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BBNBA: Booker Shines During a Kentucky-Heavy Night in the NBA

(NBA Getty Images)

(NBA Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. We took a two-day hiatus while I was down in Greenville covering the SEC Tourney, but we’re back! Six different former Wildcats scored at least 20 points on Sunday. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

NBA celebrates International Women’s Day

The NBA is slowly coming around on its inclusion of women in the head coaching ranks and Sunday was a perfect opportunity to shine more light on something that still needs some serious work; more women are needed at all levels of basketball – and all sports in general.

Not even 1/3 of NBA franchises employ a female, although that number has seen a significant rise over the last two years. 11 women currently hold assistant coaching positions in the NBA and there’s an increasing belief that we’ll see a female head coach in the next five or so years (likely Becky Hammon, a Spurs assistant since 2014 who has sat directly next to Gregg Popovich for a couple of years now). We see more and more female refereess every season and broadcasts teams are adding more and more women to their play-by-play crews. This isn’t just a “trend”, this is becoming the new norm in a once male-dominated league.

Charlotte Gibson wrote an awesome article for ESPN where she talked to all of the female coaches in the NBA, discussing how they ended up in this trailblazing position. Definitely give it a read to start off your Monday morning.

Lakers win third battle of L.A.

The Los Angeles Clippers came out as the winners of the first two meetings against their cross-town rival Lakers, but as the old college saying goes: it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row. I suppose we can apply that law to the NBA, as well. The Lakers came out and put it to a healthy Clippers squad by a final score of 112-103, ending the Clips six-game winning streak.

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 30 points on 11-19 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals. The Lakers trailed 53-49 at halftime before taking control of the affair down the stretch. Davis capped off a 14-6 run late in the fourth quarter that pushed the Laker lead to 99-87, their first double-figure lead of the afternoon.

Rajon Rondo contributed four points, two rebounds, and seven assists for the Lakers in 22 minutes, shooting just 2-8 from the floor.

While it was technically a home game for the Clippers, that didn’t stop the Laker faithful from breaking out a chorus of “MVP” chants for LeBron James, who head coach Frank Vogel said played his best weekend in a Laker uniform yet. LeBron added 28 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists against the Clips, just one game after he posted 37 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists against the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks.

The Clippers finished with more turnovers (15) than assists (12). Patrick Patterson was a DNP-Coaches Decision for the eighth time in the Clippers’ previous 14 outings. Even during the six games he did appear in, the one-time Kentucky big man has only averaged 4.7 minutes per contest.

Booker’s near-perfect game against Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Bucks are without Giannis Antetokounmpo for the next week or two after he landed awkwardly on his knee in their loss to the Lakers this past Friday, and Devin Booker made sure to take full advantage. The Phoenix Suns broke out a 47-point first quarter that gave them enough space to ultimately take down the Bucks while handing them their 11th loss of the season in the process.

Booker led the BBNBA with 36 points, hardly missing anything he would chuck at the rim. The former ‘Cat went 13-17 from the floor and shot 4-6 from beyond the arc. He also added five rebounds and eight assists to his stat line. 20 of his 36 points came in that hot-shooting first period. Booker’s teammate, Ricky Rubio, busted out a triple-double performance of 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 13 assists.

”You could just tell right from the start of the game,” Booker said. ”The energy, the aura around the locker room and the passion everyone showed. Even when we were up a lot, we are playing the right way, and when they make a run, we are playing the right way.”

The Bucks actually won each of the final three quarters, but a 19-point hole after the first 12 minutes proved to be too much to overcome. Eric Bledsoe is the third Wildcat from Sunday to cross the 20-point mark, dropping 28 points while shooting 12-19 overall for Milwaukee. He also registered three rebounds and seven assists, making two of his four shots from distance.

Fox, Adebayo, and Randle join 20-point scorers

De’Aaron Fox (SAC), Bam Adebayo (MIA), and Julius Randle (NYK) all poured in at least 20 points on Sunday night in their respective games. While Fox’s squad came up just short against the Toronto Raptors, 118-113, both Adebayo and Randle helped lead their team’s victories.

