- Matt Skilton
NBA Weekly Recap 11/22 - 11/29
Taking A Look At What's Happened In The NBA This Week
Los Angeles Lakers @ New York Knicks
Final Score: 100-106
With Lebron James suspended and Anthony Davis sick, the Los Angeles Lakers were posed with an uphill battle before the opening tip at Madison Square Garden. The problems grew larger as they allowed the Knicks to open a 25-point lead on the group from the west coast.
The Lakers were able to put together a run outscoring New York 16-2, which cut the deficit to 61-51 before the half-time break. The men in purple and gold continued their hot streak as they knocked down their first nine shots, closing the gap down to three points and eventually tying it up at 79.
Russell Westbrook picked up yet another triple-double, finishing with 31 points, 10 assists, and 13 rebounds, with 18 points coming in an outstanding third quarter which was the catalyst to the Lakers tying the game.
The Knicks were without star Julius Randle contributed 20 and 16 rebounds but missed eight minutes of the fourth after picking up his fifth foul. Immanuel Quickley knocked down four 3-pointers for the Knicks, dashing the hopes of a Lakers miracle and handing them their fourth loss in five games.
Knocking down shots was difficult for the Lakers all night, Carmelo Anthony shot 3-14 from the field and 2-8 from deep, while Talen Horton-Tucker failed to contribute missing all eight of his shots. Anthony Davis was able to put up 20 points but didn’t seem himself as he was battling a fever throughout the night. Lakers’ coach Frank Vogel said this after the game:
“I definitely think he was a little drained, we tried to keep him to seven-minute runs and he did not play his normal rotation, so it probably had an impact.”
Having Lebron back will certainly help the Lakers fortunes as they look to finish out their Eastern Conference road trip.
In the last 11 meetings at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks have won nine of them, additionally, Lebron James has missed the last two Lakers visits to New York, last season being through injury and now through suspension.
Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trail Blazers
Final Score: 100-119
CJ McCollum torched the nets with 32 points as the Portland Trail Blazers handed and the Denver Nuggets a fifth consecutive loss as their road woes continue.
The Trail Blazers had one of the best home records entering their divisional clash with the Denver Nuggets, who have been struggling on the road all season. The Nuggets, already missing stars Nikola Jokic (right wrist), Jamal Murray (left knee) lost PJ Dozier early with a left knee injury (didn’t return) but were able to seize control 49-48 late in the first half. However, the Blazers fired back with an 18-3 run, Damian Lillard waved his shooting woes goodbye as he hit four 3-pointers and McCollum hit a buzzer-beating layup to close the half at 64-52.
During the second half, the Blazers began to impose their dominance, their smallest lead was eight points, as the Nuggets allowed 18 fastbreak points, additionally, the road team coughed the ball up 19 times resulting in the Blazers picking up 32 points off of turnovers.
Denver had no primary man to pick up the scoring, which left the Blazers in a difficult position. CJ McCollum stated “A lot of players are out, their best player is obviously hurt. You never know what to expect when everybody has the green light, but I thought we did a good job.”
The result gave the Blazers and ninth straight win at home and it seems like they started to build a little momentum under new coach Chauncey Billups.
Red Hot Shots:
Both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have struggled shooting from the field this season, but their fortunes may make a U-turn as the sharpshooting pair shot 69% and 68% respectively.
Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics
Final Score: 123-104
Kevin Durant (KD) catapulted himself into the top 25 all-time scoring list, as the Brooklyn Nets dominated the Boston Celtics without giving up the lead in The Garden.
Durant entered the game one point behind Allen Iverson, a player he tried to emulate every time he’s stepped onto the court.
“To pass him on the list, to end up there with some of the greats on that list is incredible, I just have to keep going,” said Durant, who now has Hall of Famer Ray Allen in his sights who is only 78 points away.
Durant finished with 21 points and eight assists and solid efforts from James Harden (20 points and 7 assists) and Aussie Patty Mills (23 points) capped off a dominant effort that ended up being KD’s night.
