NBA Wrap January 22nd
Updated: Jan 26
IMAGE: The SportsRush
LEBRON’S SEASON-HIGH GUDIES LAKERS PAST GIANNIS’S BUCKS
LeBron James might be averaging the second-lowest points of a glittering 18-year career, but on this night he turned up the heat offensively on the Milwaukee Bucks.
James scored a season-high 34 points along with 6 rebounds, 8 assists hitting 6 of 10 from deep as the Lakers beat the Bucks 113-106 after a narrow loss to Golden State.
The victory extends Lakers best unbeaten start on the road having won all eight games away from Staples Centre.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who’s taken on more responsibility since Danny Green’s departure in the off-season to the Philadelphia 76ers, posted 23 points where he was unconscious from downtown nailing 7 of 10.
Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 25 points, 12 rebounds while Jrue Holiday posted 22 points and gave out 7 assists for the Bucks who lost a thriller against the star-studded Brooklyn Nets.
The contest was played at a high tempo as the Lakers took a 63-57 lead into intermission. However, the Lakers seized the ascendancy pulling clear on Montrezl Harrell’s short shot to lead 102-91 with 5:43 remaining.
Milwaukee however found its stride behind Antetokounmpo who scored five points in that span, and when Middleton faked a three and drove baseline for a tough layup over Alex Caruso, the Lakers lead was cut to only two.
When it seemed Milwaukee would carry on their momentum, the red-hot Caldwell-Pope sunk his seventh triple of the night to give the Lakers a cushion with 2:42 left.
Then it was time for The King to close out the game and he did. After Antetokounmpo stuffed home a driving dunk from Holiday, LeBron picked his spot as Davis passed the ball to him, and with cool confidence nailed his sixth and final three of the night over Brook Lopez to seal the deal.
LA continues a long seven-game Eastern trip with a matchup against the Chicago Bulls for the second and final time this season. Milwaukee remains at home with the Atlanta Hawks
their next opponent.
SCORCHING MITCHELL FIRING AS JAZZ BEAT PELICANS
There haven’t been many rare nights where Donovan Mitchell hasn’t hurt the opposition.
That trend would continue.
Mitchell scored a season-high 36 points nailing six threes and the Utah Jazz extended its winning streak to seven defeating the New Orleans Pelicans for the second time in as many games 129-118.
Mitchell’s dominant performance was capped by him becoming the fastest player in NBA history to make 600 threes (240 games), surpassing current Sacramento Kings’ shooting guard Buddy Hield.
Mike Conley, Mitchell backcourt partner had 20 points and 6 assists, while the reliable hand of Jordan Clarkson posted 19 as Utah lethal three point shooting continued nailing 17 of 39.
Star Zion Williamson 27 points and Brandon Ingram 23 points led New Orleans, but the team’s recent slide has seen them lose six of seven.
In the early going, New Orleans got the hot start building its largest lead of 16 early in the second, before Utah put on the clamps putting the Pelicans into foul trouble as the team got to the line with regular occurrence.
Leading by a solitary point at intermission, Utah built on their momentum from the last 10 minutes of the second using 27-10 to start the third capped off by Aussie Joe Ingles’ reverse layup to make it 96-80.
New Orleans would regroup as Williamson flexed his muscle bringing the Pelicans within six in the opening 26 seconds of the fourth, only for Ingles, Conley and Gobert to impose their influence as Utah crisp ball movement left the Pelicans once again scrambling.
Utah faces Golden State next, the third of a six-game home stand. New Orleans completes an initial six-game Western Swing with a matchup against the staggering Minnesota Timberwolves.
KNICKS TOO MUCH FOR WARRIORS BEHIND BARRETT’S CAREER HIGH
Four straight losses in recent seasons would’ve seen the New York crumble in a heap.
But these Knicks are showing fight and toughness that hasn’t been there since the Jeff Van Gundy days with his former assistant Tom Thibodeau now leading the reins.
R.J Barrett scored a season-high 28 points as the Knicks won its third straight with a strong defensive effort over three quarters over Golden State 119-104.
Julius Randle playing with an extra incentive under Thibodeau narrowly missed out on his second triple-double this season finishing with 16 points, 17 rebounds and 9 assists, while the energy man Mitchell Robinson scored 18 points to go with 8 rebounds.
Steph Curry led the way for Golden State posting 30 points but his triples weren’t falling with the usual ease, finishing only 5 of 14 with the Knicks swarming defence made him take
Golden State would be one man short when the heart and soul of the side Draymond Green was ejected for allegedly yelling at the referees when he actually directed his fury at Rookie James Wiseman.
New York grabbed the initiative after intermission as the Warriors offence dried up with missed shot after missed shot, and the Knicks capitalised going for more of an inside game as Golden State couldn’t contain the orange and blue.
The victory is the first of a four-game Western swing for New York with matches to come against Sacramento, Portland and Utah. Golden State heads to face a red-hot Utah.
By Juri Bilcich