Fox finished with 28 points, four rebounds, and four assists for the Sacramento Kings, shooting 8-16 overall. The Kings came into this game as winners of seven out of its previous nine outings as they hang on to a sliver of hope that they can still make a run at the postseason. But this loss knocks them back to four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Adebayo led the Miami Heat to a 100-89 win over the Washington Wizards, as the first time All-Star (that sure is fun to say) went off for 27 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists while making nine of his 13 shot attempts. Without Jimmy Butler, the Heat rattled off a key 25-3 run late in the game that propelled them to the fourth-quarter win.

Lastly, Randle led his New York Knicks to a 96-84 win over the Detroit Pistons, finishing with 22 points and 12 rebounds. The Knicks were able to limit Detroit to just 13 fourth-quarter points, winning for the third time over the last five games. Kevin Knox added seven points and two rebounds for New York while Brandon Knight was sidelined for the Pistons with a sore knee.

Other notes 

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder were without second-year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who sat out the first-ever NBA game of his young career. A right hip contusion held him out in a clutch 105-104 win against the Boston Celtics. Coming into Sunday, SGA was tied for the league’s lead in overall minutes played (2,214). Dennis Schroder ripped Kemba Walker in the backcourt with OKC down one point and under 10 seconds left that he immediately converted into an easy layup. Jayson Tatum’s shot at the buzzer for Boston did not fall and OKC won its third straight game after overcoming an 18-point first-half deficit. Hamidou Diallo contributed three points in 17 minutes while Nerlens Noel added five points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes for OKC.
  • Trey Lyles posted 13 points and nine rebounds, playing 41 minutes in the San Antonio Spurs 132-129 overtime loss to MY Cleveland Cavaliers, who have now won two games in a row. Hallelujah!

Check out the full box sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)140-131 W vs. MIL3613-17 (4-6)58126+839
Anthony Davis (LAL)112-103 W @ LAC3011-19 (1-4)82211+1234
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)131-140 L @ PHX2812-19 (2-4)37103-834
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)113-118 L vs. TOR288-16 (2-6)44003-2530
Bam Adebayo (MIA)100-89 W @ WAS279-13 (0-0)146015+2233
Julius Randle (NYK)96-84 W vs. DET227-14 (1-1)121302-132
Trey Lyles (SAS)129-132 (OT) L @ CLE134-10 (0-3)92111-1241
Kevin Knox (NYK)96-84 W vs. DET73-6 (1-2)20120+119
Nerlens Noel (OKC)105-104 W @ BOS51-3 (0-0)90003-321
Willie Cauley-Stein (DAL)109-112 L vs. IND52-2 (0-0)30000-39
Rajon Rondo (LAL)112-103 W @ LAC42-8 (0-2)27002022
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)105-104 W @ BOS31-2 (1-1)11001017
Enes Kanter (BOS)104-105 L vs. OKC00-1 (0-0)2200005
Patrick Patterson (LAC)103-112 L vs. LALDNP-CD----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (MIN)107-120 L vs. NOPDNP-Inactive----------------
Keldon Johnson (SAS)129-132 (OT) L @ CLEDNP-Inactive----------------
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)105-104 W @ BOSDNP-Hip----------------
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (DAL)109-112 L vs. INDDNP-Illness----------------
Brandon Knight (DET)84-96 L @ NYKDNP-Knee----------------
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)107-120 L vs. NOPDNP-Wrist----------------
Tyler Herro (MIA)100-89 W @ WASDNP-Ankle----------------
John Wall (WAS)89-100 L vs. MIADNP-Foot----------------
Darius Miller (NOP)120-107 W @ MINDNP-Achilles----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:30: Hornets (Monk-suspended, Washington) @ Hawks (Labissiere-out) 

9:00 (NBATV): Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Nuggets (Murray) 

9:00: Raptors @ Jazz

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Covering all things NBA and UK Hoops. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR