NBA Weekly 1/31 - 2/6
Battle For Los Angeles & Suns 11 Game Winning Streak Achieved and Ended
The Suns reached an 11-game winning streak after downing the Nets and then had it ended by the Hawks days later, there was a nail-biting battle of LA and Lebron gave the Lakers their mojo back, let’s jump into the week that was.
Washington Wizards @ Milwaukee Bucks
Final Score: 98 – 112
The Bucks overcame a late-charging Washington Wizards to defend home court at the Fiserv Forum.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks’ scoring with 33 points, the Greek Freak also added 15 rebounds and 11 assists to pick up a triple-double. Jrue Holiday added 22 points off 9-16 from the field and also knocked down four deep balls.
“We have to realize that in order for us to be great, we've got to play hard. We cannot expect that people are just going to hand us the game when we go out there, people are coming for us. People are hunting us right now. They get excited when they see, ‘Milwaukee Bucks, world champs.’ We've got to play every single night hard and build that habit,”
Kyle Kuzma dropped in 25 points for the Wizards as the rest of the starters struggled to put the ball in the basket, he also pulled in 11 rebounds. Montrezl Harrell had 20 points off the bench on 9-15 shooting.
The Bucks jumped out to an early 20-5 lead with 6:53 remaining in the first quarter, but the Wizards only allowed the reigning champs to add on four more points to their tally, as they cut the deficit to 24-20 at the end of the quarter.
Milwaukee again piled on points in a hurry, building a 17-point lead in the process, once again, the visitors rallied but this time they could only cut the deficit to 13 points as both sides went into the locker rooms.
The Bucks retook their 17-point lead early in the third, but it was the Wizards who controlled the quarter, as they rallied to make it a 5-point game with 12 minutes to play.
Washington then tied the game numerous times in the fourth and eventually seized the lead with 8:35 remaining in the game. However, the Bucks showed why they’re the reigning champs, as they fired themselves to another win thanks to a 17-4 run to close out the game.
Bobby Portis stood up for his teammate and the former MVP Giannis after he took a hard foul from Harrell. The contact was originally called a common foul but was eventually upgraded to a flagrant-1 after a review. Giannis and Harrell seemed to make up before the inbound pass was made.
Brooklyn Nets @ Phoenix Suns
Final Score: 111 – 121
Devin Booker led the way for the Suns as they took care of the Nets to take an 11th straight victory at the Footprint Center.
Booker poured on 35 points in 41 minutes, he also had 6 rebounds. Mikal Bridges got hot and stayed hot during the game, putting up 27 points from 10-14 from the floor in 40 minutes, Chris Paul was the third starter to reach 20 points and also picked up 14 dimes in the win.
“What helps us is we just have a complete team; you can't key in on one or two guys. If people try to do that with me or Booker, Mikal can get hot, that's what makes us good. On any given night, anybody can get going,”
- Chris Paul
Kyrie Irving led the way for the Nets with 26 points off 50% from the field, while James Harden struggled for his 22 points off 33% from the field. Blake Griffin added 17 points off the bench in 27 minutes.
Phoenix took control of the game early on as they stormed to a 39-point quarter, leading the visitors by 10 points at the end of the first. After trading baskets in the early exchanges of the second quarter, the Nets chipped into the lead, but after a couple of late baskets from the Suns, they took a 65-58 advantage into the locker rooms.
Brooklyn seized the lead with 7:17 remaining in the third but it was short-lived as the home side took a 9-point lead into the fourth. Phoenix built their fourth-quarter lead to 14 points with 3:14 remaining, leaving no chance for the Nets to threaten.
Like he was never gone:
Kyrie Irving has only played a handful of games this season due to his vaccination stance, but that hasn’t stopped him from averaging 24.5 points and 5.1 rebounds this season, all while the Nets are missing Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Joe Harris through injury.
Memphis Grizzlies @ New York Knicks
Final Score: 120 – 108
Jaron Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant helped the Grizzlies get past the Knicks in front of a national TV audience and the passionate Knicks fans at Madison Square Garden.
Jackson Jr. had 26 points in 34 minutes, Ja Morant shot 9-27 for his 23 points on a tough shooting night and Ziaire Williams was the third Grizzlies player to reach the 20-point mark, ending on 21 in 33 minutes.
Evan Fournier put up 30 points in 33 minutes and RJ Barrett had 23 points in 39 but it wasn’t enough as the Knicks struggled to put up any points.
The Knicks kept it close through the opening minutes, but the Grizzlies started to pull away as they took a 35-27 lead into the second quarter. Memphis continued to build their lead during the second, but the Knicks were able to show some fight, cutting the deficit to 12 points at the half.
Both sides traded baskets in the third, with the Grizzlies adding one point to their advantage, to take a 13-point lead into the final period. New York cut the deficit to five points with 9:05 remaining in the game but couldn’t threaten as the Grizzlies closed out the game.
