NBA January 20th, 2020
The NBA featured 14 games on MLK Day. The best things I saw today included an overtime battle between the Kings and Heat, a 42-point performance from Trae Young, a historic milestone reached by Russell Westbrook, and a prime time night game to cap it off featuring the Lakers and Celtics.
Heat come up big despite being empty handed.
Heading into today, the Kings had a record of 15-27, while the Heat owned a record of 30-13, 2nd in the East. The Kings came into South Beach with Bagley, Hield, and Fox all healthy. The Heat, on the other hand, didn’t have their star player Jimmy Butler. Gordon Dragic and Kendrick Nunn combined for 43 to step up for their main man’s absence. Right from the start, both teams exchanged buckets and neither team would let the game slip away. As time expired in the fourth quarter the scoreboard showed a tie at 103. In OT, the Kings had many opportunities to take the lead, but couldn’t as the Heat would end this game on a 7-0 run. This would improve their home record to 19-1 which is the best in the NBA.
Trae Young drops a 42-point double-double, but Hawks fall short.
The Atlanta Hawks own a record of 10-34, second to last in the NBA. Today, they faced the defending champs, led by Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell. The superstar for Atlanta showed us why this team should still have reason to believe. Young had 42 points, shooting 55% from the field, and added 15 assists to the amazing stat line. The Raptors ended the first quarter up eleven, but later the Hawks would strike back, outscoring Toronto by 14 in the second quarter. At the end of the third, the Raptors held a one point lead after a 13-3 run. The Hawks kept it close, but Norman Powell’s 17 point fourth-quarter powered the Raptors to victory in Atlanta
Russell Westbrook reaches a historic milestone, but Rockets fall short.
The triple-double king put on a show in Houston, dropping 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. He also would reach a jaw-dropping milestone while doing so. Russ has officially joined King James in recording a triple-double against every team in the NBA. Although Westbrook had a great night, the Rockets did not. James Harden tied an NBA record for the most missed three-pointers in a game, going 1-17 from beyond the arc. The Rockets also held a 64-81 lead over Oklahoma City, but their lack of defense showed as the Thunder dropped 41 points in the fourth quarter, completing the 17 point comeback win. The Rockets are now on a four game losing streak, falling to 26-16.
Celtics crush the 34-9 Lakers in The Garden
Lastly, was a huge day for the Boston Celtics. They looked like a complete team, shooting 56% from the field, and knocking down 16 three-pointers. They dropped 139 points on a Lakers team with LeBron and Anthony Davis both healthy and on the court. Jayson Tatum dropped 27 points in 29 minutes, giving Boston a huge boost. Along with that Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker each had 20 points, shooting a combined 14-27 from the field. Overall the Celtics played well as a team showing how dominant they can be at their full potential. The leading scorer for the Lakers was… JaVale McGee with 18 points, he was 7-8 from the field and made 75% of his free throws. The C’s held Davis and James to a combined 24 points, one of the worst performances all season for the duo. We all know that this isn’t what the Lakers are as a team, and this loss shouldn’t bring them down at all. When you look at the numbers, it was an off day for them, but a game that they can definitely improve on. In the end, this could be a potential NBA Finals matchup that would renew the historic rivalry between the two teams.
Top Photo: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki