We are officially at the halfway mark of the 2014-2015 NBA season and there have been some incredible performances already put up this season. Here the top ten performances so far.
- Pau Gasol – 46 Pts, 18 rebounds vs. the Milwaukee Bucks
With Derrick Rose and Mike Dunleavy sitting this game out due to injury, Pau Gasol delivered a monster game to offset the starters not in the game. The Chicago Bulls had just lost to the Washington Wizards and there were questions on whether the Bulls frontcourt was tough enough to contend for a title. Gasol quieted the critics for a little while after this monster performance. He became the first Bulls player to record at least 46 points and 18 rebounds since…..you guessed it…..MJ.
- Kobe Bryant – 19 points, 17 assists vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers
Even casual basketball fans know one thing about Kobe Bean Bryant…..he can score and he can score A LOT. Recently, he moved into third place on the all time NBA scoring list, overtaking Michael Jordan. This game against Cleveland was a little different and may be one of his better performances. Kobe was passing and swinging the ball around noticeably more than usual to start the game. With the current state of the Lakers, 17 assists is a very good total. Even though the Cavs eventually beat the Lake Show in this contest, Kobe showed us that he can do more than score.
- Hassan Whiteside – Triple double with 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 blocks vs. the Chicago Bulls
At the beginning of the season, Hassan Whiteside was without a team. Whiteside has mentioned that he was home waiting for a call from a team for an opportunity. “I told my teammates, you wouldn’t believe how things work out in life,” Whiteside said. Three months ago, you can ask anybody at the downtown [YMCA] in Charlotte, I was there just chilling. Just working on my game. I couldn’t even get a team to pick up the phone.” In late November, Miami did just that. Whiteside got his chance to shine in a nationally televised game against the favored Chicago Bulls and he put on a show with an amazing stat line of 14 pts, 13 rebounds and 12 (!) blocks. Whiteside has recently followed up this performance with a 24 point/20 rebound game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
- DeAndre Jordan – 22 points, 27 rebounds vs. the Dallas Mavericks
When you see DeAndre Jordan play, you wonder why he doesn’t average 20 rebounds a game. While standing at 6’10 and boasting a vertical leap of over 40’, Jordan already is at an athletic advantage most nights. And on this night, the Clippers needed a bit of good news after finding out Blake Griffin would be lost indefinitely. Jordab answered by posting a career high of 27 rebounds. “He looked like Wilt Chamberlain playing in 1963,” coach Rick Carlisle said after the game.
- James Harden – 40 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists vs. the Phoenix Suns
James Harden is on everyone’s short list of MVP candidates. His level of play this year has gone above and beyond the already high expectations for him. Even with All-Star center Dwight Howard on the team, Harden is now considered the franchise player of the Houston Rockets. This night against the Suns was one of his many masterpiece games this year. By posting 40 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists, Harden lead the team in each category while picking up a big win against a tough Phoenix Suns team on the road.
- John Wall – 26 points, 7 rebounds, 17 assists game (double overtime) vs. the Boston Celtics
In 2013, John Wall befriended Miyah Telemaque-Nelson, a six-year-old diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma. On the morning of the game against the Boston Celtics, Wall had found out that she passed away from the disease. Playing with a heavy heart and steel determination to win the game for Miyah, Wall went out and lead the Wizards to the improbable win against the Celtics while posting maybe the best game of the season.
- Russell Westbrook – 48 points, 11 assists game, 9 rebounds vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Ridiculous stat lines are becoming the norm for Russell Westbrook. Playing without Kevin Durant, the reigning MVP, for a while this season has given Westbrook even more confidence than he already had. His full court speed and athleticism makes him almost unguardable. In this back and forth game, Westbrook (even with Durant in the lineup) put the Oklahoma City Thunder on his back and traded buckets with the New Orleans team. His performance almost pulled the game out for the Thunder, but…..
- Anthony Davis – 40 points, 10 rebounds plus a 35 foot buzzer beater vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder
Anthony Davis’ performance was one for the ages. Both teams needed this win to stay in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference. Davis was just other-worldly with his seemingly endless array of dunks, alley-oops and blocks. He cemented his MVP case with this performance. Oh, and he’s still only 21 years old.
- Kyrie Irving’s double nickel (55 points vs. the Portland Trailblazers)
On a night where the Cavs would be without the game’s best player, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving would have to pick up the slack and that’s EXACTLY what he did on this night. Irving was an absolute beast. With two new superstars added to the team, Irving has been somewhat overshadowed in the Cavs season. LeBron himself was quoted as saying, “Yo man, when I tell you I probably just witnessed one of the greatest single performances, live, in my life, man – that’s exactly I just saw.” That’s HUGE praise from King James, who has performed superhumanly a time or two as well.
1.Klay Thompson’s 52 point game vs. the Sacramento Kings
Klay Thompson makes up one half of the best backcourt in the NBA (affectionately dubbed the “Splash Brothers”) with Stephen Curry. Both are known for their long distance and streaky shooting. When either gets on a hot streak, chances are the Golden State Warriors are going to pull away. Case in point: Thompson was having a ‘decent’ first half with 13 points. He then turned it up in the third quarter and torched the Kings for 37 points (!) in the third quarter which broke George Gervin’s NBA record for the most points in a quarter. Thompson ended the game with a cool 52.