“So, I thought our perimeter defense was pretty good, the help was good, but then Jackson got loose, Williams got loose, Melton got loose, so we have to, like, finish our defense,”
Fans on the rise:
With Ja Morant being the seventh most popular player in jersey sales last month, it made Taylor Jenkins realize there are more and more Grizzlies fans repping the team with jerseys and merchandise.
“Obviously, you see the swag he plays with, the energy he plays with, the uniqueness with his athleticism but also his unique playmaking ability, too,”
Denver Nuggets @ Utah Jazz
Final Score: 104 – 108
The Utah Jazz came out on top in a close game against the Denver Nuggets at the Vivint Arena.
Trent Forrest led the Jazz in scoring with 18 points and eight assists, Mike Conley dropped in 17 points and was a menace on the defensive end with four steals.
“Everybody played well. We needed it. Everybody played with energy, happier that we won, rather than how I played,”
Bryn Forbes led a Denver Side without Nikola Jokic, the guard had 26 points off the bench in 30 minutes. Monte Morris led the starters in scoring with 15 points, Will Barton was close behind with 14 in 35 minutes.
Utah hit the lead early, taking a 19-10 advantage in the first quarter, but the visiting Denver Nuggets were able to rally back into the game, taking a 2-point lead into the second. Denver extended their advantage to seven points in the period, but could only take a 1-point lead into the locker rooms.
Utah retook the lead with 8:24 remaining in the third and controlled the game for the rest of the quarter, taking an 82-79 lead into the final period. Once again, the two sides traded baskets, with Denver tying the game with 3:57 remaining in the game but couldn’t take the lead as Bojan Bogdanovic iced the game with 10.8 seconds remaining.
Showing up when it’s needed:
Trent Forrest showed up for the Jazz, who had to put a very depleted backcourt on the floor, Forrest picked up a career-high in points, assists and committed zero turnovers as Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson, and Joe Ingles were all inactive.
Phoenix Suns @ Atlanta Hawks
Final Score: 115 – 124
The Hawks ended the Suns’ win streak at 11 games after Trae Young dominated at the State Farm Arena.
Trae Young poured on 43 points and five assists in a dominant 36 minutes, the point guard also knocked down six deep balls. Kevin Huerter and Joh Collins both had 19 points and knocked down a combined eight three-pointers, Collins also pulled in 10 rebounds.
Devin Booker put up 32 points for the Suns, but struggled from deep, shooting 1-8 in 28 minutes. Mikal Bridges continued his hot streak, putting up 24 points off 9-17 from the field, Chris Paul also chipped in with 18 points and 12 assists.
“It was a steady dose of Trae, Trae is just tough like that. If you watch him on a nightly basis, he's a handful,”
In a high-scoring first quarter, it was the Hawks who took a lead into the second period, both sides traded baskets for the whole quarter as the Hawks tried to utilize the home crowd to push them across the line. The Hawks built a lead in the second quarter as they tried to pull away, but the Suns were able to keep within touching distance and closed the deficit to three points with a half to play.
The Suns took the lead back with 9:35 remaining in the third, but it was short-lived as the Hawks outscored the Suns 36-30 to take a 9-point lead into the final quarter. The Hawks got their lead up to 14 points before the sides traded baskets until the final buzzer, giving the Suns no chance to challenge.
Running up the scoreboard:
Both sides poured on the points throughout the first three-quarters of the game, the Suns and Hawks both had 30 or more points through those periods before they both scored 24 points in the fourth.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers
Final Score: 110 – 111
The Clippers beat their cross-town rivals in a nailbiter thanks to a Reggie Jackson layup in the final seconds at the Crypto.com Arena.
Marcus Morris Sr. had a team-high 29 points and pulled in six rebounds, Reggie Jackson added 25 points, six assists, and eight rebounds and Serge Ibaka chipped in with a handy 20 points.,
Anthony Davis led the Lakers in scoring with 30 points while shooting 50% from the field, Malik Monk put up 21 points and seven assists while Russell Westbrook had 17 points.
“The ball touched every part of the rim. You can't ask for a better look, the ball was in, then out. Tough, tough play,”
Both sides who have matched up well for the past couple of years never gave each other the edge, trading baskets and the lead throughout the first half. The Clippers took a 2-point lead into the second quarter and then a 6-point lead into the halftime break.
The Clippers got the lead up to 15 during the third, before the Lakers chipped away to trail by 12 at the final break. The Lakers shot out to a 12-2 run to start the fourth, closing the gap to two points with 5:53 remaining in the game. The Lakers continued to fight, eventually leading 110-109 with 12.5 remaining, but it was the Clippers and Reggie Jackson who had the last laugh, scoring the game-winning layup with 4.5 seconds left on the clock.
