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By Nick Jones | @Kernel_Nick
Former Cat DeAndre Liggins has appeared in a total of 31 games throughout his first two seasons as a professional basketball player.
On Sunday night, he was awarded his first ever start for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Liggins certainly did not disappoint for the Thunder as he helped his team defeat a hot Portland Trailblazers team, 87-83, at the Rose Garden.
“He wasn’t coming out,” Thunder head coach Scott Brooks told NBA reporter John Rohde. “We needed his energy tonight. He showed that in training camp… that he can make an impact.”
Liggins, who is known for his gritty play and defensive intensity, played 40 minutes in the game. In that time, the usual fourth-string Thunder guard scored 11 points while shooting 3-of-3 from beyond the arc and was just one rebound shy of a double-double.
“It’s a blessing,” he said to Rohde. “I played well today, but my thing is to get better every day and try to learn.”
After spending the first half of the season splitting time between the Thunder and the team’s Developmental League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers, Liggins seems to have earned his role in the NBA and he should see a continued increase in playing time as the season progresses.
Another former Cat who made his first start of the season this past week is Washington’s third-year point guard John Wall.
Wall has spent the first ten weeks of the regular season rehabbing a stress related injury in his left knee.
“I figure the first couple games probably won’t be the best games,” Wall told Wizards Insider, Michael Lee prior to his debut at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. on Saturday.
While the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft played just 21 minutes throughout the game, Wall was able to score 14 points and dish out four assists.
He made all the big plays down the stretch to help the Wizards secure the win against the Atlanta Hawks.
The 93-83 victory over the Hawks has been a rarity this season as the Wizards hold a 6-28 record on the year. But with the return of Wall, this could prove to be a rejuvenated Wizards team.
“We got our team now, just keep building,” Wall told The Washington Post. “Let’s see how many wins we can get and then just keep fighting hard and that’s all we can do. You don’t want to give up on the season.”
Second-year big man Josh Harrellson was placed on waivers last week by the Miami Heat. After seeing just 27 minutes of playing time with the defending champs thus far, Harrellson’s presence was no longer needed in South Beach.
The Heat delved into veteran free agency prospects, Chris Anderson and Kenyon Martin, but ultimately elected to give the former UK fan favorite a second look as they signed Harrellson to a 10-day contract on Thursday.
“I had other options, but I’m comfortable (in Miami),” he told Ethan Skolknick of The Palm Beach Post. “I’m on a great team, so I decided to stay with the franchise. We’ll see what happens. At least get one chance for one of my 10-days. I get two of them, so if the first one doesn’t work out, then maybe elsewhere.”
Week 11 Stats
UK in the NBA Week 12 T.V. Schedule:
- Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013:
Houston Rockets (Terrence Jones, Pattrick Patterson) @ Dallas Mavericks 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Miami Heat (Josh Harrellson) @ Golden State Warriors 10:30 p.m. on ESPN.
- Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013:
L.A. Clippers (Eric Bledsoe) @ Minnesota Timberwolves 8 p.m. on TNT.
Miami Heat (Josh Harrellson) @ L.A. Lakers (Jodie Meeks) 10:30 p.m. on TNT.
- Friday, Jan. 18, 2013:
Chicago Bulls (Nazr Muhammad, Marquis Teague) @ Boston Celtics (Rajan Rondo) 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Oklahoma City Thunder (DeAndre Liggins) @ Dallas Mavericks 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.