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Last night was NBA Wednesday and you know what that means! There was loads of action, tons of great performances, and even some career marks that were set. There were 13 games, so there was a lot to choose from to break it all down, so I managed to find 10 gems that stood out from last night’s action. So without further ado, let’s get right into them!
Nikola Jokic goes nuclear against Minnesota
Nikola Jokic must go to bed at night thinking of ways that he can outdo himself because, at this point, he is truly in a league of his own when it comes to the things that he can do on a basketball court. Wednesday night was just another one of the jaw-dropping performances that make you giggle when you look at the final box score and see just how ludicrous his line was.
Jokic scored 39 points on 17-of-23 shooting with 11 rebounds, 11 assists, and one steal as the Nuggets beat the Pelicans 120-112 on Wednesday night. Jokic became the fourth player in NBA history with three career 30-point triple-double on at least 70% shooting from the floor. The others are Wilt Chamberlain, who did it ten times, Magic Johnson, who did it four times, and Oscar Robertson, who did it three times. The Nuggets are extremely shorthanded right now, and the fact that they are 12-12 tells you everything you need to know about Nikola Jokic, and how awesome he has been this season.
BJ Boston scores career-high 27 points in a win over the Celtics
Just 10 days ago, Brandon Boston Jr. was playing in the G-League, and he dropped an absurd 46 points on 15-of-20 shooting from the floor and 9-of-12 shooting from three. On Wednesday, the Clippers were without Paul George due to an elbow injury, so Boston was thrust into the fire and he did not disappoint.
In 25 minutes off the bench, Boston scored 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting (5-of-8 3-pointers) and grabbed two rebounds with four steals and two turnovers. He became the second Clipper aged 20 or younger to ever score 25-plus points with four-plus steals in a game. The first to do so was his teammate Eric Bledsoe, who did so back in his first stint with the Clippers.
Over his last two games, Boston is now averaging 20 points in just 22.5 minutes. The Clippers don’t play again until Saturday, which will give Paul George some extra days to rehab his elbow and get back on the floor, and once he does, Boston’s usage will surely take a hit. But the Clippers are in dire need of some more offense, and they have invested a good deal in Boston as they signed him to a two year deal with a guaranteed $2.5 million, which was the most guaranteed money ever for a player drafted in the fifties that didn’t spend time overseas as a draft-and-stash. So needless to say, they are hoping that they can get some return on their investment in some production on the court, particularly on offense, so we will see if Boston will hold up his end of the bargain.
Eric Gordon and Garrison Mathews stay hot, Rockets win their 7th straight game
The Brooklyn Nets were short-handed on Wednesday as they rested LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant, given it was the second night of a back-to-back. They are also currently without Joe Harris, who is recovering from ankle surgery, and of course, Kyrie Irving, who is being Kyrie Irving. With that being said, The Rockets were also shorthanded as they were without arguably their best two players in Kevin Porter Jr. who is dealing with a thigh injury, and Jalen Green, who remains out with a hamstring injury. They were also missing Danuel House, who is dealing with an ankle injury, and Usman Garuba who is out with a thigh injury.
Given all of the injuries, Garrison Mathews and Eric Gordon have gotten some big minutes of late and they have not disappointed. On Wednesday, Gordon led the way with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting (2-of-4 3-pointers) with two rebounds, two assists, and one block in 28 minutes. This marked the veteran guard’s third straight game scoring at least 20 points and his fourth in his last six games. Mathews pitched in 19 points on 5-of-13 shooting (3-of-11 3-pointers) and added two rebounds, three steals, and one block in 39 minutes. Over the Rockets’ seven-game win streak Matthews is averaging 16.1 points per game on 52.0% shooting from the floor and 44.8% shooting from the three-point line.
With Wednesday’s win, the Rockets became the first team in NBA history to have a fifteen-game losing streak, and a seven-game winning streak in the same season, nevertheless to have one right after the other. We will see if they can stretch the streak to eight on Friday when they host the Bucks. In the meantime, both Gordon and Matthews are must-starts in all formats with the Rockets missing Green and Porter Jr. so be sure to make sure they are in your lineups.
Caleb Martin has a career night as the Heat beat the Bucks
The Heat were without Jimmy Butler on Wednesday due to a tailbone injury, and they are also without Bam Adebayo, who is recovering from thumb surgery, so Caleb Martin was able to slide into the starting lineup along with Dewayne Dedmon. Milwaukee entered the evening 11-0 in games this season where Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday were all in the lineup. That mark became 11-1 after Wednesday night and it was largely because of Martin.
The bouncy guard poured in a career-high 28 points on 9-of-12 shooting with a career-high six-made triples, eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and just one turnover in 34 minutes. Martin has now scored in double-figures in three straight games, and five of his last six. It is astonishing the value that Miami is getting out of him, given the fact that he is on a two-way contract. As long as Jimmy Butler is out, Martin should continue to start, and he should put up solid numbers in the process.
Stephen Curry inches closer to history in win over shorthanded Blazers
One of the hottest topics in the NBA entering Wednesday was Curry’s comments following the Warriors’ win over the Rockets on Monday. After Curry drained seven three-pointers on his way to 31 points, he was just 15 made threes shy of tying Ray Allen’s record of made three-pointers in a career with 2,973. He would need 16 to break the record, and control is outright. Curry did not rule out the possibility of knocking down all sixteen on Wednesday, which would give him the record, and it would break Klay Thompson’s record of 14 made three’s in a game.
