- Starting in Orlando, where the Magic beat the Indiana Pacers by a score of 107-100. Isaiah Briscoe checked in for the first time since spraining his ankle over a week ago. In his first game back after missing the previous three, Briscoe failed to register a point, but he wasn't hunting for shots in the first place. Instead, he posted five rebounds and a season-high eight assists in 22 minutes. The Pacers, who recently lost their star player, Victor Oladpio, have now gone 0-4 since his knee injury.
- Moving along to Toronto, where the Milwaukee Bucks visited the Raptors in a fight for bragging rights among the top of the Eastern Conference. Eric Bledsoe registered 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals in 30 minutes to help lead his Bucks' squad to a win. Bledsoe wasn't named an All-Star when the teams were announced on Thursday, but could still sneak himself in. As mentioned before, Oladipo is out for the rest of the season but was also named an All-Star, meaning a replacement for him should be announced rather soon. If I had to guess, I'd say that spot will go to one of Pascal Siakam (TOR), Jimmy Butler (PHI), or Bledsoe. So stay tuned for that.
- DeMarcus Cousins made his Oracle Arena debut as he played his first game at home for the Golden State Warriors. Going up against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers, Cousins had his hands overwhelmingly full. Boogie dropped in seven points on 3-10 shooting to go along with six rebounds, six assists, and three steals in a season-high 25 minutes but was thoroughly outplayed by an in shape Embiid - who went for 26 points and 20 rebounds. In only his sixth game back, Cousins is still working out the kinks of missing nearly an entire calendar year of basketball. ''Obviously, I'm still not where I want to be,'' Cousins said following the game. ''... I'm working my tail off. Just be patient.'' The loss for the Warriors ends their 11 game winning streak.
- And finally, the battle of Los Angeles featured the long-awaited return of LeBron James. The Clippers "hosted" the Lakers but were beaten in overtime 123-120 behind a near triple-double from James in his first game back since Christmas. Rajon Rondo went for 14 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists for the Lakers while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 10 points, two rebounds, three assists, and two steals for the Clippers.
STATISTICS[table id=275 /]
TONIGHT IN THE NBA7:00: Grizzlies @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) 7:30 (ESPN): Celtics @ Knicks (Kanter, Knox) 8:00: Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Heat (Adebayo) 9:00: Hawks (Poythress-G League) @ Jazz 10:00 (ESPN): Rockets (Knight) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray-out, Vanderbilt)
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