NBA Friday Night Recap (02/26)

This week’s Friday Night games hit differently. With the recent announcement of both the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star reserves, the talk of the town has zeroed in on the topic of All-Star snubs.

Some guys like Devin Booker and Domantas Sabonis recently went from being snubbed to just squeaking in as alternates for the injured Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant. But not every All-Star snub was so lucky. Guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, De’Aaron Fox, and even Jimmy Butler are just some of the notable names on the outside looking in who just missed the cut. With that, it feels safe to say that there are a good handful of former All-Stars and potential All-Stars that may feel a bit overlooked.

So, what better way to draw national focus and attention to yourself than to play under on the big Friday Night stage. This Friday we had some standout performances by a number of guys who put up some pretty spiteful stat lines with the intention of showing voters what a big mistake they may have made by passing on them. With that, here are the top performers from Friday Nights’ big games under the bright lights!

Kemba Walker

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
32 3 6 10/19 4/10 8/8 1 0

After being the only member of the Celtics’ Big 3 not to be selected to the NBA All-Star team, Walker came out and put on a vintage Kemba performance. Season-high 32 points in a game where the All-Star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown only combined for 24 points total while shooting 9-of-30 from the floor. Walker also mad two big free throws in the waning moments of the game to help secure the 118-112 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Domantas Sabonis

PTS

REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
24 6 9 7/12 1/3 9/10 0

0

Coming off being announced as Kevin Durant’s replacement/alternate for the All-Star game, Sabonis picked a great night to ball out and prove why he was meant to be in the big game. Nearly ten assists on the night and was aggressive in this as he and Myles Turner crashed the glass and controlled the paint with a combined 41 points on the night. Despite the loss, the Pacers did also get a really nice outing from the Holiday Brothers. Justin had 19 points with five threes along with Aaron who came off the bench and gave them 15 with three additional threes. Tough loss that knocks the Pacers down to below .500 with a record of 15-16 after a relatively strong start to the season.

Victor Oladipo

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
27 5 4 9/21 4/10 5/5 2 0

Speaking of the Indiana Pacers and All-Stars, former Pacers guard Victor Oladipo had himself a strong outing in last night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors. Not the greatest shooting efficiency but the four threes and two steals are noteworthy. Unfortunately, in the class between the Rockets’ and Raptors’ backcourts, Toronto simply had too much fire power.

John Wall

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
21 2 12 9/21 2/9 1/2 0 1

As part of that backcourt faceoff, former Washington Wizards All-Star John Wall surely tried to hold up his end of the bargain. Identical shooting splits from the floor as Oladipo shooting 9-of-21, but the thing Rockets’ fans should be excited about is the 12 assists in this game. Wall is at his best when he is a willing passer more so than when he is trying to be an alpha scorer. Eric Gordon was another guy for Houston who played big as he came off the bench and gave them 17 points. Houston truly is missing the inside presence and three-point threat of Christian Wood who was playing at an All-Star caliber level prior to his injury.

Norman Powell

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
30 3 1 10/15 4/8 6/6 1 1

In the aforementioned Backcourt Battle, the spearhead for Toronto was easily Norman Powell who could not seem to miss as his 30-piece came somewhat quietly. Similar to Malik Beasley for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Powell has lowkey been the Raptors’ best and most consistent player despite the litany of talent around him in guys like Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam. Powell is a guy who some, including myself may have slept on early under the assumption that he was just thriving because guys like Siakam and Lowry were off to slow starts in the season. With the kind of sample size we have now, there is a legit argument to be made that Norman Powell is Toronto’s Unsung Hero that played them back into the mix in the Eastern Conference.

Kyle Lowry

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
20 11 10 6/9 4/5 4/4 1 1

Triple-Double for the Philly native who has been making head waves in trade talks associated with teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and the LA Clippers. There are two ways to take performances like this one. On one hand, this could be a sign that Lowry is ready to re-assert himself as the lead guard in spite of VanVleet ascendance. The other side is that this could be a game that shows contending teams that he still has All-Star level game still in the tank and is worth making a mid-season trade for prior to the deadline. Regardless of the reasoning, Lowry was a force in this game in all facets and it helps when Fred VanVleet chips in 25 points to help the starting three-guard lineup combine for 75 of Toronto’s 122 total points on the night in route to a 122-111 victory.

De’Aaron Fox

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
27 5 6 9/21 1/7 8/11 1 2

Western Conference All-Star snub De’Aaron Fox looked like a man on a mention as he was flying all over the court as an impact player on both sides of the court. The combination of Fox, Harrison Barnes, and Buddy Hield logged 62 of Sacramento’s 110 points in a close victory over the Detroit Pistons to snap their nine-game losing skid.

Richaun Holmes

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
19 17 1 6/8 0/0 7/7 0 2

Big Men came up huge in this game! 19 points apiece for Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley III along with a combined 25 rebounds from the two. We are all prone to focus on the guard play from guys like Fox and Tyrese Haliburton who was out for this game, but the Kings got a strong performance from their young frontcourt to get a much-needed win.

