BBNBA: Julius Randle bullies Boston, Hamidou Diallo turns heads back home
Like most nights, former ‘Cats were busy on Thursday evening in the NBA. In six professional games yesterday, seven one-time Wildcats saw minutes. Five of those previous UK players were on the winning end of their respective contests. With so much action to cover, let’s start with the night’s standout performance.
Julius Randle beats down No. 1 Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been excellent this year. The duo has led the Celtics to the best record in the NBA, will both appear in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game and are candidates for All-NBA roster spots. These accomplishments made the tandem a target for Julius Randle. He hit a bullseye.
The 6-foot-9 New York Knicks forward dominated the C’s in a 120-117 win, dropping 37 points and nine rebounds while shooting 13-25 from the field and 5-13 from beyond the arc. Randle’s 37 points are the third-most he’s scored in a game this season.
Although a game against the No. 1 seed in the East is enough to rile up the most lethargic player, Randle had a little extra motivation in Boston. Thursday marked three years since Kobe Bryant’s death. The NBA legend mentored Randle when he first arrived in Los Angeles as a rookie. This one was for Bean.
“It was on my heart heavy. Texting with my wife back and forth before the game, ‘It’s a tough day,'” Randle said after the game. “Hopefully, he’s looking down and he’s proud of the way the game is played.”
Randle wasn’t the only Wildcat who put on a show. Immanuel Quickley contributed 17 points and five boards in 28 minutes on the floor. The 2020 SEC Player of the Year averages 27.4 minutes per game this season.
Hamidou Diallo makes memories back home
Growing up in Queens, NY, Hamidou Diallo knows the hunger it takes to find success in the Big Apple. It’s only fitting the 6-foot-5 forward ate up the Brooklyn Nets defense just 10 miles from where he was raised.
On Thursday, Diallo stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals while shooting 6-9 from the field. The successful night was a step up in every way for Diallo, who averages 8.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists per outing this season.
Diallo, who played for more than just the Pistons supporters watching back home, did not take the moment for granted.
“It’s a blessing. It comes with a different type of hunger just growing up, playing in those NYC parks,” Diallo said before the game in an interview with Bally Sports’ Johnny Kane. “The whole family gonna be here.”
The family undoubtedly left with smiles on their faces. The Pistons took down the Brooklyn Nets 130-122. Diallo had the second-high +/- on the team with a +8.
What about the other ‘Cats?
If you didn’t forget, I said seven former Wildcats saw action. Thus, let’s fill in the gaps. Starting power forward PJ Washington had a respectable showing in the Charlotte Hornets’ 111-96 triumph over the Chicago Bulls. Washinton contributed nine points, two rebounds and four assists to his team’s effort.
Meanwhile, TyTy Washington Jr. brought value to the table for his squad, as well. The rookie recorded 10 points, three rebounds and three assists while shooting 4-10 from the field in the Rockets’ loss to 113-95 loss to the Cavaliers.
Houston recalled Washington up to the NBA after the 6-foot-3 guard turned the G-League into his personal highlight factory. During his time with the Rio Grand Valley Vipers, Washington averaged 33.3 points, 7.3 assists, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 38.8 minutes per game.
Elsewhere, Keldon Johnson has come to close to some of these figures this season in the NBA, but he fell short Thursday night. The Spurs star dropped 19 points, three rebounds and three assists in his team’s blowout 38-point fall to the LA Clippers. Johnson has more games this season with 20 or more points than he does without.
On the winning end of the lopsided affair, Clippers backup guard Brandon Boston Jr. failed to impress. The 6-foot-7 guard added just four points and a steal to the Clippers’ offensive avalanche. The win lifts the Clips to fifth in the Western Conference.
|Julius Randle (NYK)||120-117 W @ BOS||37||13-25 (5-13)||9||2||0||0||2||37||-16|
|Keldon Johnson (SAS)||138-100 L @ LAC||19||7-13 (0-2)||3||3||0||0||0||31||-26|
|Immanuel Quickley (NYK)||120-117 W @ BOS||17||7-12 (2-3)||5||1||1||0||0||17||+1|
|Hamidou Diallo (DET)||130-122 W @ BKN||12||6-9 (0-0)||5||5||4||1||2||19||+8|
|TyTy Washington Jr. (HOU)||113-95 L vs. CLE||10||4-10 (1-5)||3||3||1||0||3||29||+3|
|PJ Washington (CHA)||111-96 W vs. CHI||9||3-9 (1-6)||2||4||1||1||1||30||+26|
|Brandon Boston Jr. (LAC)||138-100 W vs. SAS||4||2-4 (0-0)||1||0||1||0||0||7||+6|
|Kevin Knox Jr. (DET)||130-122 W @ BKN||DNP||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Nerlens Noel (DET)||130-122 W @ BKN||DNP||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Nick Richards (CHA)||111-96 W vs. CHI||DNP||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
Tonight in the NBA
7:00: Bucks @ Pacers (Jackson)
7:30 (NBA TV): Grizzlies @ Timberwolves (Towns: out)
8:00: Magic @ Heat (Adebayo, Herro)
8:00: Cavaliers @ Thunder (Gilgeous-Alexander)
10:00 (NBA TV): Raptors @ Warriors