1. Poster dunks get the week started
At the end of the season, when it time to put together the top dunks of the year, the search has to begin on Oct. 25 as there were poster dunks coming left and right that night.
- Lauri Markkanen vs Nuggets
- Jaylen Brown vs Hornets
- John Collins vs Pistons
- Anthony Edwards vs Pelicans
- Miles Bridges vs Boston
- Brandon Ingram vs Wolves
2. First buzzer-beating game-winner of the season
With one flick of the wrist, Harrison Barnes turned what could have been an epic collapse into a game-winning celebration. The Kings led the Suns by 10 points with less than three minutes to play and saw their lead erased with a 12-2 run by the Suns.
With the game tied and 1.4 seconds left to play, De’Aaron Fox found Barnes on a sideline out of bounds play. Barnes caught the pass and rose up for a 3-pointer from the left wing over the defense of Devin Booker. He splashed the triple to help Sacramento escape Footprint Center with a victory.
It was Barnes’ third career game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer and his second with the Kings.
3. Cunningham makes his delayed debut
Cade Cunningham made his NBA debut on Saturday as the Pistons hosted the Magic. He had missed the preseason and the season’s first four games with a sprained ankle. Cunningham struggled to score — he finished with just two points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field and missed all five of his 3-point attempts — but he did make an impact to help the Pistons secure their first win of the season. Cunningham added seven rebounds, two assists and a block in just under 19 minutes on the court as he will be on a minutes restriction as he makes his way back.
This is how you get Detroit fans to love you in the first four minutes of your NBA career:
4. Fun with Halloween
NBA players were definitely feeling the Halloween spirit this weekend as they broke out some great costumes — both at home and at the arena.
Speaking of scares, there were injury scares to a pair of former MVPs this week. LeBron James missed a pair of games due to an ankle injury, but returned to the Lakers’ lineup on Sunday. By the looks of this dunk, his ankle seems to be just fine.
Reigning Kia MVP Nikola Jokic missed the second half of Denver’s loss to Utah on Tuesday in a move made mostly out of precaution after Jokic banged knees with Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Jokic was diagnosed with a knee contusion and was back in the lineup on Friday, helping the Nuggets earn wins over Dallas and Minnesota this weekend.
5. Milestone Watch: Climbing the charts (by way of Brooklyn)
This week saw a handful of milestones reached by member of the Brooklyn Nets and two major ones are right on the horizon for a pair of 75th Anniversary Team members.
- Kevin Durant reached 24,000 career points on Monday as he scored 25 points in Brooklyn’s win against the Wizards. Durant is closing in on becoming a top 25 scorer in the history of the NBA. Entering Week 3, Durant needs just 292 points to pass Allen Iverson for 25th place — he would join LeBron James (3rd) and Carmelo Anthony (9th) as the only active players in the top 25. KD ranks third in the league in scoring (27.7 ppg); if he maintains that pace, he would need only 11 games to pass AI.
- Durant’s teammate, James Harden, recorded his first triple-double of the season in Brooklyn’s win against Detroit on Sunday. In doing so, he tied Larry Bird for the seventh most triple-doubles in league history with 59.
- Another Brooklyn vet hit a significant scoring milestone this week as LaMarcus Aldridge became the 48th player in league history (and seventh among active players) to reach 20,000 career points.
- Joe Harris is officially the 3-point king of the Nets as he splashed his 814th triple with the franchise on Wednesday to pass Jason Kidd who has 813 3-pointers made. Harris is the longest tenured Net — joining the team in 2016-17 after beginning his career in Cleveland.
- Chris Paul continues to rack up the assists — he leads the NBA at 10.6 per game through the end of Week 2 — and has two passing legends in his sights on the all-time assist list. Paul needs seven assists to pass Brooklyn native Mark Jackson (10,334) for fourth place, and just eight assists to pass Brooklyn coach Steve Nash (10,335) for third place all-time. Paul’s first chance to climb the ranks is Tuesday as the Suns host the Pelicans (10 ET, TNT).
6. Ja vs. Steph duel delivers
Memphis’ Ja Morant and Golden State’s Stephen Curry closed out Week 2 tied atop the league leaderboard in scoring at 28.7 points per game. Those averages were boosted on Thursday in San Francisco as Morant scored 30 points and Curry scored 36 in the Grizzlies’ 104-101 overtime win against the Warriors.
Curry is the reigning NBA scoring champion as he averaged 32 points a game last season, so seeing him at the top of the leaderboard is not surprising. On the other hand, Morant is still in the beginning stages of a third-season leap as he is ascending into a perennial All-Star. After averaging 19.1 points per game in his sophomore season, Morant has increased his scoring output’ by 9.6 points per game.
7. Mobley continues to impress (even LeBron)
Through seven games played, No. 3 draft pick Evan Mobley has averaged 13.4 points on 50% shooting, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks in 32 minutes per game for the Cavaliers. By themselves the numbers are great, but there is a poise and maturity about Mobley’s game that can already be seen on the court just two weeks into his career.
While the Cavaliers lost to the Lakers on Friday, Mobley drew praise from a fellow former top draft pick of the Cavaliers — LeBron James. “He’s going to be a damn good basketball player in this league,” James said.
8. Quote of the Week
Draymond Green became the latest player to chime in on the emphasis to limit foul calls when offensive players initiate contact with non-basketball moves in order to draw fouls.
“Can I say how satisfying it is to watch the game without all those terrible calls. Guys cheating the game and grabbing guys and getting the foul. I’ve been really enjoying watching basketball this year.”
Fellow Warrior Klay Thompson was also a nominee for this category after this great story of the time he faced Kevin Love in Little League Baseball.
9. Week 2 Stat Leaders
For games played between Oct. 25-31, min. 2 games played:
- Points: Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL): 30.8 PPG over 4 games
- Rebounds: Deandre Ayton (PHX): 16.5 RPG over 2 games
- Assists: Dejounte Murray (SAS): 10.7 APG over 3 games
- Steals: Paul George (LAC): 4.3 SPG over 3 games
- Blocks: Al Horford & Robert Williams III (BOS): 3.5 BPG over 2 games
- 3-Pointers Made: Stephen Curry (GSW): 5.7 3PM over 3 games
- Double-Doubles: Jonas Valanciunas (NOP): 4 DD over 4 games
- Triple Doubles: Dejounte Murray (SAS), James Harden (BKN), Russell Westbook (LAL): 1 each
There were three 40-point performances during Week 2:
- Paul George (LAC @ POR, L): 42 pts, 15-24 FG, 6-9 3P, 6-9 FT, 8 reb, 2 ast
- Jayson Tatum (BOS @ CHA, W): 41 pts, 14-28 FG, 6-12 3P, 7-7 FT, 7 reb, 8 ast
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL vs. MIN, L): 40 pts, 15-23 FG, 3-6 3P, 7-9 FT, 16 reb, 7 ast, 3 blk
Let’s close out the stats category with this crazy stat following OKC’s win against the Lakers on Wednesday. The Thunder trailed by as many as 26 points before rallying for a 123-115 win for their first victory of the season. In doing so, they snapped a pretty nice run for the Lakers when it came to protecting leads.