NBA Wrap January 5th
GORDON LEADS MAGIC OVER THE CAVS
The Orlando Magic put an end to a mini two-game skid with a 103-83 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Amway Centre.
Magic high-flyer Aaron Gordon led the Magic with an equal game-high 24 points to go with 11 rebounds and six triples, 13 of his 24 came in the decisive third quarter.
The ever-consistent Nikola Vucevic posted 23 points and 8 rebounds and had the better of rebounding machine Andre Drummond despite him recording his seventh double-double in as many games, but shot only 5 of 15.
Having produced subpar defensive efforts in losses to the Philadelphia 76ers and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando turned on the defence switch racing out to a 10-0 before the Cavaliers scored its first basket courtesy of Collin Sexton with 7:49 in the first.
With the Magic leading 51-49 at intermission, the side strangled the Cavaliers in the third which began with a Markelle Fultz thunderous dunk in the opening minute.
Collin Sexton, the third-year pro out of Alabama continues to take major strides finishing with 24 points, his sixth consecutive 20 point game becoming the first Cavalier to achieve the feat since LeBron James.
The two teams will meet up again in 48 hours back at the Amway Centre.
76ERS TOO GOOD FOR HORNETS
The Philadelphia 76ers have moved to a League-best 6-1 to begin the Season with a 118-101 win over the Charlotte Hornets at Wells Fargo Centre.
Coming off being named Eastern Conference player of the Week, versatile forward Tobias Harris led the 76ers with 22 points with Joel Embiid posting his fifth double-double of the campaign despite playing only 25 minutes.
It didn’t matter though as its other three starters Ben Simmons, and sharpshooters Seth Curry and Danny Green all reached double-figures.
Rookie Tyrese Maxey contributed 11 points off the bench including a dunk off an errant Malik Monk pass.
For Charlotte, new acquisition Gordon Hayward had a team-high 18 points, but as a while the team shot only 41.9% overall, dropping its third straight game.
Philadelphia’s next assignment is a battle with the Washington Wizards to complete a three-game homestand. For the Hornets, they travel South to face one of the season’s army improvers: the Atlanta Hawks.
RANDLE’S MONSTER NIGHT LEADS KNICKS IN COMEBACK VICTORY
For the first two and a half quarters, the New York Knicks were being outplayed by an Atlanta Hawks who has made early season improvements.
One thing’s for certain, these Knickerbockers won’t give up so easily under new Coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Knicks led by Julius Randle’ monstrous night lifted the squad to a 113-108 win despite trading by as many as 15 during the third.
Randle who had had a sublime start to the season finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 9 assists including the vital tip-in to put New York by six with 46.4 seconds left.
He got terrific support from third overall pick in the 2019 Draft R.J Barrett who had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists in 44 minutes of action.
Trae Young who made his NBA debut against New York in October 2018 finished with 31 points and 14 assists.
The New York victory put them above .500 through seven games for the first time since the 2012/2013 season, the last time it qualified for the playoffs.
The Knicks return home to the Mecca of Basketball to face the Utah Jazz, while the Atlanta Hawks take on the Charlotte Hornets to begin a home and home set.
MIAMI TURN UP THE HEAT ON THUNDER
Last season’s runners-up the Miami Heat bounced back in an emphatic way disposing off the Oklahoma City Thunder 118-90 at American Airlines Arena.
One of the League’s top young Centres: Bam Adebayo led the rampaging Heat with 20 points and 8 rebounds, while Kelly Olynyk had 19 and was deadly from long range going 5 of 7.
After been held to only 83 points in its defeat to the Dallas Mavericks, Miami had no such problems on the offensive end which saw them go on a 20-0 run in the third to spilt the contest wide open.
The Thunder were led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who has improved from last campaign where he averaged a career-high 19 points per game, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Miami completes a short two-game homestand against traditional rivals the Boston Celtics. OKC remains on the road to take on the New Orleans Pelicans, the third of a five game trip.
DAZZLING TATUM SHINES AGAIN IN CELTICS WIN OVER TORONTO
Boston star Jayson Tatum put on another offensive display registering 40 points one shy off a career-high as the Celtics defeated the Toronto Raptors 126-114.
