Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Edwards put on an unforgettable show
The Warriors continue to sit atop of the NBA, now holding a 10-1 record, after defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-110 in San Francisco.
Andrew Wiggins caught fire in the first half, going 9 of 9 from the field in the first half. He even made a poster out of former teammate Karl-Anthony Towns twice with monstrous dunks, and beat the buzzer with a layup to give Golden State Warriors a 69-54 lead heading into the half. He finished with a season-high 35 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals on a blistering 14 of 19 from the field and 3 of 6 from deep. I’m pretty sure he’s going to stick to whatever pre-game meal he had today for the rest of his career.
Golden State needed everything that Wiggins gave them, too, as Anthony Edwards single-handedly kept the Timberwolves in the game until late in the fourth quarter with a career-high 48 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks while shooting 16 of 27 from the field and 7 of 13 from deep.
The first half showed the Warriors at their most dangerous, where they don’t have to over-rely on Steph Curry to score. He will always be able to shoot the rock, but his unselfishness, and the Warriors’ love of passing in general, is what elevates the team. They have so many capable ball handlers, from Curry, Draymond Greene, Jordan Poole, Nemanja Bjelica, and Andre Iguodala, so playing a free-flowing game that takes advantage of both good handling and excellent off-ball movement makes them hard to stop when they’re clicking. Curry only shot the ball six times in the first half, and finished the game with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Kevon Looney made life difficult for Towns, as he saw extended minutes to match KAT’s size. Looney banged in the paint on the way to 11 points and 17 rebounds, and held Towns to 17 points and 12 rebounds on 6 of 19 shooting.
The Warriors do have an Achilles heel, though, as they still need to watch their turnovers and their propensity to allow teams to get back into games. An injury to Draymond Green that forced him to sit down in the third quarter, combined with their turnovers, allowed the Timberwolves to cut a 20-point deficit to 88-84 as D’Angelo Russell got hot from three and sank four of them in the quarter. The Warriors managed to recover a bit toward the end of the quarter to make it 93-84 heading into the fourth quarter, but momentum had definitely shifted toward the Wolves.
As Curry sat to start the fourth quarter, the Warriors started off sluggish and were ice cold from long distance until Otto Porter Jr. and Poole made a pair to push the lead back to 101-90. Curry came back into the game while the Warriors still held a 10-point lead, but didn’t make his first basket in the fourth quarter until there was 2:57 left in the game. Unsurprisingly, it was a huge stepback jumper that put the Dubs back up in double digits. Wiggins followed that up with a three and then a tip shot to blow the game open at 118-103 with 2:03 left in the game.
The Lakers and Heat put on a doozy of an overtime battle
The matchup between the LA Lakers and Miami Heat was tightly contested in the first half, with the Heat taking a 57-55 edge. It was a tightly contested game that had 33 lead changes and 14 ties. It was a combative game that saw Jimmy Butler leave the game and not return to the game after spraining his ankle in the first half.
It was neck and neck through the first three quarters, with neither team grabbing a double-digit lead throughout the game. However, the Lakers overcame a nine-point deficit with just around five minutes left in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
The end to regulation was insane. The Lakers cut it to 108-107 with two minutes left in the game, then tied it at 108-108 with a Malik Monk free throw. Russell Westbrook gave them the lead at 110-108, then Tyler Herro again tied the game at 110-110. Brodie had another answer to make it 112-110 with 27.4 seconds left in the game. PJ Tucker again tied it at 112-112 with 23.5 seconds left with a putback dunk. Westbrook missed a three, and Anthony Davis missed a last-gasp tip shot.
The Heat ran out of gas in the overtime period, though, and lost the game for themselves. They had every chance to come back or win the game, and simply couldn’t deliver.
With 1:30 left in OT, the Heat were down 119-114, and nothing was going down. Duncan Robinson was fouled on a three-point attempt with 50.9 left, but he missed two of the shots to help keep the Lakers lead to 119-115. Bam Adebayo managed to cut it to 119-117 with 23 seconds on the clock, but missed a free throw on the and-one opportunity. The Lakers committed a five-second violation with 18.7 seconds left, giving the Heat another chance to tie the game or win. Herro missed his game-winning attempt. Carmelo Anthony split a pair of free throws to make it 120-117, and the Heat used their final timeout for one last chance at tying the game. Herro fumbled a catch off the inbound, and then missed a great look from deep. Dewayne Dedmon then missed both of his free throws that preserved the game for the Lakers. The four missed free throws in overtime will haunt the Heat for a long time.
