Compared to the jam-packed schedule to end 2019, the NBA kicked off 2020 with a four-game schedule.
The Bucks survived a close one against the young Timberwolves squad, while the Lakers held off a furious rally by the Suns through the heroics of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Orlando blew out Washington in a high-scoring affair, while Carmelo Anthony’s return to MSG was spoiled when his Blazers lost handily to the Knicks.
SBOTOP gives you the recap of today’s games.
Orlando Magic 122-101 Washington Wizards
The Magic experienced quite a scare when Jonathan Isaac was stretchered off due to a hyper extended left knee. But even with him out, Orlando snapped their four-game losing streak by mauling Washington.
It’s a good thing, however, that the injury wasn’t that serious and he would be re-evaluated next week.
“It’s scary because, to be honest, I think we got lucky. I was right there, and the way it twisted, I thought I heard a pop and usually that’s bad,” bared head coach Steve Clifford.
DJ Augustin scored a season-high 25 points while Nikola Vucevic unleashed a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double. Evan Fournier, Markelle Fultz, and Terrence Ross added 18, 16, and 15 respectively.
The game was pretty much even for the first three quarters as they only led by nine points coming into the final quarter. However, Orlando’s defence turned up a notch to only concede 18 points.
Bradley Beal played 30 minutes after missing the last two games and had 27 points to lead the Wizards in the losing effort.
New York Knicks 117-93 Portland Trail Blazers
This game marked the return of Carmelo Anthony at the Madison Square Garden since 2017, and he went back to his vintage ways once more.
Anthony poured in 26 points, his most since returning to the league last November after a one-year absence, and he was serenaded by cheers and adulation by the Knicks faithful.
However, his efforts were gone to naught as the Blazers suffered a blowout against the improving Knicks.
Mitchell Robinson was a force in the paint by making all of his 11 shots to score 22 markers off the bench. Julius Randle added 22 points and 13 rebounds while Marcus Morris contributed 18.
New York unloaded a 14-0 blast early in the fourth quarter and that proved to be the difference when Carmelo Anthony was sitting on the bench.
The Knicks defence held Damian Lillard to 11 points on 5-for-20 shooting after scoring 30+ points in their last three matches. CJ McCollum also struggled with his shooting by going 6-for-16 en route to his 17 points.
Milwaukee Bucks 106-104 Minnesota Timberwolves
Despite being heavily favoured to win in this game, the Milwaukee Bucks had a hard time in beating the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game that went down to the wire.
Minnesota were knocking on the door when Gorgui Dieng hit two free throws to cut the lead to two points with 46.2 seconds left, but he missed a potential game-tying shot in the last possession.
MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 17 rebounds, which marked his 30th double-double of the 2019/20 season. Khris Middleton tallied 13 points, but he only went 5-for-18 on the field.
Overall, the Bucks shot only 43-per cent from the field and only 9-for-36 from three-point range.
Minnesota got some quality performances from their depleted lineup. Shabazz Napier led the way with 22 points while Gorgui Dieng, Josh Okogie, and Jarrett Culver added 15, 12, and 10 respectively.
The Timberwolves were missing guys like Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, and Treveon Graham due to their health concerns.
Los Angeles Lakers 117-107 Phoenix Suns
Everyone came to play as the Lakers started 2020 with a bang in a victory over the Phoenix Suns.
LeBron James notched his eighth triple-double of the season with 31 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists, while his co-star Anthony Davis churned out 26 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lakers came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders as they shot a whopping 70-per cent in the opening period. Anthony Davis provided some NBA 2020 highlights by putting Aron Baynes in a poster which was followed by a reverse dunk on LeBron James’ brilliant pass.
It was that kind of night for Los Angeles until Phoenix rallied in the fourth quarter.
After trailing by as low as 36 points, the Suns managed to cut the deficit to seven points which forced the Lakers starters to come back in.
LeBron James finished off the Suns by scoring eight points in the clutch while his teammates contributed some defencive stops on the other end.
Kyle Kuzma, who is sporting a new look, registered 19 points while Avery Bradley added 18.
Devin Booker scored 32 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 26 for Phoenix.
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