- Matt Skilton
NBA Weekly Recap 12/6-12/11
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This week, the Celtics paid a visit to their age-old rivals the LA Lakers, but the main focus was on Steph Curry as he edged closer to passing Ray Allen and becoming the all-time leader in 3-pointers made.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Detroit Pistons
Final Score: 114 – 103
The Oklahoma City Thunder erased an 18-point deficit through Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s 30 points to claim victory on the road at the Little Caesars Arena.
Gilgeous-Alexander was the star the Thunder needed, the 23-year-old put up 30 points and 13 assists in 37 minutes of game time. Forward Luguentz Dort also added 28 points.
Rookie Cade Cunningham was the standout for the Pistons, putting up 28 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, but the first overall pick coughed the ball up several times, racking up six turnovers.
The Pistons controlled the majority of the game, failing to lose the lead until the final quarter. Midway through the second period, the Pistons put together a 6-0, putting them 13 points ahead. They would eventually stretch the lead to 18 but failed to score for the remainder of the half, while the Thunder cut the deficit to 13, heading into the break.
During the third, OKC was able to get as close as points to a tie, but with both teams scoring slowly, weren’t able to capitalize as Detroit took an 81-72 lead into the final quarter.
The Thunder put together a 42-point explosion in the fourth quarter, while 89.5% from the field, with 25 coming in the final five minutes of play. OKC took the lead with 3:46 remaining in the game and didn’t look back as the Pistons were only able to muster up six points to the Thunder’s 16.
The catalyst of the Thunder’s offense Shai Gilgeous-Alexander commented on the comeback:
“We didn't focus on how far behind we were, we just tried to win the next possession, I didn't know we were shooting 89.5% for the quarter. I was just trying to get us a good look every time we had the ball.”
Tale of the tape:
The Thunder are currently in the top five for rebounding, but the Pistons were able to out-rebound them by 12 and also won the battle on the offensive boards 16-6. Detroit has become one of the best teams in generating points off the bench but they were held to 12 throughout the first half.
Brooklyn Nets @ Dallas Mavericks
Final Score: 102 – 99
The Brooklyn Nets handed the Dallas Mavericks a fifth consecutive home loss at the American Airlines enter, although the visitors were unable to lead until the final minutes.
Kevin Durant picked up a team-high 24 points and seven rebounds, while James Harden put up a near triple-double on an efficient night, scoring 23 points off 7-13 shooting, 12 assists, and nine rebounds but did cough the ball up five times.
Luka Doncic put up the game-high of 28 points, also picking up nine assists, but struggled from deep, shooting 3-11. Kristaps Porzingis also struggled on the scoring end, shooting 35% from the field but was able to notch up 17 points.
The game was close throughout the first half, despite the Mavericks never losing the advantage. Dallas put together a 6-0 run, giving them a 12-point lead heading into the break.
The Mavs then stretched the lead to 72-54 with 7:30 remaining in the third quarter, with the Nets only able to cut the deficit to 11 entering the fourth.
The Nets put together a 10-2 run to start the final period, making the score 85-88. From then on, the two sides traded buckets, with the Nets seizing the lead for only the second time, with less than three minutes remaining. Kevin Durant was able to make it a 3-point game with a minute remaining, which was where the scores finished.
James Harden commented on the performance of his side:
“Throughout the course of the game, I feel like we got good shots. We just missed them. We just kept sticking with it and kept sticking with it. You've got to just keep shooting, especially if that's what you do.”
James Johnson started the year in Dallas but was traded to Brooklyn, where he dropped 12 points off 5-7 shooting. Brooklyn’s visit also allowed LaMarcus Aldridge to return to his hometown, where he dropped 15 points.
Boston Celtics @ Los Angeles Lakers
Final Score: 102 – 117
The Lakers were able to take a home win over their age-old rivals off the back of stellar performances from the newly formed Laker trio at the Staples Center.
Lebron James put up a team-high 30 points from 13-19 shooting, while Davis was able to crash the boards with 16 rebounds and was able to chip in with 17 points. Russell Westbrook capped off a great performance for the trio with 24 points and 11 assists.
Lebron James gave his thoughts on his squad’s performance:
“I just like the way we competed tonight on both sides of the floor, we had a lot of intensity, a lot of ball movement. Guys were attacking the rim. I think defensively, besides the first 14-point avalanche on Tatum's part, we locked in from that point forward.”
Jayson Tatum carried the scoring load for the Celtics, putting up a game-high 34 points, 14 of which came in the first quarter, and also pulled in eight rebounds. There were no other standout performances for the visitors with Robert Williams III being the second-best scorer with 13 points.
Westbrook led the Lakers to a 19-point lead in the third quarter, by putting up 15 in the period. The Lakers were able to hold onto their advantage through the final quarter as the Celtics were never able to pressure the Lakers.
