Around the NBA 1/31: Dunk by Ben Simmons, who may not be CBB's best player after all, breaks Twitter
As the Celtics were traveling to Orlando in anticipation of tonight's rematch with the Magic, there were 14 NBA teams in action last night.
2016 DRAFT PICK WATCH
1. The Nets (12-36) lost at home to the Pelicans last night by two. The Celtics own the Nets unconditional first-round draft pick. It is shaping up to be a real race to the bottom the rest of the season as the worst five teams have lost a combined 20 straight games. As of today, the bottom of the league standings are as follows:
5. Suns 14-34
4. Timberwolves 14-34
3. Nets 12-36
2. Lakers 9-40
1. 76ers 7-41
2. The Celtics (27-21) were idle last night. They are currently projected to receive the 22nd pick in the NBA draft. As of this morning, their complete list of picks include 3, 19, 22, 31, 34, 49, 50 and 58.
3. The Mavericks (27-22) were idle last night. Dallas will convey their first-round pick to the Celtics only if it falls between 8-30. If Dallas' pick falls between 1-7, the conditional 2016 pick will become a 2017 first-round pick with the same conditions. This pick would be conveyed if the season ended today as they would be projected to receive the 19th pick in the draft. They are one game ahead of the Pacers, who currently hold the 18th pick.
ATLANTIC DIVISION WATCH
4. Nets lost to the Pelicans 105-103.
5. Raptors beat the Pistons 111-107.
6. 76ers lost to the Warriors 108-105.
Atlantic Division Standings as of 1/31
New York 22-26
EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS WATCH
7. Winners: Pacers, Raptors and Cavaliers
8. Losers: Pistons
Eastern Conference Standings as of 1/31
1. Cavaliers 34-12
2. Raptors 32-15
3. Bulls 26-19
4. Hawks 27-21
5. Celtics 27-21
6. Heat 26-21
7. Pacers 25-22
8. Pistons 25-23
9. Rajon Rondo played 32 minutes in the Kings four-point loss to the Grizzlies last night. He shot 6 of 14 from the field and finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 7 turnovers and 6 fouls. Sacramento was minus-9 with him on the floor and plus-10 with his backup, Darren Collison, in the game. Collison finished with 20 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
10. Tony Allen started and played 27 minutes in the Grizzlies win over the Kings last night. He shot 3 of 8 from the field and finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
11. Jeff Green played 27 minutes off the bench in the Grizzlies win, shot 11 of 16 from the field, 3 of 5 from three and finished with 29 points.
BEN SIMMONS/POTENTIAL DRAFT PICKS UPDATE
12. Ben Simmons and LSU gave the number-one ranked Oklahoma all they could handle yesterday, but the Sooners ultimately won by two on a jumper with under five seconds left. Buddy Hield of Oklahoma was clearly the best player on the court in this game and is easily the best player in CBB. Whichever team selects him in the draft this summer will be getting my favorite for Rookie of the Year. He is ready to play right away and that is all due to the fact he stayed in school and learned how to play the game. Hield scored a game-high 32 points on 11 of 22 shooting, including 8 of 15 from three. Does that sound like anyone the Celtics need? As for Simmons, he finished with 14 points (6-7 FG), 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 twitter-breaking dunk:
13. Kris Dunn and Providence beat Georgetown. Dunn shot 8 of 17 from the field, 2 of 3 from three and 8 of 10 from the free-throw line to finish with 26 points. He also grabbed 4 steals, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
WHAT'S ON TONIGHT?
Celtics @ Magic
Bulls @ Clippers
Hawks @ Miami
Suns @ Mavericks
Warriors @ Knicks
14. Given the tough road games the Hawks and Bulls are playing tonight, the Celtics have a great chance of waking up in February in sole possession of third place if they can beat the Magic tonight, which is exactly what I predicted would happen a month ago.
Follow Max Sandgrund on Twitter @SotoSpeakz