Jerami Grant

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
30 7 1 7/17 2/7 14/15 0 0

Whether you consider him to be an All-Star snub or not, you cannot tell Jerami Grant he is not a legit All-Star candidate. 30-piece with nearly half of his points coming from the free throw line. Grant was playing like a man possessed as he is clearly playing with a chip on his shoulder after missing out on possibly his best chance at ever being named an All-Star.

Saddiq Bey

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
17 6 2 6/10 5/9 0/0 1 0

This rookie Saddiq Bey has become a serious problem over the last couple of weeks for the Detroit Pistons as he is starting to shape out as a legit secondary scoring option next to Jerami Grant. Taking up the lion share of the minutes that were once occupied by former All-Star forward Blake Griffin, Bey has risen to the occasion and made the most of his minutes increase. Another guy making the most of a new opportunity is Dennis Smith Jr. who was included in the trade to send Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks. 17 points and six assists in this game as he and Bey really helped keep this game close and nearly got them the dub.

Donovan Mitchell

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
30 6 3 11/26 2/6 6/8 3 0

Somehow despite the offensive clinic put on by the Utah Jazz, this game simply slipped away in favor of the Miami Heat. Leading the way with 30 points on the night, Mitchell was one of Utah’s six players to score double figures in this game to the Heat’s five. Mitchell was active on both ends of the floor as it was enjoyable to watch the back and forth between he and Jimmy Butler.

Rudy Gobert

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
15 12 1 4/7 0/0 7/7 1 2

The double-double machine continues his reign. With Anthony Davis projected to miss some serious time due to injury, the race for Defensive Player of the Year seems to be coming down to Gobert, Joel Embiid, and maybe Ben Simmons who has quietly been exceptional on that side of the ball. Gobert is hands down the anchor of this top-10 Jazz defense and is the centerpiece for everything that they do in terms of being able to switch out and be the top-level rim defender that sways guys away from the basket. Man, you’ve just got to love Buckets and Boards with sprinkle of defense!

Jimmy Butler

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
33 10 8 12/22 0/3 9/11 1 0

Hands down the biggest statement win of the season for the Miami Heat this season, taking down the Utah Jazz who have looked like the best team in basketball in terms of the regular season. Ever since Jimmy Butler returned to play, Miami has once again become a legit force in the East and the man is practically addicted to triple-doubles as he almost notched one again tonight. Must have also been nice to see his newly anointed Jordan Brand brethren Bam Adebayo have a solid performance as well with 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Heat’s 124-116 victory.

Goran Dragic

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
26 3 2 9/15 3/4 5/6 2 0

Return of the Dragon! The veteran guys in Dragic and Butler really took over this game as they combined for 59 on the night and Dragic’s points came in 33 minutes off the bench. Dragic is always due for a breakout game here and there to help steady the ship and last night was definitely one of those games.

Devin Booker

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
22 5 2 9/24 0/3 4/7 2 0

Congrats to the All-Star backcourt of Devin Booker and Chris Paul who recently were named as the first Phoenix Suns’ duo to make the All-Star game since Steve Nash and Amare’ Stoudemire did it back in the 2009-10 season. The duo combined for 36 points on the night and Paul had 15 assists which helped overshadow the fact that they went a combined 0-of-7 from three on the night. Deandre Ayton also chipped in 22 points of his own along with seven boards. The Suns have been red hot as of late and now are 21-11 and sit in 4th place in a scrappy Western Conference.

Zach LaVine

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
24 1 4 9/16 4/8 2/4 0 0

Also, congrats to Zach Lavine for making his first All-Star appearance of his career. We have to remember that just four years ago this was a guy who missed significant time due to a rough ACL injury. Now he has clawed his way up to the top of the totem pole by improving every season while openly taking the reigns as the star player for the historically great Chicago Bulls. Big night for him in his duel against Devin Booker. LaVine’s backcourt mate Coby White did make a strong appearance with 19 points as well. Shout out to LaVine again, a guy who I have been campaigning for the last two years to get him in the All-Star game. We’re here now baby!

Kawhi Leonard

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
30 9 7 8/13 3/5 11/11 0 1

Dominant performance by Kawhi Leonard and the LA Clippers as they simply controlled this game all night to split the two-game series with the Memphis Grizzlies, winning this game 119-99. Despite Paul George struggling with only 13 points while shooting 1-of-5 from behind the arc, Lou Williams stepped up big off the bench with 17 points to play second fiddle next to Leonard. Did I mention that the Clippers had seven players score in double figures including all five players in the starting lineup? Kawhi Leonard has quietly (both literally and figuratively) been making a solid MVP case and should be rising up people’s boards as a legitimate top-5 candidate this season. The LA Clippers have been sneaky good all season and Leonard has been Mr. Do Everything on both ends for this team.

