Off. Rating: 101.1 (20) | Def. Rating: 106.4 (29) | Net Rating: -5.3 (27)
If one was to sum up the play of the Sharks after their first month in the NBA in one word, it would have to be erratic. Granted, for an expansion franchise in their first season, the Sharks were not really expected to be winning games, and that is why the “erratic” label does not emanate from their lackluster win-loss record, but rather from their on-court performances.
In a way, this trend of inconsistency seems to be a consistent trend with this team, with the exception of the Golden State game, the Sharks have contrasted performances against the likes of Cleveland (two close games, one impressive blowout victory), Toronto, Washington, and OKC; against disappearing acts versus Sacramento, Detroit, Miami, and the Pelicans. Their half-court defense is solid, and yet the team’s defensive rating is near the bottom of the table thanks to terrible transition defense. The offense is capable at times, almost potent, as the triangle-hybrid offense from David Blatt has resulted in very good ball movement (12th in assists per 100 possessions), but often fizzles out before they are able to secure a victory, with seemingly nobody being able to create a shot for themselves when it matters most. They have great rebounders, and ranks in the top five in the league in crashing the offensive boards, but sits among the worst in the league in securing defensive rebounds.
Ty Lawson, perhaps, best personifies this level of inconsistency in this team. There would be nights where he would be the team’s best player on offense, and then other times just fails to convert on his opportunities, resulting in a sub .350 field goal percentage, and his subsequent drop to the bench in favor of Thabo Sefolosha (with Tony Allen being moved to point guard) for the last game of the month despite the Sharks being without the services of their season opener starter in Patrick Mills.
Even though it wasn’t expected in the first place, it must still be said. At this point, the playoffs look like an impossibility, and although they have nearly 100% of their cap space to go wild on in the offseason, they will have to start playing better basketball in order to attract some of the bigger names in free agency. The good news is, with their new look lineup, they looked very impressive in that 86-78 victory over the Orlando Magic, the current leaders in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps the unconventional lineup is the way to go for David Blatt’s squad.
We shall see.
Most Impressive Performance: 113-98 victory over Cleveland
They were close in the first two meetings, but nobody expected the Sharks to be able to come away with a 15 point win over the defending champs, especially not after trailing for the entire duration of the first half. Somehow, they were able to bottle LeBron up, which proved to be the difference in the ball game. Boban Marjanovic’s 20-20 career night did not hurt either.
A Game To Forget: 81-123 defeat to Golden State
Self-explanatory really. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson only missed a total of 9 shots, and combined for 54 in the blowout. The league’s best (and cockiest) team decided to rub it in by leaving the starters out on the floor late in the fourth quarter, dropping 38 points in the period for further embarrassment. Though to be fair, at 16-2 and possessing a point differential of 15.5 (second best team comes in at 8.0), they are kind of doing it to every other team as well.
25/11/2016 – Raptors sign SG Andrew Goudelock to 1yr/$980k deal
10/11/2016 – Bucks sign SF Coty Clarke to 1yr/$980k deal
08/11/2016 – Lakers sign SG Gary Neal to 1yr/$980k deal
04/11/2016 – Pistons sign PF Josh Smith to 1yr/$980k deal
03/11/2016 – Knicks sign PG Norris Cole to 1yr/$980k deal
03/11/2016 – Thunder sign PF Charlie Villanueva to 1yr/$980k deal
01/11/2016 – Magic sign SF Caron Butler to 1yr/$980k deal
01/11/2016 – Wizards sign PF Carl Landry to 1yr/$980k deal
31/10/2016 – Warriors sign PG Mario Chalmers to 1yr/$980k deal
30/10/2016 – Timberwolves sign SG Kevin Martin to 1yr/$980k deal
29/10/2016 – Kings sign PF Thomas Robinson to 1yr/$2.19M deal
26/10/2016 – Suns sign SF Rasual Butler to 1yr/$980k deal
12/11/2016 – Kings re-sign PG Darren Collison to 2yr/$17.75M deal
11/11/2016 – Pelicans re-sign PG Jrue Holiday to 3yr/$42.07M deal
Race to the MVP: Westbrook Chasing History in OKC
By Kurt Walker, NBA.com
Posted Nov 30 2016 11:13PM
The start of an NBA season is usually a warmup phase for most of the league, with veterans pacing themselves back into the flow of things, and young guns trying to get a hang of how things work.
Enter 2016, where everybody is coming in absolutely on fire, treating the first month of the season as if it was the post All Star break playoff push.
With the addition of Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors have been absolutely on fire so far, only losing 2 of their 18 games and blowing everybody out of the water with their insane point differential of 15.5. Meanwhile, led by LeBron James, the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers have been playing stellar basketball as usual, but are finding themselves in second place due to the (please excuse the pun) magical start from the Orlando Magic, who, despite being projected as a rebuilding team, managed to go 15-6 and land themselves on top of the Eastern Conference standings.
But perhaps the even bigger surprise is from Oklahoma City and Houston, where Westbrook and Harden, respectively, are carrying their teams to very respectable positions in the Western Conference standings despite the loss of key players this past off season. The two have been balling this month and are neck and neck in the (very early) MVP race so far.
