🏀 Are They the New Team to Beat?

Plus, familiar faces in new places

Four score and seven hours ago, Chet Holmgren brought forth a statement win versus the mighty Celtics. Let’s dive into the epic battle and more…

Basically twins

Today’s Lineup

👋 OKC You Later
The Thunder secured a big-time win over the #1 team in the NBA

🎭 Familiar Faces in New Places
How did RJ, IQ, and OG play in their debuts?

🔢 Beyond the Box Score
This efficient shooter is making all the difference for a contender.

Last Night’s Action

Thunder outlast Celtics 127-123 in clash of league’s elite squads

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (36 PTS) was brilliant offensively and Jalen Williams made a grown man’s move over Jayson Tatum (30 PTS) to seal the win. Elsewhere for OKC, Josh Giddey (4-7 3PT) made Boston pay for leaving him open and Chet Holmgren was everywhere defensively. Kristaps Porzingis (34 PTS) was masterful on both ends and almost brought the game within reach for Boston (26-7) late, but his feet were just too big. With recent wins against the Nuggets, T-Wolves, and Celtics, is OKC (23-9) the best team in the NBA right now?

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Morant and Wemby trade highlight plays in flashy Grizzlies win

In a battle of two young stars, Ja Morant (26 PTS, 10 AST) elevated over Victor Wembanyama (20 PTS, 4 BLK) for a poster dunk, a filthy lay, and a 106-98 Memphis (11-22) win. Though Morant prevailed, Wemby produced his own highlight reel for San Antonio (5-28) with a one-footed three, a dominant dunk, and an emphatic swat on Ja’s layup 🤯 

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Warriors wow in win vs Magic

Steph Curry (36 PTS) had one of those games where he’s hitting ridiculous turnarounds and 4-pointers like it’s nothing. Plus, Klay dropped a smooooth dime and played prime-level lockup defense for Golden State (16-17) on Orlando’s (19-14) young wings on the way to a 121-115 win 💦

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  • Joel Embiid dominated once again, posting a 31-point triple-double as the 76ers (23-10) steamrolled the Bulls (15-20). The final score of 110-97 makes it seem semi-close, but Philly led by 25 after one quarter and The Process sat the entire fourth. 😳

  • “Scary” Terry Rozier continued his silently spectacular scoring season with a 34-piece as the Hornets (8-24) snuck past the Kings (19-13) late, 111-104. De’Aaron Fox (30 PTS) was great and Domantas Sabonis had 23 points and 18 boards, but his 11 (yes, eleven) turnovers were costly.😬

  • In a game where the Nets (15-19) shot colder than a snowman’s freezer, the Pelicans (20-14) cruised to a 112-85 victory at home. 🥶 

Monday Night Notes

If you want Monday’s stats, here ya go. Let’s quickly recap what happened around the association on New Years Day:

  • OG Anunoby (17 PTS) fit in seamlessly in his first game as a Knick, while his new teammate Julius Randle (36 PTS) picked apart the #1 ranked Timberwolves defense for the win!

  • In their Raptors debut, RJ Barret and Immanuel Quickley combined for 35 points and secured a 124-121 win over the Cavs where Pascal Siakam (36 PTS) got deeeeep in his bag.

  • In another round of our favorite new rivalry, the Pacers beat the Bucks 122-113 as Tyrese Haliburton (26 PTS, 11 AST) got some major help off the bench from Ben Mathurin, Isaiah Jackson, and your friendly neighborhood pest TJ McConnell. Best of all, they play again tonight!

  • Jordan Clarkson got Utah’s first regular season triple-double in SIXTEEN YEARS as the Jazz destroyed the Mavs by 37. We can’t stop laughing at Coach Will Hardy giving Clarkson a hard time 😂 

  • So… the Pistons didn’t keep the magic alive. Instead, Alperen Sengun poured in 26 points and 9 assists in a 136-113 Rockets blowout win.

🧠 Daily Trivia 🧠 

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Beyond the Box Score

After the 76ers dealt James Harden to the Clippers, people weren’t sure if Nic Batum would even contribute for Philly. Turns out, he hasn’t just been a good weapon for them, but he’s scorching from behind the three-point line 🔥

In his first 18 games, he's been draining threes at a jaw-dropping 50% accuracy, including a staggering 54% from the corners (97th percentile). Plus, Batum is maximizing his value by letting the rock fly—he ranks in the 100th percentile in corner and overall three-point attempt frequency! 🏀

The most impressive part of all of this? Batum has perfected the difficult art of not dipping the ball before firing away. This makes his shot release lightning quick, and combined with his towering 6'8" frame, the shot becomes nearly unblockable. Watch this rare art form here:

Three In the Key

Caitlin Clarke hit a buzzer-beater from Curry range to win it for Iowa!

💍 True Friendship
The Nuggets wholesomely mobbed Ish Smith at his ring presentation.

👦 Hometown Kid
Toronto-born RJ Barrett describes what it means to be a Raptor.

What We’re Enjoying

Staying Humble: Signing a multi-million dollar contract and gaining millions of new fans, Victor Wembanyama had many reasons to be grateful in 2023. But instead of flexing, Wemby’s favorite photo of 2023 was making his parents proud on draft night. Nothing could be better for the NBA than this chosen one to just be a normal, down-to-earth dude 🐐 

Signing Off

They’re playing us off stage 🎶 so we’ll cut it short here. But we’d like to thank The Academy, our parents, and most of all YOU 🫵 for being the best. Have a good one!

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