LITTLE ROCK — Former Arkansas star Bobby Portis has been a productive force off the bench for the Eastern Conference power Milwaukee Bucks, and on Sunday night he came up with his best scoring game of the young season.
Portis (6-10 forward / center, Little Rock native) tallied 21 points (9-of-16 field goals, including 1-of-2 from 3, and 2-of-2 free throws) to go with 6 rebounds and 1 assist in 26 minutes to help the Bucks to a 129-115 home win over the Atlanta Hawks, and in doing so Portis has earned his second Pro Hoop Hogs Player of the Week honor.
Portis’ second 20-points-or-more effort on the season helped Milwaukee halt a 2-game losing streak as the Bucks wrapped up the week 1-2, and they now sit with a 10-6 record (second best in the Eastern Conference) so far in 2020-21.
“I think Bobby is taking everything he can get,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said after the Atlanta win. “He gets a lot of baskets without us just really playing through him. So maybe we play through him a little bit more … I love the way he plays, just kind of in the flow. Some nights it (the ball) gets to him, some nights it doesn’t. I don’t know that we want to overwork to make sure he’s getting it, but there is certainly a point where he can score and get the ball. We need to just keep looking for that and maybe integrating that.”
Portis, recipient of the first PHH POW honor following week one, has played in all 16 games and is the Bucks’ fourth leading scorer and second leading rebounder, averaging 11.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 24.1 minutes per contest while shooting 54.0% from the field, including 43.3% from 3, and 75.0% from the free throw line. Portis has four double-doubles so far in ’20-21, he’s scored in double figures in 11 games, and he’s rebounded in double figures in 5 games.
Linked here are highlights from Portis’ 21-point game against Atlanta on Sunday …
* Former Arkansas star Mason Jones (6-4 combo guard) scored in double-figures for the 3rd time in his first 9 games in the NBA as he had 16 points (6-of-8 field goals, including 3-of-4 from 3, and 1-of-2 free throws), 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in 19 minutes off the bench in the Houston Rockets’ 133-108 road on Saturday. Jones, who recently notched a career-high 24 points, has earned minutes in the Rockets’ top 10 rotation with a variety of veteran guards out of the lineup for various reasons, and on Saturday it was newly acquired Victor Oladipo who was out of action that opened up another opportunity for Jones. He’s averaging 8.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 13.3 minutes per game while shooting an impressive 57.4% from the field, including a blistering 58.3% from 3, and 52.9% from the free throw line. Jones’ per-36-minute numbers are elite, especially considering he’s an undrafted free agent rookie — 23.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. The Rockets are 6-9 on the season, and Jones has won the PHH POW honor once already. Jones signed an undrafted free agent two-way contract with Houston in November, and he’s expected to be active for a good portion of the Rockets’ games (he can be active for up to 50 of the team’s 72 regular-season games).
Linked here is a brief highlight of Jones against Dallas on Saturday …
* Former Arkansas star Daniel Gafford (6-10 forward / center and El Dorado native) made his first two starts of the season for Chicago in back-to-back games last week as the Bulls split games against the Charlotte Hornets (a 123-110 win) and Los Angeles Lakers (a 101-90 loss). Gafford averaged 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.0 block in 18.5 minutes in the two games. Gafford, recipient of the second Pro Hoop Hogs Player of the Week honor following week two, has played in 14 of Chicago’s 16 games this season, scoring in double figures twice (15 points in a win over Washington, and 12 points in a win over Dallas). Gafford is averaging 5.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 14.6 minutes per game while shooting 68.3% from the field and 71.4% from the free throw line (an 18.1% improvement on freebies from his rookie season in ’19-20). The Bulls are 7-9.
Linked here is a highlight of Gafford with a putback dunk against Charlotte last week …
* Former Arkansas star Patrick Beverley (6-1 guard) helped the Los Angeles Clippers to a 3-0 record last week with wins over Sacramento and Oklahoma City (twice) as the Clippers (13-4) have now won 6 consecutive games and share the best record in the Western Conference with the crosstown rival Lakers. Beverley has started 16 times while having sat out one game, and he has season highs of 20 points (against San Anotnio), 9 rebounds (against Phoenix), 8 assists (against San Antonio), 3 steals (against OKC), and 3 blocks (against Chicago). He’s averaging 8.1 points. 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.0 steal in 25.7 minutes per game while shooting 40.0% from the field, including 41.4% from 3, and 76.2% from the free throw line.
* Former Arkansas star Isaiah Joe (6-4 shooting guard, Fort Smith native) did not play last week as the Philadelphia 76ers had their full complement of starters and reserves available for a 3-0 run through the week that included wins over the Boston Celtics (twice) and the Detroit Pistons. Joe’s most-recent action came week before last when in a consecutive-5-game stretch he started once and scored in double figures four times while averaging 12.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 29.0 minutes per game as he shot 40.8% from the field, including 17-of-39 from 3 for 43.6%, and 5-of-5 free throws. On the season, Joe has played in 9 games for Philadelphia (12-5 for the best record in the Eastern Conference) and is averaging 7.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 19.1 minutes per game while shooting 37.5% from the field, including 38.6% from 3, and 100% from the free throw line. Joe has as many blocked shots (4) and steals (4) as he does turnovers (4) on the season. Joe has won the PHH POW honor twice this season.