[caption id="attachment_261161" align="aligncenter" width="760"] (Photo via Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Good afternoon, folks. Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets are rolling. Let's talk NBA.
Murray and Nuggets top Booker and Suns
- The Denver Nuggets are an absolute force right now and they aren't even anywhere close to its final form. In a 116-104 win over the Phoenix Suns (who were without Ricky Rubio and Aron Baynes for the third straight game) on Sunday night, the Nugs pulled off a third-quarter rally that saw them take the lead and never give it back. Denver has now won five straight that includes wins over Boston and Houston on top of last night's win over Phoenix. Jamal Murray led the BBNBA in scoring with 22 points on 9-21 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and three assists.
- For the Suns, they were playing on the back end of its second back-to-back in just the last six days. Phoenix has played five games in those six days, winning just one of them coming against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Devin Booker was held to a season-low of just 12 points on 5-13 shooting and an unusual 1-7 from deep against Denver. He dished out five dimes but coupled that with five turnovers, as well. For Booker, he's just happy the streak of five games in six days if officially over.
- ''I'm glad we got it out of the way,'' Booker said, according to AP. ''Two back-to-backs in one week, I haven't heard of that before, but it's what the schedule presented to us.''
- The New York Knicks lost a close game, 103-101, to the nearby Brooklyn Nets, who were without Kyrie Irving as he'll miss the next few games with a shoulder injury. For the Knicks, Julius Randle added 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists although his stat line hardly tells the true story - but not in a good way. Ask any Knicks fans who has watched the team consistently this season and they'll likely have some choice words for Randle... His usage rate has been far too high for someone with an effective field goal percentage of lower than 50 percent. He's been acting more like a point-forward, bringing up the ball up in favor of a traditional point guard, and playing more on the perimeter compared to past seasons where his bully ball tactics would dominate the opposition. His shooting numbers have been pedestrian. The Knicks are 4-13 on the year with Randle as the team's current best player. Head on over to Twitter, search the name "Julius Randle" and scroll through the endless tweets of disdain towards the former Kentucky big. Although to be fair, the Knicks don't really seem to know what they are doing. Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, and Mitchell Robinson still aren't playing over veterans. Knox did get the start on Sunday night but posted just five points, three rebounds, and three assists in 17 minutes. Marcus Morris is New York's top scorer this season. I've watched maybe five Knicks this season, so I can't definitively say how good or bad Randle has been as a whole, but I can confidently say he looks nothing like he did during his time in Los Angeles and New Orleans. That version of Randle was one of my favorite players in the league. This version of Randle is just unbearably frustrating.
- There are hundreds of reasons why the Knicks are god-awful this year. Randle is just one of many.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
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TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Nets @ Cavaliers (Knight)
7:00: Magic @ Pistons
7:00: Grizzlies @ Pacers
7:30: Timberwolves (Towns)
7:30: Kings (Fox-out, Gabriel)
7:30: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk, Washington)
@ Heat (Adebayo, Herro)
7:30: 76ers @ Raptors
8:00: Trail Blazers (Labissiere)
8:00 (NBATV): Jazz @ Bucks (Bledsoe)
8:30: Lakers (Davis, Rondo)
@ Spurs (Lyles)
10:30 (NBATV): Thunder (Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel)
@ Warriors (Cauley-Stein)