🏀 A Day of Love (and Hoops)

Plus, some all-time Valentine's Day performances


Happy Valentine’s Day, Enjoyers! We love you for supporting our cause of making basketball media a more positive place, and that love is unconditional. 💙🏀

Today’s Lineup

🍀 Tatum the Heartbreaker
JT’s monster first half powers Celtics to W

🚀 Booker Makes Space 
The Suns star hit a shifty stepback to seal crucial Suns win

💞 Hoops History Spotlight
Some all-time Valentine’s Day performances

Last Night’s Action

Suns blaze in the clutch, beat Kings 130-125

Bradley Beal pulled up hurt early, De’Aaron Fox dropped 40, Domantas Sabonis channeled the power of the big man gods, and the Suns still found a way to win. Devin Booker came alive to outscore the Kings by himself in the final two and a half minutes, including a vital bucket that was practically an entire lecture on space creation.

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Thunder slice and dice Magic, win 127-111

It took Paolo Banchero 482 days to finally play in a nationally televised game, so it’s too bad it had to come against perhaps the most talented young team in the league. The usually stout Magic defense had no answers for the slashing clinic SGA and Jalen Williams put on; OKC's dynamic guard duo attacked the rack with impunity all night, capped off by Shai telling the crowd to go home after a filthy stepback to ice it.

Did anyone actually leave? Probably not, considering it was Shaq’s jersey retirement… but that’s beside the point.

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Tatum torches the Nets (literally) in 118-100 Celtics W

Sometimes you have to pull out the time-honored tradition of giving your best player the ball and letting him cook. That’s exactly what chef Jayson Tatum did, delivering a piping-hot platter of 31 first-half points to give Boston a 15-point lead over the Nets that they would never relinquish, despite a couple of late pushes from Brooklyn.

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Heats shooting barrage sinks Bucks, 123-97

Even without Jimmy Butler, the Heat are still giving the Bucks playoff flashbacks. Seriously, it’s almost scary how Miami seems to turn on the jets whenever they see that shade of good land green (that’s what it’s called, we looked it up). The trio of Duncan Robinson, Nikola Jovic, and Kevin Love combined for 16 triples, while the defense gave everyone not named Giannis a nightmare. And to think we could get this first-round matchup again…

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Ant moves mountains as Wolves beat Blazers 121-109

This Blazers squad has put up some really feisty performances against the best teams in the league, and they were headed towards another at the end of the third down by just one. Then Nickeil Alexander-Walker embraced his inner Beyblade, ripping off four threes in a three-minute span to help the Wolves race away in the closing minutes. Plus, Anthony Edwards was making things happen for them all night long, Euro-stepping his way to 41 points.

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LeBron and Lakers breeze by Pistons 125-111

Fighting for a play-in spot in the Western Conference, the Lakers made sure to take care of business in this one. LeBron was turning up before the game (and on the court), every starter scored 15+, and the Pistons never got within single digits in the second half. Not too shabby, if you ask us.

Monday Night Notes

  • On today’s episode of the Wonderful World of Wemby™, the Spurs’ French phenom casually dropped the first 10-block triple-double by a rookie since David Robinson… no big deal. The pregame fit should have been a warning sign…

  • Is Doc Rivers defense starting to cook in Milwaukee? The Bucks held two straight teams under 100 points for the first time all season, this time clamping up Nikola Jokic and the defending champs to maintain pace near the top of the East. And, with 36 & 18, Giannis is making a serious case for his 3rd MVP.

  • Over in H-Town, there was a whole bunch of controversy as Aaron Holiday was “fouled” in the final second, then hit some clutch free throws at the buzzer to beat the Knicks. Was it a foul? New York thinks so, but we’ll let you be the judge.

🧠 Daily Trivia 🧠 

Who was the last player to get a triple-double with blocks before Wemby?

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Boardroom’s Sneaker Game 👟

From Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s Boardroom, Sneaker Game is a brand new newsletter by industry authority Nick DePaula that’s packed with exclusive sneaker news you can’t find anywhere else. Each week, Nick breaks down the biggest deals, highlights the most exciting drops, and analyzes industry-shaping trends.

Since basketball has long led the energy, innovation, and impact behind the foundation of the sneaker biz, enjoyers of basketball will find a lot to enjoy in Sneaker Game.

Hoops History Spotlight

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about roses and romance, you know. Over the years, some of the NBA’s most iconic regular-season moments happened on this day of love. From an essential piece of hoops lore to an all-time underdog story, let’s talk about two of the best.

Left Hand Larry - 1986

On Valentine’s Day 1986, a classic NBA folk tale was written. Fresh off of two straight MVPs (and soon to win a third) Larry Bird wasn’t just at the top of his game, he was actually bored by how good he was. So, before a random February game against the Blazers, he told his team and the media that he planned to play the game with his left hand.

Even attempting to play with your off-hand is insane, but as an all-time trash talker, Larry Legend knew he had to back it up. What followed was simply legendary. A 47-point triple-double, 10 of his 21 makes with his left hand, and the game-winning shot with three seconds left in OT.

Linsanity’s Mountaintop - 2011

For those of you who were around for Linsanity, Mike Breen’s iconic call from the Air Canada Center probably still gives you chills. Jeremy Lin, an undrafted point guard from Harvard, was in the midst of the most unexpected run in NBA history. After being waived twice earlier in the season, the Knicks picked up Lin on a whim, and Mike D’Antoni decided to give him a chance in the lineup following a nasty 2-11 stretch for NY.

Lin didn’t just seize this opportunity, he vaulted himself into national stardom. Averaging nearly 23 and 9 over his next 12 games while leading the Knicks to a 9-3 record, his story made him an overnight icon, particularly among Asian-Americans. Linsanity reached its zenith on Valentine’s Day 2011, when the young guard gave us a highlight that will live on for decades to come.

Three in the Key

😭 Giannis, What Are You Doing??
We don’t know if that’s allowed to be honest…

🤣 Ant-Man Keeps It Real
Quickly climbing the funniest dude in the league ladder

🪙 Vassell with a Dime Wemby was hype before he even caught the ball

What We’re Enjoying

Numbers on the Board: On the latest episode of NOTB, Kenny and the crew get real about each team’s prospects this season. From lottery teams that are missing key ingredients, to title contenders who have a potential weakness come playoff time, give it a listen to learn how your squad can improve.

Signing Off

And that’s our cue! Even if you’re feeling down that you don’t have a significant other today, don’t be afraid to tell the people important to you that you love them. And remember, romance is only a small part of this wonderful life.

Until next time,

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In your best Mike Breen impression, what did you think of today's newsletter?

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