NBA Wrap January 21st
IMAGE: The Athletic
DAZZLING SEXTON PUSHES CAVS BY STAR STUDDED NETS IN DOUBLE OT
Collin Sexton is enjoying a breakout season, and on this night he showed why he was a lottery draft selection three years ago.
The blazing guard scored a career-high 42 points, including 22 in the two overtimes as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Brooklyn Nets 147-135.
Brooklyn would welcome back Kyrie Irving after missing seven games because of personal reasons and he wouldn’t miss a beat in his first outing since January 5th.
Irving finished with 37 points, while superstars Kevin Durant 38 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists and James Harden 21 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists played for the first time as a trio since the mega four-team for Harden was completed last week.
Cleveland took control of the second half stretching its lead to 13 with 8:33 left in the fourth, before the superstar trio found another gear combining for 23 of the last team’s 28 points to force Overtime.
Overtime would be as thrilling with the pendulum shifting as both the Cavaliers and Nets found the wide-open man off excellent ball movement.
With under a minute left and the Cavaliers trailing by three, Sexton drove the ball to the paint only for his shot to be blocked by Irving, then the guard quickly got his own missed shot kicking it out to a wide-open Larry Nance Jr who swished the triple to level the scores at 120.
Similar scenario would occur for Cleveland, trailing by three after Durant sunk a pair of free throws, Sexton received the inbounds pass taking four dribbles before landing a tough triple with Irving attached on him to again tie the game and force another extra five minutes.
The second overtime was Sexton’s moment to shine and he did. He nailed four triples in the period including a step back triple over Jeff Green to quash any hope of a late Nets revival.
YOUNG HAWKS TOPPLE PISTONS IN OVERTIME
Atlanta star Point Guard Trae Young was firing on all cylinders posting 38 points and handing out 10 assists as the Atlanta Hawks beat the Detroit Pistons 123-115 in Overtime.
Young wasn’t the only Hawk to shine with emerging power forward John Collins recording 31 points and 11 rebounds, while Clint Capela posted 27 points and pulled down a career-high 26 rebounds.
Detroit’s barometer Jerami Grant was unstoppable finishing with a team-high 32 points, for his third 30 point game of the season, but his production wasn’t enough as the Pistons fall to an Eastern Conference worst 3-11.
Only minutes left Detroit had one hand on the win when they led 101-87 with 5:03 on Mason Plumlee’s shot. Then Atlanta would mount its challenge and Young was at the centre of it scoring eight points and dishing out assists to his teammates, including the assist for a Capela dunk which levelled the scores at 106.
Detroit got possession back for the chance to grab the win and Grant would have the ball in his hands. The athletic 6 foot 9 breezed to the rim, but little did he know Collins came up from behind him to emphatically reject his game-winning layup of the back board forcing the game to overtime.
The extra frame was the time for the upcoming Hawks to make their statement and Young relished the moment. From his range deep, he shook out former MVP Derrick Rose before sinking a 31 footer. After a Pistons turnover, Young picked his spot near the rim lobbing Capela for the alley-pop dunk to seal the result.
MAGIC LEAP TIMBERWOLVES ON ANTHONY GAME-WINNER
Cole Anthony may only be 15 games into his NBA career, but he delivered a magical shot to halt Orlando’s skid.
Anthony landed the game-winning three from the right wing as the Orlando Magic narrowly defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-96.
Nikola Vucevic had a team-high 28 points to go with 8 rebounds, while Evan Fournier scored 24 points in his first game after missing the last nine due to back spasms.
Although Orlando didn’t reach the 100 point mark for the sixth time in seven games, it was still enough to stop a six-game losing streak.
Timberwolves Point Guard D’Angelo Russell had 19 points and 6 assists as Minnesota squandered a 20 point lead to now lose 10 of its last 11 since opening the season with two wins over Detroit and Utah.
In the opening half especially the second quarter, Minnesota seized command generating easy points on the perimeter and paint points using a 30-10 term as Orlando’s offence not the first time this season went as cold as Antartica.
However, Orlando started to pick up the pace and sliced the deficit to nine by the end of three. The Magic continued to rally, but still trailing by five after Josh McLaughlin’s feed for a Naz Reid dunk. Anthony would shine when counted on nailing a corner three from James Ennis’ pass to make it 96-94.
Inside the last 30 seconds, Aaron Gordon missed the go-ahead three with Jarred Vanderbilt securing the defensive rebound, immediately being fouled. With the chance to seal it at the line Vanderbilt missed the first, then missed the second clanking high of the rim.
With no timeouts left, Gordon tapped the miss to Anthony who went the length of the court, stopping at the top right side before letting it fly, watching the ball swish through as the buzzer sounded with his teammates mobbing him in celebration.
In other results around the Association:
Kristaps Porzingis posted 27 points and 13 rebounds for double-double number two this season as the Dallas Mavericks pushed away in the second half to defeat the Indiana Pacers 124-112.
Porzingis’s superstar teammate Luka Doncic had his fifth triple-double of the campaign finishing with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists as Dallas ended a three-game skid.
The bulldozing Domantas Sabonis had 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Malcolm Brogdon scored 26 for the Pacers who were coming of a 33 point pasting to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Joel Embiid posted 42 points and 10 rebounds leading the Philadelphia 76ers to victory over the Boston Celtics 117-109.
For the green team, All-Star Jaylen Brown had a team-high 26, while gritty stopper Marcus Smart scored 25, who again were without superstar Jason Tatum who’s still under the League’s Health and Safety Protocols.
Shooting guard Kendrick Nunn had his best performance of the season scoring 28 points and the Miami Heat made it two wins on the trot with a 111-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
All-Stars Bam Adebayo 14 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists and savvy veteran Goran Dragic 17 points and 5 assists helped chip in for Miami who are playing with Jimmy Butler due to the League’s Health and Safety Protocols.
Diminutive Point Guard Fred VanVleet top-scored for the Raptors with 24 points whilst dishing 9 assists, as the Raptors had its three-game winning streak halted.
Former 2018 Number One Overall pick De’Andre Ayton posted 26 points and 17 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns held off a late rally to defeat the Houston Rockets 109-103.
Devin Booker scored 24 for Phoenix who have won three of four to remain fourth in the Western Conference.
Victor Oladipo coming of a debut 32 point performance against the Chicago scored 22 as too Eric Gordon, while contender for Most Improved Player Christian Wood put up 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Houston’s slide continues now losers of five of six since its 132-90 drubbing of the Orlando Magic on January 9th.
3-time Champion Steph Curry scored 26 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and had 7 assists as the Golden State Warriors had its most convincing victory of the season defeating the San Antonio Spurs 121-99.
Second overall pick James Wiseman scored 20 points to go with 6 rebounds as the Warriors led all contest and were rarely challenged.
Dejounte Murray’s career-best season continues scoring a team-high 22 for the Spurs.
The dynamic one-two punch of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George came to haunt the Sacramento Kings once again as the Los Angeles Clippers ran away 115-96 for its fifth consecutive victory.
Leonard was at his usual best delivering a game-high 32 points, while George took a back seat posting 19 points and handing out 12 assists an equal-high since February 13, 2013 against the then New Orleans Hornets.
Dynamic guard De’Aaron Fox scored 25 points, his eighth 20 point outing this season along with 7 assists for the Kings who for a second time this season have been blown out by the Clippers.
By Juri Bilcich