Rudy Gobert’s problematic case. Plus, your NBA stock market + Oscars recap


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Congratulations to “Oppenheimer”! Great movie. “Poor Things” is the best movie of the last year, though.


Stock Market

Some fun with post-weekend trends! 

It was a big few days in the NBA, which massively affected how we even approached the Monday morning NBA Stock Market checkup. Massive winning streaks are done, so nobody has one longer than four. Embarrassing losing streaks are gone, with the longest active one being three straight. Let’s dive in and give you what you need to know around the league:

📈 Luka Dončić. The Mavs’ star has six straight 30-point triple-doubles – six straight! He’s the first player in NBA history to do so. Dallas is just 3-3 in this stretch, but Dončić’s averaging 36.3 points, 11.5 assists and 11.0 rebounds during it. And the game before this streak started? He had 45 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds. It’s just absurd.

📈 OKC Thunder. They are once again on fire and in sole possession of first place in the West. They’re one game up on Denver and 1.5 games up on Minnesota. The Thunder have won 10 of their last 12 games. Seven of those games have been blowout victories. With the Wolves’ injuries, OKC might be charging ahead to home-court advantage with 18 games left.

 

📉 Irony. The Wizards were on a 16-game losing streak as everybody eyed the potential of taking a 27-game losing streak into a matchup with Detroit in a couple weeks. So, what happened to that? The Hornets ruined our fun. Charlotte barely scored 100 points in a 12-point loss to the NBA’s worst defense. In fact, the Wizards are on a two-game win streak now because Miami embarrassed itself with a home loss to Washington yesterday. We can’t have anything fun.

📉 Injured players are becoming very common around the NBA. Alperen Şengün went down with a potentially horrific leg injury Sunday in Sacramento. Steph Curry rolled his ankle and will miss time. The Knicks are still super-injured. Victor Wembanyama is missing games (ankle). Scottie Barnes is out. Bennedict Mathurin is out for the season. Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley are hurt — same for Trae Young. Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid are out. These are major names!

 

📈 NOLA Pelicans. There isn’t enough chatter about how good the fifth-place Pelicans are. I know everybody is waiting to see if they’ll be healthy for the playoffs, but Willie Green is doing an amazing job with them. They’re top eight in both offense and defense and have the NBA’s longest current win streak (four). They’ve won 13 of their last 17.

 

📉 Utah Jazz. Did you know the Jazz owe the Thunder their first-round pick if it’s outside the top 10? Did you know Utah is currently 11th without any draft-lottery miracles? Hey, look at that! The Jazz have lost 10 of their last 12! What a coincidence!


$100k Fine

Rudy Gobert on a very touchy NBA subject 

Over the weekend, the NBA fined Minnesota Timberwolves big man Rudy Gobert $100,000 for making an inappropriate gesture and criticizing officials after the Wolves’ overtime loss to Cleveland on Friday night. Gobert was hit with a technical in the final minute of the fourth quarter, which allowed Cleveland to tie the game when down one. Why the technical? After a pretty obvious foul was called on Gobert, he started rubbing his fingers together on each hand. Either he was celebrating Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito (🤌), making sure he still had feeling in his fingers, or Gobert was implying the referees were on the take for this game due to gambling reasons. But it couldn’t be that, right? Here’s what Gobert had to say after the game:

“My reaction, which I think is truth — it’s what I truly believe — even if it’s the truth, it wasn’t the time for me to react that way. I should have not done that. I cost my team the game, and obviously, they couldn’t wait to give me a tech. That was bad. That was an immature reaction.”

Uh … what? Rudy probably didn’t mean to imply that his gesture was “truth.” He continued when asked to clarify what he was alluding to:

“I think it’s hurting our game. I know the betting and all that is becoming bigger and bigger, but it shouldn’t feel that way.” 

Oh. All right. Um … that’s uncomfortable. I’m curious how many players around the league believe gambling is truly infiltrating how the game is called, because that is a wildly serious accusation for someone to imply, then double and triple down on in postgame interviews. And Gobert is kind of the wrong messenger, mostly because he’s on the record complaining/whining about small-market bias and that he thinks the league is outright helping bigger markets win against smaller markets.

Regardless of the messenger though, Adam Silver and the league office must be furious about this being said aloud. The league has embraced sports gambling. It’s everywhere in sports coverage, conversations and on league broadcasts. Silver’s next comments on this will be intriguing.


Gold Statues

How about a little Oscars talk?

Yes, this is a basketball newsletter, but we don’t limit ourselves to just one thing — especially not with something as pop-culturally relevant as Sunday’s Academy Awards. Here are my movie popcorn bite-sized thoughts on what happened last night:

  • Congratulations to Christopher Nolan: Thanks to “Oppenheimer,” he’s 2-of-8 on winning an Oscar for his movies, which kind of makes him the Jerry West of directors.
  • “Poor Things”: This was my favorite movie of last year not named “John Wick 4.” Emma Stone for Best Actress was well-deserved, although Lily Gladstone had a massively strong case.
  • John Cena’s appearance: He “chickened out” on streaking across the stage, only to present “naked” for Best Costume. We even got a joke about wrestling in jorts being worse than naked.
  • Mark Ruffalo got robbed! Congrats to Robert Downey Jr. for winning Best Supporting Actor, but Ruffalo in “Poor Things” was the best supporting performance.
  • Jimmy Kimmel is a very solid host: I get if he’s not your cup of tea, but he’s always good for a few moments.
  • Shoutout to publicists! They had a big night after Da’Vine Joy Randolph won for Best Supporting Actress for her incredible role in “The Holdovers” and shouted out her publicist.

And best of all, Nicolas Cage was up there during the presentation for Best Actor. He’s still the king of it all.


Bounce Passes

Tony Jones says Nikola Jokić is the MVP by a wide margin.

Must the Bulls choose between Zach LaVine and Coby White?

The Kings have had a Jekyll-and-Hyde season so far.


Screen Game (All times Eastern)

  • Main Screen: Warriors–Spurs (8 p.m. NBA TV). Sure this game is missing Wemby and Curry, but the Warriors desperately need revenge for last game.
  • Second Screen: Mavs-Bulls (8 p.m.). Dončić is on fire. DeMar DeRozan has been flames as well. Watch these guys duel.
  • League Pass Game of the Night: Suns-Cavs (7:30 p.m.). The Cavs are missing some starters but they need this win to be the No. 2 seed again. Full schedule here.

(Top photo: Stephen Maturen  / Getty Images )





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