NBA Wrap January 16th
ANTETOKOUNMPO, MIDDLETON STAR AS BUCKS EDGE MAVERICKS
Having battled foul trouble in the first half Giannis Antetokounmpo would stamp his mark in the final quarter as the Milwaukee Bucks prevailed in a thriller over the Dallas Mavericks 112-109.
The 2-time defending MVP had 31 points and 9 assists, while All-Star Khris Middleton posted 25 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists as Milwaukee won its fourth consecutive game.
Dallas were led by superstar Luka Doncic who had 28 points, 9 rebounds and 13 assists, and Tim Hardaway Jr who scored 22, as the Mavericks had their four game winning streak snapped.
Milwaukee would take control in the second quarter with the “Greak Freak” unstoppable as the Bucks opened up a 43-29 lead on a Brook Lopez jumper.
Then the Mavericks would force Milwaukee into missed triples and long twos to use a 24-12 run when Doncic was fouled by Antetokounmpo picking up his fourth foul sending him to the bench for the next 8:49 of the third.
Antetokounmpo came back into the game and wouldn’t pick up another foul for the duration of the contest as the final term went to the very last possession.
Middleton who has been shooting lights out through 13 games, made two crunch threes of Milwaukee consecutive possessions as the Bucks went ahead by four with 1:47 left.
Dallas wouldn’t wilt, as Doncic made two pressure-packed baskets to slice the deficit to two after Middleton made both his free throws.
On the Bucks’ next possession, Doncic would immediately foul Brook Lopez who would make the first three throw, but his second one clanked off the back of the iron with Luka securing the rebound.
With no timeouts and only two seconds winding down Doncic would heave a wild 50-footer to force Overtime only for the ball to thud on the bottom of the backcourt as Milwaukee prevailed.
Milwaukee travels to face the revamped Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Centre. Dallas heads home to face the staggering Chicago Bulls, with the Bulls winning on January 4th 118-108.
DRUMMOND’S MONSTER OUTING HELPS CAVALIERS OUST KNICKS
Andre Drummond’s been putting up monster numbers night in and night out, and this game would see him level a statistic that hasn’t been achieved in Cavaliers’ history over a decade.
Drummond posted 33 points and 23 mammoth rebounds becoming the first Cavalier since Carlos Boozer in 2004 to have a 30 point and 20 rebound game as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the New York Knicks 106-103.
Cedi Osman, in his fourth season had 25 points for the Cavaliers who were without its starting backcourt Collin Sexton (left ankle sprain) and Darius Garland (right shoulder).
New York who began the campaign 5-3 have now dropped five straight were once again led by Julius Randle who posted 28 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists and Rookie Immanuel Quickley had 23 of the bench.
The Knicks who trailed by 12 when Larry Nance Jr dunked with 3:15 in the third, rattled off 12 consecutive points to tie the scores heading to the fourth.
The final stanza would have both teams working closer to the rim and taking mid-range jumpers with the three ball rarely used.
Into the last minute of the game, New York trimmed the Cavs lead to a solitary point on Julius Randle’s driving dunk over Drummond, however the man who battered the opposing Knicks bigs on the glass, Drummond spilt two foul shots to give Cleveland a two possession lead.
New York needing to score quickly only for R.J Barrett to throw away an errant pass as the Cavaliers halted a three-game slide.
THUNDER TRUMP BULLS IN OVERTIME
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a career-high 33 points and 10 assists including the game-tying three-point to force Overtime as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls 127-125.
OKC coming off its third lopsided loss of the season this time at the hands of Champions Los Angeles Lakers stopped a mini-two game skid.
Thunder defensive stopper Luguentz Dort had 21 points and 8 rebounds.
Rapid fire scorer Zach LaVine posted 35 points, for his fifth 30 point game in the campaign, but for the third time in a crunch situation missed the chance to win for Chicago who have dropped four straight.
Bulls Point Guard Guard Coby White scored 22 and dished seven assists.
Chicago travels to the Lone Star for a second and final matchup with the Dallas Mavericks.
OKC ends four straight home games against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers, who’ve won its last two.
In other results around the Association:
Star guard Jaylen Brown had 21 points, while veteran Jeff Teague in his second start had 17 as the Boston Celtics ran rampant in the second half to defeat the Orlando Magic 124-97.
Rookie Payton Pritchard who’s enjoyed a solid start to his NBA career had 16 for the team in Green who were playing its first game in a week after several players were placed under the League’s Health and Safety Protocols.
Combo forward Aaron Gordon had a team-high 17 for Orlando, however its offensive woes
continue, ranking bottom five in the League for points scored.
Star Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points as the Utah Jazz were hardly challenged in its dismantling of the Atlanta Hawks 116-92.
Bojan Bogdanovic who’s had a rough start this season from the field (38.5%) had 17 as the Jazz were back home after winning its last three of a six game Eastern swing.
Second-year pro out of Duke, Cam Reddish had a team-high 20 for the Hawks
who had its game against the Phoenix Suns postponed.
Superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis guided the Lakers as it powered away from the New Orleans Pelicans in the final quarter to win 112-95.
James showing no signs of slowing down even at the young age of 36 had 21 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists, while Davis posted 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Last season’s Champions have won five in a row since last Saturday’s defeat at the hands of the San Antionio Spurs.
New Orleans young stars Zion Williamson had 21 points and 12 rebounds, while former Laker Brandon Ingram netted 20 points despite at times being matched up on the shot blocking prowess of Davis.
The Lakers co-tenants, Los Angeles Clippers used a 37-16 third quarter, to roll over the Sacramento Kings 138-100.
Superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George sliced apart the suspect Kings’s defence to combine for 52 points.
Sacramento was led by former number two pick Marvin Bagley who had 20 points and 5 rebounds.
Three games were postponed today (Detroit Pistons – Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves – Memphis Grizzlies, and Phoenix Suns – Golden State Warriors) taking the number to ten.
By Juri Bilcich.
IMAGE: NBA website.