A legendary rivalry:
This was the 296th time the sides have clashed in what was a much-needed win for the Lakers. Both sides have a record 17 championships to their names and have faced off for a record 12 times in the NBA Finals. This result keeps their tight rivalry going as the two have split the season series 1-1 after the Celtics took the first game.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Miami Heat
Final Score: 104 – 113
The Miami Heat were able to take down their Playoff rivals and reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks at the American Airlines Arena despite missing their star Jimmy Butler.
Caleb Martin had a stellar scoring night for the Heat, shooting 75% and putting up 28 points with six 3-pointers as well. Veteran Kyle Lowry was able to put up 13 assists and 22 points in the 9-point win.
Caleb Martin was given the opportunity to talk about his experience in the starting line-up:
“They put me in the starting line-up because they believe in me, when my opportunity comes, I want to take advantage.”
Jrue Holiday was the highlight scorer for the Bucks with 27 points off 12-17 from the field. 2-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled from the field shooting 4-13 from the field and shot just above 50% from the line.
The Heat took a 6-point lead into the final period after back-to-back threes from Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker. Miami never gave up the lead in the fourth stretching the lead to as many as nine, after knocking down free throws with less than a minute to go.
Second time in 12 games:
After the recent game these two played, the Bucks would’ve entered the arena confident they can give the Heat another loss. However, this wasn’t the case as the Heat gave the Bucks their second loss in 12 games.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Golden State Warriors
Final Score: 94 – 104
Steph Curry closed in on the all-time 3-pointers record after he knocked down six shots from deep against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Chase Center.
Steph Curry took 19 shots during the game, 17 of which came from deep, making six of them as he put up 22 points in the 10-point win. Jordan Poole scored 20 points but struggled from deep as he shot 2-10. Draymond Green had a quiet scoring night but was able to move the ball with eight assists and pulled in 10 rebounds.
Without CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard, it was Norman Powell who stood tall, putting up a game-high 26 points and five assists. Jusuf Nurkic was able to scrape together a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Curry struggled from deep in the first half, shooting 25% as the Warriors scraped together a 2-point lead heading into the break. Steph Curry evidently attempted to get the record in front of the home fans, but the moment will be special no matter what as he said
“I feel like it will be special no matter what because I'll make it special, and it will be an amazing experience for me and my teammates.”
The Warriors kept the lead for the second half, stretching it to as many as 14 points with 5:55 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Four free throws at the death for Golden State put the game to bed as the Blazers weren’t able to fight back.
The greatness of Stephen Curry:
It’s hard to dispute Steph Curry is the greatest shooter of all time. Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups paid tribute to Steph Curry, “he's got a bullseye on him (when he crosses half-court), I just think he's just the greatest combo guard to ever play the game.”
Utah Jazz @ Philadelphia 76ers
Final Score: 118 – 96
The Utah Jazz swept the season series over the Philadelphia 76ers, in a blowout win at the Wells Fargo Center.
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz scorers with 22 points in 29 minutes, while Rudy Gobert dominated on the glass with 21 rebounds, he was also able to chip in with 17 points.
Joel Embiid (19 points), Seth Curry (18 points), and Tobias Harris (17 points) led the way for the Sixers offensively, but they weren’t able to get their team across the line.
76ers coach Doc Rivers commented on the Utah Jazz:
“They're playing free, they get a lot of 3's up, they stretch the floor. They're a tough basketball team, especially offensively.”
Utah dominated the Sixers inside throughout the third quarter, as the Sixers struggled against their dynamic and dangerous offense. Hassan Whiteside completed a three-point play to give the Jazz a double-digit lead and Gobert then gave the Jazz a lead of 13 towards the end of the third quarter.
Utah started to dominate in the final period, reigning sixth man of the year Jordan Clarkson knocked down a shot from deep, making the score 99-81, the lead would eventually reach 23 points as they cruised to victory.
Utah struggled at the start of the season, but now they’ve put together a sixth straight win and are keeping in reaching distance of Western Conference leaders, the Phoenix Suns, and the Golden State Warriors.
Brooklyn Nets @ Atlanta Hawks
Final Score: 113 – 105
The Brooklyn Nets clinched the season series over the Atlanta Hawks after winning a tight contest at the State Farm Arena.
The Nets struggled from deep all game long, shooting 26% from the 3-point line. But there were bright points, early MVP candidate Kevin Durant scored 31 points and was solid on the defensive end with three blocks and a steal. James Harden was second in scoring for the Nets with 20 points and had a game-high 11 assists, but struggled from deep, missing all five of his 3-point shots.
As always, Trae Young was the bright point for the Hawks, with the point guard picking up a near triple-double with 31 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds but just like the Nets, he struggled from deep making two of his eight 3-point attempts. He also struggled down the stretch shooting 2-7 from the field.
