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NBA Wrap February 25th

IMAGE: Yahoo


It is not expected when Luguentz Dort makes a shot to win the game.

On this occasion he did.

The defensive stopper found himself all alone at the right corner drilling home the game-winner as the Oklahoma City Thunder pipped the San Antonio Spurs 102-99.

Dort’s clutch shot came after Aussie star Patty Mills made a critical turnover when he committed a double-dribble handing the ball back to OKC.

A play that was initially designed for Gilgeous-Alexander ended up working perfectly, as Horford drew the double-team passing out to a wide-open Dort who with two seconds left let the ball fly with confidence watching it find the bottom of the net. As it fell through, his teammates swarmed to him – his first game-winner in his NBA career.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a career-high 42 points as the Thunder bounced back from a fade out loss to the Miami Heat.

Dejounte Murray had 27 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists for San Antonio were playing without veterans DeMar DeRozan (personal reasons) and Rudy Gay (League’s Health and Safety Protocols) in the team’s first game in 10 days due to four players testing positive to COVID-19.

The Spurs arrested the Thunder’s momentum built in the third, extending to a six point lead with Mills’ three. For the next five and a half minutes the teams traded buckets until OKC wrestled back control using a 10-2 run capped off by a three from Dort to lead 97-90 with 3:10 left.

San Antonio rallied going on a 9-2 spurt to level the contest at 99 all when Lonnie Walker IV made a drive to the basket for an uncontested layup. After a Gilgeous-Alexander miss, Mills had the chance to deliver with the game on the line. However, he made a fatal error turning the ball over setting up the scene for Dort’s winner.

The opening half was a test of defensive strength as scoring dried up in the final nine minutes with the Spurs going into intermission up 45-40.

Murray got the Spurs going scoring six of the first eight points to extend its lead to 11 before OKC found a groove offensively as Gilgeous-Alexander could not be contained scoring 21 points in the period, including a buzzer-beater to have the Thunder up 76-73.

In other results around the Association:

Zach LaVine scored 35 points, while second-year pro Coby White had 20 points and 6 assists, including two major buckets during the overtime period as the Chicago Bulls beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-126.

Timberwolves’ season-leading scorer Malik Beasley had 25 points, while Karl Anthony-Towns posted 24 points and 8 rebounds as the League’s worst-team lost its sixth straight.

Steph Curry had 24 points and 8 assists, despite missing 10 of 11 three point attempts as the Golden State Warriors made pivotal plays in the final two minutes to beat the Indiana Pacers 111-107.

Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers with 25 points, while All-Star snub Domantas Sabonis finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds.

Danilo Gallinari was scorching all game ending up with 38 points including breaking a franchise record for threes made in a single game with 10 surpassing the record of 9 set by Steve Smith in 1997 as the Atlanta Hawks continued the Boston Celtics misery winning 127-112.

Trae Young carved his way through the lagging Celtics defence scoring 33 points and 7 assists.

The Hawks minimised the Celtics two All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to only a combined 30 points as the green team have dropped 9 of 13 since February 3rd – are now out the playoff seedings.

Jarrett Allen dominated on the interior posting 26 points along with 18 rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the reeling Houston Rockets 112–96 for a second straight win.

John Wall had 20 points for the Rockets who now have lost nine straight for the first time since 2001.

Jimmy Butler put together another all-round performance with 27 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists as the red-hot Miami Heat won a fourth consecutive game defeating the Toronto Raptors 116-108.

All-Star Bam Adebayo had 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Heat pulled clear in the last 4:19 of the contest.

Raptors’ diminutive backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet each scored 24 as Toronto have lost two straight after a four-game winning streak.

Zion Williamson delivered 32 points and 6 rebounds, while Brandon Ingram had 27 points and 8 assists as the New Orleans shook off a gallant Detroit Pistons 128-118.

Malik Monk scored 29 points off the bench, while Rookie of the Year favourite LaMelo Ball had 20 points and 8 assists as the Charlotte Hornets cooled off the scorching Phoenix Suns 124-121.

Devin Booker being selected for his second All-Star replacing injured Laker Anthony Davis had a team-high 33 points, while Chris Paul contributed 20 points and 10 assists.

Rudy Gobert and Jordan Clarkson each scored 18 points each, part of a Utah team which had six players score in double-figures in a 114-89 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James was the sole out standout despite being held to 19 points, as the Lakers have lost four of five – all without Davis who is still out for another three weeks with a calf strain.

By Juri Bilcich

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