NBA Weekly Recap 11/30 - 12/5
What's News In the NBA This Week?
The past week in the NBA could’ve been unofficially named rivalry week. From the battle of New York to the battle of LA, we had some nail biters and brilliant entertainment. Catch up on it all in NBA Weekly.
New York Knicks @ Brooklyn Nets
Final Score: 110 – 112
Brooklyn fans showed out in a record attendance since the Nets’ move to the Big Apple, as James Johnson iced the game in the final moments to give the Nets a 1-0 advantage in the season series.
In their 10th season since the move from New Jersey, the Nets have finally sparked a fierce and competitive rivalry with the New York Knicks, James Harden followed up by saying:
“Whether it's here or at MSG, the fans are going to be cheering for their respective teams and it's going to be a good game every time.”
James Harden picked up a near triple-double dominating the New York defense with 34 points and 8 assists and was able to crash the boards racking up 10 rebounds. Kevin Durant had a slow start but put up 27 points, with 11 coming in the final six minutes of regulation.
Julius Randle was the second near triple-double performer, with 24 points, eight assists, and nine rebounds in 40 minutes of game time, while Alec Burks put up a team-high 25 points as the Knicks fell agonizingly short of victory at the Barclays Center.
As the game headed towards the fourth, the Nets lead by as many as 16, before the Knicks fought back, making the score 88-84. The score margin then never got above four as both teams traded leads through the final period.
Then in front of a record crowd and the scores tied with seconds remaining, James Johnson knocked down two clutch free throws, icing the game and giving the Nets the win.
The Nets and Knicks produced a thriller, but former all-stars Blake Griffin (Nets) and Kemba Walker (Knicks) have both fallen out of favor in the Big Apple, as both players have been taken out of the rotations of their respective teams.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics
Final Score: 87 – 88
Jayson Tatum was the catalyst as his Celtics edged out their more recent post-season rivals the Philadelphia 76ers in The Garden.
After missing five of his first six shots, Jayson Tatum notched up 26 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Marcus Smart continued his facilitator role with a game-high eight assists, while Jaylen Brown struggled shooting 3-11 from the field.
Seth Curry kept his impressive shooting going, putting up 17 points off of 7-13 from the field, he also shot 66% from deep. Joel Embiid was troubled all night on the scoring end with a field goal percentage of 17, but made up for it on the defensive end, raking in 18 boards and three blocks.
Al Horford was happy to be back home in The Garden, holding his former teammate Embiid to 13 points in 31 minutes of playing time:
“I was written off. I'm just glad I got another opportunity in a place I want to be.”
The largest lead came about in the first quarter as Boston took a 16-4 early lead, but the Sixers were able to rally as the sides traded leads all the way to the final buzzer.
The lead never reached double digits again, but with the help of Dennis Schroder, the Celtics were able to take an 88-84 with 37.1 seconds remaining. Eight seconds later, the Sixers were able to close the lead to one through a Danny Green 3-pointer but weren’t able to retake the lead by the final buzzer.
Both teams struggled shooting from the field, also shooting under 40% from deep. The Celtics put up their lowest winning points total in four years, in what was described as an ugly win but something they aren’t sorry for by coach Ime Udoka.
Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers
Final Score: 104 – 99
The Sacramento Kings took their second straight win over the Los Angeles Clippers off the back of 28 points from Terence Davis at the Golden 1 Center.
Davis made the second half his, piling on 23 of his 28, De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton shared running the offense, picking up 17 and 18 points, and both guards dishing it out with five assists.
Marcus Morris Sr. led the Clippers with 21 points at 70% from the field on a night where Paul George struggled, putting up 15 points while shooting under 25%, however, Playoff P was able to drop 10 dimes to help his team.
The Kings took a five-point lead into the locker rooms at the break, and never lost the lead in the second half. Sacramento built an 18-6 run, making the score 90-76 with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Clippers were able to pull the margin back to three with 11 seconds to go but, Buddy Hield put the game on ice with 7.9 remaining after he knocked down two free throws.
