By Adolfo Lopez
(Game of the Night)
Miami Heat outlast Milwaukee Bucks in OT 131-126
-Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo forced OT, but the Bucks couldn’t hold on as the Heat got the upset win without star Jimmy Butler. The Heat continue to trust their rookie backcourt in Herro and Nunn, but it was Dragic who was the catalyst off the bench. Dragic torched the Bucks to the tune of 25pts/8asts/6rbs. Bam Adebayo had one of his best career games, finishing with 19pts/8asts/13rbs. Kendrick Nunn was impressive again before fouling out, finishing with 18pts/5asts/4rbs. It’ll be interesting to see how good this Miami team will be, but they have all the elements of a top-seeded team in the East. A star player in Jimmy Butler, hard-nosed defense, and plenty of three point shooters, not to mention a great coach in Erik Spoelstra.
-For the Bucks, Giannis led the way with 29pts/9asts/17rbs. Khris Middleton added 25pts/3asts/4rbs and Kyle Korver finished with 14pts off the bench.
Philadelphia Sixers beat Detroit Pistons 117-111
-The Pistons really let this one go. Granted, they were without key players once again, but they were up big in the third quarter before letting the Sixers dice them up with cut after cut. Besides that, Detroit couldn’t seem to hit any of their free throws to keep the game within a scores reach, missing fifteen total on the game.
-Tobias Harris led the way for a Sixers team missing Joel Embiid. He finished with 29pts/7rbs. Al Horford added 23pts/5asts/9rbs and Mike Scott came off the bench torching with five three’s and 17pts. Ben Simmons added 13pts/10asts/4rbs. Horford was the catalyst for the Sixers for much of the third quarter helping them climb back into this game.
-The Pistons beat themselves this game, but there’s a lot of positive signs about this team. For one, they’re well-coached and have a roster capable of upsetting teams. They’re still without Blake Griffin and are now missing Reggie Jackson as well. The story-line most worth watching is without a doubt Derrick Rose. He’s playing well enough to be a starter. There’s some merit to having his scoring off the bench, but perhaps a flip-flop of him and Reggie could add some more scoring to the starting unit, and help Reggie Jackson get himself right by going up against bench units. Derrick Rose led the way for the Pistons, finishing with 31pts/3asts/3rbs. Andre Drummond added a 13pt/12rb double-double.
Boston Celtics embarrass New York Knicks 118-95
-Things unraveled quickly for the Knickerbockers. They found themselves up by five at the half and then the Celtics just took over in the third quarter. It all seemingly came apart when Dennis Smith Jr. was reinserted back into the game after an absolutely terrible showing in the first half. Bricked shot after bricked shot, turnover after turnover, and mindless foul after mindless foul. In one sequence, Smith Jr. completely abandoned an easy layup attempt to turn around and jack a hitched three point shot into the air. At that point, the Garden crowd erupted with a chorus of boos and chants for Frank Ntilikina. After that, the poor play and boos sapped the life out of this Knicks team and the Celtics executed them.
-Kemba Walker torched his hometown team to the tune of 32pts/4asts/5rbs. Jaylen Brown added 19pts/4rbs and Jayson Tatum finished with 15pts/9rbs. Grant Williams was a factor outside of the stat sheet. He registered 7pts/3stls/2blks, but was a menace all over the court with game altering defense. The Celtics have a really nice versatile defender in the rookie.
-For the Knicks, RJ Barrett is clearly the teams best player. I think his teammates need to just accept that now and fall into the roles they’ve played for their entire careers. A lot of the guys on this team are trying to prove they are THE guy now, when they;ve been role players their whole careers. Even with the pissing contest, RJ Barrett still stands out as the best player through the first three games. He is constantly the catalyst behind the Knicks comebacks, he plays hard on both ends and you can tell by watching him he is THE guy. Barrett finished with 26pts/3asts/7rbs. The only other bright spot for the team was Mitchell Robinson, with 17pts/6rbs/3blks. Even with Mitch though, his early foul trouble continues to be a problem for the young center, especially with the Knicks not having another true center on the roster.
Atlanta Hawks beat Orlando Magic 103-99
-A battle between two of the upstart bright teams in the East did not disappoint, and the Hawks earned the edge behind Trae Young’s performance. He led the way for the Hawks, carrying the team with 39pts/9asts/7rbs. The only other two players on the team to finish with double digits in scoring were Jabari Parker and Kevin Huerter, who each had 10 off the bench.
