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BBNBA: Point guards lead the way and the Lakers win in double-OT

(@HoustonRockets)

(@HoustonRockets)

Happy Super Bowl Sunday folks. Before we settle down to watch the Big Game, let’s go over a big day from former ‘Cats in a different professional sports league.

If you’d like to help vote your favorite former Kentucky Wildcats into the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, you can do so by clicking the link here. Or you can vote for them through Twitter by hashtagging the player’s name with #NBAAllStar next to it. For example: “#JuliusRandle #NBAAllStar” would be one vote for Julius Randle. You can tweet out votes for up to 10 players in a given day, or simply retweet anything that meets the criteria for a certified vote.

RECAP

AD and LeBron need two overtimes to beat the Pistons

We all know that 24+ points-per-game legend Jerami Grant is a worthy opponent, but with the worst record in the NBA, Detroit shouldn’t be a threat to the defending champs. In fact, one of Detroit’s five wins this season came a week and a half ago against the Lakers. This time around, a grumpy LeBron finished them off with 33 points of his own, while AD poured in 30 as the two combined to play 91 minutes. Sheesh.

LAL is still a half-game back from Utah in the West, but they’ve surged ahead of the Clippers again after a brief stint from LAC as the two-seed.

A BIG night for point guards

Next to the aforementioned double-OT Lakers-Pistons bout, the second-most entertaining game of the evening was held in Sacramento, where De’Aaron Fox and the Kings took down the Nuggets 119-114. With Jamal Murray sidelined due to left knee soreness, MVP candidate Nikola Jokic dropped 50 points on a crazy-efficient 20-33 from the field, adding eight boards and 12 assists. Yet it was Fox’s Kings that took home the victory. After a somewhat rocky shooting start to 2021, Fox has really began to shoot it well both from the field and beyond the arc, now up to 37% from three following a year where he dipped below 30%. 

In a Texan rivalry match, John Wall‘s 27 points and seven assists just weren’t enough for his Rockets to overcome the San Antonio Spurs. Wall’s 2010 running mate, DeMarcus Cousins, finished with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Between the two former superstars, both coming off multiple years of severe injuries, it’s been Wall who’s had the easier recovery and more closely resembles the All-Star that he once was.

But that’s no slight to Boogie, who’s become more of what Marc Gasol was with Toronto the year they won the title and is now with the current champs in LA: a signal-caller, leader, very reliable defender and big body down low that doesn’t demand the ball. His increase in maturity and leadership over the past few seasons has been very, very cool. Injuries are always horrible, but perhaps his maturity on and off the court can be credited as a product of facing such staunch adversity in the middle of what should have been his prime. 

Speaking of that wonderful 2010 squad, Eric Bledsoe had another nice night, scoring 21 points on 7-15 from the field and 4-9 from three. The Pelicans are quietly steadying the ship after a disappointing start to the season and sit at 10-12, just a few games away from the coveted and crowded .500 mark.

With Bledsoe, his shooting has been the heel of his game, something Bucks fans and NBA analysts at large pointed at for his Bucks’ teams lack of postseason success. Well, he was traded a year after signing a sizeable extension in Milwaukee in large part due to his shooting woes. This year, he’s responded. On over five attempts from beyond the arc per game, over the course of 22 games now, Bledsoe is shooting 40.7% from deep and on high volume. It still may not stick, but we’re too deep into the season to call it an anomaly.

In Oklahoma City, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander re-took the point guard reigns after Hamidou Diallo was handed the spot the other night (check out Zack’s article on that). In his return, SGA netted 31 on 12-22 shooting with a near-triple-double (nine rebounds and seve assists) as the Thunder eeked out a victory over the pitiful Timberwolves. Diallo finished with 15 points, six rebounds and three assists while Jarred Vanderbilt didn’t do a whole lot in his return to the starting lineup, although his development is going under the radar in terms of former UK guys. He’s a legit rotation piece now.

Alright, I filled quite a bit of air with that point guard segment, so I’ll let ya check out the full stat sheet from the Cats in the league on Saturday.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)120-118 W vs. MIN3112-22
(2-6)
97102+734
Anthony Davis (LAL)135-129 W vs. DET3013-22
(3-7)
53123+945
John Wall (HOU)111-106 L vs. SAS2710-19
(1-5)
27012-1032
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)119-114 W vs. DEN249-20
(4-7)
25002+338
Julius Randle (NYK)110-99 W vs. POR227-16 (2-4)114001+1139
Eric Bledsoe (NOP)118-109 W vs. MEM217-15
(4-9)
45000+2231
Hamidou Diallo120-118 W vs. MIN156-13
(1-4)
63112+331
Enes Kanter (POR)110-99 L @ NYK136-10
(0-0)
110041-834
Immanuel Quickley (NYK)110-99 W vs. POR124-8
(2-5)
23102+513
DeMarcus Cousins (HOU)111-106 L vs. SAS125-12
(2-7)
112123-130
Keldon Johnson (SAS)111-106 W @ HOU103-7
(0-2)
61002+326
Mychal Mulder (GSW)134-132 L @ DAL83-5
(2-4)
00000-510
Rajon Rondo (ATL)132-121 W vs. TOR21-3
(0-1)
02101+212
Jarred Vanderbilt (MIN)120-118 L @ OKC21-1
(0-0)
42010+618
Tyrese Maxey (PHI)124-108 W vs. BKN00-0
(0-0)
10000+63

TODAY IN THE NBA

1:00: Jazz @ Pacers

1:00: Heat (Herro, Adebayo) @ Knicks (Noel, Knox, Quickley, Randle)

1:00: Wizards @ Hornets (Washington, Monk, Richards)

2:00 (NBATV): Celtics @ Suns (Booker)

3:00: Kings (Fox) @ Clippers (Patterson)

Article written by Alex Weber

@alexweberKSR on Twitter.