Now, this is what I’m talking about! Last Friday we were stuck with a handful of games that were blowout games that were done by the end of the first half. Completely uninteresting and lacking any kind of competitive spirit. This week we’ve got a few career-high performances, two overtime games, and a big-time walk-off buzzer-beater. This is what games under the Friday night lights should look like. Especially when nearly every team is still legitimately in the hunt for either a Top-8 seed in the playoff or for a shot in the Play-In tournament to make the postseason. With such a great night full of great performances, you know we have to highlight the players who shined the brightest. So, with that being said, here are some of the top performers who came up big last night. Let’s get right into it!

Aaron Holiday

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
20 2 3 7/14 6/10 0/0 1 1

We kicked off last night’s slew of games with a matchup between Eastern Conference bottom dwellers as the Indiana Pacers took down the Orlando Magic 111-106. The bench for the Pacers was huge in this one as Aaron Holiday and Doug McDermott combined for 39 points while hitting seven threes. In the starting lineup, it was All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis who had a big double-double (16 points and 15 rebounds) despite having a tough shooting night. Sabonis shot 3-of-12 from the floor but made up for the lost points by getting them back at the line as he went 9-of-12 from the charity strike. Solid win for the Pacers to keep their Play-In tournament hopes alive.

Terrence Ross

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
24 4 1 10/15 2/5 2/3 0 1

Speaking of bench play, Orlando’s Terence Ross was hands down the guy offensively for the Magic and was the primary reason why this game was even close. 24 points in 28 minutes for Ross along with Mo Bamba off the bench who had 14 points, six rebounds, and showed off his defensive prowess with three blocks. In terms of the starters, only James Ennis III cracked double digits as he put up 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists while leading the team with eighth free throw attempts.

Jayson Tatum

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
53 10 4 16/25 6/10 15/16 0 1

Exciting overtime thriller between the Boston Celtics and the Minnesota Timberwolves that ended in the Celtics’ 145-136 victory on the back of a career night from Jayson Tatum who scored a career-high 53 points including 18 points coming in the fourth quarter and overtime. The big number for Jay-Tay on the night is 16 as he hit 16 of his 25 shots and got 16 free throw attempts on the night. Boston also got great guard play as the trio of Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown combined for 67 points. They also collected 18 rebounds, had 20 dimes, and hit 11 threes as a group. Big win for the Cs as they pop back up above .500 with a record of 27-26.

Karl-Anthony Towns

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
30 12 7 10/22 4/9 6/6 1 0

Hard fought loss by the young Timberwolves, but Minnesota did show off a lot of promise from their three most prized franchise building blocks. Starting with All-Star Center Karl-Anthony Towns who continues to be an offensive terror since getting back on the NBA hardwood. Solid near triple-double with 30 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists while shooting 4-of-9 shooting from three. Next is rookie guard Anthony Edwards who had 24 points, five rebounds, and five assists including a great sequence where he got a big steal that turned into a sweet dime to Jaden McDaniels for a bucket. Struggled from three as he shot 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, but Edwards continues to show strides as a lead two-guard with Malik Beasley out due to injury. Lastly is point guard D’Angelo Russell who put up 26 points, four rebounds, and eight assists in 29 minutes off the bench for the T-Wolves. These threes will need to continue to show signs of improvement and chemistry to close out the season and right now they look very capable of doing so. Even if it is coming in losing efforts.

RJ Barrett

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
20 5 2 7/13 2/4 4/5 1 0

Back-to-back overtime thrillers as the New York Knicks took down the Memphis Grizzlies 133-129 with second-year guard RJ Barrett leading the way. Of Barret’s 20 points, the most crucial came with 1:15 left in overtime as he hit a game-tying three-pointer that would help the Knickerbockers rally to a big win. But of course, Barrett did not lift New York to the win alone. Guards Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks, and Derrick Rose combined for 58 points off the bench as Burks and Quickley hit 7-of-14 threes. Last is All-Star forward Julius Randle who put up a solid triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists despite only shooting 4-of-12 from the floor. Big win by the Knickerbockers to keep them in the mix for a Top-8 seed in the East.

