Nicolas Batum is not enough. The Frenchman was impeccable with the Clippers overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday in the NBA, which was 100% behind the arc and 22 units, but could not prevent his team from losing on the floor of the Mavericks (103-101 ). Prodigy Luka Doncic surprised the Los Angeles franchise in the final moments.
Batum donned his “Batman” costume in Dallas, making seven of his shots, all three-pointers. Thanks to him, his team was able to pick up the score and take the lead, after trailing by 25 lengths in the first half. His best game of the season.
His only miss came on a free throw with 4.2 seconds left, but it was meant to allow the Clippers to get a rebound and score a basket to tie the game. A strategy that didn’t pay off, the ball almost escaped from the hands of Robert Covington, until Paul George (23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) took offense.
Luka Doncic is still determined
Twenty seconds earlier, Doncic became “clutch” (decisive at the last moment), planting despite the opposition of Batum an unlikely banderilla in the long distance, at the very end of the possession, which gave a four-unit lead. at the Mavs (102-98). The Slovenian finished with 35 points (11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals), by his current standards, consolidating his status as the championship’s leading scorer.
This is the return of Dallas, with eight wins (five losses), in 5th place in the West, taking advantage of the loss (113-102) from Memphis (6th) to New Orleans (7th).
Ja Morant is not good enough
However, Ja Morant can still do something effective and unusual, like this dunk in the 3rd quarter, with a hand change to avoid a counter, or this logo shot at the buzzer that sounded at the end of the first.
His 36 points (13/27, 8 rebounds), however, were not enough for the Grizzlies, who got back Jaren Jackson Jr, who was out for the start of the season with a right foot injury. The interior lacks offensive rhythm (7 points on 3/14), but none of its defensive qualities (5 against).
The Pelicans, even without the other phenomenon of the 2018 draft, Zion Williamson, hit on the right leg, were able to rely on CJ McCollum, author of 22 of his 30 points in the second half (9 assists), Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance Jr. contributed. with 19 points each.
Portland consolidates its top position
In Portland, the Blazers did not have an easy game to beat the Spurs (117-110) and consolidate their first place in the West, relying on their “little big 3”: Jerami Grant (29 points, 8 rebounds), Anfernee Simons ( 23 points including 10 in the final quarter) and Damian Lillard (22 points, 11 assists).
Two rows lower are the Jazz who, after surprising with its excellent start to the season that led it to the top of the conference, mark the time (3rd). Confirmed by this third straight loss, conceded (118-111) on his floor against the Knicks, who returned to 7th place in the East by returning to balance (7/7).
Jalen Brunson (25 pts, 8 assists) led New York, while Evan Fournier sat on the bench the entire game. The latter, Olympic vice-champion in 2021 with the Blues, seems to have lost the confidence of his coach Tom Thibodeau, he who nevertheless started the season in the starting five.
Tough loss for Brooklyn
The Knicks will try to continue the next night on the floor of Denver, deprived of the pivot, double MVP in the title, Nikola Jokic. The Serb, who averaged 20.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.9 assists in 13 games this season, entered the Covid protocol.
Finally, for those who thought that Brooklyn (12th in the East) would be better, it was enough to see its defeat (153-121) in Sacramento, to convince themselves that this is not the case.
The Nets, where Kevin Durant (27 points) floated, left the Kings, with a fourth straight victory, shooter at 60% success, Terence Davis offers 31 points (9 rebounds) from the bench .