The Denver Nuggets clearly won the duel of the leaders. The Philadelphia 76ers lose in Phoenix.
In addition, the New Orleans Pelicans celebrate an important victory in the fight for the play-in. Sacramento is already in the postseason.
Atlanta Hawks (37-37) – Indiana Pacers (33-42) 143:130 (BOXSCORE)
- With this win, the Hawks should at least have secured a place in the play-in. 143 points is a season high and that was achieved even though Trae Young (14, 6/11) was ejected midway through the third quarter when he fired the ball a little too hard at the referee during a time-out.
- Everything was even at this point, but the Hawks’ bench made the difference. Four of the five reserves used had at least 11 points, with Saddiq Bey (18) and Garrison Mathews (14) doing best with four three-pointers. Jordan Nwora (33, 12/17) held on for the Pacers.
- The Pacers missed Myles Turner (back), giving up over 30 points in every quarter. Despite the gap in the middle, Daniel Theis was not used again. Tyrese Haliburton (19, 13 assists) did his thing, but didn’t help much defensively. Of the Hawks starters, Dejounte Murray (20, 12 assists), Clint Capela (17, 17 rebounds) and John Collins (21, 9/12) were convincing.
Miami Heat (40-35) – Brooklyn Nets (40-34) 100:129 (BOXSCORE)
- Big point for the Nets, who jump back to the last direct playoff place in the fight for sixth place. Miami, on the other hand, completely slept through the third quarter and conceded a 31:6 run right after the break, which turned the game around. Mikal Bridges led the visitors with 27 points (7/19, 7 assists), while Cameron Johnson (23, 9/13) sank five threes.
- In general, the Nets let it rain threes in the third section, there were six in this section alone. Dorian Finney-Smith scored 10 of his 12 points in those minutes, and Spencer Dinwiddie (15, 9 assists) also had his best streak here. “It was like an avalanche,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who was particularly annoyed that Miami didn’t defend seriously.
- The hosts led by up to 14 points in the first quarter, after the change the Heat only scored 31 points. Tyler Herro and Max Strus were the best scorers with 23 points each, while Jimmy Butler (18) and Bam Adebayo (16) remained rather pale. Brooklyn is now half a game ahead of Miami, the Nets already had the tiebreaker in their pockets (now 3-0).
Denver Nuggets (50-24) – Milwaukee Bucks (53-21) 129:106 (BOXSCORE)
- The Nuggets seem to have settled down a bit and celebrated a sovereign victory with summit meetings between the two best teams in the respective conference. The Bucks were still in action in Utah the day before, in the height of Denver Milwaukee finally ran out of air in the second half. The Bucks scored just 40 points after the change and went temporarily without a point for more than four minutes in the fourth quarter.
- So did Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 24 of his 31 points (13/22, 9 rebounds, 4 steals) before the break. The Bucks went into halftime at +3, after which Nikola Jokic took over. The Serb recorded 12 of his 31 points (10/20, 11 assists) in the third period, putting Brook Lopez (13) in foul trouble. Denver actually managed the decisive push with the bank.
- This was initiated by Jeff Green, who put Giannis on a poster at the beginning of the fourth quarter and completely freaked out the bank of nuggets. Jamal Murray (26, 5/10 threes, 9 assists) also provided important production, while Michael Porter Jr. threw in 19 points (7/12).
- Milwaukee, on the other hand, stayed cold from a distance (9/36), only Grayson Allen (13, 3/6 3P) converted more than a three-pointer. Khris Middleton (13, 8 rebounds) was the best player after Giannis, while Jrue Holiday (9, 3/11, 7 assists) remained pale.
Sacramento Kings (45-29) – Utah Jazz (35-39) 121:113 (BOXSCORE)
- It happened! The Sacramento Kings are back in the postseason after 17 years, and the California franchise is guaranteed at least one place in the play-in. However, the victory against Utah was hard work, also because De’Aaron Fox had to sit out with a hamstring problem. Kevin Huerter stepped into the breach with 27 points (10/21).
- The Jazz led at the break but were completely cold after that, scoring just 17 points (1/11 3P) in the third quarter. For Sacramento, on the other hand, the threes fell, especially Keegan Murray (22, 6/12 3P) had a good evening. With 184 converted distance shots, the forward is on the verge of breaking Donovan Mitchell’s rookie record (187) from the 2017/18 season. Between the two there is also Damian Lillard (185).
- Domantas Sabonis had 16 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists, but the Lithuanian struggled against Walker Kessler. The Jazz center notched 31 points (14/16) and 11 rebounds, it’s the first 30/10 game by a rookie for Utah. Ochai Agbaji contributed 20 points.
LA Clippers (39-36) – New Orleans Pelicans (37-37) 110:131 (BOXSCORE)
- The Pelicans celebrate an important win in the play-in battle and are now a full game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks, who are still 11th. It did so with an eerie shooting performance, particularly from Trey Murphy III. The forward sank 10 of his 12 three-pointers for 32 points, just missing out on CJ McCollum’s franchise record (11).
- The wing symbolized the Pels’ game, who already had 14 triples at half-time. The guests had a double-digit lead despite not taking a single free throw in the first 24 minutes. Along with Murphy, Brandon Ingram was also in great form, the forward also putting up 32 points (12/22) and also handing out 13 assists, a career high.
- For the Clippers, on the other hand, Kawhi Leonard (12, 4/16) was really weak, the two-time Finals MVP also sustained a facial injury and didn’t come back in the fourth quarter. Best Clippers scorer was Bones Hyland (18, 7 assists), Eric Gordon (14, 5/5) was the bright spot of the starters. Russell Westbrook (14, 4/12, 5 dimes) was completely ignored by the guests. On the other side, CJ McCollum (21, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) also hit his jumpers, while Jonas Valanciunas (17, 13 rebounds) was the best big on the field.