Without further ado, here it goes…
1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (11-5)
Stats: PPG -- 28.8; RPG -- 9.9; APG -- 10.1; SPG -- 3.4; BPG -- 0.3; FG% -- .462; 3P% -- .363; FT% -- .840
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: With Kevin Durant vacating to Golden State this past offseason, the shackles on Westbrook has been released. At 28.8 ppg (second in the league), 9.9 rpg, and 10.1 apg (leads the league), he is trying to be the first player since Oscar Robertson (1963) to average a triple double. That alone plus a respectable record puts him on top of the MVP race thus far.
2. James Harden, Houston Rockets (12-7)
Stats: PPG -- 30.5; RPG -- 6.2; APG -- 5.5; SPG -- 1.9; BPG -- 0.6; FG% -- .487; 3P% -- .467; FT% -- .896
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: So far, Mike D’Antoni’s offensive revolution in Houston has been a smashing success. Harden is leading the league in scoring, and at a very efficient clip as well, and also leads the pack in PER. If not for Westbrook’s historical numbers, he would be #1 for sure.
3. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (16-2)
Stats: PPG -- 28.1; RPG -- 5.8; APG -- 6.1; SPG -- 1.8; BPG -- 0.1; FG% -- .489; 3P% -- .406; FT% -- .891
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: It’s strange to say that last year’s unanimous MVP is having a down year when he’s averaging over 28 points per game and his team is blowing out just about everybody, but Steph Curry has indeed been in a “shooting slump”, as he is averaging a career low 40.6% from three. His previous lowest season average has been at 42.4%.
4. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers (13-5)
Stats: PPG -- 17.4; RPG -- 16.2; APG -- 0.6; SPG -- 0.1; BPG -- 3.6; FG% -- .668; 3P% -- .000; FT% -- .414
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: Yes, you read that right. It’s DeAndre Jordan, not Chris Paul or Blake Griffin, that makes the list as the Clippers best player and a top five MVP candidate so far this season. The Clippers center has been gobbling up rebounds like crazy, topping the league at 16.2 per game, and protects the rim like no other at 3.6 blocks per game. He has already achieved three 20-20 games this season, including a 31 point, 20 rebound effort against the Knicks, and has 5 games where he had 20 or more rebounds, a big reason why the Clippers are sitting in second place in the West.
5. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (14-7)
Stats: PPG -- 23.4; RPG -- 8.4; APG -- 8.1; SPG -- 2.0; BPG -- 0.8; FG% -- .485; 3P% -- .315; FT% -- .719
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: His scoring has dipped but LeBron is also averaging more than 8 assists per game for only the second time in his career, a sign that he has simply taken on more of a facilitator role due to Kyrie Irving’s early season injury. Outside of Westbrook, King James might just be the most all-rounded player in the league still, as he has already racked up 5 triple doubles this season.
6. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs (11-6)
Stats: PPG -- 23.1; RPG -- 6.6; APG -- 3.2; SPG -- 2.6; BPG -- 1.1; FG% -- .528; 3P% -- .444; FT% -- .897
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: He’s always been brilliant defensively, but his continued growth and development on the offensive end is startling. Leonard is averaging a career best 23.1 points per game on (also career bests) 52.8% shooting from the field, 44.4% from three, and 89.7% from the free throw line. Remember the miss from the line he had in game 6 of the finals against Miami a few years back? Yeah, probably not going to happen anymore. Did we mention he’s still the league’s best lockdown defender?
7. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors (12-7)
Stats: PPG -- 23.2; RPG -- 4.2; APG -- 6.9; SPG -- 2.4; BPG -- 0.7; FG% -- .423; 3P% -- .403; FT% -- .763
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: Kyle Lowry has really stepped up in the absence of Toronto’s main man DeMar DeRozan. While his averages don’t particularly jump off the pages, the two time All-Star is still averaging a career best 23.2 points per game and has led the Raptors to third place in the Eastern Conference standings despite being without DeRozan, who’s only played in 9 of the Raptors 19 games so far this season.
8. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (9-11)
Stats: PPG -- 24.1; RPG -- 10.2; APG -- 2.2; SPG -- 0.8; BPG -- 2.1; FG% -- .477; 3P% -- .259; FT% -- .778
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: Given how little he has to work with, being able to carry the Pelicans to a near .500 record is an achievement in and of itself. Without Davis, the Pelicans would be lucky to have 2 wins, let alone 9.
9. Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers (9-7)
Stats: PPG -- 21.9; RPG -- 4.0; APG -- 9.8; SPG -- 1.5; BPG -- 0.3; FG% -- .423; 3P% -- .388; FT% -- .907
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: His scoring has taken a dip to “just” 21.9 points per game, but his playmaking has shot up all the way to a 9.8 apg (second in the league behind Westbrook’s 10.1) as he further makes use of the rising talents of backcourt teammate C.J. McCollum. The Blazers version of the Splash Brothers combines for 45.6 of the Blazers’ 102.3 points per game average and is a big reason why they are once again in the hunt for the playoffs.
10. Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic (15-6)
Stats: PPG -- 19.0; RPG -- 2.7; APG -- 3.3; SPG -- 0.9; BPG -- 0.0; FG% -- .438; 3P% -- .376; FT% -- .871
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: As the conference leading team at 15-6, there really was no way I could leave out having a member of the Magic in the R2MVP conversation. Ideally, the entire team would be occupying this spot, as there are no real “stars” on the team who is clearly leading the way. By virtue of having the highest EWA (Estimated Wins Added) on the roster at 2.2, Fournier takes the spot. It could just easily have been Ibaka, Biyombo, or Aaron Gordon, however.
Lamrock wrote:Awesome monthly recap. Brandon Roy still struggling to defend Westbrook
Phil89 wrote:Great write-ups. It seems like you are gonna get a very nice pick in the draft at this rate.
Seeing you lose to the Warriors by 42 points makes me feel slightly better about losing to them by 50. They are insane on 2k17.
In his first game against the Detroit Pistons since signing a three year deal with them and subsequently left unprotected - and taken - in the 2016 NBA Expansion draft, Boban Marjanovic was a man on a mission.
In dominating fashion, Marjanovic made quick work of Andre Drummond and the rest of the Pistons front court, notching a career best 8 blocks to go alongside 20 points and 16 rebounds on just 9 shot attempts, and led the Sharks to a comfortable 97-84 victory over the visiting Pistons.
“No, it wasn’t [personal], I am very happy where I am now. This team wants me and I am very happy with my teammates” said Marjanovic.
Opened up by Boban’s dominance, fellow frontcourt starter Taj Gibson had his best game of the season so far, finishing with a season high 18 points along with 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals on 7 for 13 shooting.
Jeff Green added 16 points, while Gerald Green contributed 14 on just 6 attempts from the field.
Chicago continues to go with an unconventional lineup, starting defensive specialist Tony Allen at point guard alongside Thabo Sefolosha at the two, and it has been surprisingly effective so far despite the lack of offense from such a backcourt. The pair only combined for 10 points, but was a big factor on the defensive end of the floor, holding Reggie Jackson to just 13 points, Caldewell-Pope to 10 points on 4 for 14 shooting, and backup point guard Ish Smith to a 2 for 10 outing (6 points).
It remains to be seen how long head coach David Blatt decides to go with this lineup, as starting point guard Patrick Mills continues to be out with an ankle injury, and second choice point guard Ty Lawson continues to struggle shooting the basketball, going 1 for 6 on three point shots in this game.
Meanwhile, Detroit’s struggles continue, despite a relatively effective night from both Tobias Harris (18 points, 6 rebounds), and Andre Drummond (14 points, 11 rebounds). The team had just one block the entire game - Chicago ended with 14 - and turned the ball over 15 times, which led to 21 fast break points for the Sharks.
The Pistons now fall to 9-13 while Chicago climbs to 6-17.
The Sharks will play their crosstown rival Chicago Bulls for the first time in their next contest on Friday night.
It is safe to say that neither team from Chicago have been lighting it up so far this season.
That was to be expected from the expansion Sharks (6-17), but for the crosstown Bulls (10-12), who added in Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo this offseason and had high playoff expectations, it has definitely been disappointing to say the least.
However, for one night at least, the two strugglers of the NBA put on a show for their fans.
In what was a highly anticipated first meeting of the newly established Windy City Derby, the Bulls and Sharks lived up to all expectations, with the back and forth contest ending in favour of the home team Bulls, as they take home a 98-92 victory over their new neighbours in Chicago.
The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler, who came out scorching hot, scoring 17 of his game high 23 points in the first quarter. He eventually cooled off due to defensive adjustments from the Sharks, but the damage had been done, and the extra defensive attention he commanded led to a career night for second year forward Bobby Portis, who ended the game with a career high 21 points on a very efficient 8 of 10 shooting from the field. Portis also added 10 rebounds for one of the game’s two double-double performances.
“We haven’t been playing very well and this is a big game for the fans, so I was in attack mode from the start.” said Butler.
Buoyed by Butler’s hot start, the Bulls took a 9 point first quarter lead, and extended it to 10 points by halftime. However, the Sharks would then fight back, as 6th man Gerald Green began to catch fire, scoring 14 of his 23 points in the third period, encapsulated by an otherworldly jam where he leaped over Bulls guard Jerian Grant and powered it in through the hands of Nikola Mirotic.
“Gerald (Green) brings a lot of energy and scoring from our bench, I was very happy with how he played tonight.” said Sharks coach David Blatt.
Jeff Green added 12 points and 6 rebounds, while former Bull Taj Gibson had 11 and 7 in his first return to the United Center since being picked by the Sharks in the 2016 expansion draft.
“It was good to see the guys again, I had a lot of good memories here.” said Gibson, who added that he was disappointed to not get the victory over his former teammates.
The Sharks’ struggles with ball security continues to be their achilles heel, however, as they turned the ball over 18 times, with the team’s pseudo point guard Tony Allen responsible for 5 of those, and failed to properly take advantage of the Bulls’ mistakes (15 turnovers), as they only came away with 8 points off turnovers.