Jonas Valanciunas

PTS

REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
22 11 3 9/17 0/1 4/5 1

0

Solid outing by the combination of Jonas Valanciunas and Ja Morant who put up a decent fight against an LA Clippers team that just had to much production from their supporting cast for the Grizzlies to handle. Valanciunas and Morant went for 42 points total in this along with De’Anthony Melton who gave them a strong 16 points off the bench.

John Collins

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
25 8 0 11/19 2/6 1/2 1 0

Despite the silly Jersey-color debacle that took over NBA Twitter last night, the Atlanta Hawks actually had a pretty solid outing. John Collins led the team with 25 points on the night as he and Clint Capela helped the Hawks dominate the boards 54 to 39. Capela chipped in 17 points along with 21 freaking rebounds as he and Collins went 19-for-30 from the floor. All-Star snub Trae Young and his backcourt mate Kevin Huerter were also pretty interesting in this game with a combined 32 points while both shooting 3-of-9 from three. Tough loss for Atlanta, but there were a good number of bright spots to build off of.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
24 5 4 9/16 3/5 3/4 1 0

All-Star snub for sure in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who has really been a great story in the NBA as the new anointed Face of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Big night for the young guys across the board as the Thunder had six guys in double-figure including 19 points with four threes from Lugentz Dort and 18 points with 12 rebounds from Darius Bazley.

Malik Monk

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
25 5 1 9/16 5/11 2/4 0 0

Alongside top level six men like Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, and Goran Dragic, Malik Monk probably had the second-best performance of the night coming off the bench. Monk tends to always have these streaky shooting nights like this one where he can hit five threes and make you believe that he can be a rotational building block for the Charlotte Hornets’ young core. The question still remains as to how long he can keep this up considering these outbursts tend to be a blip more than a trend for Monk. Nonetheless, big performance for Monk despite the close loss to the Golden State Warriors, 130-121.

LaMelo Ball

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
22 7 6 7/16 3/8 5/8 1 0

Another really strong outing from the leading Rookie of the Year candidate as the backcourt of he and Terry Rozier combined 46 points with six threes. Solid performance all around as the Charlotte Hornets also got 15 points and ten rebounds from P.J. Washington. Mark my words, the Hornets are going to be a force down the stretch in the race to the playoffs.

Stephen Curry

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
29 4 9 8/15 3/8 10/10 1 0

Stephen Curry continues to play at MVP-caliber level as he continues to help the Golden State Warriors overachieve as they currently sit at 7th in the Western Conference (one game out of 5th) with a record of 19-15 on the season.

Kelly Oubre

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
27 6 3 11/15 3/6 2/2 1 0

Draymond Green vowed to make up for costing the Warriors a win against Charlotte last weekend and that seemed to reverberate through the rest of the team as well. Aside from Green’s triple-double (11 points, 19 assists and 12 rebounds), Golden State also got yet another breakout performance from Kelly Oubre with a near-30-piece along with a handful of threes. Most impressive of the supporting cast may have been the young rookie in James Wiseman who got 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting in 17 minutes off the bench. Looks like the Warriors are slowly starting to bring everything together as this team could be sneaky dangerous with an MVP in Curry, a swiss army knife in Green, and increased production from their role players.

Damian Lillard

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
35 3 7 11/24 5/13 8/8 0 1

Rough night offensively for the Portland Trailblazers, but that did not stop Damian Lillard from getting his. After blatantly being disrespected by being relegated to being a Western Conference All-Star reserves, Lillard has been on an individual tear that not many are capable of putting together. 35 big ones as the only real effective player offensively the Blazers outside of Gary Trent Jr. who had 19 points but struggled from behind the arc, shooting 2-of-11 from three. Nonetheless amid the bevy of injuries, Portland continues to be a scrappy team to give teams trouble despite their obvious lack of depth.

Dennis Schroder

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
22 3 2 6/14 1/2 9/9 1 0

The Return of Dennis the Menace! Much needed back in the lineup especially with Anthony Davis out as the Los Angeles Lakers have desperately needed another shot creator alongside LeBron James. Schroder came back really aggressive and the combined play of he and Montrezl Harrell off the bench (17 points and nine rebounds) was just the kind of production the Lakers needed to help get them back on track to help snap their recent four-game slump.

LeBron James

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
28 11 7 11/21 2/5 4/8 4 3

What else can we possibly say about this man? One of the leading candidates for league MVP and for good reason. Even in year 18 he still locking up defensively which was glaring in this game with four steals and three big swats into the 4th row. LeBron was in attack mode all night and these are exactly the kind of performance that he is going to need to have to keep the Lakers afloat in Anthony Davis’ absence. Nonetheless, another near triple-double for the King as they look to get back on track with three more games left before the All-Star break.

  1. ben says:
    (link)

    Thanks for the insight. In 10 head to head categories would you trade draymond for westbrook?
    If not would you do it if you could get a 3 for 2 with jrue holiday I might be able to get it if I have a combo oubre rozier or nunn
    My team is lillard coby booker lowry
    tatum graham nunn rozier
    oubre green, clarke
    drummond wiseman grahmam poetl vucevic markenen love

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