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NBA ICYMI: John Wall Finally Makes Good on That Lakers Promise, and James Harden Is in Uncharted Territory

Everything you need to know about Thursday in the NBA

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All the need-to-know info from Thursday’s slate.


Wall Finally Shows “No Mercy

The only other time John Wall faced Lonzo Ball — an October 25 overtime loss for the away Wizards — two very large men started the shit-talking for them. LaVar Ball said his son wouldn’t lose to Wall; Marcin Gortat said his point guard would “torture” the rookie.

(The game went to overtime and John Wall missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer; the Lakers won and Gortat learned the concept of regret.)

The second time around, Washington not only won, 111-95, but played both sides of the ball with the intensity of last year’s wack “funeral games” against the Celtics. The Wiz reached 69 points by halftime for the first time all season, and held the Lakers to their fourth-lowest points total thus far. But in what turned out to be a personal blessing for one Lonzo Ball, Wall wasn’t solely focused on a revenge game against the 20-year-old. He saw red for anyone in yellow.

Case A, Brandon Ingram:

Exhibit B, Jordan Clarkson:

Example 3, Kyle Kuzma:

Lastly, lovely ladies and gentlemen of the court, Brook Lopez:

Lonzo “Deshaun Watson” Ball

The best part of this pass comes before the ball even leaves, well, Ball: Note that his head is turned and he’s already focused down court midway through securing the rebound.

De’Aaron Fox Hit the Shot That Mattered

Of the Sacramento rookies, Justin Jackson had the better shooting night in Sacramento’s 109-108 win over Philadelphia. He finished one shy of the team high with 19 points, hitting over half his attempts and staying perfect from the line. Not so much for Fox, who missed all three of his deep shots and nearly everything else, both from the field and in his DeAndre Jordan–level charity stripe performance (3-for-7).

But one game-winning jumper, and all is good as forgotten (for now):

Is LeBron OK?

James rolled his left ankle in the first quarter after stepping on Trevor Ariza’s foot —

— then somehow did not miss any time. Even for injury-repellent Bron, the tweak is scary (especially for the wispiest Cavs team in recent years). You’re nervous for him, then he pulls this shit:

How, Anthony Davis?

Don’t You … Forget About Harden for MVP

Harden sticking his beard in this Cavaliers pile-up and somehow coming out with the rock only to feed it to Clint Capela for the and-1 had to be a defeating moment for the Cavaliers defense —

— except the unit is used to those letdowns. Harden put up 35 points to go with 11 rebounds, 13 assists, and five steals (becoming the first player to post such a stat line in at least three decades).

The Rockets won, 117-113.

Kosta Koufos Contemplating Life on Other Planets

Mudiay Has Never Missed a Shot and You Can’t Convince Me Otherwise

Emmanuel Mudiay the Great came off the bench to score a team-high 21 points in the Nuggets’ 102-94 win against the Thunder. He took four 3s. He made four 3s. He took 10 shots overall. He made eight (whatever) overall. Emmanuel Mudiay, the happy-ending basketball/China story we all need right now.