The Golden State Warriors lose again at rivals from Memphis. Franz Wagner gives the Orlando Magic a surprise at the LA Clippers.
The Boston Celtics lose second place in the East as Chicago clinches another important win in the play-in race.
New York Knicks (42-30) – Denver Nuggets (47-24) 116:110 (BOXSCORE)
- With their third win in a row, the Knicks consolidated fifth place in the East and were able to count on Jalen Brunson again against Denver, who had missed five of the last six games. The point guard immediately swung back to become the decisive man for the hosts. In the final minute, Brunson sunk two free throws at +2 and didn’t let himself be fouled by Nikola Jokic after a missed three-pointer. Instead, Brunson picked up the pace and found Mitchell Robinson in praise for the final points of the game.
- Brunson had 24 points (9/20 FG), 16 of which the guard scored in the first quarter as New York got off to a good start. The Nuggets only came into play in the second period and took the lead at half-time thanks to Jamal Murray (25, 9/14) and a 13-2 run. This continued to grow after 10 points in a row, but the Knicks bench brought New York back into the game.
- Immanuel Quickley (10), Josh Hart (13, 8 rebounds) and Isaiah Hartenstein (6, 9 rebounds) were important again and ensured that there was a hot final phase in which New York prevailed. RJ Barrett (21) and Julius Randle (20, 6/15) also helped, while Jokic (24, 11/18, 10 rebounds, 8 assists) didn’t get the turn he wanted. 2:37 minutes before the end he scored the last nuggets points with a layup. The win secured the Knicks their first sophomore season with a positive record in the past decade.
LA Clippers (37-34) – Orlando Magic (29-42) 108:113 (BOXSCORE)
- Without Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers just can’t win anymore. Since December, nine out of ten games have been lost when the claw sat out, with only one win in Detroit. Even Orlando was too strong, among other things because Franz Wagner 40 seconds before the end with a remarkable stepback threesome from the one-on-one against Robert Covington gave Orlando a 5-point lead. Markelle Fultz finally made everything clear with a drive and two free throws.
- The point guard not only posted a career high with 28 points (10/17, 4 steals), but also scored 12 points in the last 4:36 minutes of the game and was the main reason why the Clippers no longer took the lead could. Wendell Carter Jr. (27, 11/19, 12 rebounds) and Wagner (20, 7/13, 4 rebounds, 4 assists), who led the strong starting five, were also able to shine. Cole Anthony contributed 18 points off the bench while Moe Wagner conceded his first DNP of the season.
- The Clippers trailed behind most of the time before Paul George (30, 12/25) turned up in the third quarter with 14 of the 27 Clippers points. Orlando had problems on his own board, especially Ivica Zubac (16, 16 rebounds) couldn’t get a grip on them. Russell Westbrook (14, 5/14, 9 assists, 6 TO) had a tough stance and was blocked by Carter Jr. in crunch time, giving Fultz easy points at the other end.
Indiana Pacers (32-39) – Philadelphia 76ers (48-22) 121:141 (BOXSCORE)
- James Harden was allowed to take a break, but his services were not needed in Indy either. Against weak Pacers, Joel Embiid (10/15 FG, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) and Tyrese Maxey (12/18 FG, 5/9 3P, 7 assists) were the best scorers with 31 points each and ensured that the victory of the guests was never in question.
- For Philly it was the eighth win in a row, with the Sixers overtaking the Celtics in the table. Even leaders Milwaukee (two games ahead) are not out of reach. The Doc Rivers team is in good form, Tobias Harris (24, 9/12) and De’Anthony Melton (14, 6/10, 6 steals) also presented themselves well, as a team the guests scored over 61 percent from the field.
- The Pacers, on the other hand, were largely without a chance without Tyrese Hallburton and Ben Mathurin (both ankles). Guards Andrew Nembhard (22, 9/14) and Aaron Nesmith (25, 4/9 3P) scored diligently, but that was about it. Philly made everything clear with a 9-0 start into the fourth quarter. Myles Turner (20, 7/12) saw little land against Embiid.
Toronto Raptors (35-36) – Minnesota Timberwolves (35-37) 122:107 (BOXSCORE)
- Just yesterday, the Wolves played 58 minutes in Chicago and lost the game as well as All-Star Anthony Edwards, so it was a safe bet in Toronto – and that’s exactly what happened. The Wolves balanced things out for a good 30 minutes, but after that it was all over.
- An 11-2 run late in the third quarter, when Pascal Siakam (27, 11/22, 10 rebounds) had a strong streak, set Toronto on course for victory, but then the Wolves went haywire in the final period. The guests only scored 22 points and remained without a goal from a distance (0/9). The Raptors brought the game home without any problems.
- The best scorer was Fred VanVleet (28, 10/18, 7 assists), and Gary Trent Jr. (19) did well coming off the bench. Jakob Pöltl (14, 11 rebounds) played a double-double. The guests’ most diligent point collectors were Naz Reid (22) and Jaden McDaniels (18), Rudy Gobert contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds.
- The Wolves are now 1.5 games behind Dallas (6th place) and just a half game ahead of the 11th-placed Lakers. Toronto, on the other hand, consolidated 9th place in the East, their cushion on Indiana is now already 2.5 games.
Washington Wizards (32-39) – Sacramento Kings (43-27) 118:132 (BOXSCORE)
- Washington, on the other hand, is weakening at the wrong time, having only won twice against Detroit in the past twelve games. The capitals were largely without a chance against the hot Kings, also because Kristaps Porzingis was absent due to illness. Sacramento hit 56 percent from the field and a whopping 60 percent from the three-point line (22/37 3P).
- With Keegan Murray (19, 5/10 3P), Terence Davis (21, 5/7 3P) and Malik Monk (17, 5/7 3P), three players each scored five players, so that this time the crunchtime Arts by De’Aaron Fox (12, 6/12, 7 assists). Especially Domantas Sabonis (30, 10/12, 9 rebounds, 10 assists) made an outstanding game. “30 points in 12 throws? That’s incredible. For me he’s an All-NBA player,” Kings coach Mike Brown summed up after the game.
- The Wizards found no answers against the Lithuanian, so that Kyle Kuzma’s 33 points (12/23) back and forth wasn’t enough. Bradley Beal (20, 8/17) also remained inconspicuous, otherwise only Corey Kispert (13) scored in double digits. Washington is now 1.5 games behind in 10th place, while the Kings are just 3.5 games behind leaders Denver.
Chicago Bulls (33-37) – Miami Heat (38-34) 113:99 (BOXSCORE)
- Big point for the Bulls, who capitalized on the competition’s mistakes and are now 1.5 games ahead of Washington and Indiana. This time it was a homogeneous team performance, six players from the hosts scored double digits, even if DeMar DeRozan (24, 10/15, 10 assists) was once again the best scorer for Chicago.
- Still had to be trembled a little. Shortly after the break, the Bulls were already leading by +27 after a three-point game by Nikola Vucevic (13, 10 boards), before Jimmy Butler (24, 8/13) and Bam Adebayo (23, 9/17) made it exciting again and reduced to -3 with nine minutes to go.
- Despite 58 minutes the day before, Chicago had the right answer, threes from Zach LaVine (18), Coby White (18) and DeRozan shattered the visitors’ morale. Patrick Beverley also contributed 17 points to the win, in the second quarter the guard even scored 14 points in a row – no kidding. Tyler Herro (15, 6 TO) caught a weak evening for Miami, Max Strus (20) hit five threes coming off the bench.
Memphis Grizzlies (43-27) – Golden State Warriors (36-36) 133:119 (BOXSCORE)
- As always in duels between these two teams, there was a lot of fire in it, but in the end it was the eleventh away defeat in a row for the reigning champion. That was also because Stephen Curry (16, 5/15 FG, 3/8 3P) and Klay Thompson (14, 6/17 FG, 2/9 3P) didn’t reach their normal form and stayed cold.
- Memphis led almost the entire game, but the Dubs fought back thanks to numerous free throws (28/34 FT), some three-pointers and a superb Jordan Poole (17 of 21 points in the third quarter). After a Thompson jump, they were only two points behind with ten minutes to go, but then all the dams broke. The Grizzlies ran 21:3 for six minutes, only Curry hit a three.
- Thanks to Desmond Bane (26, 10/17), the Grizzlies sunk their distance shots, ran the fast break and were unstoppable. Jaren Jackson Jr. was the best scorer with 31 points, while Tyus Jones (13, 14 assists) again made an excellent substitution for Ja Morant. Dillon Brooks (18, 4/4 3P) also delivered, and Luke Kennard (14) also hit four threes. Jonathan Kuminga (24), on the other hand, was the best scorer for the Warriors.
Utah Jazz (34-36) – Boston Celtics (49-23) 118:117 (BOXSCORE)
- The Jazz are actually overtaking the Lakers and are suddenly a hot contender for the play-in again. Rookie Walker Kessler (12, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks) Utah secured victory with a block against Grant Williams in the laying attempt, previously it was Talen Horton-Tucker who gave the hosts the lead with a drive. Utah ended the game with a 10:3 run over the last 2:30 minutes.
- Jayson Tatum missed two jumpers, the forward played through the entire quarter but didn’t score. It wasn’t the All-Star’s night anyway, just 15 points (4/12) was his fourth-weakest haul this season. Utah consistently doubled the star. Instead, it was Jaylen Brown (25, 9/19) and Grant Williams (23, 7/12 threes) who carried Boston for a long time, but in the end the air went out in a back-to-back.
- Williams alone had four threes in the final section, and the Celtics sunk a strong 22 triples (51 attempts), but Kessler controlled the action near the basket. Boston led early on by 19 points, but little by little the hosts got closer. Lauri Markkanen (28, 10/23) then took over in the closing period, dropping to -1 with a three in the closing minutes before THT and Kessler secured victory.