With the NBA on hiatus like the other leagues, we decided to compile a list of some of the best games of the year in no particular order.
Rockets (111) vs. Celtics (110) 2/29/20
Jayson Tatum scores 32 points but struggled from the floor. While James Harden only mustered 21 points, Russell Westbrook, who had himself an incredible month of February with the implementation of small ball, led his team to a win in a back and forth game dropping 41 points. The Celtics even pulled off one of the plays of the year at the end when Jayson Tatum missed a free throw on purpose and Jaylen Brown drilled a 3 to send the game to OT.
Clippers (133) vs. Celtics (141) 2/13/20
This double OT game featured one of the moves of the year by Kemba Walker (step back 3 on Landry Shamet in double OT) multiple clutch baskets by both teams and a signature performance from Jayson Tatum amid a streak that proved to fans that he was indeed an up and coming star.
Celtics (112) vs. Lakers (114) 2/23/2020
Coming out of the All-Star break, teams can take a few games to get back into the groove of things. On a nationally televised game, these two historic franchises battled it out to the end in a thrilling game. Jayson Tatum scored 41 points but it wasn’t enough for the Lakers, who were led by Anthony Davis’ 32 points and LeBron James’ clutch fadeaway jump shot in the closing seconds.
Lakers (119) vs. Mavericks (110) 11/1/19
Two generational talents post triple-doubles in a close game. LeBron’s 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 16 assists were just enough to get the Lakers past the Mavericks and Luka, who had 31 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists.
Sixers (116) vs. Heat (117) 12/28/19
Jimmy Butler gets revenge against his old team and the Heat continue riding their hot start to improve their great home record in a statement game. Joel Embiid scores 35 points and adds 11 rebounds, but Jimmy Butler’s near triple-double 25 point performance proves just enough to secure the victory.
Rockets (119) vs. Clippers (122) 11/22/2019
In an early season matchup, the Clippers show off their new wing stars and steal a come-back win against a conference rival. James Harden hit an improvable 4 point play in the 4th but Kawhi Leonard stole the show with a game-winning shot over P.J. Tucker.
Wolves (127) vs. Nets (126) 10/23/19
On his Brooklyn debut, Kyrie Irving scores 50 points and dishes out 7 assists to go along with it. He had a chance to win the game but lost his balance and couldn’t get the shot to go. Still an impressive and entertaining show by one of the game’s best showmen.
Post Kobe Games
While this isn’t just one game, seeing some of the youngest stars in the league honor Kobe by putting up some spectacular numbers during the tough times really showed fans just how much Kobe meant to them. Buddy Hield, Trae Young, and Devin Booker were just a few of the young stars who put on a show and turned to the game they grew up loving to endure the sadness and give fans something to cheer on about.
When the new rules came out for this year’s All-Star Game, many were skeptical and confused as to what kind of impact it would have on the game. What we got was a 4th quarter where players actually played defense, drew charges, went at one another, and seemed to have an actual game plan on offense. It capped off one of the better All-Star Weekends and was a great way to honor the late Kobe Bryant.
Clippers (111) vs. Lakers (106) 12/25/19
The first Lakers vs. Clippers game did not have Paul George but the Clippers won anyways. With this game being on Christmas day, and the Lakers looking to get revenge, all eyes were on the marquee holiday matchup. Anthony Davis registered 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, but Kawhi Leonard scored 11 of his 35 in the 4th quarter to lead his team to a statement win.
Bulls (116) vs. Hornets (115) 11/23/19
This is the only game besides the Wolves Nets one that does not feature two playoff teams. Usually, two playoff teams fighting it out just results in better basketball. But this game did not disappoint. The Hornets had been in the lead and it looked like the Hornets were going to close it out. But Zach Lavine, on his way to a career-high 49 points, made 3 after 3 in the closing minutes and kept the game close. With a few seconds left, Lavine took a Hornets turnover, ran back to the 3 point line, and put in the dagger with .8 second left.