Following All-Star Weekend 2019, the Sacramento Kings resumed their season in a down-to-the-wire thriller against the Warriors in the Bay Area. Some of you may have been aware that with the game on the line, Buddy Hield had an opportunity at a deep three that could have won the game.
The former Oklahoma Sooners star hesitated to take the deep, open look and instead drove into the defense and missed a contested, two-point fadeaway, stopping short a spectacular comeback against the NBA’s best. What some may not have seen is the verbal exchange and tension between Hield and head coach Dave Joerger following an earlier possession.
Coach Joerger and Buddy had an interaction after Buddy made a deep three late in the 4th quarter. pic.twitter.com/9ajKs85yiY— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) February 22, 2019
You can clearly see that with 17 seconds to go and the game seemingly out of hand, Hield took the deep three after checking to see if his teammates would be in position to rebound. If the coach had a problem with the shot, he probably should have addressed it in a timeout or in private as opposed to dressing down his leading scorer for doing what he does best.
All-Stars Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard, took exception to the coach’s outburst and had their fellow baller’s back. Shooters shoot, especially down six with under 20 seconds to go. And he made an incredible shot few are even willing to take. Why mess with his head during a close game?
Apparently, all was good and tensions subsided a couple of nights later with the Kings in Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder primetime on Saturday. After witnessing the OU men’s hoop squad survive a Red River thriller in Norman, Buddy shook off the drama from the previous game and proceeded to cook the Thunder all night long.
Prior to the short drive up I-35, Buddy showed yet again why he is one of the most beloved athletes in school history.
Just left the @OU_MBBall practice gym. It’s almost 2pm and @buddyhield is shooting buckets with all the kids of the OU staff. He’s the pied piper! Grin from ear-to-ear and acting like he’s working a summer camp. He’ll be playing the Thunder in 5 hours.— Toby Rowland (@TRowOU) February 23, 2019
Always Home— Buddy Love !!!! (@buddyhield) February 23, 2019
Giving Paul George, Russell Westbrook and company all they could handle following their thrilling double-OT win the night before over Utah, the young and fresh Kings jumped out to a fast start — paced by a dazzling array of baskets from the polished Hield — who finished with a team-high 34 points (30 through the first three quarters) in the huge 119-116 road win. There would be no last-shot tension this evening, and Dave Joerger should feel lucky to coach such a composed, unselfish star who can respond to adversity so professionally and spectacularly against such quality opponents on the road.
Buddy Hield is on his way to becoming a star in this league, all haters be damned. For real.
The Hawks and Pistons resumed their seasons with a clash in Atlanta on Friday evening. While Trae Young continued to sizzle following his showing at All-Star weekend, the night would be a short one for Blake Griffin. The Pistons’ star forward dealt with some suspect officiating and was ejected with 4:19 left to play in the third quarter, but his teammates hung on to survive, 125-122, on the road.
Blake Griffin just got his second technical & was ejected from the game for this: pic.twitter.com/dW7xK1y2AP— Chris Montano (@gswchris) February 23, 2019
I really wonder when and how the petty hate for Blake Griffin started for star veteran Vince Carter. But it sure appears like the hate is real. It’s all pretty funny to me, Griffin’s ejection aside. But the ejection apparently fits a pattern to some in the Detroit media. Sooner fans would probably agree upon watching a Pistons game this season, as well.
#Pistons Blake Griffin is getting some crazy things called on him of late...— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) February 24, 2019
Despite the refs and hecklers in the ATL, a win is a win and Griffin bounced back to lead the Pistons to another one on Saturday night, this time against the Heat. His 20 points and six assists powered the Pistons to their 28th win of the season and into seventh place in the East.
Blake Griffin led the Pistons to a second consecutive win with 20 points! The Pistons are 7th in the Eastern Conference pic.twitter.com/ARXOPcqIKq— NBA Africa (@NBA_Africa) February 24, 2019
As the stretch run toward the playoffs is starting to kick into full gear, things are looking up for the Pistons with their veteran star leading the way. Detroit hosts Indiana Monday evening then travels to San Antonio on Wednesday and Cleveland on Saturday before returning home to take on the Raptors next Sunday.
Players averaging 18 points, 8 rebounds and 2 3-pointers per game:— Mark Strotman (@markstrot) February 23, 2019
1. LeBron James
2. Paul George
3. Blake Griffin
4. Lauri Markkanen
As Griffin’s Pistons got the win over Trae Young’s Hawks, the electric rookie put on another show at home. Finishing with 30 points, 10 assists and 5-of-11 from deep, Young’s heroics weren’t enough for the W but drew plenty of applause and respect from everyone in the building.
Trae’s Hawks bounced back the following night with a 120-112 win at home over the Suns, with the former OU standout resembling his usual self.
Trae Young from the logo pic.twitter.com/aUR6tMHWmp— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 24, 2019
Season Stats: 25.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 5.3 APG, 0.4 BPG, 47.7% FG, 36.2% 3FG, 75.5% FT
Season Stats: 20.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.4 BPG, 47.6% FG, 44.7% 3FG, 85.6% FT
Schedule: Mon. at Timberwolves, Wed. vs. Bucks, Fri. vs. Clippers
Season Stats: 17.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 7.7 APG, 0.2 BPG, 40.7% FG, 31.7% 3FG, 80.6% FT
Schedule: Mon. at Rockets, Wed. vs. Timberwolves, Fri. vs. Bulls, Sun. at Bulls