Zion Williamson founds Embiid

The Nets are left alone in the East: losses to Sixers and Buck. Zach LaVine plays an amazing first half (39 points) but the Bulls lose.


The Bulls had three wins in a row, with the asterisk that they had come against opponents plagued by casualties. They were looking for four in a row for the first time since 2017 and they were doing it against some Hawks ... also in a precarious situation. They are still out Collins, Hunter and Reddish and were certainly Capela and Gallinari. The occasion was right but Nate McMillan put concrete on these Hawks, which were so volatile before, and a 53-66 in the first half turned into a 67-42 in the second. The Hawks won (120-108) and pressed (28-25) for fourth place in the East. The Bulls (22-29) still smell like play in.

Until halftime, all eyes were on Zach LaVine and what was pointing to the historic night of the explosive Bulls guard. At halftime he had 39 points (25 in the second quarter) with 13/18 in shots and 7/9 in triples. Neither Kobe Bryant when he scored 81 points nor Devin Booker when he went to 70 carried, to give two more or less recent examples, that score at halftime. In fact, she was the Bulls' biggest first-half since Michael Jordan in 1997 and the league's biggest in the last 25 years behind only Kobe (42) and Klay Thompson (40). How far would it go? Not much more: 50 finals with a total series of 18/31 and 7/12 in triples. A great game, in any case, that was not enough because the only one who really accompanied was Vucevic (25 points, 10 rebounds). The rest, very little.

The Hawks reacted and secured the victory in the fourth quarter with Gallinari's shotgun (20 points, 6 rebounds), Capela's finishes (22 + 10) and the creation of Trae Young, who also finished with 42 points (and 8 rebounds). and 9 assists). Enough this time to add another victory and keep pushing in the East, where it is not difficult to row either. But the merit is undoubted: it was 14-20 when Lloyd Loses was fired and has been a 14-5 with tough McMillan ever since, even though the entire rotation never seems to be ready to play.BUCKS 119-HORNETS 127

Just ahead of the Hawks, in an incredibly creditable fourth place in the East, is Charlotte Hornets, who won the battle of the blind in Milwaukee: it was the one-eyed man. They have the known, devastating casualties of Gordon Hayward, LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk… but they played Bucks without Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Donte DiVincenzo, Brook Lopez and PJ Tucker. The top six of the rotation were missing after a six-game road trip. On the way home, and with an unrecognizable team, the Bucks lost their third consecutive game and are now 32-20, increasingly away from the Sixers and Nets and getting used to the idea that they will be third in the East.Of all the casualties, the one that worries the most is Giannis, who has been out for four games due to knee discomfort. His brother Thanasis started and finished with 12 points, Jeff Teague added 19 and 6 assists, Forbes 18 and Jordan Nwora, second-round rookie, with 24 and 6 rebounds. In the Hornets, who took advantage of a very favorable opportunity to continue adding (what needs to be done) 18 points from PJ Washington, 26 with 7 rebounds and 3 assists from Miles Bridges, 20 with 5 assists and 6 triples from Graham and another 20 from Rozier. 27-24 for Carolinians who are having a brilliant season.


All that can be excuses for the Bucks disappears in the case of the Sixers, who added a very ugly defeat and remain (35-17) to a game of the Nets, who seem destined to end up leading the East of one way or another. In New Orleans, and against a defense that tends to float easily (but especially if pressed from the outside) the Sixers matched their minimum points of the season (94) and did so by accumulating 19 losses. Joel Embiid found himself a mountain of muscle in front (Steven Adams in command) and had 14 points and 9 rebounds with 5/16 shooting. Far below his level and very badly accompanied beyond the 23 points of Tobias Harris: 0/7 shooting from Seth Curry and only six field goals from Ben Simmons, which finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 robberies.

The possible problems (in attack) of the Sixers facing the playoffs were clearly seen, multiplied by a tremendous detonation of Zion Williamson, who practically generated (playing until base) for many minutes and played a colossal game: 37 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists (the last two figures are career highs) and 15/28 in shooting, the youngest player to sign at least 35 + 15 + 8 in the NBA. The Pelicans, in their sauce against a rival without outside power, won the points war 66-34 in the paint. In the first quarter, without going any further, they scored 23 points and 20 were in the zone, three from the free throw and none (0/4) from the line of three. With Zion (decisive at the start of the fourth quarter) as alpha and omega, Van Gundy tried giant quintets in which James Johnson did everything and Hayes (12 points, 6 rebounds) and Willy Hernangómez (10 + 10) played together. Thus, without Lonzo Ball and with 17 points and 8 rebounds from Brandon Ingram on his return, the Pelicans won and continue to push (23-29), to reach the play in, some fuzzy Warriors and some Spurs in free fall.KNICKS 133-GRIZZLIES 129

The Knicks also won in a duel of eighths of each Conference and of teams that clearly aim the play in. It was an incredible win against some Grizzlies who came to Madison on a roll and were in command throughout the game. The Knicks were never ahead beyond the initial 3-1 ... and trailed by 13 (93-106) already in the fourth quarter, and still by 8 with less than three minutes to go. The failures of the Grizzlies and the points of RJ Barrett (who later scored a key triple in overtime) allowed an impossible comeback: in the last seconds Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas missed free throws that could have been definitive and the point guard could not break the tie on the last rally before overtime. Too many extra lives for the inexhaustible Knciks of Thibodeau.

The Grizzlies remain 26-24 after missing an excellent opportunity. They are two and a half games from the seventh and four ahead of the eleventh, the first without a play-in. Morant finished with 26 points and 6 assists, Valanciunas with 20 and 14 rebounds and Brooks with 23 points. The Knicks are 26-27, just two games out of the East quarter and five and a half ahead of the eleventh. Julius Randle did not score in the first half but did everything (in the end 15 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists), Barrett (in a great moment) finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds and the bench made a definite difference, with work Gibson's and points from Rose (19), Quickley (20) and Burks (19, 9 in overtime) .


The Pacers, who after their brilliant start have stumbled in the East, took advantage of the passage through Orlando and are placed with a 24-27 that keeps them ninth in the East. A team that aimed higher but that, after accumulating casualties and problems, smells like play in although it is only two and a half games from the sixth. Domantas Sabonis returned after his absence due to an ankle problem (16 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists, from more to less) and McDermott (19 points, 6 rebounds) and an Aaron Holiday (20 points) shone from the bench. better news for the Pacers in recent games. On the Magic (17-35, fourth-worst record in the League considering the draft), Terrence Ross's points (24) brought the game to a tight end, but the Pacers did not fail from the personnel line. In addition, Bamba added 14 points and 6 rebounds and Okeke 8 + 6 with 7 assists.

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