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Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. lived his “Welcome to the NBA” moment this weekend



Jaime Jaquez Jr. has been playing in the NBA for almost a month now and he’s performed as if he’s always been a professional. In this short time, he’s already made a space for himself in the Heat‘s bench with significant opportunities, as his four years playing at UCLA provided him with a lot of experience. 

However, it was only a matter of time before the 22-year-old faced off with one of those special rookie moments which introduce you to the best basketball league in the world.

“Talk about a ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment, I think tonight was one of those nights,” the rising star said after his team’s 102-97 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night at United Center. The game didn’t only kick off a five-match road trip, but also ended Miami’s seven-game victory streak.

The rookie entered the game and was tasked with a nearly impossible feat, to defend DeMar DeRozan for most of the fourth quarter. Not only is the Bulls guard a six-time All-Star, he’s also one of the best scorers in the entire league.

Despite providing strong defense during the match, the Chicago star was still able to drop 3 of 4 shots from the field late in the contest. In other words, DeRozan tallied 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor and drew two fouls during the 12 possessions with Jaquez over him.

“Jaime was introduced to a guy that really he’s a professional scorer and a professional foul drawer,” expressed Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “So it is tough to put pressure on him. You have to work on getting him out a step and then not letting him walk you back.”

DeMar seemed inspired in front of the first-year player, almost as if he wanted to hand Jaquez his first-real lesson in the NBA. Unfortunately for the 22-year-old, he learned this one at the wrong time, as the 34-year-old star scored a winner with 21.9 second left in front of his eyes.

“[DeRozan] had a couple other looks in the fourth quarter that were just the same, but he missed them,” Spoelstra added. “That one, it was his comfort spot — 16 feet right into his rhythm pull-up. The defense was good, but his offense was better.”

Despite not being able to defend the game-winning shot, Jaquez feels he played well and will concentrate on improving

The Heat’s winning streak came to an end after a nightmare performance, as they were leading the game by 21 points in the first quarter. However, the Bulls closed the game on a 27-12 run and completed the comeback with DeRozan’s clutch 12 points.

“I thought I contested it well,” the rookie said despite DeMar’s game-winning jumper. “Like Spo said, this guy is a professional scorer. … He’s a guy I looked up to a lot growing up, just watched his game. Really just trying to guard him live is something completely different.”

As the Miami squad is staying in Chicago to prepare for another matchup against the Bulls on Monday, Jaquez Jr. promises to improve from this experience.

“But it’s all a learning experience,” he added. “Just trying to do what I can, make him take a tough shot. He got me a couple times, but I think at the end I made him take a tough one. But that’s who he is, that’s what he does.”

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Jrue Holiday Averaging Career-High in Rebounds Per Game – Basketball Insiders




Jrue Holiday of the Boston Celtics seems to be settling in his first year with the Eastern Conference favorites. The one-time champion has been a terrific fit for this current Celtics squad. The defensive-minded guard provides a much-needed intensity to this already stout Boston group. While his offensive numbers may be down a bit, one area he has seemed to thrive this year is in the rebounding department. So far this year, the two-time All-Star is averaging a career-high 7.4 total rebounds per game.

Jrue Holiday Averaging Career High in Total Rebounds Per Game in First Year With Boston Celtics

Boston Looking Like Serious Contenders 

The Boston Celtics currently reside in first place in the entire league with a win-loss record of 14-4. Per FanDuel, they currently have the best odds to win the title at +370 odds. With talent such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, and of course, Jrue Holiday, the organization is all in for a title this campaign. Not to mention, Al Horford still provides a nice veteran presence to the locker room. Boston currently ranks 14th in team field goal percentage at 47.2 percent, first in team defensive team rebounding per game at 36.8 per game, and eighth in opponent three-point field goal percentage at 35.0 percent.

On top of that, they also rank third in opponent field goal percentage allowing their opposition to only shoot 43.9 percent. The only two teams ahead of them in this statistical category are the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Clearly, the defensive impact for the team has been paying dividends and Jrue Holiday’s presence has had a positive impact for Boston this season. His defensive impact has been contagious and is spreading throughout the squad.

Could Jrue Holiday Be the Missing Piece for the Boston Celtics? 

Jrue Holiday has been having another solid campaign. Not only is he tallying a career-high 7.4 total rebounds per game, he is also averaging 5.1 assists, 12.4 points per game, and an effective field goal percentage of 50.6 percent. On top of that, Holiday is also tallying a defensive rating of 109, the best in this category since the 2017-18 campaign when he was a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. Another career-best that Jrue Holiday is currently averaging is in total rebounding percent at 11.5 percent. He has never cracked double figures in this category before this season. It does not end there though for the five-time All-Defensive Team member. He is also averaging a career-best block percentage of 2.4 percent to couple with nearly one block per game.

