The Spurs blew it against the Lakers with terrible free throw shooting
LeBron James didn’t suit up for the LA Lakers today, but the rest of his squad showed character in coming back from a 12-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter. It was a barnburner of a game that had to be settled in overtime.
Anthony Davis was on strong form with 35 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks on 15 of 31 shooting, and Russell Westbrook showed what he can still do with 33 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals on 15 of 27 shooting. Lakers fans had to hold their breath at the end of the fourth quarter, though, when Anthony Davis went down clutching his knee. He got back up and closed the game strong.
Westbrook showed that he’s still got explosiveness, and punctuated his performance with an aggressive dunk in overtime.
The Spurs had every chance to win the game, and have only themselves to blame for the defeat. They got a triple-double from Dejounte Murray thanks to his 21 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists, while Jakob Poetl poured in a career-high 27 points. Lonnie Walker even contributed 21 points from the bench, but it all came to naught thanks to the Spurs missing all seven of their free throws in the fourth quarter.
When you come up short in an OT game because of a shoddy performance from the charity stripe, you can’t point the finger at anyone but yourself.
Nikola Jokic suffers a painful injury against the Utah Jazz
Nikola Jokic was having a great game against the Jazz with 26 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in the first half, but an inadvertent clash of knees with Rudy Gobert saw him go down hurt. Jokic, one of the most stoic players you’ll ever see, was visibly in agony when the pain set in. The warrior that he is, Jokic tried to work it out and was attempting to warm up during the halftime break, but coach Michael Malone wisely chose to shut him down.
The Nuggets are already without their star point guard Jamal Murray, who’s going to be out for a long time with the torn ACL he suffered in April. The Nuggets stayed game and kept it close to start the third quarter. Fortunately, it looks like the injury may not be too serious.
The Nuggets did their best to fight back but were outlasted by the Jazz in the end, and the game was a chippy affair with Hassan Whiteside and JaMychal Green getting into it in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors stay perfect with a big second half comeback
Things didn’t start well for the Golden State Warriors in their matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They were outscored 59-48 in the first half by the younger squad, but again showed composure to rally back in the third quarter, outscoring their opponents 33-17 on the way to an eventual 106-98 victory.
This is the fourth-straight time that they’ve maintained their composure to find a way to victory. Against the Lakers on opening night, they were down 10 near the end of the third quarter. Against the Clippers, they almost blew a fantastic 44-27 start when the Clippers rallied back and were up 8 points in the fourth quarter. Against the young Sacramento Kings, they battled numerous ties and lead changes from a game California rival to eventually close out with a huge fourth quarter run that ended up in a 119-107 victory.
The story for the Warriors so far has been their deep bench. They seem to find someone who can contribute big every game, and against the Thunder today it was Damion Lee, who had 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting (4 of 7 from three) and finished with a game-best plus/minus of +16. Steph Curry had a good game with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a block, and Andrew Wiggins had 21 points, but it’s their role players that will make the difference in how high they finish in the standings. Their mix of savvy veterans and upcoming young players could be a dangerous one by the playoffs, and that’s not even taking into account the eventual return of Klay Thompson and James Wiseman.
The Knicks continue their strong start behind a strong team effort
The Philadelphia 76ers came to Madison Square Garden with the intention of walking away with a 3-1 record for the season, but it was the game New York Knicks that wrested away the victory in a strong overall team effort. The 112-99 victory started in the second quarter, where the Knicks outscored the 76ers 39-16, and though the Sixers were able to outscore them in the second half, they were never able to make up for that huge quarter.
Julius Randle had another double-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists, but he had a lot of backup. Kemba Walker led the team in scoring with 19 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block with just one turnover. Evan Fournier continued to score efficiently with 18 points on 6 of 10 shooting, while RJ Barrett had 10 points and 7 rebounds. Derrick Rose provided good support from the bench too, with 13 points in 20 minutes of play.
Tobias Harris almost had a triple-double for the Sixers with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, but they had an off night from two key players in Joel Embiid and Seth Curry, who combined for 18 points.
Luka Doncic put on a show
Luka Doncic and the Mavericks faced a rebuilding Rockets squad that has a lot of future potential, but the Slovenian superstar wouldn’t be denied as he posted 26 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and a block with 4 turnovers. He was the only Dallas player to score over 20 points, but that was enough. Kristaps Porzingis, who coach Jason Kidd envisions to be the Mavericks’ second option, struggled again with 9 points and 3 rebounds on 2 of 10 shooting before being forced out of the game with lower back tightness.
Eric Gordon had a bit of a throwback game for the Rockets with 22 points coming off the pine, while Christian Wood had a big night on the boards with 16 points and 17 rebounds.