Boy oh boy did we have some great matchups under the Friday Night Lights this week ladies and gentlemen. Battles amongst some of the best players in the league with a few interesting storylines.

We had the battle of the top 2020 NBA Draft picks as No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards going toe-to-toe with No.3 overall pick LaMelo Ball. Then there was the matchup between two up and coming Western Conference teams as Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans faced off against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. And of course, to close the night, we got a dogfight between the King, LeBron James, and the Phenom, Ja Morant, as the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies went blow for blow till the very end.

Definitely some interesting games with some amazing performances by some of the top talents in the game. So, with that, here are the standout performers from Friday Night’s slate of games!

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Maybe it is all the hype building up from the BallIsLife mixtapes and House of Highlights montages on YouTube. Maybe it is the loud ringing of Lavar Ball’s old quotes starting to slowly resurface. Or maybe, just maybe the Ball Brothers are really as good as advertised.

It feels safe to say that it has been a pretty exciting week and a half for the Ball Family in terms of performing on the NBA stage. So, with that in mind, the bandwagon for the Ball Family Bucket Getters may be quickly pulling out of the station.

We are still relatively early in the season and there is still a lot of time to see where things are heading for these two as the season progresses. But as of right now, if the league was sleeping on the talent of the Ball Bros in the NBA entering this season, then EVERYONE should be bright-eyed and bushy tail awake by now! That is why this week’s Hoopers of the Week are LaMelo Ball in the Eastern Conference and Lonzo Ball in the Western Conference.

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This was definitely a weird Friday Night spree of games for the NBA, maybe the weirdest of the entire season. All-Stars like Jaylen Brown and Paul George missed their games due to injury. All-Stars who did play like Domantas Sabonis, Bradley Beal, and Russell Westbrook could not seem to hit a shot to save their lives. And maybe the oddest of all, Kevin Durant was put in the game, taken out, put back in then yanked out the Toronto game after only playing 18 minutes. Basically, this was a Friday filled with games where a good handful of superstars either did not play or did not play particularly well.

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Man, I Love Me Some Buckets & Boards!

When it comes to tracking NBA stats there are a lot of different kinds that people cling to nowadays when arguing for or against the greatness of a player. Some like Player Efficiency Rating, others prefer Offensive and Defensive Plus-Minus, and there are even a few who have fallen in love with this thing called Per-36 Minute projection.

But for me, I am old school so I will always be a proponent of the good old counting stats that we all know and love: Points, Rebounds, and Assists. If you can score, facilitate, or rebound at a high level then you always have a chance to be in the mix for consideration as an All-Star caliber player. So, this week’s awards are going to one of the best bucket getters in the league and one of the best rebounding bigs in the business. This week’s Hoopers of the Week are James Harden in the Eastern Conference and Rudy Gobert in the Western Conference!

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As most if not everyone knows, the NBA world and sports fans all over commemorated the passing of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant who passed away one year ago on January 26, 2019, in a terrible helicopter crash. In the world of sports, the signature trait that we remember him most by is what is called the Mamba Mentality. In the words of Bryant himself, the Mamba Mentality is the idea of being focused on the task of getting better and being better today than you were yesterday at whatever you want to do in life. But for most NBA fans, the Mamba Mentality is most notably seen in the form of one thing: Getting Buckets when the lights are brightest! So, to commemorate Kobe Bryant and the bucket getter mentality, let us celebrate and praise some of the best bucket getters in the league who showed up and showed out under the bright Friday Night Lights!

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Clutch Buckets & Big Time Performances

This week right here is what we call a Thriller Week of Basketball.

There were five overtime games, two that took double-overtime to crown a victor. 22 of the games this week we’re decided by ten points or less, 11 in which the margin of victory was five points or less.

This was a week filled with high-scoring games, late-game heroics, and big-time buzzer beaters. So, with that I have to reward the guys who stepped up the most when the lights were the brightest and their teams really needed a bucket.

This week’s Hoopers of the Week in the NBA are Collin Sexton in the Eastern Conference Nikola Jokic in the Western Conference.

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On this exciting edition of Friday Night Lights in the NBA, there were two kinds of games that you could have watched with no real in between.

The first kind was the nail biter games that came down to the final possession. Games like Indiana vs. Orlando or Denver vs. Phoenix where each team’s superstar talent had to step up in the closing seconds of the ball game to help steal their victory. These are the games where each team can taste the victory, yet only one team is able to truly capitalize and come out the winner. The Detroit Pistons may have felt the brute of this kind of game as they fell just short of the win due to Jerami Grant being just a hair too late on getting his shot off in the closing seconds the Rockets.

On the other side were the blowouts or the “humble games.” These were the games like the Cleveland Cavaliers defeating the Brooklyn Nets for the second time this week and the Boston Celtics losing to the Philadelphia 76ers despite getting 42 points from Jaylen Brown. These are the kinds of games that can tell you a lot about a team’s weakness and force them to look in the mirror after simply being outmatched.

In a week filled with buzzer beaters and overtime victories, the Friday Night games did not disappoint as they continued the trend we saw throughout the week of high-level matchups, surprise performances, late game heroics and exciting finishes. Here are my Primetime Players from Friday Night’s matchups!

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We all have seen Clash of the Titans in sports throughout history. There was the battle between Muhammad Ali vs. Walt Frazier that raised the boxing world to new heights. Reggie Bush and the USC Trojans vs. Vince Young and the Texans Longhorns in arguably the most coveted college football game in NCAA history was another. Matchups like these are what makes sports so special as we watch some of the top athletes in their respective sports duel for the crown and the title of “Best of the World.”

In the NBA we have seen a similar battle between two of the best players of our generation in LeBron James and Kevin Durant. These guys have been going at each other for years, meeting up four times in the NBA Finals and splitting at an even 2-2 in those matchups. The rivalry has grown over the years and although the teams they play for are different from years past, the title for “Best Player in the NBA” remains a constant tug-of-war between these two.

This week these two put on a show in their own respective ways as they continue to trade blows with each game. Both had performances that could not go unnoticed. That is why my Conference Players of the Week for this week are Kevin Durant from the Eastern Conference and LeBron James from the Western Conference.

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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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