Good morning, folks. Booker went for 33 and didn’t even shoot one three. Let’s talk NBA.
Booker helps Suns get back on track
The Phoenix Suns have been free-falling in the Western Conference standings over the last few weeks. A slew of injuries to key players such as Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes, and even Devin Booker has hindered any whiff of continuity. Add in the fact that Deandre Ayton missed 25 games, came back for one night, then missed another five games with an ankle injury, and you have a recipe for an early-season disaster. Phoenix was riding an eight-game losing streak before beating the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.
On Monday, with the Suns looking for its first two-game winning streak since Nov. 4, Booker guided his team to a big win over the Portland Trail Blazers, 122-116. The former Kentucky guard led the BBNBA with 33 points on 9-19 shooting (he did not attempt one three all evening, the first time he has failed to do so all season) to go along with six rebounds and seven assists. He was a perfect 15-15 from the charity stripe.
The Suns trailed by 19 at halftime, but less than 24 minutes of game time later, Kelly Oubre Jr. was blowing literal goodbye kisses to the Portland crowd as he delivered a couple of clutch threes down the stretch.
”I think I feel like the first two I blew `em some kisses, they booed me. And then after I hit `em, they just expected the kisses,” Oubre said. ”It’s love all the way around the world.”
Kelly Oubre Jr. blew kisses to the Portland crowd after sealing the comeback victory ?
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) December 31, 2019
Heat stunned by Wizards
In one of the biggest upsets of the year, the Washington Wizards (who were without John Wall and Bradley Beal) beat the brakes off the Miami Heat, 123-105. Wall has obviously been out for nearly a year now with the Achilles injury, but Beal sat out his second consecutive game due to leg soreness. Despite all that, the Wiz were powered by some dude named Garrison Mathews – which is a real NBA player and not the name of a Canadian hockey star – who poured in 28 points in just his 11th NBA game. A Lipscomb grad, Mathews had never scored more than six points before Monday night.
But it wasn’t just the undrafted guard having a career night; Jordan McRae (remember him from Tennessee?) and Ian Mahinmi registred 29 and 25 points, respectively, for D.C.
Miami allowed a season-high 42 points in the second quarter and could never find the energy to pull it back. The Heat came into the game boasting a five-game winning streak, too, and a recent win over the Philadelphia 76ers. I was able to watch some of the game, but I couldn’t even begin to describe how the Wizards could have possibly done what they did without the answer being associated with dark magic.
Bam Adebayo still had himself a solid outing, posting 14 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists, but with six turnovers, as well. Tyler Herro added six points, three boards, and two dimes for the Heat.
A couple of injury updates are necessary. First, Eric Bledsoe made his return to the Milwaukee Bucks lineup (as did Giannis Antetokounmpo, who sat out two games with a sore back) in an easy 123-102 victory over the Chicago Bulls. The former ‘Cat had sat out eight straight games with a fractured leg but was back on the court for 16 minutes in the blowout win. Bledsoe still managed to record 15 points, three rebounds, three assists, and four steals on 5-8 shooting from the floor.
That was the good news, now for the bad news. Karl-Anthony Towns missed his seventh game in a row for the Minnesota Timberwolves as he continues to deal with a nagging knee sprain. The Wolves still won on Monday, beating the Brooklyn Nets 122-115 in overtime, but there doesn’t appear to be a timetable for his return. Also, this bit of news dropped the other day on The Athletic: KAT might be unhappy in Minny (well, duh) and the Warriors (gulp…) are monitoring his situation. I wouldn’t read too much into this right now, but it could be something if the Wolves continue to nose dive. Before the win over Brooklyn, the Wolves had lost 12 of its previous 13 games.
Finally, Portland center Skal Labissiere is going to miss at least five games for the Blazers. The former one-and-done out of Lexington sustained a knee injury in a recent game against the Los Angeles Lakers and was forced to sit out the remainder of the affair. Now, it has been announced the Labissiere will miss the upcoming five-game road trip after his MRI results came back inconclusive.
Team announces results of the MRI on Skal Labissiere's left knee are inconclusive. He is out with left knee inflammation and will NOT travel with the team on their upcoming five-game road trip.
— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 30, 2019
Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Devin Booker (PHX)||122-116 W @ POR||33||9-19 (0-0)||6||7||0||0||2||+3||37|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||123-102 W @ CHI||15||5-8 (1-2)||3||3||4||0||3||+26||16|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||105-123 L @ WAS||14||6-11 (0-0)||14||5||0||0||6||-23||35|
|Tyler Herro (MIA)||105-123 L @ WAS||6||2-7 (1-4)||3||2||0||0||3||-2||20|
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||122-115 (OT) W vs. BKN||DNP-Knee||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||116-122 L vs. PHX||DNP-Knee||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|John Wall (WAS)||123-105 W vs. MIA||DNP-Achilles||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TODAY IN THE NBA
3:00: Celtics (Kanter) @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk, Washington)
3:00: 76ers @ Pacers
5:00: Clippers @ Kings (Fox, Gabriel)
7:00: Cavaliers (Knight) @ Raptors
7:00 (NBATV): Nuggets (Murray, Vanderbilt) @ Rockets
7:00: Warriors (Cauley-Stein) @ Spurs (Lyles)
8:00: Mavericks @ Thunder (Diallo-out, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel)