7 Takeaways from Friday's NBA Action
The evening of Friday, January 24 was a historic one in the NBA.
In New York, Carmelo Anthony set a franchise record with 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats. In Houston, Chandler Parsons set an NBA record with 10 three-pointers in a half against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Indiana Pacers star Paul George didn't set any records in Sacramento, but he did hit the shot of the night—a four-point play to send the Pacers to overtime, where they triumphed over the Sacramento Kings, 116-111.
In Oakland, the Minnesota Timberwolves finally won a close game, 121-120, over the Golden State Warriors.
Carmelo Anthony Etched His Name into Knicks' History
The New York Knickerbockers are one of the NBA's original franchises; when you set a Knicks team record, you've beaten out a lot of players. That's exactly what Anthony did on Friday night, scoring a franchise-record 62 points in New York's 125-96 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
The final numbers are astonishing: 23-of-35 from the field, 6-of-11 from three, 10-of-10 from the free-throw line, a team-high 13 rebounds and zero turnovers. Per ESPN's SportsCenter Twitter account, it was the first 60-point, zero-turnover game since the league started keeping track of turnovers in 1977.
'Melo broke the record of 60 points set by franchise legend Bernard King. After the game, King was complimentary of the his modern-day counterpart, per the Knicks' PR account:
BK: "If anyone was to break my Knicks record that I have held for so long, I'm absolutely delighted that it was Carmelo."— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) January 25, 2014
Nobody knows what the future holds for 'Melo and the Knicks, but now he is guaranteed a spot in Knicks history.
The Memphis Grizzlies Care Not for Your Petty Scoring Records
The other single-game scoring record to happen on Friday didn't have nearly as happy an ending. Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons set a franchise record with 10 three-pointers and an NBA record with 10 threes in one half. But it was all for naught, as the Rockets fell to the Memphis Grizzlies, 88-87.
Memphis returned to its winning ways after having its five-game winning streak snapped on Monday against New Orleans. Not only did the win put the Grizzlies a game above .500, at 21-20, but it was their first victory against a Southwest Division opponent (they had been 0-10).
Memphis withstood Parsons' three-point barrage by dominating Houston in the paint. According to NBA.com's Matt Miller, Memphis became the first team this season to limit the Rockets to less than 35 points in the paint, beating up the Rockets inside, 48-30.
The Grizzlies are back to playing old-school Grizzlies grind-house basketball. They will host the Rockets on Saturday. The Rockets better come prepared.
The Lakers Shouldn't Have to Play Road Back-to-Backs
Just when the Los Angeles Lakers were starting to play better, they ran into a road back-to-back in Florida.
The Lakers played the Miami Heat relatively tough in a 109-102 loss on Thursday. But the real loss was that the Lakers didn't have the energy to beat a lesser opponent, the Orlando Magic, on Friday.
The Lakers held a two-point lead going into halftime in Orlando, but the Magic crushed L.A. with a 38-25 third quarter en route to a 114-105 Orlando win.
Tobias Harris destroyed the Lakers up front, scoring 28 points and grabbing 20 rebounds.
The Lakers have one more road game—Sunday, at New York—before they return to the West Coast. They could use some home cooking.
The Minnesota Timberwolves Solved Their Clutch Problem
The Minnesota Timberwolves were up one point with mere seconds left on the clock. The Golden State Warriors—the league's fifth-best shooting team, in terms of effective field-goal percentage—had the ball. And the basketball fans and Minnesota suffered any number of traumatic flashbacks.
But Harrison Barnes missed the final shot, and the Wolves held on for the 121-120 win. The two Kevins (Kevin Love and Kevin Martin) finished with 26 points apiece, and Nikola Pekovic chipped in 22 points and 14 rebounds.
How rare was it for Minnesota to win such a close game? Unprecedented, according the ESPN Stats:
Timberwolves beat Warriors 121-120, their 1st win in a game decided by 4 points or fewer this season (lost 1st 11).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 25, 2014
The Timberwolves better win a whole lot more of these close games if they want to make the playoffs.
Kyle Lowry Should Be an All-Star
Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry recorded a triple-double (18 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds) in Toronto's 104-95 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
With the coach's set to pick the All-Star reserves, Lowry once again showed why he should be playing in New Orleans. His teammate, DeMar DeRozan, also helped his case by scoring 34 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
There's no reason both players couldn't make the All-Star roster, but if only one Raptor is going to make it, Lowry is the clear choice.
According to Basketball-Reference, Lowry is ranked second in the league among guards in win shares. Only Chris Paul has accrued more than Lowry. He's the best point guard in the Eastern Conference at the moment. He should be playing in New Orleans.
Paul George Is a Superstar; Gets Superstar Calls
The Indiana Pacers were in danger of losing their second game in as many nights, trailing the Sacramento Kings, 103-99, with only seconds left on the clock. They needed a miracle.
They got Paul George.
George drew a foul, sank a three-pointer and the free throw to draw the Pacers even. The Pacers went on to win in overtime, 116-111. Was he fouled? You be the judge. He certainly wasn't touched on the shot attempt; and if he was fouled on the catch, then he probably shouldn't have been given continuation.
George finished with a typical Paul George line: 36 points, five rebounds, two assists, four steals and two blocks.
It should come as no surprise that a player starting in the All-Star Game is getting calls like that. George is a legitimate superstar, and with superstar status comes superstar foul privileges.
The Thunder Didn't Need Kevin Durant (At Least for One Night)
Durant sat out Friday with soreness in his shoulder.
The Thunder didn't need him, or Westbrook, in Boston against the Celtics. The Thunder crushed Boston, 101-83. Serge Ibaka (21 points) and Jeremy Lamb (19 points) led the way for Oklahoma City.
Of course, the Thunder need Durant (and Westbrook) back as soon as possible. But it's nice to know that even their reserves can beat the weaker NBA teams when needed.