Just an overall tough night as a basketball fan in terms of the level of competitiveness in the NBA last night. Only one game was decided by ten points or less. We had blowouts ranging anywhere from 12 points all the way to a whopping 53 points! But with blowouts comes a handful of big-time performances and some nice performances by some bench guys that do not typically see a lot of playing time. So with that in mind, here are the Friday Night Primetime Performers from last night’s games across the league.
Complete and utter domination by Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors as they set the tone for the night by beating the Golden State Warriors 130-77. This is the largest margin of victory in the NBA this season and at one point in this game, Toronto was actually up by as much as 60 points. Even with no Kyle Lowry and a lackluster performance from Fred VanVleet, guys like OG Anunoby and the newly acquire Gary Trent Jr. stepped up in a major way. Anunoby and Trent Jr. combined for 45 while shooting 8-of-13 from three. Rookie point guard Malachi Flynn also came off the bench and played well with 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists. In the process of destroying Golden State, the Raptors would grab only their second win in the last 15 games. Tough season for Toronto.
With Stephen Curry and Draymond Green both sidelined by injury, it was the Andrew Wiggins show and for Warriors fans that did not really amount to much. Outside of Wiggins who scored 15 points on a very un-aggressive 5-of-9 shooting from the floor, the young guns in Jordan Pool and Nico Mannion were the only other Warriors to score in double figures. They both had ten points apiece, but they struggled from three, shooting 3-of-12 from behind the arc. Golden State continues to drop games and they are slowly drifting down the Western Conference standings. With the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings on their tail, we should not be surprised if this team misses the Play-In with a chance at the playoffs.
The wing duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown went crazy against the tanking Houston Rockets as the Boston Celtics took this game easily, 118-102. Tatum and Brown combined for 48 on the night along with a combined 20 rebounds. Two other guys who came up big in this game were Robert Williams III and the newly acquired Evan Fournier. Williams played the perfect game as he scored a career-high 20 points on 9-of-9 shooting from the floor along with nine rebounds and eight assists. Fournier came off the bench for the Celtics giving them a significant offensive spark with 23 points in 30 minutes while shooting 7-of-11 from threes. Beating the Rockets snaps Boston’s two-game losing streak as they look ahead to the LaMelo-less Charlotte Hornets.
In a game that was pretty rough offensively for the Rockets, Wood easily had the best night for Houston. Double-double with two steals while shooting 50% from the floor. The other two guys that stepped up big were the newly acquired Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley who combined for 25 points off the bench. We all know this team is hoping for a shot at the top pick so expect a lot more games like this. The Rockets have New Orleans coming up and that matchup between Christian Wood and Zion Williamson is must-see TV.
Easy dub for the Dallas Mavericks as they defeated the New York Knicks 99-86. Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis combined for 40 points, 16 rebounds, and eight assists on the night in the win. The Mavericks also got good contributions from Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson off the bench as they combined for 29. Dallas is rolling as they have won three of their last four with the Washington Wizards coming up next on the schedule.
Julius Randle struggled immensely on the offensive end and it was the deciding factor in the game. Solid stat line of 14 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds but he shot 5-of-20 from the field and 1-of-7 from Behind the arc. With not much offensive production from the Knicks’ starting lineup, it was Alec Burks off the bench with 20 that helped keep this game interesting. New York currently sits in 7th place with a record of 24-25 as they are holding on for dear life to their playoff hopes.
Perseverance by the short-handed Charlotte Hornets as they beat the Indiana Pacers 114-97 despite losing Gordon Hayward in this game to a right foot sprain. Miles Bridges led the way with 23 points off the bench shooting 8-of-12 from the floor and 4-of-7 from three in 31 minutes. The backcourt of Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier also played well, combining for 28 points, nine assists, and nine rebounds. Their biggest struggle came at the three-point line as they hit only two threes on the night in 17 attempts. Hayward has been listed to be out for at least four weeks, so the road only gets tougher for the Hornets as they now will be closing out the season without their best two players.
With Malcolm Brogdon out with a sore right hip, the offensive playmaking at the guard spot was thrust onto Edmond Sumner who was solid with ten points, six rebounds, and three assists. The big thing for Indiana in this game was their bench production. Goga Bitadze, T.J. McConnell, and Aaron Holiday combined for 34 points on the night. In the end, it was Caris LeVert who led the charge with 16 points, but it was nowhere close to enough as the Pacers were outmatched from the opening tip. Indiana has dropped their last three games with the San Antonio Spurs coming up next.
Eight Grizzlies scored in double figures on route to Memphis blowing out the Minnesota Timberwolves 120-108. Complete domination as the Grizzlies outrebounded the T-Wolves 53 to 39 and shot 19-of-39 from three in comparison to Minnesota who shot 12-of-33 from beyond the arc. This was a real team effort as Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke, and Tre Jones all had 11 points apiece. Dillon Brooks and Xavier Tillman also chipped in with 12 points apiece. With the win, the Grizzlies sit at an even 23-23, but they have a tough task coming up next as they go on the road to take on the Philadelphia 76ers.
