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NBA Wrap January 11th



JAZZ USE BIG FIRST HALF TO DEFEAT PISTONS


The Utah Jazz used a big first half before resisting a Detroit Pistons comeback to win its second consecutive game 96-86.


Donovan Mitchell finished with an equal game-high 28 points and his backcourt partner Mike Conley had 22.


Utah began the game fuelled by its defence to build a 20 point lead, then their offence came to a halt as Detroit began to work themselves back into the game.


The Pistons only trailing by six to start the last behind a 28-17 third quarter, got within five when Blake Griffin gave a handoff to Wayne Ellington who banked a triple off the glass with 1:56 left.


With momentum on the Pistons end, Utah desperately needed a defensive stop and 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert delivered with momentum changing block on Mason Plumlee’s jumper as the Jazz move to 6-4.


Detroit’s leading scorer Jerami Grant led the Pistons with 28 points, but the team were stone cold from the field shooting a mere 33.3% and 23.8% from three.


Up next for Utah is the Cleveland Cavaliers, the fifth of a six game Eastern swing. For Detroit they travel to face Milwaukee for a third time having lost the first two between the Central Division teams.



LEONARD REACHES 10,000 CAREER POINTS AS CLIPPERS PREVAIL


Superstar Kawhi Leonard put up 35 points, in the process reaching the 10,000 point mark of his career as the Los Angeles Clippers prevailed over the Chicago Bulls 130-127.


Kawhi’s star teammate Paul George continued his rapid start to the season finishing with

28, while 3-time Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams posted 21.


The Clippers had to withstand a Zach LaVine barrage who put up 45 points, his 11th 40 point outing of his seven year career.


LaVine who scored 38 in the narrow loss to the Lakers had an opportunity again to send the game into Overtime, but his 27 footer would not go through the hoop and the Clippers would sink two free throws to seal the result.


The Clippers move on to face Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans, while the Chicago Bulls return home to face the short-handed Boston Celtics.



DAVIS RETURNS AS LAKERS WIN OVER ROCKETS


Superstar Anthony Davis made his return from a one-game absence from a right adductor injury and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 120-102 at the Toyota Centre.


Davis sat the Lakers victory over the Chicago Bulls and had an immediate impact on the game finishing with 27 points and 4 rebounds in 29 minutes.


Superstar LeBron James had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists for the Lakers who move back on top of the Western Conference.


Offensive machine James Harden posted 20 points and handed out 9 assists for Houston while the lanky athletic Christian Wood had 23 points.


Tempers would flare when veteran Markeiff Morris who was ejected with 2:15 to go in the first took exception from DeMarcus Cousins’s bump after he pushed Jae’Sean Tate to the floor and had to be calmed down by teammates.


Cousins also wouldn’t last, playing only eight minutes before he was tossed out for a hard swipe at LeBron’s forehead whilst driving to the basket.


It is the second time Cousins has been ejected this season.


The teams will square off again in two days.


WARRIORS PIP RAPTORS IN A THRILLER


Golden State used an balanced attack to narrowly edge out the Toronto Raptors 106-105.


Raptors main man Pascal Siakam would have the chance to deliver Toronto a vital win, but his 20 foot turnaround would roll of the rim after being superbly contested by Andrew Wiggins.


On the previous possession Golden State reclaimed the lead after Damon Lee was fouled by Fred VanVleet whilst falling to the court and would make both foul shots, setting up the final play of the game.


Golden State has won two straight to remain fifth in the West, for Toronto its lost two of three in its four game Western trip which ends tomorrow against Portland.



In other NBA Results:


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had season-high 31 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder won its third consecutive game defeating the Brooklyn Nets 129-116.


Gilgeous-Alexander who has taken his game to new heights, became the third youngest Thunder player under the age of 23 to have 30 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a game joining Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.


Durant would return after missing three games due to the League’s Health and Safety Protocols had a season-high 36 points.


Superstar Nikola Jokic posted 22 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists and the Denver Nuggets breezed past the New York Knicks 114-89.


Julius Randle continued his outstanding campaign contributing a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists for New York who were held to its equal lowest score of the season.


The Minnesota Timberwolves put end to a seven-game losing streak to display its best defensive performance of the season over the San Antonio Spurs 96-88.


Point Guard De’Angelo Russell lead the Timberwolves with 27 points while Malik Beasley posted 24.


Lonnie Walker IV had a team-high 25 for San Antonio and Aussie Paddy Mills followed up his 21 points against Minnesota a game ago to post 18 off the bench.


Meanwhile…


The Boston Celtics – Miami Heat game was postponed due to contact tracing after Miami didn’t have the required minimum eight players to complete the game.


Boston is without nine players including stars Jayson Tatum who tested positive for COVID-19 and Jayden Brown (contact tracing) undergoing the League’s Health and Safety Protocols.


By Juri Bilcich


IMAGE: Orange County Register.


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