On a night riddled with postponed NBA games due to COVID-19 protocols and safety precautions, the avid basketball fan was probably a little underwhelmed. I mean no Bradley Beal going off for 40+ against the Pistons. No matchup between Stephen Curry and Devin Booker. Shoot, we could not even see Anthony Edwards show out against the Memphis Grizzlies. Nonetheless, the games we did get were nothing less than entertaining. There were a few blowouts but there were also plenty of nail biters to go around. But what made these games so great was the emergence of even more young talent across the NBA landscape. The New York Knicks with RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickly. Zach Lavine and Coby White over in Chicago. Even Shai Gilgeous-Alexander came out and had a career night. There is a saying that goes “Out with old and in with the new.” Well, I am here to say that there are a handful of “new” guys that are starting to make a name for themselves, and what better way to announce yourself to the league than great performance under the Friday night lights! Here are some of the top performers from yesterday’s games.

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Talk about putting the squad on your back! This week we got a handful of performances from star players that most would define as “Herculean Efforts.” 30-point games, 60-point games, big time comebacks, and one-possession games.

In a week filled with thrillers and big-time performances on a nightly basis, it was so hard to choose one guy from each conference that really stood out over the rest. Nonetheless, I narrowed things down and the themes of the week is “Putting on Superman’s Cape!”

The players that fit this description are guys that not only balled out, but guys who were the SOLE REASON their team was even competitive in the games played this week. So, with that, the Players of the Week are Bradley Beal in the Eastern Conference and Stephen Curry in the Western Conference. I also sprinkled in two honorable mentions just because this week was such a toss-up!

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Friday Night Lights are known to bring the best out of athletes. Big-time performances, breakout players, and competitive scores are all things that make Friday Night games the best. On a Friday full of high scoring finishes, franchise record-breaking feats, and careers highs, these games may have given us some of the best performances of the season far. From the Battle of the Ball Brothers to the offensive clinic put on by Bradley Beal and Caris LeVert in losing efforts, the individual performances highlighted some potential All-Star worthy players we all need to keep tabs on. The Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors also SHOT THE LIGHTS OUT in big-time wins where they shot historically well from three. On a night full of great moments, it is hard to sum it all up in one place and really put it into perspective…Oh that is right, I did all that and more for you down below as we look at the NBA’s Friday Night Top Performers!

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Last week we praised some of the league’s top guard/wing talent, but this week it’s all about the big men! These two big men embody what the 2021 version of a dominant center looks like while demonstrating that the center position is still continuing to improve and adjust to the times. Happy New Year to this week’s Players of the Week, Joel Embiid from the Eastern Conference and Christian Wood in the Western Conference. 

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The name of the game is to put the ball in the basket by any means. Bucket Getters win ball games. In Friday’s onslaught of games, we saw a variety of different offensive outputs that highlight and glorify everything that makes today’s more offensive oriented NBA so special. Double-doubles, triple-doubles, game-winners, and breakout performances. Although typically the big performances come from some of the games’ best players, this week has a handful of new faces bursting onto the season to make their presence felt. The NBA is full of rising talent and that was definitely on display as these guys lit up the scoreboard and put the league on notice!

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This week we have been able to enjoy family time and spread holiday cheer. A time when the most important things are truly made clear. A time of celebration and gift-giving and with that the NBA gifted us as basketball fans the best Christmas present of all: The start of the new NBA season.

Contenders and stars. Big-time matchups and even bigger blowouts. But there can only be two players of the week. To kick off the 2020-21 NBA season the Holiday Hoopers of the Week are Kyrie Irving in the Eastern Conference and Paul George from the Western Conference.

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To all, a Merry Christmas and jolly end of the year as the NBA gave us some wonderful holiday games to help kick off the new NBA year! There are young and rising stars with all kinds of franchises that are universally renowned! The NBA gave us Christmas early this year as the 2020-21 season started much earlier than anticipated and with that, they so far have not disappointed. We have seen the duos and buckets and blowouts alike. A perfect start to an NBA season to help kick things off just right. With the NBA in full effect and the season finally here, let’s continue to enjoy all these great games and pray that 2021 will be a better year!

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There is no stopping the King. Those who stand his way are forced to bow down to his greatness. With the Friday night lights gleaming, no superstar shines brighter. In a head-to-head battle between MVP candidates, one man rose to the occasion and asserted himself as the leading candidate. That man would happen to be Lebron James. Flirting with a triple-double, James was aggressive all night as he placed his stamp all over the game and all over the Milwaukee Bucks. Even when struggling from behind the three-point line, “Logo Lebron” still found a way to drop a near 40-ball in a big time win. Talk about “young bucks,” the 35-year-old babied and bullied the Bucks all night as he continues his historic MVP run.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
37 8 8 3 0 4 1/7 12/21 12/15

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“I got the magic in me. Every time I touch that  track it turns into gold. Everybody knows I got the magic in me.” The list of Orlando Magic greats may not be excessively long, but the names up there are definitely hard to argue against. Shaquille O’Neal. Penny Hardaway. Tracy McGrady. Dwight Howard. Should I go on? You get the jest. When your name is mentioned in with those greats, that means that you have just accomplished something special. That is exactly what Aaron Gordon did Friday night. Just when you thought that losing another dunk contest would hurt his self esteem. Rather than sulking about falling short yet again in the dunk contest in this year’s All Star Weekend, this man messed around and got his first career triple-double.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
17 11 12 2 0 2 1/6 6/13 4/5

Here’s what else I saw Friday night:

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