A nine-game win streak no more for the Denver Nuggets. The game against the Oklahoma City Thunder went back and forth almost from the jump, with Denver’s Zeke Nnaji draining two free throws to tie it up at 99 with 30 seconds remaining in the contest. But with just under 10 seconds left, SGA took matters into his own hands, knocking down a jumper to put the Thunder ahead for good. Jamal Murray missed a potential game-tying shot from 14 feet out with only a few seconds left on the clock, and the Nuggets’ league-leading win streak was snapped.
OKC’s win not only ruined Denver’s nine-game run, but also brought the Nuggets’ 16-game home win streak — its longest streak in a decade — to a close. SGA led all scorers with 34; without Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets had seven players (led by Jamal Murray’s 26-point effort) finish in double-figures despite the loss).
In other news, the Boston Celtics now have the NBA’s longest active win streak. Catch me pouring every ounce of my emotional energy into their prolonged success now that the Bills are eliminated from the NFL Playoffs. No, I am not okay.
Nets’ comeback fuels dub over Warriors, 120-116
You know who’s pretty damn good? Nic Claxton. Over his last five games, Brooklyn’s big man is averaging 19.2 points and 11 rebounds, big-time numbers for a starting big man on an Eastern Conference contender. And on Sunday, he dropped 24 points and 15 rebounds to bolster the Nets' comeback over the Warriors, proving a worthy second fiddle to Kyrie Irving — at least for one night. Irving’s 38 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists led the Nets to victory after trailing by 17 late in the second half.
After losing four in a row, the Nets have won two in a row. It might not last long — the Sixers come next, on Wednesday night — but the Pistons, Knicks, and Lakers follow. The streak could continue... and because I’ve said it could, it won’t.
Knicks drop fourth-straight as Raptors win, 125-116
Nothing went right for the Knicks on Sunday. Nothing. Without Immanuel Quickley (left knee) and center Mitchell Robinson (fractured right thumb), Toronto took control of New York, led by Fred VanVleet’s 28-point outing. Gary Trent Jr. (24 before fouling out) and Pascal Siakam (24; he didn’t foul out) also led the way for the Raptors, who snapped a three-game losing streak in their handling of the up-and-down Knicks.
RJ Barrett finished with 30 points, and Julius Randle dropped 23 points and pulled down 19 rebounds for the Knicks as they lost their fourth straight. No one would call that ideal.
Lakers put together second-half comeback to drop Blazers, 121-112
When you’re trailing 71-46 at halftime, the optics aren’t great. In fact, they’re rather dismal. That’s what the Los Angeles Lakers stared down on Sunday in Portland... and laughed in the face of. They outscored the Trail Blazers 75-41 in the second half — putting them ahead by nine, for you math nerds out there — despite trailing by as many as 25. On a Sunday chock-full of big leads and epic comebacks, L.A.’s might be the most impressive; LeBron James scored 37 points and had 11 rebounds, Thomas Bryant had 31 and 14, and Dennis Schroder finished with 24 points, six boards, and eight dimes. That’s one hell of a box score, one that the Lakers can stand by as they attempt to make a claim for a play-in spot as the season rolls along.
Full-strength Clippers handle Mavericks, 112-98
It’s a wonder what your team can do when it’s at full strength, All-Stars and all. The Los Angeles Clippers — yes, that team you once believed was a championship contender! — dropped the Dallas Mavericks by 14 behind 30 points from Kawhi Leonard, 21 from Paul George, and an additional 19 from Norman Powell on Sunday. Despite the fact that things were close entering the fourth, the Clips pulled away late, winning their second-straight game following a stretch of nine losses out of 11 tries.
Luka Doncic led Dallas with 29 points and 10 rebounds while Tim Hardaway Jr. (22) and Spencer Dinwiddie (21) served as prominent backup options for Jason Kidd. Dallas has lost four of its last five games and is 3-7 in its last 10 games.
Heat come back from 16 down, beat Pelicans, 100-96
That it was kid’s day in Miami and Tyler Herro — 26 points, eight rebounds, four assists — prevailed as the hero feels fitting, but I’ll do my best to put it aside as I consider Miami’s win over New Orleans on Sunday. Even though they trailed by 16 in the first half, Miami’s effort never faltered. Both Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler scored 18 for Miami, and they forced a turnover with 15 seconds left — the Pelicans’ 25th giveaway — whilst up by two. New Orleans won a jump ball to regain possession with only a few seconds remaining. C.J. McCollum missed the three-point attempt with only a few seconds remaining; Victor Oladipo closed the game with a tandem of free throws to officially seal it.
The Suns win!!! Against the Grizzlies!!! Huh!!! 112-110!!!
I think we all needed this. Perhaps even if we didn’t know we needed it.