Good afternoon, folks. Make sure to vote to send your favorite former Wildcats to the All-Star game. Let’s talk NBA.
- Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves were down 19 points midway through the second quarter against the Orlando Magic before mounting a massive second-half comeback. Towns was dealing with foul trouble in the first half – which explains the early hole – but exploded for 21 points in the final two quarters to bury a pesky Magic team. Towns finished with 29 points and 15 rebounds for the game on 11-20 shooting, his 25th double-double of the season, tied for sixth most in the league.
- On the opposite side of the bench, Isaiah Briscoe only clocked three minutes late in the game and failed to score a point.
- Since John Wall elected to undergo season-ending surgery to his heel, the Washington Wizards have gone 2-2 against subpar opponents including a loss on Friday night against a – somewhat surprising – surging Miami Heat team. Bam Adebayo scored 11 points for the Heat while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five dimes in only 18 minutes.
- In Milwaukee, where the Atlanta Hawks visited the Bucks, it was complete domination by the home team. Thanks to a first-quarter score that ended with the Bucks leading 43-14, the game was long over before it even had a chance to really get going. Eric Bledsoe added 14 points and eight rebounds on 7-13 shooting and at one point in the fourth quarter, his Bucks squad were up by 46 points….. Forty-six (cOUld dUkE BeAt tHe hAWks?). For Atlanta, Alex Poythress did not play as he was assigned to the Hawks G League affiliate. Poythress had played well in five games back following his knee injury, including back-to-back games with at least 10 points, but after playing only four minutes on the last day of 2018, he was moved down to the developmental team. The demotion could be a result of his knee flaring up again, which wouldn’t be a great sign, and this might be how the front office wants him to reacclimate himself. But I’m also not even close to anything that resembles a doctor so I’ll stop speculating.
Clippers – 121 @ Suns – 111
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played only 18 minutes against the Phoenix Suns and he hasn’t eclipsed 21 minutes in any of his previous four games. In those four games, SGA is averaging only 5.8 points and 3.8 assists on 37.5 percent shooting. Essentially, he’s going through a bit of a rookie slump, but it’s not anything I would look into too seriously. He’s still starting, his confidence is just slipping a bit. But with SGA, that’s not something I expect to keep him down for long.
- For Phoenix, Devin Booker scored 23 points on 8-14 shooting to go along with three rebounds and four assists in the loss. It honestly still amazes me that the Suns are this bad after showing a bit of competency following Booker’s return from injury. They’ve now lost five straight and seven of their last eight after winning four in a row. This team has considerably more overall talent than teams such as the Hawks, Cavaliers, Knicks, and Bulls, yet find themselves sleeping at the bottom of the standings and one of two teams that have yet to break 10 wins.
- The New York Knicks got a surprise victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Although it probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering the Lakers have lowkey been a tire fire since LeBron James’ groin injury. The Lakers have lost four of their last five with LeBron expected to miss another three. Rajon Rondo won’t return from finger surgery for another four weeks. But some props should be handed to the Knicks, they closed out the Lakers in the fourth quarter – ending an eight-game losing streak – and Kevin Knox hit some key free throws late to ice the game. Knox finished with 14 points on 4-12 shooting with five rebounds. Enes Kanter added 16 points on 5-11 shooting and corralled 15 rebounds in the process. I’d also like to mention this article I read on Kanter from the SB Nation team site Posting and Toasting, which covers the Knicks. It’s a long and detailed article with lots of video breakdowns, but essentially, it’s a written plea for someone to fire Kanter into the sun and as far away from New York as possible. It’s quite ruthless, really. The author does bring up some good points regarding Kanter’s play, however, and how he is a severe negative on both sides of the ball – which has been accurate. While a lot of the article comes across as someone who just really, really doesn’t like Kanter, he brings up some good points about how he plays more selfishly than his teammates. I don’t disagree with that point, but he eviscerates Kanter’s character which comes off as completely unfair. This dude doesn’t know Kanter. He doesn’t know what he deals with or that the fact that he’s skipping an upcoming trip to London because he fears he could be killed. Kanter wants to win. He’s good enough on offense to provide winning basketball if placed in the right situation. To me, the article was more about constantly angry Knicks fans who want a scapegoat to blame for their never-ending collection of garbage that they’ve called a basketball organization for the last 15 years.
- We’ll end the recap with the trio of Wildcats from Oklahoma City. Nerlens Noel was a perfect 4-4 from the field for 10 points, five boards, three steals, and two blocks while Patrick Patterson knocked down two threes in the Thunder’s win over Portland. Hamidou Diallo played seven minutes but failed to register a point.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||120-103 W vs. ORL||29||11-20 (1-6)||15||2||1||1||0||+21||31|
|Devin Booker (PHX)||111-121 L vs. LAC||23||8-14 (1-2)||3||4||0||0||4||-15||37|
|Enes Kanter (NYK)||119-112 W @ LAL||16||5-11 (1-2)||15||3||0||3||1||+5||26|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||144-112 W vs. ATL||14||7-13 (0-2)||8||2||1||1||2||+26||22|
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||119-112 W @ LAL||14||4-12 (2-5)||5||1||1||0||0||+8||37|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||115-109 W vs. WAS||11||4-7 (0-0)||7||5||1||1||1||+1||18|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||111-109 W @ POR||10||4-4 (0-0)||5||1||3||2||0||+5||14|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||111-109 W @ POR||6||2-4 (2-4)||1||1||0||0||1||0||13|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||121-111 W @ PHX||3||1-6 (0-2)||3||9||2||0||3||+6||18|
|Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)||103-120 L @ MIN||0||0-2 (0-1)||0||0||0||0||0||+4||3|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||111-109 W @ POR||0||0-2 (0-1)||2||1||1||0||0||-8||7|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||112-144 L @ MIL||DNP-G League||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||112-119 L vs. NYK||DNP-Finger||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|John Wall (WAS)||109-115 L @ MIA||DNP-Heel||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
5:00: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt-out)
7:00: Jazz @ Pistons
7:30: Mavericks @ Sixers
8:00: Pelicans (Davis, An. Harrison, Miller, Randle) @ Cavaliers
8:30 (NBATV): Raptors @ Bucks (Bledsoe)
8:30: Grizzlies @ Spurs
10:00: Rockets (Knight) @ Trail Blazers
10:00: Warriors (Cousins-out) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere)
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan