That’s 11 in a row for the Suns

The Dallas Mavericks put on a good fight through the first three quarters, leading 84-79 heading into the fourth in their battle against the Phoenix Suns. 

However, the Suns again showed their mettle as one of the best closers in the league this season, as they answered with a 33-20 fourth quarter that ended with a 112-104 win – their 11th in a row. 

Chris Paul went on full Point God mode again in the fourth quarter, and was involved in the majority of the Suns’ points with 8 points, 6 assists and 3 steals in the final period. He finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 14 assists and 3 steals. He was helped by five other teammates who scored in double figures. 

Devin Booker had a tough night shooting, making only 7 of 20 shots on the way to 19 points, but he made two big threes in the fourth quarter to help the Suns get the W. Mikal Bridges had 19 points, 17 of which came in the first half, which they sorely needed to stay in the game before Paul got it going in the second half.

DeAndre Ayton narrowly missed a double-double, but was dominant in the paint as he finished with 8 points and 17 rebounds. JaVale McGee continues to be an effective bench contributor as well, and finished the game with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Cam Johnson also had 13 points as a reserve. 

The Suns matched their best start through 15 games since the 2009-10 season with a 12-3 record.

Kristaps Porzingis had another solid game for the Mavericks, finishing with 23 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals on 8 of 13 shooting, but they lacked a fourth quarter closer since Luka Doncic sat out this game. 


LeBron returned, but the Lakers lost anyway

The LA Lakers were happy to welcome LeBron James back to the fold, who had missed around three weeks with an abdominal injury. He was effective in his return, finishing with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals, and shot 10 of 16 from the field. Anthony Davis had a good game too, with 31 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks while shooting 12 of 21. That wasn’t enough to help the Lakers to a victory against the Boston Celtics though, as they got blown out 130-108. 

Talen Horton-Tucker, who had been averaging 23.3 PPG in his last three games, missed all six of his shots tonight and had 2 points after making a pair of free throws. That made this meme age badly.

Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 37 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and a block. He got a big boost from three other Celtics starters, as Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Dennis Schroder combined for 61 points. Josh Richardson added 15 points off the pine as well.

The game gave the Lakers their first three-game losing streak of the season, and will further fuel concerns about how they can mesh together toward the end of the season. The Celtics, on the other hand, have gotten back to .500 with an 8-8 record. They’ve traded wins and losses in their last four games.

Kevin Durant rested because of a shoulder injury, but James Harden picked up the slack

Kevin Durant missed his first game of the season with a shoulder injury, but the Nets didn’t skip a beat a they emerged victorious in a close 115-113 game against the Orlando Magic. 

Leading the charge for the Nets was James Harden, who shot an awful 7 of 25 from the field but still finished with 36 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. He made up for his bad shooting from the field by going 19 of 20 from the free throw line. 

Patty Mills also had a good game with 22 points in another starting opportunity, while James Johnson had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. LaMarcus Aldridge also chipped in 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Rookie Jalen Suggs had a 21 point night for the Magic, and sophomore Cole Anthony had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 9 assists.


LaMelo Ball almost had another triple-double in a close scrape with the Pacers

The Indiana Pacers tried their best to come back against the Charlotte Hornets, but came up just short in a 121-118 victory. After getting outscored 63-48 in the first half, they fought back to get the game close again, but couldn’t make enough shots in clutch time.

LaMelo Ball had himself a fine game, with 32 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists and a steal on 12 of 22 shooting, which more than made up for his five turnovers. Gordon Hayward was efficient from the field as well, finishing with 25 points on 9 of 15 shooting. A total of six Hornets scored in double figures.

Domantas Sabonis struggled for the Pacers, finishing with a quintuple-single with 8 points, 6 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block. He’s a key part of this Pacers team, and they need him to be more consistent. 

Malcolm Brogdon finished with 16 points and was the only starter to score in double digits. Rick Carlisle opted to give his bench a lot of run time today, and they outperformed the starters. Four bench players scored in at least 11 points, led by Jeremy Lamb’s 23.

So Giannis is shooting fadeaways now?

The Bucks put together a hard-nosed team effort to survive the Thunder 96-89, and as usual Giannis Antetokounmpo was at the center of it all.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had one of those monster rebounding nights again, finishing with 21 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 4 blocks. He only shot 6 of 16 from the field and missed all four free throws, but made 9 of 11 free throws.

His growing arsenal on offense is becoming a scary prospect for opposing teams, too. He’s not afraid to take a big shot even if he’s having a bad night from the field, and that killer instinct paid off in crunch time.

If you watch this play from the end of the game, you see all five Thunder defenders predictably pack the paint as soon as Giannis gets the ball, but he then gave himself all the space he needed with a nifty fadeaway that left the Thunder with no one able to challenge the shot.

All of the Bucks starters scored at least 10 points, and Bobby Portis continued to shine in his starting role with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

The win put the Bucks back to .500 with an 8-8 record, and that kept them in 10th place.

Other Notes:

Steph Curry sat out today’s game against the Detroit Pistons, which was the Golden State Warriors’ second game of a back-to-back set, but they managed to barely survive a huge 32-19 fourth quarter from the Pistons. Jordan Poole led the way with 32 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Andrew Wiggins also chipped in 27 points and 5 rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine combined for 62 points to carry the Bulls to a 114-108 win over the Denver Nuggets, who were without Nikola Jokic due to an injured wrist.