When you’re hot, you’re hot.
Wednesday night’s NBA action delivered two of the most outrageous heat check performances of the season as Lance Stephenson and Kelly Oubre Jr. both brought the flamethrower to their respective games.
Stephenson finished with 30 points in the Indiana Pacers’ 129-121 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, while Oubre Jr. poured in 32 points in the Charlotte Hornets’ 140-110 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Both players came off the bench to drop 30+ but it’s how they got there that stole the headlines.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the Sporting News’ J.R. Smith Heat Check award (I just made this up).
Lance makes ’em dance!
On a night that was supposed to be about Kyrie Irving’s season debut for the Brooklyn Nets, only Lance Stephenson could come out and completely flip the script, coming out of the gates on a heater!
After two years out of the league, Stephenson worked his way back onto an NBA roster via the G League, first earning a 10-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks, before returning to the Indiana Pacers for a second 10-day contract.
In his third game for the Pacers and his first back at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Stephenson had the building rocking, dropping 20 points in the first quarter on 8-of-9 shooting and 4-of-5 from deep.
The last time he scored 20 in a game came back in 2018-19. Tonight he did it in a quarter.
Per StatMuse, Stephenson’s 20 first-quarter points are the most points scored in a single quarter in six minutes or fewer, since Kemba Walker scored 18 in 2017.
Stephenson finished the game with 30 points, five assists and three rebounds on 12-of-19 from the field and 4-of-8 from the 3-point line in 32 minutes of action.
Oubre’s fourth-quarter fire
Meanwhile, in Charlotte Kelly Oubre Jr. just couldn’t miss.
He opened the final frame with four-straight threes and finished with eight triples in the fourth quarter, falling just shy of Klay Thompson’s record for most threes in a single quarter which came in his 37-point outburst in 2016 against the Sacramento Kings.
Oubre’s eight threes ties Michael Redd, Joe Johnson and Kevin Love for the second-most ever in a quarter, per NBA Stats
Shoutout to the Hornets announcers for always stepping up to the moment.
Oubre finished with a career-high nine 3-pointers on 14 attempts to finish with 32 points on the night, adding six rebounds.
He scored 24 of his 32 in the final frame — all coming from beyond the arc.
Verdict: Lance takes the W (2-1)
Benyam Kidane (BenyamKidane): I’ve gotta go with Lance. On a 10-day, for the Pacers, against one of the best teams in the league. Long live Lance!
Nick Metallinos (@NickMetallinos): Lance Stephenson had the better heat check game. In typical Lance fashion – he’s either hot or cold – he was scorching against Brooklyn. Not bad for a guy on a hardship deal.
Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): I’m going Kelly Oubre Jr. For a player, who averages 1.4 3s per game for his career shot 8 in a quarter. We always knew Lance Stephenson was capable of these one-game heat checks but Oubre Jr. really pulled off the better heat check on Wednesday.