Miss your NBA fix last night? In three minutes or less, TDC’s The Tip Off gives you the brief rundown of the standout stat lines, exciting finishes and some rarities that went down on the hardwood last night. On a busy evening where you miss the live action and/or the scintillating thrill of NBA Twitter scrolling, we have done the work for you and compiled notable lines and events.
Spend three minutes reading this every day to keep up with the Association and have enough knowledge and nuggets to be in the loop with casual fans as well as the ability to toss out a few specific stats and oddities an avid fan may have missed.
B-ball Date: 1/8/2020 as reported by Aram Hanessian
- On opening night against the Pelicans, Toronto played eight guys, four of them are currently hurt, so there are opportunities for some depth players to step up. Undrafted rookie Terence Davis actually played in that opener, but last night in Charlotte was his first start of the year and he took full advantage. Davis had half of the Raptors points in OT and a career-high 23 overall on 8/16 shooting, including 4/8 from three. He added 11 boards and 5 assists in Toronto’s 112-110 win.
- Don’t look now (seriously, it’s ugly, don’t look) but the Spurs have taken over the 8th seed in the Western Conference Playoff race. Yes, 16-20 is easily good enough at the moment to make it. Over the last two weeks, San Antonio is +6.9 per 100 possessions, good for 5th in the league per Cleaning the Glass. DeMar DeRozan made sure the hot streak kept going last night in Boston. DeRozan had 30 points on 10/17 from the field and 10/10 from the line (in classic DeRozan fashion, he took only one 3 and missed it) as the Spurs beat the Celtics 129-114.
- There was a lot of talk early in the season about Nikola Jokic’s slow start and his umm . . . physique. Well, I think it’s safe to say those concerns were a bit overblown. Over the last month, Jokic is at 23/9.5/7 and for the year the Nuggets have been 14.2 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor per Cleaning the Glass. Last night in Dallas, Jokic hit the game winner from the post with 7.9 seconds left and had 33 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists as Denver won 107-106.
- Howard Beck included Brandon Ingram as one of his locks to make the Western Conference All-Star team on the Lowe Post Podcast yesterday and I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but he is giving me no choice but to keep including him here. Ingram had 29 points, 8 boards, and 11 assists last night in the Pelicans 123-108 win over the Bulls.
Quirks of the Night
- In the Magic’s 123-89 win over the Wizards. Markelle Fultz was +40 while only scoring 6 points, which actually happens more often than I thought, but I did the research so I’m including it anyway. By my count, this is the 5th time somebody has been +40 while scoring 6 or fewer points since the start of the 2014-15 season. Of course Draymond and Harison Barnes have done it, Danny Green too, but my favorite is Ian Mahinmi, who was +43 while scoring 2 points when the Pacers beat up the Process Sixers in 2015. To bring things full circle, Mahinmi played last night for the Wizards on the wrong end of the blowout and obviously scored 2 points, but was only -15.
- Two big quirks in the Rockets 122-115 win in Atlanta last night. First, a player scoring at least 40 points while taking 20+ threes and making 20% or less of them is as rare as it seems. James Harden did that last night against the Hawks and it has only been done once before. By James Harden. One month ago. Second, Harden had a triple double with 10 rebounds and assists to go along with his 41 points. Trae Young also had a 40 point triple-double with a 42/13/10 line. That is the first time in NBA history players on opposing teams each had 40 point triple-doubles.
- The Knicks were without their two leading scorers last night in Utah and yes, that’s Bobby Portis’s music. Portis took full advantage of the open shots to get 17 of them up. He made 5 on his way to 13 points. Honestly, almost any Knick could be here. RJ Barrett was 3/10 for 10 points, Kevin Knox was 2/10 for 6 points, and on and on as the Knicks got killed 128-104.
- I’ve featured him here before, and I feel kind of bad picking on the same people over and over, but it’s not getting any better for Cameron Reddish. In the midst of the Trae Young/James Harden duel in Atlanta last night, Reddish went 3/11 and 1/7 from three. For the season, Reddish is sporting a 37.8% effective field goal percentage. He is one of only three players in the league to have played at least 500 minutes with an eFG% of under 40% along with Dwayne Bacon and, of course, Jordan Poole.
NBA Twitter Table Talk
- Jimmy Butler is unimpressed with T.J. Warren’s defense.