Anyone brave enough to watch Tuesday night’s game between the Utah Jazz and the Milwaukee Bucks was treated to some vintage Drew Gooden. Bucks center Andrew Bogut left the team for “personal matters” before the game, and Gooden stepped up, started and exploded for 24 points and 12 rebounds (full stats here). Gooden shot 12 for 20 overall, collected seven (!) offensive rebounds and played 36 minutes after being benched last Friday and playing only six minutes on Monday.
Gooden didn’t do much on the defensive end (Jazz center Al Jefferson had 26 points) but his offense kept an ugly Bucks performance (30 percent shooting) from turning downright repulsive. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel noted:
Take Gooden's shots out of the mix and the rest of the team made 22.7% on field goal attempts (17 of 75).
Bogut’s absence was abrupt and unexplained (from the J-S: “Jennings said Bogut called him to let him know that he had to leave the team, and it happened just as Bucks players were getting on the bus to come to the arena”), so it’s unclear whether Gooden might start again on Thursday when the Bucks take on the Sacramento Kings.
In his postgame write-up, the Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry called Collison “the second best player for the Thunder” on Tuesday. More from Mayberry:
His activity in the first half was amazing. He finished the first quarter with six points and six boards, which were six points and three boards more than the entire Blazers bench.
And remember the “Nick Collison looks a little like a CPA but will break your face” quote from yesterday’s blog?
It’s not a joke. From Tuesday:
Showtime in Memphis is cancelled, for now. Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) was scoreless in his only minute on the court Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings (full stats here). In the previous two games, Selby moved up in the Grizzlies’ rotation and played 21 and 26 minutes while starting point guard Mike Conley sat out with an ankle injury. But Conley returned on Tuesday, and those minutes all but disappeared.
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) registered a “did not play, coach’s decision” on Tuesday. Aldrich has played a total of 14 minutes — and in just three of the Thunder’s seven games — this season.
(Rockets coach Kevin) McHale said there was “no question” Morris, 22, would have already had more time working at small forward if the Rockets had a full training camp with their full roster. Because that is the plan, Tony Dutt, Morris’ agent, said they are OK with the move.
“I think we’re fine based on that,” Dutt said. “They’re exactly on cue with what we were hoping. It’s not a demotion. It’s more an opportunity to get minutes right away. There was an abbreviated camp. He will be able to go there and play and then come back and play, hopefully.
“As long as we’re on the same page and it is for the benefit of the player to go down, we would be more open to it than we would normally be. They’ve got a pretty good history of doing it. They utilize that minor league system better.”
The article does a good job explaining the D-League from both coach and player perspectives, so give it a read if you have a few extra minutes.
Sherron Collins (Turkish Basketball League - Hacettepe University - Turkey) scored 13 points with five assists, four rebounds and four steals in 36 minutes on Tuesday. Collins shot 5 of 12 overall and hit just 1 of 5 three-pointers. He also committed three turnovers (full stats here). Collins will play next on Jan. 7, and he tweeted on Tuesday that he’ll be back in the States for the Jan. 16 KU-Baylor game at Allen Fieldhouse.
Fox Sports Southwest caught up with the NBADL Texas Legends’ newest/oldest player, Greg Ostertag. Ostertag talked a bit about his first week in the D-League:
"So far, it's been fun. These guys are all good players," Ostertag said. "They work hard. They all have a goal that they want to continue to play basketball and make a living out of it. Some will make it to the top level. Others will go play overseas. You've got to come ready to play every night."
Ostertag and the Legends take on Brady Morningstar and the Tulsa 66ers at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
"It was a rough summer," Hinrich said. "I had a tear for a while — could've been three years; they don't know — and a cyst had formed because of the tear. I must've done something to aggravate it, and the cyst started pressing on a nerve."
Xavier Henry (Memphis Grizzlies) got some shots up before Tuesday’s game, according to a tweet by Grizzlies play-by-play announcer Pete Pranica. Henry has been sidelined since injuring his ankle on Dec. 12. The original timetable for Henry’s recovery was two to four weeks.
John Carroll of Scouts Inc., a former NBA coach, thinks Markieff Morris’ strong performance on Monday could lead to some extra playing time with the Phoenix Suns. In a chat on ESPN.com Monday night, Carroll said:
M Morris was beast in Phoenix game! Will take minutes from Channing Frye unless Frye starts to shoot and score better
"I look at Norris like a little brother," Chalmers said. "We're not going to be successful without players one to 15. It's not a competition at all."
Anyone who’s ever glanced at a box score knows that basketball can be broken down into a lot of numbers. I think I came across all of them on Tuesday. Here’s a roundup of the stats, as they relate to former KU players:
Morris has been impressive so far when creating his own scoring opportunities, especially in the post. As of Sunday, Morris' PPP of 1.25 on posting-up situations was good enough to put him in the top 6 percent of all NBA players. He has also shown an ability to knock down open jumpers (Morris is shooting 50 percent on spot-ups).
(PPP, by the way, is points per possession, which is exactly what it sounds like)
ESPN’s John Hollinger computed the Player Efficiency Ratings for rookies who have played more than six minutes a game. PER, to quote directly from ESPN.com, is “the overall rating of a player's per-minute statistical production. The league average is 15.00 every season.” Markieff Morris is currently third on the list, with a PER of 22.24. Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) is 18th, with a PER of 9.61 for the three games he’s played. You can check it out for yourself if you have an ESPN Insider subscription.
If you can’t get enough of Markieff by the numbers, Michael Schwartz of ValleyOfTheSuns.com looked at the rookie’s success through statistics such as plus-minus, defensive rebound rate, offensive rating, wins produced ... I could go on. A smorgasbord of Keef stats awaits.
Gary Dodds typed up a detailed breakdown of Mario Chalmers’ defensive impact for the Miami Heat on NBAPlaybook.com last week. If you like X’s and O’s, with some stats thrown in on the side, give it a read.
Going into Tuesday’s games, Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) was in a three-way tie for 22nd most blocked shots per game in the NBA. Doesn’t sound too impressive, until you realize that Rush’s seven blocks in five games (1.4 per) are third only to Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade and former No. 1 pick John Wall among NBA guards. The rankings might have changed to reflect Tuesday’s games, but you can check out the list here. And although five games IS a small sample size, Rush was sixth among all NBA guards with .52 swats per game last season.
6:30 p.m., Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the New Jersey Nets
6:30 p.m., Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Indiana Pacers
7 p.m., Josh Selby and the Memphis Grizzlies vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves
7:30 p.m., Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. the Dallas Mavericks
7:30 p.m., Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors vs. the San Antonio Spurs
I’ll be taking a proper night off tonight (haven’t had one of those in a while), so no blog for the Wednesday games. Well, not one posted overnight anyway. I hope this extra-long post will tide you over, and with any luck, I might be able to post a few blurbs in the afternoon, before the Thursday games start. And remember: we post (brief) stat recaps every night on KUSports.com, so you can get your ‘Hawks in the NBA fix even on the odd nights when I can’t put together posts. Click here and you should see the most recent roundups.
A big thanks, as always, goes out to those of you who read this. If you ever have any suggestions or comments about the blog, feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.