There’s a new number one atop the NBA standings dogpile. With last night’s win over the Warriors, the Phoenix Suns tied them for the best record in the league, and won their 17th straight game to boot. The catch? One former ‘Cat went down in the process. Read on for the latest on his status, plus everything else that went down in the league on Tuesday.
Suns tie franchise record win streak, lose Booker
Tuesday night’s West Coast clash between the Warriors and Suns was billed as a feature of the best the league had to offer, and it lived up to that billing. The two best teams by record, Golden State and Phoenix have hardly been blemished all season; but ultimately, it was the defending Western champs who handed Steph Curry & co. their third loss of the year, 104-96.
Unfortunately, they had to do so without much help from their leading scorer, Devin Booker. The superstar left the game midway through the second quarter with a hamstring injury, ending his night early. Still, he managed to put up 10 points before exiting, including this disgusting discarding of Curry:
The injury ended a streak of three straight 30-point performances from Booker, who has been on fire throughout the Suns’ winning streak. Previously in their perfect 15-0 month of November, he was averaging a tick over 24 points per game on 47% shooting and 45% from three. We don’t yet have an official diagnosis on the injury, but he has had some trouble with that hamstring in the past.
On the bright side for Phoenix, they were able to hold off the Warriors effectively even without their best scorer. Deandre Ayton led the way with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Chris Paul added 15 and 11 assists. They managed to limit Curry, the NBA’s second-leading scorer, to just 12 points on 4-21 shooting.
Phoenix’s 17-game win streak matches a franchise record set during the 2006-07 season, when they were led by current Nets coach Steve Nash. They’ll have a chance to break that record against the Pistons on Thursday.
Davis, Lakers erase deficit for easy win vs. Kings
Say it with me: no LeBron, no problem. Well, at least that’s true when you’re playing the Kings. With LeBron James sitting at home under COVID protocols, the Lakers rode a huge second half to take control and win handily in Sacramento, 117-92.
As you might expect, the instigating force on offense for L.A. was one Anthony Davis. The Brow dropped 25 points in the win, including eight during a key third-quarter run that saw the Lakers go from trailing by 14 to leading by 13 at the start of the fourth. He converted back-to-back baskets around the five-minute mark that gave them the lead for good.
The Lakers benefitted from 23 points from Russell Westbrook, as well as 22 on 6-10 from three by Malik Monk. The sharpshooter really caught fire in this one, but none were more impressive than this heave from near half-court to beat the first-half buzzer:
It was the third game above 20 points this season for Monk, two of which have come against the Kings… in the last week. This rematch of Friday’s three-overtime barnburner was less dramatic for several reasons, including the struggles of Monk’s old teammate De’Aaron Fox: the wily point guard was held to 17 points and he had seven turnovers this time around.
The win pushes the Lakers back above .500 at 12-11, while the Kings fell to 2-3 since firing Luke Walton.
Knicks, Nets duel in New York classic
Look, the Nets catch a lot of flak for not having fans, and it’s justified. But that’s not to say the Barclays Center can’t be a fun environment. Just look at last night’s Nets-Knicks game, the largest home crowd for a Brooklyn Nets game ever.
Granted, they were probably, like, 80% Knicks fans — but who’s counting? Regardless, those in attendance were treated to a fantastic game between two of the East’s best squads. The Nets won, 112-110, but not before a few former ‘Cats showed out for the Knickerbockers.
Of course, we have to start with Julius Randle, who chipped in a solid 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists against Kevin Durant and friends. Here he is giving the big man the business:
Randle likely would’ve scored more if he’d gotten to the line a few times, as he shot just two free throws in the game despite driving into contact all night. After the game, he had some choice words for the officials:
Even so, the Knicks had a good chance at the end. After tying the game with 19 seconds left on an Evan Fournier three, they forced the ball out of Durant’s hands with a double team. But KD found an open James Johnson cutting to the basket, and after two made free throws, it was over.
The Knicks got 12 points off the bench from Immanuel Quickley, who’s been elevated since the benching of Kemba Walker. They’ll seek to get back on track with a win against the Bulls on Thursday.
Adebayo to miss 4-6 weeks
While Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat didn’t play on Tuesday night, an untimely injury from Monday’s outing has him in the news. The Miami big man is expected to miss 4-6 weeks as he recovers from a looming thumb surgery. Adebayo suffered the injury during Monday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Miami is currently third in the Eastern Conference standings with a 13-8 record, largely in part due to Adebayo’s on-court success. The former Wildcat is averaging 18.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting nearly 52 percent from the floor. Looks Tyler Herro will have to step up even more than he has already has for the Heat this season.
Here’s the full box from Tuesday’s action:
|Anthony Davis (LAL)||117-92 W @ SAC||25||12-22|
|Julius Randle (NYK)||110-112 L @ BKN||24||11-22|
|Malik Monk (LAL)||117-92 W @ SAC||22||8-16|
|De’Aaron Fox (SAC)||92-117 L vs. LAL||17||4-9|
|Immanuel Quickley (NYK)||110-112 L @ BKN||12||4-12|
|Devin Booker (PHO)||104-96 W vs. GSW||10||4-9|
|Trey Lyles (DET)||92-110 L @ POR||5||2-8|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||117-92 W @ SAC||4||2-3|
|Hamidou Diallo (DET)||92-110 L @ POR||1||0-0|
|Nerlens Noel (NYK)||110-112 L @ BKN||0||0-0|
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||110-112 L @ BKN||DNP – Coach’s decision||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
Today in the NBA:
7:00 – Hawks @ Pacers (Jackson*)
7:00 – Nuggets (Murray*) @ Magic (Mulder)
7:00 – Timberwolves (Towns, Vanderbilt) @ Wizards
7:30 (NBA TV) – 76ers (Maxey) @ Celtics (Kanter)
7:30 – Cavaliers @ Heat (Adebayo, Herro)
8:00 – Hornets (Washington, Richards) @ Bucks (Cousins)
8:00 – Mavericks (Cauley-Stein) @ Pelicans
8:00 – Rockets (Wall*) @ Thunder (Gilgeous-Alexander)
10:30 (NBA TV) – Kings (Fox) @ Clippers (Bledsoe, Boston Jr.*)
* – inactive