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BBNBA: Booker and Suns now 34-14 on the season while Giannis makes MVP push

(Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Another night of NBA basketball is behind us, as teams and players continue to inch towards the end of the regular season. Here’s a look at how some playoff-bound teams did in Friday night’s slate of NBA action.

RECAP

SUNS BLOW OUT THUNDER, NOW SECOND IN LEAGUE IN WINS

With an easy 140-103 victory over the inexperienced Oklahoma City Thunder, who were missing Shai-Gilgeous Alexander with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, Devin Booker and the Suns now sit only three games behind the Utah Jazz for the best record in the NBA. After building up a 30-point lead in the first quarter, the Suns never surrendered as Booker scored 32 points in only 30 minutes of action, including this crossover and slam.

For the Thunder, rookie Theo Maledon led the way in scoring with 33, but costly turnovers and poor shooting from the entire team showed why the Thunder could never cut the early Suns lead down. Booker, who was usually on the other side of these losses, now has his team in playoff contention, thanks to the addition of Chris Paul. Paul was a Point God out there, notching a double-double with 17 points, 12 assists, and three steals, while shooting 100 percent from the field in only 22 minutes, including this circus shot. He has helped bring necessary veteran guidance to the Suns.

MAVERICKS HANDLE RANDLE AND KNICKS

Scoring 26 in addition to grabbing eight rebounds and seven assists at the Madison Square Garden, Luka Doncic helped propel the Dallas Mavericks past the New York Knicks 99-86 last night. Doncic was one of five players for the Mavericks to hit double-digit points, including Kristaps Porzingis, Jalen Brunson, Josh Richardson, and Tim Hardaway Jr. Missing their coach, Rick Carlisle, who tested positive for COVID-19, the Mavericks won this game with their defense, holding the Knicks to shooting under 35 percent from both the field and 3-point line. The only highlight for the Knicks was this slam by Julius Randle, who totaled 14 points before the Mavericks pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Currently holding firm as the 7th seed, part of the play-in tournament, Luka and the Mavericks are looking to catch up to the 4th seeded Lakers, as they are only four games behind them in the standings. But Luka’s got to be careful, already picking up his 11th technical foul this season late in the fourth quarter. Once he hits 16, Doncic will be suspended for one game for every two techs he receives after.

GIANNIS LOOKS FOR LATE-SEASON MVP PUSH, SWEEP SERIES AGAINST TRAILBLAZERS

Featuring two of the top five scorers in the league, Damian Lillard second at 29.8 and Giannis Antetokounmpo fifth with 28.3, the reigning MVP looked to cut down Lillard’s lead, as he matched his season high scoring 47 points, along with grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking three shots. Shooting 18-21 from the field, Giannis accomplished something only done by Wilt Chamberlain.

For Lillard, the closest he and the Blazers were able to get was down 60-58 early in the second half after a three by Lillard, but the Bucks never let the Blazers get any closer until the final buzzer. Dame finished with 32 points on the game with three steals, while C.J. McCollum had an off-night scoring only 18 points and seven assists. Portland, now the sixth seed, is still three games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks, and with the Thunder coming into town, the Blazers look to be safe from the play-in tournament for now.

Here are the full stats from last night:

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker140-103 W vs Thunder3211-20 (3-5)25000+2830
Karl-Anthony Towns108-120 L vs Grizzlies3011-25 (1-8)162110-1134
Julius Randle86-99 L vs Mavericks145-20 (1-7)811115-1837
Eric Bledsoe103-126 L vs Hawks145-14 (0-5)35001-2032
P.J. Washington114-97 W vs Pacers136-15 (1-4)22213+230
De'Aaron Fox94-115 L vs Lakers125-20 (0-4)15312-2429
Immanuel Quickley86-99 L vs Mavericks62-9 (1-5)50002-322
Nerlens Noel86-99 L vs Mavericks42-4 (0-0)50102-2120
Mychal Mulder77-130 L vs Raptors31-6 (1-6)20001-618
Enes Kanter109-127 L vs Bucks21-3 (0-0)60011-414
Jarred Vanderbilt108-120 L vs Grizzlies00-0 (0-0)10000+84
Wenyen Gabriel103-126 L vs Hawks00-1 (0-0)33001-612
Darius Miller103-140 L vs Suns00-1 (0-1)01100-57
Nick Richards114-97 W vs PacersDNP - Coach's Decision
Kevin Knox86-99 L vs MavericksDNP - Coach's Decision
Anthony Davis115-94 W vs KingsOut - Calf strain
John Wall102-118 L vs CelticsOut - Knee
Willie Cauley-Stein99-86 W vs KnicksOut - COVID-19 Protocols
Malik Monk114-97 W vs PacersOut - Right ankle sprain
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander103-140 L vs SunsOut - Right foot plantar fasciitis

TONIGHT IN THE NBA:

7:00 – Mavericks (Cauley-Stein) at Wizards

8:00 – Knicks (Randle, Quickley, Noel, Knox) at Pistons (Diallo)

8:00 – Cavaliers at Heat (Adebayo, Herro)

8:00 – Timberwolves (Towns, Vanderbilt) at 76ers (Maxey)

9:00 – Pacers at Spurs (Johnson)

9:00 – Magic at Jazz

10:00 – Thunder (Miller) at Trail Blazers (Kanter)

10:00 – Bucks at Kings (Fox)

Article written by Pranavdeep Singh

Follow me on Twitter @Singh_Pranavdeep