Load management has become all the rage in the NBA, as teams conserve their star players through the regular season to keep them fresh for the stretch run and the playoffs.
Kawhi Leonard is the biggest name in the sport who is frequently on a load management plan, having been on one with each of the three franchises he has played for.
Leonard is one of the league’s biggest stars, with a game so dominant that some have compared him to Michael Jordan over the last few years.
The only difference is that Jordan would play all 82 games, which is something he still feels passionately about to this day.
Jordan is now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets and is making sure his players live up to the standards that he set from the past. Jordan expects his players to play every game, because “they are paid to play in all 82 games.”
To his credit, Jordan is not asking any more from his players than he delivered himself, as one of the most durable players in the NBA across his 15-year career.
Even at 39 years old, Jordan played all 82 games for the Washington Wizards in his final season before retiring for a third and final time.
While the game has changed greatly since Jordan last played, are all changes for the better?
Sure the Clippers landed Kawhi for what he could do in the playoffs, but any time he is not on the floor it is a disappointment, because there are few players better to watch in the NBA.
Luka Doncic Puts Together Career Night with 40-Point Triple-Double
The early MVP race in the NBA looks to be very similar to the one we watched unfold last year.
Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to dominate games for the Milwaukee Bucks and James Harden is flirting with averaging 40 points this season.
Still, there is another name that is starting to draw a lot of attention, as Luka Doncic is having a remarkable beginning to his sophomore campaign with the Dallas Mavericks.
Donic’s latest performance may have been the best one of his career, as he carved up the San Antonio Spurs all night long on Monday.
The 20-year-old dropped a career-high 42 points, while putting together his sixth triple-double of the season with 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
Doncic made all the plays the Mavericks needed to close out the game down the stretch, including a step-back dagger three with just under 30 seconds left.
By recording this 40-point triple-double, Doncic joins his idol LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to accomplish that feat prior to their 21st birthday.
He also became the first player in franchise history to record a triple-double, as Doncic is already etching his name among Mavericks lore.
Doncic is now averaging 29.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists per game, as seems to be flirting with a triple-double every night.
If Doncic can maintain those numbers throughout the entire season, there is no doubt he is going to be on the short list for MVP and may he just win the Most Improved Player Award as well.
Holiday Brothers Lead Hobbled Pacers to Blowout Victory Against the Nets
The Indiana Pacers came into Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets really banged up, especially in the backcourt.
Victor Oladipo has yet to play this season as he recovers from last year’s ruptured quad, meanwhile Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. McConnell, Jeremy Lamb and Edmond Sumner were all sidelined with various ailments as well.
That left two brothers to man the backcourt, as Aaron Holiday and Justin Holiday led the Pacers to a huge victory on the road.
Aaron is the younger brother, as the 23-year-old is in his second season in the NBA. He had the ball is his hand all game as the point guard and delivered with a game-high 13 assists and a team-high 24 points.
Aaron’s older brother Justin is an NBA veteran in his ninth season in the league. Having previously played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and the Memphis Grizzlies, this is Holiday’s first season with the Pacers.
Justin was the Pacers second-leading scorer against the Nets, scoring a season-high 20 points.
Clearly the two brothers have great chemistry on the court, as they have been playing together all of their lives and now get to do so on the grandest stage.
The Pacers have done a great job playing without their best player, as they try to stay afloat without Oladipo. They now have a 8-6 record on the season and should be getting Oladipo back very soon.
In the meantime, Indiana will need to rely on the Holidays and their brotherly connection while the rest of the team gets healthy.
Kings End Celtics 10-Game Winning Streak Behind Buddy Hield’s 35-Point Effort
After losing on opening night to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics reeled off 10-straight wins, vaulting themselves to the top of the Eastern Conference.
That winning streak couldn’t last forever though and it ended on Sunday at the hands of Buddy Hield and the Sacramento Kings.
Playing without star point guard De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento relied on Hield to take on an even bigger role in the offense and his hot shooting propelled the Kings to the victory.
Hield put together his first 30-point effort of the season, dropping 35 points on 14-of-24 shooting. Hield’s game is always predicated on the three-point shot and he was on fire from downtown against Boston, making seven threes.
The Celtics top scorer was Jaylen Brown, as he had 18 points to lead Boston. In the end though, the Celtics shot just 33% from three-point range and did not do enough offensively to get the win.
Both of Boston’s losses this season have come on the road, as they still hold a perfect 5-0 record at TD Garden to start the year. Right now they are in the midst of a five-game west coast trip, with three games left to be played.
The Celtics will finally return home a week from Monday, when they will get a chance to get some revenge as Hield and the Kings come to their arena to finish of their season series.
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