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BBNBA: Skal Labissiere Has a Chance to Prove Himself

(Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers)

(Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers)

Good morning, folks. The injury bug in Portland is allowing Skal Labissiere an opportunity for a breakout season. Let’s talk NBA.


Wildcat Trio in OKC stepping up

  • It was only the second win of the season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it felt far more important than that for a young Thunder squad on the come-up. OKC took down the New Orleans Pelicans at home, 115-104, and move to 2-4 on the year. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues his All-Star level play for the Thunder, posting a BBNBA-high 23 points on 8-14 shooting (3-5 from three) to go along with eight rebounds, four assists, and only one turnover. A cool side-note for SGA was that he got to play against his first-cousin, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a rookie out of Virginia Tech who plays for the Pellies.

  • In another impressive outing, Hamidou Diallo has been one of the standout performers across the league early into November. Diallo recorded 12 points, five rebounds, one block, and one steal in a season-high 29 minutes. He’s accepting the role of the high-motor, defensive-minded athletic freak that can change the momentum of a game with one ferocious dunk and he’s becoming a must-watch show whenever he comes off the bench.

  • Let’s go ahead and engrave that back-to-back Dunk Contest trophy for Hami. Through six games, Diallo is averaging 10 points and five rebounds on 46.3 percent shooting in over 20 minutes per game.
  • Not to be outdone, Nerlens Noel started his second-consecutive game in place of the injured Steven Adams, registering eight points, three rebounds, and a season-high six blocks. Noel’s six blocks were actually the most he recorded in an NBA game since his rookie season in 2014-15.

What in the world is this Golden State Warriors lineup?

  • As you might have expected, even against the dreadfully awful Charlotte Hornets, this starting five for the Golden State Warriors did not result in a ‘W’. No Steph Curry, no Draymond Green, no D’Angelo Russell, just a mixture of G Leaguers and one Willie Cauley-Stein, who is still being eased into the season after just returning from injury. WCS posted eight points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes for the Warriors. The Hornets won this game 93-87 in the brand new Bay Area-based Chase Center and we saw some solid games from two former Wildcats.
  • P.J. Washington went for 11 points on 5-8 shooting in addition to five rebounds, two assists, and two steals while Malik Monk contributed another nine points, three rebounds, and two assists in 20 minutes for the Hornets.

It’s official, the Suns are actually fun

  • I’m not ready to make any playoff predictions just yet, but I am fully on board the Phoenix Suns’ hype train. A 114-105 win over the Memphis Grizzlies pushes the Suns to a 4-2 record behind 21 points on 8-14 shooting and a perfect 3-3 from deep courtesy of Devin Booker. Also, a quick shoutout to Suns’ center Aron Baynes, who posted 20 points in the win and is currently shooting over 46 percent from three on 26 attempts this season. Baynes – along with Booker, Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Dario Saric, and Frank Kaminsky – have boosted this Suns team to actual competitive-level basketball. I’m just happy that Booker finally has a competent roster around him. People are about to learn just how good Booker truly is.

It’s time for the Skal Labissiere era

  • Injuries to Portland big men Zach Collins (set to have shoulder surgery) and Hassan Whiteside (minor ankle injury) have thinned out an already thin Trail Blazers frontcourt (Jusuf Nurkic and Pau Gasol came into the season with pre-existing injuries, which are expected to sideline them for a while). The injury bug has necessitated extra minutes to reserve players and one former Wildcat is eating them all up.
  • 6-foot-10 Skal Labissiere has his best chance to make a statement in the NBA right now. In a one-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, Labissiere played a season-high 22 minutes (one game after recording a then season-high of 21 minutes), going for 15 points and four rebounds on 7-9 shooting. As of right now, he’s the only healthy player on the roster that is taller than 6-foot-9. Due to uncontrollable circumstances, Labissiere has unexpectedly been handed consistent minutes the past couple of games and he’s making the most of them. While he still struggles with the physicality of other big men – and he was pushed around more than he should have been on Saturday – he has a knack for scoring in the paint and has done a solid job playing off of Damian Lillard’s gravity.

  • We need more Skal minutes!

Other notes

  • We’ll end today’s recap with Eric Bledsoe, who posted 14 points, nine rebounds, and five assists for the Milwaukee Bucks in a 115-105 win over the Toronto Raptors.
  • Check out the full stat sheet below.


PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)115-104 W vs. NOP238-14 (3-5)84011+1235
Jamal Murray (DEN)91-87 W @ ORL227-15 (2-3)42102+1032
Devin Booker (PHX)114-105 W @ MEM218-14 (3-3)12005+931
Skal Labissiere (POR)128-129 L vs. PHI157-9 (0-0)42011+322
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)115-105 W vs. TOR145-12 (1-5)95101+524
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)115-104 W vs. NOP125-14 (0-4)51111-329
P.J. Washington Jr. (CHA)93-87 W @ GSW115-8 (1-3)52201-232
Malik Monk (CHA)93-87 W @ GSW94-7 (1-4)32001+220
Nerlens Noel (OKC)115-104 W vs. NOP84-8 (0-0)32162-323
Willie Cauley-Stein (GSW)87-93 L vs. CHA84-7 (0-0)82110+621
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)131-109 W @ WASDNP-Suspended----------------
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)93-87 W @ GSWDNP-CD----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)91-87 W @ ORLDNP-CD----------------
John Wall (WAS)109-131 L vs. MINDNP-Foot----------------
Darius Miller (NOP)104-115 L @ OKCDNP-Achilles----------------


5:00: Bulls @ Pacers

6:00: Rockets @ Heat (Adebayo, Herro)

6:00: Kings (Fox, Gabriel) @ Knicks (Knox, Randle)

7:00: Lakers (Davis, Rondo-questionable) @ Spurs (Johnson, Lyles)

7:30: Mavericks @ Cavaliers (Knight)

9:00: Jazz @ Clippers (Patterson)

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

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

11 Comments for BBNBA: Skal Labissiere Has a Chance to Prove Himself

  1. makeitstop
    11:20 am November 3, 2019 Permalink

    That’s 22 cats in action this weekend, Good Lord. And, at least 5 games featured more than one former cat. And that’s with Wall and Cousins our, right? Sheez. By any measure, that’s impressive.

  2. ColoradoCatFan88
    12:43 pm November 3, 2019 Permalink

    By far my least favorite Wildcat ever

    • UKFanSC
      1:04 pm November 3, 2019 Permalink

      Just wait. EJ will occupy that spot in about 4 months.

    • ColoradoCatFan88
      1:24 pm November 3, 2019 Permalink

      Lol yea I can definitely see that happening

    • 4everUKBlue
      1:26 pm November 3, 2019 Permalink

      I don’t see that being a possibility, for me it’s a toss up between Michael Bradley, Marvin Stone and Jason Parker.

    • Carcrook
      4:14 pm November 3, 2019 Permalink

      Michael Bradley? Dude, was awesome, I wish he didn’t transfer. I agree w/the other 2.

    • 4everUKBlue
      4:24 pm November 3, 2019 Permalink

      Michael Bradley because of the bitch he was after leaving KY.

    • 4everUKBlue
      4:34 pm November 3, 2019 Permalink

      But to be fair the things he said may have had more to do with Tubby than anything.

  3. UKFanSC
    2:24 pm November 3, 2019 Permalink

    Marvin Stone !!!! Yep, ya got me there.