We can’t stop the New York Knicks, Nikola Jokic (Denver) in MVP mode
The series: the Knicks pass in the fifth
Twelve days ago, was it possible to suspect that the New York Knicks would be, in mid-December, among the fittest teams in the league? To the point, Thursday morning, to ride a wave of five straight wins, which only the Memphis Grizzlies, second in the Western Conference, have currently surpassed (6 consecutive victories, current series).
After six defeats received in eight matches between November 19 and December 3, the Big Apple franchise recovered well, obtaining some good passing victories, against Cleveland (92-81) in particular. Wednesday night, the Chicago Bulls, whose trajectory is alarming (11v-16d, 11th in the East), surrendered at home after extra time (120-128, ap), after a very tight match and despite of higher general address (54.8% compared to 49.5% for visitors).
But Tom Thibodeau’s men, who continued to impose his strong options without the services of Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier, were more present on the rebound (15 offensive catches, 48 to 31 under the panel) and based on two guys with 30 points: Jalen Brunson (30 points, 7 assists) and Julius Randle (31 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists). The latter missed a chance to win after regulation time with a shot while retreating. The two teams will meet, again in Chicago, on Friday night.
Winner of Atlanta at home (135-124), Orlando Magic took care of its collective copy: 8 players with 11 points or more. Ideal when the Hawks have six players with 15 or more points.
The player: Jokic on the wand against the Wizards
An almost perfect match. Beyond the logical victory of the Denver Nuggets at home against the Washington Wizards (141-128), Nikola Jokic made his most prolific copy of the season, even at the offensive level. The Serbian pivot scored 43 points – a season high for the reigning two-time regular season MVP – and capitalized on a game with little desire to defend on the part of either team (and a decimated Wizards) to complete the night with charm. 17 of 20 shooting (0 of 2 on three-pointers). Jokic added 14 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals to his performance, fouling only 8 stray balls.
Narrowly defeated at home by the Sacramento Kings (123-124), the Toronto Raptors scored only 6 three-pointers (out of 21 attempts, 28.6%). Their lowest total of the season tied.
The return: Lamelo Ball, rusty then upset
“It’s just a matter of legs and such, getting back into the swing of things. » Like his first long shots, which were mostly short, LaMelo Ball (21) needs some warm-up time for his return to competition. The second, after eleven matches on the sidelines. The Charlotte Hornets playmaker, who injured an ankle in the preseason, missed his team’s first 13 games, finding himself in the infirmary after his third controversial meeting after stepping on a spectator’s foot.
In 34 minutes of play, Ball still finished with a double-double (23 points on 9-of-18 shooting including 5-of-13 three-pointers, 11 assists) but was sorely missed by his team, which lost in overtime (134 – 141, ap. ), after committing his 6th foul before the end of regulation time. The bases are however (re)laid for the leader, which should continue on Friday night, against Atlanta.
With nine award-winning baskets (out of 17) scored (35 points) or as many as the entire Oklahoma City team, Tyler Herro was the main architect of the Miami Heat’s narrow victory over the Thunder (110-108). The Floridians, with 24 three-pointers, broke the franchise record in the matter.
Damian Lillard (37 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists) led the Portland Trail Blazers to a victory over the San Antonio Spurs (128-112). With the Dallas Mavericks inspired (39.2% shooting), the Cleveland Cavaliers recovered from their one-point loss received in the previous game in San Antonio (111-112) with an easy win (105 -90). Donovan Mitchell showed his advantage (34 points) on 13 of 20 shooting.