The Bulls are now 11-12 on the year while the Sharks fall to 6-18 and continue their tumble down the Eastern Conference Standings. The two teams will meet again in 8 days at the Sharks’ Chicago Stadium.
Axel. wrote:Though expected, your team has stats characteristic of an expansion team. Balanced scoring numbers around the roster with Green leading at just 14 ppg.
Nice to see Boban doing well here. That game against the Bulls should be pretty intense.
Phil89 wrote:Boban is like the terminator. Nearly unstoppable.
Good luck to Robin Lopez and Taj Gibson trying to stop him next
Valor wrote:Phil89 wrote:Boban is like the terminator. Nearly unstoppable.
Good luck to Robin Lopez and Taj Gibson trying to stop him next
Boban the Terminator, I like that
Taj is on my team!!
Sharks Acquire R.J. Hunter From Celtics
The Chicago Sharks have acquired R.J. Hunter from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Alexis Ajinca.
According to sources within the organization, the team have also acquired the right to swap their 2017 second round pick with the Los Angeles Clippers, which the Celtics had owned.
Picked by the Sharks with the 26th overall pick in the 2016 Expansion Draft, Ajinca never figured into head coach David Blatt’s plans, appearing in just 3 games so far this season, posting averages of 0.7 points, 1 rebound, and 1.3 assists in 9 minutes per game and shooting at a woeful clip of 25% from the field.
With Al Horford and Kelly Olynyk both out for extended periods, the Celtics are desperate to acquire a big body to back up Tyler Zeller, the formerly third string center forced into action as a result of those injuries.
Ajinca, 7-foot-2, 250 pounds, was a first-round draft choice (20th overall) by Charlotte in 2008, but has so far failed to live up to his highly touted status coming into the league with modest career averages of 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Meanwhile, Hunter, the 28th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft out of Georgia State, is a shooting wing that might be able to contribute to the offensively challenged Sharks as they look to improve on what has been a rocky beginning in their inaugural season thus far.
Jazz Acquire Ilyasova From Sharks For Bolomboy, First Rounder
The Utah Jazz have acquired Ersan Ilyasova from the Chicago Sharks for Joel Bolomboy and the Golden State Warriors’ unprotected first round pick in 2017.
Utah is looking for some more depth in the frontcourt.
Picked by the Sharks with the 22nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Expansion Draft after being traded to the Thunder earlier in the offseason, Ilyasova never quite fit into David Blatt’s system, being quickly replaced in the lineup by Yi Jianlian.
Ilyasova posting averages of just 2.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in 10 games played for Chicago. He shot a woeful 26.1% from the field in that stretch, a far cry from his career averages of 10 points and 6 rebounds on 44% shooting.
The Sharks are expected to waive Bolomboy.
Sharks Sign JaVale McGee
The Chicago Sharks have agreed to terms with free agent center JaVale McGee, the team announced earlier.
McGee (7-0, 270) averaged 5.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and 10.9 minutes in 34 games after signing with Dallas on August 13, 2015. He was waived by the Mavericks in July, and was left without suitors in the offseason.
The former first round pick (18th, 2008) has career averages of 8.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game along with elite athletic ability, but his seemingly lacking basketball iq has been his biggest weakness in his 9 year career so far. McGee is infamously a two time recipient of the Shaqtin a Fool MVP award.
Phil89 wrote:Valor wrote:Phil89 wrote:Boban is like the terminator. Nearly unstoppable.
Good luck to Robin Lopez and Taj Gibson trying to stop him next
Boban the Terminator, I like that
Taj is on my team!!
I hadn't realised it before, but Gibson joining your team adds another element to the Windy City Derby.
It's disappointing that you lost the first game against them, but it looks like it was a good contest at least.
Lamrock wrote:Wait, are you starting Tony Allen at point guard? No wonder you're only winning a quarter of your games. Tough loss against the Bulls. You might have to wait until next season for revenge.
The Tony Allen point guard experiment is over.
After a 23 point, 7 assist outburst two nights ago in Utah, David Blatt felt comfortable enough to restore Ty Lawson to the starting lineup and play with a traditional point guard once more in an attempt to fix the ailing Chicago Sharks offense.
Lawson played more than 30 minutes for the first time in more than two weeks, and helped spark the Sharks to a 111-108 victory over their cross-town rivals. The diminutive point guard with 19 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals, and made life miserable for Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo, who ended with 9 turnovers.
Just like in their previous meeting, the Sharks were led by explosive wing Gerald Green, who came off the bench and finished with a game high 27 points on 9 of 18 shooting, including 5 of 8 from three.
“We need to find an answer for him.” said Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, who is rumored to be on the hot seat with the Bulls struggling so far this season.
Another person that they (and the rest of the league) need to find an answer for is Boban Marjanovic. Held to a modest 6 points and 10 rebounds in the teams’ last meeting 8 days prior, the Boban came out with the intent on making a statement, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds on 7 of 9 shooting, and showing off his court vision with 5 assists.
Jeff Green added 12 points, while backup power forward Yi Jianlian finished with 10 points and 6 assists.
