The NBA is now in uncharted territory as the league has shut down indefinitely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert has already contracted the virus, which led the postponement of tonight’s Jazz-Thunder game. The Pelicans-Kings clash was also postponed in the wake of the league’s decision to halt the league.
But before the beginning of the hoops hiatus, SBOTOP NBA fans got to witness the last bit of top basketball action for a while on Wednesday night with four largely entertaining games. Here are all the important details about each one of them.
Detroit Pistons 106-124 Philadelphia 76ers
After missing the last few weeks due to a sprained shoulder, Joel Embiid made a strong return as he had 30 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Sixers past the Pistons. Al Horford, who has picked up his play in Embiid’s absence, also starred with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists, while Furkan Korkmaz added 17 points off the bench.
With the win, the Sixers improved their league-best home record to 29-2.
Meanwhile, Christian Wood continued his outstanding play of late as he finished with 32 points on 14-of-18 shooting, with 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. The 24-year-old was averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 58 per cent in five games this month.
But with Blake Griffin likely to miss the entire season and leading scorer Derrick Rose still out due to an ankle injury, the Pistons are woefully short on offensive weapons.
The Pistons, who are in full tank mode, have now lost their last five games in a row and 12 of their last 13.
New York Knicks 136-131 (OT) Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young gave Hawks fans a memorable performance in what could be their last game in a while. The All-Star guard dropped 42 points and 11 assists in a losing effort as Atlanta fell to the Knicks in overtime.
Julius Randle came up with a big double-double of 33 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Knicks, while rookie RJ Barrett added 26 points as New York bounced back from a loss to the Wizards last night.
John Collins had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Hawks in support of Young. Collins has now topped 20 points in 16 of his last 18 games.
The game ended with former All-Star and all-time great dunker Vince Carter making the last shot, a 3-pointer. And with the NBA suspending the regular season, it could potentially go down as the 43-year-old’s last-ever shot in his career.
Carter was understandably emotional when asked about the possibility that this could be the final game of his career.
“It’s just weird,” Carter said of the possibility of his career ending on Wednesday night. “As we were being briefed on everything … I’m sitting there, like, ‘All right, this is it. Like that. It ended like that.’ Probably tonight, I’ll reflect, like, ‘Golly, this is weird, man.'”
Charlotte Hornets 109-98 Miami Heat
After being the victims of a costly blown call in their loss to the Hawks, the Hornets defied the NBA 2020 news in a big way as they handed the Heat a rare home loss.
Hornets guard Devonte Graham continued his recent resurgence as he dropped a team-high 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting and 8-of-11 on 3-pointers. Graham is averaging nearly 23 points and 6.5 assists while shooting close to 44 per cent from the field in five games in March.
Rookie Kaleb Martin also had his second big game in a row as he had 19 points and 7 rebounds off the Hornets bench.
Kendrick Nunn had 24 points while Slam Dunk contest champion Derrick Jones Jr. added 23 points to lead the Heat, who were without All-Star Jimmy Butler. Fellow All-Star Bam Adebayo also had 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists in a losing effort.
The Heat dropped to 27-5 at home this season and 2.5 games back of the Boston Celtics for the third seed in the East.
Denver Nuggets 97-113 Dallas Mavericks
The Nuggets’ inconsistent play post-All-Star break continued as they suffered a heavy road defeat to the Mavericks, who were on the second night of a back-to-back after they failed to claim a historic sweep of the Spurs.
With Kristaps Porzingis out, Boban Marjanovic was the surprise hero for Dallas as he dropped 31 points and 17 rebounds. Luka Doncic also delivered another brilliant performance despite a right wrist injury as he finished with 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 25 points and Will Barton added 23. Superstar big man Nikola Jokic had a quiet night offensively as he finished with just 14 points, although he also had 13 rebounds and 8 assists.
The Nuggets’ recent NBA 2020 results have seen them go just 5-5 in 10 games after the All-Star break and have alternated wins and losses in their last eight. Their recent slide has seen them slide from second place in the Western Conference standings down to third.
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