Clutch defense powers Nets over Wizards; Embiid erupts for 50 in blowout win vs Magic

 By Akio Mananes

PHOTO: Vox

The Brooklyn Nets spoiled the sizzling comeback of the Washington Wizards after forcing contested triples to survive a major scare, eking out a 119-118 squeaker at the Capital One Arena, Thursday.

Missing the services of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and LaMarcus Aldridge filled in the gap as they chalked up 30 points and 27 points, respectively, to lift the undermanned Nets from a near collapse.

Harden went on an all-around stat line of 18 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists while Patty Mills finished the game with 17 markers.

The 'hometown sorcerers' cast a dry spell to the Nets’ offense as Montrezl Harrell capped off their 14-2 run with a two-hand jam, trimming the lead to 104-103 with 6:41 left in the 4th only to fall short.

Bradley Beal also gathered a collective effort of 23 points with nine dimes together with Kyle Kuzma’s 16-point production, including a crucial three-pointer that sent the Wizards to a one-point deficit, 119-118, to give the hometown the firepower down the stretch.

In a clash between big men in Wells Fargo Center, Joel Embiid hoisted the Philadelphia 76ers to a decisive victory over Mo Bamba and the Orlando Magic with a monstrous double-double, 123-110, tying his career-high in points with 50 and 12 boards.

Mo Bamba unlocked a new achievement for himself after chipping in 32 points, 28 coming from the first half while shooting the lights out with an efficient 12-15 from the field and 7-8 beyond the arc.

With the absence of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic wreaked havoc anew as he poured another triple-double to edge out the superstar-less LA Clippers in an overtime thriller.

Aaron Gordon saw the green light in the collapse of the Clippers’ defense, receiving a cross-court pass from Jokic to swish in a crucial three-pointer.

Jokic ended the tight clash with 49 markers, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists as Gordon went off with 28 points. The Clippers, meanwhile, relied on Ivica Zubac’s 32-point performance.


TIP-INS:

The Charlotte Hornets continued to be hot as the season progressed after bagging the last 6-of-7 games behind Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges, and Kelly Oubre’s 28, 22, and 18-point game respectively together with LaMelo Ball’s 15/10/10 stat line.

Caleb Martin paved the way for the Miami Heat’s 27-5 comeback in crunch time after dropping 26 markers to own the Lillard-less Portland Trailblazers to a 104-92 upset.

Furthermore, Luka Doncic maintained composure down the stretch to give the Dallas Mavericks a four-point cushion with a minute left, edging out the 7-man Toronto Raptors to a 102-98 heartbreaker.

In the battle of the freaks of nature, Ja Morant and Giannis Antetokounmpo put on a show after garnering both 33-point performances but with the assistance of Khris Middleton’s 27 points, the Milwaukee Bucks prevailed over the Memphis Grizzlies, 126-114.

Meanwhile in Sacramento, the Kings fell short to put the game to overtime as De’Aaron Fox failed to bank in a fadeaway jumper, enough for Saddiq Bey’s 30-piece game to lift the young Detroit Pistons to escape, 133-131.

Atlanta Hawks cashed in a 134-122 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves while the Chicago Bulls pulled the rug from under the Cleveland Cavaliers, 117-104. San Antonio Spurs’ defense placed the Oklahoma City Thunder to a poor shooting game, limiting them to a 38.3 FG% and 25.8% from the rainbow territory, 118-96. 

In addition, Indiana Pacers rolled past the hell-bent LA Lakers, 111-104, with the help of Caris Levert’s 30 markers and a 20/12/10 stat sheet from Domantas Sabonis to wrap up today’s wild series.



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