Giannis Antetokounmpo went into Freak mode to take down the Lakers
Even with both teams currently struggling out of the gate, the game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the LA Lakers was still one of today’s marquee matchups. It was one of those back-and-forth battles that saw 12 lead changes and 4 ties.
The Lakers got a big game from Talen Horton-Tucker, who is quickly rounding into shape after being sidelined to start the season. The youngster finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. Russell Westbrook had 19 points and 15 assists to add onto that, while Anthony Davis had 18 points and 6 rebounds.
However, their combined efforts were not enough to counter the reigning NBA Finals MVP, as Giannis Antetokounmpo mercilessly attacked them on the way to 47 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a block. It wasn’t enough that he bullied his way in the paint. He was also efficient with his jumpshot. He made 18 of 23 of his field goal attempts, shot 3 of 4 from beyond the arc, and knocked down 8 of 11 free throws.
On top of the Greek Freak’s contribution, the Bucks also got a boost with the return of Khris Middleton, who chipped in 16 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists while also getting a block and finishing with no turnovers. Bobby Portis had another good game filling in as a starter for Brook Lopez, and he had 17 points and 5 rebounds.
Middleton is on his way to becoming the best three-point shooter in Bucks history, something that deserves a little credit because a certain guy named Ray Allen once donned that uniform.
The Nets got throwback games from Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge at the same time
The Brooklyn Nets look like they’re starting to figure things out, and their latest 109-99 victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers saw four players score at least 21 points.
Leading the charge was James Harden, who finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 7 rebounds, while Kevin Durant had 23 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Olympic Patty Mills showed up again to round out the 21+ club, finishing with 21 points while shooting 6 of 12 from beyond the arc.
Mills was involved in a bit of an unfortunate incident, which saw him getting posted up by Tacko Fall. You can probably imagine what happened, but here’s a video anyway.
For the Cavs, Olympic Ricky Rubio had another appearance with 25 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists, while Darius Garland had 24 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. They’re really going to miss Evan Mobley, who’s out for a while after having a strong start to his rookie campaign.
Jimmy Butler’s triple-double was too much for the Pelicans
The Miami Heat have responded to a three-game losing streak with a three-straight victories, the latest of which was a 113-98 win against the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Pelicans started the game off strong, and had as much as a 15-point lead in the first quarter. However, they weren’t able to keep the pressure up for the whole game, and were soundly outplayed over the last three quarters as they got outscored 92-64.
Six Heat players scored in double figures, led by a triple-double of 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists from Jimmy Butler. It was one of those typical angry Jimmy games, where he simply refused to be beaten and bullied his way in the paint to get buckets and free throw opportunities. He shot 10 of 18 for the game and 10 of 12 from the charity stripe.
The Charlotte Hornets break the Wizards’ win streak
Bradley Beal was finally able to suit up again for the Washington Wizards after taking time off to grieve for the loss of his grandmother, and did manage to contribute 24 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. However, his efforts against the Charlotte Hornets weren’t enough, as only two other teammates scored in double figures in the 97-87 loss.
It a stark contrast to Charlotte’s performance, who used strong defense in the third quarter to flip the lead to their advantage after outscoring the Wizards 30-14 in the third. LaMelo Ball set a career-high in assists with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 14 assists, along with two steals.
It was a strong team effort from the Hornets, who saw six people score in double-figures, and they got the win without anyone scoring 20 or more points. They were led by Terry Rozier’s 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, Mason Plumlee’s double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds, along with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists from Miles Bridges.
Kelly Oubre and Jalen McDaniels pitched in 14 and 11 points, respectively. The Hornets had 30 assists on 42 made baskets.
A big pain point for the Wizards today was their three-point shooting. Other than Beal, who shot 5 of 11 from deep, the team struggled and went 8 of 42 (19%) overall from beyond the arc. Spencer Dinwiddie, who’s been having a good season, had a stinker of a game with 0 points while missing all five of his shots. Kyle Kuzma also struggled, finishing with 5 points on 2 of 12 shooting. That spoiled a big night for Daniel Gafford, who had 20 points and 9 rebounds.
This was Charlotte’s fourth-straight win, which has been a great response after going on a five-game skid after starting the season 5-2. Their record now stands at 9-7.
The Celtics fall below .500 again after Hawks win third-straight
The Celtics are really missing Jaylen Brown, who is still out with a hamstring injury. They got 34 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists from Jayson Tatum, but it wasn’t enough to carry Boston to a win over the Atlanta Hawks in a 110-99 defeat.
John Collins had a strong double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks, who also saw a double-double from Trae Young with 18 points and 11 assists. Cam Reddish provided good scoring and defense off the bench, finishing with 19 points and 3 steals on 8 of 14 shooting. Kevin Huerter had an efficient game with 19 points on 7 of 9 shooting, including 5 of 7 from deep.
The Hawks recently suffered through a six-game losing streak, so getting this third-straight win will be a big boost to their confidence.