A lot of our guys were involved in blowouts last night, but still played well. Let’s get into it.
Booker scores 30 but Phoenix loses one-seed
After winning five straight to maintain their grasp on the top seed in the West, Phoenix fell by 32 last night in Atlanta, their largest loss of the season.
Devin Booker was the only bright spot for the Suns and was one of just two players to crack double digits in the scoring column. On 20 shots, Booker finished with 30 points and also added five assists. He’s now scored above 30 points in his last four games and six of the last seven.
The Atlanta game is a bump in the road for his team, but Booker is playing consistent, efficient basketball and scoring 30 points on a regular basis as the playoffs loom.
Maxey and Kanter are the only winners from last night
Of the ten UK guys who saw action last night, only Tyrese Maxey and Enes Kanter came away with a win, both in blowout fashion.
Maxey was in double figures yet again and has found a way to turn the heads of the Sixers coaching staff with the added minutes he’s gotten in Seth Curry’s absence. He barely played in the previous three games, but over the past couple of weeks, Maxey has been consistent offense when given ample playing time.
Since April 19th, Maxey has scored double figures in all seven of the games in which he’s played more than 15 minutes. If Curry’s injury is prolonged into the postseason, we very well could see Tyrese getting serious minutes in the postseason.
As for Enes, he was excellent in the Blazers’ 36-point shellacking of Cleveland. Kanter made 9 of 11 shots to score 18 points and add 13 rebounds in just 21 minutes of action. Portland’s starting center, Jusuf Nurkic, recently returned to the lineup and Kanter has seen his minutes slip, although he’s still been consistent in his big man role.
Knicks have an off night
Sound the alarms: Julius Randle had a bad game. Poor performances out of the seventh-year forward have been rare in 2021, and by “bad” I mean he still had 14 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Not too shabby compared to most NBA players. Still, he missed all five threes and New York fell by 16 to Denver.
Some other Wildcats played well, though. Immanuel Quickley needed only 8 shots to get to 18 points and his 7-9 free throw shooting helped. And Nerlens Noel was again a defensive beast. He only chipped in 5 points, but he blocked 6 freaking shots.
If Noel had played the consistent minute load he currently is over the whole year, it wouldn’t be crazy to think he would contend for 2nd or 3rd in Defensive Player of the Year. His acrobatics at the rim and his general defensive toughness have spearheaded a Knicks defense that is now no. 1 in the NBA.
Towns has 22 and Edwards drops 42
Minnesota fell 139-135 to Memphis in their second consecutive loss scoring 135 or more. Poor Karl Towns.
However, the Towns-Russell-Edwards trio is as fun as it is chaotic. Since Russell’s return from injury, Minnesota is 8-8 and no. 3 in the NBA in points per game. Most teams towards the bottom of the standings have bailed on trying to win in gross efforts, but Minnesota is playing its best ball of the year. There are signs of life and reasons to believe in the future from the T-Wolves.
Towns is taking fewer shots than Edwards over the last few months, and I’m not sure that’s the ideal practice long term as I’d still view Towns as the epicenter of the franchise and clearly the most talented and efficient scorer.
Add another top-five pick potentially in the offseason and this Minnesota situation will be absolutely loaded with talent, even if they still aren’t that good in the near future.
|Devin Booker (PHO)||135-103 L @ ATL||30||11-20
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||139-135 L vs. MEM||22||7-15
|Immanuel Quickley (NYK)||113-97 L @ DEN||18||4-8
|Enes Kanter (POR)||141-105 W @ CLE||18||9-11
|Julius Randle (NYK)||113-97 L @ DEN||14||5-15
|Tyrese Maxey (PHI)||135-115 W @ HOU||12||4-9
|Jarred Vanderbilt (MIN)||139-135 L vs. MEM||8||4-5
|Keldon Johnson (SAS)||126-94 L @ UTA||6||2-10
|Nerlens Noel (NYK)||113-97 L @ DEN||5||2-3
|Kevin Knox II (NYK)||113-97 L @ DEN||3||1-2
TODAY IN THE NBA
7:00: Bulls @ Hornets (Monk, Richards, Washington)
7:30: Nets @ Mavericks (Cauley-Stein)
8:00: Grizzlies @ Pistons (Diallo)
8:00: Hawks @ Pacers
10:00: Thunder @ Warriors (Mulder)
10:00: Lakers (Davis) @ Clippers (Cousins, Rondo, Patterson)