The 10 Best NBA Performances from Last Week: A Fun Friday Night
During the course of an NBA season, we see countless standout performances. For each week, we get quite a few. We get them almost on a nightly basis.
But, which were the best of the best -- or the perfect ones?
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. We are concerned only with 100 scores here.
All 10 -- count 'em, 10 -- perfect games from the past week 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.
10. Elfrid Payton vs. Los Angeles Lakers
We've seen this from Elfrid Payton before. He goes from playing awful basketball to a sudden string of really productive games. And that's what he's done recently for his Orlando Magic. However, he usually doesn't do so with much efficiency.
In a game with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Magic point guard filled up the stat-sheet with 25 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal. But, in Friday's game, he managed to hit on 11 of 16 shots, including 3 of 6 from deep. This made for a true shooting percentage of 78.1%, an offensive rating of 165.3 and a nERD of 51.34.
9. Kyle Lowry vs. Utah Jazz
Like Payton, Kyle Lowry also put up one of his best and most efficient performances of the year thus far. In the Toronto Raptors' 104-98 win in Utah, the star point man missed only 5 of his 20 shot attempts from the field, while he finished the game 4 for 8 from the three-point line for a total of 36 points.
In his 33 minutes of play, Lowry also dished out five assists. He led the team with a deadly combination of 84.4% true shooting and a usage rate of 37.4%. He played like he was the man and shot like a player who knew he was on fire. A nERD of 53.57 tells the tale.
8. Zach LaVine vs. Sacramento Kings
We've seen a few games this year where Karl-Anthony Towns or Andrew Wiggins have gone completely bonkers, only for the Minnesota Timberwolves to lose a close game. This time around, it was Zach LaVine's turn to contribute a top-notch performance only to see his team lose.
In the T'Wolves' 109-105 loss to the Sacramento Kings, the 21-year-old amassed 40 points and a 55.45 nERD in 39 minutes. His ability to tally more than a point per minute can be attributed to a usage of 31.3% and an outstanding true shooting of 83.1% -- a product of shooting 13 for 21 from the field, 7 of 12 from three and a perfect 7 for 7 from the line.
7. DeMarcus Cousins vs. Portland Trail Blazers
DeMarcus Cousins might not have had the most efficient game of this past week, but he did have the most memorable, without a doubt. Not only did Boogie drop 55 points, but he also did all of this.
PEAK BOOGIE: DeMarcus Cousins scores 54th point, spits mouthguard, gets ejected, sprints to locker room, gets un-ejected! (full sequence) pic.twitter.com/kNQ7TRQCOs
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) December 21, 2016
Outside of the controversy that was Big Cuz's mouthguard, his play was nothing but impressive, as he added 13 rebounds, 3 blocks and 1 steal to his point total. All in all, Cousins ended the Kings' 5-point victory with a colossal 47.4% usage and a fairly efficient 55.87 nERD.
6. Jimmy Butler vs. Detroit Pistons
The Chicago Bulls' lead star only accounted for 19 points, but he accomplished that feat on a mere 7 field goal attempts. Having shot 6 of 7 from the field, 1 of 1 from three and 6 of 6 from the line, Butler earned himself an amazing true shooting of 98.5% to go with an offensive rating of 208.3 points per 100 possessions.
This, along with a very low usage of 15.7%, amounted to a nERD of 57.73 in an uber-efficient 30 minutes of court time.
5. Russell Westbrook vs. Boston Celtics
We all know the triple-double machine that is one Russell Westbrook. Through today, he has 14 triple-doubles on the year -- however, his game against the Boston Celtics on Friday night was one of his better ones this year, as his 59.83 nERD says.
Outside of his 51-point output against the Phoenix Suns back in October, Westbrook's 45 points were the highest he's recorded in a triple-double. And it didn't take much for him to get there as Westbrook made 13 of 25 from the field, 5 of 7 from beyond the arc and 14 of 16 from the line. In addition to all his scoring, Brodie contributed 11 assists and 11 rebounds to the Oklahoma City Thunder's winning efforts while checking another NBA team off his list.
Cross the Celtics off the list. ☘✔️
Russell Westbrook has now recorded a triple-double against all but 6 teams in the NBA. pic.twitter.com/NlanNOxA9p
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 24, 2016
4. Marc Gasol vs. Detroit Pistons
With Mike Conley out for a period of time, we knew Marc Gasol would have to do a lot more for the Memphis Grizzlies in all areas on the offensive end of the floor. But, after Conley beat the timetable for his injury and returned to action this week, Gasol's high production didn't stop, particularly in the Grizzlies' 12-point road win over the Pistons Wednesday night.
In 37 minutes, the big Spaniard scored 38 points with a usage of 32.7%, an offensive rating of 146.4 and a true shooting percentage of 87%. He achieved that by making 14 of his 17 attempts from the field and 2 of 3 from long range. He even grabbed 5 rebounds and handed out 4 assists, good for a nERD of 66.01.
3. Kawhi Leonard vs. Portland Trail Blazers
So far this season, teams and players have been taking advantage of the Portland Trail Blazers, the league's worst defensive team. This past Friday was no different for the San Antonio Spurs and their star forward Kawhi Leonard, as the Spurs scored 110 -- including Leonard's 33 -- in their 20-point road win.
Leonard not only led the team in points, but also nERD (66.89) and offensive rating (164.7). He converted at a true shooting mark of 85.1%, hitting 9 of 15 from the field overall and 5 of 7 from three-point land. He also made all 10 of his attempts from the charity stripe.
Elsewhere, Leonard recorded 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal to be one of Friday's six outstanding individual games.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Washington Wizards
The one player better than Leonard that night was Giannis Antetokounmpo. In the Milwaukee Bucks' 123-96 home win over the Washington Wizards, the Greek Freak led the team with 39 points on a usage of 39.2% and an offensive rating of 155.7.
He took 19 shots from the field and made 12 of them, while also converting of 15 of his 17 free throw tries. Efficient shooting like that earns you a true shooting of 73.6%. A 77.19 nERD score earns the number two spot in this list. A dunk like this earns you a spot in the week's top plays.
1. Isaiah Thomas vs. Memphis Grizzlies
As many great games as Friday had to offer, no one played up to the level of 5'9" Isaiah Thomas in his gem of a game Tuesday night. The Celtics' point guard was unfazed by the Memphis Grizzlies' stingy defense, as he poured in 44 points on a modest 16 field goal attempts. How'd he do it?
For starters, he made 10 of those 16 attempts, which included 7 of 10 from beyond the arc. But, he also made all 17 of his foul shots, making for a very accurate true shooting of 93.7%. Shooting like that projects to a 184.1 offensive rating and an absurd nERD of 96.69 -- nearly 20 points better than the next-closest player.
Another look at @Isaiah_Thomas's KILLER performance vs the Grizzlies Tuesday night #CelticsTalk #CSNstats pic.twitter.com/cPeg5bBOOk
— The Celtics on CSN (@CelticsCSN) December 22, 2016