So needless to say, all eyes were on Chef Curry on Wednesday night. He surely was not kidding, when he said that he was going to try to get it in one game, as he attempted 12 three-pointers in the first half alone. The 12 three-point attempts were the second-highest he has ever attempted in a first half in his career, trailing only the thirteen that he got up in the first half against Memphis back in 2016. Unfortunately, though, he only made four of the twelve in the first half and added only two in the second half for a total of six made three’s on the evening.
He did score a team-high 22 points, but he struggled shooting the ball going 8-of-19 from the floor and 6-of-17 from three with two rebounds, two assists, and one steal in the Warriors’ 104-94 win over Portland. Curry now needs nine more makes to tie the record, and ten to break it. His next three games are against his brother Seth Curry in Philly, the Pacers, where Reggie Miller is expected to be in attendance, and the Knicks in Madison Square Garden, so Curry will be able to have a special night no matter where it happens.
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Kyle Kuzma puts up a huge line in win over Pistons
Kyle Kuzma loves hitting game-winning three-pointers from the left corner. He hit one earlier in the season to beat the Cavaliers, and he hit another one on Wednesday to seal a win against the Pistons in overtime. Kuzma finished with 26 points on 8-of-18 shooting (4-of-10 3-pointers) and added seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, and three turnovers as the Wizards beat the Pistons 119-116 on Wednesday night in Detroit. It should be noted that Kuzma grew up in nearby Flint, Michigan, so it felt especially good for him to hit the game-winner in his hometown, so much so that he even waved to the fans following his clutch shot.
Kuzma has played well this season for the Wizards, though he has been inconsistent at times. It doesn’t help that the Wizards expect to get Rui Hachimura back soon, which could make the situation at forward even more crowded. Kuzma will still play, and he will still have his big games every now and again, but they could likely just be fewer and farther between once Hachimura gets re-acclimated into the lineup.
Chris Duarte leads Pacers to a second-straight win Wednesday.
Chris Duarte got off to a blistering start to the season while the Pacers were dealing with some injuries, namely to Caris LeVert. Duarte then went cold and hit his rookie wall for a bit where he scored in single-digits in four straight games and five of six in mid-November. Duarte has been better as of late, as he has now scored in double-figures in his last eight outings.
On Wednesday, he had his second-best game of the season, as he scored 23 points on an efficient 9-of-11 from the floor (2-of-2 3-pointers) and added six assists, three blocks, and one steal in 30 minutes. Duarte seems to be back on track, and with Indiana announcing publicly that they are ready for a rebuild, Duarte will be one of the guys who benefit the most, as he is one of the team’s most prized young assets.
Joel Embiid outduels Gordon Hayward, Sixers beat Hornets
Since Joel Embiid has returned from his stint in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Sixers are 4-2 and the big fella has looked unstoppable. In these six games, Embiid is averaging 29.0 points per game on 44.8% shooting from the floor and 43.8% shooting from three with 13.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 steals, and 1.2 made three-pointers per game. On Wednesday, he put up 32 points on 8-of-17 shooting (15-of-19 free throws) and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists, one steal, and just one turnover as the Sixers beat the Hornets 110-106.
Gordon Hayward was equally impressive for Charlotte as he scored 31 points on 10-of-18 shooting (9-of-10 free throws) and added seven assists, five rebounds, one steal, one block, and four turnovers in 41 minutes. Hayward has been awesome for the Hornets this season, and most importantly, he has yet to miss a single game this season. Hayward has been plagued with injuries over the last few years, but this season he has managed to stay off the injury report which is great news for Hayward managers and even better news for the Hornets.
Donovan Mitchell goes for 36 as the Jazz blow out Minnesota.
Mitchell has taken criticism at times for being a high-volume guy, and someone that can be inefficient at times. But as of late, Mitchell has been as efficient as can be and he has been filling it up as the Jazz have quietly won five straight games. On Wednesday, Mitchell scored 36 points on 14-of-23 shooting (5-of-12 3-pointers) and he added five rebounds, two assists, one block, and four turnovers as the Jazz beat the Timberwolves 136-104.
Mitchell has now scored at least 30 in three straight games and has shot at least 50% from the floor in his last five games. This comes after three-straight games where he failed to get to even 40% from the floor. If Mitchell can keep the percentages up, while also scoring at a high clip, it will certainly help his fantasy value going forward, and he is already on pace for top-20 value in standard leagues.
De’Aaron Fox scores 33, Kings win a shootout over the Magic.
The Kings have quietly won three straight games and are now 5-3 under interim head coach Alvin Gentry. Fox had one of his best games of the season on Wednesday as he scored 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting (2-of-2 three-pointers) and added three rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block, and one turnover in 33 minutes as the Kings beat the Magic 142-130. The Kings had seven players in double-figures on Wednesday as the 142 was the most points that they have scored in a game this season, although they have scored at least 140 three times this season.
For Orlando, Cole Anthony scored 33 points on 12-of-22 shooting (6-of-9 3-pointers) and added eight assists, four rebounds, one steal, and three turnovers in 35 minutes. Anthony bounced back from the dud that he put up against the Warriors, where he scored just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting. Cole Anthony will continue to fill it up in Orlando as long as the rest of their backcourt continues to be sidelined, so expect many more of these types of nights to come down the road.