Las Vegas -- Some games mean a little bit more than others. Tonight's match-up between the Bulls and Nuggets is one of those said match-ups. There is no doubt that Doug McDermott aka Dougie McBuckets will have some anger sharks swimming through his veins as thoughts of what could have been ... Dougie McNugget ... cross his mind. If the Nuggets are to have any hope against this rising prospect, they'll have to dig deep and Coach Patrick Mutombo will have to give a legendary pre-game speech ...
If channeling his inner Pacino doesn't work, Mutombo might have to rely on his players to come through, once again. Gary Harris (33 points), Quincy Miller (23 points), and Erick Green (17 points) combined for 73 of Denver's 110 points against the Raptors, but Toronto's roster wasn't exactly stacked. In fact, there wasn't a single rotation player on the Raptors' roster and other than prospects Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira (both very raw), that cupboard was pretty bare.
Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't McBuckets that led the Bulls, during their 86-70 beat-down of the Los Angeles Clippers (a Clips team that doesn't have second year guard/forward Reggie Bullock or first-round pick C.J. Wilcox). Rather, it was the 6'7" shooting guard, Tony Snell, putting on a show with 27 points on 10-14 shooting (5-7 from deep). The alarming aspect of Snell's game was that he was still able to play, despite chopping off his vintage cornrows. He has tremendous size for a shooting guard and will be a handful for Harris.
No, it wasn't the debut that some Nuggets fans were clamoring for their beloved Dougie. He struggled shooting the ball (2-8 from the field, 2-5 from deep), but he did provide 5 rebounds and 4 assists to go along with 4 turnovers against the aforementioned Clips juggernaut.
But McBuckets is a gamer and his second contest is the hottest ticket in town. If you're in Vegas, get to Cox Pavilion early, don't get turned away at the door for this one. The 5 p.m. start time (6 p.m. MT) can't come soon enough. McDermott vs. Harris ... for all the marbles!
Meanwhile in Sarajevo, Bosnia ...
Jusuf Nurkic's has been playing in the Under 20 (U20) European Championship Men's Division B games. Through three contests he's averaging 15.3 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists. We can't be too sure how stiff the competition is, but he has been performing better with each contest. His latest performance saw him put up 24 points and 16 rebounds (eight on the offensive and defensive ends, respectively). Here are his numbers through three games:
What to like: His point totals have been on the rise in each contest from 8 to 14 to 24. His rebounding has been consistent and exploded against Romania (have to wonder how good they are, they got demolished 96-40 by Bosnia). How about a 9 block game against Cyprus? That's impressive.
What not to like: Nurkic's two-point percentages have not been very good. There are not individual shot charts, so it's hard to determine where his makes and misses are coming from, but big men shouldn't be shooting in the low 40% range and Jusuf has two games in that area at 42.9% and 40% (8-20) during his big 24 point outburst. Had he made 12-20 aka 60% of his shots, that catapults his scoring to 32 points. Probably not a big deal to harp on the difference between four made buckets, yet, but it is something to watch.