In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I find it only fitting that I take a moment to say thank you, NBA style. And while I could write more than 1,000 words about why this league makes my heart sing, I’ll keep it on an all-encompassing note: I’m grateful the NBA has never been in a better place than it is today.
In other words, I’m grateful to be able to watch Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland combine for 58 points in a smashing win over the Blazers that same night. Trae Young torches the Sacramento Kings for 35; Kyle Kuzma falls 33 in a Loss; DeMar DeRozan and Giannis Antetokounmpo go back and forth in a quiet contender for Game of the Year; Nikola Jokic returns to two-time MVP form as he torches the Thunder into overtime; Zion Williamson plays big at Spurs; the undermanned Pistons continue to play their hearts out as they beat their second straight Western Conference opponent; and as we begin the recap of Wednesday’s action, Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic go head-to-head in a top five talent battle.
Later today, as you pass the yams for a green bean casserole, I ask you to reflect on how grateful you are for the NBA to be where it is today in terms of talent. It’s a beautiful thing. Now for Wednesday’s results.
Celtics fend off Mavs in a duel with the MVP contender with 125:112
I’ve teased openly (and in the headlines), but there aren’t enough words in the English language to describe last night’s epic duel between Luka Doncic (42 points, eight rebounds, nine assists) and Jayson Tatum (37-13- 5) to describe. . Tatum would prevail as Boston’s great first half – she led 70-49 by two – was enough for the Cs to hold on despite a late comeback bid from Doncic and Co.
Trae Young, Hawks snap King’s seven-game winning streak 115-106
On Tuesday, I wrote that nothing good can last, citing the Celtics’ nine-game winning streak ending against the Chicago Bulls. The second longest winning streak so far? That belonged to the Kings, who lost their seven-game winning streak to Trae Young (35 points, seven assists) and the Hawks. Malik Monk (27 on 12-of-18 shooting) was Sacramento’s top offensive threat, while De’Aaron Fox’s struggles (18 points on 7-of-20 shooting and a -11 difference for the game) ultimately gave Atlanta the gave advantage. For now, the beam is dimmed.
Nets ground underhanded Raptors, win 112-98
Impressively, Toronto — which played without Scottie Barnes, Precious Achiuwa, Fred VanVleet, Otto Porter Jr. and Pascal Siakam — kept Kevin Durant in check as he scored just 12 points. But it was K*rie I*ving who, at 29, led the way for the Nets as Brooklyn rolled past the Raptors in Toronto. Ben Simmons, who is starting to look like himself again, added 14 points, six assists, three steals and two blocks to the win.
Cavs clobber blazer, 114-96
Timberwolves snap Pacer’s winning streak, win 115-101
Hornets anger Sixers, 107-101
As of Wednesday, the Hornets had lost 11 of their last 12 and looked comfortably like the NBA’s worst team. I think it’s a stretch to call this win over the 76ers a surprise even though Philly was without Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey.
The Bulls fend off Bucks with a big third quarter to win 118-113
DeMar DeRozan’s 36-4-8 night was enough for Chicago to overwhelm Giannis (36 of their own, with 11 boards and seven dimes) and the Bucks, who went 5-5 in their last 10 after the hottest start in their last 10 games Games are season. Remember they remain without Khris Middleton – who just received a G-League stint at Wisconsin Herd (eyeball emoji) — and has yet to see Joe Ingles in a Milwaukee uniform. But they’ve grown colder of late, while Chicago finally seems to be putting the pieces together for a team that can do it could cause trouble as the season progresses.
Warriors stay home white hot, down Clippers, 124-107
Kuzma walks away but Wiz falls to Heat, 113-105
Jokic wins MVP contender fight with SGA, Nuggets beat Thunder 131-126
It’s fair to say that Nikola Jokic has taken his foot off the gas this season. Just notice that he’s now going 85 mph instead of 120. He’s still averaging close to a triple-double (22.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, nine assists) and he’s been near nuclear in his last two games. Though his nuggets lost Tuesday despite his 31-9-10 effort, they outlasted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s 31-7-11 away game in overtime; Jokic went off for 39 points, 10 boards and nine dimes. He could very well be in the MVP race if he wanted to – or if we wanted to bring him into the conversation.
Jazz falls first, falling to Pistons, 125-116
Jazz could officially be Mitte. They have lost twice in a row and five of their last seven games. Perhaps we’re overreacting to their incredibly hot start. Maybe we overreacted to that incredibly hot start. Anyway, Utah has fallen back to earth — and 12-8 to a paltry fourth place in the West.
Bojan Bogdanovic (23 points), Kevin Knox II (21), Marvin Bagley (19 points), Alec Burks (18) and Jaden Ivey (16) all finished in double digits for the victorious Pistons, who have gone on to win back-to-back.
Zion, Pelicans Treat Spurs, 129-110
32 points on 14 of 18 and 11 rebounds for the kid as Zion Williamson and the Pelicans worked their way to a fourth win in five games. what’s more He’s smart as a whip.