The Denver Nuggets were without Nikola Jokic for the entire second half, but Will Barton seized the opportunity and carried his team.
Will Barton – 37 points, three assists, three steals
Without Nikola Jokic (ankle sprain) and Paul Millsap (wrist surgery), the Denver Nuggets are missing two of their best players. In Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, they weren’t needed because Will Barton had a career night. Chicago, at this point, isn’t much more than a glorified G-League team, and an electrifying scorer like Barton would have a field day against their pitiful defense. He did. Of his 19 shots, only six didn’t fall, and he was 6-of-9 from three-point land. Time after time, the Bulls coverage broke down, and someone left Barton open for a three. On the second-to-last play of the game, the same thing happened. Barton rushed the ball down court and put in a reverse layup to seal Denver’s victory.
LeBron James – 24 points, 12 assists, six rebounds
On Nov. 6, LeBron James posted the Arthur fist on Instagram with the “mood” caption. Since then, the Cavs have won 10-straight and are 11-1 overall. James has averaged 27.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists over that stretch. He continued that dominance against the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday. LeBron could do no wrong, and the Hawks were on the wrong end of some downright humiliating plays — like his block on Taurean Prince. With 1:48 left in the game, James buried a three to give Cleveland a 116-112 lead. He followed up with a game-saving block on Dennis Schroder with less than 30 seconds left, where he finger-wagged the crowd after
Kyrie Irving – 36 points, four rebounds, three assists
It was one of those nights for Kyrie Irving. You know, the kind where three guys are blanketing him but he still manages to shovel up a floater with his right hand that doesn’t hit anything as it returns to Earth. The 36 points were the second-highest from Kyrie this year, only eclipsed by his performance in Dallas not too long ago. He finished 12-of-21 from the field and a blistering 5-of-8 from three, and Boston handled a Sixers team that was without Joel Embiid. Boston’s back to their winning ways and has brought home three victories in their last four games, and that’s after they had their 16-game streak snapped.
- Alec Burks – 28 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals
- Khris Middleton – 26 points, seven rebounds, four assists
- Ersan Ilyasova – 22 points, four steals, three rebounds
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