Wednesday night in the NBA was one of the wilder evenings of basketball I’ve ever witnessed. That’s it. That’s the only way I can do it any sort of justice whatsoever. Let’s just get to the scores, starting with the wildest game of the night.
Jazz pull off stunning late-game comeback to beat Warriors, 124-123
With 13 seconds left, Golden State led by four. For all intents and purposes, Utah was dead in the water, destined to continue the downward slide it’s been enduring for weeks since its unpredictably hot start. But with 7.8 seconds left, Nickeil Alexander-Walker bypassed an open layup to whip a perfect pass into the corner to Malik Beasley, who drained a three to make it 123-122. Then… well, it’s just better for you to see it.
It’s the kind of win that defines what the Jazz have been so far this season: Improbably good, improbably fun. And it’s the kind of loss that defines the Warriors year to this point: Improbably messy, improbably bad.
We’ve seen championship hangovers before, but Golden State’s season thus far feels more akin to a coma. They’re now 13-13, and their upcoming schedule isn’t likely to do that record any favors.
Celtics demolish Suns despite CP3’s return, 125-98
Tatum: “None of this means anything if we don’t hang a banner.”
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) December 8, 2022
Magic end nine-game skid with overtime win over Clippers, 116-111
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George played 30-plus minutes in the same game for the first time this season, and it couldn’t have been uglier. The All-Star duo combined to shoot seven-for-27 from the field — 26 percent, for those keeping score at home — and tallied just 25 points. To make matters worse, the supporting cast didn’t really do them any favors. Despite Terance Mann’s best game of the season (19 points on seven-for-10 shooting, nine rebounds, four assists, plus a steal and a block), and double-figure outings from Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac, Reggie Jackson, and Robert Covington, the Magic were too much down the stretch. Paolo Banchero, Bol Bol, and Moritz Wagner all scored 20-plus, and Orlando grabbed a much needed win in the extra period.
Knicks exorcise their Trae Young demons, crush Hawks, 113-89
Raptors take advantage of shorthanded Lakers, win 126-113
Grizzlies stay streaking with 123-102 win over Thunder
Move over, Marc. There’s a new triple-double king in Memphis. Ja Morant’s seventh career triple-double — 26 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists — led Memphis past Oklahoma City, and also moved Morant past Marc Gasol for the most in franchise history. He’s 23, by the way.
The Grizzlies have won four in a row.
Wolves eke out much-needed win over Pacers, 121-115
Having lost four of five — not to mention, having spent the better part of this season as a laughing stock based on the middling returns they’ve experienced since selling trading everything but the deed to the franchise for Rudy Gobert — it’s safe to say the Timberwolves needed a win. That it was tight is one thing, but to see Anthony Edwards (26 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and six steals) and D’Angelo Russell (a game-high 28 points) have good games on the same night is nothing to sneeze at.
Bucks ease past Kings, 126-113
Those plucky upstart Kings didn’t stand a chance from the jump. Giannis Antetokounmpo (35-6-7) and Jrue Holiday (31-5-6) were white hot as Milwaukee won its third in a row. Cute beam, though.
KD and Kyrie kombine for 62, Nets escape upset bid from Hornets, 122-116
Bulls hand Wizards fourth-straight loss in ugly 115-111 win
Zion leads Pelicans over Pistons, 104-98
It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win, and for the Pelicans, this is a big one. It was their fifth in a row — good for the longest active streak in the NBA — and it put them atop the West at 16-8. Perhaps it will be short-lived, as the Suns and Grizzlies sit a mere half game behind them, but this was the idea for New Orleans: build a contender. If the early returns this season are any indication, they’ve done exactly that.
Pelicans this season:
— 1st in the West
— 3rd best record
— Longest active win streak in the NBA
— Top 10 offense and defense
Their big 3 has only played 10 games together. pic.twitter.com/4JxABrKZvQ
— StatMuse (@statmuse) December 8, 2022