…and went 6-of-12 from the field for 17 points in only 19 minutes of action. Look out, NBA, Isaiah Thomas is back.
And not a moment too soon, as Cleveland is currently 25-12 after a big win over the Portland Trailblazers by a 127-110 count.
The league’s third-best offensive team (behind Golden State and Houston) and fourth-worst defensive team (ahead of only Atlanta, Phoenix, and Sacramento) needs all the firepower they can get if they’re going to keep insisting on winning games in shootouts.
LeBron James had 24 to lead the Cavs, who shot 51.8 percent as a team and got a lot of help from the refs to shoot 28-of-37 from the line.
Dwyane Wade had 15 points and eight rebounds in just 18 minutes off the bench, helping Cleveland’s reserves to outscore Portland’s 61-23.
Jeff Green had the Weird Stat Line of the Night: 10 points on 0-of-5 from the field and 10-of-12 from the line, all while posting a team-high plus-24 plus/minus.
You know who’s getting the breakfast highlight reel:
Isaiah Thomas finished the game with 17 points and 3 assist in 19 minutes🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/Xyi9Pc3YaC
— NBA Inside Stuff (@NBAInside_Stuff) January 3, 2018
The Weirdest Play of 2018, Voting’s Done, It’s Official
Manu Ginobili just made the weirdest three-pointer you’ll see, an alley-oop pass gone horribly right that confused the Knicks and the officials and just about broke Gregg Popovich:
lolllll Manu Ginobili throws a pass that ends up going through hoop, refs have no idea, play continues like nothing happened.
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) January 3, 2018
The Spurs beat the Knicks 100-91 in an ugly slog of a game, shooting just 37.8 percent from the field but winning the turnover battle 14-8 and dominating at the line to the tune of 28-34 against 14-of-18.
The two teams combined for a hundred rebounds, splitting the tally 50-50.
How ’bout some Kawhilights:
Kawhi Leonard tonight…
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 3, 2018
And Things Now Go South In A Hurry
The Atlanta Hawks did this.
I may have underestimated the #Hawks. With no timeouts, this is INCREDIBLE dedication to tanking.
— Fastbreak Breakfast NBA Podcast (@fastbreakbreak) January 3, 2018
Let the conspiracy theories begin. One, because that was such an incredibly blatant throwing of the game that the league needs to investigate…and two, because the Suns were favored by 1.5 points and that layup to cut the margin of defeat also meant Atlanta covered the spread.
By the gods, the Hawks are a dumpster fire, and Dennis Schroder needs to wear the dunce cap in practice.
Oh, and the Suns shot 50.6 percent and only beat the Hawks by one point thanks to the Suns committing 21 turnovers.
This is what happens when bad teams play each other. It’s ugly. Anyone who watched this on League Pass, you need to find something better to do. I love the NBA, but nobody should be paying money to see that.
Highlights, such as they are, as the Suns erased a 14-point deficit because nobody told them they were supposed to lose:
— NBA (@NBA) January 3, 2018
Badsketball, Part 2
Charlotte beat Sacramento 131-111, the Hornets notching a super-sized Total Team Effort with eight players in double figures.
Zach Randolph led the Kings with 24, and in the downright bizarre stat of the game, Sacramento shot 51.7 percent, making 45-of-87…and managed 16 offensive rebounds. That’s impressive, and indeed they notched an amazing 39 percent of the available misses.
Which rings a bit hollow when they lost the turnover battle 15-3 and couldn’t get a defensive stop if they had a shotgun.
Man, three turnovers? That’s serious craftsmanship. And Frank Kaminsky somehow managed to get two of them because of course he did. Batum had the other one.
How good a night was it for Charlotte? Good enough that this Shaqtin’ A Fool moment turned out to be a made basket:
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) January 3, 2018
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) January 3, 2018
That’s how you win despite losing the turnover battle (19-14) and getting outrebounded 38-34 despite having DeAndre Jordan on your team.
Tyreke Evans led Memphis with 18, as they got six guys into double figures but didn’t get a particularly stellar performance out of anyone.
Highlights of the Sixth Man of the Decade with the season he’s having:
— NBA (@NBA) January 3, 2018
Your Western Conference Player of the Week, Williams now has the Clips within just one game of New Orleans for eighth in the West. What strange times are these.
Features take a day off today, but Is He Any Good features Paul George tomorrow, so stay tuned for that and thanks for reading!