“Skyler’s Swishes” is a column by Skyler Trepel recapping the top three events from the past week of NBA play.
This week’s swishes will focus on the return of a champion to face his former team, a superstar showing why he’s a superstar and the Lakers’ addiction to overtime wins.
With the crazy year of 2020 it feels like it’s been nearly a decade since Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City to create the Golden State Warriors super team that nearly broke the league. He won two titles and two Finals MVP awards with the Warriors before a catastrophic Achilles injury in the 2019 Finals against the Toronto Raptors.
Durant is now on yet another super team, the Brooklyn Nets, with Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Meanwhile, Golden State is riddled with injuries as Klay Thompson suffers from the same Achilles tear that Durant was sidelined with before cruising out east to Brooklyn.
On Saturday, KD showed Golden State what it was missing as the Nets won the game with the type of balanced scoring attack we used to see from the Warriors. Durant may have missed his first three shots, but he finished with 20 points, five rebounds and six assists to give Brooklyn the 134-117 win.
Durant continues to have one of the best returns from an Achilles injury we’ve ever seen. Kobe Bryant and Patrick Ewing were never able to perform as superstars for an entire season after suffering this catastrophic injury. Bryant and Ewing were both in their mid-30s whereas Durant has been able to recapture his superstar self at 32 years old.
The Warriors may no longer be the league’s feared super team like they were from 2014-2019, but Steph Curry is continuing to prove why he should be one of the league’s most feared players.
Curry has always boggled minds with his three-point shooting barrage. But, after scoring a career-high 62 points earlier this season against the Portland Trail Blazers, Curry reminded people why his name carries so much weight.
After hitting a spectacular first-quarter buzzer-beating three against the San Antonio Spurs, he continued his display against the Orlando Magic with his third 40-point game of the season.
He went off with 10 3-pointers made, hitting that mark for the 17th time in his career — the most in NBA history. Curry also had eight rebounds and five assists for good measure.
This continues his career-best streak of making four straight 3-pointers in 13 games. Steph Curry is already second all-time in 3-pointers made and is on pace to pass Ray Allen in roughly 100 games around this time next year.
At only 32 years of age, the bar Curry sets may be too prolific to ever be passed.
The Lakers pulling off three overtime wins in a row for the first time since 1991 is a questionably good thing.
These wins may not have been pretty, but they were wildly entertaining. It was especially impressive that they pulled it off without superstar big man Anthony Davis.
After a double-overtime win against the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 6, the Lakers pulled off two consecutive overtime wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The most impressive part of this streak? None other than the ageless wonder: LeBron James.
James is continuing to have a spectacularly sensational eighteenth season. Don’t forget that Kobe Bryant balled out for the Lakers and played the second most minutes in the league before tearing his Achilles to end off season 17.
After that, Bryant was hampered by injuries before his 60-point finale whereas James is still kicking in year 18 without having a catastrophic injury. James looks closer to 26 than to 36, so it looks like the $1.5 million he spends to keep his body in top shape each year is paying off.
James pulled off a 28-point triple-double in the first overtime win against the Thunder on Feb. 8. James had a 25-point performance that featured a clutch three before overtime and some quality defense to secure the win at the end of the period.
“Skyler’s Swishes” runs every Monday.