Mavs’ Doncic named Western Conference Player of the Week

The NBA announced today that Mavericks guard Luka Doncic was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, March 29 through Sunday, April 4, marking the third time in his career, and second time this season, he has received the honor (Nov. 18-24, 2019; Jan. 4-10, 2021).

Doncic (6-7, 230) joins Dirk Nowitzki (2002-03, 2006-07, 2009-10, 2010-11) and Josh Howard (2006-07) as the only Mavericks to garner the award multiple times in the same season. He also joins Nowitzki (16 times), Michael Finley (three) and Jason Kidd (three) as the only Dallas players to win the award at least three times in his career.

Doncic led the Mavericks to a 4-0 week on the road with averages of 28.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 54.4% (43-79 FG) from the floor and 40.5% (15-37 3FG) from 3-point range as Dallas won by an average of 15.3 points.

The two-time All-Star recorded 36 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a 113-108 win at Boston (3/31). The game was Doncic’s 15th 30-5-5 effort this season to lead the NBA (tied with Denver’s Jokić).

He opened the week by scoring 25 points to go with three rebounds, seven assists and two steals in a 127-106 win at Oklahoma City (3/29) to help the Mavericks win the season series 2-1.

Doncic contributed 26 points at both New York (4/2) and Washington (4/3). He added eight rebounds, seven assists and one block in the 99-86 win at Madison Square Garden. In the 109-87 victory against the Wizards, Doncic had eight rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block.

In 43 games this season, Doncic is averaging 28.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.8 assists on a career-high 48.8% from the floor. Among league leaders, the Slovenian ranks fifth in scoring, fourth in assists and fourth in triple-doubles (nine).

Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday joins Doncic as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

Cavs’ Bickerstaff: ‘I feel really good about this team’

Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said in the pregame that he wanted his team to make Saturday’s game against Milwaukee as ugly as possible, and they did that, but it was not ugly enough as the Cavaliers(5-5) would end their six-game road trip by losing to the Bucks(6-4) 100-90.

Without Giannis Antetokoumpo(back spasms), the Bucks’ Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with a game-high 27 points. For the Cavs, Andre Drummond had a monster game with 26 points and 24 rebounds, and Damyean Dotson added 21 points.

Cleveland was down seven players again, including their top two scorers, Collin Sexton(ankle) and Darius Garland(shoulder). Even in a loss, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was proud of his team’s performance.

“They gave us what they had tonight,” Bickerstaff said after the game. “Asking guys to play heavy minutes, carry heavy burdens, and they scrapped, and they competed. We just couldn’t manufacture enough points. Again, I thought our defense was solid. We just struggled to manufacture some points and find some easy buckets tonight…

“I can’t say enough about what these guys are doing. They’re many men down, and they haven’t used it as an excuse. They just continue to go out and scrap. They continued to go out and fight, came up short tonight, but I’m proud of their effort and the way they fought.”

Cleveland ended their six-game road trip at 2-4, which is not a bad road trip when you consider all the injuries. As they prepare to head back to Cleveland on Monday to battle the Grizzles, Bickerstaff is happy with his team after ten games. 

“I feel really good about this team, to be honest with you,” he said. “The things that we say matter most to us, our guys have continued to show. They are competitive; they are selfless, they are together… We continue to play this way; we get healthy; we’re going to be a hard out every night.”

Hopefully, this team can get healthy. To Bickerstaff’s credit, this team does play hard every night, and Bickerstaff is right; if they continue to play hard and get healthy, Cleveland will be a hard out every night for any team in the NBA.

Cleveland Cavaliers sign former lottery pick Thon Maker

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed former lottery pick Thon Maker, the team announced on Monday. Maker became an unrestricted free agent after the Pistons decided not to extend a qualifying offer.

The 23-year-old Maker, who was acquired by the Pistons from the Bucks in February, played in 60 games (14 starts) for Detroit last season, averaging 4.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.9 minutes. He posted two double-doubles and scored in double figures on 11 occasions in 2019-20. 

The 7-footer was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 10th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft but has had a hard time getting consistent playing time. The four-year veteran owns career averages of 4.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 13.9 minutes over 255 games (65 starts) with Milwaukee and Detroit.

This is an opportunity for Maker to turn things around in his career and an opportunity for the Cavaliers to get a player who has potential. We’ll see how Maker does in Cleveland.

In other moves, the Cavaliers added center Marques Bolden and guard Charles Matthews to their 2020 training camp roster.

Twitter reacts to NBA players’ boycott

In a surprise to many, the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the NBA teams decided to boycott today’s game. After the Bucks and Magic decided not to play, the NBA postponed the rest of Wednesday’s slate of games(Thunder-Rockets, Blazers-Lakers). 

The boycott was in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday.

There is no word on what’s next for the players. However, they were scheduled to meet tonight to discuss further plans.

After the cancellation of games, Twitter reacted.

Here’s a sampling:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo named 2018-19 NBA MVP

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was the best player in the NBA from the beginning of the year to the end of the regular season, and on Monday, he was rewarded for his tremendous season.

Antetokounmpo was named the NBA MVP at the 3rd annual NBA Awards in Santa Monica, California. Antetokounmpo edged out the league’s reigning MVP, James Harden. Paul George, Steph Curry, and Nikola Jokic rounded out the top five.

Last season, Antetokounmpo averaged 27.7 ppg, 12.5 rpg, and 5.9 apg.

After receiving the award, Antetokounmpo gave a very emotional speech.

Listen below:

 

Khris Middleton on improved Bucks: ‘Individually, each one of us is better than last year'(VIDEO)

The Milwaukee Bucks are playing some good basketball right now. They have the best record in the NBA and have won nine of their last ten games, including defeating the Wizards 131-115 on Saturday night in Washington D.C.

Last season, with head coach Jason Kidd, who was fired midseason, and Joe Prunty, the interim head coach for the rest of the 2017-18 season, the Bucks won 44 games. After 51 games, Milwaukee has won 38 games.  The big difference could be the addition of head coach Mike Budenholzer, who had a lot of success during his time with the Hawks, which included a 60-win season in 2015.

“Bud Ball” allows players to take a lot of three-point shots, and the Bucks do just that. Milwaukee is second in three-point shots attempted and made, and according to first-time All-Star Khris Middleton, “Bud Ball” is one of the reasons the Bucks have had a lot of success thus far this season.

“It’s a whole different style of play,” Middleton told goforitradio’s Paul Gant. “Space out on the perimeter, our defense is much better, our offensive efficiency is much better; individually, each one of us is much better than last year, so when you add all those things up, things change and it’s been going to wins.”

Also, it does not hurt that Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 26.6 ppg, 12.5 rpg,  5.8 apg, is having an MVP-caliber season for Milwaukee.

We caught up with Middleton after the Bucks’ victory over the Wizards on Saturday night. He discussed the team, the last ten games, the Bucks as championship contenders, “Bud Ball,” and how he will handle All-Star weekend.

Listen below: