After nights like this in the NBA, many are not-so-seriously considering giving players a week off each month to make way for awesome performances. A little defense wouldn’t hurt, but you really can’t complain much when you’re getting so much excitement from the league.
A 2021 Finals rematch went down to the wire, the Lakers came back from a 27-point deficit early on Sunday, but that all felt like ancient history when the clock struck Dame Time for 71 points and when a likely MVP three-peat posted a 40-point triple double.
Strap in, because the NBA won’t wait for you if you’re not.
Blazers beat Rockets 131-114 behind Dame’s 71
Nothing Dame Lillard does is surprising anymore, but it does continue to impress. Just over a week removed from his three-point contest victory at All-Star weekend, Lillard has the highest-scoring sub-40 minute output of all-time with his 71 points on 22-38 shooting (13-22 3P) in just 39 minutes.
Bucks beat Suns 104-101 in 2021 Finals rematch
Jrue Holiday taking over to put Phoenix to bed is a sight all-too-familiar to Suns fans. He scored 13 of his 33 points in the fourth while former Suns wing Jae Crowder added back-to-back late threes to seal the Milwaukee comeback just after Phoenix took an 8-point lead with 5:47 remaining.
The Bucks’ outrageous win streak continues climbing to now 14 games, just six shy of a longstanding franchise record. Suns, however, are 3-3 over their last six games as they continue waiting for Kevin Durant’s debut.
Devin Booker is at least partially to blame as he’s struggled to shoot from deep since returning from a groin injury, now 8-35 (22.9%) 3P over his last six games. He started 2-11 from the floor in this game and based on the sorts of shots he’s getting, he looks like someone who’s ready for Durant to join the lineup.
Trae Young, Hawks beat Nets 129-127 at the buzzer
After a 3-6 stretch that found Atlanta in some turmoil with Quin Snyder now asked to come in and right the ship, Snyder is set to begin his tenure with the Hawks riding a much better 4-2 stretch following Ice Trae’s late-game heroics.
TRAE YOUNG— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 26, 2023
Young finished with 34 points (12-26 FG) and eight assists while his backcourt counterpart Dejounte Murray added 28 (12-21) and four. In the loss for Brooklyn, all four exciting young perimeter players — Spencer Dinwiddie, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Cam Thomas — scored 20-plus.
Bulls breeze by Wizards 102-82
Washington scored just 55 points over the final three quarters while DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine combined for 56 points (22-33 FG) over the game by themselves. Chicago is just half a game behind Washington for the final play-in spot in what could be a tight race down the stretch.
Lakers complete largest comeback of the season in 111-108 win over Mavs
It hasn’t taken long for the wheels to start to shake a little in Dallas in the Luka Doncic / Kyrie Irving era as they’re now 1-4 in clutch games since the trade. In the latest instance, the Lakers came back from down 27, the largest comeback of the season across the league so far.
Between complaining to refs and wacky inbounds attempts, Dallas players and coaches were left to air their dirty laundry in postgame pressers, for example:
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd on officiating becoming a distraction amid losing a 27-point lead to the Lakers:— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) February 26, 2023
"I think it's just our maturity just understanding what we have to do at that time, just focus on that play, can't get distracted with the whistle. Just keep playing, it… https://t.co/yWsoEBb6BG pic.twitter.com/YE05SiJYpx
While the win leaves the Lakers, on a 3-game win streak, still a game behind the play-in picture in the West, I’m sure the high-profile nature of it will leave national media fawning over the Lakers’ championship prospects.
Cavs back on track with 118-93 win over Raptors
Kings win third straight, 124-115 over Thunder
Light the beam once again! With more than 20 games remaining in their regular season, the Kings have their second-most wins in a season over the last 15 years and at 35-25 are likely to breeze past the 39 wins from 2018-19.
Behind 33 points (11-19 FG) and eight assists from De’Aaron Fox, the Kings have put first-year head coach Mike Brown in a great spot to contend for Coach of the Year; on DraftKings, Brown is a slight favorite for the award over Boston Celtics interim-turned-head coach Joe Mazzulla.
Klay Thompson, Warriors pull ahead of Wolves late
There was a point in the fourth quarter where the ESPN broadcast of the game showed Steve Kerr imploring his team to flip the script from a meeting earlier in Minnesota when the Warriors blew a late 10-point lead.
With 7:31 remaining in this meeting, Warriors trailed by nine before Klay Thompson scored five of Golden State’s next seven points, finishing with 32 points (12-23 FG) to lead both teams. With 61 seconds remaining, the Warriors saw an eight-point lead become a three-point lead for a late scare, but it was too little, too late.
Minnesota big Naz Reid had a career night in the loss, finishing with career-highs in both points (30 on 12-22 FG) and steals (five) but was unable to find more than 12 points from any one other teammate; Anthony Edwards struggled for his 12 on 5-19 FG.
Nuggets come out on top in overtime 134-124 over Clippers
Nikola Jokic posted his third 40-point (14-21 FG) triple double of the season which included three steals. While the Joker’s production overall has been consistent, the high-end scoring hasn’t been there so much lately with this being his first game scoring more than 30 in over a month; he still never shot worse than 50% over that stretch.
After playing 46 minutes in the double-overtime thriller against the Kings, Kawhi Leonard played another 39 minutes in this one, which comes out to a two-game workload that the Klaw hasn’t seen since the 2020 bubble. It was the third overtime period — and second loss — for the Clippers over the last two games.