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Holly MacKenzie

Around the NBA: Barrett continues to impress, Wigginton makes Canada hoops history in another big week for Canadians in the NBA



Jan 17, 2022

The New York Knicks have won three straight and RJ Barrett has been leading the way. During New York’s current three-game winning streak, Barrett has averaged 29.6 points, five rebounds and three assists, shooting 53 percent from the floor and 56 percent from beyond the arc.

The 21-year-old has been on a tear to start 2022, averaging 24.6 points in the month of January while shooting 49 percent from beyond the arc. After dropping 31 points in a win against the San Antonio Spurs, Barrett had 32 points in a blowout victory against the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the youngest player in franchise history to score 30 points in back-to-back games.

“Really, we’ve just been playing as a team,” Barrett said following the team’s win against the Mavs. “Even when they made a run today, we stayed solid and had big performances from multiple people.”

In Oklahoma City, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to stuff the stat sheet, doing his part to lead the Thunder. In a 130-109 victory against the Brooklyn Nets, Gilgeous-Alexander flirted with another triple-double, finishing with 33 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

He shot 11-for-18 from the floor while adding two blocks and a steal in 35 minutes. Two days prior, in a 122-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets, the 23 year-old finished with 32 points and eight assists. For the season, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 22.4 points per game.

In that victory against Brooklyn, Gilgeous-Alexander’s teammate Lu Dort finished with 27 points, including six three-pointers, shooting 6-for-10 from beyond the arc. For the month of January, Dort is averaging 18.6 points per game.

In Detroit, Trey Lyles continued his strong start to the new year. Lyles led the way with 21 points and seven rebounds in a 103-87 blowout victory against the Toronto Raptors and then followed that performance with an 18-point night against the Phoenix Suns. Cory Joseph had 21 points and seven assists in the loss against the Suns. The Pistons also are getting ready to welcome Kelly Olynyk back into the fold after missing more than two months with an MCL sprain.

The Toronto Raptors had their six-game winning streak snapped by the Suns, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort from bigman Chris Boucher, who finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds in the thrilling 99-95 Raptors loss. After a slow start to the season, Boucher has found his footing.

Speaking of winning streaks, the Memphis Grizzlies had their NBA-best 11-game winning streak snapped by the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, but the team hopes the strong play of Brandon Clarke will continue. Clarke averaged 12.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over the stretch as the team dealt with a variety of injuries, including the loss of Canadian Dillon Brooks to an ankle injury.

In that streak-snapping victory for the Mavs, Canadian Dwight Powell scored 13 points to go with five rebounds and three assists to help Dallas record the victory. The Mavericks have woneight of their last nine games, with the lone loss coming to Barrett and the New York Knicks.

In a 138-96 blowout victory against the Chicago Bulls, Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins finished with 21 points, four rebounds and six assists. The 26-year-old continues to thrive in the bay, averaging 18.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game this season.

Moving on to signing news, Lindell Wigginton made history when he became the first CEBL player to sign a standard NBA contract when the Milwaukee Bucks inked him to a two-way contract on Thursday. Wigginton also became the first Canadian CEBL player to sign an NBA contract after playing in the CEBL. Wigginton, a 6-foot-1 guard from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is also just the second Nova Scotian to appear in a regular-season NBA game, joining friend and former teammate, Nate Darling, who became the first last season. Wigginton scored his first NBA bucket on Thursday in a 118-99 Bucks win against the Warriors.

Prior to signing with the Bucks, Wigginton appeared in 17 games with the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks G league affiliate, this season. The news comes after four CEBL players inked 10-day contracts in the past few weeks.

“Today marks an incredible day for Lindell Wigginton, the Hamilton Honey Badgers, and the CEBL as Lindell becomes the first Canadian CEBL player to sign a standard NBA contract in the form of a two-way deal with the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Mike Morreale, commissioner and chief executive officer of the CEBL. “This past season’s CEBL Canadian Player of the Year, Clutch Player of the Year, and Player of the Year finalist has been lighting up the NBA G League. This is important history for our league, and we couldn’t be prouder. This is a true reflection of the opportunities a domestic league can make in this country.”

Mark Bayne shared a throwback photo of Team Canada at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit on Twitter this week that served as a reminder of just how far each of the faces in the photo have come as they live out their NBA hoop dreams today.