Playing with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis this year has taken some pressure off of him and allowed him to thrive in the area that Holiday is best at, the defensive end of the floor. It is clearly reflecting in his solid rebounding for a point guard. If Jrue Holiday continues to play at this type of level, then this very well could be the year for the Boston Celtics. They are already favored by many to win the NBA In-Season Tournament, but it makes sense why they are also favored to take home the title this season.

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Nikola Jokic has 3 career 30-point triple-double with 0 turnovers




Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic recorded his third career 30-point triple-double with zero turnovers, the most in NBA history since the league began tracking individual turnovers in 1977-78, in Wednesday night’s 134-124 win over the Houston Rockets.

The two-time MVP posted 32 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, and one steal in 34 minutes of action. Jokic, 28, finished 12-of-19 (63.2%) shooting from the floor and drained a 3-pointer.

Referring to a couple of NBA betting sites, the Denver Nuggets hold third-shortest odds to repeat this season in 2024. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks.

Plus, he shot 7-of-8 (87.5%) at the foul line. It was his seventh triple-double of the season, leading all other players. Entering the night, all other NBA players had combined for just eight triples.

The two other times Jokic logged at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists with zero turnovers on 60% shooting was last season and back in 2018-19.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic leads the NBA in triple-doubles, double-doubles, total rebounds, etc.

Additionally, the five-time All-Star leads the league in double-doubles with 17. Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis trails with 15, followed by Domantas Sabonis (13), Rudy Gobert (12), Joel Embiid (12), Evan Mobley (12), and Tyrese Haliburton (12).

Furthermore, Jokic has posted 94 triple-doubles on at least 50% shooting, the most in NBA history. The nine-year veteran leads NBA Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson (92) and Magic Johnson (86).

Through 18 games this season, Jokic leads the league in total rebounds (237), defensive rebounds (175), true shooting percentage (70.1%), field goals (205), player efficiency rating (34.6), win shares (4.1), box plus/minus (15.7), and value over replacement player (2.7).

According to the Basketball-Reference database, Nikola Jokic has a 90.9% chance of being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In Wednesday’s victory, Denver outscored the Rockets 41-26 in the opening quarter. Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. scored a season-high 30 points, and guard Jamal Murray added 16 points after missing 11 games.

“One of the security guards said, ‘Hey, great win tonight.’ I said it was a great outcome,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “I wouldn’t call it a great win. It was a great outcome.”

Denver had lost twice to the Rockets in November, including a 19-point loss in Houston five days earlier. The Nuggets improved their NBA-best home record to 9-0, whereas the Rockets fell to 0-7 on the road.

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Kevin Durant praises In-Season Tournament because so far it gives him a ‘different vibe’




The In-Season Tournament’s group stages are over and teams are getting prepared to face the quarterfinals and finally end the last rounds in Las Vegas. As the first edition unfolds, the competition is slowly earning some new fans, including basketball players.

Kevin Durant recently counted himself as a satisfied customer of the NBA’s new invention, as he reveals that the game’s atmosphere provides a different vibe from the regular-season exhibitions.

Following the Suns defeat to the Toronto Raptors this Wednesday, the superstar addressed the fact that they qualified to the quarterfinals and will face the Los Angeles Lakers next week. The winner will make it to the next round which will be played in Las Vegas.

The In-Season cup has been gathering new positive reviews lately, and Durant further explained how the new look, the customized courts, unique jerseys and branding have given an interesting feel to it. As a player, he gave his personal perspective on the tournament.

“We have played in bigger games. But obviously fans love seeing high intensity games in the regular season, that is why we got the tournament, to please the fans. They weren’t satisfied with the level of ball we were playing in the regular season,” he said.

However, the 35-year-old knows that the real purpose behind this competition is not to satisfy the athletes, but to convince the customers that this could eventually become a new, celebrated tradition in the NBA.

“It’s not really how we feel, it’s about how the consumer feels about what they see. Hopefully they enjoy it,” the Phoenix star explained. “Whatever the consumer and the fan wants, the NBA and Adam Silver will do their best to give it to them. Us as players will continue to go about our business as we always do.”

Players and coaches differ on their perspectives over the In-Season Tournament; not everyone is satisfied after competing

Even though Cleveland picked up their third win of the In-Season Tournament on Tuesday against Atlanta, they didn’t make it to the next round due to the point-difference rule. Even though they finished second in their group, the Cavs needed to score more points to qualify.

“It’s kind of different,” Darius Garland expressed. “It’s not respecting the game as much as I want it to be. I took a shot with like 25 seconds left and I didn’t feel comfortable doing it. I think the in-season tournament is really great. The point differential is the thing that people around the league would like to change I believe.”

On the other hand, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau says the competition met its intended purpose, as they earned the wild-card spot into the quarterfinals.

“I guess it’s met its intended purpose,” the New York trainer said Tuesday night following their 115-91 win over the Charlotte Hornets. His player Josh Hart said the point-differential rule is “weird”, but “it’s an interesting concept.”

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