NBA Wrap January 17th
HARDEN SHINES IN NETS DEBUT
James Harden shined in his debut with the Nets finishing with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists as Brooklyn sent Orlando skidding to its fifth successive defeat 122-115.
Harden with the numbers became the first player in NBA History to record a 30 point triple-double in his debut game with a new team.
The 8-time All-Star playing for the first time with former OKC teammate Kevin Durant who had a season-high 42 points and is averaging 29.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 10 games this season.
The transition between the two was seamless as both made plays for each in their preferred spots on the floor.
Orlando who put up one of its best offensive numbers this season, but again were found out again defensively as Brooklyn drained 16 threes on 35 attempts, with the Magic having not held an opponent under 100 points since January 7th.
Magic All-Star Nikola Vucevic had a season-high 34 points, to go with 10 rebounds and 7 assists, while instant offence Terrence Ross scored 23.
Brooklyn hopes Harden’s spectacular first outing carries on with the other All-Star piece of Kyrie Irving to return soon after a six-game absence due to personal reasons.
The Nets now have won four of its last six to remain fifth in the East with the Milwaukee Bucks coming to town. Orlando remains in the Apple to also face another skidding team: the New York Knicks who’ve lost five straight.
MORANT RETURNS AS GRIZZLIES STARVE OFF 76ERS
Ja Morant made his return from a left ankle sprain and the Memphis Grizzlies withstood a Philadelphia 76ers fourth quarter rally to win 106-104.
Morant, last season’s Rookie of the Year had missed the team’s last eight games after sustaining a nasty sprained left ankle against the Brooklyn Nets on December 28th.
The dynamic Point Guard finished with 17 points and gave out 6 assists, while rookie Xavier Tillman had 15 points including 4 steals.
After a slow beginning for a second consecutive season, the Grizzlies have found their stride having won four in a row.
Philadelphia who still haven’t won at the Grind House since 2012, were without Star big man Joel Embiid with right knee pain, the team already ruling him out for tomorrow’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Despite his absence and a 14 point deficit early in the fourth, Philadelphia led by Shake Milton, Aussie Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris trimmed the deficit to a single point when Harris made a pull-up jumper with 1:25 left.
For the next minute the sides forced each other to use most of the shot clock getting stops, then Philadelphia would have their chance of completing the comeback after Morant spilt a pair of free throws.
With no timeouts remaining, Simmons took the ball past half-court handed it off to Rookie Tyrese Maxey off-balance he could only draw the left side of the backcourt as the final buzzer sounded.
Milton top-scored for Philadelphia with 28, Harris had 21 and Simmons was one assist shy of a second successive triple-double: 11 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists.
RAPTORS AGAIN EDGE PAST HORNETS
For a second consecutive outing the Toronto Raptors held off the Charlotte Hornets at the buzzer prevailing 116-113.
Although veteran Kyle Lowry had a solid outing with 19 points, it would be the Raptors bench led by Norman Powell who scored 24 including six threes, and Sixth Man Chris Boucher with 20.
Charlotte’ leading-scorer Gordon Hayward was back after a one-game absence due to a left hip strain and finished with 25 points while Terry Rozier scored 24 but missed the go-ahead triple barely with 3.4 seconds left scraping net.
The play was similar to the chance Charlotte had in the final seconds of last game when P.J Washington missed a three, then Devonte Graham too had an opportunity to win it only for his wild shot to clank into the left sideboard.
Toronto next faces the Dallas Mavericks who are coming of a last possession loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Charlotte is scheduled to go up against the Washington Wizards who have had four games postponed after six players tested positive to the Coronavirus.
In other around results around the Association:
Damian Lillard put the team on his back finishing with 36 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists as the Portland Trailblazers pushed by the Atlanta Hawks 112-106.
Portland would lose C.J McCollum when he exited the game for good with a left foot sprain, who are without starting Centre Jusuf Nurkic who fractured his right wrist in the loss to the Indiana Pacers.
Atlanta star Point Guard Trae Young had 26 points and 11 assists, but his shooting woes continue only 7 of 23 overall and 1 of 9 from deep.
Centre Clint Capela was instrumental with 25 points and 15 rebounds for double-double number six of the season.
Jerami Grant put up 24 points, and former 2011 MVP Derrick Rose scored 23 after missing three games with a knee injury as the Detroit Pistons rolled past the Miami Heat 120-100.
Bam Adebayo had a game-high 28 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, and Duncan Robinson had 22 for Miami who currently are not displaying the high level of basketball that saw them propel into the NBA Finals last season.
The sides face again in two days time back in Miami.
Veteran two-guard DeMar DeRozan had 24 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists as the San Antonio Spurs used a 13-6 to close out the match over the Houston Rockets 103-91.
Christian Wood, the team’s MVP was everywhere finishing with 24 points and 18 rebounds following up from his 27 point 15 rebound effort between the teams last game.
Houston Coach Stephen Silas only used eight players who were without John Wall (knee), Eric Gordon (lower leg), DeMarcus Cousins (sore right ankle) and new acquisition Victor Oladipo.
By Juri Bilcich.
IMAGE: NBA website.