NBA Weekly Recap 1/3 - 1/9
Legendary Dirk Nowitzki Gets His Jersey Retired
This week a legend had his jersey retired. Another legend solidified his place in the history books. And The Pyrrhics' own Matt Skilton has it all covered for you right here in his NBA Weekly recap.
Indiana Pacers @ New York Knicks
Final Score: 94 – 104
The Knicks gave the Indiana Pacers their fifth straight loss after RJ Barrett and Julius Randle dominated the scoring at Madison Square Garden.
RJ Barrett led the Knicks with 32 points in 42 minutes, while Randle put up 30 points, 16 rebounds and had a shared team-high of four assists with Alec Burks in his first game back from health and safety protocols. Burks and Immanuel Quickley were the only other two Knicks players to reach double-digits in points.
“With both guys the most important thing is them attacking the rim, The aggressiveness of RJ attacking the rim, and for Julius to do what he did today is just remarkable,” he continued, “We had no idea what he was going to be like. So, unbelievable effort. Unbelievable game. Sixteen rebounds. Just all the things that he did.”
-Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau
Keifer Sykes led the Pacers in points with 22 and assists with six in 38 minutes on the court. Domantas Sabonis pulled in a team-high eight rebounds and added 15 points, but it wasn’t enough to get the Pacers the win.
The Knicks led for the majority of the first half, taking their biggest lead with 10:00 remaining in the second quarter. RJ Barrett was the catalyst for Knick’s great first half, pouring in 24 of his 32 points, as the score was locked at 55 heading into the second half.
The first nine minutes of the third quarter saw both sides trade baskets with the lead never growing over three points. The Knicks put together a quick 9-3 run to take an 8-point lead into the final period. The Knicks never trailed through the fourth quarter, the Pacers fought hard in the opening minutes, but the Knicks steadily built the lead out 10, with the Pacers never really troubling the home side.
No Return home:
Pacers coach Rick Carlisle called Dallas home for over a decade but won’t be able to return to see the retirement of Dirk Nowitzki’s jersey. He had this to say:
“I'm really disappointed that I'm unable to attend, it's [going] to be so special, Dirk just means so much to so many of us and he proved to be a great champion as well. It'll be very emotional,”
Golden State Warriors @ Dallas Mavericks
Final Score: 82 – 99
Luka Doncic led the Dallas Mavericks past the Golden State Warriors on Dirk Nowitzki’s night at the American Airlines Center.
Luka Doncic had 26 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds, while Dorian Finney-Smith had 17 points and Jalen Brunson had 15.
Andrew Wiggins dropped in a team-high 17 points for the Warriors, while Steph Curry’s shooting woes continued as he shot 5-24 for 14 points. Gary Payton II didn’t miss a shot from the field, putting up 11 points.
“The body of work over the course of this year's been pretty solid, this stretch has not been great not up to my standards. So, you've just to stick to the program. It'll come around,”
The Warriors led early as the sides traded baskets towards the end of the first quarter, but the Mavericks seized control, building a 12-point lead before they led by 11 heading into the second half.
The Warriors closed the gap in the third but couldn’t lead as the Mavericks’ steady scoring kept them afloat, they eventually took a 3-point lead into the final period. The Mavs led 76-75 with 8:19 remaining in the fourth, before they exploded for a 23-7 run, clinching the win in front of Dirk Nowitzki who had his jersey retired that night.
Honoring a legend:
Not only was Dirk Nowitzki honored by the Mavericks but the Warriors played a tribute video to the legendary big man during a timeout in the third quarter.
“An icon, He did it his way, playing with the same franchise for 21 years. Just what he meant to the city, to this organization. He opened up the gates for international players to believe they could have amazing careers in the NBA and give them confidence,”
-Steph Curry on Dirk Nowitzki
Utah Jazz @ Denver Nuggets
Final Score: 115 – 109
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz past the Nuggets in a tight game where they rarely trailed at the Ball Arena.
Bojan Bogdanovic torched the Nuggets with 36 points and pulled in 13 rebounds in a dominant 40 minutes. Royce O’Neal led the road team in assists with five, while Rudy Gay dropped in 18 points off the bench.
Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic put up a triple-double with 26 points, 11 assists, and 21 rebounds in 37 minutes, he also shot 58% from the field. Will Barton and Monte Morris both dropped in 20 points.
Denver led briefly by three points, as the sides were tied heading into the second quarter. The Nuggets couldn’t take the lead in the second as they traded baskets with Utah, as the visitors took a 57-56 lead into the second half.
They were aggressive, they made shots when they needed. We were hanging in there, but Bojan had a great game. We couldn't stop him,” Jokic said.
The Jazz flexed their muscles in the third, stretching their advantage to 13 points with 1:53 remaining. The home side was able to close the gap to 10 points as they headed into the fourth. The Nuggets rallied closing the gap late in the game, but it was too little too late as the Jazz took another road win.
Always time for firsts:
The Jazz had their first player enter the health and safety protocols when Joe Ingles was ruled out of the game.
Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks
Final Score: 105 – 108
RJ Barrett knocked down a game-winning shot to give the Knicks the win over the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden.
Evan Fournier stood up for the Knicks with a game-high 41 points, Julius Randle dropped in 22 points and reeled in eight rebounds.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics in points with 36, he also picked up nine assists. Dennis Schroder was second in points, putting up 20 off the bench.
The Celtics dominated the second quarter, pouring in 38 points and building a lead as big as 25 with 3:53 remaining. The Knicks were able to drop in 10 points in the final minute of the second half, with the deficit being 16 at the half.
