Eleven games of hoops took place throughout NBA last night, with the most important in Denver and Salt Lake City, where Lakers and Jazz posted respective wins.
James, Lakers Edge Out Nuggets
In the clash between the No.1 and No.2 seed of the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers posted a massive win in Denver, defeating the Nuggets 120-116, but only after overtimes. This was their last game before the NBA All-Star.
With this win, the purple and gold have prevented Denver from cutting the gap in the standings between them. Frank Vogel’s side even increased the distance between them and the rivals to four matches.
Though we need to say that one mistake of the referees helped the guests a lot, Nikola Jokic earned his fourth foul in the third period and had to be benched for a while. It turned out that before the foul, Anthony Davis made a blatant travel, which the officials haven’t seen. In those moments, the Lakers were losing the grip, and the hosts had momentum after reaching a 13-point deficit.
LBJ had a triple-double with 32 points, 14 assists and 12 boards. Anthony Davis scored 33 buckets and had 10 rebounds. Dwight Howard played an excellent role off the bench with 14 points and 11 boards.
Among the Nuggets, Jamal Murray had 32 and 10 dimes, and Jokis posted 22, 11 boards, and 6 assists.
Utah Jazz Cruise Past Miami Heat
Although the guest from Florida had a lead throughout the first half, sometimes reaching 8 points, the late push of the Jazzers broke their defiance. Utah won 116-101, to post its 36th win of the season and to got back in the race for that second seed.
Once again, Jordan Clarkson proved that his trade might be one of the best deals Utah made over the last few years. The energetic and sharpshooting guard came off the bench to post 21 points, and to hit 8 of his 12 shots.
Meanwhile, Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic were doing their thing as usual. Bogi had 22 points and 7 boards, while Spider added 26 with 5 rebounds. Rudy Gobert, too, played at his typical level – 16 points and 20 rebounds.
The Heat lost their fourth match in five while traveling around West. Jimmy Butler had 25 points and 8 rebounds, Duncan Robinson 18, all threes, and Jae Crowder 15.
Pacers Surprise the Bucks
After losing six straight, the Pacers finally brought a smile to the faces of their fans. Nate McMillan’s side defeated the league-best Milwaukee Bucks. The hosts took a 21-7 lead already during the first period, and extended that lead to 54-29 in the second. Yet, the Bucks cut the deficit in the last to 82-77, but ran out of gas to make a massive surprise.
TJ Warren scored 35 points with an incredible 16-for-19 from the field. Brogdon had 17 and 13 assists, while Miles Turner added 14 and 10 boards. The guests played without Giannis, and the top scorer was Donte DiVincenzo with 19 points, Khris Middleton added 17.
In other games, Raptors lost in Brooklyn, snapping a 15-game winning streak, 101-91. Memphis defeated Portland Trail Blazers 111-104, Hornets took down the Timberwolves, 115-108, Mavs were better than the Sacramento Kings, 130-111, while Phoenix Suns posted a win against the sorry Golden State Warriors, 112-106.
Also, the Hawks surprisingly lost in Cleveland, 127-105, Magic had some troubles against the Pistons, but managed to win after OT, 116-112, and the Wizards beat Knicks in New York 114-96.