Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz, 126-118
- Although Lauri Markkanen put on a show in his return to the United Center, it just was not enough.
- After dropping 41 points while starting 8-of-8 from beyond the arc, Zach LaVine’s hot streak continued as he knocked down six more threes en route to a game-high 35 points. His All-Star co-star DeMar DeRozan also had a big night with 35 points of his own and even chipped in with some dimes as he finished with seven assists.
- But the unsung hero for Chicago was Nikola Vucevic who dominated on the glass. Vucevic finished with a big-time double-double with 15 points and a season-high 16 rebounds.
- On the other side, the Utah Jazz kept it close by competing as a collective. Markkanen led the way with 28 points as six Jazz players finished in double figures.
- Most notable was Jarrett Vanderbilt who got the start at Center a performed well as he finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes on the floor. Rookie guard Ochai Agbaji also had a solid night, finishing as the team’s second-leading scorer with 19 points in 21 minutes off the bench.
- The Bulls are currently on a three-game winning streak and are inching closer to .500 with a record of 19-21. On the other hand, Utah is on a downslide as they have lost five of their last six games.
Boston Celtics vs. San Antonio Spurs, Celtics win 121-116
- San Antonio Spurs guard Josh Richardson gave his former team a bit of a scare when he knocked down a nig three with 37 seconds to tie this game up at 118 in the closing moments.
- But Jayson Tatum had other plans he followed that up with a step-back dagger to help seal the game. But this game in totality for Celtics came down to the trifecta of Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Malcolm Brogdon. Of the team’s 121 points, these three combined for 86 points and hit 12 total threes.
- Robert Williams III did not disappoint either as he came off the bench in limited minutes and provided ten points, 11 rebounds, two steals, and four blocks. The Time Lord continues to fill up the box score regardless of how much he plays.
- For the Spurs, finished with eight of the ten players who got on the floor scoring in double figures. Of those eight players, Josh Richardson led the bench mob with 18 points as the bench combined for 51 points.
- Although San Antonio was unable to steal the victory, they were able to keep things extremely close and covered the 15.5-point spread they entered the game with. Not to mention that they did so while missing their three best players in Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Jakob Poeltl.
- After significant back-to-back losses to the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder, the Celtics are back on track with two straight wins on their mini-Texas road trip. The Spurs continue the tank for Wembenyama as they have lost five of their last seven games.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks, Mavericks win 127-117
- The New Orleans Pelicans entered this game extremely undermanned without Zion Williamson (right hamstring strain), CJ McCollum (rest), and of course Brandon Ingram who has missed a majority of the season. But this allowed some unsung heroes to step up and shine.
- Alongside Jonas Valanciunas who finished with 25 points and ten rebounds, Naji Marshall had a big game as well with 24 points while playing a team-high 38 minutes. Herb Jones also had a great performance especially on the defensive end as he had five steals to go alongside his 16 points and six rebounds. Even Kira Lewis came up big off the far end of the bench as he scored 12 points in 12 quick minutes in what was only her third game getting minutes this season.
- For the Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic continues his insane streak of NBA 2K-level stat lines as he finished with a 34-point triple-double.
- Christian Wood also got in on the fun with 28 points, six rebounds, and two blocks in 23 minutes. Wood has been on an absolute tear as of late as he has scored 25+ six times since the start of December.
- After a relatively hot close to 2022, the Pelicans have started the new year off with bad news regarding the health of Zion Williamson and have lost three of the last four games. The Mavericks on the hand are getting back on track after falling to Celtics as they are now 8-2 in their last ten games.
Orlando Magic vs. Golden State Warriors, Magic win 115-101
- The young duo of Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner was locked in as they combined for 49 points and knocked down a combined 7-of-15 threes. But this was a group effort by the Orlando Magic.
- Markelle Fultz finished with an insane stat line of 16 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and six steals in 30 minutes. Cole Anthony was an energy booster off the bench with 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists off the bench. Wendell Carter also got in the mix with 13 points and ten rebounds. The Orlando Magic young guys came out to play.
- The Golden State Warriors were without Klay Thompson, but Anthony Lamb gave his best Klay Impression. Lamb had the greenlight with 14 three-point attempts on his way to 26 points in 33 minutes off the bench.
- Jordan Poole also had the torch, but he was not nearly as effective. Despite finishing with 21 points, Poole was 2-of-11 from deep, but he made up for it by going 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
- Orlando got a much-needed victory after losing four of her previous five games. But for the Golden State, they are on a two-game skid after being on a five-game winning streak.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings, Score
- With seven seconds left in the game, De’Aaron Fox hit a big jumper that he thought would send the game to overtime. Instead, Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had other plans as drew a huge foul call in the final three seconds and hit both to steal the victory. Schroder finished this game with 27 points on 11 shots and yes, a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. But there were a handful of Lakers that had monster nights.
- LeBron James led the way with 37 points in 37 minutes. Russell Westbrook had 23 points along with 15 assists which tied his season-high. Thomas Bryant was big-time as he finished with 29 points and 14 rebounds. This foursome stepped up in a big way and it was these guys who made the key plays, in the end, to help pull off the road upset.
- For the Kings, this was a tough one to lose especially in the way they did. Six Sacramento players finished in double figures, including De’Aaron Fox who led the team with 34 points. The entire starting lineup scored 15+ points while Harrison Barnes and Fox combined for 24 of the team’s 32 free throw attempts. The Kings were in the position to take this game to overtime and regain control, but it slipped through their fingers in the closing moments.
- Despite being without Anthony Davis, Los Angeles has now won five in a row and won six of their last seven. Sacramento has been on a bit of a slide as they have lost three of their last four with their sole win coming in a two-point victory over the Utah Jazz earlier this week.