The Knicks outscored the Celtics 30-21, to trail by 8 points heading into the fourth quarter. The Knicks made a game of things with 4:04 remaining, tying the game 96 apiece. Both sides traded baskets with the Knicks taking the lead 105-103 with 12.5 left on the clock. Jayson Tatum tied the game with 2.2 seconds left, leaving the door open for RJ Barrett, who knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining.
“It was a tough shot, but every time I shoot, I think it's going in, honestly, I didn't even see it because I fell. I didn't see it go in, but just by everyone else's reaction I could tell. So that was cool,”
New York curse?
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau worked as an assistant coach for the Celtics from 2007-2010 and now the Celtics have lost three straight at Madison Square Garden, is this the start of a new curse?
Los Angeles Clippers @ Phoenix Suns
Final Score: 89 – 106
Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns cruised to a 17-point win over the Clippers after dominating down the stretch at the Footprint Center.
Chris Paul led the team with a triple-double, picking up 14 points, 10 assists, and 13 rebounds. Cameron Johnson led the Suns’ scoring with 24 points, Jalen Smith was second with 19 points.
Marcus Morris Sr. led the Clippers in points with 26, Reggie Jackson had 16 points while Brandon Boston Jr. and Eric Bledsoe both had 10. Terance Mann was the most prolific facilitator with four assists.
“I just think the players have done a really good job of driving our culture, We have unreal guard play, which really helps,”
-Suns coach Monty Williams
Both sides tussled through the first quarter, with the Suns leading by one heading into the second. The Suns shot out of the gate in the second quarter, building a 19-point lead with 1:36 remaining in the half. The Clippers eventually closed the gap to 16 as the sides headed to the break.
The Clippers rallied in the third, outscoring the home side 26-19 to trail 66-75 heading into the final period. The Clippers were able to close within five points in the fourth but couldn’t get any closer. The Suns switched on down the stretch going on a 16-6 run through the final five minutes of regulation to close out the game.
The loss dropped the Clippers below .500 again this season, despite season-high performances from former Suns player Marcus Morris Sr. and Reggie Jackson. The Clippers were also missing Luke Kennard, Xavier Moon, and Ivica Zubac through health and safety protocols.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Brooklyn Nets
Final Score: 121 – 109
Milwaukee never trailed in a 12-point win over the Nets at the Barclays Center.
Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 31 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds and shot 11-17 from the field in his return from an illness unrelated to Covid-19. Bobby Portis was second in points with 25, while Kris Middleton put up 20 points.
“He comes with the killer knockout blow, once he sees us in position, he knows what spots he wants to get to,”
-Bucks coach (acting) Darvin Ham
Kevin Durant had 29 points, while James Harden struggled for 16 points off 6-15 from the field. Patty Mills struggled all game hitting one of his six deep ball attempts.
The Nets stayed within touching distance of the Bucks throughout the first half, but Milwaukee was able to build an 11-point lead heading into the second half.
The reigning champs dominated in the third quarter, scoring 38 points in the period. The visitors also built a 24-point lead in the quarter, their biggest of the game, but the Nets were able to work the deficit down to 16 heading into the fourth. The Bucks scored steadily through the final period, with the Nets outscoring them 29-23, but it wasn’t enough as the Bucks were too good.
No home for Kyrie:
Kyrie Irving made his season debut for the Nets when they played in Indiana on Wednesday but wasn’t in the building against the Bucks as the point guard is ineligible to play home games due to his vaccination status.
Atlanta Hawks @ Los Angeles Lakers
Final Score: 118 – 134
Lebron James starred in the second half to guide the Lakers to a blowout win over the Atlanta Hawks at the Crypto.com Arena.
Lebron James put up 32 points, nine assists, and 8 rebounds in an outstanding performance, Russell Westbrook nearly scraped triple-double together with nine points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds. Malik Monk was second in scoring with 29 points in 35 minutes on the court.
“We're getting our guys back, It's literally that simple. We're starting to see what we have because guys are in the line-up. Soon we're getting Nunn as well, and not too long after that, AD returns. When you're building a team with depth and chemistry on the floor, and when too many guys are out, it's too early to gauge it,”
Trae Young scored 25 points but went 1-7 from deep, he also picked up 14 assists and nine rebounds. John Collins was second in points with 21 and had eight rebounds.
The opening exchanges saw both sides trade baskets before the Lakers took the lead with 9:07 remaining in the first quarter and never looked back. The Lakers carried a 6-point lead into the second quarter and grew their advantage to 19 points before the Hawks rallied to make it a 3-point game at the half.
Both sides traded baskets once again in the third, but the Lakers were able to grow their lead to 14 and cruised from there. The Hawks were able to close the gap back to 10 points but couldn’t get any closer as the Lakers grew their advantage down the stretch to add another game to their win column.
What can’t he do?
It seems like every other week Lebron James is moving higher on any all-time list he can. Now, the 4-time MVP has moved past Alvin Robertson for 10th place on the NBA all-time steals list.
Next Week’s Games:
Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Clippers
Dallas Mavericks @ New York Knicks
Brooklyn Nets @ Chicago Bulls
Golden State Warriors @ Milwaukee Bucks
Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets
Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers
Dallas Mavericks @ Memphis Grizzlies
Matt Skilton is a multimedia sports journalism graduate and covers all of your sports needs at ThePyrrhic.com. Keep watching for recaps, analysis, trade news, and more! Follow Matt on Twitter @MSkilton16 Want more from The Pyrrhic? Check out these: