While much of the league rested, Sunday’s seven-game slate of NBA action still produced some memorable moments for a few former ‘Cats. Let’s get into it.
Booker, Suns out-dueled by Nets’ stars
As the old adage goes, sometimes you win and sometimes you get KD’d. That’s what happened to the second-place (western) Suns when they took on the first-place (eastern) Nets on Sunday afternoon, with Brooklyn superstar Kevin Durant returning from a three-game absence. The oft-injured swingman led the way with 33 points off the bench as the Nets ran away with a 128-119 victory at home, handing the Suns a second consecutive loss on their current road trip.
For Phoenix, Devin Booker was typically excellent, finishing with a game-high 36 on 12-24 shooting (4-5 from deep). He scored 23 in the second half alone, getting to his spots at will against the porous Nets D. However, the Brooklyn attack proved too powerful in the end, as they outscored Phoenix 69-58 in the last two quarters. Alongside Durant’s 33, Kyrie Irving had 34 points and 12 assists, and Blake Griffin had one of his better games as a Net so far with 16. Even without James Harden, who is out indefinitely with hamstring issues, they’re among the NBA’s best.
It was Booker’s first 30-point outing since he dropped 35 on the Jazz nearly three weeks ago. The fact that that even feels like a drought pretty much says it all for how good he’s been this year. The Suns get another big test tonight when they take on the smoking hot New York Knickerbockers, winners of nine straight, on NBA TV. D-Book vs. Julius? Sign me up.
Washington’s 22 powers Hornets win
I am all the way here for the P.J. Washington renaissance. The second-year big man dropped 22 points on 12 shots in yesterday’s 125-104 win over the Celtics, which makes four of five games now that he’s scored 22 or more since missing three games with a sprained ankle. In 48 games (all starts) this season prior to the injury, he reached that mark exactly once. Over the last five games, he’s shooting an incredible 54% (20-37) from downtown, which is probably unsustainable, but man is it fun to watch.
During P.J.’s current hot streak, the Hornets have won three of five, after losing four in a row previously. The latest win brought them back to .500 at 30-30, good enough for a slim grasp on the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. With this year’s special play-in format, that would mean they would face the seven-seed — currently Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat — in a one-game contest for the seven-seed, followed by a match-up with either the nine- or 10-seed (Pacers and Wizards) if they lost the first one. With the play-in games set to begin on May 18, Charlotte could be fighting for a spot up until the last moment.
With any luck, they should have Malik Monk back by then, as well as injured stars LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward. Monk missed his 13th game with an ankle injury on Sunday, but he could return as soon as this week (for real this time). They’ll need everyone healthy to make a run at their first playoff birth since 2016. Unless P.J. stays this hot, that is, in which case they’ve got all they need. WATCH OUT BROOKLYN, PAUL WASHINGTON JUNIOR IS OUT FOR BLOOD.
– Mychal Mulder scored in double-figures for the second straight game in the Warriors’ four-point win over Sacramento, hitting three treys en route to 11 points. Steph Curry who??
– De’Aaron Fox is officially out 10-14 days after entering the NBA’s COVID-19 “health and safety protocols.” After watching the Kings lose nine of 11, I don’t blame him.
– Boogie down! The Clippers announced today that they’re signing DeMarcus Cousins through the rest of the season. The veteran big has averaged 6.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in eight appearances since joining the Clips, and now he’ll be on board for their championship push.
|Devin Booker (PHX)||119-128 L @ BKN||36||12-24 (4-5)||3||1||0||1||3||-3||37|
|P.J. Washington (CHA)||125-104 W vs. BOS||22||8-12 (4-6)||12||5||1||1||1||+25||39|
|Mychal Mulder (GSW)||117-113 W vs. SAC||11||4-8 (3-6)||0||0||0||0||0||+3||14|
|Enes Kanter (POR)||113-120 L vs. MEM||7||2-3 (0-0)||5||0||2||1||0||+7||14|
|Nick Richards (CHA)||125-104 W vs. BOS||0||0-1 (0-1)||0||0||0||0||0||+2||2|
|De’Aaron Fox (SAC)||113-117 L @ GSW||DNP – COVID-19 protocols||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||125-104 W vs. BOS||DNP – Sprained ankle||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
TODAY IN THE NBA
7:00: Hawks @ Pistons (Diallo)
7:00: Lakers (Davis) @ Magic
7:00: Thunder (SGA*) @ Sixers (Maxey)
7:00: Spurs (Johnson, Lyles) @ Wizards
7:30 (NBA TV): Suns (Booker) @ Knicks (Randle, Noel, Quickley, Knox)
7:30: Cavaliers @ Raptors
8:00: Bulls @ Heat (Adebayo, Herro)
8:00: Jazz @ Timberwolves (Towns, Vanderbilt)
8:00: Clippers (Rondo, Patterson, Cousins) @ Pelicans (Bledsoe, Gabriel)
9:00: Grizzlies @ Nuggets (Murray*)
10:00 (NBA TV): Mavericks @ Kings (Fox*)
* – inactive