Trae Young gave a comment about the fourth quarter:
“We both played good defense, they played better defense in the fourth. I've got to do a better job of making shots in the fourth.”
The Hawks shot out to a 10-2 lead within the first two minutes of the game, but the Nets were able to fight back, leveling the scores at the end of the first. Both sides traded baskets throughout the second quarter, the lead only grew above three once when the Hawks made the score 33-28 off a Danilo Gallinari three with 8:50 remaining in the half. From there the sides dueled in a close battle, the scores looked to be all square heading into the half, but after a Kevin Huerter 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds remaining, the Hawks were able to take a 3-point lead into the locker rooms.
Atlanta led for the majority of the third quarter and was able to build their biggest lead of the game when Huerter nailed a three putting them up by 11. The Nets were able to briefly take the lead with 50 seconds remaining, but it didn’t last as the Hawks took a 2-point lead into the final period.
The Nets were able to keep their momentum, outscoring the Hawks 24-14 in the fourth. Four free throws from Durant gave the Nets their biggest lead of the game 111-103, Patty Mills then iced the game with two more.
Offense vs Defence:
Atlanta entered the game leading the league in 3-point shooting having made 38.6% of their attempts but were held to 11-34 by the Nets who have the best defensive record against 3-point shots, allowing 30.8% to be scored against them.
Boston Celtics @ Phoenix Suns
Final Score: 90 – 111
The Boston Celtics fought hard through the first quarter but were dominated by the Phoenix Suns for the rest of the game at the Footprint Center as the Suns continue their great form at home.
JaVale McGee stepped up in the absence of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, scoring a team-high 21 points. Cameron Payne produced 17 points off the bench, Jae Crowder and Cameron Johnson capped off a team effort as they both posted 16 points.
Jayson Tatum put up a game-high 24 points but struggled on the shooting end, going 1-7 from deep and 40% from the field on 34 minutes of playing time. The Celtics struggled to move the ball, picking up 13 assists as a team and no player picking up more than three on a night where the league’s best team rolled over them.
The Celtics trailed the Suns 24-25 at the end of the first and that was when the good ended. Phoenix outscored the Celtics 32-15 in the second quarter and took a commanding 18-point lead to the locker rooms.
The Suns stretched their lead to 23 during the third quarter, before the Celtics were able to grind their way back into the contest to trail by 12, but that was as close as they got. Phoenix took a 15-point lead into the final quarter where they once again took over the game. Off of a Cameron Johnson three, the Suns were able to take their biggest lead of the game 111-84 with 1:11 remaining, giving the Celtics no chance to fight back.
A team game:
While missing their main scorer Devin Booker and starting center Deandre Ayton, the Suns produced wonderful team basketball, with seven players reaching double digits in points, including all of their starters.
Golden State Warriors @ Philadelphia 76ers
Final Score: 93 – 102
The Philadelphia 76ers took a step in the right direction with their win over the Golden State Warriors as they locked down Stephen Curry at the Wells Fargo Center.
Joel Embiid led his squad from the front, picking up 26 points, nine rebounds, and four assists, he also knocked down all 11 attempts from the charity stripe. Tobias Harris was their second-highest scorer with 16 and like Embiid, was perfect from the free-throw line.
It was another night where fans sat wondering if Steph Curry would break the all-time 3-pointers record. But with lock-down defense, the Sixers held the two-time league MVP to 18 points and 3-14 from deep. Jordan Poole led the team in points with 23 at 50% shooting from the field.
After the Sixers controlled the majority of the second quarter, but the Warriors were able to head into the locker rooms with a 3-point lead, looking to capitalize in the third quarter. The Golden State lead stretched to as many as 13 during the third before the Sixers were able to reel them back in and trail by three heading into the final period.
Philly was able to take control of the scoreboard with 9:46 remaining in the game and didn’t look back. They outscored the Warriors 32-20, giving them a much-needed 9-point win over one of the best teams in the league to this point in the season.
No record on the road:
Steph Curry’s radar was a bit off during the game, as Curry knew the Sixers wouldn’t want him to break the record on their court
“I understand the opposition is not going to want that happen on their home floor, they defended accordingly,”
Curry was held to two makes from deep in the first half and one in the fourth.
Joel Embiid said:
“That was not happening on my court, that was not happening in Philly.”
Steph Curry now sits six 3-pointers away from tying and seven away from breaking the record held by Ray Allen.
Next week's games:
Golden State Warriors @ New York Knicks
Phoenix Suns @ Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks
Los Angeles Clippers @ Utah Jazz
Philadelphia 76ers @ Brooklyn Nets
Golden State Warriors @ Boston Celtics
Los Angeles Lakers @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets @ Brooklyn Nets
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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