Utah, the authoritarian winner of Portland, regained its distance at the top of the Western Conference, also benefiting from the defeat of its runner-up Phoenix to the Clippers. The Lakers were beaten again in Miami.
After two narrow defeats in Dallas then Phoenix, Utah recovered (122-103) against Portland, another declared competitor in the West, thanks in particular to Donovan Mitchell (37 pts). A 40-19 inflicted in the third quarter got the better of the Blazers, who also suffered the law inside Rudy Gobert, author of 18 points and 21 rebounds, and paid the address at half mast of Damian Lillard (23 pts) and CJ McCollum (19 pts), each scoring an 8/21 on shots.
Utah consolidates all the better its domination that Phoenix gave in to the Clippers (113-103), at the end of a physical duel where the blows were not lacking, like Patrick Beverley, excluded after playing the elbow on Chris Paul, or Devin Booker (24 pts) who hit Kawhi Leonard’s throat with his forearm. This last author of 27 points was aggressive in a good way, in particular succeeding in an extraordinary dunk, started from far but which he pulled down with his tentacle which serves as his right hand. Paul George was decisive (33 pts, 7/9 long distance, 7 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo contributed a lot (15 pts, 9 assists).
Antetokounmpo still absent
Luka Doncic, very close to the triple-double (27 pts, 9 assists, 9 rebounds) and Kristaps Porzingis (26 pts, 17 rebounds) brought Dallas against Milwaukee (116-101), private for the third game in a row of his star Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee). Undecided for three quarters, the meeting shifted in the last in favor of the Mavs (7th in the West) who accelerated (36-17) in the wake of Porzingis in particular, author of 11 points including eight in a row who killed all suspense. Opposite, Donte DiVincenzo (22 pts) and the pivot Bobby Portis (20 pts, 14 rebounds) were illustrated, but like Khris Middleton (14 pts, 6/27), the Bucks (3rd in the East ) were too clumsy (38% success).
Intense in the championship final last year, tight for their reunion at the end of February, the duel between the Lakers and Miami turned out to be quite boring this time, the Heat ending up winning laboriously (110-102) on his floor against Californians deprived for now 10 and 24 matches of LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (Achilles tendon). Jimmy Butler (28 pts), he was there for Floridians who could also count on Victor Oladipo (18 pts), until he injured his right knee in the last quarter. “He will take exams on Friday,” said his coach Erik Spoelstra, without further clarification.
The Lakers still 5th
His team played accordion to score, taking off before letting LA come back several times, thanks in particular to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (28 pts, 6/11 behind the arc). Rookie Andre Drummond, who had also missed the last four meetings (toe), showed his usefulness inside (15 pts, 12 rebounds) for the Lakers still 5th in the West.
Miami joins Atlanta in 5th place in the East. Further down, in the fight for the qualifying play-offs, Toronto lost an important home game against Chicago (122-113), despite the slaughter of Chris Boucher (38 pts, 19 rebounds). Thanks to this third success in a row, the Bulls remain 10th ahead of the Raptors (11th) and Cleveland (12th), winner in Oklahoma City (129-102).