The 7 Best NBA Performances From Last Week: Friday Night Lights
It's a new season in the NBA. And with it comes a new season full of awesome performances on a nightly basis. We got to see a lot of that in the opening week but even more so in the season's second week.
In case you're not aware, numberFire Live is our very own platform that tracks each NBA game, its win probability, and player performances -- among many other features. Here, we focus on the player performances in order to find the best ones of the week.
Each player performance is rated on a scale of 1 to 100, according to production and efficiency. These are the seven players (compared to last week's four) who earned perfect 100 ratings this week. They are listed in order of their nERD (a measure of a player's total contribution, based on efficiency) for the given games, from least to greatest.
7. Kawhi Leonard vs. Utah Jazz
Friday was possibly one of the best nights of NBA action no one is talking about. Three of these seven performances happened then, and none of them came via the two nationally-televised games. Kawhi Leonard's big game against the Utah Jazz was among them.
In 31 minutes, Leonard led the San Antonio Spurs in points (29), rebounds (11), and assists (4). On a usage rate of 34.4%, he finished 9 of 18 from the field and a perfect 10 of 10 from the line. His efficiency led to a true shooting mark of 64.7% and an offensive rating of 140.2 points per 100 possessions. Leonard also led San Antonio with a nERD of 50.83, on their way to a 100-86 win in Salt Lake.
6. Amir Johnson vs. Chicago Bulls
With Al Horford out Wednesday night, someone had to step up for the Boston Celtics down low against a tough Chicago Bulls squad. It's clear that Amir Johnson was up to the task, finishing the contest with the highest nERD (53.41) on the team.
The big man did his work efficiently, hitting 9 of 11 from the field and 4 for 4 from three on his way to 23 points in just 29 minutes. Mind you, that's on a usage of 18%. For those of you wondering, that amounts to a true shooting percentage of 96.8% and a staggering offensive rating of 188. Needless to say, he was on.
Amir Johnson cans his FOURTH trey of the night! He's a perfect 4-for-4 from downtown! 🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/eGKEfrk2hz
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 3, 2016
5. Chris Paul vs. Memphis Grizzlies
In a game against the Memphis Grizzlies in The Grindhouse, Chris Paul did just about everything. He put up 27 points, 11 assists, 6 steals, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 32 minutes of play. It's no wonder then -- even after seeing what Leonard did on the same night -- that Paul's game nERD of 55.78 is superior.
Paul didn't work all that hard offensively to get there either. He made just 6 field goals but hit 14 of 15 from the line. What's great with Paul is that, while he enjoyed an offensive rating of 139, he played even better defensively, to the tune of a 80.6 rating for the contest. His outstanding two-way play more than contributed to the Los Angeles Clippers' 99-88 victory.
4. James Harden vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Beard didn't play Friday night. However, he is the only player to appear on this list twice. He owned the rest of the week, starting on Tuesday against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 38 minutes, James Harden did all he could for his Houston Rockets to keep up.
First and foremost, he scored 41 points with high efficiency, shooting 13 of 20 from the field, 5 of 9 from beyond the arc, and 10 of 14 from the line. With a usage of 31.6%, his true shooting of 78.4% is rather incredible. As the point guard, though, Harden did much more than score. He dished out 15 assists and grabbed 7 rebounds while leading the team with a nERD of 57.72 in a competitive 128-120 loss in Cleveland.
3. James Harden vs. New York Knicks
A night later, Harden did himself one better. In just 33 minutes, Harden splashed in 30 points on 9 field goals, 5 treys, and 7 freebies. He added another 15 assists and 6 rebounds with an offensive rating of 162.7 and a nERD of 60.13. Most importantly, Houston got the win over the New York Knicks, by a score of 118-99.
2. Jake Layman vs. Golden State Warriors
Maybe the least likeliest of perfect performers we'll see all year is rookie Jake Layman, who entered the Portland Trail Blazers' home contest against the Golden State Warriors having played zero -- count 'em, zero -- minutes. Since that game, he hasn't played any either.
That in no way diminishes what Layman did on the losing side of a 127-104 blowout. In only 8 minutes, Layman piled up 17 points on 75% shooting, including 5 for 7 from three. Those numbers equal a true shooting percentage of 106.3% and an offensive rating of 297.1(!). Layman's 68.28 mark only trails his more well-known teammate in terms of single-game nERD.
1. Damian Lillard vs. Dallas Mavericks
Layman's teammate? That would be the one and only Damian Lillard. Lillard joins Leonard as the only other player to make the NBA's top performances in both of the first two weeks. He did so at the expense of the Dallas Mavericks during that eventful Friday night.
In the Blazers' 105-95 road win, Lillard scored 42 points and missed just 6 of his 18 field goal attempts, 1 of his 6 three-point attempts, and 1 of his 14 free throw chances. He earned a true shooting percentage of 86.9% to go along with a usage of 31%. Lillard also added 4 assists, along with an offensive rating of 169.1, to go even a step higher than all other players. His nERD of 78.51 is over 10 points better than Layman, the next closest of the week.
After all, it's difficult to guard a guy who can pull up once he crosses half court.
With all due respect to Jerry West, we might have to start calling @Dame_Lillard 'The Logo' pic.twitter.com/VfiwPpgDVG
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 6, 2016