NBA: Cavs, Blake Griffin and All-Star Weekend

DYLAN PADY, Sports Editor | [email protected]

LeBron James expressed his frustration after the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

“They should take us off every nationally televised game for the rest of the season,” James said. “We haven’t played good ball, and we get our butts kicked every time we play on national television, so I’m at a loss for words.”

The final score, a whopping 120-88, is noted as James’ fifth-worst loss of his career. Other big losses of his include game two of the 2016 finals, when the Cavaliers lost to Golden State (110-77), game three of the 2008 Eastern Conference game against the Wizards (108-72), as well as a regular season game this year against the Timberwolves (127-99).

But in their struggle against Houston, J.R. Smith and Isaiah Thomas led the scoring for Cleveland with 12 points, and James followed closely behind with 11. James did almost record a triple double, as he also led his squad with nine rebounds and nine assists.

The Rockets, on the other hand, put on a clinic. Ryan Anderson and Chris Paul both had over 20 points, Paul also led with 11 assists. James Harden recorded 16 points, nine assists and six rebounds, while Clint Capela had nine rebounds and 14 points.

The Cavaliers have lost six of their last 10 games. Of the 10, however, there are only three games where James did not lead Cleveland in scoring. It is surprising, to say the least, that such an offensive powerhouse in the east is just 30-21 on the season and is one of the more stacked rosters throughout the NBA.

Blake Griffin, the new forward for the Detroit Pistons, was shocked to discover he was being traded by the Clippers on Twitter. Griffin, who signed a five year, $171.2 million contract with the Clippers in 2017, was traded to the Pistons along with Brice Johnson and Willie Reed in exchange for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic, as well as a first and second round pick.

It seems like the Clippers got the better end of this trade, but Griffin seems to be doing alright in finding his role with the Pistons. Alongside Andre Drummond, the two stars of Detroit are off to a great 2-0 start, including a two-point victory over the Grizzlies and their most recent victory over the Heat. 

Against Memphis, Griffin debuted with 24 points, five assists and 10 rebounds, while Drummond had 14 points, three assists and 15 rebounds. The biggest advantage I see in Detroit is in their size. Griffin and Drummond are two big bodies who know how to get rebounds and aren’t terrible shooters either.

Against Miami, Griffin had a harder time finding his shot, but still finished the game with 16 points, seven assists and nine rebounds. Drummond and Ish Smith helped out the new guy and, together, put up 48 points, eight assists and 24 rebounds.

Tonight, the Pistons play the Trail Blazers, the Nets on Wednesday and will then host a big game against the Clippers on Friday. The team will play in Detroit all week before heading to Atlanta on Sunday to play the Hawks.

The NBA All-Star weekend is just around the corner as we near the halfway point of the season. On Feb. 16, things will get started with Ruffles’ Celebrity game, followed by the Mtn. Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game. Last year, Brandon Armstrong (retired NBA player) was the MVP of the Celebrity Game, while the Rising Stars game features young players of different nationalities to represent the World Team against rookies from America who play for the U.S. Team.

The following Saturday, they will make Hall of Fame announcements during the day. Then at night, we get to witness the Skills Challenge, the Three-Point contest and the Slam Dunk contest.

Sunday is the most exciting with the 67th NBA All-Star game. This year’s contest is a little different. Two captains were selected to represent the East and the West (James and Steph Curry are this year’s captains), and they get to select which players in the NBA they want to play on their team.

The game is essentially a pickup game with the rawest talent there is. We are going to witness at least 200 points being scored when you consider how stacked both teams are.

In the East, James’ starting five (consisting of himself, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeMarcus Cousins) was included in this list before injuring himself a couple weeks ago.

In the West, Curry’s team consists of Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMar DeRozan, Joel Embiid and The Beard (Harden). Dwane Casey in Toronto is coaching the East while Rocket’s head coach, Mike D’Antoni, is commanding the West.