The days of the traditional, back-to-the-basket center are gone, and Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis and Kevin Love showed how impactful new-school bigs are.
Nikola Jokic – 41 points, 12 rebounds, five assists
After bursting onto the scene last year, Nikola Jokic attracted a lot of eyeballs. Thus far, he hasn’t disappointed. When you matchup a great player with a lackluster defense, typically, the player shreds his opponent. That’s what happened on Tuesday night. The Brooklyn Nets couldn’t stop Jokic no matter what they threw at him, and the entire arsenal was in full effect. Jokic was slinging the rock around the court with ease and buried shots from all over, including four from three-point land. His 41 points are a career-high, and he needed just 31 minutes to reach it. Had Jokic not fouled out, he could’ve stretched his benchmark even further.
Anthony Davis – 37 points, 14 rebounds, four assists
Sometimes, we forget just how dominant Anthony Davis is. When he’s at his best, he’s arguably the best big man in the game. The number is growing, but there are still few forwards who have diversified their offense as much as Davis. Against the Indiana Pacers, he was hitting everything — threes, mid-range jumpers, floaters, one-dribble pull-ups. I don’t care who you are, that’s a hassle to defend, especially when the threes are falling. On top of that, he remains a tremendous presence on the defensive end. Davis is fourth in total blocks after Tuesday’s contest, and his final swat of the game sealed the Pelicans’ win. Now that he and DeMarcus Cousins are at full strength, we have to start wondering where they rank as a duo.
Kevin Love – 32 points, 16 rebounds
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Kevin Love on here. The Cleveland Cavaliers new second-option had his biggest game of the year, and his team needed it badly. It was his first time cracking 30 points, and the ultra-aggressive version of Love is both super rare and super entertaining. He hauled in eight offensive rebounds and went 14-of-16 from the free throw line. That, however, isn’t the weirdest part. During his (roughly) 35 minutes of action, Love didn’t attempt a single triple — not one. That’s just the third time it’s happened with Cleveland, and the first since Jan. 23, 2015.
- LeBron James – 30 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, three steals
- Giannis Antetokounmpo – 40 points, nine rebounds, four blocks, three assists
- C.J. McCollum – 36 points, three steals, two rebounds
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