NBA: Booker and the Suns beat the Pelicans, the Grizzlies took the lightning
Leading by 17 points at the break, the Phoenix Suns, sublimated by Devin Booker (58 points!), fell to the beak of the New Orleans Pelicans (118-111), Saturday, in an NBA night also marked by Grizzlies’ surprise loss against the Thunder (115-109).
In Arizona, the Suns’ deficit reached 24 points at the start of the third quarter, but Booker turned on the turbo, scoring a whopping 36 points in the second period.
Unprecedented stratospheric performance of Phoenix’s back? Barely, as he had already scored more than 50 points (51) against Chicago at the end of November. For his eighth NBA season, the Michigan native became at 26 the sixth-youngest player in the league to reach 12,000 points.
Facing him, Zion Williamson, who scored 30 points, was ineligible, but New Orleans couldn’t stop Phoenix’s comeback, which trailed by just five units at the end of the third quarter.
And while the Pelicans have beaten the Suns twice recently, the Louisiana franchise’s third straight loss somewhat tarnished their excellent start to the season, with an 18-11 record.
Fortunately for “New Orleans”, the damage was limited to the standings because the leader Memphis (19-10) also lost, surprising everyone, to Oklahoma, after a series of seven victories.
– Ja Morant passed by –
Ja Morant, author of a triple-double two days earlier in the clash against the Bucks, this time missed (6 pts, 5 rebounds, 2 assists), in a cut game for him: the star of The Grizzlies were ejected before halftime after picking up two technical fouls for rude comments to the referees.
Memphis was left behind (61-40) and failed to raise the bar despite six three-point baskets by Dillon Brooks (32 pts in total).
On the “OKC” side, deprived of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, Lu Dort and Isaiah Joe scored 24 and 23 points respectively, allowing the Thunder to stop a streak of five losses.
In Cleveland, in the “Cavs-Mavs” duel, the last word went to the first named, thanks to a successful dunk from Jarrett Allen (100-99), in what constitutes the fifth victory in the most extensions this season for in Cleveland!
Previously, Donovan Mitchell (25 points) kept the Cavaliers afloat, occupying solid third place in the East (20-11), on the lookout for a faux pas from Milwaukee.
But this one did not interfere on Saturday night as the Bucks (21-8) did not shake against the Utah Jazz (123-97), despite the absence of their big star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who suffered a knee injury.
– Mexico’s ambitions –
On the West Coast, Kawhi Leonard took time to find the rhythm, with 0/4 shooting in the first quarter, but finally allowed, with 31 points – his record this season – the Clippers to dominate the Washington Wizards ( 102-93). LA stays on pace in the standings (7th, 18-14).
Further south, Mexico returns to the NBA with a match between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, in front of over 20,000 spectators.
The Spurs got off to the best start, but the Floridians tightened the game on defense in the final period, to win 110-101.
Jimmy Butler scored 26 points as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver looked to reaffirm Mexico’s League ambitions.
“If you look at the success we have had in Canada, in the North, since the beginning of the 90s, it seems very logical to me to want to develop in the South as well”, commented Silver before the meeting. “I don’t have a detailed schedule at this stage (…) but there is no doubt that we will seriously look at Mexico City in the future,” he added.