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BBNBA: Knox’s impressive first half and postponements across the league

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Four games have now been postponed through the first three weeks of the 2020-21 season. Let’s talk BBNBA.

RECAP

Knox scores 19 as Kentucky Knicks lose big to Hornets

Kevin Knox was in an offensive groove in the first half against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night, but his New York Knicks squad fell apart in the second half, losing 109-88.

Knox was the star of the night for the Kentucky Knicks, finishing with a season-high 19 points on 7-17 shooting including a 5-12 mark from beyond the arc. The former Wildcat also corralled five boards and dished out two assists in his 29 minutes, scoring 17 of his points in the first half on a 5-8 clip from 3-point range. However, the Hornets locked onto Knox in the third and four quarters, limiting him to just two points on 1-7 shooting as Charlotte routed New York throughout the final 24 minutes, 52-38.

Charlotte has now won four games in a row and boasts a 6-5 record in the Eastern Conference.

Julius Randle had an off night from the floor for New York, making just two of his nine shot attempts, but still managing 11 points in addition to five rebounds and five assists. Charlotte made it a point to stop Randle, who has been terrorizing opposing defense this season, first and foremost, executing its gameplan to near perfection.

”Julius is getting double-teamed and triple-teamed right now with his post up, trying to get the ball out of his hands and we can operate off of that,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said after the loss. ”We have to have good spacing, and right now we are hesitating a little bit and I don’t want them to do that.”

Immanuel Quickley was even worse for Coach Thibs, missing all six of his 3-point shots while shooting just 1-10 on the game for three points, four rebounds, and three assists. Nerlens Noel contributed four points, five rebounds, and two blocks in his 15 minutes for the Knicks.

The Hornets were powered by 34 points from Gordon Hayward and aided by P.J. Washington’s 13 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one block. Hayward dropped 28 points in the first half and is averaging nearly 30 points per outing since Charlotte’s mini-win streak began. Nick Richards played the final 1:21 of garbage time, but failed to register any stats while Malik Monk was a DNP-Coach’s Decision for the 10th out of 11 possible games as a member of Michael Jordan’s franchise this  year.

Big nights from Booker and Fox  

Devin Booker came up well short while De’Aaron Fox earned the win, but both of these one-time ‘Cats played exceptionally well for their respective squads on Monday night.

Over in the nation’s capitol, Booker’s Phoenix Suns were ripped to shreds by the hands of the Washington Wizards, 128-107, trailing by as many as 32 points midway through the second quarter. Bradley Beal, the NBA’s leading scorer thus far this season, dropped 34 points for the Wiz, snapping his team’s three-game losing streak in the process. Phoenix shot just 4-27 (14.8 percent) from long range on the evening.

Booker still led the BBNBA with 33 points on an 11-21 shooting clip, but said after the game that the Suns played to the pace of what the Wizards were looking for, instead of executing their own gameplan.

Across the country in Sacramento, Fox and the Kings were able to fend off the Indiana Pacers by a final count of 127-122. The former Wildcat was steady all game long, recording 21 points, five rebounds, and nine assists while shooting 7-19 from the floor.

Fox put the finishing touches on this win, as well, polishing off the Pacers with this MONSTROUS one-handed slam down the middle of the lane that put the Kings ahead by six with 33 seconds left in regulation.

Fox’s dunk came shortly after a Buddy Hield triple gave Sacramento the four-point lead with 1:09 left. The Kings would ice the win away with free-throws down the stretch and move to 5-6 on the year.

Other notes from across the BBNBA

Tyrese Maxey followed up his outstanding career-high performance of 39 points with a modest 15 against the Atlanta Hawks. Maxey’s Philadelphia 76ers would lose in a blowout, 112-94, but he looked like a budding star once again on Monday night. The shifty guard added six rebounds, four assists, and two blocks to his stat line while shooting 7-14 from the floor in 31 minutes.

Statistically, Enes Kanter continues to shoot the ball better than almost every in the NBA. The 10-year veteran is now up to a 68.1 overall field goal percentage after shooting 7-8 from the floor during the Portland Trail Blazers 112-111 win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. Kanter finished with 14 points and six rebounds for the Blazers, and now trails only Mitchell Robinson (who is shooting slightly better at 68.2 percent) for the league’s overall field goal percentage lead.

Two more games–one on Monday and another scheduled for later on Tuesday–have been postponed by the NBA due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing decimating rosters around the league. Pelicans-Mavericks was postponed on Monday while the Celtics-Bulls planned for Tuesday has been postponed, as well. If the NBA wants the season to continue, something has to change now.

Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)107-128 L @ WAS3311-21 (1-3)30111-1532
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)127-122 W vs. IND217-19 (2-6)59115+938
Kevin Knox (NYK)88-109 L @ CHA197-17 (5-12)52012-429
Tyrese Maxey (PHI)94-112 L @ ATL157-14 (0-1)64022-2431
Enes Kanter (POR)112-111 W vs. TOR147-8 (0-0)60100015
P.J. Washington (CHA)109-88 W vs. NYK134-11 (2-5)52011+1730
Julius Randle (NYK)88-109 L @ CHA112-9 (0-2)55014-2030
Nerlens Noel (NYK)88-109 L @ CHA42-2 (0-0)50121+615
Immanuel Quickley (NYK)88-109 L @ CHA31-10 (0-6)43001-229
Nick Richards (CHA)109-88 W vs. NYK00-000000+31
Malik Monk (CHA)109-88 W vs. NYKDNP-Coach's Decision----------------
Rajon Rondo (ATL)112-94 W vs. PHIDNP-Knee----------------
Willie Cauley-Stein (DAL)VS. NOP POSTPONED------------------
Eric Bledsoe (NOP)@ DAL POSTPONED------------------
Wenyen Gabriel (NOP)@ DAL POSTPONED------------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Heat (Adebayo-out, Herro) @ 76ers (Maxey)

7:30: Nuggets (Murray) @ Nets

7:30: Jazz @ Cavaliers

8:00 (NBATV): Lakers (Davis-questionable) @ Rockets (Cousins, Wall-questionable)

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

10:30 (NBATV): Pacers @ Warriors (Mulder)

Celtics @ Bulls: POSTPONED

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

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