Post Up: Elite Company

Karl-Anthony Towns became the youngest player since Kevin Durant in 2008 to post 30 points with 10 boards.
by January 30, 2016

Jazz 103 (21-25), Timberwolves 90 (14-34)

Friday’s match-up featured a duel between two of the league’s most promising big men, as Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert squared off at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. While Gobert posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards, Towns went off for 32 points with 12 rebounds. Strong offensive showings from Derrick Favors and Rodney Hood helped secure victory for Utah despite Towns’ performance.

Cavaliers 114 (33-12), Pistons 106 (25-22)

It’s safe to say that LeBron James was in a bad mood entering tonight’s game. After exchanging words with Marcus Morris (resulting in double technical fouls), King James showed up Tristan Thompson for failing to defend a shot before halftime. Thankfully, the Cavs shot 47 percent from the field en route to victory, making James’ outbursts a moot point.

Suns 84 (14-34), Knicks 102 (23-26)

Archie Goodwin raised eyebrows with a posterizing dunk of Kristaps Porzingis, and Jordan McRae posted an impressive NBA debut, but otherwise the Knicks were able to snap a four-game skid with relative ease. Carmelo Anthony put up a 19/10/8 line before sitting out the fourth quarter, while Derrick Williams came two boards shy of a double-double.

Magic 94 (20-25), Celtics 113 (27-21)

The Celtics’ second unit, which has been a strength for coach Brad Stevens all season, helped Boston dispatch of the Magic for their fifth straight W. Jonas Jerebko, Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart, and Evan Turner all scored in the double-digits off the bench, while Orlando’s 13-man rotation committed 16 turnovers.

Rockets 108 (25-24), Thunder 116 (36-13)

Russell Westbrook posted a triple-double (26 points, 14 dimes, 10 boards) and Kevin Durant scored 33 as the Thunder improved to 10-1 in their last 11 contests. Dwight Howard made OKC’s job easier by getting ejected in the third quarter, allowing Clint Capela to rack up 12 points in a prominent role off the bench.

Heat 107 (26-21), Bucks 103 (20-29)

Giannis Antetokounmpo went off for 28 points, and Greg Monroe notched 24, but Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh led Miami to victory with a combined 44 points on 50 percent shooting. Amar’e Stoudemire posted another quality outing in Hassan Whiteside’s absence, coming two rebounds shy of a double-double.

Nets 79 (12-35), Mavericks 91 (27-22)

Lost in Brooklyn’s poor performance this season has been excellent play from Brook Lopez (28 points, 12 boards on Friday) — the former Stanford Cardinal has shown improvement in every major category from last season, and would surely net a significant return on the trade market. The Mavs received double-doubles from Zaza Pachulia and Chandler Parsons, while rookie Justin Anderson earned some good press.

Trail Blazers 109 (22-26), Hornets 91 (22-25)

Tyler Hansbrough posted a double-double with 12 points and 14 boards, but was on the receiving end of a ferocious one-handed jam from Damian Lillard. Lillard would post a team-high 22 points, while Allen Crabbe pitched in 20 off the bench. Al-Farouq Aminu posted an impressive line with 17 points and 12 boards. As Aminu explained in an interview with Blazer’s Edge, a heightened offensive emphasis has helped his game evolve.

“Most places I’ve been, they haven’t been telling me really to shoot the ball.” Aminu explains. “In Dallas, they told me, you know, ‘Shoot if you’re open,’ but it wasn’t necessarily a hard point. Just ‘Hey, man, shoot the ball,’ you know what I mean? [Stotts] actually wants me to shoot.”

Lakers 93 (9-40), Clippers 105 (31-16)

Chris Paul dropped 27 points on the Lakers, and Austin Rivers combined with Jamal Crawford for 32 off the bench in Friday’s battle of Los Angeles. Lakers coach Byron Scott entered Friday’s game with some pointed remarks at guard D’Angelo Russell, claiming “It’s always good when you can look at yourself first. Everybody should do that. I do.” Friday’s loss, however, led Scott to a dubious distinction.