• In what could have been a quiet Thursday night in the league, we instead found a collection of moments that took us back to times long gone by. In the Mavs-Suns game, we saw elder statesman Dirk Nowitzki take to the floor albeit for just six minutes. In the Lakers-Rockets game, Brandon Knight, who last played when jousting was one of the featured events at an All-Star game, made his four-minute debut for Houston. Talk about putting the throwbacks in #throwbackthursday.

    While Knight’s return may have been special to him, the game’s hero was James  Harden, who put up a 50-point triple-double together to lead the Rockets over the Lakers 111-126. Clint Capela had himself a solid double-double with 16 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and two blocks.

    On the other end of the floor, LeBron James and the recently heating up Kyle Kuzma led the Lakeshow with 29 and 24 points, respectively. Still no Brandon Ingram. At least Josh Hart found his groove in this outing with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting with two 3-pointers and two blocks. He’s someone who can truly shine when given the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, he’s too far down in the Lakers’ rotation that when they’re healthy his production drops off more sharply than if you luged down the Great Pyramid of Giza.

    Spurs of the Moment

    LaMarcus Aldridge delivered a holiday rerun of some of his greatest hits in 2017-18 with 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting, adding four rebounds, a trey and two steals. Rudy Gay dropped a classic line with 21 points, six rebounds, two steals and one block. Of courses, the Spurs ended up trouncing the Clippers 87-125.

    It didn’t help the Clippers’ cause that Montrezl Harrell had an awful performance with just six points, four rebounds and one steal in 15 minutes. Main guns, Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari were limited to chipping in 17 and 15 points, respectively.

    All about the “Vooch”

    Yes, the Magic leaned heavily on Nikola Vucevic, again, and he delivered 26 points, 10 rebounds and a phat stat line (again) to power the Magic over the Bulls 91-97. Call him a trade risk all you want but the Magic CANNOT and WILL NOT win games without him, so he might just end up sticking around considering they’re actually in the playoff conversation in the weakened Eastern Conference.

    Aaron Gordon had a rough shooting night, going 2-of-11 from the field to finish with a disappointing eight points, five boards and seven assists. Oh! Oh! We had a sweet Jonathan Isaac sighting (the good kind) and he had 10 points, three steals and three blocks in 26 minutes as a starter.

    The Bulls were no good. At least they had the gumption to fade Jabari Parker and his one-dimensional, overrated game off their rotation. Bobby Portis had 15 points and seven boards in 22 minutes, while Kris Dunn was less tantalizing with five points, four rebounds, two assists and four turnovers. Zach LaVine and Justin Holiday were the players who managed to shine for Chicago as they solid performances.

    De’Anthony “Melted”

    As bad as the Suns are on a normal day, they still somehow managed to drop the Mavs 89-99 on Thursday. T.J. Warren takes the credit for scoring almost a third of the team’s total points with 30 (three 3s). They won no thanks to rookies Deandre Ayton, who sucked as he went 3-of-13 from the field to finish with seven points; and De’Anthony Melton who fell back to Earth harder than the meteor accused of killing off the dinosaurs as he missed all his shot attempts and laid a goose egg in another start.

    On the side of the Mavs, DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 15 rebounds with no blocks. Harrison Barnes had a shallow, Barnes-esque line with 15 points, two 3-pointers, four boards and not much else. Luka Doncic did relatively well with 13 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals.

    Yes, granddaddy Dirk played six minutes and scored two points. His minutes will be ramped up slowly and once he’s hitting his full allotment, which could be in the mid-to-high twenties, Nowitzki may find some use in deep leagues.

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