NBA Wrap February 14th
SCORCHING SUNS MAINTAIN IT’S HOT STREAK
Since future Hall of Famer Chris Paul stated after a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 28 which left the Suns at 8-8 “we have to play better” the team has risen to the challenge.
All-Star Devin Booker put on a shooting clinic finishing with 36 points, while Paul put up 18 points and 10 assists for the red-hot Phoenix Suns who won for the eighth time in nine games beating the Philadelphia 76ers 120-111.
76ers superstar Joel Embiid led the side with 35 points and 8 rebounds for his 10th 30 point outing in the last 12 games.
Aussie superstar Ben Simmons and All-Star Tobias Harris each scored 18 for Philadelphia who have lost three straight for the second time this season despite holding the East’s best-record.
The game lived up to the high quality of both teams with deep playoff aspirations with 10 lead changes occurring in the final 5:22 of the opening half with scores level at 53 heading into intermission.
Balance of the contest would replicate the same pattern as each basket was responded to right away. Then the fourth quarter belonged to the rising Suns led by its second unit with Jae Crowder and the recently returning Dario Saric came to the party against his former team to create a buffer – the pair helping push the advantage to double-digits.
Embiid tried everything to keep the 76ers within arms reach scoring 11 points including a step back jumper to cut the deficit to five with 5:38 left. His efforts were to no prevail as the late-fire shooting of Booker, the facilitating play of Paul and the inside presence of De’Andre Ayton put the finishing touches to an outstanding win.
In other results around the Association:
Doug McDermott starting for a second straight game led the Pacers with 26 points, while Myles Turner contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocked shots as Indiana halted a four-game skid to beat the shaky Atlanta Hawks 125-113.
Clint Capela had his 16th double-double this season finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds and experienced veteran Danilo Gallinari scored 20 off the bench for the Hawks losers of seven of its last nine.
The hard-nosed defence of the New York Knicks proved a hurdle for the Houston Rockets in a 121-99 victory at Madison Square Garden.
Julius Randle in line for a maiden All-Star appearance next month had 22 points and 9 rebounds and Rookie Immanuel Quickley continued his excellent play also scoring 22.
John Wall was a bright spot for Houston posting 26 points as the Rockets were held to a mere 37.5% from the floor and a woeful 18.6% from long range (8/43) in the process losing its fifth straight game.
Brooklyn’s dynamic trio were on song as the Nets motored by the Golden State Warriors 134-117.
Kyrie Irving had 23 points, Kevin Durant in his return to the Bay Area for the first time since June 2019 when he left as a Free Agent scored 20 points, while James Harden had 19 points and dished out 16 assists.
Superstar Steph Curry led the Warriors with 27 points but was restricted to only 2 of 9 from range, after shooting 50.6% from deep in his last six games.
Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 26 points, while Bojan Bogdanovic had 19 as the team overcame a sluggish shooting performance early to power past the in-form Miami Heat 112-94.
Kendrick Nunn had a team-high 23 points for Miami who have spilt a pair of games on its seven game Western trip.
By Juri Bilcich