Ja Morant

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
26 4 6 9/18 4/5 4/8 0 1

Heartbreaking loss for the Grizzlies as they got their four-game winning streak snapped. The duo of Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas combined for 46 points, 18 rebounds, and eight assists while hitting 5-of-6 threes on the night. Dillon Brooks and rookie guard Desmond Bane also had solid outings as Brooks put up 23 points and five assists while Bane had 16 points with three threes in the game. Memphis still sits in 8th place in the West, two games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors.

Trae Young

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
42 8 9 15/25 1/6 11/14 0 0

Despite a crazy scoring outburst from Bulls’ All-Star guard Zach LaVine in the first half, Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks took over in the second half to take down Chicago 120-108. There were three players for Atlanta that made such a bounce-back victory possible. First off was Young who put up a near triple-double with 42 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists. The big struggle for him was from beyond the arc as he shot 1-of-6 from distance, but he made up for it by being an aggressive driver and got some calls as he went 11-of-14 from the free-throw line. Next is Clint Capela who was his usual double-double self with 22 points and ten rebounds on an efficient 10-of-12 shooting from the floor. Lastly is veteran forward Danilo Gallinari who gave 20 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench. Great come from behind victory for the Hawks.

Zach LaVine

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
50 8 5 18/31 7/12 7/8 0 0

This one was definitely a gut punch for Chicago as the Bulls were in full control for the entirety of the first half. This had a lot to do with All-Star guard Zach LaVine who had a whopping 29 first-half points which is the third most in the last 25 years. This performance only comes behind Klay Thompson’s 40-point half back in 2016 and Kobe Bryant’s 42-point half all the way back in 2003. Unfortunately for him, the hot hand wore off as he held to only 11 points in the second half as Atlanta steamrolled the Bulls to close out this game. The only other real contributor for Chicago in this one was All-Star Center Nikola Vucevic who put up a double-double with 25 points and ten rebounds while shooting 11-of-19 from the floor. The supporting cast was definitely the kryptonite in this one as the only other player to score in double figures for the Bulls was Coby White who had 11 points off the bench.

Zion Williamson

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
37 15 8 15/28 0/1 7/11 0 0

Next up is a matchup between dynamic big men as Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans took down Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers 106-94. Williamson had a great performance with a near triple-double but the best part about this game for him was that he scored 14 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter to help New Orleans hold onto the win. The Pelicans also got a solid performance from their All-Star wing Brandon Ingram who put up 17 points and eight rebounds but struggled from the floor as he shot 5-of-21 from the floor. Did I mention that they did this with no Lonzo Ball and no Nickeil Alexander-Walker? Strong outing for a young team in need of a big statement after dropping their last two games prior.

Tobias Harris

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
23 7 3 7/16 2/5 7/9 1 0

As one of the Top-3 teams in the East, this definitely was not one of the Sixers’ best performances of the season. Their two superstars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons combined for only 24 points and also grabbed 18 boards. Simmons was not very aggressive in this one as he only put up six shots and Embiid struggled shooting as he went 5-of-16 from the floor and 0-of-3 from beyond the arc. It was up to Tobias Harris to keep things interesting as he put up 23 points and seven assists on the night to lead the team. Furkan Korkmaz was also a pleasant surprise for Philly off the bench with 12 points all coming on threes.

Miles Bridges

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
26 7 4 8/13 4/8 6/6 0 2

With no Lamelo Ball and no Gordon Hayward, leave it to the Charlotte Hornets’ third star-caliber player in Miles Bridges to lead the way as the Hornets take down the undermanned Milwaukee Bucks 127-119. All five Charlotte starters scored in double figures including the backcourt of Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier who both put up 20 points apiece and hit nine threes combined. The forward combination of Jalen McDaniels and P.J. Washington also had a solid outing with a combined 37 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists on the night. Solid win for the Hornets.

Jordan Nwora

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
24 6 2 9/16 4/10 2/2 1 0

Let’s go down the list. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton out due to knee soreness. Jrue Holiday out due to a left knee fracture. Donte DiVincenzo out due to a right hip contusion. Then there’s Brook Lopez out with a back injury. So basically, the Bucks’ entire starting five was compromised and they still put up a decent fight. Rookie forward Jordan Nwora led the way with 24 points as seven Milwaukee players finished with double-digit points.

