- Illinois State Redbirds - November 30, 2015 - Rupp Arena - 7:00 PM EST - ESPN2
Ironic as it may be, on the last day of 2013, we at CoachCal.com are pleased to present the first installment in a series of posts recapping the standout performances of the many ex-Kentucky Wildcats and former John Calipari players in the NBA. We will post the series at the end of each month throughout the NBA season. We hope you enjoy playing catch-up with your Kentucky hardwood heroes.
- It was a quick start to the NBA season for several former Wildcats, beginning with Eric Bledsoe, acquired by the Phoenix Suns from the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason. On Nov. 5, Bledsoe’s Suns took on the New Orleans Pelicans, featuring Anthony Davis and Darius Miller, and the fourth-year guard posted an outstanding game, as he netted 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting, five assists, four rebounds and three steals in the Suns’ 116-107 win.
- Only a few days later, playing against the Los Angeles Lakers, Davis recorded the first of two great efforts this season, as he netted a career-high 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting, with 12 rebounds and six blocks as New Orleans posted a 96-85 victory.
- Not wanting to be left out of the Big Blue magic at work in the NBA, on Nov. 9 DeMarcus Cousins connected on 13 of 24 field-goal tries, netting the big man 33 points. Big Cuz also worked his way to 12 rebounds, but his Sacramento Kings lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, 96-85.
- Nov. 13 saw two former Wildcats matched up against one another, as Davis’ Pelicans took on Enes Kanter and the Utah Jazz. Davis had the more outrageous stat line — 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting, 15 rebounds (eight offensive) and one block — but behind Kanter’s 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, the Jazz came out victorious by a count of 111-105.
- On Nov. 15, the man who torched the Tennessee Volunteers with a UK single-game scoring record 54 points in 2009 turned in an impressive performance as Jodie Meeks’ Lakers took on former UK player Tayshaun Prince and the Memphis Grizzlies. Meeks, clearly in the hot zone, nailed 10 of 16 shots overall, and 5 of 9 from beyond the arc on his way to 25 points. It was not enough to propel is team to victory, though, as the Lakers fell to Memphis, 89-86.
- Four nights later, Terrence Jones, who had a tremendous Summer League showing for the Houston Rockets in 2013, justified the faith the Houston franchise has shown in him by scoring a career-high 24 points against the Boston Celtics. Jones was nearly perfect from the field, making 10 of 12 shot attempts, grabbing nine boards and blocking two shots as the Rockets beat Boston, 109-85.
- That same evening, John Wall, one of the top facilitators in the game, dished out 16 assists in the Washington Wizards’ 104-100 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. For good measure, Wall also contributed 14 points and five rebounds, sufficiently stuffing the stat sheet.
- Wall’s 16-assist explosion was only the beginning of what would seemingly become “Wall Week” in the NBA, for three nights later the speedster unleashed his uncanny ability to score the basketball against the Toronto Raptors, netting 37 points on 15-of-21 field-goal accuracy. Wall added six rebounds, three steals and two assists to round out an unforgettable performance. Unfortunately, though, the Wizards lost at Toronto, 96-88.
- Only four nights later, Wall’s Wizards defeated the Lakers 116-111 behind his 31 points, nine assists, six rebounds and three steals, emphatically finishing off his incredible seven-day stretch of excellence.
- On Dec. 6, Jodie Meeks was once again feeling it from outside, as the sharpshooter connected on 5 of 6 shots from long range on his way to 19 points in the Lakers’ 106-100 win over Cousins and the Kings.
- Three nights later, though, it was Cousins’ turn to be spectacular, as the big fella powered his way to 32 points while snagging 19 big rebounds and handing out three assists as the Kings beat the Dallas Mavericks 112-97.
- It was once again Bledsoe’s time to shine on Dec. 13, as the player picked by many NBA experts to have a breakout season scored a career-high 28 points while making 11 of 16 shots. Bledsoe, also looking to get his teammates involved, dished eight dimes along with corralling five rebounds in the Suns’ 104-98 win over Sacramento.
- The next night it was Bledsoe’s former backcourt mate who recorded yet another fabulous ballgame, as Wall tallied 24 points and 12 assists in Washington’s 113-97 loss to the Clippers.
- Cousins was nearly perfect on Dec. 17, as he had 30 points and 17 boards to go along with six assists in the Kings’ 95-87 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
- The next night, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Knight shook off a lingering early-season hamstring injury by having his best game as a pro, lighting up the scoreboard with a career-high 36 points, making 6 of 12 shots from behind the arc and grabbing nine rebounds in the Bucks’ 107-101 loss to the New York Knicks. Only a few nights later, Knight affirmed that performance with another standout game as he notched 26 points and 14 assists in a 111-110 overtime setback to Charlotte.
- Bringing our list of superlative performances to a close is Jones, who, on Christmas day, posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Rockets to a 111-98 victory over their in-state NBA rival, the San Antonio Spurs.
Notebook: Cal says win was about his players, not his ‘way’