Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) Anthony Davis leaves the game with an injury, frustrated Pelicans take anger out on Thunder. Alvin Gentry and the Pelicans are weary of the Anthony Davis saga — and that drama continued Thursday night.
In the final game before the All-Star break, Davis injured himself on the last play before the half. He went up to contest a Nerlens Noel shot and in fouling the Thunder big Davis suffered what was later described by reports as a shoulder contusion. He didn’t play the second half.
There was plenty of amateur doctors on Twitter questioning if the injury was real, although I have no doubt it was (Davis and his agent Rich Paul were just going to be cautious once it happened, so they left the building to get an MRI). The question becomes will Davis play in the All-Star Game Sunday?
After the game, Pelicans’ coach Alvin Gentry was quickly hit with questions about Davis and he admitted this has been tough on the team.
Then Gentry got tired of answering those questions.
Don’t forget about the game. The “getaway day” before the All-Star break is a great day to bet the underdogs around the NBA because players treat their final games like you treat the last day at work/school before a vacation. They have mentally checked out. Russell Westbrook didn’t — he was all in and had another triple-double with 44 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists.
But the Pelicans got a big night from Jrue Holiday (32 points) and Julius Randle, who bullied his way to shooting 6-of-7 in the restricted area and finished the night with 33 points and 11 rebounds. They led the Pelicans to the 131-122 win against a Thunder team not playing focused defense on the night (they have not been as sharp on that end for a few games now).
2) Knicks win! Knicks win! Knicks win! Your lovable loser New York Knicks had lost 18 straight and were setting franchise records in futility coming into the All-Star break, but that couldn’t last forever. Could it?
No, Thursday night New York picked up a 106-91 win in Atlanta. Dennis Smith Jr. was leading the way scoring 19 points with a few acrobatic layups thrown in.
The Hawks couldn’t buy a shot. Trae Young was 6-of-19 shooting, and as a team Atlanta shot 36.3 percent overall and 26.3 percent from three. The looks weren’t falling and the Hawks looked like a team watching the clock until vacation started.
3) Orlando’s Terrence Ross tried to give us a little Dunk Contest preview. Terrence Ross isn’t in the Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday night (Dennis Smith Jr., Miles Bridges, Hamidou Diallo, and John Collins are) but he threw down a Dunk Contest worthy one on Thursday night, just a little taste of what is to come.
With the 127-89 victory over Charlotte, Orlando has won five straight, 7-of-8, and are just half a game out of the playoffs in the East.