Good early afternoon, folks. Is the Lakers-Celtics rivalry back? Let’s talk NBA.
“It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So don’t take it lightly.” — Kobe Bryant
Lakers’ clutch gene beats Celtics
The NBA is way more fun when the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are both good. Even though the rivalry between these two franchises stretches back to the 1960s, the tension whenever they match up in 2020 is still unparalleled to the rest of the NBA. The Lakers and Celtics have combined for 33 of the possible 73 NBA Finals Championships throughout the history of the league. The two teams have met in the Finals a record 12 times. There’s a good chance they could make it 13 by the time June rolls around.
On Sunday afternoon, the two teams had a chance to rekindle the once ferocious rivalry for the second time this season. The game came down to the wire, with LeBron James knocking in a tough fadeaway jumper with 30 seconds left that gave his Lakers a 114-112 victory. Jayson Tatum poured in 41 points for the Celtics, tying his career-high that he previously set back in mid-January.
The Lakers were able to avenge a blowout loss they suffered at the hands of the Celtics last month, when they fell by 32 points in Boston. Anthony Davis led both the Lakers and the BBNBA in scoring on Sunday, dropping 32 points on 10-25 shooting (3-5 from beyond the arc) to go along with 13 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Rajon Rondo appeared in 22 minutes for L.A., recording four points, five assists, and a season-high five steals.
The Lakers remain at the top of the Western Conference standings with the win, moving the team’s overall record to 43-12 and five games ahead of the two-seeded Denver Nuggets. The Celtics drop to 39-17 on the season, still good enough for the three-seed out East.
SGA and OKC dominate Spurs
The Oklahoma City Thunder handed the San Antonio Spurs the worst loss they have ever received from OKC. Despite leading 45-36 in the middle of the second quarter, the Spurs completely fumbled this game away. They finished the night shooting just 37 percent and saw OKC rattle off a 16-0 run in that second frame that gave them a lead they would never surrender.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 22 points to go along with 13 rebounds and four assists on a 8-14 shooting mark. OKC outscored the Spurs 37-18 in the third quarter to take a commanding lead in the fourth before ultimately winning 131-103.
Hamidou Diallo played 14 minutes for OKC, just the third time in the last seven games that the former ‘Cat has seen the court. He added six points and two assists while shooting 3-5 from the field with these two MONSTER dunks.
Hami strikes again. ? pic.twitter.com/vFuHL1gslg
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) February 24, 2020
As for Nerlens Noel, the one-time Kentucky shot-blocker recorded 10 points on 5-5 shooting and five swats in just 16 minutes. After the game, Noel – who is 25 and playing for his third NBA team – said he’s having the most fun playing basketball he’s ever had.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) February 24, 2020
OKC had eight players score in double-digits for the first time in franchise history.
As for the Spurs, it was a tumultuous loss. They had just come off an impressive win over the playoff-bound Utah Jazz in their last outing.
Trey Lyles went for eight points, two rebounds, and two assists in 18 minutes while Keldon Johnson saw some extra minutes due to the blowout. The rookie dropped nine points on 4-10 shooting in addition to three rebounds and three assists in only 13 minutes. It was just the fifth time this season that Johnson stepped on the court as a Spur and his 13 minutes were easily a career-high. In the four games prior to Sunday night, Johnson combined for 12 minutes through four games.
Also, does anyone remember when Chris Paul finessed the referees back in December to get a technical foul called on Minnesota Timberwolves big man Jordan Bell for having his jersey untucked? Well, Johnson was about to get tagged with a delay of game penalty as he checked in with his jersey untucked, to which Paul responded by actually trying to prevent the delay from being called.
Rookie Keldon Johnson was checking in and his jersey was untucked. Ref Derek Richardson blew his whistle to call delay of game. Chris Paul started waving his hands yelling “don’t call it! Don’t call it!” Richardson called it and Paul looked at Johnson and said, “Damn.”
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 24, 2020
Twitter has Johnson’s gameplay highlights, too.
Here are career baskets number three, four, five and six for San Antonio rookie Keldon Johnson.
The Spurs got pummeled by OKC but these garbage time minutes were valuable for the young guard. pic.twitter.com/Xcu9UYv7F0
— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) February 24, 2020
- The Denver Nuggets were able to take down the KAT-less Minnesota Timberwolves by a final score of 128-116. Jamal Murray ended the game with 19 points and six assists for Denver, who went up against a few of his former Nugget teammates. Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, and Jarred Vanderbilt were all traded from Denver to Minny ahead of the trade deadline and this was the first time the teams played since that happened. Vando did not play for the Wolves while Karl-Anthony Towns is still out with a wrist injury.
- Brandon Knight popped off for 15 points in just his third game as a Detroit Piston, shooting 3-7 from deep in addition to two rebounds and three assists as his team fell to the Portland Trail Blazers, 107-104. Wenyen Gabriel posted four points and four rebounds in 12 minutes for Portland.
Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Anthony Davis (LAL)||114-112 W vs. BOS||32||10-25 (3-5)||13||3||0||2||6||-3||39|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)||131-103 W vs. SAS||22||8-14 (1-2)||13||4||0||0||3||+22||31|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||128-116 W vs. MIN||19||8-14 (2-8)||1||6||1||0||3||+21||35|
|Brandon Knight (DET)||104-107 L @ POR||15||4-8 (3-7)||2||3||0||0||0||+16||20|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||131-103 W vs. SAS||10||5-5 (0-0)||1||0||1||5||0||+17||16|
|Keldon Johnson (SAS)||103-131 L @ OKC||9||4-10 (0-1)||3||3||0||0||1||-5||13|
|Trey Lyles (SAS)||103-131 L @ OKC||8||3-4 (2-3)||2||2||0||0||0||-24||18|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||131-103 W vs. SAS||6||3-5 (0-1)||0||2||1||0||0||+7||14|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||114-112 W vs. BOS||4||1-2 (0-1)||1||5||5||0||0||+15||22|
|Wenyen Gabriel (POR)||107-104 W vs. DET||4||1-2 (0-0)||4||0||0||0||0||+2||12|
|Enes Kanter (BOS)||112-114 L @ LAL||0||0-0||2||0||0||0||1||-6||5|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (MIN)||116-128 L @ DEN||DNP-Inactive||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||116-128 L @ DEN||DNP-Wrist||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Darius Miller (NOP)||115-101 W @ GSW||DNP-Achilles||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|John Wall (WAS)||117-126 L vs. CHI||DNP-Foot||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||---|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Heat (Adebayo, Herro) @ Cavaliers
7:00 (NBATV): Hawks (Labissiere) @ 76ers
7:00: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Wizards (Wall-out)
7:30: Magic @ Nets
8:00: Knicks (Knox, Randle) @ Rockets
8:30: Timberwolves (Towns-out, Vanderbilt) @ Mavericks (Cauley-Stein, Kidd-Gilchrist)
9:00: Suns (Booker) @ Jazz
10:30 (NBATV): Grizzlies @ Clippers (Patterson)