Interim head coach Alvin Gentry gave his thoughts on the Kings’ performance:
“I thought defensively, obviously, we were really good, we have to try to get to that consistent level where we're doing it every night.”
Snapping the streak:
March 19, 2013, marks the last time the Sacramento Kings were able to beat the Los Angeles Clippers at home. The five-point win snapped a 15-game losing streak and their guidance under a veteran head coach will do wonders to the progress they will look to make throughout the rest of the season.
Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks
Final Score: 119 – 115
DeMar DeRozan added 34 points as the Chicago Bulls snuck home after blowing a big lead against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
DeMar DeRozan scored 34 points on 12-19 shooting, while Zach Lavine and Nikola Vucevic added 27 each as the trio carried the scoring load for the Bulls. Lonzo Ball struggled in the shooting department, with 3-14 but dialed up his passing with six assists.
Julius Randle led the scoring for the Knicks with 30, the scoring load for New York has shared around with three players scoring 16 points each. Randle and Derrick Rose split the passing duties both racking up six assists.
The Bulls were able to open up an 18 point lead by the end of the first quarter, extending their biggest lead to 21 in the second quarter before the eventual halftime score ended at 69-51. The Knicks then fought back, outscoring the Bulls 26-10 in the first seven minutes of the third, closing the gap to one point.
Despite closing the gap, the Knicks were only able to tie the score, until 4:45 remaining in the fourth where they took a one-point lead, 106-105. Their advantage didn’t last long as DeRozan knocked down a 15-footer.
Both sides traded baskets, resulting in the score being tied with 1:25 remaining. DeRozan showed his poise, knocking down four free throws late on, giving the Bulls a six-point lead before Immanuel Quickley dropped in a layup with no time remaining to make the score 119-115.
DeRozan said after the game:
“It's fun when we go out there and compete. We face adversity at times, and it felt good when we come out of that on top.”
Teams on the up:
Both the Knicks and Bulls have been through rebuilds in recent years, this game marked the first time the sides had faced off when records above .500, with at least 20 games played since the 2012-13 season.
San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trail Blazers
Final Score: 114 – 83
The San Antonio Spurs downed a depleted Trail Blazers squad, who have been one of the strongest home teams to this point in the season.
In pure spurs fashion, the starters spread the points around all putting up double-digit numbers. Along with his 15 points, Dejounte Murray was able to piece together a double-double, as he dished the rock for 13 assists. The leading scorer from the Spurs came off the bench with Ben Forbes’ 18 points from 15 minutes of playing time.
CJ McCollum and Norman Powell both put up 16 points, which was an equal team-high for the two wings. The Blazers struggled to move the rock, picking up 19 assists as a team, Dennis Smith Jr. picked up the team-high with five.
The Spurs took a 16-point, 86-70 lead into the fourth quarter, the Blazers were able to claw it back to 12, but then surrendered a 12-0 run and with 8:34 remaining in the game the Spurs stepped up their defensive efforts, only allowing the Blazers to score eight points.
Blazers coach Chauncey Billups commented on his squad’s efforts after the game:
“My biggest concern, I think, at the moment, is I want us to compete harder, man. I want us to compete harder, I want us to be competitive in every game. And I don't feel like every night we do that.”
Snapping the home streak:
The Blazers entered the Moda Center on a 10-game winning streak at home, which was broken by the Spurs as the home-side missed their franchise guy in Damian Lillard. It was only the second defeat Portland has suffered at home all year.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Atlanta Hawks
Final Score: 98 – 96
Joel Embiid made a 13-foot jumper to seal a hard-fought victory after being down 10 in the fourth against the Atlanta Hawks at the State Farm Arena.
