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BBNBA: Introducing Julius Randle, All-Star

Photo: TheAron W. Henderson/Getty Images, h/t @ESPN

Photo: TheAron W. Henderson/Getty Images, h/t @ESPN

Good morning, BBN. A new face has joined the long line of UK players selected to participate in the NBA’s most exclusive (albeit meaningless) event. He celebrated by balling out again, possibly just to prove a point. Let’s talk about it.

RECAP

Randle, Davis join All-Star ranks

Tuesday night, the NBA announced the list of seven reserve players from each conference who will join the rosters of All-Star captains Kevin Durant and LeBron James in next week’s “All-Star Draft” (side note: when did this become so complicated?). On those lists were two familiar names: L.A.’s Anthony Davis, making his eighth appearance, and New York’s Julius Randle, who will be making his first. After getting the news, an emotional Randle took the time to address the fans at Madison Square Garden before their game against the Warriors, only to be greeted by chants of “MVP.”

And if that didn’t tickle your emotion-buttons, check out the surprise message from Julius’ mom that the Knicks played on the jumbotron shortly after:

There’s no doubt that this honor was a long time coming for Randle, who has been a consistent offensive threat in the league ever since he was selected 7th in the 2014 draft by the Lakers. After bouncing around a bit, he appears to have finally found his groove in New York, where he’s averaging career-high numbers across the board (I broke down some of these numbers on Monday). The Knicks aren’t overtly known for their hospitality, but they’ve clearly rallied behind Randle, who has put the team on his back this year, leading them into playoff contention with his deft touch and bullying play down low.

In the game itself, Randle put up another stellar line with 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in an eight-point loss to Steph Curry & co. Nerlens Noel joined him with eight points and five rebounds, and Immanuel Quickley chipped in three points on 1-5 shooting in just 13 minutes (*cue grumbling*). Kevin Knox and Mychal Mulder both received DNP-CDs.

It’s possible that Randle could be the BBN’s lone representative in the March 7 festivities, as it’s expected that Davis will be forced to miss the game with his current leg injury. But if he is removed, the list of likely replacements is full of former ‘Cats: Devin Booker, De’Aaron Fox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could all receive consideration.

Fox erupts after All-Star snub

One of those names was also in action on Tuesday, as Fox’s Kings took on the red-hot Brooklyn Nets in the late game. Brooklyn came away with the victory thanks to a 29-point triple-double from James Harden, but not for any lack of effort on Fox’s part. The fourth-year guard tallied 27 points and eight assists, shooting an impressive 5-8 from 3-point range as well. It was his highest scoring output in the team’s last six games, and his sixth-highest total of the season. Not bad for an All-Star reject…

In all seriousness, even if he doesn’t make the team this year, it won’t be long before Fox follows in Randle’s footsteps. The Kings have shown promise this year, with rookie Tyrese Haliburton establishing himself as a secondary weapon in the backcourt and Marvin Bagley III continuing to develop down low; but make no mistake, it’s Fox’s show–and at 23 years old, he’s only scratched his potential.

Red-hot Murray, Nuggets outlast Blazers

Mama, there goes that man. Jamal Murray compiled 24 points, eight assists and five rebounds in Denver’s 111-106 win over the Trail Blazers, nicely complimenting Nikola Jokic’s 41-point outburst to secure the victory. The game was his seventh consecutive with 20+ points, officially matching his career-best streak set during last year’s Western Conference Finals. He’s always showed the potential to go nuclear on any given night (his 12 career 35-plus point outbursts prove that), but he’s starting to show signs of the one thing he was missing: consistency. And if that’s the case… look out world.

Through 31 games this season, he’s on pace to crack the 20-points-per-game barrier for the first time, and his 38% shooting clip from outside would also be a career-best. Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like the Blue Arrow has found its target.

Also from this game: Enes Kanter put together another solid, dare I say Kanterian line, with 16 points (7-9 FG), eight rebounds and three blocks in the loss. No word yet on whether he’s been selected to defend his title in the All-Star weekend’s annual WWE-style wrestling contest.*

More from last night:

  • KAT and the Timberwolves took yet another one on the chin, this time a 27-point drubbing at the hands of Giannis and the Bucks. Karl finished with a near triple-double of 26 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. Can we get this man out of Minnesota already?
  • In Cleveland, Rajon Rondo made his return for the Hawks after missing the last seven games with back soreness. He contributed seven points and three rebounds in 14 glorious minutes. The Hawks lost by one.
  • Tyrese Maxey watched from the bench once again as the Sixers ground out a seven-point win over Toronto. After starting the season hot, he’s struggled recently, and seen his minutes drop as a result.

* Just kidding about the wrestling thing, guys. It was obviously canceled this year.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)118-127 L vs. BKN279-18 (5-8)18014-2238
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)112-139 L vs. MIL2610-19 (1-6)811103-736
Julius Randle (NYK)106-114 L vs GSW258-21 (3-6)107001-2135
Jamal Murray (DEN)111-106 W vs. POR247-18 (4-8)58211+1038
Enes Kanter (POR)106-111 L vs. DEN167-9 (0-0)50030-338
Nerlens Noel (NYK)106-114 L vs GSW84-6 (0-0)50132-1824
Rajon Rondo (ATL)111-112 L vs. CLE73-4 (1-2)31002-1814
Willie Cauley-Stein (DAL)110-107 W vs. BOS52-2 (0-0)40010-424
Immanuel Quickley (NYK)106-114 L vs GSW31-5 (1-4)21001+1213
Jarred Vanderbilt (MIN)112-139 L vs. MIL21-2 (0-0)50000+111
Tyrese Maxey (PHI)109-102 L vs. TORDNP - Coach's decision----------------
Kevin Knox (NYK)106-114 L vs GSWDNP - Coach's decision----------------
Mychal Mulder (GSW)114-106 W vs. NYKDNP - Coach's decision----------------
Patrick Patterson (LAC)135-116 W vs. WASDNP - Coach's decision----------------

TODAY IN THE NBA

7:30 (ESPN): Warriors (Mulder) @ Pacers

7:30: Celtics @ Hawks (Rondo)

7:30: Rockets (Wall) @ Cavaliers

8:00: Raptors @ Heat (Adebayo, Herro)

8:00: Timberwolves (Towns, Vanderbilt) @ Bulls

8:00: Pistons @ Pelicans (Bledsoe, Gabriel)

8:00: Spurs (Johnson, Lyles) @ Thunder (Gilgeous-Alexander, Diallo, Miller)

9:00: Hornets (Washington, Monk) @ Suns (Booker)

10:00 (ESPN): Lakers (Davis*) @ Jazz

* – inactive

Article written by Wynn McDonald

You fellas have nothing to worry about, I'm a professional. @twynstagram