The Whiteboard: 4 eye-popping stats from an ultra-weird NBA night

Dec 12, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) scores a three point basket during the first half against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 12, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) scores a three point basket during the first half against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

From outlier 3-point shooting to the most inexplicable technical foul you’ve ever seen, last night was a weird one around the NBA.

There are 1,230 games in an NBA season, stretched out over six months, an enormous canvas on which to paint all sorts of weird and never-seen-before scenes. But sometimes it all seems to cluster up, a month’s worth of outlier performances crammed into a single seven-game slate.

Monday night saw several absurd statistical performances, along with one of the strangest referee interactions I can recall. Here are the most interesting moments from an ultra-interesting night of NBA action.

Jaren Jackson Jr. blocked 8 shots in 24 minutes

JJJ was a beast on the interior, helping lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 25-point win over the Atlanta Hawks. Jackson Jr. recorded 8 blocks, tied for the most in a game this season, but he managed to do it in just 24 minutes. It’s been more than four years since someone last recorded that many blocks in 25 or fewer minutes — Mitchell Robinson managed 9 blocks in 22 minutes back in November 2018. But this stat line has been achieved just 11 times in the past 20 years.

Luka Doncic gets called for a technical for yelling at his own teammate

The fact that Luka Doncic was called for a technical was not that weird, in and of itself — he’s picked up 54 technicals between this season and the previous three. But last night he was called for perhaps the weirdest technical of his career, for yelling at his own teammate, Dwight Powell, after a defensive breakdown.

After Shai Gilgeous-Alexander snaked around Powell for a layup and a foul, Luka appeared to look at the ref, and then turn to Powell clap his hands twice and say, “c’mon man, let’s go.” I don’t think this is what fans mean when they complain about stars getting star calls.

Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander combined to outscore two NBA teams

Luka’s technical wasn’t the only statistical oddity he was involved in last night. He and Gilgeous-Alexander put on an epic scoring showcase in a seven-point win for the Mavericks, combining for 80 points — 42 for Gilegous-Alexander, 38 for Doncic. The two also combined for 11 assists — 8 for Doncic, 3 for Gilgeous-Alexander — which created an additional 30 points (all 8 of Doncic’s assists we for 3-pointers).

That means Doncic and Gilgeous-Alexander, combined, had a hand in creating 110 points last night, more points than five entire teams managed — Atlanta (103), Washington (100), Boston (93), Miami (87), Indiana (82).

Damian Lillard hit 11 3s in just 29 minutes

Lillard was absolutely on one last night, helping bury the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first three quarters. He did need to play a single minute in the fourth quarter, the Blazers were already up by 22, but he put up 38 points and hit 11 3-pointers in just 29 minutes across the first three quarters.

This was Lillard’s third career game with 11+ 3-pointers, something only Steph Curry has managed previously. If he had needed to play more minutes he likely could have recorded the 13 50-point game of his career or threatened the all-time single-game 3-point record of (his pace could have gotten him to both in about 39 minutes).

Even more incredible, he was 6-of-8 in the game on 3-pointers from 28 feet or more, so he was pulling up from well beyond the arc.

— Ian Levy

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— Josh Wilson

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