The Boston Celtics won their 16th-straight game on Monday, and Kyrie Irving was sensational down the stretch.
Kyrie Irving – 47 points, six assists, three rebounds
Brad Stevens’ strategy was simple: put the ball in Kyrie Irving’s hands and get everyone else the hell out of the way. With his mask on, Irving scored seven points in the fourth and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor in the overtime period. The Dallas Mavericks elected to guard him one-on-one, and that turned out to be the worst gameplan possible. Irving, who’s capable of scoring on All-Defensive guys, toyed with Yogi Ferrell, and I’m sure you could imagine how the rest of the night went. Irving slithered through double teams with his incredible handle and threw up an array of floaters and layups that were effortless. After donning the mask, Irving’s averaging 29.5 points and shooting 54.3 percent from the floor.
Victor Oladipo – 29 points, nine rebounds, seven steals, five assists
Monday was a tremendous outing for Victor Oladipo. He had a career night against his former team. The line that he put up was a historic one, and Oladipo became the 10th player since 1984 to have a game with 29-9-7-5 — Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Bird are three others. (Oladipo also recorded two blocks. Only three others have equaled that.) The Oldaipo revival is real, and the Orlando Magic were on the wrong end of one of his best games. The extra-tenacious defense created easy offense. Moreover, Orlando fell asleep often, and that opened up the floor, creating uncontested looked for Oladipo, who only attempted two threes all night long.
Anthony Davis – 36 points, 15 rebounds, three assists
After losing DeMarcus Cousins to an ejection on Monday, Anthony Davis would have to carry the New Orleans Pelicans all by himself. And he was just fine. The Pels just kept on feeding and feeding and feeding and feeding their big man, hoping that he would do something, and the Oklahoma City Thunder defense had all kinds of issues stopping Davis. He was 9-of-19 from the floor, but got half of his points from the foul line, where he went 18-of-22; those were the second-most makes and most attempts in the NBA this season. The icing on the cake was the 16-foot fadeaway that Davis connected on with 48.5 seconds left that gave the Pelicans a six-point lead.
- Paul George – 26 points, five steals, five rebounds, four assists
- Dwight Howard – 25 points, 20 rebounds, four blocks
- Russell Westbrook – 22 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists
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