NBA Wrap February 26th
WIZARDS PREVAIL PAST NUGGETS ON WILD FINAL PLAY
A perfect play looked for the Denver Nuggets with a four on one to tie the game and force Overtime.
Instead, they went for the win and came up empty.
Facundo Campazzo missed a wide-open three to win the game for the Nuggets as the Washington Wizards won a heart-stopper 112-110 for its sixth win in seven games.
League’s leading-scorer Bradley Beal had 33 points, while Rui Hachimura finished with 20 as the Wizards bounced back from a 19 point defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers.
2017 MVP Russell Westbrook made timely shots especially in the last, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his 9th triple-double as a Wizard, tying Darrell Walker in 1989/1990 for most in a season in franchise history.
Jamal Murray had 34 points and 6 assists, while Nikola Jokic posted 24 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists for the Nuggets who have lost four of six.
Heading into the fourth with scores locked at 88, both teams traded leads – five in total with Murray and Beal trading baskets as the contest reached its crescendo reminiscent to the side’s previous meeting earlier this month.
Denver closed to within two when Jokic made an excellent pass to a cutting Michael Porter Jr who dunked with authority with 1:15 to play. For the next minute, each team had the opportunity but couldn’t convert as the contest went deep into regulation.
Ultimately the game came down, to one final play. After Denver applied a double-team on Beal forcing the 2-time All-Star to pass out to Westbrook then to Raul Neto. The 6’1 Point Guard curled to the paint letting go of a tough layup which did not fall, Westbrook on the tip-in missed with the ball battered out to Murray.
With three of his teammates running, the Nuggets all but had an easy layup. Instead Murray made a pass out to Campazzo with no Wizard in sight to win the game for Denver. However, his shot clanked the front of the rim ending a wild ending to an evenly fought 48 minutes.
Both teams took time to adjust into their offence flow with the Wizards leading 26-22 at the close of one. Beal began to heat up in the second as the Wizards built a 12 point lead, before Denver went on a 22-7 run to take the lead. Washington lead 56-54 at intermission.
The Wizards head back to the Nation’s Captial where they will play eight of its next ten games starting the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves. Denver travels to meet the Oklahoma City Thunder for the third and final time this Season having won the first two contests.
BUCKS DEFEAT PELICANS FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN
There are signs the Milwaukee Bucks are back on track after a rough five game slide.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had his usual dominant outing finishing with 38 points and 10 rebounds, while Khris Middleton scored 31 points handing out 6 assists as the Bucks beat the New Orleans Pelicans 129-125 for its fourth straight win.
Donte DiVincenzo provided a major boost of firepower scoring 24 points to go with 9 assists.
Zion Williamson named to his first All-Star Game led New Orleans with 34 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, while Brandon Ingram scored 23 points.
The Pelicans stuck right with one of this season’s contenders with the game level at 103 heading into the fourth. Milwaukee appeared to shake off the resistant Pelicans using a 10-2 to open the term, with Middleton catching fire scoring seven points in the span forcing a timeout from Stan Van Gundy.
New Orleans came out rejuvenated with Williamson and Ingram unstoppable took a three point lead when the latter sunk a triple with 4:59 left. But with the game going the distance, Antetokounmpo made critical baskets making a short floater and two dunks – one in transition to put the Bucks back on top.
Still, the Pelicans were in it, until DiVincenzo came up with the game defining defensive play when he stepped to take a charge on Ingram’s drive to the hoop – snuffing out the chance to get level.
Offence was the order of the game, highlighted by brilliant individual plays and team plays with Milwaukee taking a 69-68 lead into intermission.
The Bucks shot 54.2% overall from the field and 41.9% from downtown (13/31), while the Pelicans shot at exactly 50% overall.
Milwaukee continues its season-high eight game home stand with a blockbuster encounter against the Los Angeles Clippers. New Orleans heads to the Lone City for a matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, with the Pelicans winning the first meeting 98-95 on December 27.
In other results around the Association:
Kyrie Irving had 27 points and 9 assists, while James Harden finished with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists and the red-hot Brooklyn Nets won its eight straight game blowing past the Orlando Magic 129-92.
Nikola Vucevic posted 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic who only scored 64 points in the last three quarters.
Joel Embiid had 23 points and 9 rebounds, while Ben Simmons and Seth Curry each scored 15 as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Dallas Mavericks 111-97.
Impressive Rookie Immanuel Quickley led New York with 25 points, while Alec Burks went off scoring 19 of his 24 points in the final stanza as the Knicks sent the reeling Sacramento Kings to a ninth straight loss winning 140-121.
Tyus Jones scored a career-high 20 points as the Memphis Grizzlies put halt to a mini two-game slide defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 122-94.
By Juri Bilcich