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) Joel Embiid could miss the Boston game after nasty finger dislocation Monday night. When you first saw Joel Embiid’s finger, you probably gasped, then thought he was done for the night. Ben Simmons said this after the game, “I nearly threw up when I saw that.”
In the first quarter Monday night, Embiid suffered a nasty dislocation of the ring finger on his left hand. Below is the video (and the reaction of Simmons and Josh Richardson), but if you’re at all squeamish don’t watch it.
Ben Simmons when he saw Jo's finger: "I nearly threw up when I saw that, but I'm glad he came back out. We needed him." pic.twitter.com/TiiyY1j8ar
— Paul Hudrick (@PaulHudrick) January 7, 2020
After X-rays showed nothing broken, Embiid had the finger popped back into place, taped up, and went back out there to start the second quarter. That didn’t mean everything was fine, as he told Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“It was pretty bad. I was basically playing with one hand,” Embiid said. “It’s pretty bad, but in the midst of the losing streak I just wanted to make sure that I do everything possible to try to get us a win, and I’m glad we got the win.”
Philadelphia did beat Oklahoma City 120-113 to snap a four-game losing streak, and while Embiid shot just 7-of-17 (saying the finger impacted his shooting), he had nine rebounds and a season-high eight assists. That’s the good news.
The bad news is Embiid’s status for future games, including Boston on Thursday, is up in the air. While he played through it on Monday, the medical staff may want to give his finger a chance to heal without the pounding of basketball getting in the way. Both Embiid and coach Brett Brown said that they didn’t know what the big man’s status would be going forward.
It would suck to lose Embiid for a showdown game Thursday night, but the fact he came back out Monday showed the kind of toughness that will make him even more of a legend in Philly.
2) Nikola Jokic drops career-high 47 on Atlanta in Denver win. The Atlanta Hawks are bad at defense, third-worst in the NBA. Nikola Jokic is very good at offense and has been rounding into top form in recent weeks.
Combine those two things and you get a 47-point night out of Jokic, a new career-high for him.
Jokic owned the game. He got those 47 points on a very efficient 16-of-25 shooting, hitting 4-of-8 from three (and going 11-of-16 from the free-throw line).
When Jokic is engaged and active like that, the Nuggets are tough to beat, and they knocked off the Hawks 123-115. Will Barton added 28 for Denver.
3) Trae Young needs to be in the All-Star Game. The Atlanta Hawks are a terrible basketball team. It’s a verifiable fact. Yet their sophomore point guard Trae Young leads the Eastern Conference fan All-Star Game voting.
And I’m good with that. He probably will get my vote to be a starter as well.
The All-Star Game is an exhibition, a showcase. It’s cotton candy. It’s as serious as a Kevin Hart monologue — we just want to sit back and be entertained. No thinking or defense involved. Trae Young entertains. He is a walking highlight reel. This is from the loss to Denver Monday.
😳 THE. TRAE. FAKE. 😳 pic.twitter.com/73zT7btcry
— NBA (@NBA) January 7, 2020
He drains shots like this almost every night.
That's deep, Trae. 😮❄️
📱💻: https://t.co/lZZApswzuX pic.twitter.com/0S32bokS00
— NBA (@NBA) January 7, 2020
Young puts up numbers (28.9 points and 8.4 assists per game), and while we could discuss his defensive shortcomings or debate just how good the Hawks can ultimately be building around him, that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the fluff entertainment that is the All-Star Game.
Put Trae Young in the All-Star Game because he will put on a show.Follow @basketballtalk