NBA results: December 24, 2018
Atlanta Hawks (98) – Detroit Pistons (95)
Washington Wizards (89) – Indiana Pacers (105)
Charlotte Hornets (103) – Boston Celtics (119)
Phoenix Suns (103) – Brooklyn Nets (111)
Chicago Bulls (112) – Cleveland Cavaliers (92)
Miami Heat (115) – Orlando Magic (91)
New Orleans Pelicans (117) – Sacramento Kings (122)
Minnesota Timberwolves (114) – OKC Thunder (112)
LA Clippers (127) – Golden State Warriors (129)
Dallas Mavericks (118) – Portland Trail Blazers (121)
Memphis Grizzlies (107) – LA Lakers (99)
Five Things that happened in the NBA today:
1. Steph Curry is a killer
Kevin Durant nailed a fadeaway jumper over Avery Bradley with less than 1:30 left in the game. That bucket put the Warriors up by seven points. By all accounts, that was supposedly a dagger to seal the win. But the Clippers showed the same resiliency they’ve had all season long. Tobias Harris and Bardley teamed up to go on a 7-0 run, capped off by a Bradley putback dunk, to tie the game at 127.
With 20 seconds left, the Warriors put the ball in the hands of their heart and soul. Steve Kerr didn’t even call a timeout to diagram a play. He just got the ball in Steph Curry’s hands in the back court and trusted that his point guard would deliver the win.
Curry killed time and then with seven seconds left, he called for a pick. The bigger but slower Montrezl Harrell was forced to switched onto Curry. Curry hit Harrell with a behind the back dribble and drove straight to the hoop. He scooped in a layup over Harrell’s outstretched arms to give the Warriors the win.
Curry finished with 42 points on 54% shooting ans six three-pointers. Durant dropped 35 points and 12 rebounds.
The Warriors prove once again that talent, especially in the Durant or Curry caliber, can trump anything when they’re at their best.
Luka Doncic is slowly becoming an appointment veiwing kind of player similar to Steph Curry, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s not your ordinary rookie. Doncic crosses the line from sane to crazy so many times in one play that when viewed as an entire sequence, it’s something that no one has ever done before.
Against the Blazers, Doncic once again left everyone’s mouths agape.
With 0.6 seconds left on the clock and the Mavericks needing a three-pointer, they went to their hotshot rookie without any hesitation. Doncic delivered. He nailed a high-looping three-pointer while falling out of bounds from the right corner to tie the game.
It sounds amazing just typing up the sequence. It’s even more amazing when you watch the video.
The Blazers ended up winning the game in OT, but Doncic stole the headlines with another highlight to add to his growing library of insane moves.
3. Victor Oladipo with the Christmas Gift
Indiana handed Victor Oladipo the keys to the franchise last season and he responded by leading them back to the Playoffs. Oladipo put up career-best numbers as the unquestioned leader of the Pacers last season. For that, he was named the Most Improved Player and won a car from Kia.
Today, Oladipo handed the keys to that Kia to Reneta Hills, a Pacers fan who’s also a survivor of domestic violence.
When @VicOladipo won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, he was given a brand-new Kia.
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) December 23, 2018
Oladipo is doing exactly what a superstar does: make an impact on and off the court.
4. Wiggins needs to be more aggressive
With less than 20 seconds left in the game and his team down one, Andrew Wiggins took matters into his own hands. He got the ball on the right wing and instantly attacked the slower Steven Adams. He looked like he was going to dunk in the go-ahead bucket but instead hung in the air a few moments to void Jeram Grant’s block attempt. Wiggins took contact and still banked in the one-handed layup to give the Timberwolves the lead and eventually the win.
Wiggins played one of his best games this season with 30 points.
On the final play of the game, Wiggins took it strong to the hole. He didn’t settle for a pull-up jumper or lingered away from the ball. Minnesota is hoping Wiggins can consistently be aggressive like that. His teammates are trying to prod him towards that direction.
Interesting quote from Taj Gibson: "We were talking about it on the plane flying down here as a collective group, talking about things we need to do better. A lot of us was like, 'We got to get Wig the ball. We got to get Wig the ball a lot more.' "
— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) December 24, 2018
The franchise is hoping he can be the Kobe to Karl-Anthony Towns’ Shqq.
5. Merry Christmas from the Kings!
The Kings have been one of the most surprising teams this season. Their sudden rise to compete for a Playoff spot is unexpected. The team continued their trend of surprising their fans with this holiday reunion.
Oh. And the Kings won the game! They’re now three games above .500 and are in the thick of things in the Western Conference Playoff picture.
Photo from Getty Images