NBA Sunday included six games as the New York Knicks snapped (112-108) a 3-game losing streak surviving a Lakers’ comeback in Staple Center without star point guard Jalen Brunson. In New Orleans, forward Trey Murphy hit nine threes and finished with 41 points to lead the Zion-less and Ingram-less Pelicans’ to a huge 110-127 win over Portland.
Without further ado, here are three storylines from last night’s action in the NBA.
Julius Randle keeps Knicks alive in LA trip
The New York Knicks had a difficult time vs. the Clippers Saturday, but they found a way to get away with a 1-1 record from their LA trip. Julius Randle was the main reason for that as he bounced back from a disappointing performance to finish with 33 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
The former All-Star forward did not hit his shots from deep (3-11), but he was aggressive going to the free throw line 11 times. D’Angelo Russell had a season-high 33 points and eight assists as the two former teammates -Russell and Randle went at each other. Aside, from Randle, RJ Barrett had 30 points with 20 of them coming in the crucial second half for the Knicks.
The Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak that included a disappointing loss to the Clippers, who limited Randle to 5-of-24 shooting from the field.
“Someone can miss shots. That’s part of the game. Don’t let it take away from anything else,” Knicks’ head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Randle’s perfomance after the game. “Hey, look, we’re all human. Anyone can have a bad day. If you have a bad day, the next day, you got to bounce back and have a great day. I thought he did that and I thought it was great.”
Trey Murphy explodes in Pelicans’ win
The New Orleans Pelicans were expected to struggle without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram available to play, however, Trey Murphy mind have a different opinion. The second-year forward exploded for a career-high 41 points hitting nine threes in the process.
The explosive wing scored 14 points in the third quarter with nine of them coming in a span of less than 1 minute at the end of the period. The Pelicans outscored the Blazers 19-35 in the third quarter. Murphy hit five of his threes and scored 25 points in the opening 24 minutes, when New Orleans led by as many as 20.
He finished his performance with a high-flying reverse dunk to complete an impressive night heading to the bench to a standing ovation from the fans in the Smoothie King Center.
Nuggets struggling in D despite Jokic’s offensive excellence
The Denver Nuggets are in a 3-game slump despite Nikola Jokic’s excellent performances. The Nuggets dropped another one as the exciting and young Brooklyn Nets got a 122-120 victory over the Western Conference leaders. Denver has been unable to defend properly in the last three as they allowed a defensive rating of 123.6 points.
Their season average is about 113.7 points per 100 possessions, as the Nuggets have never been one of the defensive juggernauts of the league in the last few seasons. Despite the lackluster team effort, Jokic willed the Nuggets back with another massive triple-double as he finished with 35 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists.
You cannot take those performances for granted as the Joker recorded his 27th triple-double. The Nets controlled the game for the most part and withstood a fourth-quarter comeback as Mikal Bridges put another impressive scoring night with 25 points. Brooklyn put together a 37-18 third quarter to take control of the game.
“We started to fly around, 15 turnovers we produced tonight, our ability to be disruptive,” Jacque Vaughn said. “We stayed together for an impressive win on the road.”