In a battle of the premiere point guards in the Eastern Conference, Kyrie Irving topped John Wall on Wednesday night.
Guarded by Wall, Irving scored the Celtics’ final 12 points, nailing back-to-back 3-pointers in a 21-second span during the final minute of overtime, and willed Boston to a 130-125 victory.
Irving finished with 38 points and seven assists and earned “M-V-P” chants late. He’s one of the reasons the resurgent Celtics are on a seven-game winning streak.
Wall, playing on a sore left heel, was no slouch. He poured in 34 points with 13 assists, an All-Star performance by most standards. Wall scored seven points in overtime, but was outdueled by Irving’s 12.
The Celtics’ victory was impressive because they won on the road even though they were without Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown. Marcus Morris stepped up for Boston, scoring 27 and grabbing nine rebounds.
Anthony Davis put up a season-high 44 points and grabbed 18 boards, both highs among the night’s top performers, as he helped the Pelicans hold off the Thunder, 118-114.
It was a dominant performance by Davis, who dunked seven times, but what sealed the victory was AD’s rim-protecting presence on the defensive end. With the Thunder trailing 116-114 and fewer than 10 seconds remaining, Russell Westbrook had a lane to attack the basket for the tying bucket. But as Davis moved to guard the rim, Westbrook kicked the ball out to Alex Abrines, whose 3-point attempt banged off the front iron. The Pelicans secured the rebound for the win.
Davis’ night overshadowed Paul George, who had an All-Star night with 25 points, 11 boards and five assists.
The much-anticipated showdown between the league-leading Raptors and the defending champion Warriors failed to live up to expectations.
Without Kawhi Leonard (sore right hip) and playing the second of a back-to-back, the still-energetic Raptors took an early lead and kept it, routing the champs 113-93.
It was the first win in Oracle Center for the Raptors since Feb. 8, 2004. The only negative for Toronto was the loss of Jonas Valanciunas with a dislocated left thumb in the first quarter.
Kyle Lowry, who appears to be coming out of his shooting slump, logged 23 points and 12 assists for the Raptors. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 30 points. Stephen Curry had an uncharacteristic shooting night, going 3-for-12 from the floor and 2-for-8 from 3-point range.
Jeremy Lamb’s tough 2-pointer with a defender in his grill lifted the Charlotte Hornets to a 108-107 win over the Detroit Pistons. It wasn’t a buzzer-beater, but the 22-footer from the right wing came close, with 0.03 of a second left.
Lamb finished with 13 points, overshadowing another stellar night from Kemba Walker, who posted a near triple-double with 31 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
Blake Griffin had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons in a losing effort. After a relatively strong start to the season, skidding Detroit has lost six in a row.
Scrappy guard and fan favorite Matthew Dellavedova enjoyed a warm reception in his first game back in Cleveland as a Cavalier.
“Dell-ah-ve-do-vah” …it must be Australian!
Welcome back, mate.@Matthewdelly x #BeTheFightpic.twitter.com/kKliQ2YJDF
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 13, 2018
The Aussie proceeded to nail a 3-pointer, and he moved past 2,000 points in his six-season NBA career.
Dellavedova contributed big off the bench in the Cavaliers’ 113-106 win over the Knicks, scoring 15 points in 22 minutes, including shooting 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. This earned him a playful “M-V-P” chant.
Rookies Luka Doncic and Trae Young, who were traded for each other on Draft night, had almost identical stat lines Wednesday night. But Doncic and the Mavericks earned the victory over Young and the Hawks, 114-107.
Young finished with 24 points and 10 assists in 35 minutes, while Doncic had 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
The Mavericks’ win was the first over the Hawks since Oct. 30, 2013. Dallas extended its home winning streak to 11 games.
As is always the case on an 11-game night, there were some athletic slams.
Giannis Antetokounmpo crossed the lane and threw it down in the Bucks’ loss.
Malik Monk showed off his hops early for the Hornets.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 13, 2018
Ben Simmons completed a nice alley-oop in the Sixers’ 127-124 loss to the Nets.
.@BenSimmons25 went ? and got it! ?#HereTheyComepic.twitter.com/2tAj86Sp2L
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 13, 2018
The Mavericks’ DeAndre Jordan did his best Shaquille O’Neal impersonation with a breakaway dunk vs. the Hawks. Jordan shook the backboard and stanchion and clinged to the rim for a couple of seconds.
DeAndre Jordan shaking the rim like Shaq pic.twitter.com/76icw47XWx
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) December 13, 2018
Ownership has its privileges. And Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, exercised one of those Wednesday night, chiding Malik Monk from his near-the-bench courtside seat and even jokingly slapping him lightly on the back of the head a couple of times. Monk had drawn a technical foul for running onto the court after Jeremy Lamb’s game-winner with 0.03 of a second left, giving the Hornets too many players.
#Hornets owner Michael Jordan wasn’t too happy with Malik Monk after he ran onto the court before the game was over and got called for a technical ??@WCCBCharlottepic.twitter.com/575UlSeZNz
— Zach Aldridge (@wzaldridge) December 13, 2018
Yes, this happened too
Spencer Dinwiddie had a career night, and he did it off the bench. Dinwiddie poured in 39 points to lead the Nets past the 76ers 127-124. He was four-of-six from beyond the arc, and became the first Nets player to score 35 or more points off the bench in a regulation game since Derrick Coleman had 35 in January of 1992.
(NBA News and Headlines – Source: NBA.com)