Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks going that make the NBA great.
1) Joel Embiid drops 50 points on Magic in 27 minutes
Joel Embiid had been on a roll coming into Wednesday night, having 25+ points in 11 straight games, but against the Magic he found another level.
Embiid tied his career-high scoring 50 points, doing so on 17-of-23 shooting, plus pulled down 12 rebounds and had three blocks — all in 27:03 of playing time. With the game a blowout, Doc Rivers pulled Embiid a few seconds into the fourth quarter, once Embiid got to 50.
Embiid scored 20 points in the paint and was 15-17 from the free throw line. He was knocking down shots from the elbow and the left side mid-block. Orlando had no answers (but they did have Mo Bamba scoring 32, and hitting 7-of-8 from 3.
Only a dozen times in the last 40 years has a player scored 50 with a dozen boards and three blocks in the same game, with Embiid having done it twice now. Other players to do it include Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Anthony Davis, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
2) Passing highlights Nikola Jokic‘s 49-point triple-double
What people will remember from this overtime Nuggets win is not Nikola Jokic dominating the Clippers near the rim, scoring 26 points in the paint. Or the three 3-pointers he drained from just to the right of the top of the key.
It will be his cross-court pass in overtime to an open Aaron Gordon to seal the win that will stick with people. This is as good a pass as you will ever see.
The pass 🤯
The shot 😍
FOR. THE. WIN. pic.twitter.com/UPyoBfPqbK
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 20, 2022
This was the kind of MVP statement game a player needs a couple of over the course of a season to win the award. He’s got stiff competition — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry and others — and the Nuggets may need a few more wins in the mix, but he is clearly a threat to repeat.
This was a dramatic game with Denver down eight with 3:20 left and fighting their way back to force overtime, then winning it there 120-118.
Aaron Gordon scored 28 on 10-of-16 shooting and Marcus Morris added 19.
Tyronn Lue’s Clippers are scrappy. No Paul George, no Kawhi Leonard, and so they got 32 from Ivica Zubac and 28 from Reggie Jackson. Brandon Boston scored 16 off the bench. The effort and execution these Clippers play with deserves praise, it’s just not enough to win games without their best players.
3) Net’s coach deflects pass, referees miss it, Nets beat Wizards by one
This would just be a “how did they miss that?” highlight, except for the fact this became a turnover in a game the Nets went on to win by one point.
With just more than five minutes left in the game, Brooklyn assistant David Vanterpool seemed to instinctively reach out and touched a pass from Spencer Dinwiddie down to the corner to Kyle Kuzma. It forced a loose ball and a turnover the Nets grabbed.
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) January 20, 2022
After the game, officials crew chief Ben Taylor said none of the referees saw it and there was no mechanism to review it. So the play stood.
It will be interesting to see what the league does with this. Fine Vanterpool? Fine the Nets? Nothing? There is no precedent. It should have been punished at the time with a technical foul, but after the fact? Expect an NBA league memo about coaches and players not standing so close to the court, but what else are they going to do?
Brooklyn went on to win 119-118.
Highlight of the Night: Dejounte Murray with insane between-the-legs assist
Dejounte Murray has stepped up his playmaking this season, but the between-the-legs assist to Drew Eubanks is another level.
Last night’s scores:
Philadelphia 123, Orlando 110
Brooklyn 119, Washington 118
Atlanta 134, Minnesota 122
Charlotte 111, Boston 102
Miami 104, Portland 92
Chicago 117, Cleveland 104
Milwaukee 126, Memphis 114
Dallas 102, Toronto 98
San Antonio 118, Oklahoma City 96
Houston 116, Utah 111
Denver 130, LA Clippers 128
Detroit 133, Sacramento 131
Indiana 111, LA Lakers 104