Besides the end of another month passing us by, yesterday was a very big day for NBA fans. First-time triple-doubles were recorded, defenses collapsed under pressure, and unsuspecting players tallied some impressive stat-lines.
In this comprehensive examination of last night’s slate of games, we take a look at some of the best and worst performances of the night. And yes, there’s a whole lot of everything.
The Boston Celtics closed the month of January in style with a 103-73 victory over the New York Knicks as Terry Rozier posted his first career triple-double.
Rozier had 17 points to go along with 11 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists in his first career NBA start. The 23-year-old point guard, filling in for an injured Kyrie Irving, is just the second player in league history to record a triple-double in his first career start according to Elias Sports Bureau.
“It just worked out perfect for me,” Rozier said. “I got to knock down some shots in the beginning of the game, hit the open man, I’m always going to get in there and rebound. Just a great night.”
Terry Rozier notched a triple-double in his first NBA start, as the Celtics blew out the Knicks, 103-73. pic.twitter.com/Z12p3jquq3
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 1, 2018
Rozier got off to a fantastic start, opening the game with a three-pointer on his way to an 11-point quarter. In the second quarter, he hit the boards hard with five rebounds. Then in the second half, the Louisville product doled out four dimes in each of the final two quarters.
Rozier finished the night making 6-of-14 shots from the field, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. He was also 2-of-4 from the charity stripe. In addition, he came up with two steals, a career-tying two blocks while also posting a career-best plus-32 rating.
The third-year pro had his most productive month of the season in January, averaging 9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He scored in double-figures in four of 12 games this past month.
It is unknown whether Rozier will make another start when the Celtics host Atlanta on Friday as Irving is currently listed as day-to-day with a bruised quad.
Boston has won three of four. The Celtics (37-15) hold a game-and-a-half lead for the Raptors for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Good 2.0
Kanter has been extremely good over the Knicks’ last three games. The 6-11 center tallied 17 points, on 7-of-10 shooting, and 17 rebounds (five offensive) against the Celtics for his third straight double-double. This performance follows his 20-point, 20-rebound, five assist and two-block effort against Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Kanter is averaging 19.0 points, 15. 6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 blocks while shooting 76.6% from the field over the last three contests. In fact, January has been the Turkish national’s most productive month. As he finished the month with 15.1 points, 10.3 rebounds while shooting 64.2% from the field.
Kanter has posted 22 double-doubles, which is nine fewer than his career-high.
The Magic’s Three-point shooting
Orlando was red-hot from beyond the arc on Wednesday, knocking down a season-tying 18 treys on 32 attempts (56.3%). The Magic set a franchise record with nine triples in the third quarter to help them tally a season-best 43 points in the stanza.
Evan Fournier, who is making a career-high 2.3 three-pointers a game, was 5-of-7 from long-distance in the game with four of the makes coming in the third quarter. Mario Hezonja (4-of-5), Marreese Speights (3-of-6), DJ Augustin (2-of-6), Jonathon Simmons (2-of-2) and Arron Afflalo (2-of-2) also made multiple three-pointers.
Speights, who has put together his best two games of the season recently, poured in a season-high 21 points against the Lakers. Speights has totaled 38 points, on 12-of-22 (54.5%) shooting including 7-of-14 (50.0%) from beyond the arc, and nine rebounds over the last two games.
Walker closed out a wonderful month of January with a historic shooting performance against the Hawks on Wednesday. Walker set a franchise-record nine triples on his way to a 38-point night. The 27-year-old point guard made 12-of-20 overall and 9-of-13 (69.2%) from beyond the arc. He has connected on multiple three-pointers in six straight games and averaged 3.4 treys at a 41.7% clip in January.
Walker has scored in double-figures in 20 straight games, including 13 games of 20 or more points and five games of at least 30. He has now topped the 30-point mark seven times.
Walker averaged 24.2 points, 6.2 assists and 3.6 rebounds in January.
CJ McCollum puts up 50 in three quarters
With his 92-year-old grandmother in attendance, McCollum put on a show tallying a career-high 50 points in the Blazers 124-108 victory over the Bulls on Wednesday. This includes a franchise-record 28 points in the opening frame. He is the seventh Blazer ever to top the 50-point plateau.
McCollum scored a variety of ways, finishing 18-of-25 (72%) from the field. The 26-year-old was also 6-of-9 (66.7%) from long-distance and 8-of-8 (100%) from the charity stripe.
The Lakers D
The Lakers have shown marked improvement this season on the defensive end. However, the Lakers — 14th in defensive rating — have a tendency to lose focus on that end of the floor at times. That is exactly what has happened during the Lakers current two-game losing streak.
The Lakers have given up a combined 250 points as they surrendered 123 to Toronto (Sunday) and 127 to Orlando (Wednesday). Prior to the last two games, the Lakers hadn’t gave up 120 points since allowing 133 points to OKC on Jan. 3
The Lakers allowed the Magic to shoot 54.3% from the field, including 18-of-32 (56.3%) from beyond the arc last night.
“We weren’t committed to guarding anyone tonight,” Walton said following the loss to Orlando.
Over the last two games, opponents are shooting 52.0% from the field and 47.6% (15.0-31.5) from beyond the arc. They are allowing 51.0 points in the paint, 18.0 fastbreak points, and 13.0 second chance points during this two-game stretch.
The Lakers three-point shooting
The Lakers, the worst three-point shooting team in the league at 32.5%, were only 4-of-20 from long distance on Wednesday. Eight different Lakers attempted a three-pointer against Orlando though only Jordan Clarkson (2-of-5), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1-of-3) and Josh Hart (1-of-2) were successful on any of their attempts.
Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma, who was 0-of-3 from long distance versus the Magic, lead the team with 2.0 treys a game. Kuzma leads the team in three-point% at 36.9% while Caldwell-Pope is second at 36.0%.
LeBron James Turnovers
Turnovers have been a big problem for James this season, but more so recently. James turned the ball over seven times in the Cavs 91-89 victory over the Heat on Wednesday, marking the fifth time he committed at least five turnovers in January.
Since committing eight turnovers against Golden State on Jan. 15, James has committed a league-high 5.8 turnovers a contest. This includes a career-high 11 turnovers against the Pacers on Jan. 26.
The Knicks second half offense versus the Celtics
The Knicks were awful in the second half against the Celtics, particularly on the offensive end. Over the final 24 minutes of the game, the Knicks went from being down by five at halftime to losing by season-high 3o. The Knicks managed just 28 points in the second-half, including a measly eight in the final stanza.
The Knicks shot just 22.2% (10-of-45) from the field, including 0-for-9 on three-point attempts, and 53.3% (8-of-15) from the charity stripe in the second half. They were 3-of-20 (15.0%) from the field and 0-of-7 from long-distance in the fourth quarter.
For the game, the Knicks made only 28-of-87 shots for the lowest shooting percentage of the night at 32.2%. They were also 3-of-17 from beyond the arc, 14-of-21 from the free throw line and committed 14 turnovers.
The Knicks’ backcourt were the biggest culprits. Their starting backcourt — Tim Hardaway Jr., Jarrett Jack and Courtney Lee — combined for 13 points on 4-of-23 from the field (17.3%). Hardaway, the team’s second leading scorer, was just 1-of-10 from the floor to tie his season-low with four points.
Reserve guards Frank Ntilikina (2-of-8, 5 points), Trey Burke (0-of-2, 1 point) and Damyean Dotson (1-of-4, 3 points) were not any better.