to stay healthy. On the plus side, Otto Porter Jr. recently returned to practice, so he could come back soon on a limited basis.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs are finishing the season in a bit of a weird spot. They’ve got older players in the frontcourt and mostly young players in the backcourt and on the wing. Collin Sexton and rookies Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. have all had flashes. Porter dropped 30 points this week in a win over the Miami Heat. Look for new head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to emphasize the team’s youth the rest of this season.
  • Detroit Pistons – Reports surfaced this week that Detroit will not attempt to work a buyout agreement with Derrick Rose. The Pistons like Rose’s fit with their team and he’s signed for a reasonable salary for next season. With Reggie Jackson out of the mix, Rose has taken over as the starting point guard for Detroit. He’s expected to hold that role for the rest of the season.
  • Indiana Pacers – Indiana lost Jeremy Lamb this week to a torn ACL, torn meniscus and a fracture in his left knee. Lamb had started for the Pacers while Victor Oladipo rehabbed during the first half of the season, and went to the bench when Oladipo re-assumed his starting two-guard role. Now, instead of having a double-digit scorer off the bench, Indiana will ask more of Justin and Aaron Holiday and T.J. McConnell on their second unit.
  • Miami Heat – The Heat’s road woes continued this week, as they dropped their sixth-straight game away from South Beach. Miami was also upset at home by the Minnesota Timberwolves. With key rotation players Tyler Herro and Meyers Leonard out, the Heat’s depth has been tested. Erik Spoelstra is also dealing with the task of trying to work Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder into his rotation. All of that has added up to Miami slipping five games behind Boston in the race to stay out of Milwaukee’s half of the Eastern Conference bracket.
  • Milwaukee Bucks – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Bucks are on a win streak. This time around it’s “only” four games (and counting!). The most recent of those games was a victory on the road against the Toronto Raptors. Giannis Antetokounmpo said that last year’s playoff loss to Toronto was on his mind entering that game and a motivating factor to come away with a win. The Bucks also became the earliest playoff-clinching team, when they locked up a postseason spot this week.
  • New York Knicks – The Knicks continue to have flux at the point guard position. This week Frank Ntilikina went down with a groin injury. This time around Ntilikina will likely be out for a couple of weeks according to head coach Mike Miller. As Ntilikina went out, Elfrid Payton returned from a sore right ankle. Payton immediately reassumed his starting spot, which sent Dennis Smith Jr. back to the bench. The point guard revolving door continues in the Big Apple.
  • Orlando Magic – The Magic have inserted trade deadline addition James Ennis III into the starting lineup. Ennis’ presence as a starter gives Orlando another shooter on the floor. While Ennis’ stats aren’t great, it seems to have opened things up for Aaron Gordon. In the month of February, Gordon is averaging 19.9 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 5.0 APG. That’s helped Orlando climb to within half a game of Brooklyn for the seventh seed in the East.
  • Philadelphia 76ers – Philadelphia is going to be down both of their All-Stars for at least a little while, as Joel Embiid hurt his left shoulder on Wednesday. Embiid will join Ben Simmons on the sidelines, as Simmons’ return from an impingement in his back is still unclear. Philadelphia went back to Al Horford in the starting lineup with Simmons out, and Horford will remain a starter for however long Embiid is shelved.
  • Toronto Raptors – The Raptors dropped a game to the Bucks, but have won 17-of-19 games, including a 15-game win streak. Toronto is getting a little bit healthier too, as they’re now down just Marc Gasol and Norman Powell from their regular rotation. Powell’s return is imminent, as he returned to full practice this week. Gasol will be a little bit longer, as he just started light practice, but the Raps are almost back to full strength in time for the stretch run.
  • Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal is playing out of his mind right now. Beal has scored at least 26 points in 14 straight games. This week, he went supernova, as he scored 53, 55 and 30 points. That scoring binge has helped the Wizards cling to playoff life, as they’re 4.5 games behind Orlando for the final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference.
1,274