The Lakers spread the wealth in an important win
The LA Lakers may not have made any big moves during the trade deadline, but they needed a bounceback win after losing to the Denver Nuggets a night before. They certainly made an impression, seeing as they scored 87 points in the first half on the way to a 139-122 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
The win was highlighted by a rare occurrence, as all Lakers starters scored at least 20 points, which is the fifth time in NBA history that a team has managed the feat.
LeBron James orchestrated the offense masterfully, finishing the game with 21 points, four rebounds, 14 assists, a steal and a block with just two turnovers in 38 minutes of play.
James’ performance should take some heat off him for making a hilarious claim that he meant an assist in a previous game that clearly slipped through his hands.
Anthony Davis had a solid game as well with 20 points, six rebounds, six assists, a block and a steal. D’Angelo Russell led the Lakers in scoring with 30 points and five assists, while Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves combined for 48 points.
Domantas Sabonis and Nikola Jokic are fun to watch together
Nikola Jokic is the undisputed best center (and even player) in the league, in my eyes, but on this particular night, Domantas Sabonis would be the best center in the game between the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings. Sabonis had an ultra-efficient statline of 17 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists while making 7 of 9 field goal attempts. Sabonis was fearless throughout the entire game as he attacked the paint and had an easy basket or assist on many of his possessions.
Sabonis is this year’s biggest All-Star snub and is making a serious case for another ALL-NBA team this season and his consistency plays a big part in that. He now holds the crown of most triple-doubles this season after Jokic failed to also hit the mark after finishing with 23 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals in 30 minutes of play.
It’s worth nothing that the Nuggets were on the second day of a back-to-back with starters Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope unavailable, but that doesn’t take away from how well Sabonis matched up against Jokic.
De’Aaron Fox, who has struggled a bit in recent games, had a solid all-around performance with 15 points, 10 assists and five steals. Fox’s defense set the stage for a lot of transition baskets, which is what really killed the Nuggets tonight.
Malik Monk had another great game off the bench for the Kings, too, leading his team in scoring with 23 points while shooting 9 of 13 from the field.
The Celtics are the first to 40 wins
The Boston Celtics became the first team to hit 40 wins this season after a 133-129 game against the Washington Wizards went their way. Jayson Tatum had a good game with 35 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, a steal and two blocks. Kristaps Porzingis provided plenty of help with 34 points and 11 rebounds and the trade that brought him to Boston is starting to look like the best one of the season.
Boston also are the first team to hit 40 wins before 20 losses, which is the oft-mentioned barometer that former Lakers and Bulls coach Phil Jackson used to determine whether a team is a legitimate championship contender.