13a26aca7b0e4f899f5fff72a10392fe-750.png

NBA highlights on Jan. 5: Mavs’ win streak ends as Doncic struggles

Luka Doncic (L) of the Dallas Mavericks passes in the game against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Luka Doncic (L) of the Dallas Mavericks passes in the game against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Luka Doncic (L) of the Dallas Mavericks passes in the game against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

The Boston Celtics beat the Dallas Mavericks 124-95 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, to end the opponents’ seven-game winning streak.

Jayson Tatum dropped the second triple-double in his career after getting 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for the Celtics, but he was not in the best form, especially with his shooting. Tatum went 8-for-22 from the field and 2-for-8 from downtown. His star partner Jaylen Brown played less than 30 minutes in Thursday’s game because of foul trouble, scoring 19 points and seven rebounds.

The Celtics’ role players made bigger contributions than their star duo. Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon shot 9-for-19 at the 3-point line. They did a good job of making extra passes to find shooters left open by the Mavericks’ defensive rotations. The team’s 3-point rate of 37.2 percent (16-for-43) couldn’t match their astonishing performance of 41 percent in the first 21 games of the season, but was much better than the 31 percent in the past 12 competitions.

Jayson Tatum (#0) of the Boston Celtics passes in the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Jayson Tatum (#0) of the Boston Celtics passes in the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Jayson Tatum (#0) of the Boston Celtics passes in the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

The Celtics wouldn’t have secured such a big win without their remarkable work of containing Luka Doncic, who had averaged 45.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 10.2 assists in the previous six games. By contrast, the top NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate had only 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists after going 7-for-23 in field goals (FGs) and missing all six triples.

The Celtics were well-prepared for Doncic’s tricks. They switched decisively when Doncic called screens, leaving Christian Wood no chance to go for easy basket in the paint. Though the team didn’t have anyone who could freeze Doncic by himself, they managed to make Doncic take difficult shots in the middle range when he had to deal with a cold touch. If Doncic posted up, double-teaming often happened in the right timing and location to keep him from passing to open teammates.

Malcolm Brogdon (#13) of the Boston Celtics drives toward the rim in the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Malcolm Brogdon (#13) of the Boston Celtics drives toward the rim in the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Malcolm Brogdon (#13) of the Boston Celtics drives toward the rim in the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Doncic’s teammates failed to ease his load like their Celtics counterpart did for Tatum and Brown. The rest of the Mavericks shot 6-for-26 behind the arc. Spencer Dinwiddie, Wood and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined to get only 38 points. Their over-reliance on Doncic forced him to play 37 minutes per game this season, the most in the league. It’s only natural for him to go through ups and downs with his form under such circumstances.

The victory on Thursday night ended the two-game losing streak for the Celtics and enabled them to lead the Eastern Conference by more than one game over the following Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics are scheduled to play more games on the road than at home in January. Every win means a lot to the team.

Other games on Thursday (away teams come first):

Jaren Jackson Jr. (#13) of the Memphis Grizzlies drives toward the rim in the game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Jaren Jackson Jr. (#13) of the Memphis Grizzlies drives toward the rim in the game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Jaren Jackson Jr. (#13) of the Memphis Grizzlies drives toward the rim in the game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Memphis Grizzlies 123-115 Orlando Magic

Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. combined to score 63 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for the Grizzlies to secure their fifth straight win at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday. The team went 13-for-14 from the floor within the 3-point line in the second quarter to lead by 20 points (43-23) in this period alone and stood up to the Magic’s counterattacks in the second half.

Paolo Banchero had team-high 30 points for the Magic. With his size, skills and power, he could score very efficiently around the paint even in front of the Grizzlies’ defenders most of whom have incredible size, power and athleticism. If Banchero improves his 3-point rate from 31.1 percent to over 35 percent and grows more productive than making 1.2 triples per game, he will have a bigger influence on the game as a scorer.

Lauri Markkanen (#23) of the Utah Jazz dunks in the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Lauri Markkanen (#23) of the Utah Jazz dunks in the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Lauri Markkanen (#23) of the Utah Jazz dunks in the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Utah Jazz 131-114 Houston Rockets

Lauri Markkanen set a new career high in scoring as he got 49 points for the Jazz at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Thursday. He shot 9-for-12 within the 3-point line and made all 13 free throws to score double-digit points in the first, third and fourth quarters. Having watched the opponents make the game-winning shot over his head in all of the past three losses, Markkanen needed a game like this to cheer both himself and the Jazz.

The Rockets suffered their sixth consecutive loss. Jalen Green had 30 points but he missed 16 of 24 FGs. Jabari Smith Jr. was almost invisible on the offensive end with only three points and five rebounds. Kevin Porter Jr. added 23 points for the team, but his shooting percentage and choice-making were no better than those of Green. So far, Alperen Sengun, who got a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds on Thursday night, seemed the most reliable on the Rockets’ young squad.

Nikola Jokic (#15) of the Denver Nuggets passes in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Nikola Jokic (#15) of the Denver Nuggets passes in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Nikola Jokic (#15) of the Denver Nuggets passes in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, January 5, 2023. /CFP

Los Angeles Clippers 91-122 Denver Nuggets

Nobody on either side played for even 30 minutes in Thursday’s game at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado because the game was long gone after the first half during which the Nuggets led 66-32. On the Nuggets’ side, Bones Hyland and Vlako Cancar even took more shots off the bench than anyone in the starting lineup.

None of the Clippers’ starters played even 20 minutes on Thursday night, because coach Tyronn Lue didn’t send any of them to the court again after their disappointing performances in the first half. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined to shoot 3-for-16 from the field to get only nine points in total. There is simply no excuse for that.


Source link

Tags: No tags

Leave A Comment