NBA results, January 21, 2018
OKC Thunder 148 – Cleveland Cavaliers 124
Chicago Bulls 113 – Atlanta Hawks 97
Miami Heat 106 – Charlotte Hornets 105
New Orleans Pelicans 111 – Memphis Grizzlies 104
Philadelphia 76ers 116 – Milwaukee Bucks 94
Houston Rockets 116 – Golden State Warriors 108
Minnesota Timberwolves 115 – Toronto Raptors 109
Utah Jazz 125 – LA Clippers 113
Portland Trail Blazers 117 – Dallas Mavericks 108
Three things that happened in the NBA today
1. Dime Brothers > Splash Brothers (for one game at least)
This was the most impressive win by the already impressive Houston Rockets this season.
There were questions regarding how the Houston Rockets (James Harden’s team) would assimilate a ball dominant (and dominant leader) like Chris Paul. It seemed to work in the first half of the season because Harden led the team while Paul was out and Paul took over when Harden went down with an injury.
But now, both are healthy. What now?
Well, they showed just how good two high-IQ, multi-skilled players can be in the win over the Golden State Warriors. Chris Paul did the heavy lifting for most of the game. He’s very familiar with Curry and the Warriors due to their numerous Playoff encounters in the past years. He used that knowledge to gain every advantage and score a game-high 33 points.
With Paul leading the way, this allowed Harden to get some extra rest in the fourth quarter, something he wouldn’t have been able to do in previous years. In the clutch, Harden took over. He made plays for PJ Tucker as the Rockets pulled to the lead. Then in the end, he hit a dagger three-pointer to put the game away for good.
This was one game. A seven-game series is a different story. But This one game is also proof that the Rockets might be a totally different beast compared to previous years.
2. Thunder put up video game numbers over Cavaliers
Paul George announced the release of his new shoe, the PG2 today.
The first color way he laced up were a pair inspired by the Playstation 4. So it was only fitting that the OKC Thunder exploded for a video game-like score against the shoddy Cleveland Cavaliers defense.
The Thunder put up 148 points, the most points given up by a Cavalier team in regulation in more than 40 years. OKC had four players score more than 20 points with Paul George leading the way. Wearing his new kicks, George scored 36 points in the win, doubling the score of LeBron James.
OKC hit 58% of their shots and 46% from beyond the arc. They had 37 assists as a team, led by Westbrook. Their MVP put on a passing show with 20 assists!
3. 2014 Draft Mates with big numbers and big wins
The first pick in the 2014 Draft isn’t celebrated like his other draft mates. Andrew Wiggins, the top pick that year, somehow gets lost in the shuffle. But that doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. Wiggins showed that he’s still worthy of love when he led the Minnesota Timberwolves with 29 points in their win over the Toronto Raptors.
Joel Embiid took some time to get on the court, but when he did, he made an immediate impact. Embiid is the first player from the 2014 Draft to get an All-Star nod. It’s his play like the one in the Philadelphia 76ers-Milwaukee Bucks game that has caught the attention of everyone.
Did an NBA superstar get ejected today?
No. As a side note to the OKC-Cleveland game, the Thunder denied LeBron James the chance to join the 30,000 point club. James only scored 18 points. He was seven points shy of being the youngest member of that group.
Photo from Getty Images