On the other side, Boston entered off the back of a three-game win streak, Marcus Smart recorded a team-high 20 points and eight assists, while Jayson Tatum struggled, only mustering up 15 points and shooting 25% from the field.
Brooklyn was able to build an 11-point advantage in the first quarter and carried their momentum into the second, where they grew the lead to 17 before heading into the dressing room with the score being 62-49.
The Nets dominated early in the second half, scoring 18 of the first 21 points, and led by as many as 29 before the Celtics were able to fight back with eight points to end the third. The home side was able to carry their scoring run into the fourth, putting up another 8-0 run cutting the score to 97-85, but couldn’t cut into the lead any further.
Milestones in The Garden:
Durant wasn’t the only man to pass a major career milestone during the game. Tatum put up his 650th three-pointer, despite going 1-9 from deep, moving him past legend Larry Bird and into fifth on the Celtics’ all-time. His next target is teammate Marcus Smart who has made 702 shots from deep.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Golden State Warriors
Final Score: 96-119
Steph Curry and his squad went to battle with a blowout win over younger brother Seth and a depleted Philadelphia 76ers at the Chase Center after trailing by 19 at one point.
Stephen Curry pipped Seth, in the 116-96 win, scoring 25 points to his brother’s 24, as the Warriors outscored the Sixers 30-18 in the fourth quarter.
Juan Toscano-Anderson was a catalyst for the win, going to work in the second half with 13 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Jordan Poole was also able to chip in with 17 points and six assists as Gary Payton II brought the heat with the defense we are used to seeing in the second half.
The Sixers entered the second half with a nine-point lead, but with less than a minute left in the third quarter, Steph and Brother-in-law Damian Lee knocked down consecutive threes for the Warriors, giving them an 86-84 lead heading into the final period.
Toscano-Anderson converted a three-point play, followed by a 3-pointer from Otto Porter Jr. that gave the Warriors some serious momentum for the rest of the quarter. Andrew Wiggins, who added 19 points, said:
“We dug ourselves a little hole. We knew to get out of it we were going to have to play harder.”
The 30-12 fourth-quarter effort was described as a “phenomenal defensive effort” by Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, which handed the Sixers their eighth loss in 10 games.
The Warriors became the second team this season to win by 20 points and be trailing by 19 or more at any point during the game, the Warriors last completed the feat on November 2nd, 2017 when they beat the San Antonio Spurs 112-92.
After the Sixers recorded a season-low of seven turnovers against Sacramento on Monday, they had 21 against the Warriors leading to 38 points.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Denver Nuggets
Final Score: 120-109
Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated in a road win over a thin Denver Nuggets squad in the Ball Arena to pick up their sixth win in a row.
Giannis knocked down 10 of his 13 shots in just 30 minutes, recording 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Pat Connaughton struggled to miss, hitting 7-8 from the field and scoring 20 points off the bench.
The Nuggets core spread the scoring, Aaron Gordon led the way with 18, Will Barton put up 17 and Facu Campazzo finished with 16 as Denver dropped its sixth straight game.
The losing streak was addressed by Nuggets coach Michael Malone:
“The only way we're going to end this losing streak is if we find a way to play some defense, we're undermanned but the reality is the last six games we're the 30th ranked defense”
The defensive display is a longshot from what they were producing at the start of the season, as the Nuggets hope they can breakthrough with a win soon.
Milwaukee got a hot start, leading by 16 early on, and then extended their biggest lead by one more in the second before Denver was able to conjure up a run, making the score to 48-43 as half-time closed in.
Milwaukee went into the locker rooms with an 11-point lead, which Denver once again cut to five, but the strong Bucks squad were able to rally and almost put the game to bed by racing out to a 19-point lead. Denver pulled the deficit back to 11 but the reigning champs were never threatened.
Along with Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, Bones Hyland missed his second straight game, paving the way for Vlatko Cancar to play extended for the first time this season.
Khris Middleton entered the game on 9,999 points and took no time in passing the 10,000-career point mark as he knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner within the first 36 seconds of the game.
Phoenix Suns @ Brooklyn Nets
Final Score: 113-107
The Phoenix Suns’ trip to the Barclays Center, ticked off a small milestone when they took down the Brooklyn Nets, as they target the ultimate prize in the NBA.
The Suns equaled their franchise record with 16 wins in a row after beating the Nets 113-107. Nets’ head coach Steve Nash played for the Suns during their last 16 game-win streak and said:
“I think, one, you have to be a really good team. Like, you can't just get hot for 15 games. You've got to be a really high-quality team, great balance, a team that has an identity and clarity on the floor. And this team's got great balance and depth and options, and is very well-coached.”
Devin Booker produced yet again, with his third straight game with 30 points or more, Chris Paul chipped in with 22 points and a team-high five assists and eight rebounds.
The Nets’ have struggled at home, flirting with a .500pct, however, this didn’t faze Kevin Durant who torched the Suns’ defense with 39 points. His tandem, James Harden had a quiet scoring night, notching up 12 points and missing all six of his three-point attempts, but was able to dial up his playmaking picking up a game-high 14 assists.
The Suns fired themselves to an early 21-8 lead on the back of Devin Booker, before Durant came to life for the Nets. The Suns continued to control the game comfortably and grew the lead to 20 after a Chris Paul three-pointer.
Late in the second quarter, the Nets built a 15-0 run, cutting the score to 51-46 before Chris Paul added five more and led his team into the locker room with a 10-point lead. With Booker forced to take a rest after picking up a fourth foul, Cameron Payne and Chris Paul combined together in the backcourt and hit back-to-back threes for the Suns, pushing the lead to 18.
The Nets tried to put a late charge together, making the score respectable but were plagued with 20 turnovers that resulted in 20 of the Suns’ points.
The Suns head home and prepare to face off against the Golden State Warriors in a matchup that is between the best two teams in the NBA.
The Nets get to enjoy a little home-stand as they receive a visit from their cross-town rivals the New York Knicks, who are looking to build some momentum.
Denver Nuggets @ Miami Heat
Final Score: 120-111
Nikola Jokic was the catalyst as the Denver Nuggets snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena.
Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic returned to the caught with a bang as he put up 24 points off 9-14 from the floor, led his squad in assists and rebounds with seven and 15 respectively. Aaron Gordon put up 20 points off of 38 minutes and Bones Hyland returned on a mission scoring 19 off the bench, as Denver torched the nets from deep with 51% accuracy.
With the Heat missing Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo led the scoring with 24, while Kyle Lowry led from the front like always putting up 14 assists. Miami won the turnover battle but was unable to capitalize, only scoring five points off 13 Denver turnovers, while Denver was able to put up 18 points off of nine.
Having their franchise player back, the Nuggets seemed to control the game from the first tip, Denver put together a 12-0 run in the second quarter making the score 50-35 and the lead swelled to as much as 20 at the half-time break.
The Nuggets, eager to break their cold streak, continued to pile on points, keeping a double-digit lead all the way until the final shot by the Heat’s Gabe Vincent, which made it a nine-point game with less than a second remaining.
The Jokic brothers, Strahinja and Nemanja, were once again at a Nuggets-Heat clash, this one being a lot less dramatic compared to the game on November 8th. The two brothers got into a Twitter beef with Markieff Morris’ twin brother, Marcus after Markieff had committed a hard foul on the MVP. However, the two brothers weren’t in town for backup and instead, there to support their brother as Nuggets coach Michael Malone said
“They're coming down here because this is Miami and I know for a fact every year they've been able to come, non-COVID, they've been here.”
Next Week’s Games:
New York Knicks @ Brooklyn Nets
Golden State Warriors @ Phoenix Suns
Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics
Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers
Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks
San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trail Blazers
Philadelphia 76ers @ Atlanta Hawks
Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Detroit Pistons
Matt Skilton is a multimedia sports journalism graduate and covers all of your NBA needs at ThePyrrhic.com. Keep watching for recaps, analysis, trade news, and more!
Follow Matt on Twitter @MSkilton16
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