The Golden State Warriors lose another away game in Atlanta. Joel Embiid continues to tinker with his MVP campaign, and the Bulls and Timberwolves deliver a wild exchange of blows.
The Memphis Grizzlies walk away with a black eye in San Antonio, winning after overtime from a 29-point deficit.
Charlotte Hornets (22-50) – Philadelphia 76ers (47-22) 82:121 (BOXSCORE)
- If the opponent doesn’t have anywhere near a solid defensive center, the Sixers have an easy time. Joel Embiid did what he wanted in Charlotte and put up 38 points (16/21 FG), 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks in just 29 minutes. Both Kai Jones and Nick Richards were completely without a chance, but what can you do if when there are even throws where Embiid doesn’t even look towards the basket?
- But even so, the Sixers had no problems with the Hornets at all. After Tyrese Maxey (13) hit a buzzerbeater from the middle line at the end of the first quarter, almost only the guests played, the second and third quarters were clearly won with 35:25 and 26:13.
- James Harden played a few more minutes in the fourth quarter to secure a triple-double with 11 points (4/15), 11 rebounds and 10 assists. The guard also passed Bob Cousy in the all-time assists list and is now 20th. Birthday boy Terry Rozier (14, 6/18) scored the most points for Charlotte. His rate was exactly average, Charlotte only hit a devastating 33.7 percent from the field. So far this season, only five teams have been worse (“record”: Mavs vs. Houston with 30.4 percent).
Atlanta Hawks (35-35) – Golden State Warriors (36-35) 127:119 (BOXSCORE)
- Another away game, another defeat. The Warriors just can’t knock the buck down. In the last two minutes, the guests missed the chance to take the lead three times, and Stephen Curry’s lack of concentration finally sealed the bankruptcy. 50 seconds before the end, the 35-year-old lost the ball against Trae Young, the Hawks star scored unchallenged on the other side to make it 125:119.
- Curry was symbolic of the dubs. Although the guard scored 31 points, he also lost possession 6 times and hit only 4 of his 13 three-pointers. This was the difference in the game. Atlanta made fewer turnovers (10:17), hit more three-pointers (16:11) and these also had a higher percentage (39 to 27.5 percent). After a 4:16 false start, the Hawks didn’t give up the lead they had gained in the first quarter.
- John Collins (22, 8/15) was the can opener with 17 points in the first twelve minutes, later Young (25, 8/18, 12 assists) and Onyeka Okongwu (19, 7 rebounds) were particularly convincing. A total of seven Hawks players scored in double figures. For the dubs, Kevon Looney (18, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Donte DiVincenzo (18) were the best players. Draymond Green was suspended after his 16th techinal.
Cleveland Cavaliers (45-28) – Washington Wizards (32-38) 117:94 (BOXSCORE)
- Not much went from a distance, but the Cavs celebrated an unchallenged victory over Washington. Only four converted threes (19 attempts) were enough for Cleveland, only New Orleans could win this season with a weaker yield (3/19 vs. Chicago in November). But if you dominate the zone, you don’t need this stylistic device either.
- The Cavs scored a whopping 74 points in the zone against shockingly weak Wizards. Darius Garland shone with 24 points (11/19) and 9 assists, Donovan Mitchell contributed 20 points (7/17 FG, 0/6 3P) to the success. Evan Mobley (20, 4 blocks) did well again at center in the absence of Jarrett Allen.
- The Wizards, on the other hand, were trailing behind for the entire game, and only at the end of the third quarter did the guests sense a breath of fresh air thanks to a strong phase by Kristaps Porzingis (20, 7/16, 9 rebounds). The Cavs bank around the strong Caris LeVert (14) had the right answer and -7 quickly became -17. The guests’ best scorer was Bradley Beal (22, 8/18).
Chicago Bulls (32-37) – Minnesota Timberwolves (35-36) 139:131 2OT (BOXSCORE)
- What was that wild game? Both teams desperately needed a win, but in the end the Bulls prevailed after 58 minutes after a real rollercoaster ride. Nikola Vucevic made the decision with a poster dunk over Nickeil Alexander-Walkerbut the Wolves missed the chance to put the lid on it early on several times.
- The outstanding Rudy Gobert (21, 19 rebounds, 5 blocks) missed two free throws in the last minute of regular time, at the end of the first overtime Taurean Prince let the ball be stolen at +2 completely unnecessarily, which Zach LaVine did with a layup punished the other side. The Wolves especially missed Anthony Edwards, who injured his ankle in the first quarter and couldn’t go on. Gobert controversially fouled DeRozan in first overtime with a “phantom foul”.
- Thanks to Mike Conley (28, 8/12 threes) and Jaden McDaniels (25), the Wolves remained dangerous, and Kyle Anderson (11, 10 rebounds, 12 assists) delivered a triple-double. However, it wasn’t enough because DeMar DeRozan (49, 15/25 FG, 17/18 FT, 14 rebounds) was unstoppable. The forward played a whopping 52 minutes, but had support from LaVine (39, 15/25) and Vucevic (21, 9/20, 11 rebounds) in the decisive phase. No other Bulls player scored in double digits.
- This is the short sober summary of the game, more about this curious game can be found later in “Nuggets from the Night”. It is worth it!
Houston Rockets (18-52) – New Orleans Pelicans (33-37) 114:112 (BOXSCORE)
- The Pelicans are still in free fall and suffered another bitter defeat in Houston. Nine minutes before the end, the guests still had the highest lead of the evening, but in the end they were left empty-handed. Jabari Smith Jr. (11, 8 rebounds) was the Rockets’ man of the night, he sunk the three-pointer to victory with 0.4 seconds to go. It was the Rockets’ first lead since the end of the first half.
- Before that, Brandon Ingram had twice the chance to close the sack from the middle distance, both times the forward missed. Once Ingram missed the completely free Jonas Valanciunas under the basket. The Lithuanian was the best player among the guests with 22 points (10/16), 17 rebounds and 4 blocks and also fought a hot duel with Alperen Sengün (17, 11 rebounds).
- However, the Turk improved in the fourth quarter and diligently helped with the comeback. Jalen Green (25) was the top scorer, for the Pelicans it was Ingram (31, 9/20). Houston has now won three games in a row while putting on a 22-0 first-half run for a good six minutes in the first half. Again, that says a lot about the current state of the Pelicans.
San Antonio Spurs (18-52) – Memphis Grizzlies (42-27) 120:126 OT (BOXSCORE)
- Spurs know how to lose games. A 29-point lead for the Texans in the third quarter was not certain, nor was a 9-point lead with a minute left or a 6-point lead in possession with 20 seconds left. Instead it was Dillon Brooks who sent the game into overtime with 1.8 seconds remaining and also hit an important three in overtime.
- It was the biggest comeback of the NBA season and the biggest in Grizzlies franchise history. In overtime, the previously weak Desmond Bane (21, 10/22) took over and scored 8 points in a row before Brooks closed the sack. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 28 points and 4 blocks, while Tyus Jones recorded a career-first triple-double (20, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) against his brother Tre.
- San Antonio blew it up, especially in the last minute, with a total of four turnovers. Zach Collins (24) accounted for three of them, two from offensive fouls. Spurs’ top scorer was Devin Vassell (25), while Memphis got an important fourth-quarter shoot from Luke Kennard (13, 4/7 3P).