Ex-star’s shock 1304-day return; Giddey’s Thunder blasts rival as ‘punk’ fans ejected: NBA Wrap

A former NBA superstar made his first appearance in three years, while fans were ejected in the Thunder’s smashing of a rival.

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JOE JOHNSON MAKES SHOCK 1304 DAY RETURN

Sun, 16 Jan

Sunday January 16th

He’s back!

Some 1304 days since Joe Johnson’s last NBA appearance, the 40-year old made a shock return for the Boston Celtics — the very team who drafted him 20 years ago — against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday (all times AEDT).

The Celtics signed Johnson, a former seven-time All-Star, to a 10-day contract, after several players entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

And Boston fans gave Johnson a standing ovation when he checked into the team’s clash against the Cavaliers late in the fourth quarter, that the Celtics went onto win 111-101.

Johnson quickly shoved he can still mix it in the NBA as he wove around defenders before pulling up to nail a mid-range jumper.

“They made it tough on me. But it was exciting, it was fun to get that type of ovation from the crowd,” he said post-match. “They were chanting my name — that was pretty special to me. I appreciate them for that.

“I’m going to try and do whatever I can to help these guys, help this organisation and help this team get wins.”

It marked the first time he’d scored for the Celtics since his rookie season in February 2002 in a game against the Seattle Supersonics.

Johnson made 1,276 carer NBA appearances over 17 seasons with the Celtics, Suns, Hawks, Nets, Heat, Jazz and Rockets, having last played in the 2017/18 season.

Since then he’s been a standout in musical rap artist Ice Cube’s three-on-three basketball league, the Big3, where he claimed MVP honours in 2019 and 2021.

Jaylen Brown said of Johnson: “Definitely a childhood icon. Having him in here in the locker room is great. We need that leadership.

“He‘s still got a lot in the tank, if you ask me… I’m happy to have him on board.”

FANS EJECTED AS THUNDER SMASH NUGGETS

The OKC Thunder have blitzed division rivals Denver Nuggets 108-94 behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s second career triple-double, racking up 27 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.

It marked the first triple-double by a Thunder player at home since Russell Westbrook in 2008/2009.

He led all Thunder starters in double-figures including 14 points from Josh Giddey to go with five rebounds, two steals and one block.

Darius Bazley also came up big in his new sixth-man role, tallying 17 points, 11 boards and two blocks.

It was a dirty night for Denver where even reigning MVP Nikola Jokic was well held with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, Austin Rivers had two fans ejected sitting courtside for making remarks about his dad, Sixers coach Doc Rivers, and sister.

Denver went into the game having won three of its last four, but hadn’t played since December 18 after its December 20 game against Brooklyn was postponed due to the Nets not having enough players available due to health and safety protocols and injuries.

The Nuggets fell to 15-15 on the season to sit eighth in the West.

Meanwhile, OKC won its third game in a row to improve to 11-19, while the team has now gone 5-3 since its NBA record 73-point loss to Memphis earlier this month.

“After that Memphis loss … we took that personally and wanted to come out and prove that’s not who we are,” Giddey said post match. “We didn’t want to be remembered for that.”

ALL RESULTS

MAGIC 104 HAWKS 98

CAVALIERS 101 CELTICS 111

ROCKETS 106 BUCKS 126

NUGGETS 94 THUNDER 108

CLIPPERS 104 KINGS 89

RAPTORS-BULLS (POSTPONED)

Soruce: https://www.foxsports.com.au/basketball/nba/nba-2021-scores-results-joe-johnson-return-first-game-in-1304-days-cleveland-cavaliers-v-boston-celtics-video-highlights-josh-giddey-stats-denver-nuggets-v-okc-thunder-fans-ejected/news-story/26ff5058cfc744dc9f1dc7498fc25c06

By Malvi