The NBA season is into its second half, and we will be here each weekday with the NBC Sports daily roundup Three Things to Know — everything you might have missed in the Association, every key moment from the night before in one place.
1) LeBron James keeps defying Father Time, setting records, winning
Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Kirk Hinrich, David West, and Boris Diaw have all retired. Luke Walton is a coach.
That is your 2003 NBA Draft class — the season LeBron James was drafted. The only other guy from that class still playing in the NBA is Carmelo Anthony, who comes off the bench and plays a role in Portland.
LeBron is still the best player in the game — he had 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists Tuesday night to lead the Lakers in a rout of the Warriors.
That led to another old-man-who-can’t-be-stopped record.
LeBron James is the first player in NBA history with 10 triple-doubles after turning 35 years old. pic.twitter.com/1woPe77mOW
— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 16, 2021
If your curious, second on that triple-doubles over 35 list is Jason Kidd with eight. Paul Pierce and Pau Gasol are next with three (again via Statmuse).
Two more triple-doubles — which very likely happens later this season — and LeBron gets to 100 triple-doubles for his career. He is currently fifth on that all-time list.
As quickly mentioned above, the Lakers blew out the Warriors, who had knocked off Utah the day before. Montrezl Harrell dunked his way to 27 points for the Lakers in the win.
2) It felt like a rivalry: Brooklyn hangs on to beat New York amid controversy
We’ll get to the controversy in a second — that there even was controversy speaks to the Knicks’ resilience.
Brooklyn looked to be in control of this game through the second and third quarters, owning a comfortable lead behind a 22-point triple-double from James Harden and a 34-point game from Kyrie Irving where his ridiculous handles were on display and torching defenders.
However, the Knicks have taken on the personality of coach Tom Thibodeau and they did not coast to a loss — they rallied behind a 33-point night from Julius Randle and a 23-point game from RJ Barrett (Reggie Bullock had a surprising 19 for the Knicks as well). Immanuel Quickley finally got the start at the point in New York, and the rookie lived up to the hype.
New York made it a game, which led to this controversial call late in the game — Randle left the ground to shoot, Irving on the switch reached out and hit the ball, disrupting the shot, so Randle landed and tried to make a play — and got called for traveling.
Does Julius Randle have a case here? 🤔pic.twitter.com/auyurQLIfO
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 16, 2021
“The defender was deemed to touch the ball, but not cause it to be dislodged or loose. Upon that when the player alights [lands], he cannot purposely drop the ball or dribble the ball or be first to touch after he dropped the ball.”
Meaning because Randle held on to the ball after Irving hit it, he could land, but he could not dribble, which Randle immediately did. That’s what triggered the call.
Most fans and NBA Twitter thought that was the wrong call — and so did Randle, who had to be physically restrained by teammates after the game so he didn’t go after the officials — but you can bet the league’s Last Two Minute Report will back the referees on this one.
My big takeaway from all this? We finally have a real basketball rivalry in New York. Is it too much to dream they meet up in the postseason?
3) Denver had one insane possession against Indiana
The Nuggets beat the Pacers on a 32-point, 14-rebound, you-better-consider-me-for-MVP night from Nikola Jokic. Denver has found its footing of late, while the Pacers have now lost 7-of-9 and have fallen back to the 10 seed in the East.
That game featured as wild a possession as you will ever see.
That is insane.