By John Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant affected basketball fans all around the world. The NBA players themselves did not feel on playing at all. Sunday evening was tough for every team scheduled to compete, especially considering how many younger upstarts grew up idolizing the Black Mamba and so many more Kobe considered close friends of his. Among them Kyrie Irving who found himself unable to step on the court. Teams across the playing field dribbled out the 24-second shot clock to start off their games in remembrance of the No.24 worn by the retired NBA great.
Jokic: “We lost a huge person, a role model”
Nikola Jokic posted his ninth triple-double of the 2019-20 NBA Regular Season leading the Denver Nuggets to the 117-110 win opposite to the Houston Rockets at the Pepsi Center. “I couldn’t believe it. He’s not just a legend here, he’s a legend across the world,” mentioned the Joker after his 24 points, 12 boards, 11 assists and two steals, “We lost a huge person, a role model. It’s a huge loss for everybody.” On playing after such terrible news added: “When you think about Kobe it’s, `No excuse. Nothing can put your mind off what you love to do.”
Vlatko Cancar and Juan Hernangomez did not leave the bench with the Joker aiding his side to 32-14. As a starter, Clint Capela put up nine points, 12 rebounds, a couple of assists and one rejection for the visitors. Reserve Thabo Sefolosha had six points, three boards and one block. However both Isaiah Hartenstein and William Howard did not earn playing time.
Double-double for Ibaka
Europeans combined for 30 points for the Toronto Raptors in the 110-106 victory over the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Serge Ibaka posted a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double off the bench, also dished out four dimes and made a couple of steals. OG Anunoby went for ten points, five boards, three assists, one interception and one block. Fellow starter, Marc Gasol got to eight points, 12 rebounds and five dimes. Marco Belinelli’s 12 points, five assists and one board went to waste. The same goes for fellow bench player Jakob Poeltl’s 11 points, seven rebounds and two rejections. Luka Samanic remained on his G League assignment.
Irving mourns the loss of his friend
Frank Ntilikina scored 11 points to go along with his three rebounds, two assists and one interception with the New York Knicks defeating the Brooklyn Nets, 110-97. Ignas Brazdeikis spent his night with the Westchester Knicks. On the visitors, three European reserves were highlighted by Rodions Kurucs and his 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and two interceptions. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had three points and Dzanan Musa one board. Leading star Kyrie Irving left the Madison Square Garden after warming up for the contest feeling unable to play.
Triple-double in losing effort for Sabonis
Second career triple-double for Domantas Sabonis, but Damian Lillard with 50 points guided the Portland Trail Blazers to the 139-129 victory over the Indiana Pacers at the Moda Center. Mario Hezonja did not get on the court, Jusuf Nurkic (left leg) remained sidelined and Jaylen Hoard put in G League action. Sabonis racked up 27 points, 14 boards, 11 assists and one rejection in losing effort. Teammates Goga Bitadze dished one assist and Naz Mitrou-Long was out.
At the Smoothie King Center, the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Boston Celtics, 123-108. Nicolo Melli got in three points, three boards and one assist in seven minutes. Plenty more European action for the losing team with Daniel Theis posting 15 points, nine rebounds, a couple of rejections and one assist. Javonte Green added four points, four dimes, four rebounds and one steal, and Vincent Poirier two points, three boards and one rejection. Enes Kanter (right hip) stayed on the injury list.
Ivica Zubac pilled up six points, 11 rebounds, one dime and one block for the Los Angeles Clippers in the 112-97 win against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center. A couple more European starters for the losing side with Nikola Vucevic on 13 points, six boards, five assists, and Evan Fournier on 11 points, three dimes, two rebounds, one steal and one block.
Valanciunas, Grizzlies roll on
Jonas Valanciunas helped the Memphis Grizzlies to the 114-109 victory versus the Phoenix Suns at the FedExForum with 12 points, seven rebounds, one dime, one steal and one rejection. Marko Guduric missed his lone shot and turned the ball over twice in five minutes. Ricky Rubio and Dario Saric were held to five points in losing effort, the Spaniard point guard also tallied five boards, three assists and three interceptions, his teammate added three dimes, a couple of rebounds and one steal. Also, Elie Okobo gathered one rebound and one interception in limited action.
In the absence of Alex Len (right hip), the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Washington Wizards, 152-133, at the State Farm Arena. European action was limited to the visiting team with Davis Bertans ending up with 12 points, five boards, three assists, three interceptions and one block, Ian Mahinmi with eight points, three boards, one dime and one rejection, Anzejs Pasecniks with five points, a pair of rebounds and a couple of rejections, and Isaac Bonga with one assist and one rebound. Moritz Wagner (left ankle) missed one more game.
1. Milwaukee Bucks 40-6
2. Toronto Raptors 32-14
3. Miami Heat 31-14
4. Boston Celtics 30-15
5. Indiana Pacers 30-17
6. Philadelphia 76ers 30-17
7. Orlando Magic 21-26
8. Brooklyn Nets 19-26
9. Chicago Bulls 18-30
10. Detroit Pistons 17-30
11. Washington Wizards 15-30
12. Charlotte Hornets 15-31
13. New York Knicks 13-34
14. Cleveland Cavaliers 12-34
15. Atlanta Hawks 12-35
1. Los Angeles Lakers 36-10
2. Utah Jazz 32-13
3. Los Angeles Clippers 33-14
4. Denver Nuggets 32-14
5. Dallas Mavericks 28-17
6. Houston Rockets 28-17
7. Oklahoma City Thunder 28-19
8. Memphis Grizzlies 22-24
9. San Antonio Spurs 20-25
10. Portland Trail Blazers 20-27
11. Phoenix Suns 19-27
12. New Orleans Pelicans 18-29
13. Sacramento Kings 16-29
14. Minnesota Timberwolves 15-31
15. Golden State Warriors 10-37
Photo Credit: Getty Images