Was Friday the best night of the NBA season so far? Yes, and here's a complete recap to prove it
While it's become a year-round sport/reality show, there's a few specific points of the year when the NBA takes centerstage. The first is Christmas Day, the second is February post-Super Bowl and the third is early June for the NBA Finals. Pre-Christmas, it's tough to compete with football, but the NBA and all its drama still does a decent job of doing so.
However, on Friday night, right before college football's bowl season begins on Saturday, the NBA seized an opportunity to take over, and it delivered with the most hectic and hilarious night of the season to date. Here's a complete recap of everything you missed.
The Nixed Trade
It all started with an innocent Woj Bomb, which was hardly a bomb considering Trevor Ariza is 33 years old and I can confidently say he will not help the Wizards get to the NBA Finals. But, yeah, #WOJBOMB.
This is where it got kind of (barely) interesting:
Whoops. Just a little Brooks mixup from Woj. Guy's got a lot going on so it's understandable.
Wait, what?! Apparently, the mixing up of Brookses wasn't just a Woj thing but an actual thing. Dillon Brooks, a 22-year-old out of Oregon, started 74 games in his rookie season and averaged 11 points in 28 minutes per game. An injury has limited his time on the court this year, but he's expected to return in late December, and is clearly the more promising Brooks in this trade over MarShon, a 29-year-old who spent the last three years in China after bouncing around five different teams his first three lackluster years in the NBA. Pretty big mix-up!
Get it together Woj!!
So many Brookses, so little time. What a ridiculous situation, and that was just what happened off the court!
Russell Westbrook threatens Nikola Jokic
With 35 seconds remaining, the Denver Nuggets appeared poised to win for the ninth time in 11th games, keeping them on top of the Western Conference standings along with the mighty Golden State Warriors. The next closest team is the pleasantly surprising Oklahoma City Thunder who, after an 0-4 start to the year, have gone 17-6 since. But as they were about to lose their second straight, Westbrook had seen enough, opting to try and win the battle not the war with an unnecessary scuffle before a jump ball at the end of the game:
Russell being Russell is a very good way to put it. Here's a closeup of Westbrook. I'll let you do your own mouth-reading:
Vintage Russell Westbrook to start shit with one of the smallest guys on the court, then call out the 7-foot, 250-pound guy and telling him "I'll F- you up." Honestly, I might take Russell if I had to bet on it.
Kyrie Irving goes full Uncle Drew
Just a couple weeks ago things looked dire for the Celtics. From Nov. 3 to Nov. 24 they had lost eight out of 12, falling to 10-10 after a 6-2 start to the year. They have not lost since, including Friday night's 21-point home victory over the Atlanta Hawks to extend their winning streak to eight. Kyrie Irving returning to peak Kyrie Irving form has certainly helped:
Irving, who helped Boston jump out to a 42-19 lead in the first quarter that they'd never relinquish, finished with 24, 5 and 5. He's averaging 24.7 points and 6.8 assists in his last seven games, and the Celts are back up to fourth in the Eastern Conference.
The Greek Freak ties a career-high
How about that left-handed dunk at the end? Looking like MJ in Space Jam. Guy is ridiculous.
The Knicks win! Why are they winning?!
It's been a season of very conflicting feelings for Knicks fans. The team is young, they all play hard, they fight back in every game. I swear, the last three games they've played they've been down 20-plus points in each one and somehow cut the lead to like two or three points late in the fourth quarter. It's the most fun 9-21 Knicks team I can remember watching, especially considering that Kevin Knox is starting to COOK:
There are not enough heart-eye emojis in the world for Knox, who has scored 19-plus in four of his last seven games. Did the Knicks hit on a draft pick?! How about TWO draft picks in the SAME draft?!
Unfortunately, Mitchell Robinson later left the game after rolling his ankle, and it looks like he will miss a few games because the Knicks can't have nice things. New York trailed by as many as 21 and came all the way back thanks to a ton of great performances, the best coming from Emmanuel Mudiay, who dropped a career-high 34 points and added eight assists, three boards and two steals. Now, please go back to losing so we can get Zion.
Klay Thompson one-ups his "scaffolding" interview
Out of everything that happened Friday night, this had to be my favorite moment. Remember Klay Thompson's hilariously random "scaffolding" interview last year? If not, here it is in all its glory:
On Friday night, Thompson topped that at halftime of the Warriors road game against the Sacramento Kings. Prior to heading into the locker room, Thompson stopped for a chat with reporter Kerith Burke, and it was a struggle, to say the least:
Klay's rambling was so off the rails that he could only laugh at himself at the end. To be fair, have you ever seen a player do one of these interviews at halftime? It's usually reserved for the coach, who didn't really break a sweat standing on the sideline. Klay, on the other hand, just played 40 up-tempo minutes that ended with the Warriors leading 76-64. Perhaps the guy was a little winded?
As for the actual game, it was a great one. The Kings, who many expected to finish in the basement once again, are now 15-13 on the year, sitting just a half game out of the 8-seed. They would ultimately lose to Golden State 130-125, but they looked quite good doing it, specifically De'Aaron Fox, who had 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds.
Pretty damn good night in the NBA, and the Association somehow pulled it off without LeBron James, James Harden or Luka Doncic even playing.