The Orlando Magic around Franz and Moritz Wagner tripped the best team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics, again. The Houston Rockets won their first game in four weeks.
The Bulls beat a weak Atlanta team and the Milwaukee Bucks are in a hurry in Detroit with Khris Middleton’s comeback.
Detroit Pistons (12-37) – Milwaukee Bucks (30-17) 130:150 (BOXSCORE)
- Someone must have had jet lag in their limbs. The Pistons were still playing in Paris during the week, but now they really got under the wheels on their return against Milwaukee. Milwaukee scored 49 points in the first quarter alone, led by up to 28 points and at times hit twelve throws in a row.
- For the first time in a long time, the Bucks started with their best line-up, even if comeback Khris Middleton initially came off the bench. When the forward re-entered the court for the first time after seven minutes, the matter was as good as over (36:10). And that was good, too, because Middleton still looked very rusty. In 15 minutes, the All-Star had 8 points (3/7) and 4 assists, but also had 6 turnovers and 3 fouls.
- Another returnee did not have such problems. Giannis Antetokounmpo had missed five games with a knee injury but started like a fireman in Detroit. 20 points at 6/6 from the field plus two converted threes was the Greek Freak’s haul in just eight minutes. Later he took it easy, 29 points (8/15 FG, 11/17 FT) and 12 boards were recorded in 26 minutes.
- The Bucks sank 23 three-pointers (52 attempts), six of which went to backup guard Jevon Carter (18). In general, eight Bucks players hit at least two triples. For the Pistons, Bojan Bogdanovic (33, 6/7 threes) was the best scorer, but without their two best defensemen (Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart) the Pistons were completely powerless.
Orlando Magic (18-29) – Boston Celtics (35-13) 113:98 (BOXSCORE)
- The Celtics had won nine times in a row before the game, but the “nemesis” from Orlando suffered their third defeat of the season. The Magic did a good job of that in the closing period, holding Boston down to just 19 points in the fourth quarter. Paolo Banchero (23, 7/13 FG) made the right plays offensively and also reacted to the Celtics doubling like an old hand.
- The decision came midway through the final quarter when Orlando kept the visitors without a point for over four minutes and Banchero and Franz Wagner hit three-pointers. Wagner “only” scored 15 points this time (7/13), but showed a very mature performance with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. The Berliner also scored at the end of the first quarter that heavy baseline jumper over Center Luke Kornet.
- But the big story was the return of Jonathan Isaac, who last played in the bubble in August 2020 due to a knee injury. The forward received a standing ovation from Magic fans and made an impressive comeback. In just under 10 minutes, the defensive specialist scored 10 points (2/3 threes) and immediately defended Jaylen Brown. The 25-year-old cut a good figure, once even a “pick six” succeeded.
- In general, the Magic made one of their better games this season. Cole Anthony (18) towered over the first half, Wendell Carter Jr. (21, 11 rebounds) put on a double-double. Moritz Wagner had 5 points and 2 rebounds in 15 minutes. Boston were without Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon and Rob Williams, while Jason Tatum (26, 9/19, 7 assists) and Jaylen Brown (26, 5/11 threes) were the visitors’ top scorers.
Chicago Bulls (22-24) – Atlanta Hawks (24-24) 111:100 (BOXSCORE)
- After the first two comparisons were only decided with the final siren, the Bulls achieved a reasonably comfortable victory this time. The hosts used the Hawks’ few minutes without Trae Young early in the fourth quarter to gain a small cushion. Patrick Williams (18, 10 rebounds) and DeMar DeRozan fueled an 11:3 run from which the Hawks never recovered.
- The offense was simply too weak for a comeback that evening. Weak odds (46 percent from the field, 30 from afar) plus 18 turnovers were not enough against a Bulls team that worked diligently on the offensive board (15 OREBs). The many ball losses, which the Bulls converted into 25 points, were more expensive.
- That was hugely important since Chicago’s offense wasn’t a revelation either. DeMar DeRozan (26, 11/21) once again scored the most points, while Zach LaVine (20, 7/17) was a bit overshadowed but also had good phases in the fourth quarter. Nikola Vucevic (14, 17 rebounds) collected a lot of rebounds.
- Especially for Trae Young (21, 7/16 FG, 0/5 3P, 13 assists) and Dejounte Murray (20, 9/19 FG, 2/7 threes) the jump shots didn’t want to fall. With De’Andre Hunter, the best defender for the wing was injured.
Houston Rockets (11-36) – Minnesota Timberwolves (24-25) 119:114 (BOXSCORE)
- It actually happened! After four weeks or 13 games, the Rockets from Houston won another basketball game – and somehow it shook over the finish line. Nothing mattered. Jalen Green led Houston with 42 points (15/25 FG; 6/12 threes), but was also the best example of the Rockets’ inexperience.
- Two examples: A good 40 seconds before the end, Green shot at the basket from outside at +6 and still 16 seconds on the shot clock – and met. With 10 seconds left, the Rockets guard received a throw-in at +4 in the opponent’s half and dribbled back (including a stepping error), the referees turned a blind eye and made the decision.
- In the 47 minutes before it was still a strong performance from Green, who was able to create a lot for himself. In addition, the ball finally ran better for Houston, especially when Alperen Sengün (21, 7 assists) was involved. The Turk stood his ground against Rudy Gobert (15, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks). The Wolves, on the other hand, suffered their first defeat in the third game in two weeks.
- Above all, Anthony Edwards (31, 9/20, 6 TO) disappointed for a long time before he was able to bolster his account with 17 points and a few buckets shortly before the end. D’Angelo Russell (30, 6/12, 7 assists) had the visitors for a long time in the game, but then played a really bad crunch time with costly turnovers and questionable shot selection.
Utah Jazz (25-25) – Charlotte Hornets (13-35) 120:102 (BOXSCORE)
- It certainly wasn’t the Jazz’s best game of the season, but it was more than enough against a disastrous Charlotte side. It was almost a miracle the Hornets were only -13 behind at the break. In the first 24 minutes, Charlotte went without a single goal from Downtown (7 attempts). It’s only happened once this season – OKC in Dallas in October, when the Thunder won by overtime.
- Charlotte didn’t succeed because the shoot didn’t get any better. Terry Rozier hit the first try in the second half, but then only a successful three should follow (Rozier again, rest of the team: 0/8). The Jazz was completely different: They already had eleven converted triples at the break and at the beginning of the final section they put their foot down again, so that the white flag was raised in the middle of the quarter.
- Lauri Markkanen (25, 8/14, 11 rebounds) hit his fifth straight double-double, Jordan Clarkson scored 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter. Charlotte again went without a LaMelo ball, so Rozier (23, 9/23) and Mason Plumlee (18, 8 rebounds) were the top scorers on the visiting side.