The young Cavs player was the first player in the 2022/23 season to surpass 50. shortly after, Joel Embiid is following up with a monster game and a career-high double-double that has never been seen in NBA history. Meanwhile, the Warriors’ offseason crisis continues, with the Nuggets engine running like clockwork.
New York Knicks (6-7) – Oklahoma City Thunder (6-7) 135:145 (BOXSCORE)
- Madison Square Garden seems to fit the Thunder somehow. OKC celebrated its fifth straight win at MSG, with a red-hot offense the key. The visitors had already surpassed their previous season average after three quarters, shot 62.5 percent from the field (a season high) and got going in the third quarter thanks to Shai Gilges-Alexander.
- The point guard scored 21 of his 37 points (13/22 FG, plus 8 assists with 6 turnovers) in that stretch, which OKC won 43-33, the second straight 43-point quarter for the visitors. The Knicks’ non-existent defense proved fatal as the Thunder pulled away decisively with a 17-2 run.
- Lugenz Dort (24, 8/11 FG), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (17) and Josh Giday were strong alongside Gilgeous-Alexander. The Australian scored 24 points (10/14 FG), 10 rebounds and 12 assists. it was his second triple-double in his second game at MSG. Only Wilt Chamberlain could do it before him.
- The Knicks’ offense was able to keep six players in double figures until midway through the third quarter. Cam Reddish led the way with 26 points and 4 steals, followed by Julius Randle (25, 10 rebounds) and Immanuel Quickley (24). Isaiah Hartenstein was given the start and had 14 points (5/8 FG) and 7 rebounds in 23 minutes.
Cleveland Cavaliers (8-5) – Minnesota Timberwolves (6-8) 124:129 (BOXSCORE)
- “I didn’t even know I had 50 points until I was on the bench. Nobody told me beforehand and I didn’t care,” Darius Garland said after scoring his first 50-point outburst of the season. “I just wanted to win the game.” Despite a self-sacrificing race to achieve it, he was denied it.
- But let’s start from the beginning. The Cavs were completely sleeping early in the game while D’Angelo Russell was running very hot. The Wolves guard has been criticized recently, but in the first quarter alone he grabbed all 6 of his shots for 15 points and helped the Wolves to a 40-20 quarter. The visitors’ lead grew to 24 points, but then came Garland.
- The 22-year-old, without the support of ailing Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen (both ankles), was looking to avoid a looming fourth straight bankruptcy and was on full fire. He sparked the Cavs’ comeback with 27 points (!) in the final stretch Step three from a full sprint set to -2 and 30 seconds left. Russell’s missed free throw shortly thereafter made things even more exciting, but Cleveland couldn’t get rid of any more shots, and the Minnies pulled away after three straight turnovers.
- Garland scored 51 points and had 6 assists. He is only the fourth player in franchise history to surpass the 50 mark (LeBron James 9x, Kyrie Irving 2x, Walt Wesley 1x). It was a career high for Garland, of course, along with making 10 threes in 15 attempts (16/31 FG overall).
- Otherwise, Lamar Stevens (15) or Kevin Love and Sedi Osman helped with 14 points each. In the end, it wasn’t enough to climb out of a big hole in the first quarter. Russell led the Wolves with a game-high 30 points (11/13 FG, 4/5 treble) and 12 assists, Karl-Anthony Towns had 29 points and 13 rebounds, and Tavrosyan Prince had 19 off the bench. Rudy Gobert notched another double-double (15, 13 rebounds) and Anthony Edwards paled offensively (10, 5/13 FG).
Washington Wizards (8-6) – Memphis Grizzlies (9-5) 102:92 (BOXSCORE)
- The longest winning streak in the association is currently held by the Celtics (6 games). Immediately following? The Washington Wizards! The Capitals celebrated their fourth straight win against the depleted Grizzlies without both Ja Morant (ankle) and Desmond Bain (toe injury).
- Washington also had to do without a star player, with Bradley Beal out for the fifth straight time after being placed in the Health and Safety Protocol. But Kristaps Porzingis (25, 6/10 threes) and Danny Avdija (21, 4/7 quarters) stepped up to lead the Wizards’ strong offense. The home team is 19/40 on three-pointers, ten more than Memphis (9/28).
- Washington broke away for the first time late in the third quarter with an 11-2 run, and another 11-4 run, including several three-pointers, made it all clear in the final period. Without one of the best backcourts in the league, the Grizzlies lacked the firepower to compete. Dillon Brooks was already the team’s leading scorer with 19 points (but 7/22 FG), Tyus Jones still had 17 points and Steven Adams had a double-double (12, 10 rebounds and 6 assists).