Russell Westbrook had a monster triple-double, LeBron James had a baby one, and Jusuf Nurkic laid an egg against the Pelicans. On the injury front, Kristaps Porzingis and Sean Kilpatrick went down, and Jeremy Lin and Anthony Davis played through ankle injuries. And Draymond Green may have had the second best line of the night, while Stephen Curry scored 29 on his 29th birthday in a comeback win for the Dubs. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Thunder 122, Nets 104 – Russell Westbrook had 25 points, 12 rebounds, 19 assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers for his 33rd (count ‘em) triple-double of the season. If he averages 21.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists over his last 15 games he’ll finish with averages of 30.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists for the season, which would make him a lock for the MVP Award, although James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James are all going to get some votes as well. Additionally, you can bet that Westbrook is aware that Oscar Robertson’s record for TDs in a season is 41, so he’s got 15 games to get nine more triple-doubles to break the record. I wouldn’t put it past him at this point. Victor Oladipo hit 9-of-15 shots and three 3-pointers for 21 points and four steals, Taj Gibson came through with 17 points, eight boards, a steal and a block, and Steven Adams stayed relatively quiet with 11 points, five boards and two steals. Even with Gibson playing well, Enes Kanter still had 17 points and five boards in just 19 minutes, and Alex Abrines hit 5-of-7 shots and three 3-pointers for 13 points, two steals and a block. Abrines had not scored more than five points in his previous four games, so there’s no need to get excited about him in an easy win against the league’s worst team (12 wins).
For the Nets, Brook Lopez had 25 points, six boards and three 3-pointers (it’s good to see him still playing, but a shutdown could be coming), and Jeremy Lin hit 8-of-15 shots and two 3-pointers for 24 points, five assists, a steal and a block in the loss. Lin suffered a sprained ankle late, but was playing through it. Owners will want to watch for news on him tomorrow, but either way, I’ve simply been wrong about Lin since he returned to action. He’s been great and I thought he’d either be mired in a brutal timeshare or hurt again by now. Caris LeVert was nice with 16 points, five boards, two assists, three steals and a 3-pointer in a start, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was quiet with six points, but also had four boards, two steals and a block. Sean Kilpatrick went down with a hamstring injury and didn’t return. If he’s going to miss time, and it sounds like he might, LeVert might be ready to start putting up more numbers like he did tonight on a regular basis. I’d drop Kilpatrick for LeVert tonight, if I owned Kilpatrick. Point guards Isaiah Whitehead (33 minutes) and Spencer Dinwiddie (25 minutes) each got nice run off the bench, but didn’t do much and haven’t been able to negatively impact Lin up to this point. But the timeshare is still a bit of a concern for me, even though Lin has skated through it flawlessly.
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Cavaliers 128, Pistons 96 – The Cavaliers destroyed the Pistons out of the opening gate last night, opening up a 44-26 lead in the first quarter and they never looked back. LeBron James had a baby triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists, Kyrie Irving scored 26 points with six assists, and Iman Shumpert got loose for a season-high 18 points, five boards and two 3-pointers. This was LeBron’s 10th triple-double of the season and if Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard weren’t all out of their minds, Bron would be getting a lot more MVP love for the Cavs, who have the fourth best record in the NBA, and the best record in the East. Bron has triple-doubled in three of his last four games, and in five of his last nine. Richard Jefferson scored 16 points for the second straight game, and while I’m certainly not high on him, he’s started in five straight games. If he keeps starting and plays like he did in the last two, he’ll at least be worth putting on your radar. But when Kyle Korver finally returns from his foot injury, Shumpert should become a forgotten man once again. Deron Williams hit 6-of-6 shots for 13 points, three assists and a 3-pointer, but only played 14 minutes. I’d only consider using him on a night when Irving is getting a rest. And good ol’ Larry Sanders made his Cavs’ debut, failing to score in two minutes. I still see no reason to pick him up.
The Pistons really didn’t show us much of anything to break down. Reggie Jackson was bad, hitting just 3-of-13 shots for six points and six assists, but Ish Smith had just 12 points and three assists in 21 minutes. It looks to me like Jackson is going to start at point guard the rest of the way, which means a lot of misses (and a few hits) for Smith while coming off the bench. Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were all marginal, at best, while Stanley Johnson came off the bench to hit just 1-of-10 shots for five points, a steal and a 3-pointer. I am still intrigued by Johnson, but this blowout might have been his best chance at a huge game this season. And he dropped the ball.