Here are my thoughts the downbeat NBA on ESPN Wednesday doubleheader
Wednesday in the NBA Bubble felt relatively light and, compared to prior days, kind of boring. There were still six games on the docket, but only three nationally televised games: one on NBA TV and an evening doubleheader on ESPN.
This article will cover ONLY the ESPN doubleheader, meaning no coverage of the beautiful jersey matchup that was Grizzlies-Jazz, Joel Embiid’s good afternoon in 76ers-Wizards, Michael Porter Jr.’s big game in Nuggets-Spurs, or the slugfest that was Raptors-Magic.
What was your biggest takeaway from any of Wednesday’s action? Let me know in the comments!
The Lakers irked me tonight like the Bucks did against the Nets. I want my contenders to go all out every game. That doesn’t mean they’ll always win, but it does mean they won’t get blown out by 19.
And unlike Milwaukee, who had Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton play only the first half, LeBron James and Anthony Davis both played around 30 minutes each. James attempted to start a rally at the end of the third and into the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late.
LA just couldn’t find it tonight. They shot 35.2% from the field, 13.5% from 3-point range (though both teams shot terribly from outside), and even 65.5% from the free throw line. Davis followed up his 42-point performance by scoring only nine points tonight. It was brutal!
I’m happy for the Thunder, though. They came out ready to compete and controlled the tempo from start to finish. OKC never trailed in this game. They accomplished this with LeBron and AD playing sizable minutes and without Dennis Schroder, the third-best Sixth Man in the league who is away from the team for the birth of his child.
This put the onus on the starters, and they delivered: all five of them scored in double-figures. Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander were a two-headed monster in the backcourt, dishing out a combined 11 assists. CP3 led all scorers with 21 while SGA had 13 points and swiped three steals. It was a sound effort for OKC.
Like the Utah game, I wonder if LeBron and Davis will see many more minutes in the remaining re-seeding games. But judging by this result, maybe they need to.
Boston Celtics 149, Brooklyn Nets 115
Hey look! It’s a championship contender that handled their outmatched opponent the way they were supposed to and thus were able to cruise to the finish line! This was a great bounce-back win for the Celtics. After looking completely out of sync against Miami, they dusted themselves off went all out the very next day.
The Celtics picked up their season-high in points (franchise most since Nov. 25, 1992) and 3-pointers made (20), and they did it with Kemba Walker sitting out the game and Jayson Tatum dealing with foul trouble (three fouls in his first 6.5 minutes on the floor!).
Still, Jaylen Brown (21 points), Tatum (19), and Gordon Hayward (18) still had solid nights and all five starters scored double-figures. The bench also stepped up tonight, led by Robert Williams‘ 18, and helped close out the victory in the fourth. What more can I say? The C’s did what they needed to do this evening.
For the Nets, this was their second-largest loss of the season, but I’m not at all shocked by it. These are the L’s I expected Brooklyn to be taking consistently in the Bubble. I think it’s impressive that it took until Game 4 for this to happen.
Sure, they gave up the fifth-most points in franchise history. It’s the most a Nets team has surrendered since 2006, and the most they’ve allowed in a regulation game since 1978. But, hey, they met their own quota on offense! They have scored 118, 118, and 119 in their previous Bubble games, and they finished nearly on schedule tonight with 115. So at least the offense is still fairly solid? Swings and roundabouts!