Joel Embiid bounced back after a tough game in Boston with game-high 28 points in 36 minutes against the Hawks. Seth Curry continued his scoring form with 18 at 50% accuracy. Curry and Tyrese Maxey split the passing duties, both picking up five assists.
Trae Young was the standout for the Hawks as per usual, dropping 25 points from 8-22, also dropping in seven free throws. Young ran the Hawks’ passing game as well picking up 10 assists. John Collins had an efficient shooting night, putting up 18 points from 66% accuracy.
The Hawks had the lead for the majority of the second half, and with their biggest lead being 11, which came in the third. Teams traded free throws in the final seconds of the third quarter before a Collins dunk made the score 87-78 in the Hawks’ favor heading into the final period.
The Hawks stretched their lead back to double digits within the first minute of the final quarter from Lou Williams free throws, but that’s where the good times ended for Atlanta. Philly was able to muster up a 16-6 run over the next 10 minutes, tying the scores at 96-96, and with 42.8 seconds remaining, Joel Embiid was able to knock down a 13-foot pull-up jumper to give the Sixers the lead, which is where the scores finished.
The Sixers led the Hawks 20-9 in a physical final period, Hawks guard Trae Young gave comment:
“We had some shots that just didn't go in, but you have to give credit to them, they out-physical-ed us in the fourth quarter.”
NBA Broadcast History:
Beth Mowins became the first female to cover the play-by-play calling for an NBA regular-season game that is broadcasted on ESPN. It’s a step forward in the fight for gender equality and for broadcasting as a whole.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers
Final Score: 119 – 115
The Clippers took the bragging rights in the first Battle of LA this season, with the road team never losing the lead to their cross-town rivals at the Staples Center.
Marcus Morris Sr. led the scoring for the Clippers with 21 points off of 7-12 shooting. It was an off night for Paul George from deep as he missed all seven of his shots from deep. The highlight for the Clippers was the 19 points off the bench by Luke Kennard off 70% from the field.
The Lakers used a nine-man rotation, with Anthony Davis putting up a game-high 27 points. Despite his struggles from deep, Lebron James was able to put up 23 points and six assists. The final member of the big three, Russell Westbrook, controlled the Lakers passing game with a team-high nine assists on a night where he didn’t have much opportunity to put up points.
In Lebron’s return after a positive COVID-19 test that put him into isolation, he gave a comment on his rhythm and performance:
“Just confused, frustrated and angry, I was sitting at the house and hadn't been able to do anything. Today was the first time I'd been able to catch a basketball since Sunday. I felt like I was getting into a really good rhythm offensively, defensively. It's been very frustrating, not being able to get into a flow for myself. Hopefully, it will lead to good things later.”
The Clippers were able to control a close game and created an 11-point lead with 1:30 remaining in the second quarter. The Lakers were able to rally, putting together a 10-2 run to trail by three at the half.
The Lakers were only able to tie the score at 58-58 in the third before the Clippers opened up their biggest lead of the game, 82-70 with 2:27 remaining in the quarter. Just like they had the whole game, the Lakers closed the gap but again, was unable to seize the lead.
Luke Kennard came up clutch down the stretch, knocking down two 3-pointers, with the second making it a five-point game with 38 seconds remaining. Marcus Morris Sr. then knocked down a dagger three from 31 feet out with seven seconds left on the clock.
The Fine Line:
The difference in quality free throw shooting from the two sides was massive. The Clippers hit 19 of 20 free throws in the first half and finished with 21 made foul shots. While the Lakers were only able to hit 13, missing them down the stretch added to their woes.
Next Week’s Games:
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Detroit Pistons
Brooklyn Nets @ Dallas Mavericks
Boston Celtics @ Los Angeles Lakers
Milwaukee Bucks @ Miami Heat
Portland Trail Blazers @ Golden State Warriors
Utah Jazz @ Philadelphia 76ers
Brooklyn Nets @ Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics @ Phoenix Suns
Golden State Warriors @ Philadelphia 76ers
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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