A heroic Jokic (50 + 8 + 12) cannot sustain the Nuggets

Losses punish the Nuggets against a rising Kings. The Wolves fall in Oklahoma, the Pelicans add and the Spurs can with the Rockets.


It's a strange piece of data: From being coached by Michael Malone (who was fired by the Sacramento Kings) and on the rise to becoming one of the best teams in the NBA in the last three years, the Nuggets are 10-10 against the Kings, the Malone's home until December 2014 and one of the worst teams in the League in that stretch. Worse: this season, and after playing the conference final in the Florida bubble, the Rockies have lost three times (0-3) against the Californians, the last (119-114) despite a monstrous game by Nikola Jokic. Actually, the two teams are not that different right now: 12-10 for the Nuggets, 11-11 for the Kings, who are on the rise and have five wins in six games, a fantastic correction when it seemed that their season was going down the drain. drain

Jokic scored 50 points less than a week after adding 47 against the Utah Jazz, in the middle of the nightmare (13 points) in the loss to the Lakers. The Serbian also racked up 8 rebounds and 12 assists (6 in the first quarter with the Kings in zone defenses to curb their influence) and scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, trying to support a team that was suffocating due to its weakness in defense and its plague of casualties in the backcourt: neither Jamal Murray, nor Gary Harris, nor PJ Dozier nor Facundo Campazzo played. It took someone other than Jokic to step forward. And nobody did: certainly not Will Barton (11 points on 12 shots) or Michael Porter Jr (8 on 11) ... 444 444

The Kings won with a choral performance and four players over 21 points: 28 with 7 rebounds from Harrison Barnes, one of the keys to the great moment of the team of a Luke Walton also claimed. 21 + 10 from worker Holmes, 24 with 5 assists from De'Aaron, back to his potential all-star level and 23 + 4 + 6 from the fantastic Haliburton, a rookie who looks anything but a rookie (he is never wrong, or so it seems) and it's one of the big news for the Kings in recent years. He and Fox make a fantastic backcourt with a bright future and a present that, of course, is enough to compete almost every night. And that's a lot.


Like the Kings, the Pelicans (now 10-12) are on the rise when they seemed about to miss the train of the season. Against the Grizzlies (9-9) they released a tremendous stretch in the fourth quarter, in which they converted a 95-102 with seven minutes to go at 115-104, a 20-2 run that sentenced the game. Before, Van Gundy's team crashed when a wave came against it. Now resist and respond: compete. And he is improving dramatically in defense and outside shooting, his great burdens at the start of the course.

Zion Williamson had 29 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists (and is in the best defensive stretch of his career) and Brandon Ingram finished 27 + 12 + 3 with 4 blocks. Also, they keep going to more Bledsoe (21 + 4 + 5) and a Lonzo Ball to the upside (16 + 7 + 7 and 4/6 in triples). The Pelicans ahead of some Grizzlies in which Anderson added 21 points, Ja Morant 16 with 9 assists and Jonas Valanciunas 23 with 7 rebounds.


Life without Christian Wood, stopped short by an ugly ankle injury, is going to be tough for the Rockets, who competed against the Spurs but lost, finally sunk by the efficiency of DeMar Derozan, who continues with his excellent low profile season: 30 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 9/16 shooting. Without LaMarcus Aldridge and Walker, the Spurs saw a ten-point lead vanish in the fourth quarter, in which the Rockets took command for the first time in the game (100-98) after a 10-0 run. DeRozan secured the win in a Texas game that keeps the Spurs positive (13-10 now) and leaves the Rockets at 11-11 despite 27 points and 7 assists from John Wall. Bad game of Victor Oladipo (9 points, 4/14 in shots) for those of Stephen Silas.


Double duel in two nights and distribution of victories between Thunder (now 10-12) and Timberwolves (6-17). From +3 for the Wolves to +2 for the Thunder, who went from winning by 23 points to finding themselves in the water, tied before a decisive basket from Bazley. Then Reid failed to send a crazy game into overtime: the Thunder scored 83 points in a tremendous first half (83-62), but dried up in the third quarter (13-32) against Wolves without Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell, Culver… Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led his team (31 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists) with seven players in double digits. Reid (29 with rebounds) was the Wolves' best. Anthony Edwards scored 20 points (with 8 rebounds and 4 assists as a starter) and Beasley added 17 points. Ricky Rubio started with 8 points and 6 assists.

Photos from as.com
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