Five Things We Learned in NBA Thursday: Nobody can stop E’Twaun Moore; Westbrook’s pretty good, too
If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while watching the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer…
1) E’Twaun Moore with night of his life, drains game winner. The Bulls were hoping not to need a lot of E’Twaun Moore this season. He’s a respectable backup combo guard, but they were only going to lean on him heavily if Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler were down. Well, they’re down. And Moore stepped up — a career high 19-points on 9-of-10 shooting. And with the Bulls down one and needing a game-winner... boom goes the dynamite.
2) Russell Westbrook’s triple-double streak ended; the slacker only scored 43 points. Westbrook tried to push the Thunder past the Bulls — he was in attack mode again and put up 43 points on 14-of-32 shooting. Then he only had eight rebounds and seven assists. If that’s an off night, the Thunder will take it. That said, of his shots 26 of them were contested, and he hit just 10 of them, and when he’s launching like this the Thunder’s half-court offense can get stagnant. With OKC now just half a game ahead of New Orleans they need to have everybody on the same page and working hard.
3) Craig Sager is back, and we’ve never been so happy to see an ugly suit. This was the feel-good story of the night. After missing 11 months to battle leukemia, Sager was back on the sidelines for TNT in a suit nobody else could pull off. And all felt right with the world.
4) Portland got another quality win... I wrote this last night, and it holds true: Portland is my dark horse to come out of the West. Wednesday night they beat the Clippers on the road, Thursday night they handled Dallas at home. LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 boards. To be fair this game wasn’t exactly filled with great shooting or scintillating play, but come the playoffs teams that have success are going to have to grind out wins. Portland did that.
5) ... but the Blazers suffered a huge setback — Wesley Matthews is done for the season. This is a blow to their playoff chances, Matthews has a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg and is done for this season (plus likely misses the start of next one as well). Portland traded for Aaron Afflalo at the deadline and that will help ease the burden on Damian Lillard, but the Blazers depth took a real blow.