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Monday/Tuesday recap: Josh Selby goes for 26 in D-League debut; Markieff Morris shines in Suns loss
It’s likely been a frustrating few weeks for the Memphis Grizzlies’ Josh Selby. The wunderkind from KU, who fell deep in the second round on draft day, had also recently fallen out of the Grizzlies’ rotation. Selby averaged 2.9 points and 1.4 assists in 10.3 minutes in 18 NBA games, hadn’t scored in a game since Jan. 26 and didn’t even get off the bench in five of Memphis’ last six games.
So, rather than have their promising 20-year-old prospect stew on the side, the Grizzlies sent Selby down to the NBA Development League’s Reno Bighorns on Monday to finally do what he’s been paid to do — play some basketball.
Selby made his D-League debut with the Bighorns on Tuesday and scored 26 points in 27 minutes in a 118-111 loss to the Austin Toros.
Selby hit 10 of 15 shots, including 3 of 5 three-pointers and 3 of 6 free throws. He had two steals, one rebound and just one assist to six turnovers (full stats here), but at least Selby now has the minutes to improve his game. Remember: for players like Selby, the D-League isn’t a demotion; it’s a valuable opportunity.
- The Markieff Morris show continued on Tuesday as the Phoenix Suns rookie put up a career-high 21 points before fouling out in a losing effort to the Denver Nuggets (109-92). Markieff added six rebounds, two three-pointers, four steals and two blocks (full stats here). Markieff set his latest career-high just two games after scoring 18 points in a win against the Sacramento Kings. He hit half of his shots (8-for-16, 2-for-4 threes, 3-for-4 free throws) on the way to his first three-game stretch of double-figure scoring.
Eleven of Markieff’s points came in the second quarter, but he had five fouls at the end of three quarters — he picked up his sixth with a minute left in the fourth. Despite his foul trouble, Keef was one of the only bright spots for a Suns team that shot 33.3 percent from the field (Markieff, 50 percent) and turned the ball over 21 times (Markieff, zero turnovers). The Suns were without two of their starters, including All-Star point guard Steve Nash.
Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) scored just three points in 23 minutes against the Utah Jazz, but he had his assortment of usual “plays the boxscore won’t show” in the Thunder’s 111-85 blowout victory. Collison added four rebounds, an assist and a steal, while committing five fouls (full stats here).
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) finally got a little playing time on Tuesday as the Thunder jumped out to a big lead over the Utah Jazz. Aldrich played the final five minutes of the fourth quarter and had four points and four rebounds in his limited time on the court (full stats here).
Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) re-injured his left hand early in the second half on Tuesday and played just 17 minutes against the Indiana Pacers. Chalmers, who missed a game last week because of the injury, told the Sun Sentinel that he could have returned to the game if needed (the Heat won, 105-90). Chalmers finished the night with just four points, two rebounds and two assists (full stats here).
Monday stat lines
- Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks): 12 points (2-14 FG, 0-1 3PG, 8-8 FT), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block in 26 minutes (Miami 114, Milwaukee 96).
Worth noting: Gooden’s field goal percentage for the game (14 percent). During one stretch in the third quarter, Gooden (1-for-9 at that point) missed a three-pointer, had two shots blocked and was called for a technical.
- Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat): 13 points (5-7 FG, 3-4 3PG), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals, 3 turnovers in 22 minutes (Miami 114, Milwaukee 96).
Worth noting: It was Chalmers’ 12th of 29 games in which he made three or more three-point shots.
- Xavier Henry (New Orleans Hornets): 4 points (1-3 FG, 0-1 3PG, 2-7 FT), 2 steals, 2 turnovers in 14 minutes (New Orleans 86, Utah 80).
Worth noting: Henry keeps drawing fouls, but he’s now shooting just 35 percent from the free-throw stripe this season. Ouch.
- Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors): 8 points (4-7 FG, 0-2 3PG), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 turnovers in 29 minutes (Golden State 102, Phoenix 96).
Worth noting: Six of Rush’s eight points came in fourth-quarter crunch time.
- Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns): 10 points (4-11 FG, 1-4 3PG, 1-2 FT), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block in 21 minutes (Golden State 102, Phoenix 96).
Worth noting: Markieff’s 10 points came in all the fourth quarter and were the most scored by anyone on either side during that period.
Brady Morningstar (NBA D-League - Tulsa 66ers) scored nine points in 25 minutes on Tuesday as the 66ers lost, 100-92. Morningstar missed all three of his three-point attempts and added a rebound, three assists and two turnovers (full stats here).
GQ.com published Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison’s latest blog entry today. In his fourth post on the site, Collison gave some advice on “How To Survive in the NBA When You're Not a Superstar.”
Sometimes it's difficult to take a back seat when you know you are capable of showing more than what your role allows. It can be frustrating to play without getting the shots you want, and to see your numbers dip. Most fans won't appreciate the things you do well. This is where a little perspective and being secure in yourself can go a long way. If you have perspective, you will realize that your job totally rules. You get paid a huge salary to play basketball. You will be part of the 1 percent. You will get your summers off. You will be encouraged to take naps most days.
- Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) is back up to No. 8 in Grantland.com’s weekly rookie rankings. This week, Sebastian Pruiti wrote:
We're past the "pleasant surprise" phase of Morris' career. Now the Suns expect him to perform night in and night out. Morris' biggest fault is his inability to score off offensive rebounds. According to Synergy Sports, he shoots 31.3 percent on putbacks. Morris' biggest problem in putback situations is that he doesn't keep the ball high after getting a rebound. Instead, he tends to bring it down. When he does that, it gives bigger defenders time to get in position to bother Morris' shot. Morris is crashing the offensive boards well, but he needs to score after grabbing those rebounds.
- The participants in the All-Star Weekend three-point shootout haven’t been announced yet, but a few names have leaked:
James Jones (Miami Heat forward and 2011 champion)
That leaves just three spots for the Feb. 25 event. Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) and Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat), who are both in the top 10 of NBA three-point shooters this season, have expressed interest in the contest.
Jayhawks in upcoming NBA games
6:30 p.m., Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the Detroit Pistons
7 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets
7 p.m., Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Houston Rockets
8 p.m., Kirk Hinrich and the Atlanta Hawks vs. Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns
9 p.m., ESPN, Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors vs. the Portland Trailblazers