-The Magic were absolutely DREADFUL from deep, converting only 16% of their three-pt shots. Amazingly enough, they only lost by four. Just goes to show if they hit at least AVERAGE from deep they would’ve won this game easily. Evan Fournier led the team in scoring with 23pts. but was 1-6 from three himself. Nikola Vucevic added a 16pt/10rb double-double
Houston Rockets beat New Orleans Pelicans 126-123
-Russell Westbrook posted his first triple-double as a Rocket, the 139th of his career. If that number isn’t staggering enough to think about on it’s own, he passed Magic Johnson for second on the all-time list for triple-doubles. Staring up at Oscar Robertson at 181, Russ should be #1 on that list sometime early next season (highly unlikely he notches 43 in the next 80 games). Besides the triple-double fun, Russ led the charge with two clutch free-throws to give the Rockets a three point cushion against a surprisingly tough Pelicans team, with six seconds remaining. He finished the game with 28pts/13asts/10rbs. James Harden added 29pts/5asts/4rbs.
-Don’t look now, but if Ingram keeps this pace he could be staring at a Most Improved Player trophy in June. The young forward led the way for his new team, finishing with 35pts/5asts/15rbs. Josh Hart added 23pts and Lonzo Ball finished with an 18pt/10ast double-double. This Pelicans team is pretty fun, and only looking to get better once they get Jrue Holiday and Zion Williamson back.
Toronto Raptors blast Chicago Bulls 108-84
-Chicago couldn’t get it done against the reigning champs in their home opener. They were in it during the beginning of the game, but when Otto Porter Jr left during the second quarter to receive stitches, the Raps pulled away and there was no looking back. Pascal Siakam continues to carry the load for the Raps, he led the way with 19pts/4asts/6rbs. Serge Ibaka came off the bench to the tune of 18pts/7rbs and OG Anunoby added 17pts/6rbs.
-For the Bulls, Wendell Carter Jr led the way with a 12pt/11rb double-double.
Cleveland Cavaliers beat Indiana Pacers 110-99
-Tristan Thompson led the way for the Cavaliers, and even made his first three-pointer much to the delight of Kevin Love. The Pacers lose their first two games of the season now, against two teams that, arguably, they were ahead of coming into the season. Thompson finished with a 25pt/13rb double-double. Kevin Love had a near triple-double channeling his inner UCLA teammate, finishing with 21pts/9asts/13rbs. Collin Sexton added 18pts/3asts/5rbs.
-For the Pacers, Malcolm Brogdon led the way with a 30pt/10ast double-double. TJ Warren finished with 12pts and Domantas Sabonis added 14pts/5rbs.
San Antonio Spurs beat Washington Wizards 124-122
-After looking sloppy in the Spurs first game, DeMar DeRozan came alive in their second outing on the season, even hitting the game winning shot. He led the way for the Spurs, finishing with 26pts/3asts/4rbs. LaMarcus Aldridge added 27pts/3asts/9rbs and Dejounta Murray added 19pts/3asts/10rbs.
-During the summer frenzy of free agency, the Spurs originally agreed to a deal with Marcus Morris, To clear cap for the move, they had to trade Davis Bertans to the Wizards, but as we know Morris eventually rescinded and took his “I wanna be Melo” show to New York. The Spurs felt the absence of Bertans Saturday, as Bertans was lights out from deep, smacking five threes to finish with 23pts off the bench. Bradley Beal led the way for the Wizards, finishing with 25pts/11asts/5rbs, he had the chance to make a game-tying basket but was ultimately blocked by Derrick White.
Utah Jazz beat Sacramento Kings 113-81
-The Jazz clobbered the Kings. I’m sorry, but the Kings deserve it. They took a monster leap with coach Dave Joerger last year, and responded by firing him and hiring a sad sack coach in Luke Walton. Just as he did in LA, Luke is proving to be painful to watch coach once again. The Kings are now 0-3 on a season where they were expected to take yet another leap forward. Bojan Bogdanovic led the way for the Jazz, finishing with 26pts/4rbs. Donovan Mitchell added 15pts/4asts and Mike Conley chipped in 12pts/8asts/3rbs.
-For the Kings, not much to talk about here. This was about as dreadful of a performance as you’ll see this season. Dewayne Dedmon led the way (LMAO) with 11pts.
Phoenix Suns shock Los Angeles Clippers 130-122
-Who’s laughing now, NBA? Perpetual cellar dwellers, the Phoenix Suns, pulled off an early season upset against what has been the best team in the NBA so far, even forcing wiley Patrick Beverly to foul out of the game. All of this came without their starting center and former #1 draft pick Deandre Ayton. Devin Booker led the way with 30pts/8asts/6rbs. Kelly Oubre Jr added 20pts/5rbs and Dario Saric chipped in a 15pt/10rb double-double. Shoutout to Frank Kaminsky, who came off the bench to the tune of 18pts/6asts/8rbs (BADGER BALL!)
-For the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard led the way with 27pts/10asts/8rbs. Montrezl Harrell added 28pts/7rbs off the bench and Lou Williams chipped in 23pts off the bench.
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