What Happened Last Night: Gotham Beats Back Batman And Rubio Returns
December 16 / Joe Levine / SportsGrid
Another night of heavy NBA action last night, but with the Lakers taking the night off, the Heat beating the mother-loving tar out of the Wizards, and business as usual holds steady elsewhere, two stories emerged: Gotham City managed to beat back a Batman-looking baller and the Timberwolves welcomed back their manic pixie dream guard.
Knicks hold off the Cavs despite 41 from masked Kyrie Irving
Fresh off a broken jaw, Kyrie Irving donned a mask similar to the one Kobe Bryant wore last season when he suffered a broken nose and did his best Kobe impression against the Knicks, slicing and dicing the New York defense to the tune of 41 points, five rebounds, five assists, and five three pointers. New York was without Carmelo Anthony but still managed to pull out a 103-102 victory after Cavs center Anderson Varejao missed the tying free throw with one second left. The Knicks eked out the victory behind big games from Tyson Chandler (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Raymond Felton (25 points, seven assists, five rebounds).
But more on Irving's record-setting performance. According to Elias, Irving became the youngest player to score 40 points at the current Madison Square Garden at more than a year younger than Michael Jordan was when he did it in 1985 (Irving is 20 years and 267 days old, MJ was 21 years and 323 days old. Jordan also went to college for more than one year, so let's not get too hyped). It's also worth mentioning that Irving is on my fantasy team, so this one was extra special to me.
Ricky Rubio returns against Dallas
Ricky Rubio played an NBA game for the first time in nine months since tearing his ACL and put on a show, racking up eight points and nine assists in just 18 minutes in helping the Timberwolves defeat Dallas 114-106 in overtime. The game almost had a storybook ending in regulation, but Rubio missed a wide-open potential game-winning three pointer to send it to OT.
Despite Rubio's return, both teams were without their top players Saturday. Dirk Nowitzki has yet to play a game this season and Kevin Love missed the game with flulike symptoms. Sounds like someone celebrated Rubio's return a little too heavily...
The Mavs were led by Derek Fisher and OJ Mayo with 20 points apiece.