The performance: Kyrie Irving catches fire against Utah
Last season, the Brooklyn house began to rock after the holidays, when Kevin Durant injured his knee. History repeated itself in early January, but Kyrie Irving stepped up to not let the Nets dive. Friday night, “Uncle Drew” passed 48 points on the Jazz defense, including 21 in the last quarter, to get his teammates out of the trap set in Salt Lake City. The 2016 NBA champion (with Cleveland) concluded his recital with three exceptional minutes as Brooklyn led by two points (102-100, 45th).
Irving hit twice behind the arc, before throwing a quick play for an award-winning basket from Seth Curry and then distributing a final pass to Stephen’s brother, in the same exercise, to kill the match (114-105, 47th ). “I gave my body to the team and tried to lead by example”, responded Irving, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, distributed 6 assists and intercepted 4 balls. For Utah, Jordan Clarkson scored 29 points and Lauri Markkanen 22. Brooklyn is 4th in the East (28 wins – 17 losses).
The number: 23
Golden State arrived very diminished for its return to Cleveland, opponent in four consecutive finals between 2015 and 2018. Steve Kerr had chosen to spare Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green the day after a cruel defeat in Boston ( 118-121, ap). But the Warriors’ replacements surprised the Cavs (120-114) in the wake of a remarkable award-winning address and Jordan Poole (32 points).
Without the « Splash Brothers » (Curry and Thompson), the Californians scored 23 award-winning baskets out of 43 attempts (55% success)! The last, work of Ty Jerome at 1’40 » from the buzzer, sealed the victory for the Warriors. « We didn’t respect the game, it’s that simple », grumbled the coach of Cleveland J. B. Bickerstaff. Both teams also offered a less glorious streak with a crazy minute filled with missed shots and lost balls (see below).
The playoffs: Denver and Sacramento go on
No Nikola Jokic (hamstrings), no problem for Denver against Indiana (134-111). Jamal Murray signed the first triple-double of his career (17 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists), taking over from the Serb, number 1 in the League in this area this season. Aaron Gordon (28 points) and Michael Porter Jr (19) perfectly supported Murray to bend the match at the start of the fourth quarter (115-91, 40th).
Denver retains its first place in the West and signs a ninth victory in a row, the best current series in the NBA. Colorado players are ahead of Boston (8 wins in a row) and Sacramento (6). Surprising third in the West, the Kings dominated Oklahoma City (118-113), also guided by a triple-double: that of Domantas Sabonis (18 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists).
The action: the Bol Bol poster
Revelation of the season in Orlando, Bol Bol signed one of the actions of the evening Friday against Orlando (123-110). The son of former pivot Manute Bol overwhelmed Tre Murphy on his drive before placing a nice « eurostep » to conclude with a dunk on the head of the Pelicans winger. Bol finished the game with 12 points, taking over from Franz Wagner (30 points, 9 assists), the Magic’s engine against New Orleans.
On the other floors: discreet night for the Blues
Behind a great night from Luka Doncic (34 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists), Dallas left Miami no chance (115-90). Jason Kidd launched Frank Ntilikina on the floor five minutes from the buzzer. The leader scored two points and distributed an assist.
The Los Angeles Clippers barely beat San Antonio (131-126) with 36 points from Kawhi Leonard. Nicholas Batum played 22 minutes off the bench for 3 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Moussa Diabate spent six minutes on the floor without recording statistics. At last, Evan Fournier remained on the bench during the defeat of New York in Atlanta (124-139), at the hands of the duo Trae Young-Dejounte Murray (56 points and 18 cumulative assists).