Good afternoon, folks. Just name Kevin Knox the 2023 NBA MVP right now so we can save ourselves the trouble of waiting. Let’s talk NBA.
- It was an injury-riddled night in the BBNBA, as eight of the 12 former Kentucky players on active team rosters who played Sunday were sidelined with some sort of discomfort. Enes Kanter (NYK) is still dealing with “flu-like symptoms” that we all know is really just a case of an athlete proving he’s better than us at eating. Trey Lyles (DEN) missed his second straight game with a wrist injury. Brandon Knight (HOU) sat out to rest his knee. And others are dealing with season-long injuries. But the four that did play gave us plenty to talk about.
- Starting with Kevin Knox, who continues to impress as a rookie in New York. Knox poured in a career-high 31 points on 12-23 shooting (4-9 from three) and pulled down seven boards against the (admittedly struggling) Philadelphia 76ers. The Knicks lost, 105-108, but Knox looked damn good. He also set a new career-high in minutes played at just under 44 for the game. Which is… a lot. In fact, over the last 16 games (the unofficial start of Knox’s hot scoring streak), he’s averaging 36.2 minutes per game and has broken the 40-minute threshold on four separate occasions. Now, he’s a 19-year old rookie, so he can tolerate a larger workload more than most, but for him to rank 10th in minutes played amongst all NBA players since Dec. 9 seems like a bit much. He’s one of two rookies over the last 16 games to rank in the top 50 in minutes played per game – the other being Kevin Huerter of the Atlanta Hawks, who ranks 24th. And all this playing time comes with the front office/coaching staff knowing that Knox suffered an ankle injury early in his career. I get that the Knicks are putting developing players as their focus (for the first time ever), but man, that’s a ton of minutes for a rookie, especially after they watched Kristaps Porzingis tear his ACL last season.
- Regardless, Knox is still on fire. Just please don’t kill him, Knicks.
- In Denver, Jamal Murray registered 24 points on 9-18 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three assists as the Nuggets avenged their previous loss to the Phoenix Suns by beating the Portland Trail Blazers. Nikola Jokic posted 40-points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists for the Nuggets. Murray made some clutch shots/free throws to ice the game for Denver, despite dealing with a bloodied lip he suffered after a run in with Jusuf Nurkic’s elbow during the third quarter. Murray would make both his free throws before quickly fixing himself back in the locker room and finishing the game.
- For the Milwaukee Bucks, Eric Bledsoe also scored 24 points to match Murray, but on a more efficient 9-13 shooting from the field in addition to his 10 assists. The Bucks made light-work of the Atlanta Hawks – who were without Alex Poythress again, who continues to play in the G League – behind 33 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo as Milwaukee cruised to a 19 point victory.
- Lastly, Isaiah Briscoe received some significant clock against the Houston Rockets, scoring five points on 2-5 shooting. He also recorded two rebounds and an assist in 17 minutes for the Orlando Magic. Over his last four games, Briscoe has averaged 18.4 minutes per game, with those minutes coming mainly as the lead ball handler. At Kentucky, he always played more of a combo guard role, but the Magic know that if they want to put him in a position to thrive, it’s as a full-time point guard and that’s exactly how they’ve been using him. He only has two turnovers compared to 12 assists over his last four outings and has been a plus-3 overall through those games. I haven’t been able to see much of Briscoe this season, but after watching him play on Sunday, I can say he looks more confident with a basketball than I have ever seen him.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||105-108 L vs. PHI||31||12-23 (4-9)||7||0||2||0||4||+11||43|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||133-114 W @ ATL||24||9-13 (2-6)||2||10||2||1||0||+8||26|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||116-113 W vs. POR||24||9-18 (1-5)||4||3||1||0||2||-4||33|
|Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)||116-109 W vs. HOU||5||2-5 (1-2)||2||1||0||0||0||-3||17|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||119-114 W @ DAL||DNP-Achilles||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||95-101 L vs. CLE||DNP-Finger||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||116-113 W vs. POR||DNP-Foot||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||114-133 L vs. MIL||DNP-G League||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|John Wall (WAS)||138-140 2OT L vs. TOR||DNP-Heel||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Enes Kanter (NYK)||105-108 L vs. PHI||DNP-Illness||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Brandon Knight (HOU)||109-116 L @ ORL||DNP-Knee||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||116-113 W vs. POR||DNP-Wrist||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:30: Celtics @ Nets
8:00: Grizzlies @ Rockets (Knight)
8:30 (NBATV): Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Spurs
9:00: Pistons @ Jazz
10:00: Trail Blazers @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere)
10:30: Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle) @ Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander)
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