Good afternoon, folks. SGA now has 32 points in back-to-back games. Let’s NBA.
Back-to-back career-highs for SGA
Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George made his return to Oklahoma City after requesting a trade that sent him to L.A. this past offseason. Normally, those types of actions create a rift between fan base and player (i.e., Kevin Durant’s departure from OKC a few years ago), but the Thunder faithful came off as extremely grateful.
”It was great,” George said, according to AP. ”It made me feel appreciated, just being here. I enjoyed my time here.”
George played two full seasons in OKC, finishing third in MVP voting a season ago alongside former MVP Russell Westbrook. The pair created an unlikely bond and chemistry that led the Thunder to 49 wins last year. Had George not injured his shoulder late in the season, he might have made the MVP race even more controversial.
But those two years were short-lived; George was traded to LAC in the summer to team up with Kawhi Leonard. And what did the Thunder get in return? Oh, just the most important piece of the entire trade. Not the five future first-round picks, not the rights to swap future picks, not Danilo Gallinari – who posted a borderline All-Star season in 2018-19 – but second-year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
After SGA recorded his second consecutive game of 32 points on Sunday night, I’d say Thunder fans are perfectly content with the trade-off. Gilgeous-Alexander went off for 32 points on Friday against the Phoenix Suns and then dropped 32 more against his former team just two nights later. In a 118-112 victory over LAC, SGA added three rebounds, five assists, and two steals to his stat line while shooting 12-25 from the field. Nerlens Noel registered eight points and five rebounds in 16 minutes for the Thunder.
OKC rallied from an 18-point second-quarter deficit – the third time in seven games that the Thunder have been forced to crawl out of a sizable hole – and Dennis Schroder poured in 16 fourth-quarter points to lead the Thunder to its fourth straight win and a 15-14 record. It marks the first time all season that OKC has been above .500.
Patrick Patterson, who is now on the Clips but spent the previous two seasons in Oklahoma, also received an ovation from the home crowd. The former Wildcat recorded 12 points, six rebounds, and two assists on 5-7 shooting from the field.
Nuggets blow out LeBron-less Lakers
With LeBron James on the sideline dealing with a muscle strain for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Denver Nuggets made sure to build on its recent winning streak. Heading into Sunday’s matchup, the Nuggets had won five straight games with the offense clicking on levels they had yet to see this season. All five of those victories came at home, but a trip to L.A. didn’t slow them down. Denver rolled over the Lakers, 128-104.
Jamal Murray was not his usual self, scoring just six points on 3-11 shooting in addition to his three rebounds, five assists, and one steal. He shot 0-6 from deep and turned the ball over twice, but a series of devastating scoring runs from Denver as a whole buried the Lakers. Not even 32 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks from Anthony Davis could save L.A.
To make matters worse, Davis tweaked his knee in the middle of the third quarter and looked to be in a serious amount of pain. Luckily, he went back out and played the fourth quarter. Rajon Rondo contributed five points, four rebounds, eight assists, and three steals for the Lakers. L.A. has now lost three straight after a seven-game winning streak.
- Enes Kanter hauled in double-digit rebounds for the third consecutive outing and the fourth time this season. His 13 boards were complemented by eight points and one block in 24 minutes. Kanter’s Boston Celtics ran away with a 119-93 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. Malik Monk only went for three points for Charlotte, but they came off this highlight dunk.
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) December 23, 2019
Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||118-112 W vs. LAC||32||12-25 (2-3)||3||5||2||0||2||+16||34|
|Anthony Davis (LAL)||104-128 L vs. DEN||32||13-23 (1-4)||11||1||0||4||5||-13||33|
|Patrick Patterson (LAC)||112-118 L @ OKC||12||5-7 (2-3)||6||2||0||1||1||-10||17|
|Enes Kanter (BOS)||119-93 W vs. CHA||8||3-7 (0-0)||13||0||0||1||1||+17||24|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||118-112 W vs. LAC||8||4-5 (0-0)||5||0||0||1||1||+10||16|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||128-104 W @ LAL||6||3-11 (0-6)||3||5||1||0||2||+16||31|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||104-128 L vs. DEN||5||2-8 (1-4)||4||8||3||0||2||-7||27|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||93-119 L @ BOS||3||1-5 (0-2)||2||1||0||0||0||-14||20|
|Michael KIdd-Gilchrist (CHA)||93-119 L @ BOS||0||0-0||0||1||0||0||0||-3||5|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||117-89 W vs. IND||DNP-Leg||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||118-112 W vs. LAC||DNP-Elbow||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|P.J. Washington Jr. (CHA)||93-119 L @ BOS||DNP-Finger||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||128-104 W @ LAL||DNP-Inactive||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Hawks @ Cavaliers (Knight)
7:00: 76ers @ Pistons
7:00 (NBATV): Raptors @ Pacers
7:00: Wizards (Wall-out) @ Knicks (Knox, Randle)
7:00: Bulls @ Magic
7:30: Jazz @ Heat (Adebayo, Herro)
8:00: Spurs (Lyles) @ Grizzlies
9:00: Nuggets (Murray, Vanderbilt) @ Suns (Booker)
10:00 (NBATV): Pelicans (Miller-out) @ Trail Blazers (Labissiere)
10:00: Rockets @ Kings (Fox, Gabriel)
10:30: Timberwolves (Towns-questionable) @ Warriors (Cauley-Stein)