Doncic returns the pulse to the Mavs in a 'European duel'

Comfortable win against the Thunder. The Kings are hooked on the fight, the Grizzlies do not fail in Houston and the Jazz sweep the Cavs.

Doncic-returns-the-pulse-to-the-Mavs-in-a-'European-duel'

After two defeats in a row and playing without Luka Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks resumed the pulse in a very propitious duel: the two stars returned and the rival, the Thunder (106-127 final) is a bicoca, right now, for those who intend to compete now: they have injured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dort and Bazley, sitting without playing Al Horford and they transferred George Hill. Their quintet is 21 years old on average and still little more than a trip to the future: Aleksej Pokusevski, Isaiah Roby, Moses Brown, Theo Maledon and Svi Mykhailiuk.

The calendar put the victory on a tray for the Mavericks and they did not waste it after a correct first half and a good third quarter in which they put land in the middle. They didn't need to put Doncic and Porzingis on track in the fourth quarter. The first ran the operations without the need for heroics (25 points, 7 assists) and the second was even better: 20 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists (equaling his career high). The Latvian was the best start (12 + 5 in the first quarter), controlled the emerging Brown and gave the relief in the second quarter to Tim Hardaway Junior, who finished with 19 points (10 in that quarter) for some Mavs who distributed 30 assists and in which JJ Redick has not yet been able to debut but Nicolo Melli has. The Italian scored 6 points and captured 4 rebounds in a very European duel in which he formed with Doncic, Porzingis, Kleber and Marjanovic against Pokusevski, Mykhailiuk, Maledon ... six starters from the Old Continent (all except Melli, Marjanovi) and 21 points and 6 rebounds for Poku, the promising Serbian from the Thunder who is only 19 years old. Mykhailiuk scored 16 and Maledon, 14.

The Mavs take air with their stars back and remain at 24-21, with three games ahead of the eleventh, the first to be left out of a play-in they are on the way to being doomed: the Trail Blazers are just ahead, sixth in the West, three and a half games ahead. The seventh is the first to be played in the playoffs in that new format.

HOUSTON ROCKETS 110-MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 120

In that play-in area are also the Grizzlies, one of the teams that (the other was the Blazers, who were victorious) premiered the first duel in this format last season. Those from Tennessee won in Houston (110-120) with more difficulties than in their previous visit (84-133) to some Rockets who are very little and who are now 13-33.

The Texans had a 12-point lead and came in ahead in the fourth quarter, but the Grizzlies tightened on defense in the final minutes: from 106-110 with five minutes remaining to 107-116 at 80 seconds, a decisive quarter of 1-6 with six points from a giant Jonas Valanciunas (30 points, 15 rebounds). Along with the pivot, 12 points and 8 assists from Ja Morant, 17 + 4 + 4 from Brooks and, from the bench, 23 points from Melton and 17 from first rookie Desmond Bane. On the Rockets, a day to forget about the new (after the Oladipo transfer) starting backcourt (1/12 combined on 3s), John Wall (9 points, 2/12 shooting) and Kevin Porter Jr (10 and 5/17 ). Olynyk scored 25 points and Tate, 24.

SA SPURS 115-SACRAMENTO KINGS 132

Another team in the play-in zone are the Spurs, who better not trust themselves. Four defeats in five games (in a run on their court) have left them 23-21, eighth and with only two and a half games of margin over the eleventh, some Kings who beat them (115-132), are 22-25 with five victories in a row ... and they will play again tomorrow in San Antonio, the second of a double duel that can leave a very angry Popovich almost without a mattress with his defense: the Kings made 56% of their shots, 50% of their triples (18/36) and they played another fascinating offensive game again (120 points on average in this incredible scoring streak).

Luke Walton's starting five finished with 96 points, all of at least the 14 scored by Harrison Barnes. Richaun Holmes finished with 23 and 12 rebounds, Fox with 24 and 5 assists, Hield with 20 and 5 triples and the phenomenal rookie with 15 and 10 basket passes. At the Spurs, poor efficiency from DeRozan (17 points, 15 shots) and hardworking Keldon Johnson (7 + 4) and production from Dejounte Murray (23 + 8 + 7), Poeltl (17 + 11) and Derrick White (19) . Nothing to do against some Kings who distributed 29 assists and only totaled 6 losses.

UTAH JAZZ 114-CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 75

In a season of beatings, the Jazz added the biggest (114-75) against a very poor Cavaliers, without an inside game (they did not play Jarrett Allen, Larry Nance or Kevin Love) and who already lost 44-20 during a second quarter in which they missed their first 12 shots. The game had no history, beyond the long breaks of the Quin Snyder starters. Rudy Gobert only played 28 minutes but had time to sign 18 points, 17 rebounds and 4 blocks. Donovan Mitchell went to 19 points, Conley to 18 and 5 assists… 444 444

The Jazz finger the home court factor in every playoff game. After six straight wins after a slight bump around the All Star break, they are 35-11, three losses behind the Suns in the West and the Sixers in the East. In 25 games, including the last five, they have had advantages of at least 20 points, and on their court they are 20-2 ... with 20 wins in a row after starting with two losses. Impressive numbers that Darius Garland (18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and Collin Sexton (20 points) could do nothing against .

G. ST. WARRIORS 116-CHICAGO BULLS 102

Stephen Curry returned and the Warriors returned. This season, the connection between the point guard and the team is more obvious than ever, his heartbeat the one that maintains the vital signs of those of the Bay until an extreme of total dependence. After five close games of absence with four losses in a row by Kerr's, Curry came back and the Warriors won. He had 32 points, 6 triples and 6 assists. He played in pain but led the win from an opening quarter of 13 points and three quick triples to temper spirits.

By your side, everyone improves. Draymond Green polishes the quartermaster (11 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists), Andrew Wiggins (21 points, 5 assists) and Kelly Oubre (18 and 11 rebounds) seem second-rate secondary and James Wiseman (12 points, 4 blocks) a major player project. Without it, everything falls apart. And the Warriors (23-24 now) are tenth behind the West, just two games behind the seventh (the Mavericks) but only one game over the eleventh, the Kings. Lots of fabric to cut ...

Tenth, but in the East, it's the Bulls at a much slower pace: 19-26 and now six losses in seven games (four in a row). But so is the East. The Vucevic era has not started well. The pivot added 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists but did not accompany LaVine, who stayed at 12 points with 4/16 shooting. Billy Donovan, who did not feature Coby White, has chosen an experience format and only keeps the promising rookie Patrick Williams (14 + 6 + 4) in the quintet. Wendell Carter went to the Magic and are starters Satoransky and Thad Young, this one ahead of a Lauri Markkanen who cries out for the title and whose situation is rare. He has not been traded but he is not comfortable as a substitute, months after going on the market and with a bad fit due to his defensive weakness with Vucevic. Let's see what happens.



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