Monk had a great game for the Lakers off the bench, finishing with 27 points and 6 rebounds while shooting 10 of 13 from the field. Westbrook had a triple-double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists, while Davis finished with a double-double of 24 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists.
Adebayo led the heat with 28 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 steals, while Kyle Lowry had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 11 assists. Herro finished with 27 points on 11 of 22 shooting, including 5 of 8 from three, but he just couldn’t get the three ball to go down when it mattered most.
The Wizards now share the best record in the Eastern Conference
The Washington Wizards aren’t seeing many triple-doubles this season, but man these guys play like a team. In a tough contest against the young and confident Cleveland Cavaliers, Bradley Beal had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, but got a ton of help from the new guys that joined him in the offseason.
Montrezl Harrell was their best player on the floor, again making an impact with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 26 minutes off the bench. Kyle Kuzma, who is seeing something of a career resurrection away from LA, dropped 22 points and 5 rebounds. Spencer Dinwiddie also showed his comfort in running the offense with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists.
The win over Cleveland pushed their record to 8-3, tied with Chicago for the best record in the Eastern Conference, and it was their third-straight victory. They’ve not had the easiest schedule either and already have wins over the Celtics (twice), Hawks, Raptors, Grizzlies and Bucks.
The Cavs aren’t a joke this season, too, even though they have a very young core. Ricky Rubio had another strong game off the bench with 20 points, while Darius Garland and Evan Mobley both had 19 points. Jarrett Allen had another double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. They were without Collin Sexton. Even with the loss, the Cavs are sixth in the east with a 7-5 record.
The Bulls’ gambles have been paying off so far
The Chicago Bulls brought in Nikola Vucevic last season and added guys like Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso in the offseason. It’s been paying off in spades so far, considering that they currently find themselves in the top two in the Eastern Conference – a start that even the most diehard Bulls fans wouldn’t have predicted.
In today’s 117-107 win over the Dallas Mavericks, Zach LaVine was the game’s top scorer with 23 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Ball chipped in 21 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal with no turnovers, and shot 7 of 10 from deep.
Vucevic had his customary double-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. DeRozan had 17 points, but struggled with his shot as he shot 7 of 20 from the field. Caruso was a terror on both ends, finishing with 16 points and 6 steals while shooting 6 of 7 from the field and 3 of 4 from three.
It was more than enough to take down the Mavericks, who also had a balanced effort from their starters. Luka Doncic nearly had a triple-double with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists. Kristaps Porzingis had a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Tim Hardaway Jr. had 21 points.
Oof, that was a bad day for the Knicks’ starters
The New York Knicks took on the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden, but had a lot of trouble getting good production from their starters. Julius Randle was the only starter to score in double figures with 16 points and 5 rebounds, and the other four combined for 16. That’s not a great look, especially when their bench played so well in the game.
Derrick Rose turned back the clock a little, coming up with 22 points, 3 rebounds and 7 assists. Immanuel Quickley dropped 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, while Alec Burks and Obi Toppin both had 14.
Their efforts weren’t enough to overcome a more balanced effort from the Bucks’ starters, as Giannis Antetokounmpo had 15 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists, a steal and 2 bocks. Bobby Portis had 17 points and 5 rebounds, Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 6 assists, while Grayson Allen chipped in 15 points and 5 rebounds. The game’s leading scorer was Pat Connaughton, who was hot from the field and shot 7 of 13 from beyond the arc on the way to 23 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Connaughton made five threes in the fourth quarter and was the reason that the Bucks won by double digits.
- Nets def. Magic 123-90
- Celtics def. Raptors 104-88
- Pistons def. Rockets 112-104
- Hornets def. Grizzlies 118-108
- Thunder def. Pelicans 108-100
- Spurs def. Kings 136-117
- Nuggets def. Pacers 101-98
- Suns def. Blazers 119-109