The Bulls were led by the efforts of Dwyane Wade, who, after a quiet outing the last time out, turned it around with a 25 point, 6 assist performance on 11 of 18 shooting, which included an impressive 3 of 6 from downtown.
Nikola Mirotic, who was inserted into the starting lineup in place of Bobby Portis, finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Robin Lopez was close to a 20-20 with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
However, the Bulls were unable to get anything substantial for the hero of their last match with the Sharks, as Jimmy Butler uncharacteristically struggled, finishing with just 14 points and 6 assists on 12 shot attempts as he was unable to get scoring opportunities against the length of Jeff Green and Thabo Sefolosha.
The dagger though, was ultimately due to the ineffectiveness of Rajon Rondo, who contributed to 9 of the Bulls’ 21 turnovers, and failed to make chances count as the Sharks dared him to take jump shots all game long, the last being a half-court heave with 1.6 seconds remaining as the Bulls looked to send the game to overtime.
It wasn’t even close to the rim.
Rondo, however, had a different take on the matter.
“I thought I played pretty well, obviously we were a bit loose with the ball tonight, but they got a lot of bounces that went their way and that’s how it is.” said the 12th year veteran.
The Bulls now fall to 13-14 while the Sharks record their 8th win of the season.
Good job, but why the hell did Jimmy Buckets only take 12 shots?
Btw, what do you think of Zipser?
hova- wrote:How you hate Rondo
Andrew wrote:Those shots at Rondo, though.
December 24, 2016 -- The Chicago Sharks have announced today that the team has agreed to terms with forward Taj Gibson on a three year, $9.72 million extension.
“Taj has done everything we’ve asked of him and more as a member of the Sharks, he has proven himself to be a key member of the team both on and off the court and we are very pleased to announce that he’ll remain a Shark long term,” said Chicago Sharks President of Basketball Operations Kevin Garnett.
In his 8th season out of USC, Gibson was drafted by, and spent the first 7 years of his career with the Chicago Bulls, but was left unprotected in the 2016 NBA Expansion Draft and was ultimately picked by the cross-town Sharks.
So far this season, Gibson has taken on a starting role in the Sharks lineup, averaging 10.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in 31 games played, shooting 52.5% from the field, just 0.1 percentage points behind his career best of 52.6%. The 6-9 forward recently notched a career high 26 points along with 12 rebounds in the Sharks’ 97-96 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden just a few nights ago, and looks to be in the best form of his career.
Gibson has career averages of 9.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Phil89 wrote:That's a pretty nice contract to have a guy like Gibson on.
hova- wrote:Okay, that is flat out cheap and shows 2ks problem with extensions. Still a good move for you
Phil89 wrote:It'll be interesting to see who else gets an extension. Although it must be tempting to save your cap space to spend on free agents.
Kenny wrote:Good work locking Gibson up for another 3 years (and for cheap too). It's a nice contract for someone who is going to be a good veteran presence for your team.
Off. Rating: 99.8 (26) | Def. Rating: 103.3 (18) | Net Rating: -3.6 (27)
The Sharks may still be the second worse team in the Eastern Conference record wise (and the third worse team in the league overall), but December was definitely a marked improvement over their previous month’s performance, as Chicago took advantage of a number of favorable matchups to just finish under .500 for the month at 7 wins and 9 losses, and was arguably a few plays away from being 8-8 or even 9-7, dropping close games against the Rockets, Jazz, and the Miami Heat.
After the Tony Allen point guard experiment ended with mixed results – great defensive performances holding opponents to under 95 points in 5 of the 8 games and under 100 points in 7 of the 8, but only ending up with 2 wins – David Blatt finally re-inserted Ty Lawson into the lineup and was rewarded with much improved play. His shooting is still shaky and doesn’t look like it’ll ever be consistent again, but a record of 5-3 since Lawson’s return to the lineup is something that Blatt should be happy with.
The biggest factors of the good play, however, is the contributions of veteran forward Taj Gibson – who was rewarded with a 3 year extension – as well as the high flying journeyman guard Gerald Green, whose offensive explosion this month carried the Sharks to a lot of wins that they otherwise would not have gotten.
Gibson averaged 11 points and 7 rebounds for the month of December, including a career high 26 points along with 12 rebounds against the Knicks; while Green upped his scoring from 10.4 per game in November to 16.1 ppg in December, shooting just over 47% from the field and 39% from three. His defense also saw rapid improvement, as he allowed just under 6 points per game and held opponents to 39% shooting from the field. If this keeps up, expect head coach David Blatt to consider replacing the aging Tony Allen in the starting lineup with Green as the season progresses.
Another player whose place in the rotation may be threatened is backup center Roy Hibbert, as new signing JaVale McGee has shown in very limited time how much of an upgrade on the defensive end he is against more mobile opponents in today’s game. Hibbert, while very solid so far, is often beaten and looks lost against smaller, quicker matchups who venture outside, such as Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat in the last game of the month, when the Sharks fell 87-95. McGee is a far more athletic and mobile option at center who, if he continues to show his focus and commitment, could eventually break into the rotation at the expense of the former Pacer Hibbert.
