NBA Wrap January 23rd
IMAGE: Indy Cornrows
CLUTCH BROGDON PROPELS PACERS PAST MAGIC
Having signed a 4-year $85 million deal two Summers ago to join Indiana, Malcolm Brogdon has been one of the Pacers steady heads in crunch situations.
Not for the first time this season, he has been ice cool.
Brogdon nailed a three with 2.8 seconds left and the Pacers handed the Orlando Magic a devastating loss 120-118 in Overtime.
The 2017 Rookie of the Year finished with 23 points and 6 assists, while Myles Turner returning to the starting lineup posted 22 points and 9 rebounds for Indiana who previously lost its last two.
Two nights after the euphoria from Cole Anthony’s buzzer beater over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando this time were on the receiving end marking its seventh loss in eight games.
Orlando All-Star Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Evan Fournier posted a team-high 26 points and handed 9 assists, in his second game back from back spams.
Not much would separate the sides after Orlando burst out of the blocks in the opening stanza through excellent passing setting up free looks nailing four from deep catching Indiana’s defence on the hop.
By intermission, Indiana regained the lead by two and the momentum swings would continue deep into regulation.
Under a minute left, Orlando regained the lead when Terrence Ross made a difficult layup from a Vucevic feed prompting Indiana to use a full timeout. For the next couple possessions both teams would go up empty until Domantas Sabonis got the ball in his hands before bullying his way into the paint for a left hook-shot over Aaron Gordon to tie scores at 108.
In the second extra frame, Orlando built a five point buffer when Fournier created room to drill a triple with 3:43 remaining, only for Indiana to find an answer through Sabonis.
The next three minutes saw the lead change multiple times allowing to set up Brogdon’s game-winning shot.
Next for Indiana is the Toronto Raptors at home on a back-to-back. For Orlando it is back home to begin a four-game stand first up against the Charlotte Hornets.
ROCKETS NARROWLY EDGE PISTONS
Houston built a commanding lead in the first half only for their 20 point buffer to be sliced completely.
However, it came away with a narrow win and might be the way they have to play in the post James Harden era.
Veteran Shooting guard Eric Gordon scored 20 points, and the Rockets used a balanced attack to hold off the Detroit Pistons 103-102 to snap a three game losing streak.
Detroit’s leading-scorer Jerami Grant had 21 points and 8 rebounds, while Wayne Ellington and Delon Wright each scored 18 for the Pistons who have the Eastern Conference’s worst record at 3-12.
The first 20 minutes seemed as though Houston would waltz away as Detroit looked lacklustre defensively, with the Rockets finding gaps with relative ease to build a double-digit buffer. However, Detroit sprung to life carrying the momentum using a 37-19 run over the next 11:13 to take the lead for the first time.
Grant was the catalyst for Detroit helping them stay the course in the fourth hitting a wing jumper, before rattling home a triple of Mason Plumlee’s pass in the process being fouled by Jae’Sean Tate to cut Houston’s lead to two.
In the final minute after Gordon made a pair of free throws, Blake Griffin responded with a triple with 29.9 seconds left slicing the margin to one. Houston would turn to Victor Oladipo but he missed from distance setting up a final Pistons’s possession.
Grant with the ball drove to the rim for a layup, but his shot wouldn’t count as time expired, although there was clear bump by P.J Tucker contesting the shot.
Houston completes a mini-two game trip with a Texas matchup against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Detroit next faces the Eastern Conference leaders: Philadelphia 76ers.
JOKIC AND THE NUGGETS RALLY TO DEFEAT SUNS
One of the League’s best big men Nikola Jokic was unstoppable and with it Denver rallied to eclipse Phoenix in the extra period.
Jokic had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists and the Nuggets defeated the Suns 130-126 for its fifth win in their last seven games.
Defensive stopper Gary Harris scored 19, while Jamal Murray put up 18 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists as the Nuggets move into eighth in the Western Conference.
Phoenix young stars Devin Booker 31 points and De’Andre Ayton 27 points and 13 rebounds had stellar outings, however the Suns dropped its fifth game in their last eight after beginning the season 5-1.
Phoenix built a 14 point half-time lead on the back of an 18-8 run which included four triples, however Denver chipped away at the deficit to only trail by four at the end of three.
Murray who exploded in the bubble delivered two vital shots, one in regulation and a pull-up late in the extra frame as Denver held on with Cameron Payne throwing away a pass straight to Jokic.
The sides are back to do battle again tomorrow.
In other results around the Association:
Luka Doncic posted 36 points, 9 rebounds and 11 assists as the Dallas Mavericks withstood a late comeback to defeat the San Antonio Spurs 122-117.
Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr each scored 21, for the Mavericks who have won two straight.
DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 28 points, and veteran LaMarcus Aldridge posted 26 points and 9 rebounds for San Antonio who are 3-2 against Southwest Division teams.
Collin Sexton recorded 25 points and 9 assists to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a second consecutive victory in as many games over the Brooklyn Nets 125-113.
The League’s leading-rebounder Andre Drummond posted 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Cavaliers who dominated the boards 50-29.
Superstars Kyrie Irving 38 points and James Harden 19 points, 11 assists led the way for the Nets who were without superstar Kevin Durant due to rest.
Zac LaVine’s stellar season continues scoring 25 points, while Lauri Markaanen posted 23 points as the Chicago Bulls won its third consecutive game defeating the Charlotte Hornets 123-110.
Gordon Hayward, the team’s leading scorer had 34 points for Charlotte, while Point Guard Devonte Graham had 24 points and 6 assists.
Joel Embiid was a domineering force posting 38 points, 11 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers for a second consecutive outing beat the Boston Celtics 122-110.
Versatile forward Tobias Harris scored 23 points, while Aussie star Ben Simmons recorded 15 points and 11 assists for the East-leading 76ers.
Star Jaylen Brown tied his career-high with 42 for Boston who’ve now lost three in a row for the first time this season.
Norman Powell scored 23 points and O.G Anunoby had 21 as the Toronto Raptors powered past the Miami Heat after squandering an early double-digit buffer to win 101-81.
Kendrick Nunn continued his strong output off the bench finishing with 22 points for Miami who are still without All-Star Jimmy Butler.
Trae Young was dazzling with 43 points, while Clint Capela was a force finishing with 13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks as the Atlanta Hawks dispatched the hapless Minnesota Timberwolves 116-98.
Malik Beasley led Minnesota with 17, who were playing without All-Star Karl Anthony-Towns and now fall to 3-11.
The Los Angeles Clippers won its sixth straight with a 120-106 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kawhi Leonard had 31 points, while Paul George had 29 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists for the Clippers who were rarely troubled building a margin of 27, improving 10-4 against fellow Western Conference teams.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had another solid outing finishing with 30 points to go with 8 assists.
Electric Point Guard De’Aaron Fox put up 22 points and 7 assists as the Sacramento Kings pushed past the hard edged New York Knicks 103-94.
Julius Randle was a major presence finishing the contest with 26 points and 15 rebounds, while R.J Barrett coming off a career-high 28 against Golden State scored 21.
By Juri Bilcich