This Week in the NBA: Déjà vu for Lakers, Raptors pizza party and Victor Wembanyama’s big night vs. Giannis

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for This Week in the NBA.

This is the weekly column that details all of the weird, funny and dramatic things that happened in the league. It’s a new year, but the drama has stayed the same. 

Here’s what happened in the meme streets this week. 

MORE: Takeaways from the first NBA All-Star fan vote returns

Quote(s) of the Week: The Pacers and Bucks getting weird

The Pacers seem to be the Bucks’ kryptonite — four of their 10 losses on the season have come at the hands of Tyrese Haliburton. There’s the rivalry on the court and another budding rivalry on who can produce the weirdest quotes.

Rick Carlisle started things off by comparing dating and NBA defense. 

“Even dating a pretty girl gets boring after a while if she can’t guard anybody,” – Rick Carlisle, out of context, about his team.

— Tony East (@TonyREast) December 30, 2023

My favorite response comes from Reddit user redbrick, who wisely stated that “if she can’t make the rotation, there will be no fornication.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo went in a similar vein after the Bucks lost to the Pacers on Wednesday. 

Giannis on the Pacers beating them 4 times:

“You think about it. When you go home and sleep and wake up, you think about it. When you go back and work out, you think about it…. When you’re about to get freaky at night, you think about it.”

— Nathan Marzion (@nathanmarzion) January 4, 2024

Forget Free Jaden Ivey, Free Ausar Thompson

Remember when Ausar was the third-best rookie in this class and a social media darling? He’s hardly ever talked about anymore, in part because he doesn’t play. He’s under 14 minutes per game over his past five.

Monty Williams’ rotations have come under fire all season — he seems to play only his favorites.  

The Pistons did finally snap their 28-game losing streak by beating the Raptors, but Pistons Twitter still isn’t happy. 

Darko Rajakovic, the fun dad of NBA coaches

Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic has been trying to encourage his team to have more fun this year. He promised to take everyone out to dinner once they rattle off three straight wins, which has spurred a series of pizza party memes on Raptors Twitter.

It has to be a stark change for Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett, who have gone from strict dad to fun dad. 

The pizza party still hasn’t happened yet, but the Raptors could make it a reality if they beat the Kings on Friday night. 

The Lakers close out 2023 the same way they opened it

LeBron James was heated after his foot was declared on the line, taking away what would have been a game-tying 3 against the Timberwolves on Saturday. It was a lousy way to celebrate his 39th birthday, and he let everyone on Instagram know about it

Making things even funnier was seeing LeBron pointing to the replay screen during the officials’ lengthy review. It was reminiscent of Patrick Beverley holding up a camera to the officials last year. 

And this is the team that the referees have sleepless nights over

Mavs social team remains undefeated

For years, the Mavs have been putting out killer parody videos. They had Luka Doncic doing a fake workout video earlier in this season, spoofed Spongebob years ago and way back when had Dirk doing Gangnam style

They did it again with this Barbie video, which was nothing short of a masterpiece:

Highlight of the week: Which Wemby one are we picking?

The Bucks vs. Spurs game on Thursday was one of the best of the year, in large part because Victor Wembanyama kept on doing crazier and crazier things as the game wore on. He started with an alley-oop off the backboard to himself, went behind-the-back for an and-one dunk over Brook Lopez and ended it by doing what nobody does — blocking a Giannis dunk at the end of a game. 

Honorable mention goes to Wemby’s one-legged 3 from 30 feet out. This man is doing ridiculous things on a nightly basis.

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