The Hornets hand the Warriors their second defeat of the season
LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, and Terry Rozier will remember this win for a while. Matched up against the surging Golden State Warriors, who held the best record in the NBA heading into the game at 11-1, the young Charlotte Hornets made sure to close things out and hand the Dubs their second defeat with the final scoreline being 106-102 in Charlotte’s favor.
Ball finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Bridges had 22 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, and Rozier added 20 points. It was a rough night from deep for the Warriors, who shot 9 of 39 (23.1%). Steph Curry had 24 points, 6 rebounds 10 assists, and 3 steals, but shot 7 of 22 from the field and 3 of 13 from beyond the arc.
Andrew Wiggins had another efficient night with 28 points and 6 rebounds on 12 of 19 shooting, but it just wasn’t enough in the end. This was Golden State’s first away game in a four-game road trip, and expect them to lick their wounds to come back strong.
The game saw a crazy finish, and it’s better to just show you how it ended:
Trae Young got sick of the losing streak and led the Hawks past the Bucks
Prior to their contest against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Atlanta Hawks had been on a six-game losing streak and gone 1-8 since losing to the Wizards a couple of weeks ago. The surprise 2021 Eastern Conference Finalists badly needed a win today, especially since they were coming up against a struggling Milwaukee Bucks team that is also currently out of the play-in picture.
Trae Young made sure that the Bucks couldn’t steal one in Atlanta and showed off the scoring prowess that made him one of my favorite players last season. Young finished with 42 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists in the 120-100 drubbing. Young shot 16 of 26 overall and 8 of 13 from three, which will be a big boost to his confidence.
John Collins chipped in 19 points and 6 rebounds, while Clint Capela had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Bucks, who didn’t have Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, or George Hill available, couldn’t muster enough offense to keep up. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists but shot 9 of 21 from the field and 1 of 5 from three. Jrue Holiday had 19 points and 8 assists, while Grayson Allen chipped in 18 points.
The Suns maintain their second seed with eighth-straight win
The Phoenix Suns, who started their season 1-3 and had to deal with murmurs that their Finals appearance may have been lucky, have been on a revenge tour. They got their eighth win of the season in a 115-89 schooling of the rebuilding Houston Rockets.
Devin Booker led the way with 26 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists, while Chris Paul terrorized his former team on the defensive end on the way to 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 7 steals. JaVale McGee had a game-leading plus/minus of +30 after putting in 19 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and 3 blocks.
Chris Paul probably had the play of the game, where he came up with a merciless nutmeg in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls prevent the Clippers from making another comeback win
The Chicago Bulls started strong against the LA Clippers, building their lead to up to 17 points in the first half. As suual, the Clippers managed to go on a run to close the first half, cutting the Bulls lead to 54-45 at the end of the second quarter.
The Clippers continued to make their push to a comeback, cutting the lead a little bit to 77-71 at the end of the third quarter. Terence Mann hit a big three to make it 77-76, which Paul George followed up with a driving bucket to take a 78-77 lead with 9:58 left in the game. The Bulls answered with a 6-0 run to make it 83-78, and went on to win the game 100-90, snapping LA’s seven-game win streak.
DeMar DeRozan brought his A-game to his home town, finishing with 35 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists while shooting 12 of 16 from the field. (Note, some outlets are reporting that DeRozan scored 33 points, but ESPN’s official box score has him at 35.)
DeRozan looked hyper-focused after shooting 30.8% from the field in his previous game – a 119-93 loss from the Warriors. Maybe, just maybe, he also wanted to show up his friends Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry, who had started a ‘DeMar DeRozan Hater Club’.
Zach LaVine struggled in the first half, but got it going in the third quarter and finished with 29 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists.
Paul George had 27 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers but shot badly, going 7 of 25 and 2 of 10 from deep. Eric Bledsoe had 21 points off 14 shots.
The Denver Nuggets make it five-straight to take third place in the west
Nikola Jokic was the only Nugget to score more than 20 points, finishing with 28 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, but his performance was aided by a great effort from his teammates, six of whom scored in double figures. It’s safe too say that the Nuggets may have been galvanized by Jokic’s one-game suspension for retaliating against Markieff Morris’ cheap shot.
The Blazers didn’t have any answers, especially without Damian Lillard, who was ruled out of the game with abdominal pain. CJ McCollum led them with 21 points.
Kevin Durant drops 33 on the team that drafted him
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Kevin Durant in an Oklahoma City Thunder jersey, but he sure looked comfortable on his former home floor in what ended up being a 120-96 blowout win for the Brooklyn Nets. That pushed the Nets’ record to 10-4, still good for second in the Eastern Conference behind the Washington Wizards.
Durant showed no mercy for the team that drafted him, hitting them with a cool 33 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 9 of 17 from the field and 13 of 14 from the charity stripe.
James Harden, who had a season-high 39 points in his previous game, didn’t explode on the scoring end so much, but still ran the offense in an elite manner, finishing with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 13 assists and 3 steals. Thunder fans will have not had a good time being reminded that Durant and Harden once wore their jerseys.
It probably hurt that Harden had this to say when asked if he thought about his years spent with the Thunder:
Patty Mills, who had been struggling a little bit lately, exploded for 29 points off the bench thanks to making 9 of 12 threes and 10 of 16 total shots. That was the Nets’ franchise record for made threes off the bench.