The NBA awarded the fans with one of the most breathtaking offseasons that never allowed the fans to take their eyes off the rumor mill for more than 12 hours, and the first half of the regular season may have just topped it.
While the fans can only dream that the second half will deliver more electrifying action nightly, here is a look back at the top 10 performances so far:
10. Russell Westbrook – 23 Pts, 20 Ast, 9 Rbs (01/20 @CLE)
This performance was overlooked because it was the official start of the Cav’s panic meter exploding, but the attention should have been on Russell Westbrook’s game. The most impressive stat from Westbrook’s 20-20 performance is that his teammate Steven Adams scored 25 points. And why did he? Westbrook. Westbrook has displayed his ability over the years to impact the game in the three most important phases – points, assists, rebounds – and this was peak-Russ scoring 148 on LeBron’s crew.
9. DeMar DeRozan – 52 Pts, 8 Ast, 13-13 FT (1/01 vs. MIL)
Performances like this are the reason why the Toronto Raptors have the best record in the East and are a legitimate threat. On New Year’s Day, most tuned in to see Giannis Antetokounmpo, but DeMar DeRozan absolutely took it to him. In an OT thriller, DeRozan was a man on a mission. DeRozan didn’t just score when he wanted to total 52 points, he did so by an effortless 17-29 from the field, and unlike most 50+ points performances, he was superb on the defensive end as well. This is historically a day dedicated to College Football, but someone forgot to tell DeMar.
8. LeBron James – 37 Pts, 15 Ast, 10 Rbs, 16-22 FG (02/07 MIN)
The final two plays alone insert this performance into the top 10 – a ferocious black on Jimmy Butler then a buzzer-beater to end the bleeding in Cleveland – but LeBron was marvelous from the tip. Playing nearly the entire game, LeBron was feeling it from the 3-point line (5-7), but that was not all of it, as he was a wizard dishing assists and re-defined the word “clutch” in the process.
7. Anthony Davis – 48 Pts, 17 Rbs, 4 Stl, 3 Blk (01/14 @NY)
Atmosphere matters right? Well, there is no better place to pour it on than the MSG. Anthony Davis showed the Mecca why he is one of the best basketball players in the world. When being defended late in OT by Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis, Davis went off-balance and embarrassed him. As for Davis’ stature in the league: “If you don’t know, now you know” – Biggie.
6. Joel Embiid – 46 Pts, 7 Ast, 15 Rbs, 7 Blk (11/15, @LAL)
There was a great deal of hype coming into this game to witness the three young phenomsJoel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Lonzo Ball all on one court. In the end, it was hard to even pronounce the three in the same sentence. Embiid was in complete domination mode and it must have been terrifying to the entire league knowing that he is just 23-years-old. Long story short: the Lakers could not score on him; they could not stop him from scoring. He also impersonated Hakeem Olajuwon’s blocking ability. Where do we fit in his 7 assists?