Philadelphia Sixers hero Joel Embiid, Denver Nuggets surprised in San Antonio
The action: Embiid offers victory to Philadelphia
Two right-handed dribbles, a pivoting shot and stepping back at the free throw line, and the ball only hitting the string. Joel Embiid signed the action of Friday evening in the NBA by picking up the victory just before the buzzer for the Philadelphia Sixers, at home against the Portland Trail Blazers (120-119). With 1”1 to play, the visitors, from the hands of Damian Lillard (22 points, 11 assists), did not have time to respond, with a badly negotiated throw-in. The whole meeting, moreover, since the Blazers were up to 21 points ahead, carried by Anfernee Simmons (34 points including 8 of 12 at three points), before collapsing.
Embiid, dominating from start to finish, finished the match with a huge statistical line: 39 points (at 13 of 20 shooting, 13 of 18 throwing), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. His team has just won its last four matches and remains firmly in third place in the East (44v-22d), behind Boston (46v-21d) and Milwaukee (48v-18d). For Portland, there remains the feeling of a good blow wasted since the counter remains blocked at 31 wins (36 losses), with a success of the New Orleans Pelicans (32v-34d), tenth and therefore in a position to qualify for the play- in.
The surprise: triple-double wasted for Jokic in San Antonio
” We put the fans to sleep in the first quarter and woke them up. “Gregg Popovich was delighted that his team played a very bad trick on the Denver Nuggets, yet wide leaders of the Western Conference (46v-21d). In a packed house, the San Antonio Spurs spoiled Nikola Jokic’s triple-double (37 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists). A first since during the 25 previous triple-doubles achieved this season by the Serbian pivot, his team had systematically imposed themselves.
The meeting even turned electric in the middle of the third quarter when Zach Collins and Michael Porter Jr. were excluded after a big dunk from the latter, and a good dose of trashtalking leading to an altercation. For both teams, the result turns out to be of no real consequence, although, on the Nuggets side, we can worry about the bad form of the moment (2 defeats). The lead over the Sacramento Kings and the Memphis Grizzlies (39v-26d, 2nd and 3rd) is still comfortable. In 14th place (17v-49d), San Antonio has two more wins than Houston (15v-51d). But, with the third worst record in the league, he will have as much luck as his neighbor – or the Detroit Pistons (15v-52d) – to get the first choice of the next Draft.
The player: Mitchell, 42 points for nothing
Nice duel at the Miami-Dade Arena between the Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers: an overall tight game – although the Cavs had a lead of up to 14 points – and a final where the leaders stood out. Because to respond to the 42 points slammed by Donovan Mitchell (15 of 30 shooting, 8 of 15 at three points), Jimmy Butler had to take the game on his own at the end of the match. The winger, author of 33 points, scored 12 in the money-time while his team removed the last acter on a wide score (37-26). Butler was especially present when Mitchell, five seconds from time, deliberately missed a second free throw to try to regain possession. Rebound captured by his rival, and a victory secured by two throws.
A great operation for the Heat, seventh in the East (36v-32d), which remains within reach of the Brooklyn Nets (38v-29d, 6th), while maintaining a small break on Atlanta (34v-33d).
Victorious over the Washington Wizards in the capital (114-107), the Altanta Hawks relied in particular on their long-distance address to make the difference: 15 out of 31 (48.4%) in the exercise. Trae Young (28 points, 9 assists) scored 6 alone.