Three Things is NBC’s five-day, week round-up of the night before in the NBA. Visit NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before, plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA great.
1) “Washed” DeRozan and Bulls sweep Los Angeles, beat Lakers
The game was billed as “Hey, maybe we should have paid to keep this guy” Alex Caruso homecoming game, and he had a very Caruso game – defending hard, grabbing boards, being a playmaker in transition and finishing + 28. He just made a difference.
ACFresh, the carushow, NBA champion.
Welcome back Alex. pic.twitter.com/deoWfO4i2M
– Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 16, 2021
Or it could be viewed as a Lonzo Ball game of rematch: 27 points on 10-out-of-13 shooting, 7-out-of-10 out of 3, eight assists, and a +25 on the night.
But mostly it was “Who washed me?” DeMar DeRozan is returning to Los Angeles this weekend. The LA-born and former USC Trojan lost 35 when the Bulls defeated the Clippers on Sunday night and scored 38 in an efficient 15-of-23 shootout against a flat and tired-looking Lakers team on Monday when the Bulls took a comfortable win won. 121-103.
“I can go on the list, just to be counted, to be looked over,” said DeRozan after the game. “So many chips on my shoulder that I’m carrying.”
The Bulls did some pick-and-rolls from DeRozan and Zach LaVine, and the Lakers had no answers to that. We need more of it.
Zach splashed five 3s in the first half 💦 pic.twitter.com/ojQCFjoFjp
– Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) November 16, 2021
Chicago is now 10-4 in the season and has just conquered Los Angeles, beating both teams in a row on one street. It doesn’t matter that LeBron James couldn’t play; these are still two teams with Paul George, Anthony Davis, and many veteran veteran RPG players – and Chicago handled them. Easy. Also, the cops treated her while Nikola Vucevic was down (health and safety protocols).
A candidate’s statistic is traditionally top 10 offense and defense – and right now the Bulls have. Many pundits thought this team would have defensive issues (* raise your hand *), but a bit of rough play from guys like Caruso and many traditionally poor defenders who just play the system works for them. And this team can undoubtedly score – LaVine had a “quiet” 26 with 6 of 13 3-pointers.
Chicago is legitimate, and DeRozan is a big part of that, averaging 26.9 points per game at 51% shooting.
Once again, like two nights before the Minnesota loss, the Lakers looked tired, the result of an older squad playing their fifth game in seven days. The Lakers’ legs weren’t the best sign: They shot 6-for-32 (18.8%) from 3. Talen Horton-Tucker’s young legs took the lead with 28 points.
In addition, Anthony Davis was thrown out in the third on a far too fast whistle.
The only good news for the Lakers: LeBron is said to be returning “soon”.
2) Don’t look now, but the suns won nine in a row
After it looked like they had a final hangover earlier in the season – Deandre Ayton was fighting, Chris Paul looked like he was walking up and down himself – the Phoenix Suns came to a soft part of the schedule and took advantage of that to get around to put the ship back in order.
On Monday night, Phoenix won their ninth straight game, beating the Timberwolves 99-96 when CP3 scored 19 points in the fourth quarter. Devin Booker led for Phoenix at 29.
29 points for @ DevinBook… 9 STRAIGHT WINNINGS for @Suns! pic.twitter.com/fyw2Dmx8x6
– NBA (@NBA) November 16, 2021
Minnesota was so late, but instead of getting the ball to a hot Karl-Anthony Towns – 35 points on 10-of-19 shooting that night plus 13 boards – D’Angelo Russell had the ball in his hands and decided to keep it. That would be 7-of-21-shooting, 1-of-10 of 3 Russell. Despite all the bad decisions in crunch time, the Timberwolves had a chance to score late and after a failure by Russell (good game and he got a clean look) the ball rebounded to Anthony Edwards who decided not to play To master – Tie two to step back and drop the three for victory, except he fumbled the ball away.
The suns bring victory. They are 10-3 in the season and just behind the fiery Warriors to the west. However, the easy part of the schedule now ends for Phoenix as they have two games against Dallas, then play against Denver and then go off the street for four.
The Suns did what they had to do – beat the teams they were supposed to beat and used this to get their rhythm back. After this slow start, the suns are now looking more like contenders in the west again.
3) Sacramento beats Pistons, this is good for Luke Walton
The Sacramento Kings have played a little better than their record suggests, but if the goal is to break a 15-year playoff drought, such wins on paper will fall away. The Kings had lost four in a row and needed a win.
Enter the Detroit Pistons.
All five of the Kings starters scored double digits, Buddy Hield led them all off the bench at 22, and the Kings took a comfortable 129-107 win in Detroit.
Luke Walton needed this. A report earlier that day said Walton’s seat was warming and if the bad luck lasted much longer, his job could be in jeopardy. That’s how great the pressure is to create the playoffs for the Kings.
To be fair, the problems with the Kings aren’t just Walton’s. He didn’t draft Marvin Bagley III because of Luka Doncic and Trae Young. Instead, he was asked to get more out of the same unbalanced core of a squad that ran 31-41 last season. Add De’Aaron Fox who is struggling to start the season (41.1% total shooting and 23.1% 3-pointers) and he’s not the offensive player’s all-star heart they need, and Walton had much to overcome. Not that Walton is to blame for any of this, not even close, but the systemic problems are bigger than the coach.
The bright spot for Detroit in defeat: No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham had 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists – he seems to get his legs under him and has lined up some quality games.
A career high of 22 points for the rookie. @CadeCunningham_ | @DetroitPistons pic.twitter.com/byVH9R032M
– Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) November 16, 2021
Highlight of the evening: Bol Bol has serious skills
Bol Bol hit a season high in minutes (11) against Dallas on Monday night, taking advantage of seven points in 3-of-5 shooting, including the driving scoop lay-up and-1 that nobody thought they had in their pocket would have.
Last night’s results:
Boston 98, Cleveland 92
Sacramento 129, Detroit 107
Washington 105, New Orleans 100
Atlanta 126, Orlando 109
New York 92, Indiana 84
Dallas 111, Denver 101
Memphis 136, Houston 102
Phoenix 99, Minnesota 96
Miami 103, Oklahoma City 90
Portland 118, Toronto 113
Chicago 121, LA Lakers 103