Friday night in the NBA saw blowouts, close calls, shining stars and more.
LeBron James joined Michael Jordan in another elite, yet elderly basketball category after a get-right game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, LaMelo Ball offered an analysis of his team’s game against the Sacramento Kings and Kevin Durant started a little trouble in Trae Young’s house in Atlanta.
Those three games were part of a nine-game selection of NBA fare. Here’s a recap of what you might have missed from what was served up around the association:
Los Angeles Lakers 116, Oklahoma City Thunder 95
James can change the outcome of a game, and the Lakers realized that against the Thunder.
Los Angeles was 0-2 against OKC entering Friday’s matchup — and James didn’t play in the previous two games either. He left his imprint on this game, finishing with 33 points, six assists and five rebounds in a rout of the Thunder. He’s averaged 27.1 points, 5.8 boards, and 7.1 dimes in his past 10 games, joining Jordan as the only players to average 25-5-5 in NBA history at age 36 or older in that span.
Rookie Tre Mann led the Thunder with 19 points off the bench, but it was an underwhelming performance from OKC otherwise.
Play of the Game: James scored a season-high 23 points in the first half and finished with 33 in 35 minutes. He scored his last two points emphatically and the Lakers’ social media had the perfect angle.
Brooklyn Nets 113, Atlanta Hawks 105
Durant and Young dropped 31 points apiece, but their close encounter late in the contest was the noteworthy part of their matchup.
They were both assessed with technical fouls, but the incident did not escalate.
“He wanted me to get out of his space and I understand that,” Durant said of the brief scuffle.
Despite the loss, Young joined a notable group that includes “His Airness” and Russell Westbrook as the only players with 25 points and 10 assists in five straight games since the NBA-ABA merger. Jordan’s lone streak of the impressive stat line was 10 games long in 1989, and Westbrook tallied two five-game stretches putting up such numbers during his 2017 MVP season with the Thunder.
Play of the game: KD set the tone early as he rejected Young’s attempt with authority in the first quarter.
Charlotte Hornets 124, Sacramento Kings 123
A short-handed Charlotte squad managed to end Sacramento’s three-game winning streak as Ball, P.J. Washington, Terry Rozier and three other Hornets were unavailable for the home team Friday night.
The Kings missed multiple field goal attempts down the stretch. De’Aaron Fox missed two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining that helped the Hornets escape with a win.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Kings became the only team in the past 25 regular seasons to miss multiple free throws in the final three seconds of a fourth quarter or overtime period while trailing by one point.
Play of the game: Charlotte rookie James Bouknight, the 11th pick in the 2021 NBA draft, came off the bench and took advantage of his extended playing time. Bouknight went off for a career-high 24 points, with 18 coming from behind the arc.
During this stretch in the third quarter, he scored on three straight offensive possessions.
Although he couldn’t be present for the action, Ball still supported his team from a distance and tweeted through the game’s final moments.
Milwaukee Bucks 123, Houston Rockets 114
The Rockets became the only team in NBA history to have a 15-game losing streak and a seven-game winning streak in league history. On Friday night it appeared that they may be able to keep the magic going and win an eighth consecutive game as they were able to hold a late eight-point lead and keep up with the Bucks for most of the contest.
However, Antetokounmpo’s dominant 41-point, 17-rebound performance proved to be too hot for Houston.
Play of the game: Antetokounmpo’s night was highlighted by his offensive contributions, but he also notched two big swats that moved him up to the top spot as Milwaukee’s all-time blocks leader.
The reigning Finals MVP humbly acknowledged his latest feat, but he was already looking ahead to his next challenge.
“It’s big time, a great compliment to my career, but I’ve got to keep getting better, keep defending better,” Antetokounmpo said.
Toronto Raptors 90, New York Knicks 87
The Knicks looked less than stellar in the first quarter, trailing by as much as 20 points. However, they battled back to tie the score with 4:43 left in the second quarter, courtesy of a much-needed spark provided by Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley.
Both teams exchanged leads and missed crucial shots in the game’s final minutes. Julius Randle and RJ Barrett missed two potential game winners for New York in the last three seconds as Toronto held on for a victory.
Play of the game:
The Raptors’ win came without the sideline support of superfan Nav Bhatia, who missed a home game for the first time since the team was founded in 1995. “This is the toughest post I have had to make…My heart is breaking right now,” Bhatia wrote on Instagram. He attended a charity gala with Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, so Bhatia chose to miss the game out of an abundance of caution.
Kal Penn, who is set to produce and star in a biopic about Bhatia being the first fan to join Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, took his seat at the game.
ESPN Stats and Information contributed to this story
Source: Read Full Article