NBA Wrap February 17th
NETS RALLY BACK FROM 24 POINT HALFTIME DEFICIT TO STUN SUNS
Seemingly down and out, trailing by 24 near halftime and without without two of its three superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Chances of comeback seemed near impossible, well that was proved wrong.
James Harden went ballistic leading Brooklyn with a phenomenal 38 points and 11 assists as the Nets recorded its largest ever halftime comeback in franchise history knocking off the Phoenix Suns.
Joe Harris, one of the League’ best three point shooters had 22 points, for the Nets who were coming of a victory against the Sacramento Kings a day ago.
Veteran Chris Paul finished with 29 points and 7 assists for Phoenix including 17 in the fourth, while Devin Booker scored 22 points, but went scoreless in the fourth missing the chance to tie the game in the dying seconds.
Porous defence been a key issue all season round for the Nets continued in the first 24 minutes with Phoenix racked up 75 points at intermission.
It be up to Brooklyn’s role players including Tyler Johnson in the starting lineup for Irving (back) made the most of the opportunity hitting three triples and the offensive juggernaut Harden who had the basketball on a string as a deficit of 24 was reduced to eight.
Phoenix were able to stem the flow bringing the lead back out to double-figures, until the Brooklyn strung a second surge with Harris and Landry Shamet providing the bulk of the scoring to have the Nets within six with 5:33 left.
But Paul who had been contained for the first three quarters, exploded scoring the next 11 Suns points – making four straight shots, 3 of them after Brooklyn immediately found an answer.
Harden and the Nets not be outdone had one last shot, which the 8-time All-Star relished the challenge as he has done many times his career. After carving his way downhill for the layup, the 2018 MVP two possessions later got the ball from Jeff Green as Brooklyn went back the other way.
With the option of a two for one, Harden had no hesitation stepping into a three despite a Mikal Bridges there to contest the shot as the ball swished its way through the net capping off a remarkable comeback.
Still one more defensive stop was needed. And it would be Larry Shamet who denied the Suns the chance when he played Booker tight on his short jumper which hit the rim.
LILLARD TAKES OVER LATE AS ROLLING BLAZERS WIN FIFTH STRAIGHT
Having blown a 24 point lead midway through the third, the Blazers turned to its superstar Damian Lillard with the game on the line and he delivered.
Lillard went off in the final five minutes scoring 12 points on route to a 31 point 10 assist performance as the rolling Portland Trailblazers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-104 for its fifth successive win.
The 5-time All-Star did it with excellent defensive stopper Luguentz Dort on him. His first three come off a pump fake letting Dort fly by, his next three on with a difficult step back over Isaiah Roby, then similar to his eventual game-winner against Dallas last game he seized up Dort before launching another triple putting a class of Dame Time.
Dort had team-high 23 points for the Thunder and spark plug Hamidou Diallo scored 17 off the bench.
Portland for the majority of the contest were in total control taking its largest lead of 24, only for the resilient OKC to storm back.
Sparked its open floor transition with Diallo, Darius Bazley and Isaiah Roby all contributing the Thunder struck back the lead when Dort found himself wide open in transition to bury home a three all part of a 19-4 run.
Earlier in the game, Lillard got off to a hot start scoring 12 first quarter points as Portland took a 34-21 lead after one period.
In other results around the Assoication:
Superstar LeBron James scored eight of his 30 points in the final stanza and the Los Angeles Lakers shook off a spirited Minnesota Timberwolves 112-104.
Number One pick Anthony Edwards shone with a career-high 28 points with the team without All-Star Point Guard D’Angelo Russell for the next 4 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to his left knee.
Fred Van Vleet went off scoring 33 points along with 7 assists, while Pascal Siakam posted 23 points and 13 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors sent the Milwaukee Bucks to its fourth consecutive defeat in a 124-113 win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo did his best to keep the underwhelming Bucks a chance finishing with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists.
Zion Williamson had 31 points and 7 rebounds, while Josh Hart scored 27 and the New Orleans belted the Memphis Grizzlies 144-113 handing them its worst loss of the season.
Boston’s two stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 48 points as the Boston Celtics got back on track beating the Denver Nuggets 112-99 despite a tremendous offensive 43 point display from MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.
Meanwhile the Detroit Pistons – San Antonio Spurs game scheduled for today was postponed after four Spurs players tested positive for COVID-19 meaning their next three games against the Cavaliers, Knicks and Pacers will be rescheduled for the second half of the Season.
By Juri Bilcich