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BBNBA: Booker Scores 28 in Return From Injury


(Photo by Barry GossageNBAE via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Devin Booker returned to action on Saturday night after missing seven straight games, so he proceeded to go for 28/7/7. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

Clippers – 104 @ Thunder – 110

  • The Clippers have officially hit a rut. After losing another game – their third in a row and losers of five of their last six – in Oklahoma City, LA has hit their worst skid of the season and it may not get better any time soon. Their next eight games in order are against the Trail Blazers (16-13), Mavericks (15-12), Nuggets (19-9), Warriors (20-10), Kings (15-13), Lakers (18-11), Spurs (15-15), and finishes with the 76ers (19-11). That is a schedule from the deep, dark depths of hell. They should count themselves winners if they can come out of that messy stretch with a 4-4 record. It also doesn’t help that their third-leading scorer, Lou Williams, has sat out the previous three games and could miss up to another week with a hamstring injury.
  • As for their game last night, it could have looked a lot worse on the surface had the Clippers not made a couple runs towards the end. The Thunder controlled this game throughout the majority of the night thanks to an elite all-around defensive performance. They specifically put the clamps on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who couldn’t get anything going against OKC’s backcourt, scoring only two points on 1-4 shooting in 21 minutes.
  • For the Thunder, Hamidou Diallo and Nerlens Noel had solid outings. Diallo went for 10 points on 4-5 shooting and was aggressive attacking the basket, making a couple of his shots through contact at the rim. Noel added four points, four rebounds, two steals, and two blocks in 16 minutes and was his usual high-energy self. I’m realizing more and more that Noel might be a perfect backup center for today’s NBA. He’s still incredibly eager to block shots – especially when it pulls him out of position – and that sometimes gets him into trouble, but he has clear value as an off-the-bench big man on a team with championship aspirations. Patrick Patterson played in 13 minutes but failed to register a point.

Timberwolves – 99 @ Suns – 107

  • A battle of former Kentucky superstars went down in Phoenix on Saturday between Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns with Booker’s Suns squad getting the best of Towns and the Wolves.
  • Booker missed the previous seven games due to a hamstring injury but looked anything but rusty in his return. He scored 28 points to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists. He started the game off 9-11 from the field and finished 10-16 (3-6 from deep), curling off screens for knockdown jumpers like he never even left. Booker also might be one of the best players I’ve seen this season at making cross court swing passes. He may not be an actualized playmaker just yet, but my goodness, his precision on these one-handed sling passes to teammates on the opposite side of the floor is something to marvel at.

  • For Towns, he also poured in 28 points to match Booker and tie the BBNBA high of the night. He also pulled down 12 rebounds but shot a dismal 11-26 from the field, including 1-7 from three. In the Western Conference where literally every team except for one is fighting for a playoff spot, you cannot afford to lose games to the one team actively trying to lose. This was a bad loss for Minny and hopefully Towns and company can respond when they take on the Kings this Monday. Towns definitely needs to show more effort on the defensive end than he showcased in this game.

Other notes

  • Malik Monk scored 19 points on 7-14 shooting for the Hornets despite his team being blown out at home by LeBron James and the Lakers. James and Lonzo Ball both recorded triple-doubles against Charlotte, which was only the second time a pair of Lakers teammates both recorded triple-doubles in the same game, the others being Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar back in 1982.
  • Brandon Knight played in his second game after returning from his ACL injury but recorded zero stats in only three minutes as the Rockets ease him back into action.
  • NBA League Pass is currently free right now through Dec. 20th, so if you’re trying to get your BBNBA fix in over the next few days, please take advantage of it. We’ve got Kings-Wolves on Monday plus Pelicans-Bucks and Thunder-Kings on Wednesday along with plenty of other exciting matchups. Check it out.
  • Also, check out the rest of Saturday night’s stats below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)99-107 L @ PHX2811-26 (1-7)124220-738
Devin Booker (PHX)107-99 W vs. MIN2810-16 (3-6)77002+235
Malik Monk (CHA)100-128 L vs. LAL197-14 (2-5)51002-527
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)110-104 W vs. LAC104-5 (0-0)10010-911
Nerlens Noel (OKC)110-104 W vs. LAC42-4 (0-0)40221+916
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)100-128 L vs. LAL21-4 (0-0)31101-139
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)104-110 L @ OKC21-4 (0-0)01000-1021
Brandon Knight (HOU)105-97 W @ MEM00-0 (0-0)00000+43
Patrick Patterson (OKC)110-104 W vs. LAC00-0 (0-0)12101+613
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)96-89 W vs. UTADNP-CD----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)128-100 W @ CHADNP-Hand----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

3:00: Hawks (Poythress-out) @ Nets

3:30: 76ers @ Cavaliers

5:00: Knicks (Kanter, Knox) @ Pacers

6:00: Lakers (Rondo-out) @ Wizards (Wall)

7:00: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere) @ Mavericks

7:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Pelicans (Davis, An. Harrison, Miller, Randle)

8:00: Raptors @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt-out)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Covering all things NBA. Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan

2 responses to “BBNBA: Booker Scores 28 in Return From Injury”

  1. Smyrna_Cat

    I really like this section, but I think at times you put too much emphasis on scoring. Do you watch the games? For example, the other day, Noel was super aggressive, played great D, had several reflections, and had a big impact on the game. But he didn’t score many points and only had a couple of rebounds, and that is what you noted.

    In the Thunder game (again, did you watch), I thought PP played a good game. He was an asset when he played, with good D, being in the right place and the right time, etc. but your only note is, “Patrick Patterson played in 13 minutes but failed to register a point.” It isn’t all about the points. For PP it has NEVER been all about the points.

    Again, I like this section. Perhaps you could spend less time on scoring and more on overall play. Another ex. – the other day you pointed out that Denver was winning “despite” Jamal Murray’s poor shooting, yet the reason they ARE winning is in large part due to Murray’s overall play. Even when he is not scoring, he is running the team, setting up others, drawing defenses to him, and playing hard.

    PS … good to see Booker back.

  2. Smyrna_Cat

    By the way, 11-26 is not “dismal.” R. Rubio was 2-11. D. Mitchell was 8 -21 for Utah. Kemba Walker was 2-13. Irving was 11-25 and Gordan Hayward was 3-11. Chris Paul was 3-10 and Eric Gordon was 2-11. Those are just a few examples. Sure Towns could should better, but that is not unusual for the NBA, even among top players.

    Towns shot better than everyone but 2 other players on his team last night. And he had 12 rebounds, 4 assists, no turnovers, and played good D.