NBA Wrap January 14th
Updated: Jan 15
PORZINGIS MAKES SEASON DEBUT IN MAVERICKS WIN
Superstar Luka Doncic narrowly missed out on his third triple-double this season: finishing with 34 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Charlotte Hornets 104-93.
The game marked the return of “The Unicorn” Kristaps Porzingis who had 16 points on only 6 of 16 from the floor after undergoing off-season knee surgery in October.
Terry Rozier had a team-high 18 for Charlotte, however the team lost leading-scorer Gordon Hayward who left the game with a left hip strain and wouldn’t return.
Dallas took the ascendancy right from the opening tip leading 32-16 at the one, and would build its largest lead of 22 early third when Porzingis nailed a corner triple.
Charlotte then began to have patience on the offensive end using a 18-5 run capped off by a Rozier layup with 6:38 left in the quarter, before Dallas steadied to lead by 15 entering the last.
From there, the Mavericks tightened the screws on defence and motored away for its fourth consecutive victory.
Dallas heads to the Midwest for a battle with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Charlotte is on road for two games against the Toronto Raptors .
BLAZERS WIN FOURTH STRAIGHT BEHIND LILLARD AND MCCOLLUM
Portland’s defence in the season’s early has been porous to say the least. It seemed the trend would continue until the team locked in on defence and in the process win its fourth game in a row.
The dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard had 40 points and 13 assists and C.J. McCollum 28 points and 10 assists in the 132-126 result over the Sacramento Kings.
The duo became the first Blazers since Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter on March 6, 1992 to score 25 points and have 10 assists in a game.
After erasing a 20 point deficit, the Blazers would lead by five with a minute left until De’Aaron Fox kept Sacramento alive with a triple off Rookie Tyrese Haloburton’s swing pass, until Lillard as he’s done many times throughout his nine seasons hit a driving layup past Fox to complete the comeback.
Fox had a team-high 29 points, while undoubtedly Buddy Hield had the best performance of the season ending up with 26 including eight threes.
Sacramento plays its sixth of a seventh game home stand against the Los Angeles Clippers. Portland returns home also for a seven games at home starting with the Indiana Pacers.
LEONARD, GEORGE ELEVATE CLIPPERS PAST PELICANS
Superstar Kawhi Leonard had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists, while Paul George posted 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans 111-106.
The Pelicans were without star Zion Williamson due to the League’s Health and Safety Protocols after an inconclusive COVID-19, while starters Lonzo Ball (knee) and Eric Bledsoe (eye) were also sidelined.
Second year-pro Nickeil Alexander-Walker came into the starting five and had himself a night to remember finishing with a career-high 37 points going 5 of 8 from distance.
The Clippers grabbed the momentum midway through the second going on a 21-4 run nailing five threes during the span to take an 18 point lead going into intermission.
By the fourth, New Orleans had steadied using a 14-6 run to trim the Clippers to only four on a Brandon Ingram 12 foot jumper. From there the poise and star class of Leonard and George propelled the Clippers giving them three wins in its last four contests.
GRIZZLIES USE BIG FOURTH QUARTER TO RUN OVER TIMBERWOLVES
Veteran Centre Jonas Valanciunas had his ninth triple-double of the season with 24 points and 16 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies used a 38-17 final quarter to run over the Minnesota Timberwolves 118-107.
Role player Grayson Allen scored 20 off the bench and Brandon Clark who (filling in nicely for Jaron Jackson Jr) had 19 points and 9 rebounds as Memphis won its third straight.
Minnesota guard Malik Beasley led the Wolves with 28 points, while Karl Anthony-Towns and De’Angelo Russell each had 25 as the sides subpar ability to defend opponents continues.
Down by ten entering the fourth, Memphis would display the same lock down defensive scheme as applied in its win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, in the process using a 14-2 run to take the lead. Valanciunas later would ice the result a short jumper from Tyus Jones.
In other results around the Association:
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double this season and the Milwaukee Bucks were rarely troubled in a 110-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
Jrue Holiday chipped in with 21 points and 5 assists as the Bucks beat the Pistons for the third time this season.
Jerami Grant’s season of excellence continues posting 22 points to put himself as an early front runner for Most Improved Player, while laser shooter Svi Myhailiuk contributed 18 off the bench.
Superstar Kevin Durant was on song once again with 26 points and 6 assists as the Brooklyn Nets sent the New York Knicks to its fourth successive loss winning 116-109.
Durant became only the second Net to score 25 plus points eight games in a row since the great Bernard King in January 1979.
Julius Randle led the Knicks with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, while R.J. Barrett had 20.
Superstar LeBron James had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, while Montrezl Harrell posted 21 and the Los Angeles Lakers coasted by the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-99.
The Lakers who have won all seven road games are off to franchise best away from Staples Centre.
Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a team-high 17, ending his streak of four consecutive games scoring over 20 points.
Earlier today three games (Washington Wizards-Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics-Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns-Atlanta Hawks) were postponed due to the League’s Health and Safety Protocols and contract tracing.
By Juri Bilcich
IMAGE: Yahoo Sport