The Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers all picked up important wins that included big time performances from star players and surprising young talent.
During the Hornets game, Devonte’ Graham turned in another brilliant performance, scoring 29 points and dishing six assists in the Hornets 114-107 victory against the Washington Wizards. Graham is in control of the Most Improved Player Award at the end of the season, as his last seasons averages were 4.7 points and 2.6 assists per game, while his averages this year are 18.8 points and 7.8 assists per game. His two-point shooting averages are lower than his three-point shooting averages, so it could be a case of Graham having a hot hand for the first 25 games.
With the talent of the 76ers and the depth of the Denver Nuggets, there’s a possibility this is a future NBA Finals matchup. Embiid scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, his 11th game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds this season. Tobias Harris added 20 points and seven rebounds, while both Al Horford and Matisse Thybulle scored in double figures. Will Barton posted a 26-7-7 stat line and Nikola Jokic scored 15 points and dished 11 assists. The 76ers prevailed 97-92.
With the Atlanta Hawks ahead six points late in the game, Trae Young yelled to the crowd that the game was over. The Heat would go on to win 135-121 in overtime. An 18-0 run would blow the game open. Both Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler posted triple doubles, as both players should be all-stars in the Eastern Conference. Adebayo posted a 30-11-11 and Butler posted a 20-18-10. Both Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson scored at least 34 points. On the season, the rookie Nunn is averaging 16.2 points per game, leading Rookie of the Year discussions.
As is no surprise here, the New York Knicks were blown out; this time by the Blazers, 115-87. In his first game against the Knicks since being with the Blazers, Carmelo Anthony scored 16 points and grabbed four rebounds. Damian Lillard scored 31 points and Hassan Whiteside scored 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, as the Blazers improved to 10-15 on the season.