TORONTO, Ont. (December 28, 2020) -- It was a busy night for Canadians in the NBA on Monday. Led by the duo of Luguentz Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Oklahoma City, Canadian hoopers were putting numbers on the board all over the league.
Starting in Oklahoma City, the Thunder dropped a narrow 109-108 decision to the Utah Jazz, but fans got to see the team's young stars shine in the loss. Dort led the way with a career-high 26 points while shooting a blistering 9-for-11 from the floor against the Jazz -- including 5-of-7 from beyond the three-point line -- all while playing stellar defence on the other end of the floor. Gilgeous-Alexander came into Monday’s game fresh off hitting a game-winner on Saturday against the Charlotte Hornets. He continued to roll at home, scoring 23 points to go with seven assists for the Thunder.
This is Dort’s second season in the league following a breakout performance in the postseason guarding Houston Rockets guard James Harden in the NBA bubble. After the game, veteran teammate George Hill complimented Dort’s defence, saying he’ll soon become one of the league’s best defenders. Quin Snyder, head coach of the Utah Jazz, was ready to give that distinction to the Montreal native already. “He’s one of the best on-ball defenders in the league,” Snyder said, according to the Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson.
In Brooklyn, the Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of a resting Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, defeating the Nets 116-111 in overtime. Mississauga, ON native Dillon Brooks stuffed the stat sheet with 24 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in 34 minutes of action. Second-year Canadian Brandon Clarke added 16 points to go with seven rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot in 29 minutes off the bench as the Grizzlies notched the win despite losing reigning rookie of the year Ja Morant to a nasty ankle sprain.
Finally, over in Denver, the Nuggets dominated in a 124-111 victory against the Houston Rockets. Denver had seven players reach double figures, including all five starters. While Nikola Jokic was the player of the game with a 19-point, 12-rebound, 18-assist triple-double, Canadian Jamal Murray also contributed 21 points in the victory, shooting 7-for-14 from the floor, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc as he also added five rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot in 31 minutes.
Expect the Canadian hoops action to continue on Tuesday as the NBA has a packed 10-game night on deck.