All the need-to-know info from Friday’s 12-game slate.
How to Overcome a Bad Defense in 48 Minutes by LeBron James
How do you solve a porous defense while trying to be a title contender? Why, you make all your shots, of course. That’s how simple the Cavs’ strategy seemed to be on Friday night when they took on the Wizards. Cleveland was looking to stop the bleeding after a four-game losing streak and one of the worst defenses in the league.
Cleveland exploded for 130 points to the Wizards’ 122 in a win where they drained 12 3s and shot 56.1 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from deep. It was LeBron James’s 11th 50-point game, and he took over to score 57—tied for the franchise’s single-game scoring record. He did it all by making just two 3s, and alongside 11 rebounds and seven assists.
There was Jumpshot LeBron
O mundo é de LeBron James, nós só habitamos nele.— Game Time Brasil (@GameTime_BR) November 4, 2017
Apreciem um dos melhores de todos os tempos pic.twitter.com/9XuBApq1v3
And Bully LeBron
And I’m-going-to-do-everything LeBron, which was exactly what the Cavs needed to get back on track. When LeBron plays like this, it’s hard to worry about a team led by a guy that can still tap into this at 32 years old after seven consecutive NBA Finals appearances.
The Celtics Can Fight
When the Celtics fell into an 18-point deficit during the first half of their road game in Oklahoma City, it felt like the sheer talent disparity between the Thunder’s Big 3 and the Celtics would be too much to overcome.
Instead, the second half woke up Kyrie Irving, who took over the game by scoring 22 of his 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting in the second half, while Al Horford closed it out hitting four 3s that all swished in. It was Irving’s game, however, as his second-half rampage included a five-point play, and this icy layup to put the nail in the coffin.
Kyrie’s finishes at the rim are as tight-spun as an In-N-Out shake pic.twitter.com/k3q1TOeVaM— Paolo Uggetti (@PaoloUggetti) November 4, 2017
Boston also turned up their defense and held the Thunder to 39 points in the second half after surrendering 55 points in the first. The 101-94 victory was the Celtics’ 7th win in a row after starting the season 0-2.
A game like this makes you wonder how high Boston’s ceiling could have been had Gordon Hayward never gotten injured. At the same time, with Irving playing on this sort of takeover level, it’s hard to argue they’re not legit regardless of whether Hayward is playing or not.
John Wall Hurts His Arm
John Wall appeared to hurt his shoulder following a collision with Channing Frye in the second half of the Wizards matchup with the Cavaliers. Following the game, it was reported that Wall had suffered a left shoulder sprain and that the X-rays were negative. However, it appears he was still in great pain postgame.
John Wall left Capital One Arena with his arm in a sling. He told reporters that his shoulder felt like it was on fire.— Craig Hoffman (@CraigHoffman) November 4, 2017
Myles Turner Back
SIZE IT UP!— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) November 3, 2017
Myles Turner put Saric on a POSTER pic.twitter.com/N0nQM3Bk3Q
J.J. Redick Comes Alive
It’s been a long time since the Sixers have had that guy. Not the superstar, necessarily, but the one that can make you believe in the hot hand. On Friday against the pesky Pacers, J.J. Redick lit up the Wells Fargo Center with an incendiary shooting performance to fuel Philly’s 121-110 win.
Redick was an unconscious 8-of-12 from deep, with four of those shots coming in the fourth quarter, including this rare, fadeaway wonder:
Redick is unquestionably aided by having Ben Simmons as his point guard. Simmons’s vision is already that of a seasoned vet, and he provided the assist on multiple occasions for Redick’s game-high 31 points. Simmons, meanwhile, finished with his second triple-double of the season after just nine games.
Career games needed to achieve two triple doubles:— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) November 4, 2017
Ben Simmons: 9
Michael Jordan: 58
Jason Kidd: 69
LeBron James: 118
DeRozan scored a season-high 37 in the Raptors’ 109-100 win against the Jazz. So far this season, DeRozan had only made two of his nine 3s, but on Friday, he drained three of them. Is this finally the year?
So ... About Those Nike Jerseys
Brook by Brook
It was a bizarro revenge game night at Staples Center Friday night.
While the Nets-Lakers matchup was significant because of D’Angelo Russell’s return to L.A. to face Lonzo Ball and the team that traded him away, it was Brook Lopez who had a standout game of his own against his former team in a 124-112 Lakers win.
Lopez, who shot a total of seven 3s in his first six seasons in the league, took nine 3s and made six of them against the Nets on his way to 34 points and 10 rebounds. This season, Lopez, a sudden savant of the long-range shot, is shooting over 50 percent from behind the arc, and is the most experienced player on a young roster that needs his guidance as much as they needed every one of his points to beat Brooklyn.
Andre Drummond Does It All
This is no longer a fluke or a small sample size theater. Andre Drummond has fixed his free throw shot, and even moreso, improved his game. On Friday against the Giannis-led Bucks, he dominated in every facet, scoring 24 points, racking up 15 boards, and adding on a steal and two blocks.
From the field, Drummond only made five of seven shots, but he went to the line 16 times. In the same situation last year, when that was his weak spot, he would have struggled and shot the Pistons out of the game. He made 14 of 16 from the stripe against Milwaukee and led the Pistons to the 105-96 win. After shooting below 40 percent from the line last season, Drummond is at a renewed 77.1 percent so far this season.
There’s a change you can believe in.
I always believed. (Not really).
The Spurs Turn Everything to Gold
In classic Spurs fashion, San Antonio’s bounce-back victory after losing to the Warriors Thursday night didn’t come thanks to any of the regular names. The Spurs’ bench outscored the starters 64-44 led by Rudy Gay’s 20 points and rookie Bryn Forbes’ team-high 22 points as San Antonio defeated Charlotte 108-101.
Meanwhile, rising sophomore Dejounte Murray dropped in 10 of his own off the bench with three assists, and this dunk that looked to be out of the Giannis School of Length.
21 year-old point guard Dejounte Murraypic.twitter.com/c6O4cbHlNZ— Tom Petrini (@RealTomPetrini) November 4, 2017
Oh, yeah, and Manu Ginobili dunked too because Father Time is only a construct.
Kelly Oubre Jr. Is Having A Moment
First, there was the Halloween costume:
Kelly Oubre on his Halloween costume: 'I was like a Dalmatian/dead rock star... We made it look good. That's all I do, make stuff look good' pic.twitter.com/Jevsf5XRZA— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) October 31, 2017
Then, the shootaround quote:
Kelly Oubre Jr. on what constitutes a NBA rivalry: "I wouldn't say altercations, but I would say altercations."— Neil Dalal (@NeilDalal96) November 3, 2017
And finally, the arena entrance that was as sartorially loud as a $495 coat could be.
Oubre Jr arrives to work with NSFW fur coat pic.twitter.com/C3R98qngJk— Jim Witalka (@jwitalka) November 3, 2017
By the way, the league is reportedly looking into the fashion statement by Oubre, so the moment and the jacket might end up costing him more than stock price.
Porzingis is on a tear. In Friday’s 120-107 win against the Suns, he dropped 37 points for his sixth game of 30 points or more this season. He only eclipsed the 30-point mark three total times in his first two years in the league.