Around the NBA: Jan. 31

Audio/Story posted January 31, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Matt McClure

Host Zech Lambert and analysts Logan Bourandas Ben Serfass, and Gabe Angieri remember Kobe Bryant and his legacy.

Shocked. Heartbroken. Devastated. These are the words surfacing the National Basketball Association over the past week. On Sunday, retired Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash en route to a basketball game in Calabasas, California. The entire league mourned and is still in complete despair, but everybody in the NBA grew closer and now realize to cherish every single moment.

Even with the tragic news, teams still hit the hardwood on Sunday. Across the league, games began with 24-second and 8-second violations to honor Bryant. Some players took mental days, others balled out on the court. Either way, it was tough for every single member of the NBA.

On the court throughout the week, we saw some All-Stars return to action in the Eastern Conference. First, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid came back on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors after missing the previous nine games with a dislocation and torn ligament in his left ring finger.

Philadelphia has played well in his absence, going 6-3, but the team is excited to have the big fella back. The 76ers beat the Warriors 115-104, and Embiid led the way with 24 points, on 24 shots, while wearing number 24.  

In Indiana, Pacers fans were excited about the long-awaited return guard Victor Oladipo. It's been a little over a year since the Pacers' star collapsed on a fast break against the Toronto Raptors due to a ruptured tendon in his quadricep. Indiana welcomed the Chicago Bulls into town, and the Bulls looked like they were going to ruin the return by stealing a win on the road.

The Bulls had a 100-97 lead late in the fourth quarter when Oladipo buried a three from the wing to tie the game at 100. The game went overtime, and the Pacers dominated the extra period to win, 115-106. Oladipo, off the bench, only had 9 points on 2-8 shooting, but came through in the game’s biggest moment and was very emotional, saying he was just thankful to return to the court.

Out West, the Lakers and Clippers postponed their game on Tuesday, with plans to reschedule for a later date. The Lakers are back in action Friday night against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Speaking of Logo Lillard, he’s become a problem. The point guard has been dominant in January, averaging 32.8 points per game. Last week, Lillard was the Western Conference Player of the Week after averaging 52.7 points and 9.3 assists per game.

Wednesday night, against the Houston Rockets, the Weber State product was able to record his first-ever career triple-double with 36 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds in a 125-112 winning effort. Portland is also happy to have guard C.J. McCollum back, after missing the last few games with a bum ankle.

It’s been a wild week for the Sacramento Kings. on Monday night, they were down 27 points to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and came all the way back to beat them in overtime, 133-129. The Timberwolves held a 17-point lead with 2:49 to go in the fourth quarter when things started to collapse. Forward Buddy Hield scored 42 points off the bench to lead Sacramento and guard De'Aaron Fox added 22. It was one of the most incredible comebacks in NBA history. 

It was difficult for players to step up and play this week with the tragic news. Give them credit. We saw some unbelievable individual performances out there during this difficult time. Many guys showed their own inner Mamba mentality on the court, dedicating their game to one of the greatest players to ever do it, and that is what makes this game so great.


Matthew McClure is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

Matthew McClure's photo

Matthew McClure

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

With his hard-work and dedication to excellence, Matthew McClure looks to achieve future goals in sports broadcasting. He is from Glenmoore, Pennsylvania and a senior broadcast journalism major at Pennsylvania State University. He has experience working in sports and is willing to work outside his comfort zone. Matthew served as an active member at CommRadio, where he performed many different play by play broadcasts, wrote articles, and is a host of his NBA talk radio show Half Court. The past two summers, Matthew moved to Florida to work as an communications intern at the Florida Collegiate Summer Baseball League. There, he broadcasted every game for the Seminole County Scorpions, and was presented with the Sara Whiting Young Professionals Award.

Zech Lambert's photo

Zech Lambert

Senior / Broadcast journalism

Zech is a senior from Northampton, Pennsylvania. He is a football insider for CommRadio. He is also a co-host on the weekly talk show Ducks on the Pond, while also doing play-by-play for CommRadio and B1G+. On top of that, Zech is a sports editor at the Daily Collegian. Over the summer, he interned with the Charlottesville Tom Sox of the Valley Baseball League doing play-by-play, among other media roles. To contact him, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). You can also tweet him @Zech_Lambert with any random thoughts or just to have some sports banter.

Logan Bourandas's photo

Logan Bourandas

Third-Year / Broadcast Journalism

Logan Bourandas is a third-year broadcast journalism major from Long Island, NY. He is a the news director for CommRadio and the host of Ducks on the Pond, which is an all-baseball talk show on CommRadio. He is also a sports writer, broadcaster and podcaster for CommRadio. He got his start as the station manager for his high school radio station WPOB in his hometown of Plainview, NY, where he hosted numerous radio shows and was involved in sports broadcasts. You can contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).