James Harden, Kyrie Irving and the Nets got the better of Philadelphia. Toronto and Milwaukee are also among the winners of the day.
The Brooklyn Nets signed a sixth win in a row Sunday in the NBA against the Clippers (112-108) and take advantage of their success to pounce on the leader of the East Conference Philadelphia, beaten 110-103 by Toronto. After a sluggish start to the season, the Canadians confirmed their clear return to form, like the Milwaukee Bucks who dominated the Sacramento Kings 128-115, thanks to a sparkling Giannis Antetokounmpo again.
The Nets emerge against the Clippers
In the shock of the evening, James Harden took the upper hand over Paul George, and the Nets came away victorious from the perilous trip to the Clippers. With 37 points, against 34 for George, “The Beard” brought luck to New Yorkers, who sign their sixth victory in a row after having long blown hot and cold this season. As a direct consequence of this regularity, the first place of the conference is in sight. With twenty wins each since the start of the season, Philadelphia and Brooklyn are neck and neck, the Sixers retaining the advantage thanks to their lower number of losses (eleven, against twelve for the New Yorkers).
Sunday at Staples Center, the Nets went on the offensive in the second quarter (30-21, 58-51 at halftime) and contained the return of their hosts in the fourth. “It was our best part of the game,” said Brooklyn coach Steve Nash. “We did not lose the ball, we shot … When we manage to contain a team like that (the Clippers) at 21 points in a quarter, it is the basis” of a good performance, he estimated. Harden (11 rebounds and 7 assists) and Kyrie Irving (28 pts and 8 assists) were particularly illustrated, like Paul George (6 rebounds, 7 assists) and Kawhi Leonard (29 pts, 13 rebounds) in the opposing camp. Kevin Durant, still injured, did not play. Despite their defeat, the Clippers remain well established on the third step of the podium in the West, behind the Jazz and the Lakers, who did not play on Sunday.
Toronto continues its number
The Raptors are back, and the Sixers paid the price on Sunday: the leader of the Eastern Conference lost 110-103 against the 2019 champions. Worn by Pascal Siakam (7 rebounds and 8 assists) and Fred VanVleet (5 rbds and 9 assists), both at 23 points, Toronto lined up a fourth victory in a row, in “his” room in Tampa, where he is playing this season due to restrictions imposed by the Canadian authorities in connection with the pandemic of Covid-19. Three other Raptors players crossed the 10 point mark (OG Anunoby, Norman Powell and Chris Boucher), facing the Sixers again dependent on the trio Tobias Harris (13 pts and 7 assists) -Joel Embiid (25 pts and 17 rebounds) -Ben Simmons (28 pts, 9 rebounds and 5 assists). Thanks to their collective performance, the Canadians are fifth in the East, ahead of the Celtics who lost (120-115) in overtime in New Orleans.
The Bucks restart
After an eight-day low in the middle of the month, in which they conceded five straight losses, the Bucks are back to the front. Transcended by the 38 points and the 18 rebounds of their star Giannis Antetokounmpo, they beat the Sacramento Kings 128-115 on Sunday. Khris Middleton effectively assisted the “Greek Freak” with 32 points, eight rebounds and six assists. “We have been playing together for eight years (…) I know when he feels good, in this kind of situation it is better to get out of his way,” said the double MVP about Middleton. In the West, the 24th loss of the season was one too many for Minnesota Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders, thanked after the loss conceded against the Knicks (103-99). The black series also continues for the Cleveland Cavaliers, defeated for the 10th game in a row (117-101 against Oklahoma City).