Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, and the New Orleans Pelicans posted massive wins last night, which might be a turning point for them in this season.
Rockets Take Down Celtics
Houston defeated Boston 116-105, proving that their small-ball lineup can handle even the top teams from the East. After defeating the Lakers, Mike D’Antoni’s side beat the second most successful franchise in NBA history.
They had some minor issues in the first half, but once they’ve caught the rhythm after the break, the hosts took the lead and didn’t lose it until the buzzer.
James Harden had an impressive sequence in the late part of the third, once he scored 19 straight points for the Rockets and ignited the crowd at the Toyota Center. The Beard ended the night with 42 points, 8 rebounds, seven assists, and threes, and just one missed free-throw in 18 shots.
Right behind him was Russell Westbrook with 36 buckets, and 10 grabbed boards. Among the guests, Gordon Hayward was the leading scorer among the Celtics with 20 points, Jaylen Brown added 19 and was right behind him.
Philly Back in the Saddle
The 76ers had a rough few days, once Joel Embiid and the fans began throwing words at one another. The Process even replied Jimmy Butler’s status on Instagram, which was interpreted as a possible hint that he might want to leave Philly.
However, that didn’t prevent him from dropping 26 points in 76ers victory over the LA Clippers. 110-103. Yet, the central figure of the match was Ben Simmons, who recorded another triple-double, posting 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Josh Richardson had 21 points, and Tobias Harris contributed with 17 and 12 boards.
Philadelphia opened the match better, but the Clippers managed to respond in the second period, and level the score. However, Doc Rivers’ boys looked pale after the second half, and they didn’t have the strength to keep up with the 76ers tempo, which is why they lost eventually.
Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points and had nine assists, Landry Shamet added 19 off the bench, posting five threes, while Paul George had a bad shooting night. PG made just three of his 15 shots, adding 12 rebounds and 5 assists.
In a clash of two playoff contenders, the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 138-117. Zion Williamson, the No.1 pick from this year’s draft, scored 31 points, his season-high, shooting 10-for-17 from the field and 11-for-14 from the foul line.
Portland had a 28-14 lead in the first sequence, but as time went by, the hosts managed to erase that and to create a swing that would see them winning this contest with 21 points of difference.
Even without Brendon Ingram, arguably their best player, Alvin Gentry’s boys posted a win over their direct rivals for the playoff spot.
Besides Zion, JJ Redick had 20 points, Josh Hart 17, and Jrue Holiday 16 with 10 assists.
Among the visitors, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard added 20 points each, while Hassan Whiteside posted 17 with 14 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony had 18. These two teams will meet again on Friday.