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BBNBA: Rondo Turns Back the Clock Without LeBron and AD

(Darren Carroll | Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Rajon Rondo looked like he was playing back in 2011 on Saturday night. Let’s talk NBA.

REMINDER: 2020 NBA All-Star fan voting is now OPEN!

RECAP

No AD, no Bron, no problem for Rajon

Without Anthony Davis (sitting out his second consecutive game with a sore booty) or LeBron James (out with the common cold), the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t expect to come out and trounce one of the league’s most impressive teams. The Oklahoma City Thunder came to L.A. on an unexpected hot streak. They had won two straight and seven out of its previous eight games before playing the star-less Lakers.

Despite all the talent on the Laker bench – including starting shooting guard Danny Green – the best team in the West demolished OKC all night long. It was a 73-49 advantage for L.A. at halftime, who grew the lead to as many as 32 points by the third quarter. Rajon Rondo led the way for the Lakers, posting 21 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists as a starter.

”Rondo set the tone for us,” Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said, who added a season-high 36 points. ”Going right after CP (Chris Paul) right out of the gate, being aggressive with his scoring. A lot of times, everybody knows him as a pass-first guy. He came out today in attack mode.”

The Thunder entered the game coming off a massive upset win over the Houston Rockets, 113-92, but played flat all game long. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander still managed 24 points and eight rebounds on 8-17 shooting from the floor while Hamidou Diallo contributed just one point on a 0-5 shooting clip in 14 minutes. Nerlens Noel was sidelined for the third straight game with a sprained ankle.

Nuggets upset at home by Cavs

In what will go down as the weirdest loss for the Denver Nuggets thus far this season, one of the West’s top teams was thoroughly outplayed down the stretch by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Denver had to rally from 17 points down in the third quarter and 14 to start the fourth before securing its first lead of the game by a score of 96-95. Jamal Murray popped off for 14 of his 24 points in the final period while Nikola Jokic added 10 points of his own, but the Nuggets couldn’t convert when they needed to the most. Cleveland made shots down the stretch to earn a 110-103 win.

”We just missed shots,” Murray said. ”That fourth quarter we took the lead but at that point they were in rhythm. If they’re open and making shots they’re confident.”

Murray finished with five rebounds, three assists, and three steals on top of his 24 points while shooting 10-22 from the floor. The former ‘Cat missed a three late in the game that would have tied it for Denver.

For Cleveland, Brandon Knight registered eight points, two rebounds, and two assists on a 3-6 mark from the field.

Other notes

  • Eric Bledsoe led the BBNBA in scoring on Saturday, adding 29 points in the Milwaukee Bucks 122-101 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. The former Kentucky guard shot 11-20 while adding four rebounds and three assists to his stat line. Skal Labissiere was out for Portland, and he’s expected to miss another month due to a recent knee injury.
  • Enes Kanter put on his best performance of the season in the Boston Celtics 140-105 trashing of the New Orleans Pelicans. Kanter posted 22 points and 19 rebounds – both season highs – on 10-13 shooting while his teammate, Jayson Tatum, poured in a career-high 41 points.

Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)122-101 W @ POR2911-20 (3-5)43024+1627
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)110-125 L vs. LAL248-17 (1-4)80111-1234
Jamal Murray (DEN)103-111 L vs. CLE2410-22 (2-9)53301-435
Enes Kanter (BOS)140-105 W vs. NOP2210-13 (0-0)191001+1123
Rajon Rondo (LAL)125-110 W @ OKC2110-22 (1-6)128102+1432
Brandon Knight (CLE)111-103 W @ DEN83-6 (2-4)22002-1217
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)110-125 L vs. LAL10-5 (0-0)11001-414
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)103-111 L vs. CLEDNP-Inactive----------------
Anthony Davis (LAL)125-110 W @ OKCDNP-Bruised Ass----------------
Nerlens Noel (OKC)110-125 L vs. LALDNP-Ankle----------------
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)109-139 L @ HOUDNP-Knee----------------
Skal Labissiere (POR)101-122 L vs. MILDNP-Knee----------------
Darius Miller (NOP)105-140 L @ BOSDNP-Achilles----------------

TODAY IN THE NBA

3:30: Heat (Adebayo, Herro) @ Knicks (Knox, Randle-probable)

3:30: Jazz @ Wizards (Wall-out)

6:00: Hawks @ Nets

6:00: Spurs (Johnson, Lyles)@ Raptors

6:00: Warriors (Cauley-Stein) @ Grizzlies

8:00: Clippers (Patterson) @ Nuggets (Murray, Vanderbilt)

8:00: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk, Washington) @ Suns (Booker)

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Covering all things NBA. Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan