NBA wrap: Friday games show the center position is alive and thriving

By Thomas Lott 24 February 2018 224
NBA wrap: Friday games show the center position is alive and thriving

The NBA is no longer a league with defined positions. Forwards guard centers, power forwards play guard and point guards play forward. It's an NBA very different from where it began, but one which is still incredibly fun to watch.

Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic are two perfect examples of the new age of the NBA, and Friday both players flexed their proverbial skill sets right in their opponents' faces.

Davis had 45 points, 17 rebounds, five steals and five blocks in the Pelicans' 124-123 overtime win over the Heat. He is the first player to post a 40/15/5/5 night since steals and blocks became stats in 1973, meaning he was special.

As good as Davis was, Jokic is doing things just as impressive or even more so in Denver. In the Nuggets' 122-119 win over the Spurs, Jokic had 28 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and he went 3 of 5 from 3-point range. He has now posted triple-doubles in three straight games and six in his last 12.

Even more impressively he joins Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players 6-10 or taller to post three straight triple-doubles. How he reached his triple-double may have been even more impressive as he got both his 10th rebound and 10th assist on the same play.

Davis and Jokic were historic, but the league had some other great performances from centers Friday as well. Andre Drummond had 15 points and 17 rebounds in the Pistons' 110-98 loss to the Celtics while Clint Capela had 25 points and 11 rebounds on 10-of-11 shooting in the Rockets' 120-102 win over the Timberwolves. Suns' Alex Len even had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the team's 128-117 loss to the Clippers.

The center position may be changing, but the talent at the spot is far from gone.

Studs of the Night

LeBron James posted another triple-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in the Cavaliers' 112-89 win over the Grizzlies. He is averaging 26.9 points, 10.6 assists and 9.4 rebounds per game in February.

Pacers center Domantas Sabonis had 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting with 13 rebounds in Indiana's 116-93 win over the Hawks.

Duds of the Night

The Wizards looked great in a win over the Cavaliers Friday, but in typical Washington fashion this season they bounced back with a disappointing 122-105 loss to the Hornets on their home court. The Wizards' defense allowed Charlotte to make 17 3-pointers and shoot 43.6 percent from long range.

Highlight

The Bucks beat the Raptors 122-119 in overtime, but Toronto wouldn't have seen extra minutes if it wasn't for a dunk from Jonas Valanciunas dunk as time expired.

What's next

Thunder (34-26) at Warriors (45-14) 8:30 p.m. ET — The Thunder are 2-0 against the Warriors this year winning the two games by a combined average of 18.5 points per game. Oklahoma City has looked their best against Golden State each time they have faced them, but the Warriors will want to make a statement in the second half of the season.

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Thomas Lott

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