Even a monster performance by Anthony Davis is not enough for the Los Angeles Lakers in Phoenix. Ben Simmons returned to Philadelphia with the Brooklyn Nets, where they lost to a decimated Sixers team.
The Sacramento Kings tremble at the Memphis Grizzlies for a seventh straight win.
Philadelphia 76ers (9-8) – Brooklyn Nets (8-10) 116:105 (BOXSCORE)
- That win must have gone down like oil on Sixers fans. Without Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, the hosts beat Brooklyn, where a certain Ben Simmons appeared in Philadelphia for the first time since the 2021 playoffs. The Australian was booed passionately and there was cheering in the third quarter when Simmons missed two free throws in a row and this meant free fast food for all viewers.
- It wasn’t Simmons’ fault that Brooklyn lost to a decimated Sixers. The hosts just worked harder than the Nets, who once again struggled with defensive rebounds. The Sixers earned 20 offensive rebounds, which they used to earn 23 additional points. Backup center Paul Reed (18, 10 rebounds) in particular was successful several times. Over 48 minutes, Philly scored significantly worse (43 vs. 55 percent), but also took 19 more tries.
- The other factor was the much better outdoor shoot. Standing out were playmaker De’Anthony Melton (22, 6/11 3P) and backup forward Georges Niang (16, 4/5 3P), who exchanged pleasantries with Kevin Durant during the game and after a slight jab at Simmons also conceded a flagrant foul. It also showed how bilious the Sixers were that night. Tobias Harris scored 24 points and didn’t seem bothered by a bad twist in the third quarter.
- The guests, on the other hand, made too many mistakes, both offensively and defensively, so that coach Jacque Vaughn emptied the bench a good three minutes before the end. Durant’s streak (20), who had scored at least 25 points in each of the first 17 games, also ended. The best Nets scorer was Kyrie Irving (23), who nevertheless acted very inconspicuously. Simmons was clearly more noticeable. The top pick of 2016 ended the game with a double-double from 11 points (4/7 FG, 3/6 FT), 7 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks, he had his strongest moments on defense.
Memphis Grizzlies (10-8) – Sacramento Kings (10-6) 109:113 (BOXSCORE)
- What was that crazy ending in Memphis? With just over two minutes left, the Kings were still up 11 points, only to give Memphis two more chances to equalize the game. Both times it didn’t work out and so despite an absolute gala in the fourth quarter, returnee Ja Morant became the tragic hero of this gripping game.
- In the last few minutes, the Grizzlies forced numerous turnovers (9 Kings-TO in the section) with a full-court press (Dillon Brooks!) and quickly ran an 8-0 run. Morant scored 20 of his 34 points (12/21 FG, 9/15 FT) in the fourth quarter but missed Downtown’s potential equalizer with a minute to go. He was about to get another chance with 1.7 seconds to go when he was fouled on a distance shot at -3.
- But the first free throw was too short, so the guard had to deliberately miss the last attempt. However, the All-Star committed a lane violation and the Kings got away with it again. They won’t care, in the end it was their seventh win in a row. The last time that happened was 18 (!) years ago. De’Aaron Fox convinced with 32 points (5/8 threes) and 4 steals, but in the end he also had big problems with the aggressive defense of the hosts.
- However, the Kings guard took control of the action in the third quarter and ensured that the guests played out the first double-digit lead of the evening. Fox hit each of his three threes for a total of 13 points in the section. Kevin Huerter (16) also netted four triples and Harrison Barnes (26, 7/13 FG, 8/8 FT) helped with his nerves of steel at the free-throw line in the closing stages.
- For Memphis, alongside Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. (22, 8/14, 5 blocks) and Brooks (14, 6/16) did well.
Denver Nuggets (10-7) – Detroit Pistons (4-15) 108:110 (BOXSCORE)
- Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray returned from Health and Safety Protocol at short notice, but both felt the aftermath. That was especially true for Murray (10, 3/12), who was pumping like a cockchafer after just a few minutes. This was less evident with Jokic, who scraped a triple-double with 31 points (12/16 FG), 9 rebounds and 10 assists.
- Nevertheless, it was a bloodless performance by the hosts for long stretches, so that the guests led by 13 points in the middle of the fourth quarter. Once again, the bank of nuggets was the big problem, before the starters got the second breath in crunch time and mercilessly punished the inexperience of the young pistons. The guests remained without a field goal for more than five minutes, Denver slowly crawled back up.
- And yet the Pistons survived because Bojan Bogdanovic (22, 9 rebounds) took free throws and Alec Burks (21) made a +5 from the middle distance. That should ultimately be enough, as Aaron Gordon (17) missed a fadeaway from the baseline with the siren after a deliberately missed free throw by Murray. “It was an offensive horror show,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone aptly summing up his team’s performance.
- No. 5 pick Jaden Ivey (7, 3/11, 5 assists) had a poor evening, but instead the reservists did well. Cory Joseph was the playmaker in crunch time, and Kevin Knox contributed 17 points (8/11) to the win.
Phoenix Suns (11-6) – Los Angeles Lakers (5-11) 115:105 (BOXSCORE)
- In this compilation, it just isn’t enough for the Lakers. The guests in Phoenix were still leading at the break, but within a few minutes the Suns had carved out a double-digit lead in the third quarter and didn’t give up the lead afterwards. LA came close again, but the minutes without Anthony Davis were too costly and Phoenix started another run with the reserves.
- Frustration spread and erupted just under four minutes before the end. Deandre Ayton demonstratively stood next to Austin Reaves, who was lying on the ground. Patrick Beverley didn’t like that at all, who hit Ayton with a violent body check in the back. The guard was ejected, and Devin Booker received a flagrant foul for his action on Reaves. When everyone had calmed down, the Suns confidently downplayed it.
- LeBron James was still missing injured so Davis had to carry the team and AD did what he could. The Big Man put on the seventh 30-20 game of his career, playing with pain again for a long time. In the second quarter, Davis unluckily fell onto his elbow, temporarily losing feeling in his left hand. In 38 minutes, Davis put up 37 points (11/17 FG, 15/16 FT), 21 rebounds, 5 steals and 5 blocks. There were 3 assists missing for a 5×5 game, the last time Jusuf Nurkic of the Portland Trail Blazers managed this almost four years ago.
- The Lakers’ big problem was once again the shooting, only four of just 22 attempts from downtown went through the trap. These were split between just two players: Lonnie Walker (24, 2/6 3P) and Russell Westbrook (21, 2/6 3P).
- The Suns didn’t even need their best performance without Chris Paul, who was still injured. The best scorers were Booker and Mikal Bridges with 25 points each. Dennis Schröder played 20 minutes for the Lakers, but missed each of his six throws and only had 1 assist and 1 steal. The Lakers remain without a win abroad and have now lost eleven games in a row against Phoenix, including the playoffs.