NBA results: December 19, 2018
Cleveland Cavaliers (92) – Indiana Pacers (91)
Washington Wizards (110) – Atlanta Hawks (118)
LA Lakers (110) – Brooklyn Nets (115)
Dallas Mavericks (118) – Denver Nuggets (126)
Three things that happened in the NBA today:
1. D’Angelo Russell finally loads against LA
D’Angelo Russell was a part of #TheFuture, the group of young players that was supposed to lead the Lakers in the next few years. That group only lasted a season in LA. Right before the 2017 NBA Draft, Russell was traded to make way for Lonzo Ball and a new young core.
Russell never got revenge on the Lakers for trading him last season. Brooklyn lost both of their games against LA and Russell really didn’t have his big moment against his former team. Apparently, DLo was just waiting for the moment to mean more. The Lakers were ending their road trip in Brooklyn and with the King in town, Russell finally struck.
Russell led the Nets all game long with his scoring and playmaking. The Nets played the Lakers tough. They weathered several comeback attempts and held on to the lead for most of the game. It was Russell that drilled the dagger that closed out the game.
With 33 seconds left in the game, Russell forced a switch to Kyle Kuzma, the player the Lakers drafted with the pick they got for Russell. He then calmly walked into a three-pointer over Kuzma that sealed the win for the Nets. Russell finished with 22 points and 13 assists to lead the Nets.
It wasn’t just Russell that made his mark against the Lakers. Jarrett Allen had a Block of the Year candidate on James. Not a lot of players can say that they won a battle at the rim against the King.
2. Nikola Jokic is a superstar
In order to be considered a superstar, a player has to be able to first, put up consistently good numbers on a nightly basis. Jokic proved that last season. Another criteria that makes a player a superstar is the ability to carry a team even when the rest of his teammates are down.
Nikola Jokic is proving that this season. With key players Will Barton, Gary Harris and Paul Millsap out due to various injuries, Jokic took it upon himself to do the heavy lifting. Against Luka Doncic and the rising Mavericks, he dropped a big double-double of 32 points and 16 rebounds.
The Nuggets have now won four straight games with Jokic leading the way. They’re the top team in the West with a 21-9 record. They’re just a slim margin away from being the best team in the league.
3. Larry Nance for the win!
It was a good day for former Lakers.
Larry Nance, traded to the Cavaliers to make space for James, tipped home a game-winner to power Cleveland over Indiana.
That tip ended a seven-game winning streak by the Pacers.
Photo from Getty Images