Tatum’s 40 included five triples giving him 24 so far on the season at 41.7%.
The Celtics were without starter Marcus Smart and veteran reserve point guard Jeff Teague, but it mattered little as the bench went off for 60 points led by Payton Pritchard’s 23.
Toronto’s diminutive guard Fred VanVleet posted a season-high 35 points, including 14 in the opening stanza.
Boston up next face the Miami: a matchup of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. For Toronto it begins a tricky a four game West Coast trip starting with Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns.
DONCIC RETURNS AS MAVS HANDLE ROCKETS
Luka Doncic made a swift return from a one-game absence to guide the Dallas Mavericks to victory over Southwest division rivals: the Houston Rockets 113-100.
The 2019 Rookie of the Year missed last night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls with a quadriceps strain, but showed no rust putting up a triple-double: 33 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists.
DeMarcus Cousins who has endured frustration with technical fouls and ejections throughout his 11 year career only lasted three minutes before being tossed with 9:07 left in the first half.
Cousins received his first technical after shoving former Kings’ teammate Willie Cauley-Stein whilst fighting for the loose ball, then got his second technical after complaining he didn’t get a foul call after making a layup.
2018 MVP James Harden had 21 points and 10 assists, whilst of the major improvers last season Christian Wood posted 23 points and 7 rebounds.
The Denver Nuggets is who the Dallas Mavericks face next. For Houston they travel to take on Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers.
GREEK FREAK DOMINANT IN BUCKS WIN
The “Greek Freak” was unstoppable against a Detroit Pistons squad which continues to leak points equivalent of an old rundown tap sink.
Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded a season-high 43 points to go with 9 rebounds and 4 assists as the Milwaukee Bucks were rarely troubled in a 125-115 win at Fiserv Forum.
The defending MVP was supported by All-Stars Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday who had
19 and 15 points each.
Jerami Grant who is shouldering a bigger mantle in his first season in the Motor City has 24 points, as too former 2011 MVP Derrick Rose.
Detroit’s injury woes continued with the team’s first selection in the draft Killian Hayes hurting his right hip clashing with Jrue Holiday whilst aiming to go by him and wouldn’t return.
The Pistons were without former 2017 Lottery pick Josh Jackson for the contest after hurting his ankle in its narrow loss to the Boston Celtics.
The sides will meet again at the Fiserv Forum in two days time.
CLUTCH BROGDON LIFTS PACERS OVER PELICANS
For all of 53 minutes the New Orleans Pelicans and the Indiana Pacers were tied before Malcolm Brogdon came up trumps.
Brogdon hit the game-winning one-hand floater over Eric Bledsoe with the ball hitting every part of the rim before falling in to give the Pacers a 118-116 Overtime victory.
He finished the contest with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 11 assists.
The game was seemingly in the Pelicans favour when Brandon Ingram drove thorough through land for a layup for a 103-94 lead with 3:46 to cap off a 19-2 run.
Then the Pacers made their move with Myles Turner sending the contest into overtime with the top of the key triple.
New Orleans had one last chance to send the game to double overtime, but it wouldn’t eventuate as Lonzo Ball’s full court pass to Zion Williamson was deflected giving Indiana its fifth win in seven matches.
Indiana returns home to face the Houston Rockets, for the Pelicans a matchup with OKC for the second time this season having won the first meeting emphatically 113-80.
CURRY TOO HOT FOR KINGS
A night after putting up a career-high 62 points, Steph Curry scored 30 and the Golden State Warriors disposed of the Sacramento Kings 137-106.
Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr chipped in with 16 and 18 points combining to go 6 of 10 from range, after beginning the campaign horribly from beyond the arc.
Sacramento got contributions from former Warrior Harrison Barnes ad speedy point guard De’Aaron Fox each with 18.
Apart from those efforts the Kings looked lacklustre and didn’t the intensity that saw them win three of its first four.
Golden State remains at home to go up against the LA Clippers, for the Kings they open up a season-high seven game homestand against the Chicago Bulls.