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.
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.
Alley-oops are always fun pic.twitter.com/37wAQhjTQo
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) December 16, 2018
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.
- 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.
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||99-107 L @ PHX||28||11-26 (1-7)||12||4||2||2||0||-7||38|
|Devin Booker (PHX)||107-99 W vs. MIN||28||10-16 (3-6)||7||7||0||0||2||+2||35|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||100-128 L vs. LAL||19||7-14 (2-5)||5||1||0||0||2||-5||27|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||110-104 W vs. LAC||10||4-5 (0-0)||1||0||0||1||0||-9||11|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||110-104 W vs. LAC||4||2-4 (0-0)||4||0||2||2||1||+9||16|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||100-128 L vs. LAL||2||1-4 (0-0)||3||1||1||0||1||-13||9|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||104-110 L @ OKC||2||1-4 (0-0)||0||1||0||0||0||-10||21|
|Brandon Knight (HOU)||105-97 W @ MEM||0||0-0 (0-0)||0||0||0||0||0||+4||3|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||110-104 W vs. LAC||0||0-0 (0-0)||1||2||1||0||1||+6||13|
|Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)||96-89 W vs. UTA||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||128-100 W @ CHA||DNP-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)
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