A star has delivered a brutal truth after a rival’s explosion. Plus LaMelo Ball and the Hornets have proven too good for the reigning champs again.
Catch up on all of the day’s action in our NBA Wrap!
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Fri, 14 Jan
Friday January 14th
STAR’S BRUTAL TRUTH AFTER ROOKIE EXPLOSION
Detroit rookie Cade Cunningham scored a career-high 29 points and the Detroit Pistons rallied from a 22-point deficit to defeat the Utah Jazz 126-116 on Tuesday (AEDT).
Cunningham, the top pick in the NBA entry draft, scored all but five of his points after halftime. He also dished out eight of Detroit’s 30 assists.
“I have to give all the credit to my teammates, who kept encouraging me and getting me the ball,” said Cunningham. “I’m new to this league, but I’ve been playing basketball for a long time. I know what I’m capable of doing to help a team win once I get into a rhythm.”
Saddiq Bey matched Cunningham with 29 points, while Cory Joseph came off the bench to score 16 points. Trey Lyles added 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Donovan Mitchell scored a team-high 31 points for the Jazz, who have lost three straight.
And speaking post-match, the star guard delivered a brutal truth about his team’s championship prospects.
Hassan Whiteside contributed 21 points and 14 rebounds and Jordan Clarkson chipped in 16 points.
Despite the loss, the Jazz sit third in the West with a 28-13 record.
LAMELO DOMINATES CHAMPS AGAIN
LaMelo Ball scored 23 points as the Charlotte Hornets swept back-to-back games against the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks with a 103-99 win.
Ball capped his performance with the eventual winning basket on a floater with 15 seconds left in the fourth for the Hornets, who also beat the Bucks 114-106 on Sunday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds for the struggling Bucks, who have lost four of their last five games.
Milwaukee committed their 20th turnover after Ball’s go-ahead basket. On the next possession Miles Bridges sank a pair of game-clinching free throws.
Ball scooted to his left, shooting across his body as he was falling away to break the tie.
“That is a highly difficult shot, but he makes it look effortless,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “Melo has that uncanny ability to be going 100 mph, get off-balance and still be poised when he raises up.
“That’s tough to do for a player who has been in the league 15 years, let alone a guy who has been in the league two years.”
Terry Rozier delivered 27 points, Bridges finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Gordon Hayward tallied 14 points as the Hornets won despite shooting just 13-of-44 shooting from three-point range.
Khris Middleton helped pace the Bucks offence with 27 points and a game-high 11 assists. Jordan Nwora added 18 points and Wesley Matthews had 13 points.
“You are definitely concerned anytime you lose four out of five,” Middleton said. “And you never want to lose two in a row.
“You understand what the circumstances are (with players being out) and you never want to use that as an excuse. We understand what we’re going through and everybody is going through. But we still have to go out there and compete.”
BLAZERS BEAT NETS IN ‘GREAT F***NG* WIN
Portland’s Robert Covington was asked post-match what he shouted to his teammates in the middle of the court after the team’s 114-108 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Covington laughed as he responded “Great f***ing win.”
It came amid a big performance from the forward, who tallied 21 points, five triples, three steals and three blocks.
Elsewhere, Anfernee Simons (23 points, six rebounds, 11 assists) continued his stellar form in the absence of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Simons has now averaged 27.8 points and 7.6 assists on 51 per cent shooting from the field, 44.6 per cent from three and 94.7 per cent from the line (68 per cent true shooting) since joining the starting line-up five games ago. The Blazers are 3-2 over that stretch despite missing their star backcourt duo.
Kevin Durant’s 28 points led Brooklyn, adding 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block, while Kyrie Irving had 22 points and eight rebounds.
The Nets were playing without James Harden, who’s expected to return on Thursday from a left knee issue.
EMBIID POWERS SIXERS TO SEVENTH-STRAIGHT WIN
Joel Embiid had 31 points and eight rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers won their seventh straight game with a 111-91 victory over the Houston Rockets.
Embiid recorded his seventh straight 30-point game. He also had six assists and made all 13 of his free throws in front of a crowd of 13,600 at Toyota Center arena in Houston.
The star big man is the second NBA player in history to score exactly 31 points in four straight games. Bob McAdoo did it for the Buffalo Braves in 1973.
Embiid entered Monday’s contest as the sixth highest scorer in the league, averaging 26.8 points per game.
Philadelphia has the longest winning streak in the Eastern Conference and the second-longest one in the league behind the Memphis Grizzlies who have won nine straight.
BROWN, TATUM LEAD CELTS TO OT WIN
Jaylen Brown scored 26 points, Jayson Tatum added 24 and the Boston Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers in overtime 101-98.
Brown has now set a new career high in points, assists and rebounds of three of his last five games. On January 3rd he recorded a career-best 50 point against the Magic. Then on January 9th he had a career high 11 assists as part of his first ever career triple double) against the Knicks
And again the Pacers on Tuesday, Brown tallied a career-best 15 rebounds.
It marked Boston’s fourth win from its last six games to improve to 20-21 on the season,
“We stuck with them and ran them a little bit longer, but we knew the importance of this game,” Boston coach Ime Udoka said of his two stars, Brown and Tatum.
“We stayed together through the end of the game,” he said. ”We went through adversity, a couple of arguments within the team (during the game).”
For Indiana, Domantas Sabonis put up a wild 11-point, 23-rebound, 10-assist triple-double, but it wasn’t enough as the Pacers dropped their seventh game from their last eight.
BUCKS 99 HORNETS 103
JAZZ 116 PISTONS 126
PACERS 98 CELTICS 101
SPURS 96 KNICKS 111
SIXERS 111 ROCKETS 91
CAVALIERS 109 KINGS 108
NETS 108 BLAZERS 114