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ICYMI: Isaiah Thomas Is Back Like He Never Left

The King in the Fourth returns, Kawhi rounds into form, and everything else you need to know about Tuesday night in the NBA

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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


The King in the Fourth Returns in the First

For the first time since May 19—and the first time in wine and gold—Isaiah Thomas was back on the court. Jose Calderon started at the point and Thomas checked in with 4:33 remaining in the first quarter. He picked up where he left off: missing two consecutive 3s, hitting a pull-up jumper, blowing past Shabazz Napier on a drive—

—and, of course, getting T’d up.

Thomas’s limited minutes were encouraging ones, as he looked comfortable both absorbing contact and pushing the pace. He finished with 17 points and three assists in 19 minutes, shooting 50 percent overall and 3-for-8 from deep. Welcome back, IT.

Thomas will not play Wednesday against the Celtics in Boston.

Change the Rules So This Counts, @NBA @NBA @NBA

It’s only fair to no. 33.

The Michael Beasley Version of a Swish

I’m not saying his attempts *don’t* go in, but …

Speaking of Beas, It’s Only a Bucket If He Thinks It Is

Book a Reservation on the Perimeter

Devin Booker led the Suns’ comeback win against the Hawks, 104-103, two days after he dropped 32 points on Philadelphia.

With 37 seconds remaining, Booker sprinted cross-court, and with the help of a double-screen, he was wide open to take this 3—

—making it a one-possession game. On the Suns’ next possession, Kent Bazemore fouled Booker from behind on a 3-point attempt, sending him to the line with the chance to put Phoenix ahead. He hit all three to the tune of MVP chants.

Marquese Chriss, who ended with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks, sealed the game with this block on Taurean Prince:

Despite going scoreless in the third quarter, Booker finished with 34 points, seven assists, five rebounds, 15 trips to the free throw line, and, to keep Suns fans humble, eight turnovers.

Lou Will.I.Jam

(Will.I.Lay.It.In just didn’t flow.) Lou had a game-high 33 points in Tuesday’s 113-105 Clippers victory against Memphis, L.A.’s sixth win in its last seven games. He shot a perfect 15-of-15 from the free throw line.

Hi, Kawhi

Kawhi Leonard played a season-high 31 minutes against the Knicks in the Spurs’ 100-91 win on Tuesday. It was the second time the teams played in six days. (New York lost the first, as well.)

Kawhi didn’t enter the game in the first matchup but finished Tuesday with 25 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals.

Jarrett Jack Put Himself Through the Spin Cycle

Kemba Walker Now Has the Second-Most Assists in Franchise History

He now has 2,582 career dimes. He also did this:

How about some other numbers?

  1. Charlotte’s 72 first-half points are the second-most for a road game in franchise history.
  2. Charlotte’s 131 points are the most they’ve scored all season.
  3. Charlotte’s 131 points are the most Sacramento’s allowed all season.
  4. Sacramento’s 111 points are the fourth-most they’ve scored all season.

It’s Time to Love Again

Kevin Love is playing alongside a 33-year-old MVP candidate, so yeah, there’s little room left for attention. (Literally little room—LeBron is 250 pounds of pure muscle and his beard is rapidly approaching Kyle O’Quinn width.) But his stat lines—night in and night out—have to be brought up when mentioning the Cavaliers’ success last month. In the Cavs 127-110 win over Portland, which broke a three-game losing streak for Cleveland, Love had 19 points on seven shots in 26 minutes. He missed one of his five 3-point attempts and one of his six free throw shots.

Love has had better statistical seasons, but as far as his offensive game goes, he’s never looked more versatile. In his 15 games before Tuesday’s, Love averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 boards, and shot 46.4 percent from the perimeter.