NBA results, January 8, 2018
Miami Heat 103 – Utah Jazz 102
New York Knicks 100 – Dallas Mavericks 96
Phoenix Suns 114 – OKC Thunder 100
Portland Trail Blazers 111 – San Antonio Spurs 110
LA Lakers 132 – Atlanta Hawks 113
Three things that happened in the NBA today
1. McCollum does Dame Time things
Damian Lillard has missed five straight games in the past week due to a hamstring injury. Against the San Antonio Spurs, the Portland Trail Blazers missed their superstar guard once again. Lillard was a late scratch in the game due to a calf strain.
The Spurs on the other hand were missing their own superstar. Kawhi Leonard, who was just getting back into the flow of the regular season, was out again due to a partial tear in his left shoulder. (Get well soon Kawhi!)
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) January 8, 2018
With both main guns out, it made for an exciting game between both teams. It was a back-and-forth affair between the two teams with several players stepping up in the place of their injured stars.
The Spurs took a one-point lead heading into the dying seconds of the game. In situations like those, the Blazers usually turn to Lillard to save them in Dame Time. But with Lillard out, Dame Time had to be replaced with McCollum Time. The Blazers guard scored on a floater with six seconds left in the game to give the win to his team.
McCollum Time doesn’t have the same ring to it as Dame Time but it’s just as effective. McCollum hit big baskets in the clutch en route to 25 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
2. Unicorn vs. Old Satllion
When Kristaps Porzingis first came into the league, the immediate comparisons were to Dirk Nowitzki. They were both sweet-shooting seven-footers so the comparisons were warranted.
Today, Porzingis travelled to Dallas and put on a show of the Mavericks fans. Porzingis buried the Mavericks under an avalanche of outside shots, finishing with Dirk-like numbers. He scored 29 points and grabbed eight boards in the win. Nowitzki scored only five points in 23 minutes.
In the first quarter, Nowitzki switched onto Porzingis out by the sideline. The Unicorn hit the veteran with a crossover dribble and buried a three-pointer as Nowitzki was recovering to defend the shot. That move was right out of Dirk’s playbook.
3. Luke vs. LaVar
Even in Lithuania, LaVar Ball manages to cause trouble for the LA Lakers. In a report by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Ball said that Luke Walton doesn’t have control of the team anymore.
LaVar on Lakers coach Luke Walton: "Luke doesn't have control of the team no more. They don't want to play for him.” Story: https://t.co/MJZkjNwqYS
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) January 7, 2018
Of course, his comments reverberated beyond just LA. Coach Rick Carlisle disagreed strongly with Ball’s comments. He praised Luke Walton for coaching a young team, which is a difficult task. Carlisle even went as far as to call out ESPN for giving Ball a platform to cause trouble.
Rick Carlisle: "Disgrace" that ESPN published LaVar Ball ripping Luke Walton. “They should look at their sources and do a better job of determining whether they have any merit or any validity. Or are they just blowhard loudmouths?” https://t.co/vkKWT5aCDN
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 8, 2018
Lonzo didn’t help the situation with this non-answer.
Lonzo Ball on whether he is happy with Luke Walton as Lakers head coach: “I’ll play for anybody.” pic.twitter.com/9mSQFmReQo
— Bill Oram (@billoram) January 7, 2018
Through all this, Walton remained calm and continued to coach his team. The Lakers snapped a nine-game losing streak with a blowout win against the Atlanta Hawks. Lonzo Ball continued to play well and had a double-double.
After the game, Walton was asked about pulling out Lonzo early in the first period. He had this to say:
Video: Luke Walton cracks joke about LaVar Ball when asked why he took Lonzo Ball out early in the 1st quarter… "His dad was talking sh*% so I took him out early>> https://t.co/fDMM5g7koM #Lakers #LakeShow #LavarBall #LonzoBall pic.twitter.com/JQPTstPDXm
— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) January 8, 2018
Guess that’s the price the Lakers have to pay in drafting Lonzo. They get LaVar as part of the package too.
Did an NBA superstar get ejected today?
No one was thrown out. But the Dallas Mavericks put up the jerseys of one of their most solid contributors throughout the years, Derek Harper.
Photo from USA Today