ABOUT LAST NIGHT
In yesterday’s episode of The Bonus, I wrote that it would be telling to see how they responded after their horrific loss to the Jazz the night before. They got just the response they needed, as Bradley Beal erupted for a career high 51 points on 21-37 shooting, leading them to a 106-92 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. They needed it, as the rest of the Wizards starters managed to shoot a combined 7-30. Damian Lillard did his best to keep the Blazers in the game, finishing with 30 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists, but the onslaught from Beal was just too much to handle.
Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell continued his fine play, netting 31 points and 5 steals, but Utah fell to the Thunder, 100-94, thanks in part to yet another triple double from Russell Westbrook, who finished with a 34-13-14.
Trailing 80-68 going into the final quarter, Westbrook got to work, and led the Thunder to a 32-14 advantage in the fourth.
“We stayed with it,” said the reigning NBA MVP. “Teams are going to make runs. It’s about what you do when you get hit in the mouth. We learned our lesson, and we know that we have to continue to fight, and we did that tonight.”
Added Steven Adams, who was quite helpful with 20 points and 9 rebounds on 9-10 shooting, “That’s good, mate. Good stuff.”
Devin Booker, who has been really lighting it up lately, pulled up lame late in last night’s 126-113 loss to the Raptors, and apparently has a strained left abductor.
“I’ve seen guys get carried off and play the next day and guys not,” said Suns coach Jay Triano. “I’ll let the doctors figure out the severity of it. I’m sure they’ll have to do an MRI or something to see and make sure we take care of him the right way.”
Booker finished the night with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists. Hopefully he will be back in action soon.
In other news from the injury front, both Steph Curry and Tim Hardaway Jr are expected to be out at least two weeks. Curry, who rolled his ankle late in Monday’s game against the Pelicans, underwent an MRI that showed now structural damage to his ankle. He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks. Meanwhile, Hardaway Jr has a stress injury in his left leg, which will also be reevaluated in two weeks. The Warriors, of course, have the depth to go without Curry for a bit, but it’s particularly troublesome news for the Knicks, who have also been without Kristaps Porzingis as of late.
An arrest has been made in the seven year old murder case of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, who was killed in Memphis in 2010. Wright played in the league from 1996-2009, and hopefully this means his family can get a little sense of closure and justice.
Finally, and just coming in this morning, Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford will be taking a leave of absence to address some health issues. Whatever he’s dealing with, we here at The Bonus wish him a speedy recovery.
THE NIGHT AHEAD
Game of the Night – Dallas Mavericks at Boston Celtics (7:30 pm, League Pass)
The best team in the league, my Boston Celtics, are back in action tonight, hosting the Mavericks. Earlier this season, the Celtics visited Dallas and the Mavs took them to overtime. Despite their unfortunate record, the Mavs always give you a worthy effort, and they’ve won two in a row. Their trip up to Boston kicks off a three game road trip.
If you ain’t got League Pass, the Warriors are visiting the Hornets at 8:00 pm on ESPN. Golden State’s annual visit to Charlotte is usually a homecoming of sorts, as Steph Curry is a native of The Queen City. Unfortunately, he’s of course out with that ankle injury, so we’ll be getting our first glimpse of the Warriors led solely by Kevin Durant. Charlotte faces a tough task going against the Warriors, and carrying on without their head coach.