Outside of Karl-Anthony Towns who continues to show why he one of the best young offensive talents in the NBA, the T-Wolves got great production from Anthony Edwards and Naz Reid. Edwards scored 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor along with three rebounds and six assists. Reid came off the bench and scored 18 points in 23 minutes while shooting 5-of-7 from the field with two threes on the night. The Road to Drafting Cade Cunningham continues.
No Trae Young. No John Collins. No Danilo Gallinari. And yet Bogdan Bogdanovic and the Atlanta Hawks played way above their weight as they blew out the New Orleans Pelicans 126-103. Along with Bogdanovic who had 26 points, six other players scored in double figures. Kevin Huerter had 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor. Newly acquired Lou Williams came off the bench and gave them 19 points, eight assists, and four rebounds. Rookie forward Onyeka Okongwu nearly put a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor. The Hawks have put two really good wins together against San Antonio and now look to make it a three-game win streak against Golden State.
Kira Lewis Jr.
The New Orleans Pelicans were completely undermanned as they were missing Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Steven Adams in this game. Nonetheless, six players managed to score in double figures with rookie guard Kira Lewis Jr. leading the way off the bench with 26 points in 26 minutes. This was a good evaluation game to get a look at what the Pelicans really have as a supporting cast around their two All-Star forwards, but it still comes up as L in the Win-Loss column
This was hands down the most competitive matchup of the night, but in the end, the Utah Jazz prevailed as they defeated the Chicago Bulls 113-106. Donovan Mitchell led the way with 26 points alongside fellow All-Star Rudy Gobert who had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor. Jordan Clarkson continues to pile onto his Sixth Man of the Year case with 19 points in 25 minutes off the bench as well. This win extends their streak to 21 straight home victories which are the most in franchise history.
Another tough close loss for the Bulls but the offensive potential continues to show for this team. 25 points from Thaddeus Young, 23 points from Zach Lavine, and 16 points for Nikola Vucevic. The big detriments in this game for Chicago were three-point shooting as they shot 7-of-28 from three and their lack of bench production as they only got a combined nine points from Lauri Markkanen and Coby White. The Bulls are currently on a six-game skid and things are not getting any easier as they have the red-hot Brooklyn Nets coming to town tomorrow.
Let the blowouts continue as the Phoenix Suns destroyed the Oklahoma City Thunder 140-103. This game was so lopsided that Phoenix led this game by 30 by the end of the first quarter. The backcourt of Devin Booker and Chris Paul combined for 49 points, 17 assists, and seven rebounds while also hitting 4-of-6 threes. The team’s young wings in Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson also played well as they both had 17 points apiece. Opposed to the Bulls who are struggling, the Suns are on a six-game winning as they look to go on the road against another faltering team in the Houston Rockets.
Solid outing by the young rookies in Theo Maledon and Aleksej Pokusevski combined for 53 points on 9-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc. With this performance. Maledon and Pokusevski become the first pair of teammates under 20-years-old to both score 20+ in a game. Mind you, neither one of these guys was taken in the lottery which only goes to show you how good Oklahoma City is at identifying young talent. The Thunder also got solid production off the bench as forwards Kenrich Williams and Justin Jackson combined for 25 points on the night.
Big night for the Milwaukee Bucks Big 3. The combination of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday combined for 89 of the team’s points as the Bucks blew out the Portland Trailblazers 127-109. No other Bucks player scored in double figures, but it just did not matter as their Big 3 was just too much to handle.
Despite the backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combining for 50 points, the Portland Trailblazers just could not hang with Milwaukee. Norman Powell and Robert Covington combined for 30 points and ten rebounds as well. Outside of the starting lineup, they did not get very much production as guys like Enes Kanter, Carmelo Anthony, and Derrick Jones Jr only scored a combined ten points on the night.
Last on the night is the LeBron-less Los Angeles Lakers who continue to thrive in spite of missing their star duo. On the back of a season-high 30 points from Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers took down the Sacramento Kings 115-94. Kuzma had ten points in the 4th quarter to help close out the game as he continued to develop into a reliable closer for this team. The Lakers also got solid production from their starting backcourt as Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined for 30 points while shooting 7-of-11 from three. Los Angeles has won three of their last four, but they have the LA Clippers up next will be an interesting matchup considering the Lakers are not full strength.
Tough night for the backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox as they only combined for 21 points on the night. Buddy Hield was not that much better as he only scored seven points while struggling from the floor shooting 3-of-11 from the field and 1-of-9 from three. The only player with a real pulse for the Sacramento Kings was Harrison Barnes who had 26, five rebounds, and five assists as he could not seem to miss. After initially being on a five-game winning streak, Sacramento has dropped their last two and unfortunately, they have the Milwaukee Bucks coming to town tonight.