NBA Wrap February 9th
IMAGE: Dallas Sports Fanatic
LAVINE MISSES GAME-TYING LAYUP AS WIZARDS PREVAIL
Wins have been far and few for the Wizards this season.
Well, they prevailed albeit in a nervous final seconds.
Zach LaVine missed a game-tying layup and the Washington Wizards won for only the sixth time this season edging past the Chicago Bulls 105-101.
Bradley Beal followed up his 31 point outing in the rout to the Charlotte Hornets a night earlier, leading the Wizards with a team-high 35 points and 7 assists, while Rui Hachimira finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for Washington who were without Russell Westbrook due to rest.
LaVine finished with a game-tying high 35.
As Chicago has done numerous times, they rode the hot-hand of LaVine in crunch time. The 2-time Slam Dunk Contest Champion rose to the occasion notching six points deep in regulation and when Coby White hit a runner, the Bulls narrowed the gap to only one with 29.2 seconds left.
On the next possession, the Wizards ran a play for Beal using two screens freeing himself to the rim where he fouled by former teammate Garrett Temple. With the chance to ice the game from the line, the 2-time All-Star rimmed his first free throw, before hitting the second to give Washington a two point lead.
Coming off a timeout, Chicago drew up a play with LaVine the recipient of the ball matched up by Beal. With everyone clearing out, LaVine made a spin move blowing by Beal to the paint, until Alex Len came in the nick of time to raise both arms up straight as LaVine was forced to take a difficult layup.
Little separated the Bulls and Wizards in the opening half, then Washington created a 60-48 lead early in the third on Raul Neto’s driving layup. Every time the Wizards appeared to wrestle the game away, the Bulls found an answer from their superstar LaVine.
The Wizards return back home to start a five straight games at Captial One Arena beginning with the Toronto Raptors. Up next for Chicago are the improving New Orleans Pelicans winners of three straight.
DONCIC, PORZINGIS AND MAVERICKS STOP TIMBERWOLVES SURGE
Up 23 with 10 minutes to play, all Dallas had to do was execute.
Someone forgot to tell them that there was plenty of time left in the period.
Kristaps Porzingis led the Mavericks with 27 points and 13 rebounds, while Luka Doncic had 26 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists as the Dallas Mavericks held off a furious fourth quarter rally from the Minnesota Timberwolves to win 127-122.
Tim Hardaway Jr coming off the bench for the fifth consecutive game had 24 for Dallas who were coming off a vital 134-132 victory over Golden State.
Malik Beasley, having a career-best season led the Timberwolves with 30 points with his backcourt partner D’Angelo Russell only playing six minutes before leaving the game with what the team called as left leg soreness.
Dallas’s extra ball movement caused headaches for Minnesota’s shaky defence leading the majority of the opening and second half by double-digits. The Mavericks extended their lead to 23, after Doncic sunk a wide-open triple of a second-chance opportunity.
That is when Minnesota sparked to life, and it would be Beasley who was the catalyst. After scoring only three first half points, the shooting guard piled on 22 points including five threes as the lifeless Timberwolves began to believe.
The rally went into the final minute when Edwards missed a triple, but Beasley not be denied soared in for the offensive rebound, fighting his way between the shot-blocker Porzingis and Hardaway Jr to muscle it in to make it a three-point Mavericks lead all part of a 41-15 run.
But, Dallas facing a similar situation to the previous outing against Golden State found the bucket to settle proceedings. The Mavericks got the ball to Doncic, who gave up the ball to Josh Richardson making a penetrating move into the paint, where he separated himself from Ricky Rubio to land the short fadeaway jumper to ease the nerves.
Dallas continues its seven-game home stand against the Atlanta Hawks with the Mavericks winning last week 122-116 between the teams. Minnesota faces the LA Clippers for the second time this season.
In other results around the Association:
LaMelo Ball led the Hornets with 24 points, 10 assists and hitting seven triples as Charlotte smothered the Houston Rockets to only 7 fourth-quarter points to power away 119-94.
The Rookie became only the third rookie to achieve seven made threes and ten or more assists, joining Steph Curry and Jason Kidd.
Fred Van Vleet had 32 points and 9 assists, while Pascal Siakam also finished with 32 as the Toronto Raptors overcame a lackadaisical defensive opening half to rocket by the Memphis Grizzlies 128-113.
Jonas Valanciunas put a monster outing against his former team, finishing with 27 points and 20 rebounds, as Memphis dropped its fourth game in a row.
Dejounte Murray scored 27 points including the late-game clutch triple and DeMar DeRozan had 21 points, 10 assists as the San Antonio Spurs won its third straight beating the Golden State Warriors 105-100.
Devin Booker had a season-high 36 points, while the rapidly improving Mikal Bridges finished with 22 and the Phoenix Suns toppled the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-113.
Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 30 points, 9 rebounds, while Khris Middleton had 29 points, 8 rebounds and 12 assists as the rolling Milwaukee Bucks won its fifth on the trot beating the Denver Nuggets 125-112.
LeBron James had his third triple-double this season with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Overtime 119-112.
OKC’s two stars of the future Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put up 29 points and 10 assists, while Darius Bazley delivered 21 points and 16 rebounds.
By Juri Bilcich