The Suns snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over the bewildered Warriors, while the Heat set an NBA free-throw efficiency record on Tuesday, the day David Bowie passed away seven years ago.
Change, that’s what fans of Golden State and Phoenix, currently in a difficult time, hoped to see. And it was those of Arizona who were granted, their team winning (125-113) in California.
A little against all odds, because the Suns were without their stars Devin Booker, Chris Paul, DeAndre Ayton, injured, unlike the Warriors, who recovered Stephen Curry, after eleven games missed for a left shoulder injury. The latter, long rusty, sounded the revolt in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his 24 points.
Golden State, which had been 27 units behind, returned to -6, also guided by Klay Thompson (29 pts), but could not prevent a third consecutive defeat. Because the fact is that the “Dubs”, abusing the three-point shot, are light years away from playing like a defending champion.
Phoenix, carried by Mikal Bridges (26 pts, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks), showed more consistency and took the opportunity to double his victim of the evening in 6th place in the West.
Heroes don’t always win in the end. Luka Doncic and Donovan Mitchell have had bitter experience of this.
The first struggled like hell during Dallas’ loss to the Clippers (113-101), scoring 20 of his 43 points (11 rebounds, 7 assists) in the last quarter. Driven by an obligation to pull themselves together after six defeats in a row, LA was able to count on Kawhi Leonard (33 pts 9 rebounds) who has been showing the best lately.
The second, for his return to Utah where he played five seasons since his transfer to Cleveland, did not prevent the defeat of the Cavs (116-114). However, he scored 46 points (6 assists, 3 steals), but the Jazz had some backing, like Jordan Clarkson (32 pts) and Lauri Markkanen (25 pts, 17 rebounds).
. “Scary Monsters”
“The 48 minutes will be scary when we’re together”, promised Joel Embiid at the end of February 2022, when James Harden had joined him in Philadelphia, in reference to the “it’s going to be scary” dropped by “The Beard” (the bearded one), a year earlier when he had signed in Brooklyn, about the trio he was going to form with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and which ultimately turned into a fiasco.
The pair have been on and off this season so far, playing only half of the 76ers’ 40 games. But when these two “monsters” are in full possession of their means, their association does damage.
The Pistons paid the price (147-116). Embiid was ultra-dominant (36 pts, 11 rebounds in 23 minutes), Harden chained a second triple-double in a row (16 pts, 15 assists, 12 rebounds).
And around them, something quite rare since the start of the championship, the team was complete. What to apprehend a second part of the season, looking higher than the current 4th place.
. “Under Pressure”
A free throw can win games. This was verified in a historic way in Miami, in favor of the Heat, winner in the snatch of Oklahoma City (112-111), thanks to Jimmy Butler, full of composure under pressure, to succeed in a decisive one 12 seconds from the end.
Historic, because during the exercise, the Floridians (8th) excelled with a 100% success on their 40 attempts. A new record in the NBA, which erases that of Utah, author of a 39/39 against Portland in 1982.
Exemplary, Butler scored 23 free throws alone, ending his evening with 35 points.
On the Thunder side, there is no shortage of regrets because he did more than even play, like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (26 pts).
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