Seven of Wednesday night’s 12 NBA games were decided by one bucket. Let’s dig into how they were all decided — okay, the other five, too.
Cavs sneak past reeling Suns, 90-88
On Monday night, Donovan Mitchell scored 71 points in a win over the Chicago Bulls. On Wednesday night, Cleveland mustered just 19 more points as a team, needing every last one of them to eke out a win. Thankfully, the spiraling Suns couldn’t come up with much either; despite 25 points and eight assists from Chris Paul, Phoenix lost its fourth straight game and fell to 3-7 in its last 10 games. With Devin Booker sidelined for at least a few more weeks, who knows how far this slide can go.
Sixers sneak past sizzling Pacers in OT, 129-126
Even though this one was close until the final buzzer sounded, it felt over from the moment De’Anthony Melton hit a go-ahead three-pointer with a shade over two minutes remaining in overtime, putting the Sixers in the driver’s seat for good. James Harden scored 26 points to lead the way for a Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia team, which won its 11th consecutive home game on Wednesday. Despite the loss, seven Pacers finished in double-figures, with Buddy Hield (24), Bennedict Mathurin (19), and Tyrese Haliburton (16 and 12 assists) leading the way.
Knicks edge Spurs behind career night from Brunson, 117-114
Should New York be celebrating a tight victory over one of the worst teams in the NBA? Of course not. But an ugly win, as it was dubbed by Posting and Toasting, is a win. That makes three in a row for the Knicks, who were led last night by 38 points, seven rebounds, and six assists from Jalen “Worth Every Penny” Brunson. Julius Randle added 25 points and 13 boards of his own.
Giannis, Bucks slip past Raptors in OT, 104-101
Not even on their best all-around night can the Raptors handle Giannis, whose 30-point, 21-rebound, 10-assist triple-double would almost certainly be among his best efforts of the season... if not for the 12 turnovers that make it an unofficial quadruple-double. Regardless, Grayson Allen’s late heroics — a sentence you never thought you’d read — pushed Milwaukee past the still-reeling Raptors, who are now 3-7 in their last 10 and 13th in the Eastern Conference.
Grizzlies demolish Hornets, 131-107
Bulls halt Nets’ win streak, steal 121-112 victory
Apparently, 44 points from Kevin Durant isn’t quite enough for Brooklyn to keep its win streak alive. It snaps at 12 games, thanks to six Bulls finishing in double-figures. DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams had 22 apiece — I guess combined, that makes up for Durant’s evening.
Led by Banchero, Orlando tops Oklahoma City, 126-115
Paolo Banchero’s health has dinged up his otherwise-spotless Rookie of the Year resumé, but complete-game efforts like his on Wednesday should help. He scored 28 points, snatched eight rebounds, and dished out seven dimes en route to Orlando’s rather seamless win over the Thunder. The Magic are just three games out of the final play-in spot. Just sayin’.
Anthony Edwards leads Wolves past Portland, 113-106
Pelicans handle Rockets, 119-108
Shorthanded Lakers outduel Heat, 112-109
No LeBron, no AD, no Lonnie Walker — that’s the real kicker, after all — no problem. Despite missing their three most reliable scorers, the Lakers snatched their fourth win in five games from the Miami Heat. Dennis Schroder scored 14 of his season-high 32 points in the fourth quarter, nine of which came within the final two-and-a-half minutes to help seal things for Los Angeles. Russell Westbrook and Thomas Bryant both added 21 points in the win.
“...the 2022-2023 Miami Heat [are] a shell of the inspiring squad with an “us-against-the-world” spirit they played with constantly just last season on the way to a memorable playoff run...This current batch of Heatles has been lackluster, unpredictable, and uninspiring. Although their recent play has been better, with nearly half the regular season done, their 20-19 record is a microcosm for who they are: a competitive team that can beat anybody but can lose to any opponent as well.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Hawks fend of Kings, 120-117
The Hawks are mired in chaos. Perhaps snapping a four-game losing streak thanks to one of the best one-on-one defensive possessions I’ve seen all season might help.
Pistons stun Steph-less Warriors at buzzer, 122-119
What a finish to this one, something you have to see to believe.
The final 4 seconds of Warriors-Pistons were WILD pic.twitter.com/fakbuxKQ2K— NBA (@NBA) January 5, 2023
The “advancement of the ball after a timeout” rule wins again.