Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Feeling for Brad Miller
Imagine loving everything about your job. You love it so much that you gladly wake up in the morning, you smile when you walk in, and you’re happy when you get home. It just makes you happy.
That’s pretty rare.
That’s what Brad Miller had for 14 seasons in the NBA. But time is a cruel bastard, and it spent the years Brad was in the league chipping away at his body until it got to a point where he’s just not good enough to do the job he loves. And man, is that a kick in the balls. He’s 36 years old and he’s got to find something new to do because despite his mind knowing everything he’s supposed to do… his body just can’t take the abuse of the NBA anymore. It’s no wonder that last night, when the realization that he was playing in his last NBA game smacked him square in the face, his emotions got the best of him.
Miller has had a nice career. I’m not here to debate what he’s meant to the NBA. I just feel for the guy. And for once, we got to see the real human reaction to something in sports. These guys aren’t robots.
2: Rondo passes history
With 15 assists last night Rajon Rondo not only easily clinched this year’s assist title, it extended his streak of games with double-digit assists to 24, and it gave him a season average of 11.7… the highest assist average since John Stockton averaged 12.3 in 1994-95.
And I’m sure Rondo plays coy, but 15 is what he needed to get to that number, so it’s not a mistake that that’s the number he got. Earlier this season, Rondo was the subject of a divisive debate in Boston that had people choosing sides over whether to keep or trade him. He was mentioned in rumors for Chris Paul, and he was hit with a suspension when he tossed the ball at a referee.
But his post-All Star play has been sublime. He’s had double-digit assists in 39 of his 53 games this season. He’s had six triple-doubles (no one else had more than one), and the Celtics had the third best post-All Star record in the league.
Rondo is the engine that make the Celtics go. And that engine is purring right now.
Well, sort of. Instead of highlights from last night, here’s an awesome new “Big” promo for the NBA playoffs to get you juiced up
4: Line of the night: Patty Mills – 34 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds
Mills was only brought on recently to help bolster the Spurs’ depth. He was out there last night with some guys you’ve never heard of as the Spurs rested their starters for the playoffs. All Mills did was lead the Spurs to a six-point win, capping off the team’s third 10-game winning streak of the season and their NBA record 13TH CONSECUTIVE 50-win season.
That’s an amazing level of consistency for perhaps the most underrated great team in league history.
5: You can quote me on that
”Chances don’t come up very often where you send your three big dogs back to San Antonio. I was very pumped to have this opportunity. I felt very comfortable to just slide in there and take it on with both hands.”
“The scoring title is not that important. We know I can do it. We know I can go out and score 38 points. The most important thing is sending the right message to the group, which is putting a championship above all else. That means rest. That means letting other guys play. That means us getting ready for Sunday [for the playoff opener].”
-Kobe Bryant, on sitting out a game in which he needed 38 to take the scoring title from Kevin Durant
“Going 7-59 like we did is not what we planned on doing. This doesn’t sit very well with me. These last 10 games, we’ve really tried to get after it, compete and not get that record. It just didn’t happen for us. We just didn’t have enough. We couldn’t come up with the plays.
“When you look back at it and see we lost 59 games, you always think, `We could’ve won one more.’ “
-Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson, on Charlotte setting the record for worst single-season winning percentage in NBA history