Nikola Jokic

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
26 13 14 9/17 2/2 6/6 1 0

The streak for the Denver Nuggets extends to an eighth-straight win as a close call in the closing moments of the game helped them overcome the San Antonio Spurs to go on and win the game 121-119. With no Jamal Murray in the lineup, it was up to the MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic to carry Denver as he put up a crazy triple-double on some excellent shooting splits. Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton also got buckets in this one as they combined for 39 points in this one and Porter Jr. grabbed ten boards. The unsung hero in this one was Monte Morris off the bench who had 21 points in 25 minutes on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor and 5-of-5 from three.

Derrick White

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
25 1 3 9/16 3/7 4/5 3 1

This definitely up there in the Heartbreak Hall of Fame of losses as San Antonio had three chances at the end of this game to send it to overtime. Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray, and Demar DeRozan all blew layup attempts that could have kept the game alive. Nonetheless, this was still a great game by the Spurs who had six players score in double figures. DeRozan and Derrick White combined for 49 points while Jakob Poeltl had a nice double-double with 13 points and ten assists on the night. San Antonio is looking to get back on track tomorrow with a win over the in-state rival Dallas Mavericks.

Rui Hachimura

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
22 5 1 9/16 1/2 3/4 0 0

Late game heroics by All-Star guard Bradley Beal was just enough to help the Washington Wizards steal the victory over the Golden State Warriors as they won this game 110-107. Beal scored six points in the final 6.1 seconds including a big 4-point play in the closing seconds to put the Wizards ahead before the end of regulation. There were three other big performers in this game for Washington as well. Second-year forward Rui Hachimura put up a solid 22 points and five rebounds on 9-of-16 shooting from the floor. Former MVP guard Russell Westbrook continues his triple-double antics with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and 14 assists. And lastly, veteran center Robin Lopez put up 20 points and grabbed eight boards in 27 minutes off the bench. Looks like the Wizards are not looking to tank as they continue to slowly inch closer towards a chance to participate in the Play-In tournament.

Stephen Curry

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
32 6 5 11/25 5/12 5/6 2 0

The Warriors played well enough to win this game, but their late-game execution was not good enough to deny the clutch gene of Bradley Beal. Stephen Curry had himself a night with 32 points, six rebounds, and five assists on 11-of-25 shooting with five threes. James Wiseman and Kelly Oubre Jr. also had good performances as they combined for 41 points and 12 rebounds on the night. Draymond Green was not very impactful offensively in terms of scoring as he only had five points on 2-of-9 shooting. But he did play a huge role in keeping the offense flowing with eight assists and showed out on defense with three steals and two blocks. In a tight Western Conference playoff race, Golden State cannot afford to drop winnable games, and this was definitely a game that was in their favor. They look to hopefully bounce back with a win over the scrappy Houston Rockets later on today to help get themselves back into the mix.

Kawhi Leonard

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
31 5 8 11/20 3/6 6/7 1 0

Pure domination by the LA Clippers on the back of 31 points from Kawhi Leonard to take down the Houston Rockets 126-109. Reggie Jackson added 26 points and seven assists while shooting 6-of-9 from three as the Clippers controlled the second quarter (were up 67-46 at half) and never looked back after that. The other notable players in this game for LA were Nicolas Batum and Terrance Mann who combined for 33 points off the bench. This win was without key pieces in Paul George and Patrick Beverley as they push their winning streak to four-straight.

 Christian Wood

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
23 3 2 9/15 1/4 4/9 0 3

Last on the list is Christian Wood of the Houston Rockets who had a solid outing despite being demolished by the Clippers. Wood led the way with 23 points, but the Rockets had a few other guys who had themselves night. Kelly Olynyk had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Porter Jr. had a double-double with 14 points and 13 assists. Then there’s Sterling Brown and Kenyon Martin Jr. who combined for 29 points off the bench. The scoreboard may make it seem like this was not much of a game, but Houston had a couple of fun sequences that demonstrated how this could be a really interesting team to keep an eye on as they rebuild.