NBA results: November 18, 2018
LA Clippers (127) – Brooklyn Nets (119)
Philadelphia 76ers (122) – Charlotte Hornets (119)
Atlanta Hawks (89) – Indiana Pacers (97)
LA Lakers (117) – Orlando Magic (130)
Denver Nuggets (115) – New Orleans Pelicans (125)
Utah Jazz (98) – Boston Celtics (86)
Toronto Raptors (122) – Chicago Bulls (83)
Sacramento Kings (112) – Houston Rockets (132)
Golden State Warriors (109) – Dallas Mavericks (112)
OKC Thunder (110) – Phoenix Suns (100)
Five things that happened in the NBA today:
1. Kemba Walker was something different
Every year he’s been in the league, Kemba Walker has steadily improved his game. He started out scoring just 12 points per game on 36% shooting in his rookie year. Last season, his seventh in the league he averaged almost 10 points higher at 22 per game. He also improved his shooting percentage to 43%.
This season, Kemba is set to blow last year’s averages out of the water. He announced his entry to the new season with a 41-point explosion. He hasn’t slowed down since. He’s scored 30 or more points four more times after that opening game. But none of those compared to the show he was about to put on against the Sixers.
Walker exploded for 60 points against the new-look Sixers. He was Iverson-like with in how he took over the Hornets offense. He scored at a clean 61% clip and nailed all 12 of his free throws. Walker fearlessly attacked the hoop even with one of the best defenders in the league, Joel Embiid manning the paint. He also used his shifty footwork and crafty ball-handling to get open against any defender put on him.
Walker hit clutch baskets in the fourth quarter and OT. He scored 10 straight points, two treys, a strong drive and two free throws to keep the Hornets alive in the game.
Simply put, Kemba was amazing.
It’s too bad that just like his 41-point game to open the season, this 60-point masterpiece was wasted on a loss
2. Jimmy Butler was the same
With 16 seconds left in regulation, the Sixers opted to test out their newest weapon, Jimmy Butler. They got the ball into his hands and spread the floor out for an isolation play. Butler killed time and made his move with four seconds left. He faked a spin then quickly pivoted back for a fadeaway jumper. The ball hit back iron and time expired. The game went into OT.
In the extra period, the Hornets continued to charge. The game was tied with 25 seconds left and it was Walker’s turn to isolate on Butler. Walker drove hard into the lane but Butler stayed on his hip. Walker flung up an off-balance floater which Butler blocked. Butler landed close to the baseline and jumped up to save the possession for the Sixers with less than 20 seconds left in the game.
Off a timeout, the Sixers opted to go back to Butler. It was the exact same set up. Butler got the ball at the top of the key and the rest of the team spread out. This time, Butler delivered. He side-stepped into a well-defended three-pointer. But he had enough space to sink the game-winner.
That block and that shot are exactly why Philly brought in Butler.
3. Luka sinks the Warriors
Butler and Walker weren’t the only players who had great clutch performances. Luka Doncic nabbed the biggest win of his young career.
Doncic kept the Mavs alive with crunch time buckets in a close game against the Warriors. Doncic scored a tough floater inside win the final minutes of the game to give the Mavericks a one-point lead over the defending champs. Doncic then got a crucial rebound and sank two free throws to ice the game.
Doncic finished with 24 points and eight rebounds, continuing his stellar play this season.
4. Make that back-to-back 40s for AD
Anthony Davis is on a tear.
He tallies back-to-back 40 point games. After his 43-point explosion against the Knicks, Davis cooks Nikola Jokic for 40 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
As a result of his improved play, the Pelicans have now won five of their last six games and are back in the upper half of the Western Conference.
5. Paul George is quietly having a nice stretch
After a 0-4 start, the Thunder have now won 10 of their last 11 games. Even more impressive is that they’re doing most of the winning without Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook injured his ankle earlier this month and has missed the last six games. Filling in for Westbrook is OKC’s other All-Star, Paul George. During that six game stretch he’s averaging 26.1 points,9.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals. He’s scored 32 or more in the past three games.
George filled the stat sheet in their latest win over the Suns. he dropped 32 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, stole the ball thrice and had three blocks.
George is keeping the OKC ship sailing smoothly until their captain is back.
Photo from Getty Images