By Stefan Djordjevic/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Ivica Zubac stepped up for his best game yet in Orlando, putting on a double-double with 21 points and 15 rebounds. It’s his second straight double-double and a season-high in rebounds. Kawhi Leonard banked 29 in addition to Paul George’s 24.
Against him, Kristaps Porzingis banked 30 points along with nine boards while Luka Doncic had 29 points. Maxi Kleber scored ten.
The Phoenix Suns began the tip-off as perhaps the biggest surprise and they are not slowing down. They beat Indiana 114-99 to continue the perfect streak (4-0) so far.
Deandre Ayton led the way with 23 points and ten rebounds while Devin Booker followed with 20 points and ten assists. Dario Saric helped with 16 while Ricky Rubio had 13 points.
On the other side, Malcolm Brogdon banked 25 in addition to Myles Turner’s 17 and Victor Oladipo’s 16 points. TJ Warren ‘slowed down’ a bit after his few furious performances, scoring 16 as well.
Another team that’s chasing the eighth spot in the West, the Portland Trail Blazers, actually tied up with Memphis after getting a 125-115 win over Denver.
The Nuggets just couldn’t stop Damian Lillard who went off for 45 points while also dishing 12 assists. Gary Trent Jr was the surprise of the night with 27 points while Jusuf Nurkic added 22.
Portland drained a team record of 23 threes in a game while 11 those came from Lillard who tied his own franchise record. Trent jumped up to a total of 22 threes made in the bubble which is the most by a single player.
Michael Porter Jr tried to lift up Denver with 27 points and 12 boards but they couldn’t bounce back, especially with Nikola Jokic staying at eight points – although he dished 13 assists and grabbed five boards.
Houston also missed a star as Russell Westbrook sat out, but that just gave James Harden more responsibility and he used it to nail 39 points and dish 12 assists along with eight rebounds.
Ben McLemore added 20 and Jerald Green 15 points. For LA, Kyle Kuzma scored 21 while Anthony Davis surprisingly logged ‘only’ 17 points and 12 rebounds against a short Houston squad.