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  • Matt Skilton

NBA Weekly - Special Edition

Twas The Games Before Christmas

It’s the games before Christmas, rather than the week before Christmas in the NBA. The Lakers lost Anthony Davis to injury and aren’t off to a good start without him, while Joel Embiid missed a game-tying shot as the Sixers went down to the Hawks. Let’s jump into the games that were as we await Christmas Day.

Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Lakers

Final Score: 108 – 90

The Phoenix Suns demonstrated their strength through Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton as they toppled the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.

Suns’ guard Devin Booker showed out, proving that his hamstring issue is a thing of the past, putting up 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Star big man Deandre Ayton also performed well, picking up a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

"I feel great, man, and I think every game it's going to feel better; I'm just getting some runs up under me, but we have a good team that makes it easy to mesh with and get back with. When you have the support of all 15 guys, plus the coaching staff, it gives you a lot more confidence when you're out there”

Without Anthony Davis, it was Lebron James who took on more of the scoring load, helping his team with 34 points in 34 minutes. Russell Westbrook put up 22 points and raked in 10 boards, but the duo’s performance wasn’t enough to get them across the line.

The Lakers laboured hard throughout the first half, with their biggest lead of 10 points coming with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter. The Suns assumed control of the game with 4:38 remaining in the first half and took a 2-point lead into the break.

From there it was smooth sailing for the Western Conference Champions, as they built up a 22-point lead with 4:03 left in the game, leaving the Lakers no hope as they were only able to claw back four points.

Not All Plain Sailing From Deep:

The Suns struggled from deep early on, missing their first nine attempts from beyond the three-point line. Booker made their first deep ball, but they went on to miss 19 of their first 22 attempts. Seems like they might be doing a little shooting in the gym this week.

Washington Wizards @ Brooklyn Nets

Final Score: Game Postponed

Just like their game against Denver, this one is postponed due to players and staff being placed in the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocol.

Atlanta Hawks @ Philadelphia 76ers

Final Score: 98 – 96

Joel Embiid missed the game-tying shot, gifting the Atlanta Hawks a 2-point win at the Wells Fargo Center.

“We approached the game too casually,”

Cam Reddish led the Hawks in points with 18 while shooting over 50% in 28 minutes of game time. John Collins had 17 points and five rebounds as the Hawks missed point guard Trae Young due to health and safety protocols.

Joel Embiid led the Sixers with a double-double, picking up 23 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes, but in heart-breaking fashion, missed the game-tying shot. Tyrese Maxey took on a heavy workload off the bench, scoring 17 points.

The Hawks shot out to an early lead and led by 14 at the end of the first quarter. The Sixers rallied throughout the second, closing to within two points with 1:29 remaining in the half. The Sixers weren’t able to lead, but eventually tied and left things all square heading into the second half.

Philly took their first lead early in the third quarter, but it was the Hawks who once again led for majority of the quarter, taking a 4-point lead into the final period. Bogdan Bogdanovic stretched the Hawks’ lead to six with 1:25 remaining in the game, but the Sixers fought back and had the chance to tie through Joel Embiid but he missed the game-tying shot from 21-feet out at the buzzer.

Still No Ben:

It’s been reported that Sixers coach Doc Rivers has been in contact with Ben Simmons, with the championship-winning coach stating he’s “doing good” as the league awaits his return. He also went on to mention that chatter about the guard’s trade demands is off-limits.

Christmas Day Schedule:

Atlanta Hawks @ New York Knicks

Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks

Golden State Warriors @ Phoenix Suns

Brooklyn Nets @ Los Angeles Lakers

Dallas Mavericks @ Utah Jazz

Matt Skilton is a multimedia sports journalism graduate and covers all of your NBA needs at Keep watching for recaps, analysis, trade news, and more!

Follow Matt on Twitter @MSkilton16

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