The Lakers have seemed to struggle without their leader Lebron James, who now missed his fifth straight game with swelling in his left knee.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Dallas Mavericks
Final Score: 98 – 107
Luka Doncic notched his 44th career triple-double to rally the Mavericks past the 76ers at the American Airlines Center.
Luka Doncic was the star for the Mavericks, putting up 33 points, 15 assists, and 13 rebounds, Reggie Bullock put up 20 points, while Jalen Brunson put up 19 as the Dallas bench had no real impact on the game.
“We didn't practically do the zone this whole season, it was amazing to see people talking. If you talk, you're going to do great on defense, and that's what we did tonight,”
Joel Embiid put 27 points and 13 rebounds in 33 minutes, Tyrese Maxey had 18 points and six assists and Tobias Harris chipped in with 13 points.
The Sixers shot out to an 11-point lead late in the first quarter before the Mavs made late shots to trim the lead. Philly continued to control the game in the second, building a lead of 16 points before the Mavs once again fought back to trail by 10 at the half.
The Mavs shot out of the gates in the third, going on a 14-5 run to trail by one, they continued fighting and took the lead with 2:49 remaining in the game. The home side took a 7-point lead into the final period and trailed briefly, they failed to score for the first four minutes of the quarter but found a way to rally as the Sixers’ offense stumbled at the final hurdle.
During the first quarter, there was a 6:03 delay when the basket alignment come out, Boban Marjanovic tried to yank the rim back into place before the maintenance crew had to take over.
New York Knicks @ Los Angeles Lakers
Final Score: 115 – 122
After a five-game absence, Lebron James starred, picking up a triple-double and leading the Lakers past the Knicks in an overtime win at the Crypto.com Arena.
Lebron James had 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in 40 minutes, Malik Monk had an equal team-high of 29 points as well. Anthony Davis added 28 points and 17 boards and Russell Westbrook struggled from the field, shooting 1-10 for five points.
“He's incredible. I guess the time off served him well, we didn't want to play him 39 minutes, but over time impacted that. He was special tonight. Just a great performance,”
- Frank Vogel on Lebron James.
RJ Barrett and Julius Randle combined for 68 points but the rest of their teammates failed to impress, with Evan Fournier being the third-highest scorer with 15 points off 5-14 shooting.
The Knicks dominated the first quarter, pouring on 42 points to take a 13-point lead into the second quarter, New York extended their advantage to as many as 21 points before the Lakers rallied to face a deficit of 15 points as they went into the locker rooms.
The third quarter saw the Lakers surge back into the game, outscoring the Knicks 31-13 to head into the final period with a 3-point lead. LA was able to build a lead through the fourth, but couldn’t seal the win in regulation as the Knicks forced the game into overtime. LA continued with their momentum from the fourth, as they cruised to a win in the extra five minutes.
Highs and lows:
On one hand, Anthony Davis tied a season-high seven offensive rebounds, but on the other, the 42 points allowed in the first quarter was the highest in all of Frank Vogel’s tenure as head coach.
Atlanta Hawks @ Dallas Mavericks
Final Score: 94 – 103
Luka Doncic found himself in early foul trouble but still notched up a triple-double as the Mavericks got past the Hawks at the American Airlines Center.
Reggie Bullock and Jalen Brunson both had 22 points, while Luka Doncic picked up 18 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds in another triple-double effort.
John Collins led the Hawks with 22 points and pulled in 18 rebounds, Trae Young added 17 points and 11 assists.
“It's one of those nights you don't shoot the ball great, I felt like I had a lot of really good looks and some open shots that I normally hit. I wish I could get them back and knock them down,”
- Trae Young
Both sides tussled for the lead in the first quarter as they traded baskets, but it was the Mavs who took a 3-point advantage into the second quarter. After the short break, it was the Mavericks who continued to hold the advantage for the half, extending their lead to four as they went into the locker rooms.
The Hawks could only tie the game at 74 apiece in the third, as both sides put up 26 points, giving Dallas a 4-point advantage heading into the final period. Both sides piled on points late, but Dallas was able to outscore the Hawks by five, giving them another win at home.
The real unicorn missing again:
Kristaps Porzingis missed his fourth straight game due to a bruised bone on his right knee, it was the 20th game he’s missed in total this season due to injury or COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Next Week’s Games:
Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets
Milwaukee Bucks @ Los Angeles Lakers
Chicago Bulls @ Charlotte Hornets
Golden State Warriors @ Utah Jazz
Brooklyn Nets @ Washington Wizards
Milwaukee Bucks @ Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors
Matt Skilton is a multimedia sports journalism graduate and covers all of your sports needs at ThePyrrhic.com. Keep watching for recaps, analysis, trade news, and more!
Follow Matt on Twitter @MSkilton16
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