Sunday in the NBA featured a bevvy of stars in action as well as role players playing like stars, including Jose ‘Grand Theft’ Alvarado scoring a career-high 38 for the Pelicans. Anthony Davis was the big story though. He dropped 44 on Friday in a big win over the Bucks and then 55 points and 17 rebounds in a win over the Wizards on Sunday. The Lakers are now just two games under .500 thanks to Davis’ recent domination.
There’s a lot of other action within the standings with teams jockeying for highest seeds possible, including the Kings, weaseling their way into the top five (!!!) in the West. While the Suns remain the top dogs for now, the movement on that side of the bracket is really starting to heat up, such as the following winner making their own leap:
Jose Alvarado fuels Pelicans 121-106 win over Nuggets
In just 27 minutes off the bench, Grand Theft Alvarado scored 38 points (8-11 3P). It was also his eighth straight game grabbing at least one steal. Zion Williamson was the only other Pelican with a major scoring effort as he finished with 25 points (9-17 FG) to go with his six rebounds and four assists. The win moves New Orleans into sole possession of the #2 spot in the West.
Conversely, Denver falls from #2 to a tie with Memphis for #3. It wasn’t Nikola Jokic’s fault though; the reigning back-to-back MVP put up an MVP-like statline: 32 points (13-19 FG), 16 rebounds, nine assists, and two steals. He was a +2 in 37 minutes of a 15-point loss, meaning Denver was -17 in the 11 minutes that he didn’t play. Let the on/off numbers return and become the driving force in the MVP conversation so that the Joker can make it three straight.
Suns get right with 133-95 pounding of Spurs
After a close loss at home to the lowly Rockets over the weekend, Phoenix used a 36-11 second quarter to gain some ground on the Spurs, who like the Rockets, remain near the bottom of the standings. It was a balanced effort offensively, as Deandre Ayton led the way with 25 points (10-14 FG), while Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges each added 20.
Some of the role players for Phoenix had landmark nights by their standards like Dario Saric, who made his second consecutive start and finished with a season-high 17 points. Reserve wing Josh Okogie had a big game as well, posting nine points, 11 rebounds (tying a career high), and six assists (setting a career high).
“J-Team” combines for 63 as Celtics beat Nets, 103-92
The Boys in Green keep rolling, winning their sixth game in the last seven opportunities. Jaylen Brown (34 points on 10-20) and Jayson Tatum (29 points on 10-19) led their squad in scoring. Brown is on an especially consistent run this season; you’d have to go back to Nov. 4 to find the last time he scored fewer than 20 points (14 straight games).
Meanwhile, it was a rough night for Kyrie Irving as he went up against his former team, shooting just 7-21 from the floor for 18 points in 40 minutes. He also had the second-worst +/- on the game at -16; only Kevin Durant was worse at -19.
Grizzlies beat Pistons 122-112 behind hot start
Knicks churn out 92-81 win over Cavs
Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell each missed 14 shots as the Knicks held the Cavs to 20 points or fewer in all but one quarter (27 in the second). If that doesn’t sound ugly enough, both teams had as many – or more – turnovers as assists (17-17 for Cleveland and 20-17 for New York), and nearly the same could be said about fouls (15 for Cleveland and 16 for New York).
It was truly a vintage Madison Square Garden rock fight that even Thibs could be proud of, despite rumors swirling that his job is on the line.
"There's one thing worth noting - Leon Rose is fiercely loyal to Tom Thibodeau, and I don't think that he would take lightly the decision to make a coaching change"@IanBegley on Thibodeau's rotation and the Knicks' win over the Cavaliers: https://t.co/pMHfYyl1in pic.twitter.com/opD33pLgLR— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 5, 2022
Anthony Davis goes to work for Lakers in 130-119 win over Wizards
AD gets the big money for the day after his monster game of 55 points (22-30 FG), 17 rebounds, and three blocks. After scoring 44 on Friday, Davis becomes the second player this season to follow up 40+ with 50+ in the next game after Booker did it last week.
The Lakers are now 8-2 in their last ten after a 2-10 start to their season, leaving them just 1.0 game back of the play-in group with well over half the season to go. If they can find the right trade(s), they could legitimately put themselves in position for a top six spot where they don’t even need to worry about playing in.
Kings win third straight with 110-101 win over Bulls
Pacers drop third straight in 116-100 loss to Blazers
Andrew Nembhard and Indiana must’ve made a deal with the Devil to get their buzzer beating win over the Lakers last week, because they only have one other win in their last seven games.
This one fell out of reach in the third, which the Blazers won 39-25. Pacers opened the fourth on a 15-7 run to make things interesting, but Portland just went on a 16-11 run the rest of the way to close it out.
Damian Lillard made his first appearance after seven straight missed games, and he scored 21 points (5-10 3P, including one to stop the aforementioned 15-7 Pacers run) while dishing out six assists in his 32 minutes and posting a game-high +30.