Most Impressive Performance: 99-85 victory over Portland
Against a Western Conference playoff contender in good form, the Sharks surprised everybody by performing at the highest levels, as they never trailed after a 0-4 start to the game and at one point led by as many as 17 points despite Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combining for 57 points. Gerald Green scored a season high 29 points off the bench, only missing 6 shots in total (11-17 FG), and even grabbed 6 rebounds as the Sharks won the rebounding battle 44-39 en-route to the victory.
A Game To Forget: 76-102 loss to Toronto
An absolutely dreadful and miserable showing as Kyle Lowry bagged a triple double (33-13-11) and Jonas Valanciunas netted a season high 22 points along with 13 rebounds in the 26 point drubbing. The margin was as wide as 29 at one point and Chicago never had the lead at any point in the game. The Sharks almost had as many turnovers (22) as field goals (28). It was not a pretty sight for Sharks fans to endure.
13/12/2016 – Sharks Trade: PF Ersan Ilyasova; Jazz Trade: Warriors ’17 1st Round, PF Joel Bolomboy
13/12/2016 – Sharks Trade: C Alexis Ajinca, ’17 2nd Round (Swap Best); Celtics Trade: SG R.J. Hunter, Clippers ’17 2nd round (Swap Worst)
13/12/2016 – Sharks waive PF Joel Bolomboy
13/12/2016 – Sharks sign C JaVale McGee to 1yr/$980k deal
25/12/2016 – Sharks re-sign PF Taj Gibson to 3yr/$9.72M deal
14/12/2016 – Bulls re-sign PF Nikola Mirotic to 3yr/$17.23M deal
Race to the MVP: Hot Shooting Propels Curry Into Top Spot
By Kurt Walker, NBA.com
Posted Dec 31 2016 09:30PM
After a somewhat “rough” start to the season adjusting to the arrival of superstar Kevin Durant, it seems as though the reigning back to back, and unanimous NBA MVP Steph Curry has figured it out.
Not that they were struggling much after November in the first place at 16-2, but Curry and the Warriors have really taken off, winning 10 straight at one point in the month of December, with Curry leading the way in points scored in 12 of the Warriors 15 games played, including 10 thirty-plus point performances.
Of course, we are still very early into the season, and with Westbrook’s eye-popping near-triple double averages (he has dropped off a bit this month), as well as Harden flourishing in Mike D’Antoni’s system, it’ll probably be a tight race until the end, but if Curry keeps this up, he might start to pull away soon, especially as Durant had just picked up a minor shoulder injury.
Whatever happens, it’ll truly be a pleasure to watch.
And now to this month’s rankings…
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (27-6)
Stats: PPG -- 30..0; RPG -- 6.2; APG -- 6.5; SPG -- 1.8; BPG -- 0.1; FG% -- .510; 3P% -- .447; FT% -- .915
Last Month's Rank: 3
Comment: There’s no other way to say it, Curry has just been hitting anything he puts up in the month of December, as he was only 0.4% away from a 50-50-90 month, with 32.4 points per game. He dropped a season high 50 points, only missing 4 shots (17-21) in the Warriors 123-118 win over the Phoenix Suns.
2. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (18-14)
Stats: PPG -- 26.7; RPG -- 9.0; APG -- 9.4; SPG -- 3.4; BPG -- 0.5; FG% -- .467; 3P% -- .354; FT% -- .816
Last Month's Rank: 1
Comment: Get the man some help! Westbrook’s production has dropped off a bit from his historical pace to start the season, and the Thunder’s spot in the Western Conference standings has taken a tumble down to 8th as a result; but that is really to no fault of Westbrook, who is still averaging a very respectable 26-9-9-3. Somebody else needs to step up and contribute in Oklahoma City if they have any shot of getting back into contention.
3. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers (24-8)
Stats: PPG -- 15.6; RPG -- 15.3; APG -- 0.6; SPG -- 0.1; BPG -- 3.5; FG% -- .666; 3P% -- .000; FT% -- .400
Last Month's Rank: 4
Comment: His offense has cooled off this month, but a statline of 15-15-3 is great for anybody to have. Buoyed by Jordan’s presence, the Clippers are firing on all cylinders now, going 11-3 for the month and are currently riding an 8 game winning streak.
4. James Harden, Houston Rockets (21-14)
Stats: PPG -- 28.1; RPG -- 6.5; APG -- 6.3; SPG -- 1.8; BPG -- 0.8; FG% -- .473; 3P% -- .464; FT% -- .863
Last Month's Rank: 2
Comment: Harden’s scoring has dropped from 30.5 to 28.1, but his assists have increased up to 6.3; and while Houston ended the month with just a 9-7 record, they do have an ongoing 3 game win streak and all the momentum heading into January.
5. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (25-9)
Stats: PPG -- 23.0; RPG -- 8.3; APG -- 8.7; SPG -- 2.3; BPG -- 1.1; FG% -- .487; 3P% -- .314; FT% -- .731
Last Month's Rank: 5
Comment: We thought his assist numbers were great last month at 8.1 per, but the 14 year pro keeps surprising us once again by averaging just under 10 assists per game in December, while also upping his efforts on the defensive end, nabbing 2.8 steals and 1.6 blocks per game in the month. As a results, the Cavs, currently on a 6 game win streak, are running away with the top spot in the Eastern Conference at 25-9.
6. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs (23-11)
Stats: PPG -- 23.5; RPG -- 6.9; APG -- 3.4; SPG -- 2.7; BPG -- 0.8; FG% -- .527; 3P% -- .469; FT% -- .893
Last Month's Rank: 6
Comment: As hard as it is to believe, but Kawhi Leonard is shooting almost as good as Stephen Curry from long range this season, as he ended the month shooting 49% from deep. Remember, this is a defensive specialist who came into the league with a minimal offensive game.
7. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers (24-8)
Stats: PPG -- 22.5; RPG -- 11.9; APG -- 5.4; SPG -- 0.9; BPG -- 1.6; FG% -- .534; 3P% -- .286; FT% -- .657
Last Month’s Rank: N/A
Comment: Regardless of DeAndre Jordan’s performances, it’s no surprise that the Clippers surge up the standings have coincided with the return of Blake Griffin, who was recovering from a broken toe in the first month of the season. The 7th year veteran is averaging a career best in both assists and blocks while at the same time maintaining a 22-11 output. Now that’s impressive stuff.
8. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (18-18)
Stats: PPG -- 23.6; RPG -- 10.7; APG -- 2.4; SPG -- 0.7; BPG -- 2.3; FG% -- .476; 3P% -- .270; FT% -- .793
Last Month's Rank: 8
Comment: It is an absolute miracle, but the Pelicans are sitting pretty at .500 thanks to the efforts of their star forward Anthony Davis, who upped his rebounds, blocks, assists, and shooting percentages in December and willed the woeful Pelicans to an inconceivable winning month.
9. C.J. McCollum, Portland Trailblazers (19-14)
Stats: PPG -- 24.9; RPG -- 3.4; APG -- 6.2; SPG -- 0.9; BPG -- 0.2; FG% -- .463; 3P% -- .445; FT% -- .856
Last Month’s Rank: N/A
Comment: Last month, it was Damian Lillard here in the top 10. This month, it’s his backcourt mate C.J. McCollum, as the red hot guard put up 26 points and 6 assists per game in December, with percentages of 51-49-86 to lead the Blazers up into the playoff picture.
10. Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics (15-19)
Stats: PPG -- 25.1; RPG -- 3.3; APG -- 6.3; SPG -- 1.2; BPG -- 0.1; FG% -- .454; 3P% -- .400; FT% -- .854
Last Month's Rank: N/A
Comment: After enduring a 9 game losing streak, the Boston Celtics have turned into one of the league’s hottest teams with an 8 game winning streak heading into the new year. Isaiah Thomas has been lighting it up in the absence of the injured Al Horford, who is slated to return in 2 weeks time. If they keep up this form, they might just make it back into the playoff race. After all, they are in the Eastern Conference.
Phil89 wrote:Wow, Seattle are definitely exceeding expectations for an expansion team in their debut season. It's also interesting to see Orlando doing so well.
Are you still aiming for the playoffs at this point or are you happy to finish near the bottom and take the high draft pick?
Murat wrote:That's a pretty nice story
I really liked this team.
Lamrock wrote:After the last few months, nothing can surprise me. Still don't see DeAndre Jordan winning MVP tho
Coming into the game with a 5 game losing streak and fresh off getting run off the court yet again by the Golden State Warriors, nobody expected the Chicago Sharks to beat the young and rising Philadelphia 76ers, who have begun 2017 with three straight victories.
Gerald Green had other ideas.
Starting in just his second game of the season in a line-up change that also saw the return of point guard Patrick Mills from injury, Green scored a season high 31 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, and slammed in the go-ahead basket over Sixers center Jahlil Okafor with 4.3 seconds remaining - the first lead of the night for Chicago - to lead the Sharks to a 98-96 victory, the team’s first win of 2017.
“We had nothing to lose, they were ahead the whole game and I just said to myself that we weren’t going to go down without a fight” said Green.
Taj Gibson added 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Boban Marjanovic shook off a rough start to finish with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks to aid the cause.
In his first game returning from an ankle injury, point guard Patrick Mills contributed 7 points and 7 assists in the victory, with the seventh one being the one to Green that gave the Sharks the win.
“It’s good to be back playing, sitting on the side-lines is never easy” said Mills
The Sixers, who led by as many as 12 points at one point and never trailed until the final 4 seconds of the contest, was led by center Jahlil Okafor, who scored 20 of the team’s 48 points at halftime, and finished with 30 points and 8 rebounds on 12 of 25 shooting.
Okafor was so unstoppable in the first half that Sharks head coach David Blatt inserted seldom used JaVale McGee alongside Roy Hibbert for a brief stretch in the fourth quarter to contain him, which led to open opportunities for rookie Ben Simmons to finally make an impact, as the number one overall pick from Australia scored all but two of his points in the second half, and finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Fortunately for the Sharks, Marjanovic stepped up his game late, and had several key blocks down the stretch that led to fast break threes from Green as they sneak by the Sixers for their 13th win of the season.
So much has been said about the incredible length that Milwaukee possesses across the board, and coming into the game on three straight blowout victories, nobody expected the Bucks to have any troubles with the lowly 14-29 Chicago Sharks, who has had turnover issues and have been struggling with securing defensive rebounds all season long.
Not this time.
Behind a 50-37 rebounding advantage, the Chicago Sharks made quick work of the red hot Bucks as they defeated them 97-86 in Milwaukee for their 15th win of the season, and snap the Bucks’ winning streak at three.
The Sharks, led by Gerald Green’s 20 point performance, had as much as a 16 point lead early on in the fourth quarter, with the Bucks finally drawing a tad closer in garbage time to make the score more respectable.
Buoyed by their own length and size in the front court, the Sharks never looked bothered by the Bucks’ length, swatting shots away seemingly at will (10 blocked shots), cutting off passing lanes (10 steals), and dominating the offensive boards (13 offensive rebounds). The seven footer trio of Boban Marjanovic, Yi Jianlian, and Roy Hibbert combined for 27 rebounds, while 6-9 power forward Taj Gibson also added 9 boards of his own.
However, the biggest difference maker for Chicago was actually small forward Thabo Sefolosha, who had his best game of the season for the Sharks thus far, contributing 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block on 5-12 shooting from the field. Not eye popping stats by any measure, but his impact was definitely felt across the board for the Milwaukee players, mainly their star Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokoumpo, as he held the 6-11 point forward to just 2 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists with 3 turnovers in 36 minutes of play.
“Thabo is one of the most important players on the team” said coach David Blatt, “He does all the little things that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet that makes the difference between winning and losing.”
It was a very disappointing loss for Milwaukee, as again they came into the game on a three game winning streak - all three being blowouts - with the last game being a 97-79 rout of the Spurs in San Antonio.
“To come back home and lose in this fashion after a big road win is unacceptable” said Bucks coach Jason Kidd.
The Bucks on the other hand were led by Khris Middleton, who put up a game high 26 points on 8 of 15 shooting in 40 minutes of play. Jabari Parker added 14 points, while Greg Monroe had 11 points and 9 rebounds in the losing effort.
“We need to do a better job as a whole,” said Monroe “We can’t just depend on one guy to do all the heavy lifting for us”
With the midway point of the season approaching, the Bucks, now 19-22 and lingering on the bottom of the central division (but still in the playoff picture), will have to make a rally soon if they still want to contend for a playoff spot this season.
Phil89 wrote:Nice to see Thabo getting some work done against Giannis. Good job picking up a few wins lately.
How is Gerald Green doing for you? Asking for a friend who signed him recently
It’s not often when a game in the NBA completely encapsulates how a season is going for both parties.
Unfortunately for the Chicago Sharks, it did tonight.
Behind 27 points from veteran forward Joe Johnson, the Seattle Sonics defeated their visitors in a rout, 91-71, in the first meeting between the two expansion franchises.
Coming into the game with a record of 26-16 and winners of 6 of their last 7 games, the Seattle Supersonics have surprised a lot of pundits with their great play all season long despite being an expansion franchise. There were a lot of doubters when they chose to select aging former stars in the expansion draft, but management has seemingly been vindicated as the team currently occupies the 5th spot in the competitive Western Conference standings. Meanwhile on the other side of things, the Sharks have struggled mightily (16-29), as they are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
The differences between the clubs were revealed far too clearly tonight, as the offensively challenged Sharks only scored 20+ points in one quarter, and shot just 38% as a team from the field.
“It doesn’t matter how good defensively we are if we can’t make our shots on the other end of the floor” said Sharks head coach David Blatt, “That’s something we have to work on more.”
On the flip side, after struggling with the Sharks’ length in the first quarter, the potent (100.7 ppg) Sonics offense got things going, as they proceeded to score 27, 25, and 24 points in the following periods of play. They also dominated the paint in a surprising manner despite the size and length present with the visitors, as they were led by Festus Ezeli’s career high 16 rebounds. Marreese Speights added a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Michael Beasley chipped in with 9 rebounds of his own along with 14 points.
The Sharks were once again led by the efforts of recently anointed starter Gerald Green, who had a rough shooting night (6-16) but did end up with a team high 18 points. Patrick Mills and Jeff Green added 12 apiece, while Boban Marjanovic ended the game with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
There were a lot of areas where Chicago struggled, but none were more evident than their disappearing act from deep, as they made only 2 of 12 attempts on the night, which allowed Seattle to focus in on their bigs inside.
“Like coach said, we just gotta make some shots.” said Green
The Sharks now drop to 16-30 for the season while the Sonics rise to the 4th spot in the West with a 27-16 record. The two teams are slated to meet again in a few weeks’ time in Chicago.
Lamrock wrote:Tough loss. Have you thought about firing up the tank?
Phil89 wrote:Doesn't look like that was a very fun game to play.
On the bright side though, every loss gives you slightly better shot at landing a potential star in the draft.
Phil89 wrote:I had a bad experience with Joe Johnson last season. He scored like 30 points in the first half and then did nothing in the second. It was so weird.
The game seems to love throwing up random scoring explosions like that for no particular reason
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