It was a four-game slate in the NBA on Thursday, highlighted by one of the most high-scoring games you’ll ever see. Meanwhile, LeBron James is still a little ways out from returning, and DeMarcus Cousins is on the verge of making his Warriors debut. Here are the latest NBA news and notes.
Spurs top Thunder in 2OT shootout
Thursday night in San Antonio, points were a-plenty and defense was optional. The Spurs hit their first 14 threes, going 16-19 overall from deep, as they downed the Thunder 154-147 in double overtime.
Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge did not partake in the three-point barrage but still scored a career-high 56 points in the win, the third-most in Spurs history. No Spur has scored more than Aldridge’s previous high of 45 since Tony Parker scored 55 in November 2008. He also went a perfect 16-16 from the free throw line.
Derrick White was the only other starter to eclipse 20 points, getting 23 points to go along with eight assists. San Antonio had seven players in double figures, including Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans, and Marco Belinelli, all of whom were perfect from behind the arc. San Antonio’s perfect start from three finally ended when White missed a three halfway through the third quarter.
It originally appeared the Spurs would run away with the game once they were up by 16, but the Thunder clawed back thanks to some huge performances. Russell Westbrook earned another triple-double, scoring 24 points, dishing out 24 assists, and grabbing 13 rebounds. It was his second career 20-20-10 game, which puts him behind only Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson, who each have three. Forward Jerami Grant scored 25 points to go along with 12 boards, and Paul George added 30 points as well.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, both teams combined for 301 points, the most in the NBA this season. The last non-exhibition game to reach the 300-point mark was back in December 2006, when the Suns beat the Nets 161-157 in double overtime.
LeBron to miss next three games
Lakers forward LeBron James will miss at least another week as he recovers from a strained left groin. James suffered the injury on Christmas Day in a win over the Warriors.
According to the team, the medical staff evaluated James on Thursday and determined “the healing of James’ groin injury is progressing.” In addition, he has been “cleared to increase on-court functional basketball movements.”
Without LeBron over the last two and a half weeks, the Lakers have gone just 3-5. They will have to win without him in their next three games at least; a road game against the Jazz followed by home games against the Cavaliers and the Bulls.
Cousins set to return Jan. 18
All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins will make his long-awaited Warriors debut on January 18th against the Clippers. He will also be inserted right into the starting lineup, according to head coach Steve Kerr.
Cousins shocked the basketball world when he signed a one-year deal with the defending-champion Warriors in free agency. During his entire Golden State tenure, he has been rehabbing from a torn left Achilles tendon that he suffered in January of last year with the Pelicans.
It will be interesting to see how Cousins fits into a team already chock full of stars. Prior to the injury last season, Cousins was averaging 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game with New Orleans. A return to All-Star level would make the Warriors nearly unstoppable, but an adjustment period, at least at first, is very likely.
Nine games are on the NBA schedule for Friday. Among them, the Pacers are at the Knicks, the Timberwolves host the Mavericks, the Lakers and Jazz go head-to-head to Utah, and the Warriors welcome the Bulls.