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 out at least two games after nasty fall, back injury. Anthony Davis left Staples Center Tuesday night laying down, stretched out in the back of motor carrier, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Davis said he was fine, because players always say that and think they’ll bounce back quickly, but he’s going to be out for a while.
Anthony Davis is not joining the Lakers on their upcoming two-game road trip — Dallas and Oklahoma City — and could miss more time after he injured his back on a nasty fall in the third quarter of the Lakers blowing out the Knicks. Davis went up to block a Julius Randle driving shot, the two had contact while in the air, and that spun Davis, who fell flat on his back.
Davis left the game, gingerly went back to the locker room for evaluation, and did not return. An MRI is set for Wednesday. The X-rays were negative and initial diagnosis is a sacral contusion. The sacral region is the fused bones at the bottom of the spine, what most of us consider the tailbone (doctors would say its the area just above the tailbone, to be technical).
This is something that will take time to heal, and it could be more than two games.
Davis is the Lakers’ leading scorer and rebounder, at 27.1 points and 9.4 rebounds a night. He’s also having the kind of season on the defensive end of the court that will get him consideration for Defensive Player of the Year. Which is to say he’ll be missed. The good news is: 1)The Lakers will still be a good team without Davis, they still have LeBron James; 2) the Lakers’ hot start to the season has built them a 4.5 game cushion for the top seed in the West, so a loss or two will not hurt them.
The Lakers just hope Davis is not going to be out a lot more than two games.
2) Chris Paul has been clutch for Oklahoma City this season. Chris Paul has 103 points in clutch minutes this season — the final five minutes of a game within five points — which is clear and away the most in the league. More importantly, he’s shooting an efficient 54.5 percent in those minutes and has dished out 11 assists as well. CP3 has been the best clutch player in the NBA this season.
He did it again on Tuesday night. Paul scored 20 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, lifting the Thunder to a 111-103 win against Brooklyn. This game was tied at 103-103 and CP3 broke that with consecutive jumpers (and the Thunder defense locked the Nets down the rest of the way.
— NBA (@NBA) January 8, 2020
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 22 points for the Thunder and is the impressive young guard of the future for OKC. But Chris Paul is right now.
3) Carmelo Anthony caps 28-point night with game-winner in Toronto. Portland has continued to struggle since the arrival of Carmelo Anthony, going just 10-13 overall and in the last 10 games having a net rating of -2.1.
Then you watch him score a season-high 28 against Toronto, sparking a comeback from double-digits down in the fourth, then draining the game-winner, and you wonder how much worse it would have been if they didn’t pick him up.
Anthony has been what the Trail Blazers needed, a solid NBA player at the four, a position of need for them due to injuries. Still, Portland remains one of the most disappointing teams in the league this season at 16-22 — they had lost six-of-seven coming into this game — but in a soft bottom of the West that still has them just 1.5 games out of the playoffs. The question is, can Portland hang in the playoff race as they go through a brutal January schedule.Follow @basketballtalk