The Lakers, guided by LeBron James in triple-double mode, snatched a precious success after overtime at the Knicks (129-123), Tuesday in the NBA, while Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard made the Bucks win against Charlotte and the Clippers at Chicago.
Author of 28 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, “LBJ” was paramount to the success of his team, which badly needs it to stay in the race for the play-offs, even if it remains 13th in the West. His double-step 19 seconds from the end of the “overtime” ended up extinguishing New York’s hopes of a comeback at Madison Square Garden, carried by Jalen Brunson, excellent throughout (37 pts).
He now lacks only 89 points to become the league’s all-time leading scorer ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38.387). The big moment is likely to come next week, in three or four matches.
In the meantime, he took the opportunity to become the 4th best passer, ahead of Steve Nash and Mark Jackson. “It’s amazing, because that’s what I like to do: involve my guys. I’ve tried to give the ball at the right time and in the right place throughout my career. But you have to put the baskets behind to make it count and tonight they did a great job. Anytime you get linked to the greats, it’s super cool.”
– Butler saves Miami –
At his side, Anthony Davis (27 pts, 9 rebounds) and Japanese rookie Rui Hachimura (19 pts, 9 rebounds) padlocked the interior. Always so generous in the effort, for worse or for better, Russell Westbrook (17 pts, 8 assists) was able to keep lucidity in the overtime by creating favorable situations for the Lakers.
New York side, still 7th in the East, Julius Randle did not deserve (23 pts, 12 rebounds) in a close match that Evan Fournier saw from the bench, unsolicited.
In Milwaukee, it was still necessary for Giannis Antetokounmpo to pull out the muscles (34 pts, 18 rebounds) to calm the inclinations of catchy Hornets, like LaMelo Ball author of a triple-double (27 pts, 11 assists, 10 rebounds).
This fifth consecutive victory (124-115) allows the Bucks to consolidate their 2nd place.
Earlier, Miami won (100-97) in Cleveland, thanks to its leader Jimmy Butler (23 pts) managed to maintain a small gap in the last 90 seconds with a mid-range basket and two crucial free throws.
Yet 90 seconds earlier, it was still the Cavs (5th) who were leading (93-92) after a successful shot from Donovan Mitchell (16 pts, 9 assists). But Bam Adebayo was able to put the Heat (6th) back in front with two consecutive shots that hit home (18 pts, 11 rebounds).
– Jokic and Murray shine –
In the West, the leader Denver was able to count on his double MVP Nikola Jokic author of a big triple-double (26 pts, 18 rebounds, 15 assists) to defeat New Orleans (122-113). Jamal Murray was also decisive with 32 points in the bag.
For the Pelicans (8th), penalized by the absence for 14 matches of Zion Williamson (right hamstring), the big slump continues with this ninth loss in a row.
Finally, the Clippers (4th) were able to erase 19 units behind in the middle of the second quarter to take the advantage at the end of the next one and not let go in the last, in Chicago (108-103).
Kawhi Leonard (33 pts), close to a return to his best level after a cruciate ligament rupture, was both the initiator of the comeback and the decisive man of “money-time”, stealing a ball to Zach LaVine (18 pts, 14 rebounds) five seconds from the buzzer, before scoring two free throws.
He was well supported by Norman Powell (27 pts) off the bench, Nicolas Batum working usefully in the shadows